Thursday, March 28, 2013

MacGuyver who?

What happens when you are at trivia and your necklace breaks?  You search all over the floor for the several, small missing pieces.  Then you decide that its impossible for you to fix yourself.  Enter this guy:

And his super fancy pocket knife.  With small and large phillips head and flat head screwdrivers, scissors, bottle openers, tweezers, pliers, clippers, rakes, guns, shovels, etc.  Then there was a tense moment when Katy pulled out HER knife and the two went head to head.  I was just glad my necklace got fixed!  Thanks, JM!

March Birthday Babies...

This past weekend was my birthday.  I'm still waiting on gifts from a few of you, but no worries, I accept gifts all month long.  Even into April.  Actually, all year long.  Just get me a gift, ok?

My group of friends, the Gang, is big enough that there is pretty much a birthday every month.  Which means we are constantly coming up with fun and interesting ways to celebrate.  Usually, the birthday person gets to pick the place to eat, or maybe the movie, but March is different.  There were a whole bunch of us born in March.  Me, Meghann, Will and Awesome McAwesome.   

Since it was all the cool people, and Awesome, we felt it was important to step out of the box, if you will, to celebrate our birthdays.  So we stepped out far enough to get tickets to the RiverKings hockey game in Southaven on Saturday night.  It was the last game of the season, not only was it Fan Appreciation Night, but it was also World Turtle Day, a fact that I am very sad I didn't know until the day was almost over.  I wasn't really able to fully celebrate any turtles, and now I have to wait till next year. 

It was a long and fun day.  First, we headed off to Southaven to do a bit of shopping.  Awesome's favorite part?  Meeting his friend, the giraffe.  I think he felt like this giraffe would add a whole lot of class to his bachelor pad.  Did I type "class"?  I meant "klass". 

Then on to the hockey game:

Birthday girl Meghann and non-birthday boy Andrew

We wanted "glass" seats but we had to settle for the second row.  Will is in the green hat, Katy beside him (shout-out to Katy for being cool enough to own her own hockey jersey), Laura Beth hiding, then Coleman. 

Crazy excitement on the ice, people. 

Rommates and Birthday girls!

Meghann is all, "no more pictures", to the paparazzi.   Its exhausting being so photogenic and popular.  We should know. 
 I was in charge of the event planning.  I was unable to procure glass seats but I did get us each a shout-out on the score board.  They offered to let someone ride the zamboni machine, but I'm pretty sure the lady might have thought this was for a 9-year old's birthday, so I declined, to the absolute disgust of Awesome who is still mad at me.  Also, while my name was spelled correctly on the actual scoreboard, in this picture, my name looks like, "JASKA" which, coincidentally, is the new spelling of my name. 

 During one of the breaks, they had a competition where you threw old hockey pucks onto the ice into a small bucket in the middle.  If you made it, you won $75.00.  No one made it.  But we had lots of laughs watching Josh, Will and Coleman throw out their arms. 
Best way to pick up hundreds of orange hockey pucks from the ice?  Grab a kid, strap on a helmet on a kid, give them a bucket and let them have at it.  If only cleaning my house were so easy, but Parker leeps refusing to wear the helmet. 

Awesome was the happiest birthday boy in the world when he caught this freebie t-shirt.  He literally turned to me and said, "this is the best thing that's ever happened!".  Which made his face, 30 seconds later, when he opened the shirt and read the back, even funnier.  I kinda feel bad at laughing at someone else's misery.  But not when its Awesome's.  He considered throwing it back, hoping to actually get a RiverKings shirt, but ultimately, passed it on down to Will who did really wanted it. 

Here is the entire group:  Me, Meghann, Will, Awesome Mc, Laura Beth, Coleman, Andrew and Katy.  There was a ton of grumbling about this picture, and at some point, part of my soul died when I realized I'd officially became my mother, but I'm glad I have a good picture of a really fun birthday!  Several of our Gang were missing, and the RiverKings lost, but it was still a really great birthday!

Friday, March 22, 2013

It's Always Rainy in Cleveland...

Last night was a fun night out in Cleveland.  HSquared, a local clothing store, had their semi-annual Fashion Show at Grover's Corner downtown.  This is their third one and my friends and I have gone to all of them.  A couple of my friends, Laura Beth and Corley, have even walked the runway!  Corley walked it last night and Laura Beth walked in the inaugural show.  My friends, the models!

