Monday, April 8, 2013

Crazy, Lazy Days of Spring...

Sunday was a perfect lazy day.  I went to Sunday School at FBC, Cleveland, and had a wonderful lesson by my fantastic teacher (and reader of this blog- Shout Out!) (and former neighbor-- she's a multi-hyphenate if I've ever seen one-- neighbor/writer/teacher/friend/parent/all-around-cool-person).  Then I came home, laid in Meghann's new hammock on the porch and enjoyed my book. 

While I read, Parker and Atticus alternated between running around in the yard and running back to me, just to check and see if I was still around.  They did a lot of playing and had a lot of fun. 

I was reading the 10th of December by George Saunders. It was for "book club" (read: Me, Julianne, another co-worker,and Nameless eating dinner at the Mexican) this month. I chose it- its a book of short stories. I've not really read any short stories since college, and this was a really good book. I bought it a few weeks ago at Turnrow Books in Greenwood, which is my new favorite place in the Delta. I'd already chose it for Book Club when I saw a signed copy at Turnrow. I quickly snatched up the last signed copy, and then, just as quickly, placed it back down when the helpful clerk pointed out that it wasn't actually signed, but must have been misplaced. Luckily, he did have one more book that was actually signed, so I bought it. I appreciate his attention to detail because I can just imagine, over cheese dip and chips, bragging about my signed copy, to which Namless or Julianne would then point out the lack of signature, and I would just feel stupid. I might even scribble something on the first page just to avoid looking like a chucklehead. Just kidding!

I finished reading the book Sunday afternoon, and some of the stories, I scribbled notes or underlined particularly moving passages. I do this sometimes in my books, and I think it adds to the book. I love reading books that other people recommend to me-- they are sharing a part of themselves with me, and, they also cared enough to think of me and consider that I might be interested in that book. I believe it shows a lot about a person. I especially appreciate when I can read other people's notes or highlighted areas-- I love wondering what made this sentence or this thought so interesting to the person (whether it be the person I borrowed the book from or the previous owner, unbeknownst to me). Perhaps its a sentence that hit home to them based on a recent event or heartache. Maybe its a phrase they didn't understand. It might even be they were taking notes for a book report. Who knows. But its interesting thoughts like that which come to mind as I read.

I offered to let Nameless and Julianne borrow my copy so they wouldn't have to buy it (being an avid reader can be expensive!). Julianne had already bought a copy for her Kindle, but Nameless took me up on the offer. He saw me reading it one day, pen in hand, before I'd given it to him, and he expressed shock that I was writing in a book. A hard-back book. A signed copy of a hard-back book. It was like I'd just told him Santa Claus wasn't real. I felt really bad, and did a double-take-- am I the only one who writes in books? Is it bad to write in a book? Is it bad to write in a signed copy? Is it worse to write in a signed copy than a regular copy? I'm feeling a lot of guilt about this and I immediately ceased my note taking and underlining. I almost withdrew my offer to let him borrow the book, I was so confused and conflicted. So, does anyone else out there write in books? Think I'm terrible for what I've done? Have read this book and think its wonderful?

After I finished my reading, I went to a friend's CABi clothes party, then handbells, and then I came home and cooked dinner.  I watched some of the Bible and then hit the sack.  I went to bed, surrounded with these cute little guys-- Atticus is right beside me, Parker is in the middle, by my feet, and Mr. McCarty is to the right, barely able to be seen.  It was a wonderful day!

Friday, April 5, 2013


Some fun days are anticipated, prepared for, and awaited.  Others just turn out fun without you even realizing.

Yesterday was one of those days.  I had a boring court hearing yesteday which turned out to be a 2 hour waste of my time.  I kept kicking myself for forgetting to bring my book while I was waiting.  Kicking myself turned out to be a poor idea as I just looked stupid, and also hurt my leg where I was trying to kick. 

I headed on back to the office, ready for the day to be OVER, angry that I'd wasted a ton of time and had nothing to show for it.  At one point, while waiting in the courtroom, I went into Nameless's office and asked if he had anything I could read.  He suggested one of the law books or law journals he had on the shelf.  I felt angry and confused.  First, angry because what kind of person didn't have SOMETHING enjoyable in their office to read- a magazine, a newspaper, a book.  Something.  And second off, confused because- has he ever met me?  Would I want to read those law journals?  On my own?  I felt like he was a stranger to me. 

