we’re back

I bet you didn’t even know we were gone, did you?

We took off for Colorado last week for a mini vaca from Thursday to Tuesday. We first flew to Denver and spent the first night there in a little Airbnb relatively close to downtown. We landed insanely early in the morning and had to stash our bags at the place before heading out to walk around. We walked for -it seemed- forever until we finally made it to Colfax Avenue. It seemed this wasn’t the “in” part of Colfax either but we walked past a few “interesting” stores we wanted to check out and finally ended up at Illegal Petes – drinking a beer at 10:15 in the morning – Denver time – since we’re from the ATL and it was after noon THERE we felt it appropriate. Plus, as I noticed several fellow alcoholics  others were drinking before noon as well.  After that, we were done walking for awhile and decided to take Lyfts around town to look at stuff and check out a few other breweries. We met up with a fellow blogger, Aussa Lorens at Great Divide Brewing Company who I’d not met before, and, I might add is just as hilarious as her blog.

Afterwards, we went to Epic Brewing Company where the atmosphere was nice and the beers very hoppy. (I honestly thought at one point there was something herbaceous in my beer it was so hoppy.)

The next day we packed up and headed west towards Breckenridge. I heard a lot of good things about the town and the slopes – mind you we weren’t skiing unless we took a temporarily leave of our senses which was all possible while on vacation but I just wanted to check out the town. On the way we passed a small town (when I say small I mean like population 20) that was situated around this lake where everyone was fishing and catching trout. I kicked myself majorly for not hauling all my fly fishing junk out there to fish.

We reluctantly got on the road after watching some people catch one trout after another and headed towards the town of Dillon. It was a quaint little town – maybe a bit bigger than population 20 but you could certainly walk from one end of it to another in about 20 minutes. We had a beer at the Dillon Dam Brewery and then headed out.

We pulled into Breckenridge and parked on the street and walked around for a bit. I was trying to find us a place to stay on my phone but everything I pulled up was well over $100. We wandered into a realty agency to see if they had any affordable rentals and the cheapest they could come up with was over $200. They said we’d better book fast because there were going to be a lot of people in town that weekend and that we should even make a dinner reservation because the places would be crowded. I was like, Next, and suggested we head on down the road to the town of Frisco and check that out. It seemed quaint and cute. Maybe we could stay there.

In Frisco we drove up to this motel that had a fan in every window. I got out and went into the office and asked this dude who looked like he’d partaken in too much of the local weed. He showed me a room that the bedspread looked like it hadn’t been changed since the early 70’s. Next. I got back into the van and told Charlie to drive me to the next inn. Which was a bed and breakfast.

Ok, for any of you that have read my blog and former blogs YOU KNOW how I feel about BnB’s. There’s always some weird people that run those places that love to get into your business and the whole eating breakfast together with strangers I can’t really do. I don’t do well socially in the mornings before I’ve had my coffee. In fact, it is coffee that has kept me out of JAIL a lot of trouble. But, for the sake of our trip and needing a place to stay I was willing to forgo my personal feelings. I went inside and rang the bell. (This was the third place I had to ring a bell – I guess no one sits at a front desk anymore?) and this lady came out and I asked her if she had any vacancies. She said she did and could show me a lovely (she said) room with two double beds.

Ok, I let it go that she just assumed that I wasn’t there with my wife and maybe I would have wanted a king sized bed because, yes, it is the 21st century. The lady took me up a very steep stairway explaining that it was the original stairs from the……then, it all sounded like blah, blah, blah in my head. I don’t want a history lesson when I’m looking at a place to lay my head. She showed me a room with steel beds covered in old quilts, dark curtains and little house on the prairie-ish pictures on the walls. Then, as we went back downstairs she pointed to the dinning room and said that they would be having pancakes in the morning and I thought about that for one second and Goodnight John-boy sounded in my head and then thought, Next. 

I got back into the rental van and Charlie asked if that place was ok and I said, If we’re playing Laura and Mary on Little House on the freaking-Prairie it is. Let’s go over there, I said, pointing across the street to the Frisco Hotel. It had a lodge feel with a great room and a fireplace. Subdued lighting and Kurt Cobain’s younger son manning the front desk. I made him show me a room and he took me upstairs to another great room that had leather couches and a bookshelf next to a room with hardwood floors, a mini bar and deck. Ah, we were home for the next two days. I handed him my credit card and said that would do. Aside from our Airbnb this place was the bomb!

After checking in and walking around town we settled on a place for dinner that had a jazz band playing. The food and music turned out to be an excellent choice for the evening. The next day we woke up to snow on the ground and the place was just beautiful. After coffee and finding breakfast at a cafe’ across the street we decided to go on a snowy hike on a trail just at the edge of the little town. The trail took us to a lake named Rainbow lake (of all places).

We talked to several people on the trails – especially, those who had dogs. It seemed that everyone had a dog there and it was fun. We saw one lab actually get into the lake and swim out to get a stick and wondered if he would get hypothermia. His owners didn’t seem to be concerned. I thought about our dogs and they would probably have had on fleece lined jackets with booties on their paws. After Frisco we headed south making our way to Colorado Springs. On the way we stopped off and played at the Garden of the Gods.

