Friday, July 26, 2013

I, Jess Brown, Unapologetically Love...

It occurs to me on a semi-regular basis that I am not the coolest cat on the planet. I mean, hell, I just referenced a cat as a mark of awesomeness (which I do think cats are pretty awesome). Anyway, I lean toward the opinion that since I recognize that I'm somewhat of a less than ideal human being, doesn't that in and of itself earn me numerous cool points? In the last hour or so, I tallied up a few aspects of my life that people would make fun of me about; however, I can't help but love these quirky traits regardless. There are too many uncool aspects of my life to name, but here a few important ones that make me proud.

1.  Hootie and the Blowfish: I can remember where I was the first time I heard "Hold My Hand" (Disc Jockey at Pemberton Square Mall in Vicksburg, circa 1994). My Daddy bought me the CD then and there. I didn't even have to do extra chores. Later that year, my grandparents entered my sister and me in a contest, and I won two tickets to see them in concert--the first rock concert I ever attended without a parent next to me. Honestly, I'm not sure what was better--the concert itself or the t-shirt I bought and wore on my first day of 8th grade.

2. Not having (or wanting) a smart phone: In fact, I rarely check text messages, answer phone calls, or anything of the sort. I'll even take this a step further and admit that I rarely carry the crappy cell phone I do have, and if I'm carrying it, seven times out of ten, the battery is dead. If I need to look something up, I can either wait until I get home or find one of the millions of people attached to his smart phone and charm him into looking up the information for me. Charming somebody works 99.999 all of the time.

3. Knowing technology does not make one smarter: Dumber and lazier, maybe, but not smarter. Don't believe me? Sit in on one of my classes where students have cell phones, ipads, Kindles, laptops, and many other devices all at their disposal. My students know that the way to my heart is through the pages of an actual opened book.

4. Being frugal: Unlike most people I know, I pay cash for everything. In fact, the only debt my husband and I have is our mortgage, which will be paid off in ten years. We do not finance cars, clothes, home repairs, trips, or anything of the sort. If we can't cough up the cash, we can't afford it and therefore do not purchase it. Sure, I often wear last season's skinny jeans, and my car is one step above something the Flintstones would drive. As long as I have some money in the bank, I'll sport a Hypercolor t-shirt from Goodwill and ride a bicycle 30 miles to work if I have to.

5. My child's eating habits--I am OBSESSED with what my child eats. I comb through recipe books and the organic produce section trying to come up with creative and healthy dishes for Jude to try. Some of them he actually likes. It's actually become a favorite hobby of mine.

6. New Orleans--Sure it can smell bad and some have deemed it one of the most dangerous cities in the nation, but I love that place more than any other on Earth. Its culture, food, atmosphere, architecture, and shopping  make New Orleans a place I want to aspire to one day live.

7. Accepting something for what it is--Not too long ago, I innocently made a remark about Chik-Fil-A kids' meals. I like them because they offer grilled chicken and fruit, which makes me feel less guilty about giving Jude fast food in those times where I'm in a pinch. One person actually retorted with "Ugh--Gay Chicken," then went on to admit how guilty it feels to think about how good the food is. Aside from my obvious thought of "Bitch, please," I couldn't help but feel sorry for this person. What's there to feel guilty about? If you're hungry, eat. If you want chicken, a hand spun milkshake, waffle fries, and good service, go there.  That's about as difficult as it should get when it comes to choosing a fast food establishment. Chik-Fil-A is what it is--a local fast food joint. Why people feel they have to exercise their moral compasses over eating some damn chicken is beyond me.

