I'll miss you, neighborhood





Every time Ike and I take a walk, three little kids on my street stop climbing trees/riding bikes/riding scooters to come say hi. I'll let you soak that in for a second. Kids... are playing outside. I didn't realize they did that these days.


Anyway, the kids' excitement over seeing Ike never wavers. They scream his name, tell him to sit, ask him for kisses, and then say, "Well, we should probably let Ike finish his walk." or  "It's always good to see Ike!"


With no sarcasm whatsoever, I can say I'll miss those kids. 


Our neighborhood is interesting. If you head in one direction, you're 2 blocks away from some of the nicest houses in the city. Another direction and you're a block away from a snooty tennis court. But in the other direction? Let's just say you don't want to go there.


A few other things I will, rather sarcastically, miss:

  • 7 pm phone calls to a friend/neighbor  to ask if she thought that noise was a gunshot or a car backfiring.
  • Finding the 3 B's of sketchiness on the sidewalk while walking: bullet casings, brass knuckles, and boobs. Yes, I once found porn on the sidewalk. What, you never have? Where do you live, Pleasantville? Agrestic?
  • Neighbors stopping by to let us know that a man with a chainsaw was spotted on our street at night.
  • Domestic screaming matches at 4 am. Bonus: if they end with a man leaving the house at 6 am, shirtless and double fisting Bud Light.
  • My car getting broken into. Although it did force me to clean it out, so... thank you, person wearing Y's TJ Maxx coat and wondering why that GPS you stole won't work (HINT: you forgot the charger).
  • Getting stopped on a leisurely Sunday walk around the neighborhood by a driver asking us if we've found Jesus. I guess we looked lost.
  • Domestic screaming matches at 4 am at a different house. This dispute was apparently solved, because the next day I saw the couple shaving themselves together on their front porch. Which is a sure sign of reconciliation.


i'll miss you... house



One of the first weeks we lived here, Y was already in the midst of nonstop studying and I had no job and no friends. I was having an ongoing pity party for myself -- here I was, alone in our new house, the only one home on my entire street except for the 16 neighborhood cats. I was acutely aware of the fact that I was not contributing to society while my husband was off with his 120 new friends learning how to do Super Important Things.

One day I was doing the dishes on a creepy, rainy day. It was eerily quiet in my house (we didn't have Ike yet) and, like I said, I was mid-pity party. I was scrubbing a dish, gazing mindlessly out the window, when -- out of nowhere - a cat flew through the air and landed, stomach first, on our window directly in front of me.

If you recall, I have a dire and tragic condition called Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Syndrome. I'm also not a fan of cats. I screamed, fell to the dated tile kitchen floor, and burst into tears. How had I ended up in a place with ugly tile and flying cats, my two worst nightmares?

But then I got a job,  found a guard dog and gained the cats' respect, and eventually, made some friends. And suddenly, my house was my favorite place in the world. The perfect place for a game night, a royal wedding tea party (side note: can you believe it's been a year?), or watching the first three seasons of 30 Rock in bed while eating Mickey Mouse shaped pasta. (best. day. ever.)




I'll miss you... archive:


I'll miss you... book club

I'll miss you, book club. 

Whether we're discussing the book,

                 

              

reading our favorite passages aloud ("dickey-bird", Gabriel Garcia Marquez? GROSS.),


trying on each other's glasses and laughing hysterically,


eating New York themed food (like frozen hot chocolate and black and white cookies the size of my face),



or wearing flowers in our hair like true senoritas.





photos from To Kill a Mockingbird, If You Have To Cry Go Outside, and Love in the Time of Cholera.



Laura and I weren't sure we would get any responses when we suggested a book club, let alone 8! I'm definitely going to miss our get togethers, and no one will ever truly replace these girls, but at least now I know more people like to read than I thought.


 We're discussing MWF Seeking BFF next week (with the author Rachel Bertsche joining us via Skype) and I can't wait to share!


Other posts about book club: The Help, The Great Gatsby & Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, Pride and Prejudice.



