Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much, but blogging is trippy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Once in a lifetime?

When I was 10 years old, before we moved to Tennessee, Mama and I drove under a rainbow. I'll never forget it. I can't remember what chore took us in that direction, but we drove out the length of West Hightower Trail from Social Circle to Jersey, and before we got to our destination, we watched a rainbow get closer, then pass over us. And then it was behind us.

Mama said at the time, "Remember this -- you were just under the rainbow. It's a once-in-a-lifetime event."

And she was right, I guess. It was the only time she had ever passed under a rainbow, and it's the only time I've ever done so.

Earlier this afternoon, when I went for my walk at the darlin' little underappreciated Philadelphia Park, I watched a baby hawk stand on the side of his nest and try flapping his wings while he hollered for his mama to help him or watch him.

I was going to call this post, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful," because I figure any birder worth half his weight in binoculars would envy me. But before I wrote it, I called my sister Amy. I have to. She's a much better birder than I am. She would really, really love to see this baby hawk and all the other birds I can't identify.

And it was Amy who marveled, "Just imagine all the people who will live out their entire lives without ever once seeing a hawk try out his wings for the first time."

Dang, I almost cried.

So I saw that today, and now I have to wonder if I'll ever see it again. Since I did not get pictures of the baby hawk, I can only hope that I will see it again. If not this year, then next.

Let's all hope for twice in a lifetime, OK? Thanks.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cosmo says Memorial Day rocks

This picture probably won't make anyone who's scared of parrots feel any less intimidated, but I just loved this snapshot of Cosmo. It's like he's leaning in for a closer look!

The weather was great (we got rain!), the chores were swiftly and cheerfully performed, and our dinner... was rained out. But other than that, it was a totally fabulous Memorial Day and we all thoroughly enjoyed it!

(After last year's drought, we really can't complain about rain. Ever. So instead of burgers on the grill, we had dinner inside and saved the burgers for a sunnier day. No big deal. And we got rain! Yay!)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Getting over my pique


I said I'd keep altering it, and I kep' my word. Tomorrow, I just might seal it all up.

After I add some micro glass beads, that is. I am a pure sucker for glass.

Anyway, Friday was spent entirely in the pursuit of healthy teeth. I arrived at my dentist's office 7 minutes late. Before I got there, I called ahead to tell them that I was running late. Then I spent 12 minute knocking on a door and worrying that I had gotten the date wrong. See, since I am so special, they had scheduled me for a Friday, their day off. That way, I was the only patient in the whole office.

Yeah, I'm special.

It was not fun. On the other hand, it wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be.

(I mean, seriously, my last dentist threw great parties, but his work has totally sucked so far. So I thought that when my new dentist pulled off this leaking front cantilever bridge, he would also discover 8 abscesses. Thank heaven, he didn't.)

On the other hand, my new dentist gave me front teeth that look like... well, normal people's teeth. I have had too-short, abnormally blunted teeth since I was 11 years old and had old-fashioned braces back in the dark ages of orthodontia. I don't know who thought it would be cool to grind off my teeth so much, but they did, and I haven't been normal since.

Dr. Simpson pointed out that most people have front teeth that are 9 to 11 millimeters in length. I had 8 mm teeth.

So he did special and extra-painful things to me to give me longer, more natural front teeth.

I now have long front teeth.

My husband, poor thing, woke up at 3:00, just when I was falling asleep from the pain meds. I told him, "I have rabbit teeth like you now," and then I fell fast asleep, so he hasn't even seen them yet.

(That's because he went to work at 5:15 pm, when I was still asleep and recovering from my dental trauma.)

(Grown-ups work ungodly hours if they want to support their families, y'know. Don't judge.)

Anyway, I did keep altering the Tink notebook. I'm afraid Amy will smack me. The last version I posted was cute. This version is stamped with the elemental table and other stuff, which isn't quite as darlin'. Please forgive me, Yamy! I just couldn't stop where I was!

Now I'm asleep. Saturday, I hope to wake up early enough to scout out the haps at the roadside flea market in Sweetwater. We Lofti hope to vacay in Edisto this coming September, but I surely would love to meet my girls in Disney World in November, too. So I must sell some paper goods. Stay tuned!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bad mood blogging

I don't have an image for tonight's post. Hell, I shouldn't even be awake for tonight's post, but here I am.

I finally looked at my calendar today and discovered that I missed a deadline and blew it with my favorite client.

