Friday, May 30, 2008
First, Dad breaks free from cardiac rehab tomorrow – it seems like it’s been a year since this all went down, so if I’m glad he’s coming home, I can only imagine how he must feel.
Second, there’s a giant sinkhole*** in the parking lot at my office. I’m kind of intrigued by it. I’d be interested to see if it grows bigger and sucks up the whole building, but I’d hope that would happen on a weekend when nobody’s here. I watch and wait.
As for Lola’s DNA test – a quick call to customer service yesterday revealed that the e mail saying results were in the mail was incorrect. I should have results by mid-June. I’m so impatient. I took her to the vet this morning to board (again) and told the people at the front desk, "If it's Lola, it must be Friday." I'm thankful to have such a good vet.
While Krogering the other night, I was at the self-checkout, which was really self-preservation – at 8PM, there was a long line at the 1 open register. Anyway, I get started and the kiosk says, “Welcome valued customer!” That made me kind of mad. If I were really all that valued, would I be ringing up my own groceries?
Sometimes, I like doing my own cashiering. For one, I’m fast, and for two, I always bag my groceries exactly how I want them.
But at the same time, I used to get paid quite well to be a cashier. I left Harry’s in 1997 making $8 an hour…so if I spend 10 minutes at self checkout, I should be making $1.33 – or at least saving that much on my groceries…right?
That said, I do like Kroger, and I actually enjoy grocery shopping. I tend to seek out bargains, and I shop enough to track the rising cost of food. Milk and OJ are good measuring sticks…eggs too. Also, new product alert. Big K brand soda now comes in Diet Grape. Purple Soda 'Staches for everyone!
We’re not cooking at home as much as I’d like right now, because we’re not keeping much in the house, due to our erratic schedules.
I am cooking my father’s welcome home celebratory dinner this weekend. Here’s what we’re having – grilled chicken marinated with mustard, garlic, lemons and rosemary; corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes (heirloom if I can find them) and fresh green beans. Dessert will be some kind of fresh fruit. Is it plum time yet? Can I get cherries? I don’t know. If at all possible, I’m going to Harry’s though. This is where I worked from age 16 – 23. Loved it. I had some really happy times there, and it was the basis for the customer service philosophy I’ve lived by ever since. Their produce is the best, it’s big, bustling and happy. I could spend hours there. And have. Some paid, others not. A few people still work there from the early days, and I like seeing them.
Harry's got bought out by Whole Foods, but it's still awesome:
My last note for the day is that I cleaned out the trunk of my car for the first time in way, way too long. Let’s put it this way – I found a pen from the company I was working with when I bought the car in 2001. Ouch. It was kind of an archaeological dig, though. I also found the file I kept on the flowers I had at my wedding. That was a nice memory.
So hopefully without all that junk in my trunk, I’ll be a little more streamlined.
Time to motivate and get through the day, then head to Atlanta with husband, luggage and one red ukulele.
***I was just informed via building-wide e mail that it's not a sinkhole, but erosion caused by failure of a storm drain. I still hope the building gets sucked in.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Anyway, upon our arrival into town, we hit two of the area cultural high points - first, the WC Handy birthplace and museum. WC Handy was known as the Father of the Blues - the docent at his museum, Sandra, is a retired English teacher and music historian. We were the only visitors at the time, so we got a great tour and talked with Sandra for a while. She recommended we take the short drive to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. We took her advice and I'm glad we did! That museum has all kinds of neat things - including several costumes worn by the Commodores, a tour bus donated by the musical group Alabama, a juke box full of songs recorded in Alabama, and so on. It was interesting.
We met up with the family at the hotel, and all I can say is, wow! I usually tend to travel cheap. I'm fine with basic accomodations, I've done the hostel scene, and really, I'm not picky. So compared to my usual lodgings, this place was ten kinds of gorgeous. They had a beautful lobby - marble floors, a fountain. The room was huge, clean, quiet, attractive - and the beds... about a month ago, I was jonesing en blog for one just like it. Huge, cool, clean white sheets with a high thread count. Mountains of pillows at every level of firmness. I could have crawled in and stayed all weekend.
