Whew! This morning I woke up at 6 a.m. (not on purpose) but I got up and started my day. A lot has happened in the past 13 hours and I am exhausted! Planning on taking it easy the rest of the evening. Sorry trick-or-treaters if you walk all the way up our very steep driveway, but we don't have any candy.

I'll tell today in the sequence of the pictures.
(1) My stove! I bought it from a coworker and Scott Allen from my church helped me move it on Thursday. It's perfect.

(2) My living room. There was a surprising quantity of dirt/dust/grass on it so I spent the morning cleaning.

(3) The area in the kitchen where my washer/dryer is supposed to go. I met up with a guy in White House last night who listed a stacked W/D on Craigslist for just $150. I had been looking to buy a new one at Lowe's, but they were at least $800. I decided to buy it.

(4) Fortunately the seller is an electrician and was willing to deliver the W/D.
 Story: I got to my house this morning and set up my computer on the counter to listen to music, and it wasn't sensing that it was plugged in. I found five of my outlets were not working. I'm not an idiot, so I checked the breaker box. Everything was fine. So when this electrician delivered my washer/dryer, I had him look at my outlets. Turns out the seller (who's a contractor and should know what he's doing) wired them wrong. (Really? Did he not test them out to make sure they worked?) So this electrician pulled the outlets away from the wall, got some new wiring and fixed them all so they worked. Then he said, "I wish I'd have known you needed a dryer vent; I could do that." I said, "Really?! Could you also put a deadbolt in a door?" And he said he could. So how perfect is it that I happened to run across this guy's listing on Craigslist, he brought me a great and very cheap W/D, he fixed my outlets, and now he can put in a deadbolt and dryer vent. Perfect!

(5) My dining room.

(6) My bedroom.

(7) Guest bedroom.

(8) Bathroom.

(9) This tree was so beautiful and green and shady in the summer. Then all the leaves fell off! Leaving my yard full of big, wet leaves! Fortunately the two very first things I bought after closing were a tape measure and a rake. I got my rake and went out there and started raking. For more than TWO hours! Can we just talk about the fact that growing up in Kansas, when we had those little pumpkin trash bags you fill with leaves, we had to drive about 5 miles to the area near the lake to rake leaves? Yeah. I don't have a lot of leaf-raking experience under my belt. You mean I'm going to have to do this every year? I don't think I'll even be able to enjoy them in the summer anymore because I'll just look at those leaves and think, "Yeah, you look nice now, but pretty soon you are going to fall off! And you don't rake yourselves!"

(10) Finally done raking and the yard is looking much nicer. I had a wheelbarrow and a blanket. I'd pile the leaves onto the blanket, tie up the corners, and wheelbarrow the bundle into my backyard. I made a big pile by the back fence to possibly use for compost. If the yard is dry enough tomorrow, I'm going to try to mow. I bought a reel mower (the old-fashioned, no-gas kind). I've heard really mixed reviews. At least if I hate it, I can return it within 30 days.

(11) My caterpillar buddies hanging out on a leaf on my tree. I think I saw 23,239,957 of these things while I was raking.

(12) Okay. You Southern folks, help me identify this! I thought, "No way are there strawberries growing in my front yard." They look an awful lot like strawberries, but the "seeds" seem to be external rather than embedded, and the leafy plant they grow on isn't all connected like strawberry plants.

(13) Another close up. You can see the seed-things on my glove. What is it?

(14) One of my neighbors I met today! This is Margaret.

She walked by with her dog and saw me raking up leaves and said, "That's an awful big job! Are you by yourself?"
"Just like me. (sad) Do you have any kids?"
"No, I'm only 21. And I'm not married yet."
She told me she only does Halloween because of her grandchildren. Her eyes were very blue and I felt very tall standing next to her. Her dog was trying to sniff around two other dogs on the street and she scolded him, "C'mon. Back inside. If you can't behave, we're just going to go back inside."  :] She's sweet.

Oh yeah! And I found out today that my friend Jenn is engaged! Yay Jenn :) I'm so happy for her. Yesterday was Jenn's birthday and she gets to spend the weekend in Estes Park (Colorado). Can't wait to talk to her.


