Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Originally uploaded by Glamorous Jo.
Nivah Ry Norman Eckert – my Matron of Honor. I’m five days older than Nivah, who was born on Flag Day, June 14th. I met Nivah in September of 1992 at Renee Reams apartment (off campus) when were new pledges for Kappa Delta. We had both pledged with friends, so she was sitting with her group and I was sitting with mine. We had to go around the room and say something unique about ourselves, and I said how when I was in Jr. High, I had to sleep in a football helmet to re-align my jaw. This made Nivah think I was a weirdo.
We were friends all through college and next door neighbors for two years. She lived in Jones 12 and I lived in Jones 10. We sang together in All Sing competitions and weddings and sorority functions. I always thought Nivah was classy and cool and the prettiest girl I knew. After college I moved to Louisville and Nivah moved to Chicago. I was running from my problems and Nivah was looking for adventure. After about a year and a half – we both moved to Nashville. I was still running from my problems, and Nivah was coming back home. We moved into an attic apartment on Blair Boulevard. The shower was so small you had to stick your leg out into the bathroom to shave. If I stood up too fast while opening a dresser drawer, I would knock myself out on the sloped attic ceiling. We were both broke, and at one point got second jobs at a five diamond restaurant, The Wild Boar. This is now the restaurant of which we do not speak.
That was seven years ago – and to say that much has happened in the last seven years seems comic. We’ve traveled, laughed, cried, grown, raged, changed – and been there for each other through the storms that inevitably come. In the past few years, she and I both faced tragedies that seemed insurmountable. She held my hand and I held hers. And I found out that sometimes water is just as thick as blood. That there are people in the world who will truly see you through the hard times and love you when you are unlovable (except when you’re sick and have germs, right Nivah?). Nivah is the sister I never had, the friend I lean on and trust, the person I admire and the woman I want to be. And even though we’ve been in more weddings than is print-able…..I’m so honored that she will be standing next to me when I marry Ryan.

I love you Niv – more than you know.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Rain, Rain.....

Originally uploaded by Glamorous Jo.
Ryan and I decided not to rent a tent for our blessed event, believing that it will not rain. And this is the fortune I got at Pei Wei. But raining success? If that means success in the form of cash money, then LET THE HEAVENS OPEN AND POUR OUT THEIR BLESSINGS.

Reason #98

Reason #98 Why I Love Ryan Illingworth:
Today we went to get our marriage license, and when the angry woman at the County Clerk's office barked, "What number marriage is this for you?", Ryan quickly said, "First...and last."


JoAnna and Andy
Originally uploaded by Glamorous Jo.
I’m getting married on Monday, marrying the best person I know. There are many people involved in the wedding whom I love and adore and with whom I feel honored to share my day. I want to somehow give a small picture of how blessed I am to be surrounded by such great people. First off, my brother, Kelley Andrew Harris – or Drew, for short. My earliest memory of my brother is the day he was born. I was six years old and the queen of the world, and suddenly there was this new person in my house. The day Drew was born, Dad took me to K-Mart in Bowling Green, KY to get a new outfit for my “new brother to come home in”. I had known something was coming, had seen my mother’s stomach growing month by month. But somehow I didn’t realize all the talk meant a new person I had to share space with – and parents. Once he did come home, I thought he was pretty cool since he was tiny like a baby doll. But MAN! DID HE SCREAM! For an entire year he screamed morning, noon and night. Screamed instead of eating. Screamed instead of sleeping. He screamed…..and screamed. My parents went crazy wondering what it was they were doing wrong while Drew just screamed. And screamed.
After a year, he did finally stop the incessant screaming (we never figured out what the problem was…). What's followed has been 24 years of good and bad and hilarious. When we were younger, we fought like champs. We also loved each other and had more than fun than should be allowed for two kids to have. He was always so much younger than me, which made me into a bossy tyrant at times. And he was a pesky little brother. But he was also funny and interesting and my best friend growing up. Together we traveled to grandparents’ in the family mini-van, took a trip to the beach, rode to school every day, watched 10,000 movies and made a lifetime of memories.
Once I left home for college, my relationship with my brother matured into a friendship like none other I have. Whenever I’m with Drew, I’m laughing. He’s truly the funniest person I know and will EVER know. And he’s grown into a man of character and strength, a person I admire and respect. It’s too challenging (and time consuming at the moment) to truly write an accurate picture of my love for my brother, but here are some of my personal highlights:
- I’m Po, but I’m Proud
- Sambo
- Orange converse high tops
- Riding the jet ski in Florida and fearing for my life
- Scooby Doo
- verysmallrocks
- “Wait a second….bug…..gnat……”
- “I know who you are”
- The bird call
- Tetris, Super Mario and Frogger
- Our trip to LA
- Stealing my 10-speed and then knocking your teeth out on a parked car
- No knees
- Megan has a bowling ball
- Taking a "Wayne"

