Sunday, April 29, 2012

When life hands you strawberries...

I went to the Farmers Market this morning, because... well, because I could.  And to buy pepper plants.  I got in just under the wire of planting them before May 1st.  BOOM!

What I ended up bringing home, other than pepper plants (2 habanero and a jalapeno) was two quarts of local strawberries.  Well, pretty local - Portland, TN.

I dumped them into a colander in my sink, and took a picture:


I looked up a few strawberry cake recipes, then finally, said screw it and went to get stuff to make strawberry jam.

And I thought canning was a pain in the ass - but it turns out that in small batches, it's easy.  And when it's not hot peppers that require serious hazmat gear, it's really easy.

I now have a case of small jars, plus two pint jars full of what look like liquid rubies.

And I made a big egg/ham/spinach casserole for breakfasts this week.

And I cleaned house.

And yesterday, I shopped like a mofo to get ready for Chicago, NOLA and another week at work.

And I am TIRED.

So, I threw some baked potatoes in the oven, I'm waiting on my sweet thang to get home from work, and then...

Steak, hockey, and some strawberry jam.

Nice work if you can get it.


Friday, April 27, 2012

I want candy...

So, I'm having a problem adhering to Weight Watchers.  For one, I'm hungry.  For two, I have no self control.

For three, my clothes all still fit, more or less...

Except - I've been shopping for swimwear.  And, what can I say?  What's the word I'm looking for?

I believe as Cathy would say, "Ack!'

So the problem is, my cup runneth over. It runneth over a lot.

And I have a belly.  And that's making things a little tough.

But here's the thing.  I want ice cream.  Or cookie dough.  Or, cookie dough ice cream...


Remember about a paragraph back?  No self control.

I'm also getting things together for New Orleans.  I found a not too hideous, not too expensive maxi dress at WalMart, and I bought it.  Even hemmed it (badly) myself.

I'm kind of stoked.   If I could find a damn swim suit.

Specifically, a tankini top.  I have a tankini bottom, I can get board shorts to cover the wobbly lower half... but my kingdom for a top that uplifts and covers all in one.

And doesn't cost more than about $30.

Uh, yeah.  Good luck with that, sister.

I know, I know.

But short of a massive case of C Diff, I'm not dropping 20 pounds in 2 weeks.

I could go lick a stair rail at a hospital... see what happens...

Or, I could go get some fro-yo.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Girls like me...

So, in re: NOLA.  I was telling the birthday boy that our trip was going to be a redo of Where the Boys Are, but without the unfortunate date rape scene at the Rainbow Motel.

I started speculating who in our group was Melanie, who was Tuggle and so on.

I should take a step back.

In my sophomore year of high school, my Chemistry teacher, Mr. Burnett, showed us this movie in the two days leading up to Spring Break.  Well, he started showing it the first day.  The second day, nobody wanted to watch it, so I had to go get a copy at Blockbuster to see how it ended.  From that point forward, I have watched it nearly annually as a Spring ritual.

Here's the short version - four girls, each representing a different "type" drive from a large midwestern college to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to get some fun and sun.  And because it's where the boys are.  And that's why it's called... well, you get it.

Hilarity, hijinks and horizontal hokey pokey ensue.  Merritt falls in love with George Hamilton.  Tuggle falls in love with a goofball who is ten times the man that George will ever be.  Melanie falls in love and in bed with two boys and gets date raped for her efforts.  Angie spends the movie trying to meet a guy and ends up settling with a jerk who tolerates her, barely.

It's Sex and the City of the 1960s.

What I learned from this movie back in 1991 is that whether you have sex or not, you're fucked.

I also realized that we are all part of each girl in the movie:

Merritt - The protagonist of the movie. She starts the movie nearly getting kicked out of school because although she has a very high IQ, she struggles with classes and expresses her belief that people ought to play house before marriage.  She has the best clothes, she's totally gorgeous, and not surprisingly, Ryder Smith (George Hamilton, splendidly tan) falls for her, takes her onboard his yacht, and doesn't manage to collect her V Card. Instead he wins her heart.  I was/am so enamored of Merritt, I'd name a kid after her.  Or my next dog.  Whatever.

