Middle School Megan On: Boy Bands

Middle School Megan On: Boy Bands

Oh yeah… that’s me up there, in all of my awkward, brace-face glory. Just breath it in (That one’s actually not the worst… my 6th and 7th grade school pictures were, just, whew).

Middle School was truly a strange time. I don’t know if I can think of any other time in my life where I felt so uncomfortable and confused in my own skin. I had NO CLUE what to do with myself during those pre-teen days, and school was the absolute scariest/worst place to be at while feeling that way. I was unfortunately not in the district to go to middle school with any of my friends from 4th and 5th grade, and remember thinking my life was over because I couldn’t go to Palmetto middle. I ended up being in the school zone for Southwood Middle, which was also a magnet school for the arts. But I didn’t even have the benefit of calling myself a magnet student- I was just going there because I had to.

In thinking back on those days and mainly laughing at how ridiculous I was, I’ve wanted to start a series featuring my life, thoughts and beliefs during that time. The other night, Daniel and I were watching a recent documentary on The Backstreet Boys, and that inspired this post, of course! What better place to start this series, than a convo about boy bands from the late 90’s/Early 2000’s…

Let’s set some ground rules for liking boy bands in middle school, shall we? You remember these:

1) You could like several boy bands, but you had to have one favorite.

2) Obsession over these teenage/early adult males was completely normal to you. You didn’t even consider it a problem.

3) You had at least one binder with cut outs from TMZ pasted on it, and your walls had boy band posters all over them.

4) There were the main boy bands, and then there were the off brands. They all played their part.

THE MAINS

Hanson

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Ok, so Hanson was my ultimate, all time favorite Boy Band. I started listening to them in 4th grade? I think. That definitely carried on into my middle school years, but it was kinda one of those things I kept on the D.L. (that stands for down low, in case you forgot) for 6th grade. I was afraid people would think I was super lame for listening to them- I had the same weird insecurity about it that I did in 1st grade when I was still watching Barney.

Zac Hanson was the boy I loved the most and wanted to marry so badly. When we moved into a new house before 7th grade, I finally had my own room, which meant 4 walls to put posters up on. One wall was dedicated to Zac and his brothers.

NSYNC

1377387219_n-sync-mtv-vma_2If my memory serves me correctly, I became aware of NSYNC at a sleepover birthday party towards the end of 5th grade, when someone put on the music video for their single “I Want You Back”. I remember being captivated by this very white, kind of urban looking dream boat wearing a giant silver hoop earring. There was literally nothing cooler than 5 guys dancing on a wet cobble stone street in baggy clothes. They remained one of my favorite bands throughout middle school and early high school. They reserved a decent amount of space on my walls. J.T.’s ramen noodle hair was all over my room!

Backstreet Boys

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Here’s the deal. In middle school, you were either an NSYNC girl, or a BSB girl. I was an NSYNC girl with closet BSB tendencies. I acted like I didn’t like them, but I knew EVERY single that came out on the radio. I didn’t have any of their cd’s, as to continue to throw my friends off of the sent. It wasn’t until later high school when all of this became silly (and we were debating over Hoobastank and Lifehouse) that I started to nostalgically and publicly appreciate the Backstreet Boys. The other night when we watched that documentary, “Show Em’ What Your Made Of”, I came to appreciate them even more. It was nice to hear their stories and see how they live and deal with their lives post-boy band. I also didn’t realize the complete crummy douche lord that was Lou Perlman, and how he screwed over these young guys and used them. I discovered that Lou fashioned NSYNC to be their direct competition, which now explains the middle school boy band wars.

I will say that even though BSB has a little place in my heart, none of their voices even come close to Justin Timberlake’s voice. It’s a fact we all have to accept.

The Off Brands

2Gether

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Ladies… I just. I can’t. So, 2Gether wasn’t even a real band, they were a parody band making fun of boy bands. But I DONT THINK I GOT THAT at first, because I adored them. My bff Allison and I were obsessed with these guys in 8th grade, and the fact that they came onto the scene with an MTV original movie was the best. I remember saving up to get the 2Gether cd at Spec’s Music. Remember when we used to buy c.d.s?!

