Saturday, December 25, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
1) A habitually irritable or complaining person, especially during the Christmas season
2) One who cannot tolerate the unnecessary emphasis on material gifts, excessive spending, spoiling, racking up debt all in the name of the Lord’s birth
Consider me a Grinch, and a proud one at that. I resist the modern day celebration and festivities of this Christian holiday. To be clear, I don’t hate the holiday itself, but I do hate the crazed obsession with shopping. Thousands of people flocking to the malls to buy more, MORE, MORE. Like zombies on fresh human flesh, they just can’t seem to get enough. The fact that malls are allowed to decorate for Christmas before Halloween makes my stomach turn. But more than that, the fact that people ENJOY the premature décor makes my blood boil. The thing that disappoints me the most is that all the buying, wrapping, decorating, caroling, tree lighting etc. has people “in the spirit.” Why aren’t you like this all year round, people? You need these things to make you happy? You need this music and these lights and this food to make you happy? Oh, and the Christmas-only-Christians…don’t get me started. I don’t buy into any of it (no pun intended). Christmas has unfortunately turned into a time for people to fake their way through togetherness, fake their way through happiness, fake their way through caring and giving, filling their voids with material gifts.
You’re probably wondering: how does someone end up this way? What led her into the darkness? How does one turn into a Grinch? Those definitely aren’t easy questions to answer. It’s a combination of many things…years and years of family dysfunction coupled with my own distaste for human nature. For starters, I never really believed in the “magic” of Christmas. Santa was a joke to me at the age of seven. Christmas was also a very stressful time of year for our family. My mom put immense pressure on herself to buy gifts and have everything perfect and be fair with the presents…down to the last penny. If my sister got a doll, I got the same doll in a different color. We got the same exact sweaters, pj’s, Barbies – you name it, and mom made sure she spent the EXACT same amount of money on us. Her quest for Christmas perfection turned her into a screaming lunatic. She’d eventually crack under the pressure, scream and throw things. Even as a young child, I thought “This isn’t worth it…all this STUFF just isn’t worth seeing her like this.” She was scary at Christmas (and other times of the year, but ALWAYS scary at Christmas). Mom was the Anti-Santa, if you will. I don’t blame her for my existing distaste for the holiday, but I can’t deny the fact that she did shape my opinion. And you know what? Now that I’m an adult, I find myself under the same pressures she faced…and I TOTALLY understand why she went bonkers. I, myself, have come close to going bonkers. There are other lingering issues that would take me years to explain – for example, FORCED togetherness. The fact that you have to spend time with people you don’t like simply because they fall under the category of “family.” That’s enough to squash anyone’s Christmas spirit if you ask me! And finally, the fact that people don’t accept my opinions or respect my desire to “opt out” is really, really frustrating. I’ve tried to opt out for years, but people treat me like I’m evil. I’m not evil, people! I just don’t want to do what you think I should do! In years past it’s gone something like this: “Please don’t buy me a gift – isn’t being together and sharing a nice meal enough of a Celebration? What’s that you say? No??? It’s NOT enough? You INSIST on buying me a gift because it ‘wouldn’t be Christmas if you didn’t’? Oh, I’m SORRY – I thought you could save your money and just enjoy TIME with ME, but I guess not…”
See, I told you there were a lot more issues…
My perfect Christmas would be:
- Only celebrating Christmas the actual WEEK OF CHRISTMAS
- Martha Stuart coming over to decorate my house (I really don’t enjoy decorating, and my decorations are crap.)
- Being with people I love, and who actually love and appreciate me in return
- Sitting around a nice fire, boiled custard, and some Rat Pack Christmas music
- Only visiting ONE house instead of SIX different houses (it makes for a loooong, tiring day)
- A few simple homemade gifts, and one surprise gift from my honey. He’s REALLY good at surprising me, and THAT's where I find the magic in Christmas.
Until next year,
Monday, November 8, 2010
Four years doesn't sound like much, but it feels like it's been forever. I mean that in a GOOD way, seriously. I think it's just because I can't remember life before Sean. What did I do with myself!?!? He keeps me grounded and feeling secure. I must have been a mess before he showed up...
Sometimes it seems as thought we're opposites when it comes to executing our daily lives:
He's patient, I'm impatient.
He's a homebody, I'm making plans to go out.
He's non-confrontational and reserved, I go out of my way to state my opinion...loudly.
He's brilliant, and well...let's just say I'm "street smart."
He's into sweets, I'm more of a salty person.
He doesn't worry, I live for worrying (although, that one might be a generic male/female kind of thing)
He's a thinker, I'm a feeler.