And other night, this would have been enough excitement for me, but last night Cleveland downtown was kicking!  The Cleveland Young Professionals group had their first social, a Crawfish Social at Mosquito Burrito.  So, after looking at some really pretty clothes, we headed across the street to get some food and meet some professional people.  Lots of my friends were already there by the time I walked in, but it was beginning to sprinkle outside.  Awesome McAwesome allowed me to borrow a rain jacket and showed me some of the hail damage to his Awesomemobile from his stay in Jackson last week.  As soon as I got the jacket, everyone decided to go inside anyway, so it was all for naught. 

I got to catch up with my friend Julianne about work-related craziness, and saw a few other people.  Most of the crowd had cleared out about the time the rain started, so I missed seeing a lot of people.  But we wound up eating dinner at MB and sort of took over the entire place.  We discussed our weekend plans-- we are headed to Southaven tomorrow to see the RiverKings hockey game- our "March" birthday's outing.  I was telling one of the girls who works at MB about our trip and she asked if this "group" was the same group she seems me out with a lot.  And I replied yes.  And she said, "you are lucky to have such a good group of friends."  And she is so right!

Here are some pictures from the evening.  My photography skills leave a lot to be desired!

This pretty model is Brianna, and she is a fellow handbeller.  She stands next to me and she is a very good ringer!

Chris and Julianne Bailey to the left.  Julianne works for DHS in our Indianola office and I taught her everything she knows about child support.  Not that I know much!  My friend Andrew is in the back of the picture, ignoring me!

This is Will.  His look of disgust in this picture has less to do with being photographed for my blog and more to do with the fact that he doesn't have a nickname in this blog.  Maybe I'll solicit suggestions from the readers?

From left: Will, Laura Beth, Corley, and Katy at Mosquito Burrito.  Corley walked the runway and Laura Beth opted to help backstage this show, so Katy was my date! 

Always the favorite...

A few weeks ago, I went to Memphis for one of Betsy's wedding showers.  I am so very proud of Betsy, she's obviously outkicked her coverage (as my dad would say) and found this great guy to marry.  And I've enjoyed being able to spend lots of time with her, get dressed up, go to some fancy parties, enjoy watching my sister be happy during this exciting time. 

But I'm not going to lie-- I'm a bit petty sometimes, and its occassionally hard to not be be overlooked.  I have, at times, felt left out, and a bit depressed.  I don't need for anything really (that Chanel bag isn't, upon reflection, a necessity), but its not always fun to watch someone get all sorts of great gifts and parties thrown for them while you sit there.  Its why we buy presents for older siblings when a baby is born.  I'm only slightly more mature than that!

Luckily, for me, I have a mom who understands this.  She knows this is a hard time for me.  And a couple weeks ago, when we were in Memphis, and watching Betsy open some more fantastic gifts, I must have looked a little forlorn.  Because she turned to me, and brightly said, "Jessica!  I have some things for you! A couple presents.  You are going to love it!"  Seeing visions of early birthday gifts or stacks of books off my Amazon wishlist, I felt encouraged.  Happy.  Here was my sweet mom who understands that, while I try not to be materialistic, its hard to watch someone get tons of presents at all different showers/parties, and not feel left out.  I just knew that my mom understands.  She get's me, y'all. 

So, after all the presents were unwrapped and the cake was eaten, we went outside to her vehicle so she could give me her "gifts".  The first was a book.  Not bad, right?  Well, this was my book.  She was just giving it back to me.  So, not a real gift.  And then she gave me some stuff I'd left behind when I last came to visit.  And then some clothes my aunt had sent to me.

I gave her a huge hug and told her how much it meant to me for her to give me a gift, since she knows how down I've been lately.  And she smiles, and pulls out her purse.  To hand me my "gift".

Two Cadbury Eggs. 

Um, thanks, Mom.  Not exactly what I thought you might have for me. But thank you, nonetheless.  And then she says, "I know how much you love Cadbury Eggs, so I got you TWO!"  The family members nearby nearly hurt themselves laughing. 
I do love Cadbury Eggs.  I'm not much of a chocolate person but I love these things.  And I thank my mom for thinking of me.  One Egg would have just hurt my feelings, but TWO?  You rock, Mom!!

I filtered this picture so it would be cool and hipter.  Not boring and normal like myself.
 I'd already eaten one of the Eggs!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sweet Brother Sick...

I'm a Rebel fan.  That's not surprising to anyone who reads this blog.  I love my Rebels through thick and thin.  And lately, its been pretty thin.  At least thin on the wins.  The past few years, my Rebels have been through a tough time in pretty much everything.  It actually corresponds nicely with my life.  Another subject for a good thesis. 

