Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shopping Outside My Comfort Zone: Part 1 (Pass the Xanax Please)

I bought a car. Seriously. And I think it's kind of a big deal because:

1) I am a girl
2) I am a girl

and

3) I have never bought a car before.

But apparently my knack for shopping extends beyond cute dresses, shoes, and groceries and so yeah. I bought a car.

Back story. Cuz ya know - it's me. I grew up in NYC. I took driver's ed in high school with a guy named Keith who had more than a passing resemblance to Howard Stern and who we all liked because he let us smoke in the driver's ed car (yes - I smoked but please don't be judgy because I quit April 1st, 1996 and haven't had a puff (occasional cigar notwithstanding) since.). My first time behind the wheel was on West 91st Street and I learned to parallel park on Riverside Drive. What's my point? Frankly I am not sure because y'all know I know how to drive. I don't think this is news. I guess I am devastatingly tired and might be hallucinating right now so this post will likely not make sense. Just know that I am not high. But I am drinking a damn expensive bottle of wine because apparently the little soiree I hosted the other week wiped out my entire stash of "drinkable" wine and I've had to delve into "undrinkable" territory only it's clearly drinkable when I am desperate. Sigh. Maybe it'd be better if I were high. Anyways. I bought a car.

So it was totally not my intention to buy the 3rd car I test drove at the 2nd dealership I visited on the FIRST DAY EVER I went car shopping but oh yeah this is me we're talking about - are you really shocked?

I've known for some time I needed a new car. Seriously - when your car gives you as much blog fodder as mine has given me (too tired to hyperlink to ANY OF IT) AND it's 10 years old AND it's got 157,000 miles on it and oh yeah you drive on average 350+ miles a week...well then yeah...you might want to reconsider.

And I totally meant to do cash for clunkers. Totally. But oh dear me I was BUSY and shit and who can fucking wrap their head around buying a car (not me) and then one day cash for clunkers abruptly ended and I still had a clunker and no cash and so yeah. No car.

But frankly - dad and mom were a wee bit worried. And so they staged an intervention. Last Wednesday I received a call from the Godfather. He is not technically my Godfather although his wife is my Godmother. It's confusing and yes I know Jews don't typically have Godparents. Jews also don't celebrate Christmas but I do. Don't fucking ask. Anyways, the Godfather called to see how he could help in my car buying endeavors (up til that point totally non-existent) and suddenly, 20 minutes later I was all kinds of inspired.

It had always been my plan to replace my 1999 Chevy Blazer with a 2004 or a 2005 Blazer but after doing some basic research on Consumer Reports, I discovered that Blazers fall into the "Holy Hell don't buy that piece of shit rat trap" used car category and that if I wanted something safe and reliable I had to go Japanese. Specifically a Toyota RAV4 or a Honda CRV. A first for me.

Anyways - let me digress (because I haven't enough already) and say (and I think this may have been my original point) I have owned cars in my life. A number of them. I just have never actually bought a car. They have been bought for me. Or given to me. And the extent of my say has been: I like (or don't like as the case may be) that color. As previously stated: I am a girl.

Still, after kicking the shit out of the Hit the Brixx 10K on Saturday - I came home, showered, changed and decided to head out to look at cars. My motivation was 3-fold:

1) I was inspired by my recent chat with The Godfather
2) It was my only free Saturday for a while
3) It was pouring down rain and I figured the car salesmen would be desperate and therefore the fact that I was a girl would be less of an issue.

I started out at the closest Toyota dealer because I thought that I really wanted a RAV4. They had 6 on the lot - 5 of which were certified, pre-owned - not that I actually knew what that meant. But I totally pretended I did because oh yeah...didn't want the car salesman to think I was a target an idiot. Anyways, we went through the details on all 6 and I was mildly confused because I thought I'd be looking at 05s and 06s just coming in off lease but oh yeah these were 07s and 08s and in 1 case an 09 (which the salesguy tried to shove down my throat - cough - um - no thanks) and oh yeah...did I mention that I am a girl who has never bought herself a car before? Sigh. It was exhausting because seriously? Car sales peeps (used or otherwise) are soulless, scum sucking, bottom feeding creatures* (or so I've been told) and you CONSTANTLY have to be on your game and on your toes and you can't show weakness otherwise they go for blood. So yeah. Buying shoes is *so much easier* SIGH.

*Except for Dr. Doolittle who is married to The Actress and who happens to sell cars but is not remotely like what I just described because he's totally the exception.

Long story short(ish): Toyota was a bust.

And holy hell this is a long post and OMG I am tired and OMG I am totally going to make this a cliffhanger like "Who Shot JR" only you totally know the ending it's just it'll take me way too long to write it tonight so yeah...you get the exhausted ramblings of a mad woman today...and who knows what you'll get tomorrow. Probably more of the same. Only I'll include pictures. Because I love you like that.

And if you don't think I am totally high right now, I'll totally kiss your...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't Just Climb Every Mountain...Kick Its Ass!

In some ways, I feel like I have been slacking off in training for Kiawah - mainly because it's been a while since I got up early on a Saturday morning and went for a hardcore, long distance run. Seriously - at one point the goal was to add a half mile every Saturday and work my way up towards 13 miles. But then running at the track when totally deserted freaked me out and so I joined a gym and started doing other things like getting my ass kicked by my trainer and using the elliptical (to avoid further knee pain) and going for speed to improve my 5K time and oh yeah - what about the half marathon I am signed up for in December?

Ok. So as part of my training, it is important to do some competitive racing - not to mention it's helpful to be out on terrain other than a track or a treadmill. The 5K I ran the other week was my first step and it went stunningly well. So I signed up for a few more races to help me prepare for Kiawah.

Saturday morning I ran the Hit The Brixx 10K in Charlotte. I can run 10K. In fact, I consider 10K "an average run." In fact, I have already decided that next year is all about the road race (5Ks, 10Ks) because training for a half marathon is serious effort and really...what's wrong with 6.2 miles? Absolutely nothing.

I told myself going into the race that my Happiness Goal was to finish in under 54:00 and that my Mountain Top Goal was to finish in under 52:30 which is roughly an 8:30 pace. In fact, I ran 10K the other week on the treadmill and finished under 52:00 but a treadmill is a weird animal because your ability to control your pace so exactly is abnormal. That said, I knew from my run in Asheville that the competitive atmosphere can push you beyond what you think you're capable of.

While the Asheville race was pretty casual, Charlotte was a whole different story. SERIOUS RUNNERS Y'ALL. I wanted to be towards the front of the pack because I am mildly psychotic ultra competitive and so I found myself amidst a group of hardcore runners who belong to running clubs and who train constantly and who were going for time and OMG one guy near me was trying to run the 10K at under a 6-minute mile pace. Holy Hell. Still - I felt confident towards the front and when the race began, I was glad I was where I was.

The first thing I did right was start my digital watch so I could try to time and pace myself. Of course, that didn't matter because as it turned out, the course was marked. Every mile there was either a sign with the mile number, a clock with the time elapsed, or both. You can imagine my surprise when I hit mile marker 1 and saw the time: 7:24. OMG y'all - running with the leaders has its perks i.e. it totally kicks your ass and drives you to do things you didn't think you were capable of. Still - a 7:24-minute mile is INSANE - especially if you have 5.2 more miles to go.

I tried to slow it down. I kept telling myself that my goal was an 8:30 pace and that I didn't need to switch it up mid-race. Still - by mile marker 2, I was at 15 minutes and some odd seconds and still below an 8-minute mile pace. And then I began to struggle. Mentally. On the one hand, I was frustrated that not only was I not passing anyone, OMG - 1000 people were passing me. On the other hand, trying to keep up was forcing me to run at MY BEST PACE EVER! Should I switch my Mountain Top Goal 2 miles in? Should I suddenly tell myself that nothing less than an 8-minute mile pace will do? Should I try to pass more people? Should I start training harder? Was I going to die by mile 3 if I kept up this insane pace?

Mile 3 came and went. I think I passed it somewhere in the 23 minute range. It was well below my 5K time in Asheville the other week and had I actually been racing a 5K, I would have sprinted the last half mile or so.

I slowed down in the 4th mile. Partly because of all the hills. Partly because my knee started to hurt. Partly because I was tired. Why my knee started to hurt I have no idea. Possibly because I haven't stretched in 100 years? And as far as getting tired, well they tell you when you are racing to not bolt out of the gate full speed ahead. I clearly failed that task when I knocked out my first mile in 7:24. Still I pushed forward determine to surprise myself with what I was capable of. (Yes - I realize this is the zillionth time I've used that expression "capable of." Are you sensing a theme dear readers? Are you?)

Anyways, by the time I completed mile 4, I was running over an 8-minute mile pace. And you know what? I didn't give a shit because I thought back to my original goal and realized I was still kicking the shit out of it and OMG - wasn't that AWESOME?

I pushed myself through the last 2.2 miles through a combination of awesome tunes on my iPod and non-step self motivational pep talks. Oh - and people cheering. Seriously - throughout the whole race course there were people along the sidewalks and at key intervals and mile markers cheering us on which I thought was totally awesome. Towards the end, I did manage to pass a few people and when I saw the sign for mile 6 and knew there was just a wee bit left to go, I tried to sprint as hard as I could. Apparently the fact that I was already close to vomiting up my left lung made sprinting hard but I gave a final push and while I didn't pass the brunette in front of me, I was not remotely disappointed in my results.

Before I get to my actual results, I want to take a moment and take the spotlight off of me. I know...those of you who know me well are going GASP?! Country Girl doesn't want to be center stage? And the answer is...No. Not right now. I want you, dear readers, to take center stage. I want the spotlight to shine on you. I want you to know what it feels like when you set a goal and you accomplish it. Even if it's for just a brief moment.

Prior to training for Kiawah - I don't recall setting too many goals and I certainly wasn't setting them on a regular basis. You know what happens if you don't set a goal? You don't get the thrilling feeling when you accomplish it. So yeah - I don't remember a lot of goals and I also don't remember feeling so challenged nor feeling so exhilarated and proud and capable (there's that word again - note to self: use a thesaurus) when I got through each challenge and met my goal. And I won't lie dear readers. These last few months the challenges have extended beyond the running. But whatever the circumstance, whatever the reason, I have met each trial head on and conquered them one by one. And I will tell you - there's no other feeling in the world. And so I encourage all of you to set some goals and then journey towards that mountain top. The view from up there is spectacular. Trust me - you'll love it.