29 october

I heard Christmas songs on the radio. First time this season. Though I would argue it's not even the season yet. A local Christian station was playing Christmas music and it made me feel surprisingly cheery.

I got my stove. And it's perfect! It matches my cabinets exactly. Scott from my church helped me which was so great. He also looked over my house and gave me some much appreciated "my dad instinct is kicking in so you might consider..." safety tips.

I watched The Office. So funny! Episodes full of great one-liners are the best. Two favorites: "Looks like someone has a case of the 'definitelys.'" / "I wish Jim would have fallen into the koi pond. Then he'd have to wear my suit. And it would be too short, and he'd look... well, he'd still look good."

I opened a Regions account over my lunch break. Quick and easy. I also contacted HR to get my direct deposit moved and my personal data online changed from "some college" completed to "bachelor's degree."

Cupcakes. Yesterday I got some cupcakes from Jeff that were really cute: little apples. (I'm assuming I have Abbey to thank!) And they weren't just plain cupcakes, they were like apple-y/spiced and tasted like autumn. Then today Jessica brought chocolate cupcakes decorated like spiderwebs. Real cute. And even though I'm not a big fan of cupcakes, I ate and enjoyed them. :)

Coming Up...
Washer/dryer search. Heading to White House tomorrow evening to check out a washer/dryer. I hope it's what I need because it'll save me a lot of money.

Cleaning and yard work.
There's a lot of dust and stuff at my house I'm going to clean up. I also need to rake some leaves and possibly get the yard mowed once. (If I can get a mower.)

House prep.
Put up blinds. Weekend project. I've never done this before but I will probably need a drill. And I've been looking around at blinds ... they aren't cheap! Also shop around for essentials. Might just be shopping for prices and buying later. We'll see.


the big day.

I bought a house today!

 Signing the papers. There were a lot; of course I read everything through and asked lots of questions before I signed each one. ;) The final paperwork was approved while I was driving to closing so they couldn't get me the house keys there, but I drove to the seller's real estate agent and picked them up right afterward. 

Title company lady (pictured): "Aren't you excited?!"
Alyssa: "Yeah!" (I give a big smile.)
Tiffany: "She's just quiet." (Pats me on the shoulder) "This is Alyssa excited."
Alyssa: "Yeah, well, I'm
really excited on the inside!"

My new home!
Except all those leaves on that tree are now on the ground.

The first two things I bought yesterday: a tape measure and a rake.


a night out.

I've made a ton of progress on The List today. It's been crazy; so when Cheryl called me to ask if I wanted to use her extra ticket to Silent Comedy Classics with Organist Tom Trenny at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, well, I couldn't think of a better way to spend the evening. Here are the details:

Organist Tom Trenney returns for this hugely popular annual event featuring his improvised accompaniment at the magnificent Martin Foundation Concert Organ. At this year’s concert Trenney will provide the musical backdrop for two silent comedy classics. In One Week, newlyweds Buster Keaton and Sibyl Seely try their best to build a house from a do-it-yourself kit, while Big Business stars Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as Christmas tree salesmen who take an argument with a prospective customer just a little too far. Hilarity and destruction ensue. Audience members are encouraged to shout and cheer along with the onscreen action, so come down to the Schermerhorn for what promises to be a roaring good time!

I can't say I've ever really been a big fan of silent movies (I'm a fan of color and sound), but this guy played the organ as an accompaniment during the films, and I have just one word: hil.ar.i.ous. He was really impressive and between the two films played some Bach and music to Shel Silverstein poems "if Silverstein had been a composer instead of a poet." Good times. The symphony center is beautiful, inside and out.

photo credit: Travis Hightower


The List (Or, Why I'm Losing My Mind)

The big day is approaching. Wednesday. We're down to less than 100 hours: less than 96, actually. Of course I'm excited; who wouldn't be excited about being a homeowner? But this past week I have come face to face with what I will refer to as The List. My list titled "To Do" and consisting of many tasks that need to be accomplished in the very near future, my list which may or may not be the cause of this week's habitual 5:30 p.m.-I-don't-want-to-think-or-make-decisions-anymore-today-so-I'm-going-to-sleep comas. (Sorry to my roommates that I've been so lame this week.) My list which held me down on Tuesday and tried to suffocate me until I was certain it had knocked a few hours off the end of my life and hooray for the department meeting on Thursday because a diet Coke was just what I needed to get through the day.

