Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Desperate Housewife and a mortician walk into Papa Johns...


Yesterday afternoon, Parker and I are outside walking and Evan comes out with a bag of trash.

Evan: Hey Jess!!! Hey Parker!!! How's it going? I'm taking out the trash- come walk with me! (walks to where I am, reaches over, still holding the garbage bag and gives me a hug and a kiss on the hair)

Me: Um, okay. (Walks two steps into the yard with Parker.)

Parker: Finds a shady spot, plops down and watches us.

Evan: What's been going on? I've been kinda busy. I've got family coming in from California today. So, tonight I'll have family stuff to do, I'm sure.

Me: Family Stuff! Sounds fun!

Evan: Not really, I don't like this family very much. Except my cousin. We are close, he's an awesome guy. He's a total Queen (holds out his limp wrist to show me) but no one in my family thinks that, they just think he's effeminate. I know though, I love him. He's a drama queen!

Me: Oh. Good that you guys are so close!

Evan: And I don't get to see him much-- he's a mortician out in California, and he is also an interior designer. So he's a mortician - slash - interior designer. He does all the funeral home stuff and gets the bodies ready and then usually, when he's done going that, he goes into the other room and does all the flowers. He's really good at it.

Me: Oh, wow.

Evan: And he moonlights at an interior design firm and they've decorated Eva Longoria Parker's house-- well, the house of the baseball player she married. His house, but he met her and he loves her. Says she's adorable.

Me: What an interesting job! That's pretty cool.

Evan: Yes, he's so cool. (does limp wrist again and sashays across the yard)

Parker: Hasn't moved her eyes off Evan.

Me: Evan, where do you work?

Evan: I work for John Swartzfager [attorney in town] and I do research when he needs me. He pays pretty well. I only have a few hours to finish before I am done with school, and that job pays me well enough to pay my rent. Oh and sometimes I work at Papa John's. You should come over sometime and have a beer with me. It would be fun! Or come over for dinner. I cook dinner nearly every night. Tonight I'm cooking chicken alfredo. Yes, you should come over anytime for a beer or dinner!!

Me: Oh, okay, um, well, maybe so. I'm going on vacation in a couple days so maybe when I get back!

Evan: Yes, just stop by anytime!!! (reaches over, gives me another hug, sans the garbage bag)

Me: Ok, bye.

Parker: Rolls over onto her bag and looks like a crazy person.

So, that's my Evan interaction for this week. Its getting more and more interesting. And, if you read my Evan story, you'll know I am going on vacation soon-- DISNEYWORLD!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited. I haven't been to Disney since Nicholas was a toddler. He was a little baby and when we were unloading the car, Betsy apparently pulled the door behind her and he was locked in the cabin rental all alone. Dad was fussing at Betsy, mom was worried the toilet seat might be up and they were all trying to get Nicholas to come over to the door and unlock it himself. Betsy was crying and it was hilarious!! I love love love my siblings but I took a secret, sick delight in watching them get in trouble. Especially Betsy, she was bratty (but I love you, Bets!!). So the entire scene was hilarious to me. Made even funnier after we called security and when they finally arrived, my dad realized the key was in his pocket the entire time. Hopefully, there won't be any drama like that this trip! I'm going with several women from the Laurel area-- one I know well, one I don't know very well, and two I've only met in the last few days. Its an adult-only girl trip! Going to be a blast!! I'm leaving Friday and will be back late next Wednesday!

Even better than Disney is where I'll be Tuesday and Wednesday-- HARRY POTTER!!! The New Wizarding World of Harry Potter!! I can play Quittich, drink butter beer and pumpkin juice and wear the sorting hat. I'm staying an extra day and going by myself. When I tell people that, they think I'm crazy for being by myself. But, um, NO-- I LOVE being by myself. I'm pretty sure that after a few days with people around me all the time, I will be ready for some alone time. Plus, its Harry-freaking-Potter. I'd go there with my worst enemy, if necessary (looking at you, P. Chesser).

Anyway, I'm really excited about my trip-- my traveling mates are all seasoned Disney travelers and I'm a newbie so I'm glad they can take care of me!! I'll be taking tons of pictures for the blog!!!! Now off to wash clothes and finish up some working!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall Weekend Mind Cleaning...

