Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Getting rid of excess baggage.

I spent a lot of time on Sunday filling 30-gallon trash bags with clothes. At last count, I've now lost 129.6 pounds, and had plenty of clothing that I definitely can't wear anymore. I'm tired of it being in my closet, my room, my life.

At first, I had wanted to get some money back out of them. God only knows what I've spent over the years on plus-size clothing. Some serious buckaroos -- okay, maybe not Bergdorf Goodman ka-ching, but certainly more than enough. I wanted to get some money back out of them, especially the higher-quality items. My hairdresser told me about a plus-size consignment shop. I visited them, got a consignor number, and worked to get my stuff together. It took longer than I planned, but I finally got some of it together ....... only to find that the shop had closed.

Okay, Plan B: put it all on eBay! Yeah!!!!! There's a plan! As I was mulling it over, I realized that I had tons more clothing. It would have to be several boxes of stuff. Hmm.... better think this over a little more. As I mulled it over more, I found myself buying more new stuff to fit the smaller sizes. And I'd gotten a box of gently newsed items from a friend on the West Coast. Oh boy......

Move to Plan C: yep. The "I don't caaaare" phase. That's where I am. I no longer care about the money. I just want to dump the stuff. Now granted, I am holding back about 3 nice suit-sets where I do want to recoup something. Plus there are a couple of nicer skirt sets that I have worn literally once or twice ..... no way am I just letting those go. Those are for my ONE eBay box. Putting up a description with sizes and saying, "The bidding starts at (X) .... happy bidding." Even if it's just 5% of what I paid for it, it's something.

Most importantly, however, I'm getting rid of things I don't want ...... and helping the community. I'm helping people who want to work and want a chance to be part of the larger society. I'm helping those who might want or need nicer clothing and who can't afford to spend what I spent on clothing (and I'm a bargain hound).

I love dumping the excess. It's great!!!!!!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

October 30 can't come soon enough

Two words: HOT DAMN!

I love the Eagles. Always have, always will. And I am jonesing already for Long Road Out of Eden (to be released on October 30). In the meantime, this video will tide us over.

Let's just hope they go on tour -- and I can afford the tickets....... Last time I saw them (1995), we had "cheap seats" (at $45), but they were the BEST seats in the house -- just over the stage, on Joe Walsh's side of the stage. That whole evening flippin' rocked!!!!

Ah...... I can't wait!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

We've been 'Jacked!!!

Actually, we've been Charlie'd ........ as of last Monday.

Charlie started out long ago as a smaller station and ended up being bought by a large conglomerate. For a while, it was known as "The Walk" --- THE worst format ever. Some marketing genius somewhere decided we needed a "Christian/'positive country'" format. Oh boy, it wasn't like we didn't have 14 of each already around here. That lasted a little longer than I expected.

Then it went to all women's talk (using Greenstone Media's output with some other stuff). It was nice in theory, but even I could tell you the writing wasn't going to last very long on that wall, no matter what. I occasionally listened, but didn't really care for the Greenstone output. I mostly listened on lunch break (while in the car) to Dr. Joy Browne. I'm a sucker for radio advice/psychology. Anyway, "women's radio" pressed on, but then Greenstone went belly-up on the 17th. Oopsie.....

Last weekend, they played a bunch of different formats from some of their other stations out of our area. Then on Monday at noon, Charlie showed. If you're not familiar with the Jack format, read the Wiki. Ours happens to be called Charlie instead of Jack.

There's a part of me that isn't crazy about the Jack/Steve/Charlie format -- the part that would like to keep DJ's and other staff members employed. The part of me that prefers that the programming have at least a little method to the madness. The part of me that has read Jim Ladd's Radio Waves and wishes for every market to have a KMET and the tribal drum.

But there's the part of me that absolutely LOVES it. I love not knowing what's around the corner. I have heard Def Leppard, The Bay City Rollers, and Frank Sinatra (that's right, baby!) all in a 30-minute stretch. I've heard Johnny Cash on there. The other night, I heard Aerosmith followed by Prince ..... it was like living my best Top 40 memories from childhood. I found myself screaming at my radio, "God, do I love this!!!!" It was like WANS, circa 1983-84, all over again.......

