Healthy Living Expo

Mom and I went to the Healthy Living Expo this Saturday (after a hearty lunch at Cracker Barrel because Saturday's are lima bean day, and I LOOOOOOVE their lima beans. Yes, yes, you think I'm crazy, but don't judge me until you've tried them. Best.Lima.Beans.EVER).

Anyway, the Expo was fun. I got a free haircut from Mitchell's Salon and Spa, I got a free chair massage from some other place, I read up on what to look for when buying an elliptical machine (because I'm canceling my gym membership and just getting a machine to use at home instead) and I got told that I could drop dead at any moment.

I'm taking the dropping dead thing with a grain of salt. There was a booth that had a machine that, based on your pulse (taken with one of those little finger clips) tells you if your circulation is strong, and what your heart rhythm looks like, and if you're hydrated or not. (As we stood in line, an overwhelming number of people scored "poorly" on their results. I'm sure that had nothing to do with the healthy heart vitamin drink powder that was also for sale on the table next to the machine). Mom was thrilled to discover she has "the heart of a 33 year old". My heart refused to cooperate. (Always the rebel, my heart). First, the lady running the machine kept "losing" the pulse in my finger, so she had to switch fingers mid-test. Then, instead of sitting quietly and relaxing, I was laughing and carrying on with Mom. So I wasn't overly surprised that the results came back a little wacky. (My heart rhythm looks like the random drawing of a two year pattern whatsoever. I do believe it actually thought I was dead at one point). The technician running the machine was really freaked out. Apparently, my pulse is also all over the place. No big surprise there either. My hydration level? A point 6. (She said the norm was 2). So not only am I sending random Morse code with my heart beats, but I'm also completely dried out. The technician was in shock. Mom was mildly concerned (enough that I have a feeling that I'm suddenly going to find out that I have a surprise doctor's appointment soon). I'm not going to worry about it until someone with a real medical license does a real diagnosis, based on something more reliable than a 3 minute finger pulse test.

Perhaps we should have gone to the chocolate festival instead. At least that way, if I keel over, I can do so with a hunk of chocolate.


I have my year end review at work coming up, and I have to write a self-appraisal. I rate myself from 1 to 5 and give examples of my wonderfulness on things like Professionalism, Communication, Willingness to charge through a burning building to save a customer, blah, blah, blah. I HATE these things! I never know what to give myself. Am I being too hard on myself? Am I being too easy? What if I give myself a 5 and my boss gives me a 2? Plus, it just feels like I'm tooting my own horn. "I'm wonderful. My customers love me. I'm never absent. I do fantastic work. My co-workers couldn't exist without me. The company would be in shambles if I ever left. They throw parades in my honor". It just seems to me that I shouldn't be telling my boss how great I am...he should be able to SEE how great I am, and then tell me. Despite how shallow and egotistical I seem in this blog (where you're all strangers, so who cares what you think), I'm really uncomfortable with the whole "sell yourself" thing. I'm working on a MadLibs version where I can just fill in the blanks:

"I've very (personal attribute). In fact, I always (verb) the monthly (noun) reports by (date). The customers is always (feeling) when I (verb), and the office (noun) is always (adj). My team members say that I (verb) the (adj) (noun) very (adverb)."

Karate Kid

There's a new Eli update on Nicole's blog. Apparently, Eli enjoys practicing his judo at 5am, effectively waking Mom-to-be (who then woke Dad-to-be so that he could also feel the kicking). All in all, everyone was awake for Eli's little martial arts demonstration. (My thought: being kicked in the stomach from the inside is just a little too freaky for me to contemplate).

Also in Eli-related news, Logan (their dog) ate Eli's new very expensive lampshade (bad dog!). It's a shame too, because from the picture it looks to be a lovely lampshade. Nicole was very upset. (Now, THAT I can identify with. Dixon once ate a very nice chenille sweater that I had gotten from Mom as a gift. He also ate the duvet, several shoelaces, my good wool pants, a couple of throws, and the couch throwpillows. Such is life, living with a cat with a material fetish). But I digress. Go read about Eli.

Stir Crazy

I'm feeling a bit stir crazy today. I need spring to come. I'm tired of the cold.

I'm a very seasonally sensitive person, to the point that I tell people that I'm solar powered. Warm sunshine makes me happy. Cold cloudiness makes me sleep. A lot. Every year, I try to soak up as much warm outside weather as possible before winter comes. This year I've actually been doing better than usual, due to the mild winter we've had so far. We even had a few mid-60's weekends in December, which was like a shot in the arm to get me through the miserable winter for another few days. But now it's been more than a few weeks of mid-40's blah, and I'm getting a little antsy.

