Thursday, December 18

Set in motion.

Aah! It really is happening. Application, check. GRE scores, check. Transcript sent, check. Now time for letters of recommendation, writing sample, & 500-word statement of purpose...

This film from Lomography makes me think twice about selling my film Canon EOS. They sell it at Camera Doctor, so this kid might have to be making a little trip post-Christmas.

Chronic back pain rules. Except not.

Monday, December 15

I attempted to take a picture of Drake since I am sending holiday cards for the first time.

This was the result.

Saturday, December 13

Urban Outfitters.

Let me just say I have a love/hate relationship with this store. On one hand, they symbolize trendy, hipster, overpriced douche-yness to me. On the other, I love their apartment section, with all of its cute little nouveau-vintage (oxymoron, much?) items. I think I'm turning into a wannabe housewife.

Look how awesome!

The only item of clothing I will (openly) admit to lusting after at the current moment is these bad boys. Ah, I want!

Thursday, December 11


I hate leaving my house, much less venturing out into Atlanta, this time of year. People obsessing over what they are going to give (but really what they are going to get) for Christmas, driving like they should never have been giving a license, cramped parking lots, packed stores. I can't even go into WalMart to get freakin' contact solution and razors without having to wait behind someone with their carts filled to the brim with toys their kids won't play with in a year. Oh, American consumerism, you never fail me.

That said, I am glad my family isn't "doing" Christmas this year. The tree is still up & decorated at my parents' house, and I still will go home to visit & eat that day, but it's nice to not have to stress over the whole gift situation. The things I want this year aren't tangible (an acceptance letter and an assistantship paying my tuition, much?), and I have hardly any extra money to spend on gifts. Luckily for me, my parents (and boyfriend) aren't big on material things lately. I guess that comes with getting older, although I could argue against it for some 50-somethings I see...

Financial situation is stressful as ever. Hours have been majorly cut at work yet again, and literally 60% of my monthly income is going to rent when it should be something like 30%. I desperately need to pay off my credit card & save for grad school, and I'm not seeing it happening right now. I have a couple of options (really, just one - but it's a doozy) for moving, and I'm trying to weigh them out. Still have seven months before I move to Mississippi, so wherever I go until then has to be permanent.

I think my little brother is joining the Coast Guard. At first, I kind of freaked because it was out of the blue & it obviously still is considered themilitary, but after reading about it, it sounds like something he'd be really good at. He has to go to two months of basic training in NJ where our only contact with him is letters, which will be hard - we have never gone two months without talking. After he graduates from boot camp, he has five days of leave then gets stationed somewhere. I think he wants to be in Miami ("chasing drug lords & modern day pirates on the high seas" - his words, not mine). Dad knows, but Mom doesn't...yet. That's the Leonard children for you...always throwing Mom for a loop.

January brings the big guns out - AHC internship interview, grad school application being completed, the start of what will be the most stressful & exciting year of my life - and I can't wait.

Ok, and maybe I lied. There is something I would like for Christmas:

Tuesday, December 2

March 14th, 2009.
Me & my dad, just like March 3rd, 2007, except plus Elton.
Life is good.

Thursday, November 20

Almost 2009.

So much has been going on lately that I haven't had much time to write in here. I'll just give a quick rundown of what's been up:

  • Took the GRE, did well enough to be eligible for an Honors Fellowship at Ole Miss. $1,000 a semester for Master's students - awesome!
  • Have an interview with the Atlanta History Center in December for the internship. Crossing fingers I can work in the archival program.
  • Biked 12 miles on the Silver Comet Trail up near Rockmart with BT this past Sunday. Froze to death & couldn't walk for a couple of hours afterwards, but it felt great.
  • Read Twilight just to see what it was all about and by page 250, found myself thoroughly underwhelmed. I still want to see the movie simply because I find Robert Pattison beautiful.
  • Money is tight, as the economy is affecting my place of employment, resulting in hours being cut, on top of a somewhat disappointing annual raise. Applied at a couple bookstores for a part-time seasonal position, so we will see how that plays out.
  • I am full-blown, head over heels in love with one of the best men I have ever met. This is what an adult relationship should be. Giving and taking equally, all with respect and love and caring. Finally. Thank you.

Even though it is still eight months away, I'm getting really excited for grad school. According to the graduate catalog, a sampling of courses I could take in one semester would be Great American Writers: Cormac McCarthy, Readings in US History: Civil War to Present, and a basic Studies in Southern Literature course. To some, this is torture, but to me...paradise. On top of just getting back to school, I can't wait to move to Oxford. While I will miss Atlanta a whole helluva lot, I think a new environment will be exciting & a nice change of scenery. Plus, nice apartments rent for a fraction of the cost of living in the Atl.

After doing some research, I think I am going to qualify for more financial aid than I thought. According to the Ole Miss grad school website, "Graduate students who receive a minimum of $1800 per semester as either an assistantship or fellowship are eligible for a partial tuition scholarship (75 percent of tuition for the minimum, ¼ time stipend, increasing to a 100 percent tuition scholarship for a ½ time stipend)." I don't intend on working outside of being on campus my first year there, so if I can do a 1/2 time assistantship, I can get a 100% tuition scholarship AND a somewhat generous stipend, significantly reducing how much I would need to take out in loans. I would absolutely love it if I was lucky enough to not put myself into thousands of dollars.

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! I will be in Panama City with my family from Tuesday through Friday, relaxing and enjoying somewhat warmer weather (even if the tattoos will all have to be hidden).

Thursday, November 6

United we stand.

Tuesday: what a great day to be an American. Spent all day at work, refreshing every five minutes with Cheri. Got home at 8 & watched as much of CNN's updates as possible before falling asleep early on the couch. BT woke me up right as "BARACK OBAMA - PRESIDENT-ELECT" was being splayed across the screen. If I hadn't been so groggy, I probably would have cried. Finally came to, called my parents who were miraculously still awake & celebrating (probably the only ones in Cobb County), then managed to keep my eyes open long enough to watch his speech in Chicago.

So glad change is coming to America, so glad everyone united as one to elect this man as president. I thought McCain's concession speech was very graceful; the first time in the past couple of months I really enjoyed hearing him speak. Overall, I went to bed so proud of my country and optimistic about the next four (hopefully eight) years. I can't wait to tell my children where I was when history was made (on the futon, in my pajamas, half-asleep).

The GRE is exactly a week from today. I've been studying a bit everyday. I took a practice test the other day and actually scored a little bit higher on my math than my verbal which, needless to say, left me pretty perplexed. The next seven days are really going to be crunch time. I know it isn't the only deciding factor when it comes to getting into grad school, but it will be much-needed peace of mind if I do well.

Brian & I hiked to the top of Stone Mountain this past Sunday; what a work out. The weather was awesome (sunny, mid-70s), and the view from the top is amazing. After hiking the mountain, we went and checked out the covered bridge then headed home. I want to go bike the 4 mile trail around the base of the mountain sometime soon. Hopefully, the weather stays nice. I want to do the Silver Comet Trail soon too.

Halloween was loads of fun. We carved pumpkins before heading out to Graveyard in EAV. Drank & danced the night away with my closet friends...don't think I could ask for much more. Great night. Plus, I think BT & I made a really cute pair of sailors.

Currently into:
-Grape soda
-Walgreen's Apothecary Lavendar Soak epsom salts (ahh, so good)
-Aveda Clove Shampoo & Shampure Conditioner
-Coffeemate's Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer
-Rock of Love: Charm School (guilty pleasure!)
-Atlanta on the Cheap
-HGTV - lots of it
-Bertolli's Oven Bake Meals

Wednesday, October 29

"If you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it."

