Friday, September 19, 2014

#1,737 Romie's Grocery.

Since we're up north visiting Ben's parents for the weekend (for Ben's early birthday!) we got to go to lunch at Romie's Grocery in Tupelo. They catered our wedding reception and people still compliment us on how delicious the food was. The food I recall really loving at our wedding were the miniature buttermilk biscuits with ham, shrimp and cheese grits, hot artichoke dip, raspberry lemonade, and hot apple cider. Today we ate inside since it's still so very hot here in Mississippi, and I had BBQ nachos (that remind me of Ole Miss football games) with fried green tomatoes, while Ben and his parents had the fried catfish blue plate special.

I've not gotten to eat here since the wedding. And it was just as delicious as I remember. If ever you find yourself visiting Elvis Presley's birthplace, you really ought to do yourself a favor and go to Romie's!

P.S. Share a Coke with your bros.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

#1,737 Daddy's 61st.

Tonight's post is coming from my iPhone, so forgive my brevity and smallish pictures--but I couldn't let the 18th pass without documentation of daddy's 61st birthday! Oddly, my pioneer man father who doesn't care for air conditioning and would rather dig in his garden and harvest that garden than most any pleasurable activity in the world, whose favorite meal generally involves greens and a cast iron skillet... Also really really loves Chinese carry out. He won't order it for himself ("I tried to go to Panda once. I know what the good stuff looks like but I didn't know what it was called so I just gave up and left.") and he doesn't do buffet Chinese, so tonight in celebration of the occasion we called in and carried out egg rolls, sesame chicken, chicken with broccoli, steamed dumplings, lo mein, and fried rice... And I made a red velvet cake this morning. Mama, Daddy, Ben, Clark, Walker and I gave him his gifts despite his insistence that we never buy him a gift: a new pair of Costa sunglasses from mama and a new Ole Miss Carhartt barn jacket from us kids. I wish y'all could all know Daddy. He's a complex and serious man who loves fishing, college football, Civil War history, Chinese food and the Three Stooges. A man among men if you ask me.
Happy birthday, Raz. You just can't know how loved you are.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#1,736 Jimmy.

In high school, I didn't have many girl friends. HopeNancy and Jaime were just about the only girls I trusted to never ever be mean girls, and mostly I surrounded myself with boys who treated me like a sister.
They carried me off the field when I slam near broke my ankle in the 3rd soccer game of the season senior year, who played music and watched Seinfeld with me. We were inseperable and you could find all of us most Friday nights watching movies with my parents—eating all the food in mama's fridge.

But then there was Jimmy. Jimmy whom I cannot find a high school photo of on this computer currently, but alas. Jimmy and I talked on the phone late into the night, each others' sounding boards. We both loved the great girl singer-songwriters of the early 2000s like Jewel and Fiona Apple and we always sat together in choir, whispering and cutting up, the teacher's pets because we too loved every Tori Amos song. For those 4 years, I could confide in him, and he in me. We were both talked about sometimes, passive aggressively bullied. Neither of us really "fit in" at our rural high school, I think. But we didn't care. We had our sights set on life beyond high school. And then we graduated, and we just lost touch, as friends sometimes do. When facebook appeared one day in college, we found each other again and I learned that he was working on a biology degree in Boston. We've kept up our online friendship with funny comments on pictures or statuses now and then. And sometimes I think of him and miss having that outrageously cheeky friend. There's been a little void in my friendships since we grew up and grew apart.

Today, I was sitting at my desk working. Ben at his—making shipping labels for the day's orders. We heard someone quietly knock and come in the door down the hall. This doesn't happen often since we're an online shop, but every now and then someone lost and searching for the Red Cross building wanders through our door. Ben called out, "Hello?" A man answered, hesitantly "Hello?"

Ben went into the hall to see who was there, and the man told him, "Hey, nice to meet you. I'm Jimmy." I heard the spark of recognition in Ben's voice, "Yeah! You're Jimmy!" though I had no idea who was there. I turned around in my chair, and I found my old friend peeking around the doorway into my studio. My heart burst! I ran to him and gave him the biggest hug. He is in town for the weekend to be with his ailing mama. He had a gift for me. A watercolor portrait he did... Of me. I couldn't believe it. I felt like I might cry. He's a very talented painter. In high school, I don't know that he had even begun to nurture that particular talent.

There are so many things to talk about and so many things I want to tell Ben. Tomorrow we're having lunch and I hope we can at least put a dent in catching up, properly. Isn't it wonderful to be surprised by an old friend?

Monday, September 15, 2014

#1,735 Melagone-a.