Now if you're done gagging from my sentimental attempts at philosophy and motivation, let's get back to the important stuff. Let's get back to me and my results. I finished my first competitive 10K in 50:31 which translates to an 8:09 pace. I was 231st out of 806 total racers - not quite the top 25% but still damn good. I was 51st out of 405 female racers (top 12.6%) and 9th out of 83 females in my age group (30 - 34). Overall I was exceptionally pleased. I was even more pleased when I exited the race are and a very nice lady handed me a cold Carolina Blonde. Seriously, I don't think there is any better way to rehydrate and recoup after a race than a Snickers "nutrition bar" and a cold beer.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Week In Tweets September 20 - September 26

I am batting .333 in attempts to light my new grill.
6:58 PM Sep 20th from web

Apparently unless I have 2lbs of eggplant or a dinner party emergency, the fucker doesn't want to ignite.
6:58 PM Sep 20th from web

Trainer tried to make me do unassisted pull ups. In an attempt to lift myself up I smashed my already bad knee into the machine. OW!
11:19 AM Sep 21st from TwitterBerry

I have been on with IT support for 36 minutes and rebooted 3 times. I want to hurl my laptop through the window.
11:40 AM Sep 21st from TwitterBerry

Persistence + knowing the right people + persistence = CHANGE! Only took me 2 years but I got it done....
1:58 PM Sep 21st from web

Dinner guests arrive in 30 minutes. Making twice-baked potatoes only I don't have a potato masher! WTF? #utensilfail
6:28 PM Sep 21st from TwitterBerry

Lucky I live in a small town. Totally hopped over to my neighbors to borrow one. #ilovesmalltownlife
6:29 PM Sep 21st from TwitterBerry

No need to hurl my misbehaving laptop through the window any more as it may have died. FML.
10:50 AM Sep 22nd from TwitterBerry

Schlepped to Charlotte in hopes that our IT guys can revive it.
10:50 AM Sep 22nd from TwitterBerry

I am not above magic voodoo a la Weekend at Bernies 2. It's pathetic.
10:52 AM Sep 22nd from TwitterBerry

So my laptop booted and I did not have to acrifice a goat. PHEW. In the process of backing EVERYTHING up. #majordisasteraverted
11:09 AM Sep 22nd from web

Schlepping to Charlotte was totally worth it for 1 reason: lunch @ Big Daddy's Burger Bar. OMFG that patty melt rocked.
1:42 PM Sep 22nd from TwitterBerry

I have lost count of much time I've devoted to technical problems this week but OMFG it's a shitload.
2:54 PM Sep 22nd from TwitterBerry

Loaner laptop NOT connecting to wireless or wired. FML. Again.
2:55 PM Sep 22nd from TwitterBerry

If I have to unplug, restart or reboot anything else, I'm going to lose my shit.
3:05 PM Sep 22nd from TwitterBerry

I want to cry. #technologyfail
3:09 PM Sep 22nd from TwitterBerry

Dear Shitty Day: Please go find someone else to bother. I am done with you. xoxo Rougie
6:31 PM Sep 22nd from web

New Blackberry. New Twitter app. New post-IT apocalypse outlook.
10:52 AM Sep 23rd from UberTwitter

The top button on my dress does not want to stay buttoned. I kind of feel like this is a problem.
4:57 PM Sep 23rd from UberTwitter

When I am tired, cranky and off my game go-getters irritate the crap out of me.
6:54 PM Sep 23rd from UberTwitter

Unsuccesful in my valiant attempts to avoid the delicious lemon cheesecake sitting in my fridge and taunting me. #soflippingworthit
2:52 PM Sep 24th from web

The pre-5pm gym crowd is a mix of muscleheads and freaks. What does that make me?
4:39 PM Sep 24th from UberTwitter

Also - I really don't get people who wear make up to the gym. Really.
4:40 PM Sep 24th from UberTwitter

Thanks Black Eyed Peas. I was just about ready to give up...... #igottafeeling
4:44 PM Sep 24th from UberTwitter

Dear chin: I am not 14 years old any more. I don't eat chocolate or pizza. So what the fuck gives? xoxo Rougie
5:22 PM Sep 24th from web

My cat missed the litter box. By about 20 feet. FML.
8:14 PM Sep 24th from web

At drinks with The Kaiser and Sumo. I don't know what else to say. Sigh.
10:16 PM Sep 24th from UberTwitter

Oh dear. Note to self: stop oversharing.
10:36 PM Sep 24th from UberTwitter

They say you reap what you sow. Remind me to park the tractor next time I go out with The Kaiser and Sumo.
11:22 PM Sep 24th from UberTwitter

Crap! Ripped from slumber because oh yeah - I think a whole tree just crashed down onto my roof. This can't possibly be good.
5:09 AM Sep 25th from UberTwitter

For the record, it's "fall" and shit has been falling on my roof for days and making a decent bit of noise. But this crash was HUGE. Crap.
5:10 AM Sep 25th from UberTwitter

I just went 4 for 4 in this morning's round of kill the flipping flies that have randomly invaded my house.
8:41 AM Sep 25th from UberTwitter

There's now a lot less buzzing.
8:41 AM Sep 25th from UberTwitter

Make that 6 for 6. Holy crap where did they all come from? And I still hear more buzzing.
8:45 AM Sep 25th from UberTwitter

More? Still? And I just yanked the blinds off the window. Crap. I've definitely had better mornings.
8:47 AM Sep 25th from UberTwitter

However - one bright spot today: only 23 minutes on the phone with IT and I now have a printer and a scanner again.
8:55 AM Sep 25th from UberTwitter

OMFG. It's the Great Fly Massacre in here today. I've lost count of the bodies. What I want to know is: where the fuck are they coming from?
9:11 AM Sep 25th from web

And no - I don't have any open windows.
9:12 AM Sep 25th from web

The Great Fly Massacre continues and it's now starting to freak me out that my house is FULL OF INSECTS FOR NO GOOD REASON.
10:06 AM Sep 25th from web

OMG. Can you please please please stop talking for 1 blessed minute?
1:08 PM Sep 25th from UberTwitter

Since when did doctors on call in the ER charge separately from whatever the hospital charges? Seriously? (@Mrs_Westwick can you clarify??)
2:57 PM Sep 25th from web

The amount of flies I've killed today borders on obscene. AND my Terminix guy failed to show so the Great Fly Massacre continues...
5:38 PM Sep 25th from web

Getting ready to race.
6:28 AM Sep 26th from web

I Hit the Brixx 10K hard. Finished in 50:34 which was well beyond my 52:30 goal.
8:49 AM Sep 26th from UberTwitter

Skipped the post-race Powerade - too much sugar. But happily accepted the Carolina Blonde being handed out.
8:50 AM Sep 26th from UberTwitter

Why is getting out of a parking deck such a damn cluster fuck? Hand the attendant your ticket, $5 and GO!!!
9:16 AM Sep 26th from UberTwitter

Wish I didn't have a 45 minute drive home. I am desperate to stretch and ice my poor throbbing knee.
9:18 AM Sep 26th from UberTwitter

Shopping for a new used car solo for the first time ever. The pressure is immense. Trying to sound car smart.
3:25 PM Sep 26th from UberTwitter

Was I twitching before? Sorry. Scratch that. I absolutely love and adore DOING IT ON MY OWN.
6:47 PM Sep 26th from web

And if that ain't Twitterific, I'll kiss your...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Feed Me Fridays: The Steakhouse Edition

Remember when my grill tried to kill me? Yeah. Me too. Which is why I totally went out and bought a new grill because oh yeah appliances that have it in for me kind of make me stabby. And because I don't do propane, I had Sumo and The Kaiser come over to help me assemble it and as a thank you I offered to cook them dinner. And since I was feeding 3 I figured I might as well be feeding 5 so I invited Lilsaej and Bobo to join as well. In my world, the more the merrier.

The theme of the evening was meat. Seriously - since I have been without a grill I have been without meat since I am not a big fan of sauteing my steak. Plus, I had some kick ass red wine I wanted to try including the 2006 Gun Bun Zin received as a gift courtesy of the awesometastic Wine Diva and my bottle of 2005 Childress Signature Series Meritage which I purchased when I went to visit the winery.

I wound up keeping the steaks simple. Although I considered following Dr. Diva's suggestion and doing them Tuscan style with a balsamic glaze, I decided I wanted more of an old school steak night and so I simply rubbed them with olive oil, kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Sumo grilled them for about 3 - 4 minutes per side and they were deliciously medium rare. OMG I love red meat. File in Twitter under #imatotalcarnivore.

The sides were pretty easy too. I made my happy accident twice baked potatoes (although truthfully, I didn't trust myself and pulled them a little bit early and so the skins weren't quite as crispy as I would have liked) and my creamed spinach. Do you want to know the secret to great creamed spinach? An assload of melted butter. Seriously - I use very little cream and gobs of melted butter. It gives the spinach amazing mouth feel.

1 20 oz. bag frozen chopped spinach - thawed
1 stick salted butter
2 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
¼ cup heavy cream
Grated Parmesan

Sauté the spinach in 1 –2 tablespoons of butter. Transfer to a food processor. Add 4 – 5 tablespoons of melted butter, the yogurt and salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Puree. While the food processor is running, stream in a drizzle of heavy cream. Transfer to an oven-safe dish. Top with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Bake at 450º for 15 minutes. Finish off under the broiler for a crispy top.

The true piece de resistance however was my lemon cheesecake. Seriously y'all? I have never made cheesecake before. And seriously y'all? I might go into the cheesecake making business because holy hell I have a knack for that shit. OMG it was the best cheesecake ever.

The recipe was from Baking Illustrated: The Practical Kitchen Companion For the Home Baker by the Editors of Cooking Illustrated magazine and while not the easiest recipe, it's mostly just time consuming more than truly difficult.

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Make the crust: In a food processor, process 5oz. Nabisco Barnum's Animal Crackers (or Social Tea Biscuits) to fine, even crumbs (about 30 seconds). You should have 1 cup. Add 3 Tbsp. of sugar and pulse 2 or 3 times to incorporate. Add 4 Tbsp. of melted, unsalted butter (still warm) in a slow steady stream while pulsing; pulse until the mixture is evenly moistened and resembles wet sand, about 10 1-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into the pan bottom. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, about 15 - 18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes. When cool, wrap the outside of the pan with 2 18-inch square pieces of heavy duty foil and set the springform pan in a roasting pan.