This past weekend was a pretty relaxing one. I needed it after this past week at The Wag. Brian and I spent Saturday night in with Savage Pizza's tomato basil pizza (so good). We were both passed out by 10:30, which worked out well, cause by 9 the next morning, we were out the door for breakfast at Gato Bizco. Sorry, but that place beats The Flying Biscuit for breakfast anyday, even if it can only fit maybe 20 people at once. I love that the owner is always there. It is definitely on the top of my "Things I Will Miss about ATL" list.

After breakfast, we headed to the infamous Burt's Pumpkin Patch up in Dawsonville. We passed the Mountain Moonshine festival (or something to that extent) on the way up there...couldn't find any parking, or we probably would have stopped, ha. The pumpkin patch was packed but still a good time. We bought two big pumpkins to carve and two little ones for decoration. After Burt's, we went to Uncle Shuck's corn maze. Just for a visual, it looks like this:

I couldn't read the map, so BT led the way - probably a good thing, or we wouldn't have made any progress. We did the Democratic side (ha, go figure); it took almost an hour, and we were both pretty tired, so after that was done, we headed home. We still haven't carved the pumpkins; I'll definitely post pictures when we do.

I just saw a clip of True Life: I'm A Southern Belle, and two of the girls they were following are Ole Miss students. Can I just say if the majority of girls are like that there, I probably will be a hermit. One of these girls is on the prowl for a husband at 22, and the other is a pageant queen. However, one of the non-Ole Miss girls said she was a Southern belle because she was raised to love the land, not because of the clothes or material things. Good for you. On a side note, I am so. fucking. glad. my mother never made me do pageants.

How awesome is this website?! The house tours are all fascinating and illustrate voyeurism at its finest. I love looking into other people's homes. I can't wait till I have my own, whenever that may be.

I mailed my internship application in to the Atlanta History Center today. I'm crossing fingers. Not sure when I will hear back from them, but I hope by the end of the year. The GRE is in two weeks from tomorow (AAAH), and then it will be time to start working on my grad school application. I swear, this never stops. I want to take an amazing vacation when all is said and done come March. I'll deserve it, dammit.

Not to pull a Tyra here, but this is the most fierce (fierce-st?) video. I mean, damn. Work it.

Friday, October 24

Rainy day blues.

Try as I might (and I honestly can say I have), I just can't wrap my head around women LIKING Sarah Palin, much less voting for her. I mean, sweet, you get to keep your guns, but how about the right to decide what happens to your body? Nope, guess that isn't very important. Hey, if the RNC wants to spend $150k for her to look good...that's cool. McCain can rail against Obama for spending $3 million on a TELESCOPE...god forbid government money be spent on SCIENCE...but spending what some people make in a year just to make her look good? Yea, she's a regular hockey mom alright. Makes me wish Nov.4th was here & gone.

That reminds me...six hour waits on Election Day?! Whaaat?! So glad I voted absentee...

In one day, I get not one, but two, bills (with late charges, natch) from my old apartment, AND my windshield wipers break. By break, I mean intertwine with one another while I am driving in the pouring rain and snap, leaving me windshield wiper-less in the pouring rain. Bitchin'.

Seriously, I love shows like Wife Swap and Trading Spouses, especially the evangelical Christian/atheist episodes. I think Drake and I will take advantage of our off day in this 50 degree rainy day and curl up on the couch together and watch some mindless TV.

Three weeks till the GRE...

Monday, October 20

It finally feels like fall.

The month & the weather seem to finally match, thank ya Jesus. I honestly was starting to wonder if we would go straight from summer to winter; luckily, it's finally in the sixties. Time for sweaters & hoodies! My tried & true black Old Navy peacoat had to be retired this season, so I ordered this beauty from Delia*s:

I'm so excited, it looks so warm, and I love peacoats...I only prove Stuff White People Like right.

Nothing that exciting has been going on lately. Last week, Brian & I went for a train ride up in North Georgia on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, and it was a good time - despite the 80 degree weather and lack of any colorful fall foliage. This past weekend I finally went to Blind Willie's, and it was every bit of awesome I had hoped it would be. Their tagline ("Blues, booze, and Cajun food") fits them perfectly; the sweet potato fries were so delicious. This upcoming weekend, Brian & I are going to Burt's Pumpkin Patch, and I'm so freakin' excited. I haven't ever carved my own pumpkin, so this will be interesting, needless to say.

The older I get, the more I realize I really am my mother's daughter. I say this because lately, well, the economy sucks, and I'm becoming really freakin' good at cutting costs in all ways possible. I get my hair cut & colored at the Aveda Institute for $50 total (and it looks damn good)...I bought two weeks worth of groceries at ALDI for $18...I ordered some warm-weather shoes, a scarf, and some underwear from American Eagle for probably 40% of what it normally cost (thanks, online coupon codes!)...I found two pairs of jeans that fit perfectly (one pair of Miss Sixty jeans that retail for over $100) for $30 at Plato's Closet. Oh, I make my mom proud alright. Now if only I could cook a meal without using my microwave...

I've never been a huge fan of Halloween or dressing up, but this year BT & I are going to Graveyard's Halloween costume party with Steph & Bode, and I actually am excited. Brian & I are going as sailors; my costume will be pin-up style, and his will be traditional. I looked at a bunch of costumes online, and they are all either a) super slutty or b) 8 million dollars, so I'm going to be totally awesome & thrifty and make mine. White button-up, navy pleated skirt, sailor hat, white stockings, red ballet flats, red sailor necktie, and I'll be all set! I'll be sure to do a price comparison on here once it's all compiled. I think I'm going to try to do some my makeup kind of vintage-y (maybe red lips & false eyelashes?), but I'm pretty makeup-illiterate so we will see how that goes...

On heavy rotation lately:
Alkaline Trio, all records
Kings of Leon, Only By the Night
Girl Talk, Feed the Animals
Death Cab for Cutie, Plans
Nick Drake, Pink Moon (hands down, the best fall/winter record ever made)

Monday, October 13

Countdown to grad school...

I just registered for the GRE! It was my goal to take it by the end of this month, but that isn't happening. I procrastinated, as usual, and the only available October dates were sometime next week. So, I registered for a November 13th appointment at 1:00 at a GSU testing facility, leaving me exactly a month to study. I've been working through The Princeton Review's Cracking the GRE workbook all morning. So far, my verbal skills are fine, which is really no surprise. I mean, I have a degree in English; I would be pretty upset if they weren't fine. Now, my math skills are a different story. They definitely need some fine tuning. The format of the analytical writing questions seems a little tricky, so I'll have to practice those a lot as well. At least I'll have a full month to study and work through all the practice tests. It's my goal to go to the Decatur library in the afternoon for a couple of hours three times a week until test time.

On a whim last week, just to say what was out there for future post-grad jobs, I googled "Atlanta History Center, employment" and discovered they were accepting applications for interns this upcoming spring and summer. I'm going to send my application in and hope the internship I want (manuscripts assistant) is available. The description states it would expose me to "processing collections of unique, one-of-a-kind documents relating to history, records, photographs, architectural collections, maps, diaries, private papers, etc..."How awesome would that be?! That is definitely the kind of thing I want to do when I get out of grad school. It's a little late in the game for me to be doing an internship, and I would still be working full-time at The Wag; it would only be for 10 weeks though, and I think I could handle that. Also, in thinking of the absolute worst case scenario, if I weren't to get into grad school for the fall, it would be great to add the AHC to my resume. The head of their internship program already gave me the A-OK to apply even though I've already graduated, so hopefully I will be given the same consideration as undergrad/grad students. The deadline is November 1st, so hopefully I'll hear back from them sometime before Christmas.

