Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Main Man.

So, I'm alive. I know you were worried! But I have been ultra busy, and sometimes ultra relaxed, like during our recent Beach Trip, which I will tell you all about soon.

But at the moment, my boss (who reads this blog, so I am assuming that I am his inspiration) has decided we need a company blog.

If you are interested in Real Estate in the West Georgia/East Alabama area, check us out at

But if you just want a quick Jamiedidit fix, and I hope you do, here is MY latest article about one of the great loves of my life, other than Pete, Jason Segel, and the Incredible Hulk:

See you back here real soon!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Now, THIS is what I call crazy.

So. Let me tell you about my latest catastrophe.

I have a job. I have a good, possibly even great job. The only problem with my job is that there is no insurance. Realtors, being independent contractors, are unable to have group insurance, and there are not enough non-sales employees to warrant us having a group policy. Thus, the only medical insurance I have is a little supplemental policy from Aflac, because I have been dealing with my health from the “It’ll never happen to me” standpoint.

Recently, I rethought that attitude when my buddy Rhonda, the smartest woman in America, told me I could totally have a regular major medical policy for as much as I was paying for my craptastic supplemental policy. So I called up to my local insurance guru, who put me in touch with the agent who handles medical insurance for her office. This is where my trouble began.

As I know absolutely nothing about the insurance world, I had no idea what to ask about my coverage needs. The main two questions I had were whether maternity insurance was included (in case of an Act of God) and if my psychiatry appointments would be covered.

Here is your lesson for the day: Honesty is NOT always the best policy.

As soon as I said the word “psychiatry,” the red flags went up. The agent (Who, I might add, was nothing but helpful and I would highly recommend using her to anyone local who may read this post.)said that psychiatric appointments were generally not covered by individual policies, and if she were to find a carrier, my premiums would increase by 20% to 70%.

Twenty to Seventy percent.

TWENTY to SEVENTY percent.

So I told her to forget the mental health coverage and just run the numbers with “normal” coverage., but she was required to enter my specific diagnosis as a pre-existing condition.

Although my doctor says I have a “mild mood disorder,” there is no official diagnosis for that. My official chart reads “296.60, Bipolar I, D/O mixed unspecified.” Bipolar disorder is one of the mental health diagnosis with the “uh-oh” connotation. If somebody says they have anxiety issues, people think, “Eat a Xanax, you’ll be fine!” If you admit to having bipolar disorder, they look at you like you should be in a ward somewhere, or at the very least on heavy, heavy medication.

I am not remotely embarrassed by or ashamed of my diagnosis. I am thankful and happy that I have a very “light case” (for lack of a better term) of the disorder that can be handled with one tiny pill daily. There are horror stories about people who truly, truly suffer with Bipolar Disorder every day. One of the reasons it is so hard to get medical coverage with the disorder is the instability of many patients and the likelihood that they will harm themselves, costing the insurance company money. I am lucky in many, many ways.

However, my luck apparently ran out at the insurance counter. The agent tried to find a carrier who would accept me, and had no luck. The entire insurance community has given me the Heisman.

Let’s think about what this means:

Unless I choose to leave my very good job in this unstable economy and take a chance that I can find an employer offering group insurance, which does not have the same restrictions, I will have to pay out of pocket for any medical care I receive. Pap smears, regular visits to a GP if I get a cold, eye doctors, anything. A major procedure would, quite literally, bankrupt me. Bankrupt.

I am a college-educated, tax-paying, productive member of society with steady employment who has no insurance. Do you know who can receive medical care, including mental health benefits? People enrolled in the Medicare program. Here is a link to the government pamphlet explaining your mental health care benefits under Medicare:

Ideally, I would like for my insurance carrier to cover my once-every-three-months shrink appointment, but I could handle (because I am employed, remember?) shelling out for those visits, if I could pay a co-pay for things like the OB-GYN and the regular general physician. But I cannot even do that. All I have been thinking about lately is a long string of what if’s.

What if I got pregnant?
What if I broke my leg?
What if I were in a car accident?
What would I do?
How would I pay for it?
How would I pay for the rest of my bills?

Maybe I should quit my job…..

Friday, August 7, 2009

I had that Weekly Reader too, you know!

My name is Jamie, and I am a book-o-holic. And I’m sure most of you were already aware of that little fact. At the moment, I am completely sucked into the Kindle phenomenon. Oooh, it’s so great. I was originally of the opinion that I would never, ever, ever, ever feel the need for the Kindle. A book hoarder like me would never leave my actual paper pages for a digital screen. The whole tactile experience would be lost. The smell of a newly opened book, extinguished. Future generations would never be able to dig up a Kindle and learn about our culture. We can read the Dead Sea Scrolls, what are they going to do with a desiccated hunk of plastic?

Um. So. It turns out that I was just rationalizing to take the focus from the fact that I am cheap.

This Kindle thing is fabulous. El fabuloso. Most definitely the best gift I have ever, ever received, with the possible exception of the year Santa brought a puppy.

The first three books I bought for the kindle were:
1. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer (Yeah, yeah.)
2. Shelf Discovery by Lizzie Skurnick
3. Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

First off, mad props to Lizzie Skurnick. Skurnick has a column on called “Fine Lines” in which she re-reads old Young Adult books, and reviews them based on her adult perspective combined with her reminiscences of her teen reading. Why do I not have ideas like this????? Do you realize how many books which are, as I type, residing in a closet somewhere in my parents’ house were reviewed in this collection of essays? Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Westing Game and even Flowers in the Attic. Freaking Flowers in the Attic! I can see me right now in the seventh grade, carrying a turquoise Liz Claiborne pocketbook within which was one of the (many, many) V.C. Andrews books and a tester for Polo Sport Cologne. I don’t know which the more confusing fad was: (a) compulsory reading of terrible, poorly written, often incestuous teen literature or (b) requiring that one’s purse smelled like men’s fragrance. Did we think we were growing boyfriends in our Liz Claiborne’s?

Second off, I’m struggling with Best Friends Forever. I love Jennifer Weiner. Love her long time. I bumped into a copy of her first book, Good in Bed, years ago and have been in love ever since. But I am not in love with this book. I started reading Weiner because she writes novels generally starring big girls, which is more of a rarity than you would realize. Carrie Bradshaw and Sookie Stackhouse don’t exactly shop at Lane Bryant, you know. But I stayed because she writes books that I would enjoy reading even if they did not have the weight angle. The plots are strong. The characters feel real, and flawed, and a lot of the time they remind me of people I know, if only we were a little smarter and had more snappy dialogue. Plus I am a big fan of Jennifer Weiner’s voice when she just writes as herself. There’s a link to her blog – A Moment of Jen – over there on the right. She also writes guest posts for various sites like the Huffington Post, and she actually wrote the essay on Judy Blume’s Blubber for Skurnik’s Shelf Discovery.

So what is it about this book?

I just can’t quite figure it out. I’m almost done with it and I am hoping for a last minute pass. I think it’s partly because the heroine reminds me a bit too much of myself in certain ways. Or me in a younger, less self-assured time, perhaps. I think it might be because I just cannot justify any investment in Valerie, the “frenemy". I find myself talking to the Kindle, saying “LADY, your friend there is obviously in need of heavy psychiatric medication and quite possibly some electroshock therapy as well” but thus far it is not working. Maybe I will give you a more detailed analysis when I finish. Like I said, I have high hopes for the end.

Maybe I should make that a regular feature, like Jamiereadit Day on Jamiedidit. A-ha! Coming next month…..September Book Club selection Same Kind of Different as Me.

Although, now that I think about it, V.C. Andrews might need a re-reading.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Things Will Be Great When You're DOWNTOWN!

So. As of today, the Todd and I have been together for seven years. Granted, there was a breakup in there if you are being technical, but who likes technicality in matters of the heart? So, seven years. Wow. That’s longer than quite a few marriages I could name. We’re like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, except with much less collagen and no Academy Awards.

Did you know Goldie Hawn won a Best Supporting Actress award in 1969 for her role in Cactus Flower? From Laugh-In straight to the Oscars in one fell swoop. Now that is what I call a good career trajectory. And she gets Kurt Russell out of the bargain, and any man who voiced the lead character in a major Disney film (The Fox & the Hound’s Copper) would win my heart, too. Anyway, Kurt and Goldie have been together since 1983, so they have a good twenty-six years on the Todd and I. Let’s not look too far ahead, though, because it makes me nervous.

