I Have Mad Skills. . .

Many moons ago, a friend was having some plumbing issues at his house. He had called me to see if I might be of any help. I tried and tried with all of my might to channel my Popa since he was THE handyman to go to when you needed something fixed. But I couldn’t figure it out and my friend was left to call a plumber to fix the problem.

As my friends bought homes, I helped move boxes, paint and anything else I could do. I even was talked into crawling into a very disgusting cabinet to pull out random things that had been left there years ago. I got my first taste of demoing walls, fixtures and floors. Hard work but yet so satisfying; hurt, anger, frustrations from a failed relationship poured out as I ripped away the old in a house.

Then I met Stacey and her husband. . . this is where the real learning began. Anyone with a sledge hammer and some might can rip things apart, putting a demoed room back together is a whole different skill set. But I sat, learned, listened and took orders while helping. I beamed as I learned something else when putting walls up, I also learned that I am the kind of person that just wants it to be done, who cares about perfection? Of course there is a small hole behind a cabinet in Stacey and J’s remodeled kitchen. . . it probably still bothers him. His perfection led to one evening of “us girls” finally saying, let’s just prime it so we can paint. . .

I have mastered several tools and love to use them. I used to think that putting crown molding up was easy. Umm, no, those stupid angle cuts are a pain in the tush! I did manage one time and one time only, of correcting J when it came to cutting an angle and I was right! I smiled at myself and knew it was more sheer luck than anything else. Geometry is not my strong suit.

But if it hadn’t been for my friends, so willing to welcome me in to help tear down and rebuild in their homes, I would not have been able to do the following:

With the help of dad and mom being banished from the kitchen, I installed their new microwave. Sadly their old one had died a quick, painless death yesterday morning and it being above the stove meant that they needed another one to go in it’s place. Mom and I looked at Sears and they did not have one in stock and the installation fee was half of what the actual cost of the microwave was, I stood shaking my head. I can put it in, there is no need to pay for someone else to do it. Yep, Stace, I somehow managed to turn into you and J! Why pay someone when I was able bodied!

Mom found one at Lowes and off we went back to the house. Dad was in a lather. He dreaded this and mom even warned that my own hide was on the line should this little home improvement job land on her stove. . .

We got the old one out and I looked at the new one, since it was different brands the mounting would be different. Of course! I measured (again, math just really isn’t my strong suit) marked spots, explained what we were going to do with dad and from time to time, reminded mom to please leave the kitchen.

After buckets of sweat, a miscalculation on my part and some cussing (from dad, I didn’t at all!) we got the new one installed. And it worked like a charm, hot tea for mom in the morning!

While mom did mention the space was off a bit, dad mentioned that it didn’t matter, it was on the wall, working and would stay put. But mom is just like the rest of her family, precise. Me? Not so much.

I would love to have a go at their floors but I have been told no way. I still love to piddle with do it yourself projects but I am in serious need of my own tools. Should I ever get married, I think that is what I will register for, I have all my kitchen stuff!

So a big thank you to my friends for allowing me to be a part of your projects. I learned a lot, sweated a lot and finally got to show off my mad skills.

Well Hello Pool, How You Doin’?

While this pool certainly gets more traffic than my pool in Nashville, I will take it. Gone are the days of walking three feet to the club house pool, with nary a sight of anyone else, this pool is hopping.

I do have to say though that I really am beginning to worry for the future of our world. Parents sit idly by, chatting, snoozing or reading while their precious children run, jump and dive into the pool. Three rules already broken and yet no parent bothers to correct their charges.

The best part of the time spent by the pool today was watching grandparents saunter in with six grandchildren, yelling at them that they were to watch the younger ones. I cringed thinking that this was probably the worst thing to be said to a child. But then the grandmother pipes up and asks which ones can swim. Only one said yes. This doesn’t look good.

But my day started out with a cat pawing at my face, begging me to wake up and pay attention to him. I finally got the hint, got up and decided that I better go get more sunscreen since I was close to running out. While the lobster look might be in for some, I try to control just how bright red I can become since that seems to trouble most people that I run into.

