Stumbling Through Life

Finding the most difficult path since 1974

The One Where I Talk About Valentine’s Day

I haven’t been a huge fan of the Hallmark holiday in many, many years. It was great when I was little, more presents! Yipee! Then junior high came and so did the sending of a carnation. . . would I get one? And of course high school hits and everyone is smiling as they get their note that they have something in the office for them. I did get something one time.

By the time I was in the working world I noticed that we had regressed to teenagers again, gloating when getting flowers and sneering if you are single. I started to despise the day simply because coworkers would gloat that their SO sent them flowers when in reality, that SO was probably cringing at the thought of the cost, waste and the forced merriment of the day. And no story would be complete without a Bubba story. . .

The year I finally pulled the plug on the horrible dating cycle with him I got flowers sent to me at work not once but twice! Seeing as how my birthday is two weeks before Cupid comes to shoot everyone down I thought I had hit the jackpot. Huge arrangements that would have probably fed an entire village in a third world country. I was so lucky!!!! Isn’t MY boyfriend the best?!

Oh, did I mention that while he stated to me that he was way too busy with work and me to possibly cheat, he was in fact making plenty of room in his schedule to cheat. And those really expensive, large arrangements? Guilt flowers. To ease his guilt he wasted money (and my time) in order to not feel as guilty for his behavior. After that I became a HUGE fan of grocery store flowers if my guy wants to give me flowers. Cheap, thoughtful and no guilt to be eased.

I also wasn’t a big fan for going out on that night, another little result of my time with Bubba. Fights, tears and disappointment made me want to just ignore any kind of holiday because really, can’t a fight that ends in tears happen on just a random night? I was already used to dealing with my luck at guys disappointing me or breaking my heart at huge junctures in my life, at least give me decent holidays to celebrate.

As a result, boyfriends post Bubba ended up getting off really easily. . . a CD, a nice card, grocery store flowers, dinner cooked together at home. . . sign me up! That is what I did with Jorge, the boy and Chandler. They were all decent experiences in terms of the Hallmark holiday. And if you had asked me at the start of the new year what I would be doing this year, I would have said I was picking up something decadent to cook, watch a double feature of chick flicks and call it a night.

But I got a nice surprise shortly before my birthday and think I gave him a really nice surprise in return. We talked about Valentine’s day and I said I wanted to go to the hockey game. Fancy dinner? Nope. Flowers delivered? Nope. Just give me some hockey, gumbo at a local bar and time spent with him and I would be a happy girl. And that is what we did and it was probably one of the best Valentine’s days ever. Simple, fun and no drama. Who knew?

Allan and I both said a few times that this was one of the best Valentine’s ever…why? All of the above plus he listened to me about what I liked and disliked. I am thankful that the days of wanting the outlandish, unattainable John Hughes experience has gone. I guess in a way I have to thank the crappy boyfriends of the past for the all the letdowns and Chandler for reminding me to appreciate the small gestures.

Now the best holiday is coming up, no presents needed. . . St. Patrick’s Day. . . to be celebrated in a pub or preferably in NYC because who doesn’t want to spend the whole of the parade with New York’s finest. . .

Tuesday Randomness

After what seemed like the world’s longest week last week, this one seems to be going a little quicker. Of course, still no snow but I’m not bitter.

  • While watching the Preds play Sunday night I kept tabs on the Grammys by reading my news feed on Facebook, a special shout out to Son and her sister for entertaining commentary
  • I will go ahead and admit that I have been trying to sniff out Girl Scout cookies the past couple of weeks, as of today, I now have 12 boxes ordered.
  • I blame Allan. . .
  • Originally I had ordered just two boxes since I tend to shove the whole box down my throat in under 30 minutes
  • This isn’t going to be pretty
  • This football obsessed girl is really starting to understand hockey, this could get interesting
  • I am finally getting to go to a game this Thursday, it has been way too long
  • Best Valentine’s Day date ever. . .gumbo, hot dogs, cocktails and a cute boy
  • Loved, loved, loved Kelly Clarkson’s performance Sunday
  • Still scratching my head at John Mayer’s getup but then again I still think he is a schmuck
  • I learned yesterday that Magnolia Bakery now ships, be still my beating heart
  • Now if I could get Lombardi’s pizza here
  • In the category of first world problems, I dropped my bracelet off at Tiffany’s to be fixed. Currently it is hanging out in NYC getting repaired and will not return to BNA until the 26th
  • Why does it seem like my jewelry gets more trips to NYC than I do?
  • Stace’s FB status update about laughing in her sleep and wanting water last night was great, her hubby has video and I cannot wait to see it
  • I am being schooled on all things Vegas by Allan
  • I am currently preparing to leave bread crumbs while there so I can make it back to the room
  • My love for Loveless Cafe’s biscuits was rekindled this past weekend. . .so good

With all this talk of food, the temptation to run out and get something yummy is strong but I will be a good girl and just go to bed. My thighs will thank me for this. Guys, make sure you do a little something for your women. Sometimes a card or another simple token can go a long way. And I might not even wear black like I normally do. . . somebody smack me, I have entered the world of cheesiness.