But I didn't. Instead, I threw on my bathing suit and headed down to the pool.
Honestly, this photo doesn't do it justice, but damn, I could have parked my carcass at the pool and stayed all weekend. There were eleven of us in the group, and ten of us went down the waterslide (at least once) - from cousin Hannah, age 13 to Uncle Kelly, age 74. Only Aunt Flora abstained, and as the matriarch of the family, that's her right.
We hung out at the pool, got dressed and went to dinner at the hotel's restaurant. I had some She-Crab soup that was like liquid velvet.
We slept that night like we haven't slept in months.
Sunday morning, Flora, Kelly, their son Jim and his girlfriend Anna, met up with us and the six of us went sightseeing. We took a look at the dam, went to the Frank Lloyd Wright house in town, then headed back. After a nice nap, we went back down to the pool and stayed there chilling, snacking and talking. Around 9PM, they set off some fireworks and then we went to bed.
All in all, a good chill weekend. It's nice to marry into a great family like Matt's - it makes my life easier.
More soon - I'm trying not to let my first day back undo all the good that this weekend did.
So far, though, the day is winning.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
We spent about an hour visiting with our next door neighbors last night. The little boy of the house, age 3, loves Matt - they play with his cars on the front porch, Matt roughhouses with him, and they're good pals.
What's funny, though, is that this little guy thinks - or, used to think - that I'm Matt's mother. This is not the first time a kid has thought that - though the last time it happened was with an old ex-boyfriend when I was in my 20's.
I can see where he'd get that idea. First of all, he lives in a "non-traditional household" - his "Mama" is a woman in her 70's - no relation to him - who has legal custody of the little guy. So his concept of husband and wife isn't as relevant as his concept of mother and child. Also, I will interrupt their car play to take Matt home - for whatever reason - we have to go out, dinner is ready, etc. Finally, I think that he thinks anyone who plays as well as Matt must be a kid - a really big kid.
He finally got straightened out on the matter, but he still loves Matt the best. Who can blame him?
Last night, he showed us all his dance moves and informed us that Beyonce is his girlfriend. Smart kid. I'm hatching a plan to take him to the zoo for his 4th birthday, later this summer.
In other news, still no word on Lola's DNA, which means probably some time next week. I grow weary of waiting. Though we did watch the aforementioned "spy camera" episode of The Simpsons (an episode which is 19 years old, no kidding) last night.
My uke playing has stalled out - due in part to an insane work schedule.
Which reminds me, even though it's Saturday, I need to check work e mail -I have a guy in the UK who's on Greenwich Mean Time who likes to contact me for support when I'm not there.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
For one, it was given all in French – a fact which caused me to get a late start on beaucoup de lab work, because I had not understood what the instructor had told us. The second hurdle is that it was a dual level class – meaning that there were both undergrads and graduate level students in the class – the grad students got some supplemental work, but it was a fairly high-level class for your average sophomore. I worked hard, made a B, and I was glad to get it.
I share this because of one of the exercises. There were two phrases we had to pronounce repeatedly. Ta mère est amère (your mother is bitter), and Patience passe science (patience surpasses science). Pronounced incorrectly, it sounds like you’re saying the same words twice - ‘your mother is your mother’ and ‘patience patience’. I don't know that I ever mastered them, but I sounded pretty good.
Whenever I’m told to be patient, I often wonder if in fact patience actually surpasses science. In context of Dad, which these days, a great many things are in context of Dad, does it mean that while he’s been helped by medical/scientific technology, ultimately, time will be the factor that makes him better?
The real issue requiring (and thereby testing) my patience these days is Lola’s DNA test results.
Do you remember the “Where’s my spy camera?” episode of the Simpsons (Actual title is “Homer’s Night Out” either Season 1 or 2) – that’s how I feel about Lola’s DNA.
