Obviously this is a carefully monitored personality test disguised as a simple snack choice located in the hallway of a University of North Alabama building. Your choice — a handful of sour fruity yumminess or chocolately nutty goodness — says a lot about you. Naturally, I would choose fruity chocolately sour nuttiness, but that’s just me.
Now, I certainly am not one to criticize poor marketing choices or bad grammar or inaccurate wording … Okay, who am I kidding? I love doing that. But Younger Daughter and husband John Pitts are the champs at spotting those details that make you wonder what somebody was thinking. Such as this poster advertising Dairy Queen’s $5 lunch special — or, as JP pointed out, the “Five-dollar-bucks” special. Because that’s what it says. Probably, JP conjectured, the marketing coordinator presented a “Five Bucks” campaign to the DQ vice presidents in the corporate meeting room and one of the bosses said “We need a dollar sign there” and the marketing coordinator could either argue or agree and so we get a “five dollar bucks” message that is both confusing AND redundant. And now I want a sundae.
You know you are deep in Southern territory when women driving open-air Jeeps keep an aerosol can of hairspray handy. Reminds me of the time many years ago when now-husband John Pitts called me from his office in Washington, D.C. “My ink pen exploded all over my shirt,” he said. “Any advice for getting it out?” I replied with the universal antidote: “Sure. Ask one of the women there if you can borrow their hairspray and then saturate and blot.” There was a pause and then laughter. “You forget,” he said, chuckling, “that this is not the South. I bet none of the women I work with even know what hairspray is.” Putting aside the argument that Washington IS, in fact, the South, it is true that hairspray — lots and lots of hairspray — is a Southern essential. Especially in Jeeps.
A story our friend and my husband’s co-worker Ginna Parsons posted on Facebook:
Just wanted to say what a chivalrous man John Pitts is. Today I got out of my car at work after lunch and had apparently pulled a “Julia Sugarbaker.” That’s right. The back of my skirt was tucked into my drawers. John followed me across the parking lot, caught up to me and quietly said, “Uh, Ginna, I think your skirt is kind of twisted there and it looks like a two-hand job. You might want to fix it before you get in the office.” Then he averted his eyes as I adjusted said skirt. Fortunately I was wearing a slip. As if that’s any consolation. That’s why they call him Mr. Pitts. Cathy, you’ve got yourself a good one!
I do have a good one. My husband, a sports editor at one of Mississippi’s best daily newspapers, can be sort of prickly, I think — it’s fair to say that most people approach him somewhat cautiously. But those who truly know him know he was raised right and that he ALWAYS goes out of his way to help anybody who needs it, even in a fashion crisis. Also: Years of watching women walk finally paid off for him. P.S. When Ginna put this on her Facebook timeline, I was amazed at the young ‘uns (and I’m talking women in their 30s here) who 1) did not recognize the “Julia Sugarbaker” reference and 2) do not own a slip. What is this world coming to when you have to explain who Julia Sugarbaker is or why sometimes you really need to wear a slip????
My phone conversation this morning with Older Daughter, mom to our almost-5-year-old and 14-month-old grandsons, went something like this:
Her: Guess what? We got a new cat.
(Background noise of chairs screeching and children running.)
Me: A new cat?
Her, in a slightly raised voice, to the boys: You all let Tootsie go in Mommy and Daddy’s room to rest for a minute.
Her, to me: Yup, a new …
Her, to Older Grandson: Please take the laser pointer out of your nose.
Her, to me: … cat. She’s black and …
Her, to Older Grandson: If you point the laser at your brother, you’re going to your room and I’m taking it away.
Her, to me: … and white and 3-years …
Her, to Younger Grandson: No-no. Pulling the kitty’s tail is not nice.
Her, to me: … old and very friendly and ..
(More background noise of chairs screeching and children running with addition of frenzied meowing.)
Her, to Younger Grandson: Maybe the kitty cat doesn’t want to be chased anymore.
Her, to me: I think I need to call you back.
Although Nordstrom and I share the same goal of leaving November toThanksgiving and digging into Christmas only after you’ve got Turkey Day leftovers, I could not resist these hand-quilted holiday treasures I snapped up at a local craft show. These were made by members of the Corinth, Miss., quilting guild, and each piece is meticulously sewn with Southern style and creativity. I especially fell in love with the postcards. Yes! Hand-appliqued postcards you actually can send through the mail! What will they think of next??? I also loved the crazy-quilt stockings and the pieced pin cushions. I mean, I might even consider sitting down at my sewing machine if I had a cute pin cushion like this one. And then I might even Make Things. And I might even Make Things for Other People … See, this is exactly the sort of trouble you get in to when you start doing Christmas before Thanksgiving. I came awfully close there to talking myself into A Project. Not good. I should leave that to the folks who know what they’re doing — like the lovely ladies who created these holiday works of art.
This is why I love shopping post-season clearance sales. These two spring/summer dresses? Total price — less than $30, which is less than I spend on a typical Starbucks order. Because you might as well pick up one of those oh-so-cute coffee mugs while you’re there. And some extra Via. But back to the dresses. Going by the original price tags, I would have spent about $200 on these. And of course, when I picture myself wearing these dresses, I also have long tanned legs and perfectly toned arms. And, if I’m fantasizing, might as well thrown in some soft and shiny hair. Sorry for the mental meanderings here — saving close to $200 makes me giddy.
Dear Retailers: Were you not listening when I ranted about tricking us shoppers into buying fall stuff despite the fact we still have leftover red, white and blue cupcakes? Get a grip -- preferably not on my debit card.
Husband JP was flummoxed by this loaf of "Neo-Tuscan" bread we found in a Wal-Mart bakery department. I mean, "neo-Tuscan?" What does that even mean? Is there such a thing as "new-Tuscan?" We in no way would ever be confused that we perhaps were buying "old-Tuscan" bread. But at least the label has all the triggering words that make me add an item to my shopping bags: natural, Tuscan, boule. Never mind that this basically is a round loaf of soft crusty white bread. It's "neo-Tuscan!" So there!
Let’s go shopping! It’s the best kind — where you just look and don’t bring anything home. (Incidentally, this is my husband’s preferred way of shopping.) Recently friends and I were cruising around nearby Smith Lake, close to Cullman, Alabama, and we passed an ironworks store/wedding rental on a county road. There were four of us, and three of the four have wonderful taste in all things decorative and are excellent and enthusiastic shoppers: One has an eye for vintage bargains, one keeps an organized list and only buys for specific needs and one thinks looooong and hard about each purchase. On the other hand, one of us just wants to go drink but always says “Sure! Let’s stop!! That looks like fun!!!” when the others see a tempting gardening/furniture/home decor/antiques shop because I she’s afraid they’ll make her stay home next time. But sometimes treasures such as gracefully scrolled metal furniture and luminous and colorful glassware delight even the most impatient shopper.
And to prove that I am not a total decorating and shopping failure, I offer Exhibit A: Part of our front porch. I was going for cozy, casual and not ugly. The rocking chair we bought a few years ago from Cracker Barrel, the fern stand I got at Hobby Lobby at one of those incredible sales at which you feel as if the store’s paying you to take stuff away, the pillow’s from T.J. Maxx and the flowers (picked out with help of Husband JP) are from Lowe’s. I buy all greenery at Lowe’s because I’m terrified of the workers at local nurseries who actually talk to you and ask if they can help you and who expect a somewhat intelligent reply in return when all I know is that I need plants I can’t kill that have the little sun and shade icons on them. Sigh. Come to think of it, my friends probably WILL leave me home next time.