Monday, July 31, 2006

Man, I am so vain.

This is how vain I am: instead of renewing my driver's license online, I got up early and drove half an hour to the nearest DMV, then stood in line for an hour and a half. Why? TO GET A NEW PICTURE.

That's right. In my newfound smaller-ness, I've become VAIN. The old picture wasn't bad - in fact, it was taken in the fall when I finally got around to changing the address on my license. (I'd only moved about a year before, but I kept the old address until I had to order new checks.) But, after losing 54.5 pounds, one tends to get vain. At least I did.

My old one will expire on Sunday, and they closed the DMV station in Senatobia due to staffing shortages (most of the state's troopers are doing long stints of duty on the coast still) so I had to drive to Nesbit. Or, I had Jason drive me, because the inspection is out on the van and I couldn't chance a trooper coming through the parking lot checking such things and giving me a ticket. I have a cracked windsheild, and so can't get a sticker. Jason and my dad also have cracked windsheilds, and so we're going to try to get a package discount. Thing is, Jason's will expire tomorrow, so we'll have two "rebel vehicles." (Because they don't test for emissions in Mississippi, but doggone it, you'd better not have a cracked windsheild.)

So here I am. Counting down the days until my birthday, and getting just one more thing done that proves I'm about to turn another year older. And being vain while doing so.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Happy birthday, sis!

No, this isn't a great picture of Amanda, but it's the only one I had at the time. It was taken (by herself, I think) at the Bellevue fireworks thingy.

My little sister turns 26 today. Actually, I should say younger sister, because she's about six inches taller than I am. If I stand in front, we can use the same mirror at the same time.

She racked up in the present department - I gave her a "wok 101" set with a wok and other accessories, a red leather tote (not a bag, but a box with handles) and an 8x8 scrabook that I promised to fill with her pictures from her upcoming trip to England.

Oh, yeah, she's going to England in November. Then when she gets back, maybe she can write her book: "Did You Know In England, Blah, Blah, Blah," about all the things that are different between our countries: a resume is called a CV, there is universal healthcare, every time the banks close most people get the day off, etc. She's so excited, she doesn't know what to do with herself!

I'm glad she's getting the chance to go. Like she said, if not now, then when? She's young, she doesn't really have any bills, and she has no child or husband to tie her down. It's perfect.

Her birthday can only mean one thing - mine is a week away. See, she was born a week before my fourth birthday. There we were, at my birthday party, and she was still new enough to get presents. AT MY PARTY. That was the beginning of many, many conflicts in our lives.

Anyway, happy birthday Manda. Just four more years, sis, and you'll be staring down the loaded end of "30" just like I am.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Orpheum!

Well, there was some moderate disappointment on my part when we got home last night and I reviewed the tape of the ABC news. Seems they didn't use it after all. I did record Good Morning America this morning, in case that's where they used the picture, but I haven't watched it yet because Anna Marie is watching - wait for it, wait for it - JIMMY TIMMY POWER HOUR THREE! I only let her watch it because she was a big girl and took the medicine I gave her for her cough. I know, I shouldn't bribe the kid. I don't think I'll have to next time, because she saw that taking liquid medicine wasn't so bad.

Anyway, we had a really good time last night. My only regret was that dad didn't get off work in time to join us. We stopped at Fazoli's for supper, and then went downtown. The Orpheum is just as beautiful as I'd remembered, though much smaller. That always happens to me - places I went as a kid just aren't that big now that I'm an adult.

They were showing "After the Thin Man," an old detective movie. It was really good - at least the part I got to see. Anna Mare (of course) wouldn't sit in her own seat (you know, the one we paid $5 for her to not sit in?) because she's not heavy enough to make those folding seats stay down and they tend to collapse in on her. We watched the first hour or so of the movie all downstairs, and then she wanted popcorn. Mom talked the lady at the concession stand into giving us a small cup for $1.50 (half price). I took Anna Marie up to the balconies, and we went between the first and second balconies for the remainder of the movie. I figure she's my kid, and I was the one who brought her, so it's my responsibility to keep her occupied so she doesn't ruin everyone else's evening.