Last night was Art in the Alley- a Cleveland-type Farmer's Market.  Originally planned in the alleyway beside Mosquito Burrito downtown, it was moved indoors because of rain.  They had live music and food, vendors with pottery, art work, photographs, etc.  They even had a ping pong table which I passed by forlorn as I could get no one to play with me.  Obviously, they were still remembering the night I dominated in skeetball. 

I bought a beautiful photograph of the Delta sunset from one guy and oohed and aahed over lots of other stuff.  I also bought my brother a (SPOILER ALERT) "Keep Cleveland Boring" t-shirt as they were on sale. 

These were my two friends who were with me:

They look fun, right?   Better in the second picture than the first, but still- they are good people.  My people.  We had another fun night, hanging out at Mosquito Burrito, talking until it was late.  Well, we thought it was late, but it was really only 7:30.  After a trip to Wal-Mart where I racked up on the $5.00 CD bin (Allman Brothers, Destiny's Child, Willie Nelson and Paula Abdul!), I headed home, the chorus of "Opposites Attract" still ringing in my head. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I'm just talking here, we're just talking here...

Friday was my day off.  It was also Good Friday, so lots of people had the day off, but it was my normal, every-other-Friday-day-off.  I'd planned to do nothing but snuggle with Parker (read: chase after Parker, begging her to snuggle with me) and read my latest book (The Twelve by Justin Cronin). 

So when Awesome asked me to go car shopping with him on Friday, my day changed entirely.  I've car shopped before.  I brought my current Nissan Altima a few years ago, right after law school.   And it was a terrible, stressful experience.  I started looking before school got out my third year of law school.  My friend Nathan and I test drove some vehicles in Oxford.  Some people like car shopping; I do not.  I hated it.  I had severe stress about driving a vehicle that wasn't mine, and worrying about getting into a wreck or not driving carefully enough.  Making such a huge purchase gave me nightmares and I was scared I'd make the wrong decision.  I even tried to get Nathan to test drive the cars for me.  I also had no idea what to look for, what to ask the salesperson about, and how to negotiate cost.  Prior to this, my experience with automobile sales involved heading down the street to Killens Chevrolet in Newton and checking with Mr. Mark or Mrs. Jan.  If I ever buy another vehicle, I'm heading back down there.  I'm serious. 

After a while of driving vehicles and not knowing anything about any vehicle, I pretty much gave up that summer.  I didn't know what I wanted or what I didn't want, what color, what type anything.  I knew I wanted a sunroof and heated seats.  Thats the extent of my concern. 

A few weeks later, while in Jackson studying for the bar exam, I spent the night with the Lodens.  That night I was telling them about my car troubles, and Jeremy, who is literally the most patient person I know (for putting up with his wife's crazy college friend who randomly comes by a lot!), says that he was doing a commercial for a car lot at work that day and he saw a car I might be interested in.  A 2006 red Altima.  So the next day, Karen and I checked it out.  I drove around the block one time (my nervousness about test driving a vehicle was ramped up 10x since I was now driving in the middle of Jackson) and bought the car.  I hope to NEVER have to go through that experience again.  Or I hope that, when I do, someone will take pity on me and find me a vehicle themselves. 

I'm TERRIBLE with cars.  Like, really, really, really bad.  I can barely remember what color car someone drives and determining the make and model is beyond me.  Like, I'm not even sure the difference between a make and a model.  ??? I don't know?  Why are their two?  Does one mean the year it was made?  Why don't they say that?  Its one of my friends favorite games to play, "Jessica, what kind of car does your sister Betsy drive?" "Um, a light colored, maybe champagne, or gold, like shiny, small car.  Like a Lexus? Or maybe a Mazda?  Its like a regular car, not a big car.  A Lexus?  But its not new.  Its a few years old. Yes, maybe a Totoya Lexus.  That is my final answer." 

Wrong.  Mazda. 

"What kind of car does Shannon drive?"  "A gold car with a sunroof?  An Altima? I don't know.  Maybe a Mazda or a Dodge?  I'm not sure." 

