Friday, December 31, 2010

One Last Thought for 2010

Well, probably more than one thought. But it is in there under the wire. Technically it's 1 a.m. on the east coast and after midnight in my old time zone. But it's only 10 here, so I'm under deadline.

2010 wasn't too bad of a year. It started out hectic and the first six months were trying, but the next six months were a whirlwind of change, excitement and adventure. After years of inertia, I made the move. And while only time will tell how successful it turns out to be, I know that I'll never regret moving but I would've eternally regretted NOT moving.

So as 2011 approaches, I look at where I am today and I think "where do I want to be next year?" and then I work backwards to see what it's gonna take to get there. Looking at where I want to be, here are some ways that I'm going to get there (aka my resolutions):
  • I will watch what I eat and track it at least 6 days a week.
  • I will exercise and work exercise into my daily habits in some form or another.
  • I will do work I truly love.
  • I will blog at least 3 times a week.
  • I will write for at least an hour a week.
So, let's hope those work! Happy New Year's everyone!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Starting To Feel Good About Myself

Let me rephrase that title as I've always felt good about some aspect of my life or another. And because I have a very supportive family, I don't think I've had a day in my life that I haven't felt smart. I might not always feel pretty or thin or like a good cook, but I've always felt intelligent. And that's a great trait to have. Especially when you're job hunting.

Because I have good friends and colleagues that have given me good references on linkedin and via phone, and who have helped me craft my resume, I'm actually getting some really good traction in LA. As previously blogged about, I've had an interview already. It went well. As well as those things that go. One thing I learned from doing interviews myself is that sometimes the most qualified candidate is not necessarily the best fit for the other personalities on the team. It's really a crap shoot and now that I've been lucky enough to be on the other side, I know this and don't get pissed off. Before when I'd interview for a job and didn't get it, I'd be really mad--like "how could they NOT like me?". They might very well have liked me but already had someone like me on their staff. It's not personal and I'm mature enough to know that now.

But today was a good day. I got a phone interview scheduled for one position, got a second online personality assessment for another position, got an email reading that I will be scheduled for a face to face interview for another position AND got a freelance gig that's gonna be fun in the mean time. Not too shabby for someone who doesn't know a lot of people in LA. And next week I'm heading down the LA American Heart Association office to offer my services and time to volunteer. I didn't think I'd do it, but after thinking about it, I realized it could be a great way to meet some new contacts and get an expert's (aka the Communications Director's) opinion on ad and PR agencies in the market.

So, I'm feeling good about myself and my future here. Although right at this second, the only thing making me feel sad is the incessant "Visit Music City: Music Calls Us Home" ads that are playing during the Music City Bowl right now. The photos are all from places within 3 miles of my old stomping grounds. Damn you, ESPN, for your nostalgic intros! Miss you, Nashville and Nashville Friends!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

He's Still Cute, even in a Fringe Jacket

Last night Chef and I went to the movies last night to see "True Grit." We had originally planned to see it on Christmas, but laziness got the best of us (laziness and mimosas and roast turkey and pumpkin pie to be honest). So we went last night. It was our first LA theater-going experience and my first case of sticker shock. It cost us $12.75 to see a movie here. That's the FIRST time that I was a little perturbed at a price. But I got over it for Matt Damon.

I have long since broken my streak of seeing every Matt Damon movie on the weekend it comes out, and even broke my streak of seeing every Matt Damon movie in the theater. However, it does go to show that if I'm going to pay to see something on a movie screen that is frankly on a little bigger than our gaudy large TV at home, then my dollars still vote for the big Matt Damon. It is a crush that started more than a decade ago, reached some pretty embarrassingly high (or low depending on the perspective) levels of addiction and has since mellowed to a manageable amount of adoration. But I have to say that the Matt Damon horse was a pretty good one to pick. He's stood up pretty well over time and has only seemed more normal with age. Two things I look for in a Hollywood crush.

We laid out the bucks to see "True Grit" and the movie was pretty good. And Matt Damon still looked good with weird hair, a long ass moustache and fringe leather jacket. Not too shabby. The only odd thing was the man sitting next to me. No, not Chef. There was a guy sporting a leather man-purse ("There's skittles in there!"-name that movie), a bag of popcorn and a drink. He was alone and got up twice to get the free refills (on a side note, I love that this theater has the fountain drink stations that allow you to serve yourself. I mean, nothing holds up a line longer than filling up the large jug of Coke Zero that I require to sit still for 2 hours). All of that--not so weird. He just had an odd look about him and it made me lean myself towards Chef a little more than normal.

And halfway through the movie, I knew my suspicions were true when the chick on the OTHER side of the guy (he was there by himself) said in a normal voice "Quit touching me and trying to touch me!" and then moved to sit in the empty seat on the other side of her friend. The guy then got up and left the theater. I was thankful that the woman sat with another woman. I think if it had been a man with her, there might've been a fight. And that would've interrupted my Matt Damon viewing, which in the scheme of things, is way more important than some potential sexual assault. (You know, I'm kidding).

So bottom lines:
True Grit-worth the price.
Creepy guy sits next to you in the theater: hope there's a single woman on the other side of you to take the brunt of the creepiness.

Monday, December 27, 2010

IKEA, you almost got the best of me

I went to IKEA today. I have to block out the day to do it. IKEA is about 30 minutes away, not that far in the scheme of things, but still in Burbank. Plus it's IKEA. I always get sucked in for longer than I think I'll be.

Today was no exception. I was wavering on what to buy because Chef wasn't with me and I knew if I bought something he didn't like, I'd be heading back. So, I ended up getting some things we wanted to help make the place look like a home. Some shelves, some plants, some rugs, some glassware. All the little things that add the "someone really lives here" look to a place. I mean, I'm sure the clutter on our bar does that just fine, but it's nice to have a plant do some of the talking too.

But what I gained in finishing touches, I lost in precious time on earth. I mean, it's nice to get out of the house, but the IKEA experience is not designed for easy in and out trips. Damn you, Swedes, for your clever weaving designs so that I HAVE to walk down every square inch of your store before I leave. Damn you, for having not one but TWO places for me to get something to eat. One for lunch and one for dinner, apparently, because that's how long it takes to get through the store. Going to IKEA today was the only time in recent memory that I knew to pack snacks in advance. I knew that a baggie full of salt and vinegar almonds would curb the hunger and help me avoid the meatballs and ice cream.

So without Chef, I did not have enough manpower to load my car in one trip. I had to go across the street to the parking garage, drive around the block in two different directions to get into the already packed loading zone. Thankfully,because they think of everything, IKEA has a cart bitch. No, not someone to wrangle the empty carts, but someone whose sole job is to stand by your already paid for items while you go get your car. There's no excuse not to buy a shitload of Swedish designed, Chinese made stuff.

Other than IKEA, today has been noticing all the diet-related things that are going on. Oh, New Year's Resolution, you have become a multi-million dollar boost to the diet and fitness industry. Jennifer Hudson Weight Watcher ads everywhere (she does look fabulous though). A new Hungry Girl TV show premiering in January. A new Biggest Loser. Heavy on A & E. I Used to Be Fat on MTV. Stories in US about Mila Kunis being 95 lbs for Black Swan (which to me seems NUTS).

Even MTV has drank the Kool-Aid. They're replaying a "True Life: I Can't Stay Thin" on these two people that yo-yo diet. Like crazy diet--400 calories a day for months on end and then 4 burgers and 3 orders of fries in a binge. How can they even eat that much food without feeling full after a few bites or even two burgers?

Next up a new "True Life"-- "I'm addicted to food." Every time I start to think I'm addicted to food, I see something like this that makes me realize that while I've had a problem, it's nothing like it used to be. Now, it's about getting back on it.

I've lost about 4 lbs in the last two weeks. A good start, but I'm finding that if I haven't eaten close to my calories by the end of the day, I'm popping in some pumpkin pie. It's not putting me over the calorie count for the day, but I'm struggling with needing something sweet to end each day. If it starts getting me off track, I'm going to have to cut it out.

The family weight loss challenge starts on Saturday!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Gift To You

Merry Christmas, Everyone! My gift to you is my favorite skit from last week's Saturday Night Live with Paul Rudd. It's my favorite skit because it also features Paul McCartney and Adam Sandberg. And because I find myself singing this song all week.




Here are the top 5 reasons I like "Stumblin'":
5) Paul McCartney's Tiny Harmonica
4) I can imagine the pitch meeting to get Paul McCartney went something like this "Well, you get to wear a puffy shirt AND a satin cowboy shirt."
3) The music is Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 which makes me smile.
2) I love three different types of Bears.
1) Paul Rudd's hips during the tiny harmonica solo are mesmerizing.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Need To Find My Freak Flag

I've been thinking the last couple of days about how normal I seemed to have gotten. And I'm not so happy about it. Maybe "normal" isn't the right word. What I think is that I've become too much like who I thought I was supposed to be at 30 and not enough like who I was at 20. Or something like that.

I need to find my freak flag again so I can fly it. And I think part of that goes into finding what it is that I like to do and doing it. Which means that I need to get back (again and always) into the habit of reading and writing. The writing is all on me. I can do that by getting my butt in gear and getting in front of the computer.

The reading is a different matter. I read every day. But right now I've been reading magazines. And not particularly creative ones. I can't give up Business Week. There's a part of me that just likes to be prepared for when I might need to know that TARP bailout money is being paid back quicker than expected and will produce a multi-billion dollar profit.

But I need to take more time to read some weird, fun, funny things that I used to. Suggestions are always welcome.