So, who knows. Patience is a virtue, virtue is a grace, Grace is a little girl who doesn’t wash her face.
The story on the DNA is this. Back in November, I had taken Lola to the vet for some new skin malady – and I asked the vet and vet tech (who I’d never met before) what they thought Lola was. Keep in mind, we found Lola on the side of the road in the North Georgia Mountains, so we have no idea, only a few theories. They made a few half-hearted guesses, and then the tech told me that they now have DNA tests to determine breed makeup. I Googled it as soon as I got home and found this: http://whatsmydog.com/ - an ungodly expensive test involving blood samples. Undeterred, I vowed to save my money and eventually get the test done.
For Christmas, my mother found and ordered this: http://www.canineheritage.com/. This required only a cheek swab. I gave Lola the Maury Povich treatment and sent the nice people her DNA. Sadly, she was not any of the 38 breeds originally tested. But they asked if I’d be willing to retest her for free using their new expanded test – with over 100 breeds. Count me in! I sent that back in March – the results got sent out last week, so any day now, we should know a little more about who Lola really is. Added bonus – it may help us figure out some of her allergy issues – but mostly, this folly is pure curiosity. And for $119, you too can find out what your baby is.
And whatever the results, I love my babygirl. She’s a pure joy – even when she wants to get up at 4:30 AM. Who can blame her – the sun is out and birds are singing. Seize the day!
Tonight, I’ll be pulling my clothes out of the basement to get my summer wardrobe squared away. They’ll probably smell bad, so maybe I’ll get some more detergent on the way home.
Isn’t being a grownup fun?
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
- Just because I live in Nashville, doesn't mean that I love country music, or I've ever met Dolly Parton. I like some country, and once, I saw Porter Waggoner downtown.
- Just because I was born and raised in Atlanta doesn't mean I have a southern accent. Just because I don't have a southern accent doesn't mean I'm not southern.
- Wash your damn hands before you leave the bathroom. Seriously. If you don't believe me, search for Ignaz Semmelweis on Wiki or Google.
- When I see you in the grocery store wearing your scrubs, all I can wonder is what you might have been touching that day. And having recently spent time at a hospital, my imagination is vivid. Would it kill you to change into something different before you handle every tomato?
- I worry about people who don't find penis humor funny.
- I worry about people who read Mary Worth with no sense of irony.
- I'm a little tired of calling Target "Tar-zhay". It was clever the first few times, but I think they've started charging more for detergent because of it.
- Confidential to Hillary Clinton: I really wish I could like you, but I don't. I wish you were more comfortable in your own skin. There is a place for you in this world, but the White House isn't it. And as a woman, a feminist and a Democrat, I am asking you to step down now and let Obama run with it.
- Cashiers - when you're handing me back my change, don't give it all back at once - bills first, then coins. To perch the coins on top and hand them back together is passive-aggressive.
- Truett Cathy of Chick Fil A - we get it - God doesn't want you to work on Sundays. But I think you use a chemical in your sandwiches that makes me only want your food on Sundays.
- To the manager at the East Cobb PetSmart - you were bitching on Saturday that everyone wanted something from you. Guess what - you're in the service industry - when people stop wanting things from you - then you can bitch!
- I think Crocs are insanely ugly, but secretly, I'd like a pair in a really loud color.
- I think that Victoria's Secret is that she hates women and charges way too much money for crap. Save your money - sink it into really good bras (Wacoal makes some of the best) and then get a 5 pack of cotton Fruit of the Looms.
That's it for today.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
His roommate is kind of an a-hole. Dad is supposed to have his own TV - the room only has one, and roommate, who I have started referring to as "Turd in the Punchbowl" made a big deal about not sharing "his" TV and that it was an issue with the last roommate. Whatever, pal. I did get Dad a little tabletop fan for his nightstand - that place is really stuffy. In every sense of the word. Turd seems to favor Fox News, for starters.