Drew – you know there are a million more…..and a million more than that. You’ve been (and continue to be) the best brother a girl could ask for. I’ve loved you since I met you, and I’m so excited to see where life will take us both. Thank you for being a part of my wedding, and my life. I love you!

Friday, June 24, 2005

To Wed...

It’s interesting to me the many contradictions/oddities I’ve found while planning this wedding (that is now approaching like a speeding bullet) that the wedding community at large seems to impose on every girl blinking love south of the Mason-Dixon. Below are just a few I’ve encountered that make me laugh – or mad – depending on the moment.

1. Go on a diet and be skinny for your wedding!
This is a lie. Well, ok…..I DO want to look hot on my wedding day. But, every magazine, website, half hour show on TLC and friend/acquaintance makes it VERY clear that I should be as skinny as humanly possible on my wedding day. Amazon.com has SCORES of books I could buy to teach me how to get skinny, including one titled “The Wedding Dress Diet”. There’s a section on theknot.com about fitness – including a checklist. There’s a show on TLC about brides competing to see who can lose the most weight before the wedding. I’ve had 20+ people ask me if I’ve gone on a diet for the wedding, or, ask me how much weight I’ve lost so far (simply assuming that OF COURSE I’ve been trying). Well guess what? THIS bride has not been on ANY sort of diet since she got engaged. First of all, Ryan loves me already. He thought I was hot when we met. He asked me to marry him at THIS weight. Second of all, (and here’s the magic contradiction) how are you supposed to diet when you are constantly going to parties and showers and dinners/lunches with friends to celebrate? I’ve eaten large portions of shower cake three times now (and LOVED it). Should I turn down 1,000 calorie cake at my own shower? NO! And after every bridal shower, I’ve been given the leftover cake to take home and enjoy – AND I HAVE. Who has time to think about food when there are 549 other details to be thinking about and finalizing? Not me. I don’t care if I’m tiny on my wedding day. As long as my dress zips, I’m happy.

2. It’s your day! You can do whatever you want!
This is a lie. Well, ok….I CAN do whatever I want, but no one really means that. Everyone has an opinion about what I should do, and if I disagree, they turn their head to the side like a Golden Retriever and murmur something about what’s wrong with me. Well, nothing is wrong with me. IT’S MY DAY (as you just stated). But, I do this too. When someone else does something I deem “weird” or “different” at their wedding, my head falls to the right and I think “what is she THINKing?” Every woman (and some men) have an opinion about what the perfect wedding looks like. And every woman (and some men) expect my wedding to be the perfect – so they share, freely. And offer help. But most of the time, the help that is offered is really a ploy to get their way so my wedding will be perfect. (Read: How They Want It) Well guess what? I WANT my brother to stand next to me at the wedding!!! Yes, he’s a guy. Yes, I know most people don’t do that. Yes, I know he will be on the “girls” side. But he is my brother and I don’t care what you say. The End.

3. Do-it-Yourself and save money!
This is a lie. Well, ok…..I DID save money doing things myself. But I also cried at two different Kinko’s locations and sat up past midnight next to my printer. I’ve also made more trips to JoAnn’s Crafts and Michael’s than I ever will again in the rest of my adult life. I’ve also had my flower order lost, then found, then lost again. I’ve also held my breath while my dress was at the dry cleaner’s and the seamstress because it’s irreplaceable (and not irreplaceable in that “one-of-a-kind” way but in that “I-bought-it-on-ebay-so-I-can’t-just-go-buy-another-one” way). I used to think Wedding Planners were just for rich, lazy people. Now I wish I was rich and lazy.