We'll see how Charlie works out. So far, the larger part of me is enjoying it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Le Sigh....

The sweet week of vacay ends tomorrow morning around 5:38 AM, when the alarm will sound for me to rouse and start my way back to a regular day. (Why 5:38? Well, my snooze is for 7 minutes - I figure if I have to hit it once, no biggie. 5:45 is still too dang early but somehow.....)

It's been relaxing. I didn't go any further than Greenville for my WW meeting and to take Mom to the doc today (a follow-up). Most days, I didn't go any further than the "Liberty Bell" Restaurant (that's the far northeastern point on our daily walk). But the cool thing is that I'm making plans for my October getaway, and figuring what I ought to do next year (besides not waiting until August to take a few days).

I had planned to go to a nearby state park, and take Maddox and have a little fun getaway. This new state park is just across the state line in North Carolina, but butts right up to SC. It's maybe a 45 minute drive away. I opined that it might be neat to go somewhere relatively cooler. Mother Nature had a different idea -- even the mountains had temperatures in the 90s this week. We went over 100 degrees at least 2 or 3 days. No way was I going to do that to myself or my dog. So we'll have to do that park. one Saturday in September or October .... as soon as USC has an open date on the schedule (ha ha ha)!!!

So back to work tomorrow, enjoying the idea that it's going to be another short week (hee hee), but knowing that next week is going to kick my butt six ways to Sunday. The joys of month-end.....

Monday, August 20, 2007

I never imagined...

... I might actually look forward to my 20th year reunion.

Just this morning, I was pondering things while walking. I realized that I hadn't gotten anything on it, and wrote it off to "no news as good news." And then I realized I was disappointed by that thought.

Y'all know as well as anyone that high school reunions are not my thing. Here's why: I was a brainiac in high school. I was Miss Squeaky Clean, a total goody-two-shoes. The only vice I had was a smart mouth. I was also determined as all hell to get out of there and away from them. I had no idea that 5 years later I'd return to my hometown: no degree, no real career. Lots of living and lots of fun, but not what I had envisioned. In short, a failure, especially compared to my other brainiac classmates.

The 10-year was just awful. Some people hadn't changed very much since high school. In my own awkwardness, I took along The Goon as my date/conversation partner. I honestly did not know how to interact with these people -- people with whom I'd spent 12 years of my life. I was nice. I was polite. But I also found that the people in my class whom I didn't know all that well back then were the nice ones. The ones with whom I'd spent 12 years in a dog-eat-dog race..... well, let's just say I said my hellos, some of them said theirs, and we'll leave it there. A few of the people I really wanted to play catch-up with were no-shows. Dangit!

While walking tonight, I ran into two of my classmates, who immediately asked, "Did you get your stuff about the reunion?" It just went out over the weekend, so I should have mine soon. When they described what was going to happen (events from Friday night into Saturday), I found myself actually interested in going to these things...

Gasp.

I've decided to go. One, I'm proud of the person it took me 20 years to become, and especially in the last year or two. It's not just the weight -- although I am hugely proud of that. It's the whole me. It's finally being at ease with myself. It was something I didn't possess 10 years ago. It took an aching heartbreak, a betrayal or two, a humbling moment or several, and a lot of grace to get me to this point. Two, I could give forty craps if someone comes up to me and says, "So what do you do now?" There are some who will be genuinely interested, and some who'll do it for spite. God love the first group, and the devil take the second.

Does this mean I'm grown-up now?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Gene Gene, the Dancing Machine

YES!!!!! One of my favorite shows of childhood, and one of my favorite segments. Ah, the sweet fond memories!

Now if I could JUST find one of the "Growla Hand" -- that used to scare the living bejeezus out of my brother. >:-D

Friday, August 17, 2007

Vacay sweet vacay!

For the first time since last October, I am taking a few days off.

I am notorious for not taking vacation. I think it comes from my years as a temp -- a "permanent temp," mind you. If you didn't work, you didn't get paid. And while it was a nice living wage, it wasn't enough to afford me the luxury of too much time off. I needed every single hour of pay I could get.

