My Black Friday Shopping Ban

Everywhere I’ve gone this weekend, people have asked if I went shopping on Black Friday.  My response this weekend is the same as it has been in years past: There is nothing I need or want badly enough to go shopping on Black Friday. 

Maybe that doesn’t make sense to you.  After all, there all those “bargains” in the ads in Thursday’s paper, right?  Yeah, whatever.  You’ve heard the phrase, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, right?  What about this one: “You get what you pay for.”  Having worked in retail during college, I believe both of these phrases.  I also believe having worked in the jewelry department of a now-defunct catalog showroom scarred me for life when it comes to Black Friday.

See, here’s the thing: my college years were during the height of the “pink ice” phenomenon.  I will never forget standing in the middle of the jewelry department when the store manager opened the doors at 6:00 a.m.  (Clearly I am dating myself; everyone knows that midnight is the new 6:00 a.m.)  We went from having no one around the counter, to having people lined up 10-deep around the counter in less than sixty seconds, and it seemed as if every. single. one. of them was shouting out something about pink ice.  The ones who weren’t were hot to trot over the gold herringbone necklace we had on sale for $20.  Let me just tell you, twenty dollars does not get you a whole lot of gold necklace.  Rap star thick it was not.  But you’d be surprised at the number of people who apparently anticipated it would be identical to their favorite rap mogul’s chain, and who got cranky when they realized that something more in line with their way of thinking was priced significantly higher than twenty bucks.   

But back to the pink ice.  Do you know how many times I heard the question, “Do y’all got any more of them little ol’ pank ice rings?”  Yes, I typed “pank”, and I typed “pank” on purpose.  Just as I typed that grammatically horrifying sentence on purpose.  We oftentimes were not dealing with the best or the brightest.  I still hear that question in the back of my mind.  I think the second most popular question about the dreadful little pink ice ring (that sold for $18.88 on Black Friday, by the way), was “Is this real pink ice?”  Um, folks, you do realize that nonsense was nothing more than a colored cubic zirconia, right?  So yeah, it was “real”, and by “real”, I mean as “real” as a man-made stone can be.  [Insert eye-roll here.]  You can just imagine the thickness of the 10K band the “little pank ice ring” sported, for the vast sum of $18.88, right?  And of course, that lovely little bauble came in a standard size 6.  Needless to say, a large number of the people purchasing these rings did not have standard sized fingers.  Astoundingly, they thought the store should size those ridiculous little rings for free.  Right then.  While they waited.  It was dreadful.  It was so traumatic that even now, three years of law school and thirteen years of practicing law later, I still shudder from the vivid memories.

Lucky for me, I was really quick on the cash register, so after a couple of years of Black Friday duty, I was assigned the task of standing at one of the two registers in the jewelry department ringing up other people’s sales.  This rocked for a couple of reasons.  First, at Christmas the store hired lots of temporary help.  The temporary help usually hadn’t logged enough register time to become very speedy, so they often slowed down progress at a time we really needed to be ringing sales rapidly.  Assigning people to the registers helped move things along at a faster clip.  And of course, being one of the people assigned to the register meant I didn’t have to wait on customers during the initial rush that morning.  SCORE!!

I worked at that job for five consecutive Black Fridays.  When I graduated from college (and from my job in retail), there was nothing in me that said, “Ooh! You don’t have to go to work before daylight; why don’t you get up and go shopping instead?” when Black Friday rolled around.  Rather, I was inspired to sleep — which is exactly what I have done every year since.  

Whatever money I might save by lining up in the cold in the pre-dawn hours and fighting hoards of frenzied shoppers to obtain my target item is simply not worth it to me.  Let me say this another way: I’m not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination — believe me; I am intimately familiar with the figure on my paycheck and how far it doesn’t go — but preserving my sanity is worth more to me than the few extra dollars I might save by shopping on Black Friday.  Said still another way, I really don’t like people, so shopping with scads of them on the busiest shopping day of the year does not excite me.  In fact, as mouthy as I tend to be, it’s likely I’d end up the subject of a story on the evening news — and not in a good way.

So, to answer your question, no, I did not go shopping on Black Friday.  I never have, and I hope to die a very old woman still able to say that.  To those of you who did shop on Friday, good for you.  I’m sure you have lots of fabulous stories as a result that will make me envious in a blog-fodder-envy sort of way, but to me, it’s still not worth it.  

Scenes From a Turkey Trot

Yesterday, in what has become a Thanksgiving tradition for me, I got up and went to Arvest Ballpark to run the Springdale Police Department’s Turkey Trot 5K.  This is a little funny given that I no longer run unless I am absolutely forced to do so, but having participated for several years, it seemed like the thing to do — especially given that it was, after all, Thanksgiving, and the desire to eat foods that are less than caveman-esque would inevitably prevail over my half-hearted pledge to remain faithfully Paleo despite the culinary temptations available to me at mealtime.  

