Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2010

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 36

I just finished Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. This was Austen's first novel though it was not published until after her death {as was Persuasion}.
Austen uses this novel to poke fun at the Gothic romance novels that were popular at the time. 
The heroine of this story is the naive Catherine Morland who has the opportunity to vacation in Bath {and then also at Northanger Abbey}. During this time she finds herself in a series of {comical} predicaments that are fueled by the novels she reads and her own imagination. Through the course of the book she finds love but also meets with betrayal.
A few passages that I liked from the book: What a strange and unaccountable character! – for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so w…

Home Sweet Camper

A few highlights from my week of visiting in Nashville: we managed to get all of our laundry washed; we helped Daniel's dad buy new mattresses; my brother took me to a local restaurant {Marché Artisan Foods} that had some great European-style food; we were able to preview my sister and bro-in-law's new house {and spend time with my precious niece}.

Negatives: There are always more people that we wish that we could have had a chance to visit with.
I am now back home {at the camper} and I have to admit that I am actually thankful to take a shower in our tiny {3x2 foot} shower tonight. All feels right in the world when you come home {wherever home is} and settle into your normal routines and shower in your own bathroom and sleep in your own bed. In addition I am incredibly thankful that fall has finally made its entrance. My sister and I went to Starbucks this morning and had Pumpkin Spice Lattes {I actually had one at the beginning of September but it felt wrong to be drinking …

Project 52 Date Nights: Downtown Nashville

We went to Nashville for the weekend to take care of some maintenance on our car {Daniel is currently using his dad's garage until we have our own} and to help his dad pick out new mattresses and to visit with family.
Saturday night we met up with my sister, her husband, our niece {Izzy} and my brother in order to take a look at their new house in Hermitage {they close on Oct 8}. After viewing the house, we decided to go downtown to grab dinner. We were all able to find free parking downtown {kuddos to my brother for knowing where to park}. We originally planned on The Old Spaghetti Factory, but decided that waiting on a table wasn't a good fit for a toddler. 
Instead we went to The Pita Pit where we secured a table next to the window and enjoyed watching people as they walked by. After Izzy finished eating, she decided to crawl up onto a counter that was in the window behind us. She sat on the counter and watched people. It was really funny to see people's reactions as the…

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 35

I just finished Women Food and God by Geneen Roth. First of all I need to preface that I think I have a fairly healthy body image and view of food. I won't deny that I could stand to lose some weight, but I don't have some out-of-control lifestyle that this book speaks of. I do have friends who struggle with weight issues in the extreme sense and know people that have fought all their lives to achieve {or maintain} a perfect weight.
In a rather irreverent way, the author talks about how our relationships to food effect every part of our lives. Until an individual learns to love themselves, they will never be able to let go of their addictions to food.
There were a handful of passages that stuck out to me from this book: There are many ways to bolt. Walking out the door. Renting a helicopter. Distracting yourself... blaming someone else, getting into a fight, comparing yourself to other people, dreaming about life in the future, recalling life in the past, never getting deeply inv…


Friday night Daniel and I took Daniel’s Dad {Wesley} to Sam’s Club to look at new mattresses. Daniel’s sister and her husband {Emily & Josh} met us for dinner beforehand and then went with us to Sam’s.
At Sam’s we pulled out several mattresses to test them out {this was for Wesley’s guest room so he wanted us to have a say on the kind of mattress we would sleep on when visiting}.
Daniel did most of the testing and then told me that I needed to take a turn on the mattress for the final seal of approval.
The mattresses were on rollers that pulled out from the metal shelves. We had one pulled out a little more than half way. When I went to lie down, I sat down and leaned backwards onto the mattress. I promptly banged my head on the metal shelf behind me.
My skull hitting metal gave a loud thump. Not a pleasant end to a Friday night. I seem to be fine but I have a lovely bump on the back of my head that is still tender.
Not a total knockout, but not fun either.

