Category: General


Suddenly it’s Spring

I love words, always have, and I adore happening on just the right word to describe a feeling.  Today, the word buoyant began to bounce around in my head like a pinball machine.  Faster and faster, until I decided that it was because I FELT buoyant.  Something about the warm weather, the blue skies, the light breeze, a walk downtown, lunch and an after work glass of wine with good friends. 

As I sat outside and enjoyed that magical time of day some people refer to as the witching hour, memories and images began to flood my mind and I soaked them up with a thankful heart.  Like brightly colored plastic balls in grocery store bins as a child, kite flying on the beach, parachute day in gym class, jumping impossibly high on the trampoline, floating in the ocean looking at the sky and those fluttery feelings when you’re first falling in love.

I was reminded of a wonderfully fitting song by Frank Sinatra, “Suddenly it’s Spring”.  Enjoy.

“Why is my heart dancing? Imagine dancing.

You look at me and suddenly it’s spring.

Why do I keep sighing? Not sad.  Just sighing.

I’m young and free and it’s suddenly spring.”

 See ya later, I gotta bounce…

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Two of my favorite sources of entertainment happen to be free: people watching and eavesdropping.  Call me voyeuristic, but there’s something fascinating about being granted a window into someone elses’ world, even if it’s for a short amount of time.  The best part is that it doesn’t cost a dime, although both are more enjoyable with an ice cream cone or cocktail in hand.

Today, I went shopping with a friend.  One of those marathon shopping days where you know you’ve got the whole day to take your time and pick through the racks, visit the dressing rooms countless times and find exactly what you want. 

After spending hours in one particular store, we were ready to check out, so I jumped in an incredibly long line.   While I waited in line, my friend put back several items we had both decided not to purchase.

When we had checked out and were headed to the car, she said “that guy behind you was cute-did you notice him?”.  I HAD actually noticed him and he WAS good-looking in a I-wouldn’t-date-you-but-I-might-make-out-with-you-if-I-was-out-of-town kind of way. 

 “Yeah, he was cute, but he’s a Christmas tree stealer”, I responded.  “He’s a WHAT?”, she asked with a confused look on her face.  “He steals Christmas trees and sells them to make money”, I stated matter-of-factly.  “Nikki, people tell you the strangest things”, she laughed. “Oh, he didn’t TELL me, I was listening to him on the phone”, I explained. 

So, this is what I learned while eavesdropping.   Apparently this guy trolls around in his boat at Lake Lanier all year long, looking for trees that would make good Christmas trees.  When he locates the  trees (in my mind, he spots them because of the ethereal light shining on them), he enters the location into his GPS system and then when Christmas rolls around, he goes back at night and cuts them down and sells them to unsuspecting people.  He even talked about a friend who had the “perfect” boat for his craft – an older boat that had had all the seats taken out.  I guess this way those poor Christmas trees don’t have to be blown around by the wind.

It made me think that missing items = illegal activity.

  1. Bath tub missing?  You might be in a meth lab.
  2. License plate missing?  You might be in a get away car.
  3. Seats missing in the van?  You might have been kidnapped.
  4. Boat seats missing?  Yep, your buddy might be a Christmas tree stealer too.

After I told the story, my friend said “you should totally write about this in your blog”.  Don’t mind if I do…

Fat Tuesday Tribute

A couple of months ago, I was nominated as one of the 2012 Mardi Gras Athens Queen hopefuls.  This fundraising event benefits Family Counseling Services of Athens,  a local non-profit counseling agency.  They provide counseling to North Georgia residents and have counselors that specialize in several different treatment areas.  You can learn more about this valuable organization by visiting their website http://www.fcsathens.com/ .  There are plenty of ways that you can volunteer your services and I encourage you to do so.

The goal of the nominees is to earn the most “votes” and each vote costs one dollar.  You can raise money however you like and the King and Queen hopefuls that raise the most money are crowned during a really fun event that was held at The Melting Point this year and included dinner, a silent auction, attendees in bright, colorful costumes, a band and lots of dancing.  It was a great night, we raised a lot of money and it all went to a worthy cause.  Oh and I was crowned Queen, which really isn’t the point…oh, who I am kidding, it’s TOTALLY the point!

