Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Way You Make Me Feel

Great youtube video? Or greatest youtube video? I love stuff like this.

Third Eye Blind sings 'I Want You Back'

Some people say it's silly to mourn the death of a celebrity. I don't think it's the person as much as it's the person's place in the soundtrack of your life.

When I was a kid I walked around singing 'Bad' into a makeshift microphone. I was obsessed with his music videos, I loved listening to my Dad sing me old Jackson 5 songs and one of my favorite things I did as a big sister was introduce my little brother to Michael Jackson music. Michael's songs provided the background music for so many moments in my life.

So that's what I'm thinking about this weekend. One of my favorite quotes is a from a Kenny Chesney song, "We all have a song that somehow stamped our lives, takes us to another place and time."

Rest in peace, Michael. Thanks for the music.

P.S. This blog from Lisa Marie Presley is a must read for anyone looking for insight to the untimely death of Michael.

Friday, June 26, 2009

How It All Went Down: Asheville, Cop Cars, Losing Money and Sleeping at Walmart

It started just fine.

Asheville 1 006

We took stupid car pictures. And my father checked out the rental car, like thoroughly (which is so quintessentially my Dad).

Asheville 1 010

Jon was a rockstar,
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Jill looked out the window,

Molly slept,
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We stopped at the Berea Rest Area/Kentucky Art Center place (which is neat).
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Took photos inside of the bathroom,
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Then onto Jellico, Tennessee where we stopped at the world's worst state welcome center and saw this priceless motel sign,

And then we had a Chick-Fil-A picnic,
Asheville 1 048

And from there on out, things went terribly, awfully, very badly down hill.

We rolled into Asheville sometime around 11:30 pm. And when I say Asheville, I mean we got to the signs that said Asheville, but really had no idea which exit to take to find the road with all of the hotels on it. So fast forward another hour of trying exit after exit and direction after direction from gas station attendants who don't know where they live. We need a GPS.

Upon finding the proper street we began trying hotel after hotel to find one that A) Had a vacancy, B) Took pets, and C) wasn't going to charge more than $100-$130 for a night. Less than that if my father had his way. He's cheap.

At some point in our evening, after driving up and down this road for at least an hour, stopping at lights that were green, pulling in and out of parking lots my mother noted to my dad that it appeared a police car was following us.

"I'm not doing anything wrong," he said. "Let him pull me over."

Famous last words.

So Dad wasn't concerned. And he decided to pull onto a road that led to a wildlife thing in the middle of the woods, because...and I quote, maybe they got a lodge up here.

Oh dear.

While I'm almost certain we passed a drug deal going on up that hill the cop was right there waiting on US when we returned to the bottom of it. And he followed us into the parking lot of Walmart. When we pulled into a parking spot and stopped he began flashing his special blue lights.

We were busted.

Turns out the rental car had expired tags, this coupled with Dad's more than erratic driving caused the cop to pull us over to assess the situation I suppose. No ticket. No nothing. But damn if it didn't both make us laugh AND sort of suck the air out of the trip.

Mom drove after this.

We ended up stopping at a grocery store called Ingles, which is open 24 hours to use the restroom and regroup. Unable to find a hotel with a vacancy that wasn't a total roach motel we somehow ended up sleeping for a few hours in the parking lot of Walmart.

And let me just tell you...WE WEREN'T THE ONLY ONES. It's like its own little campground/RV park/ lodge area.
Asheville 2 027

I hated it.

Come morning, after several hours of me almost suffocating in the hot car (I'm no good at sleeping in warm weather apparently), we found a nice hotel to check into. The only catch? It wouldn't be ready until after 1pm. No big deal. My Dad offered to go ahead and pay for the stay with a $100 bill he had in his pocket, "no worries," the girl told him. "I'll put you down for it, pay when you return."

So while we'd all slept in the car, and we were all still in yesterday's clothes we decided to take the ride over to Lake Lure, the filming site of Dirty Dancing.

Getting to Lake Lure involved a curvy, winding mountain trek that is probably not for the faint at heart. Nor those prone to Altitude Sickness.