I've watched a whole lot of Rebel sports this year and it always seems like for the important games, I am watching or listening by myself.  And Saturday, watching Ole Miss win the SEC Basketball Tournament was no different.  I watched it accompanied by Parker, Atticus and Mr. McCarty.  At the end, I was so worked up and nervous, I was pacing around the living room, having two puppy dogs following me.  Everytime I jumped, they jumped.  It was fun. 

All of my family likes to watch Ole Miss sports, but certainly the most well-known fan from the Carr Family is Nicholas.  He loves it.  He gets it honestly, from his Dad.  But Nick has taken it to the next level.  Not only is he a fan, he likes to be a well-documented fan.  He likes being on tv.  It started years ago when Nick and Dad used to go to the SEC baseball tournament and sit right behind the dug out.  I'd see people for weeks after the tournament who'd mention they saw the boys on tv.  Then one year, there was a picture of Dexter McCluster high fiving people and Nick was right up in the middle of melee.  This picture was all over the place for a while.  A couple football games had close ups of him sitting in the student section.  Then he became a basketball super fan-- holding up those obnoxious big head posters, getting to games early to get front row tickets, etc. 

Now, he is a basketball game staple.  He's on there at least a couple times a game.  It never fails.  When Betsy watches ball games with Peter and his family in Nashville, they look for Nick.  I get Facebook messages and texts from people after all games, mentioning that they saw Nick.  I look for him at every game and get a message from my mom or someone when he first appears. Dad and I saw Nick at the two games last weekend on the tv that we watched together.  Its getting kind of ridiculous!

Here are some screen shots of Nick's pretty face on tv:

This one is my contact picture for him on my phone. Usually, he's so stoic when watching the game-- much like his Daddy.  You can never tell if we are winning or losing based on Nick.  That's why I love this picture-- he is smiling and looks really, really happy!

I'd never seen this till Betsy sent it to me this morning.  Creepy. 

Today I get this message from my friend Penny:

I love it!  "Is sick going to mo?"  This is a great, nonsensical mesage.  And yet, I totally understood what she meant.  Was Nick going to Missouri to watch the Rebels play in the first round of the NCAA tournament?  Yes, Penny, sick is going to mo.  I called him later as I realized it had been forever since I'd talked to him and, as expected, he and two friends were literally leaving Oxford at that moment headed to Missouri.  Oh to be young and have enough energy to drive all day, stay in a random hotel, cheer for the Rebels and then drive back.  If I did that now, I'd have to take a week off from work to recover from all the lack of sleep and body aches. 

I hope he has fun and I hope he gets me a Rebels win for my birthday! 

Cheer loud, Sick!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Friday Night Fun...

I went home to Newton this weekend-- first time home in a while.  At least the first time without a doctor's appointment, surgery scheduled or a pair of crutches accompanying me.  Its been a busy few weeks and work has been sorta crazy lately.  Right now, I am faced with some options about work and I needed to get away for a few days, and get some advice from my parents about what to do.  So I called my dad and let him know that Parker and I are headed home last Friday and he can take me to eat a birthday dinner at Zack's.  But on the way home, I get a better offer and was able to switch my birthday dinner to Saturday night.  I called a couple friends and we decided to go eat dinner.  A whole lot more fun than hanging with the parents. 

I headed over to my friend Sonji's house, arrving a bit late, as usual.  Now you readers have met the Rose family before, but I am in too much of a hurry to try to find any of those posts.  And you all know, they are one of my most favorite families.  Ever.  Like, I love this family.  Wish I could be adopted by them!  I kinda have been, but it would be nice to make it official.  Seriously, Sonji and Clay and I went to high school together and they have two fantastic kiddos and they let me come hang around, eat cake at birthdays, watch tv, laugh, be silly, etc.  I do feel like part of the family when I am around.  I'm just not around enough. 

I pulled up the driveway and parked, and as I was walking away from the vehicle, I automatically locked my doors with my key fob.  When I walked in the door, Sonji immediately said, "um, did you just LOCK your doors?  In my driveway?  In Hickory?"  And I deserved her ridicule- I don't know what I was thinking.  Her house and driveway are super secluded and super safe.  In fact, in the event of a zombiepocalyse, I am headed to their house.  Actually, I'm headed to North Alabama to our friend Adam's house, but my second stop would be the Rose house.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

We were meeting our friend Becky and her husband and step son for dinner.  Now, Becky is another one of those awesome people blessed with a couple great kiddos,  Anna and Triston.  Unfortunately for me, they weren't around this weekend.  Luckily for me, Gatlin and Bentley Rose were. 

