Thursday, April 28, 2011

#110 Game! Bunko!

Tonight was my second Bunko Night here in Cleveland. Still makes me miss my bunko crew back in Newton County! But I'm enjoying it. Its a really big group, and there were several new people from last time. Next month I'm hosting, and I'm already thinking about what needs to be done to the house, and what food I'll be serving and where I'm going to put Parker!

I won a prize tonight-- for the least amount of games won. So, yes, its a prize for being the biggest loser. But, its still a prize, so I'm not complaining! Here is what I won:

The bracelets. The hand I already had.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

# 109 We are the Champions, my friends...

So last week, I went to trivia at Vince's in Leland, and my group (the Rocket Scientists) came in a respectable third. This week, I went to Hey Joe's, which is the regular trivia place that the group goes to each week. Several of the people from last week weren't there, but there were a lot of new people. We had a great time, and I really love Hey Joe's (as previously noted in this blog!).

Some of the questions were:

How many US President's have their been?


Who was the last VP to become President?

George H.W. Bush

Who was the first President to live in the White House?

John Adams

The Presidential category was really fun-- one of the guys I met tonight, Paul, had seen that was the category and had looked up some Presidential trivia right before we started, so he was able to answer a couple questions for us!

Unfortunately, there weren't any of the following Presidential trivia questions:

Who was a Presidential Personnel Intern in 2001?


Who got stuck in a revolving door at an "undisclosed location" during 2001?


Who has Presidential M & M's, lifesavers, napkins and ketchup?


Which intern hung up on a former Miss America?


Who got to interview Michael Reagan?


I would have been really good at some of those questions.

There was also a category about music- I'm terrible at this category, I don't know any music. However, I was proud of my table for NOT getting the question about the Jonas Brothers. I think that makes us much cooler.

Numbers in sports--

How many minutes is a penalty in hockey?


How many feet is between 1st and 2nd in a softball field?


Which two baseball players have different gloves?

First base and Catcher

The final category was TV show themes-- including Home Improvement, Miami Vice, Community, and Cheers. That was a fun category.

And the winner was... US!!! We won first place! Of course, I'm pretty sure we were the biggest group in the place, but still! We won!! We won a $30 gift card-- to be used next week, I think!

# 108 Meet the enemy...

Readers, its my pride and joy to make you laugh, make you cry, make you not be so bored at work, when you check out my blog each day. I think of funny things to blog about all the time and it makes me happy when I receive comments either in person or via the blog!

As all good and up-to-date readers know, I've lost my camera. About a month ago. Still cannot find it. I bought another camera, which isn't nearly as nice, over the weekend. But I left the camera cord at home in my hurry to get back to my calm home before my sanity was gone! So I asked my usually sweet momma to mail it to me. Well readers, as of earlier today, it still wasn't mailed. So, if you want a blog filled with pictures of the exciting happenings of Park and Jess, then you need to focus your attention on this lady:

Don't let her sweet smile and gentle grace fool you. She's dangerous. She will accuse you of stealing her stuff. She will think you are lying when you say you are sick. She will spend 10 minutes trying to ask you to "go into the, uh, uh, the uh, room, and look right beside, uh, the uh, thing, right beside the uh, uh, the um table, and bring me, the uh, bring it to me in here, bring me the uh, uh, um, the thing." She will make daring trips to Wal-Mart at midnight to "beat the crowd". She does all these things and more. And now, she refuses to send me my camera cord, so that I can please you, my beloved readers. Stand up for your rights, and tell her how you feel.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

# 107 Parker's in the doghouse...

Prettiest girl. Sweetest girl. Smartest girl. Best girl. Funniest girl. All names I call my Parker on a regular basis. Now, I have a new one to add to that. Brattiest girl.

Parker is officially on my bad list. That's a phrase Nicholas likes to utter, and today, its totally true. Sunday was Parker's birthday. She turned 4. She has an wishlist and is still waiting on you people to buy her gifts. I told her not to get her hopes up, since I've received NO gifts for my birthday/moving away/housewarming/new job/100th blog/5000th view/any other holiday I've repeatedly dropped hints about.

Anyway, I love Parker. Adore her. Don't know what I'd do without her. Except today, I do know what I'd do without her. Without Parker today, I would have been in my nice warm house, watching Stargate Atlantis reruns instead of chasing a psycho dog three blocks from my house in my pajamas and flip flops while my stoner neighbor asks me "That a shih tzu dog?" over and over till I answer. Yes, dude, its a shih tzu. Don't you see I'm panicking here and don't have time to answer you? Couldn't you help me?

Without Parker, I wouldn't have had to run through three different backyards of houses, only to run back into their front yards on the other side of the house. If it weren't for Parker, I wouldn't have actually run up onto the porch of a house where the door was open, and a man was sitting in a chair right in my line of sight, who then promptly stood up and shut the door as I was running back off the porch in pursuit of my crazy dog.

Without Parker, I would not have crossed two very busy streets, and stepped in three large mud puddles. If not for Parker, I wouldn't have been running through people's driveways screaming "Parker" and "No" and "Stop" with varying degrees of calmness (in the beginning so as not to spook her), angry (after calmness didn't work) and panic (when she crossed the road about 10 feet from a car). Without Parker, I wouldn't have had the fun of picking up a dog in mid-"job" in the middle of someone's yard, since I was so afraid she would run off again after she finished!

Without Parker, I wouldn't have had to walk the three blocks back to my house, my feet muddy, my hair a mess, tears streaming down my face as I alternately screamed at her and cried into her stomach with relief. I just don't know what I'd do without Parker.