My Mom is prone to Altitude Sickness.

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We pulled over numerous times up the mountain so she could get air. But we soldiered on, figuring she'd eventually get over it.
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Lake Lure was pretty neat. I wish I'd gotten more pictures and felt more like exploring. But it was hot, I felt gross in the clothes I was wearing, so there are a million excuses. This was one of my single decent photos of the lake.

Lake Lure, North Carolina

As I said, Dirty Dancing was filmed there, the red roofed building in the distance is the lodge used, you can see some of the beach there in the movie as well. There are tours to take that show you more. For obvious reasons we didn't take any.

It was on the way down the mountain, while my mother was puking on the side of the road that my Dad thought to check his pockets to make sure that 100 dollar bill was still there.

Cargo pants. Pocket, after pocket, after pocket. No money. Every crevice of the car. No money. The ground? No money.

My Dad completely lost a hundred dollars and my mother was on the verge of dying...or at least it seemed that way.

We all told him it was okay and that in the grand scheme of things that 100 hundred dollar bill was no big deal. Perhaps someone who needed more than we did found it.

But still. It does burn to just lose a hundred dollars and have nothing fun to show for it. Let's be for real tacky souvenir, no night not spent in the parking lot of freakin' Walmart, no 5 course meal. Just a lost large bill of money.

At this point we struggled to make it down the mountain we'd just come up. Between Mom's puking and holding on to the seat for dear life at every curve, my Dad's meltdown over his lost money and mine and Jonathan's horrible decision to fore go breakfast that morning...we were a mess.

I'd started wishing I was home. If you read this blog you know that traveling is one of my absolute favorite things to do...EVER. But for the first time in my life I was over it. Over this trip. Over the clothes I was wearing. Over being in that stupid car. Over all of it.

In the meantime we drove through Asheville...semi lost...yet again, because my father has an innate inability to listen to my directions...*cough* *cough*. Jon and I had him stop at a DQ where we shared a chicken strip basket between the two of us and the dogs.

Mom threw up some more.

Dad checked his wallet for the millionth time.

His plan was now to head to the hotel we'd been promised a room at to check in, regroup...sleep and then see if tomorrow improved.

I'll be honest...I was against the idea. He said he didn't think he could possibly drive the rental car home, Mom was incapacitated and I wasn't 25.

I think you know where this is going.

I told him I figured it was a perfectly acceptable moment to invoke the clause that must be in the rental contract: when the parents are out of commission...the 23 year old can drive the car. At this point, he didn't think that was such a great idea.

So we went to the hotel. Walked into the lobby. Waited in line while a woman requested an extra towel for the pool. Waited again while another person needed something else. And then it happened.

The very minute my Dad opened his mouth to announce we were there to check in...the power when out for the entire street.

No doubt because we, with the worst luck ever, had walked in the door. And we were told they probably couldn't process our reservation until power was restored.

That was it. I'd had enough.

Which is how we invoked the imaginary rule that said this 23 year old could drive the rental car. And how I drove 5 1/2 hours home from Asheville, North Carolina on 2 hours of sleep, a puking Mom in the front seat and the sleeping brother/father/dogs in the back.

And how, as God is my witness, I'll never not meticulously plan another vacation so long as I live. As it turns anal retentiveness when it comes to vacations is kind of a good thing sometimes.

However, it was...if nothing else, an experience. For that I'm grateful...I guess.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blog of the Day

Katie alerted me to this one, even though I also follow Melissa, I'd lost the announcement in the chaos of the dashboard somehow.

What might be one of the coolest pregnancy blogs I've come across:

But I shouldn't be surprised, Melissa's other blog is also pretty stinkin' sweet.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mr. Cosby

My Dad bought his first VCR in 1985 so that he could film movies that came on television for his unborn child. One of those films was "The Wizard of Oz" which eventually became the movie I loved the most as a kid. He also taped this Bill Cosby special, and something about watching it reminds me of being a kid.

However, it's only as I became an adult that it became REALLY funny to me.

*My Mom has long threatened me with a *mother's curse*.