Even writing this, I can see Shannon's law school car in my mind and do not know what type it is at all.  So on the way to look for a new vehicle for Awesome, we played this game with our friends in Cleveland.  I was able to correctly name only one of the Gang's vehicles, Laura Beth's.  Why?  Because she has a Jeep Cherokee, which was the type I had before the Altima.  And I LOVED it!  Hers is white, though, and I failed to even come close to what year it might be.  I didn't correctly guess anyone else's beyond "Marshall drives, like an SUV? A dark color." or "Will has a big truck.  That's new. "  The closest I came was to Meghanns- I correctly guessed both kind (SUV) and the color (blue).  The same car I park next to every single day.  Still don't know what type of SUV it is. 

On the way, I asked Awesome what he was looking for in a vehicle.  Like me, he felt it was important to have a lot of cup holders and a sunroof would be awesome.  Unlike me, he had actually put thought into this and wanted a large backseat that folded down and some fancy engine or something stuff.  I don't know. I asked him about colors and he said he didn't really care for that champagne color, but other than that, he didn't care. 

We headed down to Greenville where we met probably the worst car salesman in the Delta.  Richard.  Richard was wearing a navy, orange and white shell necklace to match his orange polo shirt and navy windbreaker.  Beyond his fashion savvy, he failed to sell a vehicle or even convince us to go a test drive, despite Awesome's interest in a 2011 Rav-4. 

(Blogger's Note:  Don't be too impressed with my knowledge of the vehicles we looked at Friday.  On the way home, I quizzed Awesome, knowing, at some point, someone would ask me what type of vehicle Josh looked at or bought.  And I wanted to be prepared.)

Down the road, we met DeWitt.  DeWitt allowed us to test drive the car, and then ordered us to pull over in a scenic parking lot beside a nice dumpster so we could look under the hood.  It crossed my mind that he might be a serial killer, but ultimately, we just "talked" with DeWitt and decided not to pursue the 2011 Equinox. 

Feeling unfulfilled, we headed back to Cleveland, without a new vehicle, but with vague promises to get in touch with DeWitt when Awesome was ready.  On the way back, we discussed more car-related stuff.  I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point, Shelia (the name for Awesome's truck), decided she was sick of hearing about being traded in for a newer model and she decided to show us a thing or to.  She got overheated and the engine started smoking. 

Awesome and I handle things differently.  I would have 1. Probably not noticed. 2. When I did notice, keep driving.  3.  Call my dad and ask him what to do.  4. If he didn't answer, call one of my guy friends and ask them what to do. 5.  Gotten to Cleveland and driven up to some garage and asked them what to do. 

Instead, Awesome coasted into the gas station in Shaw where he bought some fancy bottled water and poured it into some little open cap under the hood.  Then we went across the street and bought some more water and some oil and poured those into their respective open caps.  And when I say we, I mean him.  I stood there laughing and taking pictures for the benefit of my readers:

Eventually Shelia was finished with her water drinking and we decided it was safe to get back on the road.  Which is a good thing, I'm not sure how long we would have lasted hanging out in Shaw without a vehicle. 

We got to Cleveland and coasted into Kossman's Motors where we were just going to "look".  We walked around for a minute, and I went back to the car to get an umbrella since it started raining.  In the time I was gone, Awesome had decided to buy a car!  It was a car just like the one we test drove in Greenville, but less miles, a sunroof and navigation control.  Also a fancy rearview camera.  Awesome made me take a picture for prosterity.  I was taking the picture anyway, I didn't need him to tell me!

Here it is (and look, its CHAMPAGNE color!)

In a less fun part of the day, I got to drive Shelia back to his house.  I got to follow the nice, fancy new car, in the old, smoking truck.  A truck that was super angry already about being replaced.  Also a truck that is about 7 feet longer than my car, akin to driving a tank.  I'm just glad I didn't hit anything on the way. 

Betsy called me while we were waiting to sign the papers and when I told her what I was doing, she asked what kind of car he was buying.  I didn't even have to think.  A Chevy Equinox.  And she said, "I'm so proud of you for knowing what kind of car it was!"  I was proud too!

We celebrated by meeting our friends Will, Katy, Laura Beth and John Mark (we like friends with 4 letter names or double names) for Mexican food.  It was a good Friday!

Karma Sue...

Karma is real, y'all.  And I'm glad too.  With all the bad karma I've gotten lately through my job from other people, its nice to know that they will someday step in a mud puddle or break a nail and feel my wrath and retribution for what they've put me through. 

But, sometimes karma is positive.