Afterwards, we went to IHOP. They have a new "IHOP for ME" menu with lots of healthy stuff on it. Yay! I got the garden scramble, which was egg substitute scrambled with peppers, onions, tomato, and mushrooms. It also came with pancakes, but I gave those to Anna Marie. Also, the cook accidentally gave us hashbrowns, and I have to admit eating a few bites of those.

We got home about 11, and Anna Marie (of course) went right to sleep. All in all, it was a good night.

Friday, July 28, 2006

World exposure for Senatobia!

Ok, well maybe I'm a little more excited than most of you will be, but…

We had a blues legend who lived here, named Jessie Mae Hemphill. She died last Saturday. We'd already gotten calls from the Associated Press wanting to know what information we had, but it was early in the week and we had none. I did work up a story, though, because my predecessor LaJuan had interviewed her in 2003. I also used a picture that LaJuan took.

Well, this afternoon I got a call from ABC World News in Washington. They wanted pictures of Jessie Mae! I told them we had one, and that they could use is as long as they gave credit. I emailed the picture, along with the information.

So, long story short, apparently one of our pictures is going to be on ABC World News Tonight! Around here, it comes on at 5:30. We won't be home, because we're going to Memphis to the Orpheum Theater for an old movie for Amanda's birthday. (They show old movies there during the summer - this week its one of the "Thin Man" movies. We're all into old movies!) I called Jason and asked him to set the DVR.

I'm so happy LaJuan did that interview! And took that picture! And that I got to talk to a real, live newsperson from Washington. I mean, that's different than the newspaper from two counties over calling to ask permission to run somebody's grandkid's picture who was in 4-H, right?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pink Panther!

Ok, so I never saw any of the original movies, but we watched the Steve Martin version tonight after Anna Marie (of course) went to mom's. (At least she's still keeping her pattern up.) By the way, did mom REALLY think she was going to darken my door and not leave with a little red headed girl?

Anyway, I don't know what anyone else thought (because I'm not sure anyone else I know saw this) but we thought it was pretty good. Actually, it made Jason laugh out loud, something he usually only does when I've done something laughable or he's watching his beloved Britcoms.

Also, I DID NOT LOSE ANY WEIGHT THIS WEEK! So, for all my "boca" posting, I maintained. I'm going to chalk it up to the fact that my "little friend" was visiting this week, and not, say, the fact that I haven't exercised in two weeks. First week: so stinking hot! Second week: massive sinus infection! Goal: survive the day at work and collapse exhausted onto the couch, and then to suffer all night as either 1. I can't breathe, or 2. stuff I don't even want to talk about drains down my throat, or 3. both of the above.

Well, I guess it could be worse. I could've gained. I've had maintaining weeks before, so I can't let it get me to down - just pick back up tomorrow!

And for those of you wondering (Aunt Esther), I uploaded the family picture tonight. So, next time Jason makes a surprise trip to Sam's, it won't be in vain.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Heaven! I'm in Heaven!

Ok, not really, but I am REALLY stoked about Boca Burgers right now.

I'm not a vegetarian, but since I've been on WW these products have been a lifesaver. I started using the ground "beef" last year, and it's great for two reasons: 1. It has WAY less fat than either ground beef or ground turkey, and 2. IT'S FULLY COOKED! That's right people, no thawing and browning for me. Not any more! I can come home from work, put a package in a pot of (jarred) spaghetti sauce or beans for chili, and have dinner on the table in a matter of minutes. Brilliant!

Well, back in our (unhealthier) days, Jason and I ate our share of chicken patty sandwiches. Well, I don't think I have to tell you that those things are loaded with fat and calories. Well, Boca has come to my rescue yet again. They have these spicy chick'n (that's how they spell it) patties, with only about 160 calories and MUCH less fat. Pair them with a Whitewheat hamburger bun from Nature's Own, and we're in business. Even Jason agrees to eat them!

Well, yesterday was the first time I'd tried one of their burgers. I've had the Gardenburger type (Portobello Mushroom - yum!) but never Boca. Last week I was in the store and I spied a box of the Boca Vegan Originals with a 75 cent off coupon, so I went for it. Besides, those are the kind Amanda eats, so I could share them with her for lunch one day.

