Sunday, November 6, 2011

Skippin' On Rainbows

Well, a whole lot has happened over the past few months. So much in fact, that I've clearly not had time to blog. Epic fail. In a nutshell, I've found the love of my life! That's right, folks, I've found my lobster (helllllooo, Friends reference).

He's perfect for me in every way and I've never been so happy in all my life. I love LOVE that he enjoys football & live music as much as me (hence my lack of blogging - things to do, football games and musically-talented people to see!) and he puts up with my insane dorkiness & outrageous moments of female-ness like a trooper. So, I'm happy to report that my life took an unexpected, ridiculously amazing left turn. Everything that happened this last year & half led me right to where I am today, and for that I am forever grateful!

He may be a Volunteer fan (hey, it's still SEC and I have to embrace the culture of my new home state) but I love him like crazy! (At least we can come together on Sundays for Titans games!)

Now if only my Florida Gators could step up their game so that EVERYTHING could be right in my world...  :/

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th of July Weekend...Nashville Style!

My little brother came down for a visit for the holiday weekend and I was determined to make sure he had a fantabulous mini-vacation before he starts getting into college mode.  It was his first solo road trip (yes, my mother and I were a bit worried about this) but he made it down here in one piece (whew!).  Not to toot my own horn or anything <toot toooooot!!>, but I rocked it out and should get the big sister of the year award for the weekend we had.  To sum it up: lots of music, a bit of alcohol, and explosives.  Nuff said.  He got into town Friday night and shortly thereafter we were headed downtown to the Mercy Lounge for a 90's coverband, My So-Called Band, that I had found out about from a coworker.  I had confirmation that this venue was 18+ so I was pretty psyched to get to take him out for a night on the town.  I had a fabulous time...granted that they played the music of my childhood and therefore I belted out every song with them.  It really was an amazing band though!  Ollie fell prey to the traditional ginormous black sharpie X's on his hands when entering the bar (really wish I would've gotten a picture of how ridiculously huge they were!).

 Night 1: Rockin' in Music City - Success!

 My So-Called Band.  Highly recommend!!

The next day JD joined us and we drove down to the Jack Daniel's Distillery ( comes the alcohol part!  And you thought it was in reference to underage drinking...tsk tsk!) in Lynchburg, TN.  It's about an hour & 15 min drive from my place so not too bad.  It was an impressive tour - and free!  Got to learn all about how Tennessee Whiskey is made (lots of mellowing!) so now we're all edumacated.  Of course I invested in a commemorative bottle of Gentleman's Jack at the distillery!  Now it's time to toughen up my tolerance and drink me some whiskey.

After the day smelling the lovely aromas of whiskey (yummmm), we had to jet back to town and regroup before the big concert that night - U2!!  In keeping with the music theme, I just had to make sure Ollie got to go to his first concert while in town!  (I had gotten super lucky and was presented with the opportunity to buy some tickets from a coworker last week.)  We parked over at Centennial Park and hiked our way over to Vanderbilt Stadium (into SEC enemy territory...grr).  There were tons of people camped out outside the stadium, which was smart because with their insane 360 degree screen you could see and obviously hear the whole thing.  We had GA tickets so actually got to get really close to the outer catwalk of the stage out on the football field.  I tell ya, they put on one helluva show!!

 Florence and the Machine opened up for U2

 Sweating our arses off in the 90+ degree weather, but having a blast!!

I just HAD to take video of my favorite song of theirs that they performed as part of the encore...actually one of my all-time favorite songs. The show was ridiculously good.

Day 2 - even more of a great success!

Now I'm getting kind of old.  Yep, I admitted it.  So Sunday needed to be a day of rest (after all, its God's way).  Even Ollie napped quite a bit! (Okay, so maybe I was making him watch a chick flick with me, but whatev.) So in keeping with our day of rest, we spent most of the day out by the pool.  Unfortunately there were no 'hot chicks' for Ollie there - booo.  then some Mexicano food (so maybe I was in the mood for a margarita...).  Day 3 - kinda lame, but I enjoyed it!

