Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rockin' in the Free World

I'll just go ahead on and admit that it's taking me a really long time to recover from my trip to the north country. I talked a lot of smack about the World's Most Amazing Karaoke Machine, but the truth is, even I was not prepared for the wonder. For various reasons, I cannot be specific about the exact number of songs, or the exact location of the system, or even the city and state that we visited.

What I can say is that what was originally going to be a trip with four girls in a Subaru turned into five girls and one very cute poodle puppy in a Chrysler mini van. We headed out in the early afternoon Friday (thus conveniently escaping the quilters...praise Jeebus!) and made it to the hotel at around four p.m. There we were distressed to learn we had unknowingly booked ourselves into a hotel with large sign posted in the lobby ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDING pets upon pain of a very large fine.

Of course, crating poor little Oreo in the van at night was not going to be an option. Luckily, among five girls, we didn't have too much trouble locating one with a little extra purse room. In this fashion, the puppy was pretty easily smuggled in and out of the establishment as necessary.

After throwing down our luggage and stowing our beer supply in the room refrigerators (because HELLO? we couldn't be anywhere EVER without beer), we headed to a local bar for many games of pool and our first real whistle whetting of the journey. And I'll just tell you now that once whetted? We pretty much stayed that way for two whole days. As my mostly incredibly blurry photos bear a sad silent testimony to.

From the bar (where Oreo made new friends among both the staff and the patrons) we headed to The Undisclosed Karaoke Machine location.

There we fell in love, felt the earth move under our feet, stopped in the name of love, rode on the City of New Orleans, put on our boogie shoes, decided it was too late baby, fell for a shooting star (one without a permanent scar), thumbed a diesel down, fell to pieces, and tried to slow our mustang down (without a whole lot of success).

This went on. And ON.

And then? It went on a while longer.

It went on until we were forced to stop because we were desperately in need of nourishment. This called for a trip through the Steak-n-Shake drive-thru. Backwards (don't ask). (But you can technically still get [really bad] food that way.)

Saturday found us (surprise) all feeling a tad queasy and sleeping until nearly noon. We were lured from our fluffy hotel beds only by the promise of God's perfect food: a grilled out burger. Said burger was helpfully provided by the owner of the Karaoke machine. And soon after lunch? We were down on the corner, out in the street, rollin' on a river, feelin' better now that we're through, drunk the day our mama got out of prison, on our own with no direction home a complete unknown like (sing it with me) a rolling stone...

We were people possessed. Every song we knew? The karaoke machine knew too. Every song we thought of? Was just a few seconds away. Stevie Wonder? Got it. Juice Newton? Suzi Quatro? Yep. Indigo Girls, Alison Krause, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Linda Rhonstadt, Stevie Nicks... We even did a rousing version of this little number, one we all just happened to know the words to. Because, back in those days--the seventies if you must know-- it was the law that one purchase (and memorize) the Grease double album soundtrack.

This went on until our host fell asleep. And poor Oreo looked like this...

...having fallen out from either exhaustion or gone unconscious in self defense (more likely both), a limp, furry bag of puppy bones. On the plus side? She was even easier to smuggle up to the hotel room.

We headed for the hotel but not before we made a WalMart stop where we picked up some important items (that every girl needs on a trip out of town):

-Boy Shorts Bathing Suit
-Press-on tattoos (tribal)

Back at the hotel, we played a few rousing rounds of Apples to Apples and afterwards enjoyed a soothing soak in the hotel pool and hot tub. Right up until the management tossed us out.

All in all, it was more than any five girls could hope for in one weekend and just what the doctor ordered for one girl in particular who, rumor has it, is on the verge of (whisper) Going Back to Work.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


My weekend trip was super fun, but I'll write about that tomorrow. Right now, I'm back home and will be a serious couch potato for the duration of the night.

I had to take a moment, though, and share with you this photo of Oreo and her new Mom, Ashley, taken just after I placed her new puppy in her arms. It was, as they say, love at first sight.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I've been on the phone all morning making various arrangements for little Oreo who will soon (on Sunday) be decamping for her new home in Cadiz, Kentucky. I hesitate to admit how very close I came to adopting her myself. That is one furry little face (with crazy curly whiskers and dark knowing eyes) that is awfully hard to resist.

As it is, I will be minding her until tonight at 8:00 p.m. when another friend will pick her up and babysit her until Sunday when we can unite her with her new mom and dad (currently on a trip to Orlando).