Once the reading and writing start, the juices start flowing and my mind starts going to weird places. It's those weird places that I miss right now. I miss the odd things that pop into your head and stir up even more odd things. My thoughts are way too vanillla right now. And not in a delicious way.

I'm going to start with the books and reading, but also am actively looking for ways to find my freak flag. I'll write about them as I figure them out. But if you have any ideas, let me know.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gym and Laundry but No Tanning

It seems as if my days have gotten into a routine. Maybe not the type of routine that I'd like (as I'd prefer to have the routine dictated by a job), but a routine nonetheless. I get up about 9 or so (later than I normally would, but I'll explain that later), pull on my gym clothes, brush the teeth, and pet the cats. I get to the gym and pray that there's no one in there. It doesn't happen very often.

Usually I'm stuck watching The View or Regis and Kelly. It totally befuddles me that guys will turn it on those shows. I understand the women who watch it, but if I want my time on the treadmill, I don't want Elizabeth Hasselbeck in the background mocking me with her skinny ass and uptight views. Or Sherry Whatever her name is that is an absolute idiot in all forms of the word.

I prefer my time on the treadmill watching SportsCenter. The stories are bite-sized and break up my routine. It also helps that there's a plethora of fit dudes egging me on as I sweat. That always helps. In fact, I'm fairly certain that's why I was successful with my boot camp.

But I digress. After the gym, I wash the pools of sweat off and slap some stuff on my body. Some days I go out and about. I make a run to Target or the grocery store or just driving around an area that I'm curious about. Other days I stay in the complex and do laundry (like today). By mid-afternoon, I'm back to hang out with Chef. The last couple of days, we've either watched movies or played Lego Harry Potter on Xbox (which cements my role as a geek).

I also enjoy the mail coming every afternoon. We put our Christmas cards on the wall near the bar and it's a little festivity to the place. I have gotten two packages so far and I'm holding out until Friday to open them. While we aren't celebrating the traditional way, it still IS Christmas and I want to have something to open. It's killing me though. I'm not a patient person by nature.

Then cooking some dinner, watching TV and more Harry Potter game. It's about 2 or so before we head to bed. Or at least I head to bed. Then it's up again to start a new day.

At this point, I'm still checking the employment listings and submitting resumes every day. However, I know that between now and the new year, I don't really expect to hear much. It's the dead period. So, I'm going to enjoy it for now.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Things to Remember When It's December

As I've gone out and about LA (or at least West LA), the last couple of days, I've come to realize a few things for those of us who dare to leave our houses to shop, eat, live or browse during December.
  • There's no reason to stop short in a parking garage. Seriously, if there's a sign that says there are 2 spaces on level 1 and 251 on Level Two, just drive on up. Don't circle level one and then stop short in front of the cute little Sentra behind you because you see someone with brake lights on. There are elevators, so there's really no chance of you having to exert yourself any more by parking on level 2. Yes, gray Mercedes SUV, I'm talking to you.
  • You can't circumvent a line at the cash register by pretending you don't see the partitioned off line. Well, I guess you can try, but expect to be yelled at by the 15-20 (if you're lucky--50-60 if you're not) people waiting in front of you. You can try pretending like you don't speak English, but the lady speaking Korean behind me seemed to understand the concept.
  • Candy Canes have calories. I personally think its bullshit that ANYTHING mint has calories. Or gum. Anything that's used to freshen your breath--even a candy cane--should be a free pass. I think that's actually in the Bill of Rights near the life and liberty part.
  • I don't know why Parking Garages have attendants. There's a lady that works at the parking garage at the Target I go to and literally ALL she does is wave her arms at the cars. She doesn't vary the wave or use the wave to direct cars in the direction of empty spaces. She's literally waving them along. I think the lines and arrows painted on the floor and signs are enough for me.
That's all I have for now. I'm sure I'll have more as Chef and I are heading to the mall on Christmas Eve. Not really because we want to, but because I got an email today for $200 off a second pair of prescription glasses. That means Chef could get two pairs of glasses for the price of one. And since his last pair is irreparably warped from falling asleep with them still on, it seems like this deal might be one we can't pass up. But he needs a new prescription, the coupon expires after Friday and the only appointment for an exam we could was for Friday morning. Merry Christmas for us!

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Not You, California, It's Me. I'm Fat. . . Again

Because of the stereotype of California and the supposed abundance of great looking, skinny people, I was ready to feel bad about myself for weeks on end. That was wrong. There are plenty of good looking people here and a higher ratio of them than in Tennessee (not that there aren't plenty of hotties in Tennessee). But it wasn't the plethora of good looking people that made me feel bad about my appearance.

It was me.

When it comes down to it, it is always you that makes yourself feel good or bad about yourself. Whether its appearance, intelligence, affluence or status, its really your choice what you strive for and how you judge yourself. And normally, I feel pretty good about myself. After I lost the big chunk of weight a few years ago, I've been happy with my appearance. Some days happier than others. My weight goes up. I start paying attention again. I count calories. I find some exercise regime that I like. The weight goes down.

This time the weight went up too far. I'll be honest. Last week I was 34 pounds heavier than my lowest weight (post-puberty). That was a wake-up call. I was still pretty far from my heaviest weight ever, but that's not the best measurement stick. So, I started paying attention again.

I can't say I didn't enjoy putting on the pounds. It's hard not to when you're moving, especially across country. I had to have "one last meal" at all my favorite Nashville restaurants (that added about 14 of the 34 pounds). Then I just couldn't pass up all the great places we ate at as we were driving across the country. I mean we might NEVER eat at Sophie's Mexican Kitchen near the Grand Canyon ever again, right? (That added another 10 pounds). Plus breakfast is a soothing meal on the road and especially when you're "depressed" and "sad" for leaving, so a Croissanwich and hash rounds become you're morning hit of crack to get through the day (another 5 pounds). And lastly, there was the joy of the thousands of new restaurants to try here in LA. I mean, you HAVE to find the best cheeseburger, pizza and Chinese takeout in town, right? Right! So that was the last 5 pounds. And some of that weight can easily be attributed to last cocktails, first cocktails, wine, beer and the abundance of social drinking that comes with a farewell, as well.

So, now it's back to counting calories. Eating fruits and veggies at home. Hitting the treadmill at least 30 minutes once a day, if not doing some extra walking or running a second time. I'm determined to get lower than my lowest weight by next Christmas, so that I'm not complaining about my clothes being too tight. I'm complaining about them being too loose. I also don't want to be relegated to stretchy leggings and oversized shirts, cardigans and sweaters, like I tend to be sporting now. I'm only thankful that those types of clothing are in style now.

So for my own peace of mind and piece of self-confidence, I'm back in full force. Yes, it's a little crazy to do it before Christmas, but I'm going to take a break for ONE meal so that I can enjoy a celebratory meal out with Chef. But only that meal. I am determined that that meal will not become a trend or that the holidays away from home will not be an excuse to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.

Wish me luck.

Or join me! I'm using the My Fitness Pal App on the iphone--it's also a free logging website (www.myfitnesspal.com) My username is Awrye.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rain Makes Me Nervous



It started raining yesterday in LA. Not that rain is exceptionally noteworthy, but it was the first overcast day since we moved here. And the sprinkles started and then some heavy rain, but nothing I'd consider a downpour or anything of that nature. '

However, it was about 4 a.m. when I started hearing what sounded like waves outside our bedroom window. We're close the ocean in a sense that we are only about 15 miles away from the coast, but 15 miles is not nearly enough to hear the lapping of water on sand.

I looked out the window to see cars on the road next to our apartment slowing down (if they had enough time) and skidding through flooded street. The wave sound was the sound of the water lapping against the parked cars on the side of the street. We live near a busy street. It's 3 lanes on each side. We've also come to realize that we live with people who aren't used to flash flooding.

By the time I woke up and got out of bed, the flooding had subsided and the street was wet, but passable. The rains had dwindled and it looked like a soggy day. However, around 11 a.m. they kicked back up again and by early afternoon, you couldn't see road for about half a block. The water was standing about 8 inches high.

As entertaining as it was to watch all these cars come to a screeching halt in time to see their cars under a huge spray, it also made me nervous. Anyone who lived in Nashville in May knows what I'm talking about. It was during the flood that I learned it only takes a foot of water to sweep away a car. That rains can become raging rapids in less time than it takes to get to the supermarket 4 blocks away. There's a point when you start wondering if you have flood insurance. Realizing that even if you do have flood insurance, the roof might collapse from all the rain collected on it. That while being a part of history is fun, it's much more enjoyable in, say, a witnessing a no-hitter kind of way instead of a being a part of a 100 year flood kind of way.

They say Los Angeles hasn't had rain like this in a decade. Well, I'm tired of being a part of memorable weather. The next history-making weather I want to be a part of is the longest streak of consecutive 72 degree and sunny days in Southern California history. Of course, I'll have to wait another 4 days for that to begin as the rain isn't supposed to let up until Thursday.

I know those of you suffering in snow have little sympathy, but I thought I'd vent nonetheless.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It Doesn't Really Feel Like Christmas

First of all, let me say that I'm not complaining about weather. I mean, one of the reasons we moved here was to have some nice weather. However, when it's December 17th and there are palm trees around, it seems weird to think that in a week it'll be Christmas and it's rainy and 60 degrees out. There's no chance of a white Christmas, and I'm okay with that.

It's just the lack of acknowledgement that it is Christmas time. I knew this one was going to be a weird one anyway. It's my first Christmas in California and my first Christmas in my life that I won't be with my family. Well, not all of my family. I would be remiss if I didn't recognize that Chef is my family too. A very important part of it.

