push[ed] the button

The past few weeks have been very hectic at work – why I’ve been out of the loop lately. I wish I could say that we’ve been away vacationing or something but not the case.

After selling the camper we decided to take a few trees down in the backyard. These included a huge Bradford Pear and a Pine full of cankers and bugs. After that we were left with a very large hole that allowed us the unfortunate view of the neighbors.

IMG_4027 (can you find the black dog in this picture?)

So, we have decided to have a little shed built in the back and eventually have our own little cottage in the back – (that was the show we went to that was in the backyard of a residence). We’re probably going to call it Backyard Shed Gig or something of that nature. Here’s a pic of the model we’re having built:


Ours is going to be different colors but this is it. After it’s built, we want to have a deck built off the front with an overhang.

In other news – I am on vacation next week but am going to do absolutely nothing. (Well, except for canning lots of salsa) I need a break from the rat race and decided to just take the week off. Especially after Sunday when I pushed the button and –


-the truck exploded.

Well, that wasn’t exactly what happened. It really wasn’t that exciting but very annoying. I pushed the differential lock button on the Forerunner (I had a blonde moment).

blonde blonde2


[Me: “Duh-I-dunno”, God, she’s going to kill me]

-and it locked up all four tires and we couldn’t’ disengage it. We were stuck at the mini mart for 4 hours waiting for a tow. But wait – that’s not all – we had it towed it to our garage and they were in the process of moving and we had to pay for yet another tow all the to their new garage location. (20 miles away) Such B.S. and I was so over it. Charlie and I just went home and cried and then drank after that.


Who knows how much it’s going to cost to get fixed but we’re hoping for the best so keep your fingers crossed it’s not a fortune. I will never press another button again, for sure [unless it’s an elevator button].

friends won’t be around

You know, I just don’t get people.

Charlie and I usually go for a little ride on Sunday mornings. We’ll ride somewhere and have some brunch or lunch, depending on how far away it is. Yesterday we had decided to ride out to Conyers and visit the Harley place where we purchased her bike. Charlie wanted to order some new “farkle” for her bike (for you non-bike enthusiasts, farkle is anything you can put on a bike that isn’t engine related and/or doesn’t take a mechanic to install). We figured we’d spent some time at the dealership and then go out back and visit with some of my old teaching buddies who were running a class that weekend. Afterwards, we were planning on riding down the street to a BBQ place for lunch.

So, off we went. The previous evening I had texted Yvonne and Kat to see if they wanted to ride out with us. They said they’d meet us at lunch and I said, OK, see you then.

Once we were at the dealership, Charlie ordered her farkle and we went out back and talked to Jenna and Jeff who I have taught with on many occasions in the past. Charlie hadn’t met Jenna before and the two of them hit it off as Jenna is a relatively new mommy. While they talked about baby stuff I turned to Jeff and asked him how he was doing. Gone was the happy greeting I got just minutes before. His shoulders literally sank and said, Same ol’, same ol’. My knees and shoulder hurts and I’m getting old.

Way back in the day, Jeff used to be really fun to work with (– along with K.) The last few years I’ve worked with him he stopped being engaging to hang around -at lunch, he’d go outside and smoke and then take his Harley onto the range and ride the box several times – which, I always hated when instructors did that because I thought it was just a form of showing off in front of the students.

K got like that, too. Once he realized that I didn’t want to hear about his conquests anymore he stopped talking to me and when we taught together he would constantly be on his phone texting some honey that he was hoping to get with. We’d go to lunch and one of the other male instructors would sit with us and he’d talk to him the entire time about the latest rally he did. I started to feel invisible to many of the people I taught with because either the story never changed or they got bitter and worn out from teaching or life in general.

I had to bite my tongue at that point to keep from telling him he should retire, like me and ride on the weekends. But, that’s not for me to say.  At least Jenna was happy to see me and engaging as ever.

While she and Charlie talked I texted Yvonne asking when she thought they would be there for lunch and she texted back not until noon probably that they had just gotten up.

This is another thing is that when Charlie and I go ride we never wait for people. We say clutch out at [time we decided to leave based on distance and when we need to be there] and if they can’t make by then see ya. I won’t wait for anyone – especially if it’s going to be 1,000 degrees by noon. I want to get in as much riding as possible while it’s still cool.

I texted back, Ok, just text me your ETA – we’re probably going to go ride a bit since we’re early.

Right after that, she bailed. She said, Oh, well why don’t you go without us and we’ll do something next weekend. We’re moving kind of slow today.

I was like WTF? We offered to go ride a bit and wait for them and they just bail. I was disappointed. I mean, we ALWAYS ask them to ride and they NEVER do. They go out with their motorcycle boy group and even ride with Women on the Wind but they NEVER ride with us. I was over it.

I told Charlie and we just rode over ourselves and had lunch. Once home, we kicked off our boots and traded our jeans for shorts and hung out on the porch. Later, I see a FB post of both Yvonne and Kat in a photo with Hippy Dippy saying, Great ride with [Hippy Dippy] today!