A run to Target means that I will be in there for at least an hour because I have to go through my normal routine. Yes, I clearly have issues. I cannot even run in to pick up one item without walking through the whole store. I pick things up, I look at them, I put them back down. It is a sickness. . .

The heat is already getting to me and I dread July already. I walk out with my sunscreen and venture over to EarthFare. While it is certainly not Whole Foods, it will do in terms of roaming around, taking in all the smells, the food and their cheese section. I pick up milk and exchange my glass container for a now full one.

And here is where I go on my tangent about milk. See, I was raised on Mayfield milk but when I left for college, well, they didn’t have it, they had Purity. As time went on and milk prices went up, I went to the store brand. I LOVE milk but the way I drink it means that I can’t get the pricey brand name. Then I started shopping at Publix all the time and their milk was good. And cheap. I still get it from there but EarthFare is on the way home and their half gallon is a bit cheaper than Publix’s brand (not to mention the cost of gas to get there) so now I am on their milk. Again, I will admit, I have issues.

As I was walking out with my milk and Target purchases a lady called out, “I like your shirt!” I had to stop for a second and think because I was out in lala land. Then she tells me she is from Pittsburgh. Aww, yes, I have my Steelers shirt on. I tell her thanks and pack my car.

Once home I finally get sprayed down, in my suit and head for the pool. I always find a spot in the pool, at the edge away from the hustle and bustle. This allows me to read while in the pool. I people watched, read and cooled down while relaxing. I also kept waiting for a kid to split his lip; which would have resulted in the pool closing down.

Luckily for me, no child was hurt but after a couple of hours poolside I opted to head back to the apartment. While I still love my time by the pool, things have changed. I miss having the smaller pool to myself or just a few people, all wanting to do what I am doing, relax. I also miss the million trees surrounding the pool which allowed some shade when it got too hot or dictated moving from one side of the pool to the other throughout the day.

As I was heading back to my apartment I heard the sound of a tennis ball being smacked back and forth. I watched two guys in a heated game and for a moment wanted to ask them if they were smoking crack. It is much to hot, humid and icky to be out playing like that. That is why I don’t golf during the summer, too hot to be running after a little ball, especially the way I hit.

This is what my weekends will look like through the summer, running errands, heading back to the pool for a few hours to read and then back into the cool air conditioning to nap. And a cat waiting for me to pay attention and forget that silly pool.

SUYR: Desserts, Yum!

If Kelly can keep up the food posts for Show Us Your Life Fridays, well, I will linking up all the time!

I love to bake and sadly it does show. . . but this is one of my first desserts that I made when I was in high school and has made it’s appearance at Christmas quite often.

Red Velvet Cake

1 box of German Chocolate Cake mix (I prefer Pillsbury for this recipe)                                                                            1 cup of sour cream                                                                1/2 cup water                                                                          1/4 cup vegetable oil                                                                  1 bottle (1 oz) red food color                                                     3 eggs

Heat oven to 350* and oil and sugar/flour two 9 inch pans, mix ingredients together, divide evenly between the two pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes
The recipe was given to me by a teacher when we were doing a unit on following directions. There are a ton of steps to make the cake and the icing however, after doing the assignment I opted to go with a cream cheese frosting! I have made this recipe as a layer cake, cupcakes and cake pops. I think my favorite is the cupcakes, easier to frost.
Let it cool completely before frosting and enjoy!

Mom’s High and I am Having Hot Flashes

The world must be coming to an end! LOL

My mom, who has had maybe one sip of an alcoholic beverage had cataract surgery today. When I talked to her after the procedure, she was slurring her words. I wish I had taped that. . . it was pure gold. The surgery went fine and she relinquished the keys to the car so dad could get them home safely.

I have been dealing with headaches each morning due to sinuses/allergies which is a pain to deal with but when you look at the bigger picture, my headaches mean nothing. So I deal with them and try not to bounce around too much since that can aggravate my brain.  I had a normal lunch and read. I attempted to head down to a meeting, and as the meeting progressed, I felt hotter and hotter, a little shaky and my stomach wanted to add a few comments to how I felt. I thought I could go back to my cubicle and center myself, etc. Two of the managers got a good look at me and were in shock at how red I was. So after apologizing for feeling this bad and saying I really needed to get home.

