Friday, February 29, 2008

Can I just brag a little?

Anna Marie was being punished yesterday (no, I'm not bragging about that) and, as part of her sentence, had to sit outside while the other kids had recess and, well, write.

Not the "I will not play with my bottle water during lunch" type of sentences. The teacher had her write sentences describing what she saw outside.

Here's the rundown of what my baby observed. All spellings are original.

"Flowers are purple.

Grass is green.

Skys are blue.

Leaves are coming back."

Now, here's the part where she waxes philosophical.

"Its all most spring chair.

i whant it to be sprig now."

Brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it? Especially when you find out that when she wrote "chair" she was trying to write "cheer." She's as tired of winter as the rest of us are!

I told her this morning that, although I was disappointed that she had to be punished, I was proud of the job she had done on her writing.

Pulitzer prize, here we come!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Official Thursday Weigh-In



I could scarce believe my eyes when I looked at the weigh-in card tonight.


That had to be a mistake! I've been doing WW for over two years - I'm past the stage of three pound losses!

And yet there it was - irrefutable proof that CORE was working for me.

I'm not like some of the ladies at the CORE boards, who say they'll never go back to FLEX, but I'm sold for now!

I realized this week, just how much junk I was spending my points on. Oh, so much junk! And how much nibbling I was doing throughout the day. Oh so much nibbling!

One of the biggest changes has been in my breakfast habits. Before, I would have my two cups of coffee, but I wouldn't eat breakfast for another two hours, until after I took Anna Marie to school. Even though I was hungry. Because I didn't want to start spending my points so early! That's crazy talk, folks. All it did was make me crabby while I was trying to get her out the door, which is bad enough in and of itself without adding low blood sugar to the mix.

I bought myself the latest ediiton of the food guide tonight - guess I'll have to explain this little purchase to Jason when he gets finished putting Anna Marie to bed.

(I've decided that Thursday nights are my nights off, because otherwise, I have to rush through my dinner so I can get her tucked in on time. He's perfectly capable of putting her to bed, dagnabbit!)

If you're scared, say you're scared.

I'm terrified.

(That was an homage to my late cousin Cary, who died in a train wreck nearly nine years ago, still in his 20's - just a month after our grandmother died. It was one of his favorite sayings.)


I'm terrified, y'all.

Terrified to go to weigh in.

Oh, I've learned so much this week - like that I eat way too fast, and that I feel so much better without all those processed foods.

And also, that plain yogurt with blackberries can be a good stand-in when your husband sends you to Sonic to fetch him some ice cream.

I know I've done well. At least, I think I've done well. I've learned to prioritize my treats, because I only get so many of those flex points per week.

I've also decided that, no matter what the scale says when I weigh in in a mere two hours, I'm not giving up. I'm giving myself more than just a week to learn this new program, more than just a week for my body to adjust to this change.

Weight Watchers Scale of Destiny, here I come.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


You know what I think is stupid?

Something that's been bugging me for a week now.

I think it's stupid when a business owner, whose business involves housing people, thinks he should be allowed to continue to house those people in a sub-standard way because that's how he's always done it.

I'm obviously not talking about my landlady - she's Da Bomb. (Do folks even say that anymore? I guess in blogspeak she'd be Teh Awsim. But I digress.)

I'm talking about someone here in town, who owns three - count 'em, three - trailer parks. And now, the city has told him (and everyone else that the rules apply to) that he either has to bring the homes therein that were made before 1977 up to federal (did you hear that? FEDERAL) safety standards or move them out.

He's literally made a federal case out of this. He's suing the city.

Now, never mind that our state does not allow these trailers to be brought in any more. And never mind that our county won't allow them to be brought in from another state, or even another county within our state.

He thinks he should be able to house people in these sub-standard, patently dangerous places.

His suit is one of the more ridiculous pieces of legal rambling I've seen - and I've seen some doozies in my time here.

(Your client got mad because he's arrested for getting drunk and peeing on the side of a police station? And then you let the client, who has no driver's license because of repeated DUI, take your fancy German automobile around town to wash it, but he ends up in his neighborhood showing it off, and the cops pick him up because they know it isn't his, and that he doesn't have a license, and your fancy German automobile gets impounded? Let's sue!)

