Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer of 2010

So weekly posts went to monthly and now they seem to have gone to quarterly...

What's my problem? I'd like to be able to say that my life is so glamorous that I just can't be bothered, but really now, who are we kidding?

The real reason I happen to have this evening free for blogging? I originally planned to spend it catching up on this season of True Blood via HBO On Demand at the home of two of my main gays. However, they forgot that tonight was the Miss Universe Pageant. And, well, all boys have to have their priorities. So I opted to stay home and watch the Titans game instead.

Yes, you are picturing all of this correctly. I am sitting on my couch watching Monday Night Football while a few blocks away two grown men sit watching Miss Universe, texting me with updates every ten minutes.

Anyway... there have been other things keeping me from posting. Grouchy things. Good and fun things. General life and stuff things. So here's a rundown of how I've spent my summer.

1. Sweating. This hot-as-all-frickin'-blue-blazes summer keeps sucking up my will to breathe.

2. Laughing. I have seriously funny friends and family members that I find myself being thankful for more and more in these crazy times. I went on a road trip with a friend and her two kids who kept me giggling almost constantly. My aunts came to visit and my family has a way of cracking ourselves up when a bunch of us get together in one room. I also attended a wedding with a group of friends - and an open bar - and imagine we'll be retelling stories and sharing pictures for some time to come. Oh, and I took a hoola-hoop class. So... enough said there...

3. Crying. The heat depresses me and makes me more of an easier crier than usual. Over my flood-damaged city. Over friends who've broken each others hearts and mine in the process. Over Story Corps on NPR every damn Friday. Over a newly adopted baby and her patient and deserving parents. Over a dead opossum in my yard. How I'm able to keep my body hydrated enough in this weather to form tears is beyond me, but somehow I seem to have managed.

4. Fretting. It's a never-ending list. Illness. The economy. Oil spill. Proposition 8. The upcoming college football season. But seriously... the big issue weighing on my mind lately is all of the hate-mongering over religion that seems to be brewing. It's likely what will push me from fretting over into fuming.

5. Sweeping. The dog hair in this house has reached epic proportions this summer. I've almost convinced myself to buy a loom and try to profit from this freak show. Keep an eye out for my wares on Etsy. I'm sure they'll be a huge hit.

So that's the season in a nutshell. I wish I had a groovy photo montage to share. I'm coveting an Olympus PEN digital camera so hopefully my autumn and/or winter will be well-documented. After all, I'll need to show off all of the hand-knit collie-blend scarves I'm planning.

In the meantime, I've just been informed that Miss USA did not make the top 15 and I apparently have some consoling to do. At least the Titans are winning...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

May (and June) Madness

I. Have become a bad blogger. Those of you who post regularly, I applaud and am amazed by you. It's not that I can't find the time. It's that I just don't seem to be particularly good at managing my time. My new job also keeps me super busy doing what I like to be doing, which is crafty, creative stuff. So, while I couldn't be happier, I feel neither crafty nor creative when I get home.

I'm going to try to be better...

In the meantime, here's the good, the bad, and the ugly of what's been going on for the last almost two months. Except I'll start with the bad.

1. Granny
My grandmother passed away a few weeks ago. I considered writing a full post in dedication, but her opinion on that would not have been favorable. Besides, I think this story pretty much sums her up. She sold Merle Norman cosmetics for an eon and a half. She loved to gamble - the slots, the ponies, and football boards being her favorites. She loved to say things that were inappropriate. She loved to entertain. She used to throw a big Christmas Eve party and I always said she could navigate her small apartment filled with people, powered by nothing but a fake hip and several bourbon and sodas, more skillfully than anyone who was half her age and had half as much to drink. She lived until eight days after her 88th birthday. We're guessing it was because she had a bet with someone. In the last few months her quality of life was rapidly deteriorating, so 75% of me is happy that she was able to go when she did. The other 25% will probably feel otherwise next year around Kentucky Derby time.

2. Travel
I was in San Francisco at the beginning of May. Mostly for work, but I did get a day to roam around the city. The weather was beautiful and I had a good time, but it was also weird. Normally I'm fine travelling alone. But this was the first trip in a while for me sans gays. And I've come to an important conclusion. (Rick Steves, take note!) Travel is better with a pair of gays. Seriously. If they aren't wanting to do the same shopping and touristy things as you, then they're super organized with all of the travel information that, if you're like me, you normally end up being responsible for. And hell, if nothing else, they'll buy you nice cocktails and compliment your shoes. I explained this epiphany to one of said gays while I was sulking a bit in my hotel room. His response? "Well dear, you are in San Francisco - just go and get yourself two more." "You know" I exclaimed (well, typed with an excited smiley face since I was on Skype), "I could probably just call down to the front desk!" I never did, but the whole thing has given me a fabulous idea for a niche-market travel agency...