It seemed like we went from a winter wonderland to the desert in one day. The climate was really messing with us. When we first arrived in Denver it was actually warmer there than Atlanta. The first day in Frisco we were walking around with just long sleeved shirts on, then snow and coats, then long sleeved shirts and then even just t-shirts. After the G of the G we pulled into Colorado Springs. We left the van parked on a street downtown and headed for this brewery named Phantom Canyon Brewery  which turned out to be fun and we were just in time to watch some football. It was happy hour and all their house brews were $3 and free pool and darts. We shot pool and watched a few games and then decided that since an old college buddy of mine wasn’t going to meet up with us we’d ditch town. Honestly, it was our least favorite part of Colorado. Aside from the brewery there didn’t seem to be one thing to hold our interest long enough to stay there. It even seemed like a depressing little town. We decided to get back in the van and drive straight through Denver to Boulder where neither of us had been before.

Once in Boulder we went though the whole hotel thing again. We finally found a decent room overlooking the college and decided to go out and get something to eat and watch the Falcons. We ended up at  Dark Horse Bar and Grill and what a blast that place was. We ended up sitting at the end of the bar next to four other people who worked at the bar and had just gotten off work. It was two guys and a male and female couple. One of the guys was doing an Irish car bomb with pumpkin beer and we commented on that and the other guy said he was going to go get us a real Irish car bomb with Stout because they didn’t have any on draft behind the bar. He hopped up and later came back with just that. We had already done a shot of Jameson by then and the car bombs went down nicely. Later, we went to order food and the guys talked us into trying a burger that apparently the place is famous for – the Jiffy Burger which had a layer of peanut butter. They talked us into it and it was pretty good. I knew I would like it because there was a bar near Purdue that had the same type of burger that I always had.

The next day we decided to go on a hike before heading back to Denver for our last night. We drove out to a trail on the edge of town and easily found a trail that led to the top of this mountain. We could have done more hiking in Boulder and explored it more but I don’t regret anything we did on the trip.

     

By the time we got back to Denver about all we were up for was some warm Pho and bed at the Airbnb. We were both ready to come home despite loving Frisco and Boulder. Here is a pic of our lovely Airbnb host, Chloe.

 

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weekend recap

Whew.

It was a very eventful weekend. Not only was it PRIDE weekend it was also The Porchfest in Oakhurst on Saturday.

Ralph and Bernice came in on Friday and it was a party from there. Charlie and I had gone out to a local brewery with the guys Derrick and Andrew as both their wives were out of town for a mutual friend’s bday and they met us down there when they rolled into town. Everything from there is pretty much a blur.

Saturday, Charlie and I rode our motorcycles over to the Porchfest to listen to Emil play with a band and then Rooster and Shutters band. We saw LB, Benjii and of course, Emil, Rooster and Shutter and so other various friends. It was very fun – I wish they had more of these things because there’s never enough time to get to very many bands in the neighborhood because it’s SO big.

After that, we were supposed to go to a pride party at a friend of ours but we bailed and ended up going out for oysters and then dancing at this gay bar named Mary’s in east Atlanta. While we’ve been there previously and had a great time I never noticed the bartenders being women-hating assholes until that night. The bar is mostly men but that night were quite a few women being pride and all. I had gotten a drink previously from the bartender at the end of the bar who mixed me up this fruity concoction called a Kamikaze. When I returned to get another I just chose a spot at the bar that was available to edge in to order. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t in my previous bartenders section so when another bartender came up and asked me what he could get me I said, The bartender over there made me this fruity concoction called a Kamikaze. He then yelled at me saying, Why don’t you just go over there then? And turned away.

I was still standing there in shock – I mean, I think my mouth was hanging open. He turned back to me and took my empty cup and said, Go on now.

I was so angry with this guy but I let it go because he seemed like the type that would jump over the bar and slit my throat. I tamped down my temper and went over to my original bartender and ordered my drink after standing in yet another line. When he got me my drink I asked for the name of that other bartender and he said his name was Eric (which, I don’t believe). I told him what happened and said that was highly inappropriate and uncalled for and then asked him his name and he said Jason.

I got back to Charlie and she said, What’s wrong? And I told her. She left and went right up to Jason and gave him and earful of that not being appropriate and asked for the name of the manager who he said was Matt (not sure I believe that, either). After that, I didn’t want that asshole to ruin our evening and we just partied on but I noticed he was yelling at other customers as well and thought how ridiculous that was.

I later read several reviews from other women that have been harassed by that same bartender (who was called “Marky”) and obviously they aren’t doing a thing about it. I messaged the bar via Facebook and Twitter and their personal website page but I haven’t heard anything back. Obviously, harassment towards women and customer service are something they are ignoring. I will never be back there.

All in all it was a good weekend and I won’t let that bad experience ruin it BUT, if I don’t hear back from that bar I’m taking it all to social media and letting the world know that women aren’t safe at that bar.