I had a blast.  Occasions where I am actually encouraged to where feather boas and masks are sadly becoming few and far between, so I took advantage of it!  I also wrote a little poem to commemorate the night, which I read on stage, right before making one final walk around the event asking people for last minute cash donations. 

For your reading pleasure, ladies and gentlemen.  Drumroll please…

                                     

2012 Mardi Gras Athens Queen

Once upon a time, there was a wanna be queen 


She was short and blonde with a mouth like a sailor…and she often drank wine and told of times long past when she lived in a pink trailer.

So door to door, she begged and she pleaded…to raise money for where it was needed.

Over and over she asked…who in the all the land will donate the most… And lets not forget that she sent out many a facebook post.

So in her quest to be Mardi Gras Queen, many a suitor asked the question…if I give you my gold will you show me your boobies?

To which she royally replied…to see those it will cost you nothing less than rubies

Tuft Love

Recently as I was perusing Pinterest, I was looking at my “Home” board and I was hit with the realization that…apparently, I love tufting on furniture.  Yes, it’s true.  If you build it and tuft it, I will love it.

Now, if right about now you’re wondering “what the hell is Pinterest?”, you should either A. immediatedly stop reading this blog post and go to Pinterest.com (your life is about to change and yes, I will send you an invite) OR B. keep reading and pretend you never heard of Pinterest (if you’re prone to addictive behaviors and are already having trouble with the amount of time you spend on Facebook).

All I have to say is that if you’re female and a few months from now your husband wants a divorce and DFCS has been to your house, I sincerely apologize.  And if you’re male and this post gave your wife/girlfriend one more reason not to have sex with you, well…sorry.  No really, I TRULY AM sorry and I’m sure that she really DID have a headache.  One that was probably caused by staring at her computer screen for hours…on Pinterest.

Anyhow, back to tufting.  As I was admiring the many pieces of tufted furniture on my board, I started thinking about the word tuft, as in “their heads are gray to black with white tufts of fur” or as my best guy friend once unforgettably said to me in high school “you should really tell (friend who shall go nameless) that she has a tuft of hair coming out of her bikini bottom”.  I also thought about elephant tufts for a few seconds before I realized that I was confusing “tufts” with “tusks”.  I’m just going to go ahead and blame that one on the wine.  Happy Pinning!!

 

Frogs and Snails and Puppydog Tails

Most people wouldn’t guess this about me, but I was a huge tomboy as a kid.  Until I hit puberty, most of my time was spent running around like an idiot, climbing on things, riding things, jumping on things, kicking things, digging in the dirt, fighting boys, getting dirty and picking scabs.  Basically, just raising a whole lotta hell all over my neighborhood and doing my best to get home for meals, get out of taking baths and brushing my hair and trying not to get caught doing anything that I might earn me a spanking.

My mother was mortified since she is a prissy little thing and did her best to force acceptable girl-child behavior on me, like wearing dresses, fixing my hair and playing with babydolls, but I was having none of it.  She finally gave up and I started recieving Transformers and GI Joes for birthdays and Christmases.  Cabbage Patch and Barbie dolls began to be stored in the top of the closet or were left to languish at the bottom of the toy box.  Oh and after hundreds of tearful, sulking episodes of hair brushing, ponytailing and braiding, my long hair was cut into a pixie.  I can only imagine my mom cried herself to sleep that night.

I loved playing with boys.  The more rough and tumble the better.  Boys were always up for some type of adventure.  They liked to build things and break things and we handled our disputes by beating each other up instead of tattling and there was hardly ever any crying.  I knew that boys and girls were supposed to “like” each other, but I can distinctly remember the first time a boy kissed me and I was furious.  His name was Brett and we were hide-and-go-seek partners.  We scrambled behind a hedgerow and as we sat side by side in the shade of that dense bush, he leaned over and kissed me on my shoulder.  I remember that his lips felt moist on my sweaty shoulder and I felt confusion, followed by disgust, and quickly by anger.  I punched him and things progressed from there.  We wound up being “it” in the next round of hide-and-go-seek.  It’s hard to go unnoticed when you’re rolling around in the dirt beating the crap out of each other.

