Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I love where I work

I work in a historic building on 4th Avenue North here in downtown Nashville. The back of the building is on Printer's Alley, named for the printing business that took place in the early 1900's. In fact, if you are standing in Printer's Alley, on the Church Street side, and looking south at the building across the street, you can see where the words "Nashville Banner" used to be affixed over the door. It was the defunct paper's main office.

But enough with history. I could go on forever.

Today the alley is better known for strip clubs, bars and music. It looks sketchy in the early morning, and it smells like stale beer and urine if they have not hosed down the street good enough.

The alley is a favorite place for artists. I have seen Dolly Parton shoot a video, and many photographers take musicians here for a mad cool backdrop. It is not unusual to see many things going on.

The past couple days I have noticed a big production going on. They even have a trailer for craft services, so I knew it was a big deal. The first day they shot at Boubon Street Blues Bar, and yesterday they were at a cool looking residential property across the street.

Last night I noticed a throng of people surrounding a guy, who was signing autographs, as I was just coming up to my Printer's Alley Parking Garage.

It was Luke Perry, of Beverly Hills 90210 fame. He looked rather petite in stature to my eye. I guess they look bigger on TV. I was never really into 90210, so I went about my business of getting home.

This morning I saw a security guard patrolling the trailers, so I asked him what was going on. He said they were shooting a movie called "Bailey" about a jazz musician. Luke Perry starred in it, and Michael Clark Duncan (from the Green Mile) was the other star, and was around the set a lot.

I WOULD HAVE REALLY LIKED TO MEET HIM! Who did not love his character in The Green Mile?

Anyhoo, the nice security guard said they were finishing up in Printers Alley today, and were moving on to their next location later today, somewhere in Germantown, which is a historic neighborhood in North Nashville.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I am now at 40,000 words. I cannot believe how quickly the sexy curves are coming to me. I guess it is because I worked on the skeleton for so long, I am able to pull out bits of story and back track or expound to carry the details through the length of the book.

This is really fun y'all.

So today during my break I figured out the sequence of days, shifted around some stuff to make it flow better, and now know where I need to fill in more story line. I don't know if other writers do it this way, but it just makes sense to me.

My brother in law is an excellent artist, so I have asked him to work on the cover art for The Riverview. Give my building a face that readers can connect with it.

Today as I walked back from the library, I looked at the buildings along Church Street, and in my mind I had random facts about them.

For example, the Methodist Church used to be wider. They had two bell towers, one on each side. At some point, they got lopped off. That's why it looks like a big cube.

The Cohen Building, that cute building next to The Viridian that was recently refurbished - it was once owned by Meyer and Etta Cohen. Meyer ran a jewelry store on the street level of the building, and their residence was on the first floor. Etta enjoyed the view from the front balcony on Church Street, which was their bedroom.

I could go on for many many more paragraphs about the notorious Climax and Utopia, both on 4th Avenue North. But neener neener you will just have to read my book.

I hope people dig it, but I especially hope the people of Nashville dig it, since there is so much history that they will learn.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Day in the Life

August 17, 2009
5:52 am - Turn alarm off and sleep until 6:30.
6:30 - 7:30 - Shower, dress, eat breakfast and try to give a thyroid pill down my cranky 18 year old cat with out getting bitten. Glad I'm up to date on my tetanus shot.
7:30 - 8:00 - Drive to work, park and walk down dodgy alley to work building.
8:00 - 11:30 - Work work work
11:30 - 12:30 - Eat lunch (Russian Kidney Bean Salad today!) and proofread my book for the eleventy seventh time.
12:30 - 5:00 - Work work work
5:00 - 5:30 - Drive to Coleman Center
5:30 - 6:30 - Work out at Coleman Center until I am a sweaty beast.
6:30 - 6:45 - Drive home.
7:00 - 7:15 - Shower until I am not a sweaty beast.
7:30 - 7:45 - Cook dinner. Tonight we are having fish tacos. Quick and delicious!
8:00 - bandaid on fingers o'clock - Give Inky her other thyroid pill.
8:00 - 10:00 - Watch movie. Tonight we are watching Heat with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. Hope it doesn't suck.
10:00 - whenever I fall asleep - Watch Andy Griffith until I pass out. That show relaxes me. Must be the Barney Fife factor.

The end.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Words count

Y'all. So today I wondered how many words I have written for my book, so I did a word count.

I have written 35,000 words. I don't think I've ever written so many words in a single document ever.

According to research I have done online, 50,000 to 110,000 words would be considered a novel, and most publishers won't touch a first novel that is less than 70,000 words.

This means I am at the half-way point I guess. I must say that I am really enjoying the sexy curves, adding the fat to my muscular skeleton of a story. I am learning so much about Nashville.