Surprisingly, I did not arrive at the ballpark with visions of blog fodder dancing in my head, yet it was only a matter of minutes before I was using my iPhone for more than just a beat-supplying device — If I’m going to run, I must have a beat.  That’s the rule. — and its Nike Sensor powers.  Yes, I saw rather quickly that my iPhone’s camera app was going to be essential to a successful morning.  What was my first clue, you ask?  Well, while standing in the exceedingly long line to obtain my timing chip, I saw this:
There were four of these “Indians.”  They all wore skinny braided headbands in what I think of as Fall/Thanksgiving colors, with a feather sticking up in the back.  The boxer puppy was part of their entourage.  Frankly, I was a little surprised that Fido wasn’t wearing a headband, too.  It was the moment when I spied their little “tribe” that I knew it was going to be a good race for blog fodder — and that I wouldn’t even have to resort to a commentary on the ills of too-tight running tights on bodies that were never, ever intended to wear tights (and believe me, I saw some), men wearing saggy-seated running tights — seriously, I followed one up a hill (on the allegedly “flat” course) for a brief period, till I decided to use the quads and hamstrings CrossFit has generously bestowed upon me for the greater (or at least my) good and pass him; how do tights end up bagging in the seat??? — or my eternal disdain for visors.  

A few minutes later, I’d made my way to the front of the (timing) chip line, moved my vehicle to a location closer to the start/finish line, selected my race music (P!nk’s The Truth About Love CD) and joined the crowd assembled for the start of the race.  Unfortunately, the Turkey Trot doesn’t start till 8:10 a.m., a fact I had forgotten when I lined up at 7:55.  Although it was a 58 degree morning, there was a pretty hefty breeze blowing, and I was getting chilly just standing there waiting.  Luckily, I saw a couple of things that distracted me.
There are a couple of distracting things in this photo.  You might think I am referring to the daddy-daughter duo in the fall-colored tutus.  You would, however, be incorrect.  Admittedly, the dynamic duo was the intended subject of the picture, but when I uploaded it to my macbook, I became bothered by the obvious display of a fanny pack by the woman in the foreground of the photo.  I’d like to saw she was the only one I saw sporting one.  Unfortunately, I would be lying if I said that.  

Look, I am not going to lie; I have a black pouch (purchased from a specialty running store) that I use for longer races.  You know, marathons and half-marathons; the kind of things I haven’t run in a long time.  I don’t generally wear one for a 5K, though.  What’s the difference?  Um, for a longer race, I need to bring carb snacks, perhaps some lip balm, maybe a small body glide, my ID, and I am likely to put my phone or iPod in the pouch as well, so I don’t have to carry it by hand the whole way, oh, and cash, in case the idea of hailing a cab becomes preferable to finishing the race.  (Okay, I’m kidding about the motivation for the last one.  Kind of.)  For a race that is going to take approximately 30 minutes (for me; not for the fast people) from start to finish, however, that stuff is not necessary.  Did I carry lip balm yesterday?  Yes; in the back pocket of my tights.  Did I carry some Quench gum?  Yes; in the side pocket on my tights.  Did I carry a car key?  Yes; in the pouch on my running shoe.  Did I carry my iPhone?  Have you been paying attention to this post?  Of course I did.  But I had already planned to carry it by hand, and once the fodder-quotient became apparent, it became essential to carry it by hand anyway.  (Seriously?  How was I going to take picture with my phone stuck in a pouch or pocket somewhere?)  My point is, I don’t get the, well, point of the fanny pack for a 3.1 mile race.  Especially since it clearly wasn’t one designed for any activity outside of looking like a total tourist.  And believe it or not, all the ones I saw yesterday were the same way.  I can just imagine the beating the wearers took from their flapping fanny packs as they ran/jogged/speed-walked along the course.  I just don’t think I follow the necessity.

Now, back to the dynamic duo…
Folks, that is a seriously secure man standing there.  And look how cute he and his daughter are in their matching tutus.  I am not going to lie; his fluffy tulle skirt caught my attention, but I really can’t come up with anything snarky to say about this one.  In fact, points to him for doing this.  (I am a little concerned with how comfortable he seemed in the skirt — I saw him on the course after the race started, and it didn’t seem to be bothering him in the least — but even that is said somewhat in jest.)  I am impressed.  I don’t know anything about his relationship with his daughter or about his parenting skills, but if his willingness to attend what has become a pretty large race dressed in a tutu to match his kiddo’s is any indication, I’m going to say that is a good daddy right there.  

Also while waiting on the race to start, I noticed this crafty little t-shirt.
No, really; it’s there.  You just have to look past the reappearance of “Fanny Pack” to see it.  I am not much on themed holiday wear.  By that, I mean that I think such things should be banned, and a heavy fine should be imposed by the fashion police for those who insist upon violating the rules by wearing them.  This turkey made of colored ribbon is no exception to my suggested ban.  (Side note: The ban would also include Halloween and Christmas sweaters, to name a couple.) And what I didn’t realize until I saw these ladies on the course was that the pink t-shirt had also been defiled with a colored-ribbon turkey.  It was like a craft project gone wrong.  Shudder.  

