Sunday, December 09, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Now 50% as Crazy

A few months ago I decided to run a marathon. Well, I'm glad that's over.

I didn't give up completely though (I've just missed a few runs, ok?), but I have altered my plan back to the original plan of running a half-marathon. It all seems much more manageable. To really stick it to myself, I have decided to try some speed training and run the 13.1 miles in about 2 1/2 hours. So there. That's the goal.

Other than that, I'm really, really glad to be done grading proficiency exams. I haven't had much sleep in the past few days because I grade from 8:30 - 4:00 and then work on challenge folders...(sigh). Now I'm recupe-ing by watching Buffy dvd's and cuddling with Nelly and Jax. This is what I signed up for.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

As for the Running

The Running (which is actually slow jogging) is going fine. I'm scheduled to go for an hour this weekend, so I'll let you know how that goes too. I have a fair amount of pain in my knees, calves, and feet, but glucosamine and advil seem to be helping for now.

My Eyes Are Old

For the first time in years, I went to the eye doctor. Sure, I needed to go, but this trip was a direct result of Dale accidentally throwing out my last pair of contacts that I had stored in small mint julep cups (obviously, those were my contacts, I mean, what was he thinking?). My new health insurance has eye coverage if you use the WalMart vision centers, so a few weeks ago, I went to my appointment.

My first not-knowing-what-to-expect attitude quickly changed to an omg-get-me-out-of-this-bootleg-operation as the doctor measured my eyes with several ruler-like devices before traumatizing me with at least six air puffs to each eye to test eye pressure. This Air Puff test is one thing that I'm really not good at. Needles, giving blood, teeth cleanings, and various other minimally invasive medical procedures are no issue, but I'm equally terrified and incapable of doing the simple test. After I considered leaving while my eyes were being pulverized by air, we went into the office for several tests during which really bright lights were shined at me until my eyes quivered and watered to the point that we had to stop.

The doctor told me I had sensitive eyes. Right, it's my fault.

Then things got better. After the very, very thourough exam, the doctor took a lot of time to tell me what was actually wrong with my eyes and even giving me some exercises to strengthen them. She was really nice, and I began to think that maybe all appointments should be this tough because they made for a very complete report.

She told me my eyes were "iso" rather than "exo" which means that they have a tendency to turn in. Anyone who's seen my embarrassing baby pictures knows that I had a lazy eye when I was born, so that makes sense. Then she said that with my unique combination of substantial near-sightedness and "iso," I could use some mild reading glasses. Yep, reading glasses. My eyes are old.

The doctor also told me that I have some condition that makes me sleepy when I read (which is true), so she was kinda impressed when I said I taught English and read books and papers for a living. I took it to mean that I've overcome my physical limitations to do what I love. Since I wasn't expecting inspiration from the eye doctor, I considered the visit a success, even though my eyes were very glad that it was over.

And I got some cute, black, cat-eye reading glasses out of the deal.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sign the Papers, I'm Crazy.

Three years ago this Halloween, my friend Sarah and I ran a 5K to promote "Safe Dating," aka stop violence and sexual crimes against women. It was a bit of a debaucle. I had trained for months for the big 3 mile (yes, just 3) run, but I changed my routine the day of the race and really screwed myself over. On that lovely October morning in New Jersey, I woke up and decided that we'd be hungry after the race, so I prepared some veggie jambalaya (Sarah's a vegetarian). In loading the pot with onions and garlic, I got evil, burny onion and garlic fumes in my not-yet-contacted eyes; therefore, when I tried to put my contacts in, I cried in pain and decided to run in my glasses. No big deal, but it made for a miserable run with me sniffling from the spicy food and pushing my glasses up on my nose every few steps.

Since that run was such a success (ha...ha), I resolved to run a 10K sometime the next year. Well, several years have passed and there's been no organized running for me, so of course I've decided to ruin all that bodily comfort and blissful laziness by running a half marathon as part of the Mardi Gras marathon. I was thinking it would be my punishment for not getting my butt in gear for that 10K two years ago. Dale, a marathoner extraordinaire (meaning he can do it), has been very supportive and even bought me a book called "The Nonrunner's Guide to the Marathon for Women" (it's not an insult, I requested it). I even started training this week 'cause the actual race is 20 weeks away.

