Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Totally pumped!

Last night, we packed up booger and headed to Pump It Up for my sweet nephew's sixth birthday party. (First of all, I can hardly believe the kid is six. SIX! Where has the time gone? He used to be such a little feller, and now he's all grown up! The worst thing is, I can already see it happening with Clay. Groan.)

I had never been to Pump It Up before, though I'd heard tales of what it was like - childhood on crack, basically. It's an indoor warehouse of inflatable games - obstacle courses, slides, moonwalks, etc. Clay was a little afraid of everything at first. There were sooo many other kids, so much to see and absorb. I think he was a bit overwhelmed. Before long, though, he was racing all over the place, bouncing balls, pointing at everything, and watching all the other kids intently. He eventually even slid down the ginormous slide with me a few times! (It was some trick carrying a 40-pound, squirming toddler up the inflated ladder, let me tell you!)

But, honestly, I think I had more fun than he did. The obstacle courses were big fun, even moreso because there were tons of six-year-olds in them. The adults took turns racing each other through there, tossing kids left and right and trying to hold on to the fastest run time. The inflatable slide was such a hoot! It reminded me a little bit of the big yellow slide at the fair, though it wasn't nearly as long and you didn't build up nearly the amount of speed.

One of Laura's friends, Jimmy, was in the inflatable basketball court with a bunch of kids, only instead of playing basketball, they were kinda playing dodgeball. Only it was every kid against Jimmy, and Jimmy against every kid. Hilarious! He was sweating like crazy (which is something, because Jimmy is in great shape), but he looked like he was having the time of his life!

At any rate, I've decided to have my next birthday party at Pump It Up. Here's the plan: We'll all go out for a martini or two, then we'll head over there. Can you imagine how trippy it would be? I think we'd have an AMAZING time. Who says it's just for kids? I was completely energized after I went, and what a workout!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Best Dishes . . .

I spent yesterday afternoon at the Jackson Coliseum, shopping, working the momslikeme.com booth, and watching Paula Deen's road show. I had a pretty fun time, though I was hoping the show would be more about cooking and less about folks in the audience.

Showed up around 2:45 p.m., loaded in a couple of things, then spent a good two hours chatting it up with all the folks there. Some people do not like working booths at crowded events. I LOVE it. With my motormouth tendencies and love for people, I'm practically made for it. I actually have a good time doing it. Soooo, we sold a bunch of T-shirts and signed up a ton more new friends to the site, and I did a little quick shopping. (They had the CUTEST little dresses up there for $20! I picked up a couple, as well as some gorgeous handmade wooden cooking utensils.)

Then we got to watch Paula Deen! Here was the deal with her live show - cooking was definitely a very minor (non-existent?) part of the presentation. Basically, Jackson's Chef Louis Bruno and Paula's husband Michael cooked in the background while Paula told funny stories and interacted with the crowd. I thought her stories were freakin' hilarious. She is a CARD.

But then she started answering alot of shout-outs from the audience, which got old fast. THEN, she did Q&A with the crowd. That part might have been interesting if anybody had had a decent question to ask. But mostly they just got in front of the microphone and talked about themselves - who they were here with, where they were from, how much they loved Paula Deen, etc. I don't understand why people turn into blithering idiots when they're propped in front of a microphone. Geez, at least TRY to make it entertaining for the rest of us.

After the show, Stace and I helped take down the booth, then we went in search of some good dinner. First, we tried Walker's, which was PACKED. Then, we tried Sal and Mookie's. Ditto. We ended up at Julep, which appeared to be full of some very old prom-goers. After asking around, we found out they were folks headed to the Barrister's Ball (aka Lawyer Prom).

Stace and I had some very good food (if you've never had the fried chicken at Julep, DO go and try it. Yummmmmm), and some even better conversation. I had missed her lately (we've both been sick and super-busy), and there are not a whole lotta people in my life that can make me laugh like she can. I don't know why, but we just seem to "get" each other. Plus, she's fun to be around AND she's a nice person. (And she totally laughed at my unintentional joke about Lawyer balls. 'Cause that's how we ROLL.) So, there you go. A little bit of Stace love for you, readers.