4. Registering for gifts is the only way to get what you need!
This is also a lie. Well, ok…..part of it is true. I HAVE gotten a lot of nice gifts that I really wanted and needed. But I’ve also gotten creepy stuff. And now I want the things on my list that I didn’t get – which I wouldn’t even know about had I not registered. I think the Bridal Gift Registry is retail’s way of luring in innocent couple’s in love, making them believe that they NEED an ice bucket and a potato slicer to have a happy marriage. Unless we have a mini-chopper and a silver serving tray, we will end up lonely, friendless and utterly unacceptable. Our Bed Bath and Beyond Bridal Consultant informed us (many times over) that not only would we be receiving all of the gits on our registry, but probably lots of money too, which we could use to get MORE things from Bed Bath and Beyond!!!!! BEYOND!!!!!!!

There are more of these observations...but I cannot list them all now. I have to go home and eat ice cream and print 180 programs for my Do-It-Yourself wedding that’s exactly what I want.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I'm Sorry Honey But We Don't Have a Record of Your Flower Order

Why.......why didn't we elope.

Engagement Photos

beach favorite
Originally uploaded by Glamorous Jo.

Here are our engagement photos that we took on the beach in Outer Banks, NC when we were there for my brother's wedding. The link will take you to all of photos.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Movies In The Park

Originally uploaded by Glamorous Jo.
Ryan -

I remember our first date – one year ago today. I was so nervous all day, wondering what would happen. Wondering if you liked me. Wondering if I looked ok. (I was wearing a new black shirt that I had bought at Banana Republic in a mass shopping frenzy trying to find something cute to wear for the intern.) Wondering if it would be awkward or strange. Wondering if Troy or Bob would find out. Wondering if it went well, if you did like me, if I could handle that.
At 6:00 you came to my office and my heart skipped a beat. You smiled that gorgeous smile and I suddenly felt like all was well with the world. We ran into Bob in the hallway and I thought for sure we were busted - but he had no clue. We went out to your car and got on our way…talking and laughing and feeling nervous. Anxious. Excited. We went to SATCO and sat outside and ate tacos. I wondered if I had food in my teeth. I felt nervous. Anxious. Excited. You were charming and funny and interesting. After dinner we went to Border’s and I showed you the book that had two essays of mine. You squealed and I squealed and I thought you were cute. Then we went to Centennial Park and discovered that we were late and the movie had already started. As we began walking through the crowd, you in front of me, you reached back and took my hand. It made my head spin and my blood swirl (is that a swoon?) and I thought you were so……interesting. We laid our blanket on the grass, in the back, where you couldn’t even really see the screen. The movie was School of Rock. But we didn’t care….we talked for hours about everything and anything. You told me your stories and I told you mine. Rowdy kids were hanging out behind us and the movie screen was partially visible in front of us, but all I could see was you. I remember that I kept thinking “could I really like the intern this much?”, “could he really be this cool?”....and I did, and you were. The movie ended without us noticing……..and people began to leave the park. Suddenly we were alone. You took my hand and we walked over to a swing facing the Parthenon. We talked some more and sat in comfortable silence. You kissed me on the forehead. And I decided I would give this a chance.
Since that perfect day there have only been more perfect days. I found out months later that you were more than the intern, more than a dare – you were the true love of my life. Since that night in the park, you’ve taught me so much about love and trust. You’ve made me laugh. You’ve held me together when I’ve fallen apart. And you’ve loved me, truly. Without limit.
So thank you, Love. Thank you for that great night in the park. Thank you for taking a chance on an unlikely girl. Thank you for truly seeing me and knowing me. You’ve been the best surprise of my life.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

My friend Anne at bananie.com extended a challenge to be thankful. So - here is what I'm currently thankful for:

1. True love that I didn't seek out, nor do I deserve.
2. My space heater that sits under my desk.
3. My own space.
4. The fact that even though we went over budget, the wedding is paid for
5. Reese's Peanut Butter cups - although I only have one left - and the Reese's Peanut Butter Ice Cream was finished Sunday night.
6. "Fix You" by Coldplay.
7. The new women in my life - my brother's wife Kellie, Ryan's sisters Leslie and Angie, and Ryan's mother Dawn. All exceptional women whom I already adore.
8. Good news about AJ's dad, Steve Keatts.
9. Photos.
10. A chance to write another book (although this is equally terrifying).