I've got one of my letters of recommendation in line already; I'm going to use Dr.Wood aka the man who got me into Southern literature. The son of a friend of my grandparents went to Ole Miss and apparently has donated a lot of money there; for a school like that (ie: lotsa good old boys as rich alumni), I think using him as my second letter will be a great asset. After the GRE, my application & statement of purpose will be the only things to assemble and turn in before the February 15th deadline. It's my mission to have everything postmarked by February 1st. It seems far away, but I know the next three months are probably going to fly by; I just want everything to go as easy and stress-free as possible. I can't believe this is really happening. Registering for the GRE just made it feel so real.

I would really appreciate it if the temperature could drop about ten degrees...

Wednesday, October 8

October in full swing.

This year has been a year of trying new things (shooting range, kayaking, camping, etc...), and I have to say, I've really enjoyed it all. Trying to get as much experience out of my early twenties as I can without going flat broke. So far it has worked out pretty well.

Hangliding was amazing. Definitely one of the coolest things I've ever done. On Sunday Danielle, Laura, and I made the relatively short (1 1/2 hours) trip up to Lookout Mountain to begin our unconventional 23rd birthday celebration for the two of them. We ended up getting there about an hour before our reserved time, so we headed to Cloudland Canyon to walk around for a while. Again, so amazing how nature molds itself. After that, we checked in for our 3:30 reservation and went down to the launch/landing site to watch a quick video and put our harnesses on. I was the first one to go. My instructor, Pete, was pretty cool. He eased my nerves (I had told him I was afraid of heights). They have a little plane that almost looks like an old crop duster plane that tows you up to altitude (2,000 feet) then lets you go. That part was by far the scariest...the plane tows you at like 30mph then lets you go with a snap. After that, it was smooth sailing for about 20 minutes. We caught a couple of lifts which brought us up to 2,5000 ft at one point and flew next to birds and over the mountains. When he asked if I wanted to do any "roller-coaster type" tricks, I declined, being so nervous; I wish I would have now though! I didn't even let go of the handles on his harness; I should have not been such a pussy and grabbed the bar. Either way, it was an awesome experience, and I'm so glad I didn't wuss out.

Thanks, Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding!

I either don't want to see any movies coming out, or I want to see all of them. There is never any middle ground. Religulous looks amazing, and I've heard good things about Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. Although I hate admitting it, I kind of want to see Quarantine; it opens at the Starlight on Friday, so maybe BT & I will go. It looks like a good drive-in movie, especially now that Halloween is close.

Speaking of, I need to go get Drake a Halloween costume. Target has a super cute Batman costume and a Superman one as well...I'm leaning towards Batman for him, but we will see...

In conclusion, all I have to say is:

Thursday, October 2

Sept. 27th - 28th, Asheville, NC.

Last weekend in Asheville was a perfect two-day trip. Sometimes its so nice to just get away from Atlanta/work/everything for a couple of days.

We woke up early on Saturday and went to Gato Bizco for breakfast. So delicious, beats The Flying Biscuit any day and there is hardly ever a wait. We hit the road shortly thereafter, filling up in South Carolina since, hey, Atlanta was STILL having a gas crisis. Apparently western North Carolina was as well but more on that later. On the way into Asheville, we stopped at Looking Glass Falls. It was pretty gorgeous, pretty unbelievable how nature molds itself into such interesting creations. We checked into the hotel, changed, and headed right back out for horseback riding up in Mars Hill at the Wolf Laurel Stables. We were the last trail ride of that day so it was just me, BT, and our tour guide. My horse, Sky, was pretty stubborn - she liked to just stop in the middle of the trail, sometimes for no reason, sometimes to eat. Brian's horse, Bud, was good though; he didn't even have to use the little sapling our tour guide gave him, ha. We also had a little cattle dog that followed us on the trail. I was glad that is all we had booked was a one hour ride; I don't think my ass could have taken much more. I was pretty sore the next morning. It was relaxing though to ride through the woods with nothing but nature surrounding you.

We got back to the hotel & I took a quick nap while Brian watched some of the college football games that were on (go Ole Miss!). We were going to go to a nice dinner & dress up, but after that horseback ride plus the four hour drive up there, all I really wanted to do was chill in bed. We ended up going to Tupelo Honey Cafe, and it was super yummy. BT had the salmon & I had the nutty fried chicken; both came with gi-normous biscuits. My kind of meal. We walked around some more, hoping to find a good place for dessert. The Chocolate Fetish was closed, so we ended up picking up some chocolate-covered pretzel sticks at Kilwin's. We walked around and people-watched for a bit, then headed back into the hotel, where BT promptly passed out & I watched SNL. Tina Fey does Sarah Palin so well.

I slept so good that night. Seriously, I love sleeping in hotels because you can turn the air down as much as you want without worrying about a $500 power bill; on top of that, Hampton Inn beds are so freakin' comfortable. Anyways, after a great sleep, we woke up, ate breakfast at the hotel, and headed to downtown Asheville. What a great city. I could live there, I think; lots and lots of granola types, but great scenery, great weather, great shops...I could do it. BT got his morning coffee fix at World Coffee Cafe; I had a pumpkin spice latte - delicious. Afterwards, we just walked around the city, taking pictures, and checking out some of the cool little shops and galleries. I found two used Faulkner hardcovers and a used As I Lay Dying (I lost my copy) at Downtown Books & News and had to abstain from getting a copy of Creedence's "Chronicle" on vinyl. After exploring for a couple of hours, we had lunch at Early Girl Eatery. Their chicken salad sandwich, mac and cheese, and lemonade were so freaking good. Mmmm. After lunch, we walked over to Three Dog Bakery right by the Grove Arcade, to buy Drake some treats; he got two "snickerpoodles" and his own personalized bone. He seemed to enjoy the snickerpoodles and hasn't gotten his personalized bone yet. We ended our downtown exploration with walking through the Grove Arcade and the Grove Corner Market, where we picked up some snacks for the ride up to Grandfather Mountain. I tried some lavendar soda which was crazy tasting...not necessarily in a good way. After a short drive up to the Grove Park Inn which was unfortunately under some serious construction, we were on our way.

After we got in the car, we realized we spent longer than we expected to in downtown Asheville, so we had to seriously book it to get to Grandfather Mountain before their ticket office closed at five. We tried to get gas about twenty minutes outside of Asheville and every single station was empty. After a minor freak out, we finally found one that still had gas because it was cash only. Luckily, BT had cash so we got enough gas to get us to Grandfather Mountain and at least to South Carolina. Whew. Very close call. We got to Grandfather Mountain right at five o'clock, only to find out the ticket office actually closed at six which would have been nice to know while we were doing 70 down 35mph back roads trying to get there in time. Anyways, first we went to the nature habitats they had on site which was awesome - eagles, cougars, bears, and (my favorite) river otters! After spending a good amount of time staring at the bears and otters, we ventured up to top of the mountain (6,000 feet above sea level) where it probably was around 50 degrees with winds of about 20mph. Crazy! I thought we were going to be blown off. Nevertheless, we crossed the bridge to the super craggy peak of the mountain, climbed some more, and shot for a while on the top. We finally climbed back down and headed home...saw a group of deer right on the side of the road as we headed down the mountain...had another minor gas crisis in South Carolina but found some shortly thereafter...arrived back in Atlanta at 11:30 and crashed out, sad that the weekend was over but glad to be home and in bed.

Not much else has been going on. My phone charger finally arrived, and I finally got around to fixing my computer, even though I lost every single song, picture, essay, etc that I had saved. At least I don't feel quite so technologically lost anymore, ha.

Going hangliding with Danielle and Laura this weekend for their collective weekend BT and I are paying Kennesaw a visit and then taking a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway...trying to take the GRE soon...possibly going to see Dolly Parton at Chastain with my parents at the end of the month...seeing "Wicked" with Claire on the 30th. October is shaping up to be quite wonderful, although I wish it was a tad bit cooler.