Make the filling: While the crust is cooling, process 1/4 cup of sugar with 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest until the sugar is yellow and the zest is broken down, about 15 seconds. Transfer the lemon sugar to a bowl and stir in 1 cup of plain sugar.

In the bowl of a standing mixer set at low speed, beat 1-1/3 pounds of cream cheese (3 8-oz. packages cut into 1inch rough chunks) for ~ 5 seconds to break it up. With the machine running add the sugar mixture in a slow, steady stream; increase the speed to medium and continue to beat until the mixture is creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add 4 large eggs 2 at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition - about 30 seconds. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice 9juice from 1 - 2 lemons), 2 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1/4 tsp. salt and mix until just incorporated, about 5 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and mix until incorporated, about 5 seconds longer. Give the batter a final scrape, stir with a rubber spatula, and pour into the prepared springform pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough hot tap water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 55 - 60 minutes. The center will jiggle slightly, the sides will start to puff, the surface will no longer be shiny and an insta-read thermometer inserted into the center of the cake should read 150 degrees. Turn off the oven. Prop the door open and let the cake cool in the water bath in the oven for 1 hour. Transfer the springform pan without the foil to a wire rack. Run a small paring knife around the inside edge to loosen the sides of the cake and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Make the lemon curd (while the cheesecake bakes or cools): In a medium nonreactive bowl whisk 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of sugar. Heat 1/3 cup lemon juice (from ~ 2 lemons) in a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot lemon juice into the eggs/sugar, then return to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly until the mixture register 170 degrees on an insta-read thermometer and the mixture is thick enough to cling to the back of a spoon. So y'all? BE VERY CAREFUL. Do not stop whisking or stirring for one single second and make sure your burner is not too hot - otherwise you will scramble your egg whites. Which I totally did during my first attempt. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in 2 Tbsp. of cold, unsalted butter that's been cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Stir in 1 Tbsp. heavy cream, 1/4 tsp. vanilla and a pinch of salt then pour the curd through a fine mesh strainer into a small nonreactive bowl. Cover the surface of the curd directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

To finish the cake: When the cheesecake is cool, scrape the lemon curd onto the cheesecake still in the springform pan. Using an offset icing spatula, spread the curd evenly over the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours and up to 24 hours. To serve, remove the sides of the springform pan and cut the cake into wedges.

So yeah - this is like the yummiest cheesecake ever. I kid you not. And the whole evening was pretty much a crapload of fun because really, when this is the cast of characters you've got, fun is guaranteed. In fact, we were having so much fun that we took our little ragtag band of debauchery down to Zippers to end the evening. Because nothing caps an old school steak night like bad karaoke and cheap bottled beer.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Roots

As I stepped off the plane in NYC last week and found myself in a taxi speeding (literally) across the Triboro towards Manhattan, I typed the following as my Facebook status update:

"Country Girl says you can take the girl out of the City, but you can't take the City out of the girl. It's nice to be home."

And yet, a few hours later I was texting with a friend of mine from Smalltown, NC (aka my current home town) and I wrote: I love NY but I miss home.

She replied: You miss Smalltown? You need your head examined.

I replied: I don't miss Smalltown. I miss home.

Home. What does that mean?

I haven't lived in NYC for quite some time and yet, in ways it will always be home for me. Perhaps because my family is there. Perhaps because my friends are there. Perhaps because I learned to dart across 3 lanes of moving traffic in order to hail a taxi before I learned to walk. But there's no denying: NYC is in my blood. It is my roots.

And yet, in the 3.5 years that I have been in Smalltown, I have fallen in love with this way of life. I love that I know the name of both my UPS guy and my Fedex guy. I love that I am liable to run into someone I know at the post office. Or the grocery store. I love almost being a regular at the local cafe. I love that I am the only girl in the feed store toting a Louis Vuitton Alma. I love all of it.

And so I struggle dear readers: where is home? Can I have it both ways?

And if that ain't achingly philosophical, I'll kiss your...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Because It's The South

I have been meaning to pay Iris and Don, my neighbors to the right, a visit for some time now. I don't think I have seen them since my birthday when Iris dropped by with a vase of fresh flowers from her garden. A combination of my hectic travels and the fact that I don't like to show up empty-handed have kept me away, but after baking the world's most delicious lemoon cheesecake on Sunday for a dinner last night, I figured I'd stroll over there today with some leftovers and say hi.

Of course, the first problem was that last night as I was getting ready to make my happy accident twice baked potatoes, I discovered that I had no potato masher and the fork I was using was not doing a good job. Seriously. No potato masher. File in Twitter under #utensilfail. WTF? Who doesn't have a potato masher besides me? Anyways, I didn't have time to run to Wal-Mart so I did the next best thing: I ran to Iris. I felt like a shithead because here I haven't seen my neighbor in over a month and instead of going to see her to say hi and bearing baked goods, I show up near breathless on her doorstep asking for a potato masher. Of course, Iris is awesome and she took the whole thing in stride and she gave me my choice of potato mashers and she totally saved the day.

I made up for it this morning when I returned bearing the potato masher, the vase and a giant wedge of fantasticredible lemon cheesecake. And while I had planned to stay and chat with Iris for a spell, I was delightfully surprised when she asked if I would join her in a slice of early morning cheesecake and I was like: Hell Yeah. You don't have to ask me twice. And so we had slivers of lemon cheesecake (the breakfast of champions BTW) and chatted about her and Don's upcoming road trip cross country to California and it was generally awesome and this is why I freaking LOVE small town life.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Week In Tweets: September 13 - 19

OMG. I slept so well. Love this cold mountain air. Love.
6:51 AM Sep 13th from TwitterBerry

24:18 bitches!
9:41 AM Sep 13th from TwitterBerry

Did I say 24:18? I meant 24:22 which put me 45th out of 245 and was a 7:51 pace. Hot Damn!
1:29 PM Sep 13th from TwitterBerry

Showing these locals who's the smartest girl in the land. Or at least the bar.
6:53 PM Sep 13th from TwitterBerry

OMG this guy at the next table has sneezed 40 times in a row. Seriously. I'm counting. Thinking allergies as opposed to Swine flu but still.
7:22 PM Sep 13th from TwitterBerry

My cat is possessed. Do they make kitty Xanex?
9:52 PM Sep 13th from web

Attempts at a shortcut backfired on account of 1-lane road due to construction AND the damn train. Crap.
12:51 PM Sep 14th from TwitterBerry

I am talking to someone dumber than dirt. I hate stupid people. I really, really do.
4:24 PM Sep 14th from web

It's killing me that she shares my name.
4:28 PM Sep 14th from web

Smashing head on desk. SIgh. Lather. RInse. Repeat.
4:45 PM Sep 14th from web

You know it's bad when self-inflicted concussions and suicides with your trainer are the highlight of your afternoon.
4:47 PM Sep 14th from web

Just left the gym. They call them suicides for a reason. Want. To. Die.
7:11 PM Sep 14th from TwitterBerry

Best part of the session? Some dude tried 2 jump rope. Even tho I was near dead I showed off my mad phat jump skillz for 3 min cuz Ima bitch
7:13 PM Sep 14th from TwitterBerry

Meanwhile, the ass kickings are getting tougher. Then again - so am I.
7:15 PM Sep 14th from TwitterBerry

I am getting my car washed because oh yeah - I couldn't see out of the windows it was so flipping dirty!
9:21 AM Sep 15th from TwitterBerry

I think I might be the only person in the UNIVERSE who doesn't know what Kanye West did at the VMAs. I live under a rock. #popculturefail
11:35 AM Sep 15th from web

There's a very nice tech from Dell replacing my motherboard. Take that Blue Screen of Death. Take that!
3:20 PM Sep 15th from TwitterBerry

Rougie is not a pushover. My mama done raised me smarter than you think.
4:45 PM Sep 15th from web

Watching an infomercial in Spanish for Maxi-Breast, nursing a glass of merlot and waiting for the girls.
6:27 PM Sep 15th from TwitterBerry

If anybody wondered if it was going to rain today of course it was. I just washed my car for the 1st time in months. #weatherfail
8:34 AM Sep 16th from TwitterBerry

I am pretty sure that going to the gym at 5am today and running 10K on the treadmill is a sign I need my head examined.
10:19 AM Sep 16th from TwitterBerry

In other news: OMFG my body hates me right now. Loathes. Despises.
10:19 AM Sep 16th from TwitterBerry

God I love valet parking. Especially complimentary valet parking.
12:27 PM Sep 16th from TwitterBerry

OMG y'all. About to do a Richard Petty ride-along at Lowes Motor Speedway. 3 laps @ 165mph. WHOOT!!
5:17 PM Sep 16th from TwitterBerry

So yeah. 3 laps at 165mph. In heels. No problem.
5:43 PM Sep 16th from TwitterBerry

At the bar at Flemings. I might be the only woman here. The stench of testosterone is overwhelming. Ditto the stench of Rogaine.
6:35 PM Sep 16th from TwitterBerry

I want to weep. Getting home @ 10 and still having to pack was bad. But construction means I am looking at 10:30....at least....fuck
9:36 PM Sep 16th from TwitterBerry

Alternating between Coke Zero and wine. Still working and haven't started packing yet. FML in the biggest way.
10:54 PM Sep 16th from TwitterBerry

Torrential downpours was not how I wanted to start this day.
7:02 AM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

So yeah. I totally bought The Lost Symbol for the plane ride. What of it????
9:15 AM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

Boarding a plane is like one giant cattle call. It's so humiliating.
9:24 AM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

There is no way all these people are in first class. Or Zone 1. Just once I'd like a gate agent 2 turn someone away 4 boarding out of zone
9:33 AM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

Could the woman in front of me be ANY louder??? I am trying to read The Lost Symbol lady. Shut the eff up. You're on a plane, not your sofa.
9:41 AM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

Also? She's in her 50s or 60s and talking to her "daddy." I shit you not. That's a Southern Belle for you. Loud - but a Belle nonetheless.
9:42 AM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