The massage last night was incredible. I'd like another one, stat. If you're ever at the East Cobb Massage Envy (located in Merchant's Festival), ask for Allison - she moved her as a result of Hurricane Katrina - she's super funny, strong as an ox, and I feel 100% better!
The other interesting bit from last night - even though I graduated 15 years ago, I ran into one of my high school teachers in the parking lot at the hospital, and she recognized me...which boggles the mind. I got her e mail address so that we could catch up!
So, tomorrow, Dad's sister, my Aunt Mary is coming to visit him at the facility - which Dad has lovingly renamed the Drool n Poop. I am anxious - because I picked the facility, if she thinks it sucks, it's my "fault", Even though I did my dead level best on a real time crunch! Dad seems to be OK. We set him up with some snacks, the fan, some gum and earplugs, so that Turd's TV won't keep him awake.
The second bit of good news in all of this is that they let Dad take a shower before he left St. Joe's. All we had to do was ask. He felt so much better. The bypass saved his life, but the shower cured him.
Taking a cue from that, tonight, I'm taking a hot bath, liberating a Soma from the medicine cabinet, and falling into what I can only describe as my weekly Soma Coma.
I know -it's wrong to take scrips that don't belong to you.
But it feels so right!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I'm taking my uke to Atlanta to cheer Dad up - he's stuck, more or less, at the hospital through the weekend. He did get to see his beloved pug today, so I expect that, if nothing else, will give him the ability to heal and get the hell out of there.
Lola and I are making the trip down tomorrow morning. Tonight, me, Matt, and some of my favorite homeslices are having dinner at Mama Mia's - which for my money, is the best Italian in Nashville (ok, no I haven't been to Amerigo - but I have been to Sole Mio, also good). They do beautiful things with eggplant. Beautiful.
I know - for the (chunky) daughter of a quadruple bypass survivor, I am obsessed with food. It's an issue.
So, back to something non-food related.
I need to check in on my father's koi pond while I'm there. I cleaned it last week, but those little guys need some TLC. He has 4 koi - Boney (so named for his white skeleton-like markings on his black body), Jumpy, Spot and Rebait, who was a replacement for Bait. Dad's Father's Day present last year.
I could sit and watch the fish for days. Maybe I'll clear off the porch and spend some time there this weekend, chillaxing.
I do have one selfish activity planned - a 50 minute massage at Massage Envy - apparently, this is a chain deal - the Starbucks of bodywork. At any rate, I need it. So I'm taking care of business.
That's all from here, for now.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
7 lbs, 10 oz - 19 1/4" long...
Mother, Father and baby are all doing fine.
And with that, I'm an Aunt for the first time!
Photos and more news to come soon. The folks at work got Krispy Kreme in his honor.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
For Christmas 2005, I received a Crock Pot from my father - and I love that damn thing. It's red, for starters. Matches my Kitchen Aid Stand mixer, the microwave, my colander and my favorite dishtowels ever.
Tonight, I get off late, and when I get home, dinner will be waiting.
I don't get too caught up in recipes - there's one that came with the pot that I like. Modified slightly:
2 10 3/4-oz cans cream of mushroom soup (fat-free works fine)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup white wine
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 package onion soup mix
6 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix the cream of mushroom soup, milk, wine, rice and onion soup mix. Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock. Pour the soup mixture over the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
Cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 6 hours.
But tonight, we're having Southwest Surprise (I named it myself, just now) - which is a bastardization of a chili recipe I found in a cookbook:
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 packaged turkey tenderloin roast, cut into medium cubes
cumin, to taste
1 can Rotel (generic is OK)
1 can corn, drained
1 can beans (your favorite) drained and rinsed
1 small can tomato sauce
Put first three items in pot, toss with cumin.
Pour remaining items over the turkey, peppers and onion. Cook on low for at least eight hours.
Goes well with sour cream, cheese and chopped cilantro for garnish.
