Friday, December 28, 2007

The Ubiquitous New Year Blog

Heard the eternal footman
Bought himself a bike to race
And Greg he writes letters
And burns his CDs
They say you were something in those formative years
Hold onto nothing
As fast as you can
Well still pretty good year

The slightly depressing overtones of "Pretty Good Year" by Tori Amos is not representative of my pretty good year, but I love that song.

I don't do resolutions. I don't like the word for some reason. It's too formal and imposing. That and most resolutions people make are a tad shallow - to the point that they make them just to make them.

So I won't call them resolutions. I'll call them plans to attempt to do better. And I have several in mind for the coming year. I'm hoping (PLEASE LORD) that this will be a turn-around year for me. I'll finish my MT certification in Spring, so hopefully I'll be able to get out of this horrible Accounts Payable rut. I've already started eating better (thanks to my health-conscious Corey), and I plan to quit smoking after my physical in a couple weeks. Anyway, here they are.

* Quit Smoking - As I mentioned above, I'm going to ask my Doctor about the best options for quitting smoking. As soon as I have a good option and the prescription and/or the money to get the necessary accoutrements, I'll quit. And (I think I mentioned this before) for added incentive, if I'm quit for over 3 months, Corey's going to shave his beard off so I can finally see his whole face if only for a couple days.

* REALLY start cooking more and paying more attention to what I eat - I'm doing a lot better than I did a year or so ago, but it could still be better. I need to cook more and make sure I have leftovers for lunch, and start snacking on the right stuff and stop going to the Taco Bell after class.

*Exercise more - yes, Corey and I go hiking when we can and yes, I move around a lot and I park way back at the grocery store, but I need to do more. I'm not overweight or even really chunky at all, but I need to get into better shape - I have Yoga and Pilates DVDs just waiting on me at home. I'm hoping that I'll be able to get into a better routine and start doing at least a few minutes every day. Quitting smoking will help tremendously, because right now, working out on my mini trampoline just about kills me after like two minutes.

*Work on my Friggin' Writing more - I love to write. I love to think about writing. I love to talk about writing. I love to improve my writing. But I'm just not making the time. I get home from work or school and I'm completely drained and end up watching a movie or playing a PC game. I don't know why. I guess I just hate the idea of only spending an hour or two on it. I perfer marathon writing sessions and I feel like that's the only way I can really make progress. I just need to buck up and quit being so damn lazy.

*Be more frugal - I budget everything, but something in me gets inspired by the presence of a little extra cash in my account and I feel the need to spend it on something fun (i.e. a game, DVD, or CD). Because of this, I don't have internet at home, I haven't bought new clothes in WAY too long, and all of my shoes are getting ragged.

*Be less self-centered - I admit it. I am rather self-centered. That's not to say that I'm selfish. I just have a hard time thinking outside of myself. This needs to improve. I'm a lot better than I used to be, but I still have (a lot of) room for improvement. I'm not sure how to accomplish this, because I've been this way for nearly 30 years. I'm a little comforted by the fact that it seems to be inherited and by the fact that I realize it. But still. I need to do better.

*Finish those projects I really want to do - I have a table-top CD rack whose parts are stained on one side, and nowhere near being built. I have a slew of recipes ready to be typed up and put into a more convienient recipe book. I have an Organizational Manuscript that I have only begun working on. All of these things need to be finished. I just haven't had the time/motivation to get off my butt long enough to get going.

*Clean my effing apartment - and keep it clean. It's a MESS. A horrible mess. I haven't vacuumed in months, there's stuff strewn all over the place, Corey keeps tripping over shoes I've left out in the middle of the floor, there's a pile of books waiting to be put into a box, there's absolutely no empty spots to place things on my end table, and my bathroom is a wreck. I don't know how I manage to get everything so messy so quick. Sure, it may be a sign of genius, but it's also a sign of laziness.

So there's my list of improvements to make in the new year. I suspect this is the year where I finally act like the adult I learned how to be this year.

By the way - new blog on my livejournal (the one dedicated to my writing) if you're so inclined.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Good Stuff

But I won't sell no flowers no that ain't my gig
And I won't sell no cow, fish, fowl or pig
But I'll sell a bucket of peaches to Prine
'Cept he's got his own tree so he ain't shakin' mine

Corey and I were talking last night, and we realized that we sure do a lot of complaining considering how lucky we are. Yes, I hate my job and his is becoming more stressful. Yes, we are surrounded by crazy people with entirely too many made-up issues. Yes, we are poor. Yes, we're both busy. Yes, neither of us is where we want to be nor doing what we want to do.

But we really are so lucky. We have an amazing time together. We love each other and there's nothing complicated about our relationship at all. We have wonderful friends who we have a blast with (when they're in town), we're both healthy and vibrant and young.

So what's with all the bitching?

I've decided to dedicate this blog (on all my blogs) to Good Stuff only.

It's list time, people.

Things I like that are good:

- Being a mad scientist of the culinary persuasion. Experimenting with recipes is fun.

- Peggle, Chocolatier, The Sims, Civ 4 - I'm sorry, but PC games are fun and addictive and they make me happy.

- Coming up with new "project" ideas - whether it be the recipe book I want to put together, the quote book I want to play with, the table top CD shelf I want to build, or The Organizational Manuscript for one of my novels. It's all fun and it's all productive.

- When I'm actually able to stay up all night writing.

- Sitting in a coffee shop with a Wi-Fi connection, doing research, and sipping coffee; periodically looking up and seeing Corey being equally creative.

- Steak and Shake Friday nights

- Corey's zen face.

- When Krishna is in town and/or visiting her in Tallahassee.

- KITFO NIGHT with Misha!

- Canoe trips with NERA.

- Hiking trips with Corey.

- (leaving out buyer's remorse)

- "My Name is Jorge" by The Gourds

- Rediscovering the brilliance of an album I haven't listened to in a while.

- Playing with PrintShop and Publisher.

- Watching Arrested Development


- Realizing that my Mom REALLY does value my opinion.

I could keep going forever here - and now I feel better.

Hope y'all do too.

Now - in all their glorious Silliness - The Gourds doing "My Name is Jorge"

Monday, November 26, 2007

*burp* Excuse Me.

Turkey for me
Turkey for you
Let's eat the turkey
In my big brown shoe

I don't think I've ever eaten so much in my life. Not necessarily in one sitting, but more this weekend than probably any other. Why? Boyfriend's Family duty. Ah yes, that glorious moment in a relationship when you meet the boyfriend's folks.

Corey had met my folks a couple of times, and one of my brothers and the corresponding sister-in-law. This time he met my other brother and sister-in-law, and my grandmother. And as usual, he was all but ignored at my family meal save a couple times when my eldest brother asked a few "tell-me-about-yourself" questions, which Corey answered politely and concisely. And I'm sure Grandmother was too busy trying to figure out if his hair was as long or longer than mine or my mother's had ever been and formulating the sweetest possible way to ask "why are you dating a long-haired boy?" It really doesn't matter what the rest of the family thinks, because my mother adores him and her word is generally the law. Score a big 50 points for Corey. So (to bring this rambling paragraph to a point) Corey is already in solid with my set. So it was just a matter of how I could do with his set - or vice versa. And that matter was resolved Sunday.

Apparantly, I am the only girlfriend that he has ever brought home. His dad and grandmother had met several of his female friends, but never a girl he was actually dating. When he informed me of that Saturday night, I was both honored and consumed with apprehension. His family situation is a bit odd. Corey is the person both his dad and his grandmother depend on for...well...pretty much everything. And that can become really stressful for him. Especially when they start to act out for one reason or another. They're good people, don't get me wrong, but they've been dealt several lousy hands and they tend to take it out on the wrong people sometimes.

So I haven't nagged Corey about not meeting them for so long. It's understandable that he's cautious about bringing new people into the family mix. So I can only perceive this as a good sign.

I think he was more nervous about it than I was when we pulled into his grandmother's driveway. And it appeared that they were more nervous about it than either me or Corey - which is really out of line with my other experiences. His grandmother greeted me warmly and held on to my hand all the way into the kitchen. It was really kind of sweet. His dad was just a jumble of nerves and did the nervous gabbering thing that Corey had warned me about (and that Corey does himself sometimes). Almost immediately, we sat down to eat at a table that was loaded down with food. It was really good. Most of the conversation, however was between the family members and his dad's lady friend (a very sweet little lady who sadly had to go to a funeral right after dinner - so I didn't get to talk to her as much as I would have liked). I suppose they were just trying not to make any missteps.

After supper, Corey's dad drove his lady friend to the funeral, leaving Corey and I alone with his grandmother (YIPES!). But I love her. She's a very sweet little lady, who I actually have a lot in common with. We talked about dishes and ceramics and Carnival Glass, and I think that really impressed her. Corey says she can sometimes be a little mean, and I can see that she could, but she was well-behaved Sunday, and I just love her to pieces. She's a lot like my grandmother in some ways, and I was glad we had some talking points. I think she liked me. At least I REALLY hope she does.