Where's all this global warming everyone is talking about? It's freezing here! Not snow like the rest of the country has, which would give me a good argument for not coming in to work, but not warm either. Just...blah.

Things I'm going to do once it gets warm:
Wear sandals
Plant stuff in my flower beds
Go swimming
Put away all coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots, socks, sweaters, and wooly socks
Read on the back porch
Wear sleeveless shirts
Leave work before it gets dark.


Here's an interesting article that I found on Slate. Just something a little different for your reading pleasure.

Meatlifting...the seedy side of Supermarket sirloin scams.

Move Along

If you checked here in the last week or so, you noticed that there was nothing posted since 1/12. (And you were no doubt sad and disappointed and lonely). But then you checked by today, and you saw not one but SEVERAL postings. (And you were happy and joyful, and then you said, "Hey, what gives?") Well, for some reason, blogger would let me write the posts, but when it came time to publish the posts, it never could quite complete the task. It would say publishing posts, but it could never get to 100%. But today it worked again, so I took advantage of it by quickly publishing all my saved up posts. So that's the reason. All Blogger's fault. (By the way Blogger, if this is an attempt to get me to upgrade to the new Blogger beta by making this one not work, forget it. I'm not falling for it). Anyway, thanks for not giving up. On to the post:

You ever get a song stuck in your head that lasts ALL WEEKEND LONG?!? You're humming it in the shower, you're singing it in the car, you're whistling it to make Tony crazy (mostly because he can't whistle, so he's jealous). My super-glue song is Move Along by All American Rejects. (I've linked to it on YouTube here. Not sure what the video is about, but I thought this one was more interesting than the real music video, so you get to watch the robot one instead.. You're welcome). So now I've just given in and am listening to it over and over and over. Click on the song, get it stuck in your head, and we'll hum it all day together.

Peyton (and Bears) going to the SuperBowl!

There's going to be a battle in my house. I can feel the ill winds blowing. Tensions are mounting, gantlet (whatever those are) are being thrown down, opposing sides are lining up...

The Colts and Bears are playing each other in the SuperBowl.

Here's how it works in my house. Tony loves all things Chicago Sports, so he's a diehard Bears fan (and Cubs fan, and Blackhawks fan, and Bulls fan). I'm 100% with him on the Hawks, and I'll cheer for the Flubs (those lovable losers!), and I could care less about basketball in general, but on Football, another team owns my heart. (Actually, just one player on that team).

My blood runs University of Tennessee Orange, and all true vol fans know that in addition to cheering for UT, (a no brainer!) you must also support one of our favorite all time Peyton Manning. (Or just Peyton, since everyone around here knows exactly who you are talking about, and we're on a first name basis with him anyway). I couldn't tell you another member of the Colts team, but it doesn't matter, because Peyton is playing, and that's all that matters. I cheer at his commercials, I root for his wins, I lament his losses. He's one of us, even though he's with Indianapolis now. And he DESERVES to win the SuperBowl, darnnit!

So here we are. The perfect storm of SuperBowls. Tony, who normally wouldn't care who won if the Bears weren't in it, is becoming so Bears fanatical, it's ridiculous. And me, who historically only runs in to watch the commercials and not the game, will be GLUED to Peyton's every move. Every moment of this game is going to be hard fought, and that's just me and Tony. The actual teams will have it easy compared to us.


Somebody asked how the car shopping went, so I'm updating everyone. We did buy the new car, and traded in the old one, and so far it is FAB-U-LOUS. That puppy flies (in a completely-mindful-of-the-speedlimit-way). She hugs turns, she purrs, she looks fast just sitting still. Basically, just like the old car, only a slightly more compact body style, so that Tony can no longer refer to it as the land yacht. It even has that new car smell. I love my car.

Such a pretty car, no? Reason #2 for loving my car: The other day Tony and I were watching Dateline where some nut pushed a lady in front of a subway train. Then we were watching Numbers, where some nut was releasing toxic gas on a subway train. You know what that tells me? Subways are dangerous places to be. One more reason I love my car. I'm fairly certain that no one is going to release toxic gas in my car, or push me out into traffic while I'm in it.