He accuses the mayor of having a bone to pick with him. Of trying to run him out of business! Our mayor happens to be an extremely nice person, with three cute kids (that he sends to public schools, when he could clearly afford private) and the most gorgeous small-town-mayor's wife you've ever seen. All precious, all five of them.

No vendettas to be found.

(Never mind that the state fire marshall started this whole movement, what with those places having aluminum wiring - who ever thought THAT was a good idea - and tiny windows that not even children can get out of in case of a fire.)

(And, never mind that the city has torn down nearly a dozen other sub-standard structures in the past year because they didn't meet codes.)

(And, never mind that the more of these sub-standard places there are in the city, the lower our fire rating will be and the higher our insurance will be?)

How, you might ask, did this idiot get to file a federal lawsuit in this case? Why, by naming not only his business enterprise, but four of his residents, as plaintiffs. And claiming that their civil rights were being denied.

And that their Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were being denied, because they had to find another place to live.

Now, I have nothing against mobile homes. I've spend roughly a third of my life living in them. My parents currently live in a fairly-new double-wide that's nearly twice as big as my house. But I do have something against taking advantage of the less-fortunate.

Would it inconvenience these folks to have to find somewhere else to live? Probably. I'd be inconvenienced if it were me. But look at the bigger picture, as one of our aldermen did when the ordinance was passed:

Better inconvenienced today, then dead tomorrow.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Warning: randomness ahead

Yeah, this post is about to flitter all over the place.

• Wondering how CORE is going? I think it's going well, but I suppose I won't know if it really is until Thursday night when I weigh in. I'm not stuffing myself, which I suppose is a good thing. I am trying new things, like plain fat free yogurt with frozen berries and a little Splenda. So good!

I do know that I've cut my sugar drastically in the last few days. Hooray for that! I really hope I'm doing this correctly, because I'm liking it so much better this way.

• Saturday morning, my mom called and asked me to come to a clothing store with her to give my opinion on some stuff she'd put on hold. She then informed me that one of my aunts had her granddaughter (who is 8) and wanted to take her, and Anna Marie to Build-a-Bear. AM had been a few times, and Savannah had never been, and she was begging to go, so we went.

After a few hairy moments trying to get there, we (two aunts, mom, the two girls, and I) ended up at an Indian restaurant close to the mall. Amanda met us there since it was just up the road from her house.

(What did I eat? A salad made with garbanzo beans, cucumbers, onions, hot peppers, and vinegar that I don't know the name of, a little aloo gobi, and a piece of tandoori chicken.)

When we got to the mall, the aunt who got up the expedition had to sit near one of the entrances and couldn't go into the store. She smoked for many years, and though she stopped several years ago, the damage was done. She's now on oxygen, and has severe chemical sensitivities. She said the scents of the mall were overwhelming, so she sat near an AC vent to get the ventilation.

So, the other aunt stayed with her, while the Mom, Amanda, and I took the girls to build their bears.

Or, in this case, a husky (for Savannah) and a cat (for Anna Marie).

(These pics, from Amanda's camera phone, were "borrowed" from her blog. Because none of us brought proper photography equipment!)

(And no, Anna Marie doesn't take karate. But she wants to. I think Karate Cat is her subtle nudge in that direction.)

I really wanted to go to Sephora while we were there, but it was at the other end of the mall and we really needed to head back home.

The girls' adventure wasn't complete until we got close to the aunt's house, and they started asking for ice cream. So my aunt drove to Sonic, and got the girls hamburgers and chocolate sundaes. At least I didn't have to feed her dinner when we got home!

• Yesterday was our last day as a church. It was odd - I thought no one would bother showing up, since it was our last service, but basically everyone did. We got through the service, and Jason and my dad came back after lunch to break down the PA system (which belongs to my mom but she's sold it to another church so she can get a smaller, more portable system) and pack up everything else that belonged to us.

Oh, and I got a pair of ficus trees out of the deal. They flanked the stage, and were purchased when the church first opened five years ago. The purchasers only came to the church for a couple of weeks (they decided they didn't want to drive that far to church, even though we were literally next door to the beauty shop the woman owned.) The couple has since divorced, by the way, and the hairdresser has become an over-the-road trucker with her new boyfriend.

But I digress. The pastor said that we should take the trees, because anything that was left would have to be stored at the conference headquarters and they didn't have room for fake shrubbery. So yay on that part - I needed the trees for my house, but never could bring myself to spend money on them.