Well, Monday was action-packed.  After sleeping in (uh, of course - it's vacation!) we headed over to the waterpark for water slides, some wave pool action, and most importantly, the lazy river.  It's been a long time since I'd taken on a wave pool and holy cow it kicked my ass.  I definitely got to check off exercising for the day in there.  After the waterpark we headed to East Nashty for the Hot Chicken Festival.  It was a blessing in disguise that the website I had consulted that morning had the wrong times listed for the event.  We showed up shortly after it was over (to my surprise) but a few vendors were still open for sampling the spicy food.  The hot chicken pretty much crippled Ollie & JD - I saw tears, I saw pain....and then they made me try it to.  Holy hotness batman!  We came.  We saw.  We conquered the hot chicken.  I later found out people had waited in line for HOURS to get food.  In the Tennessee heat.  Wow.  Definitely glad we got there late and only had a few other stragglers still there!!

Somebody can't take the HEAT!

After torturing ourselves at the <after>festival, we headed over to the Titans stadium to park and walk across the pedestrian bridge over to the downtown Riverfront area for all the 4th festivities.  Several performers on the main stage, including the one and only Darius Rucker!  He performed some of his country songs, a few throwback Hootie songs, and a couple of cover songs too.  He was awesome!  The fireworks show was spectacular too!  I loooooove me some fireworks!

 We will see you soon, LP Field!  Can't wait for football season!!

View of the craziness and stage over at Riverfront Park from the pedestrian bridge. 

Hanging out at the Jack Daniel's tent

View from our fireworks spot.  Great view of the stage and the fireworks (aka explosives)! :) 

Super stoked about Hootie's performance!  Love free concerts!! 

Um, I got a little crispy at the waterpark earlier that day.

Day 4 - definitely a success!! So, all in all it was a freakin' awesome holiday weekend in Music City.  Hope Ollie enjoyed his mini-vacay. Now I need to go sleep for a week to recover.  ;)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Little Bit Country

Nashville is kind of a big deal in the country circuit. This becomes exceptionally apparent during one week in June every year when the city opens its arms to thousands for the CMA Music Fest. Unfortunately, I had to leave for the weekend, but I was in town for a couple of the nights' festivities. Tuesday night I met up with Lara and her crew after work for a happy hour downtown at the Beer Cellar (yay!) and then to watch the Music City Gives Back concert in the middle of Broadway. Pretty cool free concert! It was about 95 degrees out, but we endured the sweltering heat.

Obvious that the weather has took it's toll in the hair department.

There were a couple opening performers I didn't catch the names of, but then we got to see Josh Thompson (who I later discovered is a friend of a friend of mine, very cool), Thompson Square (absolutely fabulous and such an adorable couple!)...

...and then Rodney Atkins!

The concert was to benefit the tornado victims in Alabama. Very neat Music City experience...nothing like a party in the street downtown!

The following night JD & I went to the CMT Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena downtown. I was lucky enough to snag some tickets on Ticketmaster a few weeks prior - they sold out pretty quick! I knew my seats weren't going to be all that great, but was a little surprised to discover we were in the very top row! haha Fortunately, there's not much of a bad seat in the house since it's got quite the incline (my fear of heights was definitely kicking in!).

Top row crew! At least we had a ledge behind us for beverages!

Yep, pretty high up!

Filming the intros to the show.

The "celebrity box" - Sugarland, Keith Urban, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, to name a few.

Luke Bryan

Hines Ward & Clay Matthews - unfortunately all of the presenters had their backs to us. Boo

Rascal Flatts


The crowd that completely eff'd up their participation with the flags. The producer gave them all specific instructions when to start waving their flags and of course they all jumped the gun. Quite comical. Was desperately hoping the producer would come back out afterwards and berate them all, but no dice.

My future husband, Keith!

The host, Kid Rock.

Shania...after the fall seen round the world :/

The best performance of the evening - love Jason Aldean's song, but very much enjoyed Ludacris's surprise appearance! :)

Showing off my videography skills.  Fortunately I didn't sing along very loud - that would have been an easy way to ruin the video.
It was super fun! Enjoyed seeing so many performances and the behind the scenes of the show.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Attack of the Cicadas!"...coming to a movie theater near you!

I know I still owe a post about the trip down to Alabama after the tornadoes hit, but for now this is the hell us Nashvillians are currently going through.