He bought me a card, I forgot a card...oops!
Of course, we have our similarities, too...
Same sense of humor for the most part, which means that we like the same TV shows and movies.
Same values and ideas about family, work, home life, etc.
Same love for Jack Daniels and red wine.
We both know how to make fun of ourselves, which keeps us laughing and keeps us out of arguments
For our 4 year celebration we tried a new restaurant (well, new to us) called Cha Chah. We L-O-V-E Arnold Myint's (of Top Chef fame) other Nashville restaurant, Suzie Wongs...and we're sucker for tapas. We had a wonderful experience - food was fun, exciting, and super tasty. The smoked mussels and chili chocolate ice cream were my 2 most favorite dishes of the evening. Yes, chili chocolate ice cream! Believe it or not, it worked very well. Very rich and cocoa-y when it first hit your tongue, with a little kick of chili powder on the back end. The surprise burst of heat kept me coming back for more.
speaking of coming back for more, I really started to miss Suzy Wongs while I was typing this. I'm totally going soon. Who's in?
Cheers to four years, my love! They've been wonderful. And thank you for dusting the baseboards this weekend.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
And because one costume isn't always enough, we revived a couple of characters from previous Halloween celebrations and dressed up as a bloody doctor and Rainbow Brite for the kiddies on Sunday night. Check out my pride and joy, the fog machine (or Smokemonster for you LOST fans).
Monday, October 18, 2010
The CSA box had to be picked up every Sunday at 2:30. The drive was only 3 miles up the road, but sometimes it was a challenge if we had plans to be out of town, or on the other side of town. After swinging by the pick-up station, we'd return home to take an inventory of the goods, and then it was time for me to find creative ways to cook, can or freeze the massive amounts of produce we had. At one point I had an entire crisper drawer full of red new potatoes...
Here's a shot of the last box we received a couple of Sundays ago...
...and our refrigerator afterwards. You can tell a lot about someone by taking a peek into their fridge. I'm curious - what do you think about Sean and me after seeing ours (click the picture to enlarge)?
6 months of fresh, locally grown, organic produce
Supporting the local economy and farmers
Learning how to can and freeze
Trying new foods and testing new recipes
The farm sent a newsletter and a weekly email with the option to buy "extras." I regret never trying their homemade cinnamon rolls...
Mandatory pick-up time. Not that it was terrible, just sometimes tricky to plan your day.
Not getting to choose what you want to eat. I subscribe to Cooking Light and Real Simple, and I love them for the recipes, but I didn't get a chance to try many of them because I needed to use what came in the box.
Excessive amounts of food. We bought the small box fit for 2 people, but there was SO. MUCH. FOOD. And they didn't give us massive amounts of the good stuff - just potatoes. Oh, and cucumbers. I would've much rather had a box full of heirloom tomatoes, but that's just part of the risk, I guess. I felt terribly guilty because some weeks I couldn't keep up with the cooking/canning/freezing, and I accidentally let a lot of food wilt or spoil.
Time. The time it took to catalogue everything. The time it took to meal plan and try to maximize all of the product. The time it took to freeze and can vegetables. I do not recommend this CSA box thing for working mothers. I'm not even a mother and I sure had a hell of a time keeping up with it!
I truly appreciated the food, the farmers and the program altogether, but I don't think I can subscribe to the CSA box again. I'd rather visit the farmer's market every weekend (where the same farm sells produce) and just gather what I need for the week.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Lower the volume in your head. Heck, just go ahead and turn your brain completely OFF. No thoughts.
Just be. Right here, right now, in THIS very moment. No before, and no after. This tiny pinhead of a moment is all there is.
I find it very difficult to "just be"...If you read Eat, Pray, Love then you might be familiar with her term "Monkey Brain." I have Monkey Brain, like, 100% of the time. It's crazy and disorganized up in there. Someone recently said to me, "Get out of your head." WOAH! That's major. I thought about it some more. "Get out of your head." It makes so much sense, yet no sense at all. I keep thinking about it, which probably means that it's stuck in my head...ugh
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Once we got home it was nap time for me (Sean watched football). I was exhausted! We stayed up late the night before. After work on Friday, both Sean and I needed to unwind. We hosted an impromptu happy hour at the house where our best friends joined us. Happy hour turned into Happy Six Hours, and it was so much fun.
Cut to this morning: I really wanted to sleep in, but we had the Boston Terrier tea party at 11. I was dragging, a little...After the tea party I squeezed in a nap, and then it was off to the Vanderbilt campus for tailgating.
