Tofu Gives Me Gas

And getting up at 5:15 in the morning to go to the gym seriously puts a cramp in my sleep style. But health is good, right? Not necessarily easy (especially for someone who more often than not would prefer to eat more, move less), but good. We need our health. So adjustments must be made.

I will reschedule my bedtime and my go-to-work time, and I will get myself to the gym in the morning.

I will remember to cover the blister on my foot with a band-aid before hitting the treadmill, and I will remember to bring my headphones home from work.

I will not worry about the speed of the treadmill next to me, and I will not worry about the sweat stains on my ass.

I will put brown sugar on my healthy, organic, steel-cut, slow-cooked oats and be happy that I am actually eating oatmeal.

I will not love myself less when I see a waifishly perfect model in the pages of Vogue wearing coveted haute-couture.

I will not worry if slimmer people than I are judging me when I eat a cookie in public.

And I will continue to eat tofu...but only in the privacy of my own home.


Let It Out & Drown It

"Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so!? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar." ~Drew Carey

Last night we met at the bar. Oh yes we did. And there was commiseration...and drinking...and much bitching.

Venting - it does a body good.

I don't care what kind of job you have - whether you love it or hate it - there are times when you think, "ya know, living out of my car down by the river wouldn't be so bad."

And even if it's not the job itself that you need to vent about, there are most certainly times when a girl needs to rail against all the fucking annoying people one works with every fucking day of the week. Am I right? When you spend the majority of your waking hours with the same. small. group. of. people., stupid little things will, without a doubt, get on your nerves...grate on your nerves...pluck your last nerve, shred it and stomp it into the dirt. Uh huh.

Like the 7:37 "Good Morning" greeting in the most irritatingly affected manner. Or the heavy breather who won't stop asking inane questions. Or the bachelor who has loud and extended personal conversations lauding his fantastically sexy lifestyle. Or the nose picker (yes, it makes you throw up in your mouth a little everytime you are forced to witness the nasal cavity excavation). Or the nutcase who brings a giant stuffed gorilla to work and poses it in various positions throughout the office (no, I'm not kidding). Or the unbelievably humongous egos of male architects strutting around trying to convince everyone that it is inconceivable - no, simply not possible - that you know more than they.

And so we drink. And laugh. And complain. And drink some more.

Venting is like a good heavy rainshower. Cleansing. And you reconsider the whole living-in-your-car scheme. Plus, it's comforting to know you're not the only intolerant, sarcastic Ms. McBitch in the office.

P.S. Speaking of drinking...I think my cat has developed a drinking disorder.

For the past couple of months, every morning when I get up to go into the bathroom, Gwendolyn leaps off my bed and frantically races to beat me to the door. She then positions herself at the edge of the sink and tells me to turn the faucet on for her.

Both of my cats have always been big faucet drinkers.

But recently Gwennie has become an obsessed faucet drinker...but only in the morning...and only in my bathroom sink. She'll drink like she has been wandering in the desert for a week. When she finally stops - or I finally pull her away so I can brush my freakin' teeth - she promptly throws up.

Yep. She throws up all the water she just guzzled. Aren't you glad you don't have to start your morning navigating around puddles of slimy clear water puke? I bet you are.


Southern Summer Nights

For once, it's Monday morning and I don't feel like I just left the office. Weekends tend to fly by, don't they? Or is that just me? Here and gone before you know it. But this weekend seemed unusually long and leisurely. You know, busy, but not frantic busy. Booked, but not overbooked. Late nights, but not too late.

Friday night was Highballs & Hydrangeas at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. I’m told they hold this event twice during the year and I just had never gotten around to attending. Even after almost three years of being here in Nashville, there are many, many…many events and places I still haven’t been. Which is good. I like that there is always something new and interesting to do.

So, anyway, Friday night I went out with the girls to Highballs & Hydrangeas. Cheekwood is a really beautiful place and the grounds glowed with luminous paper lanterns and candlelight. Cocktail tables dotted the lawns and music floated outside. Inside the voluminous garden room there was a band up on the stage and islands of delicious food provided by local restaurants. Really good restaurants. Like, PM and Mirror, and Yellow Porch and Zola, and Tayst and Noshville…and some others that are not coming to mind at the moment. Cash bars were strategically and conveniently located both inside and outside.

The age diversity of the crowd was pleasantly surprising. People in their twenties all the way to folks who looked to be well into their sixties. And everybody appeared to be having a grand old time. People moved freely between inside and outside; sitting, conversing on the white cotton couches inside or gathered around candlelit tables outside. Mingling through the gardens, perched on stone walls, or on benches beside fountains. It was really pretty and felt very ... Southern.