I am having fun!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Way I Roll

I am a person with many unfinished projects. Current unfinished projects are:

A beaded bracelet
A scarf
My novel
Cleaning out my closet

I tried to tackle the last one a couple weeks ago. Really, I did. But when I pulled my craft box out of my closet, it opened up yet another project.

A few years ago I was really into making beaded jewelry, and I made some very pretty creations that to this day I wear and will continue to wear. I did throw out some things that I knew I would never, ever do, and would be pointless to donate, so I did make some progress. But I found a bag full of adorable necklaces and bracelets, complete with clasps, that I really needed to do something with.

So, I paired up matching necklaces with bracelets (they are all chains of six petal - or bead - flowers in a rainbow of colors) and put them in tiny baggies. I then unearthed my loose beads and findings (clasps, jump rings, etc.) and decided to make necklaces and bracelets where already completed jewelry needed a mate. All in all, when I made mates and bagged them, I had 45 sets. I am very active in my church, and I know the children's minister well, so I asked her if she had any use for the jewelry I made. Turned out she did. They were preparing goodie bags for the children, and they would be a perfect addition. So, I gave the jewelry to her on Sunday, and little girls received them. I can't wait to start seeing the girls in my church wearing something I made. I'm happy that I could bless the church with my creations.

I still have more beads, and I've decided to make the simple daisy jewelry until my bead and finding supply is exhausted. The children's minister said that anything else I contributed could be sold in the little goodie store available at church for the children. This makes me very happy. Since I'm in such a bead state of mind, I might even finish the free form beaded bracelet I started many moons ago.

But now more ideas are popping in my head for my book, so I know it will not be long before I am at work on it. My next stops will be the Tennessee State Archives and Property Records. I love researching turn of the 20th century Nashville. I am finding so much about my beloved city. This is the fun part! Time for more sexy curves!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

8 lbs

Y'all, I am 8 pounds away from my short term weight goal. That's less than 10!

See, I can do math.

I haven't seen the scale this low in a few years. I would like to give big smooches to myself for going to the doctor. If I hadn't have gone to the doctor, I would never have known about my extremely lazy thyroid. Thanks to that lovely pill I take every day, and the exercise I now enjoy, my clothes are looser, and I feel like a million bucks. Joy.

In celebration of this, I shall take down the picture of myself that is a year old. I love my short hair. It's time to celebrate it on this blog.

8 pounds ain't nothing when I've already lost 30!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 22

My birthday always puts me in a pensive state.
I am right now going through visions in my mind of past birthday parties in my back yard in New York, with the Slip n Slide glowing like the sun in the heat of the day. Me, at the head of the picnic table, with my playmates sitting around me. I am wearing a swimsuit soaked from countless runs down the Slip n Slide. I look down at a lovely home-made, chocolate frosted cake (hopefully with marshmallow fluff between the layers).
And then the presents, a plastic bounty is set out in front of me. Oooh, the Baskin and Robins Honey Hill bunch set! I played with that for hours and hours until the plastic seams began to bust, showing a thin layer of padding.

I loved this so much.

So I have my 38th birthday coming up. Last year's birthday was so wonderful. Mark and I went to Maggiano's on my actual birthday, and went to Chattanooga for the weekend, and had a very pretty time. I felt like a princess.

This year? Mark is taking me to Bonefish Grill, which I just found out this year to be rather awesome. I look forward to a fun time and good memories!

So what are birthdays about? I think I get them now that I have fleshed this out. It's about fun, and being around friends and family. And cake, lots of cake. Hopefully strawberry cake with pink frosting. I am a girl after all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Labour of Love

And now I have that awesome UB-40 album in my head. That's right, I said album, remember those?

Anyhoo the reason for my post. My labor of love has been my book. The book that I write every now and then when I get such an amazing idea that I cannot rest until it has been typed for perpetuity. The other day though, I figured out the ending.

I could have cried y'all. I love it. I just love it.

So I started with the skeleton, now have lean muscle affixed, and am now ready to add the fat, the sexy curves if you will. My excellent boss is on a well-deserved vacation for two weeks, and, since my desk is unnaturally clear of clutter, I decided, with blessings of course, to take a "staycation." Tomorrow I shall go to the Nashville Room at the main branch of the Nashville Public Library, and get lost in the downtown Nashville of 1901. I want to see pictures of old buildings, of merry people looking taciturn because they are waiting for the camera plate to be properly exposed. I want to get enough stuff to fill my brain and my book with imagery of a bygone time. Tomorrow morning I shall be a library nerd, and I cannot wait. This is the fun part - time for the sexy curves.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sneakers on Power Lines

The last stretch of my drive home is the best. When I turn on to Trousdale Road from Harding Road, my view goes from commercial to residential in as much time as it took to read this. Crieve Hall is an older community in Nashville, filled with ranch houses on large parcels of land. Big old trees (the best kind) form a shady canopy over the road, and the road curves and dips just enough to make it reminiscent of a kid's roller coaster.