We had them yesterday for lunch, which was a good thing because she's been eating so many PB&J sandwiches lately she's afraid she's turning into one. (By the way, she IS a vegetarian, but she doesn't like many vegetables, so we sometimes have a bit of a problem).

It was great! I had mine on one of those great buns with mustard, ketchup, pickle, red onion, and tomato. I even toasted the buns, which made them even better. Just two POINTS! I am so excited!

(In fact, I was so excited that I ate another one at my next opportunity - that being breakfast this morning. I am not ashamed.)

So, count me in as one of the "soy people." I figure it can't hurt. I've even got some lite firm tofu, just waiting for Jason to find me a recipe to use.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

You've heard of a paper tiger…

Now meet the paper cat. This is one of Anna Marie's latest creations. I, of course, was suitably impressed when I saw this last week.

I just have to have faith that the paper, markers, scissors, and tape that we're being so generous with now are feeding a budding artist's creativity and we'll see a payoff one day.

She's also into patterns big time right now. She cried Sunday night when it was bedtime and she realized she wasn't spending the night with Gramma. Keep in mind, she had gone home with Gramma and Papa after church, and spent part of the afternoon there. But, that wasn't the point. She had spent the night on Friday, and she said she wanted to keep a pattern - one night here, one night there. I was MESSING UP HER PATTERN! The nerve of me.

So, yesterday mom kept her at our house while Jason went to the dentist for a couple of hours (and a couple hundred dollars) worth of dental work. When I got home, this is what I found on our coffee table:

Now, this looks like a lot of bottle caps, but the red ones are those that Jason is entering in at and earning points (I just might be getting a Sephora gift certificate!); one of the blue ones is from a Sprite mom bought her that afternoon; and the other two blue ones are from a couple of Dasani bottles that were on the counter but not disposed of yet (I know we should recycle, but plastic recycling isn't offered around here.) Just more evidence of patterns!

And here is one more of her recent artistic creations. It's Cosmo, one of the Fairly Oddparents. She was being shy and wouldn't look at the camera, but you get the general idea.

(Oh great, now I've got the Fairly Oddparents theme in my head. It doesn't help that "Jimmy Timmy Power Hour 3" came on this weekend, and we recorded it, and she's been watching it incessantly for three days.)

Her Uncle Johnny, a real live artist, says he's taking her into his care when she's six to be his apprentice. Of course, he also told us we need to get her a sketch pad and staple pictures to the pages, and make her draw for 20-30 minutes per day. As if!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Our family portrait!

Here by popular demand, is our latest family portrait. And when I say "latest" I mean this afternoon. (Oh, the wonders of digital photography!)

It's the first time we've had one done when it wasn't for a Christmas card. And, we didn't even do one of those this past year because the weekend we SHOULD'VE been doing it was taken up with waiting for the Directv man to install the DVR. Which, he didn't come until the next week, so it was all for naught anyway.

Well, some of my friends had been clamoring for a new photo, and Anna Marie and I are fresh in the haircut department, so I thought we'd do it today. I was afraid the weather wouldn't cooperate, but it wasn't too hot. That little red head in the middle was the one not cooperating!

Props go to my sister Amanda, who risked life and limb (and kneeling down on some asphault in a short skirt) to take this shot. (You can check out some of her other amazing photographs at the link on the sidebar)

Oh, and thanks to the Tate County Master Gardeners, for giving us one more photogenic place in Senatobia. It's the Memorial Gardens and Arboretum, and it's spectacular. They just finished it last week.

Say cheese everybody!

Friday, July 21, 2006

The van! It mocks me!

It's bad enough when your air conditioning doesn't work in your vehicle. It's even worse when said vehicle reminds you constantly how hot it is outside.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Melissa and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Van

I started to title this post "This is the way I roll", but that would have put that old MC Hammer song into my head.

Oops, too late.

I had to do something I HATE doing today. I had to drive to a car dealership to do my opinion poll. (One of the ladies in the dealership's rental office told our ad manager that she wanted to be in my poll.)

