Category Archives: Random praises and condemnations

It’s the car trouble that never ends….

…yes it goes on and on, my friends!

After breaking down four times in one week last summer, I thought ‘Hey, maybe I’m done with car trouble for a little.’ Yeah, no.

Right before Mardi Gras, I was taking my car to Target and 10 feet away from my house it suddenly stopped accelerating. I knew something was wrong the day before when it had a similar, hydroplaning effect. Every told me ‘The roads are wet – it’s just hydroplaning!’ Well I wish it had been true.

I had to have the car towed to the shop where they informed they that it was the transmission. Super bad.

They’ve had my car for almost three weeks now. THREE WEEKS. My past experiences with Royal Honda in Metairie have been great – they were nice, efficient and constantly updated me. But this time I have had constant trouble getting in touch with them, having to deal with a really rude  receptionist. I also have gotten very few calls giving me a status update. These people better pray that my car runs smooth for a good, long time. Because if it doesn’t, I have a lot of pent-up, impatient rage just waiting to come out and scream at them.

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Attn: Uptown dog owners

I like dogs as much as the next girl who doesn’t own one, but I really don’t like some dog owners who feel like their dog’s No. 2 is every else’s problem.

For the last few weeks, we have gotten a special delivery of some dog doo doo on our lawn every other day or so.  And we do not have a dog. Today, I saw the culprit.

A girl was standing in front of our house, talking to a friend and letting her dog do its business as we rounded the corner coming home from a walk. As I rapidly approached her to confront her, she literally turned and speed walked/jogged away.

Seriously?

She clearly does not know me because I proceeded to run around the corner after her and yell in front of multiple onlookers: “NEXT TIME WE WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE YOU PICKING UP YOUR DOG’S POOP!!!” But now at least I know what she looks like. Next time I see her I will personally give her some plastic bags since she apparently doesn’t know where to get them.

It infuriates me – people like that make all the dog owners in my neighborhood who DO pick up their dog’s poop look bad. There are so many dog owners around the neighborhood and almost all of them pick up their dog’s business. This one girl has to ruin it for everyone. Ugh.

Rant complete.

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The zoo is in town

Tigers and elephants everywhere! The BCS championship is tonight in the Dome and the city is going crazy.

People are taking off work, businesses are closing early and streets are being cordoned off to make room for all the tourists and locals alike.

We got a preview last night when the Bama fans across the street from us set off some fireworks for a few hours – that was fun.

I’m really torn about who I want to win tonight. I mean, I was raised a Bama fan, so ideally I would like them to win. But their win would also mean hours of loud partying for the Bama fan across the street and if those fireworks were any preview, it would be a loud, long celebration.

On the other hand, if the Tigers take the game there will undoubtedly be scores of fans streaming out of the bars down the street every hour, on the hour. And of course, they will stop on our corner to scream their drunken rants and loudly call their friends/a cab – because apparently our corner is the best place ever to do that.

On the up side, the forecast calls for rain tonight so that would be awesome. Rain = no permanent loud noises outside of our house, only passing noises as fans run to their cars/homes. The rain would also drown out those kids across the street.

So I’m rooting for the rain…and the tide.

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Getting ready for the end of the world

According to ABC News, the “countdown to the apocalypse is on” and I can’t help but wonder if I’m ready.

As an educated, mildly religious and somewhat rational person, I can honestly say I’m not too worried that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012 as some believe the Mayans have predicted. But on the other hand, I can’t say that I’m not a little irrationally uneasy about it. But there isn’t much we can all do about it except sit around, wait and maybe plan.

So I’ve been thinking about my New Year’s resolutions – something else that I’ve never been able to take very seriously or keep to. I’ve vowed to exercise more, clean more, learn more, etc, etc but nothing has ever stuck.

This year I’m starting off with some bold, difficult tasks for myself. But maybe the looming end-days will give me the motivation that I lacked before? Time will tell.

All I know for sure is that a lot of stress is in store for this coming year – not sure yet if it will be good or bad stress, but stressful it will undoubtedly be. So to be as prepared as possible, I have a range of resolutions from eating healthier, being more active, sticking to my Italian and … drum roll please … taking candy completely out of my diet. Now I’m not so crazy to think I can cut sugar or desserts completely out, but candy specifically will be avoided – things like candy bars, cookies, Hershey kisses, etc. Wish me luck!

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Long-overdue update

Sorry for the unannounced hiatus! I realize that I haven’t posted in about two months, but hopefully everyone hasn’t given up on me yet! So much has happened since October, so here’s a brief (and random) overview:

Destruction in Italy

Here I am in Cinque Terre in 2007

Shortly after my last post, a massive weather system hit Cinque Terre in Italy and caused a lot of mudslides that basically destroyed one of the largest towns in the area, Vernazza. If you know me and/or have ever heard me talk about my experiences studying abroad in Italia, then  you know that I was very partial to this area of the country. It is a beautiful five-town chain along the northern coast that, while offering services for tourists, hasn’t been spoiled by over crowding of foreigners. How it is literally buried under about 8-10 feet of mud. They’ve been slowing digging out since then, but it’s really awful. You can see updates on the progress here, and there is also a trustworthy donation site in case you want to help.