You had me at 700 sf garage...

with 12-ft high ceilings.
That is all it took to sell Daniel on the house we decided to purchase. That and the fact that it is a 4-minute drive to the Bellefonte plant. Daniel has always dreamed of owning a house with a garage that he could install a auto lift so that it would be easier to work on our cars. Now he has the space {and ceiling height} to install one. This is not in our immediate future, but he is excited to know that it is possible.

We are pretty excited about our new house. It has a huge covered porch on the front and back.

It has 3 acres with views of the mountains. 

It has the bonus room we wanted and a lot of extra storage. The bedrooms are big. And the master bathroom has a garden tub for soaking.

We are really excited about our new home. As long as inspections go well, we will be closing on October 29.

We will post more pics after we get moved in and decorated with our stuff.

Cash or Check

Over the last ten years checks have become somewhat obsolete to me. As in I write a check about once a year {if that}. I also carry limited amounts of cash {like $20 max}.
It looks like I may have to change my ways... 
Case in point:  Yesterday I went by the Environmental Office at the County Health Department because Daniel wanted me to look into any permits that may have been pulled regarding septic systems at the house we are considering buying. He also wanted results of any soil tests that may have been run on the property. 
Unfortunately I discovered that the health inspectors are rarely in the office and was told to come back today in hopes of catching them.
I went back this morning and made my request. The secretary told me it would cost $25 to run a search. I asked her what forms of payment they accepted and she said CASH or CHECK. I only had $18 on me and no checks {primarily because a lot of places in the city don't accept checks anymore}.
I told the secretary I would have …

Project 52 Date Nights: Dinner and a House Hunt

This is the week that we {hopefully} make an offer on a house. With that in mind, date night took the shape of meeting our realtor, Amber, on Monday night for the first time. She is the type of person that I immediately felt like I could be friends with {a good trait for a real estate agent}. 
She did a good job of making the idea of moving to a small town bearable. Which is a good thing since Daniel and I have been a bit apprehensive of our pending move to Alabama... it is just so darn rural.
After viewing four houses and asking a moderate amount of questions, Amber dropped us off and we headed to dinner where we proceeded to discuss the houses over nachos and fajita quesadillas.

The first house we flat out disliked – mostly because it needed a lot of work {after spending the last 5 years of our lives renovating a house, we are ready for a break}.

The second house was well decorated, but not to our tastes. It had a nice screened-in porch and a deck, but the bedrooms and closets were smal…

Locked Out

Last night {after viewing houses} we returned to the hotel and decided to be as quiet as possible when opening the door to our room in order to surprise Sophie. 
Daniel put the key card in the door, the green light turned on and he turned the handle. But it wouldn't open. He tried again. Same problem. He tried a third time and we wondered aloud if this was the right room. 
By then Sophie knew we were outside and had started to whine. We tried yet again and still a no go so Daniel went downstairs to get help while I stayed in the hallway and tried to calm Sophie down {she was starting to go into melt down mode}. 
Daniel finally came back with the guy from the front desk who tried his master card – which didn't work either. Then he pulled out a master key to unlock the door.
We went in first to grab our very upset dog. Daniel took her outside to walk and calm down while I stayed in the room so that the hotel guy could tried to fix the lock. He tried several different things but noth…

Cheap Food Here

Are you looking for inspiration on how to save money AND make good meals at the same time? If so, you should check out my friend Ashley's blog, Cheap Food Here.
While your at it, head over to Food Buzz and vote for her to stay in Project Food Blog, where she writes about how to cook your own cheap AND healthy meals for $100 a month.

While you are in the voting mood, head over to my friend Liz's blog, Mabel's House, and get inspiration for fall. You can vote for her Halloween Mask on the Better Homes and Garden web site {she is competing with 4 other bloggers}.

50 Days... the good. the bad. the random.

Today marks 50 days of living in a camper.
It is amazing how quickly the time flies by. It definitely has not been what we expected – but then again how do you really prepare yourself for living full time in a camper?

