Weekend Update

So I saw the Twilight movie Friday night. I can say that it did stay pretty true to the book, which is good because otherwise it’s a deal breaker for me. And the movie was okay, although I probably wouldn’t run out and see it six more times or anything. To me, the magic of the story is to be able to loose yourself in good writing, and the movie just doesn’t do that for me (to be fair, most movies don’t. I’m definitely more drawn to the written word that the silver screen). So. Book= excellent. Movie= okay…mostly because it didn’t screw up the book.

Also, to the group of six or seven girls that sat behind me and giggled through the entire movie? SHUT. UP. You have no idea how close I came to coming over the back of my seat and knocking your empty pre-pubescent heads together. I credit only my Herculean self-control. There is no need to squeal every time an actor walks into a scene. It’s not like he can hear you. He’s not REALLY there. This isn’t live theater. Don’t make me go all rated R for gratuitous violence on ya’ll. (I suddenly remember why I never go to movies in theaters anymore).

I also went to Nashville to visit my good buddy and long-time cohort in crime, Nicole (and my younger man crush, Eli). He’s 18 months old now, and let me tell you, the boy is a major heart breaker. He does this thing where he looks up at you through his big long eyelashes and grins and you just melt into a little puddle on the floor. I, probably the most immune person on the planet when it comes to baby cuteness, would have given him anything he wanted in an instant. Apparently, his current thing is dancing, and he insists that when he dances, everyone else does too. He kept pulling on my hand to make sure that I was up dancing to the Disney music channel all night long (or at least until his bedtime anyway). He’s got some really smooth moves designed to make all the little girls swoon. His mama is in big big trouble.

Nicole also foolishly took me to the Titans Jets game. (I say foolish because I told her that the Curse of the Goose would make the Titans lose, but she took me anyway). Now normally I am not a football fan and usually end up bored by halftime, but this time I was interested enough to follow the ENTIRE game. True, we had really awesome seats in the 15th row, and true, there was this inflatable raccoon mascot thing that was so oddly proportioned that I couldn’t look away, but I think the real thing that kept my interest was the fact that Nicole can carry on a conversation and watch a football game AT THE SAME TIME, unlike my usual game watching companion who is generally so engrossed in the game that conversations mostly consist of one word answers and no eye contact whatsoever. (Not that I’m naming any names here, coughTonycough). So yeah, the Titans lost, and yeah, they were previously undefeated up until they tangled with the Curse of the Goose, but we still had a good time. I would totally go again, and that’s saying something when it comes to football.

So that was my weekend, which was awesome, although way too short (as weekends tend to be). But that’s okay, because it’s a short week at work, followed by a 4 day weekend. And THAT, silly pre-pubescent girls, is something to squeal about.

My Dream Guy, or Defending The Castle Once Again

Last night I was dreaming. It was a lovely dream where Tony and I were ballroom dancing. (Technically, this is not something we know how to do, but when does that ever stop you in a dream?) Anyway, we were gliding beautifully across the floor, and my gown was just amazing, and the room was twinkling like in a fairy tale. So romantic. And then the music ends, and Tony leans down and whispers in my ear

“I think we have another raccoon in the attic”.

Queue the screeching halt in the music. My eyes fly open. It’s dark in the bedroom.

“I think another raccoon has gotten into the attic. I keep hearing thumping above the ceiling”.
Fabulous. Why won’t the giant rodents leave us alone? And why won’t they let me finish a halfway decent dream sequence?

“Do you want me to go up and check?” He tries to sound noble, but I can hear the edge of excitement in his voice. Like he can’t wait to duke it out with a wild raccoon.
“No” I sigh, “Leave him alone”.
“I’ll call the guys we used last time and make and appointment for them to come out and set up another trap”.
That’s my Tony. Willing to do the mundane little things like arrange to have the second uninvited attic squatter removed without me even having to ask. And I know he’ll actually follow though too, because he’s responsible like that.

We may not be ballroom dancing, but he’s always my Prince Charming.

A Little Whine With That Flurry?

