Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years

Having trouble realizing it's New Years. The move is definitely still front and center as we chip away at the boxes. The holiday didn't help, and we both hope we never have to move around Christmas ever again, because it really does wear on you and leave you missing the spirit.

Started taking pictures finally and realized I haven't unpacked the camera cord yet to download them, so this one's snitched from Tumblr. Les, Mom J., and I are relaxing and waiting for the ball to drop, but I'm so tired...

We ran errands today, got to see more of Asheville. Dang holiday has downtown busy...we were going to hit French Broad Chocolate Lounge, but just couldn't deal with the traffic/parking sitch.

I've been here less than a week, and we've had snow twice. The gods are gifting me nicely, making it just light enough where it doesn't leave us homebound, in spite of our lack of all-weather tires. Les bought salt for the trunk, and is putting together an emergency kit for the car. It's nice to see him take charge on certain things. He's been amazing, working through headaches, and it's helped him see what he's capable of. Certainly helps that he has family members who let their disabilities control their lives...helps him see how he doesn't want to live.

Mom J. heads back home to Aiken tomorrow. It's been a good visit for all parties concerned. We're ready to tear into the 2nd bedroom, which is harder when there's a guest utilizing it, so her departure is well-timed (plus I start work Wednesday). I'll work sites this week, organize myself, and hit the ground running next Monday. I know I said January 2nd for starting the job hunt, but given the state of the apartment still, it's more realistic to finish unpacking.

Still can't believe we don't have to go home to Florida. I voice this, and Les reminds me that this is home now. My cup runneth over!

Image from here.

Friday, December 28, 2012


There's just so much. So busy. Such physical work. The holiday. The mom-in-law accompanying us to Weaverville, such a blessing, for her and us. Unpacking, bit by bit. Kitchen nearly set. Washer/dryer arrived today. Walmart trip for provisions done, gift cards procured before and during holiday cut that bill in half. Curtains purchased, hopefully up tomorrow. Camera not unpacked yet. Master bedroom is about halfway there, guest room is a cluster. We're contemplating an entertainment center for the living room and some bookshelves. Want to investigate the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Aaron's Rent to Own, because cash is getting...

Did I mention the washer/dryer? Oh, I did...well, let's mention those suckers again. I've been hoofing it to laundry facilities for 18 f-ing years. Mom J. has a knack for finding local stores. We found a used set for $315 and they threw in a toaster oven for $5. I'm still reveling in our good fortune.

The apartment may be older than it looks, and initially its size was a concern; but now that we're unpacking and finding places for stuff, it's quite adequate. The kitchen is a frickin' dream, amazing cabinet space and room to move around in. I want to weep with relief. Master bedroom too, room to move around in, in spite of the king-size bed. Living room still rough, will tackle that a bit more tomorrow. Mom J. sticking around til New Years' Day, looks like, and then we'll be in a better position to tackle the 2nd bedroom.

Pics soon...just so much to do. We got snow the first night, slowed down our travel just a pinch. But yesterday, I got us out to Walmart and Lowe's and around town just a bit. Today we hit the local bead shop for Mom J., and I got to visit one of the local yarn shops. Felt good to pet fiber again.

I'm dropping weight from all the activity and my body is screaming at the end of the day. I look forward to working out more gently soon. My knees were pissed the first couple of days, but today they finally gave me a breather from the pain. My right foot is another story. I've learned just how much arthritis I have, thanks to this move. The desire to retard that and find more homeopathic methods of dealing with the pain is high on my list. Luckily, I'm in the right place to investigate that further.

More soon.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Happy Solstice & Merry Yule!

The only problem I have with being adequately medicated is when it keeps the good stuff out too. I suppose I should be grateful, because the level of hyperactivity I should be feeling about how close we are (to my dream of getting the hell outta Florida), would make it hard to actually get stuff done. It's bad enough I don't have enough lists made for my liking, though it's pretty easy to take a good look around the apartment and see what still needs to be done.....

So I guess it is good that I'm on an even keel, because even with that, I'm pretty much on auto-pilot right now. Finishing up last day of work, and looking ahead to what still needs to be done. Tonight, stop by Home  Depot and pick up plastic, grab something for dinner, say goodbye to Lil Bro. Pack everything else in the house. Les is hopefully doing a chunk of that while I'm at work. Pass out at decent hour, because we need to get up at decent hour to pick up truck. Movers come at noonish. Sheer chaos for about 3 hours. Don't forget their tips, that goes on tonight's list, when I deposit the holiday bonus check. Odds and ends when they leave tomorrow afternoon...we're keeping the TV hooked up for something to do, and crashing on air mattresses. Sunday morning, we head to SC.

Christmas without Dad and Grandma...that's gonna be physically painful. I'll push those feelings out of the way by baking and helping Mom and being with her however I can. We're spending Christmas in Aiken, then heading up to Asheville on Boxing Day. I'll blow through town to stop by the rental office and square us away, get the keys, and Hubs will likely continue on to Weaverville with the truck. We meet those movers around 12 noon.

It's really happening.

I've been distracting myself when needed with two amazing new books: Homegrown & Handmade by Deborah Niemann and Home Dairy by Ashley English. Reading these is when I get the "my cup runneth over" feeling...and I think about making my first attempts at cheese in my new kitchen (small, but NOT a galley!!!), using local milk, or tucking my first seeds into fresh soil and pots. I already have the seeds to start an herb garden, bought them awhile back from Annie's. I really hope to set up a planting area near the window in the dining/kitchen area, but if not, it'll go in the 2nd bedroom, and the heck with how crowded it's gonna be in there!

Probably offline the next couple of days, understandably. When we're not doing holiday stuff, we'll be doing move stuff. I have access to the Web in SC, but hilariously, no one has figured out what the new password is for Mom J's Wi-Fi router, so I can't log onto their system with my units.

Have a wonderful holiday, y'all! Stay safe!

Images from here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Home stretch

Asheville could get flurries on Friday. I'm almost sorry I'll miss them. I say almost, because things get real when you're moving back to that type of weather, and we need to save for all-weather tires for the car. I swear we've barely had these tires for 20K miles and the damn things are skidding in the back since we rotated them. Makes me so angry what a throwaway society we've become.

I'll start freaking out tonight. Got a couple more boxes packed last night, and made myself a list. The lease is in my computer, just waiting to be printed and read. Looks about normal. We got lucky and the rent is a little lower than originally listed! Can't tell yet if they'll let me string a clothesline or plant outside. Cat fee is lower than I thought it would be too.

Hubs brought up the point that we should empty the closet tomorrow night so the cat has someplace to be when the movers are here. It's a good idea, so I'll probably be doing some moving around and breaking down of furniture tonight, to get a head start. Shit's getting real.

Doing this over the holiday really does blow. It's an itch I can't scratch. This time of year, I'm baking up a storm to supplement presents, and I want to be making wreaths or at least decorating with pine, testing whether or not Les is still allergic to it. I want to have a pantry of canned goods to use as presents. I'm thinking ahead to strawberry season already, and I want to find a decent salsa verde recipe. Amanda's been cross-stitching lately, and the intricacy of that craft interests me too. I'm ready to be settled in a new place.