I mentioned it was almost 60 degrees out, right?  I could not believe the people who were dressed as if they were running in the cold, rain, and sleet.  (Folks, that was two years ago; not this year.)  People were bundled up wearing lots of layers, headwear and earmuffs.  Wow.  I’d hate to see what they wear when it really is cold outside.  I debated what to wear myself; it was a little windy, and I struggled with whether to start out in long sleeves.  I know me, though, and I knew I’d end up wanting to peel off layers if I started in them, and that I’d end up having to take extra time to remove them, and then I’d have to tie them on so they didn’t get in my way.  Consequently, I went with capri-length tights and a tank.  This girl?  Went with layers.
Please excuse my earbud cord.  I failed to get it out of the way.  There is precious little wrong with what this girl is wearing.  The horizontal striped tights (with a pattern in the stripes) and the color combination were a little distracting/eye-catching, but other than that, I don’t know that I can say a lot else.  Her clothes seemed to fit her properly, and were not unsightly or ill-combined.  I just wonder how much she regretted her layering choices when she started getting warm.  (This photo was somewhere near the one-mile mark.)

Also near the one-mile mark, I caught up to TurkeyHead.  I first glimpsed TurkeyHead while waiting in the chip line, but she somehow escaped before I was able to get a photo.  I looked for her while waiting on the race to start, but was unable to locate her. I just assumed that she removed her, um, hat, for the run.  That assumption was erroneous.  
I don’t know where one goes to find such a thing, or why one looks for one in the first place, and I really don’t want to know.  I also can’t imagine wearing that on my head while running.  Cymber and I used to wear tiaras for Little Rock’s Race for the Cure, but they had combs on the sides to help keep them in place.  (Don’t judge; that’s my job. And really? There are so few opportunities in life for one to wear a tiara that one must seize opportunities when they present themselves.) Somehow, I have doubts that the average turkey hat has combs to secure it in place.  (Side note: These ladies obviously started off in long sleeves and warmed up quickly, hence their jackets worn as waist-capes.  I congratulated myself at this point for leaving my long sleeves in the car.)

A few (or several, depending on your definition of each of those words) minutes later, I crossed the finish line.  Leaving the race, I had to stop by Walmart to pick up the some things for my contribution to the evening meal.  In my defense, I had already picked up the ham; I didn’t go last-minute on everything, just the ingredients for the (Paleo) pumpkin brownies.  Okay, and the brown sugar that I was told to put on the ham.  (I feel for the folks who had to work on Thanksgiving, I really do, but I was really glad they were open so I didn’t have to fight hoards of people to secure my ingredients Wednesday evening after work.)  As luck would have it, something caught my eye on the way into the store.
Yes, I know; you can’t see it very well, can you?  Well, maybe I can help…
Yes, those are black and white plaid flannel pajama bottoms (that seem a little too large).  You can’t tell, but trust me when I say she had on black Toms or Toms-like shoes. Although I think I have made my position on the wearing of pajamas in public clear– and if I haven’t, let me just say: it shouldn’t happen!!! — I will tell you, the pajamas were among the least disturbing elements of this outfit.  I mean, we can all tell she had on a black bra, because her transparent, questionably-fitting white t-shirt left little to the imagination in that regard.  I know I’ve asked this before, but does anyone else remember the old days when foundation garments were worn to serve a purpose — “lift and separate, anyone??? — and that purpose did not involve being displayed for all to see?  Would there be something wrong with returning to those happier times?  And it would be wrong for me to skip this fashion tip: most of us do not have a body that is suitable for display in the manner in which BlackBra is displaying hers.  If you don’t have such a body, don’t do it.  And if you do have such a body, think twice; Walmart is not the place for such displays.

Once I paid the ransom at the checkout line — how does that happen?  I know I bought new food-storage containers so I could bring back plenty of leftovers for Sweetie, but I am still struggling to figure out how I spent that much during a quick trip to Walmart that didn’t involve the purchase of anything fun — I headed to the truck.  And I saw this… 
Although there are a number of places I could go with this, I am going to refrain other than to say (1) that color is calling all kinds of attention to that body, and not in a positive way; (2) the shape/size of those pants is pretty much wrong for that body. (Straight leg, maybe??); and (3) for the love of all that is good and holy, it is Thanksgiving day; can you put the freaking capri pants away already???

And because it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without someone busting out the cheesy Christmas top…
Snowmen.  With cargo pants and an intricately-braided bun, no less.  Again, if we could just get a ban on cheesy holiday-themed items, this lady would have received a citation and a fine.  I’d launch into a round of “Which one of these things is not like the other? Which one of these does not belong?”, but nothing about this look is consistent with anything else about it.  Honestly, I was just baffled.  

