Saturday, December 31, 2005

Yet another "Stolen From" post....

TEN RANDOM THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ME
I covered this in another post.......

NINE PLACES I HAVE VISITED
1.) Charlottesville VA
2.) Thomasville GA
3.) Colorado Springs CO
4.) Jackson MS
5.) Biloxi MS
6.) Greensboro NC
7.) Chattanooga TN
8.) Ft. Payne AL
9.) Tallahassee FL

EIGHT WAYS TO WIN MY HEART
1.) sing to me
2.) write poetry to/for/about me
3.) cook for me
4.) be as much of a computer geek as me
5.) surprise me
6.) don't judge me
7.) love football
8.) you'll know the words to say.....

SEVEN THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I DIE
1.) cut a CD
2.) win the lottery
3.) be a size 8
4.) write the Great American Novel (or at least a great facsimile thereof)
5.) create a cocktail and have it named after me
6.) meet Raul Malo
7.) travel abroad

SIX THINGS I AM AFRAID OF
1.) falling
2.) heights
3.) snakes
4.) spiders
5.) stinging insects
6.) damn dirty apes.... ;-)

FIVE THINGS I DON'T LIKE
1.) venison
2.) anime
3.) intolerant people
4.) beer (not alcohol, just beer)
5.) thrash metal

FOUR WAYS TO TURN ME OFF
1.) be intolerant
2.) be boring
3.) hate sports
4.) be unhygienic

THREE THINGS I DO EVERYDAY
1.) check my e-mail
2.) laugh
3.) sing

TWO THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY
1.) a favorite song coming on the radio
2.) good news

ONE THING ON MY MIND RIGHT NOW
1.) where to get the CD I want for less than full price....

Friday, December 30, 2005

Desert Island discs

There really is a record collection out there called "Desert Island Discs" -- in fact I own one of them! And one of my earlier "stolen from..." posts this week asked me to list four that I couldn't live without.

It's more like forty, or even four hundred, that I couldn't live without. But if I had to pare it down to ten, here's what I'd choose (in no particular order):

1. Gold (Steely Dan; expanded edition) -- okay, I'm a major Fan O' The Dan. So having to choose simply one album of theirs, I picked this one over Decade or Greatest Hits or Two Against Nature or Aja or any of their others. Why this one? Why not?

2. Rubber Soul (Beatles) -- it's practically a tie with Revolver, but I give this one just a slight edge. Don't know why.... just something appealing about it.

3. Exile on Main Street (Rolling Stones) -- I find it very hard to choose between the Stones and the Beatles. I love them both. And I love '67-'73 Stones best of all. I picked Exile, but I'd prefer a 3-disc set (along with Sticky Fingers and Goat's Head Soup).

4. Gold (Frank Sinatra) -- he's been dead for some time, and this is some of his older stuff. It matters not. He can still melt the heart.

5. Moondance (Van Morrison) -- Because it's him. Singing. Romancing the soul. Awakening the senses. Making magic. That's reason enough.

6. Boston (Boston) -- one hell of a debut album. I just wish it didn't take them eons to produce additional albums.

7. Decade (Allman Brothers) -- yes, I'd pick this one over Live at the Fillmore East, but that's just me.

8. Getz/Gilberto -- okay, truly, I'd like to take with me the compilation that my "exchange brother" Marcio left with us when he returned to Brazil. Some incredible bossa nova by Joao Gilberto. But since it was a homegrown compilation (on cassette, no less!), and I have yet to find all the songs on one CD, I'll take this one. Good stuff, all the way around.

9. Very Best of (Eagles) -- I have seen them live, and friends, I am here to tell you that it was almost a religious experience. So this would have to be the one. And besides, it has "Please Come Home for Christmas" on there....

I can only pick one more?????? NO!!!!! You can't make me! I love them all! You can't make me choose! You can't, you can't, you can't!

10. Colors of the World (compilation). Allegro Records has a series by this name, but this was the first sampler -- all sorts of world music. I have the Latin and Celtic compilations and they're all great, but this one has a little of everything.



Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thanks to Bolivar and Talmadge,

I now have Eric Clapton and Meat Loaf going through my brain. An odd combination, but it's working. Thanks fellas!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Stolen from Mezzy's blog.....

Four jobs you've had in your life: Church secretary (heh heh heh)...; Call coordinator for Tier 3 customer service for a computer manufacturer; Computer lab assistant (basically, we reminded people to make sure paper was in the printer....); and, Telemarketer. Yes, I did this for the summer before I went to college, and Christmas break during my freshman year. It paid for books.

Four movies you could watch over and over: Blazing Saddles; Steel Magnolias; Revenge of the Nerds; Fletch/Fletch Lives

Four places you've lived: I've actually only lived in two..... my hometown (Liberty SC) and Charleston SC, where I went to college.

Four TV shows you love to watch: Law & Order (any of them), Whose Line Is It Anyway?, What Not to Wear (both the BBC and TLC versions), Celebrity Poker Showdown

Four websites you visit daily: Sweet Potato Queens, Blogger, IMDB, Wikipedia

Four of your favorite foods: Boneless Spare Ribs, Barbecue (mustard-based), chicken parmesan, turkey and dressing (my MAMA's dressing, preferably).

Four places you'd rather be: Charleston SC; Colorado Springs CO; Savannah GA; Fiji or Tahiti or Somoa or any other South Seas island.

Four albums you can't live without: GASP!!!!!! You'd make me choose FOUR??????? Okay..... these are four I adore, but there are MANY more I wouldn't want to live without: Gold (Steely Dan) --- The Very Best of The Eagles --- Rubber Soul (The Beatles) --- Hot Rocks, Vol. 1 (Rolling Stones)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I've got a rock and roll heart...

Now, most of my friends know that I have a fondness for the music of Eric Clapton. I have a special place in my heart for one song in particular: "I've Got A Rock & Roll Heart." I loved it when it came out in '83, and I still love it whenever I hear it (which is rarely.....).

I have come to realize that in some ways, the song describes me. About eighteen months ago, my old boss was teasing me about someone from a nearby parish who spoke of me with great interest. Now, this person was also musically inclined but totally opposite of me. He was in a chamber orchestra or something like that; I sing pop. I've written papers on rock and roll history -- he had written a letter to the editor denouncing rock and roll: not as the devil's tool (to which I thought a very hearty "thank God"), but as "pablum for the masses."

Nuh-uh. You don't say that to me. No, no, no, no. And the song that went through my head as I thought of the incident was Clapton's "I've Got A Rock & Roll Heart." And that is me -- it's not that I don't enjoy the finer things in life, because I certainly do. I'm also at ease with simple tastes and simple pleasures. It's taken me many years, but I have finally learned to be comfortable in my own skin, with who I am, where I'm from, where I am. I have finally grown into a "what you see is what you get" person.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A few random thoughts on the first day of Christmas...

BTW, a little factoid: Today is technically the First Day of Christmas. The Christmas season is NOT all the shopping days from Thanksgiving to December 24, but begins on December 25 and ends on Epiphany, January 6.

This holiday season has been full of wonderful gatherings and seeing friends near and far. I haven't done this much socializing in ages, and I have loved every moment of it! I have a few more holiday gatherings this week, and my family's gathering in mid-January -- and I can't wait!

Christmas Day is a small affair at our house. We have deliberately planned it that way, especially now that my parents are older and money is tighter. And like my dad, I have a tendency to buy myself stuff all through the year. If I need it or have the extra money for it, I get it then instead of putting it on a wish list. So this year, I got gift cards to Bed Bath and Beyond from the parents-- Mom said that she MEANT to get Bath & Body Works, but honestly I'm actually glad they're from the Triple B. I have been wanting some Egyptian cotton sheets or some other linens -- this is PERFECT! And my brother got me a DVD. Mom also got me a necklace/earring set -- YAY!

Last night, I went to a party at a friend's house, where we had homemade fajitas and lots of fun! Then I went to Midnight Mass. Now at my old parish, when we said, "Music begins at 11:15" we began to a mostly empty church as people straggled in. At the new parish, I got there at 11:15, and found a seat on the very back row -- it was packed!