Jenna's post was thoughtful today. The way she describes riding horseback, is the way I remember feeling when I used to ride a bike. Given we're moving back to hills, I'm not nearly in shape to bike right now, so it's fine that I don't currently own one, but that's something else that will be saved for in the next year. If nothing else, this year will be teaching us true frugality. I"m scared right now, but determined to do well. Christmas bonus was a pleasant surprise (little bigger than usual), so it's going right in savings for February's rent. I just know that while life is dragging its arse right now, once we're there, we'll blink and January will be gone. I pray I'm gainfully employed (more better) by then.

I'm expecting Les to sleep in on the 27th, but I just know if my body's not completely spent, I'll be out walking, getting to know my new neighborhood. Our rent is just low enough to spook me about the area in which we're moving to, but given how small the town is, I'm not too worried. I'm used to living in slightly depressed conditions, and our building is at the beginning of a road that leads to a trailer park, so we're not talking luxury here. But we're also talking about a town that hasn't had a murder in at least 10 years. I'll take it. :)

Image from here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Need a little...

Can I wallpaper the apartment with this picture?

It doesn't feel like Christmas this year, or Yule, or whatever nearly-atheists celebrate. The move is completely front and center, and the holidays are just a hiccup in between next week. We'll exchange pressies and eat well, and then breathe a sigh of relief.

I'm pretty OK with that, because I'm planning to spend January building a home. It will have seasonal touches and a lot of warmth, even though we're exchanging one box for another, even though there's still no yard, even though...

I always get reverse-seasonal-affective this time of year, so there's that too. Cranking up to frickin' 80 here today. Though to hear Yankees tell it, there's not much winter there yet, this winter either. Very little snow and unseasonably warm. I rage with what humans are doing to the planet....and how blind so many still are to the effects of our actions.

Recycling is only open in our area on the weekends, so we're putting more in the trash this week. That blows, but it can't be helped. We're already carrying too damn much "stuff" to NC; can't afford to bring our recyclables too...though I can see the argument that the planet can't afford for us not to. Sigh. Maybe I'll atone when we get there, with a compost bin and a rain barrel...have to see, though; we live just close enough to the Blue Ridge where a compost bin, even a closed one, could attract bears. This mostly amuses me.

Under the heading of "Toto, this ain't gonna be Kansas," I realized that we're likely too far from civilization to get decent pizza delivery, but that we're in the right ZIP code to pay a bit more and get local milk (and other products) delivered to our door. I hope we can budget that in, because it looks worth the dough, and I damn sure don't want to be hitting up the local Walmart out of laziness when for pennies more, we can get stuff straight from local farms. It's so time to walk the talk!

We've purged and purged, and I just know that as we unpack next week, there are going to be more piles of "wow, why do we still have this?". Hope we can find a local bookstore that takes trade-ins...and thrift stores...and Goodwill...and.....I'm crossing my fingers that we can find inexpensive bookshelves at the local Habitat ReStore.

I'm coming back around from being off the Paxil, new scripts in hand and more meds on the way, all's right with the world. Body almost done aching, though it's hard to tell the difference, because I'm getting a lot more physical activity these days...waking up refreshed, but falling into bed whipped. At least my jeans almost fit again.

So much still to do...wish I didn't have to work this week. Lord, I'm gonna miss the money and security though...we're feeling keenly the concern of not having medical insurance, even just for 2 weeks (or gods forbid, 2 or 3 months). And of the paychecks being even less steady than they are now. I know there's no point in looking for work next week, not really...between unpacking and the holidays, the temp agencies will barely be open...never mind that this is a significant move and we'd be smart to stay in, unpack, get settled, turtle a bit, explore slowly, and get acclimated. But you can bet that January 2nd, I'm hitting the ground running.

Image from here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

In Memory

I'm pretty sure the only reason I'm not a full Buddhist, is because of my recognition that the world that Buddhism aspires to won't happen in my lifetime. This knowledge makes it hard to find peace, which is ironic, given that that's all that the religion espouses.

I'm deeply saddened by today's events in Newtown, CT. I was born in Norwalk, we lived there til I was 5...then we moved north to New Milford, where we stayed til I was 11. Newtown is just east of Danbury, about halfway between Norwalk and New Milford. It feels like some asshole strafed my old stomping grounds, never mind that so many children, babies really, have died.

I get that a small part of this reaction is the lack of Paxil coursing through my brain. But really, it's more than that. Something has to make these tragedies real for a person, for things to sink in properly. When I first learned of Columbine, my reaction was almost one of indifference; just another painful reminder that there are sick people out there. Then I saw the movie Dawn Anna, and that tragedy took on the appropriate level of realness in my head. I guess that's just how it happens sometimes. Today, even though I haven't lived in CT since 1986, even though I have no children of my own, even though my family members up there are all accounted for...I mourn.

Since I don't have children of my own, I want to hug the children of others today. I want to hug my nephew and niece, and my friend Alexa's girls, who I haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet, and my friend Maureen's girls, and Lynn and Michelle's grandbabies. Let's toss Huxley in there too, and Amanda's gorgeous brood. Because it's about the little ones this time...they're talking about this as the 2nd worst school shooting in US history (after VA Tech), and all I can think is VA Tech doesn't count, that was college...I know all deaths in this manner are wrong, but dammit, today we're talking about babies.

I swear I'm talking myself into full Buddhism as I write this.

P.S. Picking up more Paxil tonight...should be rallying in another 48 hours or so...thank the gods!

Image sources on my Tumblr.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Not a holding pattern, mind you...just holding.

Gotta love how time falls certain events seem to conspire to fuck you. Nothing I can do about it now, but yet another thing to set on the list of "let's not let this happen again, whaddayasay?"

Move's still on target, no problems there.

Hubs has been carefully and smartly hoarding his meds for the last 3 months or so, in anticipation of this move. We won't have medical insurance initially, so this was necessary; he's on opiates and doesn't ever want to cold-turkey off those suckers again. (sidenote: last time he detoxed cold turkey, we were attending my ex-boyfriend's wedding. Further proof that God's a comedian.)

You'd think after oh, 15 years of being medicated myself, I'd have learned from his example. But my meds are much "easier" to get (read: not class II narcotics), so I tend to take them for granted. So when I went to the doc last month and asked her for a 3-month Rx for both of them, she said no problem and forwarded it to Walgreen's. I noticed my Rxs were coming due, and rang Walgreen's to see if the insurance had accepted them. Sure enough, they hadn't, which meant I would need to get them via mail order. OK, no problem, just place the order and then they contact the doc's office to fax the Rxs. And here's where relying on others bites you in the arse...for reasons beyond my control or understanding, the doctor's office has not sent the new Rxs to the mail order place. I've given them the fax number, left multiple voicemails and messages, and nothing's happened. If still nothing happens today, I'm thinking I'll have to show up on their doorstep before work tomorrow and fax the bloody things myself. Because here's the kicker: so much time has passed in this process, that I'm starting to detox from the Paxil. sshhh...haven't told Hubs yet...he gets ornery when this happens...

This isn't so bad this time...yet. I've been weaning, and I know what to expect. But still, it makes me want to wear a sign that says...

"Hello. I'm detoxing from Paxil. Please don't take it personally if I offer a completely irrational response to something you say. Actually, here's a better idea: just don't fucking bother me for the next week."

Sidenote #2: Late moon cycle just arrived today too. Insert maniacal laugh track here. Think Hubs will take exception to me having Yellowtail and Mallomars for dinner?

