Noodles Roasting On an Open Fire

What's with the city catching on fire lately? Today I was out on the square, innocently enjoying my Arby's turkey bacon ranch (no onions) wrap, the sunshine, and my new book when Oodles (if you look down to the post about eating outside, that's Oodles in the picture with the black hanging sign) caught on fire. At the time, I happened to be sitting about 15 feet from it. (Don't worry. It was just a small fire. In the back. No one was hurt). I didn't even realize what was going on until the fire alarms started going off. Then the bike cops who are always patrolling the square showed up, and then more cops, and then 6 fire engines (yes! Six!) and then the channel 10 news. And lots of people were milling around, and some poor woman who lived in the loft above Oodles ran up to see if any of her stuff was damaged, and people started bringing out painting after painting after painting from inside the building, until the area in front of the building looked like an artist's sidewalk sale. It was all very interesting. I don't think that there was very much damage, so I don't feel bad at being entertained with a front row seat to a breaking news story. See? Reading this blog gives you the first scoop on up to the minute Knoxville news.


I have spring fever. (I know, I know, you're shocked. You never would have guessed from the previous 200 posts regarding my obsession with the weather).

Anyway, this weekend's weather was sooo nice that I was inspired to buy a hammock off of eBay. It's a lovely 2 person rope hammock, and I've spent the morning designing the arbor that I'm going to build to support my new hammock and researching the shade tolerant climbing vines that I'm going to (hopefully) grow on it. (I've narrowed it down between sweet autumn clematis or crossvine, and there's still a tiny possibility for Blue Chinese Wisteria as soon as I find out how true "likes sun, but tolerates shade" is). This has been a wonderfully productive morning, unless you consider that I haven't actually done any work-work yet. (A minor technicality).

This is the latest project in the series, "My outdoor projects for enjoying every nanosecond of the warm weather". Also on the list is: hang second air chair on porch, finish hanging material on ceiling of screened in porch (trust me...very cool once it's complete), sew new chair pad covers for outdoor furniture, build deck, buy and assemble hanging swing, plant 80 bazillion baskets of flowers, and continue sidewalk to connect soon-to-be-built deck to door on side of house. Ambitious? Probably. Expensive? Definitely. (Sorry Tony). Fun? Absolutely! I can't wait to get started.



Every year, I spend all the nice days sitting outside in the park or on Market Square during lunch. (In the old days when Stepher used to work right down the street, she'd join me). And I'd bring lunch out, and get a book or 10 or 12 from the library, and sit in the sunshine and read and watch the people stroll past the shops, or the little kids playing the fountain, or the dog walkers and joggers, and it was my little slice of heaven in the city. I've been stuck inside during lunch since about October, so I'm so excited to be back outside again.

I love you warm weather. Don't ever leave me again.

Ash Wednesday

It's Ash Wednesday. A day of remorse for your sins. A day of reflection and obligation. A day where I know who my honest friends are because they're the ones that will tell me that I have a black smudge on my forehead. I always go to the noon mass to get my ashes because there's no possible way that I can get out of work and over to the church in time for the 5:30 mass. This creates an interesting situation where I spend the second half of the day at work with ashes on my head in an area where most people are not familiar with Ash Wednesday (or at least the ashes part). Some people stare but don't say anything, some people say something, and some people pretend that they don't see it at all. So I spend the day explaining that no, it's not copy toner, or black marker, or pencil smudge, and I deliberately had it put there, but thanks for letting me know, and feel free to tell me if there's something there on any other day than Ash Wednesday. For a good explanation of the ashes, try here. For the next 40 days, I'm also chocolate-free. Believe me, this is a HUGE sacrifice, as there isn't a day that goes by that I don't have a piece of chocolate. Except for today. And the next 39. I may end up killing someone before this is over. I'm already having withdrawal.

In addition to being Ash Wednesday, it's also Stepher's birthday. Happy Birthday Stepher! Have a big piece of chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles for me.

Is That You Spring?

Look! Warmth! No matter what this week holds, I will be happy because it will be warm outside! (Or at least warm enough to melt all the snow and ice, anyway). Mid-60's! Can you believe it? I am soooo excited!