Can't wait for Joe Biden to annihilate Sarah Palin in tonight's debate!

And with that, I leave you with a few pictures...

Tuesday, September 23

Fall is here!

A whole lot of nothing seems to be going on lately, hence the lack of blog updates.

Financially, I'm wrecked, but let's be honest, who isn't? I can't wait for my taxpayer dollars to pay off that $700 billion government bail out; I bet my children are super excited about that too. Woohoo. I'm trying to finish paying off the credit card AND save for next's just not happening right now though. And seriously, what is up with gas in Atlanta being impossible to find?! You either have to go at 6 in the morning or midnight for there to be gas - it is insane!

Anything regarding technology in my life is basically on the fritz. My phone has been dead because my Nokia charger that came with the phone started acting a fool...and that was before Drake ate it. I bought one offline a week ago, and it has yet to come. Four to fourteen business days is a large time window to be My laptop's hard drive is totally fried for whatever reason. I brought it into work and chatted with tech support yesterday trying to figure it out; apparently, it is "corrupt". I wish Dell would just come out and fix the damn thing, but I know I'll have to troubleshoot over the phone before that can happen. What a pain in the ass. At least it is under warranty until 2010. I kind of want to break down and buy a Mac before I go to grad school...but then I would have to go back on everything I've ever said about Mac...even though technically it was really criticism for the iPhone (and the people that have them)...we'll see...

I'm really excited for Asheville this weekend; I need to get out of Atlanta, even if it is just for two days. Plus, the mountains & fall weather are always so comforting and peaceful. Saturday we are visiting Looking Glass Falls, horseback riding at Wolf Laurel Stables, and then exploring downtown Asheville and Grove Park Inn. Sunday we are going to explore Asheville some more then drive up to Grandfather Mountain to hike. Hopefully I'll come back with some decent pictures. I'm bringing the Canon and the Holga, so it should be a productive weekend.

NY Times wrote this article about Ole Miss hosting the first presidential debate this upcoming Friday (tune in - 9:00 ET - CNN). I'll be honest, I'm pretty glad I'm not going to be living there. When I visited back in July, my tour guide told me that the university only designated about 100 tickets to university staff, none for students. Oxford is going to be a media circus, I can imagine. Either way, I'll be at home watching it. The Times article makes me a little stressed out about the race situation at the school. It reminds me of an extreme version of my high school (Harrison), which, needless to say, I hated. My middle school in Raleigh (Ligon GT) was so diverse; moving to Georgia was a huge culture shock. I can imagine moving from Decatur to Oxford is kind of going to be the same way. Georgia State was my Ligon; now Ole Miss will be my Harrison.

I spent this past weekend with my mom, and it was so much fun. Saturday night we ate dinner at Mellow Mushroom in Decatur and then came back to my house to eat ice cream sandwiches. In true mom fashion, she fell asleep at 10 o'clock ha. Sunday we woke up and had a small breakfast, showered & got dressed, and headed to Mary Mac's Tea Room. God, I love that place. I wish I could bottle that sweet tea and keep a steady supply in my fridge at all times. After lunch, we walked up to The Fox & got seated for Les Miserables. Our seats weren't terrible; we were pretty high up in the balcony, but we had a great view of the stage. The production was really good. I had seen it about 10 years ago when we still were in North Carolina and didn't really understand it, but it made so much more sense this time around. After the play, we went to Piedmont Park, and BT took some portraits since we don't have any recent mother-daughter shots. She left for Kennesaw shortly thereafter; it was really good to spend time with her away from my dad and brother.

In closing, I leave you with this picture of me and my mom - probably the best we have ever taken. She loves me, hates the tatts...although she did say she wouldn't care if I was covered in them, as long as I wasn't a drug addict.

Wednesday, September 10

A third of the way through September - seriously?

I'm finally feeling back to my old, healthy self. Last Wednesday, I went to the doctor with horrible fatigue and body aches, 103-degree fever, and a 124 heart rate; I had a gross virus that had mutated and spread throughout my body and was pretty dehydrated. I was hooked up to an IV and got a sodium chloride drip then was put on antibiotics for 14 days. I am feeling much better, and according to my blood test results, I don't appear to have the flu or mono. Very happy with that, and very happy to be feeling not like a blob.

BT and I took Drake to Bark in the Park at Turner Field on Sunday. It was the first time I have actually gone to the event, rather than working it. We were on the jumbotron (aka Braves Vision) - a first for us all! As you can see, Drake (and his human counterparts) had a blast.

Other than being sick and going to Bark in the Park, not much has been going on in this kid's life lately. I am settled into my new place, and it feels like home. Work is slowing down, now that kids are back in school, and the holiday season is over. I'm still planning on taking the GRE next month, although I need to get my brain back into shape. I haven't had school in almost four months; I'm pretty sure that is the longest time I have gone without it. I am trying to enjoy my year off before heading to Ole Miss, but I just feel restless; somehow working at a dog daycare still just isn't cutting it. At least Drake benefits from it.

The fact that women are "flocking" to Sarah Palin just because she has a damn uterus makes me sick. And as for people referring to her as a feminist icon, she most certainly is not. Not only as a Democrat, but as a woman, I would never even consider voting for her, or voting for McCain just because he picked a woman as his VP running mate. When asked if her own daughter was impregnated by a rapist, what she would encourage her daughter to do, she replied "I would choose life." First off, it should not be her decision. Second of all, everything about that sentence makes me sick. Not to make this blog a forum on abortion, but it is my strong opinion that nobody should have control over a woman's body except for herself, not even her mother. Aside from that, she fired a librarian because she wouldn't ban or censor books that Palin found offensive or objectionable. Let's see; so far, she doesn't believe women have the right to chose what happens to their bodies and apparently doesn't believe in freedom of speech either. That's who I want in charge of my country should John McCain die. I really hope after the initial media frenzy around her dies down that people, women and men alike, will wake up and see her for what she really is.

While on the subject of womanly issues that disgust me, read this article, and tell me this isn't prostitution. Capitalizing off of your sexuality? Yea, I'm pretty sure that is considered prostitution (strippers aside). And seriously, selling your virginity to pay for college tuition? I want to get my Master's without taking out loans just as much as the next person, but there are things called financial aid and scholarships I intend on looking into. Not auctioning off my body. Oh, people of America, you never let me down.

A few exciting things going on in the next few weeks...Brandy is about to have her baby...going to see Les Miserables with my mom next weekend (probably should warn her of my latest tattoo first)...taking a weekend trip to Asheville with BT at the end of the month...and fall is just around the corner (although I'm sure it will continue to be 80 degrees until mid-October).

Also, Drake and I have a shared love of Yuengling:

Tuesday, September 2

Short update.

I could watch this video all day long. John Fogerty, despite his hairdo, was a fox back in the day. Creedence makes me wish I was sitting on the porch of a house in the middle of some godforsaken, middle-of-nowhere, humid as hell Southern town, drinking beer, swatting mosquitoes, and scratching my coonhound between his ears. Love me some CCR.

I'm all moved in to my new place. So far, so good. The move was much quicker and easier than I expected.

However, I have come down with a nasty virus. Not totally sure what I have, possibly the flu, but I have been running a 102 degree fever since Friday, have body aches like no other, my fingers go numb randomly, and sometimes it feels like my brain is throbbing. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow, so I am interested to see what I've managed to catch.

John McCain, you are an idiot.

Friday, August 22

To my family and friends, if I die ...

Please, please, please do NOT do this to me. Just cremate me and put my ashes in a little box. You guys can all look at that and realize how awesome I am. Then you can take my remains out and sprinkle them somewhere badass, like Turner Field.