Ack people, it is cold! Have I mentioned how much I hate cold? I’m pretty sure I have, but I think for today it bears repeating. Yesterday? Snow flurries on the way to work! Actual, real live, frozen accumulation! Here! In my little K-town! Where even though there’s a chance, and even though people wish for it, and even through it can get technically cold enough to where people are wondering if this year is going to “a bad one”, it is NOT supposed to snow! Oh how I longed to turn the car around and head straight back to my cozy little electric blanket on my cozy little bed to wait out this insanity until say, next April. But alas, I could not. And so I was cold.

Then today, while the weather guy was happily gesturing to the close-up of the Knoxville map with a giant 21 degrees plastered over the top and a wind chill of 19 (19! You should have seen the gleam in weather guy’s eyes…sadistic monster), I was out scraping my windshield. And my windows. And my mirrors. The entire car was a giant sheet of ice. You can see why I’m in such a good mood right now.

I do not understand why you Northerners put up with this kind of stuff. I am putting my foot down about anything less than 50 degrees. As a matter of fact, I have recently become consumed with the idea of fleeing to somewhere warm, like say the equator, to wait out this nasty winter winter-ness. All I need is a little shack and a computer with internet connection (and a job that would let me work tele-commute from a shack on the equator), and I’d be a happy camper. It is definitely time for me to fly south for the winter.

It’s going to be a long 4 months.

Heart Walk

In a continuing effort to keep my family healthy, I signed Mom, Dad, and Tony up to do the American Heart Association’s 5K Heart Walk with me this weekend. And in a continuing effort to make them miserable, I made them go even though it was cold and rainy.

Still, despite the rain and wind and cold (and mud, and wet dog fur smell, and the fact that you couldn’t hear anything that was being said up on the stage), it was an okay time. 5K is not a difficult distance to walk, and Tony totally forgave me for making him go when we stocked up on candy from Mast General afterwards. (Mental note: the key to diffusing marital discord is apparently a vast quantity of Sugar Daddies and Goo-Goo clusters. Who knew?)

Anyway, I’m sure that the American Heart Association appreciated our walk, even though the only one who raised any money was Aunt Suzie, who was smart enough to send a check in her absence when she realized how nasty the weather would be.

The rest of us were just a glutton for punishment.

Our walking team. Mom is in the white hat, I’m next to her, Dad’s the one in the black hat (looking stoic and unusually tall), and Tony’s in the back, pretending to be either the Grim Reaper or the Unabomber with his hood up.

A Friday Meme

It's Friday. I'm feeling lazy. That means meme time!

Here's one I found at Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes:

1. My uncle once: was a Navy seal. He doesn’t really talk about it much though.

2. Never in my life have I: been in a hot air balloon, vacationed in Australia, published a book, or driven a motorcycle. All things that are now on my to-do list.

3. When I was five my parents took me: to kindergarten? I don’t specifically recall it, but I know that I went to kindergarten, and five seems to be the average age of attendance, so I’m assuming I was there.

4. High school was: tolerable. Nothing to write home about, but not the worst time ever either. Just something I did while I was waiting to go to college.

5. I will never forget to: take time to read a good book

6. Once I met: Tennessee football coach, Phillip Fulmer. He was in a restaurant at the table next to mine. My mom made me go over and get his autograph. He was very nice. I’m very bummed that he’s leaving at the end of the season. He’s been a great coach.

7. There’s this boy I know: who is sweet and funny and kind and responsible and loving and selfless and easy going and does the dishes, the laundry, and takes out the trash without being asked. Good thing that I married him. (Eat your heart out ladies!)

8. Once, at a bar, I: was like, “Are you ready to go yet? This place reeks of smoke. And that guy just tried to grab my butt. And it’s really crowded in here. And I drank all my water and I’m not about to go back up to the bar to ask for another one. And why does it have to be so loud in here?” (Oh yes, I’m a lot of fun to be out with. That might explain why I spend so little time in bars).

9. By noon, I’m: blogging, reading other people’s blogs, or out wandering the streets looking for blog fodder.

10. Last night I: tried to take over the world. (Said like the Brain in Pinky in the Brain). No really, last night I sat in the hot tub and read. This, going back to Pinky and the Brain, is the same thing I do every night.