So what about you? What are you currently thankful for?

Like Mother....

My mom is awesome. She’s vibrant and creative and a great story teller. She’s commanding and effervescent and has a great laugh. There are many things about my mom that I love – that I want to emulate. And truthfully, I did get many of the qualities about my mom that I adore. Problem is, I also got some of the qualities I run from like the plague. Like her ability to make anyone feel guilty about anything. Last night I made someone I care about feel guilty – when I didn’t even mean to!! I heard these words, “you’re just making me feel guilty about it”, and I thought I would fall over dead. My whole life, WHOLE LIFE, I have vowed to NEVER do that to another person EVER. And then I did, just as naturally as you please.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Little Devils

little devils
Originally uploaded by Glamorous Jo.
I get to marry this man in seventeen days. Ryan and I took these today at the mall on our lunch break (while I was dragging him around buying a tiara for our flower princess and jewelry for me). He said "in that last picture, you look like the Runaway Bride".

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Angry Lips

Originally uploaded by Glamorous Jo.
Since I am now so web savvy and technologically inclined (thanks to Joy at scrapalicioussssssssss) I might be prone to share photos at will. This one is called Angry Lips. Whenever Ryan says something I do not like - they come out. Then Ryan is forced to say, "Now Jo....put away your angry lips".

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Perfect Ryan

TL photo68
Originally uploaded by Glamorous Jo.
Joy over at scrapalicio taught me how to upload photos...so I'm trying this out to see if it works. If I did it correctly, you should be able to see me and Perfect Ryan. Isn't he dreamy?

Small Town USA - Volume 2

So that fateful morning I drove BACK to Columbia to get my car tags renewed, grumbling the whole way about how much I HATE getting my car tags renewed. I drove past the rolling hills. Past Duck River Electric (honk, honk!). Past the town watering hole, tanning salon and the local auto mart. When I had called the Maury (Murray) County Clerk’s office to get directions, the friendly ma’am on the phone had told me to “turn left by the big bank”, so I was looking for “the big bank” and ran a red light. Luckily, Barney Fife wasn’t on duty at that particular corner. Turning at the big bank landed me right in the middle of town square. I drove around the square once and found the Clerk’s office and then drove around once more to find a parking space. On my third trip around, I was held up by prisoners in black and white jumpsuits filing into the Court House. (Yes – black and white striped jumpsuits….my very own “O Brother Where Art Thou” moment, only with less singing. But I did have a hankerin’ to R-U-N-N-O-F-T.)
The inside of the Maury (Murray) County Clerk’s office reminded me of the George Bailey's building and loan office from “It’s A Wonderful Life”. There was a worried guy in the back, typing on an actual type writer. Behind the counter sat several women in modest “Sunday” dresses. High ceilings with long pole lights hanging down added to the old wood smell. Looking around, it seemed like this experience might not be so bad after all. Maybe they would even offer me a cookie and some lemonade! When it was my turn, I happily walked up to the counter and presented my car registration.

Sunday Dress: Well Good Morning! Can I helpya?
Me: Yes (handing over registration), I need to get my car tags renewed, and I’ve just moved to Maury County. (I even said mur-eeee.)
SD: OK, do you have some mail with you?
Me: Mail?
SD: To prove that you’ve moved to the county?
Me: Umm..no.
SD: Well honey, you need something to prove you live here. Don’t you have any mail?
Me: No, I don’t. I just moved…so my mail hasn’t caught up with me yet. My tags expire Tuesday and Monday is a holiday….can I just get them renewed? I do live in this county.
SD: Well do you have any mail or anything to prove your address is in Maury County?
Me: (Starting to breathe hard through my nose as this situation is fast becoming Duck River Electric: The Sequel) Well, I don’t have any mail because it hasn’t been forwarded yet. I need to get my car tags today. I might have a receipt from Duck River Electric, would that work?
SD: (Staring at me…….)
Me: (Searching through purse which is jammed full of receipts from house stuff, traveling, brother’s wedding, my own wedding and Moe’s Southwest Grill)
Me: (Dumping contents of purse on counter searching for the Duck River Electric handwritten receipt)
Me: (Breathing even louder through nose)
Me: I don’t have anything with me that shows my address.
SD: Well, you’ll have to come back with some mail or somethin’ honey. We need to know that you really live here.