So there have been lots of things I've been wanting to post lately, but I've not had much time this past week-- lots of driving. By the way, a really good gift to give me would be a membership to the Audio-Book-Of-The-Month Club. That and a towel heater for my bathroom. But seriously, its beginning to be ridiculous how much time I spend in my vehicle (its not just me, many other small-town solo practitioners do as well, especially those of us who maintain two offices-- don't scoff- there are a LOT of attorneys who have more than one office!!).

So, this weekend, I skipped the Ole Miss-Vandy game and stayed home to clean, rest and relax. I cleaned a lot and, more importantly, I got out my Fall Decorations!! If you know me, you know I LOVE decorating my house for any and all occasions, or if there is no occasion, I like to redecorate whats already there. I like to think that one of my talents is taking what I've got and making it look good in my house. I'm a gal on a budget. Which I usually ignore. Okay, I didn't say one of my talents was staying ON a budget.

Also, about this time every year there is a very important philosophical (it literally took me like 5 times to get that word correctly spelled!) debate that goes on in my mind. Now that I've determined its time to put out the fall decorations, do I put out Fall decorations? Halloween Decorations? Both? It gets really deep inside my head. I mean, its "fall" time, but most "fall" decorations coincide with Thanksgiving-y decorations. And Thanksgiving is AFTER Halloween. But it really seems strange to put up Halloween decorations in the middle of September. And yet, it seems okay to put up harvest-y decorations in the middle of September. Do you know see why I don't sleep at night?

But this year, I silenced the voices in my head (for now) and put up pretty much ALL my decorations. I love to buy decorations at the end of the season and put them away till next season, so then I get a great "Surprise" when I pull stuff out, having forgotten about the new stuff! That is one of my favorite things about decorating, and a trick I used a lot during law school-- Oxford had ridiculously beautiful Christmas decorations which were ridiculously priced as well, but when you came back from Winter Break, most stuff was 75% off!! Fabulous!!

I had a blast decorating yesterday and was pleasantly surprised I was able to get it all cleaned up before I went to bed last night. As you can see, I took down a lot of my regular decorations, pictures, etc., and basically put up all new stuff. I'll do the same at Christmas!!!

I'm also including some pictures and commentary on my trip to NOLA last weekend.

Penny and I at Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel, NOLA.

Parker and I went to New Orleans City Park Sunday afternoon before we left town. She had been such a sweet girl all weekend and we didn't get to play outside very much because of all the rain, so I promised her we'd go play! Penny and her friend Sherrod had gone the day before and I was so glad we went! I cannot wait to go back when its a bit cooler.

I had a snack of my cupcake from Be Sweet.

Parker spent a lot of time waiting for me to drop some of that cupcake on the ground.

We walked on the pretty walking trails. We had fun running and playing but it was very hot.

We took a self-portrait on the bridge in front of the fountain. She didn't like doing this, but I insisted. Especially since she would not let me take a picture of her on this cool looking twisty tree that would have made an adorable Christmas card. She's such a diva.

The cool modern art scupltures and the New Orleans Museum of Art, that I plan on visiting soon! Parker doesn't really like modern art though.

Some of my souvenirs from NOLA. I bought my mom some candy, my aunt some Bloody Mary mix, my friend Lori some Hurricane mix and my cousin a cute picture (which I haven't given to her so I didn't photograph it since she is an avid reader of my blog [though not an avid commenter. Leave some comments, people. I love them!])

A cute magnet. I love magnets. This one is currently holding Nicholas' new "calling cards"! So cute!!

Some crown napkins to use for the Miss America party. They rang up as $25,447.96. I thought that was a bit overpriced. I mean, $20,000.00 was a bit expensive, but there was no freaking way I'd pay $25,000.00 for them. I know the economy's tanking and prices are rising, but they aren't that cute. Luckily, the cashier gave me a discount of approximately $25,444.01.

Now for the Decorations!!!

So we'll know when mom is at home. She is home now, hence the sign.

All decorations from the dining room! Love my purple-- it looks really good with Halloween decorations!

The hallway telephone shelf

Decorations in the living room:

As you can see, I've replaced the other picture with my new Easely Amused picture, "Groovy Grove". I promised Karen a blog post about it, so here it is!! I had the best time and I think my picture turned out pretty good!! More about that later!!

My "Spooky" wreath on the front door. Actually, on the inside of the front door. We don't use the front door ever.