Tonight, it's dinner with the parents, who haven't seen us in a while, and finishing up our tax filing. (Which would suck, except we're getting a nice refund! Score!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

I love eating and laughing.

Nearly forgot to post about packing up my rag-tag band and going over to Sandi's for dinner on Sunday. I had been hearing glory tales about her hubby's brisket for months now, so I figured it was time to let him put his money where his mouth was.

And the brisket was really good. Like, super-yum. And then we all just hung out, talking and joking, while the kids puttered around and were generally hilarious. (Adeline was on FIRE. She kept making this octopus out of clay, but she couldn't find enough space to attach all eight legs. So she kept rationalizing, "Well, it's only five legs, but it LOOKS like eight. No one will ever know." I nearly died out laughing. Then, when all the legs came off, she decided he'd make just as good a "sea rock" as he did an octopus. I am not kidding. She came up with that all on her own. I love this kid.)

We met Katy the dog, who was much smaller and much more energetic than I thought she would be, and hubs let Clay run around the back yard SHOELESS, which only happened because I was paying too much attention to all the knitted finery Sandi had stashed in her closet to notice. (Suffice to say that if volcanic ash blocks out the sun, plunging the world into a premature ice age, we should all meet at Sandi's house. She's got enough scarves and hats knitted out of alpaca to see us through, I'm sure of it. And what she doesn't already have knitted, she can quickly create with the mountains of yarn that she's stockpiled. The woman has a sickness. A talent, but also a sickness.)

So that was fabulous meal number one of my week.

Then, hubs and I sneaked away to Walker's for lunch one day. I hadn't been there in a while, and I'd forgotten how great the food is. I just had a hamburger and fries, but it was the best hamburger and fries I'd had in a long while. Plus, we got to chat and laugh a bit, which is always one of the highlights of my week!

If you haven't been in a while, you'll really appreciate the decor. Everything looks shiny and updated, and they still have the nice outdoor dining area for pretty days. Prices are not cheap, but still reasonable for what you get in return, I think. I will go there more often in the future!

Shopping in the spring time

During my lunch hour today, I wandered through artsALIVE! at Smith Park in downtown Jackson. The event is an open-air fine arts and crafts festival, and I was really impressed with both the merchandise on offer and some of the rock-bottom prices.

The weather was lovely. I soaked up the sunshine and the live music (there was a string quartet) as I perused the merchandise. Plus, the azaleas and dogwood in the park were in full bloom, so I was able to enjoy that bit of spring as well. They were selling food at the event, but having just shoveled in a bowl of shrimp and crawfish pasta at tye's (good food, slow service for today's visit), I wasn't hungry. (Though I did buy some brownie bites at the bake sale table. Ooops.)

There was plenty of handmade jewelry for sale, but what really interested me were some of the home decor items. There were some gorgeous prints and painting selling for what I thought were very reasonable amounts. I was strong, though, until I came to Johanna Massingale's booth. What that woman does is amazing. She takes live flowers, leaves, and other natural materials, preserves them so they retain their color, then presses them. THEN she arranges the pressed botanics into gorgeous patterns, pictures, vignettes, etc., and frames them. I nearly came to blows with another woman over a large framed collection of beautifully colored leaves. I eventually let her have it, and I bought one of the smaller ones instead. The large framed piece was about $75, and the one I bought sold for a mere $45. Good luck finding framed original art for THAT price anywhere else.

There was also a booth by Peace Works that was selling beautiful handmade wooden cutting boards. Many of the boards were made out of several different types of wood, and the multi-hued effect was striking. I picked one up (my current cutting board is DEFINITELY showing its age) for $35.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) in the park as well, and live entertainment will include everything from string groups to dancers to choirs to theatre. Admission to the event is free! Check it out!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Pivot Questionnaire

I LOVE the show The Actor's Studio on Bravo! I find the interviews completely insightful, and it interests me to hear the performers' answers to the famous Pivot questionnaire. Just for kicks, I thought I'd answer. I couldn't narrow my answer down to one for every question.