While looking at my neglected calendar, I discovered that I have to go to the dentist tomorrow morning -- insanely early in the morning -- for more major dental work, which I would really rather just go ahead and shoot myself in the foot than have.

I recently gave up drinking. Did I mention that? Yep. I gave up my usual midnight cocktail. I figured I didn't need the extra calories. It wasn't any moral thing. I just figured, y'know, since I'm working out and avoiding fat and sugar, maybe I should also do away with the 8 bazillion calories in the average White Russian.

So I found out I have the Big Dental Appointment, and I went straight to Knoxville and bought everything I need to make major White Russians.

Damn the calories. I want something to get me through the next couple of days of pain and suffering.

Now I should be asleep, and instead, I'm narrating "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" for my cat. Hector really doesn't care all that much. I, on the other hand, am utterly blown away by the special effects as if I've never seen this movie before.

So here's what hacks me off tonight:
- I have to go to the dentist for hours and hours and it'll be expensive and it'll hurt for days.
- I don't even like my dentist. I wouldn't hang out with him in real life. I loved my last dentist, but it turns out he was a great guy who wasn't a great dentist, and now I'm not sure which attribute is better to have: Being sweet or being proficient.
- Mostly because I am sweet, but not at all proficient, and that makes me doubt my worth.
- I'm not sleepy.
- No one else in my family appreciates the taste treat that is Oreos and orange juice.
- I blew it on that newsletter.
- I've never seen "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" with subtitles. And everyone knows the only way to see a foreign film is with subtitles.
- I still don't have a dog.
- I didn't go walking today. I should have gone. But I was too busy feeling sorry for myself. Tomorrow, after my dental appointment from hell, I will not want to go walking, and then I will feel that much worse.
- And I have fire ants! I have fire ants in my porte cochere! I live in Tennessee, for heaven's sake, and every year as I watch the growing smears of red clay fire ants hills on each side of the road, I wonder how this came to be. I remember what fire ants were like in my Mississippi cousins' yards. How could those insects have moved so far north? Why do I have to worry about eradicating these things from my Tennessee yard? What is going on with the world, anyway???

The weekend must be better.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Warning: Brush your teeth.


The weather is great; the spring is progressing normally; I am healthy; and I heard both the baby hawk and the mother hawk the last couple of days on my walk. Poor mother hawk. She thought she had put her nest in such a remote, unused location, and now I have to come along and gang her best-laid plans agley.

All the squawking, flapping, and general all-purpose flipping out -- every time I hit that corner in the path, she has to squawk and fly away to get me to move away from her nest.

The nest, though, is 'way at the top of a big, tall old tree, and I'm not about to climb it just to poke at a baby hawk.

OK. Maybe I would if I could. But I can't. Yet.

So I was bored this afternoon, and I found an old Tinker Bell notebook that was kind of ugly. And I altered it. For it to look so very precious and cuuuuuuuute (toothache, anyone?), it surely started out sour and kind of, well, bad-acid-trippy.

Not that I've ever had a bad acid trip. I wouldn't know a bad one from a good one.

The original colors were hot pink and purple, and Tink's skin was light blue, her hair was bright blue, and her eyes were -- orange. Yes. Orange. I never understood that.

So I painted the thing with glossy white acrylic paint, spritzed it with fuchsia Glimmer Mist, then pressed a cut-out Tink image I salvaged from a coffee-stained old notepad at the bottom of the junk drawer into the wet paint. While I waited for that to dry, I punched flowers from various bits of paper and cardstock I found around the house, and yep, I spritzed more with Glimmer Mist.

(If you're a Club Scrap member, then I should confess that one flower is a lone Nature's Wonders punch-out flower. I'm sure you know which one that one is. And the rest of the papers are some Simply Beautiful scraps, Bistro yellow trapezoids cut by hand, and ... junk mail papers. I'm sorry. Some of that stuff would never grace a Club Scrap pizza box.)

Tomorrow I might add some stamping. I just can't stop now. This is too much fun!

Note: I have no idea why there are grey pits in the white acrylic paint. I'm just guessing that something in the mist spray is like alcohol or acetone and that's what pitted the paint. It's still a really cool effect.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A betrayal. Of sorts.



My mother waged a war against an invasive plant called privet hedge for as long as I can remember. She hated the stuff. If it sprang up in her yard, she would break out the maddock and start chopping up the shrub in an attempt to eradicate the roots from the earth.