But anyway, aside from the crowds in shopping complexes and some decorations around retail outlets, it's not a very spirited place right now. Some decorations on houses, but that's about it. No snow or cold chill or mistletoe or office parties. And it's not like Chef and I are tearing up the decorating spirit either. I have my IU Santa out, but we've never had a tree or many decorations. There's just no place to put them and I'm sure the kitties would tear up a tree.

So, no Christmas spirit yet. We've already planned to go to Ruth's Chris (our place of celebration) on Christmas Eve and to see a Matt Damon movie (which is a western, so really the best of both worlds for satisfying the two of us) on Christmas. Hopefully that will be enough to get us in the spirit. If not, there's always next year. . .

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back to the Work World

I got a call Monday morning from a sporting goods company that has an availability for a PR coordinator (and no, it's not Gus Doerner's LA). It was a surprising call because I had only submitted my application on Saturday night. I did, however, mention that I'd seen more basketball games than any woman except Coach Krzyzewski's wife. That might've helped.

I was ecstatic that I got the call. Don't ever get me wrong about that. I was mostly shocked. I wasn't expecting to hear from people so quickly, as I just started looking hardcore last week. Whether or not I get the job, it has already been a boost in my confidence that I got an interview already. Of course, after being out of the work world for the last couple of weeks, I have to remember how I'm supposed to act. I've done my company research. I've driven the route to the place to know how long it's gonna take me to get there. I've prepped some answers to commonly asked interview questions. I even have my favorite basketball player of all time picked out (Bill Russell, for those who care).

So now I just need to not psych myself out. Remember my experience in interviewing people. It's so weird how personality, some answers and timing play into getting a job or not. I just have to be who I am (which is awesome) and hope that the position is a right fit for me and vice versa.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

When in Doubt, Cling to Sports

I watched the IU game today. It was simultaneously happy and sad. Happy that they did so well. Sad that Kentucky (and particularly Calipari) is still winning.

On Thursday, I watched the Colts-Titans game. It made me simultaneously happy and sad. Happy that I was able to watch the game when I was clearly out of market and happy for the win. Sad that the game was in Nashville and I thought of all my friends who were there. Also a little sad that the game got so close.

My love of sports has been strong since I was a kid. It grew exponentially when I moved to Nashville. Part of it was out of the new, strong Football environment. Part of it was out of necessity to stay away from boredom. I didn't have cable TV for the first two years I was in Nashville. If you know anything about TV on Saturdays on your big 4 networks, you know that sports is on AT LEAST one of them. When you have nothing else to watch, you don't mind pro tennis so much.

So, it comes as no surprise that I'm clinging to sports once again. When everything else changes in your life, the consistency of NFL Sunday is at least something to cling on to. Sports Talk radio in a different market or just tuning into Sportscenter. Its the same. The stories are the same in Tennessee or Indiana or California. Plus I know more about sports than the average girl. I know WAY more about sports than the average California girl. Not even close. That wasn't so much the case in Tennessee. Most of the girls there at least know SEC Football. The guys here in California don't really know football. Maybe pro football or USC (which is essentially the same, right?). Anyway, I like the element of surprise. It takes guys aback here when I spout out anything sports related. I'd missed that a little.

Maybe I can use it to my advantage. . .

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

It Was My Mistake From the Onset

It was my mistake. Chef had gone to bed early which meant that I got to have the TV all to myself. What do I do? I land on the last 30 minutes of "Marley & Me" on HBO. I've seen "Marley & Me" so I knew that the last 30 minutes are like cry-a-palooza on steroids. And it was of course enough to set me off.

Marley reminds me of my dog, Pepper. Not the best dog in the world, but loved and loving nonetheless. And less than a month after I moved with Pepper to Nashville, he was too sick to go on. One year after my mother died of breast cancer that metastasized to her liver, our dog had gotten cancer in his liver. It was too much of a coincidence. I finally realized that this dog that I thought was mine, was actually hers. Years of her threatening to make him into Chinese Food was nothing in the end but frustrated rhetoric. When she died, he spent his nights in my bed comforting me and his days in her spot on her bed remembering.

My dad often calls the picture I took of Pepper and I just before going to put him down at the vet's one of the saddest pictures he's ever seen. I can't say that I disagree. The moment was one of the hardest in my life. There aren't many times that you decide whether or not something lives. At least not something larger than a bug. And I know others have had to make that decision too. Never a fun or easy thing to do for animals, people or anything in between.

So, "Marley & Me" ends and I'm in a crying fit by myself in the living room when Genghis and Mila come over to me and snuggled in deep. They're not dogs, but in a pinch, they'll do just fine.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Things that Are Different

There are inevidently things that are different when you move across state lines. Those things you notice right off as being completely odd. The last time I moved to Tennessee, it was odd that you couldn't get your car registration and your driver's license in the same place.

In California, it was the license branch. We got there when it opened, waited maybe 20 minutes, and then had to submit my passport and Tennessee license, pay $31 and go get my picture taken (which for the record is not as nice a picture as the odd license, but I digress). After the picture, I had to take a written test. Yes, that's right. I had to take a 36 question test about traffic laws. Traffic laws in general, I aced. It was the California specific laws that I had trouble with. For example, I didn't know that they had passed a law making it illegal to smoke in a car with someone under 18 inside. Why would I know that?

I passed the test, but just barely. It probably would've helped if I had had the test booklet to study before we went in, but I didn't know we would have to take a test. I mean, in Tennessee I just had to fill out some paperwork. No test. Take your new picture and leave with your license.

That's the other thing that is completely bizarre about California. Chef and I didn't leave the DMV with new licenses. We'll get in the mail. . .7 weeks from now. WHAT?!?! And the lady punched a hole in my old license. So, I have my old ID with a hole RIGHT THROUGH THE BIRTHDATE (which is the only thing people need to see on the license) and a temporary paper license for the next 7 weeks.

After the DMV experience, Chef was done for the day. I had the pleasure of opening our new checking account (we went with Wells Fargo), taking back a defective purchase from Best Buy, buying my niece and nephew their Christmas presents and the nephew's birthday present, getting a manicure and going to Trader Joe's. The last two were just for my enjoyment. The manicure was okay. Cost less than Nashville, but I didn't get a drink offered when I came through the door, the towels were kind of shabby, the nail polish was NOT OPI or Essie, but some off brand that didn't provide any kind of coverage. So, I will continue the search for my nail salon.

The thing that sucked was that I love pedicures, but couldn't even attempt it. Today was the first day that I could put shoes on with my busted toe, but that was pushing the limit. I know the nail is coming off. It's not really attached to my toe. I would love for it to come off, but I'm too chicken to pull it off.

So, that was my day today. The gifts are wrapped and I'll head to get them shipped tomorrow. Still have about 13 more gifts to buy, but I've got a little time. :)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Things I Love/ Hate About LA. . .so far

Love:
1) Buying wine and liquor in the grocery store.
2) The weather- 72 and sunny on December 1 and 2.
3) There are literally 6 local restaurants in the block around our apartment, and many many more in a 1-mile radius.
4) Our place looks fabulous, or is getting there.
5) There's a HUGELY wide range of ethnic foods, all out our door. Oh, and a huge range of people behind those ethnicities. (aka Diversity)
6) Our complex is nice, well-lit, great laundry and has a vending machine for those late night peanut M&M cravings. The vegetation around the complex is ridiculously nice and well-maintained.
7) You can get just about anything or do just about anything 24 hours a day.

Hate:
1) There was a crazy man screaming weird things on the sidewalk 50 feet from our window. (the flip side to diversity)
2) Yes, traffic. Fine. We hit a 90 minute fatal traffic accident that closed three lanes on our first morning. However, thanks to Garmin, we were able to cut about 60 minutes off the normal 90 minute back-up.
3) Laker fans. I'm going to be a Clipper fan out of spite. Plus I kinda like Blake Griffin and of course, Eric Gordon ---the former Hoosier, plays on the Clippers.
4) The lack of sports talk radio about something outside the Lakers. Seriously, LA sports fans, NBA basketball is about the worst sports product out there. I already feel a sense of sports knowledge superiority here.

Okay, that's enough for tonight. More the longer we are here, I'm sure.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

It's the worst kind of injury . . .or at least my least favorite

If you know me, you know that I have a major phobia of nail injuries. Not just my own, but I can't stand other people's either. When Mila bit through Chef's finger nail last week, I almost vomited in my mouth. I think it goes back to my first lost toenail. I was hit by a pitch in the foot when I played softball in high school. It made my toenail turn smurf blue and then it eventually popped off. I remember being upset and having a hard time wearing shoes.

Well, I think it might happen again. Two days ago I pulled the door over my foot and stubbed my big toe. . .hard. Really hard. I remember cursing for about 5 minutes and then hobbling on my way. It wasn't until I realized that my big toe was still hurting at the end of the day AND that I couldn't wear high heels because it made my toe throb, that I thought it might be something bad. The only thing is that I can't see my nail because it's painted. I'm guessing that I wouldn't want to see it because my toe is now twice its normal size and the nail is very tender. I think it might come off, which frankly has me a little skeeved out. I'm worse with my own nail injuries than anyone else's. I've resigned myself that the name might go. UGH.

On a brighter note, we are only one dresser away from having most of the boxes unpacked. I've got to unpack the office supplies for the desk area, but other than that, it's looking nice. Pictures to come! Of all the things, I'm really looking forward to sleeping with Chef in a king size bed instead of the Full sized we have been relegated to the last few years.

Nearly there. . .

Oh My, IKEA!