Charlie and I were like, F-THAT. We’re not asking them again. I can’t believe they dissed us to ride with Hippy-Dippy and her pathetic little Rebel 250-needing-a-motorcycle- class-raggedy-ass. What-the-F-ever. Maybe it’s a good thing they didn’t come after all because I really don’t like Hippy Dippy. I was tempted to blow their FB up but all I said in the comments was We tried.

Pathetically, they both liked it. I hate FB sometimes.

I think of all the times I particularly didn’t want to hear for the 10th time Kat sing the same songs about her ex not paying any attention to her while her current played the drums but I went to the venue anyway, paid my cover and went in to support them. We bought all their CD’s and have shown up to every show. Now I wonder if I could spend my time better doing something else.

This brings up the issue of Charlie and I having several friends that we ask to do things and they never commit or do anything with us. I get tired of it.

I also get tired of us always hosting We’re always having the parties, come over for drinks, dinner, etc. But we never get invites. Never.  The last invite we got was from Ellen in May to come over to her house and help her celebrate her birthday – that that was even because she had her leg in a brace and couldn’t go anywhere. At least she made an effort. As does Michale and her new gf, Neasa. Michale makes an effort to come to our house or meet out but despite having a new house has never entertained there. I am hoping this [like her hairstyle] will change soon since her and Neasa [who sent her to her stylist] are together.

Anyway, I guess I’ll be thankful for the friends who do make an effort because those who don’t won’t be around for much longer.



Well another chapter has ended  while another one has started. We sold the camper yesterday to a nice couple in Cartersville, Georgia. Even though we were sorry to see it go we were also relieved.

Since we’ve been riding motorcycles every weekend we really don’t have the time to take the camper out and give it proper use. I was thrilled we actually made a profit on the sale, too. Shortly after they left with the camper they sent us pictures of them in it with their two dogs. Yes, a perfect fit and I’m happy our beloved camper is in loving hands.

Last weekend we rode down to Juliette, Georgia home of the Whistle Stop Cafe’.  This was Charlie’s first time eating fried green tomatos. It was very hot that day but a beutiful ride to and from. We passed a rafter of turkeys on the way there (honestly, if we had a Go-Pro we’d been able to capture that moment) and passed through a national forest on the way back. All in all – gorgeous country side trip.

0008429_PCRF_Schedulewhistlestop2 whistlestop3

IMG_3505 IMG_3506 IMG_3507IMG_3502 IMG_3503charliewhistlestop

I admit that I am tired of summer now. I am tired of seeing 90-anything. I long for the crisp mornings and football. I cannot wait to sit out on the porch and watch a game. I’m just ready for September for now.

I had another interview the other day for a position in another department. It’s not as if I’m extremely unhappy where I am but I want to be promoted and make more money and in my line of work the only way for that to happen is to get another position within the company.  The interview went well – as always. I think I have a shot if they don’t already have someone earmarked for the positon.  Really keep your fingers crossed. I should know something next week.

Other than that I really don’t have anything new going on. Summer is just melting by.

for verification purposes can you give your DOB?

“Today, 48 years ago, Mutha-F-er.”, I wanted to say but didn’t.

IIIIIIIIIII don’t want to work, I just want play on these –


all day!

Yes, it’s my birthday and…… I’m working :_(

WTF? I knew I shouldn’t have scheduled a stupid meeting on the day of my birthday. But (hopefully)– I’m out of here after it’s over.

Charlie is taking me out for a birthday dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Va-highlands. I have already received most of my presents already. Charlie got me phone holder clamp and a USB port for my motorcycle and the latest Walking Dead comic books (which are eons ahead of the TV series and really way more interesting, too. Seriously, if we have one more season of wandering through the woods of south Georgia and killing zombies I’m D-O-N-E). Ellen got me a nice bottle of whiskey and Charlie’s parents got me a gift certificate to Outback.

My sister really tried this year by getting me a belt that I hook this flexible dog lead to so when Sadie and I go running I won’t have to hold the leash. Kind of ingenious but she kind of ruined it with a Cuisinart Smart Stick – borrrrring. I can’t even sell it on Ebay, either, because what I’ll make on it won’t even be worth the trouble to box up and ship it. So, I think I’m stuck just mixing margaritas with the thing. (Especially since I got a bottle of tequila from Jess for my b-day) Oh well, you win some and drink lose some.

You know I’m still going around and around with those f*ck-tards at the insurance company? Finally, they sent out the memo stating that people who were in same sex marriages could add their spouses to their insurance and to use June 26, 2015 as the qualifying event date (no matter if you got married previously in another state – that June 26th date would be the date of the qualifying event in Georgia). SO, I got Charlie added and they sent me documentation that stated that I would have to provide a copy of our marriage license as supporting documentation. SO –I uploaded it to their site – per their instructions. A week later, I’m getting emails and documentation in the mail of: PLEASE PROVIDE SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION BY AUGUST 28, 2015. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN DENIAL OF REQUEST AND COVERAGE WILL REVERT TO PRIOR COVERAGE.