(For the record, I offered to pay for the trees, but my offer was rejected.)

What's our next step? I don't know that today any more than I knew it two weeks ago when the announcement that we were closing was made. And, between Jason being sick and his having to tie up the loose ends of the church business, we really haven't had much chance to discuss it.

It felt odd as we drove away yesterday - it's the first time in nearly six years that we haven't had a church home. And for someone who has been going to church since before I was born (and Jason has too) that feels very disconcerting.

So, on we go. We may end up visiting my mother's church for a while, and seeing where God leads. I don't know. I didn't get the feeling yesterday that anyone really had a plan - I think we were all just trying to survive these last two weeks.

So, new church, new way of eating - lots of shaking things up lately.

I can't wait to see how it all shakes out.

Friday, February 22, 2008

CORE list

So, Wendy asked me to post a simplified CORE foods list.

Here's the gist of it: there are 10 CORE food groups.

• Vegetables and fruits

• Soups (non-cream based)

• Whole wheat pasta, brown rice, potatoes, and grains

• Whole grain cereals, without added sugar, nuts, or dried fruit

• Lean meats, meat substitutes, poultry, fish, and eggs

• Coffee, tea, and sugar-free beverages

• Condiments (like ketchup, mustard, etc. - not full-fat mayo!)

• Healthy oils (olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, and flaxseed)

• Fat-free milk, milk products, or dairy substitutes (like soy milk)

Yes, that's only nine groups. The other includes Weight Watchers smoothies and Fruities, their chewy-fruity-snacky things.

You can eat what you want from those groups. The idea is to learn your own hunger cues, only eating when you're hungry, and stopping when you're satisfied.

Not full. Satisfied. That's going to be my biggest challenge, I'm telling you now.

You do, however, have 35 POINTS to eat stuff that's not CORE each week. And, if you have a food with several different items, you see if everything in it is on the CORE list. If it's just a couple of things (like reduced-fat cheese on top of a dish that's otherwise CORE, instead of fat free) you just count those POINTS. If it's more than a couple of ingredients, you count POINTS for the whole dish.

In addition, you are limited to one serving per day, in total, of whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or potatoes. And bread, apparently, is never a CORE food.

It's relatively low-carb, yes, but in a more South Beach Diet type of way.

Know what you can have, though? 94% Fat Free Popcorn! The whole bag! And you don't have to count POINTS for it!

I'm still learning all this, and I'm constantly referring both to my materials and to the CORE message board at And, if you want to know more specifics on the food list, you can Google it. Seriously. I would, though, limit my searches to pages updated in the last six months or so. That way you're assured of getting the most up-to-date information because WW sometimes changes their materials.

Hopefully, the novelty of this won't wear off before its done my body some good.

It's time.

Today is the day.

It's "C" day.

As in, CORE.

As in, I'm in completely new (to me) diet territory.

I don't know why, but I'm kinda excited. Maybe it's because it's a new challenge, and I've been at WW so long that it's no longer a challenge to me. Maybe it's because its giving me some renewed hope of getting off this last 20 pounds.

Maybe it's because I won't feel "penalized" for eating fruit.

I've read and re-read the materials. I've packed up all my info and put it into my purse.

(I've made a Walmart run this morning, only to discover at the cash register that I'd left my wallet on the dining room table where I was counting out Anna Marie's lunch money.)

(Thankfully, I had the check book, and thankfully, the computer didn't randomly ask for my ID.)

I'm on a roll - I had a bowl of Fiber One (CORE) with 1% milk (non-CORE), some veggies (oh-so-CORE) and four glasses of water.

I've used one of my 35 points so far, and gotten in several of my Healthy Guidelines (water, veggies, milk, etc.) If I'd had some skim milk this morning, I wouldn't have used any. I can't bring myself to make Jason and AM drink skim, any more than they can bring themselves to drink it, so I may just buy a half-gallon of each.

(They drink milk straight up, and I only use it in cereal, so I shouldn't notice the difference. Much.)

Will I stick with CORE forever? Who knows. I know it can't hurt to purge the sugar and refined starches from my diet.

The experiment begins…

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Official Thursday Weigh-In

Well then.

