Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Quick drive-by

No I haven't departed this life, but my Internet connection at home is on life support. I hope to remedy that today. It will be Easter at Christmas; the resurrection will occur.

Christmas was nice. Glad it's over. I can only take so much holiday cheer.

More to come.....

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Touching the snow

Seven days to go, and I'm finally feeling a little of The Christmas Spirit (R).

Friday night, I went to my godchildren's school for their annual Christmas production. It was so cute! They had everyone from K-3 to 5th grade take part. The little K-3s were just adorable, and the K-4 (the class their cousin Hannah is in) was cute too! So I got to see all three kids perform. It was really good work, considering it's a somewhat smaller private school.

Usually, children's choirs are a reminder of times I took part in the children's choir at church -- some pleasant memories, and others where I go "what were we thinking?" These kids were good, and you could tell the music teacher really had worked with them. They didn't sound like a typical children's choir -- where half have the deer-in-headlights look and stand there bug-eyed and twisting around because they don't know what else to do ... while the other half screams out "Away In A Manger" because they don't know what else to do. No, the kids actually sang, no one screamed out the words off-key. A few did have The Look, but not for long.

Then last night, I went to the dance recital for Rebekah and Hannah. It was very cute, and they each did a great job. Rebekah was in four segments, Hannah in one (she's in Pre-Ballet). Then we went downtown to see the Christmas Village sponsored by a local hospital. It was kind of neat. They had a carousel for the children, but the rest of it was food sales. But they also had a snow machine -- to give it a real holiday feel. Now, bear in mind that yesterday afternoon, it was 70 degrees here; definitely NOT your average December high! But when the sun went down, it got pretty nippy -- perfect to haul out the snow maker! And the kids loved it. I got a couple of pictures of them holding their hands out and looking utterly delighted.

I think that's what did it for me -- that childlike sense of wonder. They knew it was from a snow maker and didn't really care. All they wanted was to touch the snow.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just not in the mood.

I can't get into Christmas.

I guess I'm becoming more like my dad -- for him, it's just one more day in the year, religious significance aside. He doesn't get into all the hoopla and hubbub. His philosophy is "if I want something, I'll just go get it, or save up until such time I can go get it." Mine is the same.

But now along comes all the marketeers pumping up the expectations for the holidays. All the sparkly, expensive gifts. All the big fancy gatherings. All that warm, gooey, gushy feeling -- my God, it practically oozes through the screens.

Well, sadly for many people, the Norman Rockwell Christmas is a farce. (Apologies to Mr. Rockwell, he was just doing his job). People change, times change, and somehow we get all nostalgic at the holidays and try to live up to all those expectations we had as kids. Think Clark Griswold and the conversation he has with his dad. Over the years, I've developed a great definition for nostalgia: feeling sentimental for something that actually never existed.

As for me, I just want to celebrate the religious significance, exchange small gifts with loved ones, and not succumbing to the marketing pressure of what the perfect Christmas should be. I don't have to go all hog-wild and decorate like mad, or listen to holiday music 24/7 or spend $$$ that I don't need to.

Realism for Christmas. What a concept.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The one Christmas show I can't watch.

When I was a little girl, I saw a Rankin-Bass production called Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey. It's the story of a poor picked-on donkey who is ridiculed by the others for his excessively long ears, but who eventually becomes the hero, by taking Mary & Joseph to Bethlehem.

I think I was about 6 or 7 the first time I saw it. Oh my sweet Lord, I bawled like a baby. I was a very sensitive child, and I just couldn't stand to see someone being picked on for something they couldn't help -- like Nestor and his ears. Well, that just did it for me. I never saw it on TV again. I don't know if it was merely that our stations didn't carry it or if it went back into the R-B vaults.

Fast forward to somewhere around 1996. I saw it offered on VHS in a catalog at church/work. I told my coworker about not being able to watch it, and we laughed a little about it. Then in 2002 (I think), I was flipping channels and got to ABC Family. The next show on tap was "Nestor" ..... oh my. I really so wanted to see it, but I wondered if it was just my childhood tender heart that had caused me to cry my eyes out over Nestor. Surely now that I was an adult, I could handle it.

They got me again. I cried over Nestor -- not as much as I had that first time, but I needed a tissue. My brother laughed at me; I didn't care. Nestor's story broke my heart all over again. Sure, he was the hero at the end. But he went through some serious crap along the way, all because he was different.

Guess a tender heart doesn't easily go away, does it?

I can watch Christmas Vacation and laugh my butt off. I can watch A Christmas Story and die laughing (especially during the "fa-ra-ra" scene, among others). But put Nestor on and I become a puddle of tears.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas Music, 24/7

God deliver us.

We have two Adult Contemporary stations, and around Halloween they start salivating all over themselves to see who's going to be the first with the Christmas music. They start with "weekend previews" -- okay, do I really need a preview of Christmas music? Uh, most of it I've heard for years.

I hate it. I remember when one of those stations was an easy listening/MOR, and they would do 24-hour Christmas music on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. That was it. But then again, none of the other stations shoved Christmas music down everyone's throat.

Call me the Grinch or Scrooge or whatever. I am so tired of it already. I don't listen to these stations anyway unless a song I like just happens to come on. One of them I pretty much flat refuse to listen to, because it's owned by a certain media conglomerate that wants to rule the world (doesn't everybody? Didn't we learn that in '85?). Anyway, I do my best to avoid them most of the time.

But I find myself hoping to catch just one Christmas song on there that I love with all my heart. So I will punch up their frequencies. And I've yet to catch this song on there. I drove to Atlanta last weekend and happened to catch it on one of their stations: the Christian station. I didn't know whether to be happy at hearing it or sad that the dadgum CHRISTIAN station was playing it. Because believe me, when I hear this song, the last thing on my mind is a manger in Bethlehem. But that's another post for another time (heh heh heh)........

Play the song more often. It can't be any worse than Mariah screeching the hell out of "Oh Holy Night" (to which I think, "Oh holy Jesus...."). And how many damn times can you play Bing and "White Christmas"? ENOUGH ALREADY!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

YAHOOOOOOO!


I did it. I did it. It took me to 10:15 PM tonight, but by God, I did it.

I finally let the inner editor take over, because she had a great idea. Just write. Who cares if it is truly, completely coherent? No... not quite. But the inner editor has had the great idea to stretch this thing out a little more, so the last bit of the novel is actually from that idea .... it doesn't make perfect sense in the original flow of the story, but it's another place to start.

The thing is, I can see the novel really take form. This initial portion of it is just the beginning. There's going to be a lot of editing as I go along to get it to the form I see for its future.

If you are one of the thousands who've also done the NaNoWriMo with me this month, CONGRATULATIONS! WE DID IT! And if you've never done it, then think about it for next year. It's crazy fun!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Quick NNWM update....

Roughly 41,500 words (give or take a few), and 2 days to go. I have figured out ways to stretch my story out a little, and to keep it rolling into the future. Right now, I'm just going to concentrate on making it to 50K, but I definitely see some additional plans for this book after November is over.

As I've said before, the characters have become very dear to my heart. I am trying hard to make them and their story realistic, not contrived. Right now, with these few words, it's a little too ... well, too fast and furious for it to be real. They have a great story -- one that is going to take more than 50,000 words to tell.

But time constraints are pushing in, and my inner editor is fighting to get out. I've suppressed her as much as I could for time's sake. So if you don't see me around much over the next couple of days, don't be surprised. I'm either working in real life, or off in my novel-world.

Ta!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Another NaNoWriMo update

35,000 words. Nearly 100 pages. And I'm not stuck, but just wondering how to wrap things up.

As much as I'd like to call it "chick lit" the truth is that it's more a romance novel. But a modern one -- none of this "Baron LeDark gazed at Sabrina, his eyes taking her in, from her heaving chest to the short hem of her satin gown. Sabrina knew that she wanted him more than anything..." blah blah blah. No talk of "manly warriors" (wink wink) and "forbidden passions."

The main characters are adults over 35. The time for being coy and cute is long past. They are walking wounded, but also surprisingly strong in their own right. They know who they are, where they've been, how they've overcome, and are at ease with their place in life. Hey, there's an idea -- using normal people to tell a story!

So far, there's been no big external conflict -- no crazy exes back in the picture, no arguments between the main characters. Must there be a conflict? Can't there just be a happy ending for once? I have an idea of where something could happen. But it would be more of a ... downturn? (is that the right word)? Something that will keep the characters apart for a while, with hope for the future, but a little uncertainty too.

The thing is, this whole story could happen in real life (maybe not in mine but in someone's)... it's plausible enough.

And NO, HEATHER -- NO DEAD BODIES!!!! (ha ha ha)

My coworker keeps asking, "Yeah, but when is the dead body going to appear in the lake and they have to solve the mystery?" I can't write about dead bodies. Not that I'm any more qualified to write about a decent, well-working relationship.... Mysteries are not something I could write well -- I sucked at Clue as a kid. Badly. I can read mysteries, watch them on TV (I am a crime drama junkie), but to actually attempt one myself would be horrific. Sorry, Heather -- maybe some other time.

Roughly 15,000 more words to go in 4 days (or so). I'm working as much as I can on it today and tomorrow, because I know I'll have no chance at all on the 30th (working late).

I can do this.

Friday, November 24, 2006

No turkey coma for me!

I'm shocked. For once on Thanksgiving, I wasn't part of the Blow-Up of the Day. Mom and my brother got into it, briefly. I shouldn't be surprised -- they are two peas in a pod. There are times I am like her too, but not to the same extent as my brother. Anyway, around 11:30, Angel Boy was yelling and decided to go for a ride. Fine by me. I was just glad I wasn't getting blamed for something for a change. Once Angel Boy calmed down and came back, it was a fairly reasonable day.

Nor did I fall victim to the famous Turkey Coma. They all collapsed under the influence of tryptophan, but for some reason I didn't. Of course, I also didn't really load up my plate either. I decided to forgo counting points yesterday, but to eat in moderation and to enjoy what I put on the plate. I stuck to smaller portions, and it was all good.