Last weekend, the Todd was home for the first time in three weeks and we decided to celebrate our anniversary a bit early. This was a serious, serious decision. We are, perhaps not “foodies” because that carries sort of a food snob connotation, but most definitely food lovers. You would not think our tiny little town would have much of a choice between restaurants, but you would be mistaken. Our Main Street area has five great, great little places to eat. Ou’ La La, where I recently hosted the baby shower for Nicole and Amelia, is a sweet little coffee shop with a killer dinner menu as well – often featuring the fabulous Tessa playing with Main Street Trio. C’Sons is a brand new place across from Ou’ La La. It’s all new and sparkly and the menu changes every day. And they have this fun covered porch balcony thing that makes me feel very L.A. Then, of course, our friend Tulla has not one…not two…but three restaurants, all with different specialties, all within walking distance from each other.
Tulla’s Bayou Bar & Grill is (obviously) all about spicy Louisiana food. Venucci, Pete’s favorite, is all Italian, from the Chianti to the Cannoli. Finally, The Basil Leaf, the flagship restaurant, is billed as Upscale Contemporary. I mean, really, how does one choose?

I will tell you how one chooses. One goes to the Basil Leaf on Tuesday with the fabulous Brennan Sisters to make sure your allotment of Fried Green Tomatoes with goat cheese and white wine sauce (Mmm!) is met for the week and then you try out the new place, C’Sons. (Get it? SEASONS. Ha ha!)

Y’all. You just don’t know. We both wanted to get really dressed up, but his idea of dressed up and my idea of dressed up varies a bit. Example: at Chuck the Girl’s wedding, I had to be onsite early, as I was giving a reading. So after the wedding, all the guys took off their jackets because the reception was outside. The Todd kept wearing his…buttoned…way longer than he normally would have worn it. I knew something was wrong.

“Why don’t you take your jacket off?”
-- “I don’t want to take my jacket off.”
“Why don’t you want to take your jacket off?”
-- “I just don’t want to take my jacket off.”
“Dude, it’s hot. The guys are all playing football (Note: That’s right, we played football. It was the greatest wedding ever.) and you’re sitting here all sweating.
-- “I can’t take my jacket off.”
“What are you talking about?”
-- “I sort of left my dress belt in Atlanta.”
“What do you mean you…..Oh. My. Word.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, nothing says dressed up like a belt emblazoned with the Grateful Dead bears.

So we both dressed up – somewhat equally – and went out on the town. It was great. I had Wild Mushroom Ravioli with a red pepper coulis and all sorts of yummy goodness cooked within. The Todd had the Fried Alaskan Halibut with, I think, claw crabmeat, hollandaise sauce, grits and asparagus. I hate stuff that swims, but he said it was pretty much awesome. We were seated at a low table, which was really good, as the Todd was rocking his skateboard shoes with dress pants and a tie. This is how we roll, peeps.

It was fabulous. After dinner we walked around downtown on a useless hunt for Tiramisu. Venucci makes a killer Tiramisu, but it was sadly not on the menu that night. So we settled for a stroll around the square and an ice cream cone. There was supposed to be a post-dinner showing of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, but we were just too full to watch it! We postponed Harry until Sunday and, now that I have seen it twice, I have some serious bones to pick with that screenwriter. But I will wait on that, for the moment.

All in all, it was a lovely evening, and has been a lovely seven years. And will, I hope, continue to be just as lovely, because I can think of several more restaurants that need to host our anniversary dinners.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Don't hate on the octopus.

Back in my babysitting days, I used to have pregdar. I don’t know if you have heard about pregdar, but it is a really handy superpower giving one the ability to detect pregnancy at a very early date. I could always tell when one of my families was going to increase their ranks before I was supposed to know. I don’t know what it was. It could be that pregnant people so often unconsciously touch their bellies. It could be that they have some weird extra pheromone only dogs and Jamie can smell, I don’t know.

I can tell you that the magical pregdar ability faded when I stopped babysitting on a regular basis. And I used to miss having that particular superpower. It would have been useful (and possibly even profitable) in college. Like, maybe, right after Spring Break. I could have been the Oracle of LaGrange College.

Now, however, I am only too happy to be free from the pregdar. If I still had my pregdar, that sucker would be continuously beeping. Think of a cell phone that is just before losing all battery power. You know that little “boop boop boop” that sounds every five minutes or so? That is what my life would be like with pregdar.

Everybody I know is pregnant. People had warned me. They all said as soon as the bridal showers stopped…the baby showers would begin. And they were right. In fact, I just gave my first baby shower as a hostess, for my friend Nicole and her soon-to-be-here daughter Amelia. Paisley and I hosted and it was tres chic, if I do say so myself. I even made a diaper wreath.

But that’s only the tip of the ol’ iceberg. Pregnancy is running rampant throughout my group of friends. Scads of them. Three in my book club alone! (I hear Dave Matthews singing “Don’t Drink the Water” somewhere.) In fact, just a few minutes ago I got an email from another friend who is newly pregnant and due in February, but I am not going to tell you who Mystery Preggers is. I hate it when people ruin a surprise like that, don’t you?

And I am so happy for all these friends and so excited to meet all these new little people! And of course, this means I get to discuss baby names – glorious, glorious baby names!

But, secretly…well, secretly until I decided to put it in a blog…I am a little sad. Not so much sad as raging, out-of-control, green-eyed jealous. I have become the main character in a bad Lifetime movie. The one who looks longingly at large amounts of white eyelet and gingham. Who seriously considers buying a fabulously tacky octopus dress because maybe someday……you know?

I mean how cute is this? How fun would this be? My kid would be the anti-Lilly!

I was recently pleased to find that this crazy biological clock thing is not just happening to me. A friend summed it up like this, “There used to be a time when once a month I would think, ‘Whew!’, and now I find myself thinking, ‘Damn!’” I think there is a lot of truth in that. The funny thing is that we really aren’t “allowed” to think it. For example, my friend chose to remain anonymous because she did not want her boyfriend to see her name attached to the above statement. I don’t have to worry about that, because the Todd is just about as computer literate as Fred Flintstone. I love the man, but if he could make it work he would still use a rotary telephone. He doesn’t even have an email address. (Hi, honey!)

For some reason, my friend and I and women like us – even as women in our early thirties - are not supposed to think about or talk about having children while we remain unmarried. And that extends to our respective boyfriends. The Todd and I talk about having children in the abstract….like, “Hey, honey, does the name Jemima make you think of pancake syrup?” or “Hey, Babe, if we ever have a son, will you swear you will never make him wear one of those girly looking rompers?” (Answers: No and….perhaps.) But if I went home and said, “Honey, I think it’s time we bought an ovulation kit.” the Todd would turn 17 shades of green and probably have to lie down. And that’s not even a tiny little piece of what the folks would do. They would totally forget that I am nearing middle age with a quickness. They would act as though I had been found in the back seat of a car on prom night.

In reality, I know that this is not the time for us to have a baby. Not until the Todd can keep it to, maybe, five shades of green. We’re just not ready for it practically or financially. So, Mom, when you read this, I promise I am not pregnant or planning to be so anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean I don’t long for it sometimes.

So, now I am back to trying to stifle the baby jealousy. And I think I do a pretty good job, usually. I haven’t been caught in the nursery section of Walmart in at least six weeks. And I am happy for all my pregnant friends – absolutely, incandescently, radiantly ecstatic for them. But there is always that little piece of me that really, really wants to buy tacky octopus dresses off Etsy.

Friday, June 19, 2009

He wears a lot of hats.

This here, my friends, is the man who brought me into this world.

Later, I am sure on several occasions he thought about taking me back OUT of this world, and then thought, “Oh yeah. I am the man posing with a Budweiser in my swim trunks. Must be dominant genes.”

He has not sobered with age.

When I was little, I thought he was the coolest man ever, and I will tell you why. My Uncle Jack, husband of the great and ornery Aunt Marian, owned a concrete yard, which el Padre managed. After Uncle Jack’s death in 1981, Dad sort of inherited his office, which included a wet bar, a speakerphone under the desk, a dumbwaiter to send memos back and forth from the main office below, and his chair could swivel around from the desk and look out the window.

My dad was J.R. Ewing. Just not as skinny and he never hung out with Barbara Eden.

So down from the main office, there was a little building we called the “yard office,” on top of which was a giant cooler. During the fall, one could ride up on a forklift, open the giant cooler, and choose which big honking deer to take down and have processed. Which I supposed is perhaps a little weird, but very cool to a kindergartener. At least this one.

My dad was Pa Ingalls. Except with modern day things like refrigeration.

But here’s my favorite story. One day Dad says he wants to take me to a movie, which I thought was kind of odd, because movies were usually something the five of us did together, or else something we did with Mom and one or another of our buddies. Plus, we had to go to Atlanta, which I totally did not understand. We have a perfectly good theatre here, who wants to ride an hour to see a movie? And I had to dress up.

