Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tales from the Pool Hall

I showed up at pool night on Monday night and nearly had a Maalox moment when I saw one of the guys that plays league with us sitting at the far end of the hall with a baby in his lap.

First of all, I never thought he was old enough to have a baby. However, I've learned during my stint in pool that nearly anyone you meet in a pool hall, no matter how young, probably has a baby (or two). Apparently, playing pool dramatically improves your virility. And it won't do you any good to assume that the baby's mama is the guy's wife. It's another common misconception that these guys marry the women to birth their children. ~Sigh.~

Anyway, this sweet little guy was 10 months old, and he had the cutest little feet! I went over to coo at him.

A pool hall is a smoky place (and really no place AT ALL for a baby, though I am trying reallyreally hard not to judge here). While I was standing over there, the little feller coughed, and his pacifier popped out of his mouth and fell on the grungy, nasty, carpeted pool hall floor.

I froze for just a second. The guy was reaching down to the floor to get the pacifier, and I swear to God he planned to put it right back in that sweet little baby's mouth! Luckily, years of hard living slowed him down, and I was able to grab the pacifier before he got to it. The baby's mom was standing over at the bar, and I took the pacifier to her so she could have it cleaned. I tried to avoid eye contact with all of them for the rest of the night, because my frazzled nerves couldn't take much more.

I hope one day, someone tells that baby the story of how an anonymous woman saved him from swine flu, gangrene of the toungue, and maybe even stomach cancer one hot night in September.

Sheesh.

****

A few weeks ago, coach was playing a girl from another team in a league game. Now, I don't need to tell you that coach likes to win. (And, incidentally, he usually does.) Everyone agrees - winning is a heckuva lot more fun than losing. I stink, and even I can admit that.

Anyway, the match finally boiled down to this - if the girl won one more game, she took the match. Coach was shooting at one of the last balls on the table before the nine ball (the winning shot), and he missed. He missed a shot that he apparently thought he should have made, and the girl would have had ball in hand (meaning she could put the cue ball anywhere she wanted on the table), thus practically guaranteeing her the win. All she'd have to do is hit one ball in, then pocket the nine.

So coach got frustrated and knocked the cue ball with his cue again, in his pissed-offness. Even though he didn't hit any of the other balls with it (leaving the table unchanged), she called him on a foul and claimed the match. Claimed the match WITHOUT hitting in the last two balls, which, let's face it, should have been pretty easy for her to do.

Oh, dear Lord. First of all, it was a sorry call. If it were me, I would have just taken the ball in hand and finished the game. At least then I would have known I won it fair and square. I think that's the difference between playing for fun, when that kind of stuff is no big deal, and playing in a money league, where some of these folks seem to be counting on that cash coming in. (Sad, no?)

Well, coach got all worked up about it, packed up his cue, was getting all ready to storm out of there bubbling with rage, etc.

The next week, guess who he was matched up against for the SECOND time? I just stopped playing at my practice table a while for that match, because I knew that if he lost to her again, we'd never hear the end of it.

She had won one game, and I think he had won one or two (?) when I asked him if I should put the Lebanese curse on her. Now, the Lebanese curse is very powerful, precisely because I don't overuse it. But I am telling you, there is virtually no defense against it. I've used it a couple of times before in pool league, and it's worked every time. It's easy to cast and easy to remove. The friends of mine who have seen me do it think it's hilarious, but no one can argue with the results. (I've also used it very occasionally in life, though I nearly gave it up after a particularly snobby cheerleader was almost hit by a bus once.)

Coach was all, "I don't believe in that stuff," blah blah blah.

All I'm saying is this. I put the curse on her, and she didn't win another game. Coach turned around and beat her 5-6 times in a row. She never knew what hit her.

I fully acknowledge that it could have just been coach's superior playing (and desire to completely decimate her after what she'd done the week prior) that won the match. But just a little piece of me believes that the curse had something to do with it.

Don't piss me off. I'm just sayin'.

Tangy and fresh

I finally made my way to Mint for lunch a week or so ago, and I was sorry I'd waited so long to visit! Mint is owned by the same group that owns/operates Julep in Highland Village. I'd say it's a slightly upscale version of Julep, with the same sensibilities but a bit more refined (and more expensive) menu. The restaurant is located in the new-ish Highland Colony Renaissance shopping mall.

A friend and I showed up on a Saturday afternoon, and we were pleasantly surprised to find brunch on the menu as well as standard lunch fare. I had the crab eggs benedict (served with asparagus) with a refreshing mimosa. Friend had a delicious plate of pork enchiladas (not too spicy, very generous serving). Then, we split the Chocolate Hammer (yummmmm). Service was prompt and friendly, and the food was wonderful.

Highly recommended!

OH, and if you haven't been to the Highland Colony mall lately, you are in for a real treat! A store called Charming Charlie has just opened up, and it's DIVINE!! They sell a HUGE variety of accessories - jewelry, shoes, bags, tops - and they are all organized by COLOR. Now, those of you who know me know what a nut I am about wearing bright colors. (I think I am the only person I know who has - and wears - a bright yellow blazer.) I went crazy in there. I got tons of jewelry, a bag or two, a pair of shoes, etc. And prices were sooooo reasonable that this generous dose of retail therapy did not wreck my budget. If you haven't checked it out yet, go soon! They've only been open for about six weeks!