And with that, I headed to the house to bake a ham.  (Hey, if they were brave enough to eat it, I was brave enough to bake it.)  I hope everyone had a Happy Day.  

It’s the Thought that Counts

Yesterday morning, after going to CrossFit and soundly thrashing my shins and forearms with a jumprope — darn double-unders! — I headed back to Sweetie’s house with thoughts of breakfast dancing in my head.  I’ve eaten my cooking, and I’ll be honest and say that I don’t necessary recommend doing so to others.  Because I really wanted Sweetie to eat — Why is it men have this amazing ability to “forget” to eat?  Why don’t I have that ability? — and because he has mentioned banana pecan waffles several times recently, I decided I’d call the local Waffle House and see if they had such an creature on their menu, and if so, place a to-go order I could pick up on the way back from the box.  (Fun with Definitions: CrossFit “gyms” are called “boxes”.)  The overly chipper answerer of the phone at Waffle House indicated that they do, indeed, have banana pecan waffles, so I placed my order, made the fasted trip ever to the grocery store, and made a beeline to pick up breakfast.
Now, you must understand that I was feeling quite proud of myself at that point for coming up with this idea.  After all, in our 3.5 years together, I have never picked up breakfast, let alone banana pecan waffles, so I expected Sweetie would be really pleased with his morning meal, and that idea made me happy. 
My order was ready when I arrived at the Waffle House, so I was in and out of there in a flash, and headed to Sweetie’s house.  Upon my arrival, I announced that I’d brought breakfast and that breakfast was banana pecan waffles.  They smelled heavenly in the car between the restaurant and the house, by the way.  Sweetie seemed pleased as I placed his still-hot waffles (and sausage) on a plate and handed it to him.  I’ll admit that I noticed some kind of dark things in the waffles as I was putting them on his plate, but I didn’t investigate; I thought they were probably either the pecans, or bananas that had darkened after being on the griddle. 
I sat down across from Sweetie with my plate about the time he decided to investigate the “dark things” in his waffle.  He flipped one over, and announced, “Um, these are blueberries.”  Well, crap.
Sure enough, the waffles that were supposed to be banana pecan, were actually blueberry pecan.  This would not have been a deal-breaker for me, as I love blueberries, and will sit and eat them by the handful.  Sweetie, on the other hand, does not eat blueberries.  Ever.  Under any circumstance.  Ever.
Naturally, I offered to call Waffle House to see if they could correct our order.  Sweetie pointed out, however, that he is reluctant to eat anything after a complaint is made concerning an order.  Quite a valid point, but I was still extremely bummed that my breakfast surprise had turned into a total disappointment.  Sweetie, however, was beyond great about it, and even professed that it was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever done.  Wow!  I guess this was one time when it really was the thought that counted.  (Of course, another stab at banana pecan waffles will be taken soon…)

Another Day, Another Docket

Sitting in court on a Wednesday afternoon. This is one of my favorite dockets to cover. It is unlike anywhere else I go, and is easily the most fun. What follows is an example of why:


Judge: Do you have any thought process issues?

Defendant: Well, I fell from 12 feet and landed on my head. At first they thought I would have brain damage, but I don’t.

1:18 PM. BACK TO THE FUTURE. Marty McFly, 30 years later. (Special thanks to J.W. who spotted this gem, and to L.M. Who provided the caption.)


Defendant, a young woman, is signing a consent judgment at the bench.

Judge (speaking to me): Boy, it sure is a beautiful day today.

Jenn (speaking to Judge): It is really pretty.

Defendant: Thank you.

[Awkward pause.]

Defendant (blushing): Were you taking to me?

Judge: We were talking about what a pretty day it is.

Defendant: Oh.

2:00 PM. CAR ENVY. Judge is talking to another female attorney about cars. It seems said attorney has recently purchased a new Mercedes. As did her husband. As they discuss models and features, it comes out the the female attorney purchased an SLK model prior to whatever model she has now, but after driving it a few weeks, felt it was too little.

Judge: There’s no back seat is there?

Female Attorney: No.

Judge: Can you even fit a rolled-up newspaper back there?

Female Attorney: No. I couldn’t even turn around. I felt like a fat girl in a little coat from that movie “Tommy Boy”.

And with that, the courtroom is now empty.


Back when I was a kid, going through the awkward and (seriously) ugly duckling years, I remember being jealous of the girls everyone described as being “cute”. In an attempt to make me feel better about my not-so-attractive self, I remember my mother telling me that “cute” was for puppies and kittens, and that while some of those girls were cute, cute would not last. (She was dead accurate about at least one of those girls; she grew up to be the furthest thing from cute, both in her appearance, and more importantly, in her personality. Just saying.) That conversation stuck with me, and to this day, I still bristle a little when someone calls me cute. (Parents, if you think the things you say to your kids now won’t have a lasting effect on them, I submit to you that you are wrong.)