1. What is your favorite word? Portal. I like the possiblity of it.
2. What is your least favorite word? Shopportunity. Ugh. As if there are just nooo opportunities to buy things in our consumer-oriented culture.
3. What turns you on? Delayed gratification/anticipation. Music. Uninhibited action.
4. What turns you off? People who are mean/unfair to those who are weaker than them.
5. What is your favorite curse word? Shit. I probably say shit more than any other curse word.
6. What sound or noise do you love? Clay saying, "Please," or "Daddy." (So cute!) My family laughing. Silence.
7. What sound or noise do you hate? Cats or kids whining
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Broadway actress. Private jet pilot. Photographer for National Geographic. Travel Writer.
9. What profession would you not like to do? Accountant. Surgeon.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "It's about time. I thought you were NEVER going to get here."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday!

Saturday was a very busy, but very fun day! After I stopped by the salon (the ol' mop was getting pretty shaggy), I headed out to Mal's St. Paddy's Day Parade. I was marching this year with folks from my company, and I'd gone out to Party City the night before and bought tons of hats, leis, buttons, face paint, etc., so that we'd all look festive. (And we did, if I do say so myself. I painted TONS of shamrocks on folks' faces, and several people showed up all accessorized. FUN!) We had a good time marching, even if *some* of the folks in our group did throw all of their beads in the first three blocks and then had to be beggin' them off OTHERS for the rest of the parade!

We probably should have all brought more beads. It's so much fun to give them that you're tempted to toss one to each person. My tactic was to look for a small child who had NO beads, then walk over to them and put the beads around their neck. The littler kids can't scuffle with everyone for beads, and they can sometimes take a thrown strand in the face. Ouch. Anyhoo, that was how I gave most of my beads, and parents seemed to really appreciate it.

After the parade, I had to SKIP the street party so that I could run over to New Stage. They'd shifted our rehearsal schedule around a bit because the playwright of the new play we presented on Saturday night - Solving Sunflowers - had flown in from California to meet us! Woo to the hoo! So, we got to chat, and she got to see us run some scenes, and we finished prepping for the reading that evening.

I find it interesting (and unnerving) to perform work when the person who wrote it is in the audience. When I was in college, we presented Crimes of the Heart. Beth Henley came to the performance, and I thought I'd lose it. There are just so many things running through your mind. First of all, you're REALLY hoping you don't mangle any lines. Secondly, you're hoping that you've been able to capture some of that person's original vision for this character. Theatre is so collaborative. Each person makes a contribution, and then everyone else picks up the balls and runs with them. You just really hope that the playwright likes the direction you're running with HER ball. Eeek.

Anyway, after a quick dinner at La Cazuela (which was packed to the gills with every drunk person from the parade - fratastic), we went back to the theatre and freshened up for the reading. I was actually surprised with how many folks showed up. We had a nice little crowd there, especially considering that they didn't really do any press on the event. The audience laughed a ton and seemed to enjoy the play, then we had a brief talk-back/Q&A with the audience, cast, playwright, etc. Fun!

I was planning on going out for drinks with some friends afterwards, but little man was sick at home, so I picked up some spare Tylenol and headed back to help hold down the fort. Poor little guy. So far, he seems to be doing better today.

Looking forward to a lazy day today!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pool shark

One last, quick post -

I went to pool night on Monday, and I actually WON MY MATCH. No, seriously. And NOT just because the person I was playing against (who was clearly better than me, by the way) screwed up. I won because I actually hit the nine ball in. On my very own. (Well, maybe with a time out or two from coach. But other than THAT, on my very own.) Without missing the darn thing, and without scratching.

I came home and did the winner's strut in front of hubs a couple of times, and he was so proud!

Back when we were dating, hubs and I used to go bowling with a few other couples. Hubs is a pretty good bowler, and every time he'd take his turn, I'd be back there shouting, "Good job, baby!" when he'd make a strike. He finally came back there to me and was like, "Quit it with the baby, okay?! GEEZ!"

I'm not nearly as good a pool player as he is a bowler. But I imagine that soon, in retribution, he has to come out with me to pool night. And whenever I make a shot, he will probably be embarassing the crap out of me by being my uber-supportive rah-rah squad.

~Sigh.~

Feeling queenly.

In honor of the upcoming parade, I thought I'd post a quick review of American Thighs: The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Preserving Your Assets, by Jill Connor Browne (author/head Sweet Potato Queen).