So, once again I called them and was put on hold forever while they tried to verify that they received the supporting documentation. Once the woman came back on she said she would have to look further into it. I told her to call me back and let me know either way. She never called me back. So, again, I get a nasty-gram email and letter saying above. I called again this morning. The lady said, yes, they had received it but it had been denied because our qualifying event date was outside the 30 days as our marriage license said, September 24, 2014. I was revving up to shout out loud, “FOR THE 45TH TIME SAME SEX MARRIAGE BECAME LEGAL IN GEORGIA JUNE 26, 2015 AND THAT IS THE MOTHER-F*CKING QUALIFYING EVENT DATE!!!!! When –

-she said, “Oh I’m sorry Mrs. Lanie– I’m sending this back for review since this is a same sex marriage it should be approved.”

-Sigh –

Wtf do I have to do to be treated like an equal around here? I really do hope that this is the last phone call I have to make to these people. I took down a reference number and assured her that I would be calling back if I didn’t hear back from them. She at least said Happy Birthday before hanging up as for verification purposes for the 45th time I had to give my DOB. All I really want for my birthday is to not have to make anymore phone calls to these people. Ever. Again.





'Normally I'd be optimistic that we could work out a little problem like this.'

‘Normally I’d be optimistic that we could work out a little problem like this.’

We have a mediocre like love/hate relationship with our neighbors. They first moved into the house next door last summer. I have lived on the street since 1997 and am among only a handful of others who have been there before or as long as I have. So, I count myself as a veteran of the street. I remember the next door neighbor being alive who was the original builder of all the houses on the street. I remember when he passed and then years later his wife passing. Her name was Mildred. I loved having her next door because she was almost deaf and never complained of my drumming and parties. In fact, the only thing she ever complained of was a Tulip Poplar on my property that shed leaves onto her property. The woman almost couldn’t stand to have one leaf in her yard. Eventually, I took the tree down because it wasn’t in the best of shape and leaning towards the house.

After Mildred passed friends of her family purchased the house. I first came across the new owner named Carl who would constantly introduce himself, “Carl and Amy here, nice to mee-cha!”

This would be the moment that I would look around for “Amy” never to be found. Carl did a bunch of work to the house – even later when I’d see him he’d say, “Hi, Carl and Amy here how-ya doing?” Again, no Amy anywhere and to this day I’ve never met her.

But no one moved in for quite some time. Then finally two older women moved in – (well, in fact I only SAW one but was informed by the other that the second did exist even though she was a hoarder and never left the house.) Apparently, Carl and his invisible wife, Amy, were getting a divorce and Amy was renting it to one live person and another invisible like herself.

This arrangement was fine until I was sitting in my carport one night talking to Charlie (this was before Charlie and I were together and she lived in Florida) when the one who I had met – the non-invisible one –  just came walking into the carport in her nightgown telling me to keep it down.

It was 8:30.

Ok, in the history of living on my street NO ONE had ever told me to keep it down. That lady was lucky I didn’t shoot her after walking up like that because she scared the crap out of me. After that, every time she saw me she made it a point to stop and talk to me. I’d be walking Sadie and she’d stop and talk. It got to a point that when I saw her coming I’d run and hide.

Finally, her and the hoarder moved out because Carl and Invisible-Amy’s divorce was final and she was moving in. So, we thought. The house sat empty again for months which suited me just fine. Then, Charlie moved in and then the current neighbors moved in. I came home one day and found Charlie standing in the back yard talking to some man who introduced himself as Tim. I would later meet his wife DeeDee. At first, it started out ok. There weren’t any incidents or complaints that I remember that first year. They would let out our dogs and then we’d let out theirs. We had even hired Tim to let them out during the day while we were at work and paid him. Then, Tim got a job and kind of left us in the lurch to find someone else so we decided to make due with blocking off rooms and hiding anything that could be chewed by Bailey. We were glad that Tim got a job because he was starting to come around more and more. He’d pop into the carport with a drink and talk about his penis sex which made me uncomfortable. I even got up and left at one point because I didn’t want to hear it. I even said something to his wife about it. Then, one morning last winter when Ellen and I were doing the Hot Chocolate Race I had gone out to ask her if she wanted any coffee before getting into her car and going and apparently Tim had heard me ask that and had called my cell phone number telling me to keep it down. Ok, by the time I had gotten the message we had already left that’s how quickly we were gone.

So, later Tim quit his job and decided to stay home all the time – and drink. Last week we had Michale, her gf and friend from Maine over to play music. We were literally in the back of the house in my office – right up against the neighbors on the opposite side of the house singing, playing drums and being rowdy until around 10:30 – we did this three nights in a row, in fact and those neighbors never said a word. (I think they probably felt guilty that I was up with every one of their kids when they were teething so this was my chance to keep them up). But, Thursday when we finished playing in my office we went out to the carport to sit and take a breather. The night was winding down but we got to laughing about something and suddenly both my phone and Charlie’s phones are going off from the neighbors – Tim and DeeDee. I let the message go to vm but listened to the message of Tim saying, “Hey, can you keep it down over there?” and a text saying, “Time to move the party inside…..please.”