I'll miss you... archive:




I'll miss you... Louisiana


In one of my grad school classes, a fellow student from St. Lucia told us that the only access her family had to clean water was a 20 minute walk away from her house.

"Well, I feel lazy," I said out loud, half joking, half trying to prove a point. "I complain when I'm brushing my teeth, my electric toothbrush runs out of batteries, and I have to walk to the other room to get the spare." I expected other classmates to nod in agreement and share their own Lazy American stories.  But everyone just stared at me. An awkward turtle would have been appropriate. Or, even better, a giant firstworldproblems hashtag, projected on the wall over my head. 

I'm generally not a lazy person, but I will admit to end of the night toothbrush laziness. I'll also admit to having complained, on several occasions, about this impending problem: After we move, when I have to select my state from a dropdown menu, there will be choices. I won't just be able to select "L" and hit enter. I'll have to scroll down through five states after typing "M". 

And to think I've taken this for granted all these years. Residents of Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Utah -- as well as those of you who live in the first state alphabetically under each letter -- take a few moments the next time you're selecting your state from a dropdown menu and appreciate the ease. 

When you're done, I'll probably still be scrolling through Maryland. 



I'll miss you... archive:

I'll miss you... mall




I'm making my way through all of the things I'll miss about it here when we move. See the bottom of this post for my other I'll Miss You... posts.

If I could, I would fly each and every one of you here to experience our mall. We could do a little shopping in the Gap That Time Forgot and when we get done there, indulge our corn dog craving in one of three eateries.

       

Then we'll rest our feet and discuss which cross we'd like to purchase before checking out the Kardashian Kollection at Sears. 






After Sears, we'll visit Dillard's, the only other department store. We'll make our way through the maze of church hats and trashy prom dresses until we find one we want to try. Just wait until you see the dressing rooms, reader. The decor is lovely as it is, but the folks at Dillard's know the secret to a perfect finishing touch: a decorative bowl of shells.




It might be hard to imagine anything can top all of this. But the grand finale can't be missed. If you plan to stay the night and want me to take you out to the local line dancing club, you'll need something new. Something...groovee.


(photo via Rob Corrdry)



---


Can you see why I'll miss this mall? My wallet sure can.  The mall parking lot is so chronically empty that part of it is used as a street -- a street that I take to work every morning. Let me clarify: I drive through a mall parking lot twice a day, five days a week, and not once have I been tempted to stop and go inside.


Ask my dad, who funded my shopping habits in high school - this is quite unlike me.





I'll miss you... archive:






I'll miss you... New Orleans






You never know what will happen in New Orleans. From crying in a bathroom stall of a bar while telling a drag queen how beautiful she is, to catching beads thrown by Joshua Jackson (in the Pacey Witter era), to listening to Morgan Freeman sing while you eat the best fish and bread pudding you've eaten in your life.


Last weekend, thanks to an overbooked hotel in the midst of Mardi Gras season, I ended up in a luxury suite with a perfect view of St. Charles where my friend and I watched a parade from a new angle.


In the hotel across the street from ours, an elderly couple enjoyed the parade hand in hand... as a girl waltzed around in lingerie in the window above theirs for 45 minutes.


Even though we weren't dancing until 4 am with leftover fried chicken fingers in our purse (as has been known to happen) and waking up 4 hours later to dance with Ellen (as has also happened), it was still amazing to spend time with good friends. Two minutes of laughter that leaves you gasping for air and covered in snot that only happens with your best friends is worth every second of a five hour drive.


And the food. I could easily make a separate post entitled I'll miss you... boudin and grits. And praline bacon. And king cake. And bread pudding. And jambalaya. 







I'll miss you... archive:


I'll miss you..radio




I look forward to my five minute commute to work for one simple reason: the radio. Not because our radio stations play great music (I'm pretty sure there was a month long period where "Wild Wild West" kicked off every 30 minute block of music), but because of the newscast at 5 minutes to the hour on the oldies station.  


Coverage of the Florida primary results and the latest on the stock market is peppered with local gems announced in the most un-ironic of Southern accents. John Jones is auctioning off the donkeys he found near his property! Charlene Smith was thrown from her horse and is in the hospital! 