Reading this book is like reading a really funny blog. Connor Browne writes in a very conversational style, uses all caps for emphasis, doesn't shy away from profanity, and, in general, sells the soul of everyone she knows for a cheap laugh. No wonder I like her.

With lots of memorable stories (I think my favorite was the one about the woman who thought that Spanx was Skanx, and went around telling all her friends she'd been looking all over for Skanxs and where could she find some Skanxs in this f**king town.), this book is an easy and quick read. I smiled and chuckled a bit throughout.

Most of all, though, Connor Browne's message about enjoying each day of your life, laughing alot, and making the most of every moment is one I agree with and heartily endorse. Happiness really is some of the best medicine of all.

Busy town, busy woman

FYI - Don't forget that Mal's St. Paddy's Day Parade is scheduled for this Saturday in downtown Jackson! I'll be marching, and if you see me, holler! I'll toss some swag your way!

ALSO on Saturday, I'll be in a staged reading of a new play at New Stage Theatre. The play, titled Solving Sunflowers, is about a young, down-on-her-luck widow in New Mexico. Nessa gets fired from her crummy job as a waitress, and her loopy mom spends their measley nest egg to become an Internet pastor. Throw in a greedy theme park developer, several hot Russian mail-order brides, and a sweet deputy sheriff, and you've got a pretty hilarious comedy.

The play was written by Patricia Milton, who is flying in from California on Saturday to meet us! (Woo to the hoo!) House opens at 7 p.m., and the reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. After the reading, we'll have a quick talk back with the audience. Admission is free!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pitiful sick

Well, we dodged it all week, and it finally hit us today. The entire Bradshaw family is a sniffling, coughing, wheezing mess. When I get sick, my first stage is denial. I refuse to take meds. I keep going to work and doing all my household chores. I think I can shake it off. I think I can "gut it."

But once I accept that I really am sick, I am the most pitiful sick person that you will ever meet. I whine and moan and toss and turn. I let out small, pitiful noises during the night so that Brian will be sure to know I feel like crap and feel sorry for poor, pitiful little me. I'm surprised that he doesn't smother me with the pillow.

However, I do feel better now than I did this morning, so I am hopeful.

I was planning on getting my tattoo today. But then I had a horrible, horrible week. And then I got sick. And I began to get the feeling that not only should I avoid being poked with sharp needles today (I much preferred lying on the couch wrapped up in a fluffy blanket, sipping hot tea), but that I should probably not even leave my house. When the universe speaks to you, you should listen.

So today, I listened to the universe and stayed home. Out of the cold. Out of the rain. Away from needles and some potential, horrible, flesh-eating infection. (Which I am SURE I would have contracted, had I had my tattoo done today. That's just the kind of week I've had.)

I am positive that I'm the better for it.

An evening in Spain

Last week, I had some friends over for a Spanish dinner. To start, we had canteloupe with prosciutto (which hubs and I were served numerous times in bars all over Madrid and Segovia), smoked salted almonds (which I could literally eat ALL. THE. TIME.), toasted baguette slices with Manchego cheese, and feta-stuffed olives (OMG).

We moved on to a main course of paella (I made one with chicken, chorizo sausage, shrimp, and mussels) and sangria. We finished up with cheesecake, which wasn't really Spanish, but WAS reallyreally good.

Far and away, though, I thought the biggest success of the evening was the sangria. I got the recipe from my boss, and I'm posting it here for the betterment of the world at large. (Because who isn't nicer once they've had a big glass of sangria? I might start mixing this stuff up regularly and leaving it in the break room fridge at work.)

El Vice Presidente Especial Sangria

Ingredients:
1.5 litre bottle of red wine
2 oranges, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
other assorted fruit (whatever kind you like; I used frozen strawberries)
fruit flavored sparkling water (I used peach, but pick what you like.)
1-2 tablespoons of splenda

Instructions:
At least one full day before, pour wine in large pitcher. Add all of the fruit. Add sweetener. (It doesn’t take much, just enough to sweeten it a bit.) Put in refrigerator to sit. Just before serving, pour the fruit-flavored sparkling water into the pitcher and stir.

Drink, drink, drink.

Now, you can also just pour a little of the sparkling water into each glass (about ¼ to 1/3 full of sparkling water), fill the remainder with sangria mixture and stir. That way, any leftover sangria can still be drunk fizzy. We didn't have that problem, as there wasn't much sangria left over. HA!