When his dad returned (without his lady friend), we were all sitting in the little TV room. He grabbed a piece of sour cream pie (which was really yummy) and joined in. He was still a little gabbery, but I like his dad a lot. I see a lot of him in Corey. They're both kind of shy. The difference there is that Corey doesn't speak out of shyness and his dad can't stop talking out of shyness. Sounds weird I know, but I think that's what it is. Corey's rather more well-centered than his dad too.

We knew a lot of the same people, and come to find out, our families are well acquainted with a LOT of the same people. That's a small town and two old families for you. Corey's dad knew my Granddaddy too, and that's usually a big point in my favor when they discover who he was. I think his dad liked me pretty well too. Again, I REALLY hope he does.

I'm just glad I survived unscathed. And I'm glad to know more about Corey's family. It really helps shed some light on his character.

I think I've rambled long enough.

Monday, November 19, 2007

To Resist Coffee Addiction

I have never owned a coffee maker in my entire life.

I always drink tea and Cokes (that means Diet Dr. Pepper) for my caffine fix. But Corey is a coffee fiend. The man MUST have his coffee in the morning or he just can't get going. So the fact that I don't have a coffee maker has been a slight problem. He was going to the nearby Hardee's every Saturday and Sunday morning (while I'm still trying to wake up) to grab us both some coffee and a biscuit. This has become a bit of a pain to him and the biscuits (I always get country ham) were putting me in fear for my figure.

So Friday night when we both needed to go to Wal-Mart (or as Corey theorizes, the only true reality - he's on the cat food aisle right now and I'm in skin care), he had apparantly had enough and bought a coffee maker for me (himself).

While I don't generally drink coffee, I do appreciate a cup now and again. My instructor this quarter snuck a Mr. Coffee into the computer lab, which has been irresistable and handy for those 5-hour classes.

So I was already primed to start down the dark path of coffee addiction.

When Corey made his coffee Saturday morning, the smell of it brewing roused me. What a nice smell. It was also nice to have a fresh decanter waiting for me when I woke up. It was even more nice to wake up and greet a caffinated and therefore more personable Corey.

All of this was so nice in fact (my resolve was already wavering mind you), that while I was starting to feel depleted before I was ready to conclude my movie marathon last night, I went ahead and made some for myself. Bad Jennifer.

This could lead to a slippery slope, so I'm determined to resist the daily nightcap. To firm my resolve, I only had tea this morning.

While I'm sure Corey would be triumphant if he turned me into a habitual coffee drinker, I will prevail. I'm certain the novelty will wear off pretty quickly (for me).

In the meantime, I bet that coffee maker will come in pretty handy when I make my two pumpkin pecan pies for Thanksgiving - oh, and all the goodies my family has come to expect from me around Christmas...and when I feel like writing late into the night...

Dude, somebody stop me now.

From Hoodwinked:

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Cliffs of Insanity!!!

This storm it came up strong
It shook the trees
And blew away our fear
I couldn't even hear

You know how when you've had horrible experiences in the past, all new experiences of the same sort (either good or bad) have a sort of shakey presence in your mind? That's where I am at the moment.

Everything is going so remarkably well with Corey that I'm beginning to fear the worst. The bottom has always fallen out on my relationships in the past, so I guess I'm just fearful that it will here too. I know it's not right to always be in fear of things going wrong, and I do fight very strongly against it.

I don't fear at all when Corey's around. It's just the whole, "Is he okay? Did he get to work all right? Is he lying face down on the asphalt somewhere?" thing. Just abject, unreasonable worry. I'll get past it soon enough, though. I generally get over this sort of thing pretty quickly.

Other than the whole Jennifer losing her mind thing, things really are amazing with Corey.

Last weekend, during the paddle trip, I was teasing him viciously. When he flashed the "mean ole girlfriend" face and threatened to call DFACS for a foster girlfriend (again), I let slip an apologetic, "I love you." He just grinned and said that he loved me too. This was a first, and I was happy with that because he honestly doesn't have to say it. I know.

But then that Sunday when he was about to head home to get ready for the mean ole' week, I got the very first, out and out, direct, "I love you" from him. Although I already knew that he loves me and he knew that I love him, it certainly was nice to hear it.

Ever since then, I get the declaration once a day - and that's more than enough.

I hate saying it too often, because almost every time I've said it previously, it was overused. Then (inevitably) the relationship ended up falling flat, and I ended up eating my words. The "I love you" declaration is too often and easily used as a band-aid for a doomed relationship. I refuse to allow that with Corey.

Anyway, here's to many more lazy Sunday viewings of the Princess Bride and more of JW's wine. Love really is a splendid thing.

Corey looking delightfully rugged on the river.

REM doing "Half a World Away" - one of my favorite REM songs.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Photo Blog Preview

Yeah, I'm a big blogging blockhead (alliteration is fun) and I have sadly neglected my poor little blog. But I've finally got some pics edited and ready to post once I'm able to get my laptop and myself somewhere with a WiFi connection. In the meantime, I do have a couple pics here. One was taken by Krishna, and the other is just...well...entertaining.

Here it is - one of maybe five or six total pictures I have of Corey. Yeah, Krishna got us with our mouths full. Thanks. :^p

I saw this pic of Ryan Adams doing his Rob Halford impression on a message board. He's so silly - but you've got to give him props for not taking himself too seriously.

Will be doing a proper blog very soon. And I mean it this time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I haven't posted in nearly a month! I've just been that busy and that preoccupied with various aspects of my crazy life.

I will eventually mention something about the Tallahassee trip and various other things. And I will eventually post some of my newer pictures (including pictures of the elusive Corey). But for the time being, it's just a few little snippets.

This past weekend Ihad supper with one of my ex-boyfriends. One of the less recent ones and the one I dated for the longest time. I did tell Corey about it and he had no problems with it because he's just that amazingly wonderful.

The ex I saw will henceforth be known as Sparky. I dated Sparky the last few years of and the first half year after college. He was a nice guy. Really happy-go-lucky, a bit of a hippy, and a major Phish Head. And he's still a nice, happy-go-lucky, hippyish kinda guy. And I enjoyed hanging out with him.

But, I can say with more than great confidence that it's a good thing we're not together anymore. He's pretty much exactly the same guy he was six or seven years ago. Me, not so much. Things that I used to love about him got on my nerves, and I think he wasn't used to me having a backbone. So I ended up wishing I was with Corey.

Don't get me wrong, it was great to see him. And I'd forgotten how easy/fun it is to hang out with the guy, but thats all. It was as if we'd never been more than friends. And that brought closure. And I don't overanalyze my relationship with Corey anymore because all I need to know is that I'm glad I'm dating him.

And that's that.

I'll post a proper blog soon - I hope.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Friggin' Reality

Nothin' ever seems to turn out right
I don't wanna grow up.
How do you move in a world of fog
That's always changing things
Makes me wish that I could be a dog
When I see the price that you pay
I don't wanna grow up
I don't ever wanna be that way
I don't wanna grow up.

Despite the occasional urge to pitch a hissy fit complete with kicking and screaming and the holding of breath, I really don't mind growing up. It's actually quite nice. But new developments of a certain nature have gotten me looking to cause an unnecessary scene.

So both folks who peruse my blog probably know all about the situation with my grandmother. If not, just a quick overview of the whole messy thing:
Grandmother is 93 and she has a very advanced case of osteoporosis. She recently fractured her shoulder, making it clear to everyone (even Grandmother reluctantly) that she can't be alone at all anymore. The past few weeks, Mom and Dad and me and my Uncle have been trading out staying with her for certain periods at night (we have a lady who stays with her during the day too). Mom and my Uncle have been spending the night.

Well, now a decision has been reached. Grandmother will stay for a month at a time at my parents' house and my aunt and uncle's. Neither one of them can handle her being there all the time. Grandmother may be brittle, but she's still fiesty and EXTRAORDINARILY stubborn. And the prospect of putting her in a home is just too much for her and for everybody else. That and it's horribly expensive.

So of course, they're selling the house. And I am thinking about buying it. I just don't want it to go to somebody who won't take care of it. I also am of the mind that Grandmother might be a little bit easier knowing that one of her grandkids is there taking care of it. And I'm tired of throwing money down a rent hole every month. But Mom handed me a heavy dose of reality last night.

I knew the house was a fixer-upper. There's not even a shower in there - just an old cast iron tub (which is SO staying if I can help it). But then you get into the nitty gritty. The wiring most definitely needs to be repaired if not entirely replaced, there may be a major mess under the siding (which has been there since the 50s), and I'll eventually need to do something about the plumbing. I could deal with the ancient old gas heater for a while, but it'd probably be a good idea to get central heat and air in there at some point. And before I can do anything, we have to get it apraised and inspected before I can even go talk to the bank. How the hell does one accomplish/pay for that?!