I do miss, at times, the Christmas Days of my past. When I was a child, every Christmas Day was getting up fairly early (no later than 8) for present unwrapping, and getting ready for the trip to my grandmother's apartment. We usually made a casserole or two of some sort, or maybe one casserole and one vegetable, and a dessert -- and off we went. We were allowed to take ONE of our toys/presents with us, because otherwise, we were bored out of our skulls. Eventually, the rest of the family would get there, and dinner would commence around 1:00 or so. We grandchildren ate on her stair steps, usually with the older ones at the top, and the younger ones at the bottom. We would alternate the way we faced in order to have meaningful conversations!

As we got older, and Granny moved to a different apartment, it was held at their activity center, and then at my aunt's church. After Granny died, things went crazy as they often do in families.... And ever since then, Christmas gatherings have been with other people instead of my own family. I'm the one who plans the January gathering -- and I chose that time specifically because I didn't want people bitching and hollering about me cutting into their Christmas time!!!

I hope that your Christmas season is filled with faith, hope, love, dreams, wishes, fulfillments, and all good things.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Scenes from an American Restaurant

(with all apologies to Billy Joel)

Tonight I began my Christmas shopping. No, that is not a typo. BEGAN.

While out and about after work, I stopped off for a meal at an "American cuisine" restaurant (read: sit-down restaurant with a bar for sports fans). Behind me and over to my left was a gaggle of giggly girls. Lots of "shut UP y'all" and "yeah but was he looking at her like she says he was?" and "do you think he likes me? really?" They were a tad loud, enough that I caught a couple of other patrons rolling their eyes in their direction. While part of me wanted to go back and say, "Sweeties, please use your indoor voices!" I also remembered that it wasn't too long ago that I was that age -- out with my friends, obnoxious as hell (I'm sure) to all adults in my vicinity, and louder than I needed to be. God knows that M, T, and I were boy-crazy, giggly and goofy, and having the time of our life, not caring about anyone else around us. I smiled at the memories that brought, especially since we've grown and I have not stayed in touch with them as much as I ought to have done.

Also off to my left and a little closer toward me was someone -- don't know the gender or age -- who enjoyed all the songs that were coming over the speaker. How do I know? Because this person sang along every now and again. Good voice, too, especially on Al Wilson's "Show and Tell." They were playing a good 70s/80s mix with an occasional holiday song thrown in. I could have hugged the music programmer for that reason alone.

And it was a nice moment in the midst of the holiday hoo-ha and madness. Thank God for those moments.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

2 weeks to go to 2006....

And I am getting in that reflective mood. It isn't my last post of 2005, but I also figure that as long as I'm in the mood.......

2005 was a very good year for me -- but it didn't seem as if it would start out that way. A mere 50 weeks ago, I was sad, tired, burned-out, completely unsure of myself or my direction in life. When I decided to make a change, I discovered some wonderful things: I discovered that I was far more capable than I gave myself credit for. I found that I had a wealth of self-confidence -- it had been buried so long that I imagined it to be totally gone. I realized that I had a lot to offer the world. I found that I had the most amazing friends in the world, both 3-D and cyber-friends, who picked me up every time I needed a boost, and who still never let me forget how special I am, and how loved I am. I get a bit verklempt thinking of it.

If you have played any part in my transformation this year, then please accept my heartfelt thanks, my undying gratitude, and all my love. Your faith in me and your support of me has been a lifeline as I have blossomed. You will never know how much you have meant (and continue to mean) to me. Blessings on your kind and generous hearts and spirits!

Friday, December 16, 2005

One tired gal....

What a week!!!! We had an ice storm here, with about a 1/2 of ice on trees, power lines, and roads. I am one of the lucky ones -- we had almost no interruption at home or the office. There are nearly 700,000 customers in North and South Carolina who cannot say the same.

I work near at least 20 restaurants, all within about 1.5 miles of the office. Usually, it's a veritable feast for the palate. The last two days? Only one restaurant that we could find that was open. Today, it was about 5 -- and only two of them were in the main restaurant area. Let's just say that Wendy's and Atlanta Bread were doing BOOMING business, and yesterday "The Deli" (as we call it) got a BUTTLOAD of our business (at least 35 meals). And we were VERY grateful indeed that they were open and serving!

On the drive to work, I was stricken by the beauty of winter. One of the roads still had LOTS of ice-laden trees, and it was almost blinding in its beauty -- a very bright blue sky, and the trees that looked crystalline and white everywhere. It was amazing.

Wherever you are, stay warm!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What Happens When A Girl Drinks Too Much

(please note that I do not speak from personal experience...... heh heh heh)

1. I absolutely have no idea where my purse is.

2. I believe that dancing with my arms overhead, wiggling my butt, and yelling "WOO-HOO!" is truly the sex-i-est dance move around!

3. I've suddenly decided I want to kick someone's ass -- and honestly believe I could do it, too!

4. In my last trip to pee, I realize I now look more like a homeless hooker than the Goddess I was just four hours ago!

5. I drop my 3:00 AM submarine sandwich on the floor (which I'm eating even though I'm not the least bit hungry), pick it up and carry on.

6. I start crying and telling everyone that I love them SOOOOO much.

7. I get extremely excited and jump up and down every time a new song plays because "OH MY GOD! I LOVE THIS SONG!"

8. I've found a deeper/spiritual side to the geek sitting next to me.

9. The man I'm flirting with used to be my 5th grade teacher.

10. The urge to take off articles of clothing, stand on a table, and sing and/or dance becomes strangely overwhelming.

11. My eyes just don't seem to want to stay open on their own, so I keep them half-closed and think it looks exotic.

12. I've suddenly taken up smoking -- and become really good at it!

13. I yell at the bartender, who (I think) cheated me by giving me just coke -- but that's just because I can no longer taste the rum.....

14. I think I'm in bed, but my pillow feels strangely like the kitchen floor.

15. I start every conversation with a booming, "Now don't take this the wrong way, but......"

16. I tend to fall into the toilet bowl when trying to sit on it (funny how that is normally NOT a problem).

17. My hugs begin to resemble wrestling take-down moves.

18. I'm tired, so I just sit on the floor (wherever I happen to be standing) and take a quick nap.

19. I begin leaving the buttons open on my button-fly pants to cut down on the time I'm in the bathroom away from my drink!

20. I take my shoes off because I believe it's their fault that I'm having problems walking straight.

21. When you think it's cool to dance and spank your own ass (or each others') at the same time ---- oh yeah, baby!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A real-life scare today.

I have one brother. For years, we fought like cats and dogs, but as we matured, we got to be good friends. Today, in the blink of an eye, I could have lost him.

My brother's office (a personal finance company) was robbed at gunpoint today. And the guy had a bomb that was later detonated. The guy got away with just a little stuff, and the good news is that all employees are physically safe. But all it would have taken is just a gunshot here or a push of that detonator button, and I would have been an only child again after 30+ years.

And that, my friends, would have been more than I could bear.

Monday, December 05, 2005

At last....

I have been out of the loop for a while, because I am on day 8 of a 12-day work stretch. We finally got moved from our old location to the new one. While there's a big loss in personal work space, the building itself is very spacious and nice to work in!

Saturday, I set up my computer (so they could install some new stuff), then went to help in my assigned area, then got called to the warehouse where they needed us. As I told someone, I will never again complain about the customer who tries to apply the same credit memo 3 times in a month, or even the other stuff -- instead, I'll keep my mouth shut and be grateful I don't work 8 a day in the warehouse! Those of us in the office had dreams all weekend about stuff in the warehouse! No, seriously, it's way more involved than I would have ever guessed, and very physical labor. We had a little snag but otherwise, it went pretty well.

Yesterday (Sunday), I was on trash detail in the warehouse (breaking down boxes and stacking up cardboard flats for reuse). Then the boss pulled me aside to work on the lunch order. That's a whole story in itself! Let's just say that the folks at Bojangles deserve a BIG hand for pulling this order together! Then a little more work back in Accounting (filing and finalizing my space for today).

There were a few snags this morning -- but nothing bad, and we were able to do our jobs well for the most part.

But it's also NOT something I would want to do again any time soon!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Never been finished THIS early!!

Not Christmas shopping -- ha ha ha! Barely started!

No, I am proud because this is the earliest that I have ever planned my family's annual post-Christmas gathering!

For many years as a child, Christmas Day was a huge family dinner at either Grandma's townhouse or at my aunt's church's social hall. But once my grandmother died, and a few other events transpired, we stopped doing it. In a way, it was a relief, because there was so much going on in December for everyone. But it was also very sad, because then we didn't do anything at all.

