When it comes to bookstores, we all have our favorites. Some folks like small and cozy. Some folks like bright and airy. Some want chairs and tables for group chatting. Some want soft curl-up-by-yourself chairs. Some want a full menu of coffee, tea and munchables. Some think cups and crumbs should be banned. But no matter what your bookstore preferences, you can’t help falling in love with Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. This is the mecca of book lovers everywhere. For more than 30 years, Square Books is where you go for that quintessential bookstore experience. It’s where unknown indies and multi-million bestsellers mingle happily. It’s where you can find the titles everybody’s talking about and the ones nobody’s even noticed … yet. It’s where you can blow the budget on rare editions or fill your basket with bargains Plus, the folks at Square Books so kindly painted their stairs with practically all of my favorite things — except for “Survivor,” chocolate-covered cream-filled doughnuts and (this week) LSU. Geaux, Tigers!
Well, okay, I haven’t actually broken my computer. The universe broke my computer — that’s my story, anyway. What happened is that a week or so ago, I noticed it was ssssllllloooowwwwiiinnnggg down to an excruciatingly painful crawl and with my computer savvy born of years of unwittingly inviting viruses to take up residence I correctly deduced that I had acquired a bug. Took it to a computer place, they cleaned it up in a few days and gave it back. And in my eternal quest to save money, I vetoed the security package upgrade the computer guy offered me and simply said — and I quote — “Oh, just go with the basic free one and I’ll buy the upgrade later.” Yes, I actually said those words. Learn from my mistake, friends: NEVER do that. Because, in the karmic way of the universe, three days after I got my computer back and before I could hand over extra money for extra protection, I got hit with an even more vicious bug that effectively blocked me out of everything but endless games of Spider Solitaire. So my long-suffering beloved laptop is at another computer place for thorough cleaning — and I’ve already told the guy to load it up with every piece of security he can. And although I believe in the mantra of “never explain, never complain” — – No, really, I do — I wanted you all to know what I haven’t posted lately. My equally long-suffering husband is graciously sharing his laptop with me, but it’s just not the same. So, what’s been happening around here the past few days?
- Younger Daughter turned 25. This seems extremely unbelievable to me –that my baby girl is 25. I’m beginning to understand why my parents look at me and say, “We cannot believe you are 54.”
- As a result of being
too enthusiastic and optimisticstupid, I agreed to write press releases for several non-profit events within the span of one week. Luckily, none of them got shorted — I procrastinated equally on each of them.
- Husband and I were scheduled for health screenings at his workplace, and as we were getting ready that morning and he caught me weighing my clothes, I had to explain to him the fine art of dressing for the scales. He was
- Here in Mississippi, we’re watching the disintegration of our two SEC football seasons while in neighboring Alabama the Tide rolls on. I am not happy.
- With the arrival of our second grandson — 3 1/2-year-old Capt. Adorable’s younger brother — a mere month away, I keep a packed ready-to-go bag in my car at all times and am in constant Grandma Alert mode. Every time Older Daughter calls, she says, “It’s not time yet” before she even says “hello.”
… from a cluttered mind:
- This TV season is so full of gems that our DVR can’t catch a break. If you’re not watching “Community,” “Modern Family,” “Parks and Rec,” “Castle” and “Prime Suspect,” then you are missing out. Not to mention perennial favorites such as “The Office,” “Survivor” and “Amazing Race.” And this is even before “Cougar Town” and “30 Rock” come back. On the other hand, perhaps this is why I never can find the time to
finishstart the great American novel.
- Saving money doesn’t always save money. For instance, my
debit-card-pinching Scrooge-likesensible and financially-savvy husband instituted a crazy and unworkable spending banthought that we should perhaps maybe reign in the spending for a while. “I’ll show him,” I snarled to myself.Fair enough. However, saving money is relative. Take Worcestershire sauce. In our house, fall signals the arrival of Chex-Mix Season and it was time to make that all-important first test batch. Mindful of my husband’s Draconian desire to save moneythe budget, I carefully collected the necessary ingredients. And since you can’t scrimp on the stars of the show — you know you always can tell when somebody uses generics — I made up the difference on the supporting cast. That’s how I ended up with a huge bottle of store-brand Worcestershire sauce that was 2.3 cents cheaper per serving than the small bottle big-name brand I usually buy — until I got home and dropped the bottle on the kitchen floor and tons of watery salty fishy liquid went everywhere and the bargain buy turned out to cost me $9.46 to make up for the lost first bottle, the small-but-expensive replacement bottle, the half-roll of paper towels used in clean-up and the emotional toll on our four cats who spent the remainder of the evening frantically trying to find the anchovies they knew had been there.