So the next day, I went to work with Dad, and after his day finished we get in the car and head to Atlanta, where we went to the Varsity and Dad told old stories about his high school days in Atlanta and old car-hops like the illustrious Flossie Mae. I started to feel pretty important.

Then we go downtown, and the magic began. I had no idea what the Fox Theatre was! There was a 50th Anniversary release of Gone With the Wind, a movie with which I had fallen in love. (I recently rewatched it and it had lost a great deal of its former luster, which makes me kind of sad yet very progressive.) But the movie paled in comparison to the Fox Theatre.

I had never seen anything like it. It was beautiful. Even the bathrooms were beautiful. Each room we passed through was even more opulent than the last. And the ceiling….oh, that ceiling. I couldn’t even pay half attention to the movie because I had to keep an eye on the clouds passing overhead! Were those REAL clouds? Wasn’t there a roof? It looked like there was a roof from the outside, but how do they have real stars twinkling on the ceiling?

Oh, I was mesmerized. Even Scarlett and her trials and tribulations and lyin; stealin’ cheatin’ and killin’ could not compete with that theatre.

So, in addition to being J.R. Ewing and Pa Ingalls, my Dad was also Gerald O’Hara.
But he really didn’t have to be any of those people, because he’s my Dad.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is Proustian like Faustian? I hope not.

So. My Northern alter-ego, Layne over at Layne Street, tagged me in a blog survey. However, I was already halfway through this post, so since I think it covers both a post and a survey, it’s going to work for both today.

Each month, Vanity Fair uses the following questionnaire for their back page. Lest you think I am fashionable enough to read Vanity Fair, I stumbled onto this in a random series of events that began with John Cusack. Here is what Vanity Fair says:

The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. Here is the basic Proust Questionnaire.

Have I explained well enough that I did not write this? Vanity Fair wrote this? Good.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? I’m not quite sure. Pete, Disney World, a big fat novel and fried dill pickles would play a part in it, though.
2. What is your greatest fear? My credit score.
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Also my credit score. And my total lack of willpower.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Self-Importance. Not confidence, but diva-like behavior.
5. Which living person do you most admire? Is it bad that I can’t think of one? All the people popping into my head are dead. I need a new hero.
6. What is your greatest extravagance? Books. Not in monetary cost, but in time spent indulging my addiction.
7. What is your current state of mind? New York. What? You don’t like Billy Joel?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? An overabundance of virtue. You have to be a little bad to appreciate being – well- virtuous.
9. On what occasion do you lie? Okay. Sometimes, but not often, I use The Todd’s well-known aversion to parties to get out of ones I don’t want to attend.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance? Baby Sister and I have both inherited Aunt Marian’s unfortunate linebacker ribcage.
11. Which living person do you most despise? Oddly, unlike #5, I had an immediate answer…which I won’t share.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man? Staying away from the obvious….a really great vocabulary. Beat me at Scrabble and I am yours forever. The Todd reads faster than me and I find it WAY hot.
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman? A love for overanalyzation and a hint of sarcasm.
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Either “Rock my face off” or “waste of flesh” depending on my mood.
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? You would think The Todd, but you would be wrong. It’s the Incredible Hulk. First love never dies.
16. When and where were you happiest? Over this past weekend the girls and I went to Callaway Gardens to the beach. It wasn’t too hot and there were geese roaming the crowd. That was pretty stellar in itself.
17. Which talent would you most like to have? So. My friend Tessa learned how to play the cello while we were all taking piano. Tessa won much of her college tuition playing the cello. Tessa makes bank playing for weddings and symphonies. Tessa has recorded at a renowned studio, randomly sat-in with bands in Atlanta, and plays with some local bands regularly. And she loves it. Who’s teaching my kids the cello? Tessa.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Um, I would play the cello.
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement? I finished my untenably long quest for a diploma and started taking Zumba in the same year. What else do you require?
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A library book. But it would have to be a library, as opposed to a bookstore book.
21. Where would you most like to live? Hey, I have a brand spanking new diploma. I can live wherever the wind blows.
22. What is your most treasured possession? The Land of Cheese. (It’s a painting my folks had in their living room. It’s wonderfully hideous.)
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The point where misery becomes the status quo and you don’t realize there are other states of mind.
24. What is your favorite occupation? The chick who swims with the dolphins at Sea World. That would rock. Also - a children’s librarian, for one that I would actually pursue.
25. What is your most marked characteristic? Overanalyzation.
26. What do you most value in your friends? Laundry Rooms. Just kidding.
27. Who are your favorite writers? Pat Conroy and Maud Hart Lovelace. And Audrey Niffenegger.
28. Who is your hero of fiction? As a child, Betsy Ray (The Betsy-Tacy Series – Lovelace). As an adult, Clare DeTamble (The Time Traveler’s Wife – Neffenegger – and I highly, HIGHLY encourage you to read it.)
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with? Madeleine.
30. Who are your heroes in real life? Little old people at the grocery store that still hold hands and Mr. Calvin, my boss’ father.
31. What are your favorite names? How long do you have? Have we covered my love for Jemima?
32. What is it that you most dislike? Peanut Butter and granddaddy-longlegs.
33. What is your greatest regret? The amount of money I have wasted on overdraft fees in my lifetime.
34. How would you like to die? In my sleep, after having a great supper, finishing a good book, then kissing my man goodnight.
35. What is your motto? Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8) Also – “What goes around comes around” because my mama said so.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Three Stories, One Post.

How do you say “collegiate” in South Asian?

Remember me? I know….I’ve been a slacker. But it’s not without good reason. I have become (drumroll) a college graduate, after a long 12-year trek to a degree. Yes, slack, thy name is Jamie. What can I say? I just like to work, not school.

People have been congratulating me about the whole graduation thing, which really sort of makes me uncomfortable. (Unless there is cash gift involved. Those are always welcome.) I took SO LONG to finally get in gear and finish school that I really just wanted it to be a non-event. Example? I had the school mail me my diploma so that I didn’t have to walk. So I was pretty relieved to run into a buddy downtown last week and have him just lay it on the line. He asked what I had been doing, I said graduating, and he said…

“Well, hell, you’ve been going since Vietnam!”

Why I don’t cut hair.

We have previously discussed my inability to fix hair. I have long, vaguely straight hair. It has three styles: down, ponytail, and bun-with-pencil. Today I have a barrette on either side a la Natalie from The Facts of Life and I thought I was branching out.

Why then, you ask, did I think I could groom my dog? Because (Bachelor’s Degree notwithstanding) I am a fool. As is my boyfriend. The Todd has started shaving his head because he is, in his words, “follically challenged.” So he’s been living vicariously through Trey, our three-legged mutt. On the side of Trey’s missing leg, he (obviously) can’t scratch himself, and he gets sort of dreaded. Not dreaded as in “fear of the Dread Pirate Roberts” but dreaded as in “Dreaded Reggae legend Bob Marley.” The Todd thinks the dreads are cute and refuses to let me cut them.

We live in GA. It’s hot. The dog has DREADLOCKS. He is miserable. So miserable, in fact, that I come home and find he has chewed off what I am told was the “best” dread. I had reached the limit. I went to the magical place that is Wally World and purchased an entire deluxe pet grooming kit. Heavy duty. Some sort of carbon steel. And a DVD to show me how all this was going to go down.

If you ever find yourself in this type of predicament, let me advise you to do what I say, not what I do, and watch the DVD.

I thought I could just put a guard and the blade and go to town. Not such a good idea, it turns out. Trey is usually (except for the dreadlocks and missing leg) a silky, fluffy, pretty sort of dog. Now he looks like he has the mange. I wish I had a picture.

Blogger Etiquette.

So last week we had dinner for Angie’s “Dirty Thirty” birthday, and I got myself into a pickle. I never think I am going to see the people who write the blogs I read. Even though I live in Mayberry, GA and everyone knows everyone else. Even though I stumbled onto this particular blog through the blog of a MUTUAL FRIEND.

I love photography blogs. LOVE them. Especially the more modern ideas on wedding and baby and family photography that are common today. Growing up, everyone I knew was pretty much just the Olin Mills and Church Directory photo type, so I love that all these little families now are getting professional photo shoots done. Maybe when Trey’s mangey look grows out, The Todd and I should think about some family pictures.

Anyhow, there’s this lady in town who has a photography blog. It’s called Linden Tree Photography and she’s really great and there’s a link to her site over on the right hand side of the page. So after the Dirty Thirty dinner, we were all standing outside and I saw the Linden Tree Photography lady and her husband walking towards us and I totally stopped her and was all, “I love your blog” and went on and on as if she was Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb. Pretty sure I looked like a freak. But if I ever have a photo shoot to do, she’s my top pick. So, sorry, Linden Tree Lady, if I offended you.

