California Country

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Texas State Flag, US Flag, and California State Flag – Feels like home!

Stomp, kick, step, step, step, kick, turn…

I tried to follow the line dance, but Californian style is much different from Texan style.  This was the Electric Slide, which is one I’ve known since I was a teenager, but the stomps and kicks were new to me.  In Texas, we do more shuffling.  Heather S. and I were at Stampede, a honky tonk in Temecula, California (north of San Diego).

Laughing, I continued to follow, failing miserably and admiring Heather’s grace. (Heather is a friend from work.)

“How did you learn to do all these dances?” I asked her later, out of breath, sitting at our table.

“I lived in Lancaster, on the desert, where there isn’t much to do.  So we’d go dancing three nights a week,” she answered.

Ah!  Nothing like boredom to inspire you to get off the couch and go to dance class!

Eva texted me, “Where are you?  We have a problem.”

I stood up and looked around, finding Eva and walking toward her.

“Steve’s driver’s license is expired, and they won’t let him in!” she told me.  “They say it’s a state law.  We moved, and I thought that he had updated his address, but I guess he didn’t, so we didn’t even realize that it expired.”

“Oh, no!  Well, you stay, and we’ll make it a girl’s night!” I implored.

She shook her head.  Country isn’t her thing and she didn’t really want to come out in the first place.  That’s fine, I wouldn’t go to a techno club if I could avoid it (which I regularly do).

She left and I texted Steve, “BOO!”

About an hour later, Renee arrived.  This isn’t Renee Raspberries, but rather, Renee Love.  She was friends with my sister Sue in high school, so she’s a fellow Texan.

“OhMyGod I almost couldn’t get in!  My license was expired!  Can you believe that?!” Renee said in a rush.

I laughed.  “What are the chances of that happening to two friends in a row?!  Steve and Eva aren’t here, because his license was expired!”  I said.  “How did you get in?”

“Get this!  I told the bouncer that I had lost my license about 6 months ago, which about the same time that I was here last.  I asked him to check the safe, and he said, ‘What’s your name?’  I told him, ‘Renee Love,’ and he said that the name didn’t sound familiar, but he checked anyway.  And there it was!  Look, I have it right here!” Renee held up her unexpired license.  She smiled.  “I’m so happy that I found it!  Now I can come back tomorrow night for my friend’s birthday party!”

I introduced Renee to Heather S and to our new friend Mila.  Mila had been alone at the next table, and when I realized that she wasn’t waiting for anyone, I invited her to join us, which she was happy to do.  Mila and Lauren S. weren’t drinking, since they were driving.  Renee had taken an Uber.  Let me tell you, Designated Drivers rule!

I surveyed the crowd and remarked to Renee, “They all look so young!”

“Yes,” she said, “They’re marines, you can tell by their high and tight haircuts.”

Heather saw an older man (50 years old, perhaps) swing dancing with a similarly aged woman, and hopped up to find their group.  Soon she was spinning around the floor with him, like a pro!

 

Me and Renee; Heather S. and me

I’d like to tell you about the Marine who fell in love with me, and now texts me every day, begging me to meet him at Stampede for another dance.  However, that didn’t happen.

Maybe next time.  😉

“How do all these people know all these different dances?!” I asked Heather.  “I lived in Texas most of my life, and I don’t know all of these!”

“They learn them in high school,” Heather answered.  “When you grow up learning them, they’re easy!”

We watched the dancers – young, beautiful, some of them bored, others scanning the crowd who were watching them – as they went through the intricate steps as easily as walking down the street.  I realized that I either needed a lot of dance lessons, or I needed to find a new hobby.  Ya know, hiking doesn’t require fancy foot work; maybe I’ll stick to that.

“You should stay at my house next time!” Renee said warmly.  “Then you can both drink, and you can stay later.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that this wasn’t the right crowd for me.  I smiled and appreciated her southern hospitality.  Listening to her, you’d think that she and I were old friends, instead of her and my sister.  I guess that when you’ve known each other half your life, the details of the association matter less!

As it happens, I won’t be returning to Stampede any time soon, because I found out this week that I’m moving.  Sure, I’ve only been in San Diego for 4 months, but why not pick up and move again?  More about that in my next post!  (It’s good news, I promise!)

So, Texans, and my other friends, if you ever find yourself in Temecula, California (‘bout an hour north of downtown San Diego), check out Stampede.  But be prepared to learn some new moves, ‘cause these fellas boot scoot a mite bit differently than back home.  Y’all come back now, ya hear!

Cheers!

 

3 Mountains in 3 Days!

 

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Sally Strawberry, Penny Pineapple, and me (Jules Strawberry).  Hook ‘Em Horns!

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“Mom’s stripping, it’s fine,” Sally said to Penny.

I had stopped to unzip the lower half of my hiking pants, to convert them to shorts.  Penny had asked why we were stopping.

