Friday, August 28, 2009

Moving On But Not Away

Today is my last day at SB. I'm not sure if you're supposed to feel busy on your last day at work, but I certainly do. I have a feature story to write. My office needs to be packed. I need to download all the stuff on my computer onto a portable hard drive. And I'm going to lunch with the staff in a little over an hour. I'm thinking I'll eat Shrimp Aurora. Why not indulge on my final day?

I've been at SB a little less than a year. At the time, I was looking to get out of the newspaper world. For personal reasons more than professional ones. I loved my job. I hope one day to love a job as much as I loved that one. But I didn't want to be my job, and it felt that's what the job required.

So, I came to SB. I moved up the food chain, becoming the editor here, and the magazine began to morph into whatever I could dream it to be. I love to create and those days were very exciting. Mike (the publisher) and I would go to the park at Norton Art Gallery and brainstorm and plan and think. And then we brought it to life. A new look. A new way of telling stories. An attempt at reaching a new audience while captivating the one we already had. In any job, I'm most satisfied when I can see the results of hard, honest work. And at that time, I did.

But I began to ask myself, "Am I doing anything new? Am I challenging myself?" If I was being honest with myself, although this was exciting, it was nothing new. I'd done this before with the Preview section at The Times. It felt stagnant and I needed a new challenge.

There's no question that I love Shreveport. I love having my family close and, truthfully, if I were going to move, I'd probably have to stuff Ty into a suitcase and force him to come along. And I'd never want to go anywhere without him. My life is here, and I wouldn't want to share it with anyone else.

So, as I considered my official settling in (although I've actually been settled here my entire life), I began to realize my options were running low. I've worked at The Times and SB. I wasn't interested in TV about two years ago when I was approached, not interested now. I get very awkward in front of a camera. What could I do that would allow me to create, write, meet new people and be successful in Shreveport-Bossier?

Marketing seemed to afford me those opportunities. I applied for a job and heard nothing. ... for a while. Weeks went by, and at the moment it began to slip from my mind, my phone rang. I went on an interview and loved the people and the place. Absolutely worth the 30 minute drive to and from work every day.

I can work hard, but I can't take credit for the right decisions at the right time. Never so strongly have I felt God's hand in my life. Opportunities coming at the right time. Doors closing and others opening. The timing is so perfect that it could never be my own.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Things in Life

Ty and I met this precious little lady last night. Meet Lora Brynn Duvall. She's adorable, looks just like her momma. We seemed to arrive at the wrong time. Brynn had just gone upstairs for a bath, and it would be two hours before she would be done. Michel was trying to stomach her hospital food — beef tips and rice with carrots and peas in it. Who puts carrots and peas in beef tips? Even school cafeterias can get that right.

At least we got to see Moss and Michel and their sweet baby girl. I hope to swing by again today. I can't wait to hold her.

In other news, I have two days left at SB and then I start my new job at Fibrebond on Monday. This is where my office will be located. The property is large, 170 acres to be exact. I haven't even seen the entire property, but I'll be working in the "White House," as they call it.

Monday is going to feel like that first day of school. A new company, new office, new people, new town and a new line of work. To top off my excitement, I've heard nothing but excellent things about this company. They have a strong reputation, and I feel extremely fortunate to join their team.

So, yesterday I received an e-mail from my new boss. She tells me that starting Monday the air ducts are being cleaned out throughout the building, starting with our wing. For the first week, we won't have access to our offices, but at least we'll have clean air. Now I know this job and company will, literally, be a breath of fresh air.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baby Watch

Today we're welcoming a new friend into the world. We don't yet know if Baby Duvall is a boy or a girl, but we will soon find out. I'm guessing Baby D is a girl. I know the parents will be thrilled either way, but Moss would be an excellent daddy for a little girl. That's something I'd like to see.

Ty and Moss have been friends since they were in Speedos. And my guy was in Speedos probably more than he was in diapers. I know we'll always be friends with the Duvalls, and one day (in the distant future) I hope our kids will be as close as Ty and Moss have always been ... maybe minus the Speedos.

Baby D, we can't believe we're finally going to meet you today. We can't wait!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Between 4:30 and 5 p.m. each day, Ty and I seem to have the same conversation as many other couples. The dreaded, "What do you want for dinner?"