Today I went to court and as I sat down to discuss a case with a Defendant who appeared representing himself, he looked at me and said, “You ARE cute!” Um, okay? Is that really what you say to opposing counsel? He went on to say he had had a free consultation with a local attorney who, when asked who the defendant should talk with at court, told him to “just look for the cute one — and he was right!” Nice. Under the philosophy that a compliment is a compliment, I said thank you and redirected his attention to his case, which we agreed to continue.

While in the courtroom waiting to call his case, I lined up with the other attorneys at the front of the room. Mr. Defendant was seated in the front row of the courtroom seating. He apparently was not blessed with much of an “inside voice”, because from several feet away, I heard him say, “I get to go up there with the cute attorney.” I did not hear what his conversational parter had to say, as I was trying to stifle a giggle & not let on that I had heard.

For fear that he would persist in declaring my alleged cuteness to all who would listen, when it was my turn to call cases, I called his first in an attempt to get him on his way. All went well as Mr. Defendant approached the bench. The judged asked him if he was, in fact, the defendant identified in the case. Mr. Defendant verified that he was, then looked squarely at the judge and said, “I get the cute attorney”. The judge, as if he wasn’t sure what he’s heard — and maybe he wasn’t; Mr. Defendant was a little difficult to understand — replied, “I beg your pardon?”, and Mr. Defendant repeated himself. I am pretty sure I heard giggled from the peanut gallery at that point. The judge, rather impressively, did not bat an eyelash, and I somehow managed to refrain from cracking up right then and there. Not because I like being called “cute”, but because it was freaking hilarious, and because I was already plotting the “cute” story it would make on my blog…

Based on some of the history with the attorney who planted the “cute” seed in Mr. Defendant’s head — things like trying to intimidate me by telling me he and the judge are friends from way back, to standing close enough to invade my personal space while picking up my key necklace and ogling it, among others — I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit peeved. A compliment is a compliment, though, and I appreciate the sentiment. I just wonder how “cute” Mr. Attorney will think I am when I kick his tail in court!

The Guys Have It

The guys have it. Well, they have it if “it” you mean Sunday’s Worst Dressed Award. 

Look, I am a far cry from a men’s fashion expert. Let’s be honest, men’s fashions aren’t incredibly exciting to me. You have casual wear, business attire, and formalwear, and then some gray areas in between. Some things look better than others, but as far as I am concerned, the variety is kind of lacking. Given that, you would think it would be harder for men to screw up wardrobe-wise. Sadly (for them), that just is not the case. 

Sunday morning after CrossFit, I had the rather unfortunate task of making a Walmart run. I’d put it off as long as I could, and at that point, it was plainly and simply a necessary evil. Always the first to tell off on myself, I will allow that I might well have made someone else’s snarky blog, as I was in a running skirt, knee-high socks, and a CrossFit t-shirt. I looked less than stylish, but at least I was dressed that way for a reason. I don’t just head to the store attired in that manner on a rest day, for example. Whether that makes it better or worse, I don’t know (or care); I am just sayin’. 

As I hopped out of my vehicle and headed into the store, I was fortunate enough to encounter & capture a photo of this guy. 

Granted, I disapprove of the pajamas- in-public phenomenon whether the wearer is male or female; this time, the offender just happened to be male. They are pajamas, for crying out loud. Nightclothes. Sleepwear. Bedclothes. All of those terms imply that they are not intended to be worn in public. I know some vendors have marketed them as “lounge pants” — Gap & Old Navy, I am looking at you — and I can even accept that. Here’s the thing about “lounge pants”, though: “lounging” implies that a person is relaxing, and sitting around AT HOME. It does not imply that you are shoving a cart through the congested aisles of your local Walmart. Really?! Is it that hard to put on a pair of pants before imposing yourself upon the eyes of the public?

Despite my obviously, um, strong feelings about pajamas in public, I would almost welcome that if given a choice between that and what I saw exiting the store.

He was a couple of registers closer to the door than I was, and his cashier was a little faster than mine, so I had to all but sprint to be sure I didn’t lose him before I got a photo. (I’m sure it was comical to watch.) I am still not sure what the pattern is on his shorts. I AM sure, however, that those shorts should have never been worn outside his house. I’m pretty certain they shouldn’t be worn in the house, either, but that is between him and his significant other. (She was with him, by the way. I can’t believe she allowed him out of the house, or was willing to be seen with him wearing those shorts, but maybe that is just me.) Those shorts can’t possibly have been comfortable. Just look at how they are bunching up. (I know; it hurt my eyes, too.)

Guys, really? I’ll ask again: Does it take that long to put on a pair of pants? The answer to that is no. I know this, because it doesn’t take me that long to put on a pair. So next time, take a few extra seconds to put on a pair and leave the pajamas at home, okay? (Oh, and next time you are stricken with the urge to buy those shorts, don’t. Really. Don’t.)