My favorite thing in the entire house is my mantle. I love it!! I think it looks like something in a store or something!! I sometimes have a hard time getting my mantle and my piano top to look good, but I'm pretty pleased with both of these. I even think the terrible wall color doesn't look bad with all these decorations up!!

Parker watching me decorate and take pictures. She didn't even offer to help.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Its finally cold enough to think about turtlenecks...

So, its not really getting much cooler during the day, but at night and first thing in the morning, its fabulous weather! I am loving taking Parker out for her walks now! I'm so excited for Fall-- its the best time of the year! I love everything about it and I'm planning to get out my Fall decorations this weekend. I spend a lot of time running around-- doing LJA projects, church GA's, Museum Guild business, driving back and forth from Laurel to Newton County, trying ton stay in touch with my friends, and, oh yeah, working. But, I LOVE being at my house. I'm really such a homebody. I'd rather sit at my house and mess around "nesting" than anything else. One of the reasons I LOVE this time of year is that its an excuse to put up lots of decorations and get ready to put up even more decorations come Christmas time-- putting up decorations includes cleaning out and cleaning up and making things in general look good. I love it! It makes me feel happy and calm and relaxed. My friend Courtney and I have discussed, on many occasions, how we only like to light candles when our house is clean and neat. It just feels right. So, now, I can get my house to look fabulous AND light me up some fabulous-smelling Fall-scented candles.

Also, got a new blog background!! Fall, natch (I love the word "natch". It was a word often used in the Baby-Sitter's Club books that I read as a child, but I NEVER heard it used at home in real life [obviously, my childhood was a bit lacking, as anyone whose ever met my parents know! Just kidding! I'm a lucky girl to have my parents!!] and so now I love using the word. Do any of my readers use this word often? Cause I know all of you and I've never heard you use it!).

Finally, I added my Parker to my blog!! A super cute picture taken by my friend Felicity at last week's ball game. Parker looks adorable! As cute as I think Parker is, and I think she is seriously adorable (little white face, dark eyes, dark nose, dark mouth, ears framing her face!!), Parker is just not very photogenic. Mostly, she won't be still long enough to snap a shot, but also her eyes glow making her look devilish and the camera just doesn't love her. Tyra Banks would say she has a good runway strut, but the camera does not capture her beauty. So, I was tickled that this picture turned out as well as it did!!! And now you can all countdown to her birthday with me! Although, I don't technically know her exact date-- were only told she was born in April. I got her on the Sunday of MLK weekend in January, 2009. So, I just made her birthday up to be the exact date as mine!!!

Hope everyone is enjoying getting ready for Fall and if you need me to come help decorate, I will!!

You know me, I'm a DC kinda a gal...

So, this morning, I'm working in Decatur and I go to Wards to get my usual breakfast (unless my wonderful Legal Secretary has brought me something!) and I order - grits and a small diet coke (Wards has fantastic grits, well at least the Wards in Decatur does-- not all Wards have the same menus). So, I pull around and the lady at the window hands me by grits and a small SPRITE. So, I politely ask for a Diet Coke instead. She turns around to the other lady and says, "Glenda, its supposed to be a diet coke", and Glenda says back to her, "No, you said Sprite-- I knew it was supposed to be a Diet Coke because that's what she always gets- Diet Coke and grits-- but you said Sprite." The other girl then apologizes and says Glenda is right. I get my Diet Coke and all is right with the world. But, I LOVE the fact that these two ladies who I don't personally know outside of Wards know exactly what my order is when I come to Wards (which, for those of your haters, isn't that often-- I'm only in Decatur a couple days a week and I only get grits maybe once every two weeks or so!). Its this part of being in a small town that I adore. Also, I bet you anything they know my lunch order - Medium Diet Coke and a Taco Salad! Yeah, I order the same thing everytime at any restaurant!

In other news, I went to Easely Amused in Flowood last night with Karen Loden and Karin Bowen (my girls from college) and a couple other friends-- Priscilla, Taylor and Brandy. We had a great time! We painted the "Groovin' Grove" and it looks so good! Mine's not perfect but I still really like it and enjoy doing that sort of thing!!! I took some pictures but don't have my camera cord right now, so, unfortunately, you readers will have to wait to be amazed.

Must get back to my grits and reading my morning blog--!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Evan for President...