On the other hand, I know how much I can afford to pay for the house and repairs. And I'd be buying from family. My boss has a lot of good connections and I can ask advice from him in many cases (and he's very cool about that sort of thing). I'd have my own place I could paint/decorate any way I want and a garden to plant tomatoes and flowers in. I could have a cat. And it'd still be in the family.

I just wish I didn't have to do all this waiting around and dealing with the uncertainty.

Oh, and advice is more than welcome!

Tom Waits doesn't want to grow up either. Be prepared for much Tom wierdness.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


My back was turned I did not see
that shadow climbing up on me.
I took my turn at fixing hearts
but that goes bad before it starts.

I know it was over a week ago, but just for s&g's, here are some pictures I took from the Jason Isbell show. Not the best, but we were on the balcony and there was a lot of cigarette smoke between us and the band.

It was an awesome show. Isbell will have no problem holding his own whether he's gone solo or goes back to the Drive By Truckers. The new album is eloquent and gorgeous and I would not hesitate to see him play live again. He played everything I wanted to hear, and he was great with the crowd (in his own way). He's uber laid-back, but at the end of the show, he shook every hand that streatched out to his. He was genuine and kind and it thrilled me to see it...

...even if he does look freakishly like my high school boyfriend, Luke.

On another note:

I've decided that, instead of continuing to torture myself over the fact that I can't seem to get past this certain section of my book, I'm going to read more. I need to read more anyway, but I've been looking at certain things that might light a fire under my ass or inspire me in some way or in the very least supply me with more allusions and literary tricks and treats. Of course I'll still be writing when the mood strikes, but taking notes and reading what other people write often gets my mind bending toward a better way to execute my frustrating little passion of telling tales.

Any suggestions would be more than welcome by the way.

Still Another Note:

My 93-year-old grandmother fell and fractured her shoulder. Even in a healthy 93-year-old, this is a big deal, but my grandmother has osteoporosis really really badly, so she's doing well to sit in her chair without crumbling. I sat with her a couple nights last week. She's really annoyed that she can't do anything. It's really a horrible thing to have as sharp a mind as ever, but to be unable to do much anything with it because the body's in such bad shape. I love her endlessly, but she can be pretty difficult in this state. My mother said it, and I belived it, but I didn't feel it until these couple days I sat with her: Grandmother is the most stubborn person who ever lived. She could give a mule lessons in stubborn. It's absolutely unreal. She will NOT be moved, no matter how small or insignificant the case may be. Throw 93 and brittle into the bargain and you've got yourself a handful. The thing that amazes me is that I don't even get it half as bad as my mom. Bless her heart - in a truly and deeply sincere way - bless her heart.

Just remind me to take my calcium.


I've had days when he almost started to get on my nerves, which is a big fear with me. I'm terrified that I lose interest in every decent man I come in contact with. But then he stopped getting on my nerves and I ended up liking him even more. This cycle has run through about twice. So I'm feeling pretty good about this whole Corey/Jennifer thing right now. Y'all keep your fingers crossed for this one. He's worth routing for.

Yeah, he's dreamy.

So here's some more Jason Isbell - I'm just terribly impressed.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Miracle of Life and A Short-Lived Weekend

Girl, better figure out which is which
Wherefore art thou Romeo you son of a bitch
You'd just as soon fight as switch now wouldn't you
He's come to make love on your satin sheets
Wake up on your living room floor
He's the last of the hard-core troubadours

The lyrics to "Hard-Core Troubadour" have absolutely nothing to do with my blog other than the fact that I bought a Steve Earle album and will be forced to purchase ALL OF THEM as soon as finacially possible. He is just...THE MAN!

So my blogging senses have been slightly dulled lately because...well...ain't much going on. I could do a brief diatribe on one of the many evils of the world that bite my ass particualarly hard, but I complain enough as it is, so I won't insult anyone's intelligence with it.

I did see "The Miracle of Life" in my Medical Terminology class. You know, the old-school NOVA special that has been grossing out Sex Ed and Lamaze classes for over two decades? Yeah, that one. It was interesting to say the least. I had no idea doctors pulled the poor kids out so forcefully. I don't have any kids, so all of this was new to me except for the science and just the familiarity of having those mysterious lady parts.

I was annoyed at my instructor though (which is not exactly a rare circumstance) because she actually fast-forwarded through the first part. And for those who haven't seen it, it isn't what you think. The first part is actually kind of an overview on the theories of how life began on earth. Of course, I understand that these theories and the theory of evolution are very controversial topics, but to completely disregard them, to the point that you won't show anything on the subject to your students is unconcionable for a teacher. Everyone has to make up their own mind, and that is really difficult to do until you have as much information as possible for both sides of the argument. But I really don't want to get into a debate, so I'll leave it at that. It just ticked me off.

Having already gotten over the outrage of missing the first ten minutes of "The Miracle of Life", I headed for Rome after work Friday to meet Corey. It had been a while since we'd hung out in Rome together, just the two of us, so I volunteered to drive the 20 miles since he works there. We had supper at Harvest Moon, which just seems to get fancier and fancier. But it was really good. I LOVED the seared tuna appetizer we had even if it was just a sushi serving.

They've opened at little bakery-type place right next door and connected to Harvest Moon, so Corey and I decided to check it out after supper - especially when we saw that they have home-made gelato. We ended up with a small gelato each, and I went ahead and treated us both to some super-rich and fancy pasteries for Saturday morning. We strolled along Broad Street while we finished our gelatos, and then headed for the Barnes and Noble. Corey got to witness the epitome of indecisive Jennifer as I tried to decide between buying both or only one of the albums I wanted. I bought both because I'm a bad monkey. But Steve Earle and Josh Ritter were worth it.

I also met another of Corey's friends this weekend. This friend and his wife live near Chattanooga and were in town for the weekend, so we met them at his parents' house. A house that I LOVE. It's built kind of into a hill, so it's mostly underground with a lawn acting as a roof. They also have a beautifully situated pool and pool house. In any case, I really enjoyed hanging out and chatting with these folks. I will not be averse to seeing them again. Corey had been a little nervous about his friend's wife, as he had a theory that she just doesn't like other women. But she seemed to like me and even hugged me when we left. Maybe I'm just that cool.

Sunday, we really didn't do much anything, and toward the afternoon, poor Corey got a little bit listless. He felt the need to hike or do something, but he really didn't want to as it has just been too hot. I did everything I could to make him feel better, and I think he did after a while, but the day passed in a useless sort of fashion until he headed on back home to get a jump on the week. I went to the grocery store and that was that.

Corey still has some hermit tendencies, but that doesn't stop him from coming to see me every day of the week for at least a few minutes. I guess he's still getting used to being half of a couple. Frankly, I'm still getting used to it too. It's not like other relationships I've been in, which is actually a good thing. But it has taken some getting used to. Still, I think it's worth it because he's precious and better suited to me than anyone I've ever dated before. I know he cares about me very much, but I think that kind of scares him. So many people he's cared for have either passed away too soon or continue to suffer from any number of physical and mental hardships. And he really feels it. He's a worrier by nature, so he wears himself out thinking about and trying to come up with something he can do or something he can say to make it all better. I've been kind of trying to get him to accept the fact that he can't please everybody all the time (including me), and he's been getting better. Still, I sometimes wonder if he thinks he's cursed in some way.

Anyway, enough of that. How was y'all's weekend?

And by all means, love the brilliance that is Steve Earle. I know he ain't pretty, but who cares?

Monday, August 6, 2007

My New Wings

I'll take the red clay robe
with the red clay wings,
And a red clay halo for my head.

I had hoped that this blog would contain many pictures of me and Corey having a blast on the river, but alas, it was not to be.

As none of you will remember, NERA had its paddle trip down the Oostanaula on Saturday: the official one. I was really really looking forward to doing this with Corey, but he had been sick all week and he was still sick on Saturday.

I had been sick too, but I was over it by Friday. Saturday morning, we got up early and Corey kept saying, "Yeah, *cough, cough* I can make it baby *sneeze, sneeze*, I wouldn't *sniff sniff* miss it!" It took a lot of convincing and cajoling to get him to believe that I would not drown or be taken hostage by river pirates or eaten by river dingos if he wasn't there. It also took a lot of convincing to make him realize that he would have been miserable if he had come with me. But he finally caved. He settled instead on helping me gather all my crap and driving me to the put-in.

I ended up hitching a ride with Bumper again, who was more than happy to let me crash. I missed Corey the whole time because I know we would have been laughing and having a blast the whole way. And I mourn for the loss of several little songs he probably would have come up with along the way. Because that's how cool my man is.