We all shut up and started whispering and everyone left after that. What really p*ssed me off about that was BOTH of them were off the next day – DeeDee going to the mountains with a bunch of her girlfriends and Tim – well, just staying home and drinking. It was Charlie and I who had to get up early and drag into work. That morning going out the my truck I almost wanted to drag out my crash cymbol and start banging on it under their window.

That weekend with DeeDee out of town Tim didn’t have anything better to do than bug us. Even though we partied like rock starts again on Friday and Saturday playing music and drinking there were no more complaints from Tim -probably because he was bombed off his @ss. Then, Sunday I’m getting ready to go to the store when he calls my cell phone. Why he doesn’t text, I don’t know. I hate answering the phone to be honest. I only answer when it’s 100% convenient (which, is almost NEVER) or I WANT to talk to the person on the other end (which, I could list only 5 people not including TIM!). I let it go to vm and like Tim it was the standard, “Hey, Lanie – call me.”

Never saying what the f*ck he wants or what’s on fire – NO! Hey, call me. I never called him back. I texted Charlie, OMG WTF Tim just called me see what he wants. I’M DONE!!!

Apparently, he’d run out of vodka and wanted to borrow some of ours. We only had a teaspoon left in our bottle in the freezer so when I got home I had to ride with him to the liquor store and listen to him talk nothing. Once home he said, “Hey, I’ll just go make a drink and come by.”

Charlie and I internally cringed. We hadn’t had any time to ourselves the whole weekend and wanted some down time together but we were trapped. Fortunately, he’s usually only good for one drink before going home to drink more.

This week at work has been really busy. I’ve been killing myself getting ready for all these end of the month status meetings. Yesterday, I’m going into a meeting when my phone rings. I don’t recognize the number so I let it go to vm. Later, after my meeting I pick up the message, “Hey Lanie. It’s Tim, this is my cell phone. Give me a call.”

I went into a rage. WTF was that bastard calling me at work during the day for? What the hell is on fire that he thinks he needs to Eff-ing call me while I’m WORKING! I still had a ton of stuff to do before I left and got busy. I never called him back.

Later, at home Charlie and I were hanging out in the carport talking when suddenly DeeDee comes strolling up through the carport  – like the previous neighbor in her nightgown – scaring the crap out of us. We talked for a bit – I was hoping the topic of Tim calling would come up because all I really wanted to say was, “What the Eff is Tim doing calling me while I’m at work?” But, nothing was mentioned.

So, now I think we need to build a fence and tell the neighbors to please text us first before coming over. I mean, really – is that asking too much?

the [walking] dead ride

Last Sunday, Charlie and I met up with a group of [mostly] guys to ride to several Walking Dead sites in Georgia. Even though Charlie and I were the only cruisers of the group we managed to keep up. The group leader, Dakota happened to be a county sheriff in North Georgia, carried a sidearm (which, I was thankful for as I had decided to leave mine at home and I had been to Terminus previously and vowed I wouldn’t return without one) and ensured no one would get left in the group or exceed 70 mph on the highway.

Many of the photos below I linked to The Walking Dead Locations website.

Our first stop was the bridge overlooking the Highway. I’m not sure if this is Jackson bridge or not. I couldn’t find it on TWD location website. IMG_3303 (someone took a panoramic picture of the group)

Next, over to Grant Park for a photo in front of Rick’s house:


After Ricks’s we decided to ride to Smyrna where the Cobb Energy  Performing Arts Center that “played” the CDC in the show. (The real CDC wouldn’t let the film crew anywhere near their site for security purposes)


After sweating our butts off a bit we hopped back on the highway and headed for Terminus.

IMG_3305 (Charlie’s in yellow, I’m in blue in front of her. The guy in the back was one of our trip captains and he always made sure Charlie didn’t fall too far behind since it was her first highway trip)

IMG_3264 (Terminus. Like several TWD sites it’s chained up and no getting into)

Next we rode down to Newnan, GA to the Caldwell  Tanks location. This location was known as the Woodbury Arena where The Governor held the zombie fights and eventually where Daryl and Merle fought. (this was my favortie location of the trip)

IMG_3865 IMG_3267IMG_3866

By this time we’re parking in the trees to get any sort of shade as possible. The next place we stopped was the FEMA camp where Shane shot Otis.

Then to probably the creepiest town I have ever been in – Sharpsburgh, GA. As you can see from the photos the only people who were there were us. This is where Glen and Maggie went to Steve’s pharmacy and Carriage Bar and Shruggs Hardware:  

IMG_3874IMG_3877 (one of these stores had creepy dolls in the window. I told Charlie “Let’s get out of heeeeeeere!!)