Tuesday Randomness

I have been teased by Mother Nature quite a bit lately and I am close to channeling Stace’s little one’s terrible two tantrums if I don’t get snow soon. I am also quite proud of the little guy for really giving it his all! Having observed countless two year old behaviour in my friends’ kids I have to admit I am kind of thankful that Wook’s outbursts can be dealt with by simply giving him catnip. That noise you hear? That is the lynch mob courtesy of my friends for me laughing while this happens.

  •  I learned Sunday that Wook has a huge aversion to hot pockets. . . as in the snack food. Or at least the word. Stu set him off while talking about meeting up with some people heating one up in the middle of the night at a hotel. Wook’s rage was only calmed by some catnip and his safe space away from Stu.
  • Stu can cause interesting reactions in my cat as well as women. . .
  • I enjoyed the tweets about the Super Dome losing power as much as I enjoyed the actual game
  • In what has to be one of the best surprises, I ended up getting my birthday wish. Allan is back and while I still have moments of fear when it comes to what happened before I am taking a leap of faith.
  • Being friends first is probably one of the best ways to build a relationship
  • I finally watched Ted last week, I think we need to have more vulgar teddy bears in the world
  • I am getting a firm grasp on the game of hockey, while it isn’t football, it will work
  • I am still counting down until preseason though
  • Besides a horrible obsession with Candy Crush, I have find another time suck courtesy of myVegas. . .this might end up being intervention worthy

Short and sweet this week, I have a million and one thoughts unfortunately I am spent and my really comfy bed is calling my name.

Getting Older: The One Where I Am Bitter (Kind Of, Not Really)

I have a birthday looming. . . I remember when I was getting ready to turn 30; I was thrilled, excited and couldn’t wait until that day. Turning 30 allowed me to become really comfortable in my own skin and subsequent birthdays didn’t bother me either. Well, until I hit 35, something about 35 felt like a slap in the face. Since then, it has been kind of downhill.

I am not the biggest fan of celebrating my birthday but the reality is I should take full advantage of my birthday. One of the cons of being single is you get your birthday, that is about it. So while I read about my friends celebrating anniversaries, kids’ birthdays, etc. I stick with just this one celebration. Things happen and sometimes they don’t go as you planned them.

In my 20s I thought I would be married by the time I was in my mid 30s. Oops. I wasn’t in a hurry to walk down the aisle but I thought that it would be reasonable to think that I would get married in my 30s. Then a course of bad choices, some heartbreaking experiences and of course more bad choices led me to “I will be 40 in a year’s time and have yet to get engaged, married or even successfully date someone for any length of time.” So yes, there is some bitterness but in all seriousness, I can only point a finger in my direction. I can’t blame anyone else for the choices I have made. I guess that is one of the pluses of getting older, you figure out that most of the time those sucky moments are all your fault.

But I think the worst part about getting older is all the crap I see being advertised for “us getting older folk.” As I embrace getting closer to 40, I am looking forward to the following items showing up on my “to buy” list:

Gray Away

Going gray? Spray a bit of color on your hair to hide that dirty little fact!

Reacher Pick-up And Reach Tool

Since we older folk tend to shrink as we get older and climbing on chairs and stools are not the safest option, grab The Reacher! It makes getting those calcium pills, water pills, antacids and other items a lot easier.

Invisi Ear

Huh? What? Can you say that again? I will now sleep better knowing that I can pick up one of these bad boys before going to see a movie. I will be able to hear my shows without having to tap on the cat to ask what was just said. . .oh, not available in California.

Portable Shower Arm

Like many others before me, I want to make sure I can bath safely yet move the shower head around. Visiting friends? Bring it with you! No one should have to manipulate their body while trying to shower.

Long Reach Comfort Wipe

And it goes without saying that the older one gets, the harder it is to poop. Why add to the challenge with the inability to reach around to wipe? This handy dandy tool allows you to attach toilet paper or even wet wipes to it so you too can still wipe your own tush.

Roll-A-Lotion Buy 1 Get 1 FREE

If you can’t reach to wipe, more than likely you are having a time getting the lotion on after your shower. This tool can help you reach any body part you can’t reach with just your hands.