Hunger Games movie!

If you follow my Twitter updates or Goodreads, then you know that I L-O-V-E the Hunger Games series. Definitely top 3 for me.

Well they announced earlier this year that they would be making a movie and throughout the year have announced one-by-one who would play each character. I was a little put-off when they announced that Jennifer Lawrence would play the lead, Katniss. But I went ahead and rented Winter’s Bone to see how good of an actress she was and I was definitely impressed. Hopefully she can pull this off! Check out more info on the movie or watch the super awesome trailer.

 Work fun

One of the most fun things at work is when I get to collect letters to Santa from local elementary schools. Louisiana kids are definitely different than the group I grew up with – so many asked for guns and I was the only person in the office shocked at that!

This year, I got to do a similar activity for Thanksgiving. We asked kindergarten and 1st grade kids to write down what their favorite Thanksgiving food is and how it is made. Best response:

“I like turkey but it was fast…and the turkey ran away. He ran up the tree and he falls so he could get dead and we could cook him. Now we know it was an avatar” 

Did not see that twist coming lol.

Eratic weather

SNOW in Abq!

The temperatures in New Orleans over the last few months have been totally ridiculous. One day the high/low is 60/39 and the very next day it could be 82/68. Not a fan of the warm winter weather – at all. But I did get to experience a real winter for once this year. I visited Rebecca in Albuquerque again and this time got snow all four days that I was there!

I made snow angels, took pictures of “yellow” snow and attempted to build a snoman! I also got to see the River of Lights Christmas display at their botanical garden!

[And to add a little extra excitement to the trip, Southwest was nice enough to cancel my 6 a.m. flight there at 4 a.m. on the day I was supposed to leave. Got to wake up to a nice email saying “Sorry, no flight for you.” But at least they worked it out fairly hassle-free and I still caught my connection!]

I hate John Brantley.

I hate John Brantley and blame him for the last two years. And that’s all I have to say about that.

It’s Christmaaas!!

So now I’m back in Nola for the holidays and wondering if I will ever get a Christmas bonus this year. I’m glad that I got most of my shopping out of the way early but this month (and next month) is going to be rough if my boss decides not to give out the $ this year. 😦

And in case you need a pick-me-up today, watch this super cute video that reminds me so much of my cousins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YQpbzQ6gzs&sns=em

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Purging the closets

One thing about my job is that we are always a week or two ahead, so it’s pretty much November for me over here! I can’t believe how quickly time flies working at a newspaper. I also can’t believe how incredibly nice the weather is outside. Sure, it is super cold in our apartment due to our lack of insulation, heat and almost all other basic necessities…but we cranked up the space heater and super un-safe 1970s open-flame heater last night and kept it toasty warm.

The best part about fall in the Big Easy is that I can actually look forward to outdoor events – as opposed to summer outdoor events which only give me mosquitos, sweat and heat stroke to look forward to. I am hitting up the thrift store this afternoon in an attempt to find some fun fall outfits. I also need something cute to wear tonight when Wesley and I go to one of his law school functions at St. James Cheese Company. I’ve never been, but I’ll let you know how it is. (I just hope we get prosciutto! SO excited.)

A little mid-purge shot of our bedroom and closets

Speaking of the thrift, I need some new fall clothes because I recently did a closet purge and donated four full garbage bags of clothing to Red, White and Blue in Harahan. I was a little hesitant at the thought, but now that it’s done I am so glad I got rid of all that stuff!

I have had about three (big) boxes of winter clothes (and clothes that no longer fit me) in my closet since sophomore year at UF. They were super cute and I keep thinking, “Oh, I’ll lose a few pounds soon and then I can wear them again – can’t get rid of them!” Unfortunately, the likelihood of me losing the 20 pounds it would take for me to wear these clothes AND the clothes still being in style at that time are slim to none. I am a big proponent of wearing clothes that fit your age and lifestyle, and unfortunately polka-dotted and striped rainbow fuzzy sweaters are no longer that appropriate for me now that I’m not in high school or 120 pounds.

Dropping off those bags was so awesome. I really felt a load lift of my back that had been there for years – a load of shirts, shorts, sweaters, jeans (five freaking pairs that have been too small for me to wear in years!), shoes and old purses, to be exact.

Unfortunately, I learned something about Wesley that may be a struggle in the future. Wesley isn’t exactly a hoarder – he just hates getting rid of stuff apparently. Especially if it’s perfectly good stuff. For example, he has a drawer that is always overflowing with stuff – looks likes the place where gym shorts, bathing suits and old t-shirts go to live out their remaining years. The first task I gave him when cleaning out our closets was to go through this awful drawer, knowing that something in there could go to charity.

Ten minutes later as I’m tying up my first full garbage bag of donations, I look over to find Wesley moving on to his closet. When I pick up the small pile of shirts on the floor by the drawer asking if they can go to charity, you would have thought I asked if we were kicking Kitten outside. He explained that nothing in that drawer was fit to be given away. And it’s not that he claimed to wear all of these things, he just didn’t want to get rid of them because there was nothing wrong with them.