Image from here

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New, much nicer holding pattern.....

The week creeps by...I'm catching a smidge of OT, probably for the last time here...not gonna want to grab any next week, will be a tad busy...waiting on lease...doing online shopping here and there for xmas...we're both procrastinating a pinch as we plod thru this week, but I'm sure the weekend will be something quite different...thinkingthinkingthinking...need to budget a needs shots...wondering about a tranq for the trip too, for her...she's fine on long trips, so long as you can put up with a solid hour of meowing when you first start out...squeezing out some Y workouts before my membership ends...trying to eat meals from home...thinking about Michelle and Lynn...don't see them too often here, but I will definitely miss them...gotta call Cyril too, not sure Lil Bro knows we've solidified things...he works so darn much...wish his life weren't so hard...

Image from here.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Yea, OK, too busy to count down, actually...besides, that'll probably make me even more twitchy than I currently am.

Not twitchy, actually...more like high. My thoughts bounce around quite a bit.....

Security deposit received by rental agency! Lease on its way!

Going to Y later, pants getting loose workout regimen: pack all your belongings into boxes and hoist them to places in your apartment when you're not actually in shape to be performing that task. I've got a spot in my middle back that's a little angry, but mostly I just feel strong.

It won't feel like Christmas this year. It can't really. Even if we weren't moving, Les's family has had too much loss this past year to even know how to celebrate. Mom J. will celebrate by spending too much money as we get closer to the holidays...the rest of us will fake it. I look ahead to next year, because I doubt we'll actually be ready to move again a year from now, and if that's the case and we can renew where we're landing, then I will decorate and celebrate next year. It's been years since we've put the tree up; we probably need a new one. I'll have the whole wonderful outdoors to decorate with.

If my books weren't completely inaccessible, I'd dig out "Bunny Rabbit Concert" by Lawrence Welk. That would help get me in the mood; it's not a Christmas book per se, but it has awesome artwork. Also, I believe there will be a downloading (if possible) at some point of "Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas." I'd ache for Dad while reading/watching those, but it's so worth it.

Image from here.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Seriously, who moves @ frickin' Christmastime?

Apparently lots of people...almost couldn't get booking when and where I needed it. We got quite a bit of packing done Friday and's been more relaxed; Hubs' head is being its usual self, and it's my last day after a whole week off, so we're more chill. Lord though, the only thing keeping us from being completely overwhelmed, is the fact that most of our belongings have already made it into boxes. Les will work on packing this week, as will I, and I have 1 week left on my Y membership so I'm getting my hiney there after work this week too.
In just 2 weeks, we'll have all our belongings in a Budget rental, and we'll be in Aiken. We're spending Christmas with his family and driving north the day after. We're picking up some pretty excellent cast-off furniture from them while we're there...a couple of leather couches and a twin bed, provided we can fit's gonna be interesting.
The only nostalgia I'm feeling is for friends we're leaving...
Images from here.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

So now what?

Yesterday was "holy shit, is this really gonna happen?!" day. We managed to scrape up enough to pay the rent at our current place, and I purchased the money orders for the security deposit. Today was logistics day: I went out first thing and mailed the security deposit, grabbed Hubs' xmas pressie, and spent a big chunk of the day on the ehem, new laptop (!!!! MAN, it's nice!) figuring out the move itself...I booked 2 Men & a Truck, did some online homework that had me laughing at the differences in pricing between even a not-so-large (and individually owned/franchise) outfit such as 2 Men vs. local, smaller moving companies, booked locals instead, cancelled 2 Men, and booked a Budget truck.

Still getting used to the touch pad feature of a laptop "mouse" and I can't figure out click and drag, so an outside mouse will be procured eventually. The laptop was almost an impulse purchase...Hubs and I went out Sunday just to look, and happened upon an HP 17" @ Best Buy with 4GB RAM, 500 GB drive, Intel processor, and Windows 8 in the $350 range...basically everything I wanted and priced a bit lower because it happened to be the last one of that type in their store. I'm over the moon! I wasn't sure we could really afford it, but Hubs was making it happen after I didn't win anything at the company holiday party. Every holiday party, they do a big raffle and give away gift cards, the latest electronics, a couple of big TVs, and even some cruises. The odds of winning ain't great, considering how incredibly big the company is growing...but I celebrate 13 years with the company today and have never won anything at that party. So first world, but Hubs wasn't taking no for an answer. Yea, I'll keep him :)

Can tell I'm getting headachy though, from being on the dang thing so much today, so if you'll excuse me, something very wonderful and special came in the mail today, that I look forward to tucking into, perhaps with some hot tea and a cookie.....

Image from here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


The blasted brokerage money still hasn't dropped, but it should by tomorrow. The minute it does, we'll get a money order mailed off to Asheville and secure our spot in a 2 bedroom apartment in Weaverville, about 15 minutes outside of Asheville (and about 5 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway). If I still weren't so busy ironing out deets, I'd be shouting this from our rooftop...or porch, at least.

We're actually moving! It's finally happening!

Image from here.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Living in the present ...

... doesn't have to happen right now. And that's OK.

I've spent a good portion of today doing 3 things:

  • Reading Ben Hewitt's blog archives
  • Checking my Yahoo accounts to see if
    • a) my brokerage account has updated and
    • b) I've received any correspondence from either my leasing agent in NC or my freelance employer in same state.
  • Checking my eTrade account in case it updated ahead of its email confirmation. This happened last time.
I loathe going into the weekend with things not solidified, but it may not be helped. If the money's not there, I can't put a security deposit on our place yet. Luckily, I spoke with the leasing agent and she mentioned another unit in the same buildings coming available next week, so if for some reason we lose our chance on the unit we're trying for, all would not necessarily be lost. Still...

We're so close to YES on this. And with that realization comes the subject line, because reading Ben Hewitt's blog has me dreaming big time, realizing that I'm a pansy for not wanting to build a home from scratch, that we haven't even scratched the surface on living lighter, that we're (mainly me) still so very, VERY tied to the conveniences of city life. I look at my eating habits in an average work day and can easily see areas for improvement, how with just a bit more effort and planning, I could bring more drinks, more snacks, how when I'm working from home 2 months from now, I'm certainly not going to want to waste the gas and dough for Starbucks when I could make a cuppa at home. And it has me dreaming for both near and distant future...near future includes possibilities like a clothesline even though we'll be living in an apartment building, maybe some cold frames or a portable greenhouse, which would have to be locked down somehow since we won't have any kind of porch in the new place; a compost bin...more distant future dreams have me wondering if 5 acres for our farm is too small, how I'd love access to our own trees for fuel, how rotating pastures for pigs and sheep requires more than a little patch of land.......these ideas belong on my infrequently visited Dark Meadow farm blog.......

My mood about independent contracting has been changing this week. Hells, yes, the first priority practically before we've opened the first box in the new place, will be finding temp-to-perm work somewhere with some sort of medical benefits. I checked COBRA and the rates are laughable, once you get your breath back from the shock of the numbers. So there's that. But there's also the realization that while things are going to be painfully thin at first, that we're also entering a phase where the world's basically wide-open to us...if I can pull off enough dough via contracting to get us by, then my real "job" doesn't have to be a career-builder, just something to get us bennies...and that means new possibilities. I already have a "career" as an editor, and hopefully it will drive my opportunities in the future.....but it doesn't have to define me.

