And...we're back!

Hey stranger! Yes, I'm FINALLY back with another post. It only took me a year, so that's on par with my usual time frame pre-2013. Wondering where I ran off to? Well, I've been here all along, just going through some crazy personal shit (as usual). In a nutshell, we called off the house remodel (and the relationship), I went to California a couple of times to send off two dear friends into wedded bliss, went on a personal "happiness" quest (yeah, yeah, I know how it sounds), rekindled the called-off relationship and am now about to move back into the DIY house. So pretty much, I'm exactly where I left you last year! Weird, huh?

The good thing about the deal with the house is that a lot of the major issues from last year- the mold, the rodent problem, and (my personal favorite) the ghastly paint job- have now been resolved. So we are now starting off fresh(er). The house still needs a lot of work, but at least we are already a few steps ahead of last time, so it's way better. And I will, of course, be blogging about how much fun it will be to remodel an old, kooky house without murdering my bf (hopefully) or losing my mind (most likely). Stay tuned, dear reader!!


So last time, I mentioned how we are going to be remodeling and moving into a house. Work began last week (and btw, that roof replacement I brought up? Yeah, that was actually ceiling tile replacement in one room.) While I worked on removing outlet covers and switch plates to prep for the painter to come this weekend, J worked on ripping out part of the kitchen cabinet in order to replace a pipe under the sink. That's when he discovered this:

Yes, that is mold. A moldy, rotten area of drywall, to be more specific. So not only do the pipes need to be replaced, but the drywall and part of the floor as well. In order to do all that, more of the cabinet had to be ripped out and our counter top had to be removed as well. Luckily, thanks to J's uncle, what we thought would be a huge crisis turned into more of a minor setback. Plus, we get a new counter top out of it.

I will get to resume my menial tasks this weekend while J works on the more complicated stuff. Next up? Removing wallpaper. I will try to contain my enthusiasm for what is (according to the inter-webs) a horrible job.


Project remodel is about to begin!

I'm back with some exciting news and a new direction for the blog. The bf and I are moving into a house! This is extremely appealing for a number of reasons. First of all, I haven't lived in a house since I left for college. I've spent pretty much my entire adult life in apartments or duplexes. Second, there will be 2 bathrooms in the house. In our place now, there are 3 people and only 1 bathroom. This is troubling in any case, but even more so with one of those people being a teenager. Plus, all women need an extra bathroom, right ladies? Third, and perhaps the most exciting reason, we will be renting the house from a relative, so it will be like owning a house without having a mortgage or being responsible for any catastrophic repairs. It's the best of all possible worlds.

This house was lived in for quite a while, and from all appearances, it was not very well cared for. Which means there is a lot of work that needs to be done. A LOT. Luckily, our landlord is taking care of the major issues and we are handling everything else. We aren't making any structural changes or anything, but otherwise, it's a complete remodel. Flooring replacement/refinishing, painting, fixtures, appliances, yard...the works.We have a long road ahead of us, but I think the end result will be AMAZING! The bf, of course, is freaking out, but I'm just excited to get started (it probably helps that I'm not focusing on the financial aspect of this project--if I did, I would just have to lay down for a while).

There are a few major things that have to happen before we can get started (like the roof replacement that is beginning today), so I'm not sure exactly when we will be moving in. But I hope to share the process with you, dear reader. Surely it will be much more entertaining to read than my usual drivel.


Road Rage

Almost three years ago, I moved across the country from California to Georgia, and I drove the whole way by myself (well, my cat was along for the ride, but I was basically on my own). I'm one of those odd people that really enjoys long drives, so this was not a horrible idea to me. In all honesty, that 4 day drive was really one of the easiest I have ever had. I ran into very little traffic, the weather was good, the directions were clear (read: I did not get lost)-- all in all, a good trip.
Since I've been back in the south, living in both Tennessee and Georgia, I've noticed a phenomenon that I rarely experienced in sunny SoCal-- drive-by flirting. I drive a Honda (a nice, boring sedan) and I'm a normal, reasonably attractive (so I'm told) woman in my mid 30s, so not much about me is going to attract a lot of attention of the freeway, or so I thought. I cannot tell you how many times I've been hit-on while driving since I've been back. Truckers honking at me, guys keeping pace with my car so they can wave or mouth God-knows-what to me, excessive staring, etc. It's really weird. I don't really understand the purpose. Do they think I'm going to pull over and give them my number, or worse, go off somewhere with them?