Tuggle -  All Tuggle wants is to meet a guy with feet as big as hers.  She's a lot of girl, a lot of nice girl.  Tall, goofy and pragmatic - Tuggle is the adult of the group.  She wants to meet a nice man, leave school and make babies.  She's a good girl, and has no intention of giving it up before she has a ring on it.  Tuggle may be too tall, she may not be the prettiest girl in the world, but she has self-esteem.  By the end of the movie, she also has TV Thompson, played by the delightful Jim Hutton.  Anyone with a brain realizes Tuggle gets a better deal than Merritt.

Angie - Captain of the girls hockey team, songbird, and improbable "designated ugly fat friend" (given that she's neither ugly nor fat).  Her self-esteem is lower than a limbo pole.  And yet, she's relentlessly resourceful and cheerful.  But even though the odds are in her favor and she has big boobs, she cannot get the attention of a single male.  Until she throws herself at Basil, a legally blind dialectic jazz musician, who allows her to rosin his bow.  And that's not a euphemism.  We never find out what Angie thinks about pre-marital sex because Basil basically tolerates her with amused disdain, and she doesn't have the presence of mind to tell him to fuck off.  She does, however, get to belt out the title song, and she gets a fun little musical number mid-movie.

Melanie - Played by the lovely Yvette Mimieux.  Poor Melanie makes the mistake of listening to Merritt's sex advice and acting on it.  She first sleeps with Dill, then when he has to leave town, she picks up with Franklin.  She's supposed to meet up with Franklin her last night in Florida, but he sends Dill, who rapes her.  She ends up walking down the highway half dressed and disheveled and ends up getting clipped by a car and finishes a movie in the hospital.  All because she listened to Merritt.  Fucking Merritt with her intact hymen and Ivy Leaguer boyfriend.

The fact is, on any day of the week I'm every single one of these girls.  I'd like to think that I'm a Merritt/Tuggle hybrid.  Realistically, I'm more Angie than Merritt, and occasionally, I have moments of Melanie.

This movie is based very, very loosely on a book by Glendon Swarthout.  How loosely?

Well, in the movie, TV Thompson gets his nickname because he's a Journalism major.

In the book, it's because he goes a little too far with a sorority girl, and in fear of getting blackballed by all her sisters, and every other girl on campus, he presents that sorority with a TV, to bribe them.

Yeah, I may be a little obsessed.

Also, in our NOLA scenario, we need 2 extra characters.  That makes me either Lola Fandango, or the drunk guy at the beach.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Quote Scene of the Crime Unquote

Lots of things going on...

One is that I'm heading to NOLA again, this time for pleasure.  My friend is turning 40 and we're celebrating in high fashion.  I CANNOT wait.

Another thing.  I went Thursday night to Atlanta for a long weekend.  Well, Atlanta, then the mountains.  Dad and I had fun.  We came back Saturday night, then Sunday, Mom and I shopped.  I love to give the economy whatever stimuli I can.

On the way home, I stopped for lunch at Waffle House.  Lib's Patty Melt Plate with an order of Scattered, Smothered and Covered.  Look it up - I can't explain without drooling on my keyboard.  It's amazing.

I paid with a credit card, and the waiter asked for my ID to confirm.  He returned it saying, "Wow, you don't look that old."

Thanks, pal.  It's all the Waffle House I eat - the grease kind of preserves me, smooths out the wrinkles.

Then, tonight, I'm checking out at Trader Joe's, and the friendly cashier calls me ma'am as I'm leaving.

The agony!

Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators have advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and it looks like they'll be playing the Phoenix Coyotes.  Matt and I have tickets to the second game.  Hoping we'll both manage to be here for it.

A girl can dream.

And, let's see...

I want to buy a maxi dress for my trip.  I think I may hit up WalMart for my sartorial needs - because, let's face it - I really shouldn't be wearing sleeveless, let alone spending money on it.

I have a dress I could very easily get tailored for the trip.  That might be a smarter move.  Maybe I'll see what my new alterations lady could do for me...

And that, I suppose, is it for now.

More soon.  Really.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Then again...

One of the attendees from last night's dinner came by and thanked me for showing last night.  He said I kept the conversation going, and without me, there would have been a lot of awkward pauses. 

Well, there you have it.  Maybe I misunderestimate myself.

Today, I have some work to do on training, scheduling and I have one customer whose socks are going to be knocked clean off when I give his database a nice reconfig.