I cannot personally babysit until Sunday because I, along with three intrepid friends, will be on a mission. A mission to the flat lands of central Illinois. A mission to investigate an incredible story. We'll be crossing over into another dimension. A fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.

It is an area which we call the The Forty Thousand Song Karaoke Machine (with complimentary tequila).

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Whole Year

I can't believe it's been a whole year since I first linked to a then fledgling website called iList Paducah. I could hardly have imagined the leaps and bounds by which the site would grow and the blogging reindeer games that would ensue. And I can't for the life of me figure out how anybody in this town ever figured out what the heck to do on a Saturday night before Mary Thorsby and Nikki May made it their business to keep us informed. (And if you haven't subscribed? HELLO? You need to sign up this minute.)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ILIST! (And many more.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Breed: Miniature Poodle (expected to weigh between 10-12 lbs at maturity.)

Type: Party Mix

Sex: Girl (of course!)

Price: $200 (a bargain)

Date of Birth: 2/22/2008

Name: Oreo!

Distinguishing characteristics: Interesting markings--brownish blonde boots on all four feet, white "spilled milk" mark down the chest; one white strip below the neck on the back. Lively and playful and nearly housebroken. E-mail me if you're interesting in adopting. Oreo is one sweet girl.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dying. (On the inside.)

A recent cell phone call.





Hey! How are you?

Oh, pretty good.

What do you mean?

You know, feelin' pretty cheerful.

But...aren't you dying inside?

Say what?

DYING INSIDE. You know. From sorrow and heartache? Because you miss me?

Oh! DYING INSIDE. Yes. Yes, absolutely.

Well. I sensed that.

So...are we final?

You mean as in SWEET MARITAL FREEDOM? Is it ours?


We could be! I don't know. Haven't heard anything.

So, we could be free.

It's possible.

And not even know it.

Could be. At any moment. Maybe even this moment.

Did you get the income tax return taken care of?



I filed us an extension. I've been, um, busy.

So I read, Miss Tequila Shots.

Yah, well, drowning my sorrows and all that. Uh-oh! Getting another call!


You take care now. And cheer up, would you? Except for...

The dying inside part?

I expect that can't be helped.

It's just one of those things.


Friday, April 18, 2008


I had lunch with my friend La Donna today. As we gnawed on our chicken on a stick (we're fancy like that) she told me about an adventure past time I'd never heard of: Geocaching (pronounced "geo-cashing").

The concept is simple: participants use a GPS--Global Positioning System--which costs anywhere from $100 to $1,000 (depending on your level of nerdliness and budget) of one sort or another to locate the coordinates of a hidden, sometimes buried, cache or package. Coordinates are given in Latitude and Longitude.
Once a cache is found, the rules are simple:
1. Take something from the cache.
2. Leave something in the cache.
3. Write about it in the log book. (All caches must contain a log book at the very least.)

According to the website, there are caches to be hunted world-wide. Here are a few of FAQS:
Where are caches found?

The location of a cache can be very entertaining indeed. As many say, location, location, location! The location of a cache demonstrates the founder's skill and possibly even daring. A cache located on the side of a rocky cliff accessible only by rock climbing equipment may be hard to find. An underwater cache may only be accessed by scuba. Other caches may require long difficult hiking, orienteering, and special equipment to get to. Caches may be located in cities both above and below ground, inside and outside buildings. The skillful placement of a small logbook in an urban environment may be quite challenging to find even with the accuracy of a gps. That little logbook may have a hundred dollar bill in it or a map to greater treasure. It could even contain clues or riddles to solve that may lead to other caches. Rich people could have fun with their money by making lucrative caches that could be better than winning the lottery when you find it. Just hope that the person that found the cache just before you left a real big prize!
Can I move a cache once I find it?

Don't move the cache! Responsible cache owners often check on their caches and would be alarmed to discover that it is missing.

An alternative would be to have a trackable item, which is an item that you can move from cache to cache. An example of this is a candle that has traveled from Australia to Arizona, and a Mr. Potato head that leaps from cache to cache. For example you can purchase a Groundspeak Travel Bug , which is a tag that you can attach to an item so you can track its movements through this web site.

Are there any variations in the game?

YES! We strongly encourage it, actually. Geocaching is a game that constantly reinvents itself, and the rules are very flexible. If you have a new idea on how to place a cache, or a new game using GPS units, we'd love to hear about it.

