Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'll never ask for directions...

I went home to Newton this weekend and had a super great time.  I've only been back to Laurel once (Easter) and Newton once (in June for a 24-hour layover after a trip to Atlanta) and it was nice to be back home again.  For those in the know, I consider both Laurel and Newton to be my homes.  And for those not in the know, well, now you are in the know.

Friday evening started out super fun when Parker and I hit the road, and about 15 minutes later, I realized I'd gone the wrong way.  There are several different ways I can drive home, and I've been trying to determine if any are better/quicker/smarter than any others.  I don't really think they are-- its all which way you prefer.  To go home to Newton, I like to go through Greenwood, and hit up my fave, Krystal, then onto Vaiden, Kosciusko, Carthage, Forest and Newton.  This time, instead of taking the easiest way to Greenwood, I somehow didn't pay a lick of attention and headed towards Indianola.  And then, when I realized my mistake, I decided to continue on the road I was on, and try that way.  I knew where it would take me, so I wasn't technically "lost" but I did technically "lose" about 30 minutes of my time on this detour.

My weekend at home was lots of fun-- dad and I stayed up super late Friday night talking and then, Saturday morning, I cleaned and relaxed while he slept super late.  We met my mom at Cooks BBQ-- missed that place!  After a productive trip to Dirt Cheap, I headed to my friend Sonji's house for her son Gatlin's 7th birthday party.  Pictures of the birthday fun to come!

Today I went to church and it was wonderful to be home at church and see so many people whom I love.  Dad and I ate the hospital for lunch and then I headed back, sans Parker.  I don't want to talk about it.  This weekend was lots of fun and I cannot wait to download the pictures from the party soon!

On the way home today, I finished up a stellar weekend with yet another out-of-area detour, this time in Carroll and Attala County.  I left Kosciusko, as I have done many times, and started driving towards Vaiden.  I noticed a few extra stop signed I'd not remembered from before (even from Friday night!) but thought nothing of it.  Often I get into over-thinking my life or jamming out to Adele and I totally don't pay attention to where I am.  This was apparently one of those places.  I hit a dead-end near Friendship, Mississippi.  I have no idea where that is.  But I have half-way decent instincts and I knew that if I headed left (west), I'd eventually hit I-55.  There is always a chance that when you hit I-55, you are all the way back down to Jackson, but luckily, this wasn't the case tonight.  I was only a few miles off and didn't even mind it-- I spent most of the detour time thinking how nice it would be to live in a place called, Friendship, Mississippi.  How nice! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Seriously, its finally Friday...

Readers, its been a LONG week.  And ironically, my week started on Tuesday.  That's right, suckers, I get every other Monday off.  Its great.  This Monday, while the rest of the world was dragging themselves out of bed and pulling on their suits and stockings (heh, who wears stockings anymore?!), I was lazing around in the bed.  Well, on the very edge of the bed because Parker likes to sleep with plenty of room between her and the rest of the mattress.  So, we usually wake up with me having one small corner and her having the rest.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for a cute puppy!

Despite my short week, this had been a long week for me.  Tuesday I was in an awful mood.  Not sure why.  Its a good thing I didn't get those obnoxious messages from my family saying things like "no blog in 8 days, Jess.  Seriously?" or "that last blog was only okay".  It would not have been pretty.  In fact, my mood was so dark that everyone at my office noticed almost immediately.  I didn't snap at anyone or fuss about anything, but I walked in the door and went straight to my office.  When I emerged an hour later, Cassandra, my sweet legal clerk, talked to me for a minute, but she could tell immediately I didn't feel good.  Later that day, she told me that she could "tell I wasn't feeling good cause she's NEVER seen me walk in the office like that before" and then she told me to go back to my office and she'd take messages for me so I wouldn't have to deal with anyone.  I was very appreciative. 

I went home from Bible Study that night (also, people I barely know knew there was something wrong with me!  Its nice to have people who care, even if they barely know you!) and took a melatonin (throw-back to my law school days when I took them all the time!) and went to bed before 9! 