Here is a quick recap of the good, the bad and the random things we have experienced in the last 50 days...
The Good: After 5 months of living apart, we have enjoyed living in the same place again. Cleaning isn't too hard when you only have 177 square feet of living space.You only need about 10% of the stuff you own {we don't even use all of the 10% that we kept out of storage}.We are enjoying cable television {that we don't have to pay for}.Owning two laptops {I think we could live anywhere, in any situation if we had laptops and internet}.Falling asleep to night sounds.Starry skies. Tennessee sunsets.The fact that Daniel works 4-days a week {which gives us plenty of time for doing things we love}.No visits to the ER this year {knock on wood}. The Bad: Having t…


Today we had a case of: "What do you wanna do?" "I dunno, what do you wanna do?" "I don't know." And repeat.
We thought about mountain biking or hiking, but we wimped out because of the weather. I mean do we really want to sweat that much?
Then we thought about doing something touristy like visiting The Lost Sea or Ruby Falls, but it seems silly to pay money to experience the great outdoors.
So we decided that it would be fun to go spelunking. We used to do that a lot. Many years ago. In college. It was how we met. Unfortunately the only info we could find was on commercialized caves and we didn't really want to pay to go on a "wild" cave adventure that was led by some young whipper snapper who knew less about caves than we did.
I tried googling caves and NSS {National Speological Society}. I didn't find a whole lot. I did come across a group based out of Murfreesboro called the Tennessee Central Basin Grotto that plans trips {including surv…

House Hunting: Alabama Edition

"Living" in a hotel has its perks... I don't have to cook. Breakfast is free. I have a big screen TV a king-size bed in my bedroom. It is bigger than the camper. But it is also a pain in that there isn't a great place to walk Sophie and trying to get her in and out without disturbing other guests is a bit of a hassle. Plus I miss having a house.
We spent the last two days looking at various houses in the Scottsboro area. It reminds me a lot of Searcy. In the early 90s. Except smaller. And no university. 
Actually it is probably more like Heber Springs. Especially since the Tennessee River and its various lakes border the entire area. The bodies of water that border Scottsboro create various inlets and most neighborhoods are on some type of peninsula and with some type of lake access. But nothing is really connected... as in you have to get back on the highway to get to anywhere. Sometimes you go to look at a house with "lake access" thinking that the house is…

Project 52 Date Nights: Chiggers

Since Daniel and I don't have kiddos, we date pretty consistently. This weekend we managed to take a hike, see a double feature at the drive in, window shop at the mall, go to the bookstore, eat out, share a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks and go for another hike. All in the name of spending time together. And we like it.
Since embracing the living-in-a-camper lifestyle we have had issues with various bugs. I am not sure if we would be dealing with this stuff because we live in a campground or if we are just more blessed with critters because we live in Tennessee.
The first week or two {in the camper} Sophie was experiencing a full-on attack by tics. I found those suckers on her everyday. And then to top things off she managed to get into seed tics {the worst by far because there were so many of those things}.
Next up was me experiencing flea bites {not fun}. I think that I can thank the stray cats of the campground for this little present. 
Then last night Daniel discovered that …

Library Woes

After spending some time using the online catalog to search for books at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County library, I am realizing how spoiled I was by the library in Charlotte.
I have a lengthy list of books I would like to read. In Charlotte, I would look up the book I was interested in reading {online}, request it {electronically} and then go pick it up when it was available {after I received an email notification}. In theory, the system works in a similar way in Chattanooga. However, for every 5 books I try to look up in the Chattanooga system, only one or two exist. This is very discouraging to me. 
Even worse is the fact that Daniel just received his official relocation package from TVA and we have decided to go ahead and move to Alabama. We will most likely live in Scottsboro {with a population of less than 15,000} and I have a feeling that the public library there be an even smaller selection of books to choose from.
I suppose my alternatives would be to 1) purchase some type of el…