This is greatly appreciated.


Monday, August 18

Obligatory Monday post.

Things just keep getting better and better. Seriously, it must be the horseshoe. Or maybe someone just decided to cut me some slack. I'm the happiest I've been in a very, very long time.

It's so weird that school is starting, and I'm not going back. It's borderline bittersweet. No more $7/day parking down off Decatur Street. No more homeless people hassling my broke ass for money. No more fighting through the plaza during the daily lunch hour rap offs. No more climbing five flights of stairs because the elevators are so damn crowded, it takes ten years to get on one. So yea, maybe that's not such a bad thing...

You know you are getting old when you get excited about things like new towels and sheets. Yesterday I bought these Thomas O'Brien bath towels for the new place, and they seriously are so big and soft. I'm going over to paint tomorrow, and I'm even excited about buying paint. Seriously. What gives?

Girl Talk's new record "Feed the Animals" is awesome. BT was listening to a song last week, and I was pretty into it so I went home and downloaded the rest of it. The way he mixes hip hop with classic rock is awesome; it's unexpected, but it works. It definitely makes me want to start working out again, ha. I think once I get settled in my new apartment and the bank account is done getting a beating, I may join LA Fitness and try and get on a 2x/week routine and work my way up to 3x by winter.

The Olympics have been really great to watch. I wasn't really watching that much of them when they first started, but this past weekend I've gotten really into the swimming, gymnastics, and track & field. It was ill watching Michael Phelps get his 8th medal. I wish I had an ounce of athletic talent in my body, but it looks like it's just always gonna be pen and paper for this kid.

I got my b&w roll from the train yard developed and printed, and they came out pretty good. They aren't as sharp as I'd like them to be, but I think the Holga just isn't a good camera to shoot with no flash indoors without lots of light. I bought four rolls of all different types and speeds of film, both b&w and color, and I'm really excited to go shoot. I need new locations to go though, so I believe a little urban exploration is in store.

BT and I took Drake for lots of walks this weekend, and I'm ashamed to say he is horrible on a leash. Coming to work with me has definitely spoiled him since he doesn't have to go for many long walks on a leash. For being a small dog, he pulls like a freakin' Rottweiler. I need to start getting my Cesar on with him. Last night, we walked around Inman Park to look at all the amazing houses and found that he has an interesting habit; whenever we are walking next to a yard that has a low wall, Drake likes to hop up on it and walk for a few feet then hop back down. It's so silly looking; he is just like a little kid. Best dog ever, seriously.

Tonight is the premiere of the fourth season of The Hills, and Danielle and I are having ladies' night in celebration. That show has been my guilty pleasure for years now, so it's only right that I ring in it's new season in style. We are eating lasagna, drinking beer, being dudes, and eating this for dessert.

Seriously, could it get any better? Doubtful. And this pretty much embodies my weekend:

So content.

Monday, August 11

Can I get a little cheese with that whine?

In an effort to not be such a bum out all the time, I'm going to try not to complain as much. Things are definitely looking up. Maybe it's the good luck horseshoe? Not a whole lot has been going on that is blogworthy, but I guess a week's update is due.

Work still blows in a financial sense, but what else is new? The economy is shit right now, so I'm going to not take my job for granted for the time being. There are worse things I could be doing for a living than chilling with friends and dogs in jeans and a tshirt, I suppose.

I'm moving into my basement apartment at the end of the month. I don't have that much stuff, but I need to start packing and cleaning out my house. I've got a ton of ex-boyfriend stuff sitting in my closet in trash bags, plus my laundry room is overflowing with junk. My new kitchen is about half the size of what I have now, so most of my pots and pans will have to go in storage. Not like I cook very much (or at all) anyways. I still need to go over there and paint the bedroom, butI don't think it will be too time consuming. I'm just crossing fingers that it won't be so ungodly hot when it's time to move, but I'm sure it will. Thanks, Georgia.

Brandy's baby shower was yesterday at Mary Mac's Tea Room which, it should be said, is some of the most delicious Southern food I have ever had. Can I take a moment to reflect on that sweet tea and mac-n-cheese? Really now - amazing. Anyways, little Hayden is due in five weeks; I feel just the other day she was telling me and Steph she was pregnant in the lobby of The Wag, and we all were crying. This year really has flown by. Katy brought one-year old Liam to the shower, and he is so adorable - seriously, cutest little boy ever. I think the only reason I like playing with him is because he is older; really little babies kind of freak me out. I always feel like I am going to drop them or hinder their development in some way, ha. Liam rules though; that is definitely a baby I could hang around for more than five minutes.

It kind of stresses me out that I'm already going to baby showers and the like. Don't get me wrong, I love babies (sort of) and everything, but it makes me feel old. I am definitely in no rush at all to have one, but I guess if my friends want to start poppin'em out, I'm cool with that. Plus, I have no idea what to buy. If Danielle hadn't come shopping with me, I would have bought that baby a hoodie for a two year old, like I did for Katy's baby shower. Embarrassing.

I've been loving my Holga. I was really pleased with the way my Oxford pictures came out, and last weekend BT & I went and shot at the abandoned train yard over off of Arizona St / Dekalb Ave. The negatives looked really good, and my prints should be ready tmw. It's the first time I've shot black-and-white with the Holga so I'm interested to see how they are going to look.

All the gold fell out of my horseshoe tattoo. It's healed up nicely aside from that. The gold scabbed really bad, worse than usual, which I guess is why it ended up falling out. I guess I'm just going to leave the middle flesh colored for now. I'm still loving it...probably a good thing since it's going to be there forever and all.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is going to be amazing. Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem on screen together...that's too much sexiness for one person to handle. For serious.

REALLY, Bush Administration? Are you trying to fuck everything up before you leave office? It appears to be that way.

Not to be totally vague and lame, but the past two weeks have been unexpected, unconventional, scary, and amazing all at once. I find myself being more surprised by the day and in the best way possible. Can't remember the last time it was like this. The more I think about it, the more I'm not sure there was a last time.

Everything sounds so much better on my record player.

Monday, August 4

"And the four right chords can make me cry..."

So, I canceled my appointment with the psychiatrist today. I woke up and thought to myself, "Hey, my life is turning itself around. Mary Jane and I slowly are parting ways, and I don't feel the incessant need to self-medicate anymore. Things are slowly turning themselves around. I think I'm going to be a-okay." Let's just hope that this decision doesn't turn around and bite me in the ass. I honestly would not be surprised if it did though. I guess we will see about that in the next couple of months.

I've pretty much diagnosed myself with my problems; I have a lot of pent up anger towards my mother and a certain emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend. As much as he loved to deny it, said boyfriend knew what he was doing when he constantly fucked with my head, but I honestly don't think my mom has a clue. Ever since I hit my twenties, we've butted heads more than we did when I was a teenager. I guess it has something to do with her not wanting to let go, but Christ, she needs to realize I'm pretty alright for a 22 year old. I mean, really. I've got my issues like everyone else, but I like to think I'm pretty well-rounded. Not to turn this blog into a rant about my boyfriend/mom issues - it just all came to a head last night in this crazy vivid dream I had involving my mom and grandma screaming at me to just get to Mississippi and leave them alone. Well, and my brother and his girlfriend were having a baby, and everyone was really excited. That was just weird.

As for the ex, that will just take time to heal...longer than I'd like. It has been six months since we broke up, and, without even talking to him, he still can manage to break me down to nothing. So many cruel words and sketchy actions are ingrained in my head, and I'm just trying to block them out as much as possible. More important than cutting my self-esteem down to nothing and isolating me from the things I love, he also managed to ruin a ton of great songs for me. THANKS. Now I can't listen to "New Slang" or "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" without my stomach churning. I managed to get Nick Drake back for the most part though, so I can't really complain.