Rain Delay

Happily, my new Nalgene Aspect 2.0L Hydration Pack with "floating asymmetrical shoulder straps for fit and comfort" and a "TPE polymer reservoir with articulated BiteMe™ valve with magnetic clip, Super-D opening for easy access and a no-leak quick connect hose" has arrived! (I've been wearing it around the house for several days now. I watch tv with it on, I cook dinner with it on, I read with it on, Tony laughs at me with it on). Needless to say, I'm very excited about it. Sadly, my chance to take it out on the trails this weekend has been delayed by rain. Stupid Rain!

Since hiking is out, I plan to buy a car instead. (A bit of a jump, I know). Inclement weather actually comes in handy when buying a convertible, because you can tell right away if it has a leaking problem. (I've never had a problem with a Sebring leaking, but better to be safe than sorry). Tony and I have been doing the "dance of the car buyer" for several days now, which involves circling the car, dramatic arm waving during negotiations, and several waltzes to the door and back again as we haggle over price with the salesman"). Assuming the car performs well in the rain, we'll take our final bows, fork over the money, and drive away with a new car tomorrow.

I wonder what the salesman will think if I wear my new backpack.

Marketing Mania

The new school semester has started, and I must say, it's looking up. Last semester's foray into Economics (yuck!), Finance (double yuck!), and Accounting (extreme intestinal-emptying, mutant-alien-slime spew yuck) was grueling but doable. This semester seems to be a reward from the heavens compared to last semester. Once again, it's divided into three "modules" (read: the entire content of three full courses smashed into one semester), but these modules happen to be much more interesting that last semester's. Right now we're in marketing, which has the added bonus of being taught by a professor who has actually held a position in marketing with an actual real life company, so his theories are tempered by "real world situations", which is nice. After that we'll have a stint in Management, followed by a stint in Strategy. Glancing over the syllabus, it should be promising. Added bonus for this semester is a computer simulation game about making and selling shoes, which I happened to play in undergrad, and just happened to win. Here's hoping I can keep that winning streak alive.


By the way, Baby Cooter will henceforth be known to all as Eli, or Eli Scott, or Baby Eli, or Xandar the Magnificent. (If you choose to go with Xandar however, don't let his momma hear...she perfers Eli).

Car Talk

Tony thinks we should trade in my car for a new one. My current one is coming up on 90,000 miles, and apparently when you hit that magic number, expensive stuff like tires and the timing belt need to be replaced. Tony's thought is that it's better just to get a new car than to sink the money for repairs into a car that we might only keep a year or two more.

Here's the thing though. I LIKE my car. It's mine, and I've had it for almost 5 years now, and...and...I just like it. Yes, it's 9 years old, and yes, it has a lot of miles on it, and yes, the rear view mirror got mysteriously foggy, but it's mine, and there's nothing REALLY wrong with it.

Plus, Tony and I differ on essential car buying theories. I say, drive it until it dies, and then buy another used car and repeat process. Tony believes in trading in a car before it's on it's last, wheel, and buying new if possible. I think we've hit a compromise this time though. I have a really nice, fully loaded car right now, and I'm not downgrading to a basic model just because it's new. So we're looking at less than 10,000 miles 2006 models.

I looked at a couple of other makes and models, but I think I'm going to stay with the Sebring. I've been happy with the one I have now, and it's never given me any trouble. Besides, it's got a good no leak record, which is important with convertibles. Nothing worse than a leaky roof. And yes, I am getting another convertible. (This was another point of contention). Tony doesn't like the convertible. He doesn't like the feel of the wind through his...almost completely shaved hair. I however, love it. It's my therapy. By the time you hit the interstate on the way home, it's blown all your troubles away. Nothing better than a convertible on a warm sunny day. And since I'm the one driving it 99.9% of the time, I say it's important. I was a little concerned with his argument that whatever car we got next would have to incorporate a car seat, since the plan is to still have it when we start having kids, but I maintain that it's not THAT big of a hassle to put a kid in the backseat of a two door car. Just slide the seat forward. No biggie. In the end, the idea of getting a car with a regular roof (and no, sunroofs are not the same) just made me feel claustrophobic and depressed. So another Sebring convertible it is.

Tony's already scoped out the dealership lots. He called me today to tell me about several very pretty ones that he's found. I'm going to look at them this evening. I already told him that if they don't measure up to what I've already got though, I'm jumping back in my nice dependable car and driving away. The new car bug doesn't bite me. The guilt over abandoning a perfectly dependable car does. I got some of my wedding pictures made in that car. (Top down and veil flying).