(that’s me looking in the window. There was a ton of junk in there)


By this time I was running out of steam. We were all hot and dehydrated and seeking food and shelter – kind of like TWD survivors. So, we headed to Senoia, GA for lunch.

IMG_3878 IMG_3879 IMG_3880

These were the only pictures I was able to capture at the time. Charlie and I ended up in this cool Irish pub eating lunch with part of our group (we kind of split up at that point because part of the group wanted to walk around and being as my boot heel melted off and I was hot and tired I just followed the other half of the group into the nearest bar possible). This was a good choice not only because of location but because one of the guys in lunch group was a camera person for TWD for four years and he had all kinds of interesting stories and inside scoop on TWD. Unfortunately, after our ride back we never got his contact info nor was he on our FB event page. So, I guess we’ll just have to run into him again someday. Charlie and I want to do another ride down to just Senoia just to have lunch and come home. When it’s cooler!


“Press One for English……Press Two for Spanish…… apriete dos para español……..please hold for the next representative.”


[Good because I’m about to get QA/QC all over your @sses]

“Hi, this is [name of numerous reps] for verification purposes can I have the last four digits of your social security number and your date of birth.”


“Mz. [Lanie] do you still reside at [entire address recited]?”

“Yes, I do. Since today, yesterday, the day before and last week when I contacted you – I have not moved since then.”

“How may I help you today?”

“I have a life event and I would like to add my spouse to my health insurance.”

“I’d be happy to assist you with that Mrs. [Lanie]. What was the date of your marriage?”

“September 24, 2014.”

“Oh, I’m sorry Mrs. [Lanie] but you had 30 days after that event date to add your spouse to your health benefits. You will have to wait until open enrollment to do so.”

“I don’t agree because my marriage became legal in the state of Georgia June 26, 2015. Therefore, it is within the 30 days to add my spouse and I’d like to do so at this time.”

“I’m sorry Mrs. [Lanie] we are aware of the Supreme Court Decision, however, at this time our agents are working diligently in updating the policy so same sex couples can add their spouses to their insurance. We will put out a directive soon but other than that is there anything else I can help you with today?”

“When will you be putting out the directive?”

“I’m sorry, we don’t’ know at this time.”

“So, you mean to tell me that Joe next to me who just got married is able to add his spouse but because I’m in a same sex marriage I cannot add my spouse?”

“Mrs. [Lanie] we are working on that policy at this time and will put out a directive –

“So, this is a discrimination wouldn’t you think?”

“Mrs. [Lanie] –

“This is the fifth time I have called and still I am not able to add my spouse to my benefits even though there are thousands of others who can and I’m being discriminated against because I happen to be in a same sex marriage – is that what you are saying?”

“Mrs. [Lanie] –

“I suggest that [insurance] company gets the directive out soon or the next call will be from my attorney. Good day.”

I mean seriously – all they have to change in their system is this:

marriage2 (it’s that eff-ing simple)

The directive from my HR came out yesterday and you’d better believe I was burning up the phone line to add Charlie to my insurance. Once this is done I hope to never hear health insurance again until it’s time for open enrollment. This has been an on-going battle, believe me. First, Charlie was one.week out from getting insurance at the company she worked for (they had a three month waiting period after being hired) when she fell off the ladder and busted her heel and was out of work for three months. So, she had no insurance. We dealt with it -pretty well, considering.

Then, Charlie gets a new job. The day she came home from her working interview with a new vet that specializes in eyes and sees all kinds of animals that she was so excited to work with – she’s crying.

“What’s wrong? Did your interview not go well?”

“Yes [hiccup] it did but I called my Mom to tell her because I was so happy and she yelled at me about what I was going to do about health insurance and that I shouldn’t switch jobs right now because I just got on their insurance.”  

“Yeah, those bastards that made you wait six months for insurance, wouldn’t take you back for three months after your accident even though when they did they just sat you in a chair in reception and made you answer the phone – like you couldn’t do that at one month in? Then, they work you to death, bad hours, yell at you -but no, you shouldn’t leave because OH WOW they decided to grant you benefits like you should kiss their @sses and be soooo grateful. EEEEEFFF – THEM! We’ll figure this health stuff out even if we have to get you on Obama Care and Ima call my insurance company and hound them every day until I can add you in the meantime. Don’t sweat it – I want you to do what you want to do and what makes YOU happy.”

Next: Call from my sister:

“What’s new?”

“Oh, Charlie had an interview with a vet that specializes in eyes and is really excited about the job and will probably take it. It’s practically walking distance from the house and the hours are much better than the other place and it’s a private practice.”

“What about insurance? I hope you’re not going to let her go without insurance again. You should have been on that when she left the other job.”

“It’s being taken care of – no worries.”

“Well, I hope so because you need to –“

[Bitch sister name] I’m on it! Plus, we have the Supreme Court decision coming out any day now and if it rules in our favor than I will be able to add her to my benefits.”