This week we’re getting ready for vacation so I’m hoping for low-key until we leave. I can’t wait to get out of here for a while and breathe some different air.

 

the trip

So, I made it back from Indy in one piece after an 8 hour drive each way. I never realize how far the drive seems until I’m on my way back and I think, I’m flying next time.

I stayed with my cousin and his husband while I was there and I must say it was a lot more relaxing and less stressful than staying with my sister. (I’m not sure I can get away with that again for a while.)

I got up there in the early evening on Thursday and just hung out with them that night. I called my step mother to let her know I was there and that I’d be by the next day. I wanted to meet with my contract farmer to discuss farm business unbeknownst to them because they always seem to get so upset when I mention anything about it (and, as I’m one third owner I felt it was my right to know some stuff). I drove down and met Doug – the farmer. It had been almost 30 years since we had seen each other. We grew up together only being a year apart and our parents have always been friends.

When I got there he drove up in a tractor trailer as he was hauling corn that day and we stood out between the corn cribs talking farm stuff. He told me his folks were taking food over to my folks that afternoon and I thought, Great, yet another person knows I’m here talking to you. He had sworn his Dad to secrecy but farmers are just as worse as a pack of church ladies at a shotgun wedding. In fact, that’s all my Dad does nowadays is sit on the porch and gossip about people and tell these stories that are so far-fetched that I wonder if the suspicion of Dementia is true. By Saturday after spending a couple of afternoons there listening to his stupid stories and one terrifying ride in the car with him I was done. I’m glad I got to see my step mother and she does look and act so frail that I fear that it won’t be long before she’s gone.

Saturday evening I went out with my cousin and his husband to an Irish pub and we had some appetizers and drinks. I got a little toasted to say the least and later when we got back to their house we stayed up late talking about things. One moment I was crying about losing my original mother and the next I had us both crying – with laughter over the time my sister and I took skiing lessons in Switzerland.  By the time I looked at my watch it was 2 a.m.

The next morning, I woke up at 6:30 and started packing the car to leave. I wanted to get a head start on the driving day. As it was I didn’t get back home until around 5. I listened to Ellen DeGeneres most of the trip back as I needed a little comic relief. Thankfully, I had the next day off for my birthday. Charlie had built me this really nice desk for my office and had installed can lights in the hallway while I was gone.

Later, we went out to have some Mexican beers and a few shots for my bday and Emil and Maybe Nicole stopped in to say hey. They seem to be doing really well and were really happy. It was nice and lighthearted. I had been kind of a wreck since I got back and needed that.

 

 

 

early friday chex mix

It’s a rainy evening here in Georgia.

Not that I’m complaining of the rain – never. We have grass seed in the back that needs to germinate and I desperately do not want a drought this summer. Yes, I’d take rain any day over a dusty summer. I do realize that we’re still in spring and not quite gotten to summer just yet. I am not rushing it, either. I enjoy these lush, spring days (now that I’ve gotten over the high pollen count with two sinus infections). Charlie is feeling a little under the weather today – something she ate last night, perhaps. It was date night tonight and we went to have pho and then straight home. She has fallen asleep in front of the TV watching some documentary about Africa.

Vacation, f*cking vacation.

I want to be on vacation, honestly. I want to see beaches and smell the salt in the air. We leave for Florida the end of next week and it cannot get here soon enough.

Happy hour.

It’s impossible to get everyone together anyhow for this. I feel like I constantly be the communicator, the planner, the organizer. Maybe one HH a month is enough. We got quite a few 3 people over last week for it but this week we have a bunch of maybes and rain. Maybe’s and rain = Meh, forget it.  Sometimes it would be nice to sit in a cozy Irish pub by a fire (Hey, Marley House) so if it’s raining tomorrow we go there – that is, if Charlie’s feeling better.

We have this friend.

Who I will name DD for Dreary Debbie? Debbie Downer is too common. Desperate Debbie? Yeah, more like that. The girl puts a whole new meaning into that word desperate. Deeeeesperado…….why don’t you come to your senses…….

-it’s like that, y’all. She’s been chasing a dream with two legs for seven-sevenfucking-YEARS to no avail who treats her like a laundry basket or one that holds magazines. Every once in a while you kick it when you’ve had a frustrating day – that kind of basket. So, when she’s Desperate Debbie basket she gets on Tinder.

No good can come from a DESPERATE women in her mid-40’s being on Tinder.

NO GOOD, PEOPLE. No good…..So, you can just imagine the types of people she’s talking to. The ones who ask for money after the 50th text, no snapchat-asses. These are probably men in their mid-50’s using their 20-something year old nieces pictures to elicit money and sex on the internet. We have lunch with Debbie sometimes on the weekends and she shows us dozens of pictures of ho’s women she’s talking to on the internet. Then she gets all depressed that she’s not meeting someone and in the same breath says she’s going to see the woman who treats her like a basket for dinner. We say, Why, why, why, Debbie? You’re going to be on Tinder when you’re FIDDY (50). You don’t want that to happen. You won’t able to swipe left or right because you’ll have arthritis by then from swiping so much. Stop being desperate, Debbie. Stop.

