Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shout outs, instead of shouting.

I had a frustrating day at work.  I think that's starting to be the same song played over and over again.  And not in an awesome way like Dave Clark Five's Bits and Pieces:

Although, after a fashion, I'm in pieces; bits and pieces.

I told my manager, well actually, my  new manager's boss - she was my boss until last week - that's another story though - anyway, I was telling her how I feel frustrated that nobody who can do anything to make our product better seems to want to help.  I'm ready to give up.

But enough of that.  Instead of shouting, I'm going to adopt an attitude of gratitude. And give a few shout outs:

Mad props to my dear, kind, wonderful friends in Maine who in less than a year have become a strong, sturdy branch on my family (of creation) tree.  I owe you all for the love and support you give me from miles and miles away.

I am grateful for my sweet co-workers here in Nashville who are the harmony to my incessant bass line.  It's a Music City thing.   If not for you, I would be in a rubber room, drooling.  I can't say enough to thank you for making Mondays tolerable, lunch hours fun, and take the relationship beyond 5PM.

To my BFF in the ATL - thanks for being a safe place to say things that to anyone else would sound mean, angry and sick.  And for validating them, diffusing them and rebranding them as hilarious.

I'd like to thank sugar for being my street-legal drug of choice.  See also; caffeine.

I'm highly appreciative of my customers.  Not the ones who say shit like, "I've never really developed a taste for alcohol".  But the ones who make sure that another beer hits the table before I finish the one before it. The ones who buy me a shot of tequila.  The ones who know how much I care about my work, and how grieved I am that I can't do more for them.  The ones who I actually give my cell number to, and the ones who know to use it if they need me.

A shout out to my late beast, Lola.  You gave me fourteen great years, and though I'd selfishly like another fourteen, you did your best and gave me every bit of love you had in that tiny little body.

I'm grateful for this:


And for my friend Natae for posting it just when I needed it.

I'm glad to keep in touch with those near and dear via Facebook.  And I'm so glad to have Facebook as an outlet for my rants, raves and generally hilarious observation.

I'm also thankful for the interwebs,  because without it I'd never have "met" some really cool people who love to hate Funky Winkerbean as much as I do.  Chuck, I'm looking at you.

A quick shout out to the support rep at the cable company tonight, because he told me he's buying his wife shoes she's been wanting in an effort to get her to make his favorite special meal - fried chicken.

In case you thought romance was dead...


Sunday, April 28, 2013


I've been attacking laundry with a vengeance this weekend.

I also planted my peppers for the year. 

I miss Lola.  I've dreamed about her a few times, and today I found a few old bandanas from Christmases and 4ths of July past.

And of course, her hair is everywhere. 

I just miss her. 

I know that it gets better every day, but I still miss having her little warm carcass leaned up against me.

But at least I got some laundry done.

And found my missing wallet.

And played some Words With Friends - which, given that I'm playing with Millicent713, should actually be called Words With Complete Strangers.

And chatted with a few people via text.

So all in all.

It's getting a little better.


Friday, April 26, 2013

You go, grill!

The weather is starting to get nice.   That's Spring for you!

Last weekend, we went to our first baseball game of the year - the Sounds won, beating the Omaha Stormchasers 11-5.

Fireworks included.  I freaking love Nashville!

But we also did something that is going to make my Spring and Summer just so much better.

We finally replaced our grill.

So, you may recall that in June 2010, we lost our propane grill to a freak tank accident.

What?  You don't recall?

Hell, I didn't remember it was 2010 until I looked it up.  I thought it was just two years ago.

So, go ahead; refresh yourself.

Anyway, we still had our Weber charcoal grill, but let's be honest - they're not the fastest way to get dinner on the table (well we don't actually use the table for dinner, but you know...).

But here's the thing.  I need to get back on the diet wagon, and let's be honest - grilling a quick dinner is as fast as takeout, and better for us.  So.

I used my Home Depot gift card from all my AMEX points.  See, all that travel last year paid off.
Matt kicked in the rest, and now, we're cooking!  With gas!

Hi, there, hottie.

I freaking love our grill.  I've used it for about five meals already.  And the rest have been leftovers from the previous night's grill.

I am stoked.


I enjoy cooking again.

Food tastes better on a stick.  Even veggies.

And that, as my friend Martha would say, is a good thing.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

And I went in seeking clarity...

I don't always remember my dreams.

But, this morning, as my alarm went off, I had a dream that I was walking around my grocery store, eating what I think was a pecan pie muffin, and I said the following:

They're not going to change anything.  They're happy with it the way it is.  If they weren't happy, they would have changed things a long time ago.