Then I spent part of the day working on my NaNoWriMo stuff. I'm still below 30K words with just under a week to go, so most of today and the weekend will be spent feverishly trying to reach that goal. I'm loving these characters and where the story is going. I was telling a friend about it and she is now all excited, and wanting to read the finished product. Well, that's going to be a long way off, but getting closer. I still can't believe I'm at 80 pages and still under 30,000.... holy mackerel!

And tomorrow marks the annual rivalry: Clemson vs. South Carolina. Now, I am a Carolina girl through and through. If we lose to Clemson again, I swear, I will just sit here and bawl like a teething child. I have a feeling this is our year. We can do it!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Very blessed indeed.

It's almost Thanksgiving, and naturally I'm in a little reflective mood. Rather than a laundry list of "what I'm thankful for" that would just bore you to tears, suffice it to say that I am indeed very blessed. I have family, fantastic friends, a good job, happiness, and some measure of inner peace. I have laughter, love, and joy.

Can't beat that.

Enjoy your holiday!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

NaNoWriMo update

I'm at 18,000 words (give or take). Yeah, that's slightly behind pace, but I'm actually okay with that. There's always time to play catchup over the Thanksgiving holiday.

So far, I'm getting really invested in the characters and the story and where it's all going to lead. "C" and "E" have become awfully close to my heart. Even if this thing never gets published, I'm happy with knowing I've written more than I ever have before. Most of my short stories have been about 15 pages or so. I'm up to 50 so far. WOW........

To all my friends who are doing this -- KEEP AT IT!!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Color me quite happy -- and also heartbroken!

Ahhh! I am sitting here typing to you from my new PC. Or more correctly, my "newsed" PC. There is a locally-owned company who sells used PCs from upgrades that they do for a local business. I got one of them today, and I couldn't be happier. It's much faster, stronger, better -- it's the Six Million Dollar PC, instead of Major Steve Austin prior to the accident.

(insert the bionic sound here)

Big huge sigh of relief. I still have a LOT of work to do in order to get it back up to running speed. But those are minor things, and I'm just thrilled!

***

And yet my heart is just broken. We were oh-this-close to beating Florida. Three blocked kicks, any of which would have won the game. Oh my......

PS to Bolivar: I intend to nurse said heartache over a nice plate of BBQ -- you might have beat us last week, but by God, I was alllllll Hawgette this week. Enjoy the win!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Shiny, happy people: my big ol' butt!

Well, I've done a little research into the airwave robbers. Seems there's a "Christian alternative" station licensed to a church in a city between where I work and Charlotte. I know they're licensed to 104.1 FM ... but their repeater signal on 95.7, I'm not so sure about. I am just-this-close to calling said church, and saying some very non-church-like things.

I have no problem per se with Christian radio. It's not my cup of tea. I know -- that sounds so weird, especially considering I sing in church and so forth. But as far as listening to "contemporary Christian" I can't stand the stuff. I call it "Yippee Skippy For Jesus" music -- because, you know, "it's all so beautiful" (and forgive me, Faces, for stealing a line from your music). Don't worry, be happy for the Lord.

(insert wretching noise)

With a couple of notable exceptions, most of these singers and songwriters forget that a good part of the Psalms -- the original Top 40 (or in this case, Top 150) -- are full of complaints and even prayers along the lines of "God, will you PLEASE smite my enemies?" And quite frankly, that might appeal to me. People who are open and honest and admit to struggles and frailties and temptations (and occasionally giving in to temptation), people who aren't afraid to say, "Yes, I struggle to believe. Yes, there are times I question God, even to questioning his existence or his care for us." That, my friends, I would be far more apt to listen to.

Anyway, they're still effing with my wa. This is not boding well. Something must be done.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The 11th commandment oughta be....

"Thou shalt not harsh Nettie's mellow."

One of my very favorite radio stations is 95.7 FM The Ride out of Charlotte NC. It reaches over to my house (albeit somewhat fuzzily), but gets stronger as I drive east toward work. It is independent radio, which makes me love it automatically, and they are classic rock as it is intended to be: not the same seven or eight favorite artists singing the same 15 songs. They have streaming online, so I definitely suggest checking them out.

A few weeks ago, the harshing of my morning mellow began. Seems a little LPFM in Greenville (that's "low power FM") was dropping itself in at 95.5 FM. Fine, but it overpowered the Charlotte signal just as I was going through downtown. Over on the Eastside, where I work, you couldn't even begin to pick up this little LPFM. I had given some serious thought to calling the DJ (who gave his name on the air), and telling him to quit "f---in' with my wa!" (thank you, Jax, for that phrase, I do love it so!).

So you can imagine my extreme glee this week when, praise be, the little LPFM seemed to be off the air, and The Ride came in loud and clear through downtown. No more cutoffs in the middle of "Layla" or "Let It Bleed" or any other fantastic song.

And you can also imagine my intense horror when, later this week, I began to pick up some stuff that definitely did NOT fall into The Ride's playlist, playing on their frequency. Seems that some "positive alternative" station (a/k/a Yippee Skippy for Jesus Metal and Rap) has hijacked this frequency on the Eastside.

I am not happy. In the least. My mellow has most definitely been harshed. My wa is beyond effed.

*****

Adding to this, the two local big A/C stations are falling all over themselves to be the first in the area to play Christmas music. I am aghast. Halloween was just this past week -- why the holy hell do I want to start hearing Bing sing "White Christmas"???? For God's sake, can't you wait till Thanksgiving?

When are stations going to realize that a large segment of the population has no interest in holiday tunes right now?

So, Lord -- what's the judgment on all these 11th-commandment breakers? A finger on the "SMITE" button?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Killing you softly with my keyboard

Or at least I hope not. Today I started with the NaNoWriMo thing -- and in just two hours, I did about 2000 words. That included breaks to catch a moment of VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s. That's been fun to watch but OH! what has happened to some of the hotties from then!!! YIKES!

Anyway, it seems to be flowing for now. I'm not sure how it will all pan out. I'll keep you updated.

And Kate...Naturally asked if anyone else was having trouble with the NaNoWriMo site -- count me in. I can't even get to the main page, let alone log in and upload. It's weird, I tell ya. Weird.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Well, I have done it.

I'm gonna do it. At least I am going to start it. I am going to at long last work on my dream of the Great American Novel.

I have several short stories, but I am starting from scratch. I have an idea in my head of where I'd like to go and what I'd like to do .... but none committed to paper yet. I am very much looking forward to this. I love to write, but I mostly do short stories and "creative non-fiction"/ little essays (like my blog posts). But to actually work daily toward this .... it's going to be interesting!

We shall see how far I get. And to my fellow participants (Stacey, Susan, and a bazillion others, I'm sure) --- WE CAN DO IT!!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

A good birthday!

My birthday was actually two days ago (the 25th). I hit the big 3-7, but I'm a little weird -- usually in July, I start calling myself my future age. That way, when the birthday rolls around, I'm used to saying "I'm (#)" and it doesn't wig me out.

Last Saturday was my boss's 50th birthday party -- what a blast!!! Then Wednesday, my coworkers all took me to lunch. That night, Stacey, Chris, the kids and Nicole all took me to dinner. What a blast!

It's going to be a good year. I just know it in my soul and in my bones. To a good year!

Wazzzzzup? I'm in da house!

Today was the day we did our Halloween dress-up at work. Normally, it's done on Halloween, but for whatever reason this year (usually lots of drop-in guests lately), it probably wasn't feasible. So I dressed up as a thuggy-ghetto-fab girl.

I wore my athletic jacket -- navy and pink -- and a pair of navy yoga pants with a matching pink stripe down the legs. They are actually two different brands, but it worked well together. I also wore a hot pink do-rag -- the bandanna had little skulls all over it. I had picked up a sticky rhinestone phrase ("fabulous") at AC Moore -- PERFECT for my do-rag. I actually have another one in navy at home that says "DIVA!" but I couldn't find it. Oh well -- this one worked. And for the crowning touch, I bought some chain -- literal chain -- out of the hardware section at Wally World last night. I also bought a big ol' honkin' X-Men alarm clock (hey, it was on sale; it could have been Barbie for all I cared). Yup -- a Flava-style neckpiece!

I was hoping to win "Most Opposite of Your Personality" -- but our sales manager dressed as a vampira/witchy creature and won. She's one of the sweetest people, so it really was opposite of her. There weren't too many of us who dressed up compared to last year, but it was STILL a lot of fun. The shop guys, who usually don't dress up, declared themselves nudists on strike.... that was funny!

And this is another reason I love my job!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A real FMR moment yesterday -- and the past, revisited

I had a great weekend in the Coastal Empire with Talmadge and Seraphim. It was lots of fun, loads of laughs, good deep conversation, and complete silliness. I turned into a 7-year-old all over again, simply with one showing of Tweety & Sylvester, backed with Jabberjaw. Ahhhhh -- Jabberjaw!

Anyway, on Saturday, Tal asked me if I knew my right front tire had a screw in it. No .... no, I did not. So before I left on Monday, I stopped by their local Wally World for a tire. An hour later, I was on the road and happily heading for home. Right before dinner, my dad asked, "Did you say you got a new right front tire?" When I replied affirmatively, he said, "It's flat."

No. No. No...... Yes. Well, FMR (a phrase I use often, but I'm engaging in some self-censorship. Suffice to say the last word is "running). I had driven less than 300 miles on this tire. No way should it have done that. So this morning, I went to the local Wally and they gladly replaced it. Turns out it was definitely defective. There were two minor holes just past the tread but not to the sidewall, and the technician said there was no sign of puncture.

Back to work tomorrow -- the vacation has been fun, and I'm rested and ready to get back to work!

***

I actually went to Wally twice today -- I had to come back once the tire was actually on the car, so that they could do some additional checking. Okay, no problem. And it gave me a chance to do some shopping that I didn't get to do this morning.

I went to the buggy area, and got behind a lady with two sons. As I was putting my purse in the front section, I heard the phrase, "Yes, that's her -- hey (my real name)!!" It was some folks who were members of one of the churches I used to work for. I hadn't seen the boys in ages, and couldn't believe how tall they'd gotten! They're both junior high/high school age, and I remember when they were still in elementary school.

Later on, after I had checked out and was heading back to the automotive area, I saw one of the kids I used to teach in CCD (Sunday School). She has always come up to me with a huge hug, and today was no exception. I got to meet her boyfriend -- a very nice young man.