My goal is to cook dinner about three nights a week, but sometimes our busy schedules prohibit that. For example, we had band practice last Thursday, so we ended up eating pizza in the church parlor. Loved it, I felt like I was in youth group again. And we usually spend weekends eating out with friends, so no cooking required.

Returning to the dreaded question, "What do you want for dinner?," Ty always provides the same answer, "Pasta." I truly believe that if I cooked it, he would eat pasta every night without complaint. So, last night I made his favorite pasta dish, tortellini with alfredo and tomato sauce.

I had to go to two grocery stores to find the fresh pasta, but from that point forward, this recipe is extremely simple and delicious. If you are counting calories, then stop right here, no need to read on. But if you're like me and had a lunch consisting of three peanut butter crackers, dig in.

The tortellini come ready. Just drop them in boiling water and wait about five minutes. The tomato sauce is equally uncomplicated. Unscrew the lid from your favorite brand and heat. The alfredo sauce is from scratch but simple.

You'll need:

1 stick butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream

(I know it sounds like chest pains waiting to happen, but all things in moderation)

So, to start, you melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in a little Parmesan cheese at a time, stir constantly so it doesn't get lumpy. Once you've stirred in all the Parmesan cheese, pour in the heavy whipping cream and stir until it blends. Reduce the heat and keep stirring occasionally until you serve it.

Pile up the tortellini and cover with equal parts white and red sauce. Don't forget hot French bread. This sauce is perfect for sopping.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Love A Good Letter

Not much news to report on the weekend front. Ty and I did nothing this weekend besides eating out. Friday night we ate at L'Italiano with some church peeps. We had a really good time and somehow I managed to eat all of my tortellini. Yes, I feel quite guilty about that.

Saturday evening we ate at Cheesecake Bistro with the regulars. While it is fair to say I despise chain restaurants, I find a new special hatred for them on the weekends. It's always overcrowded and the staff typically treats you like poo. This is not a good combination for someone like me. It makes me feisty.

So, with little to report, I think it best to share a letter I received in the mail Friday. In this line of work, you never know what's going to come across your desk. In this case, it was an index card with a note pecked out on a typewriter. Keep reading, it gets good at the end. It reads — verbatim:

Thursday, August 20, 2009
Ms. Netherton:

I see Sports, WK hospitals and doctors, lawyers,; but, I miss (or missed) my request that I called or wrote Mr. Mike Whitehead about before the MOUSE or the Computer Age — a "spread" about FRIST BAPTIST of Bossier and its Pastor: Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church and its Pastor -- Corner of Jewella/Tate : PEACEFUL REST and its Pastor -- Saint Vincent.
What happened to Cheryl White's Article,
Over please

Please do not leave out EDITOR'S DESK or ONE LAST THING. I read e verything -- advertising Section included.

Mrs. ______

Nots: Send me an extra copy for my birthday, December 25, 2009. I'll be 79, if I'm living.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm On A Boat

After a good night's sleep in the not-so-haunted hotel, we were up and at 'em for our first day of official vacation. Before we left Hot Springs, we ate breakfast at The Pancake Shop. Ty says during his college years he met Bill Clinton's mom there, but Clintons aside, this place finally satisfied my craving for blueberry pancakes. The big juicy blueberries and from-scratch batter made them sensational. I ordered two, and after only eating half of my stack, Ty lovingly informed me that my eyes are always bigger than my stomach. But one lonely pancake just doesn't seem like much.

Hours later and following a miserable shopping trip to Sam's (why don't guys make shopping lists?), we were headed for the lake. Fast forward a few hours through the unpacking, making of beds and other getting-settled activities, we were finally there.

I can't officially call this a weekend in nature. After all, we were on a six bedroom boat with two working bathrooms. But I can compare the weekend to our own version of "The Great Outdoors," one of my favorite John Candy movies. At night the raccoons came out, and after days of being annoyed with them, on the final night we decided to feed them and watch from inside. Turns out, watching raccoons eat a bag of chips and a can of bean dip is very amusing.