Other favorite moments [paraphrased] from local radio include:


"Reports say that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie won't be getting married until gay marriage is legal. When asked what their kids think of this, Jolie reported they were fine with it. Who cares what their kids think - what about what God thinks of their living arrangement?!


"That was Katy Perry with "Waking up in Vegas". Just a reminder, guys, I've been getting some requests for "I Kissed a Girl" but we had to ban that song due to listener complaints. Next up, "Get Low" by Lil John. Skeet skeet, y'all!!!!" 

I'll miss you... archive:

I'll miss you... Baton Rouge

When I drive over the bridge heading east into Baton Rouge at night, the lights of hundreds of far-off, tiny skyscrapers greet me. For a split second I squint and pretend I'm entering New York City or Tokyo.



Then I crest the bridge and realize I'm staring at glittering oil refineries and entering Baton Rouge: college town, state capitol, traffic nightmare, home to awkward teenage memories. 

But past the skyscraper mirage, I can see Tiger Stadium and the LSU campus, and the small but revamped downtown where I got married.  And my memories of this place consume me and make me think that maybe it's better than any metropolis.

In small doses, anyway. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

When we move, I'll miss our proximity to my home and college town. The spirit and energy at LSU on a game day; the peacefulness of playing golf with my dad (aka watching him play) at the crack of dawn; spending time with friends so close that you can lay in bed for hours and giggle about absolutely nothing; the anticipation of finally setting foot in an Anthropologie and a Whole Foods again.








PS, a little video from campus 2 weekends ago.



[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGDeSkfwsbE]

Song is "Louisiana Saturday Night" by Benjy Davis project and for the sake of I have no idea who my youngest readers are, let's just say the lyric is "turn the funky radio up"...


I'll miss you... archive:

movie moments
antique stores
nice people
lunch date 
Counter Culture

I'll miss you... Humphrey.

The name Humphrey obviously evokes a dashing old-fashioned gentleman. And I suppose you could call the subject of this post, the Humphrey Yogart, the handsome grandfather of plain tart yogurt. 

Or, if you're not like me and don't feel the need to personify everything, you could just call it delicious, delicious yogurt. Your call.



The next time you go out for yogurt - and if your town is anything like mine, you've got at least six trendy self-serve shops to choose from -- and you order "original tart" or whatever they're calling it these days, I want you to remember something. 









Before Pinkberry, before Red Mango, before Orange Leaf, we were enjoying plain, tart yogurt here in Louisiana courtesy of Counter Culture. And while it may not have fancy toppings (mochi! pop tarts! orange balls that pop in your mouth!), sometimes nothing beats a classic Humphrey Yogart: plain yogurt, bananas, strawberries, red grapes, granola, and honey. 






Fun fact: these pictures were taken during a little blogger get-together. Sarah found my blog and since she passed my "99% sure she's not a serial killer" test, we decided to meet for lunch with two other blogger friends, Lauren and Lindsey. When I first started writing here, I honestly thought I could be the only person in my town to have heard of the blogging phenomenon.



A year and a half later, and I know three other people who blog. We're a fast growing community, guys. But at least we have Humphreys. And we'll always have Counter Culture. 





I'll miss you... archive:

movie moments
antique stores
nice people
lunch date

i'll miss you... lunch date





When Y started med school, we were told we would never see each other.  I planned for my alone time, scheduling TV shows on our DVR that I knew Y would never watch. I was ready to eat frozen tortellini or cereal for dinner every night.


 But. My tortellini is still frozen. Unwatched episodes of The Bachelor clogged our DVR and had to be deleted. In fact, my TV is constantly blaring the sounds of World War II battles and pawn shops and whatever else it is that boys watch. I love that we get to hang out, but judging from the horror stories I heard, I never though I would come to relish the time when I'm home alone and can light a candle and watch The Glee Project without being mocked.






Part of the reason we see each other so often is because I work at his school and we have lunch together almost every day, even when we have nothing to say to each other. Not that I'm complaining.