Just two seconds ago, I picked up the phone, and it was someone else from church -- sharing some fantastic wonderful news that has happened to her in the last few weeks. I am amazed that she found me -- I hadn't really talked to her since I left the office. But I am just in awe that she sought me out to tell me.

I miss seeing the people from church on a regular basis. Not that I'd change the way things are now; not in a million years. But I do miss them. It's nice to see them and catch up on things. And it humbles me that they still think so much of me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

HAAAA! Take that, Doc!

Let me start this story in Summer 2004. I had noticed a pattern in my body that I wasn't liking. After doing a little research on WebMD, I determined that chances are I was having migraine headaches. So I made an appointment with my family doctor's practice. The name on the door says "(Blahblah) Family Practice," but really it's owned by a local hospital. Doc Blahblah sold it a few years ago, when he reached retirement age. He's still practicing there, but on a limited basis. So I got to meet the new doctor.

Two years later, the jury is still out on this doctor. He's very intelligent, and he certainly made the office far more technologically savvy. He's big into EMR - Electronic Medical Records - and there's a laptop in every exam room, the nurses' station, etc. He's also very no-nonsense in the way he gives you news. Doctor Blahblah, whom I've known forever, is one of those kind, sweet souls, and delivers the news in a very personal, loving way. Doctor Newguy does not. He delivers hollow-point bullets to you.

So on the first visit, we talked about my migraines. And eventually, we meandered over to my weight. He was not happy that I chose not to step up on the scales (and technically, they couldn't make me). So he then said, "Have you ever considered gastric bypass surgery?"

GBPS was and is kind of a hot-button issue with me. I am sure there are plenty of people who need it -- the truly super-obese who can no longer move without assistance, kind of like what you see on Discovery Health. But for me -- I'm mobile (maybe slower than I would like, but I can move), I'm in otherwise good health, I don't have any of the health issues (diabetes, etc.), so other than my weight alone, why in hell would you even suggest it? And I don't like the odds that 1 out of 200 don't make it off the operating table. I do not know how I know it, but somehow I just know that I would be that one.

I looked at him as though he'd just passed a large amount of gas in my direction. He backpedaled and explained that one of his nurses at his old practice had just had it the year before and it worked so well for her. I told him the topic was not up for discussion -- it was a big fat NO!

Last year, he didn't even broach the subject.

This year was the first visit since I've joined Weight Watchers. He was mightily, mightily impressed that I have lost 52.4 pounds in 5 months. Impressed enough to ask questions -- how I was doing it, what it took, where was I noticing the losses most. He was beaming almost as much as me.

Take that, Doc. Take that feeling of doing it myself, but of knowing where I can get help. Take that feeling of confidence that I have going through me every day, of knowing that I can do whatever I set my mind to! Take that!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Once upon a time...

I listened to a CD this week that I hadn't put in the old machine for quite a while: Mary Chapin Carpenter's Stones in the Road. It has long been a favorite, but there was a long time that I just couldn't listen to it. It brought back memories I'd just as soon forget.

But this week, I felt compelled to listen again. I had been listening to the song "Jubilee" and remembered why that song attracted me. Yes, it still made me sad for all the things I connected to the song, but I also realized what a wonderful, hopeful song it is. So I decided to listen to the whole CD again.

I had to take it out after a couple of spin-throughs; it made me a little wistful. I realized how many various memories the songs brought back -- not just memories of the relationship but of various stages in my life. "House of Cards" reminds me of some of the less pleasant childhood memories -- too many cases of Mama being more worried about HER reputation than of whatever thing I was going through. If I heard "don't do anything to embarrass us" (meaning her) once, I heard it a dozen times. "Outside Looking In" hit a little too close to home too many times in my life .... and especially for the time I associate with this CD most. "John Doe No. 24" has always made me sad. I still love the "happy" songs on there -- "Shut Up & Kiss Me" and "Tender When I Want To Be" and especially "Jubilee."

It's also still one of my favorite CD's -- because it hits so close to home; because the songs aren't necessarily wrapped up in a pretty package; because there is no resolution. If you've never listened to it, do yourself a favor and listen.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I am completely verklempt....

This morning about 9:30, I watched as my coworkers gathered around my desk. I had no idea what was going on....... Finally, one of them spoke up and said, "We are so proud of you, and all the weight loss you've accomplished so far, that we wanted to get you a little something." Inside was $50 in cash -- a dollar per pound so far. And the instructions to buy myself something new that would fit just beautifully -- not to spend on groceries, or on gas, or anything else but something new to wear.

I nearly cried. I was completely overwhelmed by their support and their generosity! We have joked for a while about my "MC Hammer" pants -- baggy all over and u-g-l-y, I truly have no alibi....

And truth be told, I do need to go shopping for something new. Everything I own -- okay, just about everything -- is too big somewhere, either the waist, the knees, the thighs, the arms, the whatever.

I'm totally floored. Just completely floored, and incredibly thankful!!!! And so to Beth, Cindy, Elena, Heather, Kelly and Pam, you will always have my heartfelt gratitude for all the love and support!!!!!!! Y'all are terrific!!!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Raul shall sing me to sleep...

As a reward for losing 50 pounds, I treated myself today to a good manicure and pedicure, and also to Raul Malo's new CD, "You're Only Lonely" (cover songs). Yes, Raul will be singing me to sleep tonight and I can't wait to hear this CD.

I bought it from a local music store. I love our local stores -- they are fantastic! This one in particular (Earshot) has just about everything you're looking for (and if they don't have it, chances are the other store will). I came this-close to going to a big box store to get the CD. And yes, I'd probably have saved myself about $10 overall on my purchase. But considering the community very nearly lost this store a couple of years back, I want to support it. The other store -- well, I pop in there on occasion too. But the last time I was there, I spent over an hour browsing and didn't see anything that struck my fancy. Earshot carries both well-known and obscure artists; this other store tends to specialize in the obscure. Now, I love the obscure as much as anyone, but there are times when I want something more well-known. That's when I head to Earshot, or the big-box stores.

Both stores, to their great credit, are extremely supportive of live local music. Now, I'm not much into the concert or music scene like I used to be. But I still believe a strong local music scene only enriches the community. So I am glad that these two stores promote and support the venues and artists who are out there!

So anyway -- my hands and feet look fantastic, and my ears will be all happy tonight. WOO HOO!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

You know it's a good day when

... on your drive into work, you hear "Dixie Chicken" and "Moondance" -- I mean, honestly! Little Feat and Van Morrison -- as the Old Milwaukee commercials from the 70s said, "Boys, it don't git no better than this!!!" And also when you hear an old favorite that rarely gets played, and it brings back memories both wonderful and wistful.

... your pants don't fit -- but it's because there's too much material and not enough you anymore. 45 and counting, bebes. I'm so pumped about that, I don't know what to do!

... you get a few minutes alone (besides your commute) and it's one of the most precious gifts of the day. I know my solitude will be coming to an abrupt halt in 20 minutes or less, so I am going to relish every second of it.

... all your customers are at the ready with the check number of the payment they just mailed yesterday..... oh wait. That falls under pipe dream. Sorry about that.

... you enjoy a good laugh, or give someone else a good laugh.

... you can remember to post this all!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

The long and winding road...

always leads me to deep thought. And luckily, nearly 9 hours of not-too-long and not-so-winding road this weekend was plenty to allow for quite a number of meanderings and musings.

I thought about the past --- mostly trying to answer the question: "If I could go back and say something to my 14-year-old self (when I was a freshman), what would I say?" Well, first would be to lighten the hell up! Next would be to lighten the hell up! And then to lighten the hell up! Yes, I was Miss Serious, where my world revolved around my studies and extracurricular activities. Think Tracy Flick from Election, only I didn't sleep with any of my teachers. In the years hence, all that activity amounted to jackcrap; it looked good on my college application, and that's as far as it went. I haven't done a damn thing with the 5 math credits I struggled to earn (and believe me, I might have been in AP math but it was a mountain to climb). I loved literature with all my heart, but I don't purposely dissect stories or poetry anymore. The graphic design skills I used on yearbook staff are the ONLY thing I did in high school that has remotely carried over to my adult life.

Then again ..... I think I wouldn't go back at all, even given the opportunity. You know -- that whole space-time continuum thing Doc Brown warned about. If I changed even one thing, it would disrupt my life in the present, and quite possibly in a way that I wouldn't enjoy. So best to leave things as they are and enjoy the valuable lessons learned, especially those learned the hard way.

All that being said, it reminds me that within a year, they'll be planning the 20-Year Reunion. Oh God, please, in Your great mercy, make sure it's a good one. No lame-o stuff, or I will develop a bad case of anal glaucoma -- meaning I can't see my @$$ going to it. I know You understand where I'm coming from......

***

I also did some thinking about some things from my adult life. In particular, I thought about two important events of my adult life that changed my whole perception of life itself.

The first situation was when someone ripped out my heart and walked all over it. I have come to realize that I share in the blame of the first situation .... but not for the reasons originally given to me by the Heartwalker. No, my share of the blame was there from the onset. It came from not being true to myself, and for stifling the me that I had discovered and grown to love in my college days. I sacrificed that wonderful person for someone who never would have appreciated or even understood her. It has taken some time, but I have forgiven myself for that.

Most importantly, that event taught me to say "never again!" When I was betrayed by another supposed friend, I was able to stand up and declare "NO! I said never again, and I mean it!" I could not have survived the second without having survived and thrived after the first incident. I had to rebuild my entire life, my whole foundation of who I was, what I thought, what I held to be real and true, and what could be discarded. As a result, I have come to know myself again and love myself much more than I ever dreamed.

Both incidents -- horrible as they were at the time -- have served to make me even more resilient. They have made me more open-minded and open-hearted than I would have ever dreamed. I think of it as giving up the trinkets that you are clinging desperately to -- so that God/the Universe/whatever can give you real treasure far more abundant than you could ever imagine. I am absolutely astounded when I think of all the laughter, love and life I have experienced and shared in all the past few years, that I would have missed out on had things turned out the way I thought they should have.

Sometimes I really do thank God for unanswered prayers.....