Even Benji had problems with Tinder. Her Tinder woman went cra-cra, said she didn’t want to see anyone and then dropped off the face of the earth (but, probably not off Tinder). They had planz, too. Like going out of town and to a (teeny-bopper 20ish) concert which didn’t happen. Benji was so depressed that she didn’t go – even after trying to talk her into going and giving the xtra ticket to some hot 20-something and having fun. She stayed at home and moped. I would have gone if I were her.

Work. PMP. What am I doing?

I don’t know. We had a “team” meeting on Tuesday and we were told that they found enough old geezers people to take an early retirement that they wouldn’t have to lay anyone off. This is a relief because I’m still trying to find a way to get a promotion to a different department and it’s proving to be equal to landing a federal job interview. That difficult. I know it’s only been a couple of weeks since I got certified but I hope this PMP thing holds more weight than it is holding so far. Part of me doesn’t know what to do with all this spare time I have now from not having to study. The other part is like, what’s next? The company has all these online training classes on Agile Scrum and if I take 22 of these things and take their test I get their company bronze certification in Agile Scrum (notice I said company – by no means is this the nationwide scrum master cert) so I’m doing it so I can add it to my company resume. I’m going to take six months and keep applying and if I don’t get any interviews then I’m going on to another certification – scrum master, Agile, or even Leed. Something.

So, that’s all I got. I hope you enjoyed the snippets of topics – we’ll call it an early Friday chex mix. Y’all have a great weekend! Cheers!

 

Athens, Drive-by Truckers, Random men and vomiting adolescents

It’s a lot to cram into one post, I know.

The more I go to Athens, Georgia the older I feel.  I think the next time – if there ever is one – I’m going to feel like I should practically be in a nursing home. Maybe that’s a good reason to not have anymore next times in Athens. But, hey, we had a good time – I’m glad we went- but like eating pizza (like today) it was good but I don’t want to eat it again for a very long time. That’s Athens for you.

Saturday, Benjii came over to dog sit and we left for Athens. The rain had let up and it turned out to be a nice drive out stopping at Charlie’s favorite store – Northern Tool and Equipment – on the way. Yes, she found about 10k worth of stuff she wants from there. (Who said anything about a way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach – with Charlie it’s a new compressor for her power washer or a Sthl tree saw). Once we pulled in to Athens we found our hotel right away. Her bro had booked us into the Georgia Gameday Center – which, turned out to be a one bedroom condo. It was PHAT! That was the nicest part of the trip was the condo we stayed. Once we checked in and took pictures of the room we left to go have a drink. I had texted my friends Stacy and Nikki when we pulled in to ask where a good place for a drink and a bite to eat and one of the places they suggested was Trappeze Pub.  We pulled up some stools and ordered a couple of Unknown Pregame beers (yes, everything in this town has something to do with some game somewhere – it just so happened there were a bunch of folk from Kentucky in town because of the UGA/Kentucky basketball game – all that way to watch basketball…….must not be much going on in Kentucky……ok,  shut up, Lanie)

After drinking our PRE-UGA/Kentucky gameday beer (to go with our hotel named Gameday, of course) we decided to go get PRE-game tacos. We started walking up Clayton street and finally found Bulldog tacos – kidding – Taqueria Tsunami where we had some great tacos and I had some great margaritas. One thing about Athens is that the drinks are good and cheap. Well margaritas were $6 each with fresh lime juice and not that sickly sweet limeaid mixer they typically use in margaritas. After a satisfying dinner we headed for the hotel to freshen up before going to the 40 Watt Club. For some reason we decided after the hotel to go ahead and get in line at the venue an hour before the show. I don’t know why we thought that was a good idea because when they let us in an hour before the show (8) there was hardly anyone in there anyway. While we were in line outside waiting to get in we started talking to the guys in line in front of us. One guy was in a wheelchair and had driven down from (scary coincidence) Indiana (where I’m from) and had been to the Truckers show Thursday and Friday, too. We said that he must really like them and he said he’d seen them like (I heard 17, Charlie heard 70- not sure which one I believe but you get the gist) times.

You really don’t want to know what I’m thinking at this point.

Another guy in front of us said he was from our neighborhood – we couldn’t believe that – right up the street from where we live. I was starting to think it was all a strange coincidence and was really hoping we could go inside soon because I was starting to tire of the conversation outside. I was thinking, I really am tired of talking to random men. I hope to get away from talking to random men – 

WRONG. Such was the story of our LIFE that night.