Image from here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holding pattern

Too much to do and nothing to report, so here's an animated GIF to pass the time...

Image from here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

No avoiding it

Pretty sure it's gonna come whether I want it to or not. Pretty sure it's going to come whether we have the money to buy/make anybody anything or not. Pretty sure it's easier to give in and enjoy it a little...may be the only way to make it through the move sane.

Thanksgiving is past. Hello holidays!

Image from here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What I learned

  1. I know I'm out of shape and need to lose weight, but it takes an on-your-feet holiday like Thanksgiving to drive that notion home. My whole body hurts today.
  2. French toast bake was a serious hit, may become annual-ish tradition.
  3. I've never been so satisfied with my cooking, as when I tucked into a slice of pie, which was entirely made from scratch. With the exception of a 5-oz can of evaporated milk, everything else from crust to apple butter and pumpkin was homemade (or as close as you can get without owning a garden or orchard)...and I have plenty of leftover puree and butter to do my holiday breads now too. Unreal how nifty that feels.
  4. Turkey needs a longer brine time, and nothing beats my husband's smoked bird boob still.
  5. Yellowtail Sweet Red Roo is YUMMY!
What will be spent noshing on leftovers, maybe doing a little baking, and move planning. I'm taking a checklist we found in a relocation mag and applying it to our progress, or lack thereof. I'm still pretty wiped, so I'm allowing today to be a pack-a-box, knit something kind of day...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


My lower back is one large fist, but I'm having a blast. Threw together the brine, which was easy, but is proving the most pesky, because we left it covered when it should have gone in the fridge. I need the stock pot to make the apple butter, and at this rate, I may be knocking that out tomorrow morning. Popped the half frozen pumpkin in the oven. Peeled and sliced the rest of the apples (mental note: apples really do keep better in a fridge, if you don't have a root cellar). Those suckers were only a month old, but heading south. Peeled the skin off the pumpkin and pureed it, which was so ridiculously easy, I've decided to only buy canned now when it's out of season.

The apple peeler and corer is such a wonder too! Slices as it peels, just turn the crank! Then I realized the cover needed to come off the brine, and then get refrigerated. So I made the pie crust, which was also a little too easy to justify ever buying pre-made again. Popped that in the fridge, then made the breakfast casserole. Now I'm waiting just a bit longer for the brine to cool. Since the apple butter takes at least an hour on the stove, I'm thinking that'll be a morning task.

So on the docket for tomorrow morning will be the apple butter, the breakfast casserole, the potatoes, and then the pie; with the Macy's and the National Dog Show on the tube in the background (or NCIS in the bedroom, cuz I'm an addict and they're running a marathon on USA)...and green beans with orange peel last, cuz they're stove short-timers. I tossed the idea of rolls, since we're doing mashed; but I'm making those suckers this weekend too, cuz they look awesome. The turkey just went into the brine, in a bag in the roasting pan that I inherited from Mom, that hasn't seen action in some time (looks like this one). I love being able to give a 2nd life to Mom's old kitchen stuff. The potatoes will likely go into one of the Corningware casserole dishes I inherited too.

I'll dig out the cloth napkins and a table runner. If the Yule log is on On Demand, we may put that on, though neither of us is feeling the Christmas music yet. We're not huge football fans either, unless the Jags are playing/losing, so maybe we'll put on a movie tomorrow evening. We own Hunger Games, 2 of the last 3 Harry Potters, and Where the Wild Things Are, and have never watched them...real life gets in the way. I'm grateful for the chance to slow down.


My favorite holiday. Kind of odd, since we barely celebrated it when I was a kid, and we NEVER had turkey. Mom and Dad had both been scarred by years of turkey and its leftovers and were determined not to subject their kids to that. So I guess my love of Thanksgiving is reactionary...and fueled by my love of food, unfortunately.

I'm an OK cook, have had my share of successes and disasters. Working in the kitchen centers me. I like to defer to recipes, but I'm learning to trust my eye and identify flavors. Every year, I try a new side dish, and we almost always spend the day at home. Windows open, weather permitting, Macy's parade on the tube, relaxing and enjoying each other's company. I look forward to dragging family members out to our place someday, but for now, this works for us.

Hubs usually smokes a turkey boob on the grill, which tastes amazing, but we were concerned about the cooker not sustaining one more smoke job, plus we were looking for something different, so I'm brining a boob this year. There are new side dish recipes, I'm thinking of making rolls even though they won't necessarily get eaten (in the face of said side dishes), and Paula Deen's Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie for dessert, because Hubs adores it. This year I'm going old skool, roasting the pumpkin from Skytop, making apple butter from the rest of the Skytop apples, and making the crust from scratch ala Ashley English. I can't wait to discover the flavor differences.

Spoke with rental agent in NC and while we did get rejected for credit, they're still willing to have a cosigner, so I'll be moving on that paperwork this weekend. We're still in limbo, but I'm more confident after talking with her. I'll have plenty keeping me busy this weekend...I want to make white and wheat bread from scratch, try a new cookie recipe, do some side work on the freelance assignment (that she didn't assign, but will be good practice for me), pack the crap out of our house, and make lists. We're getting down to the nitty-gritty.

Too much to list that I'm thankful for...the trick will be reminding Hubs of this attitude. It's been a shit year for him, losing Dad and Grandma both, and it's harder to find the happy in the face of that, never mind that I'm uprooting us. He's ready to move too, but it's real scary the way we're going about it; and reminding someone who doesn't have faith to begin with, that he needs to acquire some for a specific venture, gets tricky.

Image from here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


How do you keep a dick in suspense?

I'll tell ya tomorrow.

Alternate ending: Process their housing application right before Thanksgiving. Take your sweet damn time about it.

Just kidding, mostly. I only turned the damn thing in yesterday. But with the holiday this week, the suspense is killing me. Dawned on me this morning that it's the 20th. I'm trying to stop work 12/21. That's only a month away. You'd think I'd know better than to stop work on that day in particular, but I'm not an Aztec or a Mayan, so I just have to throw caution to the winds and stock up on canned goods now that the Twinkies are gone.

If we get accepted, I'll throw more money at them, breathe a weepy sigh of relief, and start packing like a madwoman.

If we get rejected, which I'm expecting, I need to get Les's mom's signature. Not the easiest thing, since she lives 2 states away, but I have a plan in mind involving our printers' ability to scan and the glorious concept of email. If my Lil Sisinlaw doesn't go home for the holidays, that process could be much more complicated than it needs to be, but I remain hopeful. The alternative involves me on a cell phone talking with my hands (because I am my mother's daughter), while my mother-in-law puzzles over her printer, wondering why she can't find the file the application scanned to. This will, of course, be happening while I have 3 things on the stove Thanksgiving day...

I'm scared enough about how little money I'll be making the first month we're up there and the possible lack of insurance...I'm going to run out of contact lenses in February, Hubs can't go without a pain management doctor, and we're both on daily meds. Not being insured isn't an option. So I'm seeing about COBRA, praying we can afford it, and the minute the offices open on January 2nd, I'm going to be down at Kelly Services or Snelling or whoever with my resume and winning personality, saying "put me to work!" Hubs will start looking once we're settled too. I'm probably too soft on him, but I don't expect him to rush out January 2nd like me...the guy hasn't worked in almost 10 years. I'm pointing him toward Buncombe County's vocational rehab programs, so he can ease into it.