I woke Wednesday in a much better mood.  I felt better, I knew it would be a better day.  And it totally was.  Until 8:30.  Which was when I was sitting in the drive-through at the Regions Bank in Clarksdale and I had gotten there a bit early.  I was low on gas, so I decided to wait in the line until they opened, and I turned off my car to save gas.  Ironic.  When 8:30 rolled around, I cranked my car to roll down the window.  Nothing.  Wouldn't work.  Great. 

I figured it was that I had run out of gas (I was seriously low!).  So I call the office and talk to my friend Ginni who isn't at work that day but her mom works in Clarksdale and she has a gas can and she comes to fill me up.  I wait.  In the middle of the main lane at Regions Bank in the drive-through.  It was horribly embarrassing.  If only I'd been in Newton, then I could have at least gone to hang out at the Mayor's Office (Carr Insurance Office, located at Regions Bank.  Come visit!).  Instead, I'm stuck in a town where I literally know 10 people, 7 of whom work at my office and the other three work at the courthouse.  Ginni's mom was kind enough to bring me some gas, and while I was waiting, the Regions Bank guys were kind enough to come PUSH MY CAR OUT OF THE WAY.  While everyone in line was watching.  It wasn't humiliating at all.  I couldn't stop the tears coming down as I opened the car door to say thank you.  I'm officially a crazy lady now. 

When we filled the gas tank up, nothing.  Nothing happened.  So apparently, it wasn't the gas tank at all.  She doesn't have jumper cables and has to get back to work, so I turn to the other group of people I know-- two blocks away at the courthouse.  I call Ed Peacock, the Chancery Clerk in Coahoma County, whom I adore.  Ed and the courthouse ladies are wonderful people and I love getting to work with them.  DHS attorneys work very closely with their Family Master/Chancellors and Chancery Court Clerks, and I'm super lucky to have some really nice ones.  Not all DHS attorneys are so lucky. 

And Ed was nice enough to come jump off my car.  Of course, he made his daily deposit first, so he was at the drive-through window when I noticed him-- he hollered out the window "Hey Jess, I'm here!  Be there in a second!".  As if I were going anywhere. 

He was super nice and, second times the charm, and the car cranked.  I drove immediately to Firestone, one block away, and left my car there with my new BFF Steve.  Steve has a child support case, but he pays every month on time, cause he really cares about his kids.  So he hopes he never has to see me again regarding child support! 

By the time I made it back to the office that morning, news had spread of the "incident" and that, coupled with the previous day's mood, caused people to pretty much avoid me all day, even though I was in a much better mood, I promise!  Cassandra went to get us all lunch and I just put my head down and got to work.  Even trivia last night couldn't cheer me up and I left early and came home!

Today was better, but its still been a long, somewhat emotional (for no apparent reason) day.  The best part of today?  I walked in the office and Cassandra says "Good morning.  Think today will be a better day that the last couple days?"  and I say "I think so!".  And she reaches under her desk and pulls out a Twix bar (my fav) that she brought for me!!  Isn't that sweet!  It did make my day better!  Hope tomorrow is the best day of all, for me and for all you readers!!  Love you!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Baking is my favorite thing to do...

Last Thursday, I went to the Cleveland High School Meet the Wildcats with my favorite neighbors, the Walkers.  Seriously, they are my favorite neighbors.  To be fair, I don't know most of my neighbors, but its safe to say that even if I knew everyone on the street, these would be my favorites anyway!  Their son, Nathan, plays for CHS and so I'm really excited to get to go to some of his games this year!  They won their first game Friday night against Ruleville, so the team is off to a good start!  After Meet the Wildcats, I headed back to the Walker home for Jennifer's "Surprise" birthday party.  Jennifer's daughter, Abigail, had talked to me about it earlier that week, but, like a good daughter, Abigail told her mom about the party so that she wouldn't be bombarded by random people coming over to the house!  It didn't matter though, cause surprise or no surprise, it was still lots of fun!!