LFO

LFO at the Macy's in New York, New York (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

LFO at the Macy’s in New York, New York (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

“Bugaloo shrimp and pogo sticks…” Ya’ll, what even was this band? I didn’t listen to them at all with the exception of their hit single, “Summer Girls”. Everyone knew it, it just happened to all of us without warning.

BBMAK

BBMakOk, I was oddly captivated and into this band for a little bit. I love that they played acoustic guitars and were British. Also, the guy in the middle reminded me of Proto Zoa from Zenon (Girl of the 21st Century)

Honestly, I could keep going with my musical choices of the late 90’s/Early 2000’s, as this post doesn’t even account for B-Spears, Mandy Moore and DMX. But maybe we’ll save those gems for another day.

Overall, I love all of the terrible music I listened to as a kind-of-child-almost-teenager. It was one of the few things in my life that made me feel ok, during a season of constant confusion, heartbreaking crushes and the overwhelming fear of my peers. These dudes helped me keep it together… for the most part.

My Recipes: Spinach Tortellini With Lemon Cream Sauce

Spinach Tortellini with Lemon Cream Sauce

Almost two months ago, I instagrammed a pick of one of my favorite dinners to make, and had a few people respond wanting the recipe. So I decided to finally get it up on the blog!

As I said on my instagram, it’s one of my faves because it takes less than 20 minutes to make, it tastes fresh and it’s so delicious. I’m all about a easy/tasty meal, especially lately as standing up with what feels like a watermelon hanging off the front of my body is becoming more difficult.

The lemon cream sauce was first introduced to me by Daniel’s father, Roger. When I lived with his parents while we were engaged, Roger would make this fantastic sauce and pour it over a pasta of some kind and usually cook salmon or shrimp to go with it. I’ve made this with both as well as with chicken, but that takes extra time of course.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to whip up this dish. Can you tell I like Trader Joes? Hehe. So I know recipes are supposed to come with measurements and such, but I cook a lot of my meals by eyesight and taste. If you’re a by-the-book kinda person, I do apologize, but I don’t measure any of this stuff out.

Our garlic mincer broke and we haven’t been able to find one we like (and are willing to pay for) yet, so I’ve been lazy and just used crushed garlic. But fresh minced garlic is strongly encouraged! Use however much you like. I use a little less than a tablespoon of the crushed garlic, and that seems to be just enough. For the parmesan cheese, use at least a half a cup. Or use however much you want, it’s your sauce. If you’re using a small lemon, you’re gonna want to microplane the entire lemon for all the zest, and then the lemon juice from half the lemon. Since we usually use small onions, I just cut up the entire thing and throw it in there. Make sure you’ve got some EVOO to sauté your onions and garlic before you add the rest of the ingredients. I don’t usually add salt, because the parmesan cheese can be pretty salty, but you can taste your sauce and go from there, adding whatever you want.

How to cut an onion

Onion tip: I learned this from Daniel, who learned it from his best friend Chris. Cut into the onion as shown above, making squares as big or small as you’d like them. Then when you go to slice the onion, it’s already diced. Time saver!

Spinach Tortellini

Tort Tip: This is the best tortellini I’ve had yet. You can get any brand tortellini you prefer, but try to stick to the kind that’s in the refrigerated section of the store instead of the frozen. It takes less time to boil.

Ok, so here we go!

Spinach Tortellini With Lemon Cream Sauce

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: A meal for 2 adults and 1 child

Spinach Tortellini With Lemon Cream Sauce

You'll need

  • 1 Package of Spinach Tortellini
  • Some EVOO
  • 1 small onion
  • Crushed or minced garlic
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Zest from 1 small lemon
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Shredded or grated parmesan cheese
  • Black Pepper to taste

Here's What You Do

  1. Pour some EVOO in a medium sized pan over medium heat.
  2. While the oil is heating, slice and dice your onion, mince your garlic and microplane that lemon.
  3. Sauté your onion for a minute or two to open up the fragrance and flavor.
  4. Add your garlic and continue to sauté for about a minute.
  5. Get your pot of water on high for the tort.
  6. Pour your heavy whipping cream in the pan, and lower the heat a little bit.
  7. Allow the cream to cook down for a few minutes, and then add your lemon zest and juice.
  8. As it cooks down a bit more and thickens, add your parmesan cheese and turn it down to low heat.
  9. Add black pepper to taste.
  10. By this time, your tort water should be boiling, so pour your pasta in.
  11. Let your tort boil for about 3 minutes, and then pour it into a strainer.
  12. Serve hot, and drown that tort in sauce!