Here are some of the many pictures I've taken of her. Caution: I don't have kids to take obnoxious amounts of pictures of, so this is my alternative. If you don't want to keep reading, that's ok-- I'll never know!!

On the way home from Gatlingburg-- she was tired-- this is how she likes to be- snuggled up in a tight space. Even as I type this, she is right between my leg and a couch pillow and every time she blinks or moves her eyes, her eye lashes tickle my toes. Also, in the picture note my super trendy black glitter fingernails. I'm so goth.

Sweet girl lounging in the bed:

Taken yesterday:

Her favorite place at the new house-- usually I cannot keep the door open, however, cause she barks like a maniac at anything outside. Its annoying!

One of Parker's favorite places at the Laurel house- the bathtub. She gets in there a lot. I don't really know why. I guess she sees everyone else getting in there occasionally and wants to see what the fuss is about.

Parker after an apparently rough night:

Nick and the sweetest girl in Gatlinburg:

The most awesome picture of Parker. Ever. Taken by Betsy in Gatlinburg:

Betsy and Parker over the Easter weekend. Parker was really interested in the goings on around the house. She was also very glad to see Betsy.

Parker relaxing during an Ole Miss football game. Being so cute wears one out.

Monday, April 25, 2011

# 106 I was able to witness amazingness...

I mentioned my trip home this weekend for Easter and what a great time we all had. Unfortunately, as previously noted, I cannot post pictures of my weekend, or of my fantastic Lemon Icebox Cake I made. Hopefully soon.

However, lucky readers, you can experience something amazing that happened this weekend, just like I did.

Yesterday we had Easter dinner at our Laurel house, and we had a big group-- Mom, Dad, Nick, Parker, Betsy and Peter, me, Aunt Ju, Em and our friend Bridget. After lunch, Betsy and I went through several large bags of makeup that my Aunt Ju was getting rid of. Its kinda ridiculous how much makeup she has. After we finished plundering, Betsy and Peter were getting ready to head back to Franklin, TN, and my mom and dad were outside with them, helping to load the car.

The rest of us were still inside, talking, chuckling, laughing. And watching the Vandy-LSU baseball game on the new TV we bought my mom for Mother's Day. Its one of those things where the game was in the background, and we were all talking and stuff, but sorta watching as well. And then, almost simultaneously, we all realized that on television, something amazing is happening-- live on television-- and we've all just witnessed it. And we all burst out laughing and screaming and then rewind it to make sure we've seen it correctly. We continue to laugh till we can barely breathe, and then make the others come inside to see this. It was amazing. Unfortunately, we were unable to make a video of it ourselves, but some enterprising young person was obviously quicker than us. So here it is, in full glory. Keep an eye on the guy on the right...

# 105 We survived...

I survived my first trip back to Laurel since I've officially moved and I also survived Easter with the family! Parker and I are safely back in Cleveland and we are enjoying my day off (Confederate Memorial Day!). It was a really great weekend-- Betsy's boyfriend, Peter, came home to visit and we all had a pretty good time, I do believe!

The good news? I bought another camera since it seems that I will never find my old camera again. Its not nearly as nice or as cute as my old camera, but it will do for now. I got really tired of not being able to take pictures of stuff for my blog!

The bad news? I left the camera cord at home. So still no pictures for a few days till Mom can mail it to me!

Now, Parker and I have had a busy day of reading our favorite gossip blogs (me), napping (both), snoring (Parker), cleaning (me), reading (me), going to the bathroom in other people's yards (both), and making some work-related phone calls (me). So we are going to take a break-- we are snuggled up on the couch and are about to watch Harry Potter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

# 104 The butler did it...

A new week, a new mystery.

This morning, I woke up, tried slowly to get up out of bed without disturbing the sweet puppy dog laying on top of my arm and neck, and walked into the kitchen. I look out the window and I see something strange. I head outside to investigate:

Someone has taken the "For Sale" sign from the house next door and placed it in my yard. Right behind my car. This happened sometime between 10:00 p.m. and 6:15 a.m. I don't really know what to think. Is this some type of message to me and Parker-- like, we better move out of the neighborhood?! I mean, even if the sign blew over into someone else's yard (doubtful since it wasn't rainy last night), and they tried to place it back in its original place, they wouldn't put it behind my car where it obviously does NOT belong.

Or is it my secret admirer changing tactics? He obviously reads my blog and realized I was on to him with the whole mail thing, so he is trying to get my attention some other way!

Any other ideas, dear readers?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

# 103 Its a lunch date!

I love lunchtime! Its my favorite part of the work day cause you don't have to work! When I was working in Laurel on my own, I'd go to lunch a lot of the time with my Aunt Ju or avid reader Emilee, and I really enjoyed it. We'd usually have conversations such as this via the phone or text messages:

ME: Ok, where are we going to lunch?

Ju: I don't care. Ask Em.

ME: No, you just give me some ideas and then she can choose one.

Ju: No, I really don't care. It doesn't matter to me.

ME: Fine. (Hangs up)

ME: Em, I just talked to your mom and we are going to eat lunch. Where do you want to go?

Em: I don't care. Ask mom.

ME: No, she said to ask you.

Em: Well, I don't really care. What do you want?

ME: I don't know-- how about sushi?

Em: Yeah, sounds good.

ME: Ok. Let me call Ju. (Hangs up)

ME: Ok, I talked to Em. She wants sushi.

Ju: Oooohh, no. Not sushi. I don't want sushi.

ME: Are you kidding? Fine. What do you want?

Ju: I don't care. Anything but sushi.

ME: Fine. What about Mexican?