Dream Look Instant Eye Lift

Don’t want to age gracefully yet don’t want to fill your face with Botox? Try this out! Because it is completely normal for 80 year old women to have eyebrows that are really close to the hairline.

Air Compression Leg Wraps

Legs bothering you when you try to sleep at night? Hook these bad boys up and that circulation problem with be a thing of yesterday!

Nyloxin - Pain Relief for Chronic Arthritis and Joint Pain

As many of you know, I am not a fan of smelling like IcyHot, with a squirt into my mouth I can have chronic joint pain relief! Never mind that if this really did the trick every doctor across the states would be screaming about it from the rooftops.

Shingles Treatment


Got Shingles? This potion will make things all better! Who knew?!

And finally, the items I couldn’t find online but I do know about. . .

Poise Pads-“oops, I peed my pants!” will no longer be in your vocabulary

iFlash/iCool Pads-I can’t remember the name of these little life savers but I hear that those hot flashes are mean little buggers; slap one of these cooling pads on for a sweat free night’s sleep

The Hurrycane-it will stand even when you can’t! Impress everyone at the senior center with this amazing cane, gone are the days when you needed to worry about where to place your cane while sitting.

Who knew there were so many products out there for the aging crowd?! I will also get to take advantage of the senior discount at movie theaters, airlines, grocery stores and Captain Ds. The alternative is to be six feet under so I guess I will accept this getting older thing and deal with it. But word of warning to my friends, do not buy this crap for me. I think I am going to fight the inevitable by refusing to grow up and have moments where I still think I am in my 20s. The best part? Thank God for the wonderful genes I inherited from my Popa. . . I maybe just a hop, skip and a jump from 40 but I don’t look it!

Tuesday Randomness

It’s going to be one of those weeks again, I can just feel it. . . when I get a Monday off it always ends up throwing the rest of the week off. I’ll suck it up and deal with it because it is nice to have an extra day off though! It is really cold here but per the weather report, next week will be almost like a heatwave. Mother Nature has a bit of ADD.

  • No matter where I am, what I am doing or how long it has been since I last heard it. . . Love Shack by the B52s will always make me think of hitting I75 South to Atlanta. 
  • Stu shared infinite wisdom with me the other day, if only our love lives could be directed by John Hughes. . .
  • Mine would most definitely end with Jake, a birthday cake and sitting on the table enjoying it. . .
  • As a Steelers fan, I have huge issues with cheering for the Ravens but when it comes to having to choose between them or the Pats? Yeah, I’m going to pull for the Ravens.
  • If there was an MVP for most emotional, over the top behavior within the first three minutes of a game, it would go to Ray Lewis
  • After all the theatrics Sunday, I cannot wait until the Super Bowl
  • Of course I will miss the tradition of Pats players’ wives complaining about the outcome of the game
  • Is it preseason yet? I miss football
  • I am learning more about hockey, it helps to have a very large tv to watch it on, I can finally keep up with the puck
  • Kind of ready for a new batch of commercials to be released during the Super Bowl, one can only watch the Farmers commercials so often
  • Most useless sport ever? NASCAR, I can drive really fast in a circle so I am not sure what all the fuss is about
  • Best thing about the commentators for hockey? The accents and the use of the word keister. . . how many sports actually use the word keister? LOVE!
  • I believe I am going to spend the whole of the week confused about what day it is since I was off yesterday
  • I have a house I am desperate to stalk in town, the guy who lives there put together an air compressor and water hoses to create snow. As of the six o’clock newscast he had about nine inches of snow
  • Fair warning to this guy, I may never leave your yard once I find it
  • I NEED snow

Now I have to go back to watching the hockey game and giggling each time I actually figure something out. . .and yes I actually pull for the Nashville Preds, not a fan of the Fang Fingers but at least I am cheering for a local team.

SUYL: Favorite Soup Recipes

It’s not often I can actually link up to Kelly’s Show Us Your Life! I’m not sure many people would appreciate that my “kid” is a neurotic gray cat. LOL But this week is all about food, in particular, soups. Since I am obsessed with cold weather and snow, soups are a perfect match. I have a couple of soups I like to make when it gets cold and hold up well for a week while you eat on it. My favorite is French Onion Soup but sadly it is still quite a challenge for my impatient personality. The other two are easy and quick: Potato Leek Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup. Word of warning, I don’t exactly measure when I make either of these.

