Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ahh ... home

There's just something creepy about a hotel bed. Maybe I've watched too many special reports about all the disgusting things hotel bedding is subjected to, but I don't think I'm alone in getting the willies every time I crawl into a bed that's rented out on a nightly basis. Eeek.

I had to stay in a hotel this weekend while in Indiana, and that bed was so uncomfortable. Not that I could have slept peacefully anyhow, but still, it was wonderful to come home to my comfy bed last night ... I was in desperate need of a little relaxation.

I rarely make the time to visit Indiana, simply because my family lives in a tiny, tiny town with little to nothing to do. I lived there for two years while I was in elementary school, but beyond that short time, I really never got to know my family. My father was in the Air Force, so we were constantly moving from town to town - and because of that, family, unfortunately, was put on the back burner.

So, this weekend was both tearful and in a small way, a bit happy. I got the chance to get to know my family a little more. I met cousins I'd only seen photos of and had several wonderful conversations with my aunts and uncles. Plans have been made for visits over the summer, and I must say I'm really looking forward to having family dropping in whenever they pass through Chattanooga.

We all came together to remember and honor my grandfather who we all loved dearly. But we also were reminded that we're truly family - and there's nothing in this world that's more important.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Song, sung blue

This picture illustrates the story of my yesterday perfectly. It was a very rough day, to say the least. And that's a much-needed mocha frappuccino with a double shot of espresso ... I pretty much ditched the diet with that drink.

I found out my grandfather passed away just as we were leaving to go to the Neil Diamond concert. We went anyway, but my mind was in Indiana with the rest of my family. And my heart was absolutley broken.

Grandpa was the man who called me his little shadow. I lived with him and my grandmother for a short time in elementary school and would follow him everywhere. I absolutely adored my grandfather. He smoked a pipe with apple-cinnamon tobacco, and to this day when I pass the tobacco aisle at the drugstore I always hope for that particular smell to peek out.

He had the funniest personality (he was a true goofball) and was a wonderful grandpa and father to my mother. And, although I knew he was ill for quite some time, I'm still very, very sad he's no longer here.

I'll be in Indiana this weekend. But, I promise my next post will be much less depressing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Blog neglect

I know, I know ... Going several days without even checking in on my own blog is pretty bad. I admit that my blog is a victim of neglect. But I'd hate to yammer on about nothing on a regular basis, as I'm doing now.

There's hope, however! The Neil Diamond concert is tonight (Wednesday), and you can better believe I'll have lots to say about my night singing along with one of my all-time favorite singers. And Atlanta needs to watch out for a crazy shopaholic who will be on the loose.
- A trip to IKEA is also on the itenerary!! Woo Hoo!

So, have a happy Wednesday, and I'll try to be more dedicated to my poor little space in the blogosphere.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

What I learned this weekend:

There's not much funnier in this world than watching a bunch of Georgia boys - who had just left their 10-year high school reunion - sing karaoke ... especially when the DJ decides to switch songs and pops in "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Unfazed, the boys keep singing their hearts out, even adding a couple extra verses, and the crowd goes wild. Cyndi Lauper would be proud.

Fun times. Good friends. Life is good.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Eating right ...

... and liking it?!?

It's amazing what just over a month of eating healthier will do to the way you look at foods you once didn't think twice about eating.

Man, did I have really terrible eating habits. Because I work nights, it wasn't uncommon for me to stop by Taco Bell on my way home from the office for my midnight "dinner." And then there were the ice cream parties I threw for myself on a regular basis. (I was the only one invited, of course. ... We wouldn't want everyone to know just how much ice cream one girl could eat in a sitting.) And that leads to my portions ... How I didn't gain 100 lbs. a year blows my mind. I would just keep eating - even after my stomach felt full.

I'm amazed at how foods I once craved regularly are now actually kind of disgusting to me. Taco Bell and Burger King have completely lost their appeal. I will admit that I would LOVE a Wendy's sour cream and chives baked potato with loads of butter, but I'm not giving in to that temptaton. But, put a candy bar in front of me, and I can honestly say I'm not tempted. It's insane.

Whereas I once hated salads, I love them now. Fresh veggies and fruits are so good - how did I not know this before? Trips to the grocery store are fun now that I'm discovering new foods, and I never would have thought I'd enjoy grocery shopping.