So, I've gotten some, um, interesting feedback on my neighbor Evan, and most everyone seems to agree that Evan is pretty high. All the time. My neighbors seem to agree-- Mrs. Faye, who lives a couple houses down (and is the mom of Bentley, who is a Pomeranian dog who we like to call Parker's boyfriend!) said she's had contact with Evan as well, and in her words, he probably "has a problem with drugs". Apparently, he has hit his next door neighbors vehicle TWICE in the last couple months. The first time he paid for the damage but the second time he never admitted it was him. They think he's a nut. They are probably right.

This afternoon, Parker and I are walking and we turn out of our driveway onto the street and we see Evan. Parking his vehicle on the street. It takes him a while but luckily no one was near enough for him to hit. Parker and I attempt to walk vvvveeeerrrryyyyyy slowly so we can avoid him, but he waits in the car until we get out.

"Hi, Jess!"

"Hi, Evan. How's it going?"

"Well I just stopped a car burglary at Burger King while I was getting my food!" (shows BK bag)

"Wow. That's, um, interesting. What happened?"

"Well, I pulled up and noticed this black guy. With a black shirt on, and he had a jimmy and he was trying to jimmy open the lock in this Purple Honda CRV. So, I went in to order my cheeseburgers (holds up bag as proof) and I tell the person taking my order. It was his vehicle! So, the burglar runs away, but then he comes back and they call the police and they caught him!"

"Wow. Its a good thing you happened to drive up! Sorta scary, isn't it?"

"Yes! But now I'm going to eat my cheeseburgers! See ya later, Jess."

"Bye, Evan. Enjoy your cheeseburgers."

I'm not making this up. I think we all know Laurel is a bit safer with Evan out there. I know I feel safer. And I'll feel even better when he gets his law degree from State and starts putting those Burger King criminals behind bars.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Soon, I will be off...

Heading to New Orleans!! I am so excited! I LOVE New Orleans! I know, most people think its dirty and don't really like it. Well, most big cities are dirty, so that's not a big deal to me. I used to think the same way, though- I didn't really care for the Big Easy. In fact, it wasn't until a couple summers ago when my dear friend, and avid blog reader, Penny, moved down there that I really began to like the City! We have had lots of fun times down there and I only wish I could go more often!

This weekend is the Ole Miss-Tulane game at the SuperDome. Its been forever since I've been to the SuperDome (last time my dad and Nick went, Dad caught the football after an extra point-- he was on the video screen. He and Nick are ALWAYS on the tv-- football, baseball, basketball. They are totally celebrities) and Penny scored us some free tickets (Thanks Penny!!). Parker and I will be heading out soon. In fact, her pink polka dot bed is sitting by the door in the dining room ready to be put in the car. And she's laying in the bed! So sweet!!

I'm looking forward to seeing Katherine, David, Gregg, Christy and hopefully lots of others as well! My dad and Nicholas and some of his friends are going as will be Mr. Phil!

Here are some of my favorite things in NOLA:


These are literally the best cupcakes I've ever eaten. If you know me (and I'm sure there aren't any people reading this blog who don't know me), you know that I really like my breads, my potatoes, my carbs. I'll cut someone for a good piece of garlic bread. But, sweets, believe it or not, I could mostly do without. Oh, I'll eat them, and there are occasions where I crave sweets, but I'd be okay without them. But I ADORE these cupcakes. They are so yummy! I cannot believe how good they are. Penny told me about this place and we went and I fell in love. I go everytime I am in town! Penny is even wonderful enough to occasionally surprise me with some when she comes this way! I like the plain chocolate or vanilla variations, but there are all sorts of fun kinds-- the Roger Rabbit, a carrot cake cupcakes, I Love Lucy, made of red velvet,etc. Lots of fun! I plan to go there tomorrow to get some and I promised Nick I would get him and his friend one as well! I cannot recommend these highly enough (although when I was nice enough to buy a bunch for my family, they were idiots and waited forever to eat them and the cupcakes were stale. I won't make that mistake again!)