Ju: Ok. Tell Em. (hangs up)

ME: Ok, Em, your loser mom doesn't want sushi, so she said Mexican. That good?

Em: No. I have on a nice outfit and I don't want my clothes to smell like Mexican tonight.

ME: Fine. Ok, give me three choices.

Em: Smokehouse, Sweet Peppers or Lafleurs.

ME: Ok. Let me call you back. (hangs up)

ME: Ok, Em suggests BBQ, Peppers or LaFleurs.

Ju: Um, what about LaFleurs?

ME: Ok!

Ju: No, Peppers.

ME: Ok (exasperated). Fine. Peppers. I thought you "didn't care".

Ju: I don't.

ME: Fine. What time?

Ju: I don't care. Call Em.

ME: Ugh. (hangs up)

Yes, folks, this is a very typical conversation that happened three or four times a week, not just at lunch, and sometimes it got even more fun when mom decided to go with us.

Anyway, now that I have a "real job", I won't be having as much fun going to lunch. Which is fine since I don't have anyone to go with! Since I started working, I've gotten to eat with Ann Marie, my friend who is training me. We've eaten at the Crown and PeaSoups in Indianola, and the Dutch Oven in Clarksdale (twice!). We've been eating good! Tomorrow we are going to NOLA in Indianola! I've heard good things so I'm excited. And its nice to have someone to enjoy lunch with!

Last week, I mentioned having lunch with some co-workers at the office (isn't that such a fun sentence!). What I didn't mention was my shame at the wimpy Wal-Mart bag I had to bring my lunch in. Most people had sharp looking Tupperware containers, and Ann Marie had a super cute Vera Bradley lunchbag. Luckily, everyone was nice enough to not laugh AT my face when they saw what I was bringing my lunch in. I did hear a couple snickers when I walked by the microwave, though.

I've tried to overcome these feelings of falling short in the lunchbox area of my life. I've ignored the little voice in my head that says "No one will ever want to sit by you if you keep bringing your lunch in a plastic bag" or "The only people who bring their lunch in Wal-Mart bags are losers who live in a van by the river". But I couldn't ignore it for long. I finally caved.

Over the weekend, I went and bought a lunch bag. Its so very cute!! Here is a picture. Still don't have my camera so its not a great picture, but its super super cute in person!

Today I brought my lunch in my new lunch bag and I felt much better about myself. It brought a smile to my face every time I looked at it! I don't always love Vera Bradley patterns-- and I don't like to have the same pattern or purse that everyone else has. But, this is super cute to bring to work, and I LOVE this pattern! It reminds me of the Pennsylvania Dutch signs that I saw when I would go visit my Aunt Jane (and avid reader!) in Lancaster, PA. That's why I bought it!

I always had such a good time visiting her and exploring that area- its SO beautiful. My Aunt Jane is a really good tour guide and she will pack all sorts of stuff in the time I would visit! We saw several of these type of signs on old barns, and I think they are really, really lovely. I like the colors and the idea behind the signs (to ward off evil spirits- if only I'd had a few more of those in my life!). I just really like them. Here are some really pretty and bright ones I found on-line:

# 102 Mission Accomplished...

Readers-- we did it! You did it! We hit 5000 already! Thats three days earlier than my original goal of Easter. You should be so proud of yourselves! I'm so proud of you! If you were here with me now, I'd give you a hug and a kiss and take you out for lunch! Thank goodness you aren't here though-- I'm financially embarassed!

Despite my empty pocketbook, I am super proud to have written a blog that people cared enough about to read 5000 times. I mean, I realize that its not been read by 5000 different people or whatever, and I've been blogging for a while, so dividing it out isn't really that many, but still- I'm excited! I'm even more excited because today alone we've had 60 views! Thats the most ever, I believe! I guess my sitting here viewing the page over and over again for the last 4 hours has really paid off! Just kidding!!

I hope that all my dear readers have a great day. Except my loser readers who haven't read the blog yet today. I hope their day is only okay until they click over here! Love you all!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

# 101 I'll take Trivia for 800, Alex.

Tonight I headed on down the road to Leland, Ms, to a restaurant named Vince's for some good, old-fashioned trivia with a bunch of people I'd never met. It was lots of fun!

Earlier this week, I'd accompanied my co-worker/friend Ann Marie to the Clarksdale hospital across the street from our office for lunch. Her husband Brady, is head of food services there, and his co-worker, Rebecca, ate with us as well. Rebecca is fairly new to the area, by way of Texas, and she'd gotten involved in a group who plays trivia every Wednesday night at Hey Joe's, which, as anyone who's ever visited me here yet knows is one of my favorite places. So, she invited me to go tonight and then reminded me of it today (which was very nice-- I probably wouldn't have had the nerve to go on my own or even call her about it today to see if it was still on). We did decide to go tonight, but they decided to go to Leland to Vince's instead of Hey Joe's for some unknown reason.

So Rebecca and I braved the rain and headed there. It was a group of 9 people- Marshall, John Mark, Laura Beth, Matt, Corly, Matthew and Andrew. And me and Rebecca. Vince's is really nice and I'd like to go back there sometime (perhaps when someone else is paying!). We ate dinner first, and then trivia finally started. It was an older group and a bit more formal, apparently, than Hey Joe's usually is. But we had a good time. Its always a bit nerve-wracking to be at a table full of people you don't know, and even though I think I'm fun and cool and nice and wonderful, I was a bit nervous! However, everyone was super nice and one couple (Matthew and Corly) live right down the road from me.