She works hard for the money!

I wrapped my employee meetings on Thursday. (Remember the small freak out I had when I had to change the venue last week?) Of course, Clay picked last week to flirt with strep throat, causing additional anxieties. Regardless, though the meetings were GREAT! Everything went smoothly and, as far as I know, folks were pleased with how things turned out. You don't know HOW happy I am that everything shook out that way. The executive "hosting" the meetings is a notoriously tough customer, and I was super-glad that we had no snafus.

So here I was, thinking I'd get to go in on Friday and rest on my laurels, sort through my backed-up email, etc. Oh, NO. We had a major situation at work (surprise!), plus we had some regulatory filings. Handling the internal (and someties, the external) ramifications of both kept me pretty busy all day.

Whoo-boy. I have rarely been so glad to see the end of the day on Friday!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Movie buff

Saw two more movies this week I thought I'd weigh in on - Definitely, Maybe and 21.


Definitely, Maybe was a fairly inoffensive rom/com starring Ryan Reynolds, Abigail Breslin, Isla Fischer, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz, and Kevin Kline. Will Hayes (Reynolds) is getting a divorce. His daughter, Maya (Breslin), begs him to tell her how he and her mother met. After some persuasion, Will complies, telling the story of his love affairs with three different women. (The catch is that Maya must guess which one turned out to be her mother.)

Performances were all fine, though I did feel that the on-screen relationship (and the dailogue) between Reynolds and Breslin left much to be desired. The best parts of the movie were the dramatizations of Will's past. The film slowed down every time we stepped back into the present, at least until the very end of the film.

The only performer who really shined in this film was Fischer. No wonder the girl's a rising star.

21 offers better odds for enjoyment. The film stars Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Jim Sturgiss, and Laurence Fishburne. The movie is based on the true story of a group of MIT students who, with the help of one of their professors, trained themselves to count cards and win big in Vegas.

Ben Campbell (Sturgiss) is brilliant but broke. A star student at MIT, he's worried about how he (and his single mom) will pay for medical school in a year. He's working a job at a men's clothing store, but it doesn't begin to put a dent in what his tuition will cost.

One of his teachers, Mickey Rosa (Spacey), notices Ben's uncanny ability with figures. Mickey invites Ben to join his select group of Vegas card-counters, and then the story really starts to cook. Jill Taylor (Bosworth) is also part of the group, providing a love interest for our young protagonist, and pretty soon, the students and their wayward professor are living high on the hog in Sin City.

But complications ensue, as they always do. A run-in with Cole Williams (Fishburne), a member of the Vegas security set, lines up the characters for a tricky ending.

I really liked this movie. It moved along quickly, the characters were relatable and likable, and Kevin Spacey makes everything that much better. Plus, the story is a good one. What broke college student wouldn't want to use their natural talents to beat the house? Shoot, if I could balance my checkbook without making a subtraction error, I might try it myself!

It's a remarkable tale, and a fun movie to watch. Recommended.

Up to all sorts of things.

Today was a good day. First of all, the weather was GORGEOUS. Hubs, booger and I went to brunch at Primo's around 10-ish. (It's very family-friendly there for brunch on weekends. The place is always packed, but the service and food is still great. Plus, Clay loves the cheese grits.)

After enjoying a yummy meal, we proceeded to the park, where soaked up the sunshine. Hubs and I took turns chasing booger (who was chasing the ducks) around the wide open spaces. I keep a blanket in the trunk of each vehicle for spontaneous picnics and impromptu lying around, so we grabbed it and spread it on the grass.

When it was my turn to enjoy some prone time, I had the best fun watching hubs and booger fee-foddling around. I don't often see my child from such a distance. Usually, we are right close up together. I noticed that Clay has such an expressive little posture. He's gotten so big, and the wind was blowing his fine little blond hair around. He would trot one way and then another, looking out at the water, pointing at boats and ducks and other kids.

And I was lying there, I realized, on the blanket that my Aunt Polly made for me by hand when I was about ten years old. And I stretched back and looked up at the sky, which was really blue. And I knew that, as the universe turned around me, I was right where I wanted to be, and I had the best of everything in the world.