Notes

If you've got some handy, add a splash or two of white wine. It opens up the flavors and gives it a little kick!

Bloodline

Bloodline

The popular belief these days is to simply embrace your true self. To stop denying who you really are, whatever that looks like- and in the process, only surround yourself with people who affirm it.

Well, I don’t think anyone would want to be around me if I did that.

In sifting through my Evernote folders, I came across a poem I wrote sometime earlier this year. From the looks of it, I was having a really rough day. It must have been the day I saw Sia’s music video for her song Elastic Heart, which would explain the reference in the first part of the poem. I feel somewhat embarrassed for saying this, especially in light of Shia Labeouf’s latest viral explosion (you know, the one where he yells “JUST DO IT” a bunch of times?)… but that music video ripped me open. I remember feeling overwhelmed when it was done, as it left me with tears spilled down my face and bewildered by my reaction. Abram wasn’t home for whatever reason, which thankfully allowed me to deal slowly with whatever was trying to come out over the course of the afternoon. Not that I can’t deal with stuff in front of my son- I often do, for both of our sakes. But sometimes, children don’t afford you the courtesy for long, afternoon bouts of self analyzation.

It all came out in this poem called Bloodline. I’m a little scared to let you see this, as I usually am when I share this side of my writing. But as I came across it, I felt compelled to share, perhaps in thinking on the world and culture we live in. I know I’ve kept it pretty light over the last several weeks, so I’m sorry for jumping from silly pictures of college cafeteria life to this. I only wrote half of it that day, and the other half a few days ago when I decided that it wasn’t finished. The second half is in bold.

BLOODLINE

 

I know I’ve come out a bit different

But I’ve still got the same blood running through my veins
Which is why I know most of my bad thoughts aren’t whispers from the devil
But darkness inside of my own DNA
Maybe the reason that caged dance
Bothered me
Is because I’ve been at war with myself since
The day I was made
And try as I might to allow the clean blood to take over
Some days I can’t help but be stuck in the reign.
 _________
The reign of family history. 
History flowing deep inside of me.
I can feel it trying to slowly blot me out
Like the moon eclipses the sun.
 _________
Curses aren’t just incantations in fables
But as real as unmarked tombstones
They are forever like the lines on the palms of my hand
Sins that are buried with bones.
 _________
I feel the serpent creep slowly, subtly inching towards my brain
Wanting to sink into the right lobe and then the left
Start wars that are only fought in vain…
 _________
Not. Me.
My answer is no, even though parts of me want to give in.
 _________
It fights to take over, it wants every inch of my inside
But curses can end, for so long they can only try
To consume a child, and sometimes they win
But if I fight back…
If I fight back against what was started within…
 _________
Then maybe. Maybe the Reign of Family History will finally, and with great anticipation and with triumphant celebration and with blood-marked justification…
 _________
Come. To an end.
 _________
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Sweetest name I know…
 _________
I do know You
But You’ve known me far before the star stuff exploded
You’ve known about my bloodline
You were inside of my history
 _________
You wept when our children wept
Because of the things that were stolen
Your righteousness burned with white flames
As you watched father’s sins birth more sin
 _________
There are things you’ve allowed to happen
And my heart still asks the why questions
But You…
 _________
You knew me. 
You knew I was coming.
And you decided to put a fight in me.
 _________
I’m not special.
The divide created from the moment Eve decided to try and take your place
was in my heart when it started beating.
 _________
So this fight, this freedom uprising
I cannot take credit.
I know in my blood the foul potential
And all I’ve got as weapons are truth and grace.
 _________
Grace… greater than ALL of my sin
You knew me, You know me, You know where I’m headed…
 _________
You win.