Prepare to be grossed, for real.

So, back when I was trying to figure out where to move to and was asking everyone about Nashville, I'll have you know that NO ONE said a SINGLE WORD about the cicadas.  Oh My Freaking Gosh!

So a couple of weeks ago I started noticing these exoskeleton/cocoon type things on the leaves in the trees.  Um, okay.

Then I started hearing some of the locals talk about how they think they heard a cicada (uh ohhh). Ummmm....okkkaayyy...not really sure what a cicada is or what the big deal is, but, whatev.  And then, what seemed like overnight, I became very much aware of what had everyone talking.  Holy Cicadas, batman!  These suckers are over an inch long, have intense red bug eyes (the kind that are staring at you no matter where you're at), and are EVERYWHERE!  So glad I decided to move here just in time for this little piece of heaven! Fortunately I've only had one on me thus far - each day at work I hear more horror stories about them crawling on people.  You can't have your car windows down because they're always flying around (oh yes, these lovely creatures have wings) not to mention how loud they are.  The local news did a small bit on them - apparently their noise averaged out to about 80 db whereas city traffic is at about 85 db.  Absolutely ridiculous how these little things can make so much noise...oh wait, probably because there's like a bazillion of them all doing it constantly in unison!  Apparently they are most abundant in middle Tennessee - hence the influx in population in May in Nashville.  Awesome.  I was finally relieved to find out that the mass population of these creatures only happens once every 13 years.  <Huh?!> Bizarre, but thank goodness!  Apparently they burrow underground, go through some transformations and stay down there for 13 years, then come back up (I'm talking in the millions) to chill out in the plants for their final molt and emerge an annoying insect where the males hoot and holler at a ridiculous volume to mate for a month, then they all die.  Wow, what a life.

Unfortunately, my cube is just one office away from the window on the first floor so I have to listen to them all day.  Monday they started going in full-force so I went and looked out the breakroom window and "Ewww!!", they were covering the tree outside.  It may just look like the tree''s got crazy bark on it, but negatron - those are tons of cicadas covering it.

Thankfully, I will be leaving town for the next 3 weekends so I won't have to deal with these suckers much before they die out.  They are already starting to be on the decline (probably mainly because of all the cars they're flying into) so I think I can survive my first full cicada season!!

...but don't be surprised if you see them as the next stars in a cheap horror flick! Bleck!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Debris! We got debris!

So, one thing about Tennessee is that, unfortunately, it is located in the lovely Tornado Alley.  Apparently every March-May there is a large influx of storms that pass through, and something about the warm air mixing with incoming cold fronts, it is a breeding ground for tornadoes. (said from the girl with zero weather knowledge)  Awesome.  I hadn't even been at my new job a week and we already had to take refuge in our filing room because of a tornado warning.  And then a week later it happened again - another great time with my coworkers waiting out the tornado warning in the filing room.  At least I got smart that time and took my work in there with me.  Ridiculous!  As it turns out, JD loves living up here because he is one of those crazy stormchasers.  He got his degree in meteorology, so he knows what he's doing and how to tell where they're going to be, but still - those things are scary.  The idea of seeing a tornado in person really appeals to me (I'm a sucker for storm-wrecked devastation type movies and so forth) so naturally I'm intrigued and wanted to try it out.  I got to go with him one day last month, but we were about 5-10 minutes too late and missed the tornado that touched down near Watertown, TN.  He took me again a few days later, this time down near Birmingham, AL, in hopes of having more luck.  It's about 3 hours down there so I brought reading supplies.  For the most part, it's just like riding shotgun for any other road trip and therefore a bit on the boring side.  It finally got exciting when we were down there and we parked underneath a huge rotating which he later informed me that it was actually a bad idea for us to have stopped there since it could've dropped a funnel at any moment, but it was still cool to see.

The storm was moving pretty fast, so we quickly got back into the car and tried keeping up with it.
 Unfortunately, we were blocked by the world's longest train that was passing through town.  I thought JD was going to lose it as we waited, stuck by the train, while the storm trudged on in front of us.

As hard as he tried quickly navigating through the small towns, we never were able to catch up with it.  We had to give up once we reached a lake that would take too long to drive around.