There's more. The crazy part.

Last night, Dale had a wine and cheese birthday get together. I made sure that it was a well-balanced menu of the three most important food groups: yummy cheese, carbs in the form of assorted crackers, and red wine. At approximately the mid-point of the evening when I had put a serious dent in the nutritionally complex dinner, the half-marathon came up. I gave a brief statement of intent, and Dale helpfully pointed out that our friend Elizabeth had run the marathon...twice. She immediately started saying how she did it without doing all that pesky recommended training because she wasn't worried about running fast. This sounded like a great training schedule, so I asked how often she ran, and a how fast, and where, and the list went on. Then, I felt my head bobbing in agreement and heard myself saying "yeah, maybe," and then I realized Elizabeth had just proposed that we run the marathon. Not the half. The MARATHON. 26.2 MILES. After getting some answers from me about my current running skills, she was like "Of course you can do it. No need to be in a hurry. And you'll be so proud of yourself."

Ugh. I think I've agreed to run a marathon. (WHAT?) I'm at least going to get into the training and see what happens.

Some positives: Dawn, the author of my running book, says that my butt will never look better and that I'll be able to eat all the carbs I want. Now, those two things have always been life goals for me--I mean, in my ideal world, my butt will look great and I'll get pizza at every meal--but it seems like a lot of work for a few simple pleasures. Mainly I'm hoping that this training will make me as funny as Dawn because I laughed myself into tears today while reading her book. She also is encouraging me (I will henceforth be speaking of Dawn as if she's a close personal friend) to keep a journal as I train, so you're it blogosphere. Prepare yourself for much complaining. Today was a 3 mile run (the same as the only 5K I've done), and it was ok despite some dehydration and calf tightness after the mile and a half mark. I'm going to learn a lot about my personal limits during the next few months, and y'all get to hear all the gorey details. Just think of it as a gross, boring gossip column written by someone less-than-sane. Lucky you.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Penelope and Jax

Since I'm totally fascinated with the upload function, here's my first photo shoot with the new kitties. The female gray maine coon is Penelope, and the guy in the tuxedo is Jax (named after an old New Orleans beer brewing company). Penelope is named such because she's beautiful, smart, and very self-possessed. She is also a cuddlebaby who loves to curl up right next to you and fall asleep while Jax prefers bounding about the apartment and perfecting his sliding technique on the hardwood floors. Both of them love to keep me company at the computer, as you can see.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Laurena + Bud = Hitched!

As promised (months ago, but no matter), here are a few pictures of Lauren and Bud's wedding. It was a really nice day...things went as planned, and my hair looked fantastic. And my shoes were really pretty. Oh, but Lauren totally wins because she had a better dress AND she picked up a cute, sweet husband who's good at building stuff. I digress. Photos:
Beautiful profile of sis with her lovely bouquet

One last Ethridge pic

Bud and his oldest son, Kyle. They were precious. During the ceremony, Kyle asked Bud, "Do you know you're getting married right now?" The whole place giggled.

Feather, our angelic flower girl, who behaved just long enough to get down the aisle.

Lauren with Granny (Miss Marcia's mom). These two looked the best out of everyone.

Lauren and Bud at the reception. Bud wasted no time changing clothes

And this is me relaxing during the post-wedding picture fest. Note the pretty shoes.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Land of the Beast

Ahh, Alabama. Even though I should be familiar with the charm, quirks, and outright offenses of Alabama, sometimes the place surprises me anyway. Well, I have been away for the better part of three years, so bear with me as I expose and revel. The beauty of my home state is often the first thing I notice upon returning. The rolling green hills broken by pine trees, huge oaks, and the lush fields produced by plenty of early summer rain are just gorgeous against the red clay underneath. For the first time in years, my parents' yard was green (as opposed to dry brown) and the heat wasn't too searing. Nighttime brought sitting on the porch with my sister and new brother-in-law and standing in the middle of the driveway, head thrown back, to take in the bright stars that go from horizon to horizon.