Have you ever had someone stop you and mention your blog? Does it freak you out (or did it freak you out when you were first writing) when you realized that people you didn’t know or didn’t think would see it were reading it?

My boss called me not too long ago at the office and asked me the address of my blog. (He’s read it. Luckily, I don’t have a boss I have to censor for. Much.) So I gave it to him, and then asked why. He was giving it to a friend of his…..who happens to be the company’s lawyer. I still haven’t figured out if he was passing it to the lawyer for some enjoyable reading or making sure I wasn’t going to get the company in any trouble.

Oh well, if he says anything mean about it, I’ll offer to cut his dog’s hair.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I'll tell my Mama on you.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Mamas lately. Not just because this weekend is Mother’s Day, but just because Mamas have been everywhere this year in my world. And not always in a nice, happy, sunshine and lollypops way either.

I have a couple of friends who lost their mothers over the past year. One suddenly, at an advanced age. One at a younger age, but after a very lengthy fight with pancreatic cancer. Both of these women humble me with the strength they have shown in getting through, well, not having a Mama anymore. I don’t know how I would handle that and I realize it’s a part of life for which I am woefully unequipped. However, it makes me so thankful that I don’t have to go through such a loss now, and hopefully for many, many years. So I will be thinking of them this weekend, as they will be thinking of their precious Mamas who will not be here for Mother’s Day.

Another of my very close friends became a mother last month, and then lost her son two short weeks later. And this will be her first Mother’s Day, yet she will be without her child. I wish I was eloquent enough to write something comforting and profound, but this girl does not have the words. So I will be thinking of my friend this weekend also, even though I don’t have any words to offer her.

And then there is the ever expanding group of women I know who will be celebrating EXPECTANT Mother’s Day, including a cousin I dearly love. I think being a mommy-to-be on Mother’s Day must be just indescribable. You’re already a mother, but all of the “reality mommy” stuff is ahead of you and I think the anticipation of knowing that next year you’ll have a baby on Mother’s Day would almost be too much for me to bear. I don’t see how people can just go about their daily lives and not explode with excitement. So I will be thinking of these ladies too, as they prepare to bring these new little people into the world for me to cuddle and read to and spoil.

And me? What will I be doing? I will be hanging out with my wonderful Mommy, who is wonderfully witty, intensely protective and unfailingly supportive. The woman who taught me how to swim and how not to drive. The woman who introduced me not only to unicorns and the Betsy-Tacy series, but also to the value of a good cup of coffee and a cigarette. The one, the only, my Mama.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Rolling with the Holies.

So, I’ve been going to church. I even have The Todd going to church. Granted, he says he’s going for the IHOP meal we have with our folks (we all go together, like the Ingalls) after church, but I think he secretly enjoys it. I know for some of you church has always been a common occurrence, but this has not always been the deal around these parts.

As a small child, the fam was Methodist. I love the Methodist church for its rituals. Well, I guess they still have the same rituals…..but then it’s been over 20 years. I loved going up to the front of the church for communion – and they had communion with real bread, not those oyster crackers like the Baptists. And then we always sang the same hymn while people were walking to and from the front after their dose of grape juice. Grape juice still makes me feel all chaste and angelic. I used to get really excited when Dad would be an usher, because they all walked down the aisle in a double line and looked very stern and important. And I really, really like the Apostle’s Creed. The Apostle’s Creed almost makes me feel holy, much like a glass of grape juice. Although, I never really got the whole part about believing in the “holy Catholic church” being a Protestant and all.

Then, as teenagers, we switched to the Baptist Church, as they had a plethora of church activities for younguns. Mission trips, weekends at various Christian camps and trips to the beach. Most of these things involve a church bus. Singing contemporary praise songs in a prison is cool and all, but I don’t think that’s the main draw. You would be amazed at the things one can do on a church bus. Things like smuggling liquor across the Mexican Border. Liquor in bottles shaped like little men in sombreros.

You may have noticed that there is no faith mentioned in either of the above scenarios. In fact, I would go so far as to say the Baptist experience nearly killed any desire to remain in the world of organized religion. Boy howdy, you have not experienced a clique until you throw God into the mix. Cattiness gets a whole new flavor when mixed with righteous indignation.

Church attendance aside, my folks have a deep, yet very personal, faith. We as children knew about God and we knew Mom & Dad had a personal relationship with him, but it wasn’t something that was discussed. Mom would give us devotionals every Christmas that remained in unopened, pristine condition on my bookshelf for several years. If you are in need of a devotional book, let me tell you, I have it covered from age 12 to 30.

Oddly enough, when I was 15, a twisty series of events ended in a job in the nursery of a brand-spanking-new nondenominational church. It was the craziest thing I had ever seen. The church was held Sunday mornings in our old downtown theatre. Oh, and it was also multicultural, which I didn’t really think made much of a difference, but seemed to be the first thing people asked about when I told them where I worked. The entire childcare section consisted of three little rooms that had once housed the theatre offices. We would often find sneaky runaway kindergarteners in the balcony. So for the next several years I spent Wednesdays at the most traditional church possible and Sundays at this crazy experimental theatre church.

So this whole time, I kept running into the same problem. Being saved. Especially at the Baptist church, the whole dunking thing was a major deal. Now, as a Methodist, I had been baptized as a baby and confirmed in the fourth grade and, to me, this made me just as much of a Grade-A member of the God Squad as anybody else. Apparently this was not so, as I heard my youth minister talking to one of our Disciple Now leaders that he was worried about my soul. (See: Baptist Church and ruining one’s faith in organized religion) And these leaders kept telling us these stories about how they were stuck in the pit of despair due to (insert alcoholism, addiction, partying, depression, etc.) and they were on a rooftop screaming at God and all of a sudden this feeling of peace came over them and their life immediately changed. That’s a true story I heard at that Disciple Now session.

Dude, I must be missing out. Where was my awesome raging at God moment? I wanted a burning bush or something. But at the same time, I also felt very strongly that I was just as saved as they were.

And then I went to college and like many people drifted away from the church. I would think about going back to the church, but there were so many points to ponder. The rest of my family was still technically Baptist, and there was obviously no way in Hell (Get it? No way in Hell?) I would attend a service there ever again. Being soulless and un-dunked and pretty much lost and in the arms of the enemy and all, you know. I was technically Methodist, but that’s a pretty fancy church and I am a pretty casual person. God might not care what you look like but I was betting the Methodists might. And I didn’t really know anything about any other denominations. So for years I just quit thinking about it.

But then I remembered the little theatre church.

By this time, fifteen years later, the little theatre church was a big huge church. They even had a big pond…with ducks. Those three little office rooms had morphed from a nursery to two floors of full-fledged Sunday School classes. The church band had expanded from just a piano to an entire stage full of congregation members with a drum set, bongos, acoustic and electrical guitars, saxophone and flute. It was wild.

So I took a seat (With Mom, because I don’t even eat at McDonald’s alone, much less go in a whole room of people and pick a seat by myself. I knew there was a meet & greet coming and I didn’t want to be the “alone” person.) and sat back to see what God had to say. There was a preacher I was unfamiliar with and – y’all – he was incredible. I had never heard a sermon like that. He wasn’t dry and stiff. He didn’t hint that without a large donation I was headed for fire and brimstone. He didn’t make me feel that I would one day hear him tell someone he was worried about my soul. It was applicable! It was heartening! By golly, it was uplifting!

And, in all seriousness, as I have kept going, it’s made me want to do more, to be more. I finally opened those devotional books on my shelf. In fact, I open them every morning and every evening. And I have been surprised at the difference it has made in my life. I found my faith.

I mean, it’s not a burning bush….but I think I might be okay without one.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I kind of like Jethro.

Sometimes, I think the Internet is a sick, sick thing that the devil has put here to suck up my brainpower. Like Wikipedia. Wikipedia is like crack for me. It’s the world’s longest game of “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Last week I watched Love Actually (for the 427th time) and looked up Emma Thompson in Wikipedia to see what other roles were listed. Before I knew it I had gotten mired in an entry dealing with the divide between church and state. No kidding.

So I have been trying to curb the wiki-ing, but other brain sucking diversions have sprung up to take its place. Have y’all seen One of my preggers buddies, Nicole, is having a girl and we (well, okay, just ME) have been fascinated with Nymbler. Check it out.

