rock bands and strippers

I’m thankful Christmas is over. I tend to get a little impatient for all these holidays to be over with and spring to be here this time of year. After New Years I tend to dread the long, cold months of January, February and March. I know you say January and February should only be the worst months in Georgia but many times March has come in like a lamb and left like a lion. March is a teaser, for sure. I’m not so much as looking forward for 2014 to be over with but to just have the weird holiday schedule and cold months out of the way.

Charlie was good to me this year at Christmas. Instead of buying me the necessary oven that we so need she got me a drum kit. This was the sonor kit I have been looking at for a year now. This was just the shell kit with the bass, toms and snare and she got me a high-hat with Zildjian cymbals. It’s a start. I’ve ordered a snare stand and bass pedal and bought a throne yesterday. She doesn’t understand why I haven’t been playing it yet. I don’t think she understands that I need something other than a cement block to sit on and the snare needs to be on a stand and that I need something to beat the bass with. So….once I have it all together then she’ll hear it – probably more than she will like, too. She may be regretting this purchase.Later, I’m going to get a ride cymbal but that will be awhile. I want a good one and need to do a little research before I buy one. Plus, I’ll probably need to spend about $200 for a good one.

Other than wishing that my kit was put together enough to bang on it over the holidays I haven’t really done much. Christmas eve we went over to Ellen’s for dinner. Every year she invites us over for “beef wellington”. This cracks me up because it’s always just the beef with biscuits on the side (In a separate pan not even in the same backing dish. One of these days I’m going to ask her how she came up with the name – I know it’s the thought that counts, yes I know)

Ellen asked another couple over Steph and CeCe – and while I like them they are slightly on the [yawn] boring side. (Gosh, I guess it all can’t be rock bands and strippers, Lanie). Earlier that day I told Charlie that we needed to eat a really good late lunch as knowing Ellen the “beef wellington” probably wouldn’t be in the oven when we got there, and, it wasn’t. That’s the thing with eating any kind of meal with Ellen – you ‘re really drunk by the time you wait until 10:00 at night to eat.

We were sitting in the livingroom talking, me on my 5th beer while the BEEF was in the oven and Ellen brought up her ex. (Ellen always finds ways to work her ex into conversation every time we see her). We happened to be [yawn] talking about place settings. I was getting up to go have a shot of whiskey when Ellen said, when [ex] and her were married they had their own place setting. I looked at Charlie in horror thinking, Don’t get any ideas, you.  

But, after we broke up I decided I didn’t like those place settings anymore (even though she still has them in her china cabinet – I would have busted them all over the b*tches front yard) and bought my own place setting at Williams and Sonoma. I could only afford one setting. It was, like, $600. 

I about spit my whiskey across the room.

I was relieved after that because I knew that Charlie and I would never spend that kind of money on dishes. In fact, we bought our last set at the thrift store.

The night wore on, the beef baked on. Finally, after dinner we did the white elephant thing. Charlie had bought some planks to grill fish on and I had bought a small heavy duty camping flask. We both thought we did well. Well, Charlie gets some poo- pourri spray (no.sh*t – no pun intended) and I got this paper mache box that had small post-it notes in it. I opened it up and looked up in puzzlement and Steph said, It’s a worry box. You write on the note what you’re worried about and put it in there. 

I wanted to say Well, I know what I’m not worried about is spending six hundred bucks on a place settling. 

Then, we had to watch a youtube video on poo-pourri spray. I went to refill my whiskey. Can’t all be rock bands and strippers, Lanie.

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’twas the day before the day before….

It’s the day before the day before Christmas. I think everything is pretty much done and ready t0 go. This year wasn’t quite as hectic as last year. I didn’t mail anything out last minute at the post office. Everything I bought was online and sent directly to them. (I love Amazon!)