Our group, the Rocket Scientists, came in third. In fact, after the first round, we were in 3rd every single time. Consistency is important to us. The questions were a bit chuckle. There was a music round, where we listened to 15 seconds of a a song and had to tell the name, artist and album. The Easter round had questions such as "According to a recent study, what part of a chocolate egg is most likely to be eaten first?" The ears. There were some harder Easter questions like "Easter consists of two different celebrations- the religious aspect celebrates Jesus's resurrection. What does the pagan aspect celebration?" beginning of Spring.

There was also a "Today in history"-- today was Adolf Hitler's birthday, Columbine, Bp Oil Spill, some baseball opening day in 1919 or something, and Apollo 13 landing. Its also the Mayor of Newton's birthday, but that wasn't an answer to any of the questions, for some reason.

It was a lot of fun! It reminded me of the few times my friends and I played trivia at Two Stix in Oxford. One of my trivia claim to fames (or claims to fame?) was answering this questions correctly:

What is the largest party venue in California?

I immediately start thinking of all the places I'd read about in US Weekly (see Dad? All those hours spent reading magazines really did pay off!). Finally, it hits me- the Playboy Mansion-- its the largest! It was the right answer and no one else got it but me! I'm so smart!

Tonight I helped out on a few questions, so hopefully they won't think I'm a total idiot and I will be allowed to come back and help out in the future. It was really nice to get to meet all different types of people, and I even ran into a girl from my new bunko group. I love Cleveland, but I really do miss all my friends, so I'm glad to get to meet some people and be reminded that it won't be long before I have friends to hang out with up here (though no one can EVER replace the friends I already have! I'm super lucky!).

Blog Update-- we are now at 4986-- come on readers, we can do this! 5000 before noon tomorrow!!! Reach for the stars-- if you fail, you'll still be around the moon. Or whatever.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

# 100 State of the Blog...

Well, dear readers, its here. My One Hundredth Post. Its an exciting milestone for such a blog as mine. Its a better, stronger blog than it was 99 blogs ago. Also, I am 60 views away from hitting 5000 views, which means that this blog is headed in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go! That's yet another exciting milestone. You are the greatest blog readers in the world. I personally think that such an occasion as this deserves lots of presents, or at least a card, but I've previously asked for presents and cards before during exciting times, and you readers have not risen to the occasion, so I won't even bother this time!

I'm going to take this opportunity to address you, my readers, through this medium and discuss some of the tasks I've accomplished, and goals I'm continuing to set for this blog in my first 100 blogs.

First of all, I continue to need you, the reader's, input into this blog. The real credit for this blog belongs to you, the American readers of this blog. I want it to be a blog for the people, of the people, but not by the people. I want it to be by me. If you want a blog, start you own. You can't have mine. But I do want this blog to be a place you, the reader, enjoy coming to, after a long, tough day at the office. If only to remind yourself that your life is way cooler than mine! So, in that vein, if you have ideas or suggestions, please let me know! I really LOVE comments, but I don't get many! So leave comments! Tell me what you think is funny, or dumb, or confusing! It makes this blog writer very happy to see that people leave comments!

I started this blog as a project on "myself" and a challenge to myself to blog each day. Well, I've failed at this. And I'm ok with that. Many of you (ahem, Nick and Mom) like to remind me of this failure, but I don't really care. Its not always easy to come up with clever or witty stories to tell each and every day, and so I'm not going to be too hard on myself. Our blog has come a long way! I have a vision for our future-- I'm going to make more of an effort to blog each day, especially now that I'm settled in Cleveland and have reliable internet and time to blog each day. But, I'm not perfect and won't probably blog everyday for the rest of the year. But I will try! Also, I care about children and our families.

As many of you know, I've been sorta un-Jessica-ish this past year or so-- a bit down. However, I'm feeling a lot better, and I do believe this blog has probably a lot to do with that. I've met with real blog readers-- like Karen in Brandon, or Stephanie in Laurel. It makes me feel really happy to have someone tell me that they read my blog and they think its funny or that they enjoy it or whatever. Of course, no one (yet!) has said they read the blog and think its unoriginal or silly, but I don't really care if they did. I'm taking the positive and leaving the negative! I believe I understand the readers. My record on the blog is clear.

I've journeyed into the heart of America and this blog, and I love that this blog has become a true part of my life-- when I talk with my friends or family or even at work, they mention reading things on the blog, or people suggest stories for the blog, or laugh about something random from the blog. Its something I think about a lot-- trying to come up with an interesting idea or theme (you can usually tell the days when my creative juices aren't really flowing!)

Whether my posts are always interesting or always silly or somewhere in between, I've really enjoyed writing on this blog, and I plan to keep doing it! Together, we're one people bound together by a common set of ideas-- reading this blog! So keep reading! Or don't read, just click on here to "view" so it looks like I have more viewers! 5000 by Easter!!! Thank you to each one of you who do read and I hope you will keep enjoying it! It really does make my day to hear about someone who reads my blog! Let's find out how great a blog we can be!

And let me leave you with one question, readers-- are you better off now than you were 99 blogs ago? I know I sure am!

# 99 Parkers got a brand new bag...

Yesterday I took Parker to to The Delta Dog to get a haircut and bath. I personally think she's the sweetest girl and always smells good, but here recently, her stinkiness has even been too much for me! I found this place on the internet and they had really good reviews. The owner is Barbara van Riesen and she's super nice. The business is out of her house and she has a super nice house with horses in the back and a large fenced in area for the dogs to play. When I picked her up, Parker was happy to see me and she looked so cute! Barbara said she was a really good girl! I'm so proud of her! Here is a picture of her- she has on her regular collar, and they put on an Easter neckerchief and yellow ribbons in her hair. Personally, I think she's a bit over-accessorized- didn't Coco Chanel say to look in the mirror and take OFF one accessory? Parker doesn't adhere to that idea! But isn't she so cute??!!
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

Monday, April 18, 2011

# 97 I'm all out of focus...

In previous posts, I've mentioned my recently acquired lack of focus characteristic. I'm sure I've always been a bit flighty and easily distracted in some ways, but it seems like lately, this characteristic is getting worse. I don't know if its an effect of all the changes and stress that's been in my life lately, or if its me getting older (25 is really so old) and more forgetful. But, its bad, folks.