It could be as simple as I was in the midst of a panic attack, one that I cannot pinpoint as to why it happened. They just do, meds keep them under control but from time to time, these little buggers like to pop up at random times. Or it could be as simple as hot flashes. I would prefer that I kick the hot flashes away from me for quite some time.

Tuesday Randoms

My brain is all over the place, again. Besides having a horrible headache daily since late last week, the heat around here is oppressive. I don’t even have any room to complain about any of this because I still have my home, cat, belongings and my family and friends are okay.

  • Tornados~well, I am the first to admit that I don’t mind a few little storms here and there. But Joplin got hit hard Sunday, Stewart County (just north of Nashville) got hit last night and apparently Nashville had some rough storms last night and this morning. I am thankful that we ducked the storms this go around. For those in the position to donate, go to the Red Cross, United Way, UMCOR, Catholic Charties, etc and give. If you can’t even rub two nickels together (like me) then pray for those who are in the midst of seeing their lives changed dramatically in a very short period of time.
  • I just wrapped up my time volunteering at the local food bank here, my company does an annual project that allows us to take time off of work to give back to the community as well as donates money to help with these projects. I feel quite selfish for being upset that I couldn’t take a trip up to Nashville this weekend because of my own doings and yet there are people right here who make do with food boxes and little else. I have always enjoyed going to the food bank, sorting food, because the sweat equity makes me realize just how lucky I am.
  • Wookie is going through this phase of LOVING can food. This is the little guy who would eat some and then forget about it. I have always used can food as a treat or when I was feeling guilty for going out of town. Now he trips me up, cries and begs for can food. I may have to have a serious talk with him this weekend about this.
  • American Idol is almost over and thank goodness. It has been an enjoyable season but I really think the judges could have been a bit more critical of each contestant. I rarely heard any dissent and Randy’s “Yo Dawg” has now been replaced by “Insert Contestant’s Name Here is in it to win it!” Really? There were a few times that each singer has sounded off to me. . .
  • Netflix, will you go with me? I mean really, where else can I watch a RomCom movie and then switch to a documentary about Auschwitz? And yes, I really am all over the place when it comes to what I watch. I just finished Little Fockers earlier and while it was typical since this was the third movie, it was enjoyable.
  • Speaking of Netflix, dad somehow deleted some of mom’s picks for the DVD Queue.

I am now ready to crash for the evening, it is a good kind of tired though. The kind after physically working hard. I even have some more marketable skills, I am a master at taping boxes after they have been stuffed with food. Who says retail and moving often don’t pay off?

Standing Out in a Sea of Normallcy

I remember in high school the urge to be the same as others. I wanted to look the same, act the same and treated the same. I picked out a really cool backpack from Benetton and even some clothes. Laura Ashley dresses, yep had some of those too. I longed to be a part of the cool kid’s table. To be invited out to their parties, to be accepted my them.

I never was and while there were moments where I was convinced I did not have a friend in the world; I soon discovered that it didn’t matter so much. I had friends, friends that if you put us in a line up together, you would wonder what connected us. But we found our little group was good. We laughed, shared stories and dreamed about what life would be like after high school.

I somehow managed to go to two proms my senior year; which only happens when the guy you are dating goes to the rival high school. I think I enjoyed his prom more than mine. Of course my graduation present from him was ending the relationship, something that could have been dealt with a bit better. My night of graduation consisted of begging for another chance, ugly cries and soon, curled up in my bed, sobbing on the phone with a friend.

Junior college was a bit different. Somehow I got noticed and got lucky. I wrote for our school newspaper and then by default ended up editing the thing. It was a challenge but all of the sudden I was standing out because I took control of a paper and my name got out there. I was a member of homecoming court (seriously, this is one of the funnier things that happened, me? on court? So not me.) A friend was my escort and as the Queen was crowned, I breathed a sigh of relief. Never fitting into the mold meant that I had ducked (even if it was really a miniscule chance) becoming Queen. But I noticed someone there, someone that had hit a nerve, He drove a red Miata and his tag was his last name. Bit flashy for me. . .

