Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Second half- Victory! Well, kinda ...

Bloggers note: lately I've had some problems with blogger making me use HTML code to set up individual blogs. Since I know nothing about HTML, it takes forever for me to upload pictures and I normally upload them from my phone and then handle the writing from my computer. But lately, even that's been a chore, so I've had to upload from phone and place quick small sentences between them to cut up the HTML code so that when I go back to add my writing, I'll know where the breaks are. Anyway, this was the actual post I uploaded from my phone, word for word, with intentions of going back and filling in with fun, wacky antecdotes, etc. But up re-reading them, I find these comments just right. So, no final editing done here.

Some stuff about the grove

Tablecloth messy

Some stuff about aunt Ju. Chuckler 

Some stuff about dad. Another chuckler.

Stuff about these three boys- nick wouldn't get in the picture. 

Kenny trying to act like he didn't see me taking this picture.

Only picture of me and penny!!!  My arm looks weird. Broken. Too bad it wasn't Johnny Footballs.

Blah blah blah Tent after everyone left for the game and it was quiet and nice! 

Watching the game in our neighbors tent.  We lost.  Ugh.

Parker was exhausted on the way home from not helping me do anything.  Still love her. 

Shop till I drop. Or my cute pink wallet is empty. . .

The other night when I headed to Newks to see the Frazier Family, I did some shopping both before and after our dinner. Its nice to live in a town where you can just run out and do some shopping because all the stores are still open and there are a ton of stores to choose from. I've loved living in Laurel, Newton, Cleveland and Oxford for most of my life, but its kinda nice to be able to run over to Books-A-Million or TJ Maxx for a few minutes after dinner. At Barnes and Nobles, I found Nameless's favorite magazine. It's the only one he subscribes to and that is hilarious to me. Mostly because we are such good friends and he's all reading smart magazines and I'm all, "do you have the newest issue of InStyle? Marie Claire?" while he's giving me a funny look. Also, outside of his house, I've never seen this magazine in a bookstore. I think he said something along the lines of I must rarely look at the smart-people magazines! I take no offense to that because its totally true!

Here's my haul from that night-- magazines more my speed and a couple books to look smart!!

Have y'all ever read Domino magazine? Its amazing for people who love beautiful home design. It used to be a monthly magazine several years ago and I had every single issue. I kept them and perused them all the time. Eventually, I had to give up saving old issues because, well, I had enough stuff to pack up everytime I moved. I still occassionally run across an old issue at my dad's house and it makes my evening! Its been out of print a few years, but has recently started back up, as a quarterly magazine, I think. This is the first issue and I cannot wait for a nice relaxing night, with my house clean and an ice cold Caffeine Free Diet Coke beside me (no caffeine for me after about 4 p.m.) to enjoy this magazine! My favorite purchase was this J. Crew hat and necklace. I've seen this hat a couple times on different instagrams then on one of the blogs I frequent, Kendi Everday, and liked it at first, but then couldn't figure out if I'd ever have a chance to wear it. The new fashion are these shiny, leather material baseball caps for girls, with no writing on them. The Lucky magazine editor Eva Chen wears a blue one all the time. I think they are kinda goofy, but who am I to argue with a fashion editor and her probably $300 hat. Anyway, I liked this hat, but felt it wasn't really "me". Also, I'm paranoid my ears are uneven and therefore hats look stupid on me. But after the Grove this past weekend with the rain, I realized a cute hat is the way to go when its raining. And since rain is on the forecast for the upcoming LSU game, I decided I needed that hat. I get obsessed with things easily and HAVE to have them. I've documented this on the blog before (here) and this was my new obsession. I hit up J. (sold out), ebay, searched for similar hats in other places. Then I decided to check out the J. Crew store in Madison just to be sure. I felt certain that if they didn't have it on-line, it would be sold out in stores as well. Luckily, I was wrong! And, in perusing the sale rack, I saw this fantastic necklace that I've been wanting for a LONG, LONG time. Its another blog for another day. It was more than I wanted to spend, but I did it anyway! LOVE!
And finally, a new iPad Mini case for my IPad. Since I won the iPad in a raffle for $5.00, I figured I could splurge and get a decent protective cover. I settled for a blue back and a gray cover. Nothing fancy.