It’s amazing what a little estrogen and progesterone will do.  I hit puberty at 10-years-old and it was like a neon light bulb came on inside my head and it started flashing BOYS BOYS BOYS.  All of a sudden dresses, earrings and makeup became VERY interesting.  I demanded a perm.  Insisted that I be allowed to wear a bra.  I snuck makeup to school in my backpack and applied it (poorly) in the bathroom.  I was like a young Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver wearing horrible combinations of green+orange eyeshadow with bright red lipstick.  I raced full speed into being a girl and I did so clumsily, looking and acting ridiculous.  It took me a while, but I figured it all out eventually.

Amazing what happens when you stop wearing underwear on your head while playing war

Everything that I knew about boys went out the window.  They became an enigma.  In the past, I might have introduced myself to a new boy playmate by showing him how awesome my trampoline back flip was or that I could ride my bike without holding onto the handlebars.  Now I felt shy and unsure of myself when boys were around and a longing that I didn’t really understand.  Like most kids during that coming of age time, I look back and have many cringe-worthy albeit hysterical memories.

Well, I’m proud to say that my trampoline back flip is still pretty awesome and I’m really good at riding my bike without holding onto the handlebars.  However, you boys are still a mystery.  I guess that’s half the fun…kind of like riding with no hands.

Why no, I haven’t seen that show…

So, one night this summer,  my friend Sheila and I were out at this bar in Amelia Island and The Voice happened to be on television.  It’s really interesting how many of my conversations with people revolve around television since I haven’t had cable since 2000, but folks really seem to like to explain the plots of their favorite shows to me once they find out or remember that I don’t watch TV.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, apparently there are these 4 celebrity music judges who develop and mentor amateur musicians and then someone wins at the end.

Pretty entertaining stuff…

Reason #1

Cee lo has tiny T Rex arms.  I had never noticed this until Sheila pointed it out, but this man has really small arms and I think he wears loud clothing to disguise it, but I’ve got news for you, Cee Lo.  I still notice that your arms are disproportionately small in relation to your body even if you’re wearing a sequined blazer.  You’re just sparklier now…with short arms.

 

Reason #2

I’m in love with Adam Levine.  My heart hurts a little when I look at him and I’m pretty sure my feelings for him are stronger and more real than what I’ve felt for some of my boyfriends.  Sheila told me that night that he has a high pitched voice and he sounds kind of wimpy when he talks, so I was thankful that I couldn’t actually hear anything.  I mean, I would hate for anything to ruin my fantasy love affair with him.  We’re pretty close to moving in together as far as I’m concerned.  I will NEVER watch that show again.  Not with the volume on anyway.

Reason #3

I like to be reminded of Christina Aguilera’s career trajectory.  Like how many times I watched the “Genie in a bottle” video on MTV in 1999.  And how she went through that stage where she talked like she might have grown up with Lil’ Kim.

Reason #4

Did I mention that I’m in love with Adam Levine…?

Note:  At the request of an esteemed reader, the picture below has been added.

Four months.  Two moves.  Over 700 miles in a U Haul towing my car.  What did I learn?

1.  Backing up a 17 ft truck with a 14 ft trailer attached is tricky and I do not possess the skills required to successfully manuever this task

2.  Apparently I’m not the only one around me sometimes silently thinking that I need a boyfriend

3.  Taking pictures of the wiring for my television and audio equipment before packing it may qualify as the smartest thing I’ve ever done, right up there with going to college

4.  It takes approximately 1 hour and 21 minutes into the drive for me to stop white-knuckling the steering wheel of a U Haul truck

5.  Packing and unpacking boxes isn’t fun and drinking wine during either doesn’t make it any more fun, it just means your tape work doesn’t keep the boxes closed

6.  I have a lot of shoes

7.  I have a lot of bubble bath

8.  Letting the U Haul people unhook your car from the trailer is probably a good idea, especially in the dark (see #2)

9.  A nail file, a flashlight, a screwdriver, tape, a marker and beer can be a woman’s best friends

10.  I have awesome friends

Full Circle

So, my 4 month vacation in Raleigh has come to an end and I’m moving back to Athens.  I accepted a great job with the Athens Banner Herald as a Digital Media Sales Consultant.  I start next week!  Even more than that (don’t tell the ABH), I’m tickled pink to be closer to my sister who is due in the next few weeks with my very first nephew and to all of my wonderful friends, who I have dearly missed.

In many ways the last several months have been a time for reflection and prioritization and I’ll share some of my thoughts.  I’ll try to avoid sounding too cliché or like a Hallmark card.  Please don’t throw up and yes, I really wrote this.