And the company was a hoot. Jen's non-existent but problematic cankles became a source of amusement (really, how could they not?) throughout the evening. Amy arrived in all of her glorious crazy-ness, randomly striking J.Crew poses. Once Melissa had a couple of glasses of wine in her, there was no stopping her. Literally. Even the bloody tooth reference didn't phase her. (Never mind about the bloody tooth reference, it's a long story). Terah posted a few pictures of the gang here, if you’re interested.

The event lasted until 10 pm, so I was home by 10:30 and in bed by 11:00. Long gone are the days where I feel I have to be out until 2 or 3 in the morning in order to deem the evening a success. Does that mean I’m getting old? How about mature? Yeah, let’s go with that.

Saturday morning was languorous. Daniel made eggs, bacon and toast with homemade peach jam for breakfast. Yeah, he’s a keeper. My afternoon consisted of a trip to my favorite nail salon for a much-needed (okay, much-desired) manicure & pedicure, during which I got to watch the Olympic women’s badminton competition. That’s right – badminton. Honestly, I wasn’t even aware that badminton was an Olympic sport. Huh. Who knew? There are many strange Olympic sports. Like that broom sport in the winter Olympics. You know the one I'm talking about.

Afterwards, I stopped at Wal-Mart to purchase a couple of those foldable canvas lawn chairs.

No, I’m not in the habit of going out and randomly buying lawn chairs at Wal-Mart. The chairs were part of Saturday night’s plan.

The plan was Shakespeare in the Park. This year was like the 21st annual production of the Nashville Shakespeare Company in Centennial Park. The show runs until Labor Day and they do performances every weekend. Again, this really cool event was something I just never managed to fit into my schedule since moving here. After my experience Saturday evening, I will be fitting it into my schedule for as long as they keep doing it.

The production was Coriolanus. Don’t worry, Daniel nor I had ever heard of it either. Apparently it’s not a terribly well-known Shakespeare play. It was the last tragedy he wrote and is a very political piece that remains relevant to contemporary times. The acting, for the most part, was fantastic. I recognized a couple of actors from the Tennessee Repertory Theatre and they did not disappoint.

But besides the great acting, and of course the inimitable storytelling of William Shakespeare, it was really nice being outside on a summer night with a bright moon and flickers of lightning bugs. Surrounded by other rapt Nashvillians sprawled out on blankets or lounging on lawn chairs there was a tangible sense of community and it was nice. Everyone, including us, brought suppers of sandwiches or salads, wine or sodas, chips or popcorn. Little ones fell asleep on blankets before the performance ended around 10 o’clock. And again, I was in bed by 11:00 after another lovely late summer evening.

Sunday morning I played tennis before it got too hot and later Daniel and I enjoyed ourselves at the entirely-too-delicious Indian lunch buffet at Sitar.

See? Sorta busy...but totally relaxing. Yay for Weekends.


Good Morning Starshine

My alarm goes off at 5:45 every morning. This does not mean I get up at 5:45, nor does it mean I have any intention of getting up at 5:45. See, the whole point of setting my alarm for 5:45 is that I'm the kind of person who is NOT a morning person and I need to wake up gradually.

I'll typically get out of bed at 6:13 or 6:20 (or 6:41). Gwendolyn does not quite grasp my scheme and is under the false impression that I set my alarm at 5:45 in order to make sure she is up and concentratedly kneading my body. And she will not be deterred! I shove her, I squirm, I protest, I sit up and physcially lift her fuzzy body off of me, but she is the most stubbornly determined cat I have ever met.

She is one persistent little feline and when she wants to knead, well dammit, SHE WANTS TO KNEAD.

So, after being kneaded to death by my little 8 lb cat at 5:45 this morning, I lost my keys. Nice segue, huh?

That's right. My car keys. Lost them.

I usually leave them in my car. I park in the garage, take them out of the ignition and plop them on the console. Ingenious, no? Well, last night I drove home from work, parked in the garage, and then for some reason still had my keys in my hand when I walked in the door. Instead of taking my keys back out to my car, I just set them on the table right by the door to the garage thinking I would simply snatch them up on my way out in the morning.

This plan would've worked if Daniel hadn't put my keys in his pocket when he came home from class last night.

Why would he do such a thing? Well, sometimes he is a mysterious person and does mysterious things, but I suspect he was simply tired, saw keys lying on the table, assumed they were his, and absently deposited them in his pocket.