“That’s my daughter!” I said of Sally to Penny, showing her what I was doing, and that I was not, in fact, removing all of my clothes.

***

“Hike!” Sally responded when I asked what she wanted to do while she was here.

And so we did.

Sally Strawberry and Penny Pineapple came to visit last weekend, the second time since I’ve moved to California.  We hiked last time, too, but Blacks Mountain wasn’t very memorable.  And since we’re not beach people, our December trip to La Jolla was enough to keep Sally satisfied for a year or so.

We hiked Cowles to get a view of San Diego, and Sally said, “I’d rather see mountains than city.”

So I answered, “We’re going to Iron Mountain tomorrow.  It’s about the same level of difficulty and has great views.”

The next day, as we were huffing and puffing up Iron Mountain, Sally informed me, “This is harder than Cowles.”

“Oh, I guess if I can hike it, I figure it’s about the same,” I responded.

The view from Iron pleased my little girl, and Penny didn’t scowl too much (she’s not as into hiking as we are), so I figured it was a good hike.  At the bottom of the mountain, I had extra energy, so sprinted a few feet and back again, passing a road runner.  Meemeep!

Penny was looking like she was at the end of her energy reserves.  You know, kinda like a zombie, who keeps forcing one foot in front of another, determined to go on.  She didn’t argue when I offered to get the car and pull it around, saving her from walking 40 feet.

In the car on the way home, Sally asked me, “Should we serve enchiladas at your funeral?”

The question wasn’t totally out of left field.  That is, we’ve discussed my funeral before, when I told her that I wanted her to play, “One less problem without you,” by Ariana Grande.  I’ve always wanted more of an Irish wake then a tear jerker.

“That’s more of Mom’s thing,” I replied, referring to my mother, who passed in 2008.  She ate enchiladas almost every day.  She’d cook a large casserole dish of them and then eat one for lunch with a pile of chips and queso.  “Maybe gluten free pizza?”

“I’ll have to practice,” Sally said, referring to the family recipe that Mom perfected when she wasn’t cooking TexMex.  Of course, Mom’s version was full of gluten, so the recipe needs to be modified.

I laughed.  While we had been discussing my funeral arrangements, AC/DC’s Highway to Hell came on the radio.  “Is this a sign?” I asked.

Sally laughed.  “A warning!” she said.

On the third day, I took them to Mount Woodson so that we could get pictures on the famous Potato Chip Rock.  By “we” I mean “them,” of course.  I’m an engineer; I know that cantilevered beams will break after cyclic loads are placed on them.  The only question is, “when.”  And after seeing families of 4 and 5 people pose on the rock, and others jump on it, I avoided stepping onto it myself.  As in, hell to the no, I’m not getting on that thing!

The climb up Woodson was a lot longer than I remembered.  Like I said, if I can climb it, I figure it’s a good hike, but moderate.  The number of hours to hike or miles don’t register with me as much.

Two and a half hours later, when we reached Potato Chip Rock, I wondered if Penny would ever go hiking with me again.  She was breathing hard, sweating, and moving rather slowly.

Thankfully, standing in line to take a picture on Potato Chip Rock gave us time to catch our breaths.  We waited while an 8-year-old boy and his 13-year-old sister climbed up and posed for their parents.  Then we waited while their mother joined them and more pictures were taken.  And we waited some more while the father showed a nice stranger how to work the drone that he had brought (a quad copter), so that he could jump in the picture.  And they posed in several different poses.  FINALLY they declared themselves done and scrambled off the rock.

Then we waited while the next family did the same.  Damn.  Thing.  Except, everyone in that family wanted a picture of themselves alone on the rock, jumping, before they gathered as a family.  All the while, their little dog yipped and yapped, not liking all the strangers standing around him.  I may have told it to be quiet or shut up once or twice.

Really, people, if there’s a line, then take one or two pics and get off.  #Impatient #WTF #BeConsiderate

FINALLY it was our turn.  Sally and Penny climbed up as quickly as they could and sat on the edge of the rock.  They did not jump, and held only that pose while I snapped close up and wide angle shots.  One kiss, another pic, and down they came.  #ThatsHowItShouldBe #ShortAndSweet

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The climb down the mountain went more quickly than the climb up.  After all, the hardest part was behind us, we were refreshed, and there was the promise of air conditioning and a shower at the end.

“I’m starving,” Penny confided.  “Should have brought some cashews or something.”  The dried apple chips just weren’t enough for this 7.5 mile trail.

As we stumbled to the car, at the very end of this 4.5 hour hike, I thought, “They’re never coming hiking with me again.”

But then Sally said, “WE DID IT!” and I smiled.

We actually did more than *just* hike.  We shopped for Sally’s first professional business suit.  When we found out that Banana Republic was having a 50% sale, the clothes piled up, and we ended up buying Sally an entire wardrobe.  Then we found out that she could get an extra 20% off by signing up for a store credit card.  DONE!

