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My week back home was crazy, busy, exhausting, wonderful, good. Yep.

Here are the highlights:

*Milo’s. Speaking of ugly, awesome food. Yummm. If you’re ever passing through Birmingham and you have a high tolerance of onions and sugar, pick up one of these saucy burgers and a sweet tea.

*And I just happened to sneak by Dreamcakes (now in Homewood) for a caramel mocha sea salt cupcake. We had these as part of our groom’s “cake” spread, and they are DELICIOUS. We saved the top tier of the wedding cake for our upcoming anniversary (and I successfully transported it back to Texas from my maid of honor’s freezer!), but since I expect it will taste pretty frozen and stale, I’m going to attempt to replicate these amazing cupcakes.

*Hilly, windy, woodsy roads are good for my soul. In Dallas I mainly get flat, straight, and bordered by strip malls. Shockingly not so soul nourishing.

*Hanging with my three incredibly awesome nephews (ages 8, 6, and 2). I spent a couple of days romping around with them, and it was wonderful. Oldest boy is obsessed with sports, middle boy spends every spare second drawing (or stealing my phone to play with the artsy droid apps), and little one is just plain cute. Little one has also renamed me Grandma, which the older boys find HILARIOUS.

*And while the cool breezes of fall (aka football season) are still months away, I did get to see the new additions to Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Roll Tide! And did I mention that I married an LSU fan?

*Kudzu may be an invasive plant, but it’s also one of those dear, familiar signs of home. They say that if you sit still enough you can hear it growing.

*Small town streets. With old trees! And people who actually know and take care of their neighbors! This is my grandmother’s street, where she has lived in the same house for nearly 60 years.

The day I drove up through the back roads of the state to see my grandma I sunk into total I LOVE HOME OMG WHY DON’T I LIVE HERE. I was in love with everything. Then as I drove back towards my parents’ new home, I saw a billboard that reminded me of the OTHER side of being from Alabama. I did not take a picture of this anti-Obama propaganda because it made me too sad. I took Mark Kemp’s Dixie Lullaby with me on this trip, and as I read of his conflicted feeling about being from the South, I felt echoes of my own story… I will always have a love/hate relationship with home because it’s a beautiful, wonderful place with a dark underbelly that hasn’t faded into history just yet.

(all photos by the author)

Twitter Updates

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