I’m kind of ready for the holiday to begin and have some time off. This will be the most I’ve had off since Thanksgiving. Charlie is off the next few days but works Friday and the weekend. We don’t know what New Year’s Eve looks like at this point. We haven’t made any plans as she may be working.

Last night, she picked me up at the train station with the dogs and we went out and had a holiday drink at our [new] favorite little hideaway pub. Honestly, though, this place could use a massive decoration makeover. It may be cozy but it looks like some guy that’s a packrat’s apartment.

The weather has been really sad the past three days – rainy and cold. It makes it feel like you don’t want to go out at all -just stay in and drink a hot toddy. Tomorrow I get to work from home and am planning on straightening up my home office. I had to move a bunch of stuff in there because of new windows being installed last Friday. We got about 75% of the house windows replaced (we couldn’t afford to do all at once). It has made a huge difference already – in looks and in temperature. I was very happy to get rid of the dated picture window in the living room. When they removed it all they had to do was run a knife around the edge and it just came right out. I was worried that one day the thing would just fall out and I would have a gaping hole in the side of the house. It was quite huge.

Before:

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After:

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Now all we need is for the new dishwasher to come in and to buy a new stove. Fortunately, we’re able to use the top of the stove but just not the oven. So, no cookie baking for us this year which is kind of a bummer as we usually make dog cookies for all our friends dogs to give out. Maybe next year a convection oven is in order.

 

 

2014 end

I feel like I’m getting started early writing this post and I may continue it in another post upon further reflection (or after we get through Christmas and my attention span is more than of a gnat). 2014 was a good year. I have no complaints on this year what-so-ever. It started out a bang for me with a new job in February. It was an end to a long arduous time at the Department of Defense (yeah, I can say that now) and the interviewing process. For those of you who have been reading for a while you know that I was interviewing practically the whole year of 2013. Charlie has just started a new job (it’s going well. Thanks for all your positive thoughts!) so, we’re both fruitful in the employment arena this year.

In fact, 2014 was so good I almost don’t want it to end. The other night we got our tree (in the freezing cold – I hate winter) and hauled it into the house. We ate warm egg drop soup in front of the TV afterwards watching Sons of Anarchy (unlike 2014 I’m ready for it to be over. There’s only so much shooting and motorcycle riding I can take). I hope we don’t come home and find the tree lying on the floor. Theo was really interested in it and I think if he’d had his other arm would have been climbing it already. He would attack it and get stuck by one of the needles and retreat.

We had our annual Christmas party for our motorcycle meetup group last week at this bar/restaurant that the server ended up being such a huge @sshat that I will never darken their doorway again. (I wrote them a scathing review on Yelp and sent them a message on Facebook). Anyway, I’m kind of done with the meetup/motorcycle thing until March. There’s no sense in continuing to meet if it’s too freaking cold to ride. (Did I say I hate winter?)

I’ve been dragging myself to the gym every day and running 5k on the treadmill and lifting a bit afterwards. This is my new thing until Spring as I refuse to run outside in the wintertime. Tuesday after my workout I hit a wall. I was exhausted the rest of the day. I took some vitamins that night and Wednesday I took it easier on the treadmill and felt better. Today is spin class. I hope I don’t hit a wall after this one. That lady who runs it always kicks our @sses. I may get a protein drink afterwards.

In 2015, I continue all those running plans that went to sh*t last year after spraining my ankle. No obstacle races for me this year – just road races. I’m going to join the Atlanta Track club and take advantage of some free races (including Peachtree qualifiers) and, become an Active dot com member. I’m signing up for the Peachtree again this year. By fall I hope to do a 15k and maybe a 1/2 – we’ll see. I’d love to do the Thanksgiving day ½ – again, we’ll see.