But right now, I need to go get my neck massaged into submission.  Given the fact that I'm taking off tomorrow to be with my family in Atlanta, it's critical that I get my head right before I go.

Peace be with you.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Socially Awkward

So, last week in New Orleans, I had to go to a cocktail reception where I didn't know anyone.  Well, I vaguely knew a lot of people, but I wasn't feeling especially "on".

So I went to the lobby of the reception area and one of the servers asked me if I was looking for the restroom.  I replied, "Nope, just crippling social anxiety, thanks though."

It's odd that someone with my flair for drama and public speaking hates cocktail parties, but there you go.

I point this out because tonight, I had to go to a very strange last-minute dinner with some consultants who are working to synergize some paradigms or something.  I'd explain better, but I'm not sure I understand.  All I know is I was told there was dinner. I was asked to be there.  And given that I've spent my life waiting to be picked for the kickball team, that was all I needed.

Look, I shouldn't be sent to business dinners.  I basically tell inappropriate stories, I'm a goofball, and I eat salad like I was raised in a barn.

That said, I'm kind of fun, and I'm definitely of the real deal. I think people respond to that.

And you know, showing up is half the battle.  And I think we know, I can show up like a mofo.

So, dinner tonight was filet mignon, broccoli and salad.  A little white wine, a lot of conversation.

I really wanted dessert.  I did not order it.

I may actually have a few social skills, after all.

As for that cocktail party, after a few deep breaths, I went back in and made it my bitch - and then we took a bunch of customers to dinner, where I talked business, I was charming, and as a result, I now have at least one guy who wants to come to our user conference.  It could be my mad skillz as a trainer, but I prefer to think it's because he knows that we like to rock the party.

And, we do.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Back to life, back to reality

Sometimes I get caught up in the headiness of it all - hosting meetings, eating fried foods... traveling to strange and exotic locales, watching hockey games...

Today, I'm back to Earth, and what a jolting landing.  I really need to get a few things done today.  Laundry, sweeping, planting peppers, grocery shopping.

But then there's all the things I want to do that are a bigger distraction, ergo, more fun.

I'd like to go to the spa for a little something-something.  I was thinking of doing a home keratin hair treatment.  I need new black dress pants.

I want, I want, I want.

The house, however, clearly needs a little love.  The kitchen is a mess, there are huge dog hair tumbleweeds everywhere, and - well, it is what it is...

I think I'll compromise.  Work from now til lunch, and then I can spend the afternoon guilt-free.

And then, we'll go from there.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The things we do...

I spent a little time in New Orleans this week.  I'd tell you it was for work, and to be honest, it was.

But there was a lot of playing that went down - eating, drinking and general merriment.  Debauchery.  Love it.

The work I did was solid, but I also got to check some things off my list:

Hurricane from Pat O'Brien's - check.  Actually drank two of them.

Muffuletta from Central Grocery - check.

Shrimp Po Boy - check.

Gumbo - check.

Beignets and cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde -

Can't talk.  Eating.

How guilty do I look in that photo?  And how depraved?  They were amazing though.

I also drank a few beers, and something that looks like anti-freeze, but was called a Hand Grenade.

Needless to say, I am embracing sobriety and culinary moderation for the foreseeable future.   I'm lucky I never had to embrace the porcelain god.

Still, it was an epic trip - and I think we made our customers happy... which is why I put myself through the aforementioned torture.


I got back last night and the husband, Jim and I went to watch the Preds beat the Red Wings.  Jim, who is a devoted Wings fan, was a good sport, and we had a killer fun time.

And then this morning, I had a little fun with my colleagues.

About six weeks ago, I was asked to emcee our company's quarterly meeting.

I like to bring it, so I decided to suit up for it:

What's black and yellow and fuzzy all over?

So, this is the suit I chose.  Flattering?  No.  In fact, my opening was, "So I think the reason for the bee outfit is obvious.  It's really slimming."

My connection is that was trying to generate some buzz.

I nailed it.  My audience of about 200 colleagues across the country gave me mad props.  The CEO hugged me for luck.

My boss' boss left me a very nice voice mail.

Basically, lots of strokes this week.

And it's not exactly like I needed them, but hey - I'll store them up for a later date.