What Kind Of Car Are You?

I've been taking all these self-assessment tests for my management class. It's supposed to tell me what kind of management style I have. Sadly, I learned more about myself with the car test than all "management" tests combined. This test tells me that I'd be a Mazda Miata. All those other management tests could come up with was "Sociopath". Like that's any help.

I'm a Mazda Miata!

You like to soak up the sun, but your tastes are down to earth. Everyone thinks you're cute. Life is a winding road, and you like to take the curves in stride. Let other people compete in the rat race - you're just here to enjoy the ride.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Stepher's Big Win

Well, Stepher won her first motion in court the other day. She's one for one now. I can honestly say that she's never lost a case. (Don't you wish your lawyer was brilliant like mine?) She'll be guest starring on Law and Order in no time. Annnnnd, she's going to do a will (she calls it "estate planning") for me and Tony all pro bono (that's lawyer speak for free). How's that for helpful? I knew she'd come in handy one day.

Happy Valentines Day!

I read somewhere that the average person spends $124 on Valentines Day. Tony is getting some Food City Valentines Cupcakes ($2.99 with Value card) and some knock-off Twinkies called Golden Fingers or something like that (2 for 66 cents). Tony likes Twinkies, but the rest of the world seems to have realized that they do not contain any actual food molecules, so grocery stores have quit carrying them. Seriously, Twinkies are getting very hard to find. So I may only be spending approximately $4 on my true love, but the time required to track this stuff down speaks volumes about my devotion.

It's 60!

Hi 60 degrees today! WOO-HOO!
Tomorrow: 34. (sigh).

The Visitors

My house has, inexplicably, become the new neighborhood cat meeting place. In the last few days, my yard has been overrun with cats that I have not seen before. A week ago, I watched a black cat calmly saunter through my backyard without a care in the world. Three nights ago, Tony found two different cats laying on our back porch, conversing calmly with Mason, who was on the screened-in porch. Later we saw a calico and a black and white cat walking down our driveway together. Two nights ago, I arrived home to find an orange and white striped cat sitting on my front porch. (When he saw me pull up, he gave several loud meows and then moseyed down the sidewalk, across the driveway, and around the side of the house. Last night, I drove into my driveway and spotted the black and white cat laying under my Japanese Maple. She didn't move when I pulled up. She didn't move when I got out. She didn't move when I walked within two feet of her on my way to the front door. She just watched me with a faintly bored expression. I'm a cat person, but it's kind of bizarre that all these cats that I've never seen before have all suddenly appeared. It reminds me of the very first Harry Potter where Professor McGonagall sat on the wall in cat form. These cats all seem to act like they have a reason for being at my house. I wonder what they know that I don't.

Raining Fire

We had a bit of excitement in good ol' Knoxville yesterday. A couple of old warehouses caught on fire and burned for an entire day, effectively stopping traffic and raining burning embers down upon my fair city. (You can read the official story in the News-Sentinel here and here and here). The McClung warehouses are (were) just down the street from where I work, and it was actually pretty creepy to watch the ashes drift by. (I thought it was snow at first). The whole city smelled of black smoke, and traffic was backed up forever with people stopping their cars to take pictures. The Barley's taproom that had the brushfire butts up to the back of my building. So lots of excitement all around. Part of me is sad because those were old historical buildings that could have been revitalized into lofts or stores or something, but I also know that they've been talking about renovating those old buildings for about 10 years and nothing was ever done. They just got older and more rundown. So here's hoping that after the rubble gets cleared away, they can build something nice in its place.

Pain in the Neck

Well, I did it again. I broke myself. Apparently, this time it was a combination of an unsupportive pillow and a kitty cat who wants nothing more IN THE WORLD than to sleep right next to his dear mommy's face. Here's how it happened: I go to bed. Dixon curls up by my face to enjoy some quality kitty/mommy time. Dixon decides that the nanometer between his butt and my face is just too distant. Dixon scoots closer. I am suffocated by car hair, so I move a nanometer away. Dixon scoots closer. I scoot away. Dixon scoots closer. I scoot away. Repeat the process until my head is firmly sandwiched between Dixon and my OWN Shoulder. Sleep in that position for 8 hours. The result: I cannot move my head or left shoulder without unspeakable pain. Now I'm stuck doing a fairly accurate imitation of Mr. Roboto.