And let's not forget John Candy himself. We had our own John Candy character. Let me introduce Clark. He was full of one-liners: "Turns out, I'm a shootin' star." "I'm allergic to low fives, let's go high." "Why are you scared of that bee, Lauren. You're at the top of the food chain." Hilarious stuff. For our Saturday night glo-stick dance party, Clark pulled out this gem.

A skull and crossbones eye patch. Who could go on vacation without THAT? There were several other wardrobe treats. Lauren's sexy cover-up was a hit.

And let's not forget Walt's P90X muscle shirt.

Sorry your eyes are closed, Walt.

From Catch Phrase to the rooftop dance party, guitar sing-alongs and diving competitions, we had an excellent time. Although at the end of three days, my stomach became quite disgruntled by the slightly swaying boat. By bedtime Sunday, nausea had set in. I rubbed a little Phenegran on my wrists (thanks, Amanda) and passed out soon after.

It was definitely time to go home. My skin was fried and my stomach was done. A week later, I'm still tired and my skin is starting to peel, but all in all, it was a great time with friends.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Feeling Lucky's

I've been asked to write a little something about my recent vacation to Lake Ouachita. Never wanting to let the people down, I was simply stalling so my friend LJ could send me a few pictures from our trip. Amazingly, my camera only has three pictures. And LJ only has pictures from our first night in Hot Springs and none from the actual boat trip. So, here we go:

We started the first evening at a place called Lucky's in Hot Springs. I love these girls. Although you wouldn't guess it by the apprehensive look on my face, or the fact that I'm gently placing my hand on LJ's shoulder as if she has a contagious skin disease. But these ladies round out my list of favorite people.

This also happened to be the night that Lauren (right) wore a wooden bracelet that gave her a rash. The bracelet ended up being mine because it does not give me a rash. Three cheers for Lauren's dermis. I've gotten so many compliments.

It was a fun night out on the town, however LJ did what she always does and ordered a round of Red Headed Sluts (a shot starring Crown Royal). I don't know when it became all the rage to make shots the size of cocktails, but I'm really not a fan. I'm not a good gulper. But I took it like a champ and a lady. See, my pinkie is raised.

You would think after downing such a refreshing bev, that LJ would look a little happier about it. I'll admit, those sluts bite. It's not very often that I'm in a crowd and look around to realize I'm one of the best dancers in the place. Maybe it's a side effect of the mineral water, but people in Hot Springs can't dance.

After waiting two hours for our pepperoni pizza and a few drinks, we decided to head back to the hotel. It's an old place that's most likely haunted. I believe that despite the concierge saying the hotel has no ghost stories. BORING. If I'm paying to sleep on a dumpy mattress, the least you can do is lie to me. So, we roamed the halls for a bit in search of Al Capone. We didn't find him and instead opted to scare ourselves by walking back to our rooms saying "Red Rum" like the creepy little boy in "The Shining."

This was a perfect, hilarious start to our weekend, and I'll tell you about the rest of the trip tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Things Continue to Change

A year ago today marked a huge change in my life. At the time, it was an ultimate low point for me. I felt completely destroyed, confused and wounded and because of all that I couldn't see the good in tomorrow. I didn't think I would ever recover. Unfortunately, I'd endured some major hardships in my life before this one, and I kept reminding myself that if I made it through those things in the past then I could make it through this, too.

Somehow I did make it through. My friendships grew stronger, my lifestyle became healthier, my faith was more relevant, and ultimately, I was happier. On Aug. 18, 2008, I stepped off the roller coaster. I was raw with the people closest to me. Expressing my faults and asking for their support

It's amazing to think it's been a year. When I get anxious about a decision or when I feel eager about the future, I think about a year ago today. I think about how far I've come. I realize there's nothing to worry about. I stepped off a nowhere path and was flooded with blessings.

It's a coincidence that today, on the anniversary of this big day, that I am announcing another big decision. I've decided to leave SB for a marketing job with a large company in Minden. Shreveport is my home and I want to spend my life here, raising a family one day. But I worry that journalism will one day leave me empty handed in this market. I've been so fortunate and blessed to have the amazing opportunities I've had, but for the longevity of my career, I think this transition is best.

Maybe my byline will find a place somewhere again someday. Maybe once I get settled into my new job, I can do some freelance work on the side. We'll see. But today I simply want to celebrate. Not only the good stuff to come, but the good that has already come.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ships Ahoy!