St. Paddy's Day Parade

I don't love Mardi Gras- its too busy, too crowded, too much trouble. But, last year, my friends Courtney and Penny and I happened upon the St. Paddy's Day Parade on Magazine Street (while eating at Juan's Flying Burrito, which is excellent!). I am unable to find any pictures since I am in a hurry-- but its like a mini, more family-friendly Mardi Gras! It was so fun and they throw the traditional beads and footballs and bracelets and stuff, but they also throw cabbage, carrots, crackers, garlic, onions and all sorts of other actual food items! And yes, that's a bit dangerous. I actually had bruises on my arms and was luckily able to grab a large cabbage coming right at someone's head! That day we met several local people who don't go to Mardi Gras, but made a point to come to these parades to literally "grocery shop"! They had bags ready and everything. We found out later that these items are ingredients in a traditional Irish stew that's made on St. Paddy's Day! I cannot wait to go back next year!!


This is a fabulous restaurant that Penny and I randomly walked into. Unfortunately, I've totally forgotten what I ate, but I do remember thinking it was the best thing I've ever eaten! I often feel torn in New Orleans-- should I eat somewhere I know is great that I've already been or should I try something else? There are so many good places to eat but what if they aren't as good as somewhere I've eaten before? This same reasoning is why I almost ALWAYS get the same thing at a restaurant-- I know I like it, and I'm afraid if I try something new, I won't like it as much or at all.

Okay, there are so many more wonderful places I love in New Orleans, but that's another blog post for another time. Right now, I've got to hit the road!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Big Announcements are overrated....

I got this off Facebook-- the FB link said it is a speech given by Bill Gates, however, it also said it might have been given by someone else. Who cares who says it, its totally true! Love love love this!!!

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2: The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Additionally, some people (ahem, Mom, Ju, Penny) have implied that my "Big Announcement" with Katherine was, sort of lame. In fact, some people didn't even realize that the "announcement" was the Book List. So, if you didn't get that, now you do. And also you should be embarrassed of yourself in this day of celebrity and outrageous stunts-- the media has conditioned you to to think everything is a spectacle. And when Katherine and I are trying to better ourselves, immerse ourselves in the classic books that made this Country great, you are all upset because we didn't announce we were quitting our jobs and joining the circus or adopting a Malawian baby together. Shame you you! Ha ha! Just kidding! Sorry if our "announcement" let you down. I mean, did you really expect something that interesting??!! Its my blog-- your expectations are too high.

In other Book List news, I've started Love in the Time of Cholera. Its, um, interesting. I'm on page 7.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Laboring on Labor Day...

Today I've been finishing up my porch project. I've actually been working on the porch for more than a week now-- I started last Friday, and painted one coat of paint, and then, it rained the rest of the weekend. I waited and waited to put on the second coat and then yesterday I put on two coats of the sealant stuff, which didn't take long at all. I'm a bit disheartened because the light blue paint shows a lot of footprints-- my flipflop prints show up especially bad, and while you can wipe the prints off, I'm not planning to sweep/mop everytime I walk outside. I knew it wouldn't always look pretty and new, but I did hope it would look good, you know, at least until I finished and put all the furniture back on the porch.

I also did some "gardening". I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I'm not much for gardening. I did plant a few flowers in the flowerbed last year as a surprise for my mom-- on my hand and knees, planting. It was NO FUN. I mean, why the heck do people think gardening is a fun hobby? I have no idea. But, I did plant some ivy into a pot-- it was my type of "gardening"-- sitting in a chair outside, with the plant in front of me. But my hands did get super dirty:

Aren't you all impressed? Now I'll have dirty fingernails and probably some blisters on my hands and people will know I'm not a lady who lunches but that I work hard for a living!!! Just like Scarlett.

I'll post pictures of my new porch, ivy included, when I am totally finished. I'm waiting on a couple things to dry off before I put them back out. But see how dirty I got? I'm even wet from using the hose to clean off some furniture:

I also painted a cute little table with red spray paint-- it looks cute, but I got into some ants on my right leg. I didn't take any pictures because I was too busy hopping around the yard trying to stop itching. I'm sure it was hilarious to everyone else.

Between all my hard work today, I've had a bit of a chance to read The Blind Assassin.

But Jessica, what about your book list? Love in the Time of Cholera?, you are probably wondering. Relax, dear readers, I'm still doing that. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, was another book I bought several years ago with high hopes of reading. And after seeing in on all sorts of book lists while researching my book list, I decided to put it on there. Then I picked it up last week, while our list was still pending, deciding to get a jump on it, and realized, its a REALLY strange book. And being the good friend I am, I decided to remove it from the list so that Katie wouldn't have to be subjected to this weird sci-fi story within a story within a story within a memoir thing that the book has going on. Its gotten better but its still really strange. I'll start Love as soon as I finish this one.