Monday, September 18, 2006

Who'da thunkit?

One of the ways that I reward myself for reaching weight loss goals is to buy myself CDs that are woefully missing from my collection.

So I had decided a while back that when I hit 40, I would buy myself a copy of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. And while in the store, I was hit with the idea to buy the one lone CD that Blind Faith put out. I'd heard some good things about it, and hey, why not?

I put in Layla -- and it did not disappoint at all. But then I put in Blind Faith. I was even more blown away. In the few days since, I have listened to Blind Faith far more often. Frankly, I'm shocked. I never imagined that this one would grow on me so fast. My favorite song? Probably "Can't Find My Way Home" -- but then again, I've always liked that one. Of the ones I didn't know before, probably "Presence of the Lord" (an underrated Clapton gem).

I never guessed this CD would be so good.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11

For my parents' generation, they can tell you exactly where they were when Kennedy was assassinated. For my generation, it is the Challenger disaster and 9/11. I hope I never forget.

That day, I remember getting to the church office. One of our parishioners had very suddenly died the night before -- found out at 8:30 that morning. I was in complete shock over her passing. We all were. A few minutes later, I was speaking on the phone with another parishioner about this event, when he said, "Hold it! A plane just hit one of the WTC towers."

The topic quickly shifted, and we thought perhaps it was just off course through an accident. Then he said, "Oh my God. It's hit the other." I told him I'd talk to him later, and immediately went to turn on the TV in the conference room.

My coworker and my boss both came in over the next few minutes. I don't think we did a thing that day except sit in front of the TV and field the occasional phone call. And we passed around the Kleenex -- and the TP when we ran out of tissues.

I remember answering a call from a news reporter around noon, asking if we were going to do any special services. We were still processing everything that had happened -- from our parishioner's sudden death to the national event. I admit that I got very snippy with this reporter and said something like, "I know there's a national crisis, and that it's important. But we have a crisis of our own as well, and we're trying to minister to everyone on every level. {Here's where I got reallllly snippy} And besides, we have a service EVERY day, not just when something happens. So yes, we'll have our regular services and yes we will say special prayers. But as far as a specially planned thing, I'll have to let you know later."

The rest of the day was a blur. I went home, turned on MSNBC, and sat in front of the TV some more. The stories broke my heart. There were so many people on camera, asking the nation to let them know if they knew where such-and-such person was. And I signed on to the messageboard I read often. An Episcopal priest who was a member posted a prayer he'd composed that day. I read the prayer and wept some more. I remember all of us being worried sick over the girls in NYC and Washington.

And here in my small hometown, a local business owner -- born as a Palestinian in Israel -- went to the other business owners on that street, weeping with sorrow over what his fellow Muslims had wrought. Apologizing over and over and asking not to be judged in the same boat as them. And being told over and over by these businessmen and businesswomen that he was not to blame, that he would be just as welcome as ever in their stores, and that they would continue to patronize his business -- all of which has held true.

For the rest of the week, I kept my radio on NPR -- they were running non-stop coverage. I needed to hear it. Over and over and over. I don't know why. On Friday, we opened the church for the National Day of Prayer. I went and knelt there, totally numb. I didn't know what to beseech God for -- all I knew was I had to be there.

Afterwards, I drove to Savannah to visit my friends as planned. And again, listened to NPR all the way down. I couldn't get enough of the news that week. Odd, isn't it?

***

This morning, I heard Alan Jackson's "Where Were You" on the way in, and it brought it all back. And the firehouse close to work had its own memorial. A flag at half-staff, and a fireman's uniform propped up at the flagpole. It was all I could do not to cry all over again.

How has 9/11 changed me? Like many, I could talk about the loss of innocence for us all that day. The realization that we are hated, because of our freedoms and our blessings. The knowledge that it could happen again, at any time and without warning. The price of freedom, purchased with innocent lives who just happened to board a plane, or be at their office that day.

There is all of that. Yet I still hold out great hope for humanity. I still believe that the majority of people are good at heart, and that if we band together, we can overcome the evil present in the world. It has made me more cognizant of the need for true justice -- as Pope Paul said, "If you want peace in the world, work for justice." It has made me more aware of how very much the same we all are -- that no matter what our occupation, our heritage, our faith, our lives and cultures are, we are all humans with the same needs, desires, hopes, fears.

It is my sincere prayer that this day will never be forgotten -- and that we who watched the events of that day and were horror-stricken at the evil that reared its head will do all in our power to overcome that evil.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Dear Coach Spurrier,

I love you dearly. Even when you were at Florida and I hated the fact that you handed us our stuff on a silver platter each year, I had a grudging respect for Darth Visor. You knew how to win and win big.

I know our talent pool isn't what you had at Florida. It's probably even just barely better than the talent level at Duke. I know that you're bringing excellence to my beloved Gamecocks, and I know it's going to take some time. I'm a patient fan.

I would like, however, to make a suggestion: Please talk to Blake Mitchell about his study habits. It seems the poor boy is failing "Biogeology 101: How To Tell The Difference Between Your Ass and a Hole in the Ground." Do you have a tutor who can help him with this?

Many thanks,
CG

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hopped up on caffeine, and need to sleep...

I am such a doofus.

One of the things on WW is that we have to have 2 servings of dairy a day. Okay, so we were out of milk today, and I didn't go pick any up like I intended to do. So no biggie, I thought, I'd just pick some up on the way home from church tonight.

I stopped by the convenience store near home -- and there was no skim milk available. Just 2% and regular. I didn't want 2%; I really can't drink it. For whatever reason, skim milk is the only kind that my system will seem to tolerate. So I was stuck.

Then I saw the Starbucks Frappuccino. Yeah! Those are made with skim or 1%, right? No problem! Except........ I'm planning to go in early tomorrow to do some work on the UK accounts. Early, as in the time I usually hit the gym. As in, need to be in bed this very second so I can wake up refreshed in 7 hours. And what else is sitting in my car? The Diet Coke that goes with tonight's dinner. Not decaf either.

So about an hour ago, I had both a Starbucks Frappuccino *and* a Diet Coke. Plus I had a short nap this afternoon. I'm betting I won't fall asleep until 1:00 in the morning. And I'm still out of milk for tomorrow's cereal.

I should have just gotten the 2% and let it do its "magic" to my innards.

Dammitall.

Monday, August 28, 2006

New Workout Music List

Yeppers, I updated the Lyra a few days ago with a few new tunes. Actually I'd updated it a few weeks back and made a few more changes. Some remain from my earlier list, but a few newer songs from the ol' collection have been added.

What meets my criteria?
1. Good beat
2. Positive message
3. I just like it.

So here's my list (and a few notes):
  • Ah! Leah! (Donnie Iris) -- I just like it; good beat.
  • All Fired Up (Pat Benatar) -- it's the message: "I believe there comes a time, when everything just falls in line." Pretty much the story of the last 18 months of my life. Things on occasion have fallen in line and clicked when there was no real reason for them to do so. I can't argue with that.
  • Boogie Wonderland (Earth Wind & Fire) -- hello? It's Earth Wind & Fire. Reason enough.
  • Cigarettes & Alcohol (Rod Stewart) -- yeah. Real positive, huh? Actually, I just like it, and it has a good beat for me to start with.
  • Cool the Engines (Boston) -- love this song. And it's the perfect cool-down, especially if I'm on the treadmill that gives you a five-minute cooldown once you've gone over 20 minutes (some of the newer ones give you only 2-3 minutes).
  • Crumblin' Down (John Cougar Mellencamp) -- I have always loved this song. And "Authority Song" (same CD, and was previously on the Lyra). Why do I love anti-authority songs so much? The world may never know....
  • Deeper & Deeper (The Fixx) -- great song. This version is from the Streets of Fire soundtrack. The movie didn't do so hot, but it had some great music -- this and "I Can Dream About You" by Dan Hartman.
  • Gemini Dream (Moody Blues) -- this song has a special place in my heart, and a good beat, so that's why it's here.
  • Hair of the Dog (Nazareth) -- one rockin' awesome song.
  • Head to Toe (Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam) -- the beat. Plain and simple. It was tough to choose between this and "Lost in Emotion" but this had the more workout-like beat. And good memories of my first semester in college.
  • Hold On Tight (ELO) -- great positive message, especially considering my goal is truly long-term. It's a dream I want to hold on tight to....
  • I Feel Free (Cream) -- because why wouldn't you want something by Eric Clapton on your MP3/iPod? And it's my hippie-like indulgence on an otherwise heavily 70s/80s list.
  • James Dean (Eagles) -- great beat. One of my favorite bands. I mean, c'mon!!!
  • Jealous Again (Black Crowes) -- good band. Good song. Good beat. Perfect combination.
  • Keep Yourself Alive (Queen) -- great band. Good message. Awesome beat. God, I miss Freddie Mercury ....
  • Let It Whip (Dazz Band) -- makes me walk a little faster and put a little extra something in my step. And besides, it's one of the last good dance songs.
  • Lights Out (Peter Wolf) -- don't know why. I just like it. And so, it is here.
  • Long Train Running (Doobie Brothers) -- another good drivin' song (not driving as in behind the wheel -- drivin' as in motivating). Might not be good for you, but it works for me.
  • New York Groove (Ace Frehley) -- yes, I have this. A live version, no less. Good driving beat that keeps me paced fairly well.
  • On the Loose (Saga) -- don't know why, but it works for me.
  • One Vision (Queen) -- another good song with a great message.
  • Peace Frog (Doors) -- unfortunately, this is the "first-half" only of a two-part song. And yes, it's an odd inclusion. But somehow, again, it works for me.
  • Radioactive (The Firm) -- ya know, I'm discovering that for some reason, most of these are songs that would only work for a real twisted brain like mine. Moohoohoohahahaha! This is another of them.
  • Remedy (Black Crowes) -- another one that might not work for everyone, but it works for me (by this point, I'm usually off the treadmill and on the Nautilus machines anyway).
  • Running Down A Dream (Tom Petty) -- fantastic beat, really driving and keeps me going.
  • Running On Empty (Jackson Browne) -- another one with a good steady beat. And besides, it reminds me of the scene in Forrest Gump when he's running to this song. Kind of inspires me to think that one day -- not now, but one day -- I would do the same.
  • Sanctify Yourself (Simple Minds) -- again, one that might not do diddly for you, but it works well for me.
  • Shining Star (Earth Wind & Fire) -- one of the most positive songs I can have on here. If I need a good uplift, if I'm frustrated about something in my workout, this song helps me focus on why I'm doing all this.
  • Sir Duke (Stevie Wonder) -- if you don't move something during this song, check to see if you're lying between Keith Moon and Brian Jones.
  • So Alive (Love & Rockets) -- yet another of those "only Nettie" songs.
  • Train in Vain (The Clash) -- good beat. It works.
  • Whatever Gets You Through the Night (John Lennon) -- another song with a good beat to get me happy and moving. Although, every time I hear the beginning, I can almost hear Don Pardo saying, "GE Smith and the Saturday Night Live Baaaaand..... MUUUUUsical guest, Whomever, and your host......" (Yes, I know GE Smith hasn't been on there in ages. I still hear his name whenever I hear it, just like occasionally for the Today show, my head will hear "with Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley.....")
  • Winning (Santana) -- a truly inspiring, positive song. I've loved it for 25 years now, and I don't intend to stop.
Well, that's it. The current incarnation of the Nettie Playlist. I mix it up so that I don't always start off with the same old song (though I do admit to switching it back to "Cool the Engines" every time for my cooldown). If something on here works for you, then by all means......