Because there was no Corey there, I honestly don't have much to tell that would be different from the last trip down the river. Except that Joe, our parent organization's executive director, is hilarious. I had never seen him around his kids, but he must be one of the funnest Dads ever. He and his kids (well, at least one of them was his) kept ramming the other canoes (not hard enough to turn them over) and shooting water cannons at us. It was just silly fun.

They proceeded to sing the Meatball song among others as they paddled, which sent me WAY back. Since then, I haven't been able to stop singing, "On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed." Again I sighed and pouted because Corey wasn't there to join in.

We did have a very slight incident which I didn't see because Bumper, his little boy, and I ended up lagging way behind at one point. A couple of older ladies came on the trip and they hadn't paddled for a very long time. Apparently, they tried to pass over a shoal on the wrong side and ended up stuck between a rock and a big log. They flipped, and one lady apparently got a foot stuck for a minute. Luckily the rapids over the shoal were very tiny and the water rather shallow. They both emerged unscathed and only a little shaken.

When we took out, Corey came and got me, feeling a whole lot better. He said he'd had one of those naps that just completely works wonders. He was feeling well enough to take me to the Steak and Shake in Dalton for much-needed steak burgers and cheddar fries. He had lost some of his steam by the time we got back, but he was still feeling well enough to take care of my major sunburn.

Which brings me to my new wings. I applied SPF 50 (yes, 50) very liberally all over my shoulders and arms and neck when I took my shirt off and put my life jacket over my bikini top. I kept applying. I must have sunscreened my shoulders at least four times during the trip. Was this necessary? OH YES!! For those of you who don't know me personally, you must understand that I have VERY Irish skin. I mean I'm fish-belly white most of the time. So maybe that explains why, despite my four applications of SPF 50, my shoulders still got a little bit burnt.

But the worst was my back. Not my whole back mind you - just the part of my back under my shoulder blades and actually including the tip of my shoulder blade. How, you ask, did this happen? Well, apparently, the sun snuck in through the armholes of the life jacket and did its cooking quietly. Now I look like I have two little red wings. And they hurt like hell. It's the worst I've been burnt in years. I'm super careful about getting too much sun, but it just didn't occur to me that the sun was hitting me in that area. So now leaning back and lying on my back when I go to bed both hurt mightily. But I'm keeping up with the aloe and hopefully my little wings will fade soon.

Anyway, hope y'all had a lovely weekend, and didn't end up being made crispy by the sun.

Here's some Gillian Welch. This song is so me when I was a little girl.

Monday, July 30, 2007

When a Mess Can No Longer Be Justified as a Sign of Genius

Blow up your TV
throw away the paper
Go to the country,
build you a home.

I really couldn't take it anymore. My apartment was a remarkable mess. For a while I was fine with my mess. I knew where everything was, so it was fine.

Then one day I looked around and wondered where in the hell I was going to put my new DVDs and CDs. I saw the VHS tapes I had stacked in liquor boxes and the ones that wouldn't fit sitting in precarious stacks on the floor. On the kitchen table sat piles and piles of burned CDs that hold live shows and various mixes, etc. that acted as a great compliment to the piles and piles of junk mail. And then there was the blue chair. I used to love that blue chair. But after I moved out of the den of evil (a.k.a. where I lived with my horrible ex in Rome) and realized exactly how much his poorly trained dog peed on the thing, I haven't loved it quite so much. And after all, Misha had been kind enough to give me her big gigantic, wonderful chair.

At about the same time I started looking around at the mess, my mom offered to let me have her desk since she really didn't want it anymore and it was only taking up space. Well, that gave me the extra boost I needed.

So I took half a day off Thursday, and have been working on it for the better part of the past several days. Corey was sweet enough to help move the desk in Saturday. I also got a new bookcase type thing to hold all my VHS so my existing shelving unit could be the exclusive home of my DVDs. The cleaning quickly spiraled into rearranging. I got rid of the blue chair, built the new unit, set up the desk and repositioned the big chair. Dude, I even dusted the blades of the ceiling fan and knocked down cobwebs.

Here is the result.

I swear, it feels like total feng sui to me. I imagine the effect would be greatly amplified if I had thought to take "before" shots, but I probably would have been too embarassed to share them.

The desk was just such a nice fringe benefit of all this too. I love my desk. Now I no longer have to go all the way to my bedroom and crawl into the little hole my printer was in. Now it's all easily accessable.

Note the ghetto fabulous desk chair. It's one of my kitchen chairs with the cushions from the big chair (which were just taking up space because I never used them) in a body pillow case. Also note the especially ghetto fabulous hairband-tying method used to keep the pillows in place.

I'm so jazzed about all this that I'm going to start working on the rest of the apartment this week too. I'm going to try to get it all done during the week, because poor darling Corey had to put up with hyper, obsessed, cleaning-mode Jennifer all this past weekend, and nobody deserves to be subjected to that two weekends in a row. The garbage people are just going to love me by the time I'm through.

This isn't even half the crap I tossed.

Note the severly crappy blue chair. Alas. It was good to me while it lasted.

Anyway, once the whole place is spic and span, I will be a very happy little camper. I really think that having a neat place is really helpful to your state of mind. More than that, I think the act of cleaning is really cathartic too.

Breathe in that dust-free air. Aaahhh yes.

Now enjoy John Prine doing "Spanish Pipedream" - trust me, you'll recognize it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

When Working to Live becomes Working to Work to Live

Yeah, that made my head hurt too.

I'm free now to direct a movie
sing a song, or write a book about yours truly
how I'm so interesting, I'm so great
I'm really just a f#!kup and it's such a waste
to burn down these walls around me
flexing like a heartbeat
we don't like to speak
don't talk to me for about a week.

I don't know why this is on my mind so ominously lately. Maybe it's the realization that I really am about to turn 30 and I really need to figure my shit out right quick. Or maybe it's just against my nature to be chained behind a desk. But then, that's just a cop-out. I wonder if ANYONE was meant to be chained behind a desk. And that makes me appear too "special" because I most certainly am about as normal as anyone - almost.

In any case, the point is, that there are not enough hours in a day. There are a thousand things I could be doing right now that could improve my mind, body, and/or spirit, but I can't because I'm trapped in the system of which everyone is a part. Money. You need money to eat, live, and in most cases, you need money to make money. So you have to work.

And while I'm sitting behind my desk doing nothing because all my work is done yet I have to stick around and wait for the phone to ring the two more times it might today, I can see our future (and our present) just as clear as day:

All our little spinning hamster wheels force the other little hamsters run in their wheels faster and vice versa and the cycle continues until half the little hamsters die of massive embolisms or heart attacks because they've been too busy worrying about the other little hamsters that make them look bad to realize that they were sick.

It's really quite depressing. We're too busy to raise our children right, too busy to enjoy ourselves, and too busy to take care of ourselves. I don't think this is what God intended.

I want to finish my book. I want to listen to my music. I want to learn how to crochet. I want to read more. I want to write more. I want to play around with my massive collection of craft paint. I want to travel. Yeah, I know I'm whining, but everybody has a list like this. It just doesn't seem right.

Tonight, for instance, I have to do laundry (which I probably won't do), write an article for NERA, do my Medical Terminology homework, study for a test, and read more Harry Potter. And folks wonder why I always stay up past one AM most nights.

So I do my best. I'm taking my MT classes to ease the stress of destitution a little, and I do what I can on the weekend. So I suppose we'll find a way. Reckon?

Well, I couldn't find the song I quoted ("I'm Free Now") but here's "Buena" by Morphine. Same album at least.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Paddling the Oostanaula

As that river rolls along
I'll be steppin out tonight
On the cool flow,
Floatin down
Down below
The bridge to the waters edge
From the ridge to the ledge
From the hills to the sea
I'll become a memory

I think I may have a new addiction.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I took Monday off work in order to participate in a preliminary paddle trip down the Oostanaula River. We started at the 225 bridge and went through Resaca and all the way back down to the 136 bridge. It took us about 6 hours, but the day went by SOOOO quickly.

I went with a fellow member of the NERA board (David "Bumper"), and the executive director of CRBI (Joe) who kind of helps NERA out from time to time. The purpose for this preliminary run was to make sure the river didn't have any obstructions along the route, to see how deep (or shallow) the water is, and to get together a map of the route that pinpoints points of interest and problem areas. But really, it was just an excuse for us to get out on the river.

Bumper and I took a canoe and Joe took a kayak. Bumper, being the gentleman he is, did most of the paddling, but I did enough to get my arms properly sore. I absolutely loved it.

The water was pretty shallow, but we didn't have to get out and carry the canoe at any point which is a good thing since I'm a wuss and it would have sucked. At the start point, we put in right before the confluence of the the Coosawattee and the Connasauga rivers. These two rivers come together to form the Oostanaula.