ACK! The people on this plane are collectively loud, whiny and annoying.
9:54 AM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

Upon being told she needed to check her bag b/c the overheads were full one girl squawked: BUT I DON'T WANNA CHECK IT. Suck it honey - ok?
9:55 AM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

Gonna me meet my momma for lunch - how's that for an unexpected treat?!
12:08 PM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

I am having the lovliest day ever with my mom. Seriously y'all? I have the best mom ever and I just love her so.
3:19 PM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

So my eyebrow guy finally figured out why my eyebrows are turning blonde. "25 years in the biz darling - I know these things." Yes you do.
4:21 PM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

Even better? He tinted them so I no longer have tri-color brows.
4:22 PM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever want to get out of this massage chair. In fact - I'd like to be surgically attached to it.
5:23 PM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

Um - no. That wasn't me struggling with my Metrocard on the M103. *blushes slightly*
6:12 PM Sep 17th from TwitterBerry

I am strolling down Prince Street and in general loving life. I don't think this day could be any more perfect if it tried.
12:24 PM Sep 18th from TwitterBerry

To my left: girl in sundress and sandals. To my right: girl in sweater and scarf. Oddly enough both kind of make sense. It's that kinda day.
12:32 PM Sep 18th from TwitterBerry

3rd meal in NYC. 3rd Italian restaurant. It's clearly a theme and I am not complaining.
12:38 PM Sep 18th from TwitterBerry

Overheard @ swanky NYC Italian: comparison of muskrat meat to rabbit. Feels like home.
2:00 PM Sep 18th from TwitterBerry

Yes I grew up in NYC. No - I've never been to Brooklyn Heights until today. It's possible I'm lost.
3:58 PM Sep 18th from TwitterBerry

I am following Bill Murray up Madison Avenue. Y'all? He's singing. It's awesome.
9:44 PM Sep 18th from TwitterBerry

Figuring out how to balance dog duty with dad, kugel baking, and getting ready for temple all before 12.
7:21 AM Sep 19th from TwitterBerry

Me: I can shower while the kugel is in the oven. @MarshallKarp: The oven????? Mom: it works right? Me: Seriously??
7:22 AM Sep 19th from TwitterBerry

Is this the line to get into synagogue or to buy Springsteen tickets. WTF????
11:51 AM Sep 19th from TwitterBerry

A synagogue with its own security detail. Only in New York. Only in New York.
12:07 PM Sep 19th from TwitterBerry

It's 70 degrees and sunny. I think the fur-lined boots are just a bit much honey. Maybe in a week or 2......
2:24 PM Sep 19th from TwitterBerry

Crack pie. Compost cookies. OMG - so fucking good.
7:06 PM Sep 19th from TwitterBerry

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Feed Me Fridays: Mt. Olympus Tasting Party

So here's the deal. If you plan to knock out 100 wine varietals you are going to have to drink some pretty random shit. And so it was about a month and a half ago that I decided I would hostess a Mt. Olympus tasting party to cover whichever of the obscure Greek varietals on the list I could actually find in this part of the universe without having to order directly from Greece. Not as easy as you would think. The first 2 wine stores I went to in Charlotte looked at me like I was high insane when I asked for Greek wines. Luckily for me, Total Wine had a fairly decent selection and I was able to procure 5 bottles.

Next came the menu. For some strange reason, I actually own this cookbook:



Seriously. I bought it 100 years ago (along with The Little Caribbean Cookbook) because apparently I thought miniature cookbooks with quasi-random cuisines were a good investment. But as it turns out, the purchase made 100 years ago finally came in handy and it was pretty easy to pull together the menu because 1) there was no way I was serving GOAT and 2) Fish Soup with Egg and Lemon Sauce sounds flat out Nah-Stee.

So the centerpiece of the meal was Moussaka. And if you want to know all about Moussaka, go visit Chop. Stir. Mix. where I guest posted on Monday in grand, painstaking detail about how to make it. Seriously y'all? I am going to start making Moussaka all the time because it is that flipping delicious.

Also on the menu were Keftethes which are fried minced meat balls. So y'all? I have a knack for meatballs. Seriously. And as soon as it gets cold enough you can be sure I will be busy in the kitchen whipping up a batch of my famous Chicken Meatballs Stroganoff. But until then, Rena Salaman's Keftethes are just the ticket:

Combine 1 lb. minced lamb, some breadcrumbs*, 1 medium onion thickly grated, 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint, a hefty sprinkle of dried parsley, and 1 egg in a mixing bowl.

*Ok. So Rena calls for 2 medium slices of crustless stale white bread soaked briefly in water and then squeezed dry. I had no bread - fresh or stale - so I just kept adding bread crumbs gradually until the mixture felt wet yet stiff. Oh dear - that sounded rather dirty...

Anyways, mix well and form into walnut-shaped balls. Roll in flour and fry in some sunflower oil until well browned. Now I confess, I fried 2 batches for about 7 - 8 minutes each and they were still rather pink on the inside so I stuck them in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes. They were still a wee bit pink - but less so. I mean, it's lamb - not pork - you don't need to kill them. But I didn't want my guests to go home with some sort of illness either. Better safe than sorry.

I also made Tzatziki. I was originally going to buy it from a local establishment in town that leans towards Middle Eastern cuisine but I was traveling all week and so because I am slightly nuts, I thought that making it on my own would be easier than calling and talking to someone. Really. I know.

And y'all - I wish I could tell you exactly what I did because everyone LOVED my Tzatziki. In fact, Lilesaej (pronounced, for the record, lil-say-jay) said it was better than the local stuff. And oddly enough - I thought I RUINED it.

I started out using a simple recipe from Food and Wine: mix 1 cup Greek style whole milk yogurt, 1/2 European cucumber, seeded and finely diced, 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint and 1 clove of garlic mashed to a paste. However, I couldn't get the garlic mashed to a paste so I basically minced it as fine as I could. The whole business seemed kind of thick and so I checked with Rena and her version calls for some olive oil and a dash of white wine vinegar. Shocking as it may seem, I have NO white wine vinegar in my house but I did drizzle some olive oil into my mixture and then I seasoned with salt and pepper. And it still tasted off so I added more salt. And then OMG it was like Saltziki and I freaked. And then I doctored the shit out of it with epic amounts of fresh mint, lemon juice, olive oil and even more cucumber. And it still tasted off so I stuck it in the fridge and forgot about it. Amazingly though when I pulled it out a few hours later and Miss Mary dunked the first piece of pita - she said it tasted amazing. So yeah...giant save on that one.

In addition Miss Mary brought over some feta and olives, I heated up some frozen spanikopita from Trader Joes and The Actress brought baklava. Natch.

So you'd be surprised at how good Greek wines are. I mean - the basic table white was nothing to write home about but the Moschifilero was actually quite good. I won't discuss the Retsina which I did not want to include but Miss Mary said if you hosted a Greek wine tasting you have to include Retsina. So yeah. Drinking Retsina is like sticking your mouth on a pine tree and sucking out the sap - or so I imagine. It's nasty. We each had a tiny, tiny sip and then for the first time ever in my life, I poured the bottle out down the drain.

The reds were better - especially the Nemea which was everybody's favorite and at $12.99/bottle - totally affordable.

But the real winner of the evening was the Mavrodaphne. OMG y'all. This is a sweet red dessert wine akin to tawny port and it is fucking delicious. Especially when paired with baklava at which point the status gets elevated to simply orgasmic. Seriously - I would like to end every meal - including breakfast - with Mavrodaphne and baklava. Holy. Fucking. Hell.

My happy Greek table.


Moussaka. Can you taste how delicious through the screen?


KB and Miss Mary. Digging the toga and the wreath! We take our theme parties VERY seriously. Clearly.


Second best combo of the evening: Rougie and Lilsaej!


I look freakishly tall in this picture.


The Actress and her husband, Dr. Dolittle.


And if that ain't a night for the Gods and Goddesses of Mt. Olympus, I'll kiss your...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Go Speed Racer! Go!

Sunday morning found me in Azalea Park in Asheville anxiously waiting to run my first 5K. And while 5K is not a lot distance-wise for me personally (it's only 3.1 miles - an average run for me is 6 miles and a long run for me is 8+ miles) it was my first competitive road race and I was thrilled at the prospect of running competitively with others and how that would affect my performance.

After my awesome triumph over the Ravenel Bridge I was feeling good about Sunday and I set my 2 goals. The Happiness Goal was to finish the race in less than 26 minutes. The Mountaintop Goal was to finish the race in 24 minutes or less and/or run at an 8-minute mile pace or faster. And while I would never be able to maintain that pace for 13.1 miles (OMG kill me now) - it felt pretty manageable for 3.1 miles.

The race I ran was the JBL Memorial 5K to benefit the Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association. Although start time was 9am we got there at about 8:30. Y'all? It was 59 degrees out. I was in shorts and a tee shirt like it was still summer. OMG - chilly. Factor in the fact that I was anxious to get running - well let's just say I was a jittery, shivery mess for about 30 minutes.

But then the race got ready to start and I managed to get pretty close to the front and the horn sounded and we were off. Cluster fuck. That is the absolute first thing that happens at the start of the race. And while serious races group runners by pace and expected finish time, this was not a big race and so it was sort of a mish mosh of people and I had to go to the far left and run on the side of the road in order to get around folks. And all I kept thinking was: Country Girl: Don't fucking trip over a rock or a stump or a root and injure yourself because that would really SUCK. I successfully managed to navigate my way around some slow peeps and get back on the road into what NASCAR calls "clean air."

And while I was without Iron Man's amazing GPS watch, I did have my digital watch and I was going to try to use that to monitor my pace only y'all? There are 2 buttons and if you hit them in the right order the stopwatch works but if you hit them in the wrong order they don't and I was probably 4 or 5 minutes in before I realized my stopwatch hadn't started. So much for timing myself.

The run itself was really great. Nice and flat. On the road. Through Azalea Park with lots of lovely scenery. The cool weather was much appreciated once I started running. I had a kick ass mix on my iPod: the 7 kickiest, ass shaking songs I have in all of iTunes. Songs that come on and I am motivated to shake a tailfeather and pick up my pace by 3 notches. And running with other people is AWESOME. OMG - talk about motivation. Since I had no idea what my time was or my pace, I just kept picking people out in front of me and telling myself I was going to pass them. And while I didn't want to burn out too soon, I also knew that I was totally capable of maintaining the intense pace for the short distance.