Once we went inside both those random men melted away into the crowd. We stood at the bar and ordered drinks. The bartender was very nice and we struck up a conversation with him and I was starting to realize that Charlie and I were probably only 2 of 5 women in the whole club. I started looking around and it was like we just got dropped off into Portland Oregon with long bearded men wearing grungy trucker hats, nerdy glasses and flannel shirts that were almost too short to tuck in. It was the hippy log splitting crowd – although I bet most of those men’s hands were as soft as my own. So, the warm up band, Hernies (and after listening to them I’m sure it was short for Screaming Hernias) wasn’t coming on until 9. We had several drinks in the meantime and Hernia -er – Hernies didn’t actually come on until 9:30. More grungy men filed in and a really drunk guy stationed himself next to us at the bar. This guy was probably the only non-grunge guy in there. Any minute he looked like he was either going to fall over or puke. Charlie and I moved away but at some point still couldn’t escape this guys hands. At one point he ran his arm down Charlie’s back and she just turned and looked at him and moved off. I said, “Let’s move down more.” Then, some other random man came over to talk to us – named Steve. Steve spied my tshirt with a motorcycle on it and asked if we rode.

I have learned most times when people as if you ride it’s just a segue into them telling you their whole life history of riding and showing you 1,000 pictures of their motorcycle on their iPhone before you even have a chance to say what you ride. Which happened. I was hoping to put Steve in between myself and the drunk, hand-sy guy next to me as I switched places with Charlie and now I was getting fondled. No such luck because after showing us the 945th pic of his Harley he hugged us and took off. Next, we started a conversation this some really big guy who looked like  Grizzly Adams in a Green Bay hat. I was thinking, If this doesn’t scare this drunk guy off then I don’t know what will. He did disappear momentarily but was back by the time Grizzly was gone. Next, we started hearing this sound from the stage. It was a loud, wambah, wambah, wambah that went on FOREVER. I was like, Is anyone finally going to sing around here, or are we going to be trapped here all night with the drunk pervert  and looking at 1,000 more Harley pictures? 

I shouted to Charlie over the WAMBAH, WAMBAH, WAMBAH  that we were probably going to have to move as I didn’t know how much longer I was going to take this guy touching me without putting my boot in his @ss. We slid down the bar further and another random guy came up and started shouting to us. His name was Jeff. We probably shouted at him the longest. The opening band finally started singing over the WAMBAH and they sounded like the Beatles on an acid trip. I had necessarily switched to the hard stuff and ordered another Jack and Coke wishing I’d worn earplugs – especially after talking to another random guy who said he came up from Valdosta, Georgia and followed the Truckers, loves them and that they are really Eff-ing loud. But, from the screaming coming from the stage I wondered if he meant the warm up band instead. By the time the Truckers did come on stage we were drunk immersed in a conversation with Jeff who had managed to scare off the drunk guy for us and was hugging us both and I had decided he was the lessor of the several random guy evils. Or maybe I was just deaf and drunk by then and didn’t care. By the time we left the club our ears were ringing and I was ready to be away from random men and go meet our friends, Stacy and Nikki.

WRONG.

We no more walked out  of the club and texted our friends to meet up with them when another random Steve came up and started walking with us. I was like, Really? WTF! I felt like that poor cat that always ran from Pepe Le Pew. We told him we were headed out to meet some friends and he said he was walking that way anyway. Honestly, if he hadn’t been so young I would have been worried. By this time there were several people out walking around – in fact, it was getting Marti Gras-ish and we witnessed our first public puking of the night before ducking behind a car and ditching that guy. When we walked into the club to meet our friends I’d never seen so many young drunk kids in my life. Stacy came up and shouted that the friend of theirs that had rented out the place for her birthday had been rushed to the hospital an hour earlier from alcohol poisoning. She pointed to the girls gf who was continuing to party on in her place. Once Charlie and I stole a tshirt off the wall for a memento we excused ourselves and said we had to get back.

Walking back to the hotel there were even more people out  – skimpy dressed, young women and men and yet more of them vomiting in the gutters. It was a total drunk fest. I hadn’t seen anything like this since – well, the last UGA game I went to in 1995. And, yet again we bumped into Steve and before he could say anything we just started running to the hotel because we’d had enough. I kept thinking we were running away from young, drunk zombies who were going to eat our faces off. We made it to our nice room, split our subway sandwich and passed out.

The next day we were going to go out to eat breakfast somewhere but we were both ready to get the hell out of dodge. We came back and ate pizza with the dogs  – which, was fine with me. It was a fun weekend but I don’t think we’ll be going to Athens again anytime soon.

 

V-Day

I’ve already started to read posts about “Valentine’s Day, bah humbug” or the “my love gave me a heart -shaped Domino’s pizza for Valentine’s Day”

I breathe a sigh of relief that Charlie will never do that. Whew! (First of all – not Domino’s – she would have better taste to get me a Jack’s pizza) not to mention Domino’s is a radical right-wing company, I digress. This is not about political right-winged sh*t but VALENTINES DAY!

So, Charlie already gave me my gift which was an acrylic photograph of the beach taken by our wonderfully talented friend, Shutter (aptly named). I’m thrilled with it and I think she’s hanging it on the wall as I write this.

beachpic

Next, we decided to cancel restaurant reservations to this Italian place in Decatur for the second time because the Saturday after V-Day we’re going to Athens, GA to hear Drive-By Truckers at the 40 Watt club. Charlie’s bro got us tickets and a hotel stay there for Christmas and we just decided to celebrate a belated V-Day there. Plus, friends of ours who live there are hosting a party at a bar around the corner and told us to head on over after the show. It’s always a party when we go to Athens. Benji is going to dog sit for us so it worked out perfectly.