Cucumber Gap

I must say, the weather for the first hike of the year couldn't have been better. We're talking sunny, with blue skies and white puffy clouds, and a high of 65 degrees. Bea-u-ti-ful. And with all the rain we've have recently, the waterfalls and rivers were something to behold. The combination made for a perfectly crisp hiking day, chock full of negative ions. (Want breathtaking scenery with Florida-like weather, but without all the hurricanes? Come to K-town. There's a reason why people who grow up here never leave). Greg wanted to start out easy since we were coming off of the break, so we did an easy 5 miles. (And it was easy for the rest of the group, who obviously did something more with their break than just lay on the couch and eat Christmas cookies. I struggled slightly, in a few spots with the steepest grade. I expect, however, that by persevering through, I have worked that weakness out, and should be good to go on any future hikes). I'm also counting on being more hydrated once I get my 2 liter camelbak. (ANY DAY NOW MR. FED-EX GUY!)

We did get to see two deer, neither of which seemed at all concerned that we were there. And the trail starts and ends at Elkmont, which is an area with a couple dozen houses that the Knoxville elite used as summer cabins from the 1930s to the 1970s. You're not supposed to go in them since they're not all structurally sound (and trespassing is punishable by a $5000 fine and up to 6 months in prison), but say, if by chance you were to hypothetically walk through some of the houses before you saw the above mentioned sign, you would realize that the pink house is really cool, and the little bed and breakfast one has an old piano still in it. Hypothetically, of course.

The pictures are on Greg's site, which is good because I still haven't purchased a replacement camera after breaking the old one in November.

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather so that we can keep the hikes going. I'm completely hooked on them. I think we're also going to try to do a couple of the longer ones on horseback, and maybe an overnight camping trip or two. I'm also all in favor for some white water rafting this summer. Should be fun.

First Hike of 07

First hike of the year tomorrow! I can't wait to break in my new trekking poles that I got for Christmas! Unfortunately, the camelback is still in transit, and will probably arrive in the mail tomorrow, RIGHT AFTER I finish the hike. Oh well, I'll have it for next time.

We're starting off easy, with Cucumber Gap Loop. I'll post about it when I get back so that I can add pictures.

I'm so excited. I love hiking. Not to mention I really need to work off all the Christmas cookies I ate. I fear I'm getting a bit "fluffy" on the ol' thighs.

Cat phobias

So get this: Mason is scared of the fish. I have no idea why. I thought cats liked watching fish swim. You always see pictures of the cat curiously patting the top of the water of the goldfish bowl. But not Mason. I don't know what happened to make him afraid of them. It's not like they've ever climbed out of the tank and beaten him up or anything. (Although the fish in The Cat In The Hat suddenly comes to mind).

When he was a kitten, he used to love to sit and watch the fish swim back and forth. Now? You can't get him close to the tank. I held him up next to the glass where a couple of the angels were, and he starts hissing and spitting and fighting like mad. When I dropped him, he took off and hid in the bedroom, puffy tail and all. We've got a serious fish phobia on our hands here.

Maybe the fish got too big? The angels are a pretty impressive size now. Maybe they're too big for Mason to feel like he could comfortably control, should the fish ever figure out a way of their glass confines.

Maybe he thinks the fish hurt him. There was this one time when he was little that he suddenly lunged at the tank, hit the front and kind of slid down in slow motion like a cartoon cat. Maybe that was him trying to take the fish on, and they packed a surprising punch. ("Yeah, those fish look small, but going after them is like running face first into a solid wall").

Who knows what goes on in his little deranged kitty head? Who knows what's going on in my little deranged head for putting so much thought into this? One more question to put on the list in case I ever come across a kitty therapist.

Baby Cooter is officially a...


Congratulations Nicole and Chris! It's a boy!

May you have years of mud-covered, worm-collecting, baseball-watching fun ahead of you!


Happy New Year everybody!

As a special 2007 treat, we get to find out if Baby Cooter is sporting XX or XY chromosomes! This is also apparently the half-way point in Baby Cooter's womb lease (cozy, but no view). The doctor's appointment is today, and Nicole and Chris are very excited. (Hey, I'm excited, and I'm not even part of this adventure!)

I definitely think it's a boy.

No, girl.

Yes, definitely a girl...

unless it's a boy.

I'll let you know as soon as I know.