I keep a stash of snacks and lunches and stuff in my office drawer.  I'm often tempted to go get lunch because its so easier but its much more expensive.  So I'm trying to be healthier and cheaper and "bring" my lunch to work.  However, that never works since I never seem to remember to get the lunch from the fridge before I leave in the morning.  To remedy this, in part, I've gone to the grocery store and bought a bunch of food to keep in my office.  I'm sure the mice will love this idea. 

I also keep a bunch of random candy and chocolate in my drawer.  It might be hard to believe, but I'm not a huge chocolate fan.  I like chocolate, I really do.  I've never eaten a piece of chocolate and been like, "man, that was terrible, I totally wish I hadn't done that.  Bad decision."  At least not taste-wise. 

But I don't crave chocolate like many people, especially women do.  I don't even crave sweets that much.  Occassionally I'll be in the mood for ice cream, and I have eaten plenty of desserts, but its mostly like, "oh its in front of me, and it looks ok, I'll have a few bites."  Most of my family loves sweets-- Aunt Ju, Mom, Em and Betsy are from the "just a little something sweet after dinner" camp.  They learned this honestly from my Granddaddy.  I'm not like that.  In fact, I rarely want dessert after dinner.  I'd prefer the taste of the last dinner bite to linger, rather than covering it up with something sweet.  And if I do eat some dessert, I always look for one last bite of bread or vegetable to get rid of that sweet taste. 

As such, candy and chocolate tends to stay a long time in my possession.  Easter candy is usually still around by Halloween and Halloween candy is never gone before my Christmas stocking is full of more candy.  NOT that I'd prefer not to get the candy (Take note, Mom!).  I still want it, just in case.  But I freely give it away, the different between that and, say, a nice piece of garlic bread.  You'd have to be super important to me to get a bite of my garlic bread.  In fact, you'd have to be super important to me AND actually starving before I'd give you a bite.  And only as a last resort.  And only if you were really laying on the guilt. 

A few weeks ago, Nameless came to my office for a work project and I was quite embarassed by my office's lack of guest accomodations.  Not only did we have to move a bulky chair around so he could see the computer, but I didn't even have a cup to put some water in when he was thirsty.  As opposed to his office which is always stocked full of snacks, fruit, water and cokes.  Plus all the coffee fixings you can imagine.  (Blogger's Note:  His well-stocked office is NOT on account of him.  He does not shop for these things nor does he even realize the important of a homey, inviting office.  This is all his boss. A female boss, naturall. He does, thankfully, generously bring me some of those drinks when I haven't had my caffeine in the morning and I am stuck in court.)

So, when he said he was hungry, I was delighted to be able to offer a large bag of M & M's.  A Christmas bag, to be exact.  He ate a bunch and the bag has sat, three-quarters empty, in my drawer, since then. 

Yesterday, a co-worker, Sharlet, asked if I had any chocolate.  I freely gave her the leftover bag and told her to eat it all.  She didn't eat it all, but she got her fill and returned it to me later.  No sweat off my bag.  In fact, I was glad to be able to help. 

And today, karma rewarded my kindness.  Sharlet brought me, as a thank you, a handful of Starbursts. 

It was at that point I realized, I LOVE Starbursts.  You would have thought I was a kid in a, well, a candy store.  A candy store filled with Starbursts!  So life gave me chocolate and I turned it into Starbursts!  Which is a really good trade, in my opinion!  Just imagine what life would give me if I'd given up some garlic bread.  We shall never know.  Cause I am NEVER giving it up.   

Digging to China...

Parker is my best girl.  I love her.  She's like a furry, little white part of my heart.  With a stubborn streak and an attitude for miles.  But I honestly could not love her more.  She's a weird bird, though.  Like night before last, she slept the entire night underneath my bed.  I searched and searched for her before I went to bed and couldn't find her anywhere.  I finally closed my door (to keep out Mr. McCarty the Cat) and figured when she wanted in, she'd let me know.  I laid down to watch my nightly NCIS episode and heard her sigh.  Underneath where my head was.  Which, while it is weird, is also really sweet.  She was lying right underneath me.  So sweet. 

Parker doesn't take well to change.  Neither do I.  Its why we get along so well.  When something changes in my life- a new job, new home, new friend, losing an old friend, any type of adjustment- it takes me a long time to accept it and feel comfortable.  Its why I mourn so much when a friend moves away, or takes a new job that will change their schedule. I want everything to stay the same. Its why I worried myself sick when I moved from the Clarksdale job to the Cleveland job-- same exact job responsibilities, but different people and different procedures.  Unknown.  While I love my living situation, I still haven't driven down Victoria Avenue past my old house since I moved-- its too hard to see and be forced to reflect on the changes in my life.  Don't like them.