A few years ago, several of my cousins and I realized we missed all the fun times, and wanted to do something -- but what? So one year, I took the bulls by the horn and planned a gathering at a nearby seafood place. 26 people showed up -- which I thought was REALLY good. It continued at varying locations, and the last one (January 2004) we had 35 people! This past January was the first that I just didn't have the time or energy to plan anything -- but we also had a gathering at my cousin Lori's over Labor Day weekend.

This year, I have a little extra time and energy to devote to the gathering. My plan is to have us all meet in January at a nearby barbeque place that also has live entertainment (a bluegrass band). That ensures that my dad's brothers will be the last to leave the place -- they LOVE bluegrass!

So I'm working on the invitations now, to go out into the Christmas cards! WOO HOO!!!!!! I'm so thrilled that this is now off my list of "Things To Do Before December 10!"

Friday, November 25, 2005

From a turkey coma to the Dark Side....

To quote Adam Sandler, "Oh, I love turkey on Thanksgiving!!!" MMMM!! Thanksgiving dinner was awesome this year. My parents -- whose dressing is fabulous anyway you cook it -- made it even better this year, adding chopped apple and toasted pecans to it. Oh My God!!!! Divine. And naturally, the tryptophan kicked in as it should and we all fell asleep as usual during the football game. The turkey coma is alive and well!

Today, I have officially crossed to the Dark Side. Yes, 'tis a sad day: I have turned on the holiday channel on XM. God help me. I mean, I love holiday music -- truly! Okay, there are a few songs I despise, but 98% of them are good and I love them. But I just HATE having Christmas music shoved down my throat as soon as the Halloween candy is passed out. So I have done my best to avoid listening to them before now. I'd catch myself occasionally singing a line or two from one, and react in complete horror! I still think it's a little too early.

When I was a kid, holiday music was slowly phased in along with the regular music -- and as Christmas got closer, more music. Then on Christmas Eve, they'd play ALLLLLLL Christmas music and again on Christmas Day. That was cool. But these days, it's just a full-on all-out assault!

I guess it's a scheme worked up between retailers and radio -- "Hey radio man, if you start playing Christmas music early, we win, you win, it's all good baby!" -- to get my butt in the store and buying. But all it makes me want to do is stay inside and away from the Christmas music that permeates the malls and stores and holiday stuff crammed down my throat: BUY BUY BUY! You are a Bolshevik weenie if you do not!

If that's the case, I'll proudly wear the banner of "Bolshevik weenie." I am proud to say that for the last 5 years or so (maybe longer) I have not bought one Christmas present at the mall. For my family and friends, I can get everything I need elsewhere -- a few stand-alone big box stores, and a few local shops. It works and it's good!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

XM on TV

Yep! DirecTV has made the switch on their music portion from Music Choice to XM stations. Now, I liked the Music Choice stations just fine myself, but I have to admit I was pretty excited about the XM offerings.

It's been about 5 days, and so far, so good. I haven't had a chance to listen to it much, but I like what I've heard so far! I'm rather fond of the 60s, 70s, and 80s -- along with a smattering of the 90s AND the 40s! Why I bypass the 50s, I don't know... just haven't listened to them much.

Haven't delved into too many of the specialty stations, but I can tell I'm going to like what I see so far. I'm more a fan of classic country (and I never imagined myself ever saying that when I was 16), and they have a station or two of that, plus a couple of alt-country stations. I like bluegrass too (never imagined myself saying that one either), and they have a couple of those. Not to mention the other stuff.

Oh yeah. This is gonna be good!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Auntie Nettie's Driving Tips!

Hello all. Auntie Nettie here with a driving tip for the day:

There is no need to slam on brakes when you notice that a trooper has pulled over another car.

HELLLLLLOOOOOO? Keep going at a normal rate of speed -- S/HE'S OCCUPIED! Believe me, unless you are committing a seriously egregious act of dangerous driving, s/he's not gonna hop in the car and come after you.

Thanks. Happy driving to you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Begging their pardon!

I got home (late as usual) from work. My mail contained a catalog (YAY!) and insurance information, from the fine folks who sponsored "Wild Kingdom" with Marlon Perkins.

So after dinner (and perusing the catalog and making mental notes), I began to review the information that "Wild Kingdom" had sent me. Imagine my shock as I read this:

For a long time, we wanted to do something really important for a too-long neglected group of Americans.
I'm thinking, "GREAT! They wanna do something for us working stiffs! Woo-hoo!" It continues....

Especially the ones in your age group.
Okay, I'm not sure what to think but I give them the benefit of a doubt and say to myself, "Wow! Nice of them to start marketing to us who are a little younger, help us get insurance we could always use." Okay.... I'm biting.

The solid, decent, dependable Americans (yup, that's me) who had raised their families -- paid their taxes -- fought our wars...
Fought our wars? WHAT? Vietnam ended when I was a kid.... the Gulf War was when I was in college, so maybe that and the War on Terror qualify.... maybe?

Then I keep reading to the next paragraph:
So we're happy to offer you a second chance to get up to .... blah blah, yadda yadda ... will be issued if you are age 45-85...

Well. In the words of Ellen Foley (female lead in "Paradise By the Dashboard Light"):
STOP RIGHT THERE!

Crushed. Deflated. Totally humiliated. I double checked the mirror. I know I'm working long hours right now and probably look like warmed-over crud ... but do I look 45? That's still 9 years off. Fercrynoutloud, I just hit 36!

And this is the way they reward me for actually WATCHING "Wild Kingdom" when I was a kid!

Monday, November 14, 2005

GAAAAAK.... it's started already!

Frickin' Christmas music 24-7. I knew it would start, but good gravy, does it have to start in 4 weeks before Thanksgiving? And of all songs, WHYYYYYYYYYYY did they have to play that ghastly "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas"???? I've already heard the bad news that (dare I say it?) "Christmas Shoes" has been playing???

Bah Humbug!!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

10 Things You May Not Know About Me

These are in no particular order......

10. I have never traveled outside the US. And outside a trip to Colorado, I've never been outside the Southeast.

9. While I am most familiar and knowledgeable about classic rock, I listen to all genres across the board -- except for three. I do not listen to speed/thrash/death metal, or to gangsta rap (heck, to most rap, for that matter), or Southern/country gospel music. No thanks to all three.

8. If I could go back and visit a period of time, I'd like to visit the late 50s/early 60s. I would be a Rat Pack hanger-on/wannabe something bad. Totally into their music and Space Age stuff, with a Tiki lounge in my cool apartment in NYC, and working as an architect or designer. If you want an idea of the mood of this, think "Blast from the Past" set to Donald Fagen's "New Frontier." I think it would just be the coolest thing ever.

7. I took Calculus II my first semester in college. I should note that I hate math. I scored a "4" on my AP test in high school, which gave me 4 credits. I needed 6 in math, so I had to take one more math course. I decided to get it over with as soon as I could, while it was all still fresh. I haven't done math any more complicated than basic 8th-grade algebra since December 1987. As you can tell, I'm just heartbroken over that.......

6. Speaking of college, I don't actually have a degree. I have approximately 81 hours toward my degree, but I bet I've lost all my credits by now. Crud.

5. Short of woodburning and knitting, I have probably done at least some of every handicraft known to man. I have done crocheting -- made a fish-shaped thing that ended up as a trivet. I have painted wooden figures. I have cross-stitched. I have (and still do) scrapbooking. Again, I've attempted them all. Okay, not model cars, but those never interested me anyway.

4. I have been reading since around age 2. My parents have no idea how I picked it up, just that I did. By age 5, I could read the newspaper and books from the "older youth" section of the library. I've had my nose in a book (so to speak) ever since.

3. I have no concept of stage fright. Never have. No fear of public speaking, no fear of being a ham, even no fear of getting up and making a fool of myself. None at all. How did this happen? When I was 3 years old, somehow I ended up with the responsibility for Scripture reading on "Youth Day." I learned that day that I had nothing to fear from being in front of people. And I also remember going away feeling that I'd done something very unusual, but wasn't sure what it was.

2. I have always wanted to be a redhead. But it's gotta be the right shade of red. So right now, I do red highlights. But I want actual red hair. Oh well......

1. I crank the car up to 11 every time "Highway to Hell" comes on.......

Saturday, November 05, 2005

In A Mellow Mood....

Yep, I am Miss Mellow this fine evening.