I really hope this lasts. It's kind of neat to surprise yourself sometimes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

T-minus 7 days ...

... Until Neil Diamond!!!

Just had to throw that in there. I really can't wait. Maybe this concert will salvage some serious good times from what is left of a really crappy October.

Let's all hope so.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Baby, baby

Meet Jacob - my favorite guy in the world. He's too cute for his own good, and man does he have me wrapped around his little finger!

Jacob and Angie came to visit last night. I'd been rather down after realizing my car is about to send me to the poorhouse, but Jacob took care of that real quick. After a few minutes of showing me all the new things he's learned in the last month or so (walking, talking and doing everything for himself), my problems were practically out the window.

It's amazing how quickly children learn and how fast they go from being a baby to having their own distinct personalities. I've never been around children much, so maybe that's why I'm so fascinated by Jacob's development. But wow ... I am so looking forward to having my own children one day so I can experience it all.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Money, money, money

I always seem to need more of it. And I mean need - not want.

I guess the majority of my issues come with driving a not-so-new car - A car that seems to require the most expensive parts than most foreign and domestic cars. And break-downs always seem to come at the worst possible time.

Then there's the times when everything seems to be going right and you think you might be able to splurge on, say, a vacation. Heaven forbid I spend frivolously.

Both above situations are what I'm facing right now. And it's not cool.

Virtually depleting my savings account is one option (and one in which I am less than happy to consider). Then there's the question of the year: Do I get a second job? (insert horror flick scream here)

It looks like option No. 2 is going to have to be it (unless I can win the Power Ball jackpot this week). But I don't know where to start - mainly because I don't even want to think about working part-time somewhere. Forty hours a week is enough for anyone to have to work, and then add on top of that another 20-25 hours? That's criminal.

Have you guys had to do this before? I'm wondering if I should go the retail route or try for an office job.

Friday, October 14, 2005

None of your bees wax

I washed and waxed my car yesterday, which is a minor miracle.

But, after a long two months without being washed and sitting under sappy trees, my car was practically crying out for a good bath. You could write your name in the dirt and grime, and I was really starting to become embarassed of my laziness.

Most people would simply run their car through an automatic wash, but my lovely Jetta has issues with car washes, so that's not an option - unless I want my alarm to go off repeatedly throughout the day and into the night for no reason whatsoever.

So yesterday I loaded up all the necessary washing items: soap, rags, paper towels, bug & tar remover, Armor All, Windex and a new car wax I picked up at Target that smelled absolutely delish.

After washing my car twice (yes, it was that dirty, thankyouverymuch), I pulled my car into the shade, popped open the new wax and was ready to get started on one of my least favorite things to do in this world.

Not one minute into swirling the banana/coconutty scented wax on my car I noticed several bumble bees flying in my direction. Oh joy, bees ... I am petrified of anything that stings - bees, wasps, hornets, etc. But I figured they'd simply pass by and that would be that.

Boy, was I wrong.

Within three minutes I had 10-15 bumble bees dive-bombing my car. Apparently I wasn't the only one who was drawn to the wax's pleasant smell.

But I was determined to get the job done despite the possibility of getting stung. (One bee actually made its way up the leg of my shorts, and let me just tell you - a major freak-out ensued.)

I'm sure I looked like a true moron dancing around my car trying my best to apply the wax without interferring with the bees' draw to my car. A few neighbors got a chuckle out of my car-waxing antics, but I got the job done.

Next time, however, you can better believe I'll be buying the waxy-smelling car wax. Ick.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Spastic cat strikes again

My poor cat has a distinct attitude problem. Her spazz attacks are as unpredictable as they are brutal, and right now I've got the scratches and teeth marks to prove it.

I think her "issues" lately directly correspond to her dry skin problem. She wallows around on the floor trying to scratch those impossible to reach spots in the middle of her back and at the base of her tail. This goes on for 10-15 minutes at a time until I notice and reach for the brush.

That's what generally gets me in trouble ... never mind the fact that I'm just trying to help.

So today, after watching her romp around on her back, I grabbed the cat brush, plopped her on the sofa and began brushing through her think fur. The funny thing is that she loves it at first. She goes crazy - purring and kneeding her paws. But the problem lies in not knowing when she's going to decide she's had enough of the brushing. It could be 2 minutes or 30 minutes ... there's no telling until it's happened.

