Friday, June 30, 2006

Welcome home ...

Progress is a good thing, but sometimes it's hard to see past all the orange barrels and yellow tape to properly envision the result of all the madness.

Welcome to the entryway of my apartment complex. This photo was taken from the top of the driveway into where I call home. From what I've been told, they've completely gutted our drive to make room for a new road that will be aligned with another nearby street.

There are many more details, but let's just say that for the last 2-3 months, driving into and out of my apartment complex has been tricky. So tricky, in fact, that there are times when it's IMPOSSIBLE to get in or out ... making it kinda stressful when it's time to go to work. Somehow I don't think my boss would understand the notion of being trapped in my neighborhood. It sounds a bit ridiculous.

The thing about progress, though, is that it never seems to progress quickly enough. Like I said, this has been 2 months in the making, and there truly is no end in sight. The new road still needs to be laid, and traffic signals need to be put in. The heaps of dirt (which I'm not sure where they came from) need to be unheaped, and the remainder of our drive needs to be repaved.

I'm all for making things more accessible, but I can't understand why it takes so long. I guess this is yet another lesson in patience for me.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fair warning

The folks at Pillsbury really should put warning labels on their Ready To Bake cookies - especially the Turtle Deluxe cookies. But, because they did not alert me about how yummy they truly are, I give you my own warning:
Self-medication, no doubt, is cheaper than therapy, and these cookies are just what the doctor ordered. However, only bake one cookie at a time because they are highly addictive - and you will begin to believe that consuming 3 or more in one sitting is rational. It is NOT rational.
Consider yourself warned. These things are scrum-diddly-umcious. (And they ought to be, considering they're 200 calories each!)

Monday, June 26, 2006

I just had to share this with you guys!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Birthday on the rocks with a splash of mind eraser

It's been a long, long time since I've stayed out past my bedtime. It's also been a long, long time since I've had more than two drinks in one night.

I guess that's why I feel so exhausted today after a full 9 hours of celebrating a certain person's 39th birthday with family and friends.

Because I'm still quite tired, and no post could detail all of the night's celebrations, I'll leave you with this photo sequence ... the second-to-last drink of the night: A mind eraser for Jim, the birthday boy himself!


Mind Eraser Preparation
Determination Mmmm...Yummy

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Whoa, Nelly!

Is it me, or has Nelly Furtado lost her mind? I know people change, but "Promiscuous Girl" has got to be the most ridiculous song I've heard since "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas.

Am I missing something here?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Thoughts on 3-0

Somehow the last few days have slipped past without even a thought of posting anything here. That's probably because not much has happened - at least nothing worthy of writing about.

I did, however, have an interesting conversation with a friend at work about turning 30. She and I will both be transitioning into what I've always considered the decade that's truly an "adult" next year. And although age is just a number, it's a number that can pick away at a person's psyche. Anyhow, my friend's father asked what she was going to do during the last year of her 20s - something big, something adventurous, something new.

That got me thinking. He's right - you really should try to live your life with a bang no matter what year you're approaching, but especially near the end of another decade. Doing something you never thought you'd do, or something you're afraid of helps us stay young. And I'm all about that!

So, as many of you know - I'm petrified of flying ... I don't even think "petrified" adequately sums up my fear, phobia, what ever you may call it, but let's just say that the thought of flying turns my stomach, makes me faint and although I love to travel, I always find alternative means of getting where I'm going.

But this is the last year of my 20s ... and I'm going to fly ... to New York City, where I have been dreaming about visiting since I heard of the Big Apple as a child. It's kind of a 2-for-1 deal: I'm conquering a fear (hopefully) and visiting a city I've always wanted to take in.

So, bring on the meds! Stacey's flying in September!!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Thank God for JumboTrons

College towns are great for catching new bands. Sometimes they're good, but most times they're, well ... pretty awful.

There were several groups in college that my friends and I would always make an effort to see. But there was one band in particular that no matter how many tests we had the next day, how sick we were or how exhausted the week had made us, we always made it out to hear.

The duo, Soul Miner's Daughter, was simply spectacular. Jennifer Nettles and Corey Jones had something the other bands didn't. They were engaging, their sound was unique, their lyrics were real and Jennifer's voice was strong and packed with emotion. Some of my best college memories are of my group of friends dancing and singing along to "That Man They Call DIablo" and "Shoulders of Giants."