Lame title for today's post, I know. BUT, Ben has had this strange spot on his temple for a few years since a trip to the beach with no sunscreen that left him a little charred. It's worried me a little in recent months because it seemed a little bigger, so I made him an appointment with Dr. Gullung, the most thorough and recommended dermatologist around here. I'm glad I did, because the doctor said the spot was pre-cancerous, that it needed to go, so he blasted it with the frozen air gun thing, and assured him it will peel off in a few days and hopefully won't ever come back. Now, Ben has a sweet lookin' blister on the side of his head.
He also made Ben get in his birthday suit and checked every square inch of him for any other suspicious cancerous activity. There was none (fortunately), but he certainly got an eyeful.

The end.

We got new lanterns for the shop door! Next up: a fresh coat of purple paint.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

#1,734 The Bedtime Routine.

This is probably silly—but I love my bedtime routine. I look forward to it all day. There's not much about my life that's very routine until the rest of the city is sleeping and I'm just starting the process of turning off my non-stop brain and just being at HOME. There's a great comfort in sharing a home with someone who knows your routines and helps you with them every single night. It begins with Ben running a bath for me, and tonight it included some brand new bath goodies (and my old fall favorite—Spiced Apple Rapture):

After a good apricot scrubbing, I put on my favorite Garnier moisturizer (which is now sadly discontinued) while Ben takes his shower that makes the house smell like his spicy, wonderful C.O. Bigelow shower gel:

I take out my contacts and brush my teeth (Aquafresh only!):

Then a little dab of Midnight Recovery around my eyes (it's never too early!):

Then my pajamas—a stolen t-shirt from Ben's closet:

Then the blog. Good, bad, ugly or fantastic—I have to write down my favorite thing about the day:

Then to bed. Which two nights a week, means freshly washed bed linens that smell like Gain and feel so cold, crisp, and smooth—I struggle to stay awake to read the moment I cover up:

I tuck my baby blanket under my left arm:

I put on my Tutti Dolci sugar wafer lip gloss (I've still got my stash left from 2004). I read Streams in the Desert no matter what, and the Bible verses that go with each devotion, and I try my best to read a little junk before I fall asleep, too:

But Ben only makes it through about 2 pages a night. It takes him a very long time to finish a book:

Good night, sweet readers. I wish freshly laundered sheets and sweet dreams for all of you.

#1,733 Sunday.

Another beautiful, cool, crisp morning called for plein air breakfast again.

And even though the afternoon warmed up quite a bit from yesterday's startlingly cool weather—it was perfect for a long walk around the neighborhood with Jim and Lucy on his bike.

And it was so good for my heart to take that walk. Do you find that walking makes many problems seem smaller? I sure do. I'll have to remind myself of that in the morning when I'd rather sleep than take the dogs downtown.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

#1,732 Baby Q.

Well, first things first. The absolutely glorious cold front we've been waiting for finally came in. The high never got out of the 70s today. It was overcast. It was the very thing we needed to boost the morale around here and get us out of our sweaty depression. It was the very thing that prompted bringing Lucky bug out of summer retirement.

There was all kinds of neighborhood outdoor laziness occuring. We found Jim asleep in his back porch swing listening to Elvis gospel and smoking brisket for the Baby Q tonight.
To be fair, he woke up to start up the smoker at 4 am and never went back to bed—maintaining the 200 degree sweet spot, apparently. Chevy, Baker and Sugar weren't much livelier.

The sycamores on 4th Avenue are TURNING!

Anyway, Ben and I took a 3 mile walk around the neighborhood (including a stop at the mall for fall smell goods at Bath and Body Works), then I went home and got busy making my pies and macaroni and cheese for the party:

And before we knew it, it was 6:00 and folks were arriving at Jim and Mal's for the party.
 Jonathan tried his hand at making ribs for the first time:

We bought an adorable apple pie from Julie at The Bake Shop, and I made a strawberry pie and 2 caramel pecan pies. Josh and Em are hardcore fall people who prefer pie to cake—and so pie was the dessert of the night.
As mentioned a few weeks ago—we decided to throw a BBQ baby shower that guys could come to, because why open gifts alone when you're a married person celebrating a baby that belongs to you both, right? For host gifts to me & Ben, Mallorie & Jim, Dawn & Michael, and Hope & Jonathan, Emily & Josh gave us each a basket of fresh Pennsylvania apples, syrup, and cider mix. She knows us so well!

Carrie, Emily's good friend from college, a blog reader from New Orleans with a precious baby girl, ate on the porch with me, Ben and Emily's mama, Mrs. Suzy. We met at their wedding, but I'm so glad we got to hang out a little tonight:

Soon, it was gift opening time:

And of course, Mrs. Suzy's gifts stole the show. Tears were shed. Children's books were given to every member of the family for when Samuel arrives (one of which was for Josh and Em's dogs, Jolene and Baxter, called 'The Puppy Who Wanted A Boy'which made Josh weepy):
 And two incredible handmade quilts that she made just for Samuel:
Is Mrs. Suzy not AMAZING? She even made one for Ben and I as a 'thank you' gift when Josh and Em got married. They have such a big, loving, excited family waiting for this baby boy. I can't believe our group is about to gain one more person in November!
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