It started out as an innocent trip to get a desk chair and dresser. It ended up being a 4 hour ordeal of redecorating to the highest degree. I knew it would probably be a long trip, but didn't know it would take THAT long. I'd never been to an IKEA store before, so I didn't know how it was set up, but it seemed easy enough: check out the showroom, write down what you like, go through the "marketplace" for sheets, towels, non-large furniture, and then to the warehouse area to pick up the furniture. Didn't make it to the cafe, but maybe next time.

So, we had a list of things we needed, and a "game plan" to test things out. I can't say that I didn't feel slightly lucky that I had Chef to do a few things: 1) lift the heavy furniture from the warehouse section, 2) carry the big ass bag to the car and 3) give his opinion on lots of things. Honestly, there comes a point when you look at so many pieces of furniture that they kind of start blending together.

Anyway, we found desks, beds, couches, chairs, duvets, pillows, cabinets, dressers and bookcases we liked. We didn't buy everything we liked, but we did get quite a bit more than a dresser and a desk chair. And the great thing is that it's gonna get delivered tomorrow and we have someone coming to pick up the old furniture. It just makes me wonder if we shouldn't have just ditched the old furniture before we left and traveled with just a trailer. Oh well, it's over now. Pictures to be posted when we get things settled here. We still have a few items to exchange from Target and a few more to purchase. We're getting close to having everything here we really need. Except for food. Still haven't made a trip to the grocery. Mostly because the kitchen is still kind of a mess.

Four hours in IKEA in Burbank and an updated apartment. I'm ready to be settled, really. Not much longer now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Settling In

I haven't had the chance to write an update lately. It's been a crazy couple of days. Chef and I left Vegas at noon on Sunday thinking it would be a four and half hour trip. It was not. We knew it was going to be rough within the first couple of miles when traffic on I-15 was already backed up only about 5 miles outside of town.

The movers were scheduled to come in at 6 p.m. that night, so surely a 90 minute buffer would be plenty. But clearly it was not or I wouldn't be writing about it. At 6:30 that night, we were still almost two hours away from our new apartment AND Chef isn't supposed to drive at night. He has night blindness, so the prospect of driving into LA at night was not a good one. I had to stop to get gas and there happened to be a Best Western at the exit, so Chef and I decided that was a sign to stop.

The movers were nice enough to come the next morning. There was also a fatal traffic accident on the I-10 right before our exit, so there was a 90 minute delay the next morning getting to the apartment. Luckily, I had a Garmin to help steer us around it so we didn't get delayed the full 90 minutes. In the back of my mind, I heard every single person who told me that LA wasn't all that great because of the traffic (and it's expensive was the second most popular reason to stay away).

Anyway, the movers had it done in about an hour and we were unloading soon enough. Next, we went to Target to get some essentials and then back to the new place. I feel asleep pretty easily that night. One thing that Chef said he was going to have to get used to is the traffic noise. Our apartment is next to a busy street and there is never a time that it isn't busy. It was one of the trade-offs of the great place. The bitch of it was someone honking at 4 a.m. Who honks at 4 a.m.?

Aside from the honking, I have learned a few things: 1) this place would be much better if there were more left turn signals. 2) If you do get stuck turning left at a place with no turn signal, be sure to stick your car in the middle of the intersection and know that at least two cars must be able to turn left after the red light appears. I have a feeling that I will be a more aggressive driver the longer that I'm here.

This morning we woke up and wanted a long, hot shower. No dice. When we called maintenance, we found out that the entire complex had no hot water. Ugh. So, Chef and I unpacked more and made lists of things we needed. We also waited for the cable people to come. It wasn't until a little while ago when Chef configured it, that we had some other form of entertainment than our sparkling personalities. Now we have cable and internet. We have everything.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It was Grand and It was a Canyon

Yesterday was a long ass driving day. It didn't have to be, but Chef got it into his head that it was a 5 hour day (that's short in our terms) and that we could stop for some sightseeing before getting to the Grand Canyon. So we did.

First we stopped at the Petrified National Park in Arizona. It was some of the most beautiful scenery that I've ever seen. Although that seems to be a theme for this trip. It took about an hour to get out and drive and take pictures, but the vast nothingness and then weird peaks made it so worth it. I even made Chef get Genghis out of his carrier to snap a quick picture.

We made it closer to the Grand Canyon when the signs kept popping up for a giant meteor crater and I knew when I saw the first one that we'd be stopping there. Chef is into that kind of thing. So we stopped and gaped at the big ass divot a meteor made. Although to be fair, the meteor museum was really good comparitively. It had a lot of hands on exhibits that I really like because I'm a kid at heart.

By the time we got back on the road and then to our hotel, it was well after dark. The Red Feather Lodge, where we stayed, was kind of a hole, but a hole that was only about a mile from the Grand Canyon and one of the few places that took pets. We deposited the kitties and then made our way to Sophie's Mexican Kitchen a block away for food. I had my first Navajo Taco which is fry bread with beans, cheese, lettuce and I also had some chicken. It was the most delicious "Mexican" food I ever had.

We got up early again this morning and headed to the Grand Canyon. It was a breathtaking site. I didn't realize there were so many lodges in the park itself. It makes me want to go back and do the mule to the bottom and river rafting kind of expedition. Chef and I are already making our plans. Plus we really wanted to go to the Skywalk, but that's about 3 hours from where we were and a lot out of the way on our trek to Vegas.

Anyway, we spent a few hours at the Canyon and then loaded up again to head to Nevada. It was only about 4 hours away, so when we saw the Hoover Dam, we were all on it. We viered off and saw some more sights. By the time we got to Vegas, I knew what my agenda would be: massage (not of the happy ending variety), buffet and gambling.

Chef and I were lucky enough to be able to book a 50 minute couples massage at the Bellagio (thinking of you Anne and Amanda!!)--there was a cancellation as the reservations are usually booked 3 months in advance! We jumped on it and then decided we needed to get cleaned up and geared up at the hotel before hitting the buffet. So now I'm waiting on Chef to get ready and blogging briefly before I get my Kobe Beef on. I wore my jeggings (aka stretchy pants) just for the occasion. Diet starts on Monday.

This is the last stop before the final destination on the journey. Movers come at 6 p.m. tomorrow to help us unload in the new place. I'm going to be kind of sad when it's back to reality. This has truly been the trip of a lifetime!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

An Almost Easy trip to Albuquerque

I say almost easy, because 5 hours in the car is never easy. However, with the beautiful scenery and the great, albeit cold, weather, it felt much shorter. Especially after 11 grueling hours in the car yesterday.

Made it to Albuquerque and checked into our hotel. We've got the unloading and loading of cats to a science. Chef and I continue to be impressed by the ability of the cats to travel. Once they're in their carriers, they sit in the car for the duration--no much meowing and no accidents. They get out of the carriers at the hotel, eat, drink and do their bathroom business and then start exploring the new surroundings. All this without the kitty xanax, as they do fine without it and we do better without having to shove pills down their throat.

But I digress. The front desk manager told us that Mimi's Cafe down the street was serving a full Thanksgiving meal, so we hit it up. I had the traditional turkey and accoutrement, but Chef stuck to his usual steak option. The only minor crisis was Chef leaving his debit card in the restaurant and not realizing it until we had gotten halfway back to the hotel. Which caused anxiety and a small nervous breakdown until it was back in our hands.

Anyway, with full bellies, we sit here and prepare for tomorrow's adventure. We've got a hotel booked about a mile from the Grand Canyon Park entrance. I'm so excited! I've never seen the Grand Canyon and am ready to have my breath taken away. Six hours tomorrow to the big hole in the earth!

Amarillo by morning. . . (And our Change of Plans)

We made it to Amarillo last night at about 6 p.m. After 11 hours on the road, we decided that travelling that much in one day is not fun. Originally we had selected a shorter route because we didn't know how much travelling the cats could take. Turns out, they can take a lot and well. No accidents in the car or hotel room. Just get them in their carriers, then show them their food and litter boxes when we get out and they're good to go.

Yesterday's driving experience was pretty boring. The landscape of Oklahoma was not all that exciting. It seems like they even know that. Each exit that featured a town also featured a big blue sign that read "See NAME OF CITY HERE!" and then had 2-3 facts about the town listed below it like "Home of Astronaut Mike Jones" or "Historic Route 66 sites". The really boring cities read things like "Historic Downtown District" or "Indian Arts and Crafts Shops". It was nice that even the more mundane looking towns still got an exclamation point to help spice them up.

The other thing about Oklahoma that really sucked was the wind. Wind is tough in a Sentra, but driving a much taller Penske truck made it a little more difficult. Maybe that was a way to keep me focused, I don't know, but it seemed to work.

Anyway, after all that driving, Chef and I got into Amarillo, dropped the cats off and went out in search of a good steak. I mean, when in Texas, right? We went to a place called Hoffbrau-- I thought it was going to be much nicer than it was. It ended up being kind of like a Logan's. But either way, it was pretty good. It definitely hit the spot after two days of crappy fast food eaten in hard plastic booths as quickly as possible. Plus they had fried green tomatoes that were well done, so that made me happy.

After dinner, we went to Wal-Mart because Chef was out of socks. The others were packed in a box in the Penske so far in the back, that there was no way we were going to dig them out. So, Wal-Mart it was. We got the socks, plus some snacks including a miniature single serve pumpkin pie that I'm saving for today. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

So, after the long day yesterday, Chef and I made a decision over dinner that yesterday wasn't fun enough. We were so pressed to get to our destination, that we didn't get to see any sites or even have a nice meal until we were so worn out after check in. We are changing our plans for the rest of the trip. How many times do we really expect to be driving across country? I know I haven't explored a whole lot west of the Mississippi. So, we are going to delay our arrival into LA until Sunday. Today we're driving 5 hours only and getting into Albuquerque by early afternoon to find a suitable Turkey dinner.