Insert argument here about the merits of keeping masses of clothing that one never wears just because there is nothing wrong with them.

After going through the drawer myself, I found three bathing suits (two of which he has never worn), multiple shirts from high school (all identical) and gym shorts with huge questionable stains down the front. Then I proceeded to rip these things from Wesley’s cold, clenched hands and wrestle them into the charity bag. The list of excuses was endless: “Those shirts have sentimental value!” “What bathing suit will I wear if these other two get messed up?!” “I wear those gym shorts to sleep in!”

I get sentimental value, but if all four shirts look the same then can’t we just keep one or two? Also, we don’t live near the water – ANY water. You don’t go swimming in Lake Pontchartrain and we only go to the beach a few times a year. What exactly is going to happen to the other two pairs of bathing trunks if we get rid of this one extra? And even if something did happen to the other two pairs, wouldn’t going and buying a new pair for $15 at K-Mart be a more prudent move than keeping this lone, unworn pair for a decade in your drawer? And stained gym shorts, don’t even get me started. You cannot wear them outside because they are so stained and he has plenty – plenty – of shorts.

Long story short, I did surprisingly well in the closet purge of 2011. I donated four full bags of clothing, shoes and purses, but I now need some replacement fall wear that actually fits me. And about six items in those four bags were from Wesley’s closet. Trust me, I’m just glad to have gotten that many items from him lol.

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Cooling off and heating up

While the temperature outside has been considerably (and surprisingly) cooler than usual in the past couple of weeks, my activities have been bringing the heat.

If you read my last few posts, you know I’ve been in the kitchen making some bread from scratch. It’s really been an adventure so far. The author of the bread cookbook I’ve been using also has a great blog that is helpful. I’ve made cinnamon rolls, challah bread, white bread, wheat bread and (our favorite) focaccia bread from scratch – and without a blender, all by hand! Spending hours in the kitchen with our gas stove definitely got hot, but that was nothing compared to what I did this weekend. I actually voluntarily went into a super hot room and exercised – those of you who know me will know how unbelievable that is.

Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram yoga

It’s called Bikram Yoga. Basically, it’s a form of yoga where you do a series of poses in 105F degree heat. I knew that it did not sound my cup of tea from the get-go, but I also knew I have been having horrible shoulder and neck pain for over a year that will no go away. I have tried muscle relaxers and massages, and I have been popping Advil (PM) every day (and night) for the past year like they were candy. The point behind this heated-up yoga is basically that the muscles stretch better when warm, so I thought this could help.

I do not have a conclusion to this experiment yet, only the experience. When I first walked into the building (at Yoga 108 in Uptown), I immediately realized that it was about 10 degrees hotter inside than the cool 75F outside. And I immediately did not like that lol. It also smelled a little funny…not really horrible, just…off. Then I went to the back yoga room, where the heat was pumping in like a garage with a dryer vent in it. The yoga is a 90-minute series of 26 postures that are the same every single class, everywhere in the world.

[Side note: Coincidentally, this is kind of the reason I love Catholicism and am really inclined to like this new yoga. I love how no matter where you go in the world, the practice is the exact same – just like in the Catholic church, no matter what country you are in the readings are the same. Something you can do repeatedly until it becomes second nature. That is very me – not a fan of change and more comfortable with something when I knew what is coming next.]

Anyways, about 5 minutes in, all we had done was a breathing exercise and I was already sweating my ass off. I could feel waves of heat coming from somewhere above and falling over me, which made simple breathing a difficult task. Not to mention the terrifying sound of everyone’s exhaling. If you have been to Bikram classes, perhaps you know what I’m talking about. As this was my first one, I can only assume they are all like this. Basically, the very first thing in the class was a breathing exercise. When it came time to exhale, everyone in the class threw back their heads and made an awful, demon-like hissing sound. It definitely startled me and maybe that has set my mindset forever, but whenever I heard them all exhaling for the rest of the class I couldn’t help but be a little weirded-out.

I liked the class overall, and the heat actually did not get to me as bad as I thought it would. It really helped that the teacher opened the door a few times to let the cool air from the front office wash over us for a few seconds (you remember, the cool air that was 10 degrees hotter than outside.)

Anyways, by the time I left I was covered in more sweat than I thought my body capable of making. Twenty-four hours later, I can say that I think it might be the beginning of something that could help my shoulders/back in the long run. I can feel my muscles hurting a little in odd places – which the teacher said was normal. I also noticed that my face and body stayed flushed for hours after the class…I don’t know if that is normal from increased blood flood or something, but it was weird. It didn’t hurt or anything, but I kind of looked like I had gotten sun.

Kitten in her Gator gear

In other news, Gator Club has been going well – I’ve been meeting a lot of new people in the area. I also heard about this great website that I’m obsessed with: Gameday Stylist – for the Gator who wants to dress in orange and blue every day but not look weird. Work’s been good too – I went to a mock school shooting last Friday that was really intense. And of course, K’lil has been keeping it real with the Gators!

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