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Showing posts from May, 2010

One Night?

Tonight on Oprah, Peter Walsh just said that "one date nighta month is worth more than one vacation for the whole year." Is it just me or is ONE date night a month seem a little scarce? I can't even fathom setting aside only one night per month. Even though we currently live in different states, Daniel and I still manage to spend a significant amount of time together on the weekends.

I know life gets hectic when you have kids, but really, one night? I am kind of in shock over that.
There have been several occasions when we have been with friends {who have kids} and the conversation turns to spending time together and it shocks me to find out how little time some of them spend together {as a family or a couple}... I guess a personal goal of mine is to recognize that spending time together is incredibly important to me and if we ever have a family, spending time together is not optional.

the good. the bad. the random. (On My Own in Charlotte, May 2010)

The Good. It's almost the weekend. The Bad. I am driving 7 hours to Nashville tomorrow after work. The Random. Driving an automatic after almost a decade of driving a stick really messes with your brain... I had a rental car for 2 days while our Subaru was in the shop.
The Good. My sister received a job offer in Nashville. The Bad. My brother and brother-in-law seriously need jobs {in Nashville}. The Random. We dropped the price on the house again. 4+ weeks with zero showings is beyond depressing {well, we did have an engaged couple show up at the last open house, so I guess that is an improvement.}
The Good. Daniel's cousin is getting married on Saturday. The Bad. We found out that some friends of ours are getting a divorce. The Random. The season finale of Parenthood made me seriously miss living close to my family. If I could pack up and live in the same city as them this moment, I would.
The Good. We have plans for breakfast on Sunday morning with friends at the PFunky Griddle in N…

Project 52 Date Nights - Senior Executive Assistant Grease Monkey

Sometimes dates end up in the garage with me acting as assistant to my grease monkey husband (or as Daniel says, I am the Senior Executive Assistant Grease Monkey). Over the years he has trained me in the ways of tools – I probably know more than the average American male.

Anyways, we drive old cars (i.e. we have never owned a car that was less than 10 years old). We have chosen to do this because 1) we are extremely frugal and 2) Daniel is an engineer with the uncanny ability to fix almost anything (especially cars) – a pretty good combination if you ask me.

There comes a time, at least once a year, that he ends up in the garage fixing one of our vehicles: replacing a CV joint here; doing a brake job there. And there are always oil changes to be done. During such times, if I want to be able to spend any time with him, I have to go out to the garage, take a seat on the mechanic's stool and be willing to hand him tools.

This weekend was one of those weekends.

Sunday I found mysel…

Broken Motor Mount???

Saturday night Daniel noticed a slight tremor in the Subaru. And I mean slight. Like when he had me test drive it, I barely noticed. In fact without him pointing out the shudder, I would have been clueless.
I know he was feeling pressure about having a last-minute vehicle problem. Especially since he had to drive back to Chattanooga the next. After much discussion {with such options as me riding my bike to work for a week or Daniel just driving the Subie, ignoring the problem}, we agreed that the best option was for Daniel to take the Altima back to TN and for me to take the Subaru to our local Subaru-gueru to get a second opinion.
So today I drove up to Concord, NC to find out what the problem is. Stephen from 42 Autosports is pretty cool. He listened to me. Then took me for a spin in the vehicle to get a feel for the problem. Then he put the car on the lift to check out the problem. He had me come out in the shop to show me the problems. Then gave me a quote and I gave him my thoughts…

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 19

Still managing to be a week behind on my reading... This week I read The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel. It is a novel written in the form of correspondence between two women.

The book begins when these women are adults and then revisits the past to show the circumstances to that led to decades of silence between the two women and finally the end has a bit of a twist.

This is by no means a top book pick for me, but the way it was written was intriguing. By only having a glimpse of the story through the letters, it left a lot to the imagination. It also hits home how easy it is to get upset through the written word - I believe you see this a lot on the internet... people get angry and polarized. Since the argument {or discussion} is written, there many cues that are missing which allows anger to boil over quickly and forgiveness to be slow in coming.

Some quotes from the book: Oh, Lilly. This is not how I hoped to find you again. But maybe it's the only way. Death…

The House.

I'm feeling somewhat frustrated about the whole house selling thing. Specifically I am frustrated with our realtor. Starting out, we went with a price (with her guidance) and committed to it. The last week of April we talked to her about going ahead and dropping our price and she advised us not to.
Then April 30th passed and we have had no showings in 3.5 weeks. This past week, she sent "new" data and advised us to consider dropping 5-10K now and then regularly dropping until we get an offer. That is all fine and dandy, but the stats have changed very little since we first put our house on the market. So my frustration is that I feel that we were ill-advised on the front end. I know you can't predict the market, but we even questioned her specifically about fears about the market dropping off after this artificially inflated time of people trying to get their last minute credit from the government.
It is frustrating when you are paying for a service (or at least we wil…

the good. the bad. the random. (On My Own in Charlotte, May 2010)

The Good. Had an amazing time catching up with friends and family this past weekend. The Bad. I am still recovering from the craziness. The Random. It has been 3 weeks with ZERO showings for the house. I am trying not to let it get me down. The Good. My brother is now Master Mark - he graduated from grad school on Saturday.