Half-time. . . Dinner plans

My sister, Betsy, is one of those awesome, fun, interesting people who can talk you into almost anything. I've always said that Betsy and I differed in a lot of ways-- the most glaring being that I was annoyingly fussy when it came to my school grades and Betsy... was not. Betsy is the type of person who would be like, "oh yeah, we've got that test tomorrow and its half our grade and I'm totally about to start studying but, what? (Insert fun activity here-- my favorite band playing, that new Sandra Bullock movie, 50-cent Sushi Night at Two Stick) is happening tonight? Yes, let's go!! I'll worry about that test thing tomorrow!" This is totally not a slight in anyway-- I wish I had been more like that when I was younger-- I mean, the good memories aren't studying for a test, but heading to Graceland Too in the middle of the night on a spur of the moment "wild hair". As I've gotten older, I've embraced this wonderful aspect of my sister and tried to be more like her. So, back to this week-- I'd decided to spend a quiet week, washing dishes from the Grove and doing some cleaning. I'd actually tried to finagle a free dinner with the Mayor (and asked him to bring along his vaccuum cleaner when he came as mine recently took up smoking). But when I got back in from a long walk with Parker, checked my messages and found a message from one of my favorite people, Rebekah, telling me she and her family were coming through Jackson and did we want to meet at Newks for dinner, I immediately called the Mayor and told him I had a better offer. He understood. His wallet probably thanked him. My cleaning could wait! At Newks I got to see the Frazier Family-- love these people! Rebekah was my dear, dear, dear friend in college. We spent nearly every waking moment together, and, at one point considered getting t-shirts that said "No, we aren't twins. We aren't sisters. We aren't roommates. We are just friends." to save us time when we met people. We lived on the same floor for three of the four years of college, went to BSU together, pretty much did everything together. Aside from her awesome taste in friends, she has a lot of great qualities. She was our "mother hen" who always had a bandaid, or knew how to cook chicken helper in the microwave, and had the greatest selection of pre-iTunes-probably-illegally-downloaded music on her computer that I've ever seen. To this day. Every good 80s and 90s song ever. Our dinner at Newks was wonderful and I got to see her two adorable girls, Ela and Savannah. So cute right? Apparently Savannah is camera-shy and smart enough to know when you point a phone at her, its picture-taking time. So it was a struggle to get her to let me take a picture!

Here's Ela laughing at Savannah who is avoiding my camera.  I understand, Ela, I too have a silly sister.  See above. 

Finally, she let me take this picture.  Wonder what's going through her mind right now?  "Let the crazy lady have her picture so she'll quit saying my name!?"

Monday night was a good night of catching up with friends, a little shop talk with Brandon whose also an attorney, some good discussions on family, cheerleading, Renaissance fashions, and some really cute kids. 

Then came Tuesday.  Once again, I was minding my own business, planning to do important things like unload the dishwasher, and hang those pictures above the desk. And I get another call. This time from my Aunt Ju. Who's driving through town (also on the way back from Memphis) and wants to go to dinner. Once again I pull a Betsy and decide that nothing is as important as seening my sweet Aunt Ju and our friend Lori. So I ditch Parker and head on over to Primos down the street. They suggested Newks but I vetoed that idea. And once again, I had a fantastic time seeing two people that I love, discussing the Eagles concert they just attended, my cousin's upcoming wedding, shopping, flameless candles, the Grove, and all sorts of other random stuff. It was a second great night in a row! I'm a lucky girl to have people wanting to eat dinner with me!!! Who's in for tonight??

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Grove... First Half...

Remember my Grove Warm-up? (here) Well, I'm not finished yet.  Once I've made my list, and checked it twice...

It's time to load up and head to Oxford to stay with my favorite hostess, Penny. Friday night when I arrived, quite late, I pretty much went to bed.  Saturday morning, she was nice enough to let me borrow her kitchen to finish my cooking. My ham sandwiches would have turned out better if I'd not forgotten two of the ingredients, but no one complained!

Basically, my dad and Nicholas like three things for the Grove-- chicken nuggets, pigs in a blanket and sausage balls.  Nothing else.  They'd be satisfied with just that as long as there was plenty.  Which is a little bit frustrating for someone who tries to plan interesting, good menus each week.  But, also a bit liberating because, as long as I provide those three things, I can cook whatever else sounds good to me.  However, when someone brought these ham sandwiches to the Vandy game earlier in the season, my dad and Nick both raved long and loud enough to make me realize we might be adding a fourth to their limited Grove palate.  These are basically ham sandwiches, cooked for a few minutes, with a sauce on top of poppyseeds, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, butter and brown sugar.  I don't care for ham and I even liked it.    

Oscar, the most ridiculously cute dog, was busy being the sweetest boy while I was busy cooking. 

We left for the game with these cuties busy being lazy but cute.  Oscar is on the top, Parker to the right and Sophie to the left.  They never even offered to help with the cooking. 