You can use just about any meat that's out there - I've used pork tenderloin, chicken breasts, stew beef, whatever. It's all good.
My final crock pot recommendation is going to sound narsty, but just trust me on this...
1 bag frozen meatballs
1 jar grape or strawberry jelly (make sure it's jelly and not preserves or jam)
1 bottle chili sauce
Place in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Though I'm about one of the shaggiest, maintenance-free people I know, I understand this completely. The restorative powers of haircuts and pedicures are almost medicinal.
When Matt and I got married, I felt guilty about wasting money on pedicures and I stopped getting them. Until I heard his cousin Susan, who is one of my role models and as no-nonsense as they come mention that she gets them because they're therapeutic. So if Susan gets them, Allison gets them.
I treated Mom to one in Atlanta two weekends ago to relax her - she got OPI Red, I got their Totally Tangerine. It's a little lighter than I had hoped for, and naturally, I've already put a chip in the big toe on my left hoof, but what are you going to do?
For my money, OPI makes the best product.
When I got married, Laura (my matron of honor) took the bridesmaids, plus Mom and Matt's Aunt Flora to get pedis. My girlfriend Connie and Laura told me to get some nail art on my big toe - so I passed over the obvious choice of a glitter heart, and chose a pair of wedding bells - in white on my blue toes (something blue).
All went well, until the nail tech finished up the bells with a sprig of holly. In August. Holly. She then asked me if I liked my jingle bells (which, given her accent, came out like jinger berrs). I told her I loved them. And I did. Who wouldn't? I think a lot of brides would have freaked out, but what did I care - she had just scraped all the barnacles off my feet, and I was getting married in 24 hours. All was right with the world.
When I'm back in my hometown, I go to that nail place pretty often - they do a good job, and they have a cheap brow wax that I love. Also, inexplicably - services at nail salons are cheaper in Atlanta than in Nashville - why is that? The result is that I can't actually tell you the last time I had a brow wax, but I'll bet it was before Christmas.
This is why I keep a pair of tweezers in my car - the rearview mirror works wonders for brow maintenance.
More beauty tips soon!
Monday, May 5, 2008
This is Mom and Dad's pug, Maggie. She ties for second most important dog in my life. She ties with my sister's dog, Biscuit. I'll have a photo of her soon.
But really, it's all about Lola. I'm waiting for her DNA test to come back in - no joke!
More soon - this post is more about the pictures, ergo, worth 2000 words.
I tend to be something of a yuck mouth - tartar, root canals, cavities.
Today, she told me my gums are a little puffy and I need to floss more (I know, I know), and that I need to stop grinding my teeth.
Yes, I'm suffer from bruxism. But I'm not a night grinder. I grind in traffic or at my desk at work. It's soothing. But it needs to end - it's making my teeth sensitive.
But on the bright side - not a lot of tartar buildup, and no cavities! Yay!
I was supposed to get a free toothbrush and some floss, but I ended up leaving before I got them. Bummer - that's the best part of the visit. That and the suction.
Atlanta this weekend was OK. We saw Dad, who is improving, and had lunch Sunday at J Alexander's. I have to admit, as much as I'm anti-chain, this is one I'm fond of. Their cilantro shrimp and carrot cake are sensational. Even my mother, who isn't a big foodie like me, thought the carrot cake was exceptionally good.
And now, I'm on a diet. It came to me this morning that I really need to lose 70 pounds - not like I just realized that, mind you, but it's there, it needs to happen, and I am committing to it.
So that was the last carrot cake for a good while.
Other than that. No news is no news. My nephew is due in 2 weeks, and I need to send off some presents!
Saturday, May 3, 2008
As for me, I'm in Atlanta, awake way too early. I think we'll be spending most of the day at the hospital - now that Dad's on a regular floor, he needs a little more attention - we were used to one on one nursing care, and now it's a new ballgame.
Maggie the Pugilistic Pug is making her rounds - she's into attacking feet and stealing socks. A foot fetish, perhaps?
