Sunday, August 30, 2009

First Comes Stumble...

Then comes fall. (Hardy har. Yes, I know.) But, honestly, when did this happen?! I know I posted a similar opening for August, but whoa up. *sigh* I guess I'm ready, though. Fall and winter are among my favorite seasons. And I realize that doesn't leave many others. You can guess where summer ranks.

Let's go with the to-do list!

1. Prepare for the new TV season. Ok--so preparing really doesn't mean much more than figuring out a weekly viewing schedule. I let handle this for me.

2. Consider a closet purge. It would be a good time to go through clothes and shoes and donate some to Goodwill. They'll take books, too, but that one is a bit harder for me.

3. Remember birthdays! September is a huge birthday month for several people in my life. Off the top of my head, I'm counting 5 but should probably double-check. I probably need to go ahead and stamp some envelopes.

On the not-to-do list?

1. Allow myself to get overwhelmed at work. I started a new position about two weeks ago, and so far, so good. I just have to remember to say no to some things. (Sugar, notwithstanding.)

2. Forget to take some time off! The vacation day count is around 13, and I'm ready to cash in. :)

What's on your September calendar?

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I don't think so. Today is about relaxing and recuperating, and to that end, I have a pile of magazines that aren't going to read themselves.

I do subscribe to several, and when I can't (or don't) get to them for a few weeks, I sort of feel overwhelmed. But a day like this makes that go away.

On the agenda are a few issues of New York Magazine (thanks again, K!), GQ (totally tacky cover about Michael Jackson), Real Simple, and a few catalogs. I am going to get a notepad, pen, and glass of water and just settle in. Usually I'm looking to write down new websites as well as bands, books, and movies. The variety of publications before me ensures a range of new discoveries.

Do you subscribe to any magazines?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stop. Pause. Delay. Whoa up.

Some of the blogs, articles, and other communique that I've been reading lately have made mention to this idea. And it's definitely not a new one, but it's a good one to stumble upon from time to time.

Just stop and live in the moment. Observe what's around you and be thankful. (This is a general reminder to me as well; I'm not trying to be ultra-didactic.)

This thought struck me last Sunday as I was emptying my EnviroVac in the backyard. I just took a minute, looked around, and realized that all the things that I allow to bother me and get me down are pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. This is a view from my back yard. (The corn belongs to the neighbors.)

I'm thankful for my general health (stomach bug aside) and for having every material thing I really need. I'm thankful for blogs and chocolate and paper and (oh yeah!) friends. And for you for reading my blog. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


In spite of my (hopefully) almost-gone stomach bug, I am reminiscing about a meal I recently had--at home, no less.

It's a cheeseburger! The very idea! Usually I'm not a big burger person, but every once in a while, I'm jonesing for one. I just used honey wheat bread. And those are zesty fries. Yes. Zesty. It's not exactly health food, but it's quite delicious.


One of my favorite things is to put condiments in a simple ramekin. It really churches it up, and I like the way it looks. Plus, it's so much easier to dip without the sauce getting all over the other foods.
I've had these for a long time and seem to remember getting them at Pier One for about $1 each. I hope you're digging our old-school countertops, too.

Sidenote: Ramekin is a difficult word. It's one that I see quite a bit but couldn't remember how to spell. It's not even in my Merriam Webster! I'm blaming the bug.

Monday, August 24, 2009


In an attempt to get back to my life as I like to know it, I was going to do this nice post about slowing down and being grateful. I even have a nice picture. Then the ol' blogsite decides to not upload said picture. I tried many times. And then I was reminded that I'm not feeling well.

Since last Thursday I've been duking it out with what I'm hoping is only a little stomach bug--albeit a scrappy one. My diet has mostly consisted of chicken noodle soup and all manner of cracker--saltines, peanut butter and crackers, and, to round out the buffet, oyster crackers. Now my back is hurting, and I am so tired. Can I just whine for a minute?


Ok. That's a little better. That bug is putting up a good fight, but it will not get a TKO. Please stay tuned for more (and much better and more positive) posts very soon, hopefully when I'm back on solids.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tommy Against Dirty

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I love method. As they tend to do for their advocates, method sent me a little care package about a week ago. It was a flat box of four giveaway samplers, each with four mini versions of some of their most popular cleaners and coupons for full-size purchases.