From Albuquerque we are going to the Grand Canyon. Neither of us has seen it and it's only a little off the beaten path, so it's a must see. From the Grand Canyon, it's on to Vegas. I've been to Vegas, but Chef hasn't, so we're going to hit it up. Neither of us really gambles, but Chef is super excited about the possibilities for great restaurants. Since we're booking hotels 24 hours before we hit a destination, we're getting great deals on kitty-friendly places. Besides, we both know that once we hit LA the work begins. We've hired some help to unload the truck at less than $100 for two hours (hell yeah). Then it's get a job!

We're off to Albuquerque (every time i say that I think of my Aunt Mio). Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tears, Fears, and Little Rock

I cried a lot today. Packing up the last things in our apartment. And of course leaving Nashville the last time. Chef just mentioned Nashville at lunch and it made me tear up. I have met so many great friends, and Nashville is a town where nothing bad really happened to me. No one died. I never was a victim of a crime. But when it comes down to it, I took the best thing Nashville had with me: Chef.

Today wasn't too bad. The cats were great. Some meows when we would stop, but never for longer than 5 minutes. The penske wasn't too bad to drive. Clocked up to 75 mph. The worst part of the day with the cats was in the hotel. Chef and I spent 20 minutes looking for Mila in the room. She hadn't snuck out (or so we thought) but there wasn't any place else for her to hide. So we went to the front desk to see if they'd seen a cat scurry out of our room. They had not. I just about start crying when I reach under the air conditioner and feel fur. It was a huge sense of relief.

So far little rock sucks. None of the pizza places that were top rated and listed as "delivery" in urban spoon actually delivered. So we opted for Pizza Hut. Which delivered us the wrong order so they had to go back and remake our pizza. The wifi doesn't work so I'm blogging from my phone. But all in all it's been smooth.

Next stop: Amarillo, TX. Going to get some steak but not do the steak challenge. Also we downloaded the roadside America app to hit some quirky spots along the way ( thanks for the tip, Greg). Cadillac ranch, anyone?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Quick Break from Apartment Hunting

I'm not a good hunter. I don't like guns. Or tracking animals. I feel too much sympathy. In fact, the only thing I'm good at hunting is a bargain. And that's on my home turf.

So I was a little daunted in trying to hunt an apartment in a city that I hadn't spent any significant time in and yet was moving into in a week. So yes. Daunted is definitely a good word for it.

First day, first place and Chef and I are liking it a lot. It's cute, new and has a patio. Only two drawbacks are that it's a little small and on the first floor. The complex was completely secure with a parking spot included, two swimming pools, three huge laundry facilities and a fitness center--also a year's worth of free laundry cards (they don't make you get change, they put $ on the laundry cards and you just swipe your card).

But not knowing if what we were seeing was good or great, we moved along. We saw cute. We saw big. We saw out of our price range. We saw old in a great location. We saw new in a shitty location. The one thing most of these places get right is they update their appliances and bathroom fixtures. That's a standard. They also know exactly which area of the apartment to photograph to maximize its appeal.

My two favorite scenarios were today's. At the first place we went to, we pulled up right outside to a big African-American dude on the front balcony blaring rap music. By blaring, I mean we could rap along to the music in our closed up car. But I felt obligated to look at the place because we had already called a dude and made him meet us there to open it. We go through the place and where is the apartment he's showing us? Right next to blaring rap music at 11 a.m. dude. That's a big HELL no. I don't really want to rent a place where there are lots of people home at 11 a.m. I work hard. I want to be around others that do too. Maybe it's just me.

The other one was old and had updated the lobby and some good space. The "two bedroom" was weird because one bedroom was connected to the other and you had to walk through the first bedroom to get to the second. All of that was fine and dandy, but again it was the little thing that made me (I guess I'm a snob) turn on my heels and leave. We went to the balcony and the neighbor to the left had their entire balcony filled with trash. Broken furniture, empty spray paint cans, broken strollers. All pure crap.

When I told the leasing agent, the place wasn't really for us, she asked me why and sensing that she actually did care what I thought or wanted some truthful feedback, I told her that both of the apartments she had shown us had neighbors who had trash piled up on their balconies that wasn't somewhere I was interested in living.

So, in the end, we've seen about 12 places and it looks like that we'll have an apartment by noon tomorrow. And while the we've sacrificed a nice place for a great location (and the WORST complex) in our Nashville place. It looks like we're going for good location, great complex and some actual amenities for the new place.

It actually wasn't until Chef declared that he absolutely needed some sunglasses asap that I started to feel like LA could be home. Funny how the great American commerce can feel so comforting. We pulled into the place everyone told us they raved about called The Grove. Lots of stores we don't have in Nashville--Nordstrom, American Girl Store, Crate and Barrel, etc. We look around, have fun and have our route encumbered going into Nordstrom by Mario Lopez shooting tonight's "Extra". It started to feel like LA.

Then we went to the discount complex up the street, passed where Heidi's work scenes were shot for "The Hills" and amongst the discount Nordstrom, I felt my Hoosier groundedness come out. I know there are going to be more tears, more tantrums and many more turnarounds with the Garmin, but I think this place is going to work for us.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's Hard to Believe...the Countdown begins

I spent most of today packing. While I was hoping to pack for our upcoming trip to LA, I knew that packing up the apartment was probably the more logical thing to do. So, I popped open some boxes, threw some football on the TV and then went about tearing up our bedroom and bathroom in the hopes of making some sense of the madness.

It's not the packing of things that gets me. It's the purging of the crap that's been accumulated that I enjoy and hate at the same time. I love getting it out, but I hate the sorting and "where are we going to take that?" moment. Right now I've got about 10 boxes of our stuff packed and 7 boxes of things to have Chef take to Goodwill on Monday. I also made three big trips to the trash. There are times when I am sincerely grateful for the big ass dumpster in our apartment complex parking lot. Those times are NOT when someone dumps a dining room set or mattress in the alley for others to drive around (which happens about every other week), but is when we have massive amounts of crap to unload.

Aside from the purging of crap, I've also realized that we have very few items of real value. I think Chef and I should get married just to be able to replace all of our cutlery and place settings. We're pairing both of those down tomorrow when I start to tackle the kitchen. We merged plates, glasses and cutlery when we moved in together and in our laziness, never really paired them down. Our laziness really was two fold in that 1) we didn't want to take stuff to Goodwill and 2) by having massive amounts of dinnerware, we never ran out and only had to do dishes when the washer was full. Now it's time to choose only the most useful of the plates and cutlery to move on. Also, I've begun to notice that the best glasses Chef and I have are the ones that are designed to hold alcohol in them. Hmmmm. . . .

Tomorrow, it's Colts game, then Kitchen. Only two and a half working days until we'll be boarding a plane to LA to rent an apartment (and check out our new city). Wish us luck that we can find something suitable in four days time. I feel pretty confident that we'll be good to go, but there's always the chance for a hitch in the giddy-up so to speak. We land at about midnight a week from today.

Being that I'm a glutton for punishment, I scheduled our last hoorah for Sunday, November 21st. Anyone who reads this and wants to can come join us for a last drink at Sam's in Hillsboro Village. I'll be setting up shop shortly before the kick off of the 3:15 Colts-Patriots game.

And then we pick up the moving truck on Monday morning. I'm currently scheduling some moving help on Monday morning as well. In my old age, I've learned that $200 or so is not too shabby to save an argument and backache from loading your own van. I haven't scheduled help on the back end yet, but keep your fingers crossed.

So, that's the plan of the move as I can see it now. The apartment is starting to look bare. It's strange how most of the things that surround me are pure crap that I can do without. It's going to totally change my perspective on not just buying stuff to fill space, but surrounding myself with things that I really love. I mean, it's worked well with people, friends and cats, so I'm sure furniture is just the next logical step, right?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Boxes, Boxes, and Kitty Xanax

I've spent the last two days buying, finding and creating boxes. I've learned that Lowe's has an excellent selection of boxes for a reasonable price. The large boxes top out at $1.25 each whereas the Uhaul and other packing places boxes can run up to $4 for a plain large box. That's just crazy talk. I mean, who would pay that much for a BOX??

Okay, so I did end up paying WAY more than $4 for one box, but it's a special box. It's a box for our flatscreen TV. If there's anything in our hours that's actually worth something (other than my jewelry) and needs some special TLC (not of the Left Eye persuasion, but of the loving care kind) it's the TV. Let's be honest. I'm a addicted to TV and its many hours of crappy entertainment and only a few hours of quality scripted programs. So, I spent a pretty penny on a special kit to move the blessed piece of entertainment across country in one piece.

So, the boxes are bought. Some have been created as I've got the bedroom packed (except for the clothes) and the furniture is cleared out. The kitchen is going to take a while, but Chef and I are going to work on that extensively tomorrow and Sunday.

So, it's a matter of clearing out some things over the next few days. I actually feel good about how much stuff we're purging and how little we really need to take with us. Honestly, I have come to the decision to only bring stuff into our place that I really love.

Speaking of things that I really love, the other thing we had to take care of today was getting the drugs for the cats. Four days on the road with cats is no way to spend time if the cats are meowing or freaking out the entire time. So, kitty xanax it is! Our vet gave us the pills today and we're testing them out on Monday. Wish us luck!

It's off to LA on Tuesday to find an apartment. Making some steps each day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Glee, you're disappointing me

This season of Glee sucks. Remember when Glee was a show where the kids got together to sing against some other force--whether it was themselves or budgets or another Glee club? They sang because they were cast in a commercial or practicing for a contest? Yes, I remember the good old days too.