I mean, seriously. Mama spent a lot of energy fussing about and trying to kill privet hedge.

So I feel very guilty to confess that -- darn it, I love the way privet hedge smells when it's in bloom. And it's in bloom right now. As I take my daily walks in the park, I inhale deeply at the parts of the trail that pass closely to out-of-control thickets of massive privet shrubs.

(In a couple of years, the privet will probably overtake the rest of the park. It is an invasive plant, after all.)

I can't help it -- I really do love the way the trail smells right now. I wonder if it will change as the summer progresses.

Today's hike revealed a light green, slender snake that had been run over. I mourn the loss -- no telling how many mosquitoes that snake could've eaten this coming June.

But at least I had a little bouquet of flowers to console me -- maybe Wesley is taking advice from the cereal box? I don't mind! It was a nice surprise to find myself with some blooms in the living room.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lovely!

I've mentioned that I receive Real Simple magazine by subscription. I realized with the first issue that I have absolutely no business reading this magazine. It isn't really about "real simple." It's really about "real rich," and I don't qualify.

So I really should cancel the thing.

But it is a very pretty magazine and kinda hypnotic once you start reading it. If you're a middle-aged homemaking mother with delusions of grandeur.

And... I kinda am.

Every issue, Real Simple asks its readers to submit answers to a question, and strangely enough, this issue's question is, "How do you find the motivation to exercise?"

Pardon me whilst I snort at length.

OK. I don't exercise. OK? I don't. I am always reminded of the scene in "The Big Easy," when Ellen Barkin meets Dennis Quaid's mother who asks her what she was doing. Ellen says, "I was running." And Mama, played by the totally brilliant Grace Zabriskie, replies incredulously, "Running?" And the thing is -- she isn't shrill; it isn't an over-the-top and unbelievable shriek or anything. It's just so matter-of-fact and understated. Running. Huh. How 'bout that?

So for me to report that I am loving my walks and enjoying the pain and agony of repeated laps around a track that is steeply raked on one side is, well, unusual. To say the very least.

The hawks always yell at me as I approach one particular bend in the track. The very back of the park butts against a densely wooded lot, surrounded on all sides by open fields. Yesterday the wind blew just hard enough to make the grass look like an ocean of waves.

Yeah, they write songs about "amber waves of grain," but you absolutely can't see that in a city. Not even a virtuous historic downtown district. You have to be in the boonies to see stuff like grass that looks as supple and unending as a sea.

So I checked the "Your words" column in the June issue of Real Simple. The readers replied that they were training for half-marathons, or their husbands worked out with them. Or they just needed the "alone" time.

Not one of them said, "I can't wait to see which wildflowers are in bloom or to hear the hawks or just to smell the densest forest earth at the top of the track."

I am a freak, I guess.

That's OK. I'm used to it! And oh, thank you for not being on my remote rural track with me. I'm afraid I wouldn't love it as much if there were other people there to spoil it for me!

Friday, May 16, 2008

5 Guys V. Gridiron



I was all psyched up for another walk around the Philadelphia park to see the hawks, but rain prevented me. This is my very own peony in the front yard, so full of rain that it cannot help but droop pathetically.

Instead of walking, I picked up our new microwave-oven/hood, and I performed a few chores in West Knoxville, land of the evil strip malls and massive Walmarts and Targets. Ooooooo. I am no doubt headed straight to hell for giving business to such evil entities. Yet I had a fabulous dining experience nonetheless.

Last night, Wesley and I stopped at Gridiron Burgers for dinner. Wesley and Woodrow love Gridiron Burgers. So does my beloved father-in-law Bob and our darling UT-student nephew Christopher (who used to be Kicker when he was a toddler, but I'm supposed to forget about when he was adorable).

Wesley and I had just spent our economic stimulus package money on some electrical things we needed. And being in the evil West Knoxville area, we were going to dine somewhere nearby. Downtown Knoxville wasn't handy, even though it is clearly more virtuous than West Knoxville.

(Seriously, I love downtown Knoxville and especially Market Square, but it has been rendered impossible to reach by the I-40 closures.)

Wesley and I got into a lengthy debate about the best burger place in West Knoxville. Wesley told his British co-worker to try both Gridiron and Five Guys, and said co-worker now intones in a dense accent, "Five Guys has the best focking burger I've ever had!"