As a thank-you to me, they included a little note on one side and a coupon on the other. I got this awesome T-shirt for free with my latest purchase!

It's American Apparel, people! And isn't it funny? I quite like it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I Only Wanna Share It With You...

Confession: I have never been a huge 80s music fan. Several of my friends are quite appalled by this fact, but I stand by it. I am all 90s, all the way. However, there are definitely some jewels in the 80s crown, and Heart has to be right in the middle.

On Saturday I had the pleasure of accompanying my friend Holly to see Heart at the Memphis Botanic Garden, and wow--what a show! Sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson are pushing 60, but they turned it out like I have not seen before. They played every song, including rock gems, classic ballads, and excellent covers of the likes of Led Zeppelin, with gusto and...well...what else? heart!

Songs included most of their hits, like "These Dreams," "Magic Man," and "Barracuda." Did you know that their hit "Crazy On You" is featured on Guitar Hero?! Holly was right; they totally ripped off Nancy's signature kick move.

But my favorite tune of the night was "What About Love." It's one of those seminal 80s songs that is just epic. When I think of music from that time, this is one of the songs that sticks in my mind. It's undoubtedly on every Time Life compilation from that decade. Don't let it slip away, people. Don't. Click that link and let me share it with you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Million Little Years Ago

I'm just a few years late on this one, but it's ok. And my picture (from doesn't really have anything to do with this post, except I think it's what James may have looked like in rehab. Well, plus a few bruises and stitches and scowls.

Anywho, I'm talking about A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard, both by James Frey. Yes, he lied about some of his experiences in rehab. Yes, Oprah first endorsed and later lambasted him. But he also survived a very dangerous lifestyle. His first book is about his addictions to every kind of drug and alcohol imaginable and how he made it through rehab. The second one is about his best friend from rehab, an intriguing character that he calls Leonard.

At several hundred pages each, the books may seem intimidating at first, but I promise that they're pretty fast reads. It's difficult to say much without stating the obvious or giving anything else away, but I recommend trying them out. If you're offended by f-bombs and run-on sentences, then you should look elsewhere. Honestly, though, these books are stories of survival, and they're moving and funny while having tons of heart. Although he should not have embellished his story, I'm glad he shared the gist of it with us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quickie Specs

It's late, but I wanted to post a lil' something. This is a picture of the football field, which is surrounded by the track where I walk/attempt to run short distances.

It's at the local high school, and I like the way the sun is going down and the sprinklers indicate that it's back-to-school time.

As always, thanks for reading! I hope that your week is going well.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Best Laid Desserts

I set out today to make a three-layer "celestial" chocolate cake to celebrate another friend's banki-versary tomorrow. The book shows a resplendent picture of three dark chocolate cakes, cushioned by luscious whipped cream and enveloped by a creamy chocolate frosting.

First I consulted the recipe and gathered my supplies.

Then I creamed the butter and sugar. Remember to leave out butter, eggs, and most cold ingredients for several hours before baking so that they come to room temperature. This is the case for most recipes.

I ended up with a ton of rich, chocolate-y batter, which I poured into three prepared pans. Then I baked at 350 degrees for about 27 minutes. The kitchen was smelling good. And I was excited to see the results.

Unfortunately, and despite what I felt to be sufficient pre-greasing and flouring, the little buggers stuck to the pan. Badly. And I got irritated.

Then I had an idea.

I turned the broken cakes into a trifle, using the same whipped cream and substituting chocolate chips and some frozen whipped topping. (That's Cool Whip.) It's not exactly the same as the recipe, but it should be ta-ta-ta-tasty when eaten ta-ta-ta-tomorrow.

I'm trying to see this as a metaphor...and a reminder to always keep certain necessities on hand.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Purdy Ducks

I saw this commercial the other day and freaked out just a little. Not only is it flippin' baby ducks, but it's also a very good song by Joe Purdy. If you're not familiar with his low-key, simple but moving music, then you should change that on the double.