Lately I keep thinking about Mississippi and not necessarily in an excited way. Just kind of neutral. A year from today I'm going to be all moved in, anxiously awaiting for school to start. I'm not really second guessing my decision to go to Ole Miss; I just keep feeling like I did everything backwards. Aren't you supposed to go to the city, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, after college? I went when I was 18, and now I'm completely jaded to the whole environment, wanting to leave everything behind for a town with 1/100th of the population I am used to. I guess that works out though. Still, I'm nervous at how I will adjust. No traffic and no smog will be awesome - but no Metalsome and no Northside? Eh. Not so sure about that.

I'm so broke it physically pains me to look at my bank account. I've slowly started paying off my credit card which I'm pretty stoked about, but other than that...not so stoked. I've exhausted my savings paying for my car to actually run smoothly, and I found out the other day I owe my apartment complex $1,055 for not telling them I am moving out sixty days in advance. Nothing surprises me anymore financially. I'm surprised I've controlled my debt as much as I have, but it seriously seems to get worse everyday.

My tattoo is totally scabbed over and disgusting looking. I absolutely hate the healing process. I just want to scrape it all off because, honestly, it looks like some sort of backwoods, prison tattoo right now. I just want the colors to be pretty again.

Smoltz is out. Tex is traded. Tim Hudson is out for the season after his Tommy John's surgery. Skip Caray died. What. The. Hell. We are cursed. It is official.

Do work.

Thursday, July 31

"If you've got an impulse, let it out."

The good news first. I got my birthday tattoo yesterday at Ink & Dagger. I'm really pleased with the way it came out. I think the red makes it pop, plus the gold inside the horseshoe looks really good. The first five minutes hurt pretty bad, but like my other tattoos, I just got used to the burning sensation; it was all over with in a matter of 25 minutes.

It's weird having a visible tattoo; I like it. People usually don't even know I have them; I mean, hell, I hid them from my mother for almost three years. I'm pretty confident with the fact that I will never go into a profession that requires me to be super clean-cut, so I'm not stressing where it is. I know my family will, and that makes me sad. As open-minded as they can be, they still seem to equate tattoos with deviance, ignorance, and all other typical stereotypes that comes with permanent ink. I wish I could say I could prove them wrong, but unfortunately, I don't think that is going to be the case.

Bad news now. I have a gash on my hand (see above) from where my female rabbit bit the living daylights out of me. Tough, right? I feel bad because I don't get to spend as much time with me now because of Drake, but I'm afraid to try and find them a home because she is a pretty territorial aggressive rabbit. She isn't spayed, which I think might have something to do with it, but she is three years old, so I'm not sure spaying would be 100% safe now that she's reached her sexual maturity. Either way, it's kind of silly to say I have a mean rabbit, but it's true! I just wish I could find her a home where I knew someone would be patient with her and not just give her up at the first sign of aggression.

More bad news. The past week has taught me that I can't do the whole "boyfriend-in-jail" thing. I can't. Innocence or guiltiness aside, I can't put all of myself into a relationship that I get nothing out of. I know it's selfish, but honestly, I'm 22. I've been in some pretty ridiculously serious relationships early on in my adult years, and it is time for me to be selfish. I've been trying not to beat myself up about it which, as usual, I've failed at. It's just too hard to fight feeling like I'm missing out on something all the time, and this time I'm throwing my hands in the air.

REALLY bad news: Mark Teixeira was traded to the LA Angels on Tuesday. So bummed I didn't even get to go to a goodbye game. I'm interested to see if this Casey Kotchman fellow is any good. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do without seeing that sexy man on first base adjusting himself non-stop.

Oh, Tex. It's been real.

Tuesday, July 29

The only true paradise is lost paradise.

"Living in the South often means slipping out of a temporal joint, a peculiar phenomenon that I find both nourishes and wounds. To identify a person as a Southerner suggests not only that her history is inescapable and formative but that it is also impossibly present. Southerners live uneasily at the nexus between myth and reality, watching the mishmash amalgam of sorrow, humility, honor, graciousness, and renegade defiance play out against a backdrop of profligate physical beauty."
-Sally Mann, Deep South

Sunday, July 27

Pre-birthday weekend.

The older I get, the more I see birthdays as an excuse to get ridiculously drunk and partake in activities I may or may not regret the next morning and less as a reason to celebrate the day I popped on out into the world. Being 22? Not so cool. Being in a insanely seedy strip club with everyone I love and acting a fool and realizing it's ok because it's my birthday? Very cool. All I know is weekends like this one make me so unbelievably happy I woke up and realized committing to that religion known as straight edge for two years was utterly ridiculous.

I kicked the weekend off with a much needed hair cut at the Aveda Institute - the only place I will get my hair cut. If you have short hair, ask for Kim Adams. She is amazing, and I won't let anyone besides her touch my head for fear of looking like a boy with a bowl cut; believe me, it's happened. Afterwards, I ran over to Camera Doctor to pick up the roll I had shot with the Holga in Oxford / Oakland - very pleased with the way they turned out. I bought some more black and white 120 film, so hopefully I can go shoot sometime this week. Scooted on over to Ink & Dagger to talk to Jason Kelly about my tattoo - next Wednesday, my right wrist will no longer be naked. Again, sorry Mom. Capped the night off with dinner & drinks at Cheeseburger in Paradise with Danielle and some pretty amazingly hilarious people from her travel agency job. Unfortunately for me, at the risk of getting graphic, I ended up seeing everything I ate once again, and it wasn't the two weak, mostly-mix margaritas I had. Definitely will not be getting the island quesadilla again. Uh uh, no thanks. I probably sounded bulimic. Great.

Saturday night - oh, the debauchery. We began the night with dinner at El Azteca; stuffed my belly with taco salad and delicious margaritas and actually kept it all down, a much welcome change from the previous night. I mean, Mexican food is great and everything, but the night did not really kick off until we trekked on over to the - drumroll please - Clermont Lounge! It was my first time there, although probably not the last. Within twenty minutes of being inside, I got my first birthday lapdance (thank you, Steph & Bode!) from a lady dressed up as Dorothy, ruby red shoes and everything. It's a little disconcerting to have someone tell you they are 62 with a kid your age while they have their tits in your face. Needless to say, the PBR was a-flowin', and the company was great. Later on, I got another lapdance from the infamous Blondie who motorboated me about three times too many and proceeded to grab my beer can, crush it with her chest, apply lipstick, kiss that poor PBR, and hand it back to me, but not before saying, "Honey, you cute as a button!" Oh multi-talented strippers, I love you. Everyone drunkenly walked across the street to The Local, more drinks were had, and photobooths were put to good use until last call. We somehow managed to get back to Danielle's in one piece and crash in various locations around the house. Needless to say, even after drinking plenty of water and taking Advil yesternight, it took a couple of hours to fully come to...and that's how I know it was a good night. Plus, I mysteriously had "Peach Cobbler - Portia" scrawled on my chest in black Sharpie and "yes, please" across my back. Thanks, guys.

Madison and I finally got around to seeing The Dark Knight on Sunday. Wow. Even though every single person that has seen it has had nothing but amazing things to say, I still had my doubts that it was as good as everyone said. Oh, but it was. Heath Ledger's Joker honestly gave me the creeps. Whenever his voice would go from that creepy, almost falsetto to a deep growl, I got chills. The Joker is just a scary motherfucker, for lack of a better word. He really has no motive besides wanting to see everyone miserable and the world in choas, and that is one dangerous son of a bitch. Also, I think it's a shame that a lot of reviews leave out how good Aaron Eckhart was as Harvey Dent/Two Face. I'd like to know how long it took to do Two Face's makeup. That eyeball? Ugh. But Christian Bale? No words necessary, although I still picture him as Patrick Bateman sometimes, and that has a tendency to kill any sort of attraction.

