If you can't say something nice, at least make it funny!

Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Saturday, October 28


It has been almost exactly one year since I've posted here. It's hard for me to believe how time has gone by so quickly. I just turned 50. An entirely new age group. I'm still continuing to deal with how this happened and what it means. 

In the meantime I am trying to get back to writing more, which means blogging more, and one of the best things I ever did, back in the day, was start doing 100 Word Challenge. So, I am going to make a commitment to do this each week.

You can view other responses and the prompt here.

This week's word is "tradition." 

to all a good night

a Santa’s sled
glows red
from the top
of a mountain
inside a metal container.

brown cardboard boxes,
flaps worn, tape exhausted
“books” scrawled in uneven hand.
some neglected, few unread.

the frame of a bed,
source of
an argument
with my mother.
a nod to our only tradition.

clear tape twinkles in the darkness,
slashes of marker advise:
donate, keep, or family piece.
disassembled evergreen; family in pieces.

inside the box
that mountain left undisturbed.
a reprieve from the task at hand.

door rattles shut, money flutters out of my purse
            the gravel drive

and out of sight.

Sunday, October 30

Of Confessions, Bandwagons, and the Zombie Apocalypse

**I guess I should put a spoiler alert on this if you're just now watching the Walking Dead, although I'm pretty sure I'm one of only 12 on earth who didn't watch until now. 

I've never been one to jump on the bandwagon. Whether it is "the" big movie that everyone talks about and says is amazing (like every superhero movie, or the newest Star Wars), or a product (like an iPhone or FitBit), or a television show (like Desperate Housewives or  The Bachelor). If I watch/buy/see from the beginning that's one thing, but once something hits the point of being "water cooler" worthy, I'm going to avoid it at all costs.

I don't know why, I guess I'm just a contrarian. I sometimes feel that all the talk makes a lot of hype that is impossible to live up to. This is why when we used to see movies a lot it was always on opening weekend. It's also why I can give up on a television show that I really loved and that used to be great but has really fallen in quality and believability of the storylines yet somehow still holds viewers out of some kind of crazy loyalty (I'm looking at you, Grey's Anatomy).

So, here's the deal. I have a big confession to make. I was not a Dead fan. That's right, I never watched one season, one episode of The Walking Dead. Not until the final episode of Season 6. I heard about it from my friends, and I just always had to say, "yeah, I'm not into that." Husband started binge watching it to catch up somewhere around the end of season 4. I watched one unfortunately gruesome episode along the way and swore it off again. I wrote it off as being just another violent kill or be killed show. Just another zombie show and, well, zombies are the new vampires, aren't they? I'm dead tired of the vampires. Also, I'm a big chicken when it comes to monsters and villains and zombie-like things. So I still refused to watch. Until this happened.

I have a massive thing for Jeffrey Dean Morgan which goes all the way back to his days on Grey's (pre-shark jump). My lust  love for him was exacerbated by his time on the final season of The Good Wife.

 I mean, damn. That man is fine. FINE.

So when I heard that Morgan would be playing the villain, Negan, on The Walking Dead this season, it was one more chance to see him, and I didn't care if he was the bad boy villain. So I did something I never do. I chased down the bandwagon and hopped right on board. I kept it quiet, though, because I knew the ridicule I might suffer from my know it all pain in the ass friends.

This summer, thanks to modern technology, I had the luxury of binging TWD all the way from season 1. Husband even re-watched it with me. I had previously tried to watch through a couple episodes with him, but wrote it off as another campy sci fi show. Now that I had a new incentive, I allowed my preconceptions to drop and just watched without caring how annoying obsessed I thought everyone else was with the "ridiculous" show. I just wanted the entire background so that I would understand the relationships.

A funny thing happened, though, as I viewed the first few seasons. I was becoming invested. I was taking interest in whether these people lived or died. I was watching the characters change and adapt to the new environment and adjust their expectations. Finally, I realized what a well crafted and well done series this was. I realized how engaging, frustrating, and interesting the relationships are. I was impressed with the writing and direction and the archetypal characters and themes within the show (Yes, I'm THAT much fun to watch with, too). I saw how deftly the writers and producers brought this to life and planned storylines for each character to keep the audience invested. I saw the craft of storytelling right before my eyes, and you don't get that with many TV shows or movies anymore.