So I got in the habit back then. I worked as much as they would allow and sometimes more. And the company had devised a way that we got paid for 40, but worked every other Friday and had every other Friday off. Hey, fine by me.

When I worked for the church, I had no idea how much vacation I was due. And my boss was good about giving us time off whenever we needed it. I was actually forced to take vacation one year. I asked for a half-day off (to travel to Savannah) and was told not to come back for a week -- since I couldn't decide on my own vacation time, he was deciding for me. Boy, was I upset about that!

My last "real" vacation -- where I had a semblance of a schedule, but easily changed if needed -- was ten years ago, when I went to Colorado. I went to Jackson, MS in 2005, but that was a little more structured. And yeah, I do weekends here and there to visit friends, but I either take just a half-day or I hustle like hell to get there after work.

I had 2 vacation days that carried over. This is the last year we will be able to do that, and so far, I'd only taken 1.5 days. One of those was for the ice storm, and the other half-day because I had a rotten afternoon (sick dog, cut tire, etc.) But not an actual do-nothing day. Even holidays aren't really holidays, because you have just that one day and everyone else is off and ..... well, it just doesn't feel like a day off.

So right now, I'm just chillaxing. I'm going to take a few more vacay days in October, but not sure exactly when yet. I do know that I'm looking forward to that!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bacon & Biscuits, Big Bugs, and Bumps in the Night....

The bond between pet and owner is a great one -- one filled with joy, acceptance, fun, and love. It can also have its moments of frustration and wonder of all kinds.

Like most Thursday evenings, I got home around 8:30. I had a headache building behind my right eye -- probably from the heat and hunger (I hadn't eaten since lunch). I was tired but looking forward to seeing my buddy. When I arrived home, Little Buddy came to greet me at the door. My dad was in the kitchen, preparing his breakfast. He doesn't want to wake the house each morning by cooking, so he does it the night before. I finished my dinner, and got on the computer for a few minutes to check up on e-mail and other things. My dad was on the phone with DirecTV, explaining that we had cancelled the NFL Sunday package -- so why were we being billed? A few minutes later, my mother said, "Hey, what is Maddox eating?" Far be it from her to get up to actually investigate... It was a napkin. Crazy, but no big deal. He has managed on several occasions to get into our kitchen garbage, no matter which way we've configured it to confuse him.

About 5 minutes later, my dad yells, "HEY!!!!! Did you give him a biscuit?" My first thought is, "No, the dog biscuits are on the shelf; did you SEE me give him one?" And then I hear, "You crazy dog!!!"

My crazy dog had managed to stand on his back legs and pull 4 slices of bacon off a plate on a stove (with a paper towel underneath for drainage). And THEN he got ONE biscuit out of the cooking pan. ONE biscuit out of 6. How he did that, I have no clue at all. My hand flew over my mouth in shock and in trying hard not to laugh at his ingenuity. Dad was not pissed but he wasn't happy about the thought of having to fry more bacon. My mother was wringing her hands as if that would make everything better. What could you do at that point?

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!!!!!!!!!!

About 10 minutes after that, my dad said, "Hey, he needed to go out, so I let him out. You might want to check on him in a few minutes." No biggie. Lots of times lately, Maddox has been purely enthralled with hanging out in the yard at night to chase lightning bugs and grass moths. I, on the other hand, have no desire to become a mosquito buffet for 10 minutes waiting on him. So after a few minutes I went to retrieve him. He was standing in one place, completely focused on this one section, and pawing at something there. "Here, Maddox... Here, Maddox. Maddox! Here! (long pause) Look, Maddox, TREEEEEAT!" Nothing worked. So I got a leash from the backporch and just intended to bring him on in, even against his will. I got about 4 feet from him, when I heard this hellacious buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I realized he was pawing at the buzzzzzzzzzzzzz. My first thought was, "Holy God. He's gotten a bee." But this thing was HUGE. Monstrous. I tapped on the window of the bathroom, praying my dad was out of the shower. He was. I asked him about it... "Oh, it's a July fly. No harm."