Potato Leek Soup

  • Four to five large potatoes of your choice (I prefer the golden, waxy ones for the creamy texture they provide)
  • Two to four leeks (depending on their size)
  • One medium onion
  • Butter for sauteing
  • Chicken broth (I use the reduced sodium, at least the 32oz box, normally end up using another partial box to make a bit more)
  • Heavy whipping cream (I try to stick to the smallest carton in the dairy case)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Parsley for finishing

Dice potatoes, set to the side. Slice leeks and onion, saute until translucent, add broth, cream and potatoes to the pot season to taste. Cook until potatoes are done. Use hand blender to blend the potatoes and onions with the broth and cream. Check flavor, season a bit more if you desire. Add parsley flakes, stir and let simmer for about 15 minutes and then serve.

*If you prefer, you do not have to blend the soup. Also, I normally just prep everything from start to finish in a stock pot.

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Two to three skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Butter for browning
  • Chicken broth (as with the above soup. . . I use the reduced sodium, at least the 32oz box, normally end up using another partial box to make a bit more)
  • One small onion
  • Two carrots (although I normally just use the baby carrots and do about two handfuls from the bag)
  • One stalk of celery (I leave this out, I don’t know why)
  • Extra Wide Egg Noodles (I usually use half of a bag but I really love noodles in my soup)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Parsley for finishing

Dice the chicken breast, onion, carrots and celery and brown in pot with butter; once browned to your satisfaction add broth. Make sure you get all the goodness stuck to the bottom of the pot off and mixed into the broth. Cook on a low/medium heat for about 30 minutes, season to taste and add egg noodles (use time as directed on package). I normally check and season to taste again once the noodles are done but I have also been known to keep this on the stove cooking for most of the afternoon. Sprinkle parsley and serve.

I hope you enjoy both soups! I tend to end up making these when I don’t want to deal with actually cooking something each evening after work during the winter.


Dreaming Big Again

I hope Kelle Hampton, mama to Nella, doesn’t mind a little copy and pasting in an effort to share with my five readers something that is near and dear to my heart. Miss Nella is turning three this month! Following Kelle’s blog, I have been able to watch Nella grow, hit milestones and watch her big sissy, Lainey dote on her little sister. Nella’s diagnosis of DS was determined after she was born and while she may have thrown everyone for a little loop, Kelle’s friends and family have circled the troops in order to learn more, advocate and in honor of her birthday setup a fundraiser directly to the National Down Syndrome Society.

Kelle Hampton Personal Image

The mission of the National Down Syndrome Society is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. By clicking on that really cute graphic with the crown, it should take you to Nella’s fundraising page. . . every dollar goes straight to the society. Throughout the year Buddy Walks are held as a way to raise funds in local communities as well as increase awareness about Down syndrome.

I wasn’t particularly savvy about Down syndrome a few years ago until my dad started working with a wonderful organization in their local community. Since then I have attended Snow Balls, their annual musical production, random days of just hanging out with them at school as well as providing landscaping this past spring as they made a former church into a school.

If I can brag for just a moment. . . The Trousdale School was founded by Tom Johnson, whose beautiful daughter Sarah has Down syndrome (I went to school with her and her two siblings) and has this quote posted on the main page of the school’s website:

When these students are given tools, support and inspiration, they will continue to blossom and grow. Continuing education is the key to everyone’s success; having the opportunity to continue to learn broadens their horizons and allows them to soar to greater heights.

They have big dreams there, including building a dormitory in the future and growing the school to a little under 100 students. Each student has a part-time job within the community, they volunteer and most importantly, they give the best hugs and infuse happiness even in the grumpiest person’s mood. I dare anyone to walk into that school in a bad mood and come back out still in a bad mood. The students have also provided something I have yet to provide to my parents. . . they have made them the official Nanny and Popa of the school.

It really is a privilege to be a part of this community, learning about the challenges families will face, the accomplishments as well as learning about our very unpredictable DNA. I have listed below some of the facts about Down syndrome from the NDSS website.

  • Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
  • There are three types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95% of cases, translocation accounts for about 4% and mosaicism accounts for about 1%.   
  • Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.
  • There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
  • Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
  • The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
  • People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.
  • A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.
  • Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.
  • People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
  • All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
  • Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.

If you will, please take a moment to go through the links, read a little about some of the most special people I have ever met and if you can donate a few dollars to Nella’s Triple Crown, I would greatly appreciate it.


Tuesday Randomness

Last week was a blur and not in a good way, I got the crud which turned into an almost week long nap. Good times. . . today was the first day I woke up and didn’t feel like I was in a tunnel. Improvement! But let’s get to it people, maybe I can scrounge a few random thoughts together. . . at least I hope I can because my poor brain took a beating from being sick.