I like baby names. I am obsessed with baby names. I could discuss baby names for hours. Days, perhaps. I am not remotely ashamed that I have a collection of baby name books dating back to when I was 13. I was very upset at the original name of my Cabbage Patch kid and sent in the adoption certificate to have it changed from Heidi to Carla, after a character in the 80’s cartoon Kidd Video. If you remember Kidd Video, you are my new best friend because even Baby Brother could only muster up a vague recollection.

Oddly enough, this obsession does not extend to actual babies, just their names.

(Dear friends: This does not mean I don’t like your babies. I love your babies. I just don’t love them with a sick and freaky obsession, for which you should be relieved.)

As you can imagine, this tends to drive my friends (all of whom seem to be pregnant right now) batty. Especially when I break out the baby name rules…..which, let me explain, are only MY rules. You choose your names as you wish, more power to you. You want to name your kid Bronx Mowgli, Ashlee Simpson, float your own boat. Maybe he can grow up and hang out with Kal-El Cage and Pilot Inspektor Lee. (Then again, if Jason Lee wanted to have babies with me, I would let him name them Inspektor Gadget, if only he would get rid of that Earl mustache.)

Who named your baby? Jamiedidit.
1. No nickname names. Call her Katie. But make the birth certificate say Katherine. Unless, of course, there is a tradition of some sort.
2. If you fight over a family name, whoever pops the kid out first wins.
3. Last name-first names are great. I think this is because NOBODY will ever be able to use my last name as a first name and I am jealous of the rest of you.
4. Nicknames (as long as you have a regular name for formal use) are even better. Baby Sister has a rocking nickname, and I am way jealous. There is nothing one can do with Jamie except amend it to James. I have a great-aunt named Winifred, which is way up there on the list of World’s Most Hideous Names, but the nickname she has is so rockstar awesome that I will most likely use it one day, and therefore will not tell you people about it.
5. British names are great. In the UK you can use the name Jemima (LOVE Jemima) and they think Beatrix Potter’s Puddle-Duck, not Pancake Syrup. For that matter, you can use Beatrix!
6. (The Golden Rule) Spell it conventionally, people. Let me tell you, I spent the first half of my life hoping there would be stuff with “Jamie” preprinted on it at tacky Florida souvenir shops, and it never happened. There was always JAIME, but no JAMIE. So I know you think all those funky Kaitlyn, Katelin, Caytlan, etc. spellings are cute, but then your kid will never get any fun personalized stuff because nobody will be able to spell her name.

Oh, and Nicole? Decided on “Amelia Claire.” Very classy, very perfect. I think I will call her Millie.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Here I come, Dancing with the Stars!

I have this mental list of things I absolutely refuse to do. Things like this random sample: skydive, return to Mexico, watch Old Yeller, ever attempt post-graduate studies and...go to the gym. One of these things has been removed from the list.

I went to the gym.

Exercise and I do not play well together. I never even had the “Get in Shape, Girl” playset. My only real attempt at any sort of athletic pursuit was a hellish couple of seasons in girls’ softball. My wonderful and equally daydreaming friend Amanda and I often split the position of catcher, and argued over who would remain in the dugout. But then I hit a pop-up into my own eye and was allowed to gracefully retire from my team.

I take that back……I also took dance lessons for years. Tap and jazz at the CEA with Miss Julia Hope and later Miss Jennie. I can work a step-ball-change and I can shuffle off to Buffalo, but the jazz skills are lacking. I did, at one time, join the junior jazz group of a different local dance/gymnastics center. For one sweet, shining moment I was a Tumbletown All-Star. And then I singlehandedly ruined our chances to win the Kiwanis Kapers due to my complete inability to perform the Bobby Brown. (Or the Roger Rabbit, whichever you prefer.) "Pump Up the Jam" still gives me a panic attack.

So, you see, physical prowess is not my strong suit.

Angie & Dr. Brenton are trying to change that. Angie is on this health kick, which I am really not excited about, as it removes her cube steak from my diet for the forseeable future. And she makes really good cube steak, with home-made mashed potatoes and everything.

So Angie starts talking about how she’s so excited about starting this thing called Zumba, and I thought she was playing bridge or something. I was so confused. I think I got it mixed up with Mah Jongg and I couldn’t figure out how that was at all healthy, because I thought it was some game named for the Chinese word for gossip.

Turns out Zumba is Latin dance aerobics. And Angie loves it. She loves it so much she’s already talking about starting Pilates, too. But her enthusiasm won me over, and I went to my first Zumba class this past Saturday.

I had this image in my head of becoming like a Southern Jane Fonda crossed with Salma Hayek, but I think I came out of the class a little more like Charo. But I finished it, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared.

Maybe next week I can work my way up to being Suzanne Somers.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Welcome to April!

Time to redecorate around here! Baby Sister spent the day Saturday helping me tweak my home decor, so today the blog gets the same treatment! Maybe tomorrow you'll get a real post.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I should do infomercials.

My Aunt Marian, doyenne of Poplar Creek, she of the 57 china patterns, is unsurprisingly very strict about her personal beauty regimen. Powder, mascara and lipstick, that’s it. But, it has to be from Estee Lauder. All Estee Lauder, all the time. Rosa Rosa for subdued events and a flashy fuchsia (I want to say it was Azalea Pink, but I am not sure.) just for general fabulousness. Ooh, boy, I just thought that bright hot pink lipstick was the most grown-up, sophisticated thing EVER when I was a kid. No matter that she had to put it on before entering and just after leaving ANYWHERE.

Come to think of it, this may have something to do with my need for dark lipstick. No, not fuchsia….I do dark, not bright. Plus, at the moment I am into this color I get at Walgreen’s which is from some el cheapo brand, but it’s called “Metallic Seduction” and makes me feel very old Hollywood every time I put it on. You know, every time I enter or leave anywhere. Oh, dear.

Somewhere around 75 or 80, when she finally started to wrinkle, AM jumped on the Estee moisturizer bandwagon. No more Oil of Olay for that girl! So, now she is an addict, and gets a little panicked when the supply is running low. Mom got the call from AM yesterday for the moisturizer run, for her first time. See, what you have to understand is that we don’t do expensive makeup. (See above on Walgreen’s.) I do have mad love for Clinique, because of my long affair with Black Honey Almost Lipstick that began when it swept the halls of Gardner Newman Middle School. But after one splurge on a $40 tub of Superdefense Anti-Aging Moisturizer (What can I say? I had just turned 30 and had a fistful of Christmas Bonus cash.) I forced myself to tone it back to Revlon. Which sucked, because that Superdefense rocked my newly tightened pores off.

Mom calls me and is astounded that she just paid $58 for the face lotion. ASTOUNDED. And it was the small size, so I’m pretty sure AM reamed her when Mom delivered the package, because the last time I made the face lotion trip, she had to have the big dog $115 version.

And, of course, there was the ever-popular free gift. This is where I have a bone to pick with Estee. Probably her own bone, because if she’s not dead that anti-aging line should be WAY more emphasized. It might even be worth the $115.

Estee, Estee, Estee. You need to drag your ass out of that grave, honey, because you have left your company in the hands of some reprobates.

I might not BUY expensive makeup, but I will rock a free gift like it’s nobody’s business, and Baby Sister and I have always been the beneficiaries of AM’s free gifts. We ESPECIALLY love your free gifts, because of 2 things: More than Mascara and that fun brown shimmery lipstick that ALWAYS appears in free gifts. You know, with that horrid Rosewood color that nobody (meaning me) looks good in?

Estee, I have to tell you, your folks are slipping. There was no fun brown shimmery lipstick! There wasn’t even any crappy Rosewood…….just a vile hot pink, although I am sure AM is enjoying that part. And – horror upon horror – what is this madness about taking away my beloved More than Mascara and substituting Projectionist? I call foul. At least you left the rocking awesome brush in there. I will not totally write you off until you take away that brush. Y’all can tell me all you want to about curved or contoured or tiny fancy mascara brushes. Nothing in the world will beat a travel size Estee brush. Holler if you hear me, ladies.

However, I was willing to forgive this because you included some fancy schmancy SPF 15 lotion. Which I mistakenly assumed would resemble my beloved Clinique Superdefense. I mean, you rich chick cosmetic moguls are all the same, right?

Let me tell you, Estee, I got out of the shower this morning, snatched on a robe, and ran…ran, I tell you, to try out my new face stuff. I dipped out a nice size daub and spread it on my newly washed cheeks. And do you know what my first thought was, Estee?

“My face smells like a perm!”

That’s right. I don’t know who is scenting your products these days, but you made my face smell like a bad day at Regis. When you sit down to eat your Mall Food Court Chick-Fil-A and you get a whiff of some banana-clipped hairdresser named Wanda (no offense, Wandas of the World) giving a permanent wave next to the Claire’s tennybopper outlet and that nasty funk stink ruins your meal.