Sunday afternoon my Aunt Ju and Lori left and Parker and I breathed a big sigh of relief. Just kidding! We actually didn't have time to breathe a sigh of relief since they'd left me with a ton of stuff still to do on my list. So, I started working. And I folded clothes, changed sheets, organized drawers, cleaned off my desk, put up jewelry, washed clothes, unloaded dished, vacuumed, and watered plants. I actually got a whole heck of a lot done and my house looks great. So, you all should come visit in the next couple days before it gets messy again!

So, the problem isn't really with the results of my cleaning spree Sunday night-- the house looks fabulous! The problem is with my journey to get to the clean house. This is an example of my train of thought-- an actual example-- I've retraced my steps-- this is NOT an exaggeration.

I need to hang this picture in the bathroom. Where is the hammer? Its by the door. Oh, let me check my phone. Send a text message. Now where was I?
Oh yes, hammer. Its on this book. I need to move this book and straighten this pile of books. That book doesn't look good there-- the spine is too dark and looks silly beside the other, brightly-colored spines. Where is that book about Katherine Hepburn? It would look good in here. Its on the telephone table. I need to move these pictures from the telephone table into the basket in the guest room. I forgot to put the sheets on the guest bed! I need those pillowcases from my room. My dresser is so messy-- let me just move this perfume bottle out of the way. Where is the top to this bottle? I think its in this drawer. Good gosh, there are 15 million ponytail holders in this drawer. I should put them all in a little bag together so I will know where they are. Here are some batteries. They go in the kitchen. Oh, I'm really hungry for dinner. I need to unload the dishwasher. And there was that random fork in the bathroom for some reason. Let me go get that fork. Why is this picture sitting on the floor. Oh yeah, where is the hammer?

This was no joke. I literally went from place to place, room to room, task to task. I did this about 17 different times, usually coming full circle to my original job. The most frustrating was trying to warm my leftover pizza, and then, 20 minutes later, getting back to the kitchen and having to warm it up again. That happened twice.

I'm hoping my mind goes back to normal soon. My nerves cannot take this much longer!!!

# 98 A late happy birthday to me!!!

A few blogs ago, I talked about going to see my friends Sonji and Clay for a birthday dinner at their house. It was such a yummy dinner and Sonji made a fabulous strawberry cake with homemade strawberry icing! Yum! This weekend, she sent me a couple pictures of that night, specifically, of me blowing out the candles. Now, this is kind of a traumatic experience-- I tend to giggle when I get embarrassed or nervous. And I tend to get embarrassed or nervous when everyone is looking at me. Like they were doing when I was blowing out the candles. So, there I was, trying to blow out the candles and I start giggling and I'm sure I am all different shades of red. And I try to blow them out, but I'm worried about spitting on the cake (ha!) and then the candles won't blow out! They were these super cute, curvy candles and I don't really think they were the "trick" candles, but at least a couple of them weren't going out and I was laughing even harder and then it was getting harder to blow them out! It was hilarious! I'm sure they all thought I was crazy, but they are my friends, so they love me anyway!

The pictures are funny and I thought I'd share them with you! Thanks Sunny, for making me a great cake and great food with great friends! Course, as much as I love you and your family, I could eat dirt off a paper plate and be happy, if you guys were around!

Also, note the fantastic green kitchen in the background-- she just remodeled her kitchen and it looks SO good! I love love love that color of green!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

# 96 Dinner is served...

Tonight I had a yummy dinner- originally planned to be our dinner Friday night, but it was just as good tonight- French bread, olive oil with dipping spices, gouda cheese and kalamata olives!
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

# 95 Its a rom-com mystery

Its a Delta mystery. I've been here for just a few short weeks and I've already gotten myself into the middle of a mystery. Here's the backstory.

I live at 304 South Victoria Avenue (Send me a card!). I have a very nice little mailbox out by the street. Here's a picture:

Yes, tomorrow is trash day. Don't be judgy.

Also, outside on the porch, right beside the front door, is a small black basket with the word "Mail" on the side. Its nailed to the side of the door and its sort of a cute little detail, but its unused since the mailman comes to the actual mailbox these days. Here is a picture:

Yes, the word "Mail" DOES look like "Maiz". But presumably, it really is "mail" since that makes more sense (too bad I couldn't work "cents" into that sentence!).

Now, I've been getting mail here for several weeks and recently, my forwarded mail from Laurel has finally been showing up. I've gotten magazines and church bulletins and bills (though I was hoping they'd get totally lost).

Friday afternoon, I get home from work and I head inside to see what all fabulous cleaning/decorating Aunt Ju and Lori have done while I've been slaving away at the office all day. More on that to come later. We immediately head out the door to Wal-Mart to get everything on their long-list. Apparently, without such supplies as a Swifter, curtain rods, ferns for the porch, a rug pad, baskets for the bathroom and a utensil holder, I've been only living half a really sad life. I'm just so lucky they were able to reach down to my level, and try to lift me up as best they could buy getting me all that and more.