I think somewhere into the 3rd mile I got a little tired. My breathing was labored and I was starting to really feel the impact of the intensity of the run. But then some dude tried to pass me on the left and I was like: NO WAY and I picked up my pace. And then Outkast came on (OMG - Hey Ya is the best song ever to run to). And then there were 3 women in front of me and I was like: I am totally going to pass these ladies and up my chances of being in the top 10 women to finish because really y'all - I had not seen that many women in front of me. And I passed one (she had shorts that had BRAT stamped across her ass and for some reason that really bothered me) and then I started to sense that the end was near and I continued to pick up my pace. And then I rounded the bend and saw the finish line and the clock counting time. And it was at 23:56 and while I knew there was no way I was going to beat the 24-minute mark, it didn't matter. I was close. And so I got my final wind and just SPRINTED like a bad ass passing the other 2 chicks and I officially crossed the finish line at 24:22. WHOOT!!!

Final Results? Overall I finished 45th out of 245 participants. I was the 13th female to finish and 2nd in my age group of 30 - 34. Also? My official pace was 7:51 so Mountaintop Goal TOTALLY ACHIEVED!!!!!

And if that ain't just fucking fantasticredible, I'll kiss your...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Moussaka Madness @ Chop. Stir. Mix.

So y'all - when Modern Matriarch asked me if I would be interested in occasionally contributing to her second blog Chop. Stir. Mix. I was like: OMG YES!!!! Not that I have tons of time on my hand or anything - I mean didn't she just guest post on my wee little blog because OMG I am running around like a crazy lady? But I was so flattered that I said YES! Also? I don't know how to say No. Really. It's sort of a problem.

Anyways, this was nearly a month ago and my contributions have been NIL. In my defense, I haven't done a Feed Me Friday since then either because I have been in my car, on the road, in a hotel, or in general: ANYWHERE OTHER THAN MY KITCHEN.

That changed last week when I hosted an awesome Mt. Olympus Greek wine tasting party in our efforts to complete membership to the Wine Century Club. And while the full gloriousness of the fete will be chronicled (with photos - natch) in this week's Feed Me Friday, shake a tailfeather and hop on over to Chop. Stir. Mix. today for a detailed expose on Moussaka. You won't regret it. Trust me. And then go back and visit Chop. Stir. Mix. always (or just add it to your Google Reader) because it's a fucking awesome blog. In fact - it's so awesome that I'll be back there next week with lemony cheesecake with fresh berry topping. Oh - and because I am totally manic right now from consuming epic quantities of Diet Coke, go make Moussaka right this very instant because y'all - it's phe-fucking-nomenal. I swear.

And if that ain't off the hook delish, I'll kiss your...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Week In Tweets: September 6 - September 12

To gym or not to gym - that is the question....
7:39 AM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

Peanut butter and banana stuffed French toast for breakfast. Clearly the answer is: gym.
11:12 AM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

Watching The Kaiser and Sumo assemble my new grill is delightfully entertaining. Seriously - I should be paying them or something!
2:36 PM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

Oh yeah - I got a new grill because I got tired of lighting myself on fire.......
2:40 PM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

The Kaiser doesn't appreciate being the subject of my Tweets unless I write about his abs glistening with sweat. Can you say: delusional?
3:15 PM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

Sumo on the other hand is a sweet, dear man and the only reason we're actually making progress.
3:17 PM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

I am drinking blue gin out of a silver julep cup and waiting on @felinefrenzy's Frogmore Stew. Low country done with haute style.
4:25 PM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

I haven't laughed this hard in a long, long time. Thanks boys!
8:02 PM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

Oh dear - The Kaiser and Sumo are at again. Wish they weren't so flipping entertaining. Sigh....
10:12 PM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

The Kaiser is drunk. I am amused.
11:28 PM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

The Kaiser wants to drunk Tweet under my profile....be warned....
11:30 PM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

Can't control mysellf. Kaiser is the ultimate male. Wavy hair, strong, musculine figure, chest hair like a new brillo. I may never recover.
11:34 PM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

Rougie is back: and thus we conclude our daily exercise in silly male ego stroking. You're welcome Kaiser. MWAH!
11:36 PM Sep 6th from TwitterBerry

Dear birds chirping outside my window: Nice to see you today and OH YEAH it's not even 7am so please shut the eff up. Thanks. Xoxo rougie
6:51 AM Sep 7th from TwitterBerry

Why is Facebook being such a bitch today??
12:35 PM Sep 7th from web

So yeah. Technological issues are making me CRANKY.
1:39 PM Sep 7th from TwitterBerry

VERY FUCKING CRANKY.
1:39 PM Sep 7th from TwitterBerry

What should have taken less than 1 hour took more than 2. I am cranky - but DONE. And I figured it out on my own.
4:02 PM Sep 7th from web

Damn! The dude who runs the gym just complimented me on my workout! Called me by name! It's official I'm a musclehead gym rat.
7:20 PM Sep 7th from TwitterBerry

Or just call me: The Beast....
7:20 PM Sep 7th from TwitterBerry

Everyone/thing in my life seems to be ridiculously needy or just this side of insane or possibly a bit of both.
8:54 PM Sep 7th from web

Seriously - is it a full moon tonight? What gives Twitterverse??
8:54 PM Sep 7th from web

Packing. Again. Sigh. When does it ever end???
9:06 PM Sep 7th from web

A -flipping-DD. Can. Not. Focus.
10:07 PM Sep 7th from web

Sipping un cafe at Gaulart and Maliclet in Charleston. Feeling quite Euro.
1:13 PM Sep 8th from TwitterBerry

I just bitchslapped 10k on the Ravenel Bridge in 53:07. That's an 8:35 pace! Whoot!
6:26 PM Sep 8th from TwitterBerry

At Pane e Vino. Want to order the ENTIRE menu....
8:00 PM Sep 8th from TwitterBerry

Dear Lord: thank you for Pane e Vino and their insane homemade papardelle with lamb-fava bean ragout. Xo Rougie
8:42 PM Sep 8th from TwitterBerry

Dear Waiter: Yes I'd like another glass of wine. Don't be so damn judgy. It affects your tip. Xo rougie
9:23 PM Sep 8th from TwitterBerry

How much do I love the guy next to me at the bar? He just whipped a flask out of his pocket.
10:27 PM Sep 8th from TwitterBerry

$2 for a Diet Coke from the hotel vending machine. Yep - I'm an asshole - I mean addict.....
9:49 AM Sep 9th from TwitterBerry

Not ONE but TWO back-to-back positive customer service experiences with financial institutions. Thank you US Bank and BoA #citibank #sucks
6:16 PM Sep 9th from web

Seriously - went to light my new grill and OMFG - the thing won't fucking ignite! FML!!!
7:37 PM Sep 9th from web

I signed up for an ass kicking and got it. Today my trainer called me a Monster and said I should be on a Wheaties box. Cuz I'm a champ.
9:53 AM Sep 10th from TwitterBerry

If I don't Tweet tomorrow it's because Oh Yeah I Can't Lift My Flipping Arms.
10:39 AM Sep 10th from TwitterBerry

Oh Lord. Dealing with Citibank. AGAIN. Let the Twitterrant begin. #citibank # sucks
2:13 PM Sep 10th from web

New ways in which Citibank is trying to torture me: a crappy phone system and a rep who hung up on me. #citibank #sucks
2:15 PM Sep 10th from web

Dear Vikram Pandit: Your phone service SUCKS. Almost as much as your customer service. #citibank #sucks
2:16 PM Sep 10th from web

Suck it CITIBANK. OK? Just SUCK IT. I hope you go out of business soon. Really, really soon. #citibank #sucks
2:33 PM Sep 10th from web

@Jenware just found me 2lbs. of ground lamb - how awesome is she? Authentic moussaka - here I come!
6:18 PM Sep 10th from TwitterBerry

I love my cat but OMG does he need to be in my lap every second of every day?
10:25 AM Sep 11th from web

Eating is not really enjoyable when you are sucking your food up like a vacuum cleaner.
1:36 PM Sep 11th from web

THANK YOU Lord for letting me light my grill. Otherwise I was going to be serving turkey on rice cakes to my guests tonight.
2:48 PM Sep 11th from TwitterBerry

And I think moussaka is a much better dish for a Greek wine tasting party - don't you?
2:48 PM Sep 11th from TwitterBerry

DAMN!! This moussaka smells INCREDIBLE!
6:29 PM Sep 11th from TwitterBerry

Ok. The moussaka smelled good. It looked good. It tastes fucking off the hook phenomenal!!!!!!!
8:00 PM Sep 11th from TwitterBerry

Best combo of the evening #1: baklava and mavrodaphne. OMG - the Greeks got it right with that one.
10:05 PM Sep 11th from TwitterBerry

Best combo of the evening #2: @lilsaej + @rougeneck = trouble. Natch.
10:06 PM Sep 11th from TwitterBerry

Crap! My cat just bit my nose. Like REALLY FUCKING BIT MY NOSE! Like bleeding because he bit my nose! WTFH???
7:07 AM Sep 12th from TwitterBerry

Still bleeding.
7:18 AM Sep 12th from TwitterBerry

The same cat that just took a hunk out of my nose is now rubbing up against me and trying to be all affectionate. Seriously dude???
7:26 AM Sep 12th from TwitterBerry

Also? Leftover moussaka is the breakfast of champions. Or maybe monsters.
7:27 AM Sep 12th from TwitterBerry

Men are sick and twisted bastards. Yep. I said it.
9:07 AM Sep 12th from web

Don't look so judgy dump peeps. I hosted a wine tasting last night. Its not like I drank these all by myself.
9:56 AM Sep 12th from TwitterBerry

At the gym. Just saw my trainer. We're doing suicides on Monday night. FML.
10:54 AM Sep 12th from TwitterBerry

My cat is trying to get back in my good graces. Dude - you BIT MY NOSE this morning. I was bleeding. I need more time.
12:29 PM Sep 12th from TwitterBerry

Heading to Asheville to run the JBL 5K tomorrow. 3.1 miles isn't much but OMFG it's my first actual race!!!
1:17 PM Sep 12th from TwitterBerry

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Best Hug Ever

The best hug I ever received in my life was from my father on September 12th, 2001. You see – for about an hour or 2 the day before my father had not known whether I was alive, dead, injured, or safe. And as any of you parents out there know, believing that your child is somehow in harm’s way for a minute - even for a second - is too long.