Then there are the more harsh social and cultural realities of my stomping grounds. One day while aimlessly riding around with my sister, she took me by an old rural church to show me a road sign. It was one of those small historical markers designating a cemetary, but I could not believe what I read: "Little Rocky Mountain Colored Cemetary". COLORED! and it's a relatively new sign. You see, Little Rocky Mountain is a historically black church, but there's no need to designate the sign as such, and the use of "colored" is backward and offensive and displays a lack of social awareness that plagues my region. Fortunately, everyone I know who's seen the sign is offended, so it's just our county's uninformed historian, Larry Smith who's decidedly out of the cultually/historicaly responsible loop.

In addition to the thinly veiled racism, there's the blatant disregard for the environment. A place that's so concerned with being Christian, one might think that people would also want to protect "creation." It is beautiful, after all, but the notion of recycling or just not throwing beer cans out the window is as foreign as New York City. And to make things worse (or perhaps just predictably), the roadside beer trash is almost always Natural Light or Milwalkee's Best, or "The Beast," as known to tailgate drinkers and frat bros everywhere. For me it's an approprate symbol for the narrow-minded, distasteful, and sometimes horrible behavior thrown into an otherwise lovely landscape.

Ok, now that I've ranted a bit, I'll run through some of the things that I truly love about being at home on the farm.
1. Lots of really nice people who love you or are at least concerned with what you're doing.
2. People who celebrate "crazy" as a regional pastime
3. People who know how to appreciate my firecracker onion rings that I laboriously made in a cast iron pot over a gas flame (yes, it was at a fish fry)
4. Convenience stores (which are combined with gas stations) smell of bacon...comforting
5. Where biscuits are a viable choice for wedding reception food (I learned this while choosing my sister's catering menu)
6. Where people cry when they're happy to see you and tell you that's why they're crying
7. Where things are familiar from store names to clothing styles to accents (this may be my favorite one)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Save the Fuzzballs!

Ok, so still no wedding photos, but they haven't been developed yet, so I have an excuse. Instead, I'll have to entertain you with stories of my homeland.

Happily, there are many kittens hanging around my house these days. They're mostly little orange tabby kittens, but none of the little fuzzies want to have anything to do with humans. This became painfully obvious to me one day as I was trying to save one's life. See, my dad had shoulder surgery a few months ago, and I was driving him to a check up in Columbus, GA, when we heard a soft mewing from somewhere under the car. After pulling over and crawling under the car, then getting under there again at the vet's office, we took the car to a local dealership to see if they would have any luck. I was totally distraught at this point, near tears, and really angry at my father who kept worrying about making the appointment on time. The dealership said it was a common problem and took off just the right panel to remove the little thing, but he jumped out and hid in the inner-workings of another car. Another panel removal...another car for the kitty. Finally, we popped the hood on the third vehicle (a huge truck) and the tiny orange kitten was sitting on top of the motor. I plucked him up by the back of the neck and wrestled him out of the tubes and gauges. I managed to hold on to him long enough to get him in the car where bit my mother's finger and got away from me again, but one of the nice mechanics gave me a soft shop towel to put over him and he quieted down. We boarded him at the vet for the afternoon and headed on to the doctor. Mom picked up the kitten on her way home and carefully dumped him outside, but the little thing just scampered away and still has no idea that we saved his life. He has joined the brigade of other stray cats that we have--Baby, the small calico who seems to be the source of all the kittens; Orange Kitty, a really mean, fluffy tabby who humps everything in sight; Knot, a gray and black tabby who has a hairless spot in the middle of his tail; Miscellaneous kitties, this is a rotating feline crew of tabbies and calicos who live under our garage. We love them, we feed them, and we get no thanks for saving their lives. I mean, anyone who knows cats knows that they regard humans as a convenient source of food and attention. Catlovers be warned...the kitties remain ungrateful.