Thanks, you nasty little minx. Next time I go free gift, I’m scoping out Elizabeth Arden. Take THAT.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why should Snow White get all the love?

I don’t have kids. My family is full of late procreators….and quite a few non-procreators as well, come to think of it. Grandmama was almost 40 when she had Dad in 1947. Dad held out until he was 30 until I was born. My cousin Billy was pushing 40 when he and his (rockstar awesome) wife Amanda had Jack. So I figure there’s no hurry, eh?

Instead of my own kids, I have quite a collection of other peoples’ kids who I dearly love. Years of babysitting will do that to you. Of course, a few of the older kids have now married and two even have their OWN children now. I’m only 31. I don’t know if I was the world’s youngest babysitter or if they just are early breeders.

Most of “my” kids are late-high-school /early-college age now, and I get a kick out of seeing who is cheering and who is playing baseball and who chooses to go where for college….and of course all the girls get a recommendation for Phi Mu if they Rush. And I love them all.

But today I’m giving a big, fat, bloggy hug to the One, the Only, my girl MaryLiz.

MaryLiz has been my best girl since I ran into her Mom (one of my former teachers) at the park when they were on a playdate along with her brother, Zach. I broke out the ol’ Mary Poppins umbrella and moved into their world. And much fun was had. MUCH fun. Swimming lessons, dance classes, soccer practices, boy scouts, birthday parties………oh, and Harry Potter. We are all about some Harry Potter.

Somehow, and I’m still not really sure how this happened, Zach has gotten halfway through college and ML is about to graduate from high school.

And I am still driving the same car. But anyway…..

ML told me not too long ago that she had earned the part of Carabosse in the local ballet production of Sleeping Beauty – probably in large part due to all the dance classes to which I drove her! (Just kidding, doll.) So I told her I would most definitely be there to watch.

So the Todd and I put on our grown-up panties and went to the ballet last Sunday afternoon.

Sidenote: One of the things I really enjoy about my little hometown is the importance we place on the arts. For a town of our size, we have a very influential little artistic community. We have two museums, a local ballet company, a local symphony and multiple choral groups. And that’s just under the aegis of the local society of the performing arts. There are also extremely well-executed programs coming from the local high schools, churches and the college. We are lucky, lucky folks.

Y’all. When ML just tossed out “Yeah, I’m dancing Carabosse.” I just figured it was just some role. Some average, everyday role. It turns out I should actually study up on my fairy tales rather than assume Walt Disney is checking his facts.

Because Carabosse? Yeah, that’s MALEFICIENT. My baby girl had the big, bad, villain role. You know what that means? She got the rocking costume too. Everybody else looked like Easter Peeps and ML was swooping all around them like Stevie Nicks with point shoes and a crown. It was very black and purple and veil-ish. She spun delightfully.

So props to my wonderful, beautiful girl. She was splendid. I was so proud of her I cried. The Todd was so impressed that he said…..well, he said a word that caused the lady in front of us to turn around and give us the fisheye.

So, Mary Liz, you were fabulous. I love you, beautiful girl!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Just call me Miss Piggy

You know, love comes in many different forms.

My first loves were all green: The Incredible Hulk, Kermit, and this giant statue of a green knight that stood in front of a bar in Destin Florida in the late 70's & early 80’s.

No kidding.

I think I somewhere misconstrued "a knight in shining armor." And NO, our parents never took us INTO the bar… had a little crappy shop attached to it where we bought kites. Gaaah, people.

Later, there was Kirk Cameron, OF COURSE.

Then came the general string of crushes and involvements with various heartbreakers who really existed and that I actually knew. And now I have The Todd.

However, I am thinking of leaving the Todd, striking out for LA and falling madly in love with Jason Segel. I just think he’s precious, and pretty cute, to boot – even when he played the slightly gross friend of Seth Rogen in Knocked Up. In fact, it kind of freaks me out that I found him even the slightest bit attractive in that role, but it explains a lot about a lot of those heartbreakers I mentioned.

However, my Jason Segel love really has come to fruition thanks to a bit of trivia about “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” No, NOT the naked breakup scene. The Muppets. In the movie, there’s this whole thing about the main character (Segel) and his quest to write a vampire Muppet musical. And I thought, “Hmm. I could get into that. Like a musical about the Count from Sesame Street.” And then I promptly forgot about it…until I watched the commentary stuff.

It turns out that the whole vampire puppet bit is in the movie because Jason Segel….the real person, not his character….had the dream of staging a vampire Muppet musical! Now THAT, my friends, is a man after my own heart.

So I was poking around the Internet today, trying to find a clip of the vampre bit to cheer up Chuck the Girl, and I stumbled onto some fabulous news…..Jason Segel is bringing back the Muppets. (That stands for Cinematic Happenings Under Development. I know, it got me, too.) interviewed my future main man about the film: “Hopefully it will fall right in the pantheon of The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Muppet Movie. You know, we're trying to make one of those.”

He says they even have a cameo for
Charles Grodin. Every time I used to see Grodin on his political show, all I could think of were his wretched dealings with Miss Piggy over the Baseball Diamond. They got you in the end, Nicky Holliday.

So I sat down and weighed out Jason Segel vs. the Todd with a Pro/Con list. And it was running pretty neck-and-neck until I saw this clip, in which I found out that Segel and Neil Patrick Harris randomly break out into duets from Les Miserables when they are bored on the set of How I Met Your Mother.

Muppets AND Les Mis? The Todd is Toast.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Homer Simpson, Take Notice.

Baby Sister says I write about food too much. This is probably a correct statement, but I am a foodie, what can I say. If she had a blog, it would be about her unlimited series of Projects of the Week. Baby Sister is the poor man’s Martha Stewart. Well, technically the poor man’s Martha Stewart is Rachael Ray, so I guess Lulu is the ghetto welfare version of Martha Stewart. Since Christmas she has totally redecorated her living room. And although some of it was through purchased items, she also:

1. Painted some canvases.
2. Sewed this rocking set of curtains which are royal blue toile bordered with sage green stripes. I realize that this sounds pretty wonky, but it looks very fresh and classy.
3. Decoupaged (Is that a word) some end tables and a bookshelf.

Her apartment looks so cute, you have no idea. Yay, Lulu.

Anyhow, back to food. I don’t care what Baby Sister says, sometimes you see something, and people need to be warned. I saw this picture on a site called “
This is Why You're Fat.”

Looks like those little Edy’s Dibs things right? Everything else on TIWYF is just disgusting and/or pretty much an instant death. Chicken fried bacon dipped in chocolate, anyone? So I was confused as to why Dibs had made the list.

Then I read the caption. Y’all. That is fried Coca-Cola. Now, I will fry just about anything. Fried pickles, onion rings, cube steak. If you can batter it, I’ll eat it, which explains so much about my closet. But this fried dessert thing I just can’t get behind. Have you seen this stuff? Fried candy bars, deep fried Oreos. That’s even more disgusting than the sick & twisted fad of dipping French fries into Frosties. But FRIED COCA-COLA?

A vendor named Gonzales at the Texas State Fair, home of the Corn Dog, was the lucky inventor of this delightfully disgusting delicacy. (Alliteration is fun.) Here is the official description I took from some AP story……” Gonzales deep-fries Coca-Cola-flavored batter. He then drizzles Coke fountain syrup on it. The fried Coke is topped with whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry.”

They were voted second in a food competition at the Texas state fair. I have never been to Great State of Texas, although I have cousins who live there. I am going to have to inquire about the local delicacies around those parts. I think I will stick to frying pickles and tomatoes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Love and/or Marriage.

So, Valentine’s weekend was lovely. We got some great take-out, grabbed some movies (see below) and had a nice, romantic time at home. Which I felt was totally perfect until I logged on to the Internet today. The first thing I read this morning was a post on Ashley’s Closet about the auctioning off of Michael Jackson’s belongings. I think Neverland Ranch was up for foreclosure at one point, I’m not sure. So, anyhow…….check out what he’s got up for sale!

The Todd got off so easy. Had I known this bad-boy was on the market take out and movies would NOT have cut it. Do you know how much fun this would be? I would have my own personal Zoltar the Magnificent, like that kid in Big who turned into Tom Hanks. In all seriousness, if the Todd came home and said “Hey, Babe….I found $2,000 laying in a puddle. Would you rather have an engagement ring or a life-size fortune teller arcade thing?” the answer would not involve a white dress and a caterer. Y’all would be lined up out my door to hear your future for $1 apiece.