3. Life and Other Disasters
Lately it's feels like President Obama is starring in some sort of remake of The Money Pit. I bet he thought he was going to have this great adventure - get yourself a nice fixer-upper of a country, refinish the hardwood floors, redo a bathroom or two and then flip it in eight years. But no. As soon as the papers are signed, the roof starts to leak, the HVAC unit dies, and all of the wiring has to be upgraded. So you suck it up and get to work only to discover that the house is now worth half of what it was a month ago, the bank where you pay your mortgage has collapsed, you wake up with swine flu, and then oil erupts into the Gulf of Mexico. Good times. That said, I'm not going to dwell on the horror that is the oil spill. I've been trying to despise BP but I can't without thinking that we should all be despising ourselves and the role our gluttony has played in this. My Presiding Bishop (who just really kicks ass on any given day of the week, in my opinion) was originally an oceanographer by trade. She wrote a great piece about the oil spill and you can read it here. Not every day that the insert in your Sunday bulletin is also featured in the Huffington Post...

So, that's all I got. Hope you're having a lovely summer. I'll be back soon to gripe about the heat if nothing else - 'cause it is freakin' damn hot down here right now.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Five Feet High and Risin'

About two weeks and twelve years ago, an F-3 tornado ripped through downtown Nashville. It destroyed my little historic church and much of the little historic neighborhood where I now live. At the time, I was in school in Ohio and I spent several days parked on my futon in front of the news and watched friends and relatives being interviewed by national reporters.

From this past Saturday evening until last night I had to do the same thing all over again. Only this time it was flood waters that inundated downtown Nashville instead of wind, and I was in a hotel room in Colorado instead of the futon in my apartment.

The other difference this time, it seems, is that my city has had to share the news cycle with car bombers and oil spills and wingnut immigration legislation and maybe it's received less of the spotlight than it should. Maybe. Many people around here certainly think so and are outraged. I'm not sure I'm in the same camp. If we were swarmed with reporters 24-7 it would just create a shortage of actual news and leave them with nothing to do but ferret out the most ridiculous situations and even more opportunity to report things incorrectly. As it is, I'm already annoyed by the news: "That's not the symphony hall - that's the Country Music Hall of Fame!" "That's not how you pronounce the police chief's name!" "The Opryland Hotel isn't downtown - it's nowhere near downtown!"

I also don't have a lot of faith that they would show the real Nashville. The whole Nashville. The Nashville that I know - grungy, beautiful, absurd, welcoming, tacky, funny, annoying, gracious, ridiculous, wonderful, and weird. They would miss the fact that when it snowed a few inches this winter we were completely incapacitated, but with a devastating flood everyone (it seems anyway) has come together and quietly gotten down to the business of helping their neighbors and reminding us why we're the Volunteer State. On Monday my mother called to say that my next door neighbor had gone out in his boat to help evacuate people. When the mayor put out a call for people to help sandbag the levy near my office, 300 people showed up within an hour. A friend called on Tuesday and said Hands On Nashville (right) already had offers of help from more than 7,000 people. Last I heard, that number was up to 20,000.

And in case you were wondering... by the grace of a little bit of elevation, and a lot of luck, my church and neighborhood that were so ravaged by that tornado, managed to escape the worst of the flood. The rest of the city and its outer suburbs, however, did not. Many people have died. Interstates turned into rivers within minutes, deep enough to cover a semi-truck. The Grand Ole Opry, the Titans' football field, and our main water treatment plant were under several feet of water.

While I am happy and thankful that my little corner of town was spared, it also has caused some guilt. Guilt of not having been here; guilt for only suffering a couple of fallen gutters and a house that smells like soggy dog; guilt for not realizing at first how bad the flooding was. Another friend expressed similar thoughts in a much more poetic fashion here. She also shared the following video.

What's the most fitting music to put to images of the great Nashville flood, you ask?
Why, Johnny Cash, of course.

I hope all of this doesn't mean we'll be suffering a plague of locusts in another twelve years and two weeks. That's bound to test even the strongest of Southern resolves and hospitality. In the meantime, while I'm kind of glad not to have Brian Williams and Wolf Blitzer beating down our doors, I do hope we can still find a way to let the rest of the country know what is going on and that they keep us in their thoughts.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Home Sick

I was in Denver for work the end of last week and over the weekend. And while it was a great trip - and I have all kinds of crafty things to chat about - I also had to sit by the television and watch my city flood on CNN. I'm very fortunate that my home, and the homes of my friends and family are all okay, but many, many others are not. Its a real - and surreal - mess down here.

So... more about this later... here's what I would have posted otherwise...