This is the cake that I made.  Seriously, I made it.  Stop laughing.  I can bake.  Its not that funny.  I know how to make a cake.  Honestly, you laughing so hard is hurting my feelings.  I CAN bake.  I'm not going to type anymore until you quit laughing.

[insert really long, 15 minute pause]

Got that out of your system?

Ok, fine.  I did not make this particular cake.  Satisfied?  But I CAN bake.  I just choose not to.  Again, stop laughing.  Its so rude.

I didn't make this cake, but I did something much better.  I BOUGHT it.  I am very good at buying stuff.  Ask my banker.  This cake is from the Dutch Oven in Clarksdale, and it is fantastic.  They make the best food, hands down.  Its yummy.  And its huge.  We barely made a dent in it the other night and I took a huge slice home for my aunt and Lori and we barely made a dent in that slice.

Jennifer and Abigail digging into the chocolate!!
I had a great time and I hope Jennifer had a fantastic birthday! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Poptarts aren't for dinner, guys...

I mentioned yesterday that I had a dinner date last week with Nick and Dillon on Wednesday.  I was so excited for them to come see me in Cleveland.  They came earlier in the summer and we ate at Lost Pizza Company and they really liked it (Nick liked the pizza and the t-shirts, Dillon liked the cute girls behind the counter!).  They've been promising/threatening to come visit again, but it took all summer for them to make good on their promise/threat.  Late Wednesday afternoon, they pulled up to my office in Clarksdale and go to meet most of the people I work with and see my office.  I'm pretty sure they were very impressed. 

Then we headed home (but first the boys drove through the campus of Delta State.  If you've met Nick, you will understand this.  The kid is obsessed with college/high school campuses-- we always have to check out the football field and buildings of any school we come within 14 miles of).  The boys originally came over to check out trivia at Hey Joes (every Wednesday night at 8!) but we had some time to kill before it started, so we sat around and discussed my fantasy football league.  The boys think I am a total chucklehead, it seems, and forced me to drop a few players.  Only to realize that those were the best players I could get for those positions, so now I'm without any players there.  Who's the chucklehead now?  (answer: still me, for listening to them at all.) 

Nick played with Parker, Dillon played with my fantasy football league, and I didn't do a whole lot.  I was able to get rid of these yucky pop-tarts I bought last week (ice cream shoppe SOUNDED like a good pop-tart flavor.  But learn from me, readers.  Its not.  Luckily, boys will eat anything, so I sent them home with the entire box.  But not before they ate half of another box of regular, strawberry pop-tarts.)

We went to Hey Joe's, and, the boys, taking a page out of my book, "didn't have any money" to buy dinner.  So, being a sucker, I offered to pay.  We ordered an appetizer since I was starving and had only had one roll for lunch that day.  I go to speak to some friends on the other side of the restaurant.  I return.  Nick has eaten almost half of the appetizer.  By himself.  While Dillon watches.  Because they only had one fork.  Once we finally get another fork, I get to eat a total of about 2 bites before it is all gone.  I mean, seriously?  They ate the entire appetizer and HAD JUST EATEN TWO POP TARTS EACH not an hour before.  These boys will eat anything.  Just like Mikey.

We didn't play with my usual group for trivia, but we did pretty good until the last category, which is always music.  Its my weakest.  I pulled through with some good ones in the television category, but missed a few I should have known (didn't matter though, we still would have lost).  My back hurt from carrying my team during that category though.  Typically, anything to do with television I'm really good at.  Its sad. 

Despite the hunger pangs during the appetizer course and our embarrassing 4th place showing, it was a really fun night.  I love those boys!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How I met the love of my life...

Last Wednesday, I had a real treat.  I was lucky enough to have avid reader (and my little brother) Nick and his roommate, Dillon to come over for a visit.  Many of you readers may remember Nick as being a frequent commenter on both this blog and on facebook regarding the lack of my posts or Parker's hair or both.  While he may laugh at Parker's most recent haircut, and he might make fun of her when she wears her Ole Miss cheerleader outfit or one of her sundresses, he really loves her.  A lot.  His favorite saying is "Parker, I'm not happy with you" whenever she has an accident/jumps on him/ignores him/makes a mess/barks too much/won't sit in his lap/won't stay in his lap when he picks her up and makes her get into his lap/sleeps too much/etc.