One of my favorite seasons was season 4. After the prison falls and the group is scattered, some wonderful and personal storylines come out of the pairings that result. My favorite was watching Darrel and Beth paired up and trying to survive – trying to find common ground. I think it was this season that cemented my fandom. Prior to the prison, it was about survival. Now, it became about personalities and relationships and working together toward a goal.

My least favorite death in the series so far is still Beth's. It was so hurtful to watch them be so close and then lose her that way. I cried over the injustice of it for a long time, despite the fact that I had never really liked Beth. Second place has to be Herschel's death–so horrible. The creepiest thing in the show was the little girls taken in by Carol going koo koo for Cocoa Puffs. Creepy kids are one thing I can't handle. Second creepiest –the revelation that Mischon's "bodyguard" zombies were her family. I literally yelled at the screen when I realized that.  Oh, but I forgot about Terminus ....hmmmm.... So. Creepy.

So last Sunday, for the first time, I watched season 6 premier with everyone else. And what a premier it was. I'm now part of the crowd, feel free to call me a bandwagon jumper, a gadfly, a late to the party Lucy, that's fine. I am. But I assure you that I had all the emotions, feelings, overwhelm, and nervousness of everyone else watching that first episode. Literally as the opening theme was playing I looked at husband and said, "OMG!!! I don't want to know! I don't want to know who it is!!!!"

Even though I had guessed one death correctly, and the "surprise second" was straight out of the original graphic novel (right down to the bulging eye - ick!), I still felt sad, I still mourned like everyone else. But the thing is, I can see why it had to happen. There had to be something big, and it had to be someone who was beloved enough to start WWIII. The victim of Negan's bat had to be someone who would kill Rick's soul and make him controllable, bring him down a notch and let him realize that he is not in control. Otherwise our group wouldn't have the strength or incentive to seek revenge against the Saviors.

So, if you've made it this far in my post, which I'm sure not everyone will, I have another confession to make. I don't like Rick. Not at all. I know a lot of people think he is the hero of the story, and he sure thinks he's the leader of the group, but I just do not see him as the hero. I can write a dissertation on why and how and who I think is really the hero of the group, the one who has sacrificed the most for the better good. But that's the kind of thing that makes me so annoying to be around, so I will stop here.

I've learned to love Darryl, appreciate (and sort of hate at the same time) Carol, get over Carl's bad attitude (I'd have one too if I were him), and admire the hell out of Mischon. I hope Maggie steps up this season and becomes someone to admire, and I want to see Rosita kick some ass on behalf of Abraham. I also want to see someone, anyone, cut off Eugene's mullet!!!! But when it comes to TWD, I will take what I get because it is all so good. So well written, and so gripping. It is a story of a real and very relatable post apocalyptic life. Perhaps the most believable one I've seen. You really don't get that every day.

Meanwhile, I can't wait for Episode 2....and more of that sexy beast Negan.

Saturday, May 7

Truly Chosen

For kids who are adopted, there are two ways to look at it. Either they feel they were chosen by their adoptive parents or they feel abandoned by their birth parents. It seems no matter how their adoptive parents love them or make them feel special and OK with being adopted, there are still some who feel their whole lives as if they weren’t “good” enough for their birth mother.

I am one of those who falls into the first category. I feel chosen, I feel that I ended up where I should be, with my mom and dad, Jack and Geneva Peyton. Yes, I’m adopted.

As the second oldest in a large family, my mom sacrificed a lot of her own childhood to help raise her younger siblings. I am sure she was looking forward to having a large family of her own someday. She was young when she married my father, and they tried for years to make that a reality.

My mom went through a lot of loss while trying to have children. Losses that are all too familiar to many women in the community. Finally, they decided to adopt. And the waiting game began.I have to think about how difficult this decision was back in the 1960s. People weren’t bringing home babies from China back then. Adoption was, quite frankly, not something talked about in social circles. Children filled orphanages and those who adopted them most likely kept it a highly guarded secret. For us, it never was a secret. I have known as long as I remember.