This never ever happened in California. There, everyone kept their eyes to themselves (or their cell phones or newspapers) and no one ever tried to "catch my eye" while driving. Of course, there is a widespread problem with eye contact there anyway, but that's a whole other issue. In TN and GA, though, this seems to be ongoing problem. Who does that? One time, on the way to visit my parents when I lived in Nashville, a guy kept pace with me and would casually look over from time to time. Then, when he took his exit, he smiled and waved as we parted ways. I'm OK with that. It wasn't creepy, and he wasn't being lewd or ridiculous, so I didn't mind. But many, many other times, it's been the opposite-- gesturing, waving frantically, tongue wagging, truckers doing a double take when I drive by and then trying to keep up while doing all number of things to get my attention.

I just can't believe men try to cruise women on the interstate. Is it just me that finds this bizarre? Do men really think that works? Are there women that do that to men? Maybe there's a whole culture that I'm not aware of, one where people meet in their cars on the road and hook-ups or relationships are born. I think I'd prefer not to know. I just like to mind my own business, keep my eyes on the road, and rock out to my iPod. So if you see me out on the interstate in my little purple Honda, just keep your eyes on the road, buddy-- it ain't gonna happen.


Day 17- Pretty much over this blog challenge

So I'm more or less officially over this challenge business. I'm not excited about any more topics from either challenge list. I guess since I wasn't adhering to the challenge too closely anyway it doesn't really matter. Perhaps I'm actually not interesting enough to create my own topics. That would be a major bummer. I guess until I decide to quit the blog challenge for good, I will make an effort to come up with more topics.

I've decided that in order to come up with new topics, I need revert back to a time when we used to have to create topics in a real (meaning not virtual) conversation. This means, naturally, that it's time to go back to the bookstore. Early on in my bookstore days, before the economy forced us to cut schedules, we would often have 3-5 people per shift in our department. On nights that were slow, we used to try to come up with fun topics or lists to discuss. So I will rack my brain for some of those time passers to use here as blog topics.

One fun topic was Top 5 Beatles songs. I absolutely LOVE The Beatles, don't you? Frankly, I don't think I know anyone who hates them, and if I do, I may have to reevaluate my relationship with that person. The Beatles are really the cornerstone of modern music. The themes of their songs are timeless, and there is just so much diversity and depth to their music. There are so many Beatles songs that I absolutely love, so it's very difficult to choose. The first 4 haven't changed since that long ago discussion at the bookstore. Number 5 is the only one that seems to change depending on when you ask. So without further ado, my top 5 Beatles songs (in no particular order):

"Come Together"
This is such a weird song. I heard it all my life, as my parents had most of The Beatles catalog on vinyl and cassette, but I really got into it in high school. My bff Melissa was really into writing poetry at the time, and (I think) listening to a lot of Aerosmith. She would write poems and pass them to me in class. As a result, I was the recipient of a number of fantastic original poems. However, she also tried to pass off a few that weren't hers as her own. One of them was "Come Together"- the Aerosmith version.I busted her immediately since I was familiar with the Beatles version. Seeing those crazy-ass lyrics on paper reminded me how cool that song really is. "Come Together" is one of my all-time favorites, and probably one of the coolest songs ever.

"Happiness is a Warm Gun"
The first time I heard this was in dance in high school. Ballet Tennessee was doing a collaboration with our dance company, and their big production was a Beatles medley. I didn't get to participate (unfortunately), but I at least got to experience watching it. The production was diverse, strange, and exquisite. I had never heard this song before and had no idea what it was really about. But I fell in love with the song and subsequently, the entire White Album. This song is on one of my random playlists on my iPod, and I never skip it when it comes on.

This one is, hands down, one of the most beautiful songs ever. This is another one that I really remember from the dance production back in high school. I may have heard it as a child, but I didn't recall it before dance. It's just such a beautiful, honest love song, and I adore it. I think this one may even be my top Beatles song.

"Yesterday" has always been one of my favorites, even as a child. It's so sad, and so simple. I remember some point in junior high or high school when I was going through something (who knows what, at that age), I listened to this track over and over again  (I bet I was rewinding the cassette). It just said everything I felt at the time.