Some examples -

Offset Caches - They're not found by simply going to some coordinates and finding a cache there. With the Offset Cache the published coordinates are that of an existing historical monument, plaque, or even a benchmark that you would like to have your cache hunter visit. From this site the cache hunter must look around and find offset numbers stamped/written in or on some part of the marker site, or continue based on instructions posted to geocaching.com

Multi-caches - The first cache gives coordinates (or partial coordinates) to the next location, or multiple caches have hints to the final cache.

Virtual caches - A cache is actually an existing landmark, such as a tombstone or statue. You have to answer a question from the landmark and let the "cache" owner know as proof that you were there.

How long do caches exist?

It all depends on the location of the cache and its impact on the environment and the surrounding areas. Caches could be permanent, or temporary. It's up to the cache owner to periodically inspect the cache and the area to ensure that impact is minimal, if not nonexistant. When you find a cache, it's always a good idea to let the cache owner know the condition as well.
Periodically, Geocaching.com will review each cache to ensure that everything is still current. We cannot guarantee that a cache will exist at any given time, but we'll do our best to ensure the list is as current as possible.

If you do find that a cache is missing/defaced, please let the cache owner know as soon as possible!


One can start and hide their own cache and there are instructions for that too.

It just seems to me that if this whole concept doesn't appeal to your inner treasure hunter, you might not HAVE an inner treasure hunter. Additionally, this would mean another great excuse for a girl to lace on her hiking boots and set off with her camera.

On the down side, the other image that springs to mind is that of Ralphie Parker in "A Christmas Story" when for weeks he anxiously awaits the arrival of his Secret Decoder Pen only to FINALLY decode his first "exciting" message: "Eat Your Ovaltine." Ahem.
Still...there's something to be said for the thrill of the hunt, right?

I'm considering adding this activity to a play day agenda. I'll keep you posted. Interestingly, I notice on the Geocaching website an event at Lake Cumberland that actually is beginning today---a weekend of geocaching. According to the itinerary, there are over 50 caches located within the park.
Meanwhile, if you have any first-hand knowledge of the sport and insights to share, please feel free to comment or e-mail me. [An unrelated formatting side note? I DO KNOW where I should be double spacing, ESPECIALLY BETWEEN paragraphs. Blogger, for whatever reason, has chosen not to allow me to do this. VERY annoying indeed.]
[Updated to add: I'm finding 365 geocaches within the 42001 zip code alone. Perhaps I am the last to learn about geocaching?]

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eleven Herbs and Spices

On today's play day agenda was a trip to the garden store. Wee! (Now crouched and waiting for lightening to strike. Unemployed people are not allowed to have this much fun. I'm pretty sure.)

Pictured above is my summer herb garden. A better writer than I could describe to you the intoxicating mix of heady green scents that waft off the leaves when I brush my hand over them. Ahhh. Heaven. In the box awaiting transplant is: sweet basil, Italian parsley, silver thyme, dill, dwarf sage, curry, cilantro, oregano,chives, and sweet basil. In pots outside at the front of the house I have already planted rosemary and lavender amongst the petunias.

I am only a recent convert to growing my own cooking herbs, but I have hardly ever found anything quite as satisfying. The difference between fresh and dried herbs is rather like the difference between real and silk flowers: no comparison.

Better still, the cost of a plant start is comparable to the cost of one snipped SPRIG of fresh herb at the store. Best of all, there's nothing that makes me feel quite as Martha Stewart as nipping out to the porch for a sprig of fresh rosemary for my chicken glaze sauce or a mixture of thyme and lavender for my herb crusted pork loin, or... Well. You get the picture. It's just a short hop to insufferable from here.

Which is what I'll be if I ever start growing my own vegetables.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Viva NashVegas

Between bouts of the flu and, now, a raging head cold I'm still here and having a really good time. When I'm not sneezing or blowing my nose, that is.

They call me Snotty McSnorts Alot. Sexy!

I don't know, could it be that my body is telling me slow down?


I took a little trip to NashVegas last week. We had tickets to see Etta James at the Wildhorse Saloon. If you ask me, they are using the term "saloon" a bit loosely here. The Wildhorse is a huge venue in the heart of the NashVegas music district in a space more akin to a barn than a cozy-up-to-the-bar type saloon. But whatever.

We headed toward Tootsie's a little early and took in many of the kick-ass country bars (and refreshments) along the Broadway strip before heading to the Wildhorse for dinner. On the way (it was a long walk of at least three blocks), deprived the entire distance of an adult beverage, I amused myself by ducking into a store and picking up a cowboy had to add to my hat collection. Not, mind you, a Stetson-type thing, but one of those slouchy, wadded up cowboy hats. LOVE!