It's still so damn tenuous. I'm sitting on a fence, ready to jump off, ready to fly.

Image from here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Yea, Friday Favorites got blown off this past week too...I'm pretty sure I'm going to be unreliable with my posts for the next 2 months. Between juggling my first freelance gig (!!!) and getting a roof over our heads up there, all bets are off with regard to regular posts. Which I'm sure is a grave disappointment to my 6½ readers, but I have every intention of posting like a high-on-life madwoman once we've moved, about all manner of things, so stay tuned...

In the meantime, here's Tard again, cuz she just rocks!

Your excuses for lapsing on Friday Favorites are the essence of lame.

Image snitched from FB, but likely came from her site.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Giving it to the gods

When Christians wrestle with a problem, they are told to give it to God, to trust that the big guy knows what's best and will guide you in the appropriate direction. Dawned on me this morning that as a pagan, I don't have that. Well, as a control freak, I don't have it either...I have trouble with the concept of just letting something be and trusting fate or destiny to take its course in my favor. Which is funny in the face of how much I've let life just pass me by...but this isn't a self-flaggellation post.

But paganism, being polytheistic, makes this much harder, the release of worry at the fork in the road. I'm not heavy on the ritual of being a witch at all (you won't catch me nekkid in a field calling the quarters under a full moon), but I do have gods that I've studied more than others, as well as guardians that I call on to guide me at times. There are New Agers who are heavy on that level of study..."oh, I call on this god when I need this and I call on that goddess when I want that"...but that ain't my speed; how do you hang onto responsibility for your own life with that attitude?

This week has been pressing down on me, and we're quite close to taking a step off a cliff, and I'm recognizing that in order to get through it with my sanity and marriage intact, it would be wise to listen very carefully inside myself a bit.

This move is borderline wouldn't happen at all if we had kids in tow, but since it's just the 2 of us and 1 large hairball (cat), we can take that leap of faith together and trust that we'll be able to survive the initial months of thin dough and scrambling for work, because we've come through so much already. But that doesn't assuage the worry, the blind fear of all that could go wrong once there. Would we be this afraid if the media weren't blasting the economy every time you turn on the TV/computer? Maybe not, but it's there, and to ignore it completely is to not respect it and risk it seriously kicking your ass.

The money should drop in my account today, enough to put down a security deposit on the apartment I have my eye on in Weaverville. We'll probably get rejected and need to sweet-talk them into taking us with a cosigner, but I'm ready for that. Until I'm certain we can't find a roof for over our heads up there, this dream lives on.

Image from here

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Grumpy Cat is not impressed.

Sensing a pattern this week?

I seriously want this pic on a T-shirt with the incredibly witty caption "Fuck off!" To be worn every 30 days, if you get my drift.....

Along that same subject line, if you don't laugh your ass off at this week's New Girl episode, your funny bone is broken...

I woke up at 4AM and proceeded to obsess about the move for an insane is it to move with so few job prospects lined up what if we can't find a place how the hell are we gonna scrape by the first few monthsSONOFAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!.....the morning brings some clarity, but things are still so damn up in the air. I swear, the minute the new $$$ drops into my brokerage account, I'm going to apply for a place so I can jump off the damn fence!

"November journal entry: starting to doubt my mission..." ~ Joshua Beal, Wide Awake

Luckily it's soggy, depressing, and muggy here, while Lil Sis in Charlotte woke up to 35F and gorgeous, so my perspective is still intact.

I've opened my mind to apartments again. Pretty sure the mobile home prospects are too restrictive or depressing to attempt. I'm recognizing the seriousness of our sitch, but I can't let go of the dream. If we can just get up there.....

Image from here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I've been online all day occasionally editing websites while trying desperately to find us a house in the Asheville area that a) doesn't appear to be the size of a bread box, b) is within our seriously meager price range, c) has washer/dryer connections, d) doesn't make me want to pack heat while walking from car to house. It's NOT an easy task, I'm finding, and we're not eager to do much more traveling past loading up the UHaul, which means the possibility of renting something site unseen with a lotta prayers,'s a pic of Tard snitched from the web, because she matches my mood right now and I have nothing else exciting to share.....

Image from here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Political Rambling...

Pretty much still my mood as we go into the first official week of re-election...

And can I get a "hot damn!" that Florida went blue again...

I am thinking of starting a political blog, but for now, you'll have to deal with my liberal ramblings...

I gotta say, the conservatives did have some of us scared. I'm heartened to see that so much of it was smoke being blown.....but I'd still like to punch somebody in the throat over it. Dick Morris will do, if Karl Rove's not available.

Man, Fox offered an impressive stock of douchebaggery Tuesday night. I'd like to thank Megyn Kelly for injecting a shred of truth into the reporting that evening.

I really can't understand why I held their values for so long...I just wasn't thinking, I was following a herd (of guys I had crushes on at the time....geez, I should write an essay on when female hormones, and debilitating loneliness, shape voting trends). All I know now is that while the pundits may say we liberals are celebrating, what we're really doing is basking, for just a moment, in RELIEF...relief that our nation isn't really as tight-sphinctered as it appeared on TV, that our freedoms are still intact for the most part, and that those that aren't, we're still free to fight for. And while the conservatives sit around stunned silent, wondering where it all went wrong; we liberals will be getting up, dusting ourselves off, and getting back to work, the work of shaping compromise to keep our country running. I only hope we can get the right to the table too.

Dear Tea Party, OK, you got me, good one, thanks for the crawl back under your rock please...

So, as Jon Stewart pointed out, after 2 years and $3 billion, we're pretty much right back where we started. I swear, that's more frustrating than the fiscal cliff, because all that energy spent worrying over who was going to win, should have instead been injected into cutting pork, getting tax bills passed to increase revenue and social programs, finding green solutions for the horrific things we're doing to the environment...the list goes on, and I'm so sick of the career politicians in Congress who don't give a damn about their constituencies when it means the possibility of's an idea: stop blaming the other side and start working for the people for once! Pretty sure the founders of our nation, the ones you're so fond of quoting, liked the latter idea back in the day...

Otherwise, I'm back at work, the weather's too warm here as usual, I'm chasing another mobile home up yonder and enjoying controlled hyperventilation over the state of the stock market, and I'm still out of sorts from the was a weird weekend. Hopefully that'll change soon.

Image from here.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Of all the weeks to go offline...

I mean seriously...I know Grandma didn't plan to leave us, but being in a Republican house on Election Day was interesting, never mind that I needed to hit the sack at a decent hour that night because her funeral was Wednesday...and I still don't have access to the WiFi there because they switched out routers a while back and no one has any clue what the new password is...

Les watched the returns, but I just couldn't bring myself to. I wanted to be sharp for the next day, and couldn't take the pressure anyway. When Les popped into the room to let me know Romney had conceded, my first thought was, "OK, who are we grooming for 2016, because that was too damn close." I know the electoral college margin looks nice now, but my gods, the work we still have to, the relief is nice though.

I like to think I need these little breaks from technology, and usually it's not something that gives me the DTs or anything, but damn...trolling the web to catch up 24 hours after we got home, it feels like we left the damn planet for a week.