- A Grove-going Ole Miss fan confirmed my suspicions that most Grove-going Ole Miss fans are more interested in the Grove-going than the actual football game. And given their season so far this year, you can’t really blame them.
- Do people actually wear this stuff? In a T.J. Maxx checkout line, (Note to Husband: I was there to return things. Really. That is all. Promise. Could I help it if that black Kenneth Cole jacket literally jumped into my cart and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer?), I noticed posters of outfits that were supposed, I guess, to inspire us style-wise. One look was a pair of bright pink tights, a black satin ruffled micro-mini skirt and an off-the-shoulder gray jersey sweatshirt. The other look was short red-plaid shorts, a patterned sleeveless blouse and a big furry vest — reminiscent of what got Anthony Ryan booted from “Project Runway.” What I really think happened is that the editors and marketing folks got together and said, “Let’s test our power by convincing our customers to buy and wear the most god-awful things we can think of.” (Maniacal evil laugh.) But guess what, people? IT DIDN’T WORK!!!! I thwarted your dastardly plan by buying the Kenneth Cole jacket instead, plus two dresses, a pair of shoes and this really great saucepan I think I probably will need sometime. See???? You cannot influence my spending at all. Take that!!!!!!!
- My husband and I failed our house’s intelligence test the other day when we had to call the builder for instructions on how to access the windows so we could clean them. Which means I’m embarrassed about not being able to figure out how our windows work as well as living in the house for almost a year before getting around to washing them.
Yup, it’s mid-July and supposed to hit 100 degrees today but around here we’re all already thinking fall — and football. Because with SEC coaches taking the podium during media days in Birmingham and doing their best to charm the press, this week marks the unofficial start of football season. It’s that giddy optimistic time when everybody’s smiling and anything can happen and championships are within every team’s grasp. Fans have made their hotel reservations. Brides and hostesses have checked the game schedule and know not to schedule anything on home weekends. Sports journalists — such as my newspaper-sports editor husband — have kissed their spouses “goodbye” and settled in for a good five months of all football all the time. And while I enjoy a good football game as much as anybody, it’s true that I also look forward to the start of the season because 1) It means college basketball is getting closer; 2) I love the game-day menu of chips, dips and anything fried and 3) Who can resist a “Peace, Love and Alabama” shirt? Not me.
Can you still hear the roar of cheering from Alabama as we look forward to celebrating a whole year of college football supremacy? Around here it’s always football season, whether talk focuses on recruits or practice sessions or the most recent game or the games that are coming up — which in this case is Sept. 4 at home against San Jose State with the first home SEC game on Oct. 2 against Florida. In fact, the release of the upcoming season’s schedule is eagerly awaited since nobody wants to schedule a wedding or anniversary party or other important event during an Alabama or Auburn home game — and if it’s during an away game, just be sure to have TVs handy. And since it’s all football all the time around here, I gave over my newspaper column this week to Dear Husband, a newspaper sports editor who still patiently explains to me the difference between fullbacks and linebackers. This week he’s answered questions I had about the Alabama v. Texas BCS championship game — with his own spin, of course. For example, when I asked why players jump on opposing players who are already down on the field and everybody ends up in a big pile, he said, “It’s a good chance to get off their feet for minute. Football is tiring.” Read it at http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20100115/ARTICLES/1155005 — and you’ll learn a bit more about football, too.
It’s almost like the whole state of Alabama has shut down today, due to 1) snow and 2) the University of Alabama playing for the national college-football championship tonight. So far, at least in my northwest corner of the state, the snow is not impressing and doesn’t seem to warrant all the school-closings and grocery-store frenzies that went on yesterday. Here’s hoping that Alabama’s football showing tonight is better. Now, normally I am not an Alabama fan — you know it’s a rule here that you have to choose between Alabama and Auburn and I’ve just sort of gravitated toward Auburn as the usual underdog (plus I like the campus better because it’s prettier and smaller) — but tonight I feel as if the honor of SEC football is at stake in front of the whole country and Alabama Must Win. Younger Daughter, on the other hand, is bitterly anti-Alabama and already has declared that we’re a house divided tonight if I’m going to jump ship like this. And it does pain me, it really does — but it’s vital we in the SEC show everyone that we deserve to be represented in the national championship, at least by one team if we can’t have both. So — and you won’t often hear me say this — “Roll, Tide!” Tonight we’ll all be like 21-month-old grandson Capt. Adorable — lounging in our easy chairs with eyes glued to the screens and snacks nearby.