Back in the real world, one of the movies we checked out this weekend was “Fireproof.” And I was really excited to see it, because everyone I know has raved about it. Plus, it has Kirk Cameron, who (as I am sure you know) left the secular world of acting after “Growing Pains” and only does Christian films now. In return for this, God has kept him from aging since 1984. I heard somewhere that the kiss at the end of the movie was filmed in profile because Kirk does not kiss any of his co-stars out of respect for his wife, so they shot it in silhouette so he could really kiss his wife. Now I thought that was pretty awesome, because every time I watch Grey’s I wonder how Patrick Dempsey’s wife stands it. Anyhow, I’m not so sure what I think about the movie, and it’s been percolating in my brain. For those of you who have not seen the film, it’s about marriage as a lifetime commitment, and learning to make it “fireproof.” One of the characters defines this as: “Fireproof doesn't mean the fire will never come. It means when the fire comes that you will be able to withstand it.”

I think that’s a wonderful idea, and I totally back the idea of the film. My church is doing the 40-day Love Dare program talked about in the film as a small group right now, which I also think is cool. But I don’t understand where the line is on this. In the movie, the couple had grown apart – pretty fiercely, because at one point ol’ Mike Seaver had me worried he was going to cross over the physical abuse line – but they were able to rebuild their marriage and even improve it, as both of them came to know the Lord. But what happens if there IS physical abuse involved? What about infidelity? Is there a line?

But I guess the film was not written to split hairs as I am doing here. The message was that marriage is not taken seriously these days, and that people who marry should respect that it should be a lifetime commitment. I wholly support their line of thinking.

I think the reason the film struck me is (insert music cue for introspective pondering) that marriage has been on my mind a lot these days. I’ve been getting a lot of “So…when do you think you and the Todd will get married” type of questions, which naturally pile up around Christmas and Valentine’s Day and any gift-giving holiday. This line of questioning sucks harder the older we get, as neither the Todd nor I have any inclination to tie the knot and it gets increasingly hard for people to uinderstand that. But, as I have now passed 30, I spent some time recently examining the issue, and I have found two substantial reasons to get hitched:

Reason #1
My Aunt Marian (who you either have heard or will hear much about) is now in the nursing home full-time and we are trying to get rid of her house. AM has no children. Her last name is Davis. The Todd’s last name is Daniel. This puts a nearly inconceivable amount of stuff with a “D” monogram up for grabs, as none of my female cousins have been smart enough to marry anyone with a matching initial. I mean, we would totally have a full set of anything one can use for entertaining. Except for that we don’t entertain.

Reason #2
People who are married get to use three names on facebook rather than two. I have feelings of inadequacy about my name length.

Let’s ask the expert…..

Zoltar the Magnificent, are monogramming and facebook enough reasons to tether yourself to anyone (no matter how rocking awesome) for eternity?

Zoltar says “My sources say no.”

Whew. I feel better now.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cupid, Draw Back your Bow....

Check this out: Every day runs a “Today’s Pictures” feature with photos on a daily theme. With Valentine’s Day being this weekend, today’s theme is K-I-S-S-I-N-G, and it’s way cute. This is the opening photo…..(CREDIT: This is obviously not my photo. It was taken by someone from Magnum Photos and I took it from Slate.)

Valentine’s Day gives me a complex. When I was single, I thought actually having someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with would make everything automatically perfect. Oooohhhh, but no. First off, I hate planning things, which is an odd thing for a former event planner to say. It’s not really that I hate to plan things; I really LIKE to plan things….as long as they are not MY things. As far as I go, I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. The Todd is also a non planner. The only thing he plans ahead of time is a concert. The only thing I plan ahead of time is the release of certain books and/or movies. (Bring it, Harry Potter. July 17th is just around the corner.) What this results in is a serious lack of plans. “We’ll just see what comes up…” often ends in “not a damn thing.” Thus, when I DO plan something, I go all Martha-Stewart on acid and want to make everything picture perfect. There is no possible way for reality to reach half of where my expectations set themselves.

Example: I once planned a picnic for us to go to Callaway Gardens. I borrowed Baby Sister’s huge picnic basket and filled it with things like pate. Do either of us eat pate? Dude. I don’t even eat ketchup.

So you see how Valentine’s Day is problematic for crazy over-the-top Jamie. THIS year, we are getting a TV as our present to each other, but I still want to do SOMETHING. And of course it can’t be just dinner or a movie. Oh, what to do that is both original and fits into our tiny Dave Ramsey budget. (I know you’re thinking “She knows Dave Ramsey and she’s buying a TV?” But what you do not know is that said TV is a used 27” for $100. Dave would SO approve.) So I have to think of something fun.

One unnamed person called me yesterday to ask if I thought it would be sweet or stupid for her to send her man on a scavenger hunt around town winding up at her house for dinner. I told her I thought it was great. Then she called me to ask which new lingerie she should buy. Somebody is getting a GOOD Valentine! I pondered doing something like that for a minute and then realized that if I handed Pete a scavenger hunt clues, he would look at me like, “No, Beavis. Really. Let’s just go grab some steaks.” And as far as lingerie? Girlfriend was grabbing satin and lace, and that just does not work in my world. Pete’s all about the two Lauras…..Ingalls and Ashley. His freak-o grandpa taste used to irritate me, but now I think this is awesome. I can look like I walked out of Sense & Sensibility for the rest of my life, and Pete will think I’m dressing for him. Two birds, one stone.

So now I don’t know what we’ll do. I think this evening I will break out the old Southern Born & Bread cookbook and figure out something fairly easy (and romantic) to cook. Any ideas? Do y’all still go all out for Valentine’s? Are you one of those people who thinks it’s a “greeting card holiday” and don’t celebrate? Do you include people other than your honey? Once, when Chuck the Girl and I were living together, we both found ourselves single as Valentine’s Day rolled around. And on the day itself, one of our good guy friends brought us each a rose. I've always thought that was the sweetest gesture, and it’s always stuck with me, and I know it has with Chuck, too. So there you go, folks. If you can’t figure out what to do for the holiday, go make someone else’s holiday special!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Who made her own blog background and header?

Jamie-freaking-didit, that's who. You may not think this is much of an accomplishment, but you would be sadly mistaken.

So, perhaps later I will actually write a post, but for now you can just feast your eyes upon all the fancy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Junkies aren't that funny.

So normally I try to be all snarky on my little site here, but I’m about to go serious on y’all. Just a warning.

The VH1 marathon has long been one of my greatest loves. I will watch the most ridiculous, pointless drivel ever produced simply because I can get a whole season in one day. Half an episode of Flava Flav and my whole day is shot. I now harbor illicit feelings for “Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker” and his sexy accent. Thanks, America’s Next Top Model.

In an effort to take back my weekends, I have been avoiding Vh1 like the plague. (Although, are they doing the World Series of Pop Culture any time soon? I want to enter a team called “Lisa Frank and the Rainbows.”) However, I have stumbled across what I think is valid documentary footage hiding between Bret Michaels and Chachi.

My new show,
Sober House, is a continuation of Celebrity Rehab, which I never watched. Dr. Drew, who I have loved ever since he did Lovelines with Adam Corolla, is the host. (OOOH – I just looked Dr. Drew up on Wikipedia, and he won 40 gallons of Sunny D and a year’s supply of Turtle Wax on Wheel of Fortune in 1984. There’s your fun fact for the day.) Sober House takes graduates of the Celebrity Rehab and provides them with a place to live as they ease back into sober living. Hence the title.

I didn’t watch Celebrity Rehab because I really thought it was, well, tacky (for lack of a better word) of VH1 to exploit addicts for my viewing pleasure. And possibly detrimental to the health of the cast. This way lies Danny Bonaduce, you know. But now that I have come across Sober House, it’s the most gripping thing I’ve ever seen, and I think if more people would watch it, the anti-drug movement could learn a few things.

Jamie’s Soapbox A: Sober living itself is a topic not often covered in the mass media. Rehab is covered, and covered, and covered some more. In fact, I think rehab has become a topic most people just tune out, it’s become a joke because so many celebrities (as well as “regular” people) walk through various treatment centers as if they had revolving doors. I think part of the reason treatment works for so few people is the absence of focus on sober living. The massive task of attaining sobriety in a rehabilitative facility is so easily ruined upon completion of the program because the patient often winds up trying to fit his new sobriety into his old life, old job, old friends, etc. Part of the last Sober House episode followed the cast members as they attempted to go clubbing in LA while sober. And they were just LONGING to get wasted. It was a constant temptation for them, and I’m not sure some of them didn’t have a few drinks, at least. Imagine how much harder it would have been for them without having the safety and the structure of the Sober House as a return destination. That’s a recipe for disaster. I think many addicts would have a better chance at recovery given the intermediate step provided by VH1 for the Sober House cast members.