To end my Labor Day post, here are some pictures my mom took in the Grove Saturday!!

Betsy and Peter-- isn't my sister so pretty?

Nicholas and his friend, Kellie-- I LOVE Kellie. Can I trade her for Nicholas?

Parker in her cheerleader outfit!! Beautiful!!

In her Ole Miss bed. This bed usually stays with Dad in Newton but we brought it so she'd have a place to rest. She preferred the ground most of the day.

She's a tired girl-- its a hard job being so cute all the time, you know.

Me and Parker!!

Parker and her new friend Sophie who is also a cheerleader. Although I am way to Southern to be mean about it, I do believe the red looks better on Parker than the navy looks on Sophie. However, Sophie's mom did tell us that they also have a PINK cheerleader outfit and Parker seemed really excited about that. Perhaps Santa will bring her that!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I' ve had...

A wonderful weekend so far! Ole Miss lost, but who cares (I mean besides the approximately 25 State fans who were very concerned with it yesterday on FB-- I mean they are more worried about our game than their own. I'm glad my life isn't so sad that I spend all my time worrying and being jealous of someone else!)-- honestly, the game hardly registered on my radar yesterday. I was way too busy enjoying the sights and sounds of the Grove-- it was good to be back. And it was even better to see everyone-- I didn't have time to mull over the game because I was enjoying seeing my sister, my family, my friends from all over the place. It was like a big reunion. I love it! I don't care what team you root for, or where you might tailgate, there is NOTHING even close to tailgating at the Grove. Its like comparing Grace Kelly to Kim Kardashian. Its spectacular. I'm super blessed to get to be a Rebel fan! The weather was absurdly gorgeous-- I'm not sure I can think of a prettier football day, ever! I really enjoyed getting to see all my friends-- I saw Karen and Jeremy, Karin and Paul, and their cute kiddos, Conner and Patrick at the game (I left after halftime, thinking it was going to be a blowout! Serves me right!) and got to see Betsy and Peter for a while at the game. I also got to spend lots of time with my other friends-- Katherine, Courtney, David, Lauren, Gregg, Nathan, Christy, and some other new friends! Unexpectedly, I also got to see some other old friends, which was wonderful. Most importantly, Parker and her Ole Miss Cheerleader outfit were a hit! I don't really have any pictures because I failed to take my camera anywhere but there is always next game!!!

This morning, Parker and I went outside for a long walk and we eventually just sat on the little stairs across from the Park, which is across from my house. She likes to sit there and watch the traffic at the red light-- she likes the soft noise of the cars going by and likes to smell the air. She could sit there all day if I'd let her. This morning we sat there for a long time and I spent some time in prayer and enjoyed the beautiful weather we've had this whole weekend.

Now, for an exciting announcement:

Katherine, at my sister blog, and I have decided that we need a challenge-- in an effort to get our lives together and continue becoming the people we want to be, we've decided to make a list of 100 books that we are going to read over the forseeable future. I LOVE to read, but I go through many periods where I don't read at all and I'm also prone to getting so caught up in a book that I cannot put it down-- I will ignore housework, actual work and anything else to read it (See previous post on The Hunger Games). But there are shockingly a TON of really great, important, influential books that I've never read! In fact, when I was in college, my friend Rebekah game me a list of 100 Books to Read Before College. I still have that list and occasionally come across it-- its still a goal to read all of them, though I am WAY past college! Its actually quite sad at how few of those books I'd read before college and how few I've read since then. I graduated from a small high school and we didn't do a whole lot of literature, but I was still shocked at how few I'd read, and even worse, some of those books I'd never even heard heard of the title at the time! Even sadder, I knew that I had read a LOT growing up (my parents punished me by taking away books!) so I knew if I hadn't read those books, then chances are that my classmates at NCA hadn't either.