The Bad. I missed his actual graduation, but got to spend 6 hours with him in the car, hanging out, catching up.
The Random. I have the cutest, sweetest niece in the whole world {I'm not biased}. We saw her {and my sister and brother-in-law} for lunch last Friday. Then again on Sunday. The best part is that she came to me immediately. We hadn't seen them since Thanksgiving. I would like to think she remembered me. But it is more likely the fact that she is a super happy baby and seems to love everyone.
The Good. Daniel will be home in two days.
The Bad. This weekend he is actually taking a course he's been really wanting to take... I guess this means I can get…

Project 52 Date Nights - Calm in the Midst of Crazy

This past weekend was insane. We crammed in a 12+hour roadtrip {each way} to Searcy, AR to attend a wedding of a childhood friend AND then back through Nashville for my brother's graduation from grad school. I am a bad sister - we didn't actually make it to graduation, but we were {briefly} there to celebrate at my aunt's afterward.

To get an idea of how crazy this weekend was, here is the breakdown:

Thursday: Worked half a day. Finalized packing/cleaning the house in case there is a weekend showing {which there wasn't}. Loaded Sophie in the car and drove 6 hours to Chattanooga, TN.Moved all of my stuff {and Sophie} into our Subaru and drove {with Daniel} to Murfreesboro, TN to have dinner with my father-in-law.After dinner, we drove to my brother's apartment in Nashville. We didn't even take our stuff in, we just crashed in his bedroom {he was gracious and slept on the couch}.Friday: Up early to drive to Memphis {with my brother now in tow} to see my sister, her …

Days Gone By

I am going to be honest here and say that I have not had the best track record for keeping up with old friends. I could chalk it up to having moved a lot when I was younger, but really that is probably just an excuse to make me feel better.

With the advent of Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with friends from my childhood and keep up with high school and college friends. I suppose the truth of the matter is that I have allowed myself to get too busy with life. While I can't spend all of my time following up with old friends, I should probably make a better effort to touch base more frequently. The older I get, the more I realize the importance of friendships.

A few years ago, I reconnected with a best friend from high school. We met in the seventh grade and our friendship was instrumental in shaping us into the adults we would become. After high school graduation, we parted ways. She went off to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor and I just floated along and let my life …

House Update

After two weeks of no showings, I FINALLY got a call today about a potential showing for 1PM. Unfortunately I had to ask them to reschedule because I was scheduled to do a filming segment at work and I was pretty sure it would run past noon and I wouldn't have time to run home to clean up the house. 
Thankfully they were understanding. Our realtor called me to help find a good time for the showing to happen and informed me that the buyer's agent loves our house and is anxious to show it to his buyer.
I asked my agent if she could give us an update of houses that are currently getting showed. She was very accommodating and sent me a progress report {of sorts} of our zip code. It made me feel better to see that, as a whole, our zip code went from an average of 30 showings per week for the month of April to an average of 10 showings a week for the past two weeks. Our realtor also pointed out that last weekend was Mother's Day and school is winding down, which may account for so…

Project 52 Date Nights - Cavalia

This week we decided to spend some money and go to see Cavalia. The frugal side of us opted to eat in since we were spending so much money on show tickets. Note to self, do NOT cook a new "diet" meal that you have never tried cooking before on a DATE NIGHT. Daniel didn't complain, but the chicken spinach wraps were way too bland for my taste. I am a good cook, so this was a bit of a disappointment. The show was fun. Cavalia is a spin off of Cirque du Soleil with its roots in Quebec, Canada. As Daniel commented, "This isn't your Shelbyville horse show." 

It was truly amazing what they were able to do with horses and acrobats. There are 62 horses, 28 of which are stallions and the rest are geldings. The horses were great performers, though they do have a mind of their own. When they didn't want to do the tricks, it was comical to watch them ignore their trainers.
There were so many things we loved about the show, below you can watch a little clip from a docum…

Spaghetti Sauce, The Homemade Variety

Last night I had the pleasure of dining with some friends {who happen to be mothers}. We had a lovely time, dining outdoors at Chili's {at the Arboretum}. Conversations ranged from recent books we have read {a top pick being The Help}, to favorite movies to the latest episode of Modern Family that had us cracking up. We also talked about the kids {what dinner with mother's would be complete without some discussion about their kiddos}.

At one point, the conversation got sidetracked onto homemade spaghetti sauce and who actually had time to make such things. Too embarrassed to admit that I make my own sauce {since I appeared to be the minority}, I sat and politely smiled and let them chat. Granted, I don't have kids, but even with holding down a full-time job, I like to take the time to make my own sauce. This may stem from always having homemade sauce that my mom would whip up.

If I had my way, my spaghetti sauce would be rich in vegetables: zucchini, squash, mushrooms, {fr…

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 18

The overarching theme of The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs is the search for belonging. To some degree, I believe this is a search we are all on.

Unfortunately, the writing is weak and the storyline is expected. Though I found the framework of knitting, to be interesting, it could have been more inspiring with a better editor.