So no Friday Favorites this week...I literally only hit the computer like, twice in the last week, to check stuff about the move. Incidentally, we lost the first house in NC that I was looking at, but I'm hitting the search again hard tomorrow...

This trip didn't feel exhausting at all, but my body and brain are telling me another thing entirely today. I've been napping, yawning, and slouching all day...more later this weekend.

Image from here.

Saturday, November 03, 2012


That post yesterday was written early in the day. By mid-afternoon, we got the news that Grandma wasn't improving...wasn't swallowing/taking food and was screaming whenever anyone touched her because she was hypersensitive to pain/touch. Changing IVs was becoming a physical battle. The decision was made to stop treatment. We think it'll be fast now, but I was reminded today that when we "stopped treatment" with Nanie, it was 2 weeks before God took her. Granted, Grandma's been fighting organ failure for a week now, but still...the balancing act of waiting for word while not wanting to count her out yet is a little exhausting.

Les barely slept last night, he tends to sit vigil; so I'm letting him grab what sleep he can because he'll likely take the train up there tomorrow night, and I'll follow when...I already used my bereavement time this year when we lost Dad J., but my work is willing to work with me and I have time to burn, which is great. I'm simultaneously trying to get a job 3 hours north of there and get us into a mobile home I have my eye on, but hey, I've never turned away from a challenge.

Prayers of strength please, for everyone concerned during this time.

Editor's note, later: I'll be offline this week. Claudia P. Hurt of Aiken, SC, went to Summerland Saturday, November 3, surrounded by her children.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Friday Favorites

Wild. It's like I took 2 weeks off from thinking anything about the move, and this morning, my brain turned back ON.

Damn good thing considering the timing. The last 10 months have gone by like frickin' lightning, and I'm fully expecting the last 2 of this year to do the same. Insert gutteral scream of panic here.

Today's one of those tropical paradise days down here. Cranking up to 80, blue skies, full sun. The above image is much more natural IMO for November, and even though the fog we had to drive through on our last trip to Asheville skeered the snot out of us, I still want more of it for the winter months. Just seems more natural. November is not for sweating. Besides, we need the lower electric bills.

Grandma's holding her own, getting feisty and as usual, completely out of touch with her limitations. She'd be home already, I think, if the doctors didn't still have her in critical care. I pray they find a good facility for her post-hospital, because the situation at home is so hard when she's not healthy.

Prayers welcome for us finding a home up there...I have a line on something, we'll see where it leads.

This week around the web:
  • I discovered Uncommon Grace, where she let people see a week's worth of lunches she prepares, and most of the ideas are quite yummy looking (I started on the Tuesday link, because I'm not a spaetzle and mushrooms gal).
  • So am I like, the last person to learn about the unknead method of making artisan bread?
  • Such a great resource! Now if I can just find the time to read it...
  • Permaculture crack
  • Can't decide what's niftier, the information she offers or the fact that she lives on the Isle of Man.....
  • And it's that time of year for Chai...I want to try this version first and work my way up to Ashley's...not a whole lot of difference...just needs to be done in stages.....cuz like, I didn't even know cardamom starts out in a pod!
Have a great weekend, y'all! 

Image from here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dreams of winter

Note to self: price all-weather tires. Suddenly recognizing how irresponsible it would be to move up there without them. Please gods, let us survive without 4-wheel-drive for just one more year.....

Hilarious that it takes pics of Grandfather Mountain's first blizzard to jump-start my brain. Grandfather is closer to Boone than Asheville, quite a bit further north than where I'm intending us to move. But it also reminds me that the reason we didn't camp the 2nd night when we were up there this month, is because we were concerned the temps would dip into the 30s and precipitation would ice over the Blue Ridge, effectively stranding us or causing us to make a treacherous 1st gear slide down the mountain.

So weird to look at Hurricane Sandy pics online and not be the recipient of the damage. Florida caught such a crazy break this year, only one decent tropical storm in an otherwise yawnworthy season. Can't tell me climate change doesn't exist.

We had the windows open for the 1st time last night. It's bliss, absolute heaven. I walk outside and a weight is lifted. Supposed to get back to 70s tomorrow, but I pray the humidity continues to take a break...

Image from here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy. Monday.

Pretty much only posting so that I can push that terrifying picture of me down on the page...

Doing a pinch better today, but I've got that fragile feeling, like I"m made of something with a thin crust. Gotta do laundry tonight, but thinking I need to hit the elliptical up by the laundry room too...not liking the extra poundage that has snuck back.

That pic makes me want to go home and knit small things. And drink cocoa.

Yesterday was better, but exhausting. Went and dropped off recycling and did a quick shop, then came home and got cooking. Made the apple butter pumpkin pie for Les, then set some yeast for bread, then made waffles, then started dough rise...and realized an hour and a half later just how warm the back burner on the stove gets when the oven's on. I had set the bread bowl on there, because it ain't easy finding a warm moist spot in an air-conditioned apartment...and discovered the dough half cooked already from the heat of the oven when I went to punch it down. Sonofa! The only reason I'm not more discouraged, is because for the first time, I know what proper yeast proofing looks like now. That yeast looked awesome, mixed it with warm water and honey and the results WOULD HAVE BEEN a great bread.

So I'll try again later in the week, because if there's one cool thing I'm realizing, it's that I don't even like white bread anymore. Didn't get to the apple crumble, but may try that on Wednesday, as a Halloween celebration-type thing. Also going to carve a pumpkin for the first time in ages...bought one at Sky Top to use on the pie, but realized it would've been too labor-intensive to roast the darn thing. If I were feeling 100%, maybe, but not this weekend...

Highly annoyed with Hurricane Sandy for shutting down the stock exchange. Doesn't Mother Nature realize I need my options to rally, and fast?! What I would give for the liquidity to move like, now.....

Prayers for Les's grandma please, in the hospital with sepsis and hanging on by her claws...she's 92 with a very tired body and the strongest constitution I've seen south of the Mason-Dixon (north of the M-D would've been my own Nanie). It's maddening not living closer, in times like these.

Image from here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

With thanks to the Bloggess...or it really is OK to just be.

Posted this bad boy on FB the other day, after a particularly long work-and-bad-hair day...not sure what I was going for, other than satirical sexy ;)

In case you haven't heard of her, the Bloggess is a delightful woman named Jenny Lawson who wrote a memoir of her slightly odd life, who probably doesn't even realize the good she's done at demystifying mental illness. She has generalized/social anxiety disorder and a fairly bipolar/borderline personality, which is handled with meds and still occasionally knocks her flat. She handled her book tour for the memoir with the aplomb of a seasoned author, and then had to take a month off because her brain said in no uncertain terms, "STOP!" I know those days, where getting out of bed is a struggle, where you reach a point where it's impossible to fight what's going on in your head...and there doesn't have to be any tangible reason beyond "my body chemistry is having a bad day/week/month..." It's a royal bitch, and society still isn't that great about accepting it.

Those whom it afflicts have trouble accepting it too. As someone who craves tangible answers for everything, to the point that it's practically made me an atheist, the idea that I'm down "just because" was unacceptable for years and years. Getting back on lithium has been a godsend actually; Hubs noticed the difference right off, said it was like I was giving myself permission to just chill, rather than bounce off the walls on the weekends wanting to get EVERYTHING done. I agree for the most part, but sometimes, it's still hard to reconcile that it's OK to let that happen. Particularly when you're trying to move in 2 months with only 1/2 a career option ready and stock options that refuse to stay steady...

