Thursday, October 30, 2008


As if illustrating the last post, I finished the second book - New Moon - last night/this morning. 300+ pages read between 9:30pm and whenever it was that I finished.

I think I'll wait a couple days to start the next one.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Little Obsessions

So, I’ve recently discovered something about myself. Like America in 1492, it was already there, but this is the first time I’ve put it all together and come up with a theme.

I get what I have decided to call “little obsessions”.

I don’t know if anyone noticed that the last book I had up on Shelfari as “I’m Reading Now” was only up there for four days. If anyone did, y’all are visiting my site more often and paying more attention than I thought. If not, well, I’m not surprised – after all, it was only four days. That being said, the Twilight series is my new little obsession. I’ll get into the books a little more in another post I’m sure, but what has fascinated me is that I’ve actually identified this within myself.

What’s also interesting is that I went for a long time without any little obsessions, and in the last year or so, I’ve had a few. I don’t know what the gap was all about, but it’s been so much fun to be back in that mode. I don’t really know how healthy it is, but it is fun.

You see, when I was in high school, I would become quite smitten with certain boys, and I think it’s the relationship in Twilight and its similarity to my own thought processes at that time in my life that helped me make the connection between those obsessions and the less personal obsessions I get now.

There is a certain sense of life I feel when I’m focused on one thing, and strength that I feel when I can almost rid myself of thoughts of the subject – almost – just enough to do other things. (This all sounds so creepy when I write it down.) And maybe “obsession” is the wrong word; I guess that’s why I’ve added “little” to the front of it.

Anyway, in the past (frankly, all the way back to elementary school), it was generally boys. I’m sure there are any number of my friends and family who can attest to the 5-10 lb weight loss I experienced at the beginning of a smitten time. (I wonder if Dave remembers me losing weight at the beginning of our relationship.)

But sometimes it was also movies – usually with cute boys – and books (I read a lot of It while walking between classes in high school). Now, though – and I’m sure Dave will be happy to hear this – it is movies, music, and books. Sometimes, it’s even spreadsheets – which will not surprise Dave one bit. Because what I’ve discovered is that this little obsession tendency also carries over into projects that I work on. For instance, I’m typing this when I should be doing any number of other things. But getting this out is all I can focus on, now that I’ve discovered it.

So, I read Twilight in four days – starting on Saturday night through to Tuesday’s lunch – which for me is really fast. Every spare minute (and some that weren’t exactly spare) was spent reading. I started the second book last night, and am already 225 pages in. I read 10 pages in the parking lot while I waited for Dave to join me for lunch today. I’ve found myself wanting to skip out on tonight’s workout and tomorrow night’s happy hour (I won’t) because I want to find out what happens next and spend more time with these characters. I’ve found myself thinking about it as soon as I wake up in the morning, ready to read more.

It’s that little tidbit that triggered the realization for me. Very recently, I’ve woken up thinking of other things, too – specifically, certain songs running through my head. And that’s when it hit me. I get these little obsessions again. And I like it. It’s an interesting feeling, and it reminds me of how I felt when I was younger. Those were really amazing times – everything I felt was so tangible, if that makes sense.

So what are some of my recent little obsessions?
- Twilight, and now New Moon
- The music of Reckless Kelly
- Lost in Translation
- Atonement (the movie, more than the book - though the book was fantastic)
(yeah, I know, sometimes I’m such a girl)
- Any song on my “pensive” playlist
- How in the world I’m going to successfully make some planned major changes in the next year (OK, this one’s not so little)

Next thing I know, I’ll be keeping my journals again – yes, plural. Each journal has its own specific purpose. Ugh. Like I said, it sounds insane to actually type this out.

Drought Schmought or: How We Learned about Irony Through Habitat for Humanity

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity build site with some coworkers. The following post is an account of our day, as posted on my work intranet blog.

As many of you may or may not know, Georgia is in the middle of an historic drought. About this time last year, our governor was on the steps of the capitol praying for rain. Since I was able to shower this morning, we clearly made it through what was at the time a 90 day supply of water. Frankly, though, things haven’t gotten much better over the last year. It’s just that with some other things going on, water supply doesn’t seem to be quite as important (I mean, newsworthy).

With such a drought, one would expect that rain really not need be a consideration when making plans. (May I use this moment to define irony? Irony: Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually happens.)

When Karen sent out the invite to participate in a Habitat for Humanity build on October 24, there was a big response. We had a group of 15 ready to go, not thinking about weather at all. Why would we? October in Georgia is beautiful – my favorite month, actually – and this would a great way to lend a helping hand.

As our volunteer opportunity approached, though, we found out that our location no longer does Friday builds. We could go to the same site the following Saturday (I would be out of town), or a few of us could help clean up and do touch-ups after the inspection had been done – paint here, a couple nails there. They only needed four people, so Dianna, Missy, Werner, and I remained in for the adventure.