This is the true story of 14 friends, paying to rent a houseboat for one weekend on Lake Ouachita. Find out what happens when people stop being polite ... and start to party!!

I'm so excited — our vacation is finally here. My last vacation was with my family and absolutely horrible. I love my family, but I was a sour grape at that point in time. That was in July 2008. Here we are August 2009, and I'm desperate for some time off.

At 5:30 this evening, half of our group will pull out of Shreveport and head north for Hot Springs for an evening of wining, dining and (fingers crossed) karaoke. The pre-party group includes LJ and Marcus (the to-be Taylors), Lauren and Jonathan (The Smiths) and myself and Ty (I do not have a cute nickname for us ... yet).

The rest of the group will meet up with us in the morning and around 1 p.m. we'll load our six bedroom floating party. It may sound boring to some folks to just sit on a boat for a weekend. However, we're bringing along two ski boats and two jet skis. There's not going to be a dull moment when you factor in the hot tub on the roof and the slide coming off the back of the boat. There's also the possibility we'll have a karaoke machine on board.

Mostly, I'm looking forward to a weekend away. So long — no blog tomorrow or Monday, but I'll be back with big news on Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Now We're Singing

I wrote a few weeks ago about visiting the Robinson Film Center. My experience was mediocre at best. We arrived an hour and a half before the movie so we could eat dinner at Abby Singer's Bistro. A sweet dinner and a movie date that soured rather quickly. Our dinner was never served. We thoroughly enjoyed the movie, at least the parts we could hear over our stomachs growling. To make things worse, it was Ty's first visit to the Robinson. After that experience, he swore to never go back.

A few days after writing that blog, I was contacted by a local marketing consultant hired to assist the Robinson with these obvious kinks. A friend told her about my blog and she wanted to meet and discuss my experience. I was apprehensive about meeting with her. After all, I'd been dissatisfied and rather passionate about it. What would she say? How would that conversation flow?

I thought it best to meet with her. If I had such a bad experience, perhaps I could share it with her and she could better diagnose and resolve some problems. At the end of our pleasant conversation, she asked me to try the Robinson and Abby Singer's again. She gave me two dinner and a movie passes and wanted my honest opinion about my return visit — good or bad, she wanted the ugly truth.

So, last night we returned. It was a week night and we arrived exactly an hour and a half before our movie time. The conditions were similar to the last time we visited the bistro. The tables were full, which made me swallow hard. I thought, "Ty is going to kill me if this goes badly again."

We took a seat and instead of getting a negative vibe about the place, I relaxed and felt things were going to go much more smoothly this time. I could see signs of new guidance and suggestions around me. The Bill Bush Combo played some amazing music, adding so much ambiance. A buffet of free appetizers lined the wall. Our server instructed us to help ourselves, and they were perfection. The homemade corn chips were my favorite — oh goodness, they were good.

We never felt rushed. Our food was delicious, and best of all we had time to enjoy it. It was easily the best experience I've had at the Robinson. And consider the bigger picture, Ty said it was the most enjoyable dining-out experience we'd had in a long time. We were so pleased. Pleased enough to do it again on our own dime and invite others.

It was the perfect dinner and a movie date night. Our food was d-lish, and the movie, "Away We Go," was humorous and heartwarming. It just goes to show, the Robinson's concept is sensational when all gears are go.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

For the Inquiring Minds

Yesterday after work, I was laying on the couch reading a few chapters of "Twilight" when my phone buzzed. It was my friend LJ (aka loner of the book) asking if I'd gotten to the baseball part of the story. Since I didn't know what she was talking about, I said no.

An hour or so later, I was eating dinner at Macaroni Grill with my bible study group when my friend Jenny asked me what I thought of "Twilight" so far. I'd stayed up until 2 a.m. Sunday night reading, so I told her obviously it was getting better than I first expected. She insisted that I update my blog on my evolving impression of the book. The people need to know!

Since I'm halfway through the book, it seems like a good time to reflect. And since my fellow "Twilight" reading friends are so curious on my thoughts, I'll give them to you. Here they are in no specific order:

1. It's written by a woman named Stephenie. Although I prefer my spelling, any Stephanie/Stephenie on the best-seller list deserves my support.