I wanted to get off this plateau, but I didn't want to go back up. Guess I should've been more specific.

I gained one pound this week. I'm choosing to blame it on the Cheesecake Kisses. I obviously failed with my devious plan to foist them on the rest of the office, because I still ended up eating way too many.

So, tomorrow, I'm making a change. I'm going CORE.

For those of you who aren't familiar with WW, CORE is their no-counting, no-measuring option. You eat foods from an approved list, with 35 flex points built in for treats.

Am I scared? Yes. But I'm more scared to go backwards in this weight-loss journey. It's completely possible that after two years my body has become accustomed to this way of eating. It's also completely possible that I'm using my points to eat too much junk.

Either way, tomorrow is the day.

Wish me luck.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Music Monday

Or, the feature that I get around to when I get around to.

So, Anna Marie has re-ignited my interest in They Might Be Giants. And I found this video online last week.

Welcome to your next earworm.

You can thank me later.

(Confidential to Paige - I also found several of their other videos on YouTube when I was looking for this, including kids music!)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Official "Thursday" Weigh-In

These just keep getting later and later, don't they? Last night I didn't stay for my meeting, because I was just so darn tired. The tiredness hit all of a sudden, making me afraid I'd come down with The Flu. And all I could think about was how today is a deadline day, and I had my Really Big Story to finish about the Japanese auto parts plant coming to town, and also an editorial to write telling everyone what a good job they did getting those nice folks from Japan to come here.

Fortunately, after dinner I felt much better.

And then, my mom came over to give Anna Marie her Valentine's present (a kid-sized cookie baking set) and I had to get her settled down for bed after that.

Ha. Hahahahahaha.

I did so by promising that she could see some of the They Might Be Giants podcasts this morning during breakfast. Because, thanks to the Disney Channel, my daughter loves Flansburgh and Linnell nearly as much as I do.

Put a little birdhouse in your soul…

Anyway - what were we here for? Oh yeah. My weight.

Nothing much to report on that front. Stayed the same, 157. So far, I'm digging these digital scales - they make weighing in much much quicker.

In other news - did you know that those folks at Hershey's made a kiss with cheesecake in the middle?

Cheesecake? Really?

And did you know that those folks at Walmart consider them Valentine's food and put them on at half price?

Half price? How could I pass that up?

If it makes you feel any better, I ate a few and put them into a bowl in the middle of my office so everyone could share the burden of dispatching them.

Because I'm evil like that.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I just love this picture of my two sweeties - and their short sleeves make me wish it was warmer outside!

I hope y'all are having a good day. I've had plenty of awful Valentine's experiences, so I hate to see anyone else down on this day.

Anna Marie seems to be having a better time than she did last year. I gave her a box of Spongebob chocolates this morning, and then I went to her class party. (Because I didn't get a job in the next county! And I can do that!) I ended up checking her out because there was only about half an hour of school left.

I'm the world's worst about waiting until the last minute to get Jason's present. Last year, I totally missed the deadline and had to order something later. Well, this year I got in just under the wire - when I went to Walmart last night to pick up the Reddi-Whip for the class party (sundae bar!) I also picked up a DVD of some cheesy sci-fi movie. I don't know what it's about, but it's called "Croc" so I imagine it to involve a super sized crocodile. But I've been wrong before.

Jason loves those kinds of movies - the kind where science messes with nature, producing some gargantuan animal, who then turns on those who mutated it in the first place. Last year for Christmas I got him the complete set of "Jurrassic Park." I can't even tell you how many times he's watched those! And for his birthday this year, it was all four "Tremors" movies.

(By the way, did you know there were four of those? I didn't.)

I came home one Saturday after going shopping with my mom, only to discover he'd spent the entire day watching a marathon of that nonsense on Sci Fi. Sheesh.

(I'm not interested unless David Tennant is involved. If so, then sign me up!)

He (Jason, not David Tennant) came by my office this morning with a bag of Weight Watchers candy and a pot of tulips. He's getting so sweet in his old age.

Anna Marie almost cried this morning when we got to school and she realized she hadn't gotten me a Valentine. I told her not to worry about it, but when we left this afternoon she handed me a piece of paper. On the front was a classroom coloring sheet. On the back, a big heart. Underneath it was written:

"Mom, this is for you."

Indeed it was.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tell me I'm crazy.