Friday, August 25, 2006

Now for the sucky covers.....

In an earlier post, I had mentioned some cover songs that I actually like better than the originals. But now I'm afraid that I must discuss ... those singles. I'm not talking the ones that belong on the next version of "Golden Throats" -- horrid as they are, I *like* those in a weird way. I'm referring to the ones which managed to chart.... they instead belong on the Jukebox from Hades.

With barf bags at the ready, let us begin:
  • "Everytime You Go Away" by Paul Young. If you have EVER heard the original by Hall & Oates (off the Voices album), you will understand why. The first time I heard it was in 1982. Our pastor's daughter and I were riding around and she put it on and asked me what I thought. I was mesmerized. It was such a powerful song that I actually got misty. What blew me away was the organ work -- I felt like I'd been to church. When Paul Young released his single a couple of years later, I was underwhelmed. Not many people realized it was a cover song. And his cover was incredibly soulless. All the heartfelt pleading and emotional intensity had been washed out, and just the song lyrics and melody remained. They even took the organ out and replaced it with a tinkly synth. Well, you just can't do that to a song this meaningful. Paul went on to strip the soul out of other good songs like "Oh Girl" (Chi-Lites) and "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?" (Jimmy Ruffin).
  • "You Can't Hurry Love" by Phil Collins. Speaking of Motown ripoffs......... My dislike of Phil is pretty well known. I like some of his earlier stuff, up through No Jacket Required and a few songs here and there afterwards. What I didn't like was the constant mugging for the camera, the self-serving stuff -- really, did he have to play both locations of Live Aid, and do the same set at each? -- and especially the Serving Divorce Notice Via Fax. Anyhow, for all the good of "I Missed Again" and "Wish It Would Rain Down" there are the less-than-thrilling songs. This one isn't that bad, especially when compared to the overplayed, God-do-I-wish-every-copy-would-simultaneously-self-combust "In the Air Tonight" -- but it just grates on me nonetheless. Miss Ross and her fellow Supremes had a certain flair with this song that Phil just doesn't.
  • "Dancing in the Street" by Mick Jagger & David Bowie. Speaking of Live Aid..... yeah, I remember the premiere of this video. I was excited by it at the time. However, 21 years later, this rendition can't hold a candle to Martha & the Vandellas' original. And while God knows I love kitsch, this isn't cool kitschy, just saaaaad, man. Saaaaad. Especially considering the influence the song had on the Stones' "Street Fighting Man" .... if it comes on, I listen, if for no other reason than to remind me that Motown got things right. Stax-Volt did it more soulfully, but Motown did good!
  • "The Power of Love" by Celine Dion. I had totally forgotten that Laura Branigan did this song waaaay back in the 80s. The other weekend, I was listening to American Top 40 reruns on "80s on 8" (XM) and it was a long-distance dedication. I just about fell out. Not that I love this song by any stretch. But Laura Branigan's version had a certain vulnerability about it; a nice quiet power that relied on the lyrics to express it. Celine's got a powerhouse voice, certainly -- but it's a voice that doesn't caress or invite. It drowns. But then again, Celine has a history of doing sucky covers. Remember her godawful renditions of "All By Myself" ... and "I Drove All Night"? BLECH!
  • "California Girls" by David Lee Roth. I'm not a huge Beach Boys fan by any stretch. Pretty much everything they have done since Pet Sounds has sucked and is just a ploy for more dinero. But their earlier stuff was really good -- including "California Girls." Brian Wilson really was a genius, and I do wonder on occasion what might have been had he been perhaps a little stronger emotionally to handle the fortune and fame. As for his part, David Lee just turned it into another ploy to ogle chicks in bikinis and make a video about it. Solo career, but same ol' lecherous Dave.
  • "Break On Through" by Stone Temple Pilots. As a general rule, Doors songs shouldn't be covered. There was a Doors tribute album a while back, on which this song appears. STP should have spent more time listening to Aerosmith do "Love Me Two Times" -- that was a decent cover. Or even listened to Billy Idol's "LA Woman" (from the Doors movie soundtrack). Both fairly good renditions, faithful to the original, and yet not making anyone say "Jim who?" STP's was both a tragedy and a travesty.
  • "Funkytown" by Pseudo Echo. Travesty. Injustice. Pure sucktitude. This song is probably what spawned Butthead's immortal phrase: "Stop! in the name of all that which does not suck!" And speaking of Stop!....
  • "Stop in the Name of Love" by the Hollies. This isn't my idea, but I concur wholeheartedly. I forget which book I have, but the authors compare this one to the original by the Supremes as this (paraphrase): "The missing exclamation mark says it all." Yep.
  • "Free Bird/Baby I Love Your Way" by Will to Power. Will to Power sucked. Badly. You do not take a Frampton record, splice a little Skynyrd in, and serve it up. In the words of my dear pal Tal Gleck, "People BOUGHT this record???" This assessment also goes for any Will to Power song.
  • "I'll Be Missing You" by Whatever-the-Frick-His-Nickname-Is-Now; You-Know-The Rap-Guy. This song just draws my pure, unadulterated hatred. And if I had been Sting, I would have sued his pants off. Oh yeah. How original. Let me take a song that was a blockbuster and change it around to talk about a murdered rapper. Oooooooh! Brilliant.
Anyway, these are mine -- you are certainly welcome to add your own......

Saturday, August 19, 2006

And the one I did....

This is a continuation, of sorts, of the previous post.

I didn't know my grandfathers at all, but I had a great surrogate grandfather -- Pop John, my maternal grandfather's brother-in-law (married my grandfather's sister). He was kind and generous of heart, and did he ever dote on us! He never had children of his own, so we were the closest thing he was ever going to have to grandchildren.

I can still smell the Aqua Velva he wore daily. I know the layout of their home as well as I know my own, even though nearly 20 years have passed since I visited, and almost 30 since I made yearly summer visits. I can still hear the wake-up call of each morning: "OWWWW!" (from his daily insulin shot). I remember the HUGE ears he had. I can see the alarm clock that sat on the table in their dining room. I remember the trips to Tallahassee that were part of every visit to their home. I can see the wispy white-gray hair that was on top of his head. The gold-wire-frame glasses. The tile in Pop John's little bathroom (off to the side of the guest room, but he used it as his). I remember that on occasion, on Saturdays, we would watch wrestling -- just like I did at home, but with different people. He wasn't a huge fan, but got a kick out of the fact that I loved it.

And to call him "robust" or "stout" was an understatement. He was larger than life. He had served in the Pacific theater of WWII, and he and his unit nearly starved to death on a Pacific island. Upon their rescue, he decided he would never go hungry again -- ever. That man could eat like no one I ever knew. If he visited, it was meals out each night -- especially at any sort of cafeteria. Morrison's was a particular favorite. There was a time they were up visiting when I was young, and he picked me up in his lap and said, "Well, little missy, where do you want to eat?" My mother says I replied, "Anywhere is fine, but I always eat better at Morrison's."

Even after my aunt died in 1978, he still came up to visit, or welcomed us back to Georgia. Then in 1982, while visiting an old high school girlfriend in the Midwest, he had a stroke. They got him back to a nursing home in Quitman, Georgia, where he would spend the last 5 years of his life. When we went to visit him, there was a misunderstanding between he and my mother -- I blame the stroke for his diminished capacity, and my mother's own tendency to hear what she wants to and put the most negative spin ever on it. I'm not sure why -- guilt or whatever -- but my mother would call the Home once a month to check on him. She always got the same report: "he's doing well; it's been a good week."

We never saw him again until that July weekend when his sister "Louise" called us on a Saturday night, to tell us he had passed, and that the funeral was the next day at 2:00. We very quickly threw clothes together in suitcases, left for south Georgia, and stopped when it was already midnight and we were exhausted -- and two hours left to drive. That morning, we stopped at his secretary's house. "Nita" was a long-time friend of ours too, and she warned us that it wouldn't look like him. She and my mother played catch-up on details, and she also told my mother that the Home had apparently been feeding her a load of bull all those years. He had not been alright, but had steadily gone downhill.

We got to the house where his sister Louise was. She more or less hinted that we were welcome to take a few moments to freshen up but that THEY would be leaving for lunch shortly. When my mother conveyed this tidbit to Nita later, she was furious. She told my mother that the Presbyterian church in town had sent over a feast and that there was tons of food in the fridge. We could have (and should have, in her opinion) been given free reign of the house and the food therein. I think Nita and my mother shared the opinion of my aunt regarding her sister-in-law -- "rhymes with witch." It became my opinion that day as well.

We ate a quick fast-food meal and hustled to the funeral home. Nita had been right. The man in the casket was not my Pop John. This was a 130-pound shell of a man. There was no barrel-chested man, no loud voice that had commanded troops and yelled, "OWWWW!" each morning. There was no hearing aid present, but had it not been for those humongous ears, I wouldn't have known it was him. Even my mother turned to the funeral home folks with a look of "Did you bring us into the right room?" I just said, "My God. The ears." That's how I knew.