Driving at 35 mph gives me a chance to survey my peaceful surroundings. Dogs merrily running with their humans, cats lounging in pockets of sun on driveways, gardens bursting with produce are seen whichever way I turn my head.

But yesterday I saw something I usually ignore. I saw a pair of sneakers dangling from a power line. I thought to myself what is up with this? I have seen this phenomena in many places, but never pondered it long enough to wonder why people would do such a thing. It just seems such a Little Rascals sort of thing to do.

Aren't they just the cutest little things?

So I thought that today I would google the subject to find out what the deal was, and there is a wealth of urban legendry on this topic. According to, a popular belief is that sneakers dangling from utility wires designates "gang territory." Y'all I just don't see that happening in my neighborhood. Granted, we have crime, but most of the residents in my area are either the elderly, or young families. I have never seen kids sporting gang colors on their way to Crieve Hall Elementary School.

Another urban myth associated with this is that teenage boys who have just um "scored" for the first time will chuck their converse over a power line in celebration. Meh I dunno about this. Firstly, do you know how expensive sneakers are these days? And also, wouldn't stupid boys that want to display their stupidity by texting on their phones or posting something tacky on facebook? Again, this sort of activity seems so low-tech - not something our technologically advanced youth would do.

So I guess the sneakers on the wire in my hood will remain a mystery. If these fools have sneakers to spare, they should donate them to charity or something.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I just want a cool band-aid

Ya know, as most girls think, I like to think of myself as low maintenance. I don't need many material or physical things to make me happy. The following things are a sampling of things that make me happy.

1. A dog riding in a car with his head out the window.
2. Cool, fresh sheets on the bed.
3. A perfectly ripe and beautiful tomato.
4. Funny or colorful band-aids.

The last one is extremely important y'all. I get my blood drawn every time I go to the doctor (nothing scary - it's just to check my thyroid). My doctor loves tests, and because of his love of tests they take a bunch of blood. Hey, I like information, and if they've already stuck me they can take all the blood they need, leaving me with the blood I need thankyouverymuch.

The phlebotomist that usually sticks me is pretty awesome, but at the end of the transaction I feel very much cheated. She quickly put a cotton ball on the wound, and affixed it with horrible surgical tape....the tape that rips off a layer of skin.

I would dig a Hello Kitty band-aid, or perhaps some rad graphic or zebra stripes, anything is better than the cheapo cotton and tape route.

So yeah....that's really all I have to say.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Much Love for the Cowboy Caviar

Oh hi hello. You have probably visited my blog in search of Cowboy Caviar. Welcome. I am happy you are here, and hope you find the recipe as delicious as I do. I get lots of hits daily from folks just like you that googled "Cowboy Caviar," so I thought I would create a post in honor of people that dig the sort of food that I do.

If you prepare the recipe, and enjoy it, please oh please let me know by leaving a comment. It would be fun, and ever so much appreciated.

If you also like funny writing, there are two extremely true posts I am rather proud of.

Serve and Protect


No autographs please

Anyhoo, thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Oh hi hello neglected blog. In earlier posts I have documented my attempts at exercise, and to be blunt, they we epic fails.

Until now.

Because of this program I am in, I have been given a 6 month membership to Metro Parks & Recreation Facilities. When I received it, I knew this was a great opportunity, and I was not going to let it go to waste. Nosireeeebub not me.

Y'all I was never athletic. In high school I was not in any sport, other than the required gym classes. In college I took yoga. It could be safely said that I am a left-handed person in a right handed world, and boy do I have the bruises to prove it.

My name is Tina, and I am a klutz. Where are the understanding nods and hugs of encouragement?

The machines and nautilus equipment were easy enough to understand, and now I am comfortable with them. For cool up and down, I walked the elevated track surrounding the open gym, but I was still not using the opportunity I had to its fullest, and I knew it.

The exercise class.

I got a schedule and some of the offerings looked like torture to me. Body Ball Class? Uh I have enough issues with balance without having to teeter on a sphere. Crunch Craze? I think not. It sounds like my abs would hate me so bad.

But Zumba sounded like fun. So I googled it and lo and behold there were plenty of youtube entries. It looked like fun too! It didn't look like torture! It is aerobics and dance elements, all to latin or hip hop music. I just wondered if I would display some tragic white-woman boogie moves a la Elaine from Seinfeld.

Tonight I go to my third class, and I can hardly wait. I rumba, samba, and shake my bootie just like the others in my class, and I don't give a damn if I look like a fool. It is just that much fun.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I have been selfish with myself for a spell. That's one of the reasons (excuses) for not writing here. I don't know that selfish is the best word. I'm not really a selfish person, more like selfless to a fault, so that self care feels selfish.