We picked up the kids from their grandmother, Mrs. Barbara's house, and headed out to Beulah Hubbard to Nelda's.  Nelda's is a local favorite- in the middle of nowhere, a gas station/convenience store/restaurant mix.  With really good food.  We used to go there a lot in high school because some of my friends lived out that way but its literally been at least a decade since I've been. 

We had a great time on the ride to Nelda's-- the cute kids in the backseat just made my day.  We talked about school and favorite subjects and conduct grades.  Gatlin loves reading, which he obviously gets from his Aunt Jess cause she likes to read too! 

I mean, ADORABLE, right?  Gatlin and Bentley.  Couldn't love these kids anymore than I do!

Here we are at Nelda's.  It might not look like much but it was really good.  Becky and Chad had been at the cabin all day fishing.  Apparently they caught like 124 fish or something?  That seems like a whole lot to me, but what do I know about fishing? 

Chad's son Eli and Gatlin are big buddies (as my dad would say).  You can see the convenience store area of Nelda's in the back.  Its a one-stop shop, people. 

Good enough to eat the entire thing.  Bentley didn't believe me when I showed her how you can eat the tail. 
She was a bit distrusting of me. 

Got a spare business card?  Put one here!  A lot of places in Newton have these bulletin boards and when I was younger,
I used to love reading the cards.  I vowed to place my business card on every single bulletin board I could
when I was older.  Luckily for everyone, the State won't give me business cards!

We went to the Garvin's camphouse to hang out for a while after dinner.  There was all sorts of climbing ladders, throwing kickballs, shoes flying, screaming, dancing, etc.  And the kids were there, too. 

Tiredest babies!

Gatlin is the oldest child, and he is the sweetest, most precious kid you will EVER meet. Much like myself growing up. And he sometimes gets frustrated with his younger, funny, silly, crazy sister. Much like my life now. In the car, Gatlin got a bit frustrated with Bentley and had to vent a little bit. So we got to talking about crazy sisters', and I suggested we could trade for a while. You know, see how the other half lives. We discussed this for a while-- I let him know about the wedding, how we'd been planning it, and, if he were to trade with me, he'd have to be the Maid of Honor, wear a candy apple red dress (it could be tailored to fit him), and how he'd need to plan the upcoming Bachelorette Party. Which was perfect cause he'd just asked his momma to take him to the beach. Gatlin was seriously considering my offer but ultimately decided he'd keep his sister (the devil you know, I guess!). A few minutes later, Bentley did something or other to annoy Gatlin, and he looked straight at me, and said, very seriously, "What color did you say that dress was?".

Priceless. And Gatlin, if you ever do decide to trade, I'll give you a really good deal on a Big Brother as well.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mosquitos, McCarty's, and morbid pictures...

Friday night, Awesome McAwesome got a craving for fish tacos from the local eatery, Mosquito Burrito.  He didn't want to go alone, so he said to himself, "Awesome, who is sitting at home with nothing to do on a Friday night and would be willing to go eat dinner with me?"  And he answered himself, "Duh, Jessica.  She's totally sitting at home by herself watching Star Trek: The Next Generation cause she doesn't have a life.  I'll call her." 

And sure enough, I was available.  After all, I've got that Star Trek episode tivoed so I can pause it. 

We were able to get our friend Laura Beth to go as well.  Laura Beth has a much cooler social life than either me or Awesome, so I'm assuming that someone cancelled on her last minute which is why she was free. 

If you haven't eaten at Mosquito Burrito, you obviously haven't visited the Delta lately.  Mosquito Burrito is the cool, international cousin to Hey Joe's, which I've written about here.  It serves burritos, tacos, nachos and salads, and its very good.  One of those watch-them-make-your-food places like Moe's without the annoying "Welcome to Moe's" every seven seconds.  I've been there several times and I have enjoyed my meal everytime.  Its also cool and funky and interesting like a lot of places in Cleveland and it makes me, an old, boring person, feel cool and hip when I eat there.  I just feel cool and hip, it doesn't actually MAKE me cool and hip.  It doesn't work miracles. 

File photo: I do NOT take pictures that look this good!

So Friday night, last minute, the three of us go eat dinner and it winds up being a really fun, relaxed evening.  We sat around and discussed everything from Laura Beth's secret desire to form an all girls punk band (I'm still waiting for my invite on that one.  I play a mean punk handbell.) to scary photographs; from ridiculous college stories and Awesome's mom's pottery to our exes and pulling pranks (though not on our exes- we are so above that) and everything in between. 