I'm afraid that Glee is going to become like Desperate Housewives or Grey's Anatomy or some other show that became insanely popular in the first year and then bought into it's own success only to flame out from bad writing. Here are things in this year's Glee that I'm already tired of:

  • Kirk's homosexuality ostracizing him. We get it. It was done in Dawson's Creek. And One Tree Hill. And 90210. And every other teen based drama on television in the last 20 years. Add something new to the discussion, please.
  • Rachel being an overzealous drama queen. Okay, really it's just all of the characters beginning to be caricatures of themselves. They've all veered a little too far forward from real people they seemed to represent.
  • Nothing happening. Think about the story lines this season. Have any of them actually moved forward? Remember last season? Still was happening every episode. Will's wife was paying Quinn for her baby. Will and Emma's sparking romance. An almost wedding. There were lots of things. Not just breaking into song because it's "Boys vs. Girls" week.
  • Lastly, I'm tired of Lea Michele. I saw the girl on Conan and have seen her do several interviews. She is talented, but the girl needs to get a grip on reality. Here's what I'd tell her: "You are not fascinating. Not everything you do or that is done relating to you is worthy of adulation or even notice. You have a good voice. You play a part well. You are not the cure to cancer. "
So, that's my Glee rant. Mostly because I keep waiting for this season to have some of the charm and charisma as last season. What really makes me mad is that I want the show to be well written again. I just think the songs are thought up first and then the story line goes in around them. It should be the other way around.

Friday, November 05, 2010

I've Missed Dreaming

I wouldn't recommend that everyone quit their jobs and move to a different city. But I wouldn't NOT recommend it either. Since I had my emotional last day at the American Heart Association, I have enjoyed my friends and family here in Nashville while plotting, planning and preparing for our big move to Los Angeles. In that preparation, I decided it was time to give up something that I love very much: ambien.

I still have about two weeks worth left which I intend on keeping for emergencies, but thought it was time while I was unemployed and my day's work didn't depend on my night's sleep to try and ween myself off of it. The first night was rough. It took me about two hours of lounging in bed to feel drowsy. Then it took me all of two hours to wake back up. It was up and down for the next 6 hours until I had declared it time to give up the fight.

Night two was a different story. Still very much in short spurts, but then longer stretches, as if to give my unconscious self some hope. But one main difference between this night and probably 5 months of nights before: I had a dream. Not the Martin Luther King Jr. kind, but a vivid dance in between my imagination and subconscious. It was glorious. I remembered it. And some day, in some form, I'll share it, but not here.

The next night I slept longer and harder and dreamed more scenes. And slowly the dreams began to take over my thinking during my waking hours. The time I spent thinking about strategy and reports and accounts has in the last week been used to day dream. And I realized how much I missed it. Thinking without purpose or hindrance.

Last week I went with my friend Greg to see an author named Aimee Bender. I was late, but she was wonderful and as she got to the question and answer section, she became even more endearing. If you've been to a Q and A with people who are fans, you know that the questions can become more diatribes on the person's admiration than an actual question (for example, one question to Ms. Bender when boiled down to logic this night was "How do you put words together?". Seriously.) But one of those questions, and I frankly can't remember which one, led to Ms. Bender answering with "Sometimes it's good to be bored. Sometimes those crazy thoughts that we all have as humans are meant to peek through." Or something to that nature. I'm clearly paraphrasing, but the gist of the sentiment has stuck with me this week.

It made me realize something: Whether it was during the day time or night time or any time in between, I've missed dreaming. And I'm happy to be doing it again.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Sometimes its the little things. . .

Today I spent the majority of my day in my pajamas. It's not a bad way to spend the day. However, despite being in pajamas, I was working hard pretty much the whole day. I spent a good 2-3 hours uploading all the pertinent files that I had on my work computer onto my personal laptop. One of the catches is that my personal laptop doesn't have any Windows software on it. No Word. No Power Point. No Excel. None of it.

So I was forced to try out Google Docs. It's not too bad. I was able to reformat my resume, make some changes and pretty much open any of the documents that I had transferred over. It was helpful to be able to rifle through my old files to make sure I'd remembered all of my accomplishments in nine years. Sadly, I had forgotten most and I'm stuck trying to remember what things I was so proud of during my time as the marketing director. Hmmmm. . .

Aside from that, I was also able to open my file of exported contacts. The kicker is that that contacts from my old Outlook account, the contacts in my iPhone and the contacts in my Google account are all slightly different. So I had to go through all the contacts that I wanted to sync into my phone and on Google and make sure the Outlook information matched up. There's no easy way to do this when you're not quite sure which version is the most up to date. So, another 2 and half hours later I finally had my contacts down to a mere 80. Oosh.

But now I'm ready, at least computer-wise, to move on. Now to apply for some additional jobs tomorrow. Oh the little things. . .

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Free Chihuly and a Wonderful Day

Today was my second official day of unemployment. Yesterday was my first and it was so packed with a lunch, grocery shopping, license tag renewals, rent paying and phone calls that it was not so much like a day off. Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to sit around lounging until its time to pack up and move to Los Angeles, but I'm also not going spend all my time obsessing so that I can't enjoy the little space in between jobs that I am afforded. I'm only afforded this because of Chef and I saving and living below our means for quite some time and my oblivious confidence that a good work ethic and great experience will land me something that will at least pay the bills in L.A.

So today Chef and I went to Community Day at Cheekwood to check out the Chihuly exhibit. Dale Chihuly is an artist, primarily a glassblower, who does these huge, beautiful installations. Cheekwood is the botanical gardens in Nashville. That should catch up those who have not heard of one or the other or both of those. Oh and Community Day means it was free to get in. We left the house around 10:15, got into the long line of cars to get into Cheekwood at 11:30 and actually walked through the museum gates at 10:55. There were that many people there. Mostly at home mothers and the eldery (it is the middle of the week, after all), but school was out because it is election day and there's nothing more creepy than exposing our children to the myriad of people who actually take part in democracy. That's just too big of a risk for the schools.

So, we got some sandwiches and sat amongst the trees and art in the beautiful weather and chuckled at the idiots who had to work today. Sure, a paycheck is nice, but so is Chihuly with a loved one. We meandered through the exhibit, found every piece and about 2 hours later were firmly planted at Sweet Cece's to get some frozen yogurt with fruity pebbles on top--because I've made Chef a believer of fruity pebbles as a topping.

Now I'm hanging out and blogging while I wait for my boot camp to start at 5 p.m. and then its home for a quick shower and heading to Patterson House for a round of drinks (handcrafted cocktails to be exact) as the perfect cap to this fine day.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I've Been Lazy

It happens. You decide to pick up dinner one night instead of cooking because you're too tired. You stop running on weekends because you deserve a few days off. You stop reading the newspaper in a timely manner because "Teen Mom" is more engrossing. You get lazy.

Okay, not it's not "you" it's me. I'm lazy. At least I was. I started running again on weekends yesterday morning because if I don't get up and do SOMETHING, then I don't get up to do anything. And once I was up, I vacuumed, paid bills, did some organizing and other household chores. It inspired me to get up again on Sunday and do a separate set of chores (and even a little work) so that I didn't feel like a complete slob all day. Frankly, I need to be honest and say that I might not have been as productive all Sunday if the Colts game hadn't been the Sunday night one.

I not only did household chores, but also some baking. A Heath Cheesecake for Chef (found the recipe in my mom's old recipe box) and some Hungry Girl Death by Chocolate cupcakes for me. I've also started REALLY watching my calories again. Not just pretending like I have the past week.

I stopped physically writing down my calories (that's what worked for me the first go-around) and started using an app for my iPhone. It's called My Fitness Pal and it's not that much different than a lot of other tracking sites. It's free and all that. But what I love about it is the number of food items that it has in its database to log. For example, it doesn't just have coconut creme yogurt, but KROGER brand coconut creme yogurt. Today I tossed in "hungry girl" as a search and it had the nutritional information for A LOT of her most used recipes including the death by chocolate cupcakes that I made. It makes logging calories and exercise take about 30 seconds. I love it.

So, now that I've recognized that I've been lazy and that I am so much happy when I'm not lazy, it's time to keep the momentum going. Maybe I should go back to running or walking twice a day. . . .

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stromboli, Banana Fritters and the Dirt Diaper

All of the above items were available to eat this past weekend at the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival (aka the Fall Festival) in Evansville. I went home this weekend to see my best friends and we met up at the Fall Fest for old time's sake. I honestly hadn't been in more than a decade. It's a big deal in Evansville. Like a huge event with about 1/2 mile of trailers all offering disgustingly named, but deliciously tasting, items of food. It would probably be fair estimate that about 75% of the food items offered are fried.

We decided to divide and conquer for the most part so that we didn't end up getting sick like so many others. It's pretty easy to go from a good time to the vomiting with just one wrong calculation of fritters. I actually ate all or some of the following items: Chicken and Dumplings, corn fritters, Stromboli, fried macaroni & cheese, lemon shake-up, and banana fritters. It sounds like a lot, but that's actually not too bad. The only huge disappointment was the weak, microwaved Stromboli by the Young Democrats booth.

While those are some of the less weird items, there were a few items that were new (or oldies but goodies) that those not from Evansville find odd. Here's a few:
  • Brain Sandwich (a LONG time festival favorite)
  • Fried Oreos & Fried Twinkies
  • Dirty Diaper (a pumpkin turnover)
  • Pigeon Poop (I have no idea, but calling things something related to excrement tends to be a festival tradition)
  • Gumbo, shrimp and other seafood (it's best to avoid as Indiana is a land locked state)
  • Pronto Pups (similar to a corn dog, but not corn related at all)
  • Orange Shake-ups
  • Homemade potato chips
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Kuchen
  • Fudge
  • Yoohoo Shakes
  • And more. . . .