On the Monday before, Dianna mentioned that the weather was supposed to be awful on Friday. I shrugged. If it was, we’d live, and the chances are really slim that we’d be getting any real rain anyway. As the day approached, we realized that the forecasts were looking more and more accurate. It was going to be cold and rainy (cold by Georgia standards, mind you). Oh well, we’re only cleaning up houses after they’re done, so it’ll be just fine.

So, on Friday morning, Missy and Werner went straight to the site, while Dianna and I met at the Habitat office at 7:30am – in a downpour. It seemed like the entire .58 inches we got that day came down between 7 and 10am. When we went to the door, the guy told us that it was ok if we didn’t want to go. Well, we hadn’t driven 20 miles already to turn around and go home – um, I mean, work.

So he gave us directions to the site and we took one car over there – where Missy and Werner were waiting.

We saw the house we’d be working on and found another volunteer and our host. He kindly informed us that there wasn’t much work to do, it was all outside, and if we wanted to go home, it would really be ok. We all agreed to stay.

As it turns out, our impression about the work we would be doing was entirely wrong. When they said cleaning up the site, they meant the construction site, not inside a finished home. So, here we were, five volunteers (four in raincoats, one in a windbreaker, and one without gloves), moving piles of construction debris from in front of two houses and a building site without a house (and inside yet another house) to a dumpster, in the pouring rain.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good “before” picture, but the debris piles were about 10×5 feet across and three feet high – taking a couple hours to clear. And just when we thought we were done, we asked if there was anything else we could do. We hadn’t moved the piles of rocks and concrete that were alongside the debris piles, but we could if we wanted to. They weren’t to go in the bin, just about 25 feet over to the next home site.

I actually thought this was kind of funny, “Hey you! Move this big pile of rocks from here and create a big new pile of rocks over there!” was how I heard it in my head.

The rain had slowed by this time. Poor Missy was soaked to the bone (she was the one wearing a windbreaker and had actually left a little earlier), and then we were done. Werner, Dianna, and I headed over to Waffle House to grab some food (veggie egg white omelet with a waffle, pecan waffle, breakfast sandwich, and hashbrowns – scattered, smothered and covered. Yum!). Dianna and I headed back to the Habitat office, and then we headed our separate ways.

All in all, it was a blast. I also suspect it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun if the day had been 67 degrees and sunny. At least, that’s what I’ll keep telling myself.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Readin' and Writin'

So, the book I'm reading right now is inspiring me to write ... a novel. In spite of being educated in the ways and appreciation of writing - journalism and English - I never felt the need or desire to write a book. Non-fiction? Sure. Poetry? You bet (let's just forget how awful my poetry was).

But something about Richard Russo's style has me thinking about things in a new way, and as I read Empire Falls, I'm thinking of places and stories in my life that could be told. It doesn't hurt that Empire Falls seems very much like the town my family is from, so the parallels are obvious.

The other thing that helps is that I've always thought I couldn't write a book because I couldn't come up with a plot. I'm just not creative in that way. Well, so far, there isn't really a plot to this one (I admit, the book probably isn't for everyone). So far, it's just a beautifully told story about a man's life that is sad, but very sweet.

I'm not saying that I'll sit here, write a novel, and get it published. When would I even have time to do that, when I can't even find the time to blog every day? But it is interesting that for the first time, with as many books as I've read over the years, this one in particular has changed the way I view things around me, and has changed, to some degree, my internal monologue.

Maybe I'll just start with my journal.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Effing Election

As a fellow blogger said, I'm over this election. He's still undecided, and so am I, but I'm getting closer and closer to making my decision.

The prospect of a fully democrat-ruled government scares the begezuz (how do you spell that, anyway) out of me. It worked terribly when the party that I mostly agree with had all the control, so the thought of the democrats with that much power is downright terrifying. Because of that, I was leaning towards McCain (over Bob Barr) for the sake of a split government.

However, the longer this campaign goes on, the closer I am to voting for Barr, even though doing so could hand Georgia (and the election) to Obama.

I just don't know if I'll be able to bring myself to vote for the "lesser of two evils" even if that means voting my conscience sends the greater of those two evils to the White House.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Could the rumor possibly be true?

Search for Yuengling in Georgia on Google and you get tons of results saying, "It's coming." This has been going on for years now - one of the results is from 2006, and there are more from earlier this year saying we'd have it "in a couple months." But, no, it's still not here.

I have reason to be hopeful, though, because today I heard the most specific rumor so far about Yuengling in Georgia. A friend and coworker has told me that The Derby will begin serving it on October 27.

I wait with bated breath.