I was at the World Trade Center on September 11th. In fact – I was at the WTC every morning as it was my gateway to the financial district. Whether I came in from Hoboken by ferry and took a shuttle bus down the West Side Highway where it would deposit us in front of WTC 1. Whether I would take the PATH to the station below the WTC. Whether I would stroll through the concourse for some early morning retail therapy. Or pause to admire some vegetables at the Farmer’s Market. I was always at the WTC. Every morning. And dad knew this because at least 2 or 3 mornings a week I would be on the phone with him while making my way from the WTC to the office on Broad Street. So when the first plane hit, and dad looked at the clock, he knew exactly where I was.

I don’t really talk about my 9/11 experience and whenever the subject of 9/11 comes up in conversation, I tend to downplay my story. For me, it’s not a badge or a label or something to be proud of. I don’t think it was that noble. Or heroic. Or brave. I just sort of feel like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Also, there’s no short and easy way for me to describe that morning or the days that followed. Part of that is me. In general I tend to share a lot of details and a lot of back-story and I have a hard time not sharing the full context.

But especially that day. That story. I wrote about it in grand detail while it was fresh in my mind. Five and a half single-spaced pages or 4357 words to be exact. And when the subject comes up – or someone asks – that’s how I remember it. But it’s not efficient to share five and a half single-spaced pages or 4357 words on the subject – particularly in the course of normal conversation.

Back to the hug. By the time we got together, dad had already known for some time that I was ok. But it hadn’t dampened any of the fear or anxiety he had felt the day before because that first moment of seeing each other was…it was like nothing I have ever known. My father broke down and I found myself in the role of parent: comforting, holding, soothing. It was without a doubt the greatest hug I have ever received. And I suppose given. It was pure love. Nothing else.

In Memoriam: for those who lost their lives on that tragic day 8 years ago and for all of us who still grieve.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Little Runner That Could

I am bracing myself to run the Ravenel Bridge. It's something I've always dreamed of doing. Well - not really always. In fact, I don't know exactly when the idea struck - but sometime between getting bit by the running bug and knowing I was going to be in Charleston, I have dreamed of running The Bridge.

I am with Iron Man. It's just after 5pm on an early September day. I have noticed that while it's not HOT as it can be in sometimes in Charleston, it's not exactly cool. Iron Man thinks it may be 90 degrees. At least there's no humidity.

Iron Man is lending me his GPS watch so I can see how fucking amazing it is what it's like to train with one. This will tell me everything I need to know from distance to time to calories burned to elevation to heart rate to pace. He buckles it on my wrist and points out the 4 data points tracked on the main screen. I am most concerned about distance and pace.

We get ready to run. Iron Man runs slower than I do and he plans on running a shorter distance. He has given me an extreme detailed outline of the run: 3/4 of a mile from the office to the bridge. A total of 2 miles by the time you reach the first diamond. Two and a half to the second. If you run the bridge in its entirety and find yourself on flat ground - that's 3.1 miles also known as a 5K.

Iron Man has told me about the 6% incline on the back end. Easy going down. Quad busting on the way back. He's warned me to pace myself. It's easy to take advantage of the downhill slopes and forget that for every time you go down, you must come back up.

We've talked about goals. Every race, every competition there should be two goals. The Happy Goal and the Mountaintop Goal. The Happy Goal is basically what do I need to do to complete this endeavor and feel good about it? The Mountaintop Goal is what do I need to do to complete this endeavor and feel fucking absitively GREAT about it? Knowing my average pace and times, I have decided that to run 10K (there and back over The Bridge) I would be happy to complete it in under 56 minutes and FUCKING PSYCHED as all get out to complete it in 53 minutes or less.

I press Play on my iPod and start running. Although it's late in the day, the sun is still shining and it's hot. I am used to running on a treadmill as of late so I check the GPS watch to monitor my pace. I have 6.2 miles to conquer - I don't want to burn out too soon.

The first 3/4 of a mile is a breeze. There's something kicky on my iPod and I am pumping my fist and shaking my ass. As I round the turn onto the bridge, I feel a sudden rush. It's been a while since I have been for a run outside and it feels good. It feels good to be in the sun. To smell the water. It feels good to feel safe. I love that I am not on a treadmill or running circles around a track. There's a breeze off the water. I reach the first diamond and feel great.

When I pass the second diamond I start to pay attention. This is the 6% incline. Going down will be easy. Too easy. I check the GPS and see my pace is below a 7-minute mile. I slow down.

It's hot. I am thirsty. When I run the track or run at the gym, I always have water. When I get to the bottom of the bridge I spy a water fountain but there are people clustered around and so I pass. I run exactly 3.1 miles and then I turn around and begin the return journey.

It's hard. Oh so hard. Quad busting doesn't even begin to describe it. And despite the fact that I have recently done some interval training on the treadmill, I am not prepared for this. I am huffing. Puffing. Occasionally exclaiming "Fuck" or "Crap" or "Holy Hell" to the stream of cars passing by. I have never stopped mid-run before but OMFG...I eventually have to. I Can. Not. Breathe. So I stop to walk for a minute. I feel disappointed in myself. Who stops to walk? Sixty seconds pass and I pick up the pace briefly but once again I Can. Not. Breathe. I stop again. This time for a minute and a half. Now I know this is going to fuck up my pace and my time but there's nothing I can do. I trudge up that 6% incline trying not to pass out but all the while kicking the shit out of myself mentally.

I can see the second diamond. It's within reach. So I start to jog - slowly, methodically. I tell myself if I can reach the second diamond - I can stop and walk again. I make it - and decide to continue onto to the first diamond. If I can make it to the first diamond, I can walk for a minute.

Somewhere between the 2 diamonds a breeze comes in off the water and chills me. Literally. Despite the fact that my core temperature is probably over 100 degrees, I am also drenched with sweat and the breeze blowing over my wet body leaves me covered with goosebumps. Which causes me to panic. Really. Who has goosebumps when they are this hot? It can't be normal or healthy. Words like hypothermia race through my mind. I wonder if I am dehydrated? Or something worse? I wonder if I am doing any kind of serious physical damage by being so physically hot and yet feeling chilled? So yeah - my neuroses kick in big time and I feel like I want to die.

And then I have about 1000 different thoughts including but not limited to:

* Holy crap. I am so unprepared for Kiawah. So unprepared.

* Running the track and treadmill are fine but if I have any intention of really being ready, I need to get my ass outside in some road conditions. Hills. Sun. Whatever.

* How can I possibly have to pee given that I am dehydrated and that I have probably sweat out 10lbs. of water?

* I can't do this.

* I want to die.

* I want to quit. Can I quit?

* Holy crap. I am so unprepared for Kiawah. So unprepared. Really.

And then I want to cry because what the Hell have I been doing for the last 2 months? Seriously. I am kidding myself if I think that 8.5 miles on a treadmill is remote training for a half marathon. And OMFG I stopped to walk. CRAP. Who does that? I am writing the blog post about failure in my head as I huff and puff my way across The Bridge.

It was rough y'all. Really, really rough. But at least my mental ass-kicking got me to the other side of the first diamond and onto a slow, steady downhill leg to the start of the bridge.

Ok Country Girl - I know you wanted to run 10K but really - you might vomit up a lung AND you are dehydrated AND you might have hypothermia so it's ok to stop at the base of the bridge. Really - that's just over 5 miles. Clearly you aren't ready to run 10K in real life conditions. You can walk the last 3/4 of a mile back to the office. This is what I tell myself.

The last leg of The Bridge takes forever. I check the GPS watch obsessively to see how far I have left to go. As I approach the bottom I think about the water fountain I passed on the way out. I must stop and drink. But when I get to the bottom, there is a crowd around the water fountain. I keep on jogging.

Three quarters of a mile. Three quarters of a mile. There is no way I can do it but I know if I stop to walk, even for a minute, I will never be able to start running again. My whole body is screaming in pain and I want to die. Plus, I am hot and cold all at the same time. AND I am dehydrated and yet have to pee. My body hates me. Clearly.

Construction. I remember passing some construction on the way out. I tell myself if I can make it to the construction, I can stop to walk. I slow my pace. Going for time is out the window.

I am at the orange and white barrels. I consider stopping but then tell myself that I can make it to the Texaco station. The Texaco station is a few blocks from the office - if I make it there, THEN I can stop.

I reach Texaco. There is a car blocking my path and so I run around it. I am tempted to stop but then in the distance I see a figure approaching. It looks like Iron Man. I know he was supposed to finish about 10 minutes before me and I think this is him walking up to meet me, to cheer me on, to run the last leg with me. I get a fraction of my second wind.

I run towards him, breathing methodically. Trying to limit how many times I can let the word "Fuck" escape my lips as my entire body inches towards rebellion.

It's not Iron Man. The figure walking towards me is NOT Iron Man. I only figure this out as we actually pass each other and discover it's some dude texting on his cell phone. But at this point I am too far to turn back. And then, I can see the corner. THE corner where we started. And there in the final distance, is Iron Man. I can definitely spot him.

I need one final push. Something to get me the last 2 blocks. When I run on the treadmill and I can control the speed, I always sprint the last half mile. However this is different. I am pretty sure there will be no sprinting. I just want to finish. And then...Hey Ya by Outkast comes on my iPod. And Holy Hell y'all - if that ain't the kickiest, ass-shakingest, shake a tailfeather song EVAH then I don't know what is. I get the back half of my second wind and book it the last 2 blocks.

I press stop on the GPS without looking. I can't breathe. I am hot. Cold. Dehydrated. And have to pee. Iron Man is trying to read my stats. I drag him across the street back to the office (because I need water) with him still trying to unbuckle the GPS off my wrist.

53:07. I have run near damn 10K (At 6.18 miles I fell 47 feet short) in 53:07. Despite stopping to walk twice, my average pace is an 8:35 minute mile. My best pace is a 6:12 minute mile. I have burned 827 calories. HOLY FUCK Y'ALL - 53:07. All of a sudden blog posts about failure are out the window.

53:07. So close to my Mountaintop Goal...and you know what? I might not quite have scaled the mountain, but I bitchslapped the Hell out of that Bridge.