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 34

I was hoping that A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright would provide an intriguing look into the history of ancient civilizations that have fallen. And it does. However, for my tastes the book was too concise and the author tended to make liberal interpretations of historical events and theories {which I found annoying}. I would be interested in reading a book that looks at these fallen ancient civilizations in more detail without having some type of a political agenda.
Some passages that stuck out to me are: Someone fond of logical absurdities once defined specialists as "people who know more and more about less and less, until they know all about nothing."
Farming achieved quantity at the expense of quality: more food and more people, but seldom better nourishment or lives. People gave up a broad array of wild foods for a handful of starchy roots and grasses... As we domesticated plants, the plants domesticated us. Without us, they die; and without them, so do we.

Cloudland Canyon

Yesterday Daniel and I took Sophie down to Cloudland Canyon in Trenton, Georgia. We opted to hike a 2.5 mile portion of the West Rim Trail. The views were spectacular. If we had more time, we would have done the entire rim and possibly hike down to the two waterfalls. This is a park we will be back to visit.
After hiking, we went into town and had dinner at Pizza Hut {my first time to try stuffed crust pizza} and then we went to the Wilderness Outdoor Drive-In Theater where we saw Inception and The Switch {actually Daniel fell asleep and I watched both movies}
It was definitely a fun day. The only negative is that we didn't get home and into bed until 2AM.
I am really digging the fact that Daniel only works four days a week :)

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 33

Last week I finally got around to getting my library card. This allowed me to finally check out some books in an effort to get caught up on my reading {I believe I am about 4 books behind for the year}. Anyways, I rarely go into a library any more. I like to search online and request my books and buzz in to pick them up when they are available {way more efficient}.
Since I had to go in anyways {and I was already there} I decided to peruse the aisles. It was a bit overwhelming. I am so used to browsing bookstores – where everything is displayed so that you can easily see the titles – that it felt odd to walk down rows and rows of never-ending books in an effort to find things.
 Without having anything in particular in mind, my finds were pretty random. The first book I picked up was Fumbling by Kerry Egan. It is Kerry's journal of her pilgrimage {with her boyfriend in tow} on the Camino de Santiago, a medieval pilgrim route through Northern Spain. 
Kerry's father had died the prev…

This Is Your Life.

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 32

This seems to be the summer to read classics. I finished Persuasion by Jane Austen a couple of weeks ago. Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot, a 27-year-old woman, who had turned down an offer of marriage seven years earlier because those closest to her persuaded her that it would be a mistake. The book commences seven years later and Captain Wentworth is inadvertently back in her life. She realizes her mistake and a more grown up Anne begins to hope in second a chance at happiness. 
Some of my favorite passages from the book: Husbands and wives generally understand when opposition is in vain.Anne could not be be amused at the idea of her coming to Lyme to preach patience and resignation to a young man whom she had never seen before; nor could she help fearing, on more serious reflection, that, like many other great moralists and preachers, she had been eloquent on a pint in which her own conduct would ill bear examination. Anne wondered if it ever occurred to him, now, to question th…

It's the Motion of the Ocean

Over the last couple of weeks I have been suffering from motion sickness while in the camper. We are obviously on solid ground {at the base of a mountain in a land locked state} but every time I walk around or stand up for extended periods of time {like when I wash the dishes or cook}, I get dizzy. It is very similar to the feeling you get when walking around in an airplane mid flight or on a moving train. Outside of the camper I am fine. 
Wheel Chocks {via} There are two main things that are supposed to keep the camper from moving: the wheel chocks and the stabilizer bars. We periodically have to crank the stabilizers back up. Last Friday Daniel investigated why our camper was moving so much and he discovered that one of the wheel chocks had cracked.
Stablizer Bar
Last night we tried to remedy the wheel chock problem by using pieces of wood to help support the wheels. Unfortunately I still feel dizzy. So I think we are going to go ahead and replace the wheel chocks with some heavier duty…