At the graveside, we saw many old friends of Aunt Mary and Pop John's. I had known so many of their friends, and their friends' children and even a grandchild or two, from all my summers there. Even now, if I were pressed to, I could probably remember a few names. I saw "Artemis," their part-time cook and housekeeper. She was a precious woman, and I couldn't believe that the older woman with gray strands now all through her hair was the same person I remembered.

Mom received a small sum from his will. Living at The Home had drained much of his savings, but I think my mother was surprised she was remembered at all, considering their frosty relationship of the previous few years. We got my aunt's jewelry, which we did expect, and a cedar chest that had belonged to my aunt. Nita got a few things, and Artemis got a few things and his car (to which my mother and Nita both said, "GOOD!")

I was 17 that summer. I would leave for college in a few weeks later. It was a tough summer. It seemed to me that all the people who had played such a role in making the good moments of childhood outweigh the bad were leaving me. Not only had Pop John passed, but another surrogate grandmother was dying of leukemia and would leave us just after Thanksgiving. The time had come to take all they had taught me and move forward.

The two I never knew....

My friend Talmadge Gleck has written a very loving tribute to his grandfather on his Five Flavors of Reflection. And it got me to thinking about my own relationships with my grandfathers. I wish I could say that I had the best grandfathers in the world and that they loved me tremendously and doted on my every move and every word. But that would be completely false. In fact, I never knew either of them -- but even today, they continue to impact my life.

My maternal grandfather died of a heart attack at age 48 in 1962. He had been through quite a bit even in that young life. When he was around 26 years old, he was stricken with polio and more or less paralyzed from the thorax down. A few years later, with the help of Vocational Rehabilitation, he opened a little mom-n-pop grocery (convenience store) right in our front yard. Then he died, when my mom was 24.

How has he loomed in my life? Apparently, he's on a slightly lower pedestal than the Trinity. There is no doubt whatever that my mother adored and worshipped her daddy. I ask my relatives about him, and they always say, "Oh, Uncle Gene was the most fun-loving guy you could imagine." To which I think, "Then please explain how my mother is one of the least fun-loving people in the world...." From what I gather, he had a can-do spirit and was a prankster extraordinaire. I also gather he was a bit authoritarian, but probably no more so than other dads of that place and time. I don't know enough of his relatives who would remember him -- or who are still around to tell the story.

Then there is my paternal grandfather, the great mystery. He fathered seven children with my grandmother, and they were married for around 38 years. He lived with her for probably less than 15 of them. I can't say that I completely blame him either. I loved my grandmother, but she could drive any saint to drink or worse.

My dad doesn't talk about his dad; he just says, "Not much to tell." By the time my father was growing up, my grandfather had moved back to his homeplace and more or less came over for occasional visits. My grandparents never divorced, the only possible explanation being that divorce wasn't viewed kindly in their families. I have heard snippets of stories about him from others in the family, and quite honestly, he doesn't seem like a bad guy. I'm honestly a little afraid to ask much more from my uncles and aunts. They're not a talkative lot -- except for one aunt, who will gladly talk as long as there is an audience (okay, so I get it honestly...).

Anyway, my grandfather died at age 63 when I was just over 5 months old, of complications from a stroke several years earlier. Of course, had it not been for the stroke, I would not be here. My parents began corresponding when my mother read an article in the newspaper about my father's situation (in the Army, being sent home as the lone remaining unmarried son to help support the family), and their story began. I am told that at his last and my first Christmas, he was at the old homeplace. When my mother walked in holding me (2 months old that day), he began to gesture for her and my dad. He finally uttered the word, "Baby!" and held me very briefly with tears in his eyes.

How does he impact me? As I said, he is the great mystery, from a family of mystery. I have cousins from that family in the area, but they have always tended to stay away from us and from my dad's siblings. Not sure why. Of course, maybe they knew Granny and assume that since my dad and siblings were raised by her, they have more of her in them than of my grandad. That just makes me want to know him all the more. He impacts me because when I do hear the rare stories of him and my grandmother together, they're always sad and make me really see her as the bad guy of the two.

A lot of people think my dad looks just like my granddad. I have one picture of him somewhere -- a rare one of him on a visit back to the homeplace, and he and my grandmother are standing next to each other. Naturally, she also looks like she's eaten 14 fresh lemons and a couple of rotten persimmons. He's smiling beatifically. Gotta admit, it says a lot. Anyway, I don't see that much of the resemblance, but then again, I never knew what he looked like outside the picture.

Here is the summation of my relationship with my grandfathers:
The saddest words of tongue or pen
Are these four words: what might have been.
--John Greenleaf Whittier

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Short but sweet

What part of NO can some people simply not comprehend? It doesn't mean, "Let me think about it and I might change my mind." It doesn't mean, "I'm just foolin' you, I really mean sure!" or even "Just for you, I'll make an exception."

It means no. Until whatever is causing the problem is resolved, then I cannot fulfill your request.

AAAAAAARGH!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

More MySpace follies

Well. A girl can only handle so much romance in one afternoon. In the space of just under 10 minutes, I have had FOUR e-mails from MySpace dudes.

Here's the first -- a real "prince charming":
hello am (name) 30yrs male from california,,,am very honest,loving,royaland very truthful young and single man ..so on seeing YOUR profile am very intrested to know u more ..this is my yahoo id incase u want us to talk online (e-mail addy) and i will like to know urs so that we can start talking online or emailling each other ..bye for now hope we understand each other very well and am looking forward in getting ur reply soon
(Name) .................am online in yahoo right now to talk with u

Well -- hot damn! I had been waiting for my prince to come along. Screw the fact that he has no clue about spelling, punctuation or grammar -- he's ROYAL!

The 2nd wasn't so much a hit-up as someone who just wrote. Someone I don't know, but probably won't respond either. E-mail #2 from him could be a real wackaloon thing.

As for the 3rd -- swoon! He writes poetry -- check out these lines:

i can fill u so much
You exist in my every breath,
in every beat of my heart,
adding a spectacular sizzle
in all the right places.
Even when I close my eyes,
I see your face and feel
the fire of your caress.
Your presence is a tangible thing...
yet as hard to grasp as the air.
I reach for you,
but you elude me.
Still, I can feel you;
the softness of a petal,
a warm wind on my cheek,
a ray in my vision,
a distant light that
ever draws me near.

He got all that from a 2 second perusal of my page. And I'm his for life. He can fill me so much and add a spectacular sizzle in all the right places. How can a girl say no?

OOPS! #4 just showed up -- one line only: "Wow u're so pretty!" So what sort of response to I give? "Yes, I know it" or maybe "Don't thank me, thank my parents..." or "Yeah, it's amazing what a good sex-change doctor can do!"

Wish to high heck that Blogger had a rolleyes emoticon right here, right now. I'd be overusing it!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Loverboy might have been....

"Working for the Weekend" but I'm damn living for it.

It's been a bit hectic the last couple of weeks at work. Not that I completely mind; whenever I'm tempted to complain, I remind myself of some of the stress from my old job, and somehow all is right with the world again!

Tuesday marks my 1 year official anniversary with my new job, and I am amazed at how the last year has gone. I am just almost speechless when I reflect on the new responsibilities I've been given, the self-confidence I feel, all the changes and growth at work this past year. Those months of interviews and resumes and job searching and sitting at home just chillin' while things developed were all worth it.

I'm amazed by the confidence that my employers have placed in me. I admit, I was very nervous about working in accounting. My accounting experience was limited to a small office of a church, not corporate-level accounting. Through trial and error, they found the perfect work for me to do in receiveables. I also do a couple of analysis charts and other tracking. Five years ago, if you had told me that one day I'd say that I enjoyed accounting work, I would have shot you the evil eye SO quickly! I have since come to realize that what I hated was having my work interrupted by some sudden "urgent" need -- and that I am to blame for not having enough confidence to say, "I'll be glad to get you those figures as soon as I finish this project."

What a difference a year makes!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I'm EXPRESSIVE!

At least that's what my coworkers tell me. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or bad thing.

Part of my work involves the phone -- lots of calls. One customer in particular started the discussion. She had me on the phone for a while, and was telling me about their latest problem du jour. Apparently, I said, "oh no!" about 14 times in the course of the conversation.

I also said "Whaaaat?" one day and it sounded like a chicken's "bwaaak!" I won't even cover the other things we discussed (suffice to say that my coworker asked first if our lone male presence was in the room)!

I laughed until I cried. It was a great stress reliever.

But then again, they also said, "Please don't change being so expressive!" That's me, that's me, Comic Relief at your service!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Make way for DivaGeek!

I love my Lyra (MP3 player), but not being able to create a true playlist is getting to me. Or at least not being able to figure out if my Lyra will create a playlist yet. Well, it "creates" a playlist if I select the songs -- but I am not allowed to re-order them. That sucks!

Right now, as part of my fitness plan, I'm walking about 20 minutes on the treadmill (with a 5-minute cooldown) 3 times a week. I could really care less about the musical order of the first 20 minutes -- though I think I've actually found a great group IN order on my Lyra. But for that last 5 minutes, I have found that the perfect song for me is Boston's "Cool the Engines." And naturally, that songs falls smack dab in the middle of the 20-minute grouping I already have. Arrrrrgh. So it's either listen to it twice (which isn't a problem -- I love Boston), or skip it then go back.

It's my only complaint about the Lyra. Yeah, I know, if I wanted to go all DJ on it, I shoulda bought an iPod, right? Well, my PC is so ancient that it doesn't support i(Products) -- iPod, iTunes, iAm2cheap2buyanewPC....... That may change, too, but it will be a while. And when I do buy a new computer, I am seriously considering the Mac Mini. Teensy footprint (and God knows, I could use the space saving), big power. I am really, honestly, truly considering the Mac.