For the past 28 years, a family friend has hosted an early-season tailgating party at his Alma mater, and this was our first year to be invited to the event. This was most definitely not your mama's tailgating, friends. Clues that we were not experiencing the "normal" tailgating traditions:
- Fully catered buffet, complete with wait staff and a floral arrangement
- china, silverware and white linen napkins
- men wearing suits (including a couple of seersucker)
- jewelry. lots and lots of gold jewelry.
- open bar with 2 bartenders, no tip jar
- 4 piece Dixieland jazz band
I think it's fitting that Vandy's colors are black and gold. Very classy. VERY. Classy. Orange on the other hand? Not so classy...
Needless to say, we had a wonderful time and were very thankful for the opportunity to join in on the fun. I was a little embarrassed to be wearing jeans and flip flops with a 3 week old chipped pedicure, but that wasn't going to stop me! We mingled with several friends and struck up some acquaintances with the other guests. Go 'Dores, I guess? We didn't stay for the game. Sean turned down a pair of tickets because he's more interested in watching some of the teams on TV tonight. I couldn't have been more relieved! I wanted to get back to the house to finish the weekend chores and go to bed early. I have another busy day ahead of me...
On the agenda for tomorrow: Helping mom purge 15 years worth of crap from her house in preparation for her garage sale. This is going to be an emotionally exhausting day. Mom doesn't enjoy parting with her belongings, even if she hasn't looked at it for over a decade.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Sherri and Keith asked us out for a sushi date at Ru Sans, and following our raw meal we headed to Sambuca for some lounging and post-dinner drinks. Actually, we just went for drinks...the lounging was accidental (but much enjoyed!)
Sunday night we went south to Spring Hill to hang out at Shereida and Jeff's house. Because they have a fenced yard and a sweet doggy named Maddie, we're able to bring Murphy with us. It's nice that we can make it a "family affair," but Murphy is an embarrassment to our clan. He humps Maddie like there's no tomorrow! Poor Maddie...
Friday, September 3, 2010
After a 2 month+ hiatus, I'm back in the blogosphere. I don't even know why. Just shut up and go with it.
I was waaaay down in the deep, dark places of my brain where no one should ever go. The kind of place where you just KNOW for sure that you'll never be happy again. The place where you think oh my god do i need medication?
All I have to say is: BLECH! I hate that place.
So I went to yoga. And then I got this book. I talked to my beautiful, loving, wonderful, patient friends...a lot. I also talked to my hair stylist. And with the encouragement of my sister, I even talked to MY MOM. I know. It was weird...
And slowly but surely, my old self began to emerge from the shadows. Things are looking up. Way up. I even got a promotion. again, very weird.
I'm totally comfortable being in the spotlight as long as it's on my terms. The minute someone calls me out, makes a formal announcement about me, shines the light on me when I least expect it...that's when I get all weirded out.
It's not as if every single day was full of deep depression. I still laughed. I still enjoyed life. I still loved my husband, went to work, took care of my dog, made dinner...but along with all that was this underlying tone of sadness. I had some major changes going on in my life. Re-defining yourself doesn't always mean sunshine and roses. Doesn't always mean a new hairstyle or outfits. Sometimes it means digging up a bunch of deep, dark shit and getting dirt under your fingernails. And that's where I was...
I'm back now. Feeling good, feeling free, at peace for the most part...knock on wood...
Top 10 things on my brain:
10. Maximizing Labor Day weekend
9. Missing friends who live out of town, and wishing I could scoop them all up and take them to the beach with me this weekend
8. Thankful for my wonderful friends who continue to ride the Crazy Stacey Train with me
7. humbled by my promotion. glad that I have a wonderful boss.
6. Is summer really almost over? I don't know if i'm ready...Do my winter clothes still fit?
5. Ecstatic about my new mid-day dog walker
4. seriously need to organize the bonus room closets
3. Missing sister :( both of them!
2. I love my house, and where it is. I'm glad Sean chose this place.
1. Why are Sean and Murphy being so quiet right now...what are those boys up to?
Saturday, June 19, 2010
All of a sidden I feel very disappointed in myself...for not being a better student, for not doing something with my education, for not applying myself. I don't reckon there's anything I can do about it now, so no sense in beating myself up over it. Besides, I'm officially on vacation for the next 9 days! 'Tis a time to celebrate.
