Naw

Did I ever tell y’all about Boss’s eating habits? Probably not, because the man barely ate unless I reminded him. He was good for breakfast, only ate lunch when someone put it on a plate in front of him, and had dinner on the rare occasions that we traveled together and I put my foot down. Once he flew out to Texas to pick up a guy for an interview. The two of them were flying across the country so that the interviewee could meet the big dogs in each of our offices. It didn’t occur to me to remind either of them about getting some lunch and/or dinner and by the time they got to Nashville, the poor guy had gaunt cheeks and a hangdog look. He said to me, “Jimmie, I finally learned to grab a hamburger in the airport and I’d eat it behind a pole in about four bites. I thought it was some kind of test or something and that eating was forbidden.” Boss calmly worked on his laptop while this poor guy nearly choked just trying to get a meal down.

Also, I once saw Boss throw a chocolate cupcake away. He took a couple of bites and then was done with it so he threw it in the trash. We didn’t speak for a week.

Representation of the cupcake Boss threw away

Representation of the cupcake Boss threw away

I moved on from working with Boss to working with MJ-Love, and I have to tell you, she wasn’t much better. Being female, she did find some enjoyment in chocolate but her lunch usually consisted of peanut butter crackers or possibly a single taco if we all went out as a group. I don’t get these people.

Representation of a single taco

Representation of a single taco

I now have a new boss. She’s just about the nicest person I’ve ever met (next to all the other nice people already on my list) and to my knowledge, she eats regularly. I heard a rumor that she once participated in an office eating contest featuring Krystal burgers. I don’t dare ask how many she ate because if she says, “Two, and I was stuffed!” I’ll have to quit on the spot.

What gives me hope about her is that I’ll often send a catering menu and ask for her selection to which she responds, “I have GOT to stop obsessing over this menu. Everything looks so good!” She also accepts my offer of sugar free grape minty gum and ate an entire bar of chocolate I got her for her birthday. Despite her whippet-thin figure, I think she eats and likes it.

Picure of an actual whippet

Picure of an actual whippet

I mean, until this happened.

One day last week, New Boss came to my desk and plaintively asked, “Would you do me a favor? You don’t have to, please say no if you wish, I really mean that, but I feel as if I have no blood in my body and there’s a juice bar down the street? Would you get me a super greens with ginger and then buy something for yourself, my treat?” As if I wouldn’t take the opportunity to scamper to that juice bar asap, hello. I assured her that I would gladly head over there, to never worry about asking me for that sort of thing as my job is to make her life easier, and off I went.

I’d never been to a juice bar before and y’all, what a wonder that was! The whole place smelled like herbs but not the spicy kind. It was more like grass and cilantro, very fresh and if I may, wholesome. I ogled the juices already zizzed up into cups. Pretty beet reds and bright orange and green. There were plastic shot glasses filled with all kinds of emerald liquids, and the salads were the most gorgeous creations I’d ever seen. I could feel the cholesterol just pouring out of my veins as I stood there and inhaled.

I ordered New Boss’s juice and the asked for a recommendation for a shot of something. I may find the juice bar visually appealing but no way was I going to waste any money on something that might taste like slimy grass. The juice specialists recommended a shot of wheat grass juice for energy and whizzed it right up for me in their juicer. They capped it, I paid and they sent me off on my merry way.

New Boss loved her juice. She said the ginger flavor was strong and that nothing was sweet which was exactly what she wanted. She’s been peppy since then so I’m assuming the super greens jolted the blood back into her body and she’s going to live.

Juice for New Boss

Juice for New Boss

I thought that since she had such success with her juice, I would try mine. I couldn’t tell if there was any kind of stirring needed before indulging so I kind of swirled the liquid around with my finger and was horrified to discover that upon removing, my fingertip was completely green. Green, I say. Like Elphaba green.

Shot o' wheat grass

Shot o’ wheat grass

“I like green,” I thought to myself. “There’s not a green vegetable I don’t like,” I reassured myself. “One ounce will not kill me,” I reasoned. So I swilled it down.

Y’all. I can’t even. Have you ever eaten grass? Just picked up a handful and chewed it up and swallowed it? I think that’s what I did except in liquid form. Why?! Why did anyone ever decide that this was okay?! Who ever thought, “You know, I see that green grass over there and ima get me some of that, yum.” Oh, gak! It tasted just like liquid grass with some sugar thrown in it. In case I’ve not been clear, it was gross.