1. Cherish your loved ones.  Life has a way of letting us slip into the habit of taking the people we love the most for granted.  Make time for them.  Show them with words AND actions how much they mean to you.  I was surprised by how deeply I felt the void of not being able to see my loved ones frequently and how sad it made me to think I wouldn’t be close enough to be a big part of my nephew’s life.

2. Make the time to do the things that are important to you.  Reading and running are 2 of my passions because I find them both to be revitalizing and calming.  They help center me and I feel improved as a person during and after both activities.  We all have self-destructive behaviors that we tend to turn to when we’re tired or stressed, but I find that mine are held at bay when I consistently perform activities that I am passionate about.

3. Be BOLD.  Seize your destiny.  Live in a way that makes YOU happy.  Decide what you want and go after it.  Regret and doubt are slow killers and will poison your life.

4. Live passionately.  Recapture your zest for life.  Enjoy all that the world has to offer-people, food, wine, music, dancing, kisses, lovemaking, laughter, friends, sunshine, rain, flowers, children and love.

I’m ready and eager for my next chapter and while mine will involve a move and a new job, yours doesn’t have to…

Baby’s Got Her Blue Jean Dress On

Do you remember the last time you just HAD to have something?  That something you were convinced would change the way the world viewed you?  Would, in fact, change you in some fundamental way? That new pair of shoes that you’re certain will transform you into a sex goddess, that perfect sofa that expresses exactly who you are as an individual (or who you want to be), those sunglasses that let others know that you’re a hipster, jock, diva, sophisticate-however it is you wanted to be percieved?  Well, when I was 16, almost 17, my “something” was a short, tight, sleeveless denim dress made by Guess.  That’s right, I said it-a blue jean dress is all I thought I needed to transform me from a poor kid living in a pink trailer into a sophisticated, desirable woman.                                                           

You see, for most of my childhood and early teen years, I was what people refer to as stocky.  Not overweight but definitely SOLID. Solid AND short. My permed, stacked bob wasn’t doing me any favors either (think Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing, but shorter and not cute).

Well, when I was 16 going on 17 (for you musical lovers out there), I had slimmed down, had grown that perm out and had begun to notice that boys were looking at me differently.  So, essentially that jean dress was going to represent the NEW me.

Like most things that people think they just HAVE to have, this dress was way too expensive. I mean, it was like $80 whole dollars!  So, I did what any resourceful young woman would do. I told every single family member that the ONLY thing I wanted for my birthday was that dress and if they were planning on getting me something, all I wanted was cash so I could buy it.  I had to endure a lecture from my Mom about how gifts were supposed to come from the heart and it was thought that counted.  My reply was that MY heart really wanted that dress and if the family really THOUGHT about my happiness then they would give me money, so I could buy it!                                                                                                                                                         

After my birthday, I counted up the money and marched into that store like no one in the world had ever spent $80 on a dress before.  It was a pretty heady experience.

Now, you might think that afterward I had buyer’s remorse or regretted only getting one thing for my birthday…but you would be wrong.  Nope, I took every opportunity to wear that outfit.  Going to school?  I’ve got the perfect thing to wear.  Church?  Nothing says I love the Lord quite like a blue jean dress.  Trip to the convenience store?  Yep, I’ve got just the thing.

Basically, I thought I was hot shit.

What is the point of this story, you ask?  Well, my new car makes me feel the same way.  I don’t mean that I think that this car redefines me or anything.  Hell, I didn’t even really WANT to buy a new car.  However, I’ll admit driving it feels GOOD.  I love it and just like 17 years ago (WOW); I kind of feel like I’m hot shit all over again.

Of course, the truth is a lot less glamorous. I mean, it’s not like it’s a Bentley or anything.  There’s also the fact that I can’t park it straight. The key fob is a foreign concept to me and I’ve spent the last 3 days feeling like an 80-year-old woman with her first computer or cell phone. In the last 72 hours, I’ve accidently triggered the alarm 6 times, been startled by the Bluetooth woman’s voice 3 times after hitting the button on the steering wheel and I haven’t exactly mastered unlocking my back doors yet.  All in good time, I suppose.

Got someplace you need to go? I’ll drive, but you’ll have to get out and help me park when we get there.