"All You Need is Love"
This one doesn't always make my top 5 list, but it does at the moment because it's fresh in my mind. This is one of those songs that I never really thought a whole lot about growing up. That is, until I saw Ewan McGregor sing it in Moulin Rouge. I couldn't get over the clear beauty of his voice singing those words. After that, it became a ring tone on my phone. My love for the song gets rekindled every time I see Love Actually, when it's performed by a pop-up band at the wedding near the beginning. It's such a sweet little tune.

There you have it. My runners up that sometimes rotate into the top 5 include Revolution, Helter Skelter, Across the Universe, A Day in the Life and Twist and Shout. I heart The Beatles.


Day 16- Favorite TV Shows

I love TV. Not just lately, since it's gotten so much better. I've loved TV as far back as I can remember. I loved it when I watched Sesame Street and Mister Rogers daily. I loved it when I watched Pinwheel on Nickelodeon in the afternoons. I even loved it when my mom put on Days of Our Lives and Another World while she was ironing. Watching Saturday morning cartoons was an absolute ritual, shared with my brother while I ate cereal and he recorded the audio on tape with his boom box (yes, I'm serious- we would listen to the audio playback of our favorite episodes in the afternoons when there was nothing else on TV). I love to watch, read about and talk about TV, and I always have.

My list is pretty diverse (I think) and certainly is in line with pop culture. I'm going to try to stick with my all-time favorites. These are shows that I come back to again and again or talk about often. There are shows that I absolutely love that aren't necessarily on the list, like Alias and Golden Girls (don't hate!). Those didn't make the list simply because I can't list every single show or this would go on for days. There are also shows that I am in love with right now (Homeland! The Walking Dead!) but am not ready to put in with my all-time faves. So here, in no particular order (other than the top 4, which are my ultimate faves), are some of my favorites:

Sex and the City
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Top Chef
The Cosby Show
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
Saturday Night Live (select seasons, of course)
Three's Company
The Office
So You Think You Can Dance!

I'm fairly certain I'm forgetting a few really important shows, since I'm trying to keep the list short-ish. Maybe I can revisit in another post, or do a Shows I Love post that will include all of my forgotten gems.


Day 15...too far behind to catch up

So I'm weeks behind, as it's January 28 and I'm only posting Day 15 now. Part of it is I'm not inspired by the topics lately. Most of it is time management, which means I'm back in an obsession with Angry Birds and everything else is taking a back seat. I suspect I may fall completely off the wagon and stop the challenge altogether. In any case, Day 15 is this:  put your iPod on shuffle and list the first 15 songs.

This should be amusing. One of the primary reasons I rarely shuffle my iPod is sheer volume (I have 5471 songs on my iPod) and the possibility of some really weird or jarring music mixing together. I have just about every genre of music you can think of in my collection--classical, jazz, blues, rock (classic, alternative, hard...you get the picture), rap, R&B, country, bluegrass, holiday, comedy. Unless I can just shuffle a particular genre, I really don't like to mix n' match- I don't want Marilyn Manson coming on after Beethoven or Too Short following up the Beatles. I prefer my mixes to be intentional, thank you. But in any case, here goes:


Ha! This is gonna be good:

1. Play the Game- Queen
2. Fill Me In- Craig David
3. Criminal (live acoustic)- Fiona Apple
4. Grid Iron Rap- Method Man
5. La Goualante De Pauvre Jean- Edith Piaf
6. O Death- Ralph Stanley
7. O Holy Night- Nat King Cole
8. Pack the Pipe- The Pharcyde
9. When The Last Time- Clipse
10. Five to One- The Doors
11. Author, Author- David Sedaris
12. Yay Boy- Africando
13. I Believe- Frank Sinatra
14. Mississippi- JJ Grey & Mofro
15.Vivo En El Monte- Papi Oviedo

See what I mean? It starts out looking like it will be a pretty good mix, until  you have Method Man and Edith Piaf back to back. The other problem is the Christmas music, which doesn't fit at all. This was actually a fun experiment, and I was pretty tempted to go all the way to 20. Perhaps I will use this topic as a filler to amuse myself when I'm out of posting ideas. Anyways, back to the iPod for more shuffling fun.