This one is great too:

*we vacationed at a complex with a 'Jeffrey' once, his named was Aiden.

('Vacation' story to come later, I promise it's funny...I just have to write it first.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

To the one who loves twist ties, duct tape and garbage bags.

To the one I butt heads with the most.

Dad 002

To the one I share the most personal traits and neuroses with.

To the one who always checks to make sure I've arrived anywhere safely.

Dad 001

To the one who continues to love me despite my flaws.

I don't say it enough, but I appreciate your presence in my life. And I love you.

dad, me, jonathan in fort walton beach at the Okaloosa Island Pier

But don't forget, it's because of me you even get to celebrate this day.

To that I say: you're welcome.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Why aren't we flying? Because getting there is half the fun. You know that.

Clark: I'm just trying to treat my family to a little fun.
Ellen Griswold: Oh spare me, Clark, I know your brand of family fun. Tomorrow you'll probably kill the desk clerk, hold up a McDonalds, and drive us 1000 miles out of the way to see the world's largest pile of mud!

As previously mentioned, I didn't plan a trip this year. Because you know...I HAVE A LOT OF SHIT GOING ON IN MY LIFE.

But my mother has 6 days off this upcoming week. And she needs to get out of town, even if it's not to a beach (we might visit the beach with family at the end of this month...more on that at a later date.)

So I'm scrambling to decide where to go. Current top options as referenced in this handy map visualization I made for you, my lovely blog readers. It's super fancy. Be impressed.


Pineville: where my grandparents are buried. My mom hasn't visited in a couple of years and is making strong suggestions that she'd like to stop there on the way to somewhere else.

Gatlinburg: I've never been. None of us have.

Asheville: this place has been on my list for years now. So I'd really like to go.


But as with any trip, there are obstacles.

Issue father.

You see, he technically doesn't know at this point that she wants to go somewhere for a few days next week. Which sounds like a big deal, but this is pretty much how it's always done...albeit with typically a little more notice than a few days.

Sanibel 08 Day Three 006

Then we have the dogs. No two ways about it, the lab has to be boarded. Which means my butt will be hauling his behind to the vet this afternoon for his vaccinations (which are due this month conveniently.)

But my mom won't travel without her chihuahua. And the chihuahua loves to travel. Like, a lot. I'm pretty sure she'd kill herself if we left her.

But I won't annoys me. We can't just pop into a hotel, it has to be pet friendly.


But anyways. Figured I'd update with the latest. I'll share more as the details come together...or fall apart (it's anyone's guess as to which way it will go at this point.)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

George Clooney Underbite

I like to check my visitor stats every so often, just to see what people are googling to end up here at When Life Hands You Limes. A few of interest:

At what point do you feed a cucumber plant?

No idea, honestly. I began feeding mine about 2 weeks after I got them transplanted into the ground. They seem okay. Except in my nightmares. This week my dreams have involved: all of my corn getting destroyed, the cucumber plants disappearing and the cats eating my tomato plants. CRAZY.

When life hands you melons

I only deal with limes. I'll make an exception for lemons. But generally I stick to limes around these parts. But I'll play. If handed limes, make margaritas. If handed melons, soak them in tequila.

Math limes

What?! My least favorite thing in the world and limes...I do not enjoy this at all. And I have no idea why anyone would google them together.

George Clooney underbite

I refuse to believe George Clooney is anything less than a perfect human specimen, so I don't think this is true. But my dog Jill has one. A big one.

Ellis Sloane

Yes, I know! Pretty baby names. If I had a little girl tomorrow I'd name her Sloane. And if I had a baby tomorrow I'd get featured on that 'I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant' show.

Tweeter Captiva Island

God, I wish I were a full time tweeter on Captiva Island. IS THIS A JOB, WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

Basil's Birth Story

What? Do people name their kids Basil? (I just wondered that in my head and pulled out a useless piece of trivia: there was a UK basketball player and then coach in like the 20s or 30s named Basil Hayden. He was their first All American)

(FUN APRIL FACT: I'm full of useless information like that. If you were ever entering a trivia tournament, you'd want me on your team.)