Anyway, our list of 100 books doesn't have a rhyme or reason. I think we both researched a lot of book lists-- 1001 Books to Read, 100 Most Influential Books, 100 Travel Books, 100 Books I'm Ashamed to Admit I Hated, etc. But we decided to just come up with a list of our own instead of using someone else's list. Actually, this whole thing is Katherine's idea and she came up with the first 50 books on our list, and then she mentioned it to me, and I'm always up for a good idea, so I joined in. She graciously let me pick the second 50 books to make 100, and let me tell you-- it wasn't easy. She had picked a lot of good ones so some of my original list was redundant. But then it became harder and harder to find books I wanted to read. Most of Katherine's books are the good, classic books that everyone should read. Some of which one or both of us has already read. She is very classy and well-mannered and smart and her list reflects that. Mine reflects me-- a totally random mix, some old, some new, some recent classics, some books that were made into really good movies. I'm a bit all over the place and so is my list. But, just like in real life, together, Katherine and I complement each other nicely.

I'll post the list some other time, and I'd like to hear from all my readers what their opinions are. To be honest, some of these books (both mine and Katherine's picks) are going to be hard to get into. She is going to pick a book of my list and then I pick a book of her list. We will both blog about them when we finish! Isn't this exciting! I'd love for all my blog fans to join us! Her first pick (one of my books) is Love in the Time of Cholera. I'm not exactly sure how to pronounce Cholera, but since this is a blog and not stand-up comedy, I should be fine. Patrick, from our tent yesterday, talked to me a bit about it. He said its a favorite of his, that its "Very grounded". I don't think I'm nearly intellectual enough to talk about this book with him. I'm low-brow.

Okay, off to clean up the house, unpack the Grove supplies and watch NCIS. We start reading tomorrow!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Calling all TV watchers...

We got picked to be a Nielsen family for a week! Last week we got a card in the mail warning us of a big white envelope we should be on the lookout for-- and it arrived yesterday. I'm excited-- we did this many summers ago, when I was in Newton, right after college, down with knee surgery so I was watching lots of tv. And I included shows I didn't actually watch but knew they were in danger of being canceled so I put them on there as well. I'm sure the Nielsen people were intrigued by our mix of ESPN, westerns, Star Trek and Law and Order. Just as I'm sure this year they will be similarly confused.

Above is a picture of what we received. Its very unassuming but take note of the two crisp dollar bills we got for our trouble. Mom and I plan to blow that money on a steak dinner! Those Nielsen people know how to tip!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sometimes you want to go...

Where everybody knows your name. I'm a big fan of Cheers. Never really got into Frasier, but loved Cheers. I love the idea of a ragtag bunch of random losers spending all their time together and becoming a family. Its sorta like my life.

I don't have a place of my own in Laurel, but my place in Newton is, as you might have guessed, Cooks BBQ. Its actually a pretty good BBQ place and its made even better by the lack of other good places to eat in Newton. Its right beside the Piggly Wiggly (my former employer) so its easy to find!! My dad, Dave, goes there ALL THE TIME. I mean all the time. Recently, he's been a bit under the weather, so he's not been able to go and I swear their sales have gone down 35%. Its his favorite place. He goes to Hardees in the morning with all the old-timers and then hits up Cooks either for lunch or, on Lions Club or Rotary Club days, for a mid-afternoon DC. Obviously I go there a lot as well, mostly with him (he pays!) and occasionally with friends or Carol from the office. They have really yummy BBQ, great homeade chicken nuggets, fabulous banana pudding, and even boiled shrimp on the weekends. I am lobbying the owner to get a sausage and cheese plate, hopefully named after me.

Its kinda sad how often we go there-- there are a couple other people who go out there a lot-- Curtis Blackburn and the "ladies" from the horse farm (where Patrick Swayze used to frequent). But dad beats them all! We know all the people and they are always super good to us-- free banana pudding or something. They are super great people and I am glad their business is doing well. When both Mamaw and Pop died, they not only sent food to us, but they even sent flowers! Cooks is decorated with all sorts of sports stuff and we have been known to head out there for lunch on a Saturday so we can watch a game on one of the tvs (although, Newton is about to get a SPORTS BAR!! Isn't that funny! So, now we can enjoy a cold DC while watching the game at the sports bar. It was supposed to be open last football season, but we've been assured it will open before Thanksgiving!)

Here are some pictures of Cooks for those of you unlucky enough not to live within driving distance. And if you ever do some through town, go to Cooks! Tell them I sent you! Or not!

This is our booth. Its the Ole Miss booth. Heaven forbid we have to sit in the State booth, or worse, the Bama booth. Ronnie, the owner, is a big Bama fan, so we have to put up with lots of Bama bragging from all the employees. He's got them all drinking the Bama koolaid. We just ignore them and thank God we know better. One time, we ate there on a Saturday, and a couple hours later, after we were home, Dad went outside to take Parker out, and he found a Bama vanity plate on the front of his car! Apparently, while we were eating their yummy food, they were pulling a prank! Dad retaliated a few weeks later by calling one of the younger girls who works there and pretended to be the health department!