Can we just take a moment to reflect on how sexy of a superhero Batman is? I mean, honestly. It's a damn shame he is not for real because I would be lining up to get a piece of that. Wears an all black suit complete with muscles, lives in a sweet penthouse with possibly the coolest butler ever, drives nice cars, AND saves lives at night for no other reason besides he wants to see the world as a better place. Plus, he doesn't ever try to kill anyone, just defend himself or protect someone else, and he doesn't use guns, just his hands and nifty little gadgets. My god. I would fall off a building voluntarily if it meant Batman would swoop down and scoop me up. Just sayin'. I don't even like superheroes usually. Spiderman? Total nerd, and not in a cute, endearing way. The Incredible Hulk? Ehh, kind of would not like to be around him. Batman and/or Iron Man? Yes, please.

My boy B-Mac got drilled in the game against the Phillies! Poor guy. He has a minor concussion, and I think he is going to be out for a couple of games. I'll wear my jersey for good luck for him. Get better, Fatty McCann.

Wednesday, July 23

The doggie daycare business.

I feel like I have updated this so much in the past couple of weeks. Probably because I'm pissed off about a lot of things, and this is an outlet for me to vent. A lot of my anger comes out in here, and I suppose that is something that this can be used for, so here goes...yet again.

I have worked with dogs almost all my life. I worked at a vet's office when I was 15 up until I moved to college when I was 18, and I've been working for one of Atlanta's first and best dog daycares since I was 19. More often than not, the job offers flexible hours and scheduling which always was important when I was in school; plus I love dogs, the laid back environment, and (usually) the people I work with. Well, I'm not in school anymore, and being stuck catering to dogs and their horrible parents pretty much sucks. So much so that I can't even think of a better word besides "sucks" to describe what it is like to work there. It sucks. Sucks. SUCKS.

I'd like to give a big shoutout to all the dogs' parents who think I have no human emotion or feeling. Because of you, I usually go home in a surly mood and generally pissed off at the world. Now, I've worked up front now for two years, answering phones, selling retail, working at the computer, and dealing with customers that I never thought could top each other in terms of rudeness; lo and behold, they never fail to prove me wrong. Granted, there are a handful that certainly make my day every time they come in. However, the case seems to be that more and more people take pleasure in ruining my day than do in improving it.

Let it be said that there is a very particular demographic for "doggie daycares". Our biggest customers are singles and young couples without children who have a disposable income or older people who have retired well. Every now and then we get a typical Decatur family who brings the family dog in to play once every couple of days. Those usually are the best customers, the nicest ones, the ones who always smile at you, look you in the eye, make it a point to NOT be chatting away on their cell phones. Unfortunately for us, those are not our main customers. Anyways, it is glaringly obvious that the kind of people who, in a crumbling economy, will pay $22 for their dog to come run around with other dogs for a couple of hours really aren't struggling for money. How ironic that I see these people every day stroll in every day giving me their dog with one hand and balancing their Kate Spade purse with the other without so much as a "thanks". God knows I'm struggling, and if I had an extra $20 on hand, it sure as hell would not go for my dog to go play. It's called walking your dog...or even a dog park...these are not new concepts.

Anyways, I don't know what it is about the company that makes people think that it is totally A-OK for them to be utter and complete assholes to the staff. Maybe it's because it is a fairly relaxed environment; we all wear matching t-shirts and jeans, no one is in full makeup, and I'll be the first to admit, sometimes I come in with a small case of bedhead. Does that mean it is cool with me if you treat me like I'm the neighborhood kid, coming to walk your dog for $5 and a piece of candy? Nope. It's not. I'm working full time just like you are, and while I may not be in corporate America, it is still my job, and I have to go if I want to survive, even if it means dealing with people like you.

And you know what? I'm friendly to you when you walk in. I greet you in a friendly manner, ask you if I can help you with anything, greet your dog by name, show you how to work our nifty little Starbucks machine. I let your brat-ass kids pick up the dog toys and throw them across the store, and I make sure to go back when you leave and re-organize every little thing they fucked up. I go out of my way to try and find a way to squeeze you in even if we are completely booked for boarding or grooming. Sometimes I nearly trip myself trying to get to a ringing phone, just so your call won't go to voicemail. Even when I'm having a horrible, no good, very bad day, I make sure to put a smile on, just so you can feel welcome and like we appreciate your business.

And what is the thanks that I get in return? You being a total pretentious, stuck-up asshole. I have a life too and -gasp- feelings just like a real person. Do you think I like getting up at 6 every morning, just so I can come open the store so you can bring your dogs in right at 7 o'clock? Do you think I enjoy being underpaid, strolling into work with a degree that I am very proud of under my belt, only to not even crack $11/hour? Do you think I like it when you bitch at me about daycare/boarding/grooming prices even though I have no control over what you are being charged for? No. I don't. In fact, I hate it. A whole hell of a lot. But I'm too uncoordinated to be a stripper and not slick enough to be a drug dealer, so looks like in the interim, this will have to do.

Now, like I have said, we do have some regular customers that, especially around holidays, will go out of their way to make it known how much they appreciate us. Whether it be bringing us all lunch or tipping well when they pick up, these people do make all those horrible days better (much appresh, Scout's mom). They make sure they know your name which, in a company where about 75% of the customers don't know who you are, makes a huge difference (hi, Bongo's mom). Some even make sure they know your dog's name; those are my favorite (thanks, Tucker's dad and Phoebe's mom). And then there are some that come in (hello, Gozer's dad) that are just nice to look at. Unfortunately, these people are few and far between.

This morning I had a woman accuse me of sitting on my ass all day because I did not answer her phone call at 7:40 this morning in which she was going to tell - not ask, tell - me that her dog was coming in for grooming today. Well, lady, our groomer is off today, and if you would have been patient and called back one more time, maybe you would have saved yourself the trip and inconvenience of driving to our store and discovering that we would not be able to give your ugly little dog a complete groom until next week. And no, I was not sitting on my ass doing nothing. I was making sure all the dogs had filtered water because, hey, funny thing, lightning struck a water purification plant last night, and all the water in Dekalb County was contaminated until about two o'clock this afternoon. You're right, I should be so sorry that I was not rushing to answer the phone. And guess what? Don't tell me you are a "great customer and a good tipper" because I know for a fact the past three times you have come in for a groom, you have refused to pay full price because you think it is too much; our groomer works on commission, so I'm pretty damn sure she isn't jumping at the bit to squeeze you in.

Also, a note to people who call the day before a holiday and expect us to have room for their dog to board: I don't care if you are one of our best customers, although I guarantee you aren't. I don't care if you have been coming to us for years because I'm pretty sure by "years", you actually mean off-and-on for a handful of months. And I really don't care if it is "unacceptable" to you that we don't have room for your dog because, to me, it is pretty unacceptable that you are calling the day before a major holiday to make arrangements that you should have been making weeks ago.

And to every customer that feels the need to point out the fact that a new dog daycare has opened up about a mile away from us and that we now have "competition" - yes, I am fully aware of this new store. I am also fully aware that I do not give a shit where you take your business, especially if you are a complete and utter jackass to the staff every time you come in. Please, I implore you to go take your business there. It would make my life a lot easier.

I wish I could hand this post out to every customer that comes in because then they would know how less inclined I am to help them when they are belittling me either on the phone or in front of me. However, I probably would be fired, so in the meantime, I will just keep biting my tongue and growing more passive-aggressive by the day, all for the sake of keeping a job in a country where they are falling off by the day.