Some grass

Some grass

I teetered right on the edge of wanting to barf and feeling energized for a good portion of the day. I couldn’t tell if the queasiness in my stomach was from the juice itself or the thought of the wheat grass. I ate some rice for lunch which helped things tremendously but I was still reeling a bit from the juice shot. It wasn’t until much later in the afternoon that I found myself fairly zipping around the office, moving files and swinging boxes around and cleaning up tables, just relishing in the amount of work I could cram in to one day, and I thought to myself, “Liquid diet – not that bad. New Boss is super smart.”

Later that night, I met Dammit Todd and Hulk for drinks. I had a different form of juice, in the vein of tequila, and after being hit on by every man 15 years my senior, or every man who poses that smoking two/three packs a day is reasonable, none of which offered to buy me dinner, I decided that maybe liquid diets aren’t for me. Questioning whether or not I want to barf from either a) ingesting slimy grass or b) the poor choices of men is not the way I want to spend a Friday, no matter how energized I feel.

Picture of an actual tequila shot

Picture of an actual tequila shot

New Boss can keep her wheat grass juice and the rest of y’all can keep your tequila. Solid foods for me, all the way.

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Art Is Hard

In an effort to, I don’t know, better myself? Become more cultured? Step outside of my comfort zone? I signed up to take an art class of sorts a couple of weeks ago. One of my friends teaches her methods for art journaling once a month at Turnip Green Creative Reuse and I’ve always liked her stuff. Plus, I keep hoping there is some latent creative gene in me that will eventually surface because everyone in my family seems to have a talent for creating things and I, thus far, got bupkis.

The point of the art class exercise was to create a collage layout, and I think the focus was supposed to be a face but being as how I was exposed to pretty paint colors and flowers and hearts and rainbows, I stopped listening the moment Michelle said, “Pick out some things from the table over there that speak to you.” I had a fistful of greeting cards and heart stencils that I placed in my spot and then went back for some scrapbook paper and calendar pages. When I had a tidy little pile of stuff that appealed to me, I took the handful of faces Michelle had ripped from magazines and passed around the table and then handed the intact pile to the next girl.

Michelle explained that we would begin by covering our journals with a layer of gesso and once that dried, we’d choose some paint colors and brush it on in a hatching motion. I happily complied with that for a while, totally content with my work until I finished and realized my pages looked a bit like gingham, just with stormier colors. “Nevermind!” I thought. “I like these colors!”

Michelle then explained that we would attach our selected faces to our pages and here I began to understand that there was the distinct possibility that I had not listened. I’m a rule follower almost always but apparently when it comes to speeding laws and art projects, I am not. Still, I began, like everyone else, cutting out phrases and flowers, painting some with a wash here and ripping pages into circles there. I fought with myself for a while over placement and color, knowing that matchy-matchy, my favorite kind of art, was not the goal.

I earnestly worked on my piece for a couple of hours. I got paint on my shorts and under my nails. I smelled like glue and glitter. It was fantastic! As I worked, I kept my eye on the ladies around me creating their own pages. These women were far more artist-y than I, and they kept using expressions like, “Oh, the juxtaposition of the emotion and the light here is what I’m trying to capture,” and “The energy of this color pattern is rejuvenating.” Since my artist-y expressions skew more towards, “ooh, pretty!” I felt slightly underqualified and a little jealous.

Kelly, the proprietor of Turnip Green, began making the rounds towards the end of the class to check out our work. I glanced at the woman on my left and eyeballed her collage. To my untrained eye, it looked a bit like she tipped over the paper recycle bin on to her pages and then glued everything onto the exact spot upon which it fell. I then glanced at the woman on my right and eyeballed her collage. She used a lot of dark color and threw it all together on her page in a mishmash. It was appealing but I had no idea why. I took a peek at Michelle’s page and then realized that I had missed the mark completely.

Lest you doubt me, and lest you want to say, “Art is subjective, Jimmie. It belongs to the artist and says only what the artist wants it to say,” I’d like for you to hear Kelly’s comments.

To the woman on my left she said, “I like very much how you’ve broken this up into sections. You clearly have growth over here and fallow over there. I love the energy in that.” This was the recycle bin collage. I didn’t get it.

To the woman on my right she said, “The flow here is perfect! What a fantastic use of color and theme!” I was drawn to it but why?! I didn’t get it!

To me she simply said, “It’s so pretty.” That I got. And that also explains why I will never be an artist.