But he really loves her.  In fact, Nick was the reason we got Parker in the first place.  He wanted a dog.  I did not.  Because I knew that I would be the one who would take care of her all the time (it was at some point during these dog discussions that I realized I'd kinda turned into my dad.  This was often his excuse when we wanted a pet or something when we were growing up.  He was right and so was I.)

So we decided we would get a dog, but since we are a family of chuckleheads with a serious lack of successful pet relationships, we didn't really know how to go about getting a dog.  Luckily, a day or two after we made this decision, someone who works with my mother told her of an older lady who had a pet she could no longer take care of.  This was the week before MLK day (on Monday) in 2009.  It turned out that the older lady had a sister who had been taking care of the dog, and the sister turned out to be a local city court judge in town, whom I had met before on occasion.  So we called Judge Arnold and she said she would bring the dog over that Sunday afternoon.  We believed it was so we could meet the dog, get a feel for the dog and then, later, decide if we wanted to keep the dog.  My college friend (and also avid reader) and her young daughter Ela, were visiting that weekend as well.  It was a busy weekend at the Carr house!

Judge Arnold brought the dog by and lo and behold, she brought all of Parker's stuff and decided we seemed like nice people (apparently she hadn't really met us yet) and left the dog with us.  We were a bit surprised because we just didn't think it would happen so fast.  Judge Arnold's sister was older, and had previously had many pets, and had gotten Parker, trained her and then the sister's health went down, so Parker had been living with Judge Arnold and her family of pets for a while.

Regardless, we now had a pet.  That no one really knew what to do with.  Least of all, Ela, who was a bit scared of Parker.  We kept her (Parker, not Ela) in the kitchen behind a doggie door, and tried to convince Ela that "Parker can't get out."  Ela then called Parker "Parkercan'tgetout" for a really long time.  And probably still does!

For a few days, we sorta tried to figure out how to handle this dog and how to play with her and how to take her outside and all that fun stuff.  She slept on the floor of Nick's room for a few nights because he is so mean that he would not let her get on the bed.  She was a bit scared of the stairs in the house for a long time, but eventually, she made it all the way up in one go.  About a week after we got her, Nick went to stay with my dad or stay with a friend or something.  So I told him she could sleep in the room with me.  Once again, my suspicions that I would be the one caring for her entirely were entirely correct.  That night she headed up the stairs.  Jumped on my bed.  And snuggled up against my back when I turned the light out.  I fell in love.  She never left.

She quickly became my dog and she has been ever since.  My family loves her so much and I love that they love her.  Cause I love her!  She's fun!

But as fun as she is, she is a good dog.  She absolutely knows who is in charge in this house.  (Hint:  Its not me.)

As much as Nicholas likes to fuss about her, he really does love her.  As evidenced by this picture that I snapped the other night:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

# 183 Parent's Shouldn't Text...

Ok, I've just spent a whole hour looking at this new website.  Some of the texts aren't fit for publishing on my blog, and some of them I just plain don't get, but others of  them are hilarious.  Hope you enjoy!!!

My parents have been known to send out a few chuckle text messages, but nothing this funny.  Makes me miss my mommy and daddy though! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

# 182 DIM Do it Myself...

Now that I have lots of time and energy to put into projects and stuff, I find myself doing a lot more cooking and crafting and getting organized in my spare time.  I also find myself watching a lot more reruns of House Hunters International, but that is a whole other post for a whole other day. 

You can see lots of my cooking and recipes in other posts.  (See Sunday's post!)  But its much harder to show how organized I'm getting-- I've finally got the focus to do all those little things that just never get done.  Know what I mean?  For example:

Do you see this??