So graduation went well. It happened despite my suspicions to the contrary, and it ended up being a nice day. Buist did an amazing job of delivering a touching and funny speech as senior speaker, (here we are after graduation),
and Richard Codey (the guy who took over for McGreevey) was nice, brief, and down to earth. Our president said a lot of stuff that no one believed, but whatever. The graduate school was left out of the ceremony for the most part. Some awards were given by the undergrads and the theo school, but the grad school gave no presentations. There were speakers for the undergrads and for the the theo school, but not for the grad school. Supposedly, we're supposed to be represented by the theological school at graduation, but I don't remember being asked to nominate any one for our speaker or anything. It just goes to show that the president of our university views the graduate school as the red-headed stepchild of the university. We also got rained on a little because the president insisted on having the ceremony outside...did I mention he was under the porch roof?

Enough about that. We had a lovely reception at the cafeteria where we gathered by majors and schools, and I got to see people for what would be the last time. I did some last minute inviting of people to the dinner that John and Yvette were having for me, and we had a really good crowd at the party later. If any of you are reading this now, thanks again for coming! The Vieiras made me a lovely scrapbook, served us fabulous food (as usual), and didn't kid me too much when I almost cried in front of everyone. I'm really going to miss them, but they're coming down in November for the Peanut Festival, so that'll be fun. The next morning, I dropped Daddy, Lauren, and Granny at the airport and said goodbye to Sarah, Brandon, Buist and the Bickley's (hey everybody, miss you). Around noon, mom and I set out driving my stuff home in a car that was so full that we couldn't open the back doors. To put more stuff in, we just stuffed it back there from the front seat. Mom joked that we couldn't have gotten another sheet of paper in there, and she may have been right. We made it through Virginia the first day (my goal), and stayed at a hotel in NC for the night. We got home at about 4:30 the next day, so we totally made great time. It was a good trip and seemed much shorter than the ride up there. By the way, my little car is so happy to be back in Alabama. Even though she's dirty and needs an oil change.

Home is good right now. The wedding is just a few days away, so we're doing final preparations and errands for that. Mom and I met the caterers the other day and picked out the menu. They thought it was so funny that the bride's mother and sister were planning everything. It works out though because we enjoy it, and Lauren trusts us. We get her opinion, do research, present options, and then she chooses. It's a great system that has really worked for this wedding. Looks like I won't be reading anything at the wedding, but that's ok. I plan to be sedated so I don't cry hysterically when my sister and father come walking down the aisle... Now that it's almost here, I'm really looking forward to a fun wedding on Saturday. Lauren's pretty laid back about these things, so let's hope that continues on Saturday.

For now, I'm teaching English and reading with Upward Bound on campus at Troy University. I was an R.A. with the program for two years in college at Troy and had a great time (except when that girl keyed my car), so it's good to be working with them again. We have class from 8:00-12:00 and then again at 2:00. It's a good summer job, and my living situation couldn't have worked out better. I originally thought I was going to have to migrate from one friend's couch to another (my mother's been joking about my gypsy existence lately), but a friend of the family owns a house here and offered me one of her son's rooms. It's just minutes from campus, and it's a huge, 4 bedroom house with a pool and wireless internet, so I really couldn't be happier. Well, maybe if there were shirtless men to clean the pool and rub my feet at night, but other than that it's idea.

After the wedding, I'm going to attempt to put up some pictures. Wish me luck and stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Ok, so when I said I was graduating earlier, that was just speculation. I mean, I passed my defense and all, but I still had to make revisions. But...I just found out my final draft was passed! Definately graduating. And a good thing too because I just bought a graduation dress. And I get to wear the cool Master's degree graduation garb. This is all terribly exciting.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Tell the Good News!

Hey Peeps. This afternoon at about 3pm, I totally passed my thesis defense!!!!! It was tough, and my readers really drilled me on questions, but I made it. It was a positive experience, and I actually enjoyed talking about my paper despite the difficulties. I have some revisions to make before the final copy, but this means I'll graduate in a few weeks. I'm very, very proud of myself right now, especially since some of my friends that attended said this defense was harder than other ones they've attended. I'm so relieved, but I'll be more relieved after tomorrow when I turn in another paper for one of my classes. Thanks for all your well-wishes!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Alabama Takes NY Metro, 2-0