The Conasauga to the left and the Coosawattee to the right.

We paddled a good ways, and I just felt like the Lady of Shallot, man: only much less formally and more sloppily dressed - and much less mournful and dead.

We kept on a paddling and having a good old time. I had no idea our river was so pretty. Granted, it's nothing spectacular, but it's ours and you see the county a lot differently from the river than you do the road. And it's so relaxing and just...nice. You know, a really beautiful step out of the ordinary.

The next feature we came across was an old fish wier. For those who don't know, a fish wier is basically a trap that helped the Indians catch more fish quicker. The one we saw may have been put there by early settlers, but it's more than likely a Cherokee structure. They're really simple but brilliant in design. They're usually like a very small dam that doesn't extend above the surface of the water, made of logs and rocks. Most of the time they're built in a sort of "V" shape that kind of chanels the fish to a mid-point. But the one on the Oostanaula was actually diagonal across the entire width of the river. I assume this made it easier for them to fish from the banks or a shallower side of the river.
Joe's Kayak on the Fish Wier

After the wier, we came across a couple of bridges and even a few rapids! Well, I doubt anyone would really call them rapids, but it was fun going through some of those little shoals. There were a couple of areas that were pretty slow and without a whole lot of places of interest, but I enjoyed those areas as much as any. It was really peaceful and it was nice to just paddle and smile and contemplate for a while.

As we came closer to the 41 bridge and the interstate, we came across one of the coolest areas of the river. It's also the deepest, and features a really nice, big rock formation. The water there is about 20 or 30 feet, which is really deep for the Oostanaula. With this combination of factors in Joe's brain, he decided he'd venture a jump from the rocks. Bumper and I were a little concerned about a bit of a shelf area that Joe could have hit if he hadn't jumped out far enough, but he missed it by a long shot and was all smiles after he surfaced. He suggested that we try it. I said, "Not no, but hell no." I think Bumper would have tried it if he hadn't had me in the canoe. Again, being the gentleman he is, I think he would have considered it abandoning his ship and putting his passenger in peril.

Joe jumping off the rocks into the deep water.

Peeking from inside a bit of a little cave.

From this point forward, I had begun to get a little tired and the wind was blowing directly into our faces, so I devloped a little bit of a headache. But that really didn't diminish my good time. For a couple of miles, we kept coming across features in the river we thought might just be natural shoals, but there were too many of them and they were too similar. They were basically piles of rocks coming from either bank, leaving a bit of a chanel in the middle. At first we thought they might be fish wiers that had been partially washed away, because they had the basic beginning of that tell-tale "V" shape. But after Joe thought about it and saw how many there were (at least four to my recollection), he concluded that they might be navigational structures used to keep the cotton barges from getting too close to the shallow banks. Made sense to me, so that's what they'll be in my head until it's proven otherwise.

After the series of navigational doohickies, we again came into some slow water, but at the time, it was pretty much what I needed. The sun had come out and I was getting rather warm. I also used this time to perfect my paddling technique until Bumper basically told me to give it up. Oh well. I'm sure I'll have it down by the time I go with Corey in August.

Toward the end of the 14-15 mile stretch, we came across the old landfill. There's still so much crap in the water, it's not even funny. I hope we'll be able to do a large-scale clean-up over there at some point, because it's ridiculous how much old shit there is messing up our waterway. Sigh. In any case, right after the landfill, we came to the old pump at the water treatment plant where Calhoun used to pump all its water. Now, as I'm told, they get our water from the Coosawattee, which did not experience the massive amount of carpet dye pollution in the 80s that the Oostanaula did. Back then, the water would turn colors and you could cut down a tree and see several multi-colored rings in the cross section. Why are people so stupid?

The last bit of the journey passed by the new river park, which has been sadly overlooked and half-assed by the city government. We're working on that too.

After several native mussel shells, a sunburn on my knees and the top of my hand (don't ask me how), and a pair of sore arms, we arrived at the Hwy 136 bridge, where we got out. It was funny, because my mom works right across the river from the boat ramp and she called saying she saw me. It was cute. My mom is awesome (most of the time).

I'm really looking forward to the official trip in August. It'll be SO MUCH FUN with Corey, and I'm pretty sure we'll both be asking for canoes this Christmas.

Here's some Old Crow Medicine Show doing "James River Blues" - they rule.

Monday, June 25, 2007

My Freedom from Tyranny - at Least for a Week

Tom do this Tom do that
Tom, don't do that
count the cash, clean the oven
dump the trash
oh your lovin
is a rare and a copasetic gift
and I'm a moonlight watchmanic
it's hard to be romantic
(sweeping up over by the
cigarette machine
sweeping up over by the cigarette machine...)

Who can not love Tom Waits just for those lyrics alone?

In any case, as stated above, I am free from the tyrannical gaze of my control freak of an office manager. Last week she reached new heights of obnoxiousness and control freakage. Can you believe that she actually tried to get a poor innocent accounts payable girl (who was just trying to do her job and pay the invoice we'd sent) to wait over a week for a W-9 form?! For those who aren't familiar with what that is, all it is a form that customers get from vendors that has the vendor's tax ID number on it. All my office manager had to do was type in our tax ID number and fax it. But she tried to make the girl wait. I can't even begin to figure out why it was such a big deal to her. Shoot, she could have just had me do it. Whatever.

Anyway, I'm so pleased with the peace in the office today that the day has been going rather quickly. It's just so nice not to have a hyperactive, pursed -lipped, utterly annoying lady breathing down my neck for no apparant reason. I just hope she won't be unbearable enough to make up for it next week.

The only bad thing about this week is that I'm made jealous by the fact that half of the people who work here are on vacation and I only get five measley days the whole year. *sigh* Alas. Oh well, I'm getting one very soon for a preliminary float down the Oostanaula River in preparation for a canoe trip NERA has planned for August. I'm very much looking forward to it, especially if they let me bring Corey along (aka The Gentleman - I've been dating him too long to continue with the code names). I've never been down the river and it'll be really nice to actually know what the guys are talking about when they mention certain areas.

Also, the 4th is coming up and Corey is keen to find us some kick-ass fireworks. I can't even remember the last time I got to see fireworks with a good man. I don' know what it is about fireworks that's so...well...romantic I guess. Maybe it's one time when both people are like children and letting all the "surface cool" slide off. Hm. Anyway, all I know is that I'm really looking forward to it and I don't care where we see them as long as he's there.

Speaking of Corey, he was out of town for a couple of days on business, which continues to blow his mind, because he (like myself) hasn't had any experience with the ellusive business trip until now. In any case, it was an odd couple of days. You'd have thought he'd gone off to war or something. I really missed him and he seemed to really miss me. It was different for me because I'm usually ecstatic to have a couple days to myself to get stuff done. I got stuff done in this case, but I missed him a whole hell of a lot while I was doing my thing. I assume this is a good sign.

Until the 4th though, I'm still installed in receptionist/accounts payable hell, but at least I'll have this week to prove to my boss that I work so much better when the office manager isn't here. Maybe then he'll help me out and tell her to lay off.

Here's some more Tom Waits (get over it, he rules) - "Eyeball Kid" in honor of a conversation that took place yesterday afternoon.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Cause everything is free now, that's what I say
No one's gotta listen to the words in my head
Someone hit the big score, I figured it out
And I'm gonna do it anyway, even if it doesn't pay

Do you ever get to that point where you just can't get to where you think you're headed soon enough? Well, that's where I am.

Work is driving me batshit right now, which is just absurd considering how easy this job is. But now all of a sudden they want me to be Queen Mother to all the service men who don't particularly want to be mothered. So I tell them where to go, but they go someplace else anyway or they whine and complain about it until I wear them down. So like high school students. I just can't wait to be done with my MT certification so I can just sit and type all day without being bothered or forced to answer the phone or corral unruly, arrogant AC/HVAC Service Techs.

I'm also good and ready to get going on my book again. I've had a hard time staying focused the last six or so months, and I just don't know where to go from where I left off. But it's time to start figuring all that out. I've got a novel to finish, damn it!!

And while I've got a break from classes, I'm going to catch up with some reading and work on my vocabulary some. One thing that comes from dating a man like The Gentleman is the occasional need for a dictionary when he speaks. I keep up with him really well most of the time, but he's used a few words that I KNOW I should be more familiar with. That and it'll keep my writing and my brain from stagnating.

So there's all that swimming around in my head - the desire to be surrounded by scholars and to be a scholar again as opposed to being surrounded by rednecks and being every other girl in Gordon County. *sigh* Sometimes I wish I could have managed the whole teaching thing, but then I'd probably be even more miserable than I am now in my work. Not that I'm all that miserable. I just feel....lazy I guess.