One night, we met my friends Heather and Scott for dinner.  Sally loved them!

Scott’s first reaction to finding out that she’s an astrophysicist was to tease her, “Are you going to go after the really hard stuff, like Dark Matter?”

Her answer was, “YES THAT’S WHAT I DO!”

Then they were off on a nerd tangent that even I couldn’t follow.

Heather was equally charming and I think Sally was ready to move in with them.  “Can I invite them to my wedding on the beach next year?” she asked.

Wow.  After one meeting.

Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised, my friends are pretty darn amazing.

On Monday night, we had dinner with another friend, who was also named Heather.  When I first introduced Heather to Heather, I laughed and said, “I feel the need to watch the movie Heathers again!”

Since they are both a tad younger than me, and the movie with Winona Ryder and Christian Slader came out in 1988, I had to explain my comment.  “It’s a dark comedy about the popular girls and one other girl—Winona’s character—and how hard high school can be.”

“Oh!  It’s like Mean Girls!” Heather said.

“Ummmm…kinda?” I responded.  “But darker.  Christian Slader’s character is a bit like Johnny from the Breakfast Club, but darker.”  How does one explain Heathers without giving away the plot?

I scheduled a movie night at my house to watch it.  We laughed at the wacky plot and the 80’s fashion.

“Colored tights?!  I thought that was for children!” Heather exclaimed.

“The shoulder pads!” I said.

We’ve been fast friends ever since.  Nothing like bonding over old movies with retro fashion and homicidal plots.

Her last initial happens to be “S,” so I told Sally, “To keep them straight, remember that Heather S is Single.  Heather P is married.”

I felt a little bad assigning that label to Heather, since she is a beautiful, intelligent woman who may find a nice guy any day now.  But then I remembered that my last initial is also S, and I’m single too!  Doh.

We got on the subject of health, and Sally said, “My doctor told me that I need to take Vitamin D, since I’m not getting any.”  Her smile and reference to her lesbian lifestyle made it clear that this was an innuendo and the “D” stood for… “Dude.”  Yes, Dude.  We’re going with that.

Heather blushed and said, “I don’t take pills, I take my Vitamin D straight!”

WELL THEN!  I’m glad that my children are adults, so that we can have conversations like this.

Cheers!

P.S. My next post will be about Country dancing in California.  Yes, there are honky tonks in Cali, and I’ll compare one to Billy Bob’s.

P.S.S. As always, follow me on Instagram (jules_rules_strawberry) or Facebook for more pics!  And I tweet occasionally, too (@JulesSBerry)!

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Sally Strawberry, Explorer, Conquerer of Mountains

 

Southern Hospitality

 

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Drunk Jules went shoppin’ at Billy Bob’s Texas on Saturday night.  That’s a whip in the middle.  Why she thought I needed a whip, I don’t know!  

 

“Bless his heart!” is a Southern phrase used to mean everything from:

  • If he were any stupider, he’d be a stump.
    • Also known as, “When God was handing out brains, he was at the back of the line.”
  • If she were any uglier, little children would run screaming.
    • Also known as, “She was beaten with the Ugly Stick.”

When Southerners are little boys and girls, we learn the more direct insults.  But then our parents beat us to within an inch of our lives with a hickory stick (not literally, that’s another idiomatic phrase), and we learn to be more respectful.  Some of us take longer than others to learn the lesson, and have more bruises on our behinds to prove it, but most of us eventually learn that we can say, “Bless his heart!” without any painful side effects.

Why are Southerners more likely to likely to greet you when walking past?

I’ve been in California for 3 months now, and I am appalled when I walk down the hall at work.  My coworkers avert their eyes, as though they must—MUST—not acknowledge my presence.  At first, I thought maybe the company had gone a little overboard with Sexual Harassment Training.  After all, a good way to avoid getting trouble with a female coworker, is to not look at her.  But then I realized that even the ladies would look right past me.  This happens on the streets, too.  Hmmm, must not be the training; it appears to be a cultural behavior.

I mentioned this to one of my female coworkers, who always smiles a big smile and makes eye contact when she sees me coming.  She moved from Dallas about two years ago; she’s good people.

“My theory is population density,” she wisely informed me.  “See, in the South, people are more spread out, and there are smaller towns.  So the people that you pass by, you see all the time, and there’s a small number of people in that group.  Conversely, in a large city such as San Diego, there are a LOT more people.  Therefore, it’s more difficult to greet everyone and to know everyone.  If you tried to say hi to everyone, you’d never get anything done!  You’d spend all day making small talk.”