Wesley, however, and my dear son Woodrow, both prefer Gridiron Burgers. Wesley says that the atmosphere is better at Gridiron, and he always positions himself in a place to watch whatever sporting event is on the TV. On Wednesday night, that was a Lady Vols softball game.

I contented myself with gnawing through a dry hamburger and pretending like I was shopping for shoes with a fabulous gay boy, which would have been a much more pleasant experience, anyway.

This afternoon, after picking up a microwave oven/hood, and after finding lots of bird food at PetsMart, Woodrow and I went to Five Guys Burgers & Fries.

And I have to reiterate that I prefer Five Guys over Gridiron.

Gridiron pretends to be fancier and more ... highbrow. The atmosphere is pretty, but it pretty much sucks with the sports TVs all over the room. And I don't like their dry rub or the flavors they add to their gourmet burgers.

Five Guys, on the other hand, has a kind of cafeteria/subway-kiosk vibe in their atmosphere, which is easily as irritating and unpleasant as sports TV. But the burgers are totally sublime and juicy, the fries are MASSIVE (don't try to eat a small order of fries by yourself; it can't be done), and the prices are better.

Five Guys wins extra points for carrying Coke Zero. Gridiron has only ordinary Diet Coke. Those of us who are late converts to the world of diet drinks are very much aware of the differences, and we're always going to choose the more diverse restaurants over the ones that limit our sugar-free choices.

I'm just sayin'. Is all.

If you're on the fence, or you're a chick in search of a nice burger on that one day a week when you think it's safe to venture from your diet, pass Gridiron and head over to Five Guys. You can always pretend you're ordering for someone else and enjoy the decadence in the privacy of your own Prius!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bookmarker blogging

The long and winding road... leads back to my beloved Prius and up the hill toward healthful walking for my eventual improvement.

Ugh!

Amy and I just podcasted about how we went to college so we wouldn't have to exercise, but unfortunately, our rock-star lives of dissolute pleasure and infinite carelessness have led us to the point that -- ugh! -- we really must exercise.

I know, it sucks, but I have to get through it all somehow.

So Wesley dragged me out to the our municipal park today to get me started on my exercise regiment, and damn if he didn't get me all sucked in by nature and joyful, fabulous flora and fauna.

The Philadelphia park has a 0.6-mile track that meanders up one hill and down part of the other side, around overgrown and misshapen soccer fields, basketball courts without baskets, and tennis courts that are bursting at the seams with weeds. I know there were winters when I ventured out there that held half a tree over the paved track. Now, the park is mostly patrolled by Mommy & Me classes and Loudon County deputies trying to catch high school students and their marijuana dealers.

But oh, that description does absolutely nothing for the reality of neither the workout nor the fauna of this magnificent walk.

I am torn -- seriously, torn -- as to whether or not I should write to the editor of the News-Herald about this gem of a park. It's so magnificent that parts of it smell like the deepest, darkest, most uncivilized portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's so unspoiled by human contact that a pair of hawks squawked and complained as I rounded one corner of the track, trying to lure me away from their nest and -- I am merely guessing -- their delicate hatchlings.

It's gorgeous. It smells like the unspoiled boonies. There aren't tons of athletic yuppies checking their pulses and ruining my good time.

This is all entirely too good to last.

I swear, I really tried to capture both the cries and the images of the parent hawks. My sister Amy is a bird person, and I know she would be enraptured by such sights. I will keep trying to capture it all.

In the meantime, I know where I'll be picking blackberries come July. And I can't wait. If I happen to get healthy from walking in circles while keeping an eye on such delightful rural treats -- well, more power to me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Night life in the boonies

I keep forgetting to take pictures of the irises during magic hour. I think of it at noon, when the sun is the most unforgiving and unflattering, and then I think of it again when I'm putting the dinner dishes in the sink and it's already too dark.

Dagnabbit!

So here's a night time photo of the nearest iris to my house. I finally used the flash! It is a good one, as far as flashes go. I just really don't like 'em.

Every night, very late -- very, very late -- I usually get tired of being cooped up inside and run outside to breathe in the fresh night air. It smells really good outside right now, even though the cheese farm down the road is definitely fertilizing its fields. I captured a whiff of that particular rural scent earlier today -- nothing like tons and tons of cow poo flying out of a scary machine on the horizon. Wesley confirmed the fertilizing when he came home from the store with flowers for his mother.