My mom was at the hospital when I was born. She met my birth mother, my aunt and my grandmother while there. She brought me home from the hospital and never let me go again. Which is sometimes a problem. I mean, seriously mom. I’m a 47-year-old married woman. But I digress.

One of the things about being adopted is the fact that you kind of don’t know who you are or what your family history is. When I was in high school, I used to look at families who looked so much like each other with amazement. What would it be like to have a mother, father or sibling who shared your eyes, facial expressions, hair or laugh? I didn’t have that.

My mother is part Cherokee. She has beautiful black hair and very dark skin. She loves working outside in the garden, her skin tans to a beautiful golden brown. She still loves spending time outside. She could handle a gun. She still can.

I always had very fair, freckled skin and red hair. I burned just thinking about going out in the sun. I didn’t (and still don’t) like being out in the heat, working in the yard or gardening. I loved reading, even as a child. I would begin a book and not stop until it was finished. I was a television addict, a true child of the seventies.

We clashed often, yes, after all we were 32 years apart in age. We came from very different eras. She wanted me to put down the books and get outside in the garden. She wanted me, always, to wear ruffles and ribbons and curls when I wanted the latest fashions and crazy hairstyles from MTV. She wanted me to stay in Franklin and live “next door,” but after graduation I left for Nashville and didn’t come back for many years. She wanted me to become a teacher, but I wanted to be a corporate executive and travel the world. (Neither of those worked out). She wanted grandkids and I didn’t want to raise children.

However, for all of our differences, and despite the fact that we don’t share the same DNA, we are alike in so many ways. My mother taught me to be independent and not to rely on others for my own happiness. She taught me to appreciate and even enjoy being alone, and how to be realistic about expectations of life. My mother showed me strength of character and integrity and the value of being honest with yourself and others. We also share the not-so-desirable qualities of being stubborn, unwilling to ask for help, and resistant to change.

Sometimes I lament the fact that she doesn’t “get me.” I’ve come to accept the fact that she probably never will. I don’t like it, but I do accept it, and I realize that it is frustrating not just for me, but for both of us. One thing I know is this: My mom, she loves me. She chose me and no matter what, that will never change.

I think my feelings for my mother are best summed up by the legendary Stevie Wonder.

“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” ~Stevie Wonder

~This blog is a reprint of a previously published piece from the Franklin Favorite, written in 2012.

Thursday, April 21

Goodnight, Sweet Prince

So I haven't been on the internet all day long. I'm sitting in the middle of Deadrick Street eating food truck Thursday when my friend looks at me and says, "Dude. Brace yourself. Prince is dead." I sat stunned. "You mean the musician, or an actual prince?" "The musician."
We sat in silence for the next couple minutes. "Damn" I said. "Yeah" she said. "Wow." "Yeah."
By the time we got back to the apartment I was afraid of expressing my sadness on the internet-what he meant to me as the strange girl who never seemed to fit in her small town. How he wore his strangeness all on the outside, how he wrote amazingly beautiful songs, and weird songs and dirty songs. Seeing strong, sexy females in his band and on his stage. How his music ran the gamut from R&B to blues to punk to pop. How even his Batman theme song was cool as shit even though the movie was questionable at best. Seeing this crazy, weird, wonderful wild androgynous man in heels and velvet suits in videos on this new "MTV" thing. Hearing his emotion in every song and watching him give it all when I got to see him in concert twice. Watching him combine all the outrageousness of James Brown with the showmanship of Michael Jackson and the wardrobe of a Jane Austen novel. Punk. As. Fuck.
Then I get home and see that everyone I know is mourning publicly for this amazingly talented man. I don't care who he was in real life, what his hangups were, or anything else. He was Prince. He changed so many things for my generation. Thank you, sir, for so many memories. And for making all of us weirdos feel a little less weird.

Thursday, March 10

Call me Maggie

Each semester when a new class begins we are usually asked to post a short biography telling others in the class about who we are. I try not to use boilerplate words since many of the same people are in my classes. Each semester I try to mix it up. This time around, I wrote the following as my bio for Mixed Race Women’s Memoir class:

I’m Maggie. I am a wife, daughter, friend, writer, artist, but above all I’m just me. I work every day to change how I see the world, and the way I seek to make that change is through education and shared experience. I am a liberal, an atheist, a feminist, a proponent of body acceptance. I’m a non-mother and a non-conformist. All of these put me at the edge of societal acceptance. This made interesting reading of the piece marginalized people and the power of narrative since I am a marginalized person in many ways, though not through race. I have a sincere desire to see this country in a more peaceful state when it comes to race.