Go ahead. Tell me I've completely lost my mind.

Oh, wait, let me explain a little. Then you can tell me that.

Yesterday, in the midst of all my turmoil about the church, I got a phone call straight out of the blue.

And also, straight out of Chicago.

It was a recruiter, who, for some reason, was recruiting for a newspaper in the county just north of here.

He wanted to know if I'd be interested in interviewing for a job as a managing editor. Mainly the same work I'm doing now, plus a supervisory role, and more money.

Yeah. More money.

The commute wouldn't be bad - 20 minutes, give or take. They publish three times a week.

Oh, was I ever in a tizzy when I got off the phone with that man. I thought my heart was going to beat right out of my chest. I just tried to stay quiet until it was time to go pick Anna Marie up from choir practice.

Amanda said I should go for it. Jason said I should go for it. Mom told me to pray about it.

So I did. I told God last night that I wasn't going to try to reason this out, wasn't trying to get together a pros/cons list. I was going to wait on Him.

This morning, I started thinking about it again. I'd told the recruiter I'd call him today if I was interested. I knew I had to make a decision, quickly.

I started thinking about Anna Marie. Really, really thinking about her. I started thinking that if I were 20 minutes away, that would probably keep me from being able to scoot over to the school when there were special events. It would complicate matters on the days I have to pick her up from school because Jason is in Memphis. It would remove me from a community that I've really come to enjoy.

And while the community where the other paper is located is growing by leaps and bounds - it's the seventh fastest-growing area in the country - we're just starting to grow. (In fact, we got word today that a Japanese automotive parts manufacturing company is going to locate here! Hooray!)

The things that frustrate me about my current job - most of them - wouldn't be gone just because I was at another paper. They're kind of part and parcel of the newspaper business.

This morning, I realized that all the money in the world wouldn't be worth it if it kept me from being involved in my child's life. I realized that she is the most important thing in my life right now. She is my top priority.

Where else could I work that would let me bring her to the office when she's out of school? Where my co-workers go pick her up from school when I can't?

I'm not saying the folks at the other paper aren't nice, or that they wouldn't care about me or my family. But, as a larger organization in another county, it wouldn't be the same.

Would it be a nice promotion? Probably. Would it be the next natural progression of my career? Definitely. But I'm not trying to climb the corporate ladder. Those aren't my goals. Anna Marie is only a child for a short time, and there will be time enough for "advancing my career" when she's older.

If we couldn't put food on the table, it would be a different story. But we can. And you know the odd thing was, after I looked at it from that perspective - that the things the money would add to my life wouldn't offset what the position would take away - suddenly I had peace.

I understand if you don't agree with me. I know not everyone will. To quote Amanda this morning, "Melissa, I'm going to beat you."

So, now that you know the story, go ahead.

Tell me I'm crazy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A little something off my chest

(Subtitle: hit the deck. She's baring her soul again.)

Ok. So, it's late here. I need to be in bed. But I can't sleep. Because I'm writing a dang blog post in my head.

Better out than in, as Shrek would say.

Some people who know me personally might think I'm relieved that the church is closing. I've spent parts of the last few years discouraged about our lack of growth. I'm a VERY impatient person. I want things to happen, like, yesterday. And when they don't, I start doubting.

God. Myself. My husband's concern for our family's best interests.

In the last post, I commented that I was having to trust in God and in Jason's ability to hear from Him. Now, don't get me wrong - I don't think that God is any respecter of persons. I think I can hear from Him just as well as Jason can.

But, I also know that Jason isn't like me. He's calm. Oh my gosh, is he ever. He's the complete opposite of me. While I'm sitting at work today having an anxiety attack, wondering what we're going to do next, Jason isn't bothered. He knows that God will take care of us, and show us what we're going to do next.

I know that if I'm the one making this decision, not only am I likely to get impatient and make the wrong one, I'll end up second guessing it and driving myself and everyone around me up the wall.

And I wonder if this is all my fault. Did I have enough faith? Did I work hard enough to bring people into the church? Was I friendly enough to visitors when they came in?

It's just like 2002 all over again - that was the year Jason and I lost our jobs, both connected to the church, within three days of each other. In hindsight, I know that it wasn't our fault. There were, literally, people plotting to get us out of the way. (A conspiracy!)