We chased each other (and those poor ducks) around for about 45 minutes, then headed on home.

THEN I got ready for the Little Light House Tea Party, a fundraiser which was being held at the Fairview Inn's on-site restaurant, Sophia's. I'd been to Sophia's for dinner before, but never during the daytime. They had a lovely buffet of salmon and cucumber toasts, chocolate-dipped strawberries, scones with jam and clotted cream, petit fours, and tons of little finger sandwiches and desserts. The food was wonderful, and the event was filled to near capacity. Some of the ladies had really dolled up, too, and it was fun to see all the dresses, shoes, and hats!

After the program began, one of the school officials introduced Laurie Smith, the keynote speaker. Now, I'd heard her speak before (we even presented her as a speaker for an event at my former place of business), and I had enjoyed hearing about her experiences in television and design in the past.

However, I think her address at the event today was a bit out of place. First, she talked alot about how she got an undergrad degree in broadcast journalism, and then got some great work with Turner Broadcast and CNN. She was doing so well that her boss at the time offered to send her back to school (on the company's dime) to get her MBA. But she knew that wasn't what she wanted, and she went on at length about her misery over that fact. Then, she talked her dad into bankrolling an apartment and tuition for design school in New York, where she felt alive but terribly confused and adrift. (Poor her.) And so on and so on. It just seemed like life kept opening up great doors for her, but she was never totally satisfied, never really happy.

Here's what's wrong with all of this - From the outside looking in, this woman has kind-of a fairy tale life. Her dad was able to fund her "self discovery" until she finally found what she really wanted to do, and then she became famous. But frequently during her speech, she bemoaned her various states of being throughout her journey (miserable, exhausted, etc.), and it sounded kinda . . . well . . . WHINY.

The real problem? She's talking to the parents of a bunch of special needs kids. These kids have Downs, cerebral palsy, etc. THESE are people who know hardships. Who know misery, uncertainty, etc. If I were one of them, I would have found it almost insulting to hear her prattle on about how hard it was to be 29 and unmarried. Seriously?

She should have framed her whole speech along the lines of life (and blessings) can be unexpected, emphasizing more that you never know what tomorrow will bring, there's a larger plan that you may not see, etc. Then, I think the parents could have taken away a more positive (and relevant) message. As it was, the speech definitely felt wrong for the group.

Anyhoo, I had a really good time, regardless, and it was nice to be able to support such a worthy cause! If you don't know much about The Little Light House, you should check them out! They are doing wonderful things over there!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Retail therapy for a rough day.

Today was a rough day at work. I arrived at the office around 7:30 a.m. to some fresh hell on my email account. Due to events completely beyond our control, we had to move two big employee meetings (250-300 people each) that are taking place on March 12 (yes, that's ONE week from today) to another location. Aaack. Once we found a space that (we reallyreally hope) will accommodate our group, we had to figure out parking and shuttling issues. I think I FINALLY got most of it solved before the end of the day, but it was some kinda effort to get it there.

I had to swing by the convention center anyway during the day, so I stopped there and got lunch at The Spring Market! I ate a wonderfully unhealthy hot dog and wandered among the booths for a while with a good friend. It made me feel a ton better just to get out of the office for a minute and give my brain a rest.

The market runs now through the weekend, and there are tons of great items on offer. My favorite booth was probably The French Shoppe. It's all the way at the back of the market, on the right. I found a PRECIOUS yellow jacket there for $45, and if they'd had the ruffled pink raincoat that I lusted after in a small or even a medium, I would have come home with that, too. As it was, I had to settle for a multi-hued scarf that matched my jacket. I also got a cute little black T-shirt and a beautiful Murano glass necklace from two other booths.

The market is really a great event. There's plenty of room between booths (and they allow strollers! YAY!), and the prices were RIGHT. General admission is $8, but if you visit their Web site (which I've linked to above), you can print off a coupon for $1 off the entry fee.

Don't miss it!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dining with royalty.

Today, I had lunch over at the Jackson Convention Center. There was a benefit (called The Power of the Purse) for The Women's Fund of Jackson. The keynote speaker was Jill Connor Browne (Sweet Potato Queen ringleader). It was the first time I'd been in the new convention center, and it is really a gorgeous and very versatile space.