Anyhow, times change and bands break up. Soul Miner's Daughter split the year before I graduated. Jennifer went solo and Corey - well, I think he pretty much fell off the face of the earth. Soon, Jennifer was back playing my college town - same songs, different vibe - but it was a good one.

Eventually, I graduated and left town. For a while I dated a guy who was a manager of a major music store's drum department. He happened to know Jennifer and her band members. I had the opportunity to attend a private CD release party in 2002, where I got to sit down and talk with Jennifer for a while. She had big plans of touring the country and playing for new audiences - she didn't say it, but anyone could see it in her eyes that she was in this for the long haul. Her goal was to make it big - and now she has.

Sugarland, a country group, played Chattanooga last night as part of Chattanooga's annual Riverbend Festival. I made it down to the river in time to catch the last half of their performance - and there Jennifer was on stage having the time of her life. I wouldn't know it just by looking at the stage because I was so far away, but thank God for JumboTrons!!

Those of us who've had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer and getting to know her through the transition of her music career and interaction with her fans know that she deserves every last fan she has - and judging by how many people were singing along to her songs last night, there are many, many of us now. And for those of us who have been one of about 20 folks in the audience back in the day when she wasn't quite as famous, it's especially exciting.

It sucks that each time I go to her concerts I seem to get further and futher from the stage. But that's cool. I had my time up close, and I'm just happy others are getting that same chance.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Quick lube or auction house?

Have you ever been to one of those quick lube oil change places where you sit in your car and wait while they work their magic in 10 minutes or less?

Sure you have - unless you're one of the cool people who have their own driveway, oil pan and the initiative to crawl under your car and risk getting oil in your face.

Anyhow, I was at a certain quick lube shop this afternoon and noticed something that vaguely reminded me of an auction. It went something like this (insert auctioneer's loud, assertive voice):

Oil changer 1: Checked windshield-washer detergent, Baaaay 1!!!
Oil changer 2: Air in tires gets an OOOOOOOkaaaaaay, Baaaay 1!!!
Oil changer 1: Filling up brake fluid, Baaaaaay 2!!!
Oil changer 3: Oil pluuuuug out, Baaaaay 1!!!
Oil changer 2: Headlights get an OOOOOkaaaaay, Baaaaay 2!!!
Oil changer 3: Baaaay 2 cleared for customer exit!!!!
... and so forth.

It was like a combination of a drill sergeant and an auctioneer. Maybe you just had to be there, but it cracked me up.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Saga of Apartment Living: Part 462

It's finally happened: Stacey has had enough.

Oh yes, folks. The saving starts NOW - no more Starbucks (gasp!), no more name-brand grocery items (unless the store brand is inedible), and no more going out - not until I have a reasonable amount of money built up in my "I'm going to buy a house if it kills me" savings account.

The straw that broke the camel's back happened this afternoon, and I am still reeling from the shock of my experience.

Here's the short version of my very long and scary encounter with an irate man in my apartment complex's parking lot this afternoon:

I was driving my car behind the scary man's car heading toward several parking spaces. It appeared to me that he had turned left down another aisle, so I turned into a parking space. A few seconds later, he laid on his horn, whipped into a fire lane beside my car (nearly hitting my car), jumped out of his vehicle and started grabbing for my passenger-side car door to get in. I immediately jumped out of my car - afraid he was going to attack me because every word in the book was coming out of this man's mouth - and it was all directed at me. I was scared to death and absolutely confused.

Apparently, I had "stolen" his parking spot. Bear in mind, we don't have assigned parking spaces where I live, but he said that he was turning into the spot I pulled into when I zipped in front of him - which is not at all what happened!

From what I can gather, he must have been swinging WAY out to turn into the space, making it appear that he was turning away from me. At any rate, he was positive that I had done this on purpose - and that apparently qualified him to call me an "inbred, redneck, mother-f'ing b**** who doesn't deserve to be on the planet."

It got worse from there. In fact, it was so loud and hateful that two of my neighbors came out of their apartment to see what all the yelling was about. All I could do was stand there and say I was sorry (even though I still wasn't quite sure what I was apologizing about).

Finally, I got back into my car when I realized he wanted that space, and pulled into another slot. When I got back out of my car, he was still screaming at me - with his wife and toddler in the car! I am still amazed that a person could have that much anger inside of them - and to vent it over a parking space mix-up is especially disconcerting.

Needless to say, I will be speaking to my landlord tomorrow morning - and thank goodness I have several witnesses who say they are more than willing to talk to my landlord about what they saw.