And, I've spent lots of time second guessing our decision to come out here to live. Because Jason was so paralyzed with hurt over what had happened to us, he couldn't make any decision at all. He spent six weeks trying in vain to find a job. We even went and interviewed at a church, only to realize that what they wanted wasn't what we could offer. So I told him that I didn't know what he was going to do, but the baby and I were coming to Mississippi.

Did God take care of us after we got out here? Sure He did. Even when it came to church. For the first year, we attended a great church half an hour from here that helped us to heal and grow so that we could get past the hurt we'd suffered. Once I was once again under solid biblical teaching, I realized that in our old church situation, so much emphasis had been placed on the wrong things that I was starving spiritually. I was chasing after the wrong things, things that were temporary, because that's what the leadership at that church was doing. And Jason and I were part of that leadership.

When we were married, I thought I knew how our life was going to turn out. (Yeah, don't we all?) After four years, that life I thought I was going to have was gone - through no fault of our own.

Will we ever get back to that place where church is the ONLY thing in our lives? Where the ONLY people we know are in the church? I don't know. I don't know if Jason will ever be full-time staff at a church again. I don't know if I'll ever be identified as a minister's wife again. At this point, I can't even wrap my mind around starting over at a new church, with a new group of people. And having to explain to them how we ended up here.

Although Jason wouldn't agree with me on this point, I find it rather humiliating, like we've failed. I read our college alumni magazine, and see the great things that our schoolmates are doing for God, and I wonder - what did we do that was so wrong, that we've been denied success in that arena?

Maybe what I need to come to grips with is not just my concept of what "church" is - because "church as usual" isn't sounding real appealing to me right now. Maybe I need a new perspective on what "success" is too.

Don't worry - I don't expect to be on this train of thought any longer.

I just needed to get a few things off my chest.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

What a weekend

Ups and downs, folks. Ups and downs.

That's been my weekend.

It started out innocently enough - Friday was a quiet night at home. I was feeling a little "off," but I didn't think much of it.

Saturday was a different story.

Let me interject, my mother was set to host a jewelry party here at my house this afternoon, because my dad still hasn't fixed the hall bathroom at her house. That's partly due to the stroke, and partly due to his extreme - EXTREME paranoia about stuff that's not that paranoia worthy (like a little mildew. I know that mold can be dangerous, but I think he's being a bit extreme.)

So, I was supposed to spend yesterday cleaning.

It didn't happen.

I was awakened bright and early by a bright and shining red head demanding cereal. I was still feeling a bit "off" but managed to make her breakfast and get myself some oatmeal and hot tea.

As the morning progressed, so did my feelings of queasiness. When my mother called about 10 a.m. to ask if Anna Marie could go to a museum with my dad, his best friend, and his best friend's granddaughters, I was more than glad to offload her let her go. I told mom how I was feeling, and she sent over some sinus medicine with pain reliever and some sort of nausea medicine.

My mother, the back-door pharmacy.

I took the meds, and informed Jason that he was on his own for lunch because I just wasn't hungry. (Told you I wasn't feeling well.) I fell asleep on the couch, and he woke me up about half an hour later to suggest that I move to the bedroom.

I was out for another 3.5 hours.

I thought I'd eat a little something, since all I'd had all day was oatmeal and it was now 4 p.m., and the only thing I could come up with was microwave popcorn.

So far, so good. Still feeling a bit queasy, though.

Anna Marie and dad came back, and he and Jason hatched a plan to go to dinner. I got out of my PJs for the first time all day, and accompanied them. I managed to get down a hamburger (yes, I know, probably not the best choice, but I figured it might shock my system into action and get the queasiness gone.)

Little AM went home with my mom for the night, and I spent the rest of the evening running back and forth to the restroom, and, in between, suffering horrible stomach cramps.

I dozed on and off all night, and woke up about 7 a.m. The house was clean, except for some work on The Kid's room. I thought I was feeling better, so I spent a feverish 30 minutes in there.

Just don't open the closet.

I started feeling bad at church, which was really unfortunate, because it meant I was in the restroom when the pastor announced that we'd be closing the church at the end of the month.