  • I was completely set, excited and ready to cheer on the Fighting Irish in Chandler’s memory last week but he must have known I would take the game way too seriously since I passed out after Bama scored their second TD.
  • I know Chandler was enjoying the game from probably the best seats, with his dad, up in heaven and wouldn’t care who won.
  • Being couped up in the house for the majority of the week wasn’t really all that fun and even more frustrating was the fact that I needed a nap after a round trip to the kitchen to get a drink.
  • Before the sickness, I had a Saturday out with my BFF Stace, a lot of fun browsing through stores, chatting and one minor moment where we both agreed that I might have had a wee bit of bitterness shining through my Year in Review post. . .
  • But even after debating it in my head, I stand by that post and those raw emotions that I did feel when I went through some of it
  • I also learned that Bubba blocked me on FB (oh! the horror! the horror! um, when did this happen?) the other week and I can only assume it had to do with very old photos, paranoia and a relative of his
  • As I said to my mom when she questioned why I posted many years ago photos of the two of us on FB, “he was a huge chunk of my life, especially during college and if I were to edit that history out of my life, a very large part of seven and a half years would be missing”
  • In the end, once I figured out that all of this went down (I am slow on the up take) I deleted those pictures because I was pissed, apparently even having memories of my past must mean something! (said with sarcasm)
  • And while I am on it, if I have to erase every memory, picture, story, thought and/or emotion I have felt in the past because (insert whichever guy’s name) might get upset for me thinking, remembering, writing or anything else under the sun than hell, I could only talk about grade school and even then it might be questionable because there was the little red headed boy I went with in 4th grade, Billy Bob who I have known since we were little who I went with in 5th I believe and let us not forget my very first ever kiss way back when I was a little kid and the neighbor boy gave me a quick peck on the lips!
  • Those are my memories to share as I see fit and those who aren’t even remotely innocent will always be protected by me (even if they don’t deserve it because I can be a doormat, way too nice. . . ) but damn, if you have an issue or you happen to be paranoid about something I post using words actually are more helpful than sticking your head in the sand.
  • It never pays for me to be sick, stuck in the house and way too much time on my hands. . .
  • I did get a nice surprise last week. . .there was this hat I found at Target while visiting my parents, I never saw it here though. While my parents made fun of me and the ridiculousness of the hat, I have to say, it kept me quite warm today thankyouverymuch!
  • Meet Fluffy. . .

fluffy1 fluffy2

  • Wook is having a few issues with Fluffy. Lined in pink, little pockets to stick your hands at the end of the scarf part, ears on top equates to being warm when it is cold and rainy outside. I love it and it only adds to my goofiness, so it works.
  • I have a thing for hats
  • I am now currently waiting for some snow and at this point I would even take a bit of ice just to make all this rain worth it
  • Instead I may end up crafting a boat
  • I gained four pounds during the holidays, must get back on wagon. . .

With that, I will take my cranky pants to bed and try not to imitate Waldorf and Stadler at least for a few weeks. . .

2012: A Year in Review

There were some great things that happened in 2012 and like most people, some shitty things happened as well. I am guilty of diving deep into the crap and allowing it to rule my life. I think that is a natural reaction to life. But I have also been able to step back, acknowledge the bad but still be thankful for what I do have in my life. I haven’t gotten all Pollyanna on you, trust me.

The good? Well, I ended up spending a few days with the Queen in Atlanta leading up to my birthday. Good food, great times with the Queen, IKEA! and a guy even hitting on me in IKEA! I followed that little trip up with a weekend in Nashville. Again, great food, friends and some quality time at Green Hills Mall.

I was a bit delusional when it came to the boy, thinking that our little road trip to DC might put things back on track in February. I also dealt with guilt for not reaching out to Chandler after a conversation with his sister. The shoulda, woulda, couldas have come in waves throughout the year and I have to hope within my heart of hearts that Chandler did know that he was always on my mind. Chandler gave me one final gift when he passed, he opened my eyes to see the boy for who he truly is and that helped me close the door for good on that mistake. Thank you Chandler for pointing out what everyone else could see.

Saying goodbye to Chandler at the end of February was probably the hardest thing I have had to do. For a time I didn’t want to be around happy people, going to the mall pissed me off and the idea of having to even be somewhat social seemed more like torture. I held close the memories we had created together but also knew it was time for me to really focus on getting back home, getting in shape and finding me again.

Apparently in March I tried to find some humor and offered up my embarrassing Spanx story, shared with you my weight (I had already shared my big girl jeans vs. my skinny jeans with you the previous fall) and the time I fell on my tush while working out with my trainer. I also sprinkled in random thoughts throughout the year with Tuesday Randomness. While these may seem a bit boring or um, redundant, it has forced me to write something, anything every week (although I have missed a few. . .).