While the food was pretty good--actually probably better than I remember--it was more awesome to spend time with my girls. We hung out all day and then headed back home on Sunday. I was also lucky enough to squeeze a quick visit in with my dad and my mom's side of the family.

The only think that sucks about the trip was the mold. There's a mold in southern Indiana that makes me miserable if I end up spending more than 24 hours in the area. I'm now still taking Claritin D and sounding like a congested crazy person. In fact, it's been three days now, so I'm beginning to wonder if I'm actually not only fighting allergies but also sickness. I have gone to bed at about 8:30 the last two nights.

No matter what if I had to do it again, I would gladly do it to see my friends and family.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Working, Walking and Waking

This weekend was the annual Heart Walk in Nashville and it was probably the best one we've ever had. Of course, after last year's rain out, just having one this year was actually a joy. You don't realize when you're planning for an event how much actually having the event is a catharthis of sort.

But I digress. As I all really did was wake up early, walk around the field for hours on end to help and work with my volunteers. The Heart Walk team, who put in hundreds of hours and a year's worth of work, did a wonderful job. The event has really evolved in the last 9 years. From a "grab your yogurt and walk for 30 minutes" to a full fledged event with lots of interactive booths that truly display the mission of the American Heart Association.

It's also what I call the fastest three hours around. The walkers whoosh in and then the walkers leave and then the walkers come back for turkey dogs and it's done. What took a day to put up, takes minutes to take down, and then it's off for a cleebratory beer. It's a tiring day, but also a fun one. There are few times of year where you get to see nearly all of the people who you work with all year in one place. Plus you get to hear stories of survivors, people who've lost loved ones and those who are supporting survivors. It's just a fun day and if you haven't been--either in Nashville or wherever you are, I encourage you to do so. In fact, there's a walk in Rutherford County on November 7th if you want to go :) (www.rutherfordheartwalk.org).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Coming To The Jesus Phone

Chef and I had a come to jesus moment this week. Although instead of it being Christ, Jesus was in the form of the iPhone. AKA the Jesus Phone.

It all started about two weeks ago in Fort Walton Beach, FL. We were there for a brief stop as Patrick's Grammie had passed away. I have to take a moment and say how truly awesome Grammie was. She literally opened her arms to me the first time I walked through the door and was one of the best pen pals I ever had. I also know she was a fantastic mother and grandmother that is sorely missed.

Anyway, while in Florida my work cell started freaking out on me. . . again. So I was relying on my personal cell phone which was literally the smallest, cheapest flip phone Verizon had to offer. I still contend that no one was meant to text 26 letters with the use of only 9 keys. It's against nature. It also made the texting experience suck and I began to realize just how useless my personal cell was.

The trouble with the work cell continued and finally culminated in the cell phone crashing while I was in Evansville this past weekend for the annual Komen Walk. It was a great day where I got to see some of my cousins and aunts, and of course had a very memorable day with my stepdad Jack and his fiance Sara. It's always a great experience and would've been perfect except that literally all my contacts, email and other relevant information was gone from my work cell. It's super awkard when someone texts you and you don't have any contacts so you know it's from Indiana and you assume it's a family member, but really you're flying in the dark.

So after two days with a personal phone that didn't work and a work cell that was going nuts for the 5th time, I decided that I couldn't wait 6 more months to upgrade my phone. Chef did the research and it was easy enough for us to switch over to AT&T (who thankfully have dropped Luke Wilson as their spokesperson--at least for now) and get iPhones. We both really hate lining Steve Jobs's pockets, but really like being able to communicate without punching 100 keys to spell two words.

So, two weeks and we've had two trips to our hometowns--both in remembrance of someone. And iPhones. Now you're caught up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Brown Hair, Sad Shopping and a Trip To Fort Walton Beach

It's been a roller coaster couple of days here. We found out Sunday afternoon that Chef's grandma (aka Grammie) passed away that morning. Grammie had been battling a brain tumor and various other related ailments since May. But those of you who've lost someone know that it doesn't really matter if you know for a day or 100 days that someone is going to pass away (I mean, we all are on the clock on that one so to speak), it sucks no matter when it happens. There's really no such thing as "being prepared" for someone to die. At least emotionally.

But I digress. Grammie was a wonderful, honest, insightful woman and I'm sad that I only got to know her for a short time. And I'm really sad that Chef has to go to Fort Walton Beach for that reason and not some happier occasion.

We are heading out tomorrow for funeral and showing. Of course it didn't dawn on us until after the shock set in that Chef has absolutely nothing to wear. I mean, his name is "Chef'" for now and he has things suitable for a Chef to be wearing. When he's officially "Legal Eagle" in the future, I'm positive the nice clothes won't give us a second thought, but until then. Well, let's just say that a trip to the mall was in order. He successfully purchased dress slacks (I love the word slacks in the right context--in the wrong context it just sounds very 1980s), a gray dress shirt, a tie, socks, a belt and shoes. Seriously, I felt bad that I've been ignoring his cries for clothing as it was pretty obvious which of us is neglected.

The mall trip was my second as the first trip was made a few hours earlier. I had the afternoon off to celebrate our office's success while some of my co-workers were celebrating at an official gathering in Atlanta. (I have to say that I think I may have come out ahead on this one. . . ). While sometimes it may seem like my changes are random, know that I have usually spent at least a couple of hours internalizing and researching them before I actually pull the trigger.

So yesterday I pulled the trigger and became a brunette. Really brunette. Anne Hathaway was my celebrity color trigger. Her and that girl from Twilight Ashley Greene. I actually like it. It makes me eyes stand out a little more. I probably won't keep it forever, but it's fun to do something different. Pictures will be posted when I have a picture that looks decent and not hideous.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My New Favorite Things To Watch

Clearly football is it, but not today's Colts game. It looked like they were a little rusty still from the off season. At least the defense definitely was.

But I digress. This week I found two new things that make me laugh: MacGruber and United States of Tara. Chef introduced me to MacGruber--the movie, not the crappy SNL skit. In fact, it was the skit that made me super leery to watch the movie. But honestly, it made me laugh out loud several times. One particular time that involved gobbling over a throatless body. It was way funnier than the last line indicates.

And one a whim I asked Chef to hook us up with United States of Tara. We watched an episode and it was pretty good. Toni Collette is pretty damn talented. You forget that she's Australian because he accents are so damn good. I was a little worried that it would be too kitschy because of the dissociative identity disorder angle, but actually it's just a good family drama. I hate the idea of liking a writer who took the pen name, Diablo, but I actually like most of what Diablo Cody writes. She's helping fill the void in my heart after Amy Sherman-Palladino quit writing Gilmore Girls.

The only other show I've watched lately that gives me the same kind of "I wish I had written that" moments is "The Big C" On HBO with Laura Linney. Its about woman who finds out she has terminal cancer and then decides not to tell anybody--not her husband, not her teenage son, and not even her homeless brother. It's sadly funny. And touching. And clearly has a special place in my heart because of my mom's struggles with cancer.

Speaking of struggles and cancer, the damn disease took another wonderful person today. Chef's Grammie lost her months long battle. She was a wonderful lady who was a great pen pal to me. I'll cherish the letters we exchanged and the influence she had in molding the man that I love. We'll be heading down south to Florida to the funeral in the next day or so when we know the plan. She was well loved and taken care of by her children. She'll be missed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

No Blood, No Foul

Chef showed me this video the other day and I had two thoughts:
1) I didn't know that Amazing Race had started again this season (it hasn't).
2) There was no blood or broken bones visible, so the girl is probably fine. In fact, I immediately thought of my friend Amanda's Dad's saying that he busted out in times of injury: "Walk it off." ( for the record, my dad's saying is "One thing you know is that you never know.")

Chef said he was debating on showing me this video until he heard the girl who didn't get hit say "They don't call it the Amazing Race for nothing." That sealed the deal for him. Check it out:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Only a few more nights of crappy TV

Seriously. Is anyone else tired of this crappy TV? I mean, Sunday and Monday nights aren't too bad because we have Mad Men, Entourage, True Blood, Weeds and The Big C (which is my new favorite). There are a couple things that suck: 1) That's only two nights in a week and 2) they were all on hiatus except Mad Men because of Labor Day.


So, the launch of college football season helped to satisfy my need for new programming a little. Plus the Hoosiers won big, so YAY. And really, the NFL season kicks off on Thursday, so there's only one more night of crap-filled "Kate Plus 8" and "South Park" reruns. Unfortunately, I have a work thing so I'll miss the official Kick off of the New Orleans-Vikings game. And the crap thing is that the Titans play at the same time as the Colts, so no Indy game this week. I'm relegated to NFL.com recaps. I need the NFL Network's Red Zone channel.

And the beginning of the NFL season also brings the return of Chef and my's favorite new show: The League. It's hilarious. If you haven't seen it--even if you aren't a fantasy football fan--it's well worth it. Also, the new fall season kicks off, so the rest of my stories will begin. What should I get to replace Lost?

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Blast From My Family's Past

Today I drove to Murray, Ky. Never been there before--actually, at least in my memory. Today as I was at a cemetery,I actually did remember being there, but I digress. If there hadn't been a Murray, Ky, there wouldn't have been me. It's where my family is from. I'm actually pretty lucky in that I've been to most all the towns that my grandparents and great grandparents have come from. It's pretty cool.