Yes, there are questions to be asked like WHY would I come all the way to Columbia if I didn’t have to? WHY would I fake a Maury (Murray) County address? WHY didn’t someone tell me about this before I drove 60 minutes one way – OUT OF MY WAY.

I left in a huff.

When I got back to my office, I called the Franklin Post Office to find out where my mail was and why it wasn’t with me. They informed me that, indeed, they had forwarded my mail. They suggested I call the Spring Hill Post Office. Ok.

Spring Hill Post Office: Good afternoon, Spring Hill Post Office, how can I helpya?
Me: Hi, I’ve recently moved to Spring Hill from Franklin and haven’t started receiving my mail yet. It was supposed to start forwarding on the 9th, and today is the 27th and I still haven’t received anything – not even junk mail.
SHPO: Well honey, you wouldn’t get any junk mail.
Me: Ok, I’m just trying to emphasize that I haven’t received anything, and it was supposed to start on the 9th.
SHPO: But junk mail isn’t forwarded.
Me: I understand, I’m just pointing out that there are cobwebs in my mailbox where mail should be. I called the Franklin Post Office and they said it’s all been forwarded, but I have not received anything. I need my mail.
SHPO: Well when did you start the forward?
Me: (pause) ……The 9th
SHPO: And where was it forwarded from?
Me: (longer pause)………………………..Franklin
SHPO: Ok, well I’m sure it will start up soon. Can I helpya with anythin’ else?
Me: No, I need my mail. Today is the 27th. I went to the County Clerk’s office to get my car tags renewed, and they will not renew them unless I can prove I live in Maury County – which I cannot do until I get my mail. I need my mail.
SHPO: What’s your name and address and I’ll look and see what I can find, ok Honey?
Me: (on hold…waiting…..sighing loudly….tapping foot……more sighing….)
SHPO: Honey, we’ve got all your mail right here!
Me: (loud pause)……Why hasn’t it been delivered?
SHPO: Well we were just waitin’ to hear from ya!
Me: What?
SHPO: Yeah Darlin’, we were just waitin’ to hear from ya so we’d know you’s here!
Me: I filled out a form with the United States Postal Service. Did that not inform you of when I would “be here”?
SHPO: Oh I know that, but we were just holding your mail right here til we heard from ya!
Me: Ok……………………………………………………………………………….I’m here. Could you please deliver my mail?
SHPO: Well Darlin’, she’s already gone out today. Didya wanna come by and pick it up?
Me: No – I do not want to come by and pick it up. I work in Franklin and it is not convenient for me to come by there to pick up my mail which should be in my mailbox.
SHPO: Well I’ll let her know that you’re here and well getcher mail right to ya!
Me: Thank you.

I did end up leaving work at 3pm so that I could go to the Spring Hill Post Office and retrieve my mail, and then drive to Columbia – AGAIN – to get my car tags. When I got to the post office, two ladies were working behind the counter. I must have had a mean look on my face, because right when I walked in the first lady said, “are you one come lookin for your mail, Honey?” When I got to my car and looked through the stack – I noticed several bills…..LATE bills……with LATE fees…..LATE. I started to march back into the post office and raise ruckus…but I still had the Columbia excursion (second one of the day) ahead of me.

It was 4:11pm when I arrived at the Maury (Murray) County Clerk’s Office. “Good”, I thought, “I still have 49 minutes before they close”. I gathered my evidence-of-residence mail (I was going to take the WHOLE STACK in) and my car registration and tried to open the door. It was stuck so I pulled harder. Still stuck so I pulled HARDER. Then, and only then, I noticed the sign on the door. Hours: 8:00am to 4:00pm. I pressed my weary face against the glass and glared inside to the Sunday Dresses behind the counter. They will still in there, looking at me. They could see me. THEY COULD SEE ME. I pounded on the door. I shouted. I waved my evidence-of-residence mail in the air. They just smiled at me, sweetly, like they were unaware of my pain. I kicked the bricks hard thinking THAT’LL SHOW THEM! I AM ANGRY! DO YOU SEE THAT I AM ANGRY!