In some of the open hallway, they'd set up a silent auction featuring purses and jewelry and all kinds of fabulous things. Ladies were bidding like crazy. We had our meal in the large ballroom (lovely and yum - a very "ladies who lunch" menu of pear salad, chicken with steamed veggies and mashed potatoes, and cute little bread puddings in tall stem glasses), and then the program began.

Connor Browne was, as always, a hoot. (I love her business card. On one side it reads, "Lick you all over. 10 cents. Ask about our other specialties." Then, on the other side is her contact information. I doubt that anyone has ever misplaced this card.)

I was with a table full of work friends, and we laughed and hooted it up. They even served WINE, though it was a bit early in the day for me (and I had a half day left of work to boot). I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and it was all for a very good cause.

Next at the Convention Center - Spring Market! This Miseltoe-like event featuring hundreds of vendors will be opening tomorrow at the center and running through the weekend. Sounds like FUN! Who's with me?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I'm talking to YOU, Chuck Lorre!

Hubs and I watch Two and a Half Men (though maybe now, it should just be Three Men?), and we really enjoy it. Jon Cryer is a genius, and we enjoy the rum-soaked Charlie Sheen immensely, thankyouverymuch.

I have only one beef. The opening song. Dude, at this point, the kid is growing up so freaky fast on the final note of the opening theme that his face is nearly out of frame.

FIX THE FREAKIN' OPENING CREDITS!! I know you know. I KNOW that, at this point, you are just doing this to piss me off.

Poetry Project

When I was in college, Robert Pinsky (the U.S. Poet Laureate at the time), came to campus and gave a speech about poetry in modern society. I remember being terribly impressed with him, and even more inspired by him, so much so that I bought a copy of what was then his latest book of poems, The Figured Wheel, and had him sign it. I'm sure I said something idiotic when I finally got to the front of the line, but oh well. That's me, I suppose. Tongue-tied by a poet!

Here's one of my favorites from that book.

Dreamer

While I lay sleeping my heart awoke.
I heard and saw but I couldn't stir.
He walked out like a man and spoke.
Though it was late
A crowd of people were awake
Strolling and talking in the street.
They greeted him and called him Coeur.
Then he was driving in a car.

He started down familiar roads.
I know the city, he was there.
But Coeur found hidden neighborhoods.
At an iron gate
That led to steps between facades
I watched him park and climb on foot
The passage to an open square
With shuttered houses and a bar,

A bright cafe where I could see
Coeur chatting with the local crowd -
Voluble heart, attentive, free,
At home, at night.
Once I think he looked back at me
And for a moment saw me wait
(I saw his face, he looked afraid)
Dreaming him from the dark outside.

Best. Movie. EVER.

Hubs and I watched Tropic Thunder this week, and I almost busted a gut laughing at it. Time was when I avoided "guy movies" like the plague, but over the past few years, I have found an odd joy in discovering a few (amongst the piles and piles of worthless dreck) that I like. Dodgeball, for instance. (OMG. Jason Bateman? BRILLIANT.) Tropic Thunder, though I guess not technically a "guy movie," falls into that category.

If you aren't familiar with the plot, here's the skinny: a group of spoiled movie stars are making an action film (based on a "true" story) set during the Vietnam War. When the fed-up director decides to drop the whiny cast off in the jungle and film the project guerilla-style, he accidentally steps on an old land mine, stranding the celebrities in the middle of some very real danger.

What makes the movie hilarious is that the people involved in this project weren't afraid to poke fun at the insanity that is Hollywood. We have Tug Speedman (Ben Stiller), the washed-up action star; Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), the eccentric, critically-acclaimed method actor; Jack Portnoy (Jack Black), the scatological comedian; Alpa Chino (Brandon Jackson), the rapper trying to crossover into film; and Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel), the smart Jewish newcomer. If this core cast wasn't enough, the film features inspired supporting appearances and cameos by everyone from Tom Cruise to Nick Nolte to Danny McBride to Matthew McConaughey to Jennifer Love Hewitt to Tobey McGuire.

If you enjoy films that take snarky aim at their own industry, you must see this. If you like to laugh, you must see this. If you have always wondered what Robert Downey Jr. would look like with blue eyes, you must see this.