But today was really neat because I met my Dad, Robin and Grandma Wrye in Murray to take the tour. My dad went to school there. I'd actually been to my mother's college (she went to an all-girls catholic university that she sent me to summer camp at when I was 8). But I got to see Murray State, a school that I had rejected before it was even proffered. In my defense, I had rejected my mother's college even before she sent me there to be locked in a room with a piano and a nun during a particularly nice summer.

I got to see the land where my great grandma had lived, the house she designed later in life, the bones of the store that my great grandpa had started, and the grave of my dad's namesake (and my great-uncle who died at 22 years old in service over seas). It was pretty cool to listen to my grandma and dad as memories washed over them. It made me wonder what landmarks in my life that I'd want to revisit and point out to my potential offspring. An even smaller part of my ego wonders which house I've lived in that they'll make a historic landmark of when I become a widely famous author that is only partly adored in my own time and by those lucky few who were avid readers of my blog--still reading?

Anyway, it was a great day and I had a great time learning about those who came before me. Now to spend the evening in the loving company of Chef and the awesome Chili he's been working on for quite a few hours now.

Friday, September 03, 2010

It's On. . .Again

I feel like I do this every few months or even days, but it's back on again. What's "it"? The diet. Lifestyle change. Eating Better. Whatever euphemism you want to use for counting calories is what "it" is.

For me, I haven't done "it" in several months. Maybe truly a whole year. The good news is that I've continued exercising. So I haven't gained all the weight back. I'm just starting to look crappy in my clothes. Or even if I don't look crappy, I feel like I look crappy and that makes all the difference. Plus my closet is only half relevant because the other half of my clothes are too tight for me to be comfortable in.

And here's the thing. Or two things rather. 1) When you've been really overweight, okay, obese, and you lose a lot of weight, people think that as long as you haven't gained all the weight back, you're coming out ahead. While it's nice to have that cushion, I know that not going all the way back to that weight (well over 200 pounds) is not an option. 2) People are very polite when it comes to weight. At least to your face. It's the like the last taboo of society so it's not common to talk negatively about someone else's weight. Let me give you an example: "I've gained 10 pounds. I feel gross."

"I haven't even noticed. You shouldn't worry about it."

That's the conversation that millions of people have every day because we know if we were the one that says we've gained weight, we're really hoping no one else has noticed. And if they have, we hope they are polite enough not to say anything.

So, it's back to portion control, striving for five fruits and vegetables, and making better choices. Wish me luck again.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

An Anniversary of Sorts

I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm 31 years old and I want my mom. I think the older we get, the more likely we are to admit that out loud. One of the differences is, and most of you know this, that my mother passed away. In fact, it was 10 years ago today that she died.

The weird thing was that this week, I was bopping through my life thinking "Wow! It hurts so much less now. I miss her, but this is going to be an easy one." And then BAM! Not so much. Ten years is a long time. In fact, it's a third of my life. It's weird to think that 10 years is about half of the time that mom and I had together. Even weirder to think of being only 42 and I will have lived as long with her as without.

And clearly it's hard not to think of the things that she didn't get to see. Her grandchildren, Chef, me actually losing the weight she had so begged me to shed. I also think of the things that would be different if she were still around. I probably wouldn't have moved to Nashville. I might not have met Chef. There wouldn't be cats in my house, as she was very allergic.

It's easy to be sad about it. Mostly I miss her and the things she brought to my life. You don't realize how much someone motivates you by their presence until its not there. Or how much you appreciate getting a package or card in the mail until they start coming less frequently. It makes me realize the things that were really important. And on most days I try to remember those things and not the others that seem to take up so much of my time.

But despite everything--and I know I'm not alone in this--, I have no shame in saying that I want my mom.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

At Least It was A Straight Love Scene This Time

Clearly, I'm not the only one who has taken a shine to Eric Northman. What? You don't know who Eric Northman is? You must not watch True Blood. Because if you did, you'd know Eric Northman. That's not the actor's name--he's Alexander Skarsgard. Eric is the "bad" vampire (yes, a little redundant). As I was explaining to another fan and co-worker today, I really feel like Eric does the right things the wrong ways and gets a bad wrap for it.

Nonetheless, Eric mania has taken over America. He was the only one besides Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer that appeared naked on the cover of Rolling Stone. He's not listed on imdb's initial page of main characters. But I'm still digressing. The biggest problem I have with Eric's role in True Blood is that the first scene with him shirtless in a LONG time was a gay love scene. I'm not opposed to being gay (not that there's anything wrong with that--my Seinfeld homage), but it's a little disheartening when you've been waiting to see someone semi-naked and they are--just behind another man.

Chef is supportive of this infatuation in a way only he can be (a good way!). His take was "If Eric's gonna be naked, can he at least be naked with someone hotter than Anna Paquin so we both win?". It's a fair question and one that I'm hoping provides us both with a win-win situation.

On a separate less lustful note, has anyone else wondered what's become of Emilio Estevez? No? Just me? I guess that's why he hasn't really been heard from lately. Young Guns was on the dial tonight and it just got me thinking. I looked up his imdb entry and one of the trivia made me go "Huh? Really?". Apparently he was engaged to Demi Moore at one time. I wonder if she thinks of Emilio during sex with Ashton?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Things I Wouldn't Have Tried 5 Years Ago

I remember my mother telling me that my tastes would change and expand the older that I got. As a know-it-all kid, I didn't think they would. Of course, as it is with most things that I challenged my parents on, I'm wrong again. I do have to say that Chef has been the one who has expanded my horizons the most. Or myself. I mean, I will give myself some credit for making a concerted effort to try new things, live a healthier lifestyle and not just be the giant, shapeless bump that I could've easily been.

So, here are a few things that I've "discovered" (no, I'm not Magellan --or gelin'--nor do I think that I am discovering anything other than new-to-me things):

  • Brussels Sprouts: Toss 'em in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast those bad boys until slightly crispy. Delish.
  • Water: clearly didn't discover this, but actually start drinking it. Not until after a nurse was taking my blood on a finger prick and said "I can tell you don't drink a lot of water because it's taking forever to get a dot of blood." I don't know if that's true or not, but it did make me imagine that my blood was made up of Diet Coke.
  • Sushi: I was just too chicken and a little too country to have tried this without Chef there to navigate the menu.
  • Jogging: Who knew? I could jog for about two miles a day and actually enjoy it. And still do it more than two years later.
  • Bellini's: I'm not much on peach, but add some champagne and you've got a winner. Although Chef made this, it's not too big of a stretch to make me like an alcoholic drink.
  • Yoga: Okay, I tried it more than 5 years ago, but that experience did not make me want to try again. Mostly because I apparently got a little too relaxed during my first time. Now, I enjoy the lengthy stretching without self-consciousness.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes: I normally hate tomatoes, but this just goes to show that you can fry anything and I'll eat it.
  • Cats: Three years ago it took Chef about 6 months of leaving pictures of tiny little kittens on our computer desktop before I finally caved and said we could get one. I was determined to be a dog person. Turns out I'm a pet person. Obviously.
I'm sure I'll think of many more, but that's it for now. Anyone else got something they've added to their lives as an adult that I should try?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why I Hate My Apartment Complex

It started with a call around noon. My apartment complext called my personal cell phone and it went a little something like this:

"Hello, Ashley? This is Chastity from Westmont apartments. I'm calling to see why you haven't paid your rent this month."

Me: We paid our rent this month.

C: I'm showing that your rent was due on the first and you haven't paid it.

Me (scrambling to my computer to fervishly sign in to my online banking): Hold on for a second. Actually, I did pay. My bank account shows that you all cashed my check on August 4th for the amount of XXX. The account number on the back of the check that you endorsed is XXXXXX.

C: Oh, it's not showing up in our system. There must be a computer error that shows your rent being due twice in a month. I'll call IT and have them fix it.

End of phone call.

As I was sitting there with my hear pounding, I started to get fired up. We have never been late in paying our rent in the 6 years that Chef and I have lived together. Six years in one place. Never late. But the company calls us 16 days past the rent day and 12 days after the late fee day to accuse us of not paying. And there's no "I'm so sorry for this" or any kind of apology. Nothing. So now I'm fired up and I can't let it go. So I wait two hours and then call her back to express how disappointed I was in how the situation was handled and it just made it worse. Here's how that conversation went:

C:Westmont Properties, this is Chastity.

Me: Chastity, this is Ashley LAST NAME calling in regards to my rent payment.

C: Now which apartment are you in again? I've made a lot of calls today.

Me: Apartment XXX in XXXX complex.

C: Oh, right with the computer error.

Me: Yes, that was me. I was just calling to let you know that I'm disappointed in how the situation was handled.

C: Excuse me?

Me: I know that you are probably making a lot of calls concerning late rent but I am hurt that we've been tenants for more than 6 years, hadn't missed a payment and weren't treated better.

C: I don't know what to say. I mean, I said I was sorry. It was a computer error. And, you say that I make a lot of late rent calls, but I really don't. So I don't know what you want me to say.

Me: Actually, you didn't say you were sorry. That's why I was calling you back.

C: Well, I am sorry and now I've said it three times in this call.

Me: I'm disappointed in the manner and tone with which you made the call.

C: I am honestly shocked because I didn't have any tone with your call. It was a computer error and we fixed it. I'm sorry. What more do you want? I didn't yell or scream or anything.

Me: I'm hoping you wouldn't ever yell or scream at a tenant. I guess I wanted a little courtesy for having paid consistently on time and for an apology.

C: I've said I'm sorry.

Me: Fine. Goodbye.

C: Goodbye.

The above is why we will not be renewing our lease at this place. And why if you rent in Nashville, I would NOT recommend any place managed by Westmont Properties.

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