Let me tell you why I hate to drive onto dealerships with my van. Because this is what I drive:

This is why it's "technicolor": the hinges on my 11-year-old van's doors were in such bad shape (Chrysler didn't design them very well) that the front door wouldn't close. For like, four months. The van sat in my back yard for four months, with a barely-shut door. Then my dad lucked upon a blue parts van for $100. We used the front bumper (mine was ripped in half because of a piece of rebar sticking up out of one of the parking bumpers at work) and the front door. Although, the part in front of the door was damaged too, from the hinge damage, so we used it too. I was supposed to wait for my dad to paint the van, but we ran out of time and I needed the van back. Hence, the bi-color van.

Notice also the rolled-down windows, because the air is currently not working and this is how hot it is:

Now back to the part where I hate to drive onto car lots. See, dealers love to see someone like me coming. They think, "She's driving a piece of junk. She's a girl. She'll be DESPERATE to rid herself of said piece of junk. Hot dog!"

See, that might be good, except I grew up around car dealers (my dad is a mechanic) and I know how they operate. Word of advice: no dealer is going to pay off your trade and not add it on to your payment. By and large, they aren't out to save you money, but to make some for themselves.

One day, I'll be able to afford a better car. Until then, I'm focusing on being thankful that even though I have an 11-year-old technicolor no-air-conditioning minivan, I do have transportation. It runs great. It gets me from Point A to Point B, although I'm usually pretty hot and sweaty by the time I get to Point B.

And the dealers can save their predatory ways for some other shmuck, because when I get blessed to buy another car, they aren't going to take advantage of me.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What do you think?

I took this personality test, but I'm not sure what I think about the results.

You Are An INFJ

The Protector

You live your life with integrity, originality, vision, and creativity.

Independent and stubborn, you rarely stray from your vision - no matter what it is.

You are an excellent listener, with almost infinite patience.

You have complex, deep feelings, and you take great care to express them.

You would make a great photographer, alternative medicine guru, or teacher.

So, those of you who know me well - what do you think?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Aunt Esther, this one's for you!

I know that pictures of Anna Marie have been requested, but this is my cousin Cheree's son Aaron at Anna Marie's birthday party last fall. Compliments of my sister Amanda.

By the way, Aaron's going to be a big brother soon! How exciting! They think it's going to be a girl!

Pictures of the Kid

I've been accused of not having enough pictures of Anna Marie on my blog (thanks, Aunt Esther), so I took some this very morning before we left the house.

Here's one:

And here's another:

And one more for the road:

(In this last one, I told her to say "cheese" and for some reason she thought she needed to show me what a strong girl she is.)

Maybe this will satisfy all you die hard Anna Marie fans for a day or two. Or at least until I get more pictures from her Aunt Manda, her personal paparazzo.

Monday, July 17, 2006

They're baaack!

My washing machine and I have gotten to be very close these past two days.

After spending a week doing minimal housework, this is somewhat of a shock to my system.

We have a routine when a trip is over: Bring the luggage into the kitchen (because, dear ones, that's where someone decided the washer and dryer needed to go) and unload the suitcases straight into the washer.

You know, Jason did have access to a washing machine at his mother's house Friday night. You'd think he'd at least get the towels done. But no. He brought it all home for me to take care of while he gets his computer back up and makes up for lost internet time.

So, that's what I've been doing since Saturday night. Laundry. Although, it's almost done: one load in the dryer waiting to be folded, and one in the washer waiting to be dried, and I think we're done. Compliments of a couple of marathon clothes washing sessions.

On another note, it was good to see Alison and Aunt Esther yesterday. Al's hair was really cute. Maybe I'll post a couple of the pictures from the "photo shoot" Amanda did outside Rio Lindo (Amanda's motto: have camera, will shoot.)

Friday, July 14, 2006

This is scary!

When I got to work this morning, my darling sister Amanda had emailed me this little gem:

Now needless to say, I was mortified. So, especially since my makeup was fresh and I'd just had my hair cut yesterday (no more mullet-y piece on the bottom! Yay!) I forthwith had another picture made:

The first picture was taken sometime in early 2004, before our office moved from the back room to the front with our new computers (see, I was looking at context clues like LaJuan's desk and my long hair! I'm so observant).