I woke up at 6:00 AM ... yes, on a Saturday, I voluntarily woke at 6:00 AM ... because I had to go into work. We are in the process of moving to a new building in about 4 weeks, and we're trying to rid ourselves of a lot of the crap that has collected over the years. So from about 8:15 to 12:15, we unboxed, sorted, reboxed, tossed, laughed, shook our heads, laughed, etc. trying to get it all together.

Stopped off for lunch... since USC was playing the Razorbacks, I was in a mood for barbecue. So I ate the delicious stuff while watching us get a very not-too-pretty win. One where we were just glad to get out of the stadium..... Sorry to pals Bolivar, Laslo, Hazey, and other assorted Arkies.

And now, I'm watching another game, and sipping on some very delicious vanilla bourbon and Diet Dr. Pepper. Yeah, it sounds weird but it's what's on hand..... mmmmm! It's delightfully mellow! Really, it's not so much "vanilla bourbon" as it is homemade vanilla flavoring -- a cut-up vanilla bean that's soaked in some Maker's Mark. It's about 2 years old, and it's the best vanilla ever. I will be making a couple more batches this winter. And besides being a great flavoring, it makes one hell of a mixed drink! Smooth and delicious!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ba-da-boom-boom-boom...

bomp-bomp-bompa-bomp!

If you don't recognize the bass line, I'm trying to replicate "Another One Bites The Dust." That's the song that swims through my head whenever I think of roller-skating. I was around for the resurgence of skating in the late 70s/early 80s (think "Xanadu")..... and EVERY single time I went skating, it wasn't a complete evening until they played "Another One Bites the Dust." I went to skating birthday parties, weekend skates, church youth group skates. I owned my own pair..... white with burgundy and gold trim, translucent yellow wheels and a bright yellow stopper, size 9 (at 10 years old!). Oh yeah baby, I loved those things, and I loved going skating.

Today was the first day I wore a pair of skates -- quads, no less! -- in probably 20 years. Mr. Know-It-All had a skating party, and I finally got back on a pair of skates for the last 10 minutes of it. One: it was like 1980 all over again (HA!) except for the music. Two: These were some really loose wheels. Or else I've forgotten they're supposed to be that way. Three: to quote Danny Glover from Lethal Weapon, "I am too old for this kind of (barnyard substance)!"

Then there was "BreakDance Guy" -- some guy who was probably way closer to my age than the rest of the people on the floor, and he was showing off the moves. Yep. It really WAS like going back in time (insert rolling eyes icon here). He even had the mullet to go with it (and I could have sworn his locks bore some Jheri-curl in them too). ...... SNORK!

Oh yeah -- Stacey & Chris gave me their present -- HONEST, they know me so well! They got me a poker chip set, some Princess gear, and a cocktail shaker & glass set. Heh heh heh.....

Happy birthday, my birthday buddy!! I'm glad you had such a fun party!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

16 Candles....

... and add more than just few to that, and you'll have my age. Yeppers, I turned the big 3-6 this week. And I share a birthday with Mr. Know-It-All, the (now) 6-year-old son of Stacey & Chris. It is amazing to realize how much he's grown up..... holy Moses!

I had a wonderful birthday dinner with my friends Nicole & Jeff, and Stacey & Chris and the kidlets at Haus Edelweiss, a nearby German restaurant that is one of my favorite places. MMM-MMM GOOD! We had lots of good German food, a delightful Riesling (we gals), the boys enjoyed some brews (Bitburger and Warsteiner), and lots of laughter. The kids kept us in stitches, and Nicole brought me a cool "Girlfriends" memory book for Stacey and I to work on together. It's kind of wild to realize that Stacey and I have been friends for half my life. It feels as though I've known her forever.....

Yesterday, my buddy "Queen Serene" (as I call her) gave me another super-cool present! It's a cooler with a radio in it! Is that not the neatest thing??? I can tailgate and listen to the game (or pre-game show) and keep my stuff on ice. Or if I take some drinks to work to keep at my desk, I can keep my radio on low and all will be well. Hmm, now there's an idea!!!! Plus there were some drinks and snacks in it as part of the gift basket. Now that's a friend who knows me well, too!! And it was great to get to see her. I miss her lots, especially now that we're not working together anymore.....

Then today, my coworkers and I went to lunch to celebrate both my birthday and my boss's (hers was Friday). We did have to make it a working meeting, but that was okay too -- lots of stuff to go over. We had a great lunch at Red Lobster, and stopped at a little place called The Chocolate Shoppe. Oh. My. God. Homemade cookies that were TDF, and chocolate confections everywhere. Thank goodness it's nowhere near the office or I'd be in some reeeeal trouble.

***

It's hard to believe how much I've aged, but how little I feel it. Honest to God, I still feel as though I'm in my mid-to-late 20s. When I was a kid, I always felt older than everyone else -- more mature, even though I was younger than most of my friends and classmates. I hit 18, and it started reversing itself. I felt younger than I had in years.

I think one of the greatest medicines to stop the aging process is laughter. Luckily, it's a medicine I take daily, if not several times a day! So keep laughing, and keep living.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Just call me the Dramamine Kid....

I had the pleasure of visiting my good friends The Glecks (of Five Flavors of Reflection fame) this past weekend. We had a great time!! I didn't get in until late Friday, but Saturday we had a full day at an Open House event at T-Gleck's work (complete with some of S-Gleck's yummy cupcakes!!), then onto a fun evening aboard a casino boat.....

Now I have long had trouble with motion sickness. I could take Dramamine, but then I would be out cold for a while. That's no fun. So I try to control it through natural means: ginger is usually a great remedy for nausea, etc. So with box of crystallized ginger in purse -- chewed before getting on the boat and once on the boat -- we boarded. Two decks (maybe a third one) of machines ... and tons of cigarette smoke. And then an upper deck with picnic tables, a karaoke machine, and (ah!) fresh air!

Unfortunately, once the boat got underway, we hit a little choppy water. Not even thirty minutes into the cruise.... well, let's just say I'm SO glad that trash can was nearby. And how did I make myself feel better? Falling asleep..... I could have taken the Dramamine, saved myself the trash-can shuffle, and slept anyway.

Somewhere around midnight, they started some karaoke... (at which point I woke up) I'm just glad there were no cops on board, because these people would have been arrested for murder!! The first was some guy who was so wasted, he didn't even know where the monitor (with the words) was. Then he treated us to a rap about how he was in jail and found the Lord; my first thought was, "Yeah, but where along the way did you lose him again?" The next guy just slaughtered "Come Monday" -- like who the hell DOESN'T know the words and timing to that??? Then RapDude and several friends got up to hack "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday" into little teensy pieces. Worse, they pulled up a girl friend of theirs to help with the high notes -- and her screeching made Mariah Carey sound like Lurch! GAAAAK!

Wait -- it gets worse. The next guy was horrendous -- if Neil Diamond were dead, he'd be rolling in his grave to hear this guy's rendition of "Sweet Caroline" (another one that if you don't know how it goes, don't get up and try to sing). The next guy did a fairly decent job of "I Wanna Be A Cowboy" (Kid Rock).

Then Buffett Murderer reappeared to do a version of "Summer Nights" and was begging for a partner to sing with him. This went on for about 2 minutes. Finally, to shut him the hell up, I got up to help. Good thing -- the poor boy needed it. Luckily, I managed to get a few compliments on the way out from some folks who'd heard me.

And special thanks to S-Gleck for the gift of earplugs...... AH!!!

I have also decided that when I win the lottery, I will devote a sizeable portion to research for ending motion sickness.

The rest of the weekend went all too quickly, but lots of fun. S-Gleck was kind enough to send a birthday cake home with me (and it is sooooooo good!)

Until next time, dear reader.......

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Enjoy The Ride (r)!!!

If you're looking for a great classic rock station, please please please allow me to recommend a great one: The Ride 95.7 FM out of Charlotte NC -- now streaming for your listening pleasure!

I was lucky enough to discover them purely by accident one day on the way to my friend Nicole's house. I was also amazed to discover that (a) they were out of Charlotte and (b) I could pick them up on the other side of Greenville! They are my morning bliss on the way to work, and my evening wind-down.

They are not your typical Southern classic-rock station (also known as the "All Skynyrd, All ZZ Top, All the Time" syndrome). They play Steely Dan, they play Van Morrison, they play Talking Heads, they play the Clash, they play the Beatles, they play the Stones, they play lots of artists -- all with pure joy and abandon.