Our booth is usually open and if its not, Dad "threatens" to kick the people out, but I've not actually seen him do that yet. If its taken (by out-of-towners who don't know who were are, I am sure), we sit in the NCA Generals booth. There is even a picture of Dad, my Pop and Houston Nutt-- taken the April before Pop died-- my uncle arranged a tour of the field house, IPF, and stadium complete with a meeting with Coach Nutt for my Pop. He hadn't been up there in a long time and he had a great time seeing how much things had changed!

Also, a very recent addition (this evening) is the signed football from Coach Nutt to Pop. We "donated" it.

These are some of the other booths:

So if you come to Newton, I will take you out to Cooks. I'm trying to convince Dad to open a charge account there so maybe I can pay for your food as well!!!

Ready for the Grove...

I am so ready for the Grove this year! Some years I am not quite as excited about football season-- oh, I'm ALWAYS excited about football season, but in previous years, specifically the season or two after I graduated law school, it was harder to go to Oxford. Its such a great place and I have so many wonderful memories, both from college and law school, that it was, frankly, a harsh reminder, at that time, of where my life had been and where it was then. It made me take a hard look at my life, my happiness, and my decisions and I didn't always like what I saw. Now, this year might not be much different-- I'm still not where I thought I'd be, or where, in a perfect world, I would like to be, but I'm thankful for the many, many blessings I have, and the place God has put me. It enables me to enjoy Oxford for the times I've spent there and to make new memories to add to my life. I'm sure, in time, I'll be thinking of how nice and simple my life was, back in 2010, when I could go to the Grove and visit my friends and see my family, before everyone started having kids and stopped going to games, and we quit tailgating, etc. So, someday, these days will be my memories and I will wish I was back here, sitting with Katherine, David, Courtney, Greg and Robie, enjoying the Grove.

Bittersweet memories aside, I am super excited about Saturday! I don't give a rip about Ole Miss's Masoli (truth be told, I think we should be above semi-shady matters such as this, and I would like to think we are ALWAYS about Mississippi State-- I've laughed for years at some of the players they've had arrested-- something like 9 former players are serving federal time even as we speak. I prefer to think of Ole Miss as above that-- when you are given much, much is expected, so I would have rather this entire stink be erased and, in the future, try to have players who are respectable and wonderful both on and off the field.) but I'm ready for some football.

Things I am looking forward to--

1. The debut of my new ice cooler-- isn't it wonderful? I am so excited about it-- I've been planning it for months now, but it took a really long time to find a suitable large cooler and then get it painted. (Alert readers will notice the light blue floor-- my new porch paint color. More pictures of the newly remodeled porch coming up... as soon as I finish. Its rained a lot lately!!)

2. Finger foods-- appetizers/finger foods/party foods are my favorite foods in the world. I love any type of dip (even with sour cream!) and sausage balls, little sandwiches, mini-versions of anything, and pigs in a blanket. I don't know if its the fact that I practically grew up eating Grove food, or if one of the reason I love the Grove is because of the finger foods. Regardless, the menu for this week consists of pigs in a blanket, sausage balls, Captain Rodney's dip, veggie dip, Chinese slaw and some other stuff.

3. Seeing everyone back in the Grove-- not only will I see my friends from law school, and probably some of my friends from college, but you see all sorts of people in the Grove-- people from Newton, people from Laurel, acquaintances from college and law school, old friends, Grove neighbors, etc. Its so much fun! Everyone is in good spirits (probably most because of the spirits!) and its colorful and fun and exciting!

4. Parker will be there! She has an adorable Ole Miss cheerleader outfit that I bought for her. It cost more than most of my clothes, but it looks so cute! I think she's really excited.

5. Getting chills from hearing the band play and the student section start screaming the "Hotty Toddy"! In previous years, I've had to beg, borrow or steal a ticket as I didn't have season tickets. While my sweet dad would always buy me a ticket if I wanted one, I always felt bad to make him pay a lot of money to get me a ticket on gameday. But this year, I've got a season ticket of my own!!!

Hotty Toddy!!