I have been selfcare with myself for a spell. That's better, if you will excuse my grammar.

Today I went to the main branch of the Nashville Public Library (for serious when am I not there) to hear Ann Patchett read a short story.

Y'all she was lovely, inside and out. I loved hearing her brain on her own written page being spoken in her voice. There was laughter in the conference room, I saw people with their heads cocked like cute dogs, looking thoughfully as she spoke.

At the end, she said she was told by a professor to write about what you know. And that "what you know" could come from anywhere. She said she was a student of silence, of staring, of observing.

Hey....I'm good at that!

So I am back to my book, you know, the book that I keep damn talking about. It is to tight. The story is too wrapped in itself. I knew for a long time that I needed to loosen it up so that it could breathe. The story needs air, and I think I have figured out how to breathe life into its nostrils.

I am so glad that I went, and am thankful for the inspiration.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Blog hate

Turns out that I am the kind of blogger I hate. You visit the site every now and then, because you connected in some way with the blogger. Time after time you are visited by the same stale, old post, because the blogger hasn't posted in forever. And then you are pissed. Dammit you want to be entertained. Post someting already!

Oh hi hello me.

You've seen the apologies before. I shan't bore you with one. It would be lame, and it sounds so lame in my head that I cannot force my fingers to type the necessary characters. My fingers may be developing a separate consciousness. Scary.

So I shall bring you up to date on my... well myself. I haven't been excercising, because exercising sucks and I am having a difficult time squeezing it into my schedule. I'm hopeful that will change, but I am also hopeful that I will win the powerball. So there's that.

Last week I had a "Staycation." I took a week off from work and stayed home. I think it was the very best vacation I ever had. I organized stuff, I didn't wake up to an alarm clock, I had lunch with my husband, and did lots of other stuff you just can't find the time to do when you work for da man.

But the very best thing I did was that I finally donated 10" of hair to Locks of Love. My hair was absolutely driving me nuts, so it was time. I now have a kicky short do. I will post a picture when I have one that is cute enough. There is one problem though. I seem to be suffering from something that I call "Phantom Ponytail Syndrome." 99% of the time my hair was kept in a ponytail so that it did not annoy me. I was used to brushing it out of the way whenever it was where it shouldn't have been....too used to it. I keep reaching towards the back of my neck, and there is no hair. It is so if I have lost an appendage.

So that is really all I can think of. I know ... rather boring. I seem to be in creative flux right now. I'm not really doing anything, but I think I will shortly continue working on my book, since ideas are again popping in my head.

Don't hate me. I'm really a very nice person that is rather lame at times.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Dogs That Are Friends

There are many dogs in my neighborhood, but two certain dogs have a special place in my heart.

They are known to me as The Dogs That Are Friends. Every time I pass by their house, I look for them. I squee with joy when I see them, and am melancholy when I don't, because they are lovely.

The Dogs That Are Friends are Labs. One is golden, one is chocolate. They romp and play on the lawn, or sometimes I see them curled up in each other, making a furry ying and yang symbol. They make me so happy that I even have a song for them, but yeah that is not for your ears.

I saw them this very morning on the way to work, bouncing and running in the early sunshine. It is a good start to the day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Vacation at Home

I have recently put in a request for my first week of vacation for 2009. Know where I'm going? Nowhere. That's right y'all, I am staying put, and having a vacation at home.

Now in past years, there have been many trips that required my passport, there have been cruises in the Mediterranean and the Bahamas, family reunions in Florida, but there is nothing on the agenda this year, and frankly (and economically) I could not be happier.

I must also say that a lot of my vacation time was used for working vacations. Dear husband is a photographer, and we have shot weddings all over the place, even Europe. Now, I'm not complaining about getting paid to work for one day and building a trip around that, but there was always an element of stress and pressure. My vacation at home will have none of that.

So, the last week of April, I will be a homebody. I will get up naturally, rather than hearing an obnoxious alarm clock.

I will do those things I have wanted to do forever, like organize my closet. That's right closet, I will control you.

I will go to the grocery store one mid-morning during the week, and stroll around the aisles, rather than hurry through the market one night after work.

I will go out to lunch with my husband, rather than eat a nuked Lean Cuisine.

I will garden. My deck consists of weathered pots and tired soil with the last remants of last year's herbs. I will bring it back to life.

And most of all I will have the quiet enjoyment of my home. I have never had a vacation like this, and it might just be the best one ever.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Springy Spring

Ahhhhh today is the warmest day of the year so far in Nashville. The weather astrologer says it is 77 degrees outside. I am celebrating the warmth and wind.

I wore sandals to work. My toes are free and merry.