April reminded me just how great I have it in terms of friends, I spent a weekend at the Queen’s house, met up with a bunch of mother hens for drinks, caught up with an old friend and really thought long and hard about an opportunity in Raleigh. I also got to deal with an allergic reaction to who knows what to my skin. The itching was out of control and the only thing the doctor could come up with was I happened to be allergic to something blowing in the wind. Yes folks, for the price of a copay or two, I learned that my skin was sensitive. Sadly, I have known that since I was a little kid.

I continued to workout with my trainer in May, offered up an explanation as to why I suck at dating and admitted that I was a dork. I also decided after reading an article that I really needed to make a statement and just go ahead and marry myself. If everyone else gets celebrated for every milestone under the sun, why should I let the inability to get a guy to commit to me make me miss out on those milestones? I ended up not going through with it but I will keep it in the back of my head.

June brought hot weather and my impatience at finding anything in Nashville career-wise. I was unhappy with my job, location and lot in life. I did manage to sucker Stace into going to the Def Leppard concert at the beginning of July and lucked into two job interviews while I was in town. I headed to The Trousdale School’s annual musical grinning ear to ear with what was coming up the following week; a concert, two interviews and spending time with friends.

I was a mess after my second interview, kind of feeling like I do most times I go on a date; thinking it went well but never hearing from them ever again. Then I did the phone interview with the recruiter. . .oh July you could have gone either way but on the 13th (my lucky number) I was offered the job and was planning my move back home, to Nashville in under two weeks. I dealt with packing, roped Bird into packing my kitchen, mom helped tons and dad made sure the chair didn’t move while they were there. Wook looked at me like I had lost my mind but agreed to deal with the car ride and chaos a move brings. I started my new job, met my new coworkers and instantly knew I was going to like it here.

I challenged myself to appreciate all the move brought to me, going out with friends, working on myself and doing my very best at my job. A text to Allan one evening led to me meeting John Corbitt and breaking the unspoken rule in Nashville: don’t bother the famous people. Thankfully he was really nice and Allan is probably still shouting he doesn’t know that guy. I also got to warm up in terms of watching football. Oh dear, if the football season could be year round I would be a happy girl.

September came and went in a blur, a lot of football, a lot of time hanging out with the guys and random sightings of the boy as I would head home from work. I was counting down until MTSU’s homecoming, ended up seeing some great guys I hadn’t seen since college and remembering the campus as if I had just left it the day before. Millions of texts to and from Allan seemed to be the norm and I admitted to two friends that I might just have a crush on him. Allan had also voiced his dislike of his first blog name and for the first time in history, I changed someone’s name. That should have been my sign.

I realized I must be bad luck for my beloved Steelers after witnessing first hand the loss to the Titans, one of the worst teams in the league. One of the crudest lines I have ever uttered was finally yelled back at me courtesy of Allan. Text messages flew in after the game and the next day from friends teasing me about the loss. Yeah, I know and we shouldn’t have lost. A fateful weekend spent with Allan caused us to cross the line in our friendship. I was thrilled, very happy and couldn’t believe my luck. I was back home, I had a great job and somehow ended up with a guy whom I considered to be in the best friend circle as something more. All of the sudden, tons of plans were made for parties, trips, football and everything else under the sun.

Then high school drama happened, I saw a side of my friend that I didn’t realize was there and a girl pulled a very childish stunt in order to get her way. I fought for him and then realized that he was in my shoes from years ago with Bubba. I offered him one last piece of advice, do not ever ask me why I stayed with Bubba for so long when everyone knew it was bad. Pot meet kettle. Square peg in round hole still won’t fit. Roller coaster, high school drama still doesn’t make a relationship. And finally, my favorite thought, people change and sometimes it isn’t for the better. Oh and always, always question someone who tries to lay blame on others for their mistakes.

The rest of October was hard, I was in a complete and total funk. I was also very angry at myself for letting someone in when I know how it always ends for me. I refocused on my weight, working out and eating habits. I managed to get into a pair of size ten jeans. I also somehow managed to take the higher road when Allan stated on Facebook he was now in a relationship. I am not a saint, I have said some really not so kind things about the whole situation and I won’t even get into what has gone on in my head. Yes, I was a bit on the bitter side but I still want to know why the one who follows the rules, is nice, responsible and well. . . ends up with the short end of the stick.

November rushed in and I had to get my place in order for my parents’ visit during Thanksgiving. As I have admitted to them, I did prepare myself for a last minute cancellation but that didn’t happen and we had a great time. I ended up with an early Christmas present (a HUGE tv), they got to meet my BFF Stace’s little boy E, Rach’s kids and husband and I think I drug mom around a good portion of Davidson and Williamson counties on Black Friday. It was also the month that dad got an iPhone. I think I have converted him. . . at least I hope so!