That's right folks, NJ/NY is no match for two girls from Alabama. Actually, I'm no match for two girls from Alabama. In case you're wondering what I'm talking about, my friend Amber who currently lives in the Seattle area flew into town last Wednesday. Her plane got in after midnight and we stayed up until about 4am catching up on things and fell asleep trading stories and bits of gossip. Amber is such a trooper, because she was running a fever on her flight here, but somehow NJ made her feel better and she showed no signs of slowing down when she was here. On Thursday night, we drove to Poughkeepsie, NY, to Vassar to see the divine Mr. Kevin Devine play. There are no signs for the college, so we had to stop and ask for directions 3 times before finally making it to campus where we had to ask for directions 3 more times. But anyway, we made it just in time for Amber to say hello to Kevin ('cause my friends know rock stars) and catch his set. We were both glad to be late because we didn't have to watch anyone else.

People, he's pretty amazing. Kevin Devine that is. It may have been because I was sleep deprived, but he made me tear up a few times. He was doing an acoustic thing that night and I was terribly impressed. Every physical and musical move he made thoughout the performance enhanced the meaning of what he was trying to do. Seriously, flawless. And he openly bashes Bush. And he mentions Auburn, Alabama, in a song. And he's way cute (find him on myspace). Perfection.

Additionally, he was staying in Staten Island that night and let us follow him back to the NJ Turnpike (did I mention we got lost a bunch on the way there?). It was raining too and I'm not sure we would have made it back without our personal guide. He's such a nice guy and he has my lifelong dedication.

Friday night Amber and I stayed around Madison and just met some people at Herbie's for drinks. It was fun and we proved that 2 girls from Alabama are definately better than one. And we had to rest up for Saturday when we attended Hannah's (one of the girls I babysit) first communion. Amber went with me for moral support because neither of us had ever been to a Catholic church before, but things were totally cool with the many non-Catholics there. Afterward, we went to brunch at Hannah's house, and it was totally charming as usual. Amber was a little hesitant until she saw the champagne and realized it was "that" kind of party. We left there kind of early to rest up for the night's salsa extravaganza.

We rounded up Sarah and my friend Scott (who's also known as "5th Avenue" because of his swanky address) and headed to the Copacabana after having drinks at the Rainbow Room. Both were fairly fabulous, and I'm so glad Amber wanted to show off her salsa lessons at a club. Sarah and I resolved that we have to take lessons so we can have more fun next time. Sarah danced the most out of all of us with two long-term dance partners for the evening. Me, oh I just attract the crazies. Some guy named Sidney grabbed my had as I was walking by and told me I was "so beautiful." He wanted to dance later--I agreed but never followed through--and said I could put drinks on his open tab if I wanted--didn't follow through with that either. Besides Sidney, there was this guy, Ali, who took me for a very fun dance and then came back to the table to "read my soul" as we've been calling it. First he said that he needed to tell me something, then sat down, then a few minutes later finally told me that I needed more money before I had the authority to take whatever I wanted from life. Weird. The crazies just dig me...I wonder if it's the hair or something.

We finally dragged ourselves out of the club at about 4am and headed back to the Path station to Hoboken where we were parked and then finally home. At about 5:30. It was fun and Amber was a pro at salsa dancing, but we kind of suffered for it the next day. That didn't keep up from hitting Sephora though and playing with makeup for an hour. It was so fantastic having Amber here. We got along in high school, but never really hung out that much, but interestingly, we get along great. We decided that it was just tough to beat knowing someone since nursery school. I had so much fun trading stories, trading horror stories, and giggling. It was good to realize that I don't just have friends, I have good friends.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

"Major Life Change" as Opposed to My Usual "Minor Life Crisis"

So I'm terrible for not writing for so long. I know, I know. That's assuming that there are people reading though. Anyways, it's been a rough, busy few months for me as I'm scrambling again to get my thesis done. And things are not going well. I don't feel comfortable talking about it here, but let's just say that things aren't on schedule, and it's making me really stressed out.

As a result of the thesis craziness and of my extreme homesickness since I visited Alabama for Spring Break, I've decided that it's time for me to return to Alabama. That's right folks, I'm moving home. I'm finished with coursework here and have the freedom to move around a bit, so I'm relocating. I'm living at home with my parents for the summer and looking for a job somewhere (hopefully) in a Southern city. It was a tough decision, but I'm very happy with my choice. It seems like a good time to be home with my sister getting married in June, my father having shoulder surgery, and my mom's birthday this summer. These are all great excuses which I will repeat over and over again, but mostly I'm just ready to be near my family again and for my life to be a little easier.