Now, as you might image, I'm exhausted.  I actually took a nap after dinner.  A pre-bedtime nap.


So, I'll get through tomorrow, have a weekend to rest, do laundry and wrangle the growing drifts of dog hair.

And then, another jam-packed week, and onward/upward.

I found out just before I left for NOLA I'll be spending a week at our parent company's HQ in May.  I'm very, very excited, incredibly honored, and a little nervous.

I think I'll leave the bee suit at home for that one.


Sunday, April 8, 2012


I have to keep a low profile on the major religious holidays.  It's not that I don't celebrate Easter, it's more that I don't celebrate it as a religious thing.  I'm all about the eggs, the bunnies - the corruption of the pagan celebration of Spring.

But I don't do Church, or a new dress, or even a brunch this year.

I am about to go out and hack down a bunch of ivy.  Make the place respectable.

Speaking of home improvement, we had a guy come give us a "no obligation" estimate for refacing our cabinets.

I believe we'll be doing our own.  It was about double what I expected, and the guy was so pissed that were not ready to sign on the dotted line RIGHT THEN, that he slammed his stuff into his briefcase and left.

See ya, asshole.  You just turned a maybe into a no.

So now, I'm thinking paint.  Tear out the countertops, add a new cabinet ourselves, remove the drop in range, add a free standing range.  Paint what we've got, and bring Lowe's in to do countertops.  Because Home Depot sent us Rod, the angry refacing man.  I'm done.

And that's how I celebrate Easter, Passover, Spring.

I'll be taking it out on the ivy if you need me.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

How crude.

So, in the past, I used to make a coconut cake for Easter - but given my recent issues with adhering to Weight Watchers, I decided not to tempt fate.

And so, I am taking an Easter basket to work tomorrow filled with crudites.

I'll post a picture.

I made two dips. One is a homemade ranch, recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.  The other is jarred salsa mixed with sour cream.

Fancy, no, but it will do.

I am a little disappointed not to have a cake, but them's the breaks.

Saturday, Lola is going to the vet for her annual.  I expect the news to be about what you'd expect from a 13 year old dog with a heart murmur.

After that, a person from the Home Depot is going to come see us to give an estimate on cabinet refacing. I'm kind of stoked.  Kind of completely stoked.

As to the rest of the weekend... I want to do something fun, but I don't know what we'll end up with.

It's all good.  I have dye for eggs, should we end up going that route.  I kind of want to go out, but I don't know if I'll end up doing it.  Revenge of the Nerds is playing at the Belcourt, and it'd be fun to get a crowd.  But I realize I'm boring, and that most people want to do something splashier.  Well, I mean, the movie starts at 11PM, so you know - if you're going to be out that late, shouldn't it be all glam?

Then again, I'm the woman who convinced a ton of very cool party people to go bowling on New Years Eve. So maybe...



That's about it for now, from here.

And you?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tie Red

I am really bombed out tired.  Too much fun this past weekend, not enough sleepy sleep.  It happens.

Tonight is Zumba for the first time in over a week - unless we're counting Saturday night at Play where I took it out on the floor for a few hours.  And we're not counting that.

So Zumba it is.

I like the class, I like my classmates.  I do not like having to fight for space on the front row, and I am not, and I mean NOT yielding to the girl in my class who prefers to have me on her left.  She's a friend, but she kind of pissed me off asking me to move because it puts me directly behind the instructor and not to her right, which is my preference.

It's all about me tonight, bitches.

And always.

Well, no, not always.

My friend Jim told me today that his friend Gary likes me best of all of Jim's girlfriends.  I like it.  I'll store that compliment away for a day when I'm feeling low and need it.  I'm kind of fun, as it happens.  A pistol, if you will.

I think I may lie down pre-Zumba.

It's going to be a long week.  Zumba tonight, Hockey with Matt and James tomorrow, then Weight Watchers with all my sisters in adiposity Wednesday, and I was thinking of baking Thursday.

It's all good, friends.



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fool me once...

So today is April Fool's Day.

I've never been much good at coming up with a gag... but today I decided to try to fool my friend, Jim.

Why?  Because he regularly gives me a heart attack by telling me I hit reply all on an email I've sent him...usually something really mean and snarky meant for his eyes only.