And if that ain't further proof that I am a total Bad Ass, I'll kiss your...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Things I Learned This Weekend

1) There is a time and a place for Waffle House. Generally, after 1am.

2) When at Waffle House, always opt for the cheesey hash browns. Always.

3) Beer tastes better when you are on a lake.

4) If you are out on a boat on a lake drinking beer, apparently the only reason to get in the lake is to pee. Really. There's no cooling off. There's no swimming. The lake is basically a giant toilet.

5) Unless you are me and have "issues" in which case you make everyone ride with you to the marina because you require porcelain under your ass.

6) Attempts at being "healthy" by buying Baked Doritos are pretty much shot to Hell if you eat the entire bag. Also - if you chase it with an entire bag of Cheetos.

7) Lilsaej and I are "trouble" and from now on will be known as T1 and T2.



8) Speaking of Trouble...it's an aggravating game. That said, Lilsaej and I totally won.

9) You can be sure that Lilsaej and I will always drink exactly the full amount of Michelob Ultra packed in our cooler.

10) Under extreme duress, I actually can pee in a lake.

11) Tomato pie is not really pie but it's damn fucking good.

12) There's no such thing as a brownie that is too chocolatey.

13) You can never have too many koozies.

14) Frogmore stew does not really contain frogs.

15) I don't have to do it all myself and that's okay.

16) As much as I love my girls, some times it's fun to be one of the boys.







17) NASCAR is less entertaining if there's no chance that the #48 will win.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

My Week In Tweets: August 30th - September 5th

Blogging from bed. Gotta love wi-fi....
9:36 AM Aug 30th from web

I am now being followed by Detox Tips. WTF? Do I seem toxic on Twitter? DO I?
11:06 AM Aug 30th from web

I mean...it's Sunday. Day of Bloody Mary's and Mimosas before noon....
11:07 AM Aug 30th from web

Could I hate Citibank any more? I don't think so....
3:23 PM Aug 30th from web

watching my cat hack up a hairball....GROSS
3:24 PM Aug 30th from web

Citibank - you are SUCKING MY SOUL. OMG I HATE YOU I HATE YOU I HATE YOU.
3:36 PM Aug 30th from web

It's sad when watching (and listening to) your cat vomit is more enjoyable then dealing with the bank that satan spawned. #citbank #sucks
3:38 PM Aug 30th from web

Dontcha love when you have 5 mins left in a workout, you are out of steam, and then a killer song comes on? Thanks Black Eyed Peas!
4:54 PM Aug 30th from TwitterBerry

ACK! One of the 37 old address books I have saved from over 10 years ago actually JUST CAME IN HANDY.
8:45 PM Aug 30th from web

Sigh. Had not given slightest consideration to outdoor activites during mountain retreat and my penchant for injuries...
9:17 AM Aug 31st from web

From my brother: "Small piece of advice: if you injure yourself seek medical treatment...not Twitter :)" Thanks big brother. Thanks.
9:17 AM Aug 31st from web

Withdrawl. Serious fucking withdrawl.
8:35 AM Sep 1st from TwitterBerry

Logged on b/c OMG - Withdrawl! And 80 unread emails in my Yahoo. PANIC.
4:03 PM Sep 1st from web

Still having serious withdrawl....
4:11 PM Sep 1st from TwitterBerry

OMG - is this a signal?
7:11 AM Sep 2nd from TwitterBerry

No toothpaste. Sorry dudes.
7:31 AM Sep 2nd from TwitterBerry

So I skipped a cheeseburger all the way at the Shake Shop in Cherryville for a nest from Ginger. #betterpartofvalor
12:57 PM Sep 2nd from TwitterBerry

Roadkill in my driveway. Welcome the fuck home.
1:30 PM Sep 2nd from TwitterBerry

So I am seriously wondering: how the hell do I catch up on 2 missed days in the Twitterverse?
1:51 PM Sep 2nd from web

Also - what the fuck am I going to do about the dead possum in my driveway???
1:51 PM Sep 2nd from web

Oh dear. I've been discovered. My super secret identity is not so secret any more. Crap.
3:53 PM Sep 2nd from TwitterBerry

Football practice. Oh my - day is looking a little bit better....
5:41 PM Sep 2nd from TwitterBerry

Does anybody have 6 extra hours to spare please? #noideahowimgonnagetitalldonecrap
7:09 PM Sep 2nd from web

Roadkill. Not for the faint of heart. Welcome home rougie - welcome home.
8:02 PM Sep 2nd from TwitPic

The blue screen off death + a vending machine that's jammed means no lunch for lil rougie....
12:27 PM Sep 3rd from TwitterBerry

About to get my ass kicked by a personal trainer. Oddly enough - I kinda can't wait.
6:05 PM Sep 3rd from TwitterBerry

My personal trainer called me a beast. Said I was the first woman to ever request to do pull-ups. Thought I was a bad ass....
7:34 PM Sep 3rd from TwitterBerry

....Then we did abs. Yeah - still some work to do on full on bad ass status. #holyhellillbesoretomorrow
7:35 PM Sep 3rd from TwitterBerry

Will someone please tell me why I thought 30 minutes on the elliptical AFTER the trainer kicked my ass was a good idea?
8:10 PM Sep 3rd from TwitterBerry

Meet Kaiser Soze. AKA Baby Face Finster. Now you see why I want him to join Twitter! 9:58 PM Sep 3rd from TweetDeck

Rougie is good. Really, really, really fucking good.
11:30 PM Sep 3rd from web

And Citibank continues to make me stabby #citibank #sucks
7:11 AM Sep 4th from web

Bite me Citibank. Bite me. #citibank #sucks
7:13 AM Sep 4th from web

Dear Vikram Pandit: You run a shitty bank with crappy policies designed to make life miserable for your customers. Congrats #citibank #sucks
7:19 AM Sep 4th from web

It's too fucking early to be this damn apoplectic. #citibank #sucks
7:22 AM Sep 4th from web

Dear Vikram Pandit: No wonder your stock is in the toilet. #citibank sucks
8:50 AM Sep 4th from web

Dear Virkam Pandit: My 3.5yo nephew knows more about quantum physics than you do about customer service. #citibank #sucks
8:51 AM Sep 4th from web

Dear Vikram Pandit: "Too big to fail, too strong to succeed." Exactly. #citibank #sucks
11:01 AM Sep 4th from web

Just discovered that one of the local priests reads my blog. Maybe I should tone down all the badasses.
11:47 AM Sep 4th from TwitterBerry

Of course - he is the Episcopalian priest. And I did give him the blog address. I just never believe that people will actually read it.
11:48 AM Sep 4th from TwitterBerry

His note to me: "Best wishes on your journey to realizing your inner and outer bad ass." God love him.
11:53 AM Sep 4th from TwitterBerry

Everything I need and want in this world is on sale at Harris Teeter. SWEET!
2:20 PM Sep 4th from TwitterBerry

My cat has the crazies. His eyes are 2 giant black circles and he's freaking out. About what - I have no idea.
7:37 AM Sep 5th from TwitterBerry

Lakeside with @lilsaej. First Mich Ultra and Ghiradelli brownies.....sigh - I smell trouble.....
1:06 PM Sep 5th from TwitterBerry

From now on @lilsaej and I will be known as Trouble 1 and Trouble 2. Which is which is up for debate.......
3:04 PM Sep 5th from TwitterBerry

The sky is blue, the beer is cold and life is GOOD!
5:22 PM Sep 5th from TwitterBerry

@lilsaej and I just kicked ass at Trouble. No wonder given that oh yeah....we're trouble.......
5:47 PM Sep 5th from TwitterBerry

Why is it so easy to drink beer on a lake?
7:11 PM Sep 5th from TwitterBerry

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Friday, September 04, 2009

I Don't Do Anything In Moderation a la Deux

So yeah. Zero to 70 in 3 seconds flat. That's me.

Did I tell you I joined a gym? I did. Training for the half marathon has me both inspired and scared. All of this running is taking a toll on my knee and I will tell you what - after 8.5 miles (in 1:13:26 thank you very much) - I fucking feel it. And so I decided that since I was so far ahead of schedule in terms of training, I would join a gym to engage in a little cross training action and give my knee a rest a few days a week.

I also decided to once again hire a personal trainer. It's been a while - about 3 years since I paid anyone to whip my ass into shape but something about feeling so mentally strong has inspired me to be physically strong as well. And while I have been putting myself through the paces at home with free weights, an 18-lb. body bar and sick crazy amounts of discipline (squats, lunges, curls, presses, lather, rinse, repeat, moan) it's not quite the same as hiring a professional to kick your ass. Which is exactly what I told nice Mr. Gym Man when I signed up the other week.

See - I am a girl. And I am a rather wee little thing. And I am generally pretty cute. And so when I told him I wanted to sign up for personal training, I clarified that: I WANTED SOMEONE TO KICK MY ASS. Seriously. And guess what? He totally complied.

I had my first session last night at 6:30pm. I arrived early so I could spend 20 minutes on the treadmill and get warmed up because I naturally assumed I was actually going to have a session. My trainer, Cruz, approached me barely 5 minutes into my run and said he was ready to discuss my regimen whenever I was ready. So I cut my run down to 10 minutes and then Cruz and I had a little chat where I gave him epic details on my training, my weight routines at home, my knee, how I don't want to look bulky or like a musclehead, and my utter levels of crazy desire to have my ass kicked. HARD CORE. He asked me when I wanted to have my first session and I was like...um...NOW! And so we did.

And Holy Hell y'all...Country Girl got her wish. She had her ass ceremoniously kicked and it was AWESOME! (Yes - I know I am insane. Just roll with it kids.)

We started out with super sets which OMG are awesome and amazing because they are so fucking efficient. Squats/shoulder presses. Walking lunges/bicep curls. Stiff legs/back presses (or something - I don't know what the Hell it's called). Four sets with 45-second rests in between.

Then chest presses and flys.

Then crazy, insane work on my triceps because despite being wee, and despite starting to already see some lovely definition in my upper arms, my triceps are perpetually flabby and it bothers me.

Then I voluntarily said something about wanting to do pull ups because yeah...I am crazy. And while I managed to get through 3 sets of 8 pull ups each on the machine, the goal is to do 8 unassisted pull ups eventually like the bad ass I know I am. And Cruz literally called me a "Beast" and said he'd never had a female client actually request to do pull-ups before. HA! You don't know who you are dealing with dude!