11. If only I had: any idea what I want to be when I grow up.

12. Next time I go to church: I’ll ask Tony if he wants to bring something to the church’s annual Thanksgiving potluck dinner. He probably won’t, but I’ll ask anyway.

13. What worries me most is that I: won’t ever find whatever it is I’m meant to do. That I’ll just end up floating along without any real purpose or direction.

14. When I turn my head left I see: my Pathos plant. Looks like it could use some water too.

15. When I turn my head right I see: that framed picture of my and the Seester when we were at the photographer getting her pre-wedding photos done. I hadn’t planned on being in any so I was really ratty casually dressed, but the photographer wanted to get a picture of me and the Seester playing a game where we stared at each other and tried not to be the one to smile first. (We played this all the time as kids). Anyway, she totally lost and the result is this great picture where she’s laughing like crazy and I’ve got my head turned towards her, smirking ‘cause I won.

16. You know I’m lying when I: lie. Apparently my face is an open book. No poker face whatsoever. It’s annoying actually. There goes my career as an international spy. Or politician.

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is: big hair. My hair yearns for the day when it can be large and in charge again. It’s like, “Just say the word, sister”

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be: really old by now. No seriously, I’d like to be one of the fairies like in Midsummer Night’s Dream, but some days I feel more like the third tree from the left.

19. By this time next year I will: be 29? Who knows beyond that? I’d hope to be smarter, kinder, and doing something meaningful with my life.

20. A better name for me would be: the 2008 Lotto Million Dollar Jackpot Winner

21. I have a hard time understanding: why people love reality shows so much. It’s not really real people! I hope not anyway. What a conniving, self-centered and rude world we live in if it is.

22. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: take only classes that are fun and interesting to me. No more accounting EVER!

23. You know I like you if I: skip the small talk and go straight to a real conversation.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be: my Mom. Chances are she had a lot to do with whatever I’m getting an award for.

25. Take my advice, never: ride an alpine slide. This, for those of you who are not familiar with it, is a concrete slide that winds down a mountain. The idea is you slide down this concrete chute on a little sled with wheels. Oh sure, it sounds like fun now, but DON’T DO IT! Because when you fall off of the little sled at high speeds, you will surely demonstrate Newton’s First Law (objects in motion tend to slide another 25’ feet along the concrete) and Friction (thereby ripping all of the skin off of your body) in an amazing display of road rash, and exactly one week before you are supposed to start the eighth grade (Murphy’s law and the Law of Teenage Mortification).

I Love A Good Story...Even If I Am 15 Years Out Of The Target Market

So I just finished Stephanie Meyer’s The Host, and I have to say, it’s really really good. I am in awe (and totally jealous) of the depth of her imagination and storytelling. This one has a completely different feel from the Twilight series, and you wouldn’t even guess that they were from the same author except that they both are incredibly well written. I almost wish that she had come out with The Host first, because it deserves some limelight in it’s own right. It’s a great story…Kind of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, only from the alien’s point of view. If Twilight sucked you in and kept you up reading all night, The Host keeps you pondering long after the last page. I just can’t quit you, Stephanie Meyer. (Me and all the other 14 year old girls).

In related Meyer news, the other day I saw the trailers for the new Twilight movie that is set to come out November 21st. Now, normally I hate hate HATE the movies of books that I love because they never live up to the book, but I watched the trailers on this one, and it may be okay. It seems to stay pretty close to the book. So maybe. I can say that I do not care for Edward’s hair AT ALL, and why they made it all stick up like Teen Wolf, I’ll never know. And Bella looks way younger than I thought. (I know, I know, she’s 17. But the movie makes her look 12). So I have a totally different picture of both Edward and Bella than what the movie producers did, and I while it won’t keep me from seeing the movie, I’ll continue to use my mental images of them instead. Tony claims that he has no interest in seeing it at all, but I went with him to see the last Batman movie, so he owes me one. I think it’ll be fun. Part of me is a little embarrassed to admit that I’m going to go see a movie geared towards teenagers, (that’s like admitting to like Hannah Montana or seeing High School musical 3) but I tell myself that it’s only because the trailers have stayed true to the book’s plot, and Stephanie Meyer writes so well. And I’m young at heart.

