Monday, November 30, 2015

Les is More

Have a great day.

-Les Miles

It's early, I know. I'm early, though I guess you're free to read at any time & so just skip right on past my ramblings on why I am up at the crack of dawn posting a blog. 

We're headed to Jackson today to see the pediatric endocrinologist & see what the first few months of school (& cookie Wednesdays!) have done to our A1C. If I am pleased, I'm going to head on over to the wonderful Renaissance at Colony Park in Jackson & buy myself something. If I am not pleased, I'm going to head on over to the wonderful Renaissance at Colony Park in Jackson & buy myself something. Admittedly if the latter scenario is the case, the something I buy is about sixty percent more likely to be a food item(s).

I know you have burning questions, & I'm going to attempt to answer them, but here's the deal: I am very tired. It turns out having a week off school is exhausting. Also, there are a lot of pictures to share, & so, in honor of Les Miles, I'm dispensing with the fancy words this week & will share pictures & short but unpoetic blurbs about said pictures.

Goodness, has it only been a week since last I blogged? I feel like I've been to the moon & back. I bet that would involve a lot more sitting than I did this past week.

Before you ask, no, as of the time of this posting, the speeches are not all graded. I have big plans for the fourish hours I'll be a passenger to & from Jackson today.

A few minutes after I posted this last Monday morning, my mom picked Henry up & Reagan & I spent several hours putting up & decorating our Christmas tree. In fact, the house is *almost* fully decorated. There was one tub Trey neglected to bring down from the attic, & so there are a few finishing touches I've yet to nail down (figuratively . . . I'm not such an enthusiastic decorator that I actually need a hammer & nail for Christmas decorating). Maybe I'll take pictures & show you next week. Maybe I won't. Right now I can't make any promises. 

Tuesday's events can be easily divided: cousin playtime & Mom's Big Bookclub Night. 

Aunt Donna & cousins Jennifer & Marykate came over Tuesday. A good time was had by all.

All of our visitors left around four that afternoon, giving me just enough time to change my clothes & put on some eye make-up for my big bookclub date Tuesday night. 

Due to both exhaustion & a lack of time right now, I cannot discuss the cinematic finale of The Hunger Games series in the depth I'd prefer. It's always possible I'll return to the topic in the future when life slows down, by which I mean when I have finished grading everything & fulfilled all my end-of-semester duties as a lowly, underpaid adjunct instructor who will be spending today with the pediatric endocrinologist instead of catching up on laundry & grading. 

Wednesday afternoon Papa set aside an hour of designated park time before his golf game, & so I exercised while the kids played. The remainder of the afternoon was spent doing mundane activities like grocery shopping & going through the window at Chick-fil-A, & so that's about all you need to know about that. 

That evening, to prepare our bodies for the onslaught that was to come Thursday, we all ate Johnny's Pizza for dinner. 

Thursday was, of course, the big day of thanks. 

We began the day with lunch at Trey's parents' house:

I found myself sharing a couch with Trey after the meal, & so I thought I'd attempt a picture of the two of us since we are adults &, at least in theory, photographing adults is easier than photographing children. 

En route to stop No. 2:

Cousin playtime, Part Deux:

Henry/Mama selfie series: 

Reagan insisted on profile shots, so I gave up.

And then there was this.

An acceptable attempt at one with all four of us.

We were back at our house by around six Thursday evening, though it felt like it was midnight & we'd been gone for days. Despite being in my pajamas & in bed at seven, I ended staying up very late attempting to grade some speeches, an effort which quickly petered out when I started reading Jane Eyre

I have finally plowed through Jane's Lowood days & now she's living at Thornfield, thank goodness. There's a lot I want to say about Jane at this point, but alas, it must wait. If you were on the fence about continuing to read this blog, I guess there's really no question now but that you'll return. Who can walk away from a promised future discussion on Jane's days at Lowood? 

Friday we made some questionable decisions. We all met at Iron Cactus for lunch, a Mexican restaurant near our house (as if you didn't already know Iron Cactus is a Mexican place), & also near the Precious Memories Christmas Tree Farm.

The chain of events went like this:

We ate Mexican food.

We walked around outdoors in oppressive humidity attempting to locate the perfect tree for my parents' home.

We attempted family photos. 

We took a "sleigh ride."

If you're local, Precious Memories is a wonderful place to take kids, pick out a tree, & snap pictures. Click here for their website with their phone number, address, & other info. If you come with us, you can pick out a tree while my dad sings the old gospel hymn, "Precious Memories." 

We took a timeout from all the family togetherness for a few hours Friday afternoon before reconvening to string lights on the tree.