Hopefully, I will get my thesis ready, pass my defense, and graduate in May. This would be good so I could get a job and feel like I was making educational progress, but I'm headed back to Bama regardless. As for the PhD program, I'm taking a year off to give myself some time and distance so I can make a better judgment on whether I want to continue or not. I'm not sure I'm ready to invest several more years and a lot more money into a PhD program yet, but I am maintaining matriculation at Drew, so if I do decide to stay, there will be little complication. Thanks to everyone who's been supportive to me since I've been here, and thanks for all the fun was a difficult decision, but I kind of feel done with New Jersey. At least for now. But you all know me; that may change too.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Hello all. I realize it's been over a month since my last post--I've been a bad, bad girl--but it will be at least another week before school turns me loose long enough to write anything, go to the grocery store, or sleep for more than a few hours at a time. Just felt guilty and had to put up this little note. I have lots of stuff to write about my trip home to Alabama and hopefully some good new about school, so tune in again soon for more clevery-charmingness courtesy of me.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Getting By

Umm, how did it get to be February 19th? That went fast. I suppose now that I'm twenty-five I should constantly comment on how time is flying away with my youth. Generally, I have no idea how old I am. When people ask, I still reply "21," but I can rent cars now without extra fees and my car insurance supposedly went down. What-evv.

Yeah, so I'm pretty much fumbling through school right now. Teaching is going just fine, but I awoke Sunday morning to find that my computer had died for the second time in about 2 years. Oh, you can congratulate me if you'd like 'cause it seems like quite the accomplishment. And I was just trying to make it through my latest thesis revision before I ordered a shiny new Mac. (I cannot really complain about buying shiny newness though. Except for the fact that my credit card company did not initially authorize the purchase and I had to straighten that out too.) The thesis is safe, but most of my other documents are not including a report that I need for this Wednesday. We'll see how that works out.

My weekend was long and short at the same time. Saturday, I went into the city to Mishka's birthday party. I expected it to be a lot of fun and was looking forward to seeing a bunch of bands and stuff then Sarah said she was coming to meet me which made things even better. But she took "at least two wrong trains, maybe three" (her words) and didn't make it to the show until almost midnight and only caught about 20 minutes of the last band. So I was alone and worried the whole night. Kinda sucked. And I was not publically groped by the birthday boy.

Sunday, my feet were so sore from walking in the cold that I spent most of the day on the couch. Now it's back to school for the week. Waaahwaah. Can you tell I'm looking forward to going home for a while next month?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Lot Lizard

It may seem strange to name the story of my birthday dinner after a slang term for truck stop whores, but you'll get it, I promise. And it's funny.

My friends and family were absolutely fantastic about my birthday this year. My whole family called and my dad, my sister and Bud all called to sing my happy birthday. Lauren even composed a rap chorus that went "It's my sister's birthday. Happy Birthday...It's my sister's birthday. Happy Birthday!" and so on. So many friends emailed and messaged and I even got a call from my high school luv Ben S. (who's just the same in all the right ways). My friend W gave me the most beautiful multi-strand pearl necklace that was featured prominently in my Friday night ensemble. Brandon and Buist cooked waffles and Eggs Benedict for me on my birthday-proper, and we scheduled a dinner and nightclub extravaganza for Friday night.

Brandon, Buist, Brandon's brother Walter (Happy Birthday to You too!), Dennis, Laura, Sean, Sarah and I met up in Manhattan at the Cuba Cafe for dinner. We were all a little late getting there because of the rain, but the staff at the restaurant was gracious and didn't make a fuss. Also, hello to the Gomez's I met at the bar while I was waiting. You bought me a delicious mojito and I appreciate it. We had a great dinner and a yummy dominio cake for birthday dessert. Afterward, McSean joined us and we made our way downtown to The Duplex and two-story club with a piano bar, pub quiz bar, and live cabaret (think karaoke but mostly showtunes with a live piano player). We grabbed seats down front and quickly made ourselves known as the funny, loud, Southern crowd. The Yankees with us were guilty by association. Buist wanted the two of us to sing Dolly Parton's "Joleen" but I didn't really know all the words and thankfully, they never got to our names on the list. However, Buist somehow shouted out that we had some good stories to tell, so the MC asked what kind of stories. When we said we had one about shooting a hooker, he quickly announced that I would be onstage after the next song to tell us a story about hookers.