Song and Dance Men

If you live in the Jackson, Miss., area, and you haven't been to see Gutenberg! The Musical! at New Stage Theatre, it's definitely worth checking out. I brought a group of three friends with me to the show last Saturday, and we laughed and laughed and LAUGHED.

Basically, it's a two-man musical comedy. Bud and Doug, two nerdy little guys whose day jobs include working at Starbucks and at a nursing home, have written a musical about Johan Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press. The show's premise is that these two are giving a "staged reading" of the piece to a small audience, with the hopes that there's a Broadway producer ensconced somewhere in the audience. So, our two guys play ALL the characters and sing all the songs in their show.

The script has a very SNL vibe (it was developed by the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre), and the two actors the theatre cast are perfect in their roles. Turner Crumbley plays Doug, who stands in as Gutenberg and numerous other characters. Danny Dauphin plays Bud, who most notably performs the roles of Monk (the villain) and the hilariously feminine Helvetica.

I spent most of the show laughing so hard I had coughing fits. The rest of the time, I was smiling so hard that my face hurt when I left the theatre.

I will admit - this show is not for everybody. It's not standarad mainstage fare for New Stage, and it skews well outside the preferences of their older supporters. I imagine that a patron will either love it or hate it.

However, I think it's a great attempt to get younger audiences involved and enchanted, something that every major arts organization in the Jackson area is trying to do. Well done.

The show plays through September 27, so it's not too late to catch it! Call the box office at 601-948-3533 to get tickets!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Looking back and ahead

Yeesh! It's been busy at the Bradshaw household lately!

On Monday, I had pool night. I lost my match, but not miserably. First of all, I was matched against a very good player. (I wondered if I'd win any games at all.) And even though I didn't win, I thought I played pretty well (for me, anyway). It took her a LONG time to win the match. She'd hook me, then, by some miracle, I'd manage to hit the ball and hook HER. So we spent alot of time just figuring out some difficult shots and hitting balls, even though we didn't pocket them.

At any rate, though I wasn't walking on air (like I would have been if I'd managed to win the match), I did feel like I played well and didn't just hand the win over.

On Tuesday, I went to a dinner in honor of Leland Speed. I've been to my share of tribute events, and most of them are, shall we say, less than exciting. But this one was different. In fact, it was an almost perfect model of how a tribute event SHOULD go. First of all, I really felt as if most of the people there actually CARED about the honoree. Secondly, the event planners asked the right people to speak - people who were really close to Mr. Speed, people who really knew him. Thirdly, speakers kept their remarks brief and heartfelt. I really enjoyed listening to the speakers, which is almost unheard of at these events. Add in the fact that the program clipped along briskly and that the event ended on time, and you have success. I'm writing this one down as a good structure to follow.

In addition to activities here and there, we've been busy at home. Since we leave for New York City in a little over a week, hubs and I have been trying to get all our ducks in a row, both for the trip and for Clay's care while we are gone. We've been doing last little things like booking transportation to/fro the airport, and I've also been compiling THE MASTER DOCUMENT. See, hubs and I have never left Clay with anyone for more than an overnight, much less an entire week. So even though I know that he will be very well cared for, I am determined to provide every scrap of information necessary to the grandparents to ENSURE the whole thing goes as smoothly as possible.

So far, I've got his daily schedule (with all our routines typed in there), foods he likes, all the info for the daycare, all the info for hubs and I (where we're staying, flight schedule, etc.), all the info for the house (some of the family is staying here while we're away), all the contact numbers so that everyone can get in touch with everyone else, and all the info for the pediatrician (plus a copy of the insurance card). What am I forgetting? Anything? (I have to admit that, now that the trip's almost here, I'm freaking out a little bit about leaving my precious baby for an entire week. Aack! Talk me down, people!)

This weekend - could be anything. The zoo got scrapped last weekend due to weather, so we may pick that back up. OR we may trot out to New Stage to see Gutenberg. Regardless, we'll have to squeeze in more trip prep! No rest for the wicked!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Fun with Clay!

Clay and I have been doing lots of fun things together lately!

A week or two ago, we had lots of rainy weather. I put him in the little raincoat, hat and umbrella that I picked up on impulse at Target and let him go out to splash around. He's never played in the rain much, so he got a big kick out of it. We sang "Rain, Rain, Go Away" and twirled our umbrellas around. He thought it was all the coolest thing ever and insisted that hubs join us in the rain when he got home from work.

Hubs and I also took him to see Sesame Street Live a couple of weekends ago. Unlike last year, now he actually knows who Elmo is. And he was completely transfixed. When Elmo came out, booger took Brian's face in his little hands, looked him right in the eye, and screamed "ELMO!!" (And dude, the people running these shows have no illusions about who the star is. They bring ALL the other characters out, and they dance around awhile before noticing, "Someone's missing? Who is it?" Then, they let the suspense build as little people in the audience start gasping and shouting and having little fits of happiness about Elmo showing up in a few. This is clearly a well-oiled machine.) He wilted a little during Act II, but stayed well-behaved throughout. His reward? Chicken nuggets and french fries for lunch before a nice, long nap.