The most shocking thing about this was that the man looked like your All-American dad. He was well-groomed, drove a nice car and had a very cute little boy. I hope to goodness he doesn't treat his wife and child this way.

It's frightening to think what is living right next door.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I'm sorry

I really do try not to blog too much about my cat (i.e. my child), but sometimes I catch her looking so cute that I simply must share it with the world.

So, it's time for a collective "Awwww!"

(Thanks for humoring me.)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I love new cars ... There, I said it.

If only for one day I felt like a princess ... cruisin' around town in my 2006 Kia Optima with the windows UP and the ice-cold air conditioner blowing my hair about. I'd forgotten what it was like to drive in 90-degree weather without all four windows down while still sweating buckets!

And as if honest to goodness air conditioning weren't enough ... It's amazing how good a radio sounds in a car that has actual working speakers. And the luxury of a gas pedal that actually makes the car gooooo (and fast, I might add). Oh, and the brakes - the crazy-fast brakes! One tap will send you through the front windshield (well, not really - but almost!).

The Kia is my rental car for the day while the nice folks at the collision center are working on my poor little VW Jetta. I told the manager to go ahead and put in a new air conditioner - on the insurance company's dime, of course. Too bad he thought I was joking ...

I like to think that I'm not one to lust after new cars or even drool over a shiny almost-new car. But, apparently I've fooled myself for all these years. Suddenly, I desperately want a new (or *newer*) car. One with standard features that work and a little more get-up-and-go. Brakes that respond quickly would take some getting used to (at the risk of my passengers, of course), but I think I could handle it.

That new car smell must have gotten to my senses because for the last hour or so I've been lurking around the Honda, Mazda, Kia and Nissan web sites. I've already designed three cars and priced about 15.

Someone, stop me now. This could get dangerous.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Forget fluffy cat beds ...

Cats dig cardboard boxes, apparently.

My crazy cat has laid claim to the bottom of a case of bottled water I laid on the floor a couple weeks ago, intending to take it out with the trash.

Now I can't throw it away - because whenever I'm in the living room, there Anna is in her new home.

It's ridiculous. But she's so cute.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Semi vs. Volkswagen

There's nothing like leaving work on a beautiful Saturday afternoon knowing that the rest of your day will be spent outside soaking up the sun and enjoying the weekend.

Life is good - especially on days like this past Saturday when I knew I was about to begin enjoying a relaxing afternoon. But then, out of the blue it hit me - the day was about to get a little less good, and a lot more expensive ... and there was nothing I could do about it.


The semi-truck in front of me blew out one of its rear tires, sending rubber shards every which way, including onto the hood of my car and down to my bumper. I jumped in my seat, said a few choice words and looked into my rear-view mirror just in time to see a parking light - that was once mounted inside my front bumper - sliding down the Interstate behind me.

Tire shard:1
Volkswagen: 0

Upon getting home and inspecting the damage, I was impressed. Not only had the piece of tire left large black marks all over my hood and fender, it had literally ripped out my light. It looks as though a professional removed it. No wires left, no nothing.

So, now I'm awaiting a ruling from my insurance company as to whether flying tire shards smacking into my poor little Volkswagen constitutes as a "collision" ($250) or "comprehensive" ($100).

Guess which one I'm hoping for ...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Freckles, freckles, freckles ...

I've been off for the last two days. And it's been a glorious two days spent lounging by the pool, and ... Well ... that's really about it.

Each year around this time I take great care in applying sun block to my skin because - thanks to a mother who is your typical fair-skinned redhead - I inherited a stark white complexion that burns (fries) easily.

I will settle for nothing less than 45 spf on my face and 25 spf on my arms, legs, etc. Anything more and I would get zero sun; anything less and I'd look like a lobster.

There is one thing, however, that happens NO MATTER WHAT I do to protect my skin ... I could plaster 200 spf sun block all over my face 10 times per hour and still, literally within minutes of stepping outside on a sunny day, I will sprout freckles all over my cheaks and nose. This year is no different. They're taking over my face, and I'm not sure they're cute any more.

There's no covering the suckers up, either. Makeup doesn't do a thing. It's just one of life's little phenomenons that mystifies me. They're like Gremlins, in a way ... only instead of water, sunlight fires them up. Oh wait ... didn't Gremlins have a reaction to sunlight, too? But that's beside the point ...

I just don't like 'em any more.