Once perched on my head, the hat served to distract me from the pain of separation from liquid refreshment for the last bit of distance to the Wildhorse. As we rounded the last corner, we encountered a huge line, of at least a block long, queued up for the Etta show. It was the kind of line that I knew I'd never manage, thirsty as I was, hat or no hat. It was the kind of line that makes you damn sorry you gave up your good seat at Tootsie's, only two feet from the bar. It was the kind of line that, in the state I was in, I couldn't possibly be expected to wait in without a) making a spectacle of myself and b) more beer.

Fortunately, some of the more alert people in our party realized the line we were seeing was for the poor bastards WITHOUT tickets. We, on the other hand, HAD tickets! VIP tickets! This meant we got to get in the secret, hidden short line, with the happy people and Emmy Lou Harris that the ticket-takers quickly hustled in to the front of the bar, seated at tables, and...gave us all beer! Also, chicken and french fries and possibly quesa dillas. Life was temporarily very, very, good.

Once served and in our seats, a girl in our party showed us an original 45 rpm record of Etta James' "At Last" that she had in her purse and tells us she's going backstage to get it signed. Which? I wondered, but okay. She disappeared for a time and came back telling us that Etta couldn't sign it at that point but that she would after the show.

But that wasn't the big news.

The big news was that Etta's road manager had offered her $50,000 for the record. And? SHE TURNED HIM DOWN.

I still don't even know what to say about that. I'll leave it to you to ponder.

Meanwhile, time is passing. By now it is after 7:00 p.m. and the opening band has not even taken the stage. I, personally, have indulged in enough liquid refreshment that I am about to get The Click. But I am restless and can't be expected to continue to SIT IN MY CHAIR (gah! this sh!t gets old). Nor can I be expected to suffer thru the anonymous opening band. I decide I'm going to walk back to the hotel and drink beer there for a while (I know. I don't know why. I'm just telling you what happened.)

There was one other among our number that was game, and together we headed back to the hotel, drank MORE beer and then walked BACK to the Wildhorse. Where? Absolutely nothing had changed. Except that the opening band had performed. We were told me we didn't miss much.

More time passed. And still? No Etta.

Suddenly, beer just wasn't hitting the spot anymore. Suddenly! I had a GREAT idea! Let's switch to drinking something more, I believe the word I used was, efficient. Tequila shots! Someone agreed. Shots were ordered and imbibed.

Now it is 8:30. No Etta. I am at this point stopping all the wait staff..."Excuse me...EXCUSE ME? Etta James? Anyone...anyone?"

One of Etta's sons takes the stage and announces that she has pneumonia and has been at the hospital where the doctor wanted her to check in. But, instead, Etta has bravely in the-show-must-go-on style decided to take the stage at the Wildhorse.

I briefly ponder how cool it would be for Etta to expire on the stage of the Wildhorse so I could blog about it.

And then I order another shot.

Worse? I drink it.

Finally, after what seems like FOREVER, Etta hits the stage. I am, by now, a little unfocused, but still able to observe that Etta is: 1) REALLY skinny with a Joan Rivers amount of face work in evidence 2) Mostly unable to stand. One of Etta's sons shepherds her in a kind of James Brown escort style to an office chair that has been rolled to stage center.

In Etta's defense, I have to say that girlfriend is seventy-eight years old, so it's fairly amazing that she's still even performing and releasing new stuff at all. On the other hand? Don't keep me waiting for almost three hours when you're charging fairly astronomical prices and then sing FIVE SONGS. (It might have been six, but no more.)

Etta chose a nice loose fitting black suit with a red sequined top underneath, but MOST rockin' was her choice of footwear: black cowboy boots. Yee-haw!

Once Etta got to her chair, the raunchiness began. Yes, you read that right. Etta James grabbed her crotch (Michael Jackson style if you can imagine him in a chair) and pinched her nipples and mimicked an, um, excited male member under a table napkin and was just generally hot and hunchy throughout almost the whole show, writhing around suggestively in her office chair. The one exception was when she talked about her grandchildren. I'm happy to report that she managed not to grab her crotch once during that story (whew!).

Of course the Big Finish was "At Last". They tell me that I sang along with this song not only out of tune, but also with a nasally Chicago accent (this is a voice that I often converse with my Mother in for reasons not entirely known to both of us). Pretty!

It was only after I arrived home that I learned that FurGirl was busy becoming a star while I was gone.