Similarly, Parker doesn't do well with change from her daily schedule.  Which usually varies from playing with Atticus, napping, ignoring me when I try to get her to snuggle or go outside, playing with Mr. McCarty, going outside for Meghann as soon as she mentions "door", napping, sniffing, getting her nest built, napping and snuggling. 

But lately, she's not adjusted to change very well.  I rearranged my room yesterday and she has refused to jump on the bed since I did it.  Something she could absolutely do before I rearranged my bed.  The same bed.  I did not raise it at all.  It is the same bed but now she refuses to jump on it or jump on the small stool I keep for her and Atticus to help them get on the bed.  Instead, she "pretend" jumps which means she jumps about one inch off the floor.  She does this over and over and over and over until finally I get annoyed and reach down and pick her up.  But when I try to pick her up, she walks away to another side of the bed, and forces me to get off the bed, walk around the bed and pick her little butt up.  Because she is trying to tell me that she doesn't like the new placement of the furniture.   Very judgmental.

Normally, when I am getting ready in the morning, she lays on the bed and watches me.  When its time to put my makeup on, I sit on the bed and she comes and snuggles with me while I get pretty.  Its our thing.  This morning, I couldn't find her.  I finally found her.  In the closet, on top of a pile of dirty clothes.  She stayed there all morning while I puttered around.  Its apparently her new "place".  Whenever things change, she finds a new place or a new routine and sticks to it for a while.  This under-the-bed thing is something she's done before.  Sometimes, she's raring to go outside in the morning- she will stand on top of me until I get up.  She'll do this for weeks.  Then, for weeks at a time, she won't go outside in the morning unless I literally pick her up and take her out.  She's found solace in the laundry room, in my closet, in the bathtub, under couches and bed, behind pillows, on top of shoes.  She'll make that her spot for a few days and then move on. 

Whenever we go home for the weekend, she acts all weird, refuses to eat or go outside, etc.  Even though she's been at that house before.  She still acts all weird for the first day or so.  She doesn't like change, even if its the type of change that lets you go home and be with your family for a few days.  Or maybe she's rebeling-- her way of saying she's tired of hanging out with the family and prefers to go back to Cleveland.  That is a definite possibility!

The other night, my knees were hurting really badly and I got home from work, exhausted and sat down to chat with Meghann.  Its our thing-- we spend a lot of time going different ways, doing different things, and sometimes we will go days without seeing each other very much, or even at all.  Last week was one of those weeks.  Its always nice when we get a chance to talk and catch up about things.  This was one of those nights.  I was glad to see her and wasn't going anywhere.  Mostly because my knees hurt so badly I didn't think I could get up, but also because I missed her!

The dogs had been outside for a while since it was finally decent weather after a lot of rain.  Meghann goes to let them inside and Atticus comes in.  And then Parker.  With mud all the way up her legs.  I was devastated- I didn't have the energy to give that bratty girl a bath.  Luckily, I have the best roommate I could ask for.  Meghann offered to wash off her feet in the sink. 

 Here's Parker looking a bit guilty.  She wasn't guilty, really.  She was just sad she had to face the consequences. 

It wasn't just a little bit of mud, it was solid chunks of mud-- all in her paws and up her legs.  like coin-sized blogs of mud.  It was awful. 

Definitely a photo submission for "World's Best Roommate":

Dirty Face:

Yesterday, Meghann was off work and she worked in the yard.  She's a ... (I tried to think of a clever name for this-- a garden genuis person.  But I couldn't.  Are their garden genuises?  Garden Gnomes?  I don't know.)  Well, she's got a green thumb and the yard is looking great.  But she comes in last night and tells me that she figured out how Parker go so incredibly muddy last week.  Apparently Parker has been digging in a muddy area near the fence.  Dug up a big messy area.  Which we've now filled back up, so take that, Parker girl. 

Now Parker is no stranger to unusual behavior.  As noted above.  And she's often tried to steal out from an open gate before.  But she's never, to my knowledge, tried to dig a hole anywhere.  So I will chalk this strange behavior up to her growing adversion to change.  And not to, say, her unquenching desire to escape from me and my snuggles.