Spent yesterday playing game after game of Mah Jong on the Kindle and beating myself up emotionally for not doing something else. There's plenty of reasons why my brain's taking a sabbatical, the not-at-all irrational fears associated with moving; being back in Florida where a cold snap means it only gets up to 65, but it doesn't feel that cool because the damn humidity is still 90%; i'm off my exercise regimen, which creates self-loathing, since i know damn well I'll only feel better if I go expend a few calories SOMEHOW...and for a topper, we're basically sitting vigil waiting for word about Les's 92-year-old grandma, who's in the ICU with sepsis, praying both for her recovery or alternately that the gods decide she's had enough pain. That one hurts, and brings with it the concerns about using paid time off for bereavement when I've been stockpiling it for move stuff. Selfish as hell, I know, but these thoughts come up and threaten to overwhelm...

So when I woke up this morning and realized the fog hadn't lifted yet, I told myself it's OK. Gave myself permission to feel rotten if that's what I need to feel, and treat myself with kid gloves today. No being pissed about what doesn't get done; instead just focus on what I can get done...a very-little grocery shopping, dropping off the recycling, and processing some of the apples from last weekend for an apple crumble. Nothing earth-shattering, but if I can be kind to myself, maybe this week will be better.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Favorites

Using this one again, because I think it's punctuating why I haven't been back to the Y yet...walking up that hill at Sky Top was the best exercise I've gotten in ages. My legs felt alive, and my lungs didn't threaten to leap out of my chest as we walked. Getting back to indoor exercise is breaking my heart a little. I've talked before about quitting that membership as we get closer to the move; maybe it's time to just get walking outdoors once more. We'll see...

My gods, but Friday feels good! This week was a royal bitch on wheels, just couldn't get back to me. Dunno if it's because money's so tight or just being back in Florida, but man, we've both been down a bit this week. Payday's paying the rent and not much else, but we're entering that terrifying transitional period, so my brain's waking up to all that needs to be done and this weekend will be all about organizing and making lists (with a healthy dose of cooking thrown in, as we make do with very little). The motivation's there...they're raising our rent just enough to make it not worth it to stay.

Even though I usually don't find this stuff til Friday morning, I'm enjoying the much neat stuff out there!
  • Yet another blog for health foodies...the pumpkin risotto looks interesting; I'm already thinking of substituting butternut squash.
  • Homesprout—lotta loveliness there.
  • Gonna have to try this Apple Crumble recipe...all the apple crisp recipes I come across use oatmeal in the topping and I'm just not feeling it lately.
  • My itch to get my MFA flared up badly this week and I'm raveling a mental thread about educating myself again, since getting back to school is so far off...why do these urges always happen when I've got most of my books packed?! Anyhoo, this site is going to help me get a handle on what I want to study, as my dissertation idea starts to take shape...
  • Spotify—yea, I'm late to the game on this one, but wow, it's going to save my sanity the rest of this year...can't be spending any dough on stuff like music, and this will fill that gap quite nicely, from what I can tell.
  • Heritage Radio, where have you been all my life? My jaw dropped as I perused their shows, and I haven't even listened to them yet.
  • And since I don't want to knit anything for anyone this holiday season, it's only natural that I find a pattern like this beauty, which I'm betting knits up fast and would be perfect for just about every female on both sides of the family....hmm....
Have a great weekend, y'all! And don't bother with hairstyling if you live on the East Coast; looks like Sandy gonna be more wind than rain.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Full of Promise Thursday

Yes, I'm already back to stealing images from Tumblr...I want that couch in a chocolate brown and I really don't care that it probably comes from Ikea...actually, I have nothing against Ikea, just have heard horror stories about their building instructions and particleboard furniture....

Having one holy hell of a time getting back on track this week. My head's out of the mountains, but I'm not sure where it landed. There are deadlines pressing down on us, a tenuous stock market toying with our nest egg, and dirty dishes still in the sink. How are we gonna live without a dishwasher in a house? Gotta lotta discipline coming...

Haven't been to the Y yet, and I need to do jeans are a bit snug.

People who don't answer emails make me nutty. Gonna have to schedule a day off in the near future just for phone calls.

Thinking it's silly to strip and repaint the cabinets when they'll just get banged up in the move, but I do want to take the stuff out of them one by one and give them a good going-over. Dad always said he only slapped those together, and they're easily 35 or 40 years old...but except for cat scratches, they're in really good shape. If I can reinforce them for the move, it'll be easier to refinish them once we're there.

I smelled leaf rot when we were up in the was exquisite!

Next week, we'll be officially homeless...meaning we need to tell the complex that we're not renewing the lease, but we don't have housing nailed down yet up there. The risk that entails could easily be crippling, but I'm determined not to freak too badly, just get nose to grindstone and push through it.

Was going to dress up as Merida from Brave for Halloween, but my company doesn't allow any replicas of weapons of any kind, so I can't make a fake bow and quiver of arrows to go with the costume, so without it I'm just a large chick in a green ritual gown with seriously unruly hair, and I'm not sure how worth it, it is...

I'm getting the itch to create...not sure if it involves knitting or holiday presents or what (I shove Christmas/Yule outta my mind FAST when it tries to blow through), but I think we can make it through the holidays if I get my hands a little busy now...

Baking apples and pumpkin and wheat bread and maybe tortillas this weekend, and I need to print more of Heather's Whole Food Kitchen out and start putting it into practice, because we've been living on pizza and carbs for 2 weeks now.....oh, THAT's why my jeans are snug!

This is the crap that flies through my head when I'm supposed to be editing sites.

Images from here and here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

So many so much so.....

You may be able to sense a theme in my graphics for the next week or so.....

Gotta love when the stock market dips at the same time that the bank account's dry...FWP, I know, but still...meals are gonna be really creative the next week or three.

Not sure it's possible to be less engaged in work today...there's so much going on in my head. The calendar is not my friend right now, my jeans are still a little snug from the trip, and my gods, the work that needs to occur in the next 10 weeks!!!

OK...that was today's more about the trip...

We spent Wednesday night in Columbia with Hubs' sister; she has an adorable carriage house rental downtown. Girlfriend knows how to shop vintage too...her place was outfitted so nifty!

Headed straight to the campground the next morning, a pleasant enough 3-hour drive...until we hit the mountain. The weather report was saying AM showers, and we were climbing 5,000 feet on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Around 4,000 feet, we were literally driving in. a. cloud. I haven't seen fog like that since Above All (Warren, CT); we literally couldn't see 5 feet in front of the car. We inched our way to the top, got directions at the Pisgah Inn to the campground, and inched our way to the campsite. Seriously scary driving. Once there, we assessed the sitch, put up the tent, and headed back down the mountain to get provisions. That was better, because in the valleys the sky was clearing, and the Ingles had Starbucks. Hot dogs, firewood, and a latte later I ,at least, was in a better mood, but damn...that fog! You literally could've walked into people at the inn parking lot.