My Alter Ego

I have found my alter ego. And oh my goodness, she’s beautiful.

She looks fast just sitting still, doesn’t she? This is the Ducati 848 Superbike, and if I believed in reincarnation, this is what I would want to be when I came back.

I have never given motorcycles much thought. They held no draw for me. Just another mode of transportation. But this! This is more than a machine. This is art with attitude. This says screaming down empty winding moonlit roads that really only exist in car commercials. This says a ride so smooth you’ll cry and so fast your heart will explode in your chest and you will not only not care, but actually enjoy it when it happens.

I didn’t know what a Ducati was until recently. I’d read the name in a book a couple of years ago, and I was like, “A what?” (Normally I Google anything I’m not familiar with, but at the time I ran across it, it was really late and I was already in bed and the computer was off. Besides, I figured out from the context that it was a motorcycle, so I just pictured your run-of-the-mill bike and went on). Then, a couple of months ago I saw it mentioned again in another book. Not even an important mention. Just something like, “…parked next to the Ducati…” and I was like, “There it is again! What is it about this bike?” So I googled the Ducati website, and when this pulled up, I actually, literally said “Holy Smokes!” out loud. It was everything I ever secretly wanted to be but am not, in machine form.

Of course, as soon as I acknowledged the teensiest kernel of desire, my practical, responsible, sensible (boring) self screamed ABSOLUTELY NOT! It watches the news too much. I could tell it had visions of me splattered all over the road because some SUV didn’t see me. (Not see me? If you saw this bike coming down the road, you wouldn’t be able to look away). But I understand the point. There are gobs and gobs of statistics about people killed in motorcycle accidents. And even if they weren’t, this fine fine Italian is probably molto costoso. My boring sensible self knows all of this. My boring sensible self points out all kinds of other practical, logical arguments like, even if I had the money, and even if it was perfectly safe, where would the groceries go? Where would your purse go? And what about when there’s inclement weather? Sigh. My practical, responsible side always wins.

But somewhere, deep down in my dream world where I’ve won obscene amounts of money in the lottery, and Tony looks like Antonio Banderas, and my legs never need shaving and I can gorge myself on chocolate without gaining an ounce, my alter ego bike throws off the yoke of practical responsibility and dares it, no, taunts it to follow me as we go roaring out onto the open roads, all whipping wind and freedom and laughing uproariously at the stunned look on practical responsibility’s face as we gunned the engine and whooping, rocketed off into the sunset.

Holy Smokes is right.


I know the entire world is abuzz today with the results of the Presidential election. And that the blogosphere is all a twitter with what this will mean for our country. That people are saying that we’ve made history today, for better or worse.


I gotta tell you I don’t really see what the big deal is here, people. We do this every four years. Two politicians spend bazillions of dollars badmouthing each other and telling the country how they’re going to be for change. Then we pick one. It’s the same thing every single time. The names changed, but other than that it wasn’t really very different.

And some people are celebrating in the streets, and some people are bemoaning how the world is going to end, but I don’t really think there will be all that much that changes. At least not in my little world. I’ll just keep on doing the same thing I’ve always done, no matter if there’s a Republican or Democrat in the Oval Office.

So there you go, in case you were wondering about what I was feeling on this “historic day” (ABC news’ words, not mine). The answer is Eh. With a shrug.

Tomorrow we’ll go back to the really important stuff, like my fear of jell-o and other people’s basketball shorts.

Gym People

I’m at the gym tonight, doing my thing on the elliptical machine. I’ve brought a book with me, but for the moment I’m content to people watch. Most of them are familiar to me. They follow the same schedule I do, and though I’ve never so much as uttered a single word to them, I know them. They are my gym people.

Tonight is a fairly busy night, and several of the treadmills in front of me are full. To my right, doing a fairly respectable pace is the guy I’ve nicknamed Just For Men, because he looks like the poster child for the hip, successful, yet graying middle-aged man. You know the commercial where the guy is surfing and singing in a band and generally pretending that he’s still in his twenties except for the fact that he can color his hair yet still look natural by keeping a little gray? That’s this guy. He’s in shape, he’s not bad looking, and he carries that air of confidence that says “I’m not old…I’m just keeping a little gray”. He has his headphones in, probably listening to his Led Zeppelin and mentally reliving the free-spirited 70’s of his youth.