Rocky Mountain High
I was in Denver for a gigantic conference for work and was also there with two of my main gays. So, to add to all of the hiking around their convention center (but look, isn't it the cutest convention center you've ever seen?) I was also galavanting around the city in the evenings and plied with cocktails until all hours. And when you combine those activities with a new time zone, a different climate, and crazy altitude, I'm now totally exhausted and have a cold. HOWEVER, on the plus side, while in Denver, I was served drinks from a bartender that looks like Michael Phelps, rode in an elevator with a mini Evan Lysacek, and one of the presenters at a session I attended sounded just like the Count from Sesame Street: "ONE cognative learning research method! TWO cognative learning research methods! Bwah-ah-ah!" (made the presentation waaaay more interesting, BTW.) So really - two olympic athlete look-alikes and a muppet impersonator - what more do you need to give a trip two thumbs up than that?

Last Supper

I had one of the best $*#@& meals of my life at this place. Mostly organic, locally grown yumminess. It's in a old service station, which they've managed to pay homage to nicely, and most of the interior is from reused, salvaged and recycled/repurposed materials. If you're ever in Denver, you must go.

No Mary Ann Either
My only cons of Denver: 1. people can be a little gruff and inconsiderate with your personal space. 2. There's apparently no gingerale available in the entire town. I tried to order a Jack and Ginger on more than one occassion, only to be met with a quizzical look or blank stare as the bartender replied, "uhhh we don't have ginger..." Thinking they thought I meant actual ginger, I would clarify, "gingerALE." When met with another "no," accompanied with a look of "I knew what you meant, dumbass," I first went in the opposite direction and settled for a lemon drop. The second time they had already poured the Jack Daniels in the glass so I just went with that. Made my scratchy throat feel much better.

Familiar Feel

While wandering around downtown Denver, I stopped into sports memorabilia and souvenier store. Now, the city of Denver has been good to my boys in orange and I was therefore tempted to buy either a Todd Helton / Rockies shirt or a Broncos shirt in honor of Al Wilson. You've heard me speak of my love of Al Wilson before, but for your amusing bit o' sports trivia for the day, I will tell you about the other. Todd Helton attended the University of Tennessee on both a football and baseball scholarship. Legend has it, he was debating about whether to switch to baseball full time, but couldn't make up his mind. In football he was one of two backup quarterbacks and early in the season of his sophomore year (I believe), the starting quarterback suffered a season-ending injury. At the next practice, the two backup quarterbacks vied for the starting position and Helton's mind was quickly made up - he would leave football - and went on to an amazing baseball career with Tennessee and then the Rockies. The other backup quarterback: Peyton Manning.

Resistance is Futile. Cue the Dirge.
It was decided that my new place of employment does not have enough of an online presence, including social media. It was also decided that I would be responsible for improving that presence, finding ways to market our organization through social media, and keeping an eye on what our competitors are up to out there in the interwebs. So, guess who had to join Facebook against her will and better judgement? And guess whose time has been heard loudly sucked through the tubes of said interwebs in the mere 24 hours since she opened an account? Kill me now. That said... if you want to "friend" me and don't already know my real name, just click over there on the right and send me an email.

And finally... speaking of clicking over there to the right... if you've got any money or time left, what with all the other craziness in the world, my beloved city is under about 10-feet of water and we could use a hand. Many thanks.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Nashville Flooding
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Scenes from Early in the Morning

On the one month anniversary of my new job, I would like to say that it is great.

But it has not been without its challenges.

Yesterday I had to read something titled, "Consequences of Misspecifications in Growth Curve and Other Multilevel Models."

So... yeah... there's that...

The main challenge though has been that I need to be at work at 7:30 in the morning.

For those of you out there who are naturally early risers, farmers, or have children, please commence your mocking now...

Done? Okay.

I am trying. So very hard. The good news is it causes amusing things to happen that make for excellent blog-fodder.

Scenes from Early in the Morning #1:

Know where a hard-boiled egg fits nicely?

A quaint and delicate egg cup.

A quaint and delicate egg cup (even though I don't own one) placed alongside a small plate with a piece of whole-wheat toast topped with preserves purchased from the farmers market and a beautiful glass of cranberry juice. All placed on the table in the kitchen so that you can gaze out the window at the morning awaiting you.

Know where else a hard-boiled egg also fits nicely?

That little zippered side pocket in your purse.

That little zippered side pocket in your purse where you toss it as you dash through the kitchen grabbing something that you can eat in the car or at your desk. This occurs after you have gone from the bedroom, to the home office and back to the bedroom looking for your cell phone only to remember you left it in the kitchen and before you trip out the door, leaving your coffee on the counter.

But really... the fact that I had the presence of mind to hard-boil a half-dozen eggs on Sunday and put them in a bowl in the refrigerator AND get a coffee maker with a timer on it so that it's already done when I get up is really quite an accomplishment in and of itself.