Dejected and filled with rage, I shuffled back to my car that now had an empty gas tank. As I unlocked the door, a perky girl wearing a halter top and short shorts bounced out of the door to the clerk’s office. I shrieked and raced to catch the door, letting my precious mail fly in all directions. It slammed shut in my face. Halter Top giggled and hopped in the car with her boyfriend and they sped away, no doubt with a renewed registration. Once more I pressed my face and hands against the glass, hoping for some pity. Something. ANYTHING. Sunday Dress walked towards me….I bit my lip and stood up straight….as she turned out the lights with a smile and a wink.

Small Town USA. My new home.

Friday, June 10, 2005

To Be Loved

It’s an overwhelming thing, being loved. I’ve been loved my entire life by my family and friends. I’ve always known God’s love. But lately I’ve been stunned silent by a magnitude of love I didn’t truly know existed. Yesterday was my birthday, which was basically overlooked since the wedding is so close (24 days). Usually I shout about my birthday for at least a month ahead of time, and make sure that everyone within an 80 mile radius is informed and knows to celebrate appropriately. But this year, it snuck up on me, and passed rather quietly. That is, until it was Ryan’s turn to love on me. After work, he took me to dinner, and then for dessert at The Melting Pot – this fun fondue restaurant in downtown Nashville. I’ve been there before, but never on a date. Never with a hot guy. Never for my birthday. The hostess led us to our table, a corner booth in the back, big enough for 1½. We sat close and looked at each other, and he told me things I’ve always wanted to hear but never truly felt I deserved. The waiter brought out the chocolate and I thought things couldn’t get any better. But they did.
After dessert, Ryan had more surprises in store. A cake that said “Thirty Wonderful” and the new Coldplay CD and a card that made me misty. But there was more. He made me sit on the couch while he went to get his guitar. Then he sang me a song that he wrote – just for me. A song that spoke truth and love in a way I can’t verbalize. And I cried and cried. Then I cried some more.
I tried to explain my sobs, but couldn’t. I don’t even know if I can now, except that it’s an overwhelming thing, being loved. So completely loved. Without pretense or rules or expectations to be something else. To just be loved. Wholly. Thoroughly. Safely. The lyrics to his song showed me that he knows me. He knows me. And he loves me more than I’ve ever been loved in my life. I just stared at him, shocked. Aghast. Satisfied.
This morning I was driving to work thinking about Ryan and the song. Thinking about what a gift he is to me. About how much I adore him. About how crazy this love is. And it made me think about Jesus. If I believe Scripture to be true, then it’s true that Jesus loves me more than Ryan ever will – something I can’t fathom, although I believe it. But, do I really? Seems like my life would radically change if I truly believed the depth and magnitude of Christ’s love for me. If I accepted it. Recognized it. Bathed in it.
It's still, sometimes, hard for me to trust Ryan's love. Even harder to trust Jesus. But I'm learning.

Reason #11

Reason #11 Why I Love Ryan Illingworth:
My very cool friend Karina gave me some Jessica Simpson "Dessert" lipgloss for my birthday - Bubble Gum flavor. I asked Ryan what he thought about it and he said "You're my Bazooka Jo".

Thursday, June 09, 2005

My music....

Here is what you will learn about me from reading the below information:
1. I do not have "cool" musical tastes as "cool" is defined by the scene kids today
2. I am not ashamed of that
3. I like Meredith, so I felt free to expose my musical nerd-ness to the blog world at large

Total volume of music files on my computer:
OK, I do have an ipod. I do. However, I cannot tell you how many music files are on it, because the battery is dead since I left it on in my car and just now I fished it out of my purse where it was off (won’t come on) and all scratched up from being left in the car and in my purse. It’s not that I don’t love the ipod. I do. I think it’s one of the best inventions I’ve purchased (besides flip-flops) and I would recommend to anyone. I gave one to my fiancĂ© for Christmas. I’m a believer!! I’m just not that organized or functional at the moment. But I know there are a lot of songs on there – songs I really like.

The last CD I bought was:
I don’t, typically. I’m trying hard to remember – and I’m blank. I think it was U2 – which I’ve only listened to about once. I am planning to buy the new Cold Play record when I have some extra cash…which might be never. The last CD I got and listened to and liked was the new Copeland record. But I didn’t buy it.