So, that’s our V-Day in a nutshell. Maybe we’ll find a heart-shaped pizza while we’re there or maybe a burger and a glass of Creature Comforts since their brewery is also around the corner.

What’s your V-Day plans?

 

Tennessee

We got back from Tennessee yesterday in time to watch some football on the porch. We had a great time but it was good to get back. It seemed much colder here than it was in Tennessee for some reason.

Thursday evening, we spent in Chattanooga. We went up for the afternoon/evening before going to Nashville. Once we checked in to our hotel we took the local trolley over to North Shore and walked around and shopped a bit. Then, we went down to this little Mexican restaurant for margaritas and nibbles.

After waiting for the trolley to come back to no avail we decided to just hoof it over the bridge to the other side and walk to St. Johns Meeting place that was playing jazz. On the way we passed the Pickle Barrel and decided to stop there for a drink.

Unfortunately, we left the Pickle Barrel (we should have stayed put) and found the jazz place but it was full of people, noisy and they made a weak whiskey drink. We decided not to eat there but go back to our hotel where there was a bar (The Office) and 24hour café attached and have more drinks and order in later. When we walked in to this place I felt like we were transported to a gay bar in 1987. The bartender (Ann) had on a sleeveless leather jacket with a white polo shirt underneath. They were setting up for karaoke night and she asked what I wanted to drink. Amaretto sours, fuzzy navels and screwdrivers came to mind……we ordered lite beers and a shot of Jameson and stayed until someone started attempting rap on stage and we decided to call it a night.

The next day after breakfast we headed to Nashville. Since our Stay America wasn’t ready for us to check in until 3 we headed downtown and parked in a pay lot the closest we could get to the immediate downtown area because there was a Veterans Day parade going on. We wandered around – they said Printers Alley was great but it was uneventful. We were hungry and wanted food. We found a bar called Piranhas – home of put-french-fries-in-every-sandwich. Despite having the fries ON my burger the beer and service was great. Our bartender took care of us except for when we asked her what was around the general vicinity to do she told us to take golf cart over to Midtown and hang out. We walked around the corner and there was Broad Street and millions of people and music playing. We were like WTF? We walked in and out of stores and eventually ended up back at the car to go back to the hotel to check in and change. We were going to see Keith Urban that night at Bridgestone Arena.

I must say the hotel we stayed in left something to be desired. It was clean and all but they only left us 3 pillows (who puts down three pillows instead of 2 or 4?) and one thin blanket that we had to beg for more. Then, there was a stove in there that was about 100 years old that we turned on to heat up a sandwich and the knobs fell off. No ice trays in the freezer (which, they gave us when we asked where the non-existent ice machine was), one roll of papery thin toilet paper and forget there being any paper towels or anything. It was the sparsest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. At least they had coffee in the morning.

That night, we went back downtown and ended up at The Stage listening to live music. The Green Bay Packers were to play in town on Sunday and there was a sea of people in Pack wear – including myself. I think I made more friends from Wisconsin than I actually have currently in Atlanta. Then, it was time to amble over to the Arena to see Keith Urban. We had nose bleed seats and by the time we got up there and sat down the first warmup was playing (Maren Morris) and then the second one came on (Brett Eldredge). We were kind of bored and struck up a conversation with the couple next to us who gave Charlie a couple of guitar picks. They ended up either scoring some better seats right when Keith Urban started or went home – who knows. The concert was great but I doubt if I’d see him again. We left before it was over because we didn’t want to fight 30, 000 people getting out of there. Which, we then ran into a problem trying to get an Uber driver to pick us up. Every time I called I kept getting the same Uber driver who was blocks away wanting us to walk to him. We ended up catching a cab back to the hotel instead.

The next day we went downtown again to wander around in the Music Hall of Fame and later, see our bartender at Piranhas. We got to talking to two guys who [I thought] talked incessantly about their cats. After a while -me trying to change the subject from Maine Coons to a cool place to hang out- found out that Marathon Village is a cool place to check out but also learned that one of the distilleries in there has a cat on staff to take care of the rat problem (of course it was [insert cat story here] to everything).

Marathon Village is made up of a group of 100 year old warehouse buildings that house antique shops, breweries and distilleries as well as the famous Antique Archaeology which is Mike Wolfe’s store made famous from American Pickers. We took one look at the line getting into that place and headed for the distillery hitting the most wooden sign laden stores I’ve ever seen in my lifetime along the way. We ended up at Corsair Artisan Brewery and Taproom (where that cat is, of course – although, we only saw a pic of her because the girl at the desk said she was working and wasn’t on break until 3) which brews beer as well as gin, vodka and whiskey. We had two pretty amazing drinks before heading in to taste some whiskey which we ended up not buying. Had they had the habanero vanilla bean infused vodka that was used to make my drink then we would have probably bought several bottles.