Its my trusty hair curlers.  But, my trusty hair curler lid is broken.  Its been broken for a while and its been hard to use my trusty hair curlers, or at least half of them.  So, if you've seen me recently, and my hair looked funny, this is why.  Of course, if you've seen me a long time ago and my hair looked funny, I have no excuses.  

In light of all my go-get-it-done-edness here lately, I decided to take care of business, or at least of my trusty hair curlers, and get this thing fixed.  So I turned to everyone's favorite fix-it, duct tape.  However, plain old boring duct tape just wouldn't cut it for me.  Recently, when my neighbor Jennifer and her daughter Abigail came over, they introduced me to this:

 Zebra Print Duct Tape.  It wasn't an awkward introduction or anything, though--I mean, I didn't go to hug it while it went to shake my hand or anything like that.  Instead, I knew that we would be fast friends.  I also knew that Jennifer and Abigail were my kind of people.  Sometimes you just know, right?   

While in Franklin a couple weeks ago, my sweet momma bought me some of this.  Its a bit more expensive than regular, boring duct tape, but isn't it really worth it?  

 Here is the finished product--

Doesn't that look so much classier??!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

# 181 Stuff the Buggy...

Saturday was my first official Cleveland Junior Auxiliary event-- Stuff the Bus with school supplies for our JAM (JA Mentors) project.  Cleveland JA has several students that they mentor each year-- we provide school supplies, field trips, one-on-one time, food for holidays, Christmas gifts, etc.  We do whatever it is that these kids need to do be able to focus on school and getting good grades.

I really miss my Laurel Junior Auxiliary ladies and our projects that we worked on.  I love getting to work with the kids and my friends in JA and I was extremely sad to leave them.  But, now I have a new group of fun ladies and exciting projects to get involved with.  Its a bit intimidating to drop into a group in the middle and not know any of the projects or even the other ladies, but I'm looking forward to getting involved.  This should be a good project!

So Saturday, we took our Crown Club (ok, I say "we took" as though I had anything to do with it-- I didn't.  I merely showed up!!) to Wal-Mart and asked for donations of school supplies and/or money for our mentor students.  Crown Club is like a Junior Auxiliary for young girls-- getting them involved in volunteering young!  We had a great time and raised almost $250.00, plus we had a lot of school supplies that were donated.  I took lots of pictures-- its a habit (thanks, Mom!) plus it gives me something to do so I'm not standing around being awkwardly new all the time!!!

I LOVED school supply shopping when I was in school.  Loved it.  It was so much fun and so fresh and exciting-- new supplies, new clothes, new teachers, new experiences.  Loved it.  I loved getting all my new supplies organized and ready-- I would organize and re-organize and get everything all perfect.  It was so much fun.  But let me be clear-- this experience, with Stuff the Bus, at Wal-Mart the weekend before school started in Cleveland, Ms, made me appreciate my mother even more.  I mean, it wasn't pretty.  The aisles were crowded, products out of place, or sold out entirely, people everywhere, pandemonium reigned.  It was nutty.  I cannot imagine having to navigate that place with actual children, talking, crying, yelling and wanting to pick out their own supplies (I'm not talking about me.  I'm super perfect smiles and rainbows.  Betsy and Nick, on the other hand....).  Thank you mom, for not running away screaming and leaving us in the notebook aisle to fend for ourselves all those years ago.  It was bad enough having to pick out the correct supplies (1 inch binder v. 2 inch binders, ball-point pens v. gel, gluesticks v. regular glue) as an adult.  At least I got to go home to a quiet house after it was all over!!


Its technically called "Stuff the Bus", but we didn't have a bus, we had a "buggy"!

They worked hard but by the end of the day, even the girls were tired!

We went inside and bought a ton of supplies on our list with the donated money.  Let me say this-- I am SO glad I don't have to fight the school supply aisle for my kids.  It was overwhelming. 