I walked around downtown during lunch, without a scarf or overcoat.

Just a few more minutes until I can be outside again, with the warm wind embracing me like a favorite blanket. I will walk the short and sketchy journey to my car, turn on the radio, and roll down my windows. Even though I the drive will be windy, I will have my windows down, and I won't care if my hair looks like I put my finger in an electrical socket. When I get home I will open the windows. My cats will perch on the window ledges looking out at the psychotic kids that play in the cul-de-sac. Their noses and whiskers will be twitching ... trying to figure out what the wind smells like. Eau-de-nearby-dog perhaps?

Oh good the clock says there are less minutes until my departure. Come on 5:00. I must go!

Friday, March 6, 2009

In Anticipation of Saturday

I love a Saturday when I don't have anything planned. Tomorrow is such a Saturday, and what will I do to celebrate not having a damn thing to do?

I shall make bread...two kinds, and I will clean my diaster of a house.

I know you are jealous of my jet-set sorta lifestyle, but I'm sure you will get over it.

I am going to make pita bread and regular white bread. Originally I was just going to make one loaf of bread, but Smitten Kitchen posted a dead simple recipe for pita bread, so I must make it. I have a cast iron skillet that would be just perfect for baking the pita bread. I'm pumped, and the house will smell like heaven. The pita recipe says the longer the dough can develop, the better, so I am going to make it tonight and let it do it's thang in the fridge. Tomorrow morning I will start on the loaf, and clean the house when I'm not punching the dough down.

Oh! And an update on how I'm doing in the excercise department. So far, I have been on the dreadmill three times, and I feel pretty good about that. Tonight I will probably skip it, because I will be busy in the kitchen, but I think tomorrow I will hike the 1.6 mile trail around Ellington Agricultural Center, which is just a hop and a skip from my house. The weather is supposed to be very nice, and since I'll be in need of fresh air after inhaling bathroom chemicals, the timing is perfect.

Best wishes for a happy Saturday!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Spring is coming, and that means a change in wardrobe is coming too.

2008 was a pretty wonderful year for me in the weight loss department. In February of that year, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and once I started getting my thyroid under control (thanks to a little pill I take every day) and the fact that I had to walk 15 minutes every morning and evening, since I parked far away from where I worked, I lost 3o pounds.

But now that I park just around the corner from work, my activity level has slacked off bigtime.

So getting back to the wardrobe thing, I am now fitting very nicely in my lovely suits that languished in the back of my closet, but I have even lovelier suits, perfect for springtime, that are a size smaller than what I am currently wearing.

Accountability. I know that if I don't set a goal, I will slack off. So here's my goal list for this month.

1. Get on the treadmill at least three times a week, or walk outside in nice weather for at least 1.5 miles.
2. Use the step and step aerobic CD that I have never done since I bought it 4 times this month.

Those are realistic goals. I don't eat really bad, and my alcohol intake is less that usual, so I'm not going to go crazy and get militant about everything.

Last night I got on the treadmill and walked for 1.5 miles, and whilst I was walking, I watched the step aerobic DVD. You do need some semblance of coordination to do even the beginniner's level, but it looked doable. Can I tell you how great I felt after I accomplished my walk? I am looking forward to tonight's walk, and fitting into my pretty clothing once again.

I think I shall do a weekly post to keep myself on track.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Library Book Club

So, I went to my first meeting of the Third Thursday Library Book Club in my hood. I gotta tell you, I was a bit nervous. The book that we read, Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo, was big, and very intense. Not at all like the books that I usually read, but it's good to stretch your brain muscles.

I wondered if what I said would be valid, would these fellow clubbers be super brainiacs, who thought their opinion was THE opinion to have? I walked into the library, clutching the tome, and walked to the conference room.

It was a lovely experience y'all. The group was all ladies, although there are members of the opposite sex. They were all shapes, colors and ages, and had interesting points of view. I was not shy at all. I said what was on my mind, and people listened and commented. It was a great time, and after an hour we were done.

I have the next book that the club is reading, called Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. I think I am really going to dig being a member of the club, because I am going to read things I probably would never have given a second glance, and it is nice to have something that is entirely my own, even though I love the time I spend with my husband.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Plant Lady

The building I work in has a lot of plants. So, they get a person to come in to water and maintain them. Since I have a black thumb, I think this is wonderful, except for one thing: The plant lady is an incessant talker.

Now I do not mind chatting with someone, but I do mind being chatted to, and she talks "at" people about really boring shit.

For example, she will say "how are you?" A person would say back "fine.....and you?"

And that is the problem. When you say "and you." She launches in to whatever shit she has on her mind, and there is no way to escape, unless the phone rings or you spontaneously vomit into your trashcan.