On top of this, there's a little bit of a hitch concerning The Gentleman. No, no, everything is still great between us (better than great even), but it's not great between him and a friend of his. I understand what the friend is worried about because it's happened to me. My best friend started dating someone and all of a sudden I didn't hear from him for weeks at a time. Then he married the girl and now I speak to him maybe once every three to four months.

The Gentleman's friend is afraid that he'll forget about their friendship and spend all his time with me. Which I wouldn't allow anyway. A man's friends are part of him, so you have to get used to it. If you're lucky, they'll love you and you'll love them. I'm just about certain that I'll get along famously with the friend considering all The Gentleman has told me. We just have to keep the friend from having another episode of vitriol against my poor sweet Gentleman who is being a thousand times more conscientious about this than my best friend ever was.

But apparently this may be resolved soon. I think the friend may be chilling out a little and I think at some point this week or this weekend, I'll actually be able to hang out with them. We'll see.

Other than that, The Gentleman front is just...well...friggin' fabulous. I'm barely able to express just how fabulous. But maybe that's another blog for another day.

Here's some Gillian Welch - Just because she's wonderful and I love this song: Caleb Meyer

Thursday, May 31, 2007

"A 68 is Passing in Alabama..."

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth,
Blowing down the backroads headin' south.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You're an idiot, babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

I tried my best to keep from laughing when I heard a young lady from my Anatomy class speak those words; "Hell yeah, a 68 is passing in Alabama." But in the process of trying not to laugh, the slight depression set in. The depression of a former teacher who is surrounded by people who probably would have been responsible for her five gray hairs had these folks been in her class.

It really annoys me how so many people place little to no value on education or intelligence. The perfect example of this is my Anatomy class. I make really good grades in that class's really friggin' easy. It's not like a pre-med anatomy class. It's more "Anatomy Lite." It's all common sense and a little Latin. In any case, I continue to get flashbacks to high school because I often get comments like "What'd you make, a hundred and three?" and then I am ignored. You might as well put a stamp on my forehead that says "pariah."

It's not that this hurts my feelings anymore because it doesn't. I learned my lesson about being needlessly embarassed by my grades in high school. My frustration has absolutely nothing to do with me. I just really worry about the state of the world when a 68 is considered a good grade.

Over the years, the manner in which we do things has become less and less "thought-friendly." Instead of reading books most folks just watch a movie or TV. Education promotes test scores as opposed to actual knowledge and students aren't taught how to think or apply what they've memorized. Often, conversation is limited to gossip or what we saw on that show or that. Instead of getting outside, a lot of folks just stay in with the Playstation or whatever the big game machine is now.

Now, this is not to say that these things don't have their place. Yes, I miss my cable sometimes and yes sometimes my conversation is limited to music or movies. I watch movies all the time and I admit that I am slightly addicted to Civilization III and The SIMS. Everyone should enjoy these types of simple pleasures. My concern is the total lack of any desire to do anything that might make a person actually THINK. A lot of folks will do anything in their power to avoid answering a tough question or solving a difficult problem or reflecting on an issue.

I'm probably just babbling, but this really bothers me. What is this country's problem with being educated or smart? All the way up until about 1930 or 1940, everyone was still taught Latin. Latin is a major key to so many other things: law, composition, medicine, physics, foreign (romance) languages, etc. Now you're doing well to find a high school (or college) that even offers it as a course. Meanwhile, overseas, it's not uncommon (AT ALL) to find someone who can speak at least three languages fluently. A lot of Americans still struggle with English.

I recently saw Idiocracy. It's a dreadful movie, but it makes an interesting point. Most of the movie is set in the future. It's a future in which humanity has actually deevolved. Instead of getting stronger and smarter, human beings had gotten considerably less intelligent - almost a regression back to cavemen. The cause for this (as explained in the movie) was an oversaturation of advertisments (i.e. corporations control EVERYTHING - I mean EVERYTHING); too much reproduction from the *ahem* shallower end of the gene pool; and too little reproduction from the deeper end. It's a silly idea, but one that anyone (especially anyone surrounded by Jerry Springer episodes) can easily see the basis of. It's scary to think of it, but I could almost see this being a possible reality.

I hope I'm not coming off as elitist or snooty. I just wish the populous would develop a natural curiosity for more than pop singers and reality shows.

Being maybe slightly hypocritical in my choice of video today. Just seemed appropriate. :^)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Holiday Lag

Front door's shut
Back door too
Blind's pulled down
What you gonna do

It's just like jet lag (I assume) in that you have no idea of what time it is - only in the case of holiday lag, you're missing an entire day. Kinda messes with you a bit. But it's completely worth it as I'm sure 99.9% of the world would agree.

Twas a very full weekend, and as usual did not last as long as I really would have liked. But it was enough to throw me off a bit. And it probably will be throwing me off all week. All four days of it. :^)

Friday night, I dragged The Gentleman to Cartersville to see some musician friends of mine play. It was really wonderful, especially since I haven't seen most of those folks in a really long time. The amazing Gary Greene was there of course; as well as my friend Montie who now lives in Pennsylvania; and another old-school Coffee Shop buddy, Andrew. The whole show would have been a lot better had I been able to hear them playing better. They had no PA and there were a lot of people and a lot of kids about making noise and talking too loud. *sigh* Oh well. But I did get to hear Gary play his own and a couple John Prine tunes, and Montie played her really spectacular cover of "Romeo and Juliet." Even though she does the Indigo Girls version as opposed to the original Dire Straits version. Montie is the only person who can sing it that way without me begging to hear Mark Knofler instead. It was really beautiful and I'd forgotten what a remarkable singer she is.

The Gentleman I think made a pretty good impression (although Montie now agrees that we need to work on his handshake). Andrew and he have a love and knowledge of plays and theater in common, so they were able to talk on terms of great equality. Montie and he didn't really speak much, but Montie did insist on giving him a hug (I assume as opposed to the afore-mentioned handshake). The Gentleman was particularly fond of Gary (anyone who doesn't at least respect the man obviously has no soul), and I'm sure would love to see him more.

All in all, it was a really good night. I was a little concerned at Andrew's behavior. I don't know if he was just tired or what, but he seemed very stand-offish, and looked as if he wanted to do anything but talk to me. I don't know. Anyway, The Gentleman and I are planning on going to see Andrew's theater company's newest production at the Sunday matinee, so maybe that will make up for whatever it is that has offended him.

Saturday, I spent the afternoon visiting with my folks. My brother and sister-in-law came up for the afternoon since my folks were keeping my niece (the other brother's offspring) for the weekend. We just visited and went to see my grandmother and had supper. But it was good to see them, even if Mom and Daddy are still being grumps. At least they were a great deal less grumpy since Lydia was around.

Sunday, I saw dear sweet Adam and his dear sweet little boy while The Gentleman went on a brief hiking trip with some friends. It was really good to hang out with Adam. We had lunch and stayed talking at the restaurant for a good two or three hours before his son got a little restless. So I went with them to a nearby playground so Adam's little boy could blow of some steam. He's a good kid, and I'm so proud of Adam for being such a good dad. He really has raised a great kid. We didn't see each other for so long, but Adam and I have always been really good friends, and we're good at taking each other's crap. Sometimes I really wish he lived closer by. Oh well.

Yesterday was wonderful. Because we did absolutely nothing useful. The Gentleman and I just hung around my apartment watching movies (he liked my movies) and getting a good buzz on before two p.m. We have such a good time together. We don't even have to do anything. It's wonderful.

Anyway, now that the weekend's over, it's nice to think that this is a short week. Plus, tonight is my last night of Document Processing. Because I've finished all my assignments, the instructor is going to let me go ahead and take the last test - and then I'll be done. And I'll only have two more Anatomy class periods to go. I'm so ready for this quarter to be over. *swoon*

And now, because I love this friggin' song, here's the Dire Straits version of "Romeo and Juliet":

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

When you live next door to a Jerry Springer episode

Well I was drunk
the day my mama got out of prison
and I went to pick her up in the rain
but by the time I got to the station
in my pick-up truck
She'd got runned over by a damned ole' train.

It was a peaceful night. Very peaceful. I had just finished my homework and set the alarms on my cell phone. I was all set to get to bed at a decent hour (one a.m. for me) because I was exhausted.

While I was completing my final task of the night (marinading a chicken breast for this evening's supper) I suddenly grew aware of the great row that was occuring next door. The young lady who lives in the apartment next to mine is recently divorced. It's the same ole' story: married/had a kid with babydaddy way too young, got divorced, babydaddy went nuts.

There was screaming, yelling, name-calling and ransacking all going on next door to me and I didn't have a clue what to do. I wasn't really afraid of the ex-husband (who apparantly thought my neighbor had stolen the tag off of his car), becasue he's obviously an idiot, a coward, and so insecure in his manhood that he feels the need to lord over his young and excruciatingly naive ex-wife. But I do know that a crazy man+a stupid girl+a sleeping baby in the same apartment (often) = bad news (and an episode of Cops).