I did not get to see a tornado (sad face), but it was exciting to get a little peek into what they do.  I will definitely be going again...and I WILL see a tornado!

Well, JD went down to Alabama last Wednesday to chase during the ridiculous tornado emergency.  Seeing as there were no less than a gazillion tornadoes during the outbreak, I wasn't surprised to hear that he encountered one.   He later found out it was an odds are it was doing some killer damage when he saw it.  Here's the video he took of the massive storm from I-65 outside of Huntsville. He just got a little bit of footage before having to high tail it out of there to get out of its path.

I think it's great and exciting that he does this (and has been for years and years) buuuuut as long as he stays safe!

Hopefully I will have a snazzy tornado video to post soon! :)

"Cow! ...  Another cow!"
"Actually I think that was the same one."

(I LOVE that movie!!)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oh Bla Di Oh Bla Da Life Goes On...

So I recently made a bold statement how I love my new's true! Yes, it was incredibly difficult to leave my friends, and yes, it was super difficult to leave my coworkers, but YES, I AM REALLY HAPPY HERE!! At first, as expected, it was rough. After all, I moved to a random city where I only knew JD, and I had no girl friends or anyone to hang out with and was in the midst of undergoing a divorce. Ugh, what a nightmare! I quickly became depressed spending a lot of time alone in my sad apartment with Charlie Brown, who was also depressed. Didn't help the matter that we had to say goodbye to Miss Molly...not to mention that we left her with the evil one. Well, I've had some time away from Charleston and have tried to keep communication with my friends to a maximum and Sir Douche to a minimum (although difficult as we sort everything out) and am honest to goodness healing!


I obviously have many regrets looking back on my life. Getting involved with someone at such a young age, staying with him through the bad times, not dating, all those years I thought building towards creating a family with someone etc etc. I just assumed that we would be together forever and we could survive anything. Yes, I was young and naive. As it turns out, we just kept taking the next steps (engagement, marriage, blah blah) because it was what was supposed to happen next (ah hem I say we, but I mean he). I certainly didn't know anything else and was always along for the ride. I didn't follow through with a career path out of college because I knew I'd be moving around following Sir D with the Air Force assignments. I had no problem with this because I'd do anything for him, but it never gave me a chance to build much of a professional life for myself. My goal was to find work at each new base assignment for extra household income until the next move when I anticipated having kids and cutting back on work. That was my plan. Of course I didn't have a backup plan - why would I possibly need a backup plan?! Preposterous, indeed!! Well, that certainly backfired! I considered this new freedom as an opportunity to finally do whatever I want now. Then I had to be realistic for a hot second...hmmm....I've grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle over the years and I really don't think I can back my way down the social ladder to living in a shanty just so I can start getting back into the animal care/zookeeping industry where the money is crap. I decided to stick with what I've been doing and get another administrative job and work up the corporate ladder. I figure moving to a new city of MY (aka NOT the military) choice was empowering enough so I will stick to what I'm good at. I can always start volunteering on weekends...or get a pet lemur or something! :)

Looking back, the military lifestyle is so difficult. I never expected to be a part of that, and unfortunately was with Sir D waaayyy before that was even a possibility, so I had no idea that was in store for me. So many nights (and weeks...months...) spent alone...worrying (well, obviously all THAT was with good reason!) and trying to adjust to the life of a military spouse. Definitely not something you can prepare for. The funny thing is, I don't regret having that experience. Military wives are by far some of the strongest, most amazing women I have and will ever meet. There's a special bond you form with each other that's so strong and indescribable. They may be scattered across the entire US, but I know that if I need them, they would be there for me in a heartbeat. If it took a few crappy years with Sir D for me to gain that in my life, then so be it. I have such fabulous lifelong friends from that period and I wouldn't trade it for the world. (Plus, if you ever want to travel anywhere odds are you can have a place to stay with one of them!! haha)

See?!?! Here I am looking at the glass half-full...craziness!

Yep, life is good. No one other than myself is more surprised to hear those words come out of my mouth. I survived a super dark time in my life and am coming out the other side a happier and more complete person. Great success!

Thank you, Air Force for these amazing ladies in my life!! photo courtesy of LC :)