Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I spent most of last Friday chasing stories, literally. I ran out our door on Main Street after seeing 2 ambulances and 3 fire trucks fly down the road. I grabbed my editor's camera (because they still haven't gotten me one), my notebook, pen, and keys and hit the road. After flying down the street following the sound of sirens and the flashing of lights I found the cause of all the hu-la-bu-lu... a tiny wreck where one car had pulled out in front of another. I took a picture, talked to the cop, and drove back to the office (3 minutes). Then I went to the local middle school to take pictures of the principal dressed up like Santa and ask kids what they wanted for Christmas.
My younger, ambitious self would be kicking me in the butt right now.
I dreamed about covering glamorous stories and taking pictures of beautiful homes, talking about their character and how their owners turned them into masterpieces from real estate nightmares. I wanted to work somewhere that I got to dress in the latest fashions everyday and still be able to afford to pay the mortgage.
Instead... I became a small-town reporter. I cover board meetings, chase ambulances hoping something really horrible happened so I can make a story out of it, and make people angry because I said some girl was there grandaughter when it is actually their step-grandaughter... my bad.
I swear I am not usually this negative. I just CANNOT believe where I am.
I do want to stay around home because I can't imagine raising children anywhere else and I love Edgecombe County but I am getting incredibly burned out churning out 6 stories a week for a weekly paper. The job hunt continues and I know you've gotta start somewhere.
People keep saying, "Oh Lauren, you need to enjoy your first Christmas as a newlywed," or "Enjoy this Christmas without having to worry about kids," but I am discovering that this Christmas won't be so enjoyable.
First of all, I know the season isn't all about gifts, but this year Josh and I haven't been able to afford to buy the gifts we'd like to get each other, or our families.
Luckily, we will qualify for the first-time home buyers tax credit, so we have done a huge no-no and put everything we've bought on my credit card with the promise to pay it off once we get our rebate (fingers crossed that nothing happens between then and now). So, I can see where being a newlywed with dual BIG incomes and no kids would mean having a great Christmas where you could spoil each other with tickets to see Phantom of the Opera in Durham or promises to revisit your honeymoon site in the next year or maybe even a trip to Chapel Hill to watch the Tarheels kill Duke this year. But when you are newlyweds with BIG bills and very, very low income.... Christmas is just like it was when you were unmarried and in college, saving up $50 to spend on each other.
In fact, I think Christmas a newlywed is even harder than it was when we were just dating. When I was still Lauren Harrell we didn't have to worry about hurting our parents feelings because we spent more time at one set's house than the other or pissing off someone's grandma because we couldn't visit their side of the family on Christmas Eve. We slept at each of our parent's houses on Christmas Eve, did the Santa thing with our seperate parents Christmas morning, then made time for each other and exchanged gifts with the other's family. Now, we had a very precise schedule that involves 2 trips on Christmas Eve and 6 trips on Christmas morning (which will begin around 6am!) so that we see as much of our family as possible. When we have a kid, they better be coming to us.
This is also our first Christmas without Mema Kay and without Josh's cousin Michael who took his life on Josh's birthday (5/19) this year. So, Christmas will be bittersweet and stained with memories of those who are no longer with us. One top of all that, Papa Dude is in the hospital with pancreatitis and may not be out by Christmas.
Basically, I am feeling a little grinch-like this year. Hopefully the new year will bring good things. I have already made wayyyy too many resolution but here are just a few.
1) Be healthier, I am not even going to try to say "i'll lose XX amount of lbs." or anything, I am just going to try and stop snacking and eating crazy amounts of things and start biking more
2) Be at least halfway done with my book, no more excuses.
3) Read the bible more (I've gotten too slack about this).
4) Finish painting my table & chairs that i started painting last summer before I busted my knee.
5) Spend less money (hard to spend what you don't have).
I hope everyone has the merriest of Christmases and the best New Year's possible.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I dreamed about someone stealing everything in our house (as in the floors, cabinets, tv, furniture, EVERYTHING) and making it look like before we fixed it and taking Sookie and replacing her with a baby sheep. So, I looked up the meaning of sheep in dreams and discovered that sheep (in dreams) mean that I am either conforming too much and not being creative enough or that I am going to bed with a guilty conscious.