Oh, the stage. Fits like a glove. Or like comfy pajamas. Or whatever desireable metaphor/simile/analogy you'd like here. If I have a microphone, you might as well just get used to listening to me 'cause I'm gonna keep it until someone wrestles it away. I only wish I was talented enough to be onstage for a living. But you should probably be thankful that I'm not. Ok, back to the hooker.

For a while I was too embarassed to tell this story, but it's so bizarre and violent and country and funny that it had to come out sometime. To compound the strange circumstances of the story, it involves my Ex-Uncle Michael, former husband of my Aunt Shelia, who told this story to his high school-age children. See, he drives a truck for an egg company and travels mainly in the southeast. He's a good looking guy--tall, dark hair--and evidentally this was nearly his demise one evening at a truck stop. There he was. Minding his own business in his sleeper when a lot lizard started making her rounds. These ladies-of-the-night slither from truck to truck knocking on doors looking for prospective johns. I believe it's procedure to either open your door to the lot lizard or shout out a quick but standard refusal at which time the woman moves on. My ex-uncle did the latter but the woman had found what she was looking for and refused to leave. Eventually, she tried to break in the truck and was getting violent. She may have even had a knife--I don't really remember the details, I should ask my cousins--but Michael was disturbed enough to start up his truck and try to drive away. Still, the woman would not leave him alone, so he's driving away and she's still trying to break in while hanging on the side of the cab. Seeing that she would never stop, Michael reached for his pistol, hung it out the window, and shot her in the foot.

Problem solved. She dropped off the side of the truck and limped toward a payphone. Thankfully, Michael drove to safety. Seems that Alabama truck stop whores are a pretty good match for handguns. Let's just hope she's applying her persistence to less dangerous careers now.

As we left the club, we got thanked from the stage for teaching the crowd about lot lizards. Several people thanked me for the story and wished me happy birthday on the way out. I showed my appreciation with my Queen of England wave and was not even mad about the $115 parking ticket on my car. See what you missed. Southerners make everything fun. Even shootin's.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Slow Down and Smell the Bacon or "I'm With the Band, Man"

So I probably should have put this post before the last one, but this is my little description of the unique experience of arriving back in Alabama from New Jersey for the holidays. It happens everytime. From the moment the plane wheels leave the Newark Airport, the relaxing starts. Doesn't really matter where I'm going--simply leaving NJ seems to work--but this effect is strongest when I'm on a plane back to Alabama.

It's been tough this past year since I've only seen my family for two weeks during the summer and at Christmas, so I was really looking forward to being at home. Usually, this sort of homesickness manifests itself as vague depression where I find myself cuddled up to the kitchen cabinets and crying on the floor for no apparent reason, but fortunately, I was too busy with work and school to get sad this time. (I know. Even I think it's a pathetic image.) After group grading portfolios all day on Friday, I boarded a plane for Bama on Saturday morning. I transferred in my favorite US airport, Charlotte, and then went on to Birmingham.

The transition is gradual. The Charlotte airport provides me with the Southernness that I've missed so much while still offering me wine bars and The Body Shop. Occasionally, I'm so happy to be back anywhere Southern that I start talking to random people, giving them way too many details about my life (I inherited this from my mother). "Hey, it is so nice to be back in the South. I miss the accents! I've been at school in New Jersey...I know, I'm not sure how I ended up there either...but I'm finally going home to Alabama. My mama'll be proud to see me." And so on. It's funny to see people's eyes change from politely listening to not caring anymore to being afraid that you're crazy and will never stop talking to them.

Somehow, I was able to restrain myself this time and not bother people too much. And then I went to Birmingham. Oh, Birmingham. Thanks. You called me ma'am so many times you'da thought I was an old lady. You opened doors for me and helped me with luggage. You're a real sweetie.