We dated, learned about each other and even about how life is supposed to go. I was fitting in, on the verge of going away to college. I made a tough decision to let the guy go not because I didn’t love him but because for the first time in my life, I would be moving to a new town, my parents wouldn’t be there and I was ready to spread my wings and fly.

That was 1995 and in those 16 years I have found that I am someone who prefers to melt back into the scenery. I love to come up with ideas, share them, implement them but overall, I want to be behind the scenes because standing out scares me. I have my own style, my own humor and the need to nice to everyone.

I think this feeling drives my need to be in a larger city, you aren’t noticed, you can take in the day, learn so much yet there isn’t someone there saying, Oh I know this girl.

At times I feel like a failure in terms of money, career, family, friends and that one special person that according to last week’s fortune cookie, I am deserving of this great love.

While I want to have that love in my life, I also know that I am tired of disappointment, false hope and a whole lot thrown in just for fun. I remember the boy spouting off that is has always been me, that I am the one for him, that he loves me. He also called back the following day, sharing that he might have had a little too much to drink, he needs some time to wrap his head around it, etc. and for me not to get too excited. I wasn’t all that thrilled with his announcement the next day but what got me was I didn’t need to get too excited.

Living the life I have lived so far, that is one thing that I can guarantee, the boy has been up and down for over a year now. And the fact that my feelings are about blah at this time must mean that I could care less anymore. If his actions spoke louder than his words I would work up some excitement.

Working on me has been my goal for quite sometime. I want to lose weight so I can sound crazy when I say I look fat. I want to continue writing, pulling from the depths of me in hopes that I learn something new. And I also want to figure out how to stand out, even if it is just for a moment, without the desire to puke everywhere. This brain was built for the behind the scenes, not on the stage to shine.

I want to prove to myself that there really is someone out there that wants to be with me, through thick and thin. That understands me, encourages me and makes me laugh,

But right now, I morn the loss of a great friend/boyfriend, Chandler let me see that even I deserved all of this and more. But I have a feeling I just wasn’t strong of enough to carry us both through the crappy stuff. I think about him often but know that is was the right decision.

And maybe, one of these days I will be able to stand out and shine, even for just a brief moment. Maybe it will touch the lives of other young girls who are convinced that those true moments of love and happiness are just pipe dreams but see that they do come true.

Someone Needs to Interpret This Dream

Okay, it is now time to whip out those armchair psych books and tell me what the hell this dream means!!! I am still shaking my head at this one, I sometimes can remember my dreams but never have they ever been this weird.

I am in a large office building (a friend and her husband were there, for some reason they were trying to get me out of there) and I head down to the cafeteria. As I am trying to find my way through this massive eatery I turn to look and see at a table a beautiful blue bird along with another bird that isn’t quite so colorful. I stop and stare at them, wondering why, in the midst of all the noise and chaos, these two birds just happen to be hanging out on a table. Then the blue bird gets his business on with the other one, who turns into a neon orange color. Then the bird changes back into her normal color and out pops a baby bird.

Apparently I am standing there, mouth open, when my grabs me to leave and we go through all the mazes to get out of there.

My questions are:

Why were there two birds hanging out on a table?
Why, when getting her groove on with Mr Blue Bird, did she turn neon orange?
And for all that is right in the world, why did she birth out a bird??? They lay eggs!!!!!! This was a baby bird fresh from the oven????

Man oh man, I really think I need some help!

Tuesday Randomness

Or as I would like to call it, An Ode to My ADD tendencies!