We even brought our own decorations to the place.  Obviously, in the Delta, all the klassy-with-a-k people bring their own McCarty's pottery when they go places.  Its like people who bring their own salad dressing.  Awesome bought this lovely hanging pendant for his mom at McCarty's and it was "delivered" by our friend in the middle of dinner.  Laura Beth bought a similar one.  I, however, was not able to buy one, even though I'd really love one (Birthday Gift Suggestion Alert!).  And McAwesome, being a good friend, decided to bring it in the restaurant and set it on the table instead of placing it in his vehicle.  Thereby ensuring I was able to be good and envious of his gift by the end of the night.  He really is such a kind and thoughtful person.  I kept dropping hints about how he could give his mom a card instead, and give the pendant to someone who'se birthday was, say, coming up, but he obviously never picked up the hint. 

The globe light with my cell phone inside it, using the flashlight app.  Looks pretty, right?
I actually did take this picture.  Looks almost as good as the picture above? Maybe?  Anyway, there is a theory we discussed at length that the burrito's sorta "fold" into a really nice pocket that will stand up on its own, so this is what I was trying to do.  It didn't work so well, but the food tasted just as yummy anyway!
It was one of those really fun, really random nights where your cheeks hurt from laughing and you linger when its time to say goodbye because you are enjoying yourself so much.  We stood outside for a long time and continued our conversation and laughed while this super hyper kid ran around climbing random trees in the middle of the walking track downtown till it was finally time to say goodbye.  It was a great night- good food, good conversation and good memories.   

Friday, March 8, 2013

March the Month of Me...

Guess what???  March is the month of my birth.  March 24, to be exact.  As I recall, it was about 8 am in the morning.  I mention this not as a reminder for a birthday gift (I'm positive you've all already gotten my birthday gift, or at least know what you are getting me even if you haven't had time to go buy it yet.)  But I've decided that this month is all about me.

Now, I know it seems like this blog is designed to already be about me, and it is.  But I'm going to use this month to do some posts about myself- the good, the bad, and the awesome.  So get ready.

Today I got to go back to the Clarksdale office that I worked at for over a year.  Back in June, I left the Clarksdale office to move to a closer office, hoping to save commuting time and money.  That decision has turned out to be a very poor one.  Its actually almost too hard to look back upon now.  One thing I've realized this year is that I am really good at avoidance-- especially avoidance when it comes to bad decisions I've made.  When something is particularly painful to deal with, I'll just avoid any contact with it.

For example, leaving Clarksdale turned out to be a very, very bad decision.  I'm  not telling you this so you'll all feel bad for me or anything- its something I went into with my eyes mostly open and my naivety in full swing.  I honestly thought that some of the problems, of which I was aware, wouldn't be as bad as they seemed; or that I would be able to handle them better than my predecessors.  And I greatly underestimated these problems.  Part of it is that I'm too nice.  Like, I don't comprehend that people aren't nice like me- i.e., I would never treat someone that way, so I don't expect them to treat me that way.  I'm not an troublemaking person who just likes to cause problems for no reason, so I don't recognize people like that when I see them next to me.  Until they sucker punch me!

It wasn't long after leaving the Clarksdale office that I regretted my decision.  In fact, I am not sure I was fully unpacked before I was.  Unfortunately, I cannot undo that decision.  So, my defense mechanism is to avoid looking backwards so I won't be reminded of the good times!  I've basically avoided going to Clarksdale almost this entire time.  I've gone a couple times to do some work but I've avoided some of the people that I worked with because it was just to hard to see them.  In fact, it was hard to see all of these people- I loved them so very much.  Isn't that weird?  That I loved these people so much and enjoyed working with them so much than now, it was easier to NOT see them and NOT have to remember how awesome they were compared to my circumstances now?  Yeah, it is weird, but hey, its who I am!

A few weeks ago I went back to Clarksdale for a meeting and was able to see their fancy new office and able to see all the people that I loved so very much.  I was so proud for them to get to see their new office- it was something we talked about for months, nearly everyday-- we couldn't wait to get out of those trailers and into a decent office.  And they certainly deserved it.  Heck, they deserve to work in the nicest office building money can buy, but hey, we will settle for a building large enough to house us all together and a functional coke machine!

On that trip, I went to visit the people at the Chancery Clerk's office.  I had avoided seeing them before because it was just to stinking hard.  And I broke down when I got hugs from all them.  It was a bit embarrassing, but it was also so wonderful to get to see people who I loved so much.  I was just so angry at myself for choosing to leave this job with these people and hate the circumstances for being so miserable as they stand now.   