It was total clarity, if you want to know the truth.

Because I was referring to "things" at work, or at least, that's how I recall it. But the fact is, I need to take that statement and apply it to myself.

At the moment, I'm not happy with the way it is.  I haven't been eating right, I haven't been exercising enough.  I'm not in balance.  This seems to be the theme of my life at the moment; unbalanced.

So in this case, I'm the "they", and I'm not happy.  Which means it's time to start making changes.

First change?  Ignoring the fact that right now, I'd step over my own mother for a nice big gooey pecan pie muffin.

And beyond that, it's time to accept the things I cannot avoid...for now.

That's right, I'm invoking Avenue Q.  So it's serious.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Five Alive!

So, what do you know?  Five years ago, this very day, I started a blog.  You can read my initial post:


What started as a way to deal with my father's surgery and subsequent recovery has evolved into... not much more than that, honestly.

I'm still trying to sift through the litterbox that is my emotional state - get rid of the bits that clump and move forward.

Some days are better than others.

Today falls squarely in the others, and not the better.

Here's the backstory.  Our office is set up in an open floorplan - it's noisy, it's hard to concentrate, and I hate it. I've been pretty open in my hatred.

So, when we learned we were moving to a new building at the end of this year, I was stoked.  I felt certain we'd finally get a space conducive to doing business.

And today, I learned that we're moving all our furniture with us.

I learned it in a meeting for the whole company.  And my reaction was as visceral as it was vocal.

I said, loudly, "YES!!!! THANK GOD!!!! Now I can SLEEP at night."

Because I'm a jackass.

Seriously though, these curvicles  - not cubicles, curvicles were invented by the Marquis de Sade.  I'm pretty sure of it.

Now I inexplicably want some Fudge Ripple Ice Cream.

Sinister, yes?

The thing is, it just gets loud.  And chatty.  And I'm easily distracted.

So I might have lost my shit a little.

Or a lot.  Whatever.  Look, the point is that I've grown up a little in the last five years, and I've written a few damn funny posts, and a few sad ones, and a few angry ones.

But I'm always true to you, darlings, in my fashion.  Yes I'm always true to you, darlings, in my way.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Taking a bite out of the Big Apple...

So, as I think I mentioned a floppity-jillion times, I went to New Jersey/New York last week.

Here’s the deal.  We have a customer who holds an annual Safety Conference.  As one of their vendors, we are asked to present. So, last year, I went to New Orleans.  This year, Jersey City.

It was good.

Here are a few photos from the trip:

This is my room - the bed was really comfortable, and the room was perfect.

Here's a view from my room.  I could also see the Statue of Liberty from my room - but it was so far away, taking a picture defeats the purpose.

Crabbie's Ginger Beer.  I inhaled two of these.  YUM.  We were at a pub called HopsScotch.  It was delicious.

The Hyatt gave you these every day in your toiletry set.  Love it.  I'm buying this from now on.

This is me, very intoxicated in front of a big shiny sculpture that is apparently a balloon animal.  My customer's finger is in the upper right corner.  It speaks to modern woman being under the thumb of her job.  It's art, people.

This pair of mirrors at the elevators on my floor made me look super hot and skinny.

 Madeleines.  Snack time at the conference. They fed us.  A lot.  Into submission. 

This is from a Jamaican place in the Newark Airport called Golden Krust.    It's a mild beef patty, and it's quite good.

Friday, April 19, 2013

My thoughts, for what they're worth.

I know you've been waiting with bated breath for my take on the tragedy in Boston earlier this week.

Here what I can tell you.

My knowledge of Boston is based on:

The literature of Lois Lowry:

I strongly recommend reading this book.  Strongly.

Charles Emerson Winchester III:

I admit, I preferred him to Frank Burns.

The shows Cheers and St. Elsewhere:

Spoiler Alert:  It was all a dream.  Or was it?

And the song Dirty Water, by The Standells:

But even though I'm informed by pop culture alone, I'd like to say that like just about everyone else, I'm saddened and horrified.

See also; the West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion.

Hang in there, people!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Nailed it!

Tomorrow, I leave for Jersey City, NJ for a few days.  I cannot wait.  I intend to use this as my Spring Break.

And man, do I need a break.

I am overpacked:

Not pictured: kitchen sink.
But you never know what you might need.  Last year, I was way, way underpacked, so this is my compensation.

Now, off to bed, then tomorrow I'm on my way.

As a treat for a productive weekend, today, I did this:

The intent was never to match the violets, but I liked the way it looked.
I got a mani that more or less matches.  Love it.