It's a lovely tree. I am not sure if it's still ornament-less. At some point in the first half of LSU's game Saturday, my mom attempted to begin putting ornaments on it with the kids "help." I remember a shattered ornament, a scuffle, some tears, & that was the end of that. 

Saturday was a long day for me. Reagan's birthday is nearing, & there were things I simply had to get done before we're swept up in another week of school, & then grades are due, & then boom!, it's her birthday. 

I didn't watch any of Gameday, & I didn't even care. As last week unfolded & it became increasingly obvious Les Miles's tenure at LSU was all but officially over, I grew more & more despondent. Is despondent too dramatic of a word to use? Maybe, but I was low in spirits over the issue, & so I was almost relieved I needed to shower & dress & run errands Saturday, otherwise I'd have sat in bed in my pajamas watching Gameday & sulking.

Even the kids got dressed & got out of the house, as evidenced by this picture Trey texted me to let me know he'd managed to drive them to Chick-fil-A to eat lunch. 

Obviously I am thrilled the Tigers won Saturday night. The game will be one I'll always remember, not because the Tigers finally clicked offensively, or because Brandon Harris had a great night (hahaha), but because it was - & I think even an impartial observer might agree - one of the most heartwarming displays of appreciation for a coach I've seen. More than appreciation, it was intended to be a four-quarter long farewell. 

I've always appreciated Miles's dedication to LSU. He has always been the first to shut down rumors he was leaving LSU to coach at his alma mater, Michigan. The above quote came at the end of a memorable press conference in 2007 when, instead of asking him about the championship team he was coaching (literally, they won the SEC & then a national title in 2007), reporters kept after him about the open Michigan job, to which he responded:

I'm the head coach at LSU. I will be the head coach at LSU. I have no interest in talking to anybody else. I got a championship game to play, and I'm excited for the opportunity of my damn strong football team to play in it. Please ask me after. I'm busy. Thank you very much. Have a great day.

The man clearly loves LSU, as evidenced again Saturday night when he disengaged a reporter attempting to interview him post-game so he could sing the Alma Mater with his Tigers, whom he no doubt believed he'd coached for the final time.  

Are there issues that need to be addressed? Clearly. Obviously. LSU needs an offensive coordinator, preferably one who can recruit a QB. All that aside, I, along with many others, didn't feel it was time to cut Les loose. Above & beyond that, if you're going to fire a man who's given you over a decade of service, won a national title & a couple of SEC championships, & who has a win percentage of 77%, you don't treat him as shamefully as the Administration treated Les Miles, leaving him in the dark as to his job status while thrusting him in front of the media & crying fans (literally there were tears at last Wednesday evening's radio show). 

I watched Saturday's game at my parents' house because we don't get the SEC Network at our house. I watched the final play. I watched Les sing the Alma Mater. I watched the players hoist him on their shoulders & carry him off the field. It was fittingly dreary outside as I loaded the kids in the car (yes, it was late . . . I am a bad mother). 

Over Reagan's protests for Christmas music, I turned on the radio & tuned in to listen as Jim Hawthorne, longtime voice of the Tigers who's retiring after this year, signed off from Tiger Stadium for the final time. I freely admit I was teary-eyed at this point, & then, AND THEN, the radio cut to the post-game presser, & Evil AD Joe Alleva was speaking, & BOOM, Les stays. Just like that. 

One of the reasons I am so tired, in addition to last week's flurry of activity, is that I was awake until the wee hours of Sunday morning, so emotionally stimulated was I after the night's events. 

I love college football. One of the reasons I prefer it to the NFL is there is a loyalty factor in college football that seems to be almost nonexistent in the NFL. In the NFL, players (& coaches) come & go & are paid such & such, & who cares. I don't care. Les Miles exudes the loyalty factor that I love so much about college football. He's not a jerk, even under duress, as he certainly was this last week. People like him, & people respond to him, as evidenced over this last week, & particularly Saturday night.  

I don't believe the Administration had anything planned but to fire Les Miles, but in their gross mismanagement of that, they've reignited a fanbase's once passionate love affair with a football coach who loves the Tigers as much as they do. 

Well, this is much longer than I'd intended. I didn't realize I had so much to say about Les. I don't think anyone realized they had so much to say about Les until his head was on the chopping block. 

After last week's busyness & emotional turmoil, I am ready to return to school tomorrow; I need the breather. We'll talk, the Lord willing, in December. I'll catch you up on A1C news, birthday shindig progress, the happenings with Jane & Rochester, & maybe share some pictures of our Christmas tree, or what I bought in Jackson, or what I saw in Target that I thought was neat. You just never know, & I know that's why you keep coming back; I believe that's the secret to Les's allure, too.