If you’d like to sign up for your own Art Journaling class, you can. Its $20 and everything you need is provided. Clearly there will be no judgments made as to your ability. There will be only be encouragement to spread your wings, to embrace the paint and glue, and to have fun. You can try like I did to claim that you are a better person for having taken the class, and that may be true. But even if you are no better for it, only messier, so what? It will give you a conversation piece to place on your coffee table and when your friends come over for dinner, they can eyeball it and say, “Oh, it’s so pretty.”

Jimmie's Art

Jimmie’s Art

Real Artist Art

Real Artist Art (or, the woman to the right of me)

To sign up for the Creative Art Journaling class on July 26, email Kelly at info@turnipgreencreativereuse.org

And check out Michelle’s work at Studio B.

DO NOT Tell My Daddy

I cut my finger open with my new pocketknife. I thought I should just cut to the chase because to know me is to know I’m going to shred my fingers with sharp things as soon as you give them to me. I’d like to tell you it wasn’t my fault but it totally was.

See, I was talking to Pee-tah who had just picked me up after I dropped off my car for the fourth high-dollar fix of 2014 (it was the bushings this time, most likely exacerbated by the rear-ending my car took from the guy with the cigarette), and I was opening some batteries with my knife. I was doing great with that until I flipped the knife around and the hinge snapped shut like it is designed to do when pressed upon. The problem was that the blade closed onto my finger and immediately made the blood gush from it. (Now is probably too late to tell you “TMI.”)

Pee-tah didn’t even bat an eye. He just sighed a little bit and clicked on his blinker for the turn lane into Walgreens. “We’ll get some band aids,” he said.

We split up as we walked into the store, me to the front to find more batteries and Pee-tah to the back to pick up the bandages. I made my selections and laid the batteries on the counter. There I chatted with the clerks as I held my finger aloft in an attempt to not bleed to death at the Walgreens counter.

The nice lady clerk said, “Hon, you want a paper towel for that?” She was eyeing my gruesome looking finger, hand and arm. No worries about my blood being too thick or anything. Runs like a fountain.

“Sure,” I said, and then wrapped the paper towel wad around my finger and resumed standing like the Statue of Liberty while I waited for Pee-tah and the band aids.

The clerks and I chatted about pocketknives and Rock Island and my need for 6 C-sized batteries (for the blower thing to inflate my float for my Rock Island trip) and waited for Pee-tah. And then we discussed chocolate and chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate marshmallows, debating the merits of each and agreeing that chocolate consumption covers a multitude of ills, up to and including gashed open fingers. After some time I began to wonder if Pee-tah was alright back there in the band aid section. It did not occur to me that he might have become exasperated with my propensity to hurt myself on a regular basis and snuck out the front door as I held my finger like a torch whilst waxing poetic about Cadbury Easter eggs, although it should have. How many times can you roll your eyes and pat me on the arm and shake your head when I flay my skin open without saying, “For the love of God, Jimmie, will you quit with the pocketknife already?”

Instead, I wandered to the back of the store, finger held in front of me, and found Pee-tah holding an armful of bandages. “Jimmie! These are on sale,” he yelped. Y’all, he had so many boxes of bandages that he had to stack them up and hold them like bricks in a wall formation, one arm underneath them and one arm over them, all perpendicular to the floor. He had at least 10 boxes of band aids and chattered excitedly about them as we walked up to the checkout counter. “These are the best bandages ever! They are water resistant and will protect your finger from the gross water you’ll be swimming in later. I know they don’t smell like the other ones but you’ll thank me, you really will.”

Those clerks watched our arrival, Pee-tah with the entire shelf contents of band aids and me with a bloody mess of paper towels wrapped around my finger held above my head. Their eyes got round and their eyebrows leaped up to their hairlines as they asked, “How often exactly do you cut yourself?”

It’s a fair question.

However, what they didn’t know is that Pee-tah is a sucker for a sale. He knows a bargain when he sees one and thus is the reason I own an iPad mini, emergency lights and now the best box of band aids ever, all of which I have already used. Having been my friend for a long, long time, he knows that having a stockpile of band aids is never a bad thing as is having a set of emergency lights and a fire extinguisher, my other favorite gift from Pee-tah.

Also, I’m asking Daddy-O for a hand mixer for my birthday this year because I broke my old one making a banana cake for Hulk. No way I can go wrong with that.

Bag o' bandages

Bag o’ bandages