2. Much like Bella, I hang on Edward's every word. I stay up way past my bedtime, wondering what he'll say next. However, I don't like his mood swings or his freak outs. Sure, he wants to drink her blood and all that. But if he can control that urge, why can't he handle his emotions?

3. Why is everyone else in this town so annoying?

4. At this point, I don't know if I like the message the book gives about love and relationships. It's as if the author is telling young girls to like the bad guy because deep down he's really good. Women: If any guy tells you he's fighting the urge to kill you, it's probably not going to work out. That shouldn't make you more deeply attracted to him. It should make you run.

5. Each time Bella speaks or thinks about Edward, her impressions always have to do with his looks. Other than that, she's kind of scared of him. It's a lustful physical attraction, which to me doesn't equal love. Love takes a lot more. And, at least in my mind, love and fear have nothing in common.

Again, these are my impressions only halfway through the book and, of course, they are subject to change. When I shared some of my thoughts with Jenny last night, she instructed me to keep reading. She said one of the things she loves most about the book is how much Edward loves Bella. Maybe I'll start to see more of that very soon. Right now, I feel like the book is floating somewhere between "Harry Potter" and a teenage version of Harlequin romance.

Despite my conflicted thoughts, I will say that Stephenie Meyer has captured my attention — I absolutely love when a book can do that. I'm entertained and turning the pages.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Positive Charge

I'm currently working on a story called "The Power of Positive People." I'm meeting with local people who always seem to see the glass half-full. Hence, my meeting with Judy (see a few posts below) in the middle of her crazy, hectic book launch schedule.

I've noticed more recently how negative energy weighs me down. Being around a Negative Nancy (no relation to my actual friend Nancy) completely changes my spirit. I become withdrawn, almost itching in my skin to be out of that person's presence and praying the Lord will give me the patience to get through that time. Some people don't intend to be so negative. It takes much more to be positive, and people often give in to that lazy, negative state of mind.

If negative people make me feel so icky, I surly don't want to be that for anyone else. So, I'm doing my best to condition my mind toward life's positives. I understand if you think this is hokey.

When I left the newspaper, executive editor Alan English gave me a book, "Write it Down, Make it Happen." The premise is to make a list of everything you want to accomplish in life and work toward making each thing happen. At the time, I thought it was a nice gesture but somewhat cheesy. As time has passed, I've been thinking the book has some merit. Perhaps, it's because I'm (possibly) approaching a transitional period in my life. My goals are not as shortsighted as before. I'm thinking about the next 10, 15, 20 years regarding everything from my job, to my finances and even relationships.

Maybe I'll take some time in the near future to write down my list instead of leaving it simply to my memory. But, I think my first step is to become more positive. To remove myself from toxic situations and believe there really is some power in being positive.

Friday, August 7, 2009

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

Each Christmas my family gangs together to get my grandparents something really nice. One year it was a dishwasher. Last year, it was a deluxe fryer, in which my grandmother responded, "It's so cute. Isn't that just adorable? (Pause) What is it?"

What is it .... What is it??? Well, of course it's the Cutest Little Fish Fryer the World has Ever Seen! Some of the gifts are appreciated, others are not. Take for instance, the year we got my grandparents a new cordless phone or a toaster oven. Months later, the gifts were still in their original boxes in one of the back bedrooms. Yes, the knobs had fallen off the current toaster, but all you have to do is turn the knob with a flathead screwdriver and it still works. What's the big deal?

Old people resist change. I'm sure your grandparents are the same way. However, having not even reached the 30 mark myself, I'm a little disturbed to see symptoms of this in my life at such a young age. This has recently been brought to my attention or I'd probably never noticed it myself. Three examples:

1. My sweet Motorola Razr. I got my Razr about four years ago. It was on the cusp of going out of style, but I wanted it anyway. In fact, I was willing to upgrade my contract in order to get it. It is now considered a dinosaur in the cell phone industry. I might as well be Zack Morris with my big white phone. Or better yet, perhaps I'll get a phone installed into the console of my Envoy.