Charlie and I found another cozy little bar to hang out at. I was tired of our former two neighborhood hangouts because of either running into this crazy woman, an old boss who I’ll only talk to if I have to, smoky old men going in and out of the bar and other various drama between people who hang out there and fight. We decided to stop off at this place one night on the way back from our fav little Mexican restaurant (which, is another place that we never have to worry about) and I was like, Hey, there aren’t any annoying people here. I’m not even going to say where it is because…….well, I want to keep it our little secret- for a while. I will include a pic, though.

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(doesn’t it look cozy?)

drumming [meh] circle

Well, my drum lesson was MEH.

I’m not really sure what this guy’s style of teaching is but you would think that he would at least have had some kind of plan. What was really strange is when we sat down at the kits in the room my kit didn’t have a bass foot pedal. I can’t operate if I don’t have a bass foot peddle, high hat and pedal and a snare in front of me. When I mentioned this to him he was like, OH! I’m sorry I thought that was set up.

I couldn’t help but think, You don’t even know how your room is set up prior to teaching a lesson?

We ended up swapping places and he put a pedal on the kit. However, when he was trying to show me a rhythm playing it his pant leg kept getting caught on the pedal. It was funny  – I almost started laughing. I told him that I wanted to work in fills on basic rhythms so he started playing a jazz riff – I watched for a bit then started in playing. That’s how I roll – I watch, then do and eventually I get it. He never said, Ok watch me then chime in when you’re ready. So, when I did he would stop and start talking again. I wasn’t sure if he just wanted me to sit there and watch him play or what. It was kind of frustrating and awkward to be honest. I was glad when the lesson was over.

At the end when we walked out of the studio he asked if I’d be taking another lesson again and I told him I didn’t know. That I just thought I needed to get a kit set up first and practice on that and then come see him. I asked if I could bring some music in that I wanted to work on and if we could play it together and work through it and he said sure.

I thought, Ok, maybe that would be better.

Then, he said, I mean, if you only want to come in for a half an hour sometime that’s cool or if you had a question about something you could come in and I could show you and I wouldn’t charge you.

Ok, that wasn’t my question. I said, Ok, but if I wanted to work on some music could we do that?

Sure, I should have an iPod by then.

Who the-F doesn’t own an iPod these days? Whatever.

I nodded and walked out. Next.

Maybe I just don’t need crazy drum instructors. I just need practice. There’s a ton of Youtube videos that have lessons that I’m going to try once I get set up.

But, that may be awhile as our oven when out this weekend. It practically caught our tuna melts on fire, too. Stupid thing. Now we have to buy a new oven which, I hate having to do this time of year. Since both Charlie and I are broke right now we’re going to be grilling and microwaving a lot.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to us tuna melts ON FIRE!

Yesterday, Ellen took us to a brewery in our neighborhood for a tasting. We hadn’t been to this one yet and it was nice! Her friend, MarryAnn came along and the three of us had a great time. After that we headed over to Oakhurst to hear Yvonne and Katherine play. This is the first I’ve seen her play since we reconnected over FB through Katherine. Charlie had a work friend coming with a friend of hers. I was interested who would show from the old group to see Yvonne play.

It turned out all of the old group was there minus CMW and an ex of one of the girls. I just sat back and waited for people to say hi to me as I was done making overtures. Yvonne came right over and hugged me after she set up. We talked about her kit and cymbals. Then, later Lori and Susan came over and said hi and met Charlie. I was surprised Jen, Susan’s gf didn’t stop and say hi but I let it pass. As I was going to the restroom I said hi to Li another member of the group – she said hi but then something snide under her breath as I passed by. Whatever. She was always a b*tch. I’m sure she’s still friends with CMW.

Anyway, it was great to be out with friends, listening to music and having fun. After we all went across the street to our favorite little Mexican joint for tacos. I made note that the people sitting at the table who stayed after Yvonne’s last set was my group of friends and not her old group who left right after her first set. I couldn’t help but think if they were such great friends why they didn’t stay.

Again, what a weird full circle.