Oh, the horrible list. Fortunately a brisk walk and a 30-minute chat with Andrea last night has revived me a little and brought me back down to earth, in a "How do you eat an elephant?"-"One bite at a time," kind of way.

You know, meat has been virtually non-existent in my diet since I started paying my own bills. (It's expensive!) I've heard there are health benefits to vegetarianism, but I am a non-consenting vegetarian. I miss a good steak, so to my Kansas readers (namely, Mom) when I come home for Christmas I'm making a request for meat at every meal.

But for the sake of the analogy:
"How do you eat a freezer full of homemade rice and bean burritos?"
"One bite at a time."

The List

1. Go [back] to USPS and get a change of address packet.  A huge reason I want this packet is for the 10% Off (up to $5000 purchase) at Lowe's.  (Thanks Mom for the link!)

2. Contact State Farm to cancel my auto & renter's insurance.

3. Go to Lowe's and buy a W/D and a deadbolt.
I need one deadbolt and possibly a W/D. I'm trying to find one on Craigslist to save money. I should probably purchase both of these items before I get a handyman.

4. Find a handyman.
If I had the tools, I could totally install the deadbolt myself. But I don't. It might be less expensive to buy the tools than hire someone--I'm sure I'll need tools like that in the future. But I also need a dryer vent installed. I'll be following up on a lead soon.

5. Do a final walk-through
. Happening Monday at 3:30 p.m.

6. Closing. Happening Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in Green Hills.

7. Pick up stove. I didn't think this would happen, but it is happening—Thursday after work.

8. Open Regions account
. My bank is still in Kansas. Long story, short: I'll being doing this probably Thursday over my lunch break.

9. Set up utilities. I know little about utilities. I have a list of the phone numbers I need to call (electric, gas, water/sewer, trash, Internet) but now the question is: when? Before closing? After closing?

10. Change LifeWay direct deposit to Regions account. Apparently I'm supposed to be able to do this online but I can't. So I will need to contact HR. Funny that the page actually tells me to contact HR. Does HR have an e-mail address? Who exactly is HR?  Needs to happen before Nov. 15 paycheck.

11. Square off everything with new insurance. Meeting scheduled: Tuesday @ 3:30.

12. Get refrigerator. Happening next weekend!

13. Setting up house. My mom is bringing me my stuff from Kansas on Nov. 13, but I'm going into this house with nothing. Between living in dorms and in houses where roommates supplied all the essentials, there is a long list of things I will need to live in my house. November will be the month for scavenging for the best deals.

14. Miscellaneous non-house-related tasks. This includes trying to maintain Kansas relationships. I have some letters to write and mail, and I need to find a gift for my engaged friend's Nov. 14 bridal shower I won't be attending.

15. Miscellaneous house-related tasks. Task #1 - buy a tape measure. I need to measure windows for blinds. Also I need to do some cleaning and there are a few random items in the attic and backyard to do something with. I need to rake the leaves from under the tree.

Andrea told me that life continues to get crazy. Great! I mean, I think I'm handling all this fairly well -- most of it is purely internal panic so everyone else thinks I'm handling it well. Can we just review the fact that I'm single and 21 years old? I mean, married people have it easy. If a girl doesn't want to locate a truck and two burly guys, she can totally pass the task off to her husband. Or even a close friend. I haven't lived here long enough to make connections like that. My coworkers and people at church have been great helps though.

Anyway, I'm trying to take this list one day at a time and there's nothing I can do today or tomorrow so here's to the weekend. Next weekend at this time I'll have a house with a stove and maybe a W/D. My insurance will be resolved, and I will have an account at Regions. My list will be much shorter and we will all be happy about that.


the last four days.