On Saturday morning, I took little man to the Ag Museum. He loved the trains, the tractors, and the planes in the inside part of the museum, and he LOVED the children's barnyard. We sat in there until my poor nostrils couldn't take it anymore, talking to the horses, the goats, the chickens, and the peacocks. THEN we went outside and saw more horses, an ostrich, a donkey, and a cow. The kid was in heaven. He kept saying "hey" to each animal ("Hey, horse!" "Hey, donkey!") and waving at them. Cute, cute, cute! And he had tons of fun playing with the fireman's hat I bought him in the general store. He ran all over the doctor's garden, taking that hat off and putting it back on again, making me try it on, etc.

We've also been down to Friendship Park a couple of times, which is a favorite for him. He loves climbing on the little playsets there, swinging in the swings, and running all over the trails. (It's a workout for me!) Add in a few trips to the grandparents' house for our requisite dose of being spoiled, and you have a pretty accurate picture of our last few weeks.

I'm thinking either the Muscadine Festival or the zoo for Saturday!

Oy Vey.

I have had a string of days.

Since I've gone back to work, I've learned that three-day weekends do not bode well for the Bradshaw household. I'm sur eyou recall that, over the Fourth of July Weekend, we foolishly decided to start potty training. I was making no similar mistakes over Labor Day. I wisely decided that I'd take booger to the Ag Museum on Saturday, spend Sunday morning at my parents' house, and plan little or nothing for Monday.

But the heavens had other plans for me.

Brian threw his back out on Friday. So he was laid up for the entire holiday. Which meant that taking care of the house, the kid, and the myriad other things that had to be done over the course of three days fell to your truly. Then, while booger and I were over at my parent's house on Sunday (doing more home improvement - stars in my crown, right?), the two of us really started coming down with sinus trouble. It seemed to peak in awfulness Sunday night, slightly subside Monday (so we made it to the family cookout after all), and be just managable enough on Tuesday for him to return to daycare and me to return to work.

Ooof. I think we're going to have to start taking more vitamin C around here.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Poetry Project

I always think of these two verses together. The first one, Madrigal, is anonymous, but the second one, To His Mistress Going to Bed (which is a longer one), is written by an author who is also well-known for writing religious work. I love these two poems because they prove that, in four centuries, guys really haven't changed all that much. It appears they have been randy little weasels since at least the 1600s. (I feel a slogan coming on - Men. Trying to get into your pants since at least the 1600s.)

Madrigal
Anonymous

My love in her attire doth show her wit,
It doth so well become her;
For every season she hath dressings fit,
For winter, spring, and summer.
No beauty she doth miss
When all her robes are on;
But beauty's self she is
When all her robes are gone.


Elegy 19: To His Mistress Going to Bed
by John Donne

Madam, come, all rest my powers defy,
Until I labor, I in labour lie.
The foe ofttimes, having the foe in sight,
Is tired with standing, though he never fight.
Off with that girdle, like heaven's zone glittering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.
Unpin that spangled breast-plate, which you wear,
That th' eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime
Tells me from you that now it is bed-time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th' hill's shadow steals.
Off with your wiry coronet, and show
The hairy diadem which on you doth grow;
Now off with those shoes, and then safely tread
In this love's hallow'd temple, this soft bed.
In such white robes heaven's angels used to be
Received by men ; thou, angel, bring'st with thee
A heaven like Mahomet's paradise; and though
Ill spirits walk in white, we easily know
By this these angels from an evil sprite,
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.
License my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O, my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned,
My mine of precious stones, my empery,
How blest am I in thus discovering thee!
To enter in these bonds, is to be free;
Then, where my hand is set, my soul shall be.
Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee.
As souls unbodied, bodies unclothed must be
To taste whole joys. Gems which you women use
Are like Atalanta's balls cast in men's views,
That when a fool's eye lighteth on a gem,
His earthly soul may covet theirs, not them.
Like pictures, or like books' gay coverings, made
For laymen, are all women thus array'd;
Themselves are mystic books, which only we
(Whom their imputed grace will dignify)
Must see revealed. Then, since that I may know,
As liberally as to a midwife show
Thyself; cast all, yea, this white linen hence,
There is no penance due to innocence.
To teach thee, I am naked first; why then,
What needst thou have more covering than a man?

Update on My 101

In August, I checked off two things! AND I know I will check off two next month, so we're looking good!

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 - This one is new for August! Initially, I was going to throw a party for this year's Perseids meteor shower. We were going to eat S'mores, drink Irish coffees, and wish on all the falling stars. The only problem? It was really cloudy that night. Though we called off the party, I still woke up around midnight, hoofed it out to the water, and watched several meteors streak across the sky.
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 - I learned to make fabulous brioche. Though I still plan to work on a good focaccia recipe, I'm counting this one done.
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
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
Learn how to shoot a decent game of pool
Make a real paella
Make a real sangria
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.

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