I am not alone in my opinion of the plant lady. Co-workers will excuse themselves to the bathroom, or pretend to be on the phone. If they are lucky enough to work in an office with the door, some will just lock their doors.

Yesterday I hid in the bathroom. It was wonderful. When I knew she had left, I told my office manager, who then unlocked her door.

I mean really, how do you combat this? I don't want to be mean and say "Hey plant lady, your shit is boring, can you give my plant a drink and move on?"

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cowboy Caviar

Edit: There is much love for this recipe, according to the many googlers that find my site because of it, so I have created a post of thanks just for you. Follow this link!

So last night I went to a Super Bowl party. Each couple was supposed to bring a dish to share. Since the party was a good thirty minutes away from my house, I really did not want to prepare a hot dish, that would be eaten lukewarm at the party. So, I decided to make a cold recipe.


You may be asking yourself.....what is this crazy lady talking about? Is there really caviar in there? No friends. I do not know who came up with the name, but it is a wonderful hearty dish. Here is a picture of the dish before it was devoured:

Isn't it lovely? Here is the recipe, courtesy of Recipezaar:

1 (11 ounce) can white shoepeg corn, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
2-3 roma tomatoes
2/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1-2 avocados
1/3 cup green onion, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic (minced, chopped, whatever)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup garlic red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin

1Mix all dressing ingredients together and set aside.
2Mix all veggies together in a large bowl.
3Add dressing and mix together well.

Since roma tomatoes are absolutely pitiful right now, I used canned diced tomatoes that I drained well, and they were delicious. I also used regular red wine vinegar, and added a can of black beans. I let the beans, corn and tomatoes soak in the dressing overnight before I added the other ingredients. It was served with Tostitos scoops, and everyone loved it!

This could also be used as a side dish or as a salsa for fish or chicken. Try it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 Ways of Randomness

So I got tagged on Facebook by a friend to list 25 random things about myself. It was hard, but fun, and people had nice things to say about my list. I figured I'd post it here too for your entertainment. Here 'tis.

1. I am left handed.
2. I no longer have my appendix, but do have my tonsils and wisdom teeth.
3. I would really like an apartment on Place Vendome in Paris.
4. I wear my tiara when I clean the house.
5. I miss my grandfather - a lot.
6. I have an irrational fear of kites.
7. Teddy Roosevelt is my favorite president. Most of my non-fiction books are about him.
8. I am writing a book, and I think it is rather awesome.
9. I really hate peas, but I'm cool with all the other vegetables.
10. I was almost not here. My great grandmother was supposed to be on the Titanic, but she missed the boat. My grandmother had not been born yet.
11. I can type over 100 words a minute when I'm on a roll.
12. Dear Chicago by Ryan Adams is my favorite song.
13. I have a rainbow slinky on my desk.
14. My heart has been broken once.
15. Taxidermy freaks me out.
16. I am growing my hair long to donate to locks of love.
17. I am giving blood for the first time on Feb. 1 to get over my fear of needles.
18. My favorite soup is tortellini on brodo, but it is impossible to find meat tortellini in Nashville.
19. I think I would clean up if I was a contestant on Jeopardy.
20. I absolutely love living in Nashville.
21. The building I work in has a secret passageway, and a ghost.
22. Mark, my husband, is my very best friend.
23. I go to the downtown library at least three times each week during lunch.
24. My cat, Inky, is 17 years old. She came down here from New York with me.
25. I enjoy cooking, but would rather have a chef!

Monday, January 26, 2009

An attempt to be quasi-social

As I have said before, I am a solitary person by nature. This doesn't mean that I am shy or antisocial or anything. I just tend to prefer being on my own.....except when I don't.

This wanting to strech and find something different in my life has happened before, and I'm sure it has happened to others. For example, when I found out that the main Post Office here in Nashville was going to become a museum, and they wanted docents (fancy word for educated tour guides), I was in the first class for training. I loved it. They taught us fundamentals, and for each exhibit there was education as well, so my mind was swimming with art all the time. I gave tours on Thursday nights - the only night during the week when they were open. There's just something about a museum at night. It's cool.

But anyway I gave that up when I became president of a local business association, that I fondly refer to as the Catty Bitch Associaton. BIG MISTAKE, but a good learning experience.

So I really havent done anything extracurricular and quasi-social since then.

One of my favorite things to do during my lunch break is to walk the short distance to the main branch of the public library. I love the library, and since my taxes pay for the service, I think it should be utilized, and boy do I. So the other day I was thinking about books, and wondered if there might be a book club or something convenient for my schedule. Turns out that my branch library has a club that meets every Third Thursday. Of course, I had missed the most recent class by a few days, so I called the librarian in charge of the club. She told me the title of the book that was chosen (Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo). On Saturday, I went to the library and picked up the book, and met the librarian I had spoken to just the day before.