I realized in December why I have had such a hard time getting everything Christmas up and out. I haven’t held my dinner party since 2008, which means that I haven’t had a deadline to deal with the tree. I got the tree up this year and some decorations out but waited until the last minute to make the peanut butter chocolate balls for Bird. I watched a ton of Christmas movies, continued my weight loss, watched way too much football, brought bad luck to the Titans when I went to the game at the beginning of the month and watched Mr. E on several occasions.

I also had to say goodbye to my stinky boyfriend, Shadow. I felt horrible for Stace and her husband as well as felt beyond helpless. I have always been proud of the fact that I can handle most anything life hands me (even if I cry or shut down at some point, I have managed to deal with it) but Shadow’s passing shined a light on a weakness about myself.

I headed to my hometown to spend Christmas with the parents and Bird. Her girls still aren’t 100% happy for my move but I am hopeful that when they are older, they will understand. It turned out to be a low key visit, which I enjoyed. I also probably sent mom over the edge introducing beef tenderloin as a great holiday meal since dad is now convinced they should have it monthly. I have also given the gift of Starbucks addiction to dad. At least the barista at his local place doesn’t know his name and order. . . I don’t have to utter a word now if I don’t feel like it.

I also got to visit with Chandler’s mom and sisters while I was there. While the tears do not come as often or quickly, as soon as I see them I am a blubbering mess. I would give anything for Chandler to be back with them, even if it meant we were not meant to be. I still think of him often, love him dearly and talk about him with my friends. As I was getting ready to leave, his mom asked Bri to take me to his room to pick out a couple of things. With each step down the stairs, the tears came faster. . .to be able to see things just as they were when I left made me smile but miss him terribly. I will always wear his Notre Dame shirt with pride and love (and cheer for them too!) as well as his Cubbies hat.

I ended the year on my own instead of going out or hanging with friends. Part of it was I just didn’t want to be around others but the other part was, I was tired, overwhelmed with what I have experienced this past year and the biggest part, who doesn’t want to ring in the new year with the most neurotic cat ever? Plus, NYE is amateur night. I would prefer not to share the road with the crazies. Instead I Facetimed with Son, Snug and T, my parents and chatted briefly with Stace, offering up the I am a loser and this headache is driving me insane (which it has been for several weeks now).

Here’s to 2013, may all your wishes come true and if I ever start talking excitedly about a guy, please smack me. And then point me to my blog.

Christmas Wish List 2012

Oh to have an unlimited checking account but since that is such a first world problem and as long as I can keep a roof over my head, clothing, food and keep Wook in the lifestyle which he is accustomed to I can get over the limited funds. But it is always fun to window shop, dream and sometimes even getting said item after saving up for it. I am the very first one to admit that I have champagne taste on a PBR budget but there are times when investing in a higher end brand is well worth it.

Case in point–several years ago I purchased a key chain (with the clip thing for the valet key) from Coach. My only complaint about this key chain is trying to get keys on and off the ring. Stace’s hubby was trying to help me and somehow the spring in the clip portion broke. On a whim and the thought that it never hurts to ask, I stopped in the store to ask about getting fixed. Instead of fixing it the promptly exchange it with a new, working one no questions asked. I had the first one for well over a year but that didn’t factor into their customer service. I still carry the key chain and still share that story with others.

And then there are trends that are just expensive, kind of like those Swatch watches that I had to have well over 20 years ago. I think I still have one or two floating around but the batteries are dead. In fact, I think my home is where all watches come to die. I will want one, wear it for awhile and then stick it in a drawer. Then at some point I will see a really cute one that I just have to have only to be reminded that I have several that I don’t wear and now no longer tell time.

The following are strictly wants, I don’t need any of these items to actually live so I know it isn’t the end of the world if I never get them.

iPad and case. . . sure I have a Kindle Fire and I love it but. . . I am a gadget geek and since I waited like, forever to purchase an iPhone, the Apple fever is starting to come to a head. As an aside, I was never one to make sure I had a case for previous phones and there are times when my Kindle is not in it’s case but for some reason when it comes to an Apple product, I am adamant about having a case for it.

ipad case 49

ipad retina display wifi 16gb 499

Hunter Wellies with liners. . .rain boots but not just any rain boots! My love for all things British extend to these lovely rubber boots. There is only one small problem with any type of boot for me though, I am short and my calves are huge, kind of hard to find a comfortable boot that fits them. But I love the red ones and just for giggles, let me throw in the Union Jack liners because I can’t be dorky enough.

hunter uk liner 25lbs uk

hunter-wellies 100

Trip to London. . .well, I believe that is a no brainer for anyone that knows me. I am obsessed with the city. Ideally, I have always wanted to fly Virgin Atlantic across the pond and sleep in one of those pod chairs. But I will settle for economy plus on whichever carrier can get me there at a reasonable price. I need a little wiggle room for that long of a flight. Besides taking in every sight to be seen in London, I would want to see at least one show on the West End, check out the ridiculous shopping, spend time in a pub, lose myself in the city and finally be able to say that yes, I have been to London.