Today I went back on my own accord to the Clarksdale office and you know what?    It wasn't quite so emotional.  In fact, it was downright great.  Kinda bittersweet- in the back of my mind, during the entire day, I did ruminate on the fact that I wished this was still my job and these were still my people, but I had such a good time seeing everyone and being back, I didn't let it bother me.  In fact, I am trying to focus that good energy into a better strategy to deal with the bad energy elsewhere.

Since earlier in the week it was CSEO Appreciation Day, the Supervisor (my sweet friend Ginni) brought everyone pizza and even though it wasn't Attorney Appreciation Day, she graciously allowed me to eat some (FYI, Pacific Veggie Pizza from Dominoes on thin crust is fantastic.  Not sure what differentiates Pacific Veggies from, say, Atlantic Veggies, but still really good).  I got to see nearly everyone I worked with, we laughed and had a great time and I even was able to get a fair amount of work done.  At the end of the day, I went to the Chancery Clerk's office and enjoyed seeing them as well.  As I walked out, right before 5, I thought how great it was to be back in a place where people actually like me, in fact, like me a lot.  It did my heart good.

This job, especially this past year, has been a learning experience in a huge way- probably as much as, if not more than, any other job I've ever had.  Sometimes I'm done with all this learning junk-- its too hard, you know?  I'm tired of being stressed out by my job, give me a job as gas station attendant or something.  But then, I have a day like today and I remember that, even if I'm struggling now, there was a time when I was surrounded by some great people and made some great memories.  And today was again one of those days. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

9 out of 10 ain't bad... unless its 9th place out of 10...

Most people who know me know I'm in to trivia.  You might say I'm one of "those people".  Yep, I'm totally one of those people.  I like trivia.  I think I've blogged about it before, and I'll probably mention it again.  I sorta fell into a trivia group at Hey Joe's not long after I moved to Cleveland- almost 2 years ago! Its a funny story.  I was being trained by a fellow DHS attorney, Ann Marie.  Her husband, Brady, is the food services manager at the Clarksdale hospital.  Since we were training in Clarksdale, we went over there for lunch one day and Brady brought along a co-worker named Rebecca who was a recent transport from Texas to Cleveland.  She mentioned that one way she'd made some friends was through trivia and invited me to go.  Naturally, I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever heard of and really, really wanted to go and make some friends.  So, I played it cool and was all like, "yeah, baby, whatever," Danny Zuko- style. 

But secretly, I was so excited when a few days later when she messaged me about going.  It just so happened that that particular week, the trivia crew had decided to take a field trip to Vince's in Leland for trivia and skip Hey Joe's that week.  I rode along and met some of the people who would turn out to be some of the greatest people in this area and people whom I'm glad to call my friends (they aren't the same people, natch.  Just kidding).  I hope they'd say the same about me, but in reality, they probably just tolerate me.  Doesn't matter, cause they ain't getting rid of me! Who's got the last laugh now, huh?!

At the end of the night, we all walked out to our cars and I made a joke like, "ok, guys, well, go ahead and vote to see if I'm in the group or not and let me know.  Hahaha, LOL, JK."  They were all nice enough to not laugh at me till they got in their vehicles.  I'm still waiting for the results of that vote.

The next week, Rebecca invited me again, and I went, this time to Hey Joe's.  Looking around that table, trying to keep all the names straight, I never thought that Hey Joe's trivia would turn into one of my most favorite places and events in all my time here.  I love it-- it relaxes me and I look forward to it each week. 
The first few weeks and maybe even for a couple months, I was so nervous about going- I wanted to go, I was excited to go, I wanted to be friends with these people, but I was so scared to go alone and worry about if they wanted me to come or if they just tolerated me.  There were a few times I didn't go because I talked myself out of it and at least twice where I walked in the door, got really nervous and turned around and walked back out.  Its kinda amazing to me now how worried I was.  Though I'm sure a few of those original members are reading this and saying, "wow, we wish you still felt that way and would stay home!"

Our trivia group has had some changes-- people moved away, people joined the group, people's schedules changed or their interest in trivia has waned.  Its actually a very different group of people now that it was when I started.  Luckily for me, these "trivia people" have turned into actual friends who I get to spend time with outside of trivia even if they no longer come often.  But I still love Wednesday night's at Hey Joe's. 

Our group is one of the trivia powerhouses's, if you will.  And you will, cause its MY blog!  We usually do pretty well.  The prize is a $30 gift card to Hey Joe's and we will save up our winnings and then one night decide to pay for everyone's meal.  We've done this a few times and its always a nice bonus.  There was a time where we won almost every week.  Lately, we've not been doing so hot, but our group has dwindled down to a much smaller group than it first was. 