The Sweet with the Sour

This time last week I was lying flat on my back on the wet asphalt while it rained, with a roll of duct tape beside me, under my car trying to figure out what exactly was causing the scraping noise every time I drove.  I mean, I knew that had something to do with the car accident I had been involved in the night before, but what WAS it??  At first I was convinced that it was the interior plastic wheel well covers scraping the tire.  This is where the duct tape came in…just a word to the wise-duct tape will NOT stick on dirty, wet metal.  It really doesn’t matter how much you use, it’s just not happening.  Once I really got under the car to look, I could see that the hard plastic cover that shields the underside of all that important car stuff,  like you know…the engine, was actually bent back underneath the car.  Ah ha, THAT’S what was causing that scraping noise!

The Culprit

I thought that I might just be able pull it off, but of course every bolt had come out except one, so my only choice was to try and bend that piece back to its original position.  Now, you may not realize it, but it’s REALLY hard to do much of anything under a car unless it’s jacked up or on one of those hydraulic lifts, so I almost couldn’t believe it when it actually worked!  I got up off the ground, wet, dirty and more than a little pissed at myself and the situation.   Obviously with just one bolt holding it up it was kind of just flopping around down there, but no more scraping when I drove it!

Since moving to Raleigh, I’ve been using Express Inspection and Service on the corner of Walnut and S.E. Maynard in Cary for oil changes and to check a few minor things on the car.  The owner is this older gentleman named Turk (it says so on his shirt) and I’ll admit I have a little crush on him because he just comes across as so genuine and is always extremely helpful.  Using his fancy hydraulic system, Turk was able to get that pesky plastic shield off and we put it in my trunk until I had an opportunity to talk to my insurance agent, the always helpful Mike Dekle, at State Farm Insurance-thanks Mike and Dana! http://www.mikedekle.net/

Sayonara, old friend

After finding out that my accident had bent the frame of the car, I made the decision that the time had come to retire my 2000 Honda Accord-sad, but time.  That car served me well over the last 10 years and never needed more than your normal engine, tire and brake maintenance.

So, I started the process of looking for a new car.  Honda was an obvious choice for me, since I’ve had such a positive experience, but Hyundai’s kept making their way into my conversations with people.  I went online and found a Hyundai Dealership-Johnson Hyundai of Cary.  As a career salesperson, first in real estate and then in hospitality, I recognize good customer service when I see it.  The team here didn’t just provide good service, they provided SUPERIOR customer service and I’m happy to say that dealing with them was one of the best buying experiences I’ve ever had.  Buying a car is a big undertaking for anyone, but can be especially so when you’re a single woman.  Between being taken advantage of or just being treated like you’ve got jelly for brains, working with a shady car salesman or mechanic can be dangerous and frustrating when you’re female.  I highly recommend them to anyone that is in the market for a new or used car-tell them I sent you!  www.johnsonhyundai.com

Brad Street and Barry. Just because his intials are BS doesn't mean he's slingin' it

I worked with two of Johnson Hyundai’s salesmen, Barry, who is brand new to car sales and Brad Street, a seasoned pro.  I couldn’t have asked for a better sales team.  They were honest, courteous and most important, they made

sure I had plenty of snack food anytime I had to wait!

There were some cookies that didn't last long enough to make it into the picture...

Once I had chosen a car it was time to talk numbers, so I sat down with the Financial Services Manager, Randy Weber.  Randy was hired away from another car dealership by Johnson Hyundai and I can definitely see why.  He has the unique ability to put you at ease and as he walked me through the financial process, I had the feeling that I was sitting across from a trusted friend.  Randy had a lot of tiny candy bars on his desk and when he told me to help myself, I decided that we really WERE friends.

Randy Weber a.k.a. The Magic Man

A Winning Team!

Once the process was complete, it was time to say goodbye to my old car and unfortunately that meant that I had to clean it out.  Oh boy…not fun.  My trunk, much like my purse, is like a black hole and I found all sorts of things in there.

Apparently these are the necessities for today's modern woman

A rusty machete and a rubber mallet for those Mad Max kind of days

For those last minute, surprise costume parties and when I want to use those great maternity parking spots

After cleaning out the car, it was time to drive my new Certified Used 2011 Hyundai Sonata home-YAY!!

If anyone needs me, I’ll be out and about taking care of completely unnecessary errands.

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