The entire group of Crown Club girls and Junior Auxiliary Ladies

Sunday, August 7, 2011

# 180 Hanging out with some Dangerous Folks...

This morning I woke up early and decided to be Betty Crocker for a while.  I have some leftover lunch meat from my Pickwick weekend.  I was in charge of bringing sandwich makings and apparently, I confused my weekend with that of a family of 45, and brought WAY too much lunch meat and, lucky me, I got to bring it all home.  In an effort to not waste food (starving kids in China and all), I've been trying to eat as much as possible, but I'm frankly a bit sick of turkey and ham.  I don't generally even like ham!

So when I saw this recipe in a magazine yesterday, I was super excited.  First off, I can use my lunch meat!  And second, it involved potatoes and eggs, two of my favorite foods.  Plus, its in a cute little muffin shape, so its fun!

Here's the recipe:

Mini Frittatas

  • 6 slices ham
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I used EVOO)
  • 1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice (I didn't peel because 1. I didn't see this until after I was finished and 2. I'm lazy, so I wouldn't have even if I'd seen it.)
  • 1 small onion (I didn't have this so I didn't use it, but it would have been even better if I did!!)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (again, I didn't have this but I hate bell peppers so I would not have used it if I did!)
  • salt
  • 8 large eggs
  • 6 Tbsp. milk
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 12-cup muffin tin with Pam.  Place slice of ham on top of each muffin cup (NOTE:  It says to press into each cup but I think its easier to leave it on top, and then, when you place the potatoes on top, it falls into the muffin cup perfectly.  See?  I do the hard work so you don't have to!).  Warm oil over medium-high heat, add potato and cook, stirring until soft and golden.  Here is where you add the onions and peppers, which, as I mentioned, I didn't have.  So I added garlic spinkles instead.  Much better.  Season with salt, and place onto ham, and push into muffin cups. 

2.  Whisk eggs, milk and salt.  Pour egg mixture into muffin cups so each one is about 2/3 full.  Bake until eggs are cooked through, or about 15 minutes. 

I think this is my new go-to recipe.  Its easy and its fun.  Also, you could add cheese, which, now that I've thought of, I wished I had thought of earlier cause that sounds yummy!  Or bacon.  Everything is better with bacon.  Or even put croutons in the bottom, like breakfast casserole.  Gosh, I should really have my own cooking show.  Is there a need for lazy, broke chefs who just make stuff up to make sorta good food on the Food Network? 

Here are some pictures:

See the difference between the muffin ham options?  

I love eating potatoes just like this.  Unfortunately, I used my last ones this morning.  There was actually one more, but I'm not going to even tell you what it looked like.  It wasn't pretty. 

Before cooking:

I've plated this up very nicely, as you can see-- however, I will be honest.  I ate more than 2.  I just took this picture so you wouldn't think I am a pig.  Ugh, I totally just told on myself. 

After I finished cooking breakfast and then realized I was running late for church, I finished getting ready and headed over to FBC, Cleveland to Sunday School.  I really like my Sunday School class and the service at FBC.  I feel calmer, more peaceful and much better when I get to go to church, so I'm trying to make it a priority.  After church I was invited to eat dinner with some friends, which was really, really nice of them-- I tend to spend lots of time alone and my social skills are sometimes super rusty, and its very great to be able to hang out with a family again!  Especially a nice, fun, normal family-- not that mine isn't.  I mean, in between the screaming and the 14 different conversations and the fussing and the laughing, we are really your average family!  But, I had a great time with the Walker family, and I was able to learn a lot about their lives and what all they've been through, which was super interesting.  I don't have pictures, though, cause that might just be weird! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

# 179 Have a seat, stay a while...

 This is my new chair in the dining room/office area-- don't you just love it?  Its totally random and totally funky and totally fun!  And guess where I got it?  From my Mamaw.  It was the chair in the back bedroom of my grandparent's house in Newton for as long as I can remember.   I don't know if they had it for my entire life and I don't know where they got it.  Actually, it didn't really match anything in that bedroom and it really wasn't even my Mamaw's style.  But I adore it.  I have always wanted it and after she passed away and we were going through things in the house, I called dibs pretty quickly!  I love it!

 Its one of Parker's favorite places too!!

As Betsy would say, Prettiest Girl!!!
She's also kinda crazy sometimes!