Trivia consists of all types of categories- there is always a music category, but the other categories can range from Movie Quotes to the Oscars to Sports to Current Events to Food and Drink to US History to Literature and all sorts of places in between.  Sometimes the questions are recycled which is usually annoying, cause then you are like, "man, I remember this question.  I remember I didn't know the answer then and I STILL don't!"  You'd think we'd learn from our mistakes.  But we never do.  Its still fun though!

One of the reasons our team is so dominant is that we are pretty well rounded.  Laura Beth is all over the music, Kirk can remember almost all sports questions, Andrew and Marshall (when they come!) are good at current events, Nameless knows a lot of history, Awesome McAwesome hasn't ever missed a Broadway show-related question, John Mark knows random Americana music and sports stuff, I can handle my own in TV/movie categories, etc.  Others fill in the gaps.  Together we make a pretty good team. 

We used to be much better than we are now-- mostly due to Will.  Will's trivia dominance is matched only by his desire to win honestly (no cell phone cheating for this guy).  Unfortunately for our team, Will changed jobs about a year ago and hasn't been back since.  Till last week.  It was a small turn-out but we had a great time.  We didn't win but it was nice to just sit around with some of my favorite people and have a good time, laughing and joking about nothing in particular.  It's a great way to spend a Wednesday night!!

Katy and Nameless, who is again Faceless.  I'm beginning to think he doesn't want to be on this blog.  I bet he purposely turned his face!

8 out of 10 isn't bad.  Unfortunately, it wasn't good enough to win this time!

Will and Awesome McA laughing.  Probably over a dead baby joke. 

Keep Cleveland Boring is the local events group that keeps Cleveland fun.  They handle concerts, movie nights, special events, festivals, etc.  I bought this sticker for Nicholas. 

And remember Rebecca?  The girl who originally invited me to trivia?  She came like twice more and never returned! But I appreciate her introducing me to Hey Joe's trivia! 

Too Much Family Fun Gives Me a Headache...

Just kidding, guys, too much family fun never gives me a headache.  It actually gives me a migrane and an ulcer.  Never just a simple headache. 

Actually, thats not entirely true.  I do love my family.  Sometimes I even like them as well.  As a friend once commented, "Aww, I always forget that you actually LIKE spending time with your family.  Thats so sweet." 

However, lately, we've had all sorts of family fun because my sweet sister is getting married!  Sweet Betsy is marrying sweet (and incredibly patient, understanding, and forgiving) Peter.  So, twice now this year, I've packed up the Sweetest Girl Parker and we've headed to Nashville for some fancy parties.  The first time, in February, Nick rode along as well.  Which made Parker a bit cranky.  She likes to be able to move about the car and sit where she desires and having Nicholas sit in one of her spots was annoying.  I think he felt the same way about her. 

The party was a Tool Party for Peter given by some friends of the Smith family and it was a lot of fun.  I didn't take any pictures, so I have no actual proof that I went (though I did watch them open presents, which is more than I can say for one of my siblings.)  But, after the party, Nick and I headed home but first, we had to stop at a fun little coffee shop to get Nick a fix.  He's always looking for the cool, hipster-y places to go and, as cool, hipster-y places go, this one was a lot of fun- Hot and Cold.  Cleverly named for its one stop shop for coffee and ice cream, it was a pretty fun place.  These are the only pictures I took of the entire weekend! 

Nicholas checking out the ice cream offerings. 

At first I was really offended at someone offering to grab me, but once Nick told me that Paleta is ice cream, I calmed down.  Kids these days-- fancy names for everything.  Next thing you know, we'll be using phones without cords and owning flying cars. 

My salted caramel paleta and Nick's some type of regular old, boring, no fancy named ice cream.  What a loser.  Right after this picture, he took a photo of his own, and gave it an instagram filter.  We are so cool its not even funny. 

 The second time I went to Nashville, I did better about taking pictures, as I always learn from my mistakes.  I went back to Nashville this past weekend for Betsy's "Girl's Shower" that was No Boys Allowed and was the type of fun, frilly, cool shower my sister deserves and her friends excel at giving. 

Now let me go on record as saying that one of the best things about the Carr-Smith wedding might be that I've gotten to be closer to Betsy's friends.  Mostly because we are stuck sitting around bridal shops, debating out ecru v. mother of pearl white lace to go on the bottom of the sleeve, or making faces at the bride when she brings up, for the 47th time, the color of the toothpicks to be placed on the food table, or running interference when the Bride and the MOB (Mother of the Bride) get in a knock down, drag out fight over the invitations.  Anyway, the other Bridesmaids and I have really bonded.  Sort of like how people in a hostage situation bond with each other, or how survivors of a horrific bus crash still get together annually, 20 years later or something.  Its a way to keep their humanity and survive in a terrible situation.  Like a wedding. 