Actually, I've liked Macs since college. I worked as a computer lab student assistant, and in one of our locations, we had a Mac lab. One of my coworkers helped with it, because he had set up a Mac lab at his high school. Trey helped me learn to enjoy and loosen up around Macs. I felt at ease with PC's -- didn't entirely understand them, but could live with them. Macs were .... well, artsy and fun and how was I supposed to "learn" on them? But when I needed to scan a picture (yeah, WAY back in the days of a 256-grayscale flatbed scanner!), I had no choice but to use the Mac -- it was the only computer in the whole complex with a scanner attached. And the frat brother who did our chapter newsletter had started it on a Mac -- and wanted to leave it on a Mac. So I had to learn the hard way.

And I grew to like them a lot. Still didn't understand them, but liked them. I have loved and hated PC's for the better part of 20 years now, and I can be almost at one with them sometimes. Our brains think alike -- and sometimes short out alike too. Macs -- they're almost otherworldly. It's time for the Mac Mothership to come and claim me.

And when I get it, I can get an iPod and program things as I want them to be. Mooohooohooohahaha! (evil laugh)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wednesday Thoughtlets

Just call me O'Meachin Boddie --- Tuesday morning (well really, Monday night) kicked my butt six ways to Sunday. I tried, but there was no way my body was about to get up and put itself through a workout again so soon. So it was this morning instead. And the day of rest was definitely appreciated.

***

Scary moment on the commute home this evening. With about 10 minutes to go, I suddenly got very sleepy. As in eyelids drooping, couldn't stop yawning, etc. Came home and could not hit the hay fast enough for a quickie nap. I'm still in the Twilight Zone, but functioning. I think it will be an early night anyway......

Monday, July 17, 2006

Monty Python and my health.

"I'm 37, I'm not old!" -- Dennis
"I'm not dead!" -- the old guy in the "Bring Out Yer Dead" scene

"I feel happy. I feel happy." Actually, I feel pooped. I did a water aerobics session at my best friend's community pool, and let me tell you .... it's NOT a sissy activity by any means. Sure, it was mostly gals (and one's husband), but it's not light or easy at all. For an hour, we kicked, jogged in place, did all manner of calisthenics, ab crunches, stretches, and so forth. Three hours later, my body is still going YIKES!

My mind right now is planning to go to the gym in the morning. We shall see what my body says at 6:00 tomorrow morning.

And if a cart came down the street with a guy yelling, "Bring out yer dead!" I might just hop on the wagon myself.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Top Ten Songs Most Folks Have Probably Not Heard

From the Wayback Machine: Classic Nettie from April 1999......

For me to choose a favorite song or artist would be like asking a mother to pick a favorite child. It's near impossible to do -- so these songs are in random order. For this list, I chose songs -- or cover versions of better-known songs -- that most folks have probably never heard.
  1. (Ain't It) Funny How Time Slips Away, by Al Green & Lyle Lovett. I am no fan of Willie Nelson, the singer (and my apologies/condolences to those who enjoy his singing). However, he is a very gifted songwriter -- exhibit A: "Crazy," made famous by the immortal Patsy Cline. Exhibit B is this particular song, a classic to country-philes. This version of "Funny How Time Slips Away" appears on the Rhythm, Country and Blues CD project, which paired various country and R&B artists. This song, in the hands of Green and Lovett, makes me want to dance every time I hear it. And I must admit that every time I hear this version, I wonder if Lyle was singing it to a certain Ms. Roberts..... By the way, practically this whole CD could have made the list in itself. It's well worth picking up for a listen.
  2. Much at All, by Susan Werner. A few years ago, I was browsing at a local used CD shop, and found a gem from BMG called Discovery Sampler: Pop (presumably for artists waiting to be discovered). I purchased this CD, only to find that I was getting it for a buck and very small change. I should have gone to confession over this one: it was a STEAL! There again, this CD alone could have made the Top Ten. Susan Werner's voice has that certain smoky-jazz-bar quality to it, and yet was achingly tender as well. She has a knockout sound on the other track on this CD as well. Special note: about three months later, I was back in that CD shop -- found 3 copies of this same CD, all priced at $5.99. Maybe other people told them that $1 or $2 was far too little to pay for this stuff!
  3. Pass Me By, by AJ Croce. Another piece from the Discovery Sampler: Pop CD. Jim Croce is probably beaming all over rock-and-roll-heaven at his son. AJ isn't a rocker or folk singer, but a jazz-man, with a voice that sometimes sounds like it was cloned from Dr. John's DNA. For someone in his mid-to-late 20s, he's got the vocal stylings of a old New Orleans jazz singer. This uptempo little number didn't last nearly long enough. Hopefully, we'll be hearing LOTS out of him for years to come!
  4. Tootie, by Hootie & the Blowfish. I had had a very bad week. Very bad. And in that time, I didn't listen to any music for a while. For those who know me well enough, that means you need to check my pulse. Anyway, when it was time to enter the world of sound again, I needed something that would express all that I'd been through that week. This CD (Fairweather Johnson) was the thing I needed to hear. I probably listened to it for 4 or 5 days straight. It brought me back to the land of the living. While many songs off the CD could have been given this honor, this song wins. Why? Let's just say that Elton John spoke the gospel truth when he said, "Sad Songs Say So Much." Even now, when I hear this, it takes me back to those days; only this time, I can smile about it.
  5. Everybody Knows, by Don Henley. Well, if you have Actual Miles (the DH greatest hits CD) or the Leonard Cohen tribute CD, then you've heard this one. Or if you have a decent radio station in your area (ours played this for about 2 weeks then mysteriously quit - shame on them!). I can't say what the attraction to this song is.... Some mysteries are best left unsolved!
  6. Duncan, by Paul Simon. I first heard this song when I was a freshman in college. Even now when I hear it, the image of me riding toward Clemson SC with Claudy Fewell comes to mind. When I bought Paul Simon's Negotiations and Love Songs a few years ago, I desperately hopedthat "Duncan" would be on there, since I had misplaced my Greatest Hits 1973-1977 tape with the song on it. No luck! Every time I hear this song, I am transported to places I've never been, and yet it feels "homey" (in a sense). Guess you'd call that "deja voodoo" (with apologies and a credit to Kenny Wayne Shepherd for that phrase).
  7. Adagio, by Albinoni. This is on a CD I have called "Top Ten Baroque." I had never heard of Albinoni before, but this song moved me. I nearly was in tears the first time I heard it. To me, it brings to mind images of a cold Russian winter. I could easily see this music being used in a figure skating routine (though at 9 minutes, they'd have to chop a heck of a lot). Granted, that's probably not what Albinoni had in mind for this piece. Definitely a too-cool song.
  8. Smoking Gun, by Robert Cray. When this tune got a small bit of MTV airplay back in 1986, I immediately took a strong liking to the song. I figured Robert Cray was a new guy trying to make it in the business, and my pull-for-the-new-guy-underdog mode took over. Was the joke on me!! Robert Cray was already a seasoned blues veteran at that point. I finally (after all these years) bought Strong Persuader, which has this song on it. Great CD! Good blues-based music and strong vocals. And naturally, "Smoking Gun" gets a replay every time..... :-)
  9. Jubilee, by Mary Chapin Carpenter. This is from her Stones in the Road CD. The music industry might classify her songs as "country" but this heavily-Celtic-influenced song is a far cry from country! The first time I heard this song, I truly was in tears. It's a beautiful tale of forgiveness and starting anew, especially when you're afraid to. This song inspired me then and continues to inspire me even now. Another one where the whole CD could have made the list!
  10. The Tango, by Grass Cactus (written by Niel Brooks). Grass Cactus was a local outfit that lasted for a couple of years and one CD, "Cactus Juice." Niel Brooks, who was the acoustic guitarist for the band, is an old friend, and in my opinion is nothing less than a genius. Anyway, this is one of his songs which appeared on Grass Cactus' CD, and is heartbreakingly beautiful. It's one of those songs that sticks with you long after the last note has sounded.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Been away, haven't seen you in a while...

Work's been busy, life's been busy, but it's all been good.

Apparently, this has been the week for me to be Miss Social Butterfly. Dinner last night with friends, which was so good. Katie has asked me to sing in her wedding this fall, and she needed some assistance. I was happy to help! And it was great to see Gina (Katie's mom) and my friend, Senora Dora again. Tonight, dinner with friends to celebrate a birthday. Been doing a lot of birthday or other special occasion dinners this month.

Lots of laughter and lots of tears too this month. A mixed bag. Just like life.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

19 years ... and one to go

Nineteen years ago this week, I graduated high school. The year before, I had plenty of friends leaving, who said things along the line of "Wouldn't ever want to do it again!" I didn't understand them as a rising senior. As a newly minted grad, I understood them perfectly. And nineteen years down the pike, the feeling is as strong as ever. I am so glad those horrid days are long behind me.

But that also means one year to go until the big 20th. My heart is always divided about reunions. There's a teeeeensy part of me that wants to go, in the hopes that a few folks I've lost touch with will be there. There is the other part of me that never wants to go. I went to the 10th and it reminded me of why I was glad to be out of high school. The funny part is the people I wasn't closest to in high school were far friendlier to me than the people who were in my classes, folks with whom I usually spent at least 3-4 hours daily poring over the same material.

My older friends tell me that by the 20th, things are better. At the 10th everyone is trying to prove they're "someone" even when they're not. They tell me at the 20th, everyone is who they are, and that's life, and if you're still a jerk after 20 years, you'll never quit being a jerk. They say it's way more relaxed. And that's nice in principle.

I sincerely hope with all my heart that in the ensuing ten years, my classmates have grown comfortable in their own skins. It's taken me a long time to do so, and I am happy and healthy (for the most part). If they are not comfortable, happy people, then I truly want nothing more to do with them.

No information has come out yet, but it will happen sooner than I expect. I want to know what the plans are first before I decide. We had a rather tame affair for the 10th, instead of the hotel with room package that I would have expected (and enjoyed). I hope the 20th isn't lame-o.

And one other thing: it makes me so very glad, so incredibly glad that I wasn't voted Most Likely to Succeed. I don't think I would like their definition of success.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Cancer sucks!!

Today, we lost someone else way too soon to cancer. Sarah was a funny, saucy lover of life and I shall miss her. Someday, I pray there is a cure for this scourge.

*clink* POW!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Child of the 80s.....

As you noticed on my earlier posts about 70s and 80s one-hit wonders, those are the time frames in music that are very near and dear to my heart.