Next to Just For Men is Aunt Jemima, who ironically, looks nothing like a large comfortable black woman known for her pancakes. Instead, this is a young, fit, white man, probably in his late 20’s, whose only transgression is a fondness for working out with a bandana on his head, thus the nickname. (I suppose he could have just as easily been Biker Guy or Pirate Guy…either of which he would have probably preferred, but as soon as I saw the bright red bandana, I thought of Aunt Jemima, and the mental nickname stuck). Actually, Aunt Jemima is one of my favorite gym regulars to watch because he is a beautiful runner. He quickly gets his treadmill up to speed and settles into a graceful bound, running effortlessly like a gazelle. His movements seem so carefree and fluid that it appears to be no effort at all for him. He almost seems to be floating. It makes me want to get on a treadmill just to see if it really is as much fun as he makes it look. (It’s not. I’ve tried. I am not a graceful floating runner. I am the jerky, arms and legs flailing awkwardly for a minute or two before tripping over my own feet and falling off the end of the treadmill runner). But Aunt Jemima makes running look at natural as breathing. And tonight, he’s on the treadmill right in front of me so I can watch him with envy without being obvious.

Two treadmills down from Aunt Jemima is a new runner. I don’t think I’ve seen her before. Or if I have, she hasn’t stuck. Like Aunt Jemima, she’s running, but unlike him, she is not floating gracefully. She’s pounding. Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! go her feet against the belt. She runs with jarring steps that slams down with each step. I pity her knees. The entire room is filled with the sounds of her stomping, drowning out the music and causing other patrons to glance over at her. I mentally christen her Angry Girl, since her run seems to be about intense frustration and maybe even a little self-punishment. I wonder what happened that made her so mad. I wonder if she really is mad, or if she always runs like that. She’s facing away from me. I can see her general reflection in the window in front of her however, and if she’s going to run like that, she needs a better sports bra. She’s going to knock herself out with all that jerky stomping. I tsk at her. If Angry Girl is angry now, she’s really going to be seething when she gets ready to leave and her “girls” drag along behind her.

Just For Men starts his cool down.

On the other side of Angry Girl is Mr. Male Pattern Baldness. He wears and oversized t-shirt and those giant basketball shorts that hang down below his knees. Why do guys like those shapeless shorts? It makes them look like they have no rear end whatsoever. And short deformed legs. Honestly, they don’t even look good on professional basketball players. Overlooking the unfortunate wardrobe, Male Pattern Baldness has another problem. He’s got the treadmill going too fast. He runs right on the edge of flying out of control. His body gives off waves of panic as he just barely keeps himself upright on the spinning conveyor belt. He has a death grip on the handlebars. I can’t say I blame him. He’s half a step from shooting off the end of the treadmill into the stratosphere. I can’t look away. It’s like a car crash. I want to yell at him to slow down, but I also want to watch the destruction.

Just For Men finishes his workout. He wipes down the machine and saunters over to the water fountain. Angry Girl drops her speed down to a jog. She’s still stomping, but at least it’s at a slower pace. Less bouncing too. I wonder if my rear end is bigger or smaller than hers. I mentally measure my butt. Hard to tell. Probably about the same size. I’m okay with this. She’s got a decent shape.

Male Pattern Baldness gives up and slows the treadmill to a walk. Good. Despite the unattractive shorts, falling off the treadmill would be mortification that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Angry Girl gets her second wind. She bumps the speed back up and resumes her beating.

On the elliptical machines to my left are three Barbies. They’re blond co-eds with perfect figures and matching sorority t-shirts. I wonder why they come here instead of using the gym on campus. Despite my nickname for them, I don’t begrudge them anything. They come just like the rest of us to work out and nothing more. They can’t help it that they’re Barbies. It’s just one of those college phases where everyone wants the same clothes, the same shape, the same blond hair. Identity through conformity. Pretty, but an exact clone of the girl next to her. Don’t worry, I tell them silently. Once you graduate, you’ll find yourself again. I’ve been there. I’m the wise older sister. Oblivious to me and my mental encouragement, they pedal along to their I-pods, lost in their world of Beyonce or T.I. or whatever collage girls are listening to these days.