I am closing on my house in ONE week. 170 hours from now I will be a homeowner. The process has been a bit easier than expected, but holy cow, I've been stressing the last couple of days. (My excuse for not blogging.) Here's what's been going on:

- Sunday. Despite not getting out of bed until 8:20, I made it to Sunday School on time, then church. In the afternoon I watched the Titans get destroyed by the Patriots. I shut the game off at halftime and washed my car. It really needed it. Finished picking up the house and bought a candle to make the downstairs smell better. Kate returned from Michigan and we watched The Proposal.

- Monday. Monday was fun. Andrea came downtown and we went to lunch at the Copper Kettle. It was good to see her. I'm not a big fan of eating out because the $7.50 I paid for my meal (a porkchop and veggies) could have made my lunch for more than a week, but it was still fun. Everyone was giving me a hard time because they claim one of the workers was "checking me out" but I don't know what they're talking about. I never saw him. They said I should have gotten his number. Pah-lease. If he was really interested, he would have asked for mine! ;)

- Tuesday. I felt like my head was going to explode on Tuesday. It seemed like everyone decided to stand outside my office and talk loudly and clean out closets all day, and I was also trying to figure out how to get a cashier's check, for how much, and when I could open a bank account here. When I got home, I crashed at 5pm and woke up at 9pm to shower and then went back to bed.

- Wednesday. When I got to work, some packets of unclaimed trail mix were found and were given to me: "Let's feed the poor soon-to-be-homeowner." That's right. Then Jeff shared his homemade beef and vegetable soup and cornbread with me at lunch because he doesn't think I should be eating my homemade rice and bean burritos every day. It's like he thinks all I eat is rice and beans! Not true, and when they only cost me 43 cents each to make, why not? They're cheap, filling, and have lots of protein. I even splurged and added some cheese this time. Calcium.

Pretty busy calendar the next couple of weeks. One thing I need: a handyman. Anyone know of a handyman in Nashville who's good and reasonably-priced? I need two deadbolt locks and one dryer vent installed. I think I could do the locks myself, but I'm lacking the tools. Let me know!

Oh yeah, I'm planning on getting a kitten (probably in the spring). Hopefully a gray or black one. I was trying to think of a name, maybe something biblical, like Meshach. Something unique. One of my friends said, "How about God? That's biblical." I've decided on Cricket. :)


Google & Me

There was a time when all household/maintenance/mechanical/technological/automotive problems were solved by men. Yes, I took advantage of this. Once in college when I couldn't get the back tire on my bike, I posted on Facebook that I needed help. Will someone please help the girl fix her bike? It wasn't long before a bike-savvy male showed up at my dorm and fixed it. I had spent a good 30 minutes trying to figure it out before I gave up, and he did it in 30 seconds.

But times have changed. Don't get me wrong; I still really appreciate it when men step in to perform their gender-based stereotypcial duties--duties that I, as a woman, frankly have little interest in doing. But what's a girl to do when she finds herself hundreds of miles from her trustworthy helpers, single, and facing a problem? Easy. I take on the challenge with a little help from my new best counterpart named Google.

I've known Google for a long time now. I've got 10 years on Google, but we basically grew up together. I never really took Google seriously until recently. And Google suddenly became so much more than a casual acquaintance. Google has been there for me when I find myself wondering, "Exactly how long can you refrigerate that before it goes bad? Can you recycle pizza boxes? Where is the nearest coffee shop? And just how do you tell the difference between a helping verb and a linking verb, again?"

I will confess that sometimes at work when Jeff asks me a question and I don't know the answer, I tell him I do know and I quickly Google it first before I walk into his office. So I always look like I'm so knowledgeable. Heehee. :]

So when my roommate Rachel came downstairs to announce that the water in the bathtub would not switch over to come out of the showerhead, guess who I turned to. Google.

In a matter of seconds I found forums where people had discussed this very problem. I read that it was a common problem associated with the need for a new shower diverter. I was all over it, pulling up a step-by-step guide called "How to Replace a Shower Diverter." A couple of clicks and I found that the Lowe's store nearby had just what I needed. I scribbled down the item and product numbers and walked out the door.