I'm sure next year when I've gained 10 pounds from frozen tortellini and reality TV marathons and haven't seen my husband in the daylight in a week, I'll be begging for the sounds of Saving Private Ryan. For now I'll meet him for lunch in our spot, an alley that's perfectly shaded and chilly enough to make a Southern October feel truly like fall. 

i'll miss you... antique stores


I was never a huge fan of antique stores.

As a shopper-in-training, tagging along with my mom, I was taught to look for deals on new items. My training (aka childhood) consisted of hours and hours in places like Loehmann's, TJ Maxx, and Marshall's. When I graduated to solo shopper status, I took my deal hunting to teenage appropriate stores like The Gap and American Eagle, and eventually H&M, Zara, and all of the stores I love today.

But here, the mall is bordering on post-apocalyptic (Banana Republic employees have practically cried tears of joy to see a real live customer) and online shopping doesn't quite do it for me(it's not the same when you can't touch it!*). What am I, a trained shopper, to do?

The only solution was to start antiquing. And believe me, this city knows its antique stores.

My dabbling in the antiques has mainly been limited to frames like this one, which - while cute around Ike - has finally found a permanent subject. (More on that painting later!)




Other finds: more frames, bright yellow chairs (who doesn't need those?) and tea cups that I like to think could pass for Kate Spade.


But Y and I have two very special favorite finds, both of which are priceless.

Y's favorite, a mystical painting:


And my favorite, the creepiest thing I've ever seen:



I hope these haunt your dreams like they have mine.


I'll miss you... archive:

movie moments




*that's what she said.

i'll miss you... movie moments


Excuse me while I play 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon with my grocery shopping.


I was leaving the farmer's market one Saturday morning and stopped to look at this row of buildings as I opened my car.

While juggling bags full of produce and fistfuls of loose change, I thought about a movie we saw this year: "Super", starring Kevin Bacon. A memorable scene portraying the pure evil of Bacon's character was filmed in front of these very buildings.



The scene played on in the back of my head as I opened the door and sat down. But when I started the car, I jumped. An eerily familiar familiar voice came through the radio. It was him. Kevin Bacon was the celebrity guest on that week's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me".

(Fine. That's not exactly how 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon works, but I vote it counts.)

Thanks to a tax break for filmmakers, movie production in Louisiana has been on the rise. Other than being surrounded by Kevin Bacon (sort of) in the farmer's market parking lot, this means several things for me: Detours through movie sets during long walks with Ike. Receiving paparazzi-style pictures of Josh Duhamel (FYI: he looks much scrawnier in tiny, grainy iPhone pictures). Running into Dunder Mifflin employees in the locker room of my gym. More Frappucinos than necessary because Gerard Butler was at Starbucks last week and maybe, just maybe, he'll be there again today.

Where else will I be able to have these experiences? New York? Los Angeles? Boring.


I'll miss you... archive:

i'll miss you...corn




It occurred to me that I've already gone through my first "last" in this city: my last ears of The Corn.


In college, I came home to find my roommate shucking corn. This was such a foreign concept to me; I was pretty sure corn came either a) frozen, b) canned, c)popped, or d)chipped. I think I made fun of her.


But I've come around. Fresh corn is worth shucking, especially if it's Bradley Farms corn from our local farmer's market.

I've never gotten to the farmer's market early enough to confirm this, but I imagine a line gathers at the corn stand when the market opens. I've only been there with the slackers, those of us who savor our few hours of sleeping in on a Saturday morning and rush to the booth, sighing in relief when two or three bags of corn still sit in the bed of the truck.


The family that sells the corn give friendly nods when they're complimented on their crop, but I don't think they understand the extent of their reputation. People know about this corn, whether they've been to the farmer's market or not. "This corn is delicious," they might say over dinner at your house, "Is it Mennonite corn?"

I don't like calling it Mennonite Corn (I wouldn't want people calling my, say, cookies Jew Cookies) but here, that's what it's known as.

The women at the corn stand wear plain dress and head covers, but I'm more likely to remember their whiteboard sign announcing that the corn may include extra protein at the end of the season (aka worms) or the so-delicious-yet-so-obvious method they shared with me for cooking the corn: put it in the microwave with lots of butter.