And then we did abs and OMG Holy Hell y'all - my core strength is for shit. And despite having had an awesome session where I got complimented on everything from my form to my strength to my breathing...abs fucking kicked my ass. And then, just to further inflict more torture, we did planks for 30 seconds facing front and then 30 seconds on each side. And then Cruz told me he does planks for 2 minutes at a time and I was like yeah...I am totally going to be rocking 2 minutes planks in the very near future.

And then, because I am totally insane I was high on endorphins, I hopped on the elliptical for 30 minutes to finish up my cardio.

So yeah - still smiling at being called a Beast and being the only girl so far to request pull ups. Also - I mentioned something about boxing because OMG y'all, when I lived in Texas, I actually boxed. Seriously - I joined an old-school, bad ass boxing gym that had zero air conditioning and a bunch of dudes sweating their asses off and I did bag work and speed bag work and 3 minute rounds in the ring with my Russian trainer Steve but only I am me and wee and cute and so my boxing gloves were pink because that's how I roll yo. Anyways - super sets with Cruz were done on the basketball court and suddenly my 45-second rests in between will now be spent jumping rope.

So yeah. Zero to 70 in 3 seconds flat. That's me.

And if you don't think I am a total bad ass, I will kiss (and then kick) your...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

ACK!

ACK! My hands have finally stopped shaking. My breathing has returned to normal. My heart has stopped racing. And I can finally see straight because...I am back online. Yes - I survived my 3 days in the mountains with very little Internet but OMG y'all, I have some kind of problem.

So yeah...upon checking in I ask the lovely old lady behind the counter if there's wireless in the cabin (because after all, I did have my laptop with me). She looked at me funny because WHO THE HELL COMES TO THE MOUNTAINS TO SIT IN THEIR ROOM ONLINE? Yeah. Not me. Swear. Just a few things I want to check. While I ice my knee. I mean- I am going to be in the room anyways...As it turns out, no Internet in the rooms but there is Internet in the main building. Strike 1.

Strike 2? NO FUCKING CELL SERVICE. The Crackberry was pretty much useless because cell service was spotty at best and a matter of mere inches - Hell, fractions of inches - meant the difference between being able to DO ANYTHING on my phone and not do a damn thing. Oh I went through serious withdrawl and truth be told...when I finally managed to get enough signal to check my Yahoo and saw 53 UNREAD emails I panicked, dragged my laptop to the main building and plugged in. Then I breathed a sigh of relief.

As it is, I am mostly caught up on some stuff, not remotely caught up on others and have decided that there is no way in Hell I can read through 60+ hours of missed Tweets. If you Tweeted anything awesome between Monday morning and 3pm yesterday, DM me please.

Withdrawl issues asides, the mountains were lovely and COLD and OMG I wore my first fall sweater and we had fires and I ate soup and I went for an amazing hike where I totally left all of my male co-workers in the dust. Seriously, I reached the summit and waited 15 minutes before the 2 sent on to find me finally made it. Am total hiking badass. Natch. Also? I was tired of listening to them talk about peeing outside and teaching their sons to pee outside. Puh-Leeze. Get over it.


So I forgot to bring my camera on the hike, but this is the massive peak I scaled in less than an hour. And that takes into account my having to stop on several occasions so the boys could catch up with me. Badass. I am a badass.

And last night after dinner we were down at the bar and then we went outside and they built us this awesome fire in a pit and then I had the bright idea to make s'mores and found one of the managers and OMG y'all - they totally had crap for s'mores and so yeah...we were roasting marshmallows and it was generally awesome.

ACK! The last 3 days I have been on a pancake-pie-fried chicken wing-country ham-wine diet. It's a lot of fun but OMG...need to detox. On all counts.

ACK! The work peeps found me. I think. I can't tell. Here's the deal. I finally had a chance to log onto Sitemeter and was reviewing traffic for the last few days when I noticed someone had been on today for ~ 20 minutes and viewed 8 pages. That's pretty substantial for my wee little blog and so I clicked on the link to get more details. That's when I saw it. The ISP address. Registered to MY FIRM. OMG! OMG! OMG Y'ALL!!!` The one thing in this world I am most terrified of (besides raw chicken, being buried alive and losing my parents). CRAP.

What happened next was a blur. There was some early-stage rationalization - like perhaps it wasn't MY work peeps. Perhaps it was someone else on the other side of the firm who found me because I do have some fans in Asheville and my sex with the sidewalk story is kind of legendary. Maybe it was about Country Girl and not the girl behind Country Girl. Then I wondered if in a moment of cabernet-marshmallow induced madness I actually told the work peeps about my wee little blog. Surely not. Then again marshmallows and cabernet are a deadly combination. Then I wondered if the work peeps had actually gone into work today or just headed home from the mountains. At the end of the day, I have no idea who exactly found me. And if they even know it's me. But I am pretty sure Elastigirl has been revealed. Oh - the real kick in the pants? The exit click was to my Twitter. Hello work peeps: meet Rougeneck.

But here's the thing: I LOVE MY WORK PEEPS. Truly. These last few days with them have been awesome and I even suggested to a friend of mine on my way home that I could share this with them because they are cool and some of them have worse language then I do and clearly I am not the only one who enjoys imbibing so...yeah...why NOT tell them? It's not like I am out killing puppies or proselytizing Satanism or promoting something illegal or DOING ANYTHING WRONG. There is no reference to where I work, who I work for or what I do (other than my sharing with you that I am a Director of...) and so WHY THE HELL AM I SO FUCKING PANICKED???

ACK! The cherry on the sundae known as my day yesterday...I came home to roadkill right in front of my mailbox. I wasn't going to take a picture. Really I wasn't. Those beady, black eyes staring at me were totally freaking me out. But in the end, I caved, because hello darling readers, I have your best interest at heart. That said: not for the faint of heart.

Click here to meet the dead little bastard.

And here's the problem: while I totally have no problems castrating goats, I don't fucking do roadkill.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

More Quasi Dirty Poetry

I am taking a cue from my blogging friend who can not be named and turning to the power of poetry to fill a post. Not that this is filler fluff or anything. It's not. It's e.e. Cummings and the dude is a total fucking genius. It's just my mental energy is all tapped out and so rather then struggle to write something lame and half-assed, I am relying on the eloquent and entertaining words of Mr. Cummings to keep you engaged today. And yeah, once again, it's quasi dirty. Awesome.

may i feel said he
e.e. Cummings

may i feel said he
(i'll squeal said she
just once said he)
it's fun said she

(may i touch said he
how much said she
a lot said he)
why not said she

(let's go said he
not too far said she
what's too far said he
where you are said she)

may i stay said he
which way said she
like this said he
if you kiss said she

may i move said he
is it love said she)
if you're willing said he
(but you're killing said she

but it's life said he
but your wife said she
now said he)
ow said she

(tiptop said he
don't stop said she
oh no said he)
go slow said she

(cccome?said he
ummm said she)
you're divine!said he
(you are Mine said she)


And if that ain't awesome quasi dirty poetry, I'll kiss your...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Please Don't Poke Me

Y'all: I am SUPER BUSY these days and my travel schedule for the next few weeks is utterly insane. I am doing what I can to keep this little blog flourishing but OMG...unless someone creates a 28-hour day and an 8-day week there is simply not enough time to get it all done. Which I know is ok. We all go through these phases.

Anyways, I felt quite fortunate to have a guest poster step in last week and help pick up some of the slack and I was wondering how I would manage this week when...the genius of Twitter saved my ass. Seriously - one random Tweet about needing a guest poster (sorry kids - I have yet to figure out how to paste screen shots of Twitter into Blogger) and BAM: The lovely, talented, amazing, gorgeous and totally awesometastic Modern Matriarch stepped in and volunteered her wickedly snarky and always entertaining services. I mean really - who feels like the luckiest blogger in the internetwebosphere?

Seriously, Modern Matriarch is a total blogging bad ass and to have her talent on my wee little blog - well, it's an honor. So without further ado...


************************************

Don’t poke me.

Don’t superpoke me.

Don’t send me a flower for my garden or a watermelon martini.

I don’t care if your imaginary zoo bred another animal or if you took a quiz about what 1980s sitcom character you are.

I hate Facebook.

I want to like Facebook. I really do. But I don’t.

The thing that annoys me the most is that it brings together all aspects of my life into one giant place as if they were one. I don’t want my coworkers or boss seeing pictures of me out at a bar licking my gay best friend’s bicep. I don’t want my friend’s mother from high school inviting me to Mary Kay parties. I don’t want to be friends with someone who I passed in the hall in high school.

I want my blog stuff separate from my work stuff. I want my friends separate from random-ass acquaintances. I don’t want it all in one place.

The end of the world as we know it was the day I opened my email to this:

April Miller wants to be your friend on Facebook. April Miller is my MOTHER. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that my mother is embracing social networking rather than crossing her arms in front of her chest and saying, “I don’t use those computer things” like many in her generation. I am glad she is reconnecting with old friends and keeping in better touch with family members.

But, my mom? For the love of foie gras.

I get that a lot of people love Facebook and spend an inordinate amount of time on it, playing games, taking quizzes, joining causes, becoming fans of things. And to each his own, really. But here’s how I feel:

I DON’T GIVE A MOTHERLESS GOAT’S ASS IF YOU’RE A FAN OF MARGARET HOULIHAN, AKA HOTLIPS.

I guess it’s the apathetic part of me, the misanthropic side that mostly lies dormant, that hates Facebook so much. I’m on it, yes, mostly because I’m a lemming. I have a few hundred friends, a third of whom I give a crap about.

The other two thirds are people I only friended to see if they got fat.

Oh, shut up. You’ve done it too.

So if you are my friend on Facebook and I shoot back a “screw you and your mother” when you send me a fake hatching egg, I apologize. I like YOU, really.

It’s not you Facebook friends, it’s me.

************************************

For the record: I am friends with Modern Matriarch on Facebook, I am a reformed Poker and SuperPoker, but I don't do FB quizzes any more - they make me stabby. I have heretofore avoided any of the time sucks like Farmville and Mafia Wars because as previously stated, I don't have enough time in my day for what needs to get done. Also, I don't friend work peeps.