I'll send dispatches from New Jersey/New York.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ages and Stages

So, tonight, I went out to pick up pizza for dinner, and before I went home, I stopped at the gas station,  where I saw two plain-clothes detectives shaking down three fratty looking boys, who I assume were students at Vanderbilt.  Given that I was basically at the edge of the campus, I think it was a fair assumption:

Like this, only younger.  And one more of them.

Anyway, at first I thought these kids shoplifted beer from the store, but then I watched one of the detectives take one of their backpacks and whip out Skyy Vodka, Captain Morgan and some other bottle of unidentifiable hooch.

It was then I realized these guys were getting busted for underage possession.

None of them looked scared or upset.  Score one for them.

Personally, I think that here in the US of A, we're well behind the curve on that particular cultural norm.

Let's be honest with ourselves.  Teenagers drink.  When I was in high school, I had a beer at a party once.  It was to look cool in front of an ex-boyfriend who was giving me the stink eye for being there.  Long story.  Suffice it to say, I waited an hour, sobered up, and went to a different party where nobody drank and everybody loved me.  I showed him!

Now, that's not to say that's the only time I drank in High School.  The remaining times were with my family, at home or on vacation.  My parents didn't shroud drinking in a cloak of mystery.

So by the time I left for college, the idea of going out to get plastered never really appealed to me.

But I knew several people who had been saintly until they got to college.  One entered rehab before her 21st birthday.

Here's my take.  At eighteen you can marry,  vote, get a job, pay taxes, serve for your country, get a tattoo...

But you can't have a beer for another three years.

So instead, you're forced to carry a backpack full of liquor around and get the shake down from two nerdy looking dudes in Members Only windbreakers.

That seems Un-American.

Just saying.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Well, that was a week.

I'm still recovering from the whirlwind that was last weekend.

This weekend should be similarly whirlwindy, but hopefully in a productive sort of way.

I need to get the house in shape - we have Matt's best friend coming next weekend.

And I need to pack - because Monday morning, I leave to make Jersey City, NJ my personal bitch.

At the moment though, I'm exhaustipated.

You know?  Too tired to give a shit.

And with that... it's time for bed.

I know, it's not 9PM yet.  But I'm tired, so.

Good night.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nice Frames

So, I've been a little out of sorts.  I think that's clear to anyone in my general vicinity.

But I texted my BFF to complain about it, and she suggested that I was like a character in one of our favorite shows ever:

It's Arrested Development

The point is, it's about framing what feels tragic so that it appears comical. 

I've already pointed out that Alia Shawkat is going to play me in the movie of my life - why not channel my inner Bluth and get through it that way?

Next week I'll be in Newark for a conference - it should be fun and maybe that'll help Fun Allison re-emerge and send Cranky Allison packing.

And if not...

Well, there's always money in the Banana Stand.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Whither the hearts, snakes and doves?

When I was in college, I was in a sorority.  Sigma Kappa, since you're probably wondering.  I wasn't the best sister in the world, but I'm sure there were worse.

The point of this is not to assess my personality in college.  The point is to tell you about something we used to do in our Chapter meetings.

At the end of our weekly Chapter, before we adjourned to the second floor for naked tickle fights and brushing our hair, we'd have Shiny Pearls and Wilted Violets - shout outs for positive or not so positive things that happened between sisters over the week:


"I'd like to give a shiny pearl to Amy, because she brought me back a Frosty when she went to Wendy's because she knew I had a sore throat and she's awesome!"

What woman doesn't love a good Pearl Necklace (SNERK!)

"A wilted violet to Jenny for forgetting to meet me at the library between classes - but I ran into Josh from the Sigma Pi house and he gave me a ride home, so shiny pearl to him."

The modest violet.

So, this could go on endlessly.  In retrospect, I think this was pretty passive-aggressive.  Anyway, it usually ended with someone saying,

"I'd like to give Heather a shiny pearl for last Thursday afternoon, and she knows why."

Recently, I mentioned something about the universe providing you exactly what you need.  Well, I believe that.  It's super easy to believe that when what you need is also exactly what you want.

I think the Rolling Stones may have performed a song about it.

I'm a little annoyed with some things that are going on in and around work/life and I'm tired, and I'm in a pissy mood.   I don't want to really get into it, because it's basically all in my head, and if I were to explain it to you,  you'd realize my mind is about as screwed up as one of those houses on Hoarders.

Like this, but not as fluffy and non-threatening.

So I'd like to give the universe a wilted violet for not giving me what I want. But a great big shiny pearl for giving me what I need.  I think.  I hope.