Paula Dean butter bixcuits

It's Paula DEEN and BISCUITS

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Steal All My Blog Ideas

10 Things Currently Rocking About Summertime (in no particular order):

1. Cheesecake. Specifically this cheesecake. Which I made yesterday and served with macerated strawberries. People...there are no words to describe this kind of indulgence.

2. Miracle Grow assembly lines. Every Sunday I feed my garden. The box of Miracle Grow says to use the plant food every 7 to 14 days...I like to feel like my plants are getting the most nutrients, so I went with 7. And while this would be a very difficult task for one person, we have a system: 1 person fills milk jugs with water, another person pours in the tablespoon of miracle grow, shakes it up and delivers the jug to another person who is in the garden pouring it on the plants. Easy peasy!

3. Sally Hansen nail polish in Fuchsia Power applied to my toenails. Recently I used the last of my signature pink polish and needed a new pink. This bottle was 50% off at CVS and is so shiny I don't have to apply topcoat.

4. The local library. I always visit more in the summer than in the dead of winter. Using the patron hold system has been an awesome way to catch up on all of the books I've missed this year. And I've not paid to rent a single movie yet this summer.

5. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Okay, so it's technically not been released yet. But it's coming, and I'm loving the anticipation.

6. George Strait. I can't stop listening to George Strait music. Okay, George AND Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga and John Mayer (Live in LA album to be precise)...look, nobody said my musical taste made any sense.

7. McDonald's Iced Coffee Drinks. Classy? No. But I'm miles away from any real coffee houses and for years I've subsisted on homemade drinks or gas station caffeine. I love taking $2 to a drive thru and driving away with a decent cup of cold coffee goodness. (And the sweet tea isn't bad either.)

8. Reality TV. A few I'm digging this summer: Kathy Griffin, Tori and Dean, Real Housewives of NJ, Jon and Kate, Little Couple, 18 Kids and Counting. The list probably goes on...but I'll save myself total embarrassment and stop there. Few things in life are more relaxing than vegging on the couch with the ceiling fan on and watching mindless television.

9. Fireworks.

10. Food: fresh corn on the cob, yummy berries, melons with salt, ice cream cones, grilled barbecued chicken, delicious burgers. What's not to love about summer food fare? Nothing.

Not rocking about summertime? Mosquitos. And ticks.

The cheesecake link is actually a link to cheesecake now.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Quote of the Day

"We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written. The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another." The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace." The Holy Bible tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth."

--Excerpt from President Obama's speech in Cairo (full text at link)

No Title Required

It's been a while since I've done one of these on the blog. So why not?!


What is your current obsession?
gardening, reading books about gardening, snacking on sunflower seeds in their shell, going for long walks

What is your weirdest obsession ?
Hmm, I have so many: the Obama White House, Rahm Emanuel, all things vinegar, expensive flip flops, couponing, bad reality TV, cable news programs...etc.

What are you wearing today ?
It's still early so I'm in these cloud capri pajama pants that I've had forever and a boy scout camp shirt (my uncle is the ranger at the camp in Indiana so I get free shirts!)

What’s for dinner ?
not entirely sure yet, but something with chicken

What would you eat for your last meal ?
KFC. I'm not even joking.

What’s the last thing you bought ?
I myself bought a brownie batter blizzard last. I'm not proud of this moment...but it was delicious.

What are you listening to right now ?
a spoon hitting the bottom of a cereal bowl.

What is your favorite ice-cream flavour ?
It would probably be easier to list my least favorites, ice cream is one of my favorite treats. Lately the faves are cherry cordial and butter pecan.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be ?
Somewhere quaint and a little further South so it's warmer, and I can't really see myself living anywhere other than the South. I'd love to find a lovely, charming small town somewhere, not necessarily on a beach...but a close drive away.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go ?
A beach somewhere.

Which language do you want to learn ?
Spanish or Italian.

What’s your favorite quote (for now) ?
'You're killin' me Smalls.'

What is your favorite colour ?
Pink, but I'm also a big fan of bright robins egg-y blues and purple. I prefer bright and bold colors.