After that, we were craving a steak and baked potato and headed for Logan’s. Not the best choice but since we’d been there we hadn’t had what we considered a good meal (even with the french-fries-on-everything-burger). Mental note to self for the next trip – stay in a Hampton Inn no matter what the cost and get recommendations from friends on where to eat. By the end of that night we were whipped and ready to go home.

After a pretty sleepless night – the stupid room fan kept turning off and on all night and I’m one of those people who have to have the fan on in order to break up the monotony of SILENCE – we got up and grabbed coffee and headed out. We had decided to get out of town a bit before stopping for breakfast. What ended up happening was making it almost to Chattanooga before feeling like gnawing our arms off and needing more coffee and stopping at this scary little place called Jim Oliver’s Smoke House and ordering BBQ for breakfast. The BBQ was pretty good but the coffee came out cold and I walked back in the kitchen and asked them to nuke it for me. I don’t think they were used to demanding city folk like myself. Once finished I said to Charlie, Let’s get out of here. I was starting to hear dueling banjos.

So, we had a great time and it was good to get away and relax. I’ll leave you with some pics from the trip.

 

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fall y’all

Itching for fall y’all and even falling back on the clock so we can get an extra hour of sleep. Cooling off, bon fires, football and riding motorcycles without sweating to death.

Things have been busy with landscape stuff and work. Although, it could be busier socialization-wise. I almost feel like its winter because everyone’s been scarce these days. One word replies to texts or crickets in-between no one’s around or responding it’s almost like we’re on an island. That would make good song lyrics, don’t you think? I’d want a little whistling going on like in this song which has the island reference:

We saw this dude at Edie’s last week with our friend, Kitty. At first I thought he was good but I doubt I’d pay to see him again. Then- last night Charlie and I went out for happy hour and were talking and got to playing his music and then, I changed my mind. I downloaded a few of his songs and have been playing them at work while I do design work. (Although, I have to watch singing the lyrics outload to this song):

 So, back to our regularly scheduled program…..

I’m more of a designer now at work than a PM. I’m sure later on as I get trained more and know what the fuck I’m doing they’ll assign me an area and I’ll take on more of a PM role + designer. Right now, I enjoy it although I’d enjoy it more if I could just start a project from beginning to end without having to get help.

This is my last full week until vaca next week. Charlie and I are taking the dogs to Savannah and Jekyll Island for a few days getting out of town. I’m ready for some sand, sound of waves & seafood. We’re jamming taking the dogs in the new car which will be better than trying to labor all the way down there in the poor truck that’s already taken a beating. I ordered a seat protector for the back of the car so hopefully that will work. I know things will speed up some once September gets here. I just feel like we’re in the dog daze of August and I’m ready to drop kick it into next year.

 

 

photo challenge chex mix

I’ve still been trying to run every day during the week in the mornings. It is a feat in itself I’m able to roll out of bed at 6:15 a.m. to go run -I think, only because the dogs come in and get me up to be let outside – I think this directly correlates with the coffee maker beeping that it’s finished brewing. I would love to be able to get up a few minutes earlier just so I could finish my run earlier and walk a bit to cool off but even now, 6:15 is a stretch. I tried setting my alarm 30 minutes earlier to go off but it only means I hit the snooze. Charlie has been making me smoothies for my after run and they have been great. I went online and found this organic protein powder that tastes really good. She mixes that with some almond milk and fruit. They usually come out looking a bit purplish although the one this morning was more pinkish. She suggested that we get some spinach or kale to add for extra nutrients but I’m not sure about that. It’s enough I drink a protein shake every morning instead of an egg sandwich but another to introduce the taste of @ss into my smoothie.

Work has been good. I’ve been doing a slew of training and practically the whole month of June I will be in classes. Ironically, the classes are right across the street from my old office. I’m going to try and have lunch with some peeps while I’m there. From what I learned so far is that I’m really going to be on my own as far as my learning path goes. I’m not really worried as I feel I pick up things quickly but I will be at the mercy of others to help answer questions. I will probably end up having to sit with someone while they do their designs, too. But, I’m not going to worry about that until I at least have the class under my belt.

So, I bopped on over to Liz’s site today and she has this random photo challenge. First, you open up your camera roll on your phone and scroll one time without looking and put your finger down to stop the scrolling and whatever your finger lands on save it and then post it with a little background story of the pic. Do this about 7-10 times, however many photos you want.

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My first photo was a selfie that Charlie sent me. I believe she took this one night when we were getting ready to go out on a date. (help me out, Charlie, if I’m wrong).

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This was taken the weekend we went up to the Yurt. The campsite had provided this wagons to help you haul your stuff from the car to the Yurt site. Charlie and I were screwing around when right after this was taken a DNR ranger showed up in a pickup truck and rolled down the window and asked us if we were having fun yet. I was saying, We’re not here 5 minutes without getting in trouble.