Walking into Lowe's was like walking into a mecca of masculinity. There were rows and rows of tools, appliances, lights, paint, and cabinets for as far as I could see. It was, to say the least, slightly overwhelming. I made my way back toward the Bath Fixtures area, scanning the shelves and only finding faucets for sinks. The adjacent aisles had nothing I wanted. I felt so lost.

Hello! 20-something female wandering a home improvement store! Doesn't this put up any red flags for you people? Please, please, please stereotype! Don't I have "incompetent" written all over me? To make a long story a little less long, I found a pregnant woman working there and she got me what I needed. I got home to discover the diverter didn't come with a hex key. (Seriously? How hard would it be to throw one in there? They probably cost like 10 cents!) A quick trip to Home Depot (I didn't want to show up at Lowe's again) solved that dilemma.

So here I am set up in the bathroom with everything I need: laptop, chrome universal tub spout with diverter, my new set of hex keys, a screwdriver, O-ring, and pipe thread tape. I'm alternating between the online instructions (which really only helped me get the old spout off) and the provided instructions (of which there were 4 to choose from). I'm trying to make a decision about the type of connection I have going on here:
1) 1/2" copper pipe connection?
2) 1/2" male threaded connection?
3) 1/2" male pipe connection with threaded end?
4) 3/4" male threaded connection?
Who knows. I'm looking at the diagram and it's not making a lot of sense, but I conclude I have a 1/2" copper pipe connection and I get started. I take off the old spout, follow the directions, and pretty soon I have the new spout on. And it works! The shower works! (Rachel cheering in the next room.) I'm pretty sure I was supposed to line up the hole on the spout with the screw I fit snugly against the copper pipe, but when I was twisting that spout clockwise to get it flush with the wall, it just didn't happen. So good luck to whoever replaces this spout next.

So, that's that. Look at me, a competent soon-to-be homeowner. Totally proving I can be independent and fearless when it comes to bathroom fixtures. I'm pretty proud of myself. Who fixed the shower? I fixed the shower. Oh yeah, oh yeah. And completed the project for less than $20.


fall down.


October has officially unleashed its wrath in the form of 40-degree days, a ransom for the sun, and a requiem of cold air and drizzle above the exploding trees flaming red, orange and yellow. Sure, it hasn't snowed yet and this autumn in Nashville is much more mild than in other parts of the country. In fact, the forecast for next week is sunny and mid- to upper-60s, like the last warm breath before the chill of death. I do like the change in seasons, though. The hills covered in orange and red trees are beautiful when I'm driving by them in the evenings. At home I sink onto the couch beneath an electric blanket, accompanied by a mug of chai tea and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. (Seriously amazing. I don't think I can ever go back to plain chocolate chip.) I've got an Owl City playlist going. Mmm. I'm feeling creative on a Friday night.
I would subscribe to this day if it would let me.


thoughts on today's events

I resisted the urge to repeatedly update my Twitter today. I saved it for this post. Here are my thought's on today's happenings.

Balloon Boy - This at-home science experiment of a balloon took off, supposedly with a 6-year-old boy in it. Everyone was tracking it on live TV. The boy's brother had said he saw the boy get in the balloon.

I thought, "All the other 6-year-old boys are jealous. Their parents never let them to anything fun!" Decided against posting this, in case the balloon crashed and the boy died. Then I'd feel a bit like a jerk for making fun of the situation. News update: balloon lands and boy is nowhere to be found. Now you really can't joke because of the possibility that he fell out of the balloon. One of my friends posted on her Facebook: "Look under his bed! He's probably hiding!" Lo and behold, the boy was located this evening hiding in a box in the family's attic. I suppose if I were six and set off my dad's science project, the guilt and fear of punishment might drive me to hide in the attic, too.

Focused at Work - We've been experiencing "The Move" at work the last couple of weeks. I moved Monday, so I've been in my new (and slightly larger) office all week. Still no window, but I'm working on it. ;) Jeff has been gone at a conference all week. Cheryl's office is on the other side of the floor and she was gone today. So things have been kind of quiet and distraction-free. This means I've been super-productive reading through Winter 2010-11 leader and learner guides. First edit -- always the most difficult because there is so much to fix.