Tuesday, July 22

"Try Jesus! If you don't like him, the devil will always take you back!"

While I was at the stop light at the intersection at Church Street and North Decatur Road yesterday, I saw this nice little quote splayed on a church sign for all to see. I wanted to take a picture of it with my phone for others to bask in its ridiculousness, but honestly, I was in a pretty big hurry to get to yoga so I sailed on through the light. After sweating my ass off and twisting my body in weird positions for 75 minutes (thanks Hot Core Power!), I headed back home for a much needed sandwich and shower. Again, I passed the sign. On the opposite side, it read "This church is prayer conditioned". Now that's just ridiculous sounding, but the "Try Jesus" on the flip side seemed to stick in my head like a Miley Cyrus song, playing itself over and over and over in all its annoying, nonsensical repetition. "The last time I freaked out, I just kept looking down..."

Either way, that sign bothered me. Immensely. So much so that it's about all I could think about for a good couple of hours. It's almost as bad as the sign that reads, "Don't be so open minded that your brains fall out." Really? REALLY? Wow. Both of those really just make me want to get off my atheist ass and go to church because the people seem like they are going to be so warm and welcoming. I hope you can feel the sarcasm dripping off my keys as I type.

Hailing from uber-religious Cobb County, the natural thing for me to do in my last year of high school was to revolt in my own non-violent way and become atheist "just because". Then I went through a handful of philosophy classes in college, found sound logical basis for my arguments, read a lot of Bertrand Russell, "God is dead", yadda yadda. Anyways, the point is I've been an unflinching atheist for a decent amount of years now. Maybe at some point in my life, although hopefully not, I will have a near-death experience and will "find Jesus" in my moment of despair. I highly doubt it, but I have never officially ruled it out. I do know one thing though. Being criticized for having a "too open" mind or basically saying if I "try" and don't like Jesus, I'm going to be sent straight to hell is not going to get me anywhere near a church. In fact, I will run screaming in the opposite direction. I guarantee I'm not the only person that feels this way. Let's say someone from another religion wanted to "try" Jesus, just to see what the whole fuss was about. Is a sign proclaiming that the devil will "take you back" to the clutches of your ungodly, hedonistic religion, which could be anything from Islam to Buddhism, going to make you want to step foot in that church? Mmmm probably not.

Besides, hell and the devil aren't real. Ha.

Sunday, July 20

"Mississippi moon, won't you keep on shinin' on me..."

Feelin' much better after getting out of Atlanta for a couple of days, even if it did come with a lot of questions and lecturing from -who else- my mom and grandma. Oh well, I think that will always be a part of being female AND the first-born to a Southern family.

The trip to Oxford was awesome. Up until this weekend, it existed as a fictional little plot of land in my head - something I had read about and researched but never actually knew what it was like. Well, I got to know it, and I loved it. The drive there took FOREVER (seven hours - my mom was driving). Plus, the scenery on US 78 is lackluster, needless to say; I was getting more and more skeptical about the town with every cow pasture we saw, and believe me, there were a lot. We finally got into town around 7 or so, but we all were pretty tired so we just ate at the Applebee's across the street from our hotel (exciting) and crashed out.

The next morning we woke up pretty early, ate a good breakfast, and then headed to Ole Miss campus for my tour at 11am with the graduate school. We had a guide named Aaron who was also a student in the Southern Studies Master's program, which was awesome. He was super nice and really informative. He drove us all around campus in a golf cart, pointing out the main buildings & the likes; the campus is so incredibly gorgeous. I mean, coming from Georgia State, anything with more than four or five rundown buildings and a library is going to blow my mind, but the campus really was exceptional; huge Greek Revival buildings and perfectly manicured lawns. I loved it.

After our general Ole Miss tour, our guide took us to the Barnard Observatory which is where the Center for Southern Studies is housed. I met a woman who is a student advisor, and she gave me a ton of literature about the program, lots of Faulkner-Yoknapatawpha Conference and Oxford Conference for the Book posters, and a ton of back copies of The Southern Register. I talked to her about my fear of taking the GRE, and she assured me I would be fine because of my GPA; the program is so small that it isn't as competitive as others, and they admit people more on the letters of recommendation and statement of purposes than the test scores. That eased my mind in a big way. Overall, the tour was great, and it was awesome to finally put an image and a feel to the place I've been pining after for about a year now.

After our tour, we all went to Downtown Oxford to eat and scope out the stores. Our first stop, upon recommendation from our guide, was Ajax Diner. All I have to say is: holy shit. I think I had the best sandwich of my life there. It was called The Big Easy, and it was country fried steak, mashed potatoes & gravy, and butter beans all on a delicious big bun. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Plus, their sweet tea was perfect; not too sweet but sweet enough to be delicious. After lunch, we went to the infamous Square Books to look around. I bought a magazine called Oxford American, Faulkner's Light in August, and The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty. We walked around some more, saw Faulkner's statue in front of City Hall, and bought some Rebels gear. We left the square, went back to Ole Miss campus to drive around some more and take pictures, and drove down some side streets to look at houses which were all really cute, for lack of a better word. After that, we found St. Peter's Cemetery and went to Faulkner's grave. It's a pretty plain looking grave, and he is buried next to his wife. Apparently, locals put whiskey bottles and pennies on his headstone on a regular basis which I find hilarious. He was an alcoholic after all so he probably loves it. My mom also took it upon herself to take a wreath someone had put on his grave and move it to the other side because it was "hideous"; I hope he haunts her now. After all the sightseeing, we finally went back to the hotel to chill for a little bit. My mom and grandma ended up going out to dinner later on that night, and I just stayed in, ordered pizza, looked over all my information, and watched a lot of Cesar Milan before passing out at 10:30.

The next morning we woke up early, ate breakfast, packed up, and shipped out to Rowan Oak, Faulkner's house from 1930 - 1962. Seriously, I can't even describe what it meant to me going there; it's like my mecca. I've been wanting to go for so long and to finally get there was amazing. Rowan Oak itself is a surprisingly quaint house; it's a pretty basic Greek Revival style house, nothing too extravagant. It's private and on a good sized plot of land. I guess what I'm getting at is it's my kind of house. The University owns it, but if I win the lottery one day, I wonder if they'll let me buy it and be its curator it for a living. One can hope! Anyways, we walked around the house and the grounds for about an hour; I finally got to see where he wrote the outline for "A Fable" on the walls of his office. I had asked the guy that was at the front desk where he kept his phone because I had seen pictures of a little alcove where he kept his phone and behind it had written tons of numbers down. He told me it was blocked off because so many people want to see it and it gets super crowded, so I was pretty bummed. As we were leaving though, he came outside and told me he could bring me back to go see it because the house was pretty empty. Seriously, I was so stoked; that guy doesn't even know, but he made my day. I got to go back into the pantry where it was and take a couple pictures of it. Come to think of it, I should have asked him if I could have seen his Underwood typewriter because it too is blocked off...

After Rowan Oak, we shipped out. Luckily, I drove us home instead of my mom, and we made it in six hours, even with two separate stops. I'll be honest; if I had been driving the Focus, not the Escalade, I definitely would have made it in five and a half, ha. Either way, I was glad to get home and see Drake. Plus, Madison and his girlfriend got my spare key and went into my apartment and put Ole Miss stuff on my breakfast bar! I have a license plate holder, a beer mug, and a shot glass in addition to the shirt and car sticker I bought. I can't help it; it's going to be my first "real" college experience (sorry, GSU), and even at 23, I'll show some school pride!

In conclusion, it was a very successful trip. I'm so glad I have a feel for the town, and it eased my nerves about a lot of things. The shitty part is going to be waiting another year! Oh well, it will give me time to save some money and get my brain back in school mode.