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Charlie kissing beloved Sadie. Even though she has a coat and hat on this was probably taken in April when the temperature dropped so much we thought we were going to have to turn on the heat. Compared to March where it got up to 78 degrees one week.

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Riverside Café’ when we were in Florida visiting Charlie’s parents. This place is right down the street from her folks. We had gone there one night for drinks before dinner. I remember meeting this really obnoxious couple (we seem to be magnets for them). The husband was heavily flirting with Charlie and leading the whole conversation about him and his wife diving. I was like, Really? You have a wife? I think I did say that and he pointed her out and she was across the deck having a drink and talking to some other people completely ignoring him. I deduced she was sick of him and glad he was socializing with other people. The only good thing about it was for once Charlie’s brother wasn’t dictating the conversation and you could see he was visibly perturbed about it.

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St. Augustine, Florida. Our daughters-in-law (left) is in the picture with Charlie’s youngest son (right). It was a few days before Thanksgiving and we had stopped off for an over-nighter and the boys, daughters-in-law and our friends Bernice and Raphe came up to visit. We had walked around and saw the lights as well as went into this bar and listened to live music. It was a great night. I wished we could have stayed longer.

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This is what is left of the barn on my farm. It was taken prior to Thanksgiving when I went to Indiana for a visit. My sister and I always go out to this farm – it was our grandmothers on our mother’s side. It’s always a shock to go out there because every time we go something’s torn down. This time it was the woods that was cleared. I suspect our father directed the contract farmer to clear the woods for more corn yield. I suspect someday that the barn will be torn down as well.

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The dogs at Piedmont Park. They are great posers. We had put them up on that rock and told them to stay. They’re good for about a few clicks and then they’re done.

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Charlie’s folks and us at a backyard music venue. We were friends with this couple who had backyard concerts where you could bring picnics and just donate to the artist. I can’t remember who it was we saw that night but we all enjoyed it. It was nice that we were able to take them to one of these as since the friends have stopped doing these things.

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Link, Charlie (her biker name is Tazzy now) and I (Wick) parked at the Victory sandwich bar for Tuesday night bike night. Notice we’re early because it doesn’t look like another soul was there but shortly after that almost 50 bikes were parked everywhere.

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Me right after scoring an autographed stick from the drummer of the Blues Traveler.

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A close-up of Sadie.

 

 

away

We took a beautiful ride to Dahlonega and back this past Sunday. It was warm enough where we didn’t have to bundle up. There were four of us altogether me (Wick), Charlie, Belinda and Cindi. I had a route planned out on my phone that took us up there off-highway so we wound around through part city and part country to get there.

When we finally arrived two hours later and made two loops around [the stupid] roundabout on the square. The second time around I almost got plowed over by a car that I didn’t realize had the right-of-way [I think Cindi even said she screamed]. After that, I just headed for the closed parking space I could find that we could all fit into.We pulled into a parking spot just off the square and headed for the nearest BBQ restaurant.

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We took off our coats and basked in the sun while we tried to wash down very dry BBQ. In fact, I almost choked on the first bite. One thing about restaurants in historic little mountain towns – there’s very few and they don’t have to have a 5-star rating.

After lunch, we went to a few stores off the square [all very expensive] and wandered into The Crimson Moon Cafe’ so Cindi could get a cup of coffee.  We spied all the posters for live music and started talking to one of the guys who worked there. I felt a bit sleepy so decided to order some coffee myself. We went upstairs through a cute little bar area to sit out on the balcony and people watch while we sipped our coffee. I wished that we didn’t have to go back until the next day. I could see myself cozying up to that little bar and later listening to some live music.

We drank coffee and made comments about some of the people watching (some very pregnant woman in a form-fitting horizontal striped dress with 4 inch heels What is she thinking? Her bellybutton is practically screaming at me all the way up here, some woman who tried to [literally] squish her baby and stroller into the corner of this seating wall Don’t put baby in a corner, and some creepy guy with a bag over his head with the eye holes cut out, and carrying a stick. What the heck is he trying to be – that baby in a corner is gonna start crying.  

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We grudgingly made our way back to our bikes because we knew it was going to be a long ride home. We then realized that we parked on a downward slope and no one could really back out into traffic safely without assistance. I suggested we just ride down the sidewalk since the building it was next to was deserted. There was still the occasional pedestrian so I went down to the end to make sure no one started down and got ran over.

Once home we were exhausted – at least I was. We sat out on the porch as we always do when it’s nice outside. The dogs ran around and played while we listened to music and drank. I told Charlie that I wished we could have stayed overnight and listened to music. We decided to do that some time. I’ve just had a huge yearning to be away these days. I’m just over work and the grind. Despite the holidays it hasn’t slowed down and we’re expected to still get projects out and try to schedule meetings around the holidays. I think its B.S. Just try to schedule meetings with government folk around holidays – it’s not happening. I’m seeking the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m not seeing it. I have had several interviews lately, one offer pending but still haven’t heard anything. I’m still just trying to plug away at what I’m doing and keep my nose to the grind. I know this for sure – I’m looking forward to at least being off Christmas Eve, Day and New Year’s Day.