I got my last 4 ears of corn a few weeks ago. The season is over and as far as I know, they haven't been back at the market.

And by the time corn season comes around again, we'll be gone. How upset am I? Mildly so. Yes, fresh corn is delicious. No, Y doesn't need to rank Nebraska or Iowa so I can get my fix.



(PS, I'm patting myself on the back over here for writing an entire post about corn. And yes, Y, you have eaten corn that had worms in it. Surprise! They were cute worms, though.)

I'll miss you... archive:

i'll miss you... crape myrtle?

Photobucket

I'm pretty sure the three trees in front of our house are crape myrtles. Regardless, they're the best indication of a change in season in our mainly hot climate and that's why I love them so much.



Having never lived anywhere in the US north of Tuscaloosa, having trees that even hint at fall excite me. Plus, the purple flowers float to the ground like summer snowflakes and make it feel a little cooler when it's 103 degrees.


That's a lie. But I can pretend.




i'll miss you... archive:

i'll miss you... coffee shop where everybody knows your name






Maybe this picture isn't the best one the illustrate my title. Y and I have unique names; names that require at least 4 repetitions and can spark 10 minute conversations. We don't always have that kind of time, and the wasted time usually doesn't help anything anyway.

That is not my name. Close...but no.

So when it comes to well meaning Starbucks baristas, Anthropologie dressing room attendants, or sushi to-go orders, we opt for names that don't require any additional explanation. We've been using Steve and Amy for at least 5 years.

But beyond the baristas at our local Starbucks, it turns out everyone else does know our name. 80% of the customers are usually friends of ours. The other 20% are doctors at the hospital, friends of Y's from middle school, or other people Y knows from the community. A great dane usually roams around the outside patio while his owner answers millions of questions (mine was, how much poop do you have to pick up daily??)



Although it might be nice to live somewhere with a local coffee culture and iced chai lattes that are just a tad bit spicier (work on that, will you Starbucks?) I admit I'll miss this [practically] one-coffee-shop town and the people watching/gossip that can come about from just 5 minutes in its Starbucks.


i'll miss you... archive:

I'll miss you... roundabout


(We've got one year left in this town before Y graduates and we hit the road. For the next 52ish weeks, I'll be taking you through all the things (big and little) I'll miss about this place)

This roundabout is near my house, and each time I drive around it I feel slightly more European than I did after the last turn I took. Even though 9 out of 10 people take it the wrong way and the most time I've ever spent there has been chasing after lost dogs, it's a nice reminder that I'm almost home -- especially when the roses are in bloom.





I'll miss you...


This weekend was med school graduation, which means a few things: first of all, it means that several people that I've known for way too long to take seriously are now doctors (i.e. Scary Spice in the 7th grade talent show). It also means that we have almost exactly one year left here.



This countdown elicits something different in everyone who moves around for a spouse's job. Of course for many of us it means HOLYCRAPMYHUSBANDWILLBEADOCTOR (breath) ANDTHAT'SSLIGHTLYWEIRDSLASHKINDOFCOOL. For some med school families it doesn't mean much other than that. They're happy where they are and the med student will confidently apply to the program at their current school and with only slight anxiety, assume that's where they'll stay. For some people it's awful, they'll have to leave a place they've come to love.


Us? Well, we're ecstatic. We hope to end up someplace completely different - a place with snow, mountains, and/or tall buildings... a place where people walk from point A to point B without getting funny looks. Maybe a place where we won't have to explain what "Jewish" is.

As hard as it may be to believe, I don't hate it here. No, it isn't my favorite place in the whole world, but I was never expecting to live in my favorite place in the whole world - a patisserie in Paris, the coast of Ireland, the Met, or Epcot.

all we really need, right?


In an effort to prove this to you (and maybe myself) and to document our last year here, this week I'm going to start featuring a year's worth of things I'll miss. Some will be important, others will be the little things, some will probably be sarcastic. But they will all be here. And for now, they're all home.


{1, 2, 3, 4}