But! I'm not s'posed to be writing about the stinky stuff over the hill. I'm s'posed to be writing about how delicious it smells in my own yard. At midnight, it smells like -- freshly cut grass with a hint of wild onion and blooming peonies. It smells like chlorophyll. And it's cool, clean, and fresh, and delicious.

I wish I slept outdoors in the spring. Even with the pollen making me sneeze, it's so much better out there than cooped up in the dusty old house.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cereal box advice


My Product 19 had advice for me this morning.

It has been a long, long time since I sat silently at a breakfast table with a bowl of cereal and stared at the box. Do you remember doing that when you were a kid? I certainly do.

As an adult, though, my breakfast is usually inhaled while running around doing 18 other things with the news running in the background.

Today was different. I was staring at my cereal box and I noticed a sidebar. "Embrace Your Day," it said. Then it -- the cereal box -- told me how to embrace my day.

1. Invite a friend over for breakfast.
Excuse me? Seriously? I can't believe I subject my own poor children to my early morning company, much less some non-family member who did nothing to deserve such wretched treatment. I am not fit company until I've been awake for at least three hours. If I took that advice, I would not have that friend for long.

2. Get involved in your local farmer's market.
We don't have a farmer's market. The one in Knoxville charges too much money and doesn't provide tables. I'm pretty sure I already ranted that rant. Didn't I?

3. Buy yourself some flowers.
Oh! OK, now we're talking! After I buy myself some flowers, can I also buy myself some chocolate and shoes?

The cereal box goes on, but I'm worn out from the arguing inside my head. I think I will just embrace my day the way I usually do -- homeschool the kids, write a newsletter, and take a walk with my camera this afternoon to get some springtime in Tennessee pictures for my sister. Is that embraceable enough for the Kellogg's company? Maybe I should write to them and ask them.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Smokies in May

I like this photo for a few reasons aside from the obvious goof that I accidentally took a picture of my elbows. Yep, this is an uncropped picture! As is! Un-retouched! What you see is what I saw!

Except I didn't notice my own darned elbows in the side mirror. Snort!

We did, indeed, pile into the beloved Prius and hie ourselves off to the Great Smoky Mountains where we hiked and picnicked without a drop of rain falling until we were on our way home. Are we good or what?

And once again, the benefits of homeschooling outweigh all the hassles -- there was hardly anyone else out there on a completely perfect weekday. It was gorgeous. There were many moments on the trail when we couldn't see or hear another human being in any direction. And that was the easiest trail in the whole dang area!

I found a wildflower with which I was not familiar, so I identified it when I got home. It's a dwarf crested iris. Pretty, isn't it? Especially growing right next to the wild strawberry blooms. Makes me want to go back in a few weeks to pick berries!

In any case, the air was gorgeous, clear, delicious, lightly cool and blessed with a bit of a breeze that made the tops of the trees talk to us while we walked.

As we drove slowly back toward Townsend with our feet sticking out the windows, I told the children that if we're given warning of the end of the world, they'll find me there in the mountains. I cannot imagine any more glorious place for life or last moments.

The heavens opened up just as we approached Maryville. It rained all afternoon -- a good, soft, soaking rain the likes of which we didn't get last year at all. Maybe a hike in the Smokies is like a rain dance.

Maybe I should do it more often.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

May days


I love May. I do; it's the most glorious month of the year in both terms of weather and the things that bloom.

The bachelor's buttons in this picture aren't the best clump I've seen around here, but my neighbors with the daisies mixed in probably wouldn't appreciate me stompin' around in their yard trying to take a picture, y'know?

Tomorrow we're supposed to be hiking in the Smokies, so I am almost positive the rain will move in and prevent us again.

Dagnabbit.

At least the rain will cool things off, and of course, after last year's drought, I'm hard pressed to complain about precipitation. I think we still have a way to go before we've recouped all our losses last year in the water table.

So honestly, at this point, I don't know whether I want it to rain -- and postpone the hike -- or not.

Maybe I'll figure it out by the time I blog next.

In the meantime, listen to my and Amy's latest podcast. I giggled more than usual even though we almost got into a fight over Project Runway bizness.

Monday, May 05, 2008

"Get bent! TAX MAN!"

I am supposed to be blogging about how I want a garden this year, and I'm afraid I have waited too late. And I don't want to call my mother-in-law to ask her advice about canning vegetables. I'm supposed to be blogging about springtime and the economy (which sucks) and why I didn't grow veggies last year during the drought.