Male Pattern Baldness is watching the TV turned to CNN. I can just barely see the profile of his face. He looks like he’s working out a very difficult math problem in his head.

Aunt Jemima finally slows. He’s been in a Zen-like state for close to 45 minutes now. He’s not even sweaty. I suddenly wonder if he’s attractive. I can’t tell from behind. He has the classic athlete’s body, with the wide shoulders slimming down to a trim waist. The perfect V shape. He’s well-muscled but not bulky, and he has nice calves. Dark hair peeks out from under his bandana. I can’t see his face though. (Not that I’m in the market, mind you. I’m just passing the time).

A new woman, (I'll call her Every Mom) gets onto the elliptical machine next to me. She’s probably late 40’s, and wearing a plain blue t-shirt and yoga pants. Very Soccer Mom-ish. She’s flipping through a Southern Living magazine, but she’s not really reading it. Just glancing at the pictures. Something to keep her occupied while she exercises. I watch her out of the corner of my eye. She’s in pretty good shape, although she’d probably never believe it if you told her. Women her age always seem to hate the way they look. I feel like the bridge between her and the Barbies. This was me 10 years ago, and this will be me 10 years from now. I wonder if anyone else has realized that we’re all pedaling away in chronological order. Probably not.

It’s getting late. I’m almost through with my workout. I switch to my cool down.

Aunt Jemima leaves. I remember my earlier curiosity about his face, but he never looks in my direction. I shrug it off. It doesn’t matter what he looks like. He’ll always be Aunt Jemima to me.

Angry Girl also slows to a stop. She didn’t really do much of a cool down, but it looks like the battle is over. I hope she found some peace.

The workout summary pops up on the screen and I roll to a stop. Another day done, another workout mastered, and I’m feeling strangely connected to all my gym people. We’re kindred spirits, dedicated to our nightly workouts as we commune silently together on our various machines. Good night Every Mom! Good night Male Pattern Baldness! I’ll see you next time Barbies! You don’t know it, but your unacknowledged familiarity comforts me in my routine. You are my gym people.

60 Extra Minutes of Wonderful

Oh Internets, I cannot express to you how much I love daylight savings time! Sure, sure, it’s a pain changing all of the clocks all over the house, and I can never remember the sequence of buttons that changes it in my car (although I do manage to erase all of my pre-set radio buttons instead), but all that is but a distant memory compared to waking up and realizing that I have another hour until the alarm goes off! It’s like a little piece of Saturday, wrapped up in Monday morning.

You know what else I like? Sunshine. It is sooo much easier to get out of bed with the sun shining instead of it being all dark and cold outside. Dark and cold=sleep. Blessed sunshine pouring through the window? That I can deal with. Ah, but what about the hour of sunshine you lose after work, you argue? Eh. It’s normally dark by the time I’m out of the gym in the evenings anyway, so no big loss for me. Besides, that’s my most awake time of the day naturally. I don’t need the sun’s help then. I’m ready to party at 6pm. 6am is when it hurts.

Oh! And you know what else? I just thought of this! That extra hour is just enough to melt all the frost off of the windshield of the car so that I don’t have to go out and scrape it! I HATE scraping the windshield. But that hour of sunlight does it for me, at least for the next few weeks. Gotta love that. (If I was smart, I’d use this extra time to find the special-sized battery for the garage door opener so that I could park inside the garage again before the frost with staying power shows up. We’ll see how that goes).

Of course, daylight savings only bought me another month or so before I adjust back to being sleepy in the morning, and the winter solstice wins and sucks my morning sunshine back out of my room, and the frost creeps back onto my car windows, but I’ll enjoy it while I can. Winter makes me crazy like a crack monkey, so every second of sunshine is precious. And why I use that extra hour to count my daylight-savings blessings.