Song Playing Right Now:
In my head it’s the Oscar Mayor Weiner song. (Cause if I were an Oscar Mayor Weeeeiiiinnneerrrrr….) I don’t have any out loud music playing at the moment. Even though I work for a record company – I usually get so busy that I forget to turn something on. Bad, I know. Several people sang me Happy Birthday this morning – so that is sort of the song of the day.

Five Songs I Listen To A Lot (or that mean a lot to me):
In no certain order:
"My Exit, Unfair" by mewithoutyou
"Soft Arms" by subseven
"Nobody’s Home" by Avril Lavigne (YES – I SAID AVRIL. YOU WILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH THAT.)
"Let Go" by Frou Frou
"9 to 5" by Dolly Parton
"One Big Love" by Patty Griffin
"Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" by Sarah McLachlan
--there are also one million other songs that I love love love and know all the words too – but it’s hard to think of them all. So, this list is just a representation of the glamour.

Passing the baton to:
AJ Fabulous
Lori Jones

Received baton via: Meredith who is Cool

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

30 No More

Today is the last day I will be 30 and I am sad. Not so much sad because I’m turning 31 tomorrow, it’s more the loss of 30. I loved 30. 30 was good to me. So, below are some of the highlights of me and 30. She’ll be missed.

-Had three of my closest friends give birth to their first child
-Experienced the loss of Mia Grace Eckert
-Published my first book
-Made out with the hot Flicker intern in the parking lot
-Fell in love with said intern
-Saw a friend go to China to get her daughter
-Started painting
-Ate Cracker Barrel macaroni and cheese more times than I can count
-Spent large time with great friends
-Got stuck in a snowstorm
-Gained weight and lost weight
-Lost my words, and then found them again
-Continued the search to find my faith again
-Learned to trust someone again (still working on this one)
-Got engaged to the intern
-Found that adding Ryan’s family to my family is just about the best thing
-Bought my first house
-Saw my little brother get married next to the ocean
-Risked life and all my limbs by floating on a tarp with a stranger – in SHARK INFESTED WATERS

Of course, when I told Ryan that I was sad about leaving 30, he pointed out some of the upcoming highlights of 31.

-I’ll publish my second book
-I’ll marry the intern
-I’ll begin the rest of my lift with the intern
-I’ll have crazy jungle sex with the intern

He’s a smart guy, that intern…….

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Small Town USA - Volume 1

I had a bad day the other day. A day that starts out bad right when you wake up but haven’t opened your eyes yet. I do that. I keep my eyes closed for a good minute or so before flashing them open just long enough to see what time it is. Then I do the math in my head….7:35 minus 8:25 plus 2 extra minutes since I need to iron today minus 2 minutes if I don’t shave my legs…..carry the 1…..oh forget it I’m hitting snooze again. Usually my mind is wide awake long hours before my lead body stirs. On this particular bad day morning, I just knew something wasn’t going to go right. My first problem was that I was getting up unnaturally early to get my car tags renewed. If you’ve read my book or heard me speak or known me longer than 15 minutes, you know that I HATE GETTING MY CAR TAGS RENEWED. I hate it with a fiery rage that burns without ceasing. Like a paper cut right under my fingernail. Like eavesdroppers – and people, I hate eavesdroppers. Still, I trudged out of bed and slept in the shower and somehow made it out the door with a Diet Coke and a pop-tart.

My new house is in Spring Hill, right over the Williamson County line into Maury County (pronounced Murray County even though CLEARLY it is not spelled mur-ee, it is spelled mar-ee, but nonetheless…). Since I know live in Maury (Murray) County, I had to drive to the County Clerks office in Columbia. I’ll say, when people in Nashville talk about going to Columbia, they get a faraway look in their eye like someone going on a voyage around the world. This always made me laugh until the first time I went to Columbia to start electricity at my new house. My phone call to the electric company went something like this:

Her: Duck River Electric, can I helpya? (while smacking Juicy Fruit so loud I had to turn down the phone volume)
Me: Yes, I need to sign up for new service.
H: Why sure Honey! Just come on down here and we’ll gitcha fixed up.
M: I’m actually in Franklin, is there a form you could email me?
H: (Silence)
M: Do you have a form that you could fax to me that I could sign and fax back?
H: (Long pause) Honey, why don’t you just come on in and we’ll gitcha fixed right up!
M: Where is your office located?
H: Columbia.
M: (Thinking about that far away look…) OK, I’m working in Franklin, so I don’t really have time to come down there during business hours. Is there a way I can do this over the phone or by fax?
H: (Long pause) Did you need directions?