Next: Call from Charlie’s brother after the Supreme Court decision:

“That’s so great! But, you still won’t be able to be on Lanie’s insurance will you?”

“Yes [narcissistic brother name] I will be. We will have all the rights as any couple  [except for you, brother who will need to MARRY your girlfriend of 12 years in order to put her on YOUR insurance – HAHA!] It’s across the board.”

So, you can understand why I am sooooooooo eff-ing sick and tired of the health benefit thing and having to explain it to family members who are not eff-ing supportive AT. ALL! So, I was celebrating yesterday, believe me! It’s one thing to have the Supreme Court decision but another to actually be able to put it into effect. It’s now real. We now have all the rights as any other couple.

Soccer and Crystal 

I was about to tuck into a Wells Bombardier the other night and watch the soccer game at our favorite little Irish pub when Charlie said, We’d better get there early and get seats.

I was really hoping that we would catch at least the first 30 minutes of the game but agreed she’d had a point. We were going to see Crystal Bowersox at Edie’s Attic and it was bound to fill up. I looked up at the TV and USA was warming up and knew it would be another 30 minutes even before kickoff. I suggested that we finish off our beers and go. I was proud of Charlie for getting us concert tickets and planning a date night so I wasn’t going to ruin it by making us arrive late and have to stand all night.

We walked into the room and already people were sitting at the middle bar. There were several seats at the back bar but several of them had water glasses sitting in front of them like they were being saved. I started to go up and tap the lady sitting on the end and ask if they were taken when I realized she was…………


I turned around and started the opposite direction when Charlie said, “Oh my God is that Lee and Heidi?”

“Why yes it is.”

Just then two seats appeared at the front bar and I asked the guy next to one of them if they were taken and he said, “They are now.”

Pulling out one of the stools so Charlie and I could wedge our way in.

I’m so glad we found a seats here.

I am too, and we have our backs to them now so we don’t have to look at them.

If you read this post you know that Lee basically went out to Seattle to bust up Rhoda and Heidi. Apparently, Heidi is shacking up with Lee who still lives in Bertha’s (her ex of 9 years) basement.

I looked at the clock on the wall – we still had an hour before any music was played. I signaled the server and ordered a pitcher. If we were in for the haul might as well focus on the liquid. I told Charlie I was going out on the back porch to see if the soccer game was on and go to the restroom. I went out back and no, the game wasn’t on –which was so LAME and then to the bathroom. I’m standing there waiting for someone to come out of one of the two stalls when one of the stall doors open almost hitting me and out walked Crystal Bowersox.

“Oh, sorry.”

“No problem.” Thinking, Crystal Bowersox can hit me with the bathroom door anytime.

I came back into the music room and settled down next to Charlie. It wouldn’t be long now. Finally, people started flooding in and taking the reserved seats and the place started to fill up. Eventually what seemed like an eternity Crystal took the stage to introduce one of the warmup performers.

“I want to bring to the stage a good friend of mine. This is a woman I discovered in Seattle walking by a café’ I heard this incredible voice…..”

I eyed the keyboard on the stage and my stomach dropped. Surely Crystal Bowersox wasn’t talking about Heidi and her pitiful little mewing she calls singing while she pounded the keyboard. Surely not. I’m going to fall.out. if she brings her up there. Maybe that’s why Heidi and Lee are here – Heidi is playing. Oh.My.God. If she brings her up on stage I’m going back to the Irish bar and watch soccer until she’s gone.

“……….please everyone welcome Whitney Monge.

IMG_3801 (Charlie and Whitney)

Relief flooded me.

“Oh, I knew she wasn’t good enough to be up there, Lanie.”

“You never know, Charlie. She’s fooled a lot of people.”

After many drinks, and listening to wonderful artists including Crystal Bowersox we left. We managed to get through the whole night without any communication or contact with Lee and Heidi and USA won without my visual help so it was a win-win situation.

IMG_3807 (Crystal takes to the stage)

Brunch and Brain Damage

Saturday, I did the Pride race in Piedmont park that I had signed up for months ago. Charlie and I took the dogs down there so they could watch me run. At one point we ran back by the spectators after the 1 mile marker and Sadie really expected me to grab her leash and take her with me. She whined and cried while Charlie and the other people around laughed.


I could have probably taken her but it was already getting hot outside.  I thought I was going to keel over at mile 2 in the meadow that was sweltering hot.

Since I had that race we did not go with Katharine, Yvonne and Michale to the mountains to ride motorcycles. I was glad because by the time they left town it was already in the 90’s and they didn’t get back until 9:30 p.m. Charlie and I got invited by Hannah Thomas to a backyard concert so we went to that. It was amazing! The house it was held was just up the street from our little Ujoint bar and we were able to bring a cooler, chairs and things to nosh on. The back yard itself looked like something out of House and Garden and Hannah performed on the deck of this darling little shed that Charlie and I want to build something identical to in our back yard.