Anyway, after Wal-Mart, we decide to eat dinner (forgetting that bag of ice we'd just bought three minutes before), and we get home about 8 p.m. I head to the porch to unlock the door, and my mail is sitting in the little mail basket on the porch. Not in the mailbox, where it usually is. Strange!

All sorts of theories fly- the mailman is strange, or he forgot the mail and ran it back by (a la the Christmas bonus check for Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation), it was mistakenly put in a neighbors box, someone from the church visited and brought it up as a nice act of service (earlier this week, I met a couple ladies from FBC, Cleveland, who'd stopped by to meet me). We never found a suitable explanation.

So Saturday comes and we head down to the Cleveland Crosstie Festival down by the courthouse, a few blocks from my house. (Sidenote-- it was super awesome and super fun-- I'm so sad I still cannot find my camera and therefore didn't take any pictures!). We stayed for a while, but then ran back to the house before any further shopping/fun/etc. so Lori could grab a jacket since it was a bit cold in the shade. Lo and behold, my mail is in the mail basket AGAIN! This time, it wasn't as much mail, but still. Its there. There is no explanation. My car was still at the house (but the night before, both cars were gone, so no one would think anyone was home), but we weren't home and there weren't any signs of someone stopping by, say from the church or anything (like a note or literature about the Sunday morning services, etc.).

Its a mystery! So, dear readers, any theories?

I've decided that its not a mystery. In my mind, in a cute little house, a few houses down, a super cute, but very shy guy lives, and he's noticed me and Parker walking around the neighborhood. Now, he's noticed Parker first (cause she's so cute! And anyone who loves me, loves Parker!) and then noticed me, and has fallen for me as he's watched me and Parker interact these last few weeks. He's listened as I talk to Parker while we walk, and he's seen my family members come and visit (and he still likes me!). He's seen me trip over the uneven pavement in front of the house down the road six times (thus far). He's watched, with a tear in his eye, as my neighbor yelled at me. He watched me today as I lifted a really large fallen limb over my head and brought it from the backyard to the front, knocking into both vehicles and two trees along the way and nearly falling over. He's seen me and Parker sit outside and read, and thought it was utterly charming that I was reading Anne of Green Gables for the zillionth time.

He's a student at Delta State in the aviation program, probably-- he's a non-traditional student, so he's a bit older than me. I like to think he's from a wealthy family up north, but his grandparents were from the Delta, and that's why he came back here-- he always wanted to be Southern, so now he's decided to stay in Mississippi. He's planning to be a pilot, and has lots of money that he wants to shower upon me, and take me all over the world traveling. Of course, he won't force me to quit my job or anything (that would be controlling), but he'd want me to be happy, so he will support my decision to quit working and volunteer at the library part-time. He is also willing to buy a fabulous house and let me decorate it anyway I want, with unlimited funds. He will not be angry when I make the fourth bedroom into a large closet because he loves me. He's so shy, however, that he cannot even approach me (or Parker) and has, instead, tried to work up the courage to talk to me by going through my mailbox (which isn't at all creepy).

Yep, I'm pretty sure I am right. I will entertain other theories, however, just for my own amusement. You know, until he and I finally meet.

Friday, April 15, 2011

# 94 Things I've learned this week...

-- I really like the word "STIP". Its short for stipulations, and its a term we here at DHS use a lot of the time. I like the word. It rolls of my tongue and when anyone at work uses it, I find myself saying it over and over in my head.

-- I've really missed the "work environment" of having co-workers. I've not really had any "co-workers" at my jobs in a long time. I've had other attorneys or legal assistants that I saw on a regular basis, but there were usually only one or two other people in any of the offices I've worked in many years. Yesterday, I sat in a breakroom with about 10 other women and really enjoyed listening to them talk about their food, cooking, their work, etc. And watching their "stories". I loved it!

-- I love having people visit me! Last week it was my mom, then Katherine came for a night and now Aunt Ju and Lori (and Lulu) are here. Its so nice to have someone to talk to other than Parker. I'm literally giddy I'm so excited about being with someone! This feeling of excitement might wear off eventually, but for now, I'm still a bit lonely and insecure about being in a new place, so its nice to have people to do things with on the weekends! So hurry up and come visit me!!

-- Its been a really long time since I've had the energy and desire to dress up cute for work. Or anything, really, not just work. I used to love thinking about what outfit I could wear (or sometimes, just what outfit was clean) or designing an outfit around a new pair of shoes or necklace, etc. But for the past few months, for obvious reasons, I've not done any of that. In fact, the past few months, I was doing good to put on jeans an a t-shirt, unless I absolutely had to go to court or something. So, I've been reminded this week that I enjoy getting dressed up and looking cute! Course lots of people I've seen the last few weeks, and several of my co-workers look cute all the time, so its nice a big deal or anything to anyone except me. Its just a reminder that bad times eventually pass and that its nice to start feeling like yourself again!

-- I love my new Bible Study-- Me, Myself and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild-- its really good! I picked it out a whim several months ago in a Lifeway Bookstore, but then FBC Laurel did the Bible Study (they might still be doing it, I don't know) and a friend randomly recommended it to me, not knowing I'd bought it on my own! Its all about our "thought closet" and how our thoughts should be reflections of our relationship with God and not filled with worry, doubt, insecurities, etc. As someone who can let a nagging thought gnaw on me for days and weeks and months, and let it literally consume me, this Bible Study is refreshing.

-- Unforunately for me, I've learned that I've lost most of my ability to focus on anything for very long-- my attention span is literally in the single digits. I noticed it during the opera Tuesday night and a couple other times when I was reading a book. Also, in the above-mentioned Bible Study, my focus is so week, I'm having to do just a few short paragraphs and then take a break. I'm hoping this attention span thing will be just temporary.