They even play -- are you ready for this??? -- deep album cuts.

Administers smelling salts to readers. Allows them a few to catch their breath.

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A-hee-hee-hee-hee.....

......WIPEOUT! I am totally pooped!

Each evening this past week, I worked like a madwoman on a costume for a party this past Friday night. I still didn't get it perfectly in line with my vision for the outfit, but pretty darn close. So it worked well.

What didn't work:
1. The wig: It was too darn hot and humid Friday night to wear. It was on for five minutes before I said, "Enough of this!!" But this costume really needs it, so by the time of the next event, I'll have perfected it (and hopefully the weather will cooperate as well).

2. The earrings: The hoops were horrendous. I bought this pair of silver "ho-hoops" (humongous hoops which hit my shoulders) which were thin and felt very light. WRONG! Even without the wig, the hoops were a nightmare. I wore them for a half-hour and took them out. OUCHIE! They actually, at one point, had twisted around, taking my earlobes with them.

3. The bracelets: I have a ton of stretchy jingly bracelets, all very cute and inexpensive (which suits my checkbook just fine). Unfortunately, they do not suit my skin -- if all the conditions are right (wrong?) and the moon is in the seventh house, then my skin will break out in a godawful red itchy rash at the mere touch of costume jewelry. At least the bracelets were able to stay on for a whole hour before I started feeling a little itchy. And luckily, my skin is thanking me for paying attention -- the rash didn't develop.

What worked:
1. The skirt: I spent most of Thursday evening sewing costume coins and bells on the eyelet trim of my broomstick tier skirt. It was perfect!!

2. The shirt: Last weekend, I ordered a shirt online (after searching for two weeks in vain for a peasant blouse, which apparently just isn't in this season). I could have paid twice the cost of the shirt for express shipping (guaranteed by the 11th), a nice chunk for delivery by the 13th (for a party on the 14th) or wait 10 days for regular shipping (not even an option). So I paid the nice chunk and prayed and crossed my fingers for arrival on the 13th. Would you believe it came on the 11th??? Anyway, the shirt was just gorgeous, a perfect fit, and very light -- perfect for fall!

3. The shawl/headpiece: Okay, really, I was less "gypsy" and more "Stevie Nicks, pre-rehab" ... but I had her in mind as I was working on this. I found a beautiful fabric at Hancock Fabrics -- an iridescent dark red. When I saw it (in dark red and a plum color), I started looking everywhere for hunter green ('specially with my red hair).... but no such luck. Oh well, the red was exquisite. And incredibly easy to sew. And I can use it over and over. I put my pewter Merlin pin on with it (a wizard with crystal ball) and it was perfect. Of course, I'm saving my $$ for one of those SO cool dresses from a place I saw on eBay -- one where I can still use the shawl and headpiece!

4. Most importantly, the good friends! It was a wonderful evening with good friends. Lots of friends came from all over (from as far as Texas, Indiana, New Jersey, Tennessee... where else?) for a whole weekend of fun (started by the party). Special thanks to Shawn & Catherine who opened their home for the party and as a B&B for us Carolina girls. We also got to have lunch at a great little Cuban place in Doraville with a few other folks. Shopping, too! We (the Carolina crew) decided to bail a little early because of some things going on today (we were starting to poop right on out)......

I have a few things to do today, so no nap for me (at least none I can foresee). So extra vitamins and such to ensure I don't become susceptible to any nasty bugs out there. Too much to do....

Saturday, October 08, 2005

It's almost here! It's almost here!

My favorite holiday, that is!

Yes, I love Halloween. Love it, love it, love it. I always have. That may be due to the fact that it is so close to my birthday -- I was actually brought home from the hospital on Halloween! And thanks to a good friend of mine, I have a SLEW of Halloween tunes!!! YAHOO!!! I am now so psyched! Yes, yes, yes! By golly, I will be having a great musical feast this Halloween......

And I am *SO* very ready for an early Halloween party next weekend with my friends in Atlanta. I got the final piece of my costume today -- I ordered it and I am praying MIGHTY hard that it gets here by the 13th (as they have said it most likely would). I can't wait -- I've been working on my costume, and have some final parts to put together over this weekend (just that one last piece I'm waiting on......).

Did I mention how much I love Halloween?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Forgive me KatieG....

I am borrowing this from YOUR blog!

10 years ago I was:
Getting ready to START my work for the church. I had just been let go from a huge corporation (think "Death Star"), and totally unsure of how things would turn out. I lasted there 9 years, 4 months, 13 days.

5 years ago I was:
Getting better. Settling into things. Beginning to emerge from a self-imposed tunnel.

1 year ago I was:
Freaking out over what the future was bringing. I should have trusted my gut instincts.

Yesterday I was:
Crying my eyes out because everything seemed to go crazy at work, and I felt as if I'd really let a lot of folks down. I am my own worst critic and that will continue for my lifetime. But then I met friends for dinner, and things got so much better.

5 snacks I enjoy the most:
1. Cheetos Cheesy Puffs -- not the crunchy crap, the poofs.
2. Cool Ranch Doritos
3. Little Debbie Star Crunch.
4. TGIFriday's Baked Potato Skins (the "chip" kind, but I love the real ones too)
5. Whatever is in the vending machine at lunch.

5 songs I know all the words to :
*Okay, really, what songs don't I know the words to!??!* Fine... if you insist:
1. Penny Lane (the Beatles)
2. Amazing (Aerosmith)
3. Honky Tonk Women (Rolling Stones)
4. Kid Charlemagne (Steely Dan)
5. Ain't Too Proud to Beg (The Temptations)

5 things I would do with a billion dollars:
1. Pay off the bills for myself, my brother, and my parents. Set the 'rents up so they'd never have to work another day. Give baby bubba enough ca$h to do what he wants to do.
2. Put half immediately into a Swiss account. Gotta save for my future.
3. Buy my beach house on Sullivan's Island. Or Isle of Palms. Or Folly Beach. Heck, even Edisto would be fine for me -- and BUILD a house here.
4. Set up an endowed chair at my alma mater.
5. Buy a radio station. Make sure it's programmed the way *I* want a station to be.

5 places ideal for running away to:
1. Charleston SC
2. Sao Paulo, Brazil
3. Colorado Springs
4. Fiji ... Guam ... Samoa. Any of the South Seas islands where the men appreciate women with a little "extra" something.
5. Asheville NC

5 items you'll never see me wear:
1. Heels higher than 2" - God did NOT intend for me to teeter.
2. Skirts above the knee. God forbid.
3. Anything in "Clemson Orange" (or Tennessee Orange, for that matter!)
4. a jumpsuit. GAAAK!
5. Overalls

5 best TV shows:
1. Law & Order, any incarnation
2. My Name Is Earl (looks to be pretty doggone good)
3. M*A*S*H (especially the Frank Burns years)
4. Saturday college football
5. Sunday pro football

5 biggest joys in life:
1. Spending time with my godchildren.
2. Spending time with my friends.
3. Knowing I've made someone's day a little brighter and a little lighter.
4. Finding a true bargain.
5. Discovering the beauty to be found in solitude.

5 favorite toys:
1. my cards and poker chips
2. my computer (that counts... doesn't it?) ;-)
3. my truth-or-dare ball (similar to a Magic 8-Ball)
4. a pen and legal pad .... not technically toys either, but I love to write.
5. Hmm.... hmmm... hmm... hmmm... I'll have to add another later.

Thanks Katie -- this was fun!

Just a crazy thought I had

Yesterday, I was out at lunch, and was silently reflecting upon various things. Something hit me out of the blue, and I wanted to post it. I thought it was terribly profound -- and while it really had no connection with anything going on in my life at the moment, I figured that it might soon -- and I'd best remember.

In moments of tragedy, the self-righteous say, "There but for the grace of God go I." The truly righteous say, "Oh my God, there I am."

Whatcha think?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Attention spammers....

First a note to good friends and others who come across my blog: PLEASE comment! I cherish your thoughts, and am sorry that a bunch of azzhat fidiots are ruining the Internet for everyone. Unfortunately, because of those same cretins, I have had to put in a verification step before your comment becomes final. I hate it, but such is life.

NOW FOR YOU IDIOT SPAMMERS:
Do NOT place comments on my blog to direct people to dating sites, how to make money, or any other "business opportunity."