SEE THIS!!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Update on My 101

Four new things for February! (I am SMOKIN'!) As usual, items completed are in bold. Per some suggestions, I'll put the goals that are new for this month in a funky color.

101 things to do in 1001 days

Record family history (Create a family tree with my grandmother? Photos? Stories?)
Take Clay’s picture professionally at least once every 6 months
Make a will
Make a living will
Talk with Laura about Clay
Send a Christmas card to an estranged family member

Write to my grandmother
Attend services at three local churches
Volunteer in a way that’s meaningful to me
Go back to the gym – at least 3 times a week
Lose 10 pounds

Keep it off for 6 months
Train to run 3 miles without stopping
Try a yoga or pilates class
Go to the International Museum of Muslim Cultures
Go to the Smith Robertson Museum
Go to the Lauren Rogers Museum
Take an art class (pottery, painting, etc.)
Paint a picture
Learn to play at least one song on the guitar
Write a food article and get it published
Write at least one poem or short story
Paint the front porch swing
Tile the master bathroom
Plant some flowering shrubs in the back yard and DON’T let them die
Plant an herb garden
Fix the patio table
Get a window shade for the baby’s bedroom
Have an energy audit done on the house
Paint the shed in the back yard
Paint the inside of the garage
Take Clay swimming
Drink wine in California
Ride in a helicopter
Ride in a hot air balloon
Go to Graceland
Go to New York City
Create a “great books list” and start reading (at least 5 books)
Create a “great movies list” and start watching (at least 5 movies)
Treasure hunt on Highway 49
Host a New Year’s open house party
Host a “dinner among the leaves” party
Host an Easter brunch
Throw a Kentucky Derby party
Celebrate the Chinese New Year
Pay off the last of my student loan
Buy some sexy new underwear
Attend at least one live concert
Go the fall flower show/festival in Crystal Springs
Visit a botanic garden
Learn more about the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict
Watch a meteor shower
Give blood
See snow
See the ocean
Adopt an Angel at Christmas
Go bowling
Pay for the person behind me in line
Do an anonymous good deed
Learn to bake a good loaf of bread
Go on a day hike
Write a letter to the editor of my local newspaper
Go on a vacation sans baby
Let Clay ride in the convertible with the top down - This one's new for Febraury! We had so many pretty days this month that Clay and I rode with the top down a couple of times. We only did it when we were driving slowly. I think his biggest kick was watching to roof go away and come back.
Perform in at least one stage production
Attend at least one Mensa meeting
Attend at least one college alumni event
Get back in touch with some of my college professors
Learn how to play poker - Another new goal for this month! A bunch of us gathered at Shawn's, and she taught us Texas Hold 'Em! Fun!
Learn how to shoot a decent game of pool - My unofficial pool coach now tells me that I can shoot a decent game! Woo to the hoo! It only took me, er, several months.
Make a real paella
Make a real sangria, to go with the paella
Get a facial
Start taking vitamins again
Take mom to have her makeup done
Discover 5 new recording artists I really like and buy their CDs
Find a pair of sunglasses that will change my life
Find my signature fragrance
Take some pictures of leaves turning color in the fall
Set up and take some faux-tography shots of the baby
Write to Grace
Visit Grace in Oregon

Go on a picnic and eat food that I MADE, not food that I bought
Visit a dermatologist
Book a session with a personal trainer
Buy sheet music for a song I like and learn to play it on the piano
Learn to do a passable waltz
Bring the baby to visit my dad at work
Take a bubble bath
Light some candles just for us, when we DON’T have someone coming over
Make mint juleps and drink them on the front porch swing
Go ice skating
Preserve Clay’s foot and hand prints
Attain APR accreditation
Buy or make Clay a kick-ass Halloween costume
Give a gift that I made. - My fourth goal for February! I knitted a scarf (thanks, Sandi!) and gave it to my older sis.

Send someone flowers for no reason
Begin using my wine notebook again and identify at least three new wines that I like
Buy a birdfeeder and set it up in the back yard
Fix the broken window pane on the porch
Spend an afternoon lying in the hammock


First day of the challenge: January 1, 2008
Last day of the challenge: September 28, 2010