I think it means I need to finish my book. I am obviously not being creative at work as I poop out horrible hard news stories and therefore feel guilty about not putting my best into my writing, but I am SOOOO tired of writing by the time I get home, so I haven't written anything I want in quite some time.
My other dreams are too weird to even put into words. Trust me.
Monday, November 30, 2009
When I was a junior at ECU, I rode the "Park & Ride" shuttle, which should have been named "Park & Wait to Be Late" since shuttles tend to disappoint often.
One day I boarded the bus and saw that it was completely full from a previous stop the bus had already made. I was holding my bookbag on my back, a pot of Arroz Con Leche (we made food for Dias de Los Muertos in Spanish 4), and a paper bag full of plastic bowls, spoons, & napkins, so I obviously needed to sit down.
One boy started to be a gentleman and give up his seat but when he looked at the engagement ring on my left hand he immediately sat BACK DOWN! I can only assume that he decided that since there was no chance in him hooking up with me that I didn't deserve his seat.
I gave him a look that I once saw Mema Kay gave Papa (in other words, it was a very, very mean one) and leaned up against the filthy wall of the bus to try and balance all my items without spilling the rice or falling on my face.
When the bus made its stop at Brewster building and I started to climb off, boys bombarded the bus before the passengers could exit. THIS IS NOT NICE. Bus etiquette (as written by me) says that those already on the bus should be allowed to climb off before new passengers can board.
Boys, do your mama's proud and start acting like the little gentlemen they (hopefully) raised you to be.
Friday, November 27, 2009
I thank God that Big Mark & the Wendy made work for gas money and other things I may want and I can't stand to see someone else just get a new car for no reason or be given a brand new house to live in when they get married.. but that's a totally different subject that I don't want to get started on.
Everyone hears that money can't buy happiness, but I have to say that it sure does help. With my new job, I have had to learn a whole new way of spending. No longer are Josh and I cutting back because we want to, we are now cutting back because we have no choice. We aren't even really cutting back, we're not even doing ANYTHING. Every penny we make goes to pay bills, our mortgage, and buy groceries. We don't go to the movies, go out to eat, or drive farther than we need to so we don't waste gas. It isn't a fun way to live, and I think it's going to have to change.
We have no idea how christmas presents are going to be purchased and we have even less of an idea of how we are going to afford the heating bill when it starts to get REALLY cold.
So... I think I'm going to have to start the job search again and I'm really not looking forward to it.
I was so happy when I get my new job and I really enjoy writing, but the amount I'm getting paid really doesn't compare with the amount of work I'm doing and it just isn't enough for us to live. I am all for stretching a dollar, but when I am trying to make an inch stretch to 4 miles, it just isn't happening.
I really don't want to take a job not in my field, because the last thing I need is a useless job that has nothing to do with writing or publishing that doesn't teach me anything that can be useful in a career in writing, but there is just NOTHING out there in my field.
So, please be in prayer for Josh and I as we start this journey once again. I have no idea what the christmas season has in store, but I am hoping Santa drops a career down our chimney.
Friday, November 20, 2009
As I pulled into the cemetery, I noticed a bunch of workers were out there clearing the sidewalks and paths from where water had washed down dirt and loose grass during the horrible rain we've been having, but thought nothing of it.
I climbed out my car, smiled and said hello to one of the workers and started walking down the endless path to the Murphy plot of graves. I got there, plucked a few overgrown grass blades from around my grandfather's grave and as I bent over heard SEVERAL of the workers whistle and make nasty remarks.
How disrespectful can you get?
I was OBVIOUSLY there to visit someone since they saw me messing with a tombstone. Why would that make them think that their whistling at me would accomplish anything? If ANYTHING, it made me think even less of them.
I ignored their remarks and walked over to Uncle Ronald's tombstone (which is HUGE and beautiful with a sketch of a big semi on the bottom
After learning my lesson last time, I squatted by the stone (which was KILLLER to my knee) instead of bending. I prayed and had a quiet moment then walked toward my car.