I have no need for penile enlargement or any other thing dealing with erectile dysfunction. I couldn't care less about seeing hot, horny housewives, or writing for an Eastern European mail order bride. I do not want to be a medical transcriptionist or envelope stuffer from home. I could give forty craps about any other business opportunity.

Do all of us a huge favor -- go far far away from the Internet and do not return.

Grab some tissues and an oxygen mask....

Because you will be laughing SO hard, you'll cry and forget to breathe!!!

Worst Album Covers
This one has some incredibly great commentary, and even after reading it a dozen times, I still crack up! AND he also has a second page (hit "next entry") and a link to yet another site. Really good stuff!

A Whole Slew of 'Em
This is a massive collection of all sorts of album covers. Some are incredibly good (dated, but even now would stand up to any CD cover work of today). Some are just godawful (with appropriate commentary provided). There's admiration for the good covers, and appropriate opposite sentiment for the not-so-good ones. This one is broken down into two main galleries, with probably 10 or 12 sections each, and I'm guessing about 30 covers in each of those sections. MASSIVE collection.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Work hard, play hard!

Work: I love my job. No, REALLY! I love it there! Where else could this happen?

Last Friday night, we had the 1st Annual Poker Tournament. Both the owners are poker fanatics. So they set up a tournament for us. Anyhow, adult beverages were allowed to be brought in to the office, but not opened until the tournament began (about a half-hour after closing). So I stopped at the nearby ABC store to pick up some goods. I was perusing the pre-mixed drinks, when this voice says, "HEY! Get away from that stuff, it's bad for you!" It was my boss. I mean, not just one of the owners, but the one that I work with! Of course, he was picking up his own libations...

Then, I got back with goods in hand, to find the other owner setting up the poker chips and instructions for the evening! His comment? "Special book or no special book, I'm taking all your chips!" (I had mentioned to him that I bought a book to help me prepare....). He was not prepared, however, for the name of the book: The Badass Girl's Guide to Poker (great book, btw). He laughed much about that.

Only at this company could these events happen!

Play: As it turns out, I didn't do too badly. Middle of the pack, with a good run up front. We took a dinner break about an hour into it, and I had a pretty good stack o' chips at that point. My own boss said, "Man, we are seeing a whole different side of YOU this evening!" When I first started there, I was trying hard not to cause too many waves, so people assumed I was quiet, shy, bookish (okay, I'll concede that one!), meek and mild...... did THEY ever get the shock of their lives! (HA HA HA)

I eventually went all-in (pretty much had to, since the blinds had gone WAY up). And lost. Oh well. I stuck around for the end of the tournament, taking pictures and stuff. Lots and lots of fun altogether.

And I think we're having another tournament next month. Heh heh heh........

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Down, but not out....

Over the last couple of days, we have been blessed to hear that most of my friends from the Gulf are alive and well. Still waiting to hear from a couple, but the reports on their own personal safety is cause for rejoicing.

But so much devastation that it makes me sad. I am especially heartbroken for the folks in Gulfport-Biloxi. Last summer ('04), I took part in a girls' weekend in Biloxi, and had one of the best times of my life. LOTS and lots of friendships were cemented that weekend, and I loved the area. Yesterday, I read a report from the Jackson Clarion-Ledger that Beauvoir (the Jefferson Davis home) was destroyed, and that the President Casino was lifted off its moorings and deposited onto a nearby Holiday Inn. We stayed at the President! While the hotel portion was across US90 from the casino itself, this just freaks me out to no end.

As some friends of mine (known as the Room 248 Girls) noted, "NO! Room 248 is gone! No more!" I noted to them that yes, the physical Room 248 is gone, but they have kept Room 248 alive in their friendships and their memories.

Louisiana's governor has declared today, Wednesday, August 31 a day of prayer. And pray I shall for the people of Louisiana, the people of Mississippi, the people of Alabama and portions of Florida (including those still reeling from Katrina's first impact, near Ft. Lauderdale).

Monday, August 29, 2005

No words, just prayers

I am blessed to have many friends and acquaintances all over the US. I have some who have been in the path of Hurricane Katrina, from its initial landfall in southern Florida through its current trek through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and on through Tennessee and Kentucky and onward.

And I pray for every single one of them.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Thank God for SC DOT....

I will praise their SHEP program to high heaven. SHEP is (I think) State Highway Emergency Program. Okay, I just found out that they're no longer SHEP -- it's the DOT Incident Response Team. Whatever, they're SHEP to me.

Anyway, for TWO straight days, they have come to my rescue on I-85. Yesterday morning, I blew my right front tire. It was not a fun feeling at all -- until it actually happened, my car was shaking so badly, that I thought my car just might explode or implode (wasn't sure which). Luckily, the SHEP vehicle arrived -- without me calling -- in about 2 minutes. He happened to be patrolling, and there I was. He changed my tire (put on my spare), and away I went.

Today, I was coming back from running errands, when WHAMMO-BLAMMO!! out went the back right tire. And I don't just mean, oops it's flat, or oh-no-there-went-a-chunk. I mean the entire TREAD came off and left just the sidewalls. Again, there was SHEP in a fairly reasonable time. I didn't call, but that doesn't mean another person didn't alert the Highway Patrol (who then alerted SHEP). The guy says he happened upon my car. I sat there for about 10-15 minutes before he arrived, so that's possible. I'm just glad he showed!

I shan't complain, ever again, about our DOT. Instead, I'll be grateful for them!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Picture

Forgive this other trip down memory lane.... I wrote this during my senior year of college (1991) when I found a picture of me and my brother. The sentiment remains the same -- I just updated the # of years since. Enjoy -- A.

I found a picture the other day. It was an old 8 x 10 of two children. The edges were yellowed, but the central picture was still intact. One of the children was a girl no more than seven and the other was a little boy no older than two. Those kids represented every kid in America.

The girl had chin-length hair with bangs closely cropped just above the eyebrows. She had sparkling blue eyes, and a snaggled-toothed smile. Her eyes showed a certain look that said, "I'm seven, and I'm taking on the world." It was obvious that she had just lost an upper tooth, and her smile showed her pride in losing that tooth. She wore a white shirt with puffy short sleeves and a denim jumper. On the bottom of the jumper, there was a rainbow and clouds that had been silkscreened on the material. Her knees were scraped, but not badly. What little girl, out having fun with her friends, wouldn't have scraped knees?

The boy was wearing a white shirt with the Liberty Bell embroidered on it and a pair of blue shorts. He had just gotten in a few teeth and it too was obvious that they were on display for the world. He had the same honey-colored hair as the girl in the picture and the same sparkling blue eyes. His eyes showed a world of promise before him. His tennis shoes were slightly dirty on the bottom. But what young growing boy, out discovering that great big wide world we call home, wouldn't have dirty tennis shoes?

Their parents were rather chagrined by the scraped knees and dirty shoes and tried to reschedule the appointment for another time. The photographer stopped them, saying that the children were charming and that he wouldn't change a thing. Only partially convinced, the parents chose to trust him and the essence of the moment was captured on film and paper. The sweet smiles, the big blue eyes, the charm -- all of it there for the world to see.

I stare at the picture more closely and notice a date: April 1977. Over 28 years have passed since that moment was frozen in time. I often sit and wonder what happened to the two children. Are they alive or did they die? Do they still have that innocent sparkle in their eyes, or has the world and all its problems taken that shine out? Are they successful by our society's standards, or are they just existing day-to-day? I think I know the answers to those questions. The children are dead, in a sense. Although the people in the picture are very much alive, those children died long ago. But that one moment of childhood innocence now hangs on my wall as a testament to what was, and still can be. I still believe that those childlike faces are special and are still miraculous.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Photographs and Memories

In my genealogy program, where I have stored all the information I have gathered, I also have the capability to do slide shows of scanned photos. I have several of my parents and a few here and there of other ancestors (but not many).

There's a picture of my dad that just sets me crying every single time. It's the only "baby" picture there is of him -- and he was around 18-24 months at the time. Granted, his parents were very poor, and Grandma had 3 children in less than 3 calendar years (my dad being in the middle). In this picture, he has on the cutest little pair of overalls -- they look to be corduroy -- with a little teddy bear applique on the pocket in the middle of the chest. He also has on a Peter-Pan collar shirt.

I cry because it makes me so sad to see. I wonder if the clothes were hand-me-downs from older brothers (or sisters even) or perhaps a cousin. I cry because I can picture the hardscrabble life they had, often through no fault of their own. I often wonder what that little boy in the picture must have been thinking, wondering, feeling, doing at the time.