In any case, when the yelling got worse and I saw the guy storming in and out of the apartment, I went to my bedroom and got out my night stick - just in case. I know these things can tend to spill over, and if dude had made a swing at the girl, I would have gone after him. Given my brief experience with an abusive significant other, I'm a bit more protective of people in that situation than I once was. One of the last things I heard before he left was a threat, and then he threw something at her. When he was gone I immediately gave her my work cell to call the fuzz, which she did.

Long story short, I had to wait up with her - well, I felt like I should. Even though her description of the damage he had done in her apartment was exaggerated, I still felt bad for the girl. But I didn't get to bed until nearly three a.m., and this is after a late night the night before, eight hours of work and five hours of class. So I'm downright "somebody-prop-me-up" exhausted today. And I have a test in class this evening.

Yeah, I'm thinking I might need to move.

Anyway, it's not my favorite band, but I dig this song and it almost fits.

Monday, May 21, 2007

In Deep Smit

You try to tell yourself
the things you try tell yourself
to make yourself forget
To make yourself forget
I am not worried

Okay, so maybe I am worried. About a great many things - because that's what women do when we suffer estrogen poisoning - our girlitude goes up about twenty notches and we get neurotic - more so than usual. Sometimes it really sucks being a woman.

NERA (f%@#!) :

But before I get into it, I just have to vent a little here about something that makes me worried. And that is the whole NERA/319 Grant thing.

First of all, I have never had anything to do with any sort of grant before. So I have no idea of how the process works. I have no idea of what goes into it and I'm still trying to figure out exactly what "40% match" means. I have an inkling, but that's it. Secondly, I just got roped into this whole grant committee thing anyway. I never asked for it and when I went to the first meeting, I was mislead into thinking it was a group thing and I would not be the only NERA member there. But I took it in stride and tried my best to keep up. Now, I have absolutely no clue about what's going on because the only meetings that we've had lately have been in the morning when I can't make it because I have a job other than working on this grant thing. And the obnoxious County Controller with no personality is pretty much deciding NERA's role in this whole thing on her own.

Meanwhile, I've heard nothing from our so-called "executive director" and I haven't tried to call him because it's useless because he never answers and he never calls back. I also haven't heard anything from the rest of the NERA board despite several e-mails sharing Grant information. How the hell did I get stuck in this? I have no idea of what to do and I don't know what to tell the Grant Committee and I don't even really know what to tell NERA. I've e-mailed NERA's board proposing a meeting for next Monday, but Lord knows if they'll respond despite my fervent plea for them to do so. WTF?!

When I got into this, I just wanted to be the quiet little secretary taking notes at the meetings and making out forms and spreadsheets and whatever other little secretarial things they'd need me to do. I also thought I might be able to get down and dirty and actually do some things like river clean-ups and whatnot, but again, those are often scheduled during the day when I have to work. What the hell?

All I know is that I'm about ready to say screw it and resign, but I really believe in the cause and I just can't give up on the group yet. The last thing we need is for someone else to give up and not tell anyone.

Okay, now that my rant is over:

The Gentleman:

The Gentleman continues to improve in my eyes, and I am now indeed in deep smit. So very smitten. We had a truly remarkable weekend that included a walk at Ridge Ferry Park in Rome, lunch at Schroder's, a really good chai tea frappaccino at Rome's inflatable Starbucks, organic strawberries, champagne, chocolate, and cheese. Just...amazing. He's such a good man and we have a blast together.

But we've been dating about a month now, so in comes the estrogen poisoning. The Gentleman is a self-professed pseudo-hermit. He likes his alone time. Granted, so do I. But I still haven't been to his house (despite the fact that he lives maybe a mile down the road from me), still haven't met his kitties, I don't know what his handwriting looks like, and I didn't even know he was left-handed until this past Thursday. I know these concerns are silly, but it bugs me for some reason.

I just don't want to get emotionally attached to someone who I'm not going to be able to get inside of. By "getting inside" I mean getting to a point where I can kind of sense what he's thinking, know what he's about, understand his thought process, etc. I know it's possible because I've been able to do it a couple times before. But the older they (and I for that matter) get the harder it is for me to crack 'em. That's what happened with my last relationship. I just couldn't get inside him. I really really really don't want that to happen again. I think that The Gentleman and I have really amazing potential. I just hope that he thinks so too.

I'm pretty sure that he's in it for a while at least. He'll usually come by my house if I get out of class early - even if it's just to "kiss me goodnight." And he likes for me to call him when I get out of class anyway. And we did agree to reach a happy medium as far as the whole "pseudo-hermit" thing goes. I'm perfectly cool with it, because, like I said, I have my hermit moments too. I reckon I just hope the hermit tendencies don't develop into tendencies toward neglect. I've been left hanging way too damn many times and I just don't think I could take it again.

Anyway, here's some old school Counting Crows. Shut up, they rule! :^)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tom Waits is Even Better When You're Dancing with a Man Who Knows the Lyrics

The bats are in the belfry
the dew is on the moor
where are the arms that held me
and pledged her love before

Yep, it's all fluffy bunnies and happy flowers with The Gentleman and I. I'm still afraid of when the skeletons in his closet are going to jump out at me, though. He's such a decent man, but I'm terrified that I'm missing some gigantic red flag. Maybe I'm just shell-shocked and he really is as remarkable as I think he is.

I only got to see him Saturday, but we spent most of the day together. We went to Rome for lunch and just walked around Broad Street and the Pedestrian Bridge and along the river (looking for more turtles). It was really a lovely day. Well, except for the suspicious ribbon of some cloudy something in the river (grrrrr...).

After a while, we decided to give the new Starbucks in Rome a spin. Yes, Rome has a Starbucks now. And it went up in like...three hours. It hadn't been long at all since the last time I drove through there, but all of a sudden, there's a Starbucks. Are they inflatable or something? Anyway, the folks there were really nice (I wonder how long that will last), and my Chai Latte was pretty good. I still don't like their burnt coffee, but oddly enough, we heard two more Tom Waits songs at the Starbucks (yes, Krishna, Tom Waits at the Starbucks!!). When we got back to Calhoun, I made him supper. He really loved my chard, brown rice, chicken stuff. :^) In any case, kinda sounds dull, but as usual, it was wonderful.

Other points of note for my weekend: My mom really liked the Gift Certificate from Mother Nature's Eden that I got for her Mother's Day present. I'm glad she did, but man, she and my Daddy are making it rough for me to enjoy visiting them lately. A couple of big ole' grumps all the time!! But Mom has some reason to be a grump, I reckon. She's worn out from taking care of Grandmother and from her allergies and whatnot, and she lets stuff get to her way too much. Daddy....well, Daddy's just Daddy - a 61-year-old man who complains like an 80-year-old. *sigh* I wish they'd both just chill out a little.

I also got a new cell phone. I hadn't intended to get one. I went to Rome Friday as The Gentleman had made pre-Jennifer plans with some friends to see what he called a "noise show" in Atlanta - he said it was pretty interesting. Anyway, I just felt like shopping. I decided to stop off at the Verizon store to see if my "New Every Two" thing had come due, and the lady said it had. I looked down at my little phone with its obnoxious orange blob in the middle of the screen. The blob had been there since the phone was a month old (pressure damage isn't covered by warrenty, apparantly) and I just never got around to getting it replaced. The $50 I would have spent on the deductable always seemed to belong elsewhere. So my friends always received text messages that seemed to be written in pig Latin. In any case, I figured "why not" and went ahead and got a super spanky new-fangled phone. I got the LG Chocolate one - the one that's an MP3 player too. I reckon it was about time for me to join the 21st Century. I even got the cool red one.

Well, that was my weekend, such that it was. And today actually isn't as bad as Mondays go because The Gentleman is going to take me for supper tonight. :^) He's such a doll. *sigh* *giggle*

So Here's some more Tom Waits. One of my favorites of his in usual unusual Tom Waits video form. So sue me, we had a moment with this song.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Squishiness Abounds - "Tra la la la!!"

You and me
Sittin' in the back my memory
Like a honey bee
Buzzin' 'round a glass of sweet Chablis
Radio's on
Windows rolled up
And my mind's rolled down
Headlights shining
Like silver moons
Rollin' on the ground

Monday continues to suck more and more just as John Prine describes in "Long Monday." But at least the reason for it in my case is the fact that my weekends are such a joy lately.

Of course, my weekends are a joy because The Gentleman is a joy. I mean really. I don't know if I've ever been able to be truer to myself around a man. I don't know what it is about him that makes me so comfortable, but there it is. I reckon we just kind of understand each other. We really do have a whole lot in common - beyond the usual "what you like" standards (as in music, movies, etc). We hold to a lot of the same ideals and ideas. It's just...refreshing.