So around 2PM, I sent him the following text:

ae:  I thoroughly enjoyed last night.  Gary is a great guy, and you both have killer moves.  On an unrelated note, how would you feel about being Uncle Jimmy?  Took a little test this AM, scored a pink plus sign. :- {

Within seconds, I received a text back:

Jim: Ha, u not fooling this guy ; )

To which I replied:

ae:  Dammit, Jim.  I need dumber friends.

It's all I've got.  It wasn't super funny, but I honestly thought I'd get him to buy into it.

Oh well - only a few hours left and I'm all out of fooling.

I really do need some dumber friends.  And don't let his poor grammar in texts fool you.  He's actually very smart.


Bad jokes and long shallow rambles

Q:  What do you get when you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole?

A:  Hot, cross bunnies.

I got a million of 'em, folks.

I was killing a few minutes this morning looking at weekly specials on the Kroger website when I realized that - damn, next Sunday is Easter.  EASTER.

I've been eating the Russell Stover Maple Cream Eggs for weeks, but it never really sunk in.

Unfortunately, no small amount of these have sunk in... to my ass!

Matt and I don't have any big plans - I think I may cook something nice and light and spring themed - maybe even grill something.

Huh.  Not very festive.   Meh.

So last night I met some friends for dinner and clubbing.  This would be my gay friends.  Well, not all of my gay friends, but my subset of Nashville gay friends who enjoy dinner and clubbing.

Anyway.  My friend Jim had a friend in town, and they like to go to Play, where there's dancing.  And that's what we did.  I caught a glance of myself in the mirrors that lined the dance floor.  I'm totally adorable, yes - but we need to figure out the whole hair thing.  Namely, I need to get that massive mane cut.  And more to the point - it's time to get my shit together and lose the weight.  Stat.

I was thinking, as a goal, I want to be able to go back to Play the weekend after my birthday and be down 40 pounds.

That's basically seven months to lose it, and we know I can do it.

So, why the weekend after my birthday, you ask?

Well.  My birthday falls on a Saturday this year.  The Saturday before Halloween.  And according to my friends - that's a big party night for the gay set.  And since I'll likely be doing the family thing with Matt's cousins - and, I don't want to have to fight abnormal crowds for some space on the floor, I'm willing to give it a week.

Plus, one extra week to squeeze into a smaller pair of jeans, a smaller party shirt and whatnot.

Basically, and this is so shallow - but what it came down to is I saw a ton of what appeared to be chubby, unattractive straight girls hanging with their gay male friends, and I thought - well, sure I'm still cuter than most of them, but I've become an archetype - and a fairly unflattering one.  I want to be the fit, reasonably cute girl hanging out with her gay male friends.

Is it a date?  We'll assume it is.  I'll also work on my dance moves, which are a little... lame.

As for dates,  I have a date this morning.  A date...with destiny.

No, for real though - I'm getting an estimate on getting the kitchen rehabbed.  Pull out the cabinets, add new ones in a new reconfig.  New sink, new range, and new countertops.

Or - reface the existing cabinets, add on a new cabinet and add a new sink, new range, and new countertops.

It isn't going to be cheap.  But the heart wants what it wants.

I've done a ton of measurements, I have perused the colors of Corian and I think we have some winners, and I have a vague idea of the cabinets I want.  I also have some paint chips selected for the color we're going to eventually paint the kitchen.

As for the rest of the week...

We have training in house one morning with our Vanderbilt customers.

Matt and I are taking our friend James to his first live hockey game, and that is going to kick ass.

I need to make Lola a vet appointment - her annual.  And I don't want to because I know they're going to tell me she's not doing well.  Look, she's thirteen, and I know you want to do bunch of tests - but look, we know she's got congestive heart failure - she's dying, albeit slowly, and it's OK.  She's happy, she's comfortable, and she still eats, plays and loves us.  Let's let that be it.

Anyway, I should probably motivate a little and get ready for my day.

In addition to planning out my dream kitchen, I need to clean out the fridge and get some healthy food into my real kitchen.  I also need to finish laundry, and I was contemplating a quick visit at The Container Store.

I'm skipping Zumba this morning, but after several hours at Play last night, my core, such as it is, is sufficiently toned.

Also, just as a PS - we had dinner at The Pharmacy last night.  Excellent.  They do burgers and beer, and they do them well.

I'm such a mover and shaker!