And another thing was different from Newark and Charlotte: the smell. As I walked toward the terminal from the plane, I felt the welcome heat and humidity (no matter that it was mid-December, it's still in the upper 70's!) and curiously, the smell of bacon. There was not even a restaurant nearby, but the salty, smoky goodness had evidentially permeated everything in the state. Even the very edges of airport terminals. Then there was the noticeable change of pace. Things move slower in Alabama. I like being able to walk slower with out being pushed out of the way, cussed at, or insulted because I didn't have my "city pace" on. Some things about my home state that are directly related to this slower way of life are annoying or backward, but for a few hours in a muggy airport, I appreciated it.

Dale picked me up from the airport because I was going to see Smuteye play their FIRST SHOW that night. I'm sorry, did I say going I meant being their biggest fan/groupie/roadie. They were really good and very fun, and hopefully, one of the band members will post the pictures I took during the show while holding my vodka in the other hand. Oh, yeah baby, I'm with the band. Which I actually got to say to the door manager. My father would be so proud.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Crazy Lorena and The Ballad of Bud Lamar

Those of you that know me also probably know my sister. And if you know her or have heard me talk about her, you should understand why Dominic has always referred to her as Crazy Lorena. My sister, whose actual name is Lauren, is very unique and very funny. She's a free spirit who has a history of making questionable choices, so when I tell you this, perhaps you'll be struck with the same fear I experienced.

After talking to my sister on the phone one afternoon, I spoke to my mom later that night. When mom asked me if my sister had anything to tell me, the old sinking feeling started again. Turns out that my sister had gotten engaged that very day and didn't even tell me about it during our phone call.

So naturally, I got hysterical. Crying and voicing my fears to my mother. For these reasons:
  • His name is Bud Lamar
  • He is 24 and has 2 children
Eventually, I calmed down and gave her poor ears a break. Later that night, I got a tearful VOICEMAIL from Lauren explaining that she didn't want to tell me earlier because I sounded aggravated during our phone conversation. Oh, and that she was engaged.

I called her the next day. Not so I could tell her congratulations, but because I wanted to hear her apology for telling me she was engaged in a message. I was furious and indignant and felt totally left out. Like I was losing my sister to this man.

However, my visit home over Christmas changed all of this. Lauren and Bud picked me up in Montgomery, and we had a really nice drive home. I actually liked Bud right from the start and this only continued for the rest of the holiday. He really cares about my sister and loves my family, so how can I complain? He's cute and funny (and a very good dad to his two beautiful children) and he can build stuff. I even found myself cooking dinner with the hopes that Lauren and Bud would come over. And he's an organizer (but not crazy OCD) which makes me trust him (because he's like me, and I like people who are like me). So, I guess I'm saying, next time you have a drink, have one for Lauren and Bud Lamar. Looks like they'll be pretty happy. And the wedding's June 16th.

On Almost Becoming a Parent

Don't worry people, I'm neither preggers nor suspected preggers though my roommate Brandon believes I am a fertility goddess. (It's the boobs.) A few months ago, said roommate and I almost adopted two beautiful smooshed-faced kitties, aka Persians. Both were gray adult cats--one traditional "blue" and the other a distinguished silver--that needed to move from their Brooklyn home because their humans couldn't spend enough time with them anymore.

Did I mention that they were beautiful? And took really cute pictures in boxes!

After finding them on craigslist, I emailed their humans, and they said I sounded like the ideal pet owner for the brother kitties that could never (we insist) be separated. Brandon and I had already discussed litter box placement and which kitty would sleep where when our downstairs landlady said she was "deathly allergic" to cats. It was a depressing evening when Brandon came back upstairs, after taking her homemade Christmas candy no less, to tell me that we could not become kitty parents. As I emailed the Brooklyn couple of the bad news, I felt my long-awaited smooshed-faced kitty dream slip through my fingers. A few days later when I checked online for their pictures, they were nowhere to be found. So, Two Gray Smooshed-Faced Brother Kitties: I know we could have been happy together, but I wish you the best (I love you...sniffle).