Thursday night was...interesting. We were wiped out from a hard sleep the night before and the stress of the fog, so we just built a fire, had hot dogs and chips, and hit the sack relatively early. It dipped into the 40s, and we were buried in sleeping bags, fully clothed, with blankets galore on top. Ducking out around 5AM to pee was comical....I know I joked we'd be freezing our tails off, but damn!

I adore the cold, but have never slept outside in that level of chill. When we heard the weather report threatening 30s the next night, it was easy to make the decision to pack it in. Our car is perfectly fine for Florida, but with no all-weather tires or 4-wheel drive, there was no way we were taking a chance of the Parkway being icy. I found a library branch really close to us (for WiFi or computer), and we popped down the mountain to see if there were any rooms available for a reasonable rate in the area. There almost weren't, as it was peak. I checked the cut-rate branch hotels first, like Super 8 and Days Inn, and almost laughed out loud when Super 8 wanted $235 a night. I've stayed in Super 8s where they should've paid us!

Managed to find a motel in Brevard, about 45 minutes outside of town. We went to Tupelo Honey for brunch (the rumors are true, it's delish!), and then headed uptown to get more literature from the local Chamber, see if my freelance contact was available, and visit a property management company to get our feet wet in that area. The first and third items were successful; alas, the second was not. We also jaunted around town a bit, grabbing cash in case we needed to park at meters, and then breaking said cash at a tiny pharmacy. I'm glad we did this, even if we never did need to park, because it got us more familiar with town and made Asheville upper and lower less intimidating. We've lived in Jax for 15 years, so anywhere new is gonna be daunting at first.

Those errands accomplished, I kept the phone on high in case my freelance contact called to meet; and we drove back to the campground to break camp and head to Brevard. It was still daylight as we traveled through farmland to the motel, a pretty drive, though we kicked ourselves later when we realized we could've taken Blue Ridge almost all the way there. We bounced around that town a bit, because Les had really bad luck with his e-cig batteries dying the whole trip; and we grabbed Pizza Hut for dinner, which we brought back to the room and hoovered while watching the tube and feeling quite grateful for the roof over our heads, even though the motel definitely had its flaws.

I realized since we were in Brevard, that Sky Top Orchard would be on the way to Charlotte, so that became the plan for the next day. We got up at a decent hour, ate the rest of the pizza for breakfast, I bought a local map, and we back-roaded it to Flat Rock, only about a half hour away. The orchard was hopping, and fairly picked over, but it was still a delightful excursion. We picked a peck of apples, grabbed a pie pumpkin and some peach jam, and snatched up the required, SINFUL apple cider doughnuts. The weather was clear and gorgeous, and the exercise did us both a world of good!

Dinner with Mom and Lil Sis at Mac's that evening, where we gorged on BBQ and then went back to Meara's to chill. We headed out around noon on Sunday, in a hilariously packed car, both ready to get home. It's odd, getting that depressed feeling about being back in Florida and yet relishing being back "home". I'm so ready for "home" to be further north.

It took til yesterday evening to unpack, we did it in spurts between naps and re-acclimating. I'm at loose ends today, would rather be writing letters again to the 2 viable employment agencies in Asheville in my wheelhouse, giving them a timeline for employing me, filling out their apps...but gotta earn some money first. I get paid this week, but rent's due and the stock is doing its dip before the 3Q announcement next week. Planning a move requires a great deal of organizational ability and patience. Both are lacking a little too much here for my liking. Time to do something about that.

Monday, October 22, 2012


What we learned...
  • Our sleeping bags aren't suited for cold weather.
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway is a really beautiful drive, and we only hit like, 25 miles of it.
  • Inclement weather at 5,000+ feet means driving through a frickin' cloud.
  • Maps are blamed when the navigator sends you on a scenic route (this was especially helpful to me since I was the navigator...winkwink).
Not enough work accomplished this trip, but my soul is recharged. More tomorrow...

And yes, that's me feeding the sheep and my sweet guy resting on the hill of an apple orchard. The Y has nothing on the hills at Sky Top! My body's still feels fantastic!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Out of town, please leave a message...

Thought I had to work today...completely forgot I had today off. Good stuff. Went home at 10 a.m.

Both pics from Grandfather Mountain's FB page. I like how autumn is turning itself out this year, not showy, more like a sleepy artist dabbing a little red here, a little yellow there...

Gotta go pack and plan. Wish us luck! Back on here Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Outdoors Anticipation

I'm so excited, it's a little ridiculous. Hubs keeps looking at me with one eyebrow cocked and a look on his face like, "you do realize that camping involves like, work, right?" But I'm undaunted. We've done this before, in good weather and bad. Yea, only a coupla times, but still...I'm determined to make this an educational and fun trip at the same time. Just wish we had time to hike while we are there, but I'm thinking I'll be lucky to even get into town on Thursday.

I'll drag us out early on Thursday (we're staying with his sis in Columbia, and she has to get to work probably anyway), and it's only 3 hours to Asheville. Hubs wants to go straight to the site and set up camp, which makes sense; and we'll need to hit an Ingles to buy provisions. I'm hoping to knock out the employment agencies maybe that afternoon, but we'll laid plans don't hold a candle to real life on these trips. Friday, I want to hit the property management companies and get the straight poop...and hopefully even look at a couple of houses. Thank goodness for the Internet...I've already got a couple of properties in mind.

There's so many "what if's" still to iron out to make this work. That's what this trip will hopefully do. I'm still scared, in the back of my mind, that the property management companies (or landlords) won't want to work with us, because our credit is so abysmal, but we're hoping that offering extra up-front dough or cosigners will do the trick. Really pisses me off that that one number makes me look bad when I've got 18 years of established work ethic and a spotless rental history in my back pocket. Capitalism has its drawbacks.

50% chance of showers on Thursday up there...I'd appreciate any good wishes where the weather is concerned for us on this trip. We're rainproofing the tent, but it's ancient.

Image from here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Musings

My head's in the trees this week and no help for it. In my continued quest to stretch Les and I beyond our abilities, we're heading up to the Carolinas this week to camp, scout, and hopefully freeze our tails off. I get the feeling that the fall color won't be as great as I'd hoped (the winds are blowing leaves off before they have a good chance to turn), but I'm really more concerned with it being other than 80 degrees while we're there. I've yet to feel a bite in the air this autumn, and my soul aches for it.

Hence the camping, and of course, because it's leaf peeping season up there; so normal people are shelling out $150 a night minimum for a roof over their heads while they're vacationing and hitting the parkway. We are poor little church mice with a tent that hopefully still works, so we're shelling out a mere $19 a night for 2 nights in Mount Pisgah, and bookending the trip with sleepovers at both our sisters' places. I'm planning for us to visit several temp employment agencies while we're there, several property management companies, and hopefully the company I'm wooing for freelance opportunities. It's a lot to cram into 2 days, but we're getting down to the wire here. Everything's going to fall into place really fast, I have a feeling...

The weekend was a little sucky; I learned I can't eat Zaxby's anymore, not just because everything they serve there really is a heart attack on a plate, but also because the sodium levels in the food wreak havoc with my arthritis. My knees are still bothering me after 2 days of ache, and I haven't overexerted myself, so it's easy to label the soreness on what I'm putting into my body without thinking. Trying not to self-flaggellate...been reading a bit of Brené Brown, and the urge to start buying her books is palpable. Patience...$15 on a book is half an application fee for a house rental...just gotta keep reminding myself...

Image from here.