He's had music on soundtracks, most notably Grey's Anatomy and LOST, and a Kia commercial ("Just Can't Seem To Get It Right Today"), but I recommend getting familiar by the time you finish reading this post. You can play all of his music for free right here. And I'm not talking 30 second samples. It's full songs, full CDs. This seems rare for musicians today, especially independent ones.

When I worked on campus, I would pull that page up in a different window and just listen for hours at a time at a very reasonable volume. I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Porch Concert...What Could Be Better?

Last night I was so lucky to have been invited to a house concert, hosted by the lovely and talented Deanna. It was held on the porch of her mom's house in the country, about two hours away from where I live. That's not to say that where I live is not the country. We do have a Wal-Mart, though. Look out.

Lauren Zettler and her accompanist Cam opened the evening with an excellent rendition of "Man in the Mirror," and continued with several originals that were just too good. She commented on how pretty the landscape is and how different it is from New York, her stomping grounds. She's so talented and charming.

Next up were The Stellas, most famous for their time on CMT's "Can You Duet?". Marylynne and Brad are a married couple from Canada who just bought a house near Nashville and have been singing for 14 years. They sang many songs, both originals and covers (including a chill-inducing version of "Love Hurts"), and had lots of funny moments of banter. They even said aboot for about. Plus, Marylynne counts Patty Griffin among her favorites. That sealed the deal.

We had a wonderful and low-key time, especially after the sun (and mercury) went down. I probably should've taken up Ann Marie's offer of bug spray, but I skipped it. And today my feet are red and irritated. It was worth it, though. The most.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Truckin' Right Along

It seems like I just did a similar post for July, no? I don't know why, but these weeks seem to be flying by faster than usual. The local schoolkids started back today, which just seems wrong to me. I know it does to them.

At any rate, it's time for my monthly lists. Some things to-do:

1. Remember Aunt Sue. She will be moved to a nursing home very soon for what we're hoping to be a successful recovery.

2. Be grateful. This goes along with thoughts of Aunt Sue and yesterday's post, but it's something I really want to be conscious of. As crunchy as it sounds, I've often read articles about keeping a gratitude journal. Has anyone done this?

3. Consider attending the local county fair. I used to go almost EVERY night as a child, but as I got a little older (about 17-ish), the shine wore off. I don't know if it was the carnies or the phosphates or what, but it lost that spark. Now, as Holly likes to remind me, it's prime people watching. The county fair brings out citizens of every stripe--and their penchant for underwear-as-outerwear.

Here are a few things on my not-to-do list:

1. Neglect my fitness. Oh, humidity, how you pain me so! Plus, I need some peppy workout tunes. What do you recommend, faithful readers?

2. Buy things just because they're on sale. I struggle with this one because sometimes I stumble upon a bargain and save money. But how many plain black T-shirts does one need without living in Paris in the 1950s and smoking skinny cigarettes with reckless abandon? I could talk for days about this philosophy (shopping, not beatniks), but I'll stop for now.

3. Text while driving! Ahhh! This is a self-imposed no-no, and I found myself doing it yesterday. Even though I was giving my brother an update on the hospital ETA, it's no excuse. I could have had mom do it from the passenger seat, but--well, she doesn't know how. Plus, TWD is now against the law where I live.

Here's to a great August! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Little Things and Big Things

Ok, so you may be wondering what a picture from Christmas is doing here in August. I would have wondered the same thing until today. Because of a visit to the hospital to see my Aunt Sue, who suffered a stroke a few days ago, I was reminded to be grateful for everything in my life--from the little things to the big things--and to try to be conscious of them at all times.

It was so hard to see this woman who has always been so in control of her life lying in a hospital bed, barely able to move or communicate with us. My niece Leah (pictured) broke my heart when she petted Aunt Sue's hand and told her she was praying for her. It really made me think about all the whining and complaining I do that I don't even mean to do or realize that I'm doing. An unexpected red light or setback at work or empty snack drawer really pales in comparison to someone fighting for her life.

This image of Leah at Christmas, so intent on discovering what Santa had brought, is a great example of the things I want to keep in mind more often. I hope you may be inspired to do the same, and while you're at it, please send out a prayer or a positive thought or a good vibe for my Aunt Sue. Thanks.