And the universe knows why.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Feel The Burn

I took Friday off as a Mental Health Day.  I'm a firm believer that sometimes, you just have to know your limits.  I had reached mine.  Time to take a break.

So I packed up the Mazda and got on I-24 East.  I made a few stops - the first was at the Lodge Skillet Store in South Pittsburg, TN.  I got two small, and I mean tiny, little cast iron skillets for Matt to cook eggs in.

Then I stopped for lunch in Ringgold, GA.  I decided to regress a little and go to Guthrie's.

So, Guthrie's is a chicken finger restaurant.  They used to have one in Athens, and I ate there at least once a quarter.  It's terrible for you, as evidenced by this very beige picture:

After a nutritious lunch, I finished the drive and ended up at my parents' house.  I started setting up a wifi connection for Mom's new tablet, then Mom and I went out for dinner.  I didn't take a picture, but it was chicken and pasta in a lemon sauce with capers.  It has a name, but I can't remember it.

It was also a fairly beige meal.  And beige = delicious.

Saturday morning, I headed to the mountains for Work Day.  It was a good time.  I got to see friends, chat with them, and spend a day out in the gorgeous weather.  My job was to tend a burn pile. 

At lunch, I went to take a picture of our new water system for Dad.  I also took a picture of where the wild hogs dug up our yard:

I no longer feel bad for eating bacon.

After quitting time, I cleaned up a little and went to the Board Meeting.  From there, it was back to Atlanta for some quality time with the Tribal Elders.

But first, another nutritional meal:

Note the beige is punctuated with a little chili and cheese.

The Varsity.  I needed it.  I needed it badly.  I ate it all, with pleasure.  I also got fried Peach Pies for the elders and myself to enjoy at the house.

I got home and spent the evening catching up with the 'rents.  Sunday, I cleaned the koi pond and fed the little scaly beasts for the first time all season.  They were ecstatic.

I showed Mom how to use her tablet.  Then I headed home.

It was a great weekend.

There's only one picture left to share.

Not beige.
The only downside to spending a day next to a towering inferno of burning hardwood?  Feeling the burn.  I'm a redneck!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A, My Name is Allison

In keeping with the April Alphabet theme.  A times 26:

   Algebra – The class I got Ds in during High School and had to drop because I was failing in College.  I was not meant to take Algebra.  I think my mind just has a block on it.

  Advanced Placement Classes – I wasn’t smart in Algebra, but I did manage to make 4s on my AP English and 3s on History exams.  That was a long time ago, though.  I don’t remember much, except that Manifest Destiny was going west, young man.

  Alligators – I love alligators.  I found a greeting card of an alligator riding a unicycle, wearing a party hat and holding a present – it’s framed and on my desk:

   Atlanta, GA – The city of my birth. 

    Alpharetta, GA – The city where my first and second jobs were located. 

   Athens, GA – University of Georgia, my alma mater, is located here.

    Arrested Development – My favorite TV show ever.   I quote it constantly.  As a bonus, I’ve decided I want Alia Shawkat to play me in the movie of my life.

   Afternoon Delight – A guilty pleasure by Starland Vocal Band. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafternoon Delight!

   Asparagus – Sure, it makes my pee smell funny, but pee smells funny to start with, so… yeah.  The German word for it is Spargel.  And this time of year in Germany is known as Spargelzeit – they devote menus to it, publish special recipe magazines and so on.  I like the white phallic type as much as the green also phallic type.

   Ambrosia Apples – They’re the best apples I’ve ever eaten.  Go and get one today.  They’re huge.  They’re perfect.

   Actually – I use this word too much.  And then I realize I’m doing it and try to stop, and it actually makes it worse.  See also: basically.

   Awesome – I really use this word, along with amazing way, way too often.  I’m aware of it.  I’m working on it.

    Antiques – Whenever I go into an antique store, I’m tempted to just start breaking things, knocking down shelves.  I’ve been told this is a compulsive thought.  Also, all antique shops smell the same.  Do you think they pump it in as a bottled scent?

   Anxiety – My dreams are a clear indicator that I might be a little anxious.  It’s mitigated by Big Pharma.  Thanks, Big Pharma!

   April – The month of my mother’s birthday and April Fool’s.  April’s named for Aphrodite, who goes to bed without a nightie.  Thanks, Willard Espy!

    August – The month of my anniversary.  Peridot is the birthstone.  I’m jealous.  My birthstone is Opal. 

   Augusta, ME – Along with Atlanta, the other state capital that begins and ends with an A.  Thanks, Jeopardy!

   Anonymous – Any meeting ending in this word is going to be awkward and suck. I’d go into more detail but that’s not really appropriate to the anonymity.