Wow. I've been big pretty much my whole life, but I guess you never really realize how big until you lose some - in my case, a little over 50 pounds. I actually think I was heavier in the first picture than I was when I started WW, but since I spent many years in denial I can't be sure. Although, I could be in denial about being bigger then too.

On a different note, Jason and Anna Marie are supposed to be back tomorrow night. I guess I'd better get my scrapbooking stuff off the dining room table, and when he brings back my camera I'll take some pictures of the fruits of my marathon scrabooking sessions.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Must concentrate!

I have so much to accomplish today, but I can't seem to concentrate! I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm still recovering from working at the auction the last two days in Jason's absence. That whole experience wouldn't have been quite so bad, except for the really, REALLY bad job done by the contractors on the floors.

Not only did a job that should've taken a couple of days take over two weeks, it was shoddy. And when I say "shoddy," I mean really bad. Like, great sections of the tile don't match up bad. Like if you look at the floor too long, you get dizzy bad. Like the floor drains are several inches lower than the rest of the floor, causing an unsafe-type-situation (which I was a victim of yesterday). BAD.

We were at the auction for nearly eight hours on Monday, trying to get the plumber to hook the dishwasher back up (the floor guys broke the drain valve when they moved it) and the appliances hooked up (the floor guys put them in the wrong order, and new pipes had to be put in because the new floor was higher than the old one and none of the pipes were the right size).

Also - the tile is permanently stained in some areas because of some of the stuff used by the aforementioned floor guys.

I worked, basically continually, from 5 a.m. - 5 p.m. yesterday. I stood behind a bar and served food for a solid hour at lunch time. I actually looked up and realized an hour of my life was just gone.

(And people - if breakfast is over at 10:15, don't come in at 10:15 and fuss because we're out of eggs. You wouldn't do that at McDonald's, don't do it to us.)

Anyway, I'm still sans computer at home, so I had about half a billion emails this morning - most of them junk. God bless the internet.

I am very much looking forward to going home tonight and curling up with a movie. I think Shopgirl should be in my mailbox when I get home.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Girls' night out

Yeah, and don't start having that old Judds song going through your head, either.

Amanda and I had our annual "Girls Night Out" last night, like we do every year when Jason and AM go out of town. It's our third annual. Aren't you impressed?

The first year, she and I went to Studio on the Square to see Napoleon Dynamite and ate at Pho Hua Binh. MMM, Vietnamese food! I was introduced to it for the first time, and I fell head-over-heels for tofu with pineapple.

Last year, it was a "Girls Day Out" with mom. We saw Batman Begins and ate at Saigon Le. (More Vietnamese food. Am I sensing a pattern?) We also made it over to TCBY for some Dulce de Leche fro yo. Good stuff.

This year, it was back to nighttime. We left work an hour early so we could catch a matinee at Studio on the Square of A Prairie Home Companion. Yes, we left work early to save $2, and missed making somewhat more than that. Whatever.

We were the only people in the theater under the age of 60. The last time that happened to me was Spring Break '97, when I went to Virginia with Rachel Harrison and we saw a matinee of Sense and Sensibility. We also sneaked Dairy Queen food into the theater and ate it on the back row, but I haven't done that since then either.

I have been a fan of Garrison Keillor ever since I was a child. I know, I'm strange. I also used to watch 20/20 on Friday nights when I was in elementary school. Anyway, the movie was enjoyable for me, who is very familiar with his work (I've also read several of his books) and for my sister, who is somewhat familiar but not as much as I am.

The only thing is, it has this really weird side story that almost ruined the movie. Almost. We were pretty creeped out by the whole thing.

But, the Hunan tofu and spring rolls afterwards were very good, and we got home at a decent time. I slept until about 9 a.m., and then I went out and walked a couple of miles. I am now at work, because 1. Jason took the computer, so I can't get on the 'net, and 2. I needed to charge my iPod, and it didn't come with a home charger.

There is work I could be doing, but I'm not. I'm not even going to check the voice mail that a little red light tells me is on my phone. I'm off until Wednesday, and they can just deal with it.