Chev-to-the-ron, baby! (An Experiment in Live-Blogging)

Special thanks to Tracey for the title idea.

6:04 PM — ON THE WAY. I am on the way to meet my friend Hannah at the NWA Boutique Show. I was supposed to meet her 4 minutes ago, but twenty minutes in the bank’s drive-thru will make even the most punctual among us — which I am not — tardy.

I did see this fine example of quality parenting while waiting in line. I am pretty sure that kiddo is of an age and poundage that he should be in some sort of restraint rather than hanging out the window…

6:34 PM — STRIPES ARE STRIPES: We have arrived and battled our way past a sea of chevron to get inside. One of the first things I saw on the way in, though, was this great example of chevron-gone-wrong. As Tracey pointed out, stripes are stripes, regardless of the zig and the zag. And on some shapes? Well, stripes just shouldn’t happen…  It’s a great try at a cute outfit.  I’ll give her that.  But I’m pretty sure if she realized how very posterior-emphasizing this skirt is, she would have opted to wear her chevron elsewhere on her body.

6:35 PM — NO PHOTOGRAPHS.  I’m going to have to be even more careful with my covert photography than usual since there is a sign that prohibits taking photos of the booths.  Of course, I am not really taking photos of the booths or their wares.  I am photographing the other attendees…  (Wonder if that explanation will fly if I get caught…?)
6:37 PM — OOF.  Speaking of things that are not flattering… As Tracey said when I sent this picture to her, that’s a lot of denim. Bless her heart.

6:40 PM — ALL CHEVRON IS NOT CREATED EQUAL.  I understand that chevron is very hip and happening right now. I understand that chevron was part of the evening’s theme. I also understand that there is a big difference in a nice, neat chevron and looking like a really unfortunate Easter egg. This? Yeah, this is the latter.

6:52 PM. RE-PURPOSED PHONE CORDS.  Reusable hair wraps. Um, that’s a phone cord.  With beads.  I guess now that next to no one has a corded phone these days, the phone cord manufacturers need to do something with all that slinky-shaped stuff.  I am not sure I have a good suggestion as to what they should do with it it, but why on earth would I want it tangled up in my hair? 

 (In the interest of not taking photos of the booths, I swiped this photo off of the Internet after the fact. And yes, for anyone who cares about the tabs at the top of the screen capture, I was attempting to learn how to field strip a particular firearm at the time.)

6:56 PM — TULLE. Okay, that’s it! I want a freaking tutu!  
(In the interest of not taking photos of the booths, I swiped this photo off of the Internet after the fact.)

7:03 PM – SEQUINS.  Wow! That’s a lot of sequins. And are those rubber rain boots?  With mustard yellow leggings.  I mean, it isn’t raining, but they kind of have that look.  And they are a bit incongruent style-wise with the sequined skirt.  I just don’t “get” this outfit. 

7:14 PM — BLANKET DRESSES. You know that super-soft, ultra-cuddly fabric they use to make blankets and stuffed animals for babies? I won’t lie; I fondle that fabric when I encounter it (which isn’t often, as I don’t spend much time around children. Shudder!); it’s soothing to the touch. With that said, I would not wear that fabric as a dress. And the lady peddling them? I’m going to say she shouldn’t wear a dress made out of it, either.

7:18 PM — PROMOTING YOUR PRODUCT. The sign above the booth says, “It works! Body Wraps”. Um, what do they do? And does the lady hocking their wares use them herself? Because if so? I am very frightened about what this product would do to my body (and my hair, for that matter).  Let’s keep walking.  Quickly.

This individual is NOT looking at the body wrap booth, but her facial expression is appropriate.

7:23 PM — HATS. Not a good picture, but that is okay; it isn’t a good hat, either. Pretty sure she’s trying to pass it off as chevron. It isn’t.

7:37 PM — GOOD OBSERVATION.  Standing in front the Swanky Sooie booth, Hannah comments, “it just seems wrong to have BBQ and Razorbacks on the same shirt.”
 (In the interest of not taking photos of the booths, I swiped this photo off of the Internet after the fact.)

7:44 PM — DOUBLE TROUBLE.  Making one last lap around to pick up a couple of things.  I just keep seeing things that distract me.  Like this:

It is November.  She is wearing some seriously tight capri pants, flip-flops, and a shoulder-baring example of chevron-gone-wrong.  And as if this isn’t bad enough… Her Bobbsie-Twin is following along right behind her… I. Am. Not. Kidding. 
Once was not good.  Twice?  Well, it certainly is NOT nice.  Yikes!
7:49 PM — RELAX.  We have stopped to look at a pair of boot socks we saw earlier.  They were white, but appear to have been tea-stained, and they have ribbons and a button sewn on them.  I think they are adorable.  Hannah thinks they look used.  She says she played in the mud as a child and recognizes dirty socks when she sees them.  I, however, am taken with them and am making the purchase.  As I turn away from the merchant with my socks safely bagged, Hannah looks at me and says, “RELAX!!!! Don’t do it!!!!”  For a moment, I think she is talking about my sock purchase.  Then I realize the DJ has changed songs, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood is blasting from the speakers.  Ironic timing.
7:54 PM  — I MUST HAVE IT. I saw this painting early in the evening and managed to talk myself out of it.  I continued to lust after it, though, and after successfully talking myself out of it more than once, I finally gave in.  It now hangs in its new home on my living room wall. 
Here’s why:  Two years ago, I ran across a purple coffee table at a flea market.  I liked it, wanted it, and decided I couldn’t use it.  After telling my mother about it, we decided I could use it with my red couch and love seat, along with zebra print.  Sold on the idea, I returned to the flea market in the hope that my purple coffee table was there waiting for me.  It wasn’t.  And for the last two years, I have regretted not purchasing the darn thing when I saw it.  I bought the painting because I feared if I didn’t, it would be my “new” purple coffee table, and two years from now, I’d still be wishing I had gotten it. 
8:00 PM — CALLING IT A NIGHT.  We are leaving the convention center and going in search of food.
Overall impressions:  I am glad we went.  The people-watching was spectacular, and I found gifts for a couple of people, as well as a couple of “gifts” for myself.  With that said, it was really pretty disappointing.  I suspect those with small children might have enjoyed it a little more than I did, but really?  How many hair bows does one child’s head need?  (If you were a vendor at the boutique show, the answer was obviously “an infinite number”.)  I do think it was worth going.  Once.  I’m not sure that I will repeat the experience, though. 

Dressing for the Time of Year

Yesterday was Thursday, November 8, 2012.  It was a mild day weather-wise, but the fact remains, we are now into the month of November.  As such, certain items of clothing just seem seasonally (seasonably?) inappropriate.  This is true regardless of the outdoor temperature.  For instance, strappy shoes? Wrong time of year.  Flirty summer dresses?  Save it for next spring/summer.  Seafoam green skinny jeans with white sleeveless tops?  You know the answer.  Apparently, though, this chick didn’t get the memo.
I saw her shopping in a local grocery store after I got off work yesterday afternoon.  (Step away from the tortillas.  Really?!)  I hate to break it to her, but adding the scarf and fringy boots does not a November-appropriate outfit make.  Yes, it is possible she wore a sweater or jacket to her job and shed her over-layer when she left work.  I’ll give her that.  I just can’t figure out what it was about a day with temperatures in the high-fifties to low-sixties that made her think sleeveless was the way to go — even after work hours.

Here are a couple of bonus shots…

Dressing for weather conditions that often fluctuate wildly from one day to the next is admittedly one of the great challenges of living in this area.  I, for one, am beyond ready for cold weather to arrive.  There are winter clothes in my closet just begging to be worn, but with temperatures that could pass for either Spring or Fall, those clothes are going to have to wait.  (The cute spring/summer clothes are going to have to wait, too, though.  It just isn’t their time.)  The funny thing is, on a day like yesterday, one sees all extremes ranging from things like what the girl above has on, to folks wearing puffy down coats with fur-trimmed hoods. 
I don’t fault people for strugging to dress under current weather conditions.  My mother would not have let me out of the house wearing something like this in November back in the day, though, and rules like that stuck with me.  (I’m sure she’d tell you that plenty of her other rules did not stick, but we aren’t going to ask her about that right now.)  Once upon a time there were rules about what one wore after certain points in the year.  (Think Easter, Labor Day…)  Whoever decided it was cool to relax seasonal fashion rules to the point that someone somewhere thinks this okay in November, well, I’m not sure what should happen to them, but it ought to be bad.  

Why People Wear Camo in Courtrooms: A Theory

This is an actual exchange I had with another attorney in court yesterday.

Male Attorney: That young lady was dressed very nicely; you should have taken a picture of her for your blog as an example of what is appropriate.

Jenn: You’re right; she was. And I should have. But I was too distracted with trying to get a picture of that — [nods on the direction of a young man standing near the judge’s bench] — to get her. Why would you come to court dressed like that?

M.A.: Maybe he thought if he wore camo the judge wouldn’t be able to see him?