See - we helped plant the church in 2003 with my parents. We'd struggled along until last spring, when my mom felt it was time she stepped down. Jason and I, along with a couple others, stayed on, and the conference sent a new pastor. He's from this area, but he lives two hours away and only came down on weekends. Our attendance was up, thanks to the pastor's extensive family and friends, but that was all - the attendance. No one was contributing anything - time, talents, or "treasures." In other words, not only was no one else willing to work, no one else was willing to give money to the operation either. Our bills were only $750 per month for rent and utilities, and no one was getting a paycheck, but we were still short each month. The conference helped us for several months, but I guess they determined it was a lost cause.

(Yeah, we were doing better before, with fewer people, because everyone was working and contributing. Go figure.)

Am I sad? A little. I also know it wasn't all our fault - we were here, where we felt God wanted us. If those who told us they couldn't find a church they fit in to, or where they could use their talents, didn't come, or did but didn't stay, that's not our fault. They have no excuse now.

I'm not really sure what we'll do now - we'll have service on the 17th and 24th, and then it's over. Jason and I really have to pray about where God wants our family to go next. We've all kind of known this day was coming - or at least I did, because Jason handles the church books and I knew there were shortfalls - but I don't know if any of us were prepared for it to be this soon.

We made it through the jewelry party just fine. I was feeling much better by then. And, I booked a "book party," because the company has a special promotion that ends February 26 and I just don't see myself planning a shindig at my house within the next two weeks.

Ok, so strike that first phrase. I guess my weekend wasn't so much "ups and downs" as it was "down, down, up."

Capped off by a serenade at bed time by that bright and shining red head.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Official Thursday Weigh-In

Told ya I'd be back!

Apparently, being in court all week (and thus away from snacks) is a good thing.

Because I lost two pounds this week.

Finally! That takes me to 157, which is the lowest I've ever, EVER been.


81 pounds gone. It's nearly a whole nother person!

How are y'all doing, girls?

Check in #1

Because the second time, I'll bring you the latest in the Battle of the Bulge.

Oh, thank God, the trial is over! After three half-days of testimony (starting after lunch on Monday, just before lunch on Tuesday, and ending just before lunch yesterday) the jury was handed the case at 1:40 p.m. yesterday.

At 2:25 p.m., they had a verdict for Bailiff Bob.

And yes, even the judge calls him that.

Guilty of capital murder. Life in prison, with no possibilty of parole.

(Did you know that in Mississippi at least, it doesn't matter if you robbed the person before or after they died, it's still capital murder? I didn't.)

(There was no death penalty on the table. I think because he's a citizen of our neighbor to the south, and he's not exactly supposed to be here, and they don't exactly like the death penalty down there.)

(Something like that.)

No big show of emotion from the family - I think they're just glad to be done with this.

This has been a very topsy-turvy week. When I got downstairs to my car to check my phone for messages on Tuesday (because I couldn't take it or my purse into the courtroom) there was a missed call from work. The weather was getting bad, Travis said, and school had let out early.

Great. I'm in court, can't be reached, can't leave. Jason's in Memphis. Along with my mom and Amanda.

No worries - Travis said Ms. Faye had already gone to the school to pick her up.

I was a bit concerned that the school had let my daughter go with someone that I hadn't told them would be coming, but Faye had talked to the teacher when she called and let her know the situation. When Faye finally got to where AM was (poor thing had no idea where to go, and the whole setup is pretty complicated) they asked AM if she knew the lady in the white truck.

She said she did, and the folks said, "You must be her grandmother!"

(Faye was not offended - she does have red hair, and she is old enough to be AM's grandmother.)

The two red-heads pulled up at the courthouse about the time I got off the phone with Jason. I was going to take the kid home while I had my lunch break and leave her at the paper with Faye, but then I remembered my dad hadn't gone back to work yet so I took her over there until Jason could get home.

Problem solved.

(By the way, AM did know that I was in court, and Ms. Shirley was supposed to get her from choir practice after school, but she was at the doctor with her husband when the teacher called. So I guess she figured Ms. Faye was a stand-in for Ms. Shirley.)

I am typing this on our new - I mean, Jason's new laptop. It also came in Tuesday whilst I was in court. It's an Acer, and I'm not thrilled with the keyboard. For some reason, every few keystrokes, the cursor jumps back a few spaces and starts typing in the middle of another word. My mom has an Acer, and it does the same thing. If anyone out there has had this problem, and knows what I'm doing wrong, I'd appreciate some tips.