Anyone who is a part of my life and does not know who and what I’m about, well, you’re just not paying attention. I don’t keep secrets. I don’t pretend to be anyone other than me. Anything you want to know? Just ask, you’ll get an honest answer. I’m not interested in pretending in my life anymore. I did that for 45 years and all it got me was several bouts of depression that culminated in a nervous breakdown in 2014.

After that happened, I started thinking a lot about life and relationships and why it seems I never get what I want from the people who surround me. The answer resoundingly came back to me, “It’s not them. It’s you.”

By this I mean that I wasn’t presenting an authentic version of myself to the world. I tried to befriend a group of women with whom, other than gender and location, I had nothing in common. I listened to these friends tell me I “needed” to have children or I would never be complete. I played along with the GOBC at my job and honored their special treatment because it was what I was told to do. I listened to their lies and obstructions as they informed me of the news I was to report. I ate lunch with “friends” and swallowed so many opinions and comments that I was sick with rage by the time I got home. I kept seeing my family and keeping quiet when they asked me over and over to go to church with them, even though they knew I was an atheist.

The only person who knew or saw the real me was my husband. And by the time he got home every day I was a messy puddle in the middle of the floor. Sobbing, unhappy, depressed, angry, anxious, and, honestly, out of my mind. He knew all of these things that bothered me, he knew there was no way to help me, but most of all he kept on loving me and supporting me and carried me through this horrible time. I still have no idea why. He only says, “Because. I love you.” And to him, it’s that simple.

The work years between spring 2012 and summer 2014 were horrible ones, ones in which I was doing the job of two people for much longer than I should have been. So, in the summer of 2014, I wigged out after being told by an awful old man that, “Nobody cares what you have to say. What you say doesn’t matter.” I lost it. I had no one, not one person in my office to stand up for me and say, “she was doing the right thing.” But it didn’t even matter. It took a real, true friend to calm me down from a massive anxiety attack and tell me, “They’ve painted you as the villain. You can’t change that.” A week later I walked out on my job and broke down.

In the two years since all this happened, I’ve had the chance to think, read, talk, make new friends, share, be inspired, and be myself. I’ve been unemployed, but that’s ok. I’ve almost earned my Bachelor’s degree. I’ve left that small town behind and moved back to Nashville. And now, I am unabashedly me. No apologies.

Everyone who has met me since 2014 knows me as Maggie. Since 2010 I have blogged and tweeted as Tinfoil Magnolia. So I chose the name Maggie for myself, as a grown up way of wearing the real me because I think it’s a name that represents the true me. Everyone who has met me since 2014 knows the real me. The me my husband always knew and the me known to my closest girlfriends, my sweet tarts. I am hot tempered, and a good listener. I am foul mouthed, but kind to those in need. I am reckless, but in the safest way possible. I embrace a live and let live policy. I don’t give unsolicited opinions, but if you ask you’re getting the truth. I don’t care about fashion or my arm flab. I love the “F” word simply because of how uncomfortable it makes people.

I don’t believe in redemption, and I don’t believe people ever change their true nature. They only camouflage it as I did for 45 years. The thing I realize is that if you aren’t showing the world who you really, truly are, then you aren’t getting back anything that you want or need out of it. If you aren’t showing your authentic self to other people, they are never going to act the way you want them to act. If you can’t stand up and own your opinions, then you can’t make change. I know people will walk away from the real me. And that’s ok. I know my family doesn’t understand the real me. They don’t want to know her. And that’s ok too.

Yesterday, I spent two hours in a situation that before would have sent me home crying and puddled in my bed. Yet, no tears were shed. I only saw the truth that the way this person sees me is, in part, her own creation, and in part the former self I used as a shield all these years. I handled it honestly, with integrity, and stood for myself. It was shocking for me to see how far I’ve come.