And yet the picture makes me so proud too -- I bet no one at the time who would have seen him could have imagined that the little boy would have grown up to be a college graduate, with a productive, steady job, and a great family (not bragging, mind you). In fact, all my dad's brothers and sisters not only survived but thrived. Believe me, no "victim" mentality at all in this family.... their hard-knock life only served to drive them even more.

And that same drive has gone on to their children. We grew up with creature comforts that they only dreamed of as children -- and worked their rears off to provide as adults. Because they never got to complete their education, we were told we had to -- and 9 of the 14 grandchildren have some level of college education or completed degrees. (My father does have an associate's degree, even though he did not complete high school, which makes me all the prouder).

All things that I bet that little boy in the overalls never imagined......

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Joys of the Backside of Thirty

Once upon a time, I dreaded my 30th birthday with a horror. I grew up where 30 was the age where you had to "grow up" and the fun ended. And as tough as my 20s had been, I could only imagine the god-awful things that lay in wait after I turned the big 3-0. I couldn't have been more mistaken.

The 30s have been FAR better and kinder than my 20s ever were. My 20s were frought with navel-gazing and self-absorption. My 30s have been filled with great fun, lots of love and laughter, and amazing self-knowledge. I found strength, joy, wisdom, courage -- sometimes to a degree I didn't know I had within me.

Go back and relive those old days? NEVER!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Just some random thoughts on life.

Life is weird, wild, short, long, wide, and every other thing. And what a coaster ride the last year of my life has been -- great highs and horrid lows. If you had said to me a year ago how different my life would be.... well, I might have believed you but I sure wouldn't have bet the farm on it. But here I am, self-confidence back up, and loving what has come to be.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Oh God. I AM an addict....

I was without a home 'Net connection for about a week. Long story, but suffice to say that I am back, and it couldn't come a moment sooner!!!!!

Monday, July 18, 2005

One foot on the brake, and one on the gas....

Okay, this post was inspired by a jam-up Jag I saw today. BEAUTIFUL deep red, and I only got a momentary look at it, but I bet it was awesome. Unfortunately, the person who was driving it was going 50 in a 55, in the passing lane.

I wanted to say, "Lady, if I had a Jag like that, and simply wanted to show it off to say to others, 'Oh, look! I have a Jag!' then I'd put it in my garage and charge admission. If you're gonna have a performance vehicle out on the highway, then by God, make it perform!!!!"

But then again, it wasn't just the Jag. It was practically every freakin' vehicle between work and home, from the Interstate, on through my exit off a US highway..... GRRRRRR!

Rush hour? HA!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Things that make me happy....

A phone call from a dear friend, just calling to catch up with me and say that she still thinks of me and wants to meet for dinner and giggles. (This lady is precious.... and I miss getting to see her).

Watching children just be themselves. Okay, up until the point they start screaming and caterwauling. Then they get un-cute.

Adam Sandler movies. Yes, I am a fan. My faves? Probably Happy Gilmore and The Waterboy. And The Wedding Singer. And 50 First Dates. Okay, most of them.......

Watching the "Mah-nah-mah-nah" clip from The Muppet Show. Heck, I'd smile even more if they showed episodes of the original Muppet Show again!

Leaving work and actually making it to the Interstate in under 5 minutes. Most days, it's impossible. When it happens, it's a thrill! BTW, on the way in to work -- 2 minutes from the I, tops.

Breyer's Butter Pecan Ice Cream. Especially when I am the first one into a new carton!

Having the place to myself for a while. Usually a week or so will do me (but it's terribly rare).

More to come later......

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Channeling Julia Sugarbaker....

You know, it isn't often that something truly riles me... but this "Christian Exodus" crapola has done just that.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, Carolina is my home. By Carolina, I mean both Upstate SC and Western North Carolina as well (I have ancestral roots there as well). Quite honestly, I've always felt that Eastern TN, NE Georgia, Western NC, and Upstate SC should sort of be its own state..... but that's another subject. Anyhow, Carolina is my home -- always has been, perhaps always will be. And yes, there are lots of times when I shake my head in bewilderment at some of the shenanigans that go on in this area. But when things are right, it can be paradise.

Therein lies the problem. What is sometimes paradise to one is another's hell. I for one do not want a bunch of outsiders coming in, thinking that they're going to turn my beloved paradise into some sort of Six Flags Over Jesus. And furthermore, to whiiiiiiiiiiine when things aren't like they were back in (insert 40 out of the remaining 49 states). Because I will be quite hard-pressed not to say, "Well, who invited your sorry, whiny, holier-than-thou, agitating, carpetbagging carcass into my paradise?" -- and a thousand other lines: "Delta's ready when you are." "I-85 -- goes north, goes south, take your pick and your bags with you too."

I tell you, it's making a move to Asheville NC (still in my area of Carolina) -- and best known as the Eastern Hippie Haven -- look better and better all the time. For whatever reason, Western NC seems to be more tolerant and open-minded (or at least sometimes).

GRRRRRRR! This whole thing just chaps my hide!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Peeved In Extremis (A Political Tirade)

Okay, I was clued in today by my pal Stacey about an article in our local fishwrapper. Seems there is a movement afoot to relocate a buttload of conservative Christians to my fair state in an effort to swing the political balance..... in effect, making SC a haven for conservative Christians. Kind of like, "Is Michigan getting too liberal for you? Move to SC -- where your prejudices and petty narrowmindedness will find the perfect home."

Well, first off, I'm thinking, HELLO? How much more conservative can you GET outside of South Carolina? The state that's been solidly red for the last 25 years? Home of Strom Thurmond? Both senators are GOP (now that ol' Strom has passed on and Fritz retired). If I want to elect most of my local leaders, I have to vote in the Republican primary (otherwise, I don't get a say in who's running for sheriff or county council or anything else).

Great God almighty, you can't get more "better red than dead" than good ol' SC.... what the hell do these people think they're coming in to change? HELLO?

Part of me wants to say, "Go ahead. Move in. I hope you find that South Carolinians are far more tolerant than you think. I hope you find they laugh in your faces. I hope you meet people who you think will jump right on your bandwagon, only to find they have NO interest at all in your views." Ooops.... better stop there before I launch into a chorus of "Sweet Home Alabama" redone as "Sweet Home Carolina." Actually, I do have Northern friends whom I love dearly. Furthermore, most of them would never do anything like this either.

There's the other part of me that wants to tell them to take their sorry azzes back to wherever it is that spawned them. The part that would sing "Sweet Home Carolina." I am Carolina born, Carolina bred, and if God is good, someday, I will be Carolina dead. My roots here are deep. My families arrived here in the Carolinas well over 200 years ago. Some came from places like Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland... others came from another land altogether. But they found it good and to their liking and stayed. And I have too. I love the South, and especially my home state (warts and all). And I will be damned if I see it turned into a haven for religious lunatics who think they can turn my beloved Carolina (North OR South) into their own private Idaho.... so to speak.

Monday, July 11, 2005

DIBS!!!!

When I get to heaven (eventually), I hereby claim first dibs on the official "Kick Eve's A$$ for Eternity" concession. I figure I'll have women from all generations lined up around the blocks (does heaven have blocks?) just for the chance.

Remember, FIRST KICK FREE! And I'm sure the dear won't mind. After all, she probably has had someone kicking it upon entry for millennia.....

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The good things in life

With all the drama-rama that is the daily existence of my family life, I failed to give credit for the good things this weekend:

1. Celebrating the 8th birthday of my godchild. This week, I've gone back through 8 years of accumulated photos, and misted up at what a beautiful person she is becoming. It is mind-boggling to think that the sweet little child I first met at 6 weeks old is now 8, and one of the brightest lights in my life. She's smart, funny, and slightly crazy.... and there is nothing more precious than the sincere hug of an 8-year-old when you have given her something to make her day!

2. Getting carded! Yep, Godchild's mama and I got carded at her dinner celebration. As mah sister Wicked Witch commented, if we could bottle that feeling, we'd make a fortune. Especially since the end of my fourth decade on earth will be staring me in the face far sooner than I can even imagine..... (I did a whole discussion on the messageboard on that, called "A Larva Looks at 40").

3. Did I mention that my godchild's hugs are the best? And that her cousin gives awesome hugs too? And her brother?

4. Heh. I got carded!

Sometimes in the endless harangues and heated discussions, I forget how good things can be.... So I will come back to this post as a reminder.