I, of course, had no idea my keys were residing in the pocket of the pants he had on last night. And he had no conscious memory of pilfering my keys, which led to 10 minutes or so of frantic key searching until I was nearly in tears.

Just as I was about to give up, Daniel hurried down the stairs, "I found them". "Where?! Where did you find them?" "I don't want to talk about it." But then he immediately confessed to finding the keys in his pants and had only vague recollections of how they came to be there. And I only ended up being 7 minutes late to work. Yay.

I hate affectations. (another brilliant segue) So when a person says good morning to me at 7:37 in that artificially cutesy manner, I just want to say, "Yeah, I get it, you're doing the cute thing. Could you just be normal now, please?" It's highly irritating.


Fasten Your Seat Belts

If this whole architecture thing doesn't work out and I find myself in need of a career to fall back on, I could quite possibly go into the chauffeuring business. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm a bad driver. Oh pshaw! While that may or may not be true, I successfully managed to haul around my mother, my two aunts and two of my cousins in a ginormous Escalade all weekend without any sort of incidents. I even parked the shiny red exhaust chuffin' beast numerous times. Go me.

My mom and her sisters are a hoot. No, really they are. All of us females on my mom's side of the family are very much alike in our humor, outlook, and opinions. You can bet yer buttons it's gonna be an entertaining time when my mom and her sisters get together.

So, my mom's youngest sister had the great idea to do a Summer Road Trip. She persuaded her two daughters, my mother and my other aunt to truck on down to Nashville for a weekend visit.

I inherited my directional disability from my mom's side of the family and sadly nearly all of us are afflicted with this lack of navigational skill (except Bethany). Five women, five cell phones, four maps, two GPS systems and they STILL had trouble getting from Erie to Nashville. *shrug* It's the burden of my people.

Once they arrived and got settled in to their hotel, I gave them explicit directions to my place and amazingly enough they showed up only three hours later! No, I'm kidding of course. It only took them two hours. Ha! Kidding again...I just amuse myself. No, seriously, they had little to no difficulty navigating their way from their hotel to my house. I gave them the grand tour and then we spent a good chunk of time talking and being amused by my cats.

Once my cats became bored with us (which actually takes longer than you might think), I took my family to The Station Inn. The Station Inn is a very ... um ... authentic, live bluegrass venue. It's old, it boasts a rich bluegrass history, it's smoke free, and just a really down-to-earth, fun atmosphere. I like it. And my family seemed to like it as well. It was an interesting culture contrast for my 20 year old cousin who goes to school in LA.

After hauling their sleepy butts back to the hotel, I hauled my own sleepy butt (in the giant automobile) back to my house with plans to pick the gang up at 9-ish in the morning for some plantation fun. That's right, plantation fun!

Okay, so maybe plantations aren't really that exciting...but the Belle Meade Plantation is a neat old place to wander around. We were on the first tour of the morning and it was painfully evident that our tour guide was recovering from a Friday night hangover. As in, "okay, any questions in this room? no? okay, on we go!" We're walking...we're walking...

After being hustled by the hungover tour guide, we climbed back into the tank and drove downtown to the Frist Art Museum. The main exhibit there right now is called Color as Field: American Painting 1950-1975. This is awesome because the collection includes Mark Rothko who is one of my favorite artists.

I love art museums. But I realize that not everyone does, so I try not to push my art enthusiasm on people. And I know...yes, know, my mother does not particularly like art museums. I swear she has told me this before, but last weekend she assured me, "I do too like art museums!" So while my cousins and I strolled leisurely through the maze of color, my alleged art-luvin' mama zipped through the galleries like it was some kind of Olympic event claiming, "I only stop and look if I see something I like". She's a funny lil' thing.

We ate lunch at the museum cafe which was very tasty. Actually, I find this to be true of most museum cafes - the fare they offer tends to be good, interesting, and inexpensive. Yay for museum cafes!

After some quality time spent napping, reading and lounging by the pool at the hotel, we went downtown to walk around Broadway and stopped in at Roberts Western World to wet our whistle and listen to a bit of music.

Then we loaded back into the beast and went uptown to West End and Centennial Park where they were having a big band dance. Centennial park is sort of a miniature-sized Central Park, and is really such a nice urban green space. Here's the three sisters in front of the pond:

We wrapped up the road trip visit with dinner at Rumba. I dropped them off at their hotel, left them with their gigantic vehicle, some Google directions, and bid them a fond farewell. I like having visitors - it's fun to show off my town to an appreciative audience. So, if you're lookin' for a road trip destination, look no further! Just give me a call.