Quotes that stuck out to me: It was what it was – a very New York kind of friendship – and yet each felt, in the city of strangers, that they had found a good friend in each other... It had been a long, long time since Georgia had had the type of friend who knew what you wanted to say even before you said it. Who was always in your corner. Who actually enjoyed talking to you every day.... when you're young, you always think you'll meet all sorts of wonderful people, that drifting apart and losing friends is natural. You don't worry, at first, about the friends you leave behind. But as you get older, it gets harder to build friendships. Too…

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 17

According to the book American Nerd by Benjamin Nugent, there are two basic types of nerds... those who are intellectual in ways that are machinelike and those who are considered "uncool" by the popular kids.

Daniel believes that he was a combination of the two {growing up} and I believe that, to some degree, I was probably the latter. I think there are people who have a hard time adapting to "social" norms and stay in the nerd category their whole lives. Others cross over to non-nerd category by learning to live within the social norms.*

The book was very intriguing. It speaks to how nerds have been woven into pop culture and even talks about the "fake" nerd {creative types that are trying to make the nerd-type trendy}.

Quotes from the book: Meaning what you say, and wanting other people to mean what they say, to stop alluding, implying, and teasing, and get down to the point.This quote made me laugh. Daniel and I recently had a conversation about how he…

Radio Silence

That is what we have heard since our five showings in three days last week. The deadline for the first-time home buyer tax incentive came and went. And we have had no showings since last Wednesday. We can't really regret not accepting the offer that was $30 grand under our asking price since we technically tried to negotiate and they were the ones that walked away. AND we made the best decision we could with the information we had at that exact moment.

But that doesn't make this week any easier. I know there is a buyer for our house, they just haven't connected with us yet. It is hard to know what to do at this point. I believe the real estate market was artificially inflated for the month of April while everyone tried to get a last-minute deal. Now it is May. After 25 showings in four weeks it feels abnormal to have no requests for showings. The dust is settling and it will be interesting to see how things pan out. Surely there are still people looking for homes. Right?

Living for Today

The problem with living for today is that I am waiting for tomorrow. This puts me in a difficult place. On the one hand, I am beyond ready to move forward with my life in Chattanooga. On the other hand, I am still {6+hours away} in Charlotte and there is no official end in sight.

Last year, I really wanted to start growing my own vegetables. But I put it off. I was worried that Daniel would get a job offer and we would have to sell our house and move. Because I put it off, I didn't grow that garden. Now it is a year later and Daniel does have a job but I still don't have a garden because I am waiting for our house to sell.

Last year I also had the opportunity to participate in a triathlon with a friend. Even though I really wanted to participate in the race, I opted out because 1) I felt guilty spending money while Daniel was unemployed and 2) I thought there was a chance that Daniel would get a job offer and we would have to move. The money part makes sense, but Daniel didn&#…

Project 52 Date Nights - Perspective

This weekend was a marathon of running errands - they {errands} seem to pile up when you are separated during the week. Saturday night, we picked up the movie, Up In The Air, and watched it while eating chocolate ice cream.
Watching a movie about people getting laid off really makes you thankful for your job... we are especially thankful that Daniel is no longer unemployed.
Saturday we also had the opportunity to check up on family members who live in Nashville and Memphis. Thanks to cell phones, Facebook and gChat, we were able to get a lot of live updates from loved ones and friends who were experiencing the great flood firsthand.
I have been having a seriously difficult time with being separated from Daniel over the past two months, but seeing and hearing about what so many other people are going through really puts my life in perspective. I need to be more thankful for the things that I have.

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 16

In recent weeks, I have been really off with my eating habits and while I have been running fairly regularly, I would like to add some strength training to my regimen. In order to get motivated, I decided to read Making the Cut by Jilian Michaels (from the Biggest Loser).
This is a no-nonsense book for people looking to shed their final 25 pounds. It is pretty strict 30-day diet and fitness plan... I don't know that I can stick to the meal plan EXACTLY at this moment in my life, though I do plan to use the recipes to start cooking again and eating foods that are healthy. 
Quotes from the book: You can change your life by changing your mind... it's your mind that directs and drives everything you do...
Responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything for your situation.Keeping a food journal allows you to study any patterns that may emerge and helps you identify where you may be able to make more healthful changes.
Anxiety is born of fear, and fear is our number-one saboteur when…


As of this past Wednesday our house has been on the market for four weeks. Wednesday was also the day that we received our first offer. It was for $150 {in cash} and they wanted to close in two weeks...
This had us reeling. First of all, it was ridiculously low {current asking price is $180, we started at $185 and comparables support these numbers}. Second, to add to all of the stress of our current lives, two weeks would be doable, but insanely stressful.
So we did what all home-owners would do, we countered. On Thursday, our realtor pulled comps and wrote them a very nice counter offer that said we would only accept reasonable/real offers. But we would be willing to drop to $173.
It was a very stressful week as I had 5 showings in three days and we were trying to make decisions about this {only} offer. Their realtor wrote back and said they didn't want to budge and they would keep looking.
The strange thing is, for the first time in weeks, I was at peace. It wasn't the right sce…