And happen, it did today. Now my right hand looks as though I've attempted to run it through a paper shredder, which is lovely.

My question is this: What does a girl do about cat dandruff? I've read that brushing is the main way to alleviate the problem, but it's getting to the point that I don't want to risk my hands getting bitten and scratched off every time I go to help. I wish they made Head & Shoulders for cats. My life would be so much easier.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Please, no more salad

So long, Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger and baked potato ... it's been nice knowing you.

For about two weeks now I've been eating heathier foods. And it's paying off. I'm down 5 lbs. and counting - my goal is another 20 to get to where I was in high school and college. I've also been working out like a mad woman on my exercise bike, which I've grown to love and hate.

But it's all working, so I'm sticking with it. However, I'm really getting sick of the same meals over and over. I think I'm one salad away from losing my mind, and I'm really looking for food that tastes good that's also good for me. (Good luck, right?!?)

My diet has primarily been, you guessed it, salads and also Lean Cuisine microwave dinners (which are surprisingly tasty). But I'm really hoping to find other things to cook that are low-calorie creations with lots of flavor.

So, I'm asking you guys - Do you have any recipes that I should know about? Any tricks to staying thin with your eating habits? I'd love to hear your ideas. I'm running out of my own!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Poor, poor Ashlee

After Ashlee Simpson's lip-synch snafu last year on "Saturday Night Live"- complete with an improvised hoedown for good measure - I never thought her dad would allow his youngest moneymaker (er, daughter) to be subjected to that sort of scrutiny again. So, as you can imagine, I was surprised (and aghast) to hear that Miss Ashlee would make another appearance this season.

In a valiant effort to save face, Ashlee donned her best black dress, a fresh application of platinum blonde hair dye, painted black eyeliner around her eyes and sang her little heart out last night in front of millions of people who were just waiting for her crack under the pressure.

I admit, I was one of them.

When she mournfully introduced her first song by saying, "I wrote this song after my last 'Saturday Night Live' experience," I knew it was going to be both entertaining and nauseating to watch. The pitiful ballad, "Catch Me When I Fall," made me cringe more than someone scraping their fingernails across a chalk board.
"Who will be the one to save me from myself?
Who's going to catch me when I fall?"
Throughout the 'woe is me' song, her voice strained as she held her stomach. Damned acid reflux disease. It's good to have a backup excuse in case anything were to have gone wrong, I guess.

But, no, she pressed on.

When the singing was done and the music had stopped (all on cue this time), it was all Ashlee could do to hold herself back from doing a jig again - this time not in embarassment, but out of utter relief she hadn't choked. Unable to contain herself, she hopped in a circle as the crowd gave a bit of an applause.

What a professional. Bravo, Ashlee. Bravo.

I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to catch Ashlee's return to the stage for her second song. Darn it. But I'm anxiously waiting for her latest album, "I Am Me" to be released later this month. Should be an instant classic.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Down time

I've taken a few days off from the blogging/Internet world just to enjoy my three days off at a slow, non-technological pace. It's a good thing, as Martha would say.

While I was detached from my computer, I discovered that The Limited sells blue jeans again. I was so excited to see the jeans that I tried on all the cuts and styles and determined that they're still perfect (There was a time that the only blue jean I wore were from The Limited). Too bad I didn't buy a pair or two, but I'm hoping to drop a jean size, so I didn't want to spend the money on something I'd only be wearing for another month or so (hopefully). So, cross your fingers for me!

I also learned that cucumber-melon is again a good scent ... I used to hate it - mainly because every female student seemed to wear the lotion, body spray, etc. to class when I was in college. It was one big cucumber-melon scent-a-thon back then, and I despised the stuff. But we can change our minds every now and then, and that's what I've done.

This post really is useless, and I'm very sleepy after driving all over creation today in the pouring rain. So I think I should probably get some rest. I promise to write about more exciting things next time.

Til then.

ZZzzzzz ...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Finding a smile

Sometimes you discover something that takes you back in time and instantly puts a smile on your face. These are moments I love, and it happened to me tonight while browsing through one of my Yahoo photo albums that I had practically forgotten about over the last several years.

This picture was taken in 1998 or 1999 while on a student media trip in Atlanta with Georgia Southern University. Here we have Justin, me, DK and Kelley after hopping into a "limo" to drive around the city while enjoying a cold one.