The jury, while dismissed in the murder trial, is still out on Vista.

And now, gentle reader, I must go finally start my day. I'm thankful we're all safe after Tuesday's storms, that I didn't have to see any crime-scene photos this week, and that the trial is over and justice, hopefully, is served.

And that I work with such a great group of folks that they're willing to all pull together to help me be a mom so I can do what I do.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Here comes the bride!

I'm about to BLOW Blogger's mind with all these pictures.

We had such a good time with the wedding this weekend. Friday night was the most entertaining wedding rehearsal I've ever been to, and believe me, I've been to plenty.

(It was my first Catholic rehearsal, so I don't know - maybe they're all that way?)

I have to say, the priest was hilarious, and having someone in authority in charge of the rehearsal is a stroke of genius. No one is going to argue with a man of the cloth, the way they might with your Aunt Ethel who is coordinating things.

The church was spectacular, to say the least. After I had the honor of helping Marcia get dressed, I snapped a few pictures around the sanctuary.

This is the baptismal font. The priest said it had won an award for liturgical design. (And my mother walked past it - twice - without even noticing it.)

I even got all fancy-schmancy and put my camera into black and white mode. And turned off the flash, so I had brace myself against various things.

It was a beautiful ceremony, and the priest was very understanding, given that about 95% of the folks there had no idea what was going on. It was a Catholic wedding full of Baptists.

The priest did mention Marcia's aunt in the prayer, and her family was there. You could tell it was really hard for her husband and kids to be there. In fact, he took his grandson (who is 6) and left the reception early. They went to McD's so he could spend some time with him.

I was so exhausted afterward. I was also thankful that I had successfully worn high-heeled boots and walked up a ramp to the podium without slipping, and that I had managed to get through the scripture and the responsorial reading without making a total fool of myself.

Oh, yeah, and Friday night at the rehearsal dinner, Jason informed me that a couple from church was having a Super Bowl party at their house. Great. I had no time to do anything about it Friday or Saturday, so I braved the crowds and ventured to Walmart after church.

The man of the house was pulling for the Giants (who else, with Ole Miss alum Eli?) and he did not play. When his daughter grabbed the remote and changed the channel during a commercial, I thought she would not survive to see another morning.

We left during halftime, and, believe it or not, the two non-football-watching Turners finished the game after we got home.

And got to see little Eli make his family proud.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a murder trial starting this week. You may not see me around these parts for the rest of the week.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Official "Thursday" Weigh-In

Yeah, it's Friday again.

I got home last night, and Jason was lamenting the demise of his laptop. He thinks it's a problem with the battery, but he has a replacement battery ordered that should be in today.

At any rate, the laptop was down and he was on the desktop. Having the nerve to inquire of me as to the location of my latest Walmart receipts.

The nerve.

Not that you missed anything - once again, no change. Still 159. We got a new digital scale at WW this week, and I was all psyched up to blame any gain I may have had on an inaccurate scale.

Our normal WW leader wasn't there, because her husband (who, as luck would have it, works in construction) was working at home and cut three of his fingers off.

Which, in my book, is equivalent to a chef getting food poisoning.

No worries - he had surgery, and I think they reattached the digits. Our Fearless Leader was at the hospital in Jackson with him. (Memphis is closer, with a trauma center, but they had no bone doctor available so the fingers would've just been amputated.)

My BFF Marcia is getting married tomorrow, and the rehearsal is tonight, so I've got a plan for today.

1. Quaker Weight-Control oatmeal for breakfast. My mom gave it to me (I don't think she liked it). I don't much care for the taste, either, but it does keep me full until lunch. Three POINTS.

2. Progresso 0-point soup for lunch. Even if I eat the entire can, it'll just set me back two POINTS.

3. I'll likely stop at WM after I drop AM off at school for veggies since I'm out, and nosh on them if I get hungry.

The dinner is being held at a Chinese buffet-turned-Southern buffet, which is still owned by the same Chinese family. And which still serves both Chinese and Southern-style food.

And which, in high school, my brother prank called and said, "Just how many ways are there to skin a cat, anyway?"

Apparently, they had caller ID, because the guy said, "I don't know, Mr. Randy."

"Randy?" said my brother, whose last name is Raney, "I don't know any Randy."