I'm supposed to be writing about my guilt, and my worry, and staying awake at night while I worry that I have waited too late and I will never make a difference even though I love "The South" and "The Boonies" and "The Environment" more than anyone else ever has or ever will --

But I am completely and utterly derailed as "Stranger Than Fiction" comes on TV again. I love this movie. I love Will Farrell. I love Emma Thompson. I love Queen Latifah. And I love, I love, I love Maggie Gyllenhaal with her punk rock soul and her F-U attitude and her love of all things baked and yummy.

We all need that. We need anarchists who love cookies.

But ... Most of us are judgmental yuppies who think WalMart is more evil than, say, pushing little old ladies into traffic.

These are the things that keep me from blogging about gardening.

If you're here because Amy and I haven't posted a new podcast yet, don't worry -- we will. Amy went on vacation with her husband for his birthday, and she's enjoying San Francisco, the one city that resides at the top of my "wish list" for cities I want to visit before they're gone.

She's having a marvelous time, and so is Paul. Try not to be as envious as I am!

Watch a good movie instead. I recommend "Stranger Than Fiction." Not "No Country for Old Men," which I just saw Friday night with my husband. "No Country for Old Men" is not a good movie, and I can't understand why it was nominated for so many Oscars. "There Will Be Blood" was much, much better, and I can't say that it was sunnier or any more cheerful than "No Country for Old Men." I am genuinely confounded as to why the Coen brothers or anyone else thought "No Country for Old Men" would be a good movie. It isn't. It's bereft of good guys for whom to root. The sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones)? Good guy. His wife? Good guy. The wife of the main character (Kelly McDonald)? Good guy. Otherwise, no one is a good guy. I just can't figure that flick out, and my husband tells me that all Cormac McCarthy plots are similarly handicapped by unhappy endings for all concerned.

The last book my mother loved was "All the Pretty Horses" by Cormac McCarthy.

Lots of Knoxville bloggers are utterly enamored of McCarthy only because he was from Knoxville.

I love the fact that Cormac McCarthy doesn't hang out with writers. I agree with him. Writers are, for the most part, terrible, awful, jealous, mean, stingy people. I don't want to hang out with writers, and I am a writer. I don't even want to hang out with myself.

So "No Country for Old Men"?

I don't get it.

I loved "There Will Be Blood," though. Loved it. Go see that movie. Don't waste your time on the other depressing movie that won so much attention from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Seriously.

Now I have to get back to "Stranger Than Fiction," where Emma Thompson is about to tell Queen Latifah, "I don't need a nicotine patch, Penny. I smoke cigarettes." I have quit smoking since this movie came out, and I still love that line.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Wanna Be Farmer


Wesley has this fascinating and unforgettable theory that all the great story themes are "He just wanted to be a farmer, but [blank] pushed him to be a hero."

It applies to almost every movie you can think of. Star Wars? Luke just wanted to be a ... whatever it was that his uncle was, but Darth Vader forced him to be a hero.

The Godfather: Vito just wanted to import olive oil, but circumstances forced him to become a mob boss.

Gone With the Wind? Scarlett just wanted to trap Ashley into marriage, but the Civil War forced her to be a materialistic serial monogamist.

See?

I could go on forever. Try it out sometime. This theory doesn't work for "she had a lifelong dream" movies. Like, y'know, "A Chorus Line." Man, that flick was great.

So, all I wanted to be was a writer. That's all. Then the cable company sold me a wireless router that doesn't work properly.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Hector loves his ball. That's why the photo is pasted above.

Friday -- if I wake up, if the weather is nice, if the moon aligns with Mars, etc. -- Friday, we might go hiking. I'm not holding my breath. I really want to spend some quality time in the Smokies, but I'm afraid May 2nd isn't the right date for me.

And there's a Cuban restaurant in Market Square that I've been dying to try, but they're only open for lunch.

I do so love Cuban food. It reminds me of a trip to Miami with Amy, when we went to a Brazilian buffet and were the only Anglos in the whole place. In the middle of the night, there was a car wreck just across from our frighteningly kitschy hotel. And darn it, people, this place was in the middle of hip, downtown, near-the-beach Miami. I mean, the elevator had to be operated by an operator, for heaven's sake. And he didn't speak English. I loved that hotel! I wish I could remember the name.

I just wanted to be a writer, I swear.

Why can't fate just let me be?

(ROFL!)