She seemed like a nice lady. Will the other people be nice? Will they be freaks that smell like cabbage? Will this experience change me in a good way, like my docent and Catty Bitch presidency did? Time will tell.

I predict a follow up post on February 20, the day after the book club meets. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why I Am Not That Cool

So perhaps you think I am awesome, that's fine. I think I'm rather groovy myself. You may be wondering, why did I pick Not That Cool for my blog name? Well, I think it sounds funny, and I'm all about the funny.

Another resason I picked the name is because it happens to be the title of one of my favorte songs by a Nashville artist, Will Hoge (scroll down in the song list to find Not That Cool). I have extremely fond memories of seeing him in concert at various venues here in town. It's a fun, upbeat song, and I consider myself fun and upbeat, so there ya go.

But, in furtherance to support how I am "Not That Cool," I present the following truthful facts.

1. I wear extremely silly socks as much as I can.
2. I also wear a tiara, outdoors. I have been seen at Outback wearing my tiara. No lie. Here's a picture of me just before we left for Outback.

3. I really love the movie Xanadu. Don't even fight me on this point.
4. I have unnatural fears of kites and taxidermy.
5. I really hate ricotta cheese. This is tragic for someone that is from an Italian family.
6. I know my 16 digit library card number by heart.
7. I have been known to drink wine from a box.

Oh sure, there are more, and they make the wonderful person that is typing this post ever so interesting. So yeah I'm Not That Cool.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heaven smells like bread

When I get in the mood to do something, I must do it.....dammit. So yesterday I was off from work, and I was sitting in the living room, catching up on The Tudors (oh hi hello Jonathan Rhys Myers). When I am home for any length of time, I feel the need to do something domestic. That morning was consumed with cleaning, and I did a good amount, but that afternoon, even though fixated on British sexiness on the TV, I wasn't in complete domestic bliss. I looked over at my clean kitchen, and decided it needed a thin film of flour covering, well, everything. It was just too clean. So I made bread.

I have a love hate relationship with making bread. Sometimes it comes out good, but mostly it is just least the house smells good. Well my two friends, the bread I made yesterday was smack yo momma on the fanny fantastic. I googled "very easy bread recipe" and was rewarded with this link.

I did exactly what the author said. I mixed and kneaded and let it rise for the exact amount of time specified. I punched it, rolled it out, and slapped it in the oven (boy I sound violent). I let it bake for precisely 30 minutes, and turned it out onto a rack to cool.

Y'all I think heaven must smell like baked bread, because that's what my house smelled like. As instructed, I let that loaf cool. I did not cut into it, even though I REALLY wanted to. Shortly after taking it out, dear Husband said "oh hi we're going out to dinner with the Smiths."

"Cool." I thought, since any night that I don't have to cook is good.

"They are treating." Dear husband said.

"Rawk." I thought, but then looked lovingly over at the bread. I went over to my creation and touched it. It was still warm, so I decided to leave it out whilst we dined.

I noticed throughout dinner that my hair smelled like bread. It's a sexier than Chanel y'all.

When we came back home it still smelled like bread. The loaf was cool, so I got out my bread knife, and cut. The bread kept its form, and the slices looked like real bread slices, like you might get at the store. My past attempts looked like mutants, so I was pretty stoked. I decided, since I usually don't eat the ends on store bought bread, that I would eat the ends of my creation that night, since they were super skinny.

OMG IT WAS SO FRIGGIN GOOD. The innards were soft, and the crust was buttery (since I brushed butter on before cooking) and flaky.

Friends, if you ever feel the need to bake bread, use the linked recipe. It is the bomb!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Say Hello to my Little Frennn....

I work in a building in downtown Nashville that was built in 1896. It is mad cool. There are a lot of old details that have been preserved, and we even have a secret passageway. In this day of homogenized and pasteurized buildings that touch the sky, I feel extremely lucky to work in such a fascinating place.

Except for one thing.....the creepy crawlies known as spiders.

Y'all here in my building there are two particular kinds of spiders. The first is the brown recluse, who really don't want to bother anyone, until they are, in their spidey brains, provoked, and then they bite you, and it is poison. Seriously it is some bad shit.

Then there is the other that I see every now and then, the wolf spider. They are ugly as sin, and kinda big as far as robust spiders go, so yeah it's not fun when you see one.

Did I mention that today I saw one? I was sitting at my desk, extremely busy, I reach for my attorney's directory, place it on my desk, and then the spider is flung out from the ring-binder book.


So I don't know how quick this booger might escape into areas unknown, or perhaps try to climb on to my shoulder and then into my ear to chew on my innards, so time is of the essence. I grab a receipt from the Secretary of State for some Articles of Organization that I filed perhaps an hour ago.