I hadn't noticed how outdated my Razr was until my friend Lauren mentioned it one night at dinner. "Oh my gosh, whose Razr is that?" It was mine, what's the problem? Well, since then I've noticed the problem is NO ONE else uses a Razr anymore. The only person I see using a Razr is me. What's worse, I was given a new phone when I started working at SB. Of course I didn't want that piece of crap ... I wanted my cracked-up, gangster-looking Razr. If that wasn't bad enough, it doesn't even work that well. After charging all night, I had a 9 min 47 second conversation with LJ this morning and my battery is dead.

2. My Gold Flip Flops. The pro to this story is that I actually do notice that these $15 Old Navy flops have seen better days. I would post a picture but some may find it nauseating. They are ratty, but I haven't found a replacement pair. Let's see, the sole is coming apart from the top. The gold is pealing off in multiple spots. They're worn down to the sole on some parts. And I often have to grab some scissors and trim stray strings from the thong part. Truthfully, I am a little embarrassed by these. If I wear them out, which I do quite often, I try to hide them under the table to avoid ridicule. I do get made fun of for my horrid flops very often. I'm pretty sure my friends question why I wear them. Surly, I can spring $15 bucks for some new ones. It's become a running joke, but I'm not going to settle for some shoes I don't like just because I can literally feel the gravel underneath my feet. What do you think I am, stupid?

3. My Coach Purse. A Christmas gift several years back, I consider my purse a "timeless" item. It's not going out of style, and in my case, it's not going anywhere. I think I will probably die with this Coach bag hanging from my shoulder. And God willing, I hope to live a long time. With that being said, because an item is timeless doesn't mean you have to carry it until the end of time, which is what I seem to be doing. I see other purses, sure. Sometimes I even like them. But then I think — like most 70-year-olds — "Well, I've got a perfectly good purse right here." I smile and give my old faithful Coach an admiring pat-pat.

I need to get out of this funk — I do realize that. However, if you see me out, talking on my Razr, wearing my gold flip flops and lugging around my Coach bag, please don't judge. Apparently, I enjoy looking like a pauper.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Filtering in the Good

I met earlier this week with one of my favorite people, Judy Christie. Some people know Judy as the former editor of The Times. Others recognize her as the local author of the "Hurry Less, Worry Less" series. Some of you have just recently been introduced to Judy as a first-time novelist and author of "Gone to Green." I have the privileged of knowing Judy on a more personal level, although I first met her in a professional setting.

While working at The Times, then-editor Alan English picked four young journalists to spend time over the course of several weeks with Judy. It was a leadership development course, and it ended up being a treat for me. Judy's the kind of person who makes you write your life goals on a coffee filter or diagram your life with crayons on white printer paper. But through those elementary exercises, I stopped and reflected on my life. Mistakes. Accomplishments. Past, Present, Future. I felt motivated and refreshed by the end of those sessions. That's how I usually feel after spending any amount of time with Judy.

When I left the Glenwood Tea Room on Tuesday, after spending an hour or so with Judy, I felt several things. Inspired to do more, be better, seize each moment for what it's worth. Then, on the other side of the coin, I felt a bit like a lost puppy. It's easy to live on cruise control, but stay there for too long and you'll awaken to find you're completely unaware of your life's big picture.

I'm grateful to have a beautiful life. I'm in love with the best man. He's an excellent friend, he's logical and sound. Just good as can be inside and out. I have sincere friends. Women who are willing to listen, take on a bit of the load and pray. I have a supportive family. My dad is an excellent adviser. When asked, he weighs out decisions with me for hours sometimes. And I'm blessed with an uplifting church. They're people who don't preach, but do. They give, give, give.

With all of these blessings, how could I be so unaware at times? It seems so simple — and you all may think I'm completely off my rocker — but life is to be enjoyed. I want to be aware of the great things I have. I want to be aware of my life's journey and what I need to be doing to get from point A to B. It really is simple, but day-to-day living tends to weigh you down with distractions.

Judy always gives me a lot to think about, whether she intends to or not. That's the best thing about her. It just oozes out, which means it's sincere. I appreciated her time, the tea and the scones. But more than anything, I appreciated her inspiration.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

'Twilight' on the Horizon

Several months ago (OK, it was actually in March), my friend LJ gave me her copy of "Twilight" and the second book ... not sure on the title. Last night, halfway hating myself, I cracked it open. LJ has been threatening to take them back if I don't start reading them, so I figured it was now or probably never.