I was sitting at my computer, staring at the screen and reading and editing for so long, barely moving, that the motion-sensored light in my office shut off. This requires me to stand and wave my arms around to get it back on. Then I know it's time to take a break and walk the stairs or something. Today I discovered I could use my Holman Bible Dictionary (4.3 pounds) when I take a break to do some flys, bicep curls, and tricep exercises. Who needs free weights to keep toned arms?

That's What She Said. I've got to give a lot of credit to our writers; they do a good job and I'm sure it's not easy to put together all the pieces of the curriculum. And it's always easier to notice things when you've got a fresh set of eyes looking at it. This afternoon right before 3pm, I ran across an activity for boys that left me thinking, "That's what she said!" Over and over. Sooo funny. (I'm not posting the questions on here, but if you've seen The Office and get the joke, they are hilarious.)

Domestic Endeavors Yesterday it felt like my routine was turning into this: 1. Go to work and anticipate 3 o'clock so I can go home. 2. Go home and wait for 6 a.m. so I can go back to work. I thought it might be a good idea to start being more productive with my evenings. I thought I might go for a walk when I got home, but it was raining. So I started to clean. I cleaned the kitchen. I organized and moved things and was proud to see the progress.

Tonight when I got home, I went through the refrigerator and trashed 1. everything that was moldy; 2. everything that had been in there since I moved in; 3. everything that had expired (most more than a month ago). This included a lot of produce which had liquefied into an unidentifiable lump of nastiness in the bottom drawer, milk that expired two weeks ago, and a lemon that had turned green and brown and white.

I washed the fridge drawers, vacuumed the front room, cleaned the bathroom, emptied the trash, sorted the recycling and put in my backseat to drop off tomorrow, just in time to pull hot oatmeal chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. Um, why am I single? Haha, just kidding. But seriously, I'm pretty proud of myself when it comes to these domestic endeavors. And I am bound and determined to learn what I can about vehicle maintenance and, in the near future, household repairs.

[[12 days until closing: October 28]]


bubble bath.

As I was heading to chapel today, I locked my office door. Not wanting to take my entire set of keys with me, I pulled one off the chain and attached it to my name badge. After chapel, I got back to my office and the key wouldn't fit in the door. I took a closer look at it and it was not my office key, but a spare key to my dad's house in Kansas. There is only one person on our floor with a master key, and I couldn't find her. And my reaction was irrational stress: 1. What are you going to do now? 2. Nice going. If you'd just payed more attention to what you were doing this wouldn't have happened.

While I waited to find the person who could open my office, I headed down on the elevator to the ground floor so I could walk the stairs back up. (Exercise = stress relief)

This morning when I was in chapel I was thinking about all the things that have happened in the last year, most of it being in the past five months. In high school we took a stress test called the Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale and it ranks events with points and the higher you score, the more susceptible you are to major illness due to stress. Take it for yourself here. These are my results:

  • death of a close family member
  • change in financial state
  • change to a different line of work
  • large mortgage
  • change in responsibilities at work
  • personal achievement
  • begin or end school
  • change in living conditions
  • revision in personal habits
  • change in work hours or conditions
  • change in residence (five different zip codes in the past 6 months)
  • change in recreation
  • change in church activities
  • change in social activities
  • change in sleeping habits
  • change in eating habits

My score: 427
Over 300 points: This score indicates a major life crisis and is highly predictive (80%) of serious physical illness within the next 2 years.

Uh, yeah. I mean, I expect the stress levels to drop significantly in January. For the next 4 months, I'll be exercising, writing, and taking hot showers. Contributions to my chill-out endeavor in the forms of chocolate or cash will be gladly accepted. ;)



Nashville's #1

Travel + Leisure magazine recently released the 2009 U.S. city rankings,
and Nashville has been voted Most Friendly!

Nashville also ranks:
#9 - Most Attractive People
#4 - Affordable Getaway
#2 - Live music/concerts and bands
#8 - Safety
#4 - On time arrivals/departures (airport)
#9 - Affordable hotels

Other notable distinctions:
#1 - Manliest City (Combos)

Just another several reasons to come and visit Music City.


I discovered blogging.