There's a (not-so) funny story behind this limo ride. You see, when we first stepped foot into the limo, the driver - taking note that he had on his hands about 10 college students who had the "party hard" look in their eyes - let us know that if there were to be any puking inside his vehicle, the ride would be over and we would be charged a hefty "cleaning fee."

Sounded fair enough.

So, along the way we stopped at a grocery store for beer and, knowing what kind of night our driver was in for, we picked up a "thank you" card on the way out. (We're considerate that way in South Georgia.)

After hitting the road and enjoying some site-seeing, we decided to play your standard drinking games. Halfway through my first beer that I'd literally been sipping, it hit me.

You know that pre-puke feeling you get where you start to salivate like a rabid animal - and you just know things are about to get 100 times worse? Well, that's the feeling I got.

See, we'd been in Atlanta for several days at that point - and for several days I'd been stuck in our hotel room with a nasty stomach flu. I foolishly thought a night out on the town would be a much needed break from sleeping and puking after being able to hold down food for, say, 3 or 4 hours before.

(Remember, college students are not known for their wise decisions.)

So, knowing that the ride would be over and the cleaning fee was not something my friends would want to pay in lieu of a wild night out, I scurried to the front of the limo, appologized repeatedly to the driver and told him it was an absolute must that he take me back to the hotel - and make it FAST!

Luckily, I've always been able to hold "it," and I arrived at the hotel intact. The driver stopped just long enough for me to run out, and my friends were gone - having a ball without me as I hugged the toilet all night. I was the only sober one of the bunch, and I was the one who was getting sick. How's that for Murphey's Law?!?

I was not a happy girl that night, but I can look back and laugh now. Funny how things work out that way.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Michelada, por favor

Because several fellow bloggers ( Scott, Alison and Brad C.) have decided to celebrate Oktoberfest a little late and are dedicating this week to nothing but beer posts, I thought it was only appropriate that I contribute my two cents on a new revolution suposedly sweeping the U.S.:

Spicy beer, aka "michelada"

Haven't heard of the stuff yet? I hadn't either - until last night when I was scrolling through the AP wire at work. Intrigued by the story's description, I popped it open and read all about the glories of adding lime juice, assorted sweet-and-sour spices, chile peppers and ICE to an otherwise perfect beer. Top it off with a salted rim, and you've got what our friends south of the border affectionatly call micheladas.

Now, I like beer - and I like my beer with lime (Dos Equis, please), but I'm not so sure adding chiles and other spices to beer would be very tasty. Have a look at this recipe I nabbed from Gourmet Sleuth:
Coarse salt
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 dash soy sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1 pinch black pepper
1 dash Maggi seasoning, optional
12 ounces beer, preferably a dark Mexican beer like Negra Modelo

d i r e c t i o n s
Squeeze the juice from the lime and reserve. Salt the rim of a highball glass by rubbing it with the lime and dipping it in coarse salt. Fill with ice. Add lime juice, Worcestershire, soy sauce, Tabasco, pepper and Maggi, if desired.
Pour in beer, stir and serve, adding more beer as you sip.
Sound good to you? Has anyone tried this? I'm curious.

To me, it sounds rather bloody-maryish, minus the tomato juice and vodka - which could be either surprisingly good, or flat-out nasty.

Oh, and if you're wondering what "michelada" means, there's been some confusion, but most say it comes from “mi chela helada,” Mexican slang for “My Cold Beer.” Nice to know.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

No, gaucho. No!

Finally, fall fashion has made its way onto store shelves and clothing racks. I love this time of year and the change in wardrobe that comes with it.

This season, however, has got me stumped. Shrugs perplexed me at first, but I've come around. I'm stilll not fully convinced tweed should be back in style again this year, but I'll accept that it is.

One thing, though, has really thrown me for a loop, and I must say that designers must be whole-heartedly laughing all the way to the bank when it comes to gaucho pants. Wearing these things says "fashion" about as much as parading around with your underwear outside your clothes does.

Do we really want to spend money on pants that look as though we've accidentally shrunk our bellbottoms (heaven forbid) and decided to wear them anyway? I guess if you pair the pants with high boots no one will notice, right?

Nah, I'm not buying it. Or the pants.

They were hideous in the 70s and they're even more hideous now. Just say no to the gaucho. (Pretty please.)