Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Be safe & have fun!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

Or, at least, I hope so, because following my weekend o' birthday fun, I've been sick on the actual day (today) with some kind of sinusy-headachy thing.

But, we had a blast this weekend:
(You can click on the pictures to biggify them.)

This was the view from our room - nothing spectacular, but we stayed at the "Bates Motel" again. Decor from 1972, but CLEAN. And, by Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg standards - CHEAP.

Redneck asked me what I wanted to do on Saturday, and I told him I wanted to go back to Cades Cove and actually drive through it this time. The last time we were there, Rockboy and Skaterboy were with us and they are not much on the scenic beauty and historical places. They were all about the go-carts and electronic amusements. There were a lot of people riding bikes through Cades Cove - including these Mennonites (on the left).

I have to admire anyone willing to even TRY to ride a bike through there. The traffic would terrify me, but in addition to that, it's an 11 mile loop. With steep hills. And really rough roads. I have a feeling there were spouses and significant others who got quite a chewing out later in their hotel rooms for even THINKING that it would be "fun" to go for a bike ride there.

This is a view across the valley at Cades Cove. The Today Show assured me that "leaves were at their peak" in the Smoky Mountains. The Today Show was wrong. The color was just starting, and I have a feeling that this coming weekend is going to be spectacular, especially since it's gotten cold here.

This is a grist mill at one of the stopping places (and the only place with a bathroom on the loop).

There was a lot of neat stuff to look at there, including a blacksmith.

What was a shame was that for some reason, people felt it was necessary to write their names all over everything, even though there is a sign warning you not to do that.

It took a long time to get all the way around the Cades Cove loop, but it was worth it. Except for this:

That, Patient Reader, is what made the 'chick sick.

Apparently, it is infested with mold or mildew or something because not long after leaving there, I started sneezing my head off - to the point that Redneck thought it was funny - at first - and then started getting a little worried because it would NOT stop. I spent the rest of the day sniffling and coughing, eyes red and watery, and halfway lost my voice.

We went to Gatlinburg and walked around for a little while, poking around in gift shops but didn't buy anything except a corn dog. I was more interested in getting to a drugstore or Walmart to get some Nyquil.

After dosing up on Nyquil later that night, the sniffling/sneezing/running nose etc. finally stopped and I fell asleep and felt pretty good yesterday, for the drive home. This morning? Not so much.

But, it's nothing serious and it's back to work tomorrow. At least it will be a short week. Halloween is Friday which means trick-or-treating with Skaterboy and then his FIRST wrestling meet on Saturday morning and then, a trip to Memphis with Redneck, Best Friend, and her husband. Good times. And more pictures, I'm sure.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

That Time of the Month (Or Year)

It's time for the Third Annual Birthday Trip to the Mountains! Yay! (Once I get through the Required Fourth Annual Voluntarily Mandatory Company Retreat At The Other End Of The State which takes place today.)

So, anyway:







Birthday Shenanigans!

See y'all next week!


p.s. - A note to any burglars: Rockboy WILL be home, as well as Speedbump, the ill-tempered Attack Cat.

If it looks like there's a loud, drunken party going on, please inform Rockboy and Speedbump that YOU, Mr. or Ms. Burglar, will be contacting the police and Roadchick after you leave with the 'chick's worldly possessions. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Twist on Selling

My sister-in-law works for a local mail-order company that is in the business of selling Southern food to anyone willing to pay to have it shipped. The company has been around for ages and is a well-known local landmark. (No, not Hickory Farms.)

A few years ago, the gentleman that started the business decided to retire and sell the business. Another business man saw the opportunity and bought the business. Then he installed his daughter as the manager. She has no more management experience than a package of bacon.

A couple of weeks ago, the town held a country ham festival and the business donated hams.

My sister-in-law subtracted the donated hams from the inventory so when the next order was placed, they would be replaced.

The manager reviewed the order and wanted to know why those hams had been subtracted since they hadn't been sold.

My sister-in-law just looked at her boss.

Her boss explained, "We didn't sell the hams. We don't need to replace them."

Sister-in-law: "But we don't have the hams anymore. Why wouldn't we replace them?"

Boss: "Because we didn't sell them."

* * * * * * * * *

The company is now in the business of selling the idea of country ham rather than the ham itself. Saves on purchasing, storage, packaging, and shipping.

Win / win.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Style

From Sunday Scribblings.

I immediately thought of my house, not my clothes. Why? Because my "uniform" is pretty standard: jeans, tshirt or blouse, sandals or sneakers. I'm lucky that I can wear that stuff to work.