Who are your favourite (fictional or not) heroes ?
Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton, Woody and Buzz from A Toy Story, my grandmothers, my Mom.

What is one of your favorite daily/weekly rituals ?
Grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday, grabbing a newspaper and coffee on Sunday mornings, sitting outside on the patio in the Summertime,

If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on ?
I'd probably just stick it in the bank and save it to buy something on vacation or for vacation.

Favourite designer ?
Anybody who designs for Target.

Do you admire any one’s style ?
I love classic Jackie Kennedy. And by default, I'm totally adoring everything Michelle Obama has been wearing. The cardigans, skirts, cute dresses, flat shoes or comfortable all that stuff.

Describe your personal style ?
Everyday it's quite comfort driven...which I hate. But I have nowhere to be currently and that's the rut I get in. I love preppy, classic stuff otherwise. Crisp oxfords, jeans, layered shirts and sweaters, khaki skirts, madras, comfortable dresses, pearls and sandals.

What are you going to do after this ?
Find something for breakfast. Probably another homemade McMuffin (my version is only 230 calories...and so freakin' yummy.)

What are your favourite films ?
The Sandlot, Gone with the Wind, Oceans Eleven, My Fellow Americans, anything with Tom Hanks in it. I love funny stuff for the most part, but I rarely sit down and watch movies...I have to really want to see something to commit myself to the hours it takes to finish one.

What’s your favourite fruit ?
Lemons and Limes, grapefruits, cherries and strawberries. I also love watermelon and canteloupe. I refuse to believe Tomatoes are fruit, but if I did they'd be number 1 on my fruit list.

What inspires you ?
A lot of the blogs I read. Martha Stewart. My Mom. Paula Deen. Reading magazines. Visiting antique stores. Taking trips or seeing new things. History.

What is on the walls in your bedroom ?
Paint is barely on one wall...still. Everything else is pretty sparse. There are some movie posters but they are on the way out.

Your favorite book ?
Walk Two Moons, Superfudge, Revolutionary Road, Tender is the Night, Harry Potter series.

Do you collect something ?
Seashells. Some sand, but on a lesser scale than the seashells.

What is one of your pet peeves ?
Whispering, loud iPods in libraries, bad drivers, rude people, poor receptionists, the American Healthcare System.

Tagging: anyone who wants to do it, leave a comment if you do!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

No Animals Allowed

Things not allowed on my bed:

*Dogs named Jack

*Boys named Jon

And I made both of them leave, AFTER I took this picture.

not on my bed 001

Monday, June 1, 2009

Stay Beautiful

I made the mistake of refreshing pages of the Trip Advisor Sanibel Island Forum this morning. It made me feel kind of (and really I wish I had a different name for this, because it sounds pathetic)...homesick.

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Honestly, I know I've not traveled much. So I really feel guilty for saying I love that place so much. Because how can I really know for sure?

Sanibel 08 Travel and Day One 100

Except that I just do. I guess. We're not going this summer. Which is cool.

Sanibel 08 Travel and Day One 112

I don't even want to think about the drive. I swore on the way home last year that the next time I visited my dear Sanibel, I would be arriving in a plane.

Sanibel 08 Day Three 040

Unless of course someone said to me tomorrow, "Wanna drive with me to Sanibel." And I swear, it could be a complete stranger and I'd be all...SIGN ME UP.

Sanibel 08--Day Seven--Night 147

But I digress. My mother has 6 days off of work at the end of this month. I have no idea where we'll be going, or what we'll be doing. With all that's gone on this year (social security, car problems, health issues) it's been difficult to find the time to plan an elaborate trip, so this year's motto seems to be, the world is our oyster. Whatever that means. They have to do something with the van first. But my best guess is we'll start driving and just see where we end up. I've heard mumblings of Charleston, Asheville, Hilton Head, camping, hotels with pools.

Fort Myers Beach View

I'm kind of excited. I like a good adventure. And knowing my family it will be one. And in all honesty, I keep telling myself that anyplace is better than no place at all.

Sanibel 08--Day Seven--Night 087

But Sanibel? Stay beautiful until I return.