We made one quick stop to Chick-Fil-A to get the chicken nuggets, where I found a surprisingly awesome bathroom-- complete with a little mouthwash station free for the taking.  I love it!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Grove... Pre-Game Warm-up...

I don't know if many of my readers have ever been to the Grove.  In fact, I don't know if I have "many" readers.  But if you haven't, its certainly something you should experience once in your life even if you aren't an Ole Miss fan. You are all invited to my tent!

But if you've never been to the Grove, or, if you've never been in charge of a tent, then you'll never know the excitement of my life during football season.  I've always been a part of a Grove team-- like a wide receiver or something.  I've been one of many, preparing for the tent-- either my family members or my friends from law school.  The entire Grove experience wasn't on my shoulders, but occasionally I'd have a star performance, with a hit recipe or the $1.50 couch Shannon and I found at the Salvation Army.

This year, however, I've been promoted to quarterback.  Or coach.  I'll go with quarterback, it fits better into my blog idea.  I'm in charge now-- I get to call the recipes, make the on-the-field play changes once I read the defense (or the weather), and get the credit (or the blame) for everything that happens.

And it ain't easy.  I've already mentioned my Grove-related-injury (GRI) before last week's game, which meant that this week, I was playing injured.  My Grove activities don't start on Saturday though.  I spend a good portion of the week before a game getting ready.  Washing the previous game's dishes (first game, dust, last game, mud), choosing recipes, making a grocery list, delegating responsibilities to other players, shopping, choosing a centerpiece (this is where my football analogy fails me), packing everything, cooking everything, preparing everything for the commute to Oxford, etc.  Its a full-time gig.  I'm hoping to go pro soon.

Wednesday night I hit up the Kroger across the spillway (the Kroger down the street is renovating and I won't be going back until they are done-- its way too stressful to shop in the midst of renovations).  Thursday night I got to cooking.  My iPad mini comes in handy when trying new recipes! I love my iPad mini-- best five bucks I've ever spent!!

The "meat and potatoes" of Grove food-- crackers and tortilla chips.  I seriously buy these things in bulk.  Also, notice my "thinker" bookends.  I woke up a few weeks ago and realized I have a thousand books and nothing to end them with, so I'm obsessed with bookends lately.  These I found at the house in Laurel last weekend during the yard sale.  I originally though I'd paint them a shiny, bright color, but now I think I like the dark metallic color.  It's decisions like these that add to my winkles. 

That isn't the Kroger back that broke.

I'm still working on a good way to cut tomatoes.  Its important for even the quarterback to practice and become a better player. 

A new recipe from Pinterest-- tomato, peach and strawberry salsa with peppers.  Hot but good-- will be a new staple I believe!

Watching Netflix while cooking makes things a lot better. 

Tomato, mozzarella, basil and crouton skewers in the making. 

Parker did this the entire night.  She didn't help at all. 

Cooking for the Grove is lots of fun-- I like trying new recipes, and I get to catch up on my Netflix episodes, and I'm cooking for my family and friends, so there isn't much better things than that. 

Cajun Pistols are the way to go...

Thursday was the Canton Flea Market right in downtown Canton.  Twice a year, October and April, the entire downtown of Canton is overrun by food rigs, mesh wreaths, yard art, and tons of people looking for a deal.  I have no idea how long this has been a tradition, but I have heard about the Canton Flea Market since I was very young.  Shockingly, I've never been.  I've been to the original Canton Flea Market in Canton, Texas, but I've never made the short drive to Canton, Mississippi, to spend my money in my state.  This year, however, the Flea Market was literally three blocks away so I just couldn't not go.  It felt wrong, y'all.

So I decided to take off Thursday after lunch and met my friend Karen to see what all the fuss was about.  I had a minor hitch with a Grove-related-cooking-injury Wednesday night, after my Kroger bag broke and out came the grape jelly jar for the meatballs, and a sliver of the jar cut the ball of my foot.  It wasn't a major injury but faced with the prospect of walking around town the next day, I wasn't very excited.  I mean, double-bagging is important.  That type incident would NOT have happened at the Piggly Wiggly circa 1995.  We were on top of things back in my day.

A lot of the ladies in my office were surprised that I had never been to the Flea Market.  They'd been many times, and sometimes will even go down at lunchtime to get some food before heading back to the office.  So my first time experience was the subject of much water-cooler-talking.  I'd been told all sorts of things, but one main piece of advice was consistent-- try the Cajun Pistols.  I had no idea what they were, but I knew I couldn't come back to that office without trying one.