Today is Columbus Day, a federally-recognized holiday. While the post offices and banks were closed, I went to work. I'm not complaining; I like going to work. In fact, a lot of people went to work today, and some didn't. No matter what they did with their day, a lot of them don't really think there should even be a Columbus Day.

No one has one nice thing to say about the guy. Their slams are pretty funny, though.
(via Twitter):

Happy Columbus Day: the day when Columbus discovered that America was already discovered...

On this date in 1492, Columbus sailed over on the Mayflower to invent Protestantism and teach Indians to burn witches. Thanks, Columbus!

Happy Columbus Day to people who like days named after morons. He missed his mark by 5,000 miles! Not even the right hemisphere!

Columbus Day
. How about I break in your house and discover it as my own.

I can't think of anything more arrogant or obnoxious than this nation's insistence on observing 'Columbus Day'

Hmmm... Columbus day? Should I celebrate by spreading disease, and taking credit for stuff people actually did hundreds of years before me?

Oh, hey, it's Columbus Day. Is this the most pointless holiday? Google didn't even do a holiday logo for it.

sucks. Went looking for money, found none, killed or sold 100,000 Indians, & died still thinking "America" was India.

In honor of Columbus Day I'm making flags & planting them in my neighbor's yards 2 let em know its my land now

In honor of Columbus Day, I plan to discover something, and then give it smallpox.

A few things I've discovered myself recently:

- Nashville never gets old. I love it.
A couple of shots from Saturday: 3rd Ave S & McGavock, the foot of the Shelby Street Bridge; and the back of a building at Commerce & 9th Ave N.

- Owl City music. Someone had mentioned it on a Tweet, and I looked them up. Wow. My head nearly exploded with the awesomeness of their lyrics. Seriously, I would love to be able to write catchy, rhyming, clever lyrics. And put it to music? Brilliant. It's just really fun and puts me in a good mood. When I get my house and get my stereo from Kansas, you betcha Owl City will be playing often and loudly.

- I am the youngest person
in the publishing department at LifeWay. At least I've been here the shortest amount of time. I'd bet I'm the youngest full-time employee, maybe in the entire building. (We had a publishing meeting today where we stood in line by number of years worked. I stood next to a lady who has been there 40.5 years!)

- Moving is easy when you don't have a lot of stuff. Probably a no-brainer. I moved to a new office today. I didn't know what to do with myself while the movers moved my stuff. Fortunately it was at 11:30, so I went and had lunch and then sat in Jeff's office and imagined what it would be like to work in an office with a window. I might be distracted by the movement outside at first, but I think the sunshine would be good for me overall. Plus I'm always bummed when it's raining and I can't watch it.

everyone likes getting mail.

Downtown Nashville.
Buy a postcard for only $1. Made by yours truly.


1. 3rd Ave. S & McGavock - at the west foot of the Shelby Street Bridge, looking north
2. the back of a building on Broadway - from 9th Ave. N & Commerce St.
3. Union Station - from 10th Ave. N & Broadway


playing house.

Scheduled closing date: Oct. 27
(16 days away!)

click picture for larger/higher quality view

"How did you do that?"
- Check out this website: http://www.smallblueprinter.com/

"Why does everything look so disproportionate?"
- Because I'm an amateur and was designing from memory. You can see in the pictures that I was too generous on room sizes.

"What are those colored blobs?"
- Simply, the furniture, cabinets, and closets in each room. See list:

- refrigerator
- stove
- washer/dryer

Dining Room
- table and chairs

Living Room
- side table
- love seat
- coffee table
- recliner
- floor lamp

Bedroom 1
- bed
- side table
- dresser
- short bookshelf

- shower
- toilet
- sink

Bedroom 2
- art table
- floor lamp
- tall bookshelf
- futon



free music.

Regions Free Day of Music
October 10, 2009

For the fourth straight year, the Nashville Symphony opens Schermerhorn Symphony Center to the entire community for a festive open house with a variety of musical acts performing throughout the building. From 10:00am to 10:00pm, we will showcase performances by a diverse selection of more than 25 artists and ensembles, including the Chamber Society of Nashville, Roy "Futureman" Wooten and the Black Mozart Ensemble, Music City Swing, San Rafael Band, organist Wilma Jensen and the Blair Children's Chorus.
And, of course, headlining the evening will be our GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony.
I'll definitely have to check this out. I want to spend more time exploring Nashville, going to free events and taking advantage of living in a place that is so rich with culture and music. K-State was great about bringing notable speakers and performers to campus, and I really enjoyed them.