70s music reminds me of a sunny day in a mostly happy childhood. It takes me back to a time when things were far less complicated and complex, and that was perfectly fine by me. And I'll always love 70s soul and disco. There. I said it. I love disco.

But the 80s ... that's my coming-of-age music. It was that music that took me through those awkward days of junior high, high school, and even into college (where I reverted back to 70s music for some comfort). And I guess for all the 70s compilations I have made for myself, I'm really a child of the 80s.

I put together some songs on my MP3 player for my walking, things that I thought would be rhythmic enough to keep me going and motivating enough to keep me moving.

It is almost overwhelmingly 80s:
  • All Fired Up (Pat Benatar)
  • Authority Song (John Mellencamp)
  • Back in Black (AC/DC)
  • Bitch (Rolling Stones) ... okay, that's 70s.
  • Brand New Lover (Dead or Alive)
  • Cool the Engines (Boston)
  • Deeper & Deeper (The Fixx)
  • Get Rhythm (Rev. Horton Heat) -- okay, a real rarity: a 50s song redone by a 90s artist.
  • Hold on Tight (ELO)
  • I Feel Free (Cream) -- yes, from the 60s. Gotta have Clapton on there in some form!
  • Lights Out (Peter Wolf)
  • Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry) .... true story: at my 10-year reunion, they had a DJ playing 80s songs. No one got on the dance floor until this song came on. So we are disco freaks.
  • Some Like It Hot (Power Station)
  • Train in Vain (Clash)
  • U Got the Look (Prince/Sheena Easton)
  • White Horse (Laid Back)
Yep. 12 of 16 songs -- 75% as 80s music. And I love it. I could have added a few more 80s songs on there, but I didn't want a 2 hour compilation for a short walk.......

Damn, we had some totally bitchin' music then! (heh heh heh)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

This used to be my playground....

We all need a "special playground": A place where we can go and hang out, and people with whom we can have fun and get support when we need it. Whether it's brick-and-mortar, or just a virtual playground, we have to have it to survive. We may even have several playgrounds.

What happens when your favorite playground becomes unrecognizable? Or when you become unrecognizable there? Like walking into Cheers and nobody knows your name? Where you don't want to be the center of attention, but you would like to be acknowledged now and again.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Soul Patrol! Soul Patrol!

Well, as you know, Elliott was voted off last week, in an extremely close vote. My heart just broke, but things go on, and I know that Elliott will go on to great things.

The finale just ended, and I'm trying to get through for Taylor (obviously!) ... he flat rocked tonight. Except for Levon ... he did better on that the first time. But he really really did well on his others, and Katherine had the (mis)fortune of choosing a less-than-great debut single.

And I'm so sick of "Bad Day" I couldn't even stand to watch the live rendition of it.

SOUL PATROL! SOUL PATROL! SOUL PATROL!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Torn between two singers

I never imagined Chris Daughtry NOT being in the final three. But he's not, and with that, I have to choose between Taylor, Katherine, and Elliott.

For starters, Katherine's out for me ..... I am just so so so so over the Mariah-Celine-Whitney-Babs soundalikes. I think she has a magnificent voice but it belongs on Broadway, not in my CD collection. If I close my eyes and listen, I don't know if she's trying to be one of the above mentioned divas or not. After a while, all those extra runs begin to sound the same. Blech and double yuck.

It comes down to Elliott and Taylor.

First is Elliott -- I love his sound to death! As someone who is a "blue-eyed soul sister" (don't believe me? ask my coworkers!) I love that old soulful sound. When I found out he'd be doing "What You Won't Do For Love" I nearly flipped -- one of my very favorite songs. No, he doesn't have the look or the personality that Chris had. But what he has is magnificent.

Then there's Taylor -- whom I also love to death! Same thing -- an old soulful sound, with a class clown personality and complete ability to have fun with himself. I got complete goosebumps listening to him sing "You Are So Beautiful" ... I mean full-on shivers.

So who gets my vote tonight?...........

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Petrified but proud.....

I bought a gift for myself tonight. If things go as they are supposed to with this gift, I will have given myself a longer, happier life. Seeing as how I'm 36, I'd love to get 64 more years on the deal.

I joined Weight Watchers.

I'm proud of myself. It takes an awful lot for me to ever admit that I need help with something. I'm one of those classic independent, stubborn people -- pulling myself up by my own bootstraps (so to speak) is something I pride myself on. For me to walk in that door, fill out the paperwork and -- the real horror -- stepping on that scale ..... well, it took ovaries, and I'm glad I had enough of them to do it.

Strangely enough, I am also absolutely scared crapless. I am scared of failing. I want so much for this to succeed. I really do. There wouldn't be many other alternatives except The Surgery -- and while some people have had great success with it, I would be the 1 out of the 200 who'd die. I know it. Can't prove it, but I know it.

I can't believe how excited and frightened, optimistic and scared I am. All this jumble of emotions.......

Saturday, May 06, 2006

My very own cocktail!



How to make a Annette
Ingredients:
3 parts intelligence
3 parts courage
5 parts leadership
Method:
Combine in a tall glass half filled with crushed ice.
Top it off with a sprinkle of caring and enjoy!


Friday, May 05, 2006

What Have You Learned Today?

Just a few moments ago, I was sitting in Ruby Tuesday, and thoroughly enthralled by a conversation taking place in the booth across from me. Two gentleman -- one who I think is perhaps a professor, the other an engineer -- were discussing how to help young people and our community. It wasn't a hand-wringing, "woe is us" session -- they were engaged in very lively talk about real problems and real solutions. I was completely and totally enjoying every second ... and even thanked them and wished them well as I left (and luckily, they were not upset at all that I had listened in -- as if it really could have been helped).

Anyway, one of them relayed a marvelous story, one that I hope will be as inspiring for you as it was for me.

He was a young boy at his grandmother's, and she had an old apple tree. He had apparently spent much of the day climbing the tree to get apples. At the end of the day, as she tucked him in, she asked him, "So ... what have you learned today?" He didn't have an answer, he said, other than "I spent all day eating apples." She told him that he needed to learn something every day -- to always have an answer to the question. It inspired him, he said, even today to ask himself that each night: "What have I learned today?"

With that in mind, here is what I have learned so far today:
* I really need to work on accepting compliments on my accomplishments -- not to feel guilty because I stepped in to correct a situation but to say "Yes, and I'm so glad everything worked out so well."
* I learned that I'm never too old to learn.
* I learned that I need to stop putting limits on myself.

So ... what have you learned today?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Me, A to Z (stolen from KatieG - thanks!)

A - Available: Yes
A - Age: 36
A - Annoyance: perfectly able bodied people who park in handicapped spaces

B - Best Friends: Stacey (since God was a boy) and Fazie (about as long)*
B - Bad Habit: procrastinating
B - Birthday: October 25
* Please note: this isn't to say I don't have OTHER people who are just as near and dear to me. I just picked these two because I've been friends with them for quite a long time.

C - Crush: Had them before
C - Car: '97 Taurus
C - Cats: Can't have -- family member w/allergies :(

D - Dead Pets Name: Skipper, Skippy, Frosty, Huffy
D - Desk Top Picture: "Billy & the Boingers"
D - Dogs: none

E - Easiest person to talk to: way too many people
E - Eggs: Can't eat 'em
E - Email: lifeline

F - Favorite color: Blue
F - Food: I love most of it
F - Foreign Slang: oooh ... ahh.... The future Senator will neither confirm nor deny that she, in fact, does know and/or use phrases which could be considered slang in a non-English language. Next question...

G - Gummy Bears or Worms: Bears, I guess
G - God: Tell me all your thoughts on.....
G - Good Times: Dyno-MITE!

H - Hair Color: red(dish)
H - Height: 5'6
H - Happy: Happy Joy Joy

I - Ice Cream: Breyers' Butter Pecan
I - In school?: not for ages
I - Introverted or Extroverted?: More "introspective"

J - Jewelry: Yes! Love it!
J - Job: Accounting
J - Jokes: There was a priest, a rabbi, and a girdle salesman....

K - Kids: jury is still out
K - Karate: like I could
K - Kung fu: Fighting

L - Longest Car Ride: From home to Biloxi Mississippi
L - Longest relationship: over 5 years
L - Last phone call: Bank of America (!)

M - Milk Flavor: flavor??
M - Mothers Name: Nancy Elizabeth
M - Movie Last Watched: Blues Brothers

N - Number of Siblings: One
N - Northern or Southern: Southern by birth AND the grace of God, thankyewverymuch!
N - Name: N. Annette

O - One Phobia: I don't like spiders and snakes
O - Open or Closed?: Open
O - Orgasm: Godiva chocolate

P - Parents, are they married or divorced: Married.
P - Part of your jerking: say whaaa?
P - Part of your personality you like best: My incredibly warped sense of humor

Q - Quote: Too many to list
Q - Question for the next person?: Who put the bomp in the bomp-bomp-bomp-bomp-bomp?
Q - Quick or Slow?: both

R - Reality TV Show: American Idol
R - Right or Left: right-handed, left-politics
R - Right now: Hey it's your tomorrow

S - Song Last Heard: Wall of Sleep - The Smithereens
S - Season: Fall
S - Sport: Are you ready for some FOOTBALL? A Saturday, Sunday and Monday night partay!

T - Time you woke up: 6:00 AM
T - Time Now: 10:20 PM
T - Time for bed: 11pm ish

U - Unknown Fact about me: I'm a mystery girl - plenty of unknowns there.
U - Unicorns: Cute when I was 13.
U - You are: the sun, you are the rain.

V - Vegetable you hate: Most of 'em! Any kind of "greens" (GAAAAK!)
V - Vegetable you love: Carrots
V - Voice: speaking - medium and low; singing -- loud and low

W- Worst Habits: messy
W- Where are you going to travel next?: Hot-lanta!
W - Where were you born?: Upstate South Carolina

X - X-Rays: Dental
X - XXX: not a Vin Diesel fan
X - Xylophone: I prefer the marimba

Y - Year you were born: 1969
Y - Year it is now: 2006
Y - Yellow: Submarine

Z - Zoo Animal: monkey!
Z- Zodiac: Scorpio (classic one, at that!)
Z - Zoolander: not my thing