Royal Decree

Okay, it's hotter than frickin' Hades in our house. But is our a/c on? NOOOOOOO! Because someone in the family is -- can you believe this??-- cold. The rest of us are in tanks, shorts, the thinnest materials known to man -- and we're roasting. But one family member is cold, and therefore the rest of us must suffer.

Oh, oh, oh!!!! Rejoice, oh sweaty ones! Ms. Iceberg has now relented. Even she could no longer stand it. AH! Sweet relief!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A moment to whine, por favor?

They took my monitor last week. It was heartbreaking. It was a lovely 17" flat-panel, with integrated speakers. It was just beautiful. They brought me a 14" -- YES! A 14" MONITOR -- with no speakers. Obviously, it's not a flat panel. I literally have to lean into my desk to see some stuff. That's not good for the eyes. I have been told my new monitor is on order. Be prepared -- wherever you are -- to hear whoops of joy when that happens!

That is all.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Inquiring minds wanna know...

Just a thought from the drive home..... Churches ought to be held to some sort of conventional naming standard such as (Phrase or Word 1) (Denominational Affiliation) Church. Like St. John's Catholic Church, Evening Shade United Methodist Church, Timbuktoo First Presbyterian Church, or even Route 44 Baptist Church.

Nondenominational? Say so. I'd much rather see "Rosewood Non-Denomational Church" instead of "Rosewood House of Worship Center." By calling it a "worship center" instead of a "church" that's supposed to be more attractive?

This one takes the cake! It's not the actual name of the church I pass sometimes on the way home, because I truly wouldn't want to embarrass them.... but it's dang close: Yahweh's Flock, Joy, Peace, Love and Deliverance Temple of the Lord. What the flip? The first thing I'd wonder is "What the heck kind of church is that? If I went there, would I be able to be the first one out the exit doors when they bring out the serpents?"

Look, just call yourself "Cooterville First Church of the Snake Handlers." That I can handle! GEEZ people!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Fellows, I'm telling you: you're gonna want.....

Going into work this morning, I heard the familiar opening riff of "Don't Fear the Reaper." And I cracked up.... because I realized one very important thing: It really could have used more cowbell!!!! (Hee hee hee)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Memories light my corner of the web.....

I ran across an old initial edition of "Meanderings" -- apparently, my original intent was to sort of do my own blog without calling it a blog. But then I found blogger.com and figured, "Why reinvent the wheel?" Someday, I will actually post the thought found therein. It's pretty good, but unfinished.

In updating my web pages, I also found another page I was planning to post, but never did.... "My Favorites." While some of the items on the list haven't changed, others did. And that made me think about how our interests change -- for some, more often than others. For instance, ten years ago, if you wanted to get me the perfect gift, something about angels or with a drawing of an angel was a good place to start. I still have the books and prints, but I'm not as into angels (or at least the collectibles) as I was then. Some people have lifelong favorite things, colors, scents, whatever. I like a little more variety, and yet retain some familiar favorites.

***

By the way, it hit me that I didn't have the comments feature turned on. It is now active in case you'd like to add your thoughts to the mix.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Four words for Tom Cruise:

SHUT THE HELL UP!

I thought about writing a few more words on this topic, but then I realized the utter futility therein. Especially when those four suffice.

Now..... today, on our local morning newscast, I heard one of the anchors utter this phrase (or words to this effect): "Coming up after the break, Aruban PO-leece make another arrest..." Okay, that may not strike you as particularly funny, but I about fell out over it! To hear a Midwestern accent (or lack thereof) saying "PO-leece" instead of "puh-LEECE" just slew me! I assume that perhaps the Teleprompter(R) split the word across two lines, and in the fog and fuzz of morning, she didn't mean to say it that way. But it was dadgum funny!

It could have been funnier; they could have said, "Coming up after the break, watch the law go after another suspect...." Here in the South, sometimes law enforcement officers are simply called "the law" -- as in, "I'm gonna call 'the law' on my neighbors if they don't shut up that arguing at all hours of the night!"

Of course, the phrase 'the law' (meaning the PO-leece - HAA!) is not to be confused with the expression "They LAAAAAW!!!" (sort of the same as "Oh my Lord!" or "GOOOLLLLLL-LAY!").

Yup, I didn't know until today that they had the PO-leece in Aruba. HA HA HA!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Great Radio

Not much to say today. Other than you know it's gonna be a great day when you hear 3 beloved songs on the way in to work. And you know -- it was a good day! Thank you, Steely Dan, Van Morrison, and Traveling Wilburys!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Great. God. Almighty.

First off, a happy solstice to any and all friends who celebrate the day! Now to my REAL rant....

Charles Wesley must be rolling in his grave.

Today, George W. Bush addressed the Southern Baptist Convention, and noted that the family is the source of all compassion. Oh, really? According to Wesley's hymn, "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," the 3rd stanza of the first verse reads (traditional wording): "Jesus, thou art all compassion; pure unbounded love thou art." In a more modern rewording -- the one my parish uses -- it reads as "Jesus, source of all compassion; love unbounded, love most pure."

Hmm -- so which is it, George? The family (meaning in this case, only a family with Daddy, Mommy, 2.7 children, a white picket-fence house, with Spot and Fluffy) or Jesus? I'll take my chances with the Almighty instead......

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More Deep Thoughts, but not by Jack Handey

I am a ponderer. Always have been, always will be. So today, I was pondering. Pretty much a continuation of some of what I was pondering on the drive home from church Sunday evening.

I am a moderate. A centrist. In a world which seems to be increasingly polarized, a moderate path is not an easy walk. You will catch hell from people on both sides of the argument who assume that centrism equates to neutrality, or indecisiveness, or even a lack of passion. Actually, I find it much more refreshing -- because I can see multiple viewpoints, and recognize them as valid. I can see the passion and thought that goes into that person's particular stance. And I can see their polar opposite's viewpoint and appreciate it too.

This does not mean I do not have strong opinions -- quite the contrary! My opinions are also pretty strongly held and researched. But that does not mean I won't listen to the "other" side's viewpoint and hold it to be just as valid as mine.

Gee.... wouldn't it be nice if that happened more often in our world?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Yippee-skippee for Jesus.

Recently, I took the opportunity to attend a teen-oriented Mass at a parish. All I can say is that, in regards to the music (which is meant to be contemporary and relevant), I got more out of the George Harrison song that was on my radio as I left Mass. The music was indeed contemporary, but far from relevant to the Mass.

I have nothing against parishes trying to reach teens. I have a massive problem with them catering to whatever is "hip" in an effort to reach them. The Mass itself is always relevant and contemporary, even as it is centuries (now millennia) old. Further, the music should enhance the liturgy, neither serving as the focus nor the selling point to get butts in the seat.

Keep in mind, I am a moderate Catholic -- neither ultra-liberal or super-conservative. To certain conversatives, I say, "Vatican II happened; get over it." To certain liberals, I say, "The revolution is over; let's move on." All I ask out of Mass is a chance to worship with music that enhances the action (instead of being the focus), with nothing distracting me from the liturgy itself -- including overblown drama, whether it comes from the congregation or the presider.

And just a further nit-picky point: when you sing, it's AHH-men, never AY-men, unless you are in a production of Lilies of the Field. Since none of tonight's singers or congregants were nuns in the Southwest nor Sidney Poitier, then you should sing AHH-men.

Old fart rant over now.....

Saturday, June 04, 2005

My name is Annette, and I am a bad blogger....

(Hi, Annette!)

Now that there are some different things going on in my life, perhaps I will get around to it more often. A few changes since my last writing: left my old job, am working again (after about 2 months of vegetation -- guess I got my Christmas wish, huh?) and in general really loving life.

Anyway, recently I have found myself in a strange position of being the old kid on the block at work. It is unusual because I have always been the "baby" of the group, the young whippersnapper, every place I've worked. Even when I worked with my contemporaries at AT&T/NCR, most of them were only a couple of years younger or so, and I *was* the youngest admin in my group. In my current configuration, I am the oldest. I am older than the manager of the group by two years. The person to whom I report is 10 years younger than me. That, my friends, is a weird place to be in. Now granted, I have the blessing of looking younger than my years, but it's just ... well, not to beat a dead horse, but weird. I'm now the "voice of wisdom..." (Y'all pardon me while I go laugh my considerable rear off at that notion!) :-)