Def Leppard. . .they are playing Vegas in a limited run this coming spring. While Vegas has never been on my must see list, I know I would have fun. I used to totally make fun of a friend who used to spend his vacation time following Dylan around but I get it. Sure, they are an 80s hair band but I love their music and have crushed on Phil Collen since the video for  Photograph came out. Seeing them live is worth the money to me, I get to listen to the music of my youth (dear Lord I am getting old) as well as try to rewrite history thinking that I was a really cool kid. I have also added to my Amazon Wish list (for my eyes only people, it helps me remember what I picked out!) Pyromania and Hysteria since my original copies are cassette tape and I lost the bulk of my music when my laptop crashed. Sad panda. . .

KitchenAid Pro Stand Mixer. . .this would be an upgrade since I already own one of their stand mixers. I love it, use it often but at some point I would like to upgrade to the professional series. I have always loved the red one but common sense would be to get the silver one. Neutral colors are easier to decorate around. Thank goodness for friends and family with this sage advise or I would have ended up with a very loud red couch.

kitchenaid pro mixer

Plush Organs. . . as Stace would say, this is really just more clutter but I really do think these are just too cute. And what is another three nonfunctional items to add to junk? There are several options to chose from but I would pick the gall bladder, uterus and ovary since those are organs that have been sliced and diced on me. Also, I find it ironic that the testicle is blue. . . yes I am a 12 year old boy at heart, my mom is really proud of that. I do have a point of contention with the company that made these though, ovaries are white, I have pictures of mine although the tubes are pink.

uncommon goods organs plush 18 uncommon goods rep org plush 15

Manolo Blanick Mary Janes. . .I tried these on when I first moved back to Nashville, I love them, they don’t love my Fred Flintstone feet. Since I have lost quite a few pounds since that little adventure, I may try again. If it doesn’t work out, I will just drool on the picture. Plus, they would add several inches to my very short frame.

manalo blahnik mary jane

Surround sound. . .thanks to my parents, I know am the proud owner of a really big tv but when watching football or a really good movie, I wouldn’t mind adding a sound bar to the mix. I like it when I can hear the helmets hit each other.

surround sound

Cookbooks. . .Of course no list could be complete without a few cookbooks thrown in the mix. The following three are ones that I really need to just suck it up and order them. . .

art of french cooking 2

les halles cookbook

professional chef

I have a list that encompasses lots of cookbooks and just plain old good reads as well but that is really overwhelming to list.

Cooking Gadgets. . .well I think it goes without saying that if I love all things techy, I am a sucker for kitchen gadgets. Currently I am on the lookout for an inexpensive pepper mill, mine broke a couple of months ago. I am always down with the silicon scrappers/spatulas as well as any and all attachments to my stand mixer.

New York City. . .I have been many times to the city that I love but I want to go at Christmas, see the big tree, take in all the beautiful shop windows AND see the real Santa at Macy’s. I joked with a coworker about sitting on his lap and asking for a husband, kid and they lived happily every after. But I am realistic. I would be okay with just visiting with him for a few minutes, get a picture and thank him for all the wonderful childhood memories. I would also tell him that I do still believe in the idea of Santa. But getting a solid week in NYC to take in some shows, shopping, eating and writing would be the ideal trip. I would also like to find exactly where my grandparents got married and where dad was born (South Bronx represent!).

And finally a few simple things, pedis on a much regular basis, a massage once a quarter, a membership to the Y and some personal training back in the mix. I would love to get to the point where I could take off for a weekend to visit friends in Chicago, Baltimore, Kansas City and really take advantage of the fact that I am single and should be enjoying all of these things.

Christmas isn’t about the gifts, the parties or anything as trite as that, it is about spending time with your loved ones. This year I will be preparing a beef tenderloin for my parents, spending time with Bird and the girls and knowing that while I love and miss everyone there, I will get to come back home, to Nashville. I am beyond grateful to have found a great group of people to work with, reconnect with old friends and know that I really did make it through living in Chattanooga. Those two and a half years were rough but I managed to prove that I was stronger than that.

I may never all of my wants but sometimes that is okay. Now I am going to go cuddle up with the most lovable, loyal little man ever, my Wook makes me smile as I walk through the door each night. I may suck at men but this ball of gray fur has my back.

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