Project 52 Date Nights: Dairy Queen

Labor Day weekend did not find us laboring, but we did manage to squeeze in some mountain biking, lots of visiting with family and the purchase of a new laptop for my freelance business {I think Daniel consented to this purchase so he can stream movies in high-def from the camper}. 
It was a lovely weekend. I especially enjoyed time spent with my niece. 
Sunday night after dinner, my whole family piled into my sister and brother-in-law's new 4-door pickup truck and we rode to the local Dairy Queen for ice cream. Daniel and I enjoyed some down time together on the ride because we opted to sit in the bed of the truck so that Sophie could tag along.

At DQ Daniel and I split a blizzard and we all got to watch Izzy try her first dipped ice cream cone – I think my sister ended up messier than my niece did.
The whole weekend was a lot of fun. It is nice to have quiet moments with your spouse {even if it means riding in the back of a pickup truck}.

Benadryl + Mountain Biking = Not So Good

Friday afternoon Daniel and I decided to head over to check out the single track at the TVA Pump Station at Raccoon Mountain.

I believe that this facility is one of a kind. According to the TVA web site: The plant works like a large storage battery. During periods of low demand, water is pumped from Nickajack Reservoir at the base of the mountain to the reservoir built at the top. It takes 28 hours to fill the upper reservoir. When demand is high, water is released via a tunnel drilled through the center of the mountain to drive generators in the mountain’s underground power plant.

Thanks to Sorba Chattanooga, there are well maintained single track trails that circle the TVA reservoir including beginner, intermediate and advanced trails.

We had originally planned on a Friday morning ride, but Daniel was suffering from bug bites on his feet and opted to take a couple Benadryl and a mid morning nap. After lunch, we decided we wanted to try out the trails – at the very least see what th…

Is Daniel a Hippy?

Tuesday night Daniel and I met several of his co-workers at Buenavista, a local Mexican restaurant in Scottsboro, AL. A few other significant others were along, so it was a good chance for a lot of us to meet for the first time. Dinner was great and I feel like I have made some new friends. It helps to know that there are people we can hang out with if we end up moving to Alabama.
Anyways, yesterday, Daniel's co-worker told him that after we all left the restaurant, his wife asked if Daniel was a hippy – her reasoning was that we drive a Subaru! If you know Daniel, this is a very funny question because he is southern boy who is more redneck than anything else. Daniel and I had a good chuckle over that :)
I did a lot of driving around yesterday to try to get a feel for the area. Scottsboro is rural but more livable than I originally thought {especially if we have friends from Daniel's work that will be living here as well}. There is a Walmart, a Home Depot, a good Mexican restau…

My Driver's License

After a month in Tennessee, I finally got around to getting my driver's license {which I needed to get a library card}. Anyways, last Friday, Daniel and I went to get my license and are cars registered {with new tags}.
Six years ago, when we moved to North Carolina, getting these things done was a nightmare. We were running in circles trying to meet all of their requirements {which did not seem to be posted online} and we had to retake our driver's license test. In addition, it cost us about $800 in taxes to register our vehicles. The whole ordeal was a HUGE hassle.
Being back in Tennessee was much easier {mostly}. The requirements to get your license are clearly stated online. So Last Friday, we took everything with us and the ornery guy behind the counter proceeded to tell me that I needed a marriage license to get my driver's license.  Say what!?!?! 
We were annoyed and there was obviously no point in arguing with this guy, so we proceeded to the county clerk to register ou…

Where Do You Blog?

Centsational Girl posed the question: Where Do You Blog?
Most of my blogging {and freelance work} happens at the kitchen table {in our 170-sf camper}. I am looking forward to having an home office again {that I can decorate} and a comfy chair, but for now camper living means blogging from the camper dining table with my coffee close at hand.

For the next few days, blogging and work will be happening from a hotel while we check out the Scottsboro, Alabama area for potential places to live.