I wrote down the directions in a fury and called Ryan to tell him that our lunch plans had just been changed. We got in the car at 11:30am and headed south to Columbia. This won’t be so bad, I thought. It might be nice to finally learn where Columbia is located…might be a nice drive. After 60 minutes of driving through the vast Tennessee hillsides, we finally arrived at the Duck River Electric compound which consisted of one shady looking brown building with one single door, no windows, and light fixtures from 1973, give or take a decade. There was also a thirty year old drive-through window with that slanty green glass I remember from childhood trips to the bank with my mom. I always thought the window would fall out and crash onto our car. It never did. Walking into Duck River electric felt like walking into a bad 70’s horror movie - I could even hear the slasher music in the background. Miss Duck River (hey…maybe she was Miss Duck River in 1968!) kindly said “hi ya’ll” and presented us with a filing card to fill out. That’s right….we filled out a card that will be placed in a big drawer under “I” for Illingworth. It took all of five minutes, but we were gone from work for almost two hours. Small Town USA. My new home.

More to come....

Things I Wonder: Lips

My lips apparently possess some magnetic force because food always clings to them for dear life. Therefore, I’m constantly licking food off of my lips. I wonder if Ryan thinks this is incredibly sexy or incredibly disgusting.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Ryan and I went to look for tuxedos for the wedding last Saturday. After a short period of walking around the mall, we settled on the second store we went into. I mean, it’s a black coat and black pants. How hard can it be? We were told to speak to the “formal wear expert” to pick out coat style, pants, shoes, ties….so many pieces to discuss. I kept thinking “it’s just a black coat and pants….how hard can it be?” After we made all the pertinent decisions, Formal Wear Expert suggested that Ryan go ahead and get measured for his tux. Sure, I thought, what would be simpler? Ryan stood up while the “measuring specialist” was summoned. He sauntered over loudly smacking his gum and wearing a tape measure around his neck. I wondered what the training to become a measuring specialist might be. Do they have a measure-off involving store mannequins and stop watches? Do they have competitions involving the ability to guess someone’s measurements through a winter coat? Do they get a pay increase when going from Measuring Guy to Measuring Specialist? Measuring Specialist began sizing up Ryan’s various parts with lightning speed while simultaneously shouting the numbers to Formal Wear Expert (Note: Not a specialist. He’s working his way up?). It was all happening so fast that I started to giggle. Arms! In Seam! Waist! Shoe! Numbers flew back and forth while Ryan stood in the middle of the store with his arms out, bored. That’s when it happened. Formal Wear Expert asked Ryan a question that will mystify me for years to come. Weight? And he shouted it, just shy of using a megaphone. I gasped and turned toward Ryan to try and soften the blow, but before I could offer any sort of “you don’t have to answer that” or “I’ll handle this”, Ryan blurted his weight right out. Calmly, like they asked him his favorite color or high score in Grand Theft Auto. Loudly. Like it wasn’t a secret. I was dumbfounded. My mind started to race. I looked around, terrified, but everyone seemed unaffected. Formal Wear Expert continued to type information into the computer about Ryan. Measuring Specialist had already disappeared to measure elsewhere. Ryan sat down next to me, bored. I was struck speechless. Did he not realize that he had just SHOUTED his WEIGHT in a RETAIL STORE in a MALL? IN PUBLIC? I should say, Ryan’s weight is perfect. He doesn’t have any extra….but no matter. You just don’t shout your number in public! You just don’t!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Reason #52

Reason #52 Why I Love Ryan Illingworth:
He gave me a thoughtful card today because I'm feeling awful and have a migraine. However, it's a card he's given me before. I died laughing when I saw it, and he said "what?". SO CUTE. COULD SWALLOW HIM WHOLE.