WHAM!!!! Buh bye ugly spider. Thankfully the, um, juicier aspects of the departed remained on my quasi formica desk. The document used for smashing was relatively unscathed, and is currently in the mail to the Register of Deeds.

The End, until the next encounter, with perhaps a vengeful cousin.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My two left feet

I thought I was so smart. I decided that, since I had two pairs of sneakers, one older than the other, I would bring the older pair to work, sot that when I had on heels or some pair of shoes that was uncomfortable for waking great distances downtown, I had an option.

Today I am wearing a pair of navy spectator pumps. They squinch my toes, but they look cute, and we all know that cute is important right? So it's lunchtime, and I decided that I would go to the library, which I absolutely love to do. I get the pair out of the closet here at work that I threw them in weeks ago (I usually wear comfy shoes to work, except when I don't). I put the left one on, and my foot felt very happy. Then I grabbed the other shoe. Yeah it is from my other pair of sneakers, and is meant for the left foot.

So there you have it. Two left feet have I. The library will wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Apple Treasure Cookie Quest - Part 2

A few posts ago I lamented about New York foods I could not find here in the South. Well, I am happy to say that I am now well acquainted with my old friend, the Apple Treasure Cookie. I found a recipe online that sounded close to what I wanted to create, I just had to tweek it here and there. I substitued shortening for the butter, because the cookie needed to have a cake-like texture, and butter would make more of a crispy cookie. And, instead of buying many jars of spices, only to languish in my cupboard forever, I bought a tin of pumpkin pie spice, and it worked perfectly.

The ingredients.

Raw cookies.

Baked cookies.

Cookie about to go in my belly.

Scooter celebrating my cookie success.

Now, the cookies don't look sexy, but trust me, they are gooooood, and your house will smell awesome, and they freeze beautifully, so make a bunch and freeze them. Here's the recipe:

Apple Treasure Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
6 ounces chocolate chips
1 cup diced apple
1 cup unsalted peanuts, halved

Cream shortening, sugar, molasses and eggs. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop spoonfulls on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 12-15 minutes (or longer depending on how big your spoonfulls are).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tina and the Brain

I can't remember a time when I didn't enjoy being creative. In elementary school, I was selected to be in a special after-school art program, probably because I made the prettiest construction paper lantern or glued cotton balls onto my Santa's beard with precision. Art class felt like playtime to me, and I fully support playtime.
Me at the age of 5. Dig my vest!

Anyhoo, I never had any problem entertaining myself. There was always a supply of paper and pencils, crayons and markers in my house, and if I felt like doing something three dimensional, my Barbies got haircuts.

And I still have many creative pursuits today, but there are always a few projects going at the same time. A perfect example is the book I am working on. I recently went for a month, just typing away at my book, thinking of more things to add and story lines to make the characters more interesting, and then I came to a full stop, because I got a bunch of fun yarn as one of my Christmas presents, and all I could think about was that yarn.

So a-knitting I have been, and this weekend I finished a fab shawl, that is bunched and tied at the front with pom poms. POM POMS! I am convinced people would be happier if they had more pom poms in their wardrobe. They are so merry.

With the shawl completed, I gave my brain time to pause, to think about what it should do next. Has that canvas on the easel decided what should be painted on it yet? Nope. Do I want to rework those semi precious stone necklaces I made a dozen years ago? Hmmmm....perhaps, but I have so much jewelry that I would really need to grow new limbs to adorn.

And then my brain said "Tina, what about writing more on Josie's life at the house on West End? That would be a great way to expand your book and write more back story." And I was all like "Brain, that is a great idea!"

So my mind is now chewing on my book, and wonderful directions in which to take my heroine. My brain feels like a sponge soaked with water, and I just have to wring it out and pour it into my computer. I love that after I write I feel a laugh inside myself and I smile. I think I am on to something good.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tree Wars

Tomorrow I will take down my Christmas tree, which is one of the worst household chores EVER. Seriously, I'd rather scrub the toilet. I don't like decorating my tree that much, but I like how it looks when it's done, so I put it up every year, but yeah really HATE taking that booger down. But alas, it must be done, so done it will be, and then the room will look nekkid.

So tomorrow morning, me and the tree will fight. The fake needles will stab my arms as I reach into the interior to get all the round shiny ornaments, then the ornament hangers, in cahoots with the tree no doubt, will entwine themselves further on the branches, and stab me like a fish-hook when they see a juicy target, like that space between your fingernail and finger.

And then the third wave of the battle. Once the balls and oraments are down, the lights will attack. As I pull the strands away from the branches, the needles will be loosed like a swarm of medieval arrows in my direction. I will wear my glasses perhaps, so that they cannot poke me in my eyes.

It will be a long and arduous fight, and I may be scratched and battered in the end, but tree you are coming DOWN.