As soon as the iPod gets finished, I'm back home for lunch to eat fat-free hot dogs on light buns with kraut. Life is good!

Friday, July 07, 2006

They're gone!

Well, Jason and Anna Marie left for South Carolina today. I had to stop myself from crying when I was helping load her in the Jeep.

Then, I go into our bedroom, and Jason had forgotten to pack the washcloths I had laid out. Or I guess I should say I forgot to pack them, because I had packed the towels. Luckily, he and AM were having breakfast at BK with my parents, so I went by and took the washcloths. I was going to just put them in the back of the Jeep and go on about my day, but I couldn't resist seeing them one last time before they left.

I was going to go for a walk when I got off, go home, and eat frozen Ravioli while watching the Hitch DVD that's been at my house for a week, but Amanda has talked me into going to the movies with her. We may go see A Prairie Home Companion or The Devil Wears Prada or something like that. I think some Pho Hua Binh may be involved as well.

On another note, Gavin made me so happy when he stopped by yesterday! He hadn't seen me in a while, and nearly had a heart attack when he saw how much weight I'd lost. Such a sweet boy, and he's going to be famous one day. Mark my words. He's already done a small indie film, and now they're trying to shop it around to film festivals. Sundance, watch out!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

We may be in trouble.

Gone are the days when I could tell Anna Marie whatever I wanted about bedtime or the times other things were happening.

Her Aunt Manda has purchased a set of flash cards, and she's learning to tell time.

Poor thing, though, she tried on two of our clocks last night, one in the living room and one in the dining room - but the added element of Roman numerals threw her off. Not to worry - we have a "normal" clock in the bathroom.

Now, when I tell her it's bed time, she can tell whether I'm trying to get her in a little early or not. She thinks her bedtime is 9 p.m., but what she doesn't know is that since she doesn't take naps, I've been putting her to bed at 8:30. Some nights, like when she has to get up extra early, she goes to bed at 8! Now, she's smart enough to figure out what's going on and argue!

I guess it's just another symptom of her growing up.

Monday, July 03, 2006

ECC celebrates the 4th!

We had the first annual Emmaus Community Church Cookout at Casa di Turner, and it turned out pretty well. We were sorry that Barbara couldn't make it, but she was tending to her Best Beloved. Jeremy did come, and stayed long enough to fuss at Amanda for leaving the back door open and get some food to take to Lindsey at work.

Afterwards, we went to Bellevue's annual celebration. It was so nice - the weather was good, the grass was SOFT, and Anna Marie made lots of new "friends." Amazing what a frisbee and some glowy-jewelery will do for your social skills!

I think everyone had a great time, and I can't wait to do it again!

Mom trying to steal a "watermelon kiss" from Anna Marie. I think it worked later, after I had taken this picture.

Amanda and Anna Marie, discussing the terms of "Sir Runs-A-Lot's" recent knighthood. Notice the umbrella, although it was sunny. Notice also Amanda's cardigan, although it was pretty darn hot outside.

Bobby, Pat, and Opal - part of our Batesville Contingent. We're so glad they came!

Dad, enjoying his watermelon. At least he's eating healthier these days!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Yeah, that's me with a trophy!

Can you believe it? I got third place in my age division for the 2 mile walk. And I don't know if she was telling me the truth or not, but Shirley said there were more than three people in the category!

We had a lot of fun. If you live anywhere near Senatobia (even DeSoto County) you need to come to the Five Star Races. It's really one of those events that makes Tate County special.

Anna Marie lost to Peyton (again), and irony at its best - her mother beat me in my age group! It took me roughly 33 minutes to go the 2 miles, which I guess wasn't too bad, considering how out of shape I am!

It was good to talk to LaJuan and some of the others I know in the community. And who knew my mother would confiscate the mic and get Mark Massey to play "People Get Ready" for her - and all without telling him who she was! Good thing LaJuan and I were there to vouch for her after she left.

Hey, don't forget - food at my house tomorrow after church. Grilled pork chops and who knows what else. Come and bring a side of something, and some casual clothes for the trip to Bellevue!