It's Saturday - make it a great one!
Friday, May 2, 2008
It wasn't what my 11th Grade English teacher would have called "Capital 'L' literature", but it was a fun, easy read. I finished it in a night. I read fast, and this went down like cotton candy.
Earlier in the week, I finished God's Harvard by Hanna Rosin - a Washington Post reporter who spent a year at Patrick Henry College - a haven for homeschooled kids who want to pursue a life in politics. It was a good read - basically, she fleshed out an article that first appeared in the New Yorker in 2005. Good stuff.
I like chick lit pretty well - Matt calls them "leg and shoe books" - which is to say, most chick lit has a picture of a woman's legs and/or a pair of expensive shoes on the cover. He's right about that - I'm not sure what that means. My most expensive shoes are my Birkenstocks.
Also, another sign of the times - these days, you can't buy a straightforward trashy romance novel where single woman meets single man who is initially a cad but somehow redeems himself, they have hot sex and fall madly in love.
These days, romance novels seem to involve kids - no, not pedophilia, but titles like, "A Daddy for My Twins". This time, the heroine finds herself with two kids, no daddy, and a man who is initially a cad but then saves the twins from a harrowing ferris wheel accident, beds their mama and they all live happily ever after.
Or so I'd assume. I haven't bought a Harlequin in about a decade (when I met Matt) - the last one I got was about a rich doctor and a poor nurse who bickered at work and made up in bed. Sure, there were a few plot twists, but you get the gist.
As chick lit goes, one of my favorites is exceedingly Old School - Little Women - which I read on a plane from Paris to Atlanta back in 1998 - I leave it around to pick up and enjoy at random. I identify with Jo - as do a lot of women, based on conversations I've had over the years.
I'm always looking for a good read. Time constraints tend to limit me to magazines, but I'll read just about anything.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I keep toying with the idea of driving to a nearby city, turning off my cell phone and checking into a nice hotel. The kind of hotel that trademarks their bed - you know the bed I'm talking about - soft and white and fluffy - with several dozen pillows and sheets that have a thread count higher than my SAT score (1210, if you're wondering).
Realistically, though, I've got to pack tonight for another quick trip to Atlanta. Dad gets better and better. I want to be there to talk to him and help Mom.
We're starting to plan for how we'll take care of him when Mom goes to Kansas later this month. My sister is due with the first baby of the family - Henry William - in 18 days. Mom was originally going to go for two weeks, and now we think it may end up being a long weekend instead.
Last night, my sister and I were talking and she brought up breast pumps - and specifically, that she asked a friend of our family what kind she had used. I don't find many things inappropriate, and I'm not squeamish - but I thought that was kind of an odd opening question for someone she's not really even close with and hasn't seen since my wedding.
My sister said, "I know it disgusts you, but this is what moms talk about!"
Speaking of moms, and what they do, this morning at work, I noticed that a starling landed on the ledge outside my window. As birds go, they're not exactly rare, but I like them. They're small, freckled, industrious. I keep seeing them land on my ledge - usually with beakfuls of straw or other detritus, so I think they're building a nest nearby. Now that's an amazing Mom!
I love birds - they're amazing - and there is such a vast variety. A penguin is a bird, so is an emu and so is a blue jay. We have a feeder in our backyard. Given that we live in the city, we don't see a lot of variety - grackles, jays, cardinals, doves, starlings, and the occasional sparrow and wren.
My parents live in the suburbs, and they tend to see more action (woodpeckers, chickadees and once, a redstart). I want to make sure that Dad's feeders are filled, and that we put out the sugar water for the hummingbirds so that he can enjoy them when he gets home.
I know, I know - why talk about birds when the breast pump conundrum remains unresolved?
Lest you read this and think, "what an asshole", I'll tell you that just yesterday, I bought my incipient nephew an outfit for the 4th of July. I love me some WalMart!
So I'm not all bad. Just kind of bad.