IMG_3085 IMG_3088 IMG_3092 IMG_3098

The next day we had planned to ride down to Juliette, GA home of the Whistle Stop Café’ but we decided to bag it because we got in so late on Saturday from the cottage concert. So, we decided to ride to brunch somewhere. As we were riding I kept hearing a call come in on my helmet. I ignored it and suddenly Michale was speaking in my helmet.

Hey, are you guys coming over?

No, we thought you’d still be in bed from getting in so late last night.

Well, I thought we were riding to Juliette?

Nah, we’re riding to brunch- you want to come?

Yes, but I need you to come over here – I have a problem.

I sighed. I had already gone over to her house the previous week to help her pick her jinormous bike up from lying on its side in the backyard.


What happened?

Oh, I was trying to park it and it went over and it’s laying against my car now. I need help picking it up again.

Ok, we’ll be over but we’re down in Candler Park right now it may be a minute to get back your way.

As I turned around and headed that way I hit the intercom button and told Charlie what happened. When we arrived, the bike was indeed leaning up against her [company] car. Fortunately, neither was worse for wear. I grabbed the back sissy bar and helped her right it. Charlie and I had parked down at the curb because Michale has a hellaciously steep driveway that not even I would attempt.  After some discussion of riding over to Katharine’s to see if she wanted to join us I walked down to the street to my bike. Charlie was sitting on hers the whole time. We started and watched Michale roll down her driveway, turn sharply onto the street, almost fall over and hit a car parked at the curb before righting herself, taking off and blowing through the stop sign at the end of the street without even looking.

Oh boy, I said into my intercom

You ain’t kidding, Charlie replied.

I was suddenly teaching at Honda again.

Michale darted across Memorial Drive (4 lanes of traffic, I might add) to Katharine’s street.  We got to Katharine’s and her and Yvonne were literally just getting up and passed on the brunch. They talked about the ride the previous day and I just figured Michale had worked all this stuff out since according to her she was a seasoned rider and they went all the way up to Brasstown Bald. I mean, surely if she could ride all the way up there and back she could ride to brunch. After Katharine bailing we discussed where to go to brunch and I mentioned Henry’s. (I would still like to give the place another shot before I call it quits on major suckage). Both Michale and Charlie said, Whatever. But, as we rode I thought about that steep parking lot at Henry’s and the turn at the bottom to get into the lot as well as all the loose gravel below. I decided on the Brewhouse in Little 5 just because it was close and we could have rock star parking. This turned out to be a good choice – food-wise and parking-wise.

IMG_3099 (this is Charlie’s new Harley in the foreground)

After a delectable lunch of a gyro and so much coffee I was sweating we decided to go to this thrift store so Michale could look for some chaps and a leather vest. I had looked at her skeptically when she explained she was going to start riding in that. Chaps – one thing – that’s fine but just a leather vest? What kind of protection is that? But, I was trying to stay off my soapbox. I had already cautioned her on using her rear brake more after she almost rear-ended Charlie coming up to a light we were stopped at. (I thought Charlie was going to have to stop and clean her pants out one time). I’d also recommended that she take a class on her own bike so she could get used to braking, cornering and operating it. So, I just shut up. I said I knew a great route to take to the thrift store and we took off. The ride over was uneventful and after Michale found some chaps, paid and wore them out of the store we agreed that once we got to Decatur she would peel off and go home and Charlie and I would do the same. At one point we were making our way back and I noticed that Michale was behind me instead of Charlie. I figured Charlie got tired of worrying about her hitting her @ss and let her go. But, later Charlie said that Michale again blew through a stop sign, passing her and that’s how she came up to be right behind me.

I just couldn’t believe this. Who in their right mind blew through stop signs on purpose unless she couldn’t stop?

Once in Decatur, Charlie and I split off from Michale and waved. We were home in 5 minutes and I texted her to let us know when she got home. Twenty minutes went by and Charlie and I were already in shorts sitting on the porch splitting our last beer.

Have you heard from Michale?

Nope. Ima text her again.

More time went by and our beer was gone and I decided to go get more and drive by Michale’s house on the way as she’s about 10 minutes from us. I parked at the street and groaned because I knew I had to run up her driveway to see if her bike was in the back. It wasn’t. I drove by Katharine’s house and she wasn’t there either. I texted Ellen and asked if she was over there and she said she wasn’t.  I told her to let me know if she showed up. As I was pulling into the gas station to get beer my phone rang and it was Michale.

Hey, where are you?

Well, I rode over to Nina’s.

I could sense hesitation in her voice. And?

And, there’s a problem. See my throttle got stuck and I went down. I’m going to need you to come over here.

I wondered when it had become my job to pick her bike up every time she tipped it over.

Here’s Nina, she’s going to give you her address.

Nina: She took a pretty good fall and I’m trying to talk her into going to the urgent care.

I’m not only a bike lift but also a paramedic, apparently.

What’s her symptoms? I guess if I was going to play the part…..