I've spent the weekend recovering quietly and enjoying seemingly endless American's Next Top Model marathons. I don't think I could take this show in once-a-week doses, but there's something incredibly satisfying about watching the episodes back to back. And anyway, it's really all I can manage at the moment.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Another Lovely Monday

I continue to exist in this bubble between jobs and it continues to be a wonderful place to be. I'm finally old enough to have learned to stop regretting and or rethinking the past and stressing about what may or may not happen in the future. Well...mostly. Let's just say I'm better than I used to be. By a factor of ten. Life tends to whack one upside the head with a proverbial frying pan until one finally learns these lessons. Can I get an Amen?

The weekend was very much fun and included yet another marathon karaoke Wii session and enough liquid refreshment to float a boat. Let's just say it took all day Sunday to recover. But still? Worth it.

I'm mostly thrilled to enjoy another beautiful spring in Paducah. We are entering that magical window when everything blooms in shades of pink, purple and white. I'm only mostly thrilled because, inevitably, spring signals the end of boot season meaning I have to shelve my beloved sturdy, ass-kicking masculine footwear in favor of something more practical for the tropical temperatures that are just around the corner.

It's enough to bring a girl down.

Unless, of course, said girl acquires a little something-something to cheer her up.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Decisions, decisions...

It's been a hectic day around here.

First, I was forced to sleep until 10:00 a.m. with my bedroom window halfway up so I could listen to the sound of the rain that fell all night. Ahhh...lovely.

Then it was up and at 'em and time for a long session w/Pinky catching up on my e-mails and reading blog posts.

And, now, finally, I am wrestling with the important question of where to hang my retro Coca-Cola sign. Those of you from Lowertown will almost certainly remember this large, metal sign that hung on the barn behind my house off the alley. It was easily visible from Madison Street and even from 7th Street.

I've loved the sign since we purchased the house and believe it had been hanging on the side of that barn since at least the 1980's (probably longer). Once the ex-man and I moved into the Lowertown house, I wanted to move the sign to our master bedroom to hang over the bed as a headboard, an idea the ex-man immediately vetoed, deeming it "ridiculous". Thus, the sign stayed where it was, on the barn, for the duration of the time we lived there.

Luckily, I thought of it before we vacated the house completely and, in the end, the ex-man took it off the barn for me and brought it to my new place. Initially, I thought the perfect spot to hang it would be the kitchen, and it would work there. Thing is, that's ALOT of red with the table and all:

So, I tried it over the couch in the living room:

If it stays here, it won't be leaning on the couch as you see, of course. It will actually be hung higher (a departure for me, I hang most things lower) with a strip of wall visible between the top of the couch and the lower edge of the sign. I am leaning toward this option since I think this would spread the bright blocks of red around more evenly in the space and I love the look of the black and white couch with the red sign. As an added bonus the Doisneau print that used to hang over the couch works perfectly in the kitchen:
So, there you have it. I was going to post a poll, but I think I've written my way into a decision.

Whew! I'm exhausted.

Nap time.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Random Wednesday Post

I got a great deal on a vase at (shhh....I got in major trouble over this post) TJ Maxx. I know! I'm not supposed to be going there any more. But, dang! What? I'm not supposed to display my Forsythia? I HAVE TO DISPLAY MY FORSYTHIA. It's gorgeous. You can't just drive by the stuff without partaking. Or at least I can't.

I'm adding a new sidebar feature to the blog. It's called, "Party Quote of the Week". I've been collecting them for a while (because no matter what I'm doing? I'm thinking of you guys. count on that.) or at least since the Year of Complete and Total Irresponsibility began [on or about 01/01/08].

Party Quotes are remarks you either overhear at the party, or that people actually say directly to you that cause you turn to the person nearest you and say,

"Did he/she really SAY THAT?"

And they say yes, and then you say,

"Is it just me or should that be on a tee-shirt?" And they say, "Aw, HELL YES."

Where possible, I will try to obtain permission from the Quoter to use either their name, initials, or first and last name (but I wouldn't count on that last one, no one's agreed to that yet).

Our first quote of the week comes to us from J. S. and was said directly to me at the party:

"I'm not the slut y'all think I am."

(I don't care who you are? That's funny.)


On to more serious matters. I was summoned today to a certain housing agency for a lunch meeting with some Federal Officials. Let's just say next Tuesday will likely not be a "good day". (yikes!)
[Edited to add:
Pot Stickers at TGI Fridays? Yummy.
Confidential to Shauna: You're welcome to visit the chairs any time!!]