Jenn: Hmm… Could be. From this angle the color does sort of blend with the carpet…

It Takes All Kinds

Some days I go to court and I don’t encounter anything that makes me grab my phone and angle for a covert photograph or enter notes on something I simply must remember to write about later.  Other days, it is a veritable smorgasbord of blog fodder with blog-worthy items all but throwing themselves at my feet.  Yesterday?  Well, yesterday was the latter.
My day began with a single case in an upstairs division, followed by a hefty docket in my regular division.  Because of that, my first stop, after getting through courthouse security and chatting with one of the deputies (with Arkansas ties) about the Hogs’ (surprising) success over the weekend, was the elevator.  I may have mentioned it before, but the elevator in that particular courthouse is one of the slowest ones I’ve ever had the displeasure of riding.  I am serious when I say it would be absolutely zero fun for a small child who enjoys riding the elevator up and down.  It moves at a positively geriatric pace.  This fact was particularly unfortunate yesterday since the two individuals with whom I shared the elevator car apparently didn’t put a whole lot of emphasis on personal hygiene that morning.  By that I mean soap and deodorant were clearly not in use.  And clearly hadn’t been for some time.  What was it the assistant band director at my high school told an especially odious smelling band member one day?  Oh, yes, it was, “Soap and water are cheap; use some”.  The gentleman (who, for anyone who cares, arrived for court in baggie basketball shorts, a t-shirt and untied high-top athletic shoes) and his female companion (whose attire I could tell you absolutely nothing about other than she was wearing flip-flops) could have stood to follow that advice. 
Coming downstairs, my morning docket went pretty well.  It was not until I was at the front of the room visiting with the court clerk about a file I needed for the afternoon that I saw it.  It was eye-catching, and I knew immediately that photographs were necessary.  It was what I have retroactively named the “Bad Hair Bench”.  There were maybe 8 to 10 people in the courtroom when I saw it, and three of those people were on the back row.  Two of them had some seriously questionable hair.  I can’t even say they were having a bad hair day.  They were having bad hair lives, bless their hearts, and someone with more style sense than a colorblind turtle needs to take these gals to a salon where a stylist whose sensibilities are offended by these cuts can straighten out this mess.  There are other simple, easy-to-fix styles that would be far more flattering.  I offer exhibits A and B as evidence of the atrocities I witnessed.

The level of enthusiasm on the faces of these ladies is priceless, isn’t it?  They were not present for any of my cases, and for that I am thankful, mostly because I had begun mentally referring to them as “Mullet” and “Mop”.  I fear that, had I been required to interact with them in some way, I might have accidentally referred to them by the names I had so appropriately, yet not so kindly, given them, and that would have been, um, awkward.  For them, I mean.  
After snapping photos of those occupying the Bad Hair Bench, I departed the scene and went to grab a bite to eat before the afternoon docket.  I returned to the courthouse a little early and got a primo parking spot, directly in front of the building with an outstanding view of the doors.  I consider that a spectacular vantage point from which to engage the sport of people-watching, and yesterday did not disappoint.  First, I saw a gentleman walking down the sidewalk in front of the building wearing a sombrero.  Yes, a sombrero.  It was raining when I snapped the photo, so I apologize for the poor, rain-drop riddled, quality of the picture. 
His companion went with a more traditional approach of a hooded rain jacket, while he went with a sombrero.  And what appears to be a bandanna.  Truly, I have no words.  (I do wonder if his companion attempted to talk him into or out of wearing the sombrero, though…)
And if I found myself lacking for words with respect to Mr. Sombrero, well, you can just imagine what happened when I saw this…
If you are thinking that his face and head are one gigantic tattoo, you would be correct.  I saw this gentleman from afar and to be perfectly honest, I was a little frightened.  Don’t lie; you’d be scared, too.  He may be the nicest guy in the world, but the reality is, he looks a little (read: a lot) like something out of a horror movie.  It was a cloudy, overcast, and, at times, drizzly day, and then, this emerged from the fog.  I regret that I wasn’t able to get a better photo, but WOW.  I am not anti-tattoo, provided the tattoo means something to the tattoo-ee.  For the life of me, however, I just can’t imagine what would inspire one to tattoo one’s entire face and head, or what that could possibly mean to the tattoo-ee.  But who am I to judge.  Oh, wait…
And last but not least, upon entering the courthouse for the afternoon docket, I watched an elegantly dressed lady come through security and head down the hallway — in her fur coat.  Look, I know it isn’t politically correct to wear fur.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Blah, blah, blah.  I invited everyone to calmly step down from their animal activist high-horses, as the point of this post has nothing to do with animal cruelty.  Let’s evaluate: temperatures were in the low 50’s, it was raining, and she was wearing a fur coat.  And not just any fur coat.  It was a full-length fur coat, suitable for a high-society evening out.  (See below.)
I don’t know if she bought it at an end-of-the-season fur sale last year and had waited all summer, and just could. not. wait. another day to break out her new coat or what.  Although it was pretty — yes, I said that — it just really didn’t seem like the day for it.  I remember when rabbit coats were all the rage when I was a kid, and consequently, I can’t imagine that the day’s rain showers were especially healthy for her coat (or her coat’s fragrance).  Odd.
So all in one place, I observed basketball shorts & flip-flops, Mullets & Mops, sombreros, tattooed faces, and fur coats.  Wow.  I’ve always heard it takes all kinds (and I often wonder why), and yesterday I saw evidence of that in a big way.  Admit it; you’re jealous.