She hit her head pretty hard (I heard Michale in the background saying, But I had my helmet on) and she’s repeating the same things over and over again (hence the background, I thought) and she’s nauseous.

She probably has a concussion call 911.

She probably won’t let me do that.

Well, she has really good insurance. Just call them. If she won’t let you take her to the ER.

Ok, I’ll do that and call you back.

I was hoping she wouldn’t but she called back a second later.

She wants me to take her to urgent care.

Well, if she has a head injury then urgent care is just going to send her to the ER. You’re near DeKalb Medical, right? Just tell her you’re taking her to urgent care and drive there.

I was already back at the house with beer when a text from Nina came in saying that she was taking her to the ER.

Whew! She’s finally relented and took her to the ER.  

Thank goodness!

By this time both Charlie and our neighbor Deb were sitting on the porch. We drank while reports came in from Nina. CT scan: normal, but two cracked ribs and an overnight stay in the hospital. I was glad that Nina was handling it – and from what I’ve been told Nina wants to handle it – and more than that.

Let’s just ride by ourselves for a while.

You got it!

It was turning out to be too much like work.


puttin’ up pickles and salsa

Since I’ve been off this week (well, technically I’ve been in a virtual class for three days and it’s been boring, boring, boring) I decided to play around with my FreshTECH Automatic Canning system.

First up was kosher pickles. With this system you have to follow the recipe book they provide with the unit pretty closely. Apparently, they have all the acidity and cooking times worked out for these specific recipes. I knew this going into it because I went to the website and read a lot of reviews on the product prior to purchasing it. I was ok with this. I have no family heirloom recipes on how to can the perfect pickle, tomato sauce or dilly beans. (Although, I really want them to add a chow-chow recipe) The website has added even more recipes since they published the book and promise to add more. I bought pickling cucumbers at the local farmer’s market and some specific Ball pickling spice, pickling salt and vinegar (they call for 5% acidity) and got started.


One thing to note on the recipes – they usually give you two sizes of jars you can use and you use the amount of ingredients it calls for under the jar size in the book. I had to also purchase some 16 oz. jars as I had only 6 and 12. Pickles require a larger jar in order to fit in there sliced in quarters. Per the 16 oz jar recipe I filled four jars even though I sanitized 5 so they wouldn’t fall over on each other. First, you place the jars in the canning system and hit the programming button to sterilize the jars. This takes 12 minutes. That gave me time to bring to a boil on the stove the vinegar, salt and pickling spice. Once the jars are sterilized you remove one jar at a time and just close the lid (you don’t have to lock it back in place). According to the book you remove one jar at a time, fill and replace in the canning system before removing another empty jar and filling it. What the book doesn’t say is that it’s sometimes a bitch to get ahold of the empty jars if they’re all packed in there together with no room to get the tongs in around the mouth of one of the jars to pull it out. Also, sometimes the jars will fall over if they’re not supported by the other jars being packed in there. I don’t really think this is a big deal. I packed the quartered cucumbers in each jar and poured the liquid spice over it allowing ½ inch headroom.

Once all the jars are filled and replaced in the unit you lock the lid, hit the pickle button (it actually has a picture of a pickle on it) on the side and a number (they give you a numeric number to hit with every recipe) and hit start. For the pickles it took 38 minutes and they were done. I took them out and set them aside to cool. It tells you to let them cool at room temperature for 12-24 hours. While I was boiling the vinegar mix for them the smell was so strong it made me sneeze. So, I hope they are not too vinegary.


Today, I decided to try the traditional salsa recipe in the book. This is the one that calls for tomatoes, jalapenos, green onions, garlic and cilantro. (There’s one called a Fiesta salsa but that is a Ball Fiesta salsa spice pack and tomatoes which, I may try next if this one is meh). This one is a little more involved. I skinned and seeded all the tomatoes. (I went here for an easy way to do that) I boiled water on the grill outside (because it’s really hot here and I didn’t want to heat up the house) and put the tomatoes in it until the skins came away slightly and then put them into ice water so they wouldn’t cook anymore.


Then, I diced up the tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and garlic and brought it to a boil in a pan with lime juice, hot pepper sauce and vinegar. Once it boiled (again, on the grill outside) I put it on simmer for 15 minutes. (I also used 3 large orange tomatoes and 4 red vine tomatoes medium sized)


I was also sanitizing the jars while I did this. Once it was ready I put it into the jars and hit the salsa button, the number 2 button and it started processing. This took 48 minutes. One thing about this recipe. It called for either an 8 oz or 16 oz jars. I used 12 oz jars and went with the 16 oz. jar ingredient amount and still only got 2-1/2 jars out of it. I was really disappointed given the amount of time it took to chop all that stuff up. So, next time I’m going to use more like 9 -10 cups of large tomatoes opposed to 7 cups the recipe calls for.

I haven’t tried the pickles or, of course, the salsa yet but I will let you know how they come out.

IMG_3761   (these little babies were still boiling in the jar when I took this pic)