But seriously, I've really enjoyed getting to know these girls a lot better.  And, more importantly, they are very glad to have gotten to know me.  They are a lot of fun and I'm pretty sure I'm one of their favorite people.  I know I'm their favorite member of the Carr family.  Which isn't saying much.  I know this cause we talk about it all the time.  In front of Betsy.  Its awesome. 

One of the things I didn't know about them was how stinking cute their house is!  Two of the girls live together with a third roommate and that was the setting for Betsy's "Girl's Shower" this weekend.  And let me tell you, it is a great house.  Super cute, and fun, just like those girls!  Oh, to be a fun and beautiful twenty-something living in Nashville like these girls are (not just the two that live in that house-- all Betsy's friends are fun and gorgeous and sweet and smart!  A good group!). 

Here are some pictures of the shower.  The first couple are just random ones of the cute house- they don't even begin to showcase how cute it is in person, but I wanted to share them anyway. 

You cannot really tell from this picture, but the base of this lamp is a turtle shell.  I don't know where they got it but its super fun!

The foyer greeted us with a fresh drink and, more importantly to me and my Aunt Ju who were STARVING, some M&Ms!

Betsy opening her presents.  Or giving the MOB a weird look, you pick.  Hanging off the mantle is a burlap "Mr. and Mrs." banner made by Betsy's roommate/Bridesmaid Lauren.  All these girls are good at crafy stuff like that, though I forgot to ask Lauren how much it would be to make a "Parker loves Jessica" banner.  Note to self: Do that next time.

At first I thought I just did a really poor job of taking these people's pictures, but then I looked closer and remembered this picture was actually taken because of Charles- the cute dog in Kristina's lap.  I've never met Charles before, but I liked him a lot.  It wasn't just his classy red sweater that was very apropro for a snowy day in Nashville, but it was his cool, calm and collected demeanor.  And then I found out that apprently Charles is a bit high strung, maybe, around people, so he was given some medicine to keep him calm.  Which accounted for his half-drunken walks around the room, his eyeballs rolling back into his head and his relaxed smile while sitting in his mom's lap.  It was so cute!  I love Charles- he's like the coolest stoner dog ever!!

From left to Right: Krisina's mom (and rumored decorator of the house), MOB, AOB (Aunt of the Bride Aunt Ju), Heidi (the coolest Delta girl I know), Betsy (yeah, she's cool too.  I guess.), Mrs. Jane Smith (MOG and the nicest person in Nashville- always makes you feel welcome and like she's actually glad to see you!), Ms. Carmen (Daniel's mom- he's a groomsman), Danielle Smith (Furture Sister-in-Law of Betsy and mom to the best dressed kid in Central Tennessee), Kristina (bridesmaid and mom to Charles), Lauren (Bridesmaid/Roommate/Maker of this yummy crab dip I adored), Amenah (Move over, Betsy, I want A to be my bestie!), and Amanda (also lives in the cute house)
*Blogger's note-- I took this picture in my fancy Panorama Mode which is why Amenah's head look like its missing a large part and Amanda's arm is freakishly broken.  They don't normally look like that. 

That's an "S" for "Sissy", right, Betsy?  Or for "Sweetest Girl, Parker"

A not very good photo of me wearing a bow in my hair.  But I felt it was impotant for me to prove I was there and if you can't laugh at yourself wearing a silly bow in your hair for no reason, then what good is life, really?  I picked up this habit from my friend Rebekah who always wore all gift bows in her hair for any gift-giving occassion- Christmas, birthday, Flag Day, etc. 

Here's Aunt Ju fixing her hair or something.  We took like 5 of these pictures and this was the only one where she was actually looking at the camera.  I've been working with her about pictures, so maybe next time I can get her to smile. 

And finally, after the shower was over, we drove less than a block down the road and saw this house.  What?  Don't recognize it?  That's a shame cause it means you probably aren't watching the awesome show Nashville!  Its Deacon's house!  And, little known fact, the house right next door is the house Scarlett lives in on the show! 

My weekend in Nashville is over and I'm safely back in Cleveland for the time being.  But I'm proud of my little sister and how good her choices have been (on the other hand, Peter, we need to talk) and how happy she is.  She's a good sister and she deserves to be happy!  Also, I was able to steal back a candle she "borrowed" from me months ago, so I'm feeling generous.