So I walked down, leashed Maddox and got him onto the backporch. Then I heard it coming from his mouth -- a muffled "bzzzzzzzzzzz." He had the damn thing in his mouth! My dad was there and got him to drop it. It was this ghastly big thing with wings. Basically, a "July fly" is an annual (or dog-day) cicada. Gak! Gak! Gak!!! All I could think about was how many germs that thing might be carrying that would now find their way into my dog's system.

We brought him in and finally calmed him down for the night. WHEW!

BUT IF YOU HANG ON FOR TEN MORE MINUTES, YOU'LL GET AN ADDITIONAL STORY!!!!!!!!!!!

Picture it: 3:45 AM on a steamy Southern night. A girl lies sleeping in her bed when suddenly, a night light in the back foyer comes on. She sees her dog there.

Yep. Maddox was up and nosing at me. I got him to lie back down. No go. He was up again, and I thought, "Oh great. That dadgum beastly bug has gotten to his stomach and now he's gotta go poop." Off in the distance, I heard a weird noise. Almost like a child's yelp. Whatever -- my dog was going for the door. So I let him onto the back porch. He ran to the other door that leads to the yard. I couldn't open it fast enough for him. I thought, "Great. Another case of the 'doggie runs'...."

Instead of pottying, Maddox ran to the far end of the fence facing the street and barked twice. Off in the distance, I heard more dogs barking. No surprise. Within 2 blocks, God only knows how many dogs there are. There are about 10 or so just on our block. Then Maddox came running like mad back over to my side at the house, barked once at the street and emits a low growl. But there was nothing there. He ran to the door for the porch, and I swear he acted as if he were going to break the door down to get back inside. Once we were on the porch, he gave me this look that was pure fear. We got inside and he stood at the gate -- he needed to be on the other side (in the main part of the house). Not knowing what else to do, I let him through.

He went into the living room and into my brother's bedroom.... check: one body there. Then over to my parents' room... check: two bodies there. He knew I was there. It took a treat and my mother to help lure him back to his bed. It was so strange. I can't imagine what would have provoked the need to run outside and bark at something there, and then to do a headcount of the family to make sure we were all okay. I wasn't sure if he'd dreamed something, or if something told him to check on us. Who knows? There could have been something lurking in the dark. God knows, I'd gotten a little creeped out on our walk the other morning.

I'm just glad for my dog -- for the entertainment, for the affection and love, and for his watchful care over us. Six months ago, if you'd told me I'd have a dog and that he would be this great thing for us, I'd have laughed. I would have been SO wrong!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Merciful Jesus, send a breeze....

You'd think after 37 years, I'd be used to the Triple-H of the South: Hot, Hazy, Humid. I never do get accustomed to it. And right now, it is purely miserable. Temperatures aren't supposed to go below 95 until Sunday. We'll get a "break" when it drops to 92 that day! Woo-hoo. Break out the parkas.

Even the cool of the day isn't cool. At 5:44 AM on Tuesday, August 7 (today) it was already 80 degrees. I honestly cannot a time when it was that hot, that early. Maddox and I went walking, but we were both miserable. He wanted to stop and sniff everything along the path, and I quite frankly was frustrated by the heat and his dawdling. Cesar Millan could have done a whole show on us..... And it's so dreadfully hot -- even at 8:30 PM -- that I haven't been taking him on a second walk. He's been spending his days indoors for the last few days. It is truly horrid outside......

And we humans are just as affected by it. I've seen a few displays of ill temper. The worst was when I went to pick up lunch from a nearby bakery/cafe. They were having big problems with their cash register/POS terminals -- it would do one transaction and freeze. It was totally beyond the control of the cashiers. This one complete jackass of a customer asked the gentleman, "How long does it take to reboot one of those?" He responded, "Ah! It's now back up..." and the guy interrupted and said, "That's NOT what I asked you" (in a truly snotty tone). I could tell the cashier really wanted to say something ... only his manager was standing there, working on the other terminal that was frozen (mine, as luck had it). I almost turned around and said something .... but I was caught between, "Dude, that's a little harsh!" and "Listen, you jackass. They are doing the best they can in the circumstances, and really don't need to deal with your issues on top of that!"

Lord, in your mercy, send a breeze. Send some actual RAIN and not just the humidity. Send a spider to the jerk at ABC's (and lots of patience for their cashiers and managers).