Jamie’s Soapbox B: The Sober House folks are not playing around. They aren’t editing for censors. Well, I mean, they probably ARE editing for censors, but that only means there is some truly unbelievable stuff going on behind the camera, because the events they are showing are pretty harsh. The second focus of last week’s episode was Steven Adler, who I think was actually kicked out of Guns ‘N Roses for drug abuse. Do you realize how solidly blitzed you would have to be to have AXL ROSE kick you out the door? Axl Rose??? Adler not only showed up at the Sober House high and was found with drugs on his person, he then snuck in some more dope and proceeded to get trashed, resulting in an arrest. Adler was beyond trashed. He was obliterated. He was rude, belligerent, and wholly out of his mind. I think the Drug Free advertising folks need to be in on this. I think the reality of what you look like when you are obliterated is much more likely to push people away from the line or the needle than a kitschy ad campaign. There’s a commercial running against cigarettes right now with a cowboy singing “No you don’t always die from tobacco” through his Stephen Hawking fake-voice box. Has this made me put down the Camel Lights? No. I think much of the addict population feels the same way as the infamous “this is your brain…this is your brain on drugs…..any questions?” ad campaign from several years ago, and all the ones that followed it. The way to keep people from becoming junkies is not to make a sly ad poking as much fun at the situation as it does preach about it. The way to keep people from becoming addicts is to make them realize that this is what being an addict is: (I got this from VH1)

Your brain on drugs is not a frying pan and an egg. Your brain on drugs is Steven Adler.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A lil' survey action.

When I started this blog, I had the thought in my head that I wouldn’t do these surveys, because I am hopelessly addicted to them and I was afraid this would become one long list of blog surveys. However, Simple Yet Classic has tagged me, as one of her new blog followers, so I think it might be okay….this one time! Here we go:

Step 1: respond and rework—answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own.

Step 2: tag—eight other un-tagged people.

1. What were you doing and who were you with at 9:59 PM on Friday night?
-- Sick, sick, sick. Probably laying on my couch reading and watching a Grey’s rerun while mainlining Nyquil.

2. What is the last thing you read/are currently reading?
-- Why is everyone reading Twilight? Apparently I am the only person not to really like it. I hoped it was going to be Harry Potter for Vampires, but instead, I thought I had picked up a Halloween themed Sweet Valley High book. At the moment, I am reading the
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon for the 43,000th time. And I can tell you now that if you look them up on Amazon, you are going to think I am absolutely insane. There is no way to describe the series without making it sound like a cheese-fest, but it is not. Just take my word for it. They have been through my entire office, and we were fighting over who would get the next installment first.

3. Do you nap a lot?
-- Nope. It gives me a headache, and it drives me insane that the Todd will take a nap given the slightest chance.

4. Who was the last person you hugged?
-- Ew. I was sick all weekend. I can’t remember the last person I hugged, but if I could I would make them pay me back for all the Nyquil and Orange Juice I drank over the weekend thanks to the funk they gave me.

5. What is your current obsession/addiction?
-- Digital scrapbooking. It’s a sickness. Right now I am in mourning because all the designers who post freebies on their sites are slowly realizing they can sell them instead.

6. What is your first childhood memory?
-- Going with mom to the OBGYN’s when she was preggers with Baby Brother. Not the gross part, just being at the Dr.’s office.

7. What websites do you always visit when you go online?
-- Facebook, Blogger, and our company website.

8. What was the last item you bought?
-- Nyquil, natch.

9. What is your secret guilty pleasure movie?
Peggy Sue Got Married. Don’t laugh. You would be amazed at the folks in that movie who later became very, very famous. Check that link.

10. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished- anywhere in the world, where would it be?
-- I was just reading something about Maine the other day. The coast of Maine. So this week, I would live in a restored lighthouse on the coast of Maine. Much like the family in
Pete’s Dragon.

11. Favorite Vacation spot?
-- Walt Disney World. I would go to Walt Disney World as often as the Todd takes naps if it were possible. In fact, forget the Maine coast. Can I live in Cinderella’s castle? Because that would be sweet.

12. Say something to the person who tagged you:
-- Simple Yet Classic: Can’t wait until those letters start appearing in the Etsy shop. Everyone I know is pregnant and they’re all getting one.

13. Name one thing you just can't resist no matter how bad it is for you:
-- Camel lights.

14. What is your favorite item of clothing?
-- I had this great cream dress with a black lace overlay once upon a time when I was smaller. It was very modern flapper and I wish I could get in it again. I think I wore it to one wedding, ate a piece of wedding cake and it no longer fit.

15. What would your American Gladiator name be and why?
-- Do I have to pick a new one? I always wanted to be Lace back in the day. Can I just take her spot? It was all about Lace and Nitro.

16. Name one thing you cannot live without:
-- Books, obviously. I can’t go without reading.

17. Has a celebrity's haircut ever influenced you on your own hairstyle?
-- I did have The Rachel at one time and I loved it. There have also been several occasions when I thought I could have Lisa Rinna’s hair and was quickly reminded why it was not possible. I get serious short hair envy all the time.

18. If you could pick one ingredient in a mojito that best represents you what would it be and why?
-- Isn’t there mint in a mojito? I would be all about the mint, and then I would put it in some sweet tea.

And I am tagging all 6 of my followers, along with Brett over at The Eakin Family, because I know she’ll read this. Sooo…..
Mrs. Comerford, The Belle, Layne Street, Savannah Redtop, Tara at Waiting on the World to Change and The Reality of Happily Ever After. That way I’m only 1 short of the 8-tag goal.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

No more tears.

Two conversations from Friday night:

A – Dad calls to ask some random furniture questions, and I am crying my eyes out watching Across the Universe. Y’all. I’m sure you have heard of Across the Universe – you know, the Beatles-but-not-really movie? Trust me, if you have not yet seen it, I strenuously urge you to hit up ye olde Netflix. It’s fabulous. Anyhow, there is this scene involving the Watts Riots and the Vietnam War, and it is held together with this rocking awesome Gospel rendition of “Let It Be.” I have seen this movie 47,000 times and I cry every single time I watch it. Very cathartic, you know. Check it out:

I keep hoping my church choir (yes, we are one of "those" churches) will do this on a Sunday. No offense to Lennon/McCartney et al, but thay have been totally trumped by this interpretation. I really don't think the song should ever be performed any other way. However, Dad is not impressed, not having seen this masterful powerhouse performance, and is pretty much ridiculing my emotional distress. So I say, “Dad, you don’t get it. It’s like the kangaroo, but with people!” Dad is immediately remorseful, though chuckling.

B – The Todd calls not long after that, and I answer, still sniffling because I had to rewind the “Let It Be” scene due to el Padre’s interruption.
Pete: “What are you doing?”
Jamie: (sniff, sniff) “Watching a movie” (sniff, sob, sniff)
Pete: “Are you watching the kangaroo? BY YOURSELF?!?”

What, you ask, is the kangaroo? Only the single greatest (though, I fear, inspired by a really serious trip with the brown acid) specimen of Australian Animation ever to come out of Sydney. Dot and the Kangaroo. Cartoon characters spliced on top of actual video of the Outback? Adventures during which one rides in the pouch of a red kangaroo? A singing
platypus? What more could you ask for? By the way, not showing off or anything, but the Latin term for the platypus is Ornithorhynchus paradoxus, which I learned at the foot of the singing mammal himself. This made the letter P so much easier, you have no idea.

For those of you with children, know that I will one day show up at you house with a copy of this movie, but I warn you that it is not without its problems. First off, there is a
Bunyip. I would explain the sheer terror of the Bunyip scene, and its accompanying song, but it gives me nightmares to think about it. I am thirty-one years of age, and I will skip this scene. God bless DVD’s. Second, the crying. Oh, the crying. Obviously, kangaroos are meant to live in the wild of the Australian Outback. Pioneer children like Dot are meant to live in cabins. One cannot really change this territorial pattern. Let me just say that whole “wild animals need their freedom” discussion was lost, totally lost, on Toddler Jamie. Witness the sadness:

I am CRYING. Tears running, right now. Is that not the worst thing ever? Oh, it just rips my heart out. I think it’s the change from cartoon kangaroo to real kangaroo that does it. Sort of like an Australian
Velveteen Rabbit, if you will. As a child, I would just work myself up into a sobbing frenzy, and then beg to watch the film again, promising I would not cry if they would just rewind it. And nothing, nothing, has ever come close…….except for the Let It Be scene.

I think I will watch that again.