I reached my car and one of the men approached me and asked me who I was there to see. I was nice (like a good Southern girl, what I really wanted to do was cuss him out and slam his head into the Rodeo's hood) and said, "Family" before climbing into my car and driving away.
What is wrong with people? Now, I am not one to hate compliments and every woman feels nice when men look at her in an appreciating way, but AT A CEMETERY!?!? Seriously, what is the world coming to?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
When are you ever "old enough" to be married? I have a college degree, a full-time big girl job, a home (well I have a mortgage, the bank technically has a home), bills to pay, and I am completely in love with Joshua Michael Edmondson. Who is to say I can't be married?
I do agree that NO ONE should be married before they can provide for themselves, are no longer on Mommy and Daddy's dollar, and are responsible enough to handle bills and a husband, but age doesn't determine that.
Dana Webb Walter's mema, Mrs. Hilda Webb was married when she was 14 if I'm not mistaken and she certainly did a good job making a household with Mr. Henry Ralph and raising Mr. Ralph Dawn didn't she!? (if you don't know Mrs. Hilda, trust me she did). Back in the day people got married young because they grew up faster and knew how to work and provide and cook and clean and all those fun things that go along with being a married person.
I very heavily FROWN upon those who get married then don't work and let their parents pay their bills, house them, clean their laundry and dishes, and provide them with everything they need. I understand in some circumstances, such as the loss of a job or sudden sickness and unexpected big bills, that parents help their children out. But this should NOT be an everyday thing.
While Josh and I were on our honeymoon, we saw a honeymooning couple that weren't old enough to drink. THAT seems pretty young to get married, but I would never have the audacity to tell them so.
In conclusion, if you want to see me pull off my Jack Roger sandal and hit you in the face with the little wooden sole, tell me just how young I am to be married.
It's common knowledge that I am very emotional, in fact anyone who went to the weddings of Dana Webb Walters or Carla Forehand Baker saw me cry in front of crowds of people, but this movie really, really moved me.
A lot of people may not know that my dad's oldest brother, Kenneth Lang Harrell, died of AIDS when I was around 3 years old. Uncle Kenny was gay.
In fact, the week before I watched "Milk" I was going through some boxes of Mema Kay's and found a box of letters, cards, and wedding invitations that had belonged to Uncle Kenny and a box of letters that he had sent Mema and Papa while he was in NY (he lived there in the late 80's and early 90's). I read each thing he had thought to keep/send and was pleasantly surprised by how much he reminded me of myself. He was catty, dry, obviously had no idea when to filter his thoughts from his brain to his mouth, and totally open about who he was. He was also a writer.
As I watched "Milk" I couldn't get over how ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE people were to the gay community, then I realized it really isn't that much different here and now.
One thing I want to make VERY clear is that judging someone is never right. I don't understand how religious groups can honestly say "God hates gay people." Horrible. I am Southern Baptist, which I am ashamed to say is a denomination that is very well known for condemning homosexuality.
I know that the bible says in Leviticus 18:22 "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." However, the bible also says in Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". So if we are ALL sinners, what gives us the right to judge another and if you are condemning one of God's children, you are also condemning yourself. We have a few gay and lesbian people at Webbs Chapel, they are god-fearing, honest, and good people, but supposedly God hates them? I think not. One of the most knowledge people at our church that knows more about the bible, its history, and God than anyone I know and she is gay. So, what?
I hear preachers say that people who leave a gay lifestyle aren't allowed to be official church members or hold titles/teach sunday school classes in the church. Once again, we ARE ALL SINNERS, so those currently holding positions are also sinners, who are we to say one person's sin is great than another?
My Uncle Kenny was a brilliant man, remind me one day to tell you about how he fooled my grandparents into thinking he actually graduated from UNC instead of dropping out
Try to utter the word "faggot" or judge another person around me, I dare you.