I dress my house with more care than myself, I must admit. It's because I can see my house, but I live inside clothes.

When I lived at home, my style was dictated by my mother's style. There wasn't a lot of individuality allowed: hand-me-down furniture (usually hers), tan carpeting, bedspread with the pillows rolled into bolsters underneath.

When I first got married, my house was still hand-me-down chic, only someone else's hand-me-downs. My in-laws. Everyone had just moved to Florida and they had extra furniture from the larger house they left behind. So, in Florida, my style was Early American with heavy, dark wood and heavy, dark velour upholstery. That house never felt right.

When I moved to Tennessee, I had left my husband because I couldn't deal with the drinking anymore. I left almost everything behind. What I had room for were things that couldn't be replaced: photos, a few momentos of my childhood.

I moved into an apartment with nothing except an air mattress. No table and chairs for the kitchen. Nothing to sit on in the living room. No pictures. Nothing at all. Over time, I got some old lawn chairs and stuck them in the living room and used a card table in the kitchen.

As more time went on, I slowly started to get some furniture - used, of course. My brother sold me his old living room furniture because he got some new stuff. I liked this furniture - it was much closer to my style and it was adaptable, depending on the look you were going for. It could be country, or it could be a rustic modern. The lines were clean and the cushions were black.

Fast forward a few more years. The husband and I got back together, then split up again, this time for good. After he left, I got the first income tax return check that I ever got to keep, all to myself. I went out and bought some new living room furniture. The first new furniture I ever had.

My style is mid-century modern. Clean lines. No clutter. My couch is red, the loveseat is blue, the armchair is green. The colors work together because they have the same tone.

Getting that furniture set the tone for the rest of my house - lots of black and white photographs. Round mirrors with beveled edges. A collection of vintage barware in the dining room.

My style is me. I'm comfortable in it. And whenever someone new comes over, they always say the same thing:

"I knew that your house would look like this. It's perfect."

And it is.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Third Candidate

I'm watching the debate.

I've watched all of the debates.

I would like to announce that as of this exact moment, I am officially, formally, totally, completely, and absolutely SICK TO DEATH OF THIS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN.

I propose that we all vote for Dolores, who is running as the candidate from the Fibertarian party. For more information about Dolores's recent campaign, go here and learn about her platform. Booze and cigarettes for everyone. And yarn.

Dolores, Fibertarians United, and the Van Hoofen/Teitelbaum graphics were all created by Franklin Habit, an artist and knitter from Chicago, and are posted here with his permission. His first book It Itches. just came out on Interweave Press, and although I have not seen it or read it yet, I can guarantee you that it will be hilarious because his blog is hilarious. How can cartoons and essays about knitting NOT be hilarious?

Wouldn't it be a blast if the candidates were as honest as Dolores?

McCain: Yes, I'm totally in this for the power and what's in it for me. I'm tired of being a Senator - I've been doing that forever. My wife is loadedededededed with money and all this politicking really makes a nice hobby to keep me busy. I'll tell you lies while telling you it's the truth and you'll never be exactly sure where I stand on any issue. Vote for me!

Obama: No, I don't have a lot of years of experience in the political arena, but why should that hold me back? I can make bad decisions with the best of them. Besides, being President pays a LOT better than community organizing. I'll tell you lies while telling you it's the truth and you'll never be exactly sure where I stand on any issue. Vote for me!

Van Hoofen (Dolores): Mandatory cocktail hour - daily. Smoking is relaxing. Yarn for everyone! Vote for me!

eta (10/23): How embarrassing. I just realized I spelled Ms. VanHoofen's first name incorrectly. Mea culpa!

Politically Incorrect

In the past two weekends, Redneck and I have attended TWO gun shows. Because, well, it's the South and. . . my boyfriend's name is Redneck.

Hi, my name is Roadchick and I have a confession. I own 2 guns.

I have a .22 long rifle (the infamous Valentine's day present from the Now-Former-Mr.-Roadchick) and a .357 Magnum.

Yes, I know how to shoot.

Yes, I have ammunition.

Yes, I also have a teenage son.

No, I am not insane.

When I first got the rifle, the ex and I took Rockboy with us when we went target shooting. He got a chance to shoot the rifle and then we showed him the amount of damage a .22 caliber bullet can do to a plastic milk jug that was filled with water. He learned that you never, ever point your weapon at anything that you don't intend to shoot. That you ALWAYS assume a gun is loaded, even when you KNOW it's not. And that if you touch the rifle without permission, getting shot will be the least of your worries.

Rockboy has a healthy respect of his mama's arsenal.