First thing Thursday morning, on the way to work, I began to understand the scope of this Canton Flea Market thing-- even before 8 am, people were already leaving, having gotten some good deals, and were heading back to their vehicles.  Since I had to drive straight through downtown to get to my office, I ran into traffic quickly. 

Karen picked me up at my office at lunchtime and we drove about one block, parked and then walked downtown.  We immediately decided that food was our number one priority.  So we found the Cajun Pistol's tent.  It wasn't hard to find since it had the longest line by far.  

We each got three Cajun Pistols, and found a fairly shady spot to sit down.  I was lucky enough to find a park bench to perch as my knees still don't allow floor seating in any graceful manner.  The Cajun Pistol's were AWESOME!  They were little sandwiches on flaky, buttery bread, and the filling was a creamy sauce with crawfish, shrimp and crab meat.  It was delicious.  We both ate two and saved the third for later.  It was a really, really good lunch, and the company was pretty awesome as well.  I have no idea where these Cajun Pistol's are the other 363 days out of the year, if they are available, or if they only come out of hiding for the Canton Flea Market, but you can bet I'll be back come April to get some for lunch. 

Then we set about walking around, checking things out.  It was a bit...overwhelming.  It was a tiny bit hotter than we both expected, and quite crowded.  There were so my tents in so many different areas, it was hard not to miss some of them.  I'm sure we missed a lot of good stuff, but we saw some great stuff anyway.  Lots of kids clothes, jewelry, yard art, door hangers, dip and soup mixes, hairbows for young girls (or women willing to take strange fashion risks), and t-shirts.  I had a great time and saw several people I knew, so it was nice to catch up with them.  

Karen totally photobombed my picture of the tents.  She just HAD to be on the blog!!  Just kidding!   

My absolute favorite booth was the "Dad's Disappearing Dip" tent with the cutest 8-year-old salsa salesman I've ever seen.  I'm a sucker for dip mixes (just add one package cream cheese!), and I love trying out different salsa's at the these type flea market places.  Usually, they are fairly similar mixes, but this tent was a bit different.  It wasn't your usual large-business labels that you see everywhere-- this was a family, and the dad had come up with this fantastic mix.  It can be made two ways- you can add canned tomatoes to make a salsa, or a sour cream to make a creamier dip.  I was so excited, and the 8 year old salesman (Dad's son!) was the cutest thing ever.  I was sold when he said, "and it makes six whole pints" with an arm flourish towards the 6 pints on display.  I'm pretty sure they thought I was the crazy one when I asked to take a picture for my blog.  I guess I really am the crazy one!

All in all, it was a great day.  I got a beautiful silver bracelet, some of "Dad's Disappearing Dip", a cheap pair of sunglasses, and got to hang out with Karen, so it was a winner!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kiss Me, I've been to an Irish Pub...

Remember Nameless? He's still around even though I've moved far away.  He'll actually be taking my place working in the same job I was in for DHS.  He has big shoes to fill-- cute, expensive high heeled shoes that match his outfit.  I certainly hope someone gets a picture of him wearing those shoes.

Since he had to come to Jackson for some work training (training to fill those shoes, I suspect...), we decided we'd hang out and grab some dinner.  I'm pretty sure Nameless doesn't read this blog, so I won't embarrass him by saying how it really made my week.  Listen, I'm adoring living in Jackson.  And I've got some great friends in this area that I'm glad to have the opportunity to spend more time with now.  But I do miss my friends in the Delta, and I've found myself wishing recently that I had more friends who lived closer to me in this area.  Most of the people I know around here live quite a trek away from me in other towns in the Metro area, so its hard to get to visit them on a week night or meet for dinner.  I'm entirely sure I'll be getting to know more people the longer I live here, so this isn't a pity party-- its just a fact-- right now, my weekends are busy (see, previous blog post) and my week nights are pretty boring.  So having something to look forward to during the week + Nameless in town = a great Monday.

So we hit up Fenian's Pub in downtown Jackson.  Nameless was shocked and amazed that I'd never been there, and decided to remedy this tragedy.  And I'm so glad he did-- I loved that place!


 This was the only picture I took.  We sat around, catching up, talking about everything under the sun.  When the karoke started up, Nameless even offered me large sums of money to sing, but only if I'd allow him to youtube my song.  I refused.  Though, I'm pretty sure I would have been better, or at least equal to, the guy who sang the 80s hits all night. We stayed out late, had a great time and the night reminded me of some of my favorite times in Cleveland.  I certainly hope we get to have more of those good times now that I'm in Ridgeland.  Also, I'm totally ready to go back to Fenians, so whoever wants to come visit me, let's go!