You can find me on twitter @Lanie_Belluz

drumming + drugs + u + ur hand

Tomorrow I have my first drum lesson. Well, not my first ever – the first in many years. Back in 2003 [I think. This is a stretch to my memory banks] on a whim I went out and bought a drum kit and started taking lessons. To say my drum teacher was strange is an understatement. I learned some really good things from him – like the importance of laying down a beat and sight reading and some bad habits – like being tied to my high-hat and snare drum too much. When his new manager started calling me at 10:00 at night wondering when I was going to pay for my next two lessons (and, I was paid up) I decided to quit and practice on my own. At the time, I had a deaf cat and neighbor so I wasn’t bothered when I played. Often, I’d come home from work and turn on the Bose and play a few warm-up songs and then launch into Pink or Green Day until I was worn out.

Some of the things I liked about my existing kit was the sound of the bass and the snare. My ride cymbal sounded like @ss and I had no opinion of my crash or high hat cymbals but I had way too many tom-tom’s – which, I never used.  I sold my old kit about three Christmases ago to some kid in Kennesaw who was thrilled to get an early Christmas present (I was thrilled his folks called only once, came right out to get it, loading it up and leaving in under 15 minutes). I admit I was sorry to see that kit go – it was a black smoke Pearl Export series with all the hardware including cymbals. (I wasn’t sorry to see the cymbals go, to be honest. I doubt I ever own a Sabian cymbal again). I should have kept the hardware and the bass pedal, though.

I fell in love with a Sonor kit that has a small bass that I spied last Christmas when I was out looking at guitars. I remember looking around for drum instruction then but never finding anyone who had a studio that I could go to – only people who came to your home and, sorry, the thought of some creepy man coming to my home and knowing where I lived – well, I just couldn’t do it – especially, since my old instructor turned out to be one. The only place I found nearby only taught on electronic drums. I’m sorry, why don’t I just pay on my little Casiotone and call it a day? Oh, wait – TJ Max has a little electronic drum set I can just sit on my desk at work and voila – I’m a percussionist!

I gave up for a while until recently I found a service called Thumbtack where you send out what you’re looking for and they line up several people matching your criteria. I was sent three instructors in the area within an hour. One played in a store right around the corner from work and had two Sonor kits in the studio. That was an easy choice.  I felt like it was a sign. So, I’m going to take lessons and see how they go. I have a second choice instructor lined up in case this guy is a creep. I tend to be a little skeptical when it comes to teachers in general. I like to learn by doing and not listening to a bunch of bull theory.  I do have a bit of a jump on most of the basic students as I can read music and lay down a basic beat. I just can’t do anything really fancy. I’m sure if someone was in desperate need to rehearse and needed someone to fill in I could manage to keep them on track with the beat. I just want to learn to do some different things that I didn’t before. When I asked my previous instructor to teach me fills he gave me music to Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused. Despite it being a really complex song it just wasn’t my style. I wasn’t into it at all. I even had to do this really complex counting before I came in on the drum fill. I was a little overwhelmed – or should I say -dazed and confused by it and to be honest uninspired.

I was like, F-LedZepplin is anyone in this band still alive? I don’t feel alive doing this…..I could have a root canal instead of playing this. I’ll never learn all this anyway……a root canal is looking better and better. 

Hey, can I have your payment for the next two lessons? That will be $100.

I’ll never learn this Led Zepplin riff under $2,000! A root canal will cost just as much. I might as well go get that. 

Yeah, I paid $100 every time I walked in the door of that place. Can we say drumming for drugs?

Now if he had given me the music for Rush: Tom Sawyer (which, I feel is probably one of the greatest songs in history) or Green Day: American Idiot – which, I was already half-@ssidly playing then we would have been in biz. Talk about a song that will wear your @ss out – that and Pink: U + Ur Hand

– can you believe I was actually playing that? I can’t. I learned that one on my own, too. No help from drumming for drugs druggie-McDrug-hey-can-I-have-a-hunertdallah-letsgetintosomeZepplin, maaaaaaan.

distorted christmas music in my head

Memlameeeh, memla-meh-meh, memlameeeh, memla-meh-meh, la-memla-mem-laaaaaa, la-memla-mem-laaaaaa, walkinginawinterwonderlaaaaaand!