I'm celebrating today by not getting out of my jammies. I'm supposed to be cleaning house, but I got sucked into that blog and haven't been doing much else. I should probably make myself useful around the house today. We've got a lot of cleaning and packing to do before we leave for Florida tomorrow! Adios, amigos - I'll be enjoying the beautiful sun, sand, and tar balls of the Redneck Riviera for the next 7 days.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I have a fabulous hair stylists - Miss Katie - and I had an appointment with her today. Given that I've been in a weird, depressed funk, I felt the need to sass things up a bit. Katie didn't give me mohawk (which is probably a good idea), but she did give me this 'do:
Inspiration: British babe Eleanor Jackson of La Roux. I'm really diggin' the song Bulletproof right now, and I'm diggin' my new hair.
Well, off to perfect my side-swept fauxhawk. Thanks, Katie!
Friday, June 11, 2010
...that I want to lose 13 pounds? (preferably, in 1 week before I go to the beach.) Oh, that's right! We're going to Panama City in just 9 days. And I'm worried about oil being there, but oh well...I'll take a vacation where I can get one, oil or not. My dad is turning 50 (FIFTY!) and he'll have all his children there with him for the entire week. I hope my brother has a good time with us. It's going to be a challenge keeping him entertained all week. He always seems depressed, so I hope spending the week with us lifts his spirits. I know what it's like to be in his shoes, caught in the middle of a divorce and starting middle school. Been there, done that, glad I don't have to do it again. My heart goes out to the little guy. I'm looking forward to a week full of sun and sand. I haven't been to PCB in ages, and I can't wait to go to Shipwreck Island (the water park).
Did you know...
...that our stupid rental house sprung another leak? Yes, ANOTHER one. Not the one where the tree fell on the roof. No, that one got fixed. This is a NEW leak. The rental house makes my stomach hurt. I hope we're making the right decision by hanging on to it. I have bad dreams about the house falling apart sometimes. I fear that it'll suck up all our money (and by "all our money" I mean the teeny little bit that we have in savings).
Did you know...
...that I've been having a hard time focusing lately? Focusing on life, that is. Maybe focus is the wrong way to describe it. I feel very unsettled, and like I'm not doing a good job at...living. I think things are moving too quickly. My brain gets all mushy, I worry about crazy things, and then I get a heavy feeling in my chest. The world just feels like it's spinning around me, and I'm having a hard time keeping up. I like to think of myself as a very organized person, but lately, not so much...I wish everything would just sloooow doooown so I didn't feel like life was getting away from me. I really like to savor the small moments in life and I'm not doing much savoring right now. I'm trying to squeeze all my savoring into a few hours on the weekends, and I don't like that. A lot of my unsettled feeling comes from my job. Life is too short, and I feel like I'm wasting my days doing something I'm not happy with. Let me make an announcement to the world: I DON'T CARE ABOUT PCI COMPLIANCE! There, I said it. I'm zero point zero percent passionate about what I do. Part of me wants to be at least half way passionate about my career. The other part of me thinks that no one likes their job, and that's why God created retirement.
I think I'm going to go savor a glass of box wine and watch a scary Netflix movie. Maybe that will keep my mind off not being satisfied.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Grillin' steaks and drinkin' beers.
Finally painting the bedroom.
Catching up on laundry.
Making cupcakes for mom's birthday.
Finish mulching the beds.
Grocery, Target, Lowes...
...but more importantly, a day to remember the soldiers who died while serving our country. There's a national moment of remembrance at 3:00 p.m., which I just realized is NOW. Everyone, please bow your heads for a moment of silence...
Thank you, soldiers.
In other news, our Murphy dog got his Lifeguard license for the summer. If you were drowning wouldn't you want this cute pup to save your life???
Monday, May 24, 2010
So what now? What does 28 hold for me? I don't see anything special on the horizon, so I guess only time will tell...At the very least, I expect to be hanging out with these cool people a lot more:
Kaylee doing some cheerleader pyramid stands on my back
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Did you know that when your city experiences a 500 year flood that it will increase the mosquito population by 5 Billion? Yes...I'm certain that my calculations are correct. 5 BILLION. My flesh is being eaten alive every time I step outside.
People are still trying to clean up from the flood damage. My uncle's neighborhood in Bellevue was one of those that went completely under water, and he said it still looks like a war zone out there. Most the residents are still in the process of gutting their homes down to the studs. And whatever they rip out goes straight outside to the curb to wait for pick-up. Sean was able to take a couple of days off work to do some volunteering (hooray for the FedEx Office crew and their support!). Sean and a crew of 11 co-workers gutted 2 condos. Demolition can be fun if you're working on a do-it-yourself home project, but I suspect the families who saw their homes being torn apart were quite unsettled about the whole cleanup process. It's going take a long time to completely re-build. Here are some more pictures from the flood that I didn't have time to post before.