  • Went to bed freezing cold last night but refused, refused I say to turn the heat on, so I layered
  • Halfway through the evening I must have gotten a bit warm so the process of de-layering happened
  • My hateful alarm clock who never brings me good news, just news of I have to get out of bed RIGHT NOW! Off went the covers and immediately all the sweat from getting to warm was hanging from my body in the form of ice.
  • An argument ensued with Wookie. He wanted his special cat food for breakfast, it seemed easier to just give in
  • I rocked it at work, completing reports early and wanting to show everyone my really cool Snoopy dance, I opted not to embarrass myself though
  • The evening proved a bit daunting though, no energy to cook but I needed to so a little dinner and off to read whichever book is closest to me
  • Talked to Sonia about her new baby, it still seems odd that Sonia has a child, at least to me, but she sounds so happy and it was a wonderful chat where I got to hear some of her birth story–but I still want tons of pictures!
  • For once I actually got my shower early in the evening and promptly enjoyed the season finale of One Tree Hill (I got sucked in when they were playing all the time on SoapNet). I cried, I smiled, I laughed. An overall emotional buffet
  • I made sure Heinz Ward made it to the finals for Dancing with the Stars
  • Dried my hair and am currently working on getting myself to bed
  • Writing, I have got to lock myself up somewhere so I can get  move on with this book, I have also been asked by a friend to join his message board/blog that is for men only. My niche will be all things that have to do with food. It is going to be fun and I really hope this takes off for him because his thought process for this board sounds wonderful
  • Yep, bed for me. . . have sweet dreams

Why Am I Up This Late???

Well, for one, I am waiting, no strike that, stalking one of my besties FB pages (and family members) to see when Little Lady makes her big debut! To me, it seems like only yesterday that Sonia and I were hanging at the frat house, drinking and dancing. Or the many times we met up for brunch, coffee or drinks to talk about life, love and all that stuff in between.

I talked to Stacey this evening, we were laughing about stalking her page, wondering how everything is going and catching up on life. Her little man has learned to screech and while I think it is terribly cute and funny, his parents think differently! I guess that is one of the few bonuses of being auntie instead of mommy.

Stace also suggested an app for my phone, Cat Piano, which I promptly added to my phone once we had said our goodbyes. The reaction I was hoping for from Wookie was kind of a letdown. His ears went back while I played a melody of meows but soon he just looked at me as if I had lost what few marbles I have left. In fact, at one point the look on his face was more of a “seriously woman, you are getting on my last nerve, I could care less about that noise you are making.” Currently he is plotting a way to hide my phone in the hopes that I will forget about that app.

And with that, I bid each of you a good night. Little Lady, get here soon! Sonia, best of luck, I love you and I can’t wait to meet her! And when she is older I am going to tell her all about our adventures when we were young. Including the time I stupidly agreed to go to a club with you on a “school night” only to end up with mud on my arm before finally getting you to agree to call it a night! Just think! Little Lady will be 13 when the next bunch of cicadas come out to greet us!

Show Us Your Life. . .Favorite Main Dish

I love to eat. . . shocking no? I was checking Kelly’s SUYL schedule (www.kellyskornerblog.com) and noticed that she is doing a food section! Yay! I can join in! Apparently, I was having a blonde moment last week. . . this week is all about main dishes!

I started cooking when I was young, basically standing underneath my mom, granny and my babysitter. I have pictures of me licking the beaters of the mixer from a young age and several Christmases have included a KitchenAid products on my list to Santa.

My favorite main dish to make is a roast. Any will do and it is a great dish to make on the weekends to eat off of throughout the week.

Amy’s Yummy Roast

1 roast with some nice marbling in it (not too much, but just enough to really keep it moist)

1 onion-I prefer Vidalia onions but a sweet one will do, chopped

Salt, pepper and tenderize to taste

Red wine, water and worcestershire sauce, equal parts, I never measure, so my line is halfway up the roast

Sprinkle chopped onions on top and in the liquid

Cover with tinfoil, place in oven at 350 for about three hours

Serve with mash potatoes, corn and green beans. This leaves the roast very tender and easy to pull apart with a fork. I also check it while it is in the oven and top off with my liquid mix if needed. If you are capable of making gravy (I can’t, always lumpy), use the liquid, add a bit more red wine and season to taste.

I think this is one of the first staples I learned how to make and I have played with it ever since.