   Argyle – A great pattern for socks and sweater vests.  There’s also an Argyle Avenue near my house.  It does not have a diamond pattern.

   Always-Drunk.com – A blog you need to be reading.  Really.

   Advertising – I took an Intro to Advertising class with Dr. Lee Wenthe in college – she was amazing.  I almost changed majors.  It was that good.  I was a little emotional back then – I remember her showing us a series of Budweiser Light ads from the 80s, all very patriotic themed, and I was sobbing quietly there in the dark lecture hall.  I was in therapy at the time.
    A-List Preferred – The Holy Grail of Southwest Statuses.  I haven’t achieved it yet, but maybe this year.  Maybe.

Alcohol – I prefer Rum, Tequila and Vodka.  Ironically, my company has a servers named Tequila, Vodka and Absinthe.  They were named by a former CTO who liked alcohol  a lot.  A lot. 

Antacids -  Tums, or their lesser Mexican Equivalent in fruit flavors, for preference.  Although the minty ones aren’t bad.

 Archie McPhee – If you ever get to Seattle, you need to go here.  It’s beautiful and fun, and they have the Wallingford Beast.

 Action Items  - Along with punch lists and follow-up calls, some of my weakest work-day activities.  QED.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

26 and Out

So, thanks to my friend Chuck Baudelaire, whose witty musings can be found here,  I learned that there's this thing going on this month where bloggers are devoting a blog a day to each letter of the alphabet.

I wasn't feeling that, and neither was Ms. Baudelaire.  What she did was what I'm copy-catting below:

A:  Armadillos – they’re my favorite animal.  Shrinks eyes light up in dollar signs when you tell them that.  Just saying.

B: Bees.  I’m kind of loving bees right now.  Last year I was dressing up like a bee for the company-wide meeting.  This year I’m looking at a piece of bee themed jewelry to add to my  collection.

C:  C.  The grade I received in four classes in College – Economics, Statistics, Weather and Climate and… Creative Writing.  Yeah.  I was young, dumb and in looooooove.

D: Dogeared.   My newest obsession…  http://www.dogeared.com

E: Eating.  I don’t have an eating disorder.  Sometimes my eating is a little disordered, but it’s not quite the same thing.

F: French.  I minored in French in college.  It’s been ever so useful.  Not really, but I sound good speaking it.

G:  Guilt.  Along with Anger and Amusement this rounds out the trifecta of my most common emotions.

H:  Hallucinations.  Olfactory Hallucinations.  I swear someone opened up a gallon of Mr. Bubble and poured it out on the carpet near my desk.

I: Ice.  It’s good for hockey.  It’s great in beverages.  I love ice.

J: Job.  Love your job and you’ll never work a day in your life.  Thankfully, I love my job.  Some days, it’s still work, though.

K:  Kale chips.  These are suddenly popular.  You can have ‘em.  Blech!

L:  Lola.  I still miss her.  Duh.

M:  Mary Worth.  I read it every day.  I started in college, stopped for a while then picked her back up when I moved to Nashville.  M is also for Meddling Biddy.

N:  New Orleans.  I wish I could go again this year, but it’s expensive.  Instead I’m going to Newark.  For work.

O:  Opossums.  Scarier than snakes.  Way, way scarier.

P:   Possums.  I hate them so much, I’m listing them twice.

Q:  Quirky.  Yes, yes I am.

R:  Ringo Starr.  My favorite Beatle.  Not the best or most talented Beatle.  But I love me some Octopuses Garden.  And he amuses me.

S:  Showtunes.  I’m addicted to them.  Book of Mormon is in heavy rotation these day.  I also like The Last 5 Years.  And South Pacific and Avenue Q.

T: Tea.  Unsweet.  Ok, I prefer it sweet, but I refuse to drink the calories.

U: Underwear.  I need more.  Last summer, I was traveling so much I couldn’t keep up the supply/demand  J curve.  I bought some really cheap stuff and it’s starting to disintegrate.

V: Vinegar.  So the French word is vinaigre, which literally means “soured wine”.  And what is vinegar but soured wine?  I love it when I teach myself new things.

W:  Words.  I use the words awesome and amazing too often.  I’ve made a conscious effort to correct.

X:  X-Rays.  Aside from dental x-rays, and the stuff at the airport, I’ve gotten to nearly 40 years without needing an x-ray.  Go, me!

Y: Yvor.  This is the name I settled on for my new car.  The YYY license plate dictated a name starting in Y.  And I think my car is definitely male, so.

Z: Zumba.  Because I freaking love it.  I love it so much, it hardly feels like torture.