Ok, I'm tired of writing this post. I need a change of pace! See, I told you....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

# 93 A fabulous Tuesday evening...

So Tuesday, I went to Hernando for work and had to fill all out sorts of paperwork for my new job. You know, as a DHS worker, they like to have at least 4 realms of papers for each new hire.

Tuesday afternoon, I got home and had a surprise on my front porch! My dear friend, and avid reader, Penny, had sent me a belated birthday gift (all other blog readers who haven't sent me a gift should be ashamed) from one of my favorite places in New Orleans-- Sucre! I've made it clear, in previous blog posts, how much I adore New Orleans, and Sucre is a dessert/bakery type place with yummy individual desserts and macaroons and chocolates that come in these cool little boxes. The store itself is decorated in shades of sherbert and pink and light blue and yellows and its so fun and pretty and it just makes me happy! It doesn't even bother me that most of their desserts and stuff are in random flavors, so I don't really like a lot of it!

But my birthday gift is awesome-- an assortment of macaroons in one of their cute boxes! I brought it to work with me today and Anne Marie and I sampled some of the different flavors. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to bring with me the little insert that shows the different colors and flavors. Fortunately, Anne Marie and I are smart enough to figure it out on our own (with a little help from Sucre's website-- but we were right in our original guesses!). She sampled the pecan and hazlenut while I had the chocolate and orange. I've still got almond, strawberry, pistachio and lemon left!

It was such a good surprise and totally made my day! Thanks Penny!

After I finished squealing with delight over such a good gift, I got ready for a cultural outing. Yes, I have culture. Sure, I like Star Trek and sometimes sleep without sheets on my bed for a while because I'm too lazy to put clean ones on the bed. But, I'm as full of culture as the next girl from Newton County. I'd heard on the radio earlier this week that the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the Delta State campus was presenting "The Barber of Seville" Tuesday night-- from the Memphis and Mississippi Opera Houses and starring several quite famous Broadway actors. So I purchased a ticket and got all dressed up and headed over there. The Bologna Center is really nice, and according to what I was told, was actually the first "Performing Arts Center" in Mississippi, which led to Ole Miss (Ford Center) and State (have no idea center) rushing to build their own!

It was a nice night of opera and while it was a tiny bit sad, it was also really liberating to know that I didn't know a single soul there. Not one. No fake smiles. Also no real smiles, but no need to talk to people or anything like that. It was nice! I don't generally love opera as much as I do other forms of art, say theater, dance, ceramics-- but I enjoyed this one.

I did sneak out a tiny bit early because my friend, avid reader, and great-blogger-in-her-own-right Katherine was coming to stay for the night. It was really nice to get to catch up with her that night and we stayed up way later than this old fogey usually does-- but it did my heart wonders to talk with her, get her advice and laugh with her! She's fabulous!

# 92 The cutest Easter decorations...

In the courthouse in Sunflower County (that's Indianola to you poor non-Delta souls!), they have the cutest Easter tree decorations. Since I STILL haven't found my camera, these pictures taken from my phone will have to suffice! I'm totally stealing this idea for next year! It has little eggs and little Easter figurines like carrots and bunnies and small ribbons and flowers attached to each branch. Love love love.

Monday, April 11, 2011

# 91 I could walk into a bookstore and never leave...

Sunday afternoon I said goodbye to my mom (sad!) after a great lunch at The Warehouse in Cleveland, and I headed over to Oxford to see Ole Miss beat Georgia baseball with Nicholas. We had a great time-- we had tickets to the Rebel Club area, upstairs, where you can sit inside and watch the game where its nice and cool, or you can sit outside in the grandstand seats. There are also tvs and nice bathrooms, etc. Nick and I sat outside part of the game and inside part of the game so he could watch the Master's on tv. They also have free food-- peanuts, popcorn, cookies, brownies, chicken nuggets, salad, hot dogs, etc. Its really fun!

After the game, I dropped Nick off at the Residential College (RC to those in the know), and headed over to Square Books where I spent money I didn't have to buy these four books:

I've been wanting this book for several years. Its all different post cards that were sent in from people all over the world. Its amazing what secrets people have-- some are funny, some are tragic and some are scary. I'll share some with you another day. I'm so excited about getting to look at this book.

The most recent Carolyn Haines book-- her new one comes out this summer. I love Carolyn so much-- both as a writer and as person, as I was lucky enough to meet her a few weeks ago. She's fantastic and her books are really funny. I've read all but this one in the series, and I just had to have it. I really have no self-control when it comes to books.

This is the next book on the Katherine and Jessica Book List. Grab a copy and start reading with us. At the rate we are going, we will finish this one in early 2012. So you have plenty of time.

As an attorney, I'm practically required to read books about the Scruggs scandal. I've watched this thing unfold the past couple years and I'm starting to read King of Tort, which i got for Christmas, but then let my dad borrow and just recently got back.

# 90 Fitting in and all that jazz...

So I've been in the Delta for a few weeks now (it doesn't seem like that long since I was here, but then went home for a long while and then came back, but its really been 3 total weeks since I moved), and, with the exception of the aforementioned neighbor, I've met some really nice, wonderful people. And I've had a great time exploring some of the small towns and learning about them, and I have plans to do a whole lot more exploring sometime soon. I do believe I'm really going to like it here-- I've enjoyed my job, thus far, and I've had time to do some cooking, some exercising, and some reading. I'm caught up on my NCIS reruns, and Parker seems to be liking it as well. I've even been to a bunko group and made plans to catch up with some old friends (friends from my past, not that they are necessarily old!!)