Friday, October 16, 2009
1) I got a new job, in fact I was offered 2 new jobs. This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my entire life (besides switching from UNCW to ECU). I was offered a job at a local daily newspaper to be an Education Reporter, which would require me to cover school board meetings, write about things going on within the school system, and other education related topics, so the job would be a lot more hard fact than fun "fluff" stories (which is more my area of expertise). I was offered a job at another local paper that is weekly, doing layout design, writing stories of all kinds, and other jobs around the publication, however this job offered a significantly lower pay. After lots of thought (and calls to my wonderful mentor Mrs. Jane Hudson, my best friends, and God) I chose to take the job offering less pay but more of what I wanted to do. So you may not see me out and about for awhile or lugging shopping bags from Monkees and Nordstrom, because my and Josh's budget just got even smaller, but my happiness is worth a lot more than a paycheck.
2) I had a great time with a group of beautiful ladies on a girls trip to Charleston. This trip taught me that life doesn't end just because you get married and have kids. Some of the funnest, craziest women on this trip were mothers (lovingly named "Wussy MILF", "Safety MILF" and another funny name that I can't recall
3) I was watching TV the other day and I have decided to start buying more Dove products because I am so IN LOVE with how much they support how a beautiful woman doesn't have to be stick thin, have a perfectly symmetrical face, perky boobs, and long, luscious hair, they call it a "Campaign for Real Beauty" and they've even established a self esteem fund to help girls of all ages learn how to love themselves no matter what they're told about how they look. They use REAL WOMEN in their ads instead of people who look nothing like a regular, everyday human being. Their latest commercial features a song that I love that says "Do your eyes sit wide, does your nose turn to the side, do your elbows kind of crinkle, do your knees sort of wrinkle? Does your chest tend to freckle, do you have a crooked smile? Do your eyes sit wide? Do your ears sort of wiggle, does your hair make you giggle, does your neck grow long, do your hips sing a song?" all in the tune of "Do Your Ears Hang Low". I just love how they are putting out a positive message about true beauty. On their website for the campaign it says that study show that only 2% of women think they are beautiful! I am going to attach a link to their website in my blog.
4) I am accident prone. You probably already know this. However, as of late I have noticed that I continuously hurt myself and trip over flat surfaces. I really put Bella Swan/Cullen to shame (yes I did just make a Twilight reference, deal with it). I managed to break two toes Monday night, I'm not even going to explain how. In the past I have broken and ripped a pinkie all to shreds because I decided to move a giant box fan without turning it off and my pinkie got stuck inside
Okay now that I have managed to write enough to bore you for at least 10 minutes, I am going to go celebrate my last day at The Daily Southerner.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
After about a month of this, Josh and I fenced in our yard and let her reek havoc on our yard while we are at work all day.
This solved most of our problems until recently. Sookie has grown from a 30 lb. puppy to a 65 lb. monster, and she is only 6 months old. When she hit the 6 month mark in the middle of September Josh and I had her fixed, we were told this would not only grant her a few more years of life and better health but would also calm her down a little. The latter was a big fat lie.
Sookie came home from Dr. Gregg's office happy as lark with her incision glued shut, however with hard wood floors and a rambunctious puppy comes slipping and sliding, resulting in Sookie's incision popping open and oozing wonderful colored liquids (if you know me, you know how I react to bodily functions... not well). So after one trip to the veterinary emergency room in which a nurse just simply pushed the incision back together, the incision popped open as SOON as Josh and Sookie came back to the house. The next day Josh took her to Dr. Gregg who stitched the incision shut only for her stomach to swell all up after she had an allergic reaction to the sutures.
After this debacle, Sookie behaved for about a week until this past Friday.
I came home from work for lunch to find Sookie laying in the background CHEWING ON A SAFETY PIN. First of all, the safety pin came from a chair cover that had a split seam, so I had used about 12 safety pins on the inside of the cover to hold it shut until I could either sew it back together or buy another. Seeing Sookie with one of the safety pins I went over to said chair to remove the rest of the pins before she could get them (I've learned quickly that if Sookie does it once, she'll certainly do it again), only to find that all 12 of the safety pins were already gone. I captured Sookie, threw her in my truck and flew to Albermarle Animal Hospital. Mrs. Angie, Dr. Gregg, and several nurses laughed as I told them the story and told me that if the xray showed any pins in her stomach, she would need surgery (because she hasn't cost us enough money already). After it took all the nurses and Dr. Gregg to hold Sookie down for an xray, we discovered that Sookie had managed to chew 4 clasps off the safety pins and swallow them but had somehow managed to avoid swallowing any pins. Crisis avoided and Josh and I are now on poop watch to make sure Sookie passes the clasps.