And did I mention how hot he is - and how completely unaware he is of that fact? Bonus. Oh yeah, and hiker thighs. Oh yeah. Double bonus.

So needless to say, I had a wonderful weekend. The Gentleman and I went out Friday for supper, then came back to my place just to hang out. Saturday, I had to help out at the "More than a Taste of Calhoun" booth NERA had reserved at the last minute. It was actually a pretty cool little shin-dig. It was nice to see this type of downtown festival in Calhoun. Our downtown is sorely taken for granted.

In any case, my duties to NERA and The Gentleman's promise to hang out with friends kept us busy separately Saturday. Alas.

Sunday, we had an absolute blast. Nothing big. We just headed to Rome, got us some iced chai lattes and some pastries and headed for Myrtle Hill. For those of you who are not familiar with the thriving metropolis of Rome, GA, Myrtle Hill is a very large, very beautiful graveyard that's situated on a rather large hill in downtown Rome. It may seem odd to enjoy pastries and frappaccinos at a cemetery, but it's a habit of many Romans, and it really is a beautiful spot. We just walked around talking and laughing and looking at oblisks and interesting markers. Yes, that is my idea of a good time. :^)

After Myrtle Hill, we went by Ridge Ferry Park, another Roman institution. Again, we just walked around talking. We stopped at the rocks on the river, and I nearly killed a kid who poured half of his drink into the water. I told The Gentleman he might have to hold me back, and he kind of turned me away and hugged me when the kid did it again. Why are people so mean to the rivers? Don't they know that's our lifeblood for God's sake?! (Sorry. Diatribe over.) In any case, after Evil Peon and his family left, The Gentleman and I went up to the little platform where they had been and watched the water. WE SAW THREE TURTLES!!! The Gentleman knows that I am a great fan of sweet little cute turtles, so he said it'd been a "Three Turtle Day." I thought that was sweet. :^) Good times.

We had supper at the Landmark (another Roman institution) and then he took me home. He would have stayed longer if he didn't have to go make sure his grandmother took the right meds (yes, he's sweet to his grandmother too!).

Anyway, I really like him more and more. He's got a natural curiosity and reverence for the world that I really appreciate and understand. And it's just...nice to be around him. Really really really really nice. We can talk about anything and usually do. He's just so...comfy, but still extraordinarily hot. I keep trying to figure out what's wrong with him, but I haven't seen anything thus far. And it's a little spooky, because I'm just so used to the bottom falling out in one way or another. We'll see.

Now I'll just go and think squishy thoughts. :^)

Here's some more John Prine - along with Iris Dement - doing "In Spite of Ourselves." This is one of the best songs ever.

Monday, April 30, 2007

I'm Really Trying not to Giggle so Much.

the green in her eyes dropped out and fell everywhere
but I don't care
I can see
that she's made of something else entirely

Yeah, I'm still giggling. Can't help it. Weak Handshake Dude is so much more than I thought he was. He is so far, anyway.

By the way, we shall no longer refer to him as Weak Handshake Dude but as...well...The Gentleman. Yeah. (Sorry Aaron, kind of taking a cue from you, but it works well.) His many other attributes more than make up for his lack of handshaking ability. Anyway, man can be taught. And he's a fox.

He improves on me every time I see him or talk to him. As you may well recall, I really wasn't sure about him at first, but as we've progressed, more and more layers of that placid veneer are falling off. Saturday during our hiking date, he really loosened up and the result was an interesting, sweet, and remarkably clever and funny man. He understands my Shakespeare references, and even finds them attractive. Same with my word histories. Quite remarkable, really.

It's funny, but The Gentleman is an illustration of the old phrase, "to let one's hair down." When his long hair (ohhhh it's niiiicccee) is down, he's playful and funny and adorable. When it's pulled back, the reserve is there. Interesting. But you know, even his reserve makes more sense to me now. He just doesn't perform to strangers, I reckon. But I'm really glad that he loosened up and opened up to me a bit.

Then there's the ever-growing attraction between us. Downright intense, man. I'm thinking it's a good thing that it's grown as opposed to having been there already. Maybe the former bodes better than the latter. We'll see.

Anyway, I'm sure it's rather clear that I really like this guy. Y'all keep your fingers crossed for me. Again, we'll see.

This one's for me. BB King, Albert King, SRV, and Paul Butterfield. No explanation should be necessary. :^)

Monday, April 23, 2007

"You're a Tom Waits Fan?!" and other Birthday Surprises.

Well, the night does funny things inside a man,
these old tomcat feelings you don't understand

All right. Krishna will tell you in case you don't believe it, but I actually giggled. I giggled.

The message my darling dear Krishna recieved after my date Friday was, "HE LIKES TOM WAITS!!!" And I think I may have repeated it. In any case, needless to say, Dude surprised me - pleasantly. And no, the pleasantness was not only because of his mutual affinity for Tom Waits, but other things as well.

Weak Handshake guy still has a weak handshake, but maybe he can learn. We met for coffee Friday night at Calhoun's first true coffee house. I'm glad for this "no-pressure" first date choice. I'm a little impulsive when it comes to men, and the fact that we just "met" (there was no picking up or dropping off) for coffee helped me to remember the appropriate boundaries that I always set for myself and have rarely kept to.

He had come straight from work, and was dressed nicely, his hair still in that ponytail, and not as Fabio-esque as my fevered imagination remembered. His manners were ever polite and he brought a box of Godiva chocolates. Score! He said that he was generally a flowers kind of guy, but he didn't know what my favorite kind was. Score two. When we got inside, he paid for my coffee. Score three. So Dude was looking favorable (despite another weak handshake) as we sat down for the "get to know you" chat.

He was super interested in my book and paid rapt attention as I spoke, which is amazing since I have no idea of how to stop once I get started. I discovered that he went to college in Atlanta at first, but graduated at Berry. I discovered that he, like myself, majored in a useless subject but is not sorry for it. I also discovered that he is a member of one of the oldest families in Calhoun/Resaca. This is monumental because I have never EVER dated a man who was actually from Calhoun. So maybe the gene pool isn't dried up. He likes to hike and camp (YES!), and he knows enough about Shakespeare to have a favorite (The Tempest).

But as all of my darling friends know, the true way to Jennifer's heart is through music. And he was actually the one who asked the question that I usually ask first: "What kind of music do you listen to?" I couldn't believe that those words were coming out of his, not my mouth. From that moment on, the conversation was all about music. And Darlings, the man actually has good taste! It's incredible to me that there is someone in Calhoun who listens to music that is actually congruent to my tastes. He loves Tom Waits, Morphine, Henry Rollins, etc. GOOD STUFF!!

In any case, we sat and talked for a good two hours before the kids at the coffee shop all but threw us out, then we stepped outside and he watched me smoke a couple cigarettes as we continued to talk. When it became clear that there was nothing else to do in Calhoun, we said good-night. Yes there were a couple little smooches. It was nice. :^)

We've agreed to go hiking next weekend. SWEET! There I hope to get into the meat and potatoes of his personality. He's very quiet, very soft-spoken, and placid, so it was hard for me to read him. It's definitely going to be up to me to draw him out and figure out what makes him tick. I'm still not quite sure of what to make of him, but I know my opinion is greatly improved, because despite his seemingly very shy nature, we had a good two-sided conversation and he was very personable. I was a little concerned about his basic manliness, but that was put to rest when he said he remembered checking out my ass when I worked at Barnes and Noble. He was a little apologetic about that admission, but I wasn't offended - I'm proud of my ass and I'm glad he noticed it. :^)

So I had a good first date Friday, and I'm looking forward to more. But Saturday (my birthday) could have been a little bit better. I ran around all morning getting my Mom's birthday present wrapped (hers is tomorrow) and getting ready for the fundraiser. I stopped by my folks' house for a little while, where they gave me my birthday money (and the coolest toy ever - an indoor frisbee). Then came the fundraiser. Ugh.

I'll be brief because it's so depressing. Basically, the fundraiser was a disaster. Only 40 people showed up where they had 150 last year. I ended up being stuck behind the concession table for much of the show. I did get to see a good part of it, though, because Bumper (another member of the board) is a remarkably good man and very kindly took over my duties. He and my cousin Joseph were the only ones who seemed to care that it was my birthday. Thanks to those two wonderful boys I did have a decent time. But we're all very miffed at our executive director, because he dropped several balls in several courts and those dropped balls were a large part of why we had such a poor turn-out. So now we're having an emergency meeting tonight to figure out what we're going to do. Bleh.

Okay, so in tribute to Weak Handshake Dude, here's some Tom Waits:

What would you most like to see on my new website for unpublished writers?