On another note, I've come across some music I really like. I've spent my last couple of weekends listening to Mat Kearney, but today I've discovered Owl City. Look them up on imeem.com.


If Monday and Friday were in a popularity contest,  
Friday would win.
Hands down.




This week has been very busy because this week is our annual Writers Conference. We have nine preteen writers in town who will be writing our 2011-2012 curriculum. It's been really neat to be able to put faces to the names I've seen on the computer. I got to pick one of our writers up at the airport on Tuesday morning. Pretty sure this week is going to result in a cavity---not because our writers are so sweet (they are, haha) but because there was a seemingly endless supply of Milk Duds. Always a favorite. And today after lunch we went to Las Paletas, this place on 12th Ave. South that doesn't even have a sign outside of the building. You just hear about it by word of mouth. Their website, wheresthesign.com, only supplies a basic graphic, a location, and a phone number. This was my second time to Las Paletas. The first time I got a chocolate choc. chip popsicle, and this time I got chocolate with mint chip. There are lots of different kinds of popsicles: from cream-based like strawberry choc. chip or chai; and fruit-based like cantaloupe or strawberry kiwi.

Tonight we all went to Gigi's Cupcakes before having dinner at Panera. (We ate the cupcakes after dinner, of course. Gigi's was just closing at 6pm.) It was a little bit stressful when I didn't know where Gigi's was and though I was following Jeff (and even though I ran a yellow light to keep up with him), he left me behind by running a yellow light himself and there was no way I could make it. So when Broadway split, I didn't know whether to stay left or merge right. Jeff wouldn't answer his phone, and though Cheryl was following me, she wasn't answering hers either. So, I went right. Well, right was wrong. Finally Jeff answered his phone and gave me directions. I'm not a fan of cupcakes, really, but I still had a chocolate/coconut one.

Jim and Pam's wedding tonight on the Office. Lots of awkward.
It's been a long day. A good day. Off to bed. Ciao.



The first time I ever made minestrone soup, I was in first grade. It's an easy soup with lots of vegetables, room for alterations, and a classic crowd-pleaser. Usually I compliment this meal with some cheddar-garlic biscuits.

1 16-ounce can (2 cups) kidney beans
1 clove garlic (minced)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ cup shopped fresh parsley
1 small fresh zucchini, unpeeled and diced
2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
2 small carrots, peeled and diced
1 small onion
1 16-ounce can (2 cups) whole tomatoes, cut up with a spoon
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 ½ cups water
1/3 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked
½ cup beef bouillon or tomato juice, salt to taste (I use small can of tomato sauce)

  1. Put beans in a large kettle and mash them slightly with a fork.
  2. Add garlic, salt, pepper, oil ad parsley. Stir well.
  3. Add all vegetables, butter and water to the kettle. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Lower heat, cover the kettle and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  5. After 1 hour, add macaroni and beef bouillon or tomato juice. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt to taste.

Serves 6 to 8

  • Start early! I usually plan to start 1.5-2 hours before I want to serve dinner. It takes time to chop the vegetables, and the soup simmers for 1 hour and then an extra 15 minutes after adding the macaroni. Be patient. Eat cheddar-garlic biscuits as an appetizer.
  • Instead of tomato juice, I usually save the juice from the can of whole tomatoes and add it at the end with the macaroni
  • There is lots of room to be flexible. I usually add black beans and some extra quantities of vegetables
  • The garlic and parsley aren't deal-breakers. If you don't have any, don't worry about it
  • I prefer adding more than 1/2 c. of macaroni. The more extras you add, the more water you might need to add. This isn't really a "soupy" soup; everything soaks up the water pretty quickly after you remove it from the heat and the consistency is more like goulash.
  • You don't have to use elbow macaroni. Switch it up and make it fun with any type of noodle. I really like spirals or mini shells.
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