But I'm harboring a terrible secret. Its awful. Its embarrassing. It makes me feel like a fraud. I get up every morning, and take Parker outside, and I can feel the stares coming at me from all directions (except of course, from the direction of Mr. Professor-- its not a stare I feel in my direction, its a glare). I go to the grocery store, and I feel like there, between the squash and the carrots, I'm going to be found out. I take walks to Fireman's Park or on the walking track downtown and I'm scared to make eye contact with my fellow walkers. Its something that haunts me. The only place I feel safe is alone, in my house, with the door shut. But, its my home that would ultimately betray me, if anyone ever ventured past the front door.

Here's my secret.

I don't collect pottery.

I don't even own any of the pottery.

Not McCarty's.

Not Peter's.

Not anyone's.

Its a fact that I'm pretty sure will get my kicked out of the Delta in a heartbeat, if I was ever found out. I don't know what's wrong with me. I guess I had a tough childhood or something. My parent's forgot to hug me as a child. Whatever the reason. I don't own any pottery. Its something I'm pretty sure I will be forced to rectify soon, if I plan to stay in this area long.

I went to a friend house the other day and I saw many beautiful pieces of pottery displayed in her home. I've seen pieces in different shops I've perused. Heck, we even had some in stores in Laurel. So its not like I don't know better. In Junior Auxiliary, we almost always used it as serving pieces for different get-togethers and socials. There are plenty of good people in Jones County who have pottery pieces. Just not me. I'm sure if they knew, I would have never gotten into LJA in the first place.

So, avid readers, I'm asking for your forgiveness. And your help. I want to be a good person. I really do. I don't want to be found out as a fraud. I think the pieces are quite lovely, and, as someone who fancies themselves a "ceramicist", I know the pottery is beautifully made (which is much harder to do that it looks. Just ask me!). Now, right now, I don't have much money, what with having just started this new job and all, so I don't think I'll be able to buy any pottery anytime soon. But I've checked out some websites and found a few pieces I really like, and I'm graciously posting them on here, as suggestions for any avid readers who might want to buy me a housewarming/new job/welcome to the Delta/belated birthday/love your blog gift.

These first two are McCarty pottery. I know there are different factions who argue between which artist is better, and I'm not going to get into that here-- I don't know the whole story, and I don't know which is better. I do know, however, that it was extremely hard to find any pictures of McCarty's pottery on-line. These first two are the only ones I could find.

I love this color!

These are Peter's pottery.

This says its a casserole dish, so I'm guessing its pretty big-- I love the top of it. It might be my favorite of all the pieces I saw.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

# 89 Exploring the Delta with Deb...

This weekend, my sweet mom came to visit and we had a great time! Friday night we met in Leland, where we ate dinner at Lillos, which is right off Highway 61. Earlier that day, I'd driven through Leland on the way to Greenville with Anne Marie for work, and she said Lillos was a good place to eat, so I decided it would be perfect to meet mom there. It was super good! Italian food-- the fried ravioli was fabulous and their salad dressing is good enough to drink!

Saturday we did a bit of shopping, a bit of eating and a lot of exploring. I really wanted to show her Clarksdale, the town where I would be working, so we drove over there late yesterday afternoon. Anne Marie had shown me a Jewish cemetery in the area, so we wanted to check it out. We drove slowly through the parking lot, looking at the names and tombstones, when this guy, about my age, who was walking by, stopped and asked us if there was a Jewish community around the area. Turns out his name was Peleg (or something like that) and he was from Israel, but was traveling, for three weeks, in America. He'd been in Clarksdale a couple days, and specifically picked Clarksdale because of the history of the blues there. So we got to talking to him and he was interesting and kinda unusual. I mean, its not everyday you meet an Israeli in the middle of the Mississippi Delta!

Here are some pictures of the afternoon:

This is mom talking to Peleg (she kept referring to him as Pegleg

This was on one of the larger monumental tombstones-- isn't it really pretty?

I just love the beads on here-- you could tell they were beautiful and expensive and colorful necklaces, and there was a small pin with an owl on it. It makes me wonder who was buried there and who put that beautiful, and rather haunting, tribute to them.

I asked Peleg to translate this particular grave marker for us, since many of them were in Hebrew. He said that David Abrams was generous of spirit, loving friend, kind and "naive but in a good way"-- he said there wasn't really a good translation for that last description.

Many of the tombstones had small rocks and stones on top of them. I remembered this from my short-lived participation in the Newton Roxy Theater's production of The Cemetery Club back when I was teaching! According to my research then (and the refreshing of my memory now!), the stones are left there as a symbolic monument to the deceased. It is an ultimate act of kindness and respect to bury someone and place a marker on the site. A person can only be buried once-- however, each person who comes by can continue to erect a monument or marker on the grave, which they do in a symbolic way by placing the stones.

The entire experience was really neat-- it was a beautiful place. My pictures don't do it justice-- still cannot find my camera. And Peleg was super nice. He came over before he left and asked me how to get to Greenwood, because he had a car and was planning to drive there that afternoon. Since I don't know the area, I wasn't able to help him much. In fact, we were mostly useless to most of his questions about the Jewish people in the community, etc. Mom fussed at me for not talking to him more, suggesting he was "flirting" with me when he was asking for directions. I don't know what else she wanted me to do-- I mean, I got out a freaking map. Of course, she knows I don't have the "flirting" gene that most of the other women in my family have. I have no ability to flirt whatsoever. And i guess I missed my opportunity to flirt with an Israeli in the Delta. Too bad, I'm pretty sure that was on my bucket list somewhere.