Most of you know that Josh and I lost our Brittany Spaniel, Mac Daddy last Thanksgiving after his pancreas and kidneys shut down. It was one of the hardest things we've ever been through since Mac had been our baby for only 3 years. Sookie is certainly nothing like our sweet, well-behaved Mac Daddy, but she is definitely helping heal the hole that Mac left in both my and Josh's hearts.
With this, I give you some words of advice: Bitter spray doesn't keep dogs off cabinets and shock collars are God's way of saying that sometimes spankings just aren't enough.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Which leads me to another topic. Someone should seriously offer classy classes. For example:
1) The classy thing to do when you know someone is talking about you across the room, or if someone you don't like is at the same party/function you are attending is to smile in their direction and kill them with kindness and smile while insulting them in a way they don't even realize you're insulting them. The class-less thing to do is shoot them nasty looks while loudly talking about them so they can hear you, pour your drink on their head, push them, or threaten to hurt them in some way. While I realize the latter seems much more appealing, you will be stooping to their level and look just as trashy as them if you act low-class. (sometimes i find myself not following this rule to well either, but hey, I try.)
SEVERAL people around home should learn some class. While I am ashamed to admit that I lacked a lot of class in high school, I would say that with age SHOULD come class. When you graduate college and enter the real world, you should at least TRY to have some class (you should also try to support yourself and get off mama & daddy's dollar, but I won't even get on that one).
Have a happy Monday.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
At a very nice clothing boutique in Greenville (located in Arlington Village and it's wasn't my fav. store Monkees), I was once ALMOST referred to as "plus size". I was looking at a beautiful Shoshanna sheath when a little minion of a sales girl came up to me and said, "That would look so nice on you, Shoshanna specializes in making clothes for...." then her thin little lips let out a "pl" sound. I gave her the look of death and she changed it really quick to say "curvy". While I do admit that Shoshanna dresses fit me a lot better than others by Tibi or Milly, I am not "plus sized".
And if I were so what? We seriously need to change our ideas about how we view body types and sizes in this country.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I am having knee surgery next Monday (so definitley expect LOTS of posts while I am glued to the couch) and I was certainly not prepared for the ridiculous amount of money it would cost Josh and I for my knee to be fixed. Instead of the surgery being the expensive part, it's been the prep. for the surgery that had cost us an arm and a leg (or at least an arm and a knee, yes I really just did that). While it is only going to cost us about $400 for the actual surgeon, an MRI of my left leg cost $600!! Someone please explain to me how it cost more for a person to punch a button and send me through an insanely loud machine than it does to have someone expertly slice my leg open, smooth out the back of my kneecap, realign my kneecap and repair my miniscus?!!? I mean that $600 could have gone to a much more useful purchase such as a precious new Coach bag in the beautiful "Poppy" collection, or 2 1/2 pairs of Rock and Republic jeans. Seriously.
I don't even like to read our newspaper and I LIVE in town, why would anyone else want to?
So, I look for other jobs, get told I'm "over-qualified" to be a receptionist, too "inexperience" (a.k.a. young) to be a Director or Manager of anyone, and I just refuse to make less than $15/hr or $22k/yr with an effin' bachelor's degree. I hated school and busted my butt to get a degree in 3 1/2 years, I just don't want to settle for something like "Administrative Assistant to the Receptionist of the CFO" or "Customer Service Representative". My friends say, "Oh Lauren, $8/hr isn't really that bad." well, they don't have to pay a mortgage or any other bills, nor do they have a slight addiction to designer jeans & Monkee's of Greenville.
I just want to write, or be the person BUYING the ads for a client, not selling them. I want to create slogans, come up with inventive ideas for a companies exposure, plan events for someone, handle public relations, WRITE, or anything that involves me getting to put on a power suit, tell someone why they need me, and being creative.
But instead... I drive around all day in my poor, beat-up Rodeo and attempt to peddle advertising for a slowly dying newspaper in a town where nobody has heard of my newspaper. Rock out.