SuperBowl ads

Payton won!!! Payton won!!! (well, along with those other Colts) but Peyton won!!! I'm very happy for him. Now no one will ever be able to say that he chokes on the big game again. And that about sums up any resulting interest I had in the game. On to the commercials:

The Best:
I like the Blockbuster ad with the mouse the best. I can't remember why Blockbuster wanted you to get online, but I thought that the overall commercial was funny, so it's a thumbs up for me. I also liked the new career builder jungle spots, especially because I've got a review coming up, and that definitely captures the overall feeling. (Also, guy-with-a-binder-on-his-head? Absolute riot). I like the homemade Doritos commercial also. I liked it better than most of the multi-million dollar commercials that everybody else did. And props to Sprint for "connectile dysfunction". I'm making that part of my everyday vocabulary whenever I drop a call. I know that the Rock Paper Scissors ad got some high scores for funniness, but I only rated it as okay. I mean, he hits the other guy in the head with a rock. Give me word play, or at least an animated mouse.

The GoDaddy ads. I know, I know, they had to do something with the big bosomed ladies wearing the GoDaddy tanks, but c'mon. Enough already. What IS GoDaddy anyway? Also, the GM ad where the robot gets fired and jumps off a bridge? How horrible is that! GM just laid off a bunch of people! Are they suggesting that they all go jump off bridges? I now hate GM for making the robot feel bad, even if it was just a dream. Also bad in my book: The Evil Mapasaurus ad. Maybe I'm too young to appreciate the whole Japanese-monster-eats-the-city deal so the whole thing just came off as cheesy to me. Tony and I just looked each other. Tony's comment: "Somebody just got fired over that one". And the Snickers kiss? Also a thumbs down in my book. Ignoring the homophobia for a second; what makes ripping out chest hair manly? Besides, no part of that commercial made me want to eat a Snickers, which is really saying something, because it doesn't take much to trigger a chocolate craving for me. Lastly, the beard comb-over ad. Just...ew.

In case you want to relive all of them:

Criminal Masterminds

Another reason why I never trust children...

Apparently, a 7 year old girl pulled a knife on a walmart cashier while attempting to shoplift Legos. The cashier talked the girl into putting the knife down, but the young criminal was able to escape on her getaway bicycle!

Who can't catch a kid on a bicycle? I'm telling you, this is all because of Reality TV.


For the past few days, they've been calling for snow in good ol' K-town. Snow is a relatively rare occurrence here, so of course, panic ensues. Schools were called off before the first flake could fall, grocery stores were packed with people stocking up on bread and milk (what is it about inclement weather that makes people yearn for extra bread and milk? Do you really eat that much bread and milk on a given day anyway?), and salt trucks were at the ready. "1 to 4 inches!" the weather people exclaimed in their "on location" reports in front of the city transportation department or jam-packed grocery stores. (You northern types are smirking at the 1 to 4 inches idea, but here, that's huge! When the city doesn't own any plows, and only a dozen salt trucks, and no one here could even identify a snow blower, 4 inches could shut the city down! Well, mostly. Honestly, we COULD probably drive in it, and go along with our normal lives, but we never have before, so people panic and the city shuts down "just in case").

Well, I woke up this morning and OH MY GOODNESS! WE'LL BE TRAPPED HERE FOR WEEKS! WE GOT...a dusting! You could still see the grass poking through the snow. The roads were completely clear. Of course, all schools and government businesses were closed already, so nobody was driving on those completely clear roads anyway. Well, except for the loyal employees of Ye Ol' Company, who were told that the company would not be closed, and we were expected to be in or be docked a vacation day. So here I am, working on a "snow day" while the rest of the city relaxes at home.

Good thing I have all this extra bread and milk to keep me company.