So maybe I'll never win any popularity contests, but I can say this about myself. I have very little shame. I can also add much more to this list of what I love: creative messes, bathroom habits, dirty jokes, crazy folks, tattoos, singing in the grocery store etc. However, my last student just turned in his test, which means I can now pick up my baby and head home!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dieting, Baby Feet, and Trayvon (guess I'll jump on the band wagon and weigh in)

To start off, I announced on Facebook that I started a diet a little over two weeks ago. I'm not sure why I felt the need to put it out there--maybe for accountability? Anyway, I had gotten to the point where I hated the following: shopping for clothes, going out to eat (because I felt I wouldn't be able to control myself), and looking at myself in the mirror. Anyone who knows me knows this: I'm a sensible shop-a-holic (meaning I pay in cash), eating in local restaurants makes me happy and lends interest to my social life, and I don't exactly call myself vain, but I like trying new make-up techniques, so I must look in a mirror often. When I got to the point where I felt too fat for any of my favorite pastimes, I felt as though I just plain hated myself. It's not that I had all of a sudden gained a ton of weight. Actually, over time, (since grad school if I had to pinpoint when this started), I gained the weight and have hovered over this large number on the scale for a number of years now. I finally just got sick of it, which meant time for a change.

On Facebook, my doctor's office had advertised a free interest meeting for a diet program called Ideal Protein. Of course, being a vegetarian, I thought, "There's no way I could stick to that--too much meat, I bet!" However, something (we'll call him God) urged me to go. A few days after seeing the ad, I dragged my mama with me down to Baptist hospital, and before I knew it, I had signed up for the program. (My mother, however, decided to sit it out and watch me do it first.) As it turns out, the diet is surprisingly vegetarian friendly. Sure, I have a bigger challenge than the other ladies who eat meat, but I'm finding it's not impossible to get in all the protein I need in a day. Also, I no longer crave the bad stuff--you know--the carbs and the fat. For example, I ventured out with my family this morning to the Jackson Zoo for the annual Ice Cream Safari, which is basically a big ol' frozen all-u-can-eat buffet, and I didn't have one bite. Did the ice cream look good? Oh, most definitely! Did I think about what it would taste like? You betcha! So what stopped me from eating? I simply was not hungry for any. Also, I knew I would get something more satisfying later. Anyway, two and a half weeks later, I'm down 10 pounds. I have 30 more pounds to go, so my journey to a better looking me is far from over. Regardless, I'm incredibly motivated to get there.

Moving along to the next topic...

If you've seen my son in the last six months, you know about this--his tip-toe walking. Jude will not put his heels on the ground to save his life. Seriously. He'd sooner die (at least that's the tone his wailing squalls have when we try to touch his heels to the ground). Of course, I've known this was a problem, especially since Jude was a late walker, but I have patiently waited to see if it would correct itself. I'm not the type of mother who flies off the handle over things. Actually, motherhood has had a calming effect on me. I think it's why I don't have a nervous baby. However,  it seems half of my surrounding population tells me, "Oh, I had a child who did the same thing. He'll grow out of it" while the other half feels he should be rushed to the orthopedic doctor and ready to go under for surgery. To say the people in my life who have weighed in on this matter brought nothing but annoyance to me is the biggest understatement since nude colored lipstick. I'm ready to just pop off and say, "Are you paying these doctor bills? Are you buying his shoes? Oh, you're not?  Have I asked you for your opinion? Then back off!" In all fairness, I've asked a few trusted souls for their opinions, so I'm not talking about them.

Anyway, Jeffrey and I have made a decision about what we will do concerning Jude's gait. Here it is: It's none of your business. Yes, we are taking care of the issue the way we see best. No, we are not "NOT" doing anything about it so no need to worry. We have been just as concerned this whole time about Jude's walking as everyone else has, but we also feel we shouldn't make a big deal about it in front of Jude so as not to give him a complex about himself. At his age, we want him to understand that he is perfectly Jude.

And finally...

I don't have much to say (but do I have some thoughts about it!) about the Trayvon Martin case, and you know why? Because I wasn't there when it all happened, much like everyone else I know. (Although, I'm willing to bet that Trayvon was not exactly showing that same precious smile from the picture of him the media put out when Zimmerman first encountered him. Oh, wait. I wasn't there. My bad.) I do know this, though, after being summoned to many many jury duties. The people selected for the jury do not take the process lightly. Also, the jury is shown every piece of evidence, and they listen intently before making a decision. And believe me, they make an informed decision. That's all I'm going to say about that.