Sean and the crew from FedEx Office doing some demo to help clean up from the flood
This is a spooky image of the rear entrance to my mom's neighborhood. I think Tom White did a great job of capturing the flood images in Franklin
Several streets in Downtown Nashville are still closed for cleanup. Thankfully, none of Sherri's wedding venues suffered any damage, and she and Keith were still able to have their wedding on the 15th. It was my first time to be a bridesmaid - a job that I was honored to accept! We ran around for 3 days trying to fit in all the pre-wedding celebrations and last minute preparations. So much work to be done! I'm glad that I've already checked the marriage box :) Sherri's wedding reminded me of being caught up in that wedding whirlwind almost 4 years ago. I was glad to be there to help Sherri in any way that I could, and I was proud to stand up there with her in the ceremony. Friday night before the wedding, Sherri asked if I would give a toast at the reception. I'm not afraid of public speaking, but I was worried that I'd say something foolish to embarrass Sherri and Keith. Thinking of ruining their day is what made me nervous! Considering that I didn't really prepare and didn't write anything down, I think I did an OK job, and I got a couple of laughs out of the crowd. Both the ceremony and reception were held at a rooftop venue on Broadway called Aerial. The ambiance was set off by the neon lights of Broadway, the Nashville skyline with the "Batman Building", and a perfect view of The Ryman Auditorium. The setting was perfect and Sherri was a beautiful bride. Plus, they served yummy mac & cheese and AMAZING cornbread (it's really popular in the South...I don't know about the rest of the world).
Monday, May 10, 2010
By the time the weekend rolled around, you would've never guessed we just had a torrential downpour. The weather was more perfect than ever for a Spring day in Tennessee. No heat, no humidity. In fact, we were wearing SWEATERS. I couldn't believe it. The cool breeze made for a perfect weekend outside. On Saturday Sean and I took my mom to Arrington Vineyards for an early Mother's Day outing, and we met up with my aunt, uncle, cousins and a few of their friends. The sun was setting over the rolling hills, the jazz band was playing, the wine was flowing...it was bliss. I had never been to Arrington Vineyards before, and now I think I'm officially addicted. I'm already looking forward to our next trip - it can't come soon enough! All I could talk about on Sunday was wanting to go back to Arrington.
Sean says he doesn't like his "sunglasses face." I still think he's cute.
Me and Mom: Take #1. I'm pretty sure she will kill me for posting this picture.
Me and Mom: Take #2. Shadow and a cooler. Not good. Oh well, you get the point.
The view at Arrington Vineyards
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Here's a car dealership about 1 mile from our house.
While the 3 of us girls were enjoying the wedding reception in Georgia, Sean texted me a picture of the TV...I-24 in Nashville was completely under water. Cars were stranded, people were being rescued by boat, and a floating classroom portable collided with a tractor trailer on live television. (I kind of wish I'd have been home to see that!) I've seen footage of flooding from other states, but never close to home. Never right in my back yard. This morning on the national weather channel they were saying "Franklin, Tennessee is under water." No one really cared about little 'ole Franklin until now.
Receiving all the text updates and pictures was similar to watching a story unfold on the news. It didn't become real until we started heading home today. First, we learned that only 3 roads were open in Franklin. We were so thankful that we made it home safely through all the rain and continuous flash flooding. Driving past all the standing water in town was kind of nuts. I've lived in Franklin for about 23 years and haven't seen it this bad. Sure, there were areas prone to flooding during a heavy rain, but nothing like neighborhoods being evacuated! During our 5 hour drive back to TN, we all received numerous updates from friends and family back at home. Some of them were saying, "You might not be able to get back! Just stay in Georgia!" But we kept driving, and the passable roads led right to my house. Mom had a difficult time getting from my house over to hers. Because of all the closures, a 10 minute drive ended up taking her almost 30 minutes. Her neighborhood has been watching the water rise into their yards for the past 24 hours. Her house remains dry, but the water is licking her front stoop. A kind neighbor rang their doorbell at 2 a.m. and told my step-dad Jimmy to move their cars to higher ground. Some of the other neighbors were not so lucky as many families had their cars completely flooded.
My uncle's family in West Nashville (Bellevue) was forced out of their home today. The water filled their basement swallowing the washer/dryer, cars, motorcycles, tools, speakers and anything else you keep in a garage. They were also without power, so they headed to higher ground (a.k.a. his in-law's house). It was risky, but with a 5 year old on his shoulders they decided to WADE their way through the rushing waters for several blocks until they reached the in-laws. Later that day, many families in his area were evacuated and taken out by boats. I'm so glad he and his family made it safely!
Check out the basement at our house in Nashville. There should be about 3 or 4 more steps that you can't see...