This is the music that constantly plays in the back of my head from November 24 through New Year’s Eve when I have to get so drunk it leaves my head finally.

It’s a constant reel that keeps going around and around even this weekend when I was teaching or I should say – picking up motorcycles. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – I firmly believe that certain people who do not have a talent for this type of thing and should stay away.

I taught with big Don who looks like he could fill in as Santa Claus at the local mall. Of course, it was too cold to ride this weekend and it rained most of the day on Saturday so the weather wasn’t the best, either. Now that it’s over I want to just coast into the New Year.

We have our annual Christmas party for the motorcycle meetup group this week. This weekend we have a friend playing at a local café. I’m ready for fun! Last night Charlie and I loaded the dogs up in the car and we drove around the neighborhood looking at all the lights. Tonight, I think we’re going to go get a tree.

Last week, we had weather that was warm enough to go without a coat and this week it’s freezing again. The weather here has been nuts and I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas. Laaaam, lam-lam, lam-lam, laaaaaaaamestresssssss! Lam.lam.lam.lam-lam, lam-lam, laaaaaaaaam!

stupid family stuff & random chex mix

This week has been really busy with work. I’ve had meetings out of town two nights that I haven’t gotten home until 8:30 p.m. At least my district isn’t so far away that I have to do overnighter’s when I have meetings there. I’m ready to coast into the holidays now.

I have most of Charlie’s Christmas shopping completed and my family in Indiana’s completed. I sent my father and step mother bacon for Christmas secretly hoping that my Dad won’t eat it and leave it all for my step mother because I like her better anyway. My sister let me know that she completed her wish list on Amazon and I could go there for any ideas. Here they are:

1.       A stainless steel water bottle for $28 (not including shipping)

2.      A measuring cup that separates the fat for $9 (Ok, really not enough on it’s own to buy)

3.      A $28 cookbook

4.      Egyptian towels, wash clothes and hand towels all $28 each so, what, I buy 3 towels??

In the end, I just sent her a gift certificate for Amazon and called it a day. I have no time to think hard over whether the measuring cup and one towel is in my budget. My budget for her is $25. End of story. I’m done.

Speaking of which, she went down to the folks for Thanksgiving. My step mother was having her family over and her family is scar-ry.(Although, the relatives on my father’s side are no party, either) Here’s my sister who lives in her mansion in Indianapolis with the marble floors and bedas in her bathrooms going to visit because she wants to try and pressure our step mother’s daughter to pressure her to get a complete blood screen.

I said, What the h*ll is that gonna to do?

Well, she’s tired all the time and I think she needs to get one to see what’s going on.

Nothing’s going on except her two-pack a day cigarette habit, being 78 and taking care of Dad all the time. Of course she’s tired. Who wouldn’t be?

After she gets back from there she called me and said, Oh my Gawd, it’s terrible there. There’s junk sitting around everywhere, the house is falling down, the barn looks bad and Dad was sleeping the whole time. I don’t think anyone has property diagnosed dementia with him.

My sister, the certified doctor.

It cannot be determined if the farm is worse than it always has been or because my sister lives in a sterile mansion and everything in comparison is junky. This is why I hate for her to come to our house. She starts ragging about everything. Charlie’s folks come and they always say, This is such a cozy place. We love your house.

Charlie was off a few days between her old job and new job (which, she’s starting today so be sending good vibes out her way that it will be great) and hung Christmas lights, dragged out the Christmas decorations, fixed the floor under the old dishwasher (which, she tore out a week ago) and ordered a new one which she’ll install herself. The woman is a whirlwind. The new place is going to be so glad they hired her.