You would have to live in an alternate universe to have never heard of "Twilight." Normally, if a friend recommends a good book, I'll read it. But when the whole world is recommending it, I think it's too popular to really be of much literary value. That probably makes me a book snob, but then you throw in the words "tween" and "vampire" and you lose my interest entirely. However, trusting the opinion of my dear friend, I rolled my eyes and flipped to page one last night.

I read through the first few pages, half expecting my eyes to glaze over and my mind to become entranced in the story. I expected to not be able to flip through the pages fast enough. I expected I would have to put down my book around 2 a.m. and force myself to go to sleep. But none of those things have happened so far.

There's a chance that in the next week, I will eat these words. However, as of right now — Aug. 5 — I ask, what's the big deal? There's a chance that I'll swoon for Edward, the hunky, handsome vampire. Worst case scenario, there's a chance I'll become one of these (picture below).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Weighing the Pros and Cons

I've come to realize I'm not a good decision maker. Consider the dreaded question, "What do you want to eat?" My response is typically, "I don't know, what do you want?" Answering a question with a question is often very effective in getting you off the hook. However, not very effective in actually deciding what to eat.

Indecisiveness isn't a huge problem for me. Trying on eight outfits before picking one isn't going to ruin my life. It may look like a hurricane tore through my closet, but I'll live. In a professional setting, I'm a strong decision maker. Personally, not so much. I want to make the people I love happy. When making a decision, you always run the risk of making the wrong choice. I don't want to make the wrong choice when it affects other people. Is that so bad?

So, right now I have decision on my plate. It's not as easy as a dinner decision. It takes some real thinking. I find my head gets swirly when making big decisions, so my solution is the Pros and Cons List. Perhaps it's because I'm a writer, but putting the pen to the paper usually brings me to a clear decision. There's risk involved in some decision making, once I write it all out I feel I've calculated that risk as either safe or risky.

I'd like some feedback on how you make decisions. Perhaps making a decision to be a better decision maker is the first step.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Oatmeal, Cornmeal, Miss a Meal

Friday night was nothing like what I expected. First of all, Friday evening extended into Saturday morning. I can't remember the last time that happened. Second of all, our evening had been strange enough. Top that with the fact that we ended up at Murrell's. It seemed like a good idea since the restaurant would be closing the following day. From Ernest's to Murrell's, didn't see that happening.

Nancy, Lauren and I started our evening having drinks and appetizers at Ernest's. We even had reservations, however a series of things went wrong:

1. We were age discriminated. Sometimes it doesn't pay to be young. We had 7:30 reservations, but the older crowd with 8 to 8:30 reservations was seated before us. Three tables opened and we kept watching older people walk in and be seated immediately, while we waited at the bar an hour past our reservation time. I can't really write anything bad about Ernest's. It's a classic, and as the host said, "You forget about time when you're here." But why is it never a problem when I eat here with my parents? Not that I'm calling my parents old.

2. Papa Nick. He really is an endearing older gentleman. He's 85 and bopping around Ernest's in a tuxedo. There's something to appreciate about that. Understandably, his memory isn't as sharp as it used to be. We heard the same jokes up to three times each, and continued to laugh as to not hurt an old, sweet man's pride. "Oatmeal, Cornmeal, Miss a Meal." I've memorized that punchline. He really was very sweet.

3. Bathroom fight with a prostitute. The last place I would expect to see a fight, much less almost be involved in one, would be at Ernest's. My guess is the lady was a prostitute. She was with a much older gentleman. She dressed the part. And she was uneasy and confrontational. It's quite the story, however it ends with the lady getting in Lauren's face. I thought she was going to knock my friend out, so I signaled for the sheriff, who kindly asked the woman to leave. The woman's response, "What's it to you?" Was I really seeing this? Was she going to fight the cop?

Friday was such an unbelievable, overwhelming evening, Ty and I did next to nothing for the rest of our weekend. A fight at Ernest's, meeting up with the guys at the Cub and a late night meal at Murrell's. It's going to be a long time before we do that again. And I have to say, that's more than alright with me. I think we're all ready to return to the regular routine.