When I got the .357, Rockboy was again taken out to try a little target shooting and to inspect exactly what kind of damage can be inflicted with this gun. Same rules apply. Again - no problems with fiddling with the gun when I'm not looking.

On the off chance that curiosity (or stupidity) would get the better of him, there is usually a child-safe lock on the .357, since that one would be the most portable if he were to decide that he wanted to be so foolish as to take it somewhere. Hard to look cool with a neon yellow steel cable with a padlock running through the chamber of the gun. Dork.

Next month, I will be going to a permit class for handguns. While I'm sure they cover typical gun safety issues, this class also talks about "street survival" and how shooting at the range and a nice, safe paper target differs from what you would encounter should you ever have to use your gun to protect your safety or the safety of others.

Do I live in a crime-ridden area where break-ins are the rule rather than the exception? No, although home invasions are increasing.

So, if I live in a reasonably safe community with paid police wandering the streets at all hours of the day and night, why do I need a gun?

Because I want one, first of all.

But mainly because when it comes to what I consider to be mine: my family, my home, my belongings, my car, my money, my safety . . . I'm an extremist. Do NOT mess with what is mine. I worked for it. I earned it. I birthed it and raised it. If you want it, get your own, somewhere else.

Protecting Rockboy is not as big an issue as it was when he was little. I have always said that if anyone EVER did anything to him (like a kidnapper, sexual molester, etc.), they had better hope that the police got to them before I did because I would go to prison smiling, knowing I did what needed to be done.

But if someone were to break in and have him at knifepoint or gunpoint, I don't want to have to stand there, wishing I could do something besides beg and offer cookies.

At the end of all of this, you might expect me to come out in support of one candidate or another. Nope. If you know me, you might be able to guess my political leanings, but it's entirely possible that you would be wrong.

In all honesty, I don't like EITHER one of the candidates that we have to choose from. Both have very definite faults that I find to be incredibly offensive. Both have policies and beliefs that make my blood run cold.

Will I vote? Yes. And so should you - because if you don't vote, you can't complain later.

But as we approach the end of this incredibly long, drawn out political season, be open-minded when someone believes something contrary to what you believe. Be willing to have a conversation about why they believe what they do without resorting to anger because "your" side is the only logical choice.

Don't be a fanatic.

Orson Scott Card, in the Afterword to his book Empire defined fanaticism as this: You are so convinced of your views and policies that you are sure anyone who opposes them must either be stupid and deceived or have some ulterior motive.

Do I own guns? Yes.
Do I think you should own guns? I don't know - do you think you should? If you want one, get one, get trained, and be safe. If you don't want one, that's ok too.
Just don't take mine away from me. I promise to be careful.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Checking In

I've been silent for a while now, and it's not that I've forgotten to write although I have been busy.

The problem is that I didn't have anything funny to tell you. No amusing little stories about something that happened, or was said, or that I saw.

It's not that I haven't seen funny things or made people laugh in the time I was away, because I did, and I have. But it was "you had to be there" stuff and that's just not funny when you write it out.

But I seem to have hit a period of suspended transition in my life. It could be that another birthday is approaching. I really don't know.

What I do know is that I'm frustrated. Time moves forward but so many things in my life have not. There have not been any bad changes, thank God, but just not any good ones either. I feel like I'm trapped in a suspension of time.

The things that I did yesterday, and last week, last month, last year . . . I'm still doing them. Doing them well, most of the time. Doing them half-assed, some of the time.

There are things that I would like to see move forward. I'd like a new challenge at work. Not in the form of another client or another new employee to train. A new project. Something to get me excited. Something to get me thinking. Something to give me a reason to get in the car every morning and drive in rush hour traffic.

I'd like to stop living a semi-single life. Things with Redneck are great. We're happy. We don't fight. We really don't even argue, for the most part. We agree that this is long-term. Two years and counting. So, yeah. Move forward already.

I'm annoyed with Rockboy. He's a great kid. He has a heart of gold. He's technically an adult. But he doesn't seem to have any drive. He has no motivation. He makes decisions on a whim that I'm very afraid he's going to regret later, but he doesn't listen. Of course, who did, at nineteen?

I'm worried about the economy. My own, primarily. The economy of the nation comes a far second when I'm having trouble making ends meet. I'm really resentful over those Wall Street assholes who are living large while I have to worry about how much I'm going to be expected to fork over to correct their greedy mistakes. I resent the fact that the government thinks it's a brilliant idea to bail their asses out. Actually, I'm furious about it. Who is going to bail me out if I screw up? Um, that would be no one.

I'm so tired. It just feels endless, waiting for Friday to come and the weekend to start.