So I'm counting this as a win.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stuff You Probably Already Know But I'm Going to Use This Post to Ramble on About it Anyway

I now work for a very serious organization that does very important and serious things.
And we all just got Skype on our computers. Ooooh Lordeee, it's been all kinds of nerdy fun over here this week.

Tourism is an important part of the economy here in Nashville. But do we really have to have tourists? Especially the dude that asked me for directions with a cigarette barely balanced on his lower lip. WHILE I WAS PUMPING GAS. And the couple in front of me in line at the barbeque place who had to have a seven minute discussion with the guy behind the counter: "The sign says pork. Is it a pork chop? No? What kind of pork is it? Pulled pork? What does that mean?" And it's only April. From now until September it's only going to get exponentially more special each month. It's a good thing I don't work in PR for the visitor's bureau: "Welcome to Nashville. Now, please go sit quietly over there until it's time for you to leave."

The original Tea Party was about taxation without representation. So... to those in charge of this new concoction of the Tea Party... bless your hearts... please change your name. You HAVE representation. It's just that you aren't happy about it. And that's fine. Just please call yourselves the Red Bull or the Mountain Dew Party or something else more fitting.

NPR is awesome. Van Morrison is awesome. NPR's discussing Van Morrison for an hour is way beyond awesome. Our local affiliate just recently switched from playing coma-inducing classical music all day between ME and ATC (you know you're officially a dork when you refer to NPR programs by acronyms...) to an all-talk format: On Point, Talk of the Nation, Fresh Air, etc. You would not believe the complaining that people have done about it. I don't understand. I mean, did they not just hear what I heard? Talking about Van Morrison. And the way all of your insides feel when he growls out those lines like "And IIIIIII want to rock yourrrrr Gypsy sooooulll" or "Sheee's. As sweeeeet. Aaa-aas. Tupelo honeeeey." For a whole hour. Made my day. Can you tell?

God's grace and forgiveness applies to everyone. But I am having a really hard time wanting this to be true for certain despicable owners of coal mines and "parents" who return their adopted children.

Things still really suck in Haiti. And it's about to start raining. A lot. Please don't forget about them. If you've been wanting to give money but haven't - or if you want to give even more - click up there on the right.

Dixie Carter's death is a huge loss and I am sad. But, I bet my friend Eddie is pretty psyched.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring "Break" 2010

Many apologies for my bloggy absence.

It's been a busy spring.

  • First, I got a second job. More about that in a minute...
  • Then I've been trying to find homes for several pieces of furniture and a refrigerator that have been taking up valuable real estate in my living room and kitchen. The refrigerator, canIjusttellyou, was only just removed this past Friday. Yes, that is correct. This. Past. Friday. It's been sitting in the middle of the kitchen since this happened. Trust me, nothing makes a tiny kitchen feel even tinier with a second refrigerator IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLOOR.
  • Then there was Lent and Palm Sunday and Holy Week and Easter and all the pomp and circumstance and time suckage (sorry, Jesus) that comes with it.
  • There was also the great health care debate, the rise of the Tea Party, and Sarah Palin coming back like a bad rash - so you know I've been pretty busy cleaning up every time that pesky head of mine explodes.
  • Sometime in there March Madness began, of course, and has consumed a vast amount of time. But what an amazingly great tournament it has been! I'm watching the final game as I write this and keeping the faith that Butler will pull through. My Ohio University Bobcats whipped Georgetown, but then had to play Tennessee. My Tennessee boys beat OU and then made it past the Sweet Sixteen for the first time - in school history - thanks to a nail-biter against Ohio State. They did lose a heart-breaker to Michigan State BUT the good news is I finished third in our basketball pool.
  • In the middle of all this was my birthday. Woo hoo! Or boo hoo. Depending on your perspective. The final year of my thirties has begun. Then again, much of my thirties has not been kind to my mental health, so maybe I should be happy to turn a new corner.

And speaking of turning a new corner...

  • That part time job I mentioned at the beginning of this post? It's now my new full time job! You're looking at a communications coordinator WITH health insurance. Medical, dental AND vision.

    That's right, I'm fancy.

    I would have taken this job just for the fact that I no longer also have to be the office manager / tech support / lackey / fixer of spreadsheets for crazy bitches for no additional money. The rest - like a 403(b), life insurance, tuition reimbursement, and more money for only doing one job - is merely gravy.

    I still work for a non-profit, but now it's one in education, not the environment. That part was a bit difficult, but I know it will be the right move in the long run. It also means you're going to have to endure a lot of tirades and ramblings about climate change, water conservation and polar bears and shit since I won't be using up brain cells on these things at work any more. (Not that I worked with or thought about polar bears much at my former job, but you know what I mean...)

So I hope your spring has been exciting as well. It's been 80+ degrees for the last four days and I completed the first yard mowing of the year today. I guess that means summer is on its way whether I like it or not.

Don't know about you, but I think I'm ready for a vacation.