AH!  That makes sense!  The small town in Louisiana where I attend middle school and my first two years of high school was Sulphur, Louisiana.   At the time, Sulphur had a population of 20,000 people.  While I didn’t know everyone (obviously), I saw the same people at church, school, and around the neighborhood.  Plus, contrast that with the 1.4 million people in San Diego.  That’s .02 versus 1.4 million.  Sulphur had less than 1.5% of the current population of San Diego.  Yep, that’s a BIG difference!

Another way of looking at this is, imagine you live in that small town.  You have a fight with Millie, the baker’s daughter.  At church, your mom says, “How come you ain’t sayin’ hi to Millie like’n you usually do?”

You can blow her off by asking, “What’s for lunch, Momma?” But it’s your Momma; she’s going to find out eventually.

“Daryl told Emma Jean who told Bobbi Jo who told Elvin that you crossed the street to avoid her on Friday after school,” your sister will not-so-helpfully offer.

Brother chimes in (because this is the South and we believe in having large families), “She gave you the Evil Eye when you wurtn lookin’, too.”

Then your other sister will add, “I heard from Kelvin who said that Millie stole your beau.”

And if you manage to wiggle out of that conversation, you’ll see Millie at school the next day.  And at the grocery store.  And at the church picnic.  It’ll get to the point that it’s either the Hatfield and McCoys (i.e. a blood feud that lasts generations and involves a few gun fights), or you make the peace.

Face it, making the peace is easier.  So you may end up making a statement like this, “Millie, I’m sorry that I blew spit wads at you in class after you talked to Jimmy.  Even though I had my eye on him, I had no true claim—I mean, I didn’t brand him like a cow or anything—so let’s just be friends, ok?  Momma made some peach cobbler, come on over.”

And so, Southern people are friendly because they can (low population density) and must.  ‘Cause you see the same folks all the dang time, so to the keep the peace you smile and say nice things.  Bless their hearts!

Cheers!

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I have lived in the South most of my life: Alabama, Louisiana, and my beloved Texas.

This post was in answer to a question from Dr. Gary Lum, “Why are Texans so friendly?”  If you’d like me to answer your question, email JulesRulesStrawberry@gmail.com.  My specialty is dating advice, but I have opinions and theories on just about everything.   Thanks, Gaz, for the question!

Next up: a summary of all the places I’ve visited in San Diego.  There’s a long list, my friends, because I don’t like to sit still!

Be good.  And if you can’t be good, be good at it!

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Wipe your boots before you come in side, y’all.

Bloggers on the Beach

 

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“Sorry I’m late, I stopped at the liquor store to buy some hooch,” Gary Mathews told me.  His accent is a thick southern Indiana drawl.  Don’t say, “Kentucky” because he hates that state, but the accent is super close.

We stood in front of Rubio’s Coastal Grill, a restaurant which specializes in fish tacos.  Since Gary had tasked me with finding the best fish tacos in San Diego, I had asked him to meet me here.  He crushed me in a bear hug, made the comment about the hooch (liquor, for those of you who are not well-versed in Southern slang), and we went inside.

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“OhmyGod these are so good,” he mumbled around his first bite.

Whew, he likes ‘em!  He likes ‘em!  Mission accomplished!

That was Wednesday night and we only had a short time together before he jumped back in his rental car and cruised into the night.  He was in town for a Dad’s Blogger Convention.  That is, a bunch of bloggers who are fathers and blog on fatherhood were having a convention in downtown San Diego.  Gary is so famous, that he received a scholarship to attend, and was as excited as a tick at a dog convention.

Gary and I met each other online, when this blog was new.  We became a Mutual Admiration Society, posting comments and likes on each other’s posts, until finally we moved to texting.  We skyped a few times and I became his dating coach.  Seriously, he’d send me usernames for the women that he was interested in on Match, and I would read between the lines to tell him what the profile was REALLY communicating.  I’m happy to say that I helped him woo Ms. Madison, a charming school teacher and single mom who is now his fiancée.  Hey, Gary, can I put you down as a reference when I become a full time Dating Coach?  I’ll count you as one as my first success stories!

He paid me back by reviewing Match profiles of guys for me, too.  Unfortunately, his dating coach skills aren’t as good as mine.  Gary, stick to what you know!  Don’t quit your day job!

BTW, Gary is a riot!  He made me laugh so hard I doubled over!  Honestly, this is a regular occurrence, whether I’m reading his blog or texting him.  For example: on Thursday night, he wanted to go out, so I told him to check out the Gas Lamp District.  It’s the famous downtown with all the clubs and bars.

Gary said, “If I were 20 years old and loaded, I’d tear it up!  This place is outta my league!  The bartender is dressed like a hooker.  Man, I’m outta here!” He sent a picture to back up his assertion, and I must admit, her short skirt was almost a belt.

The man can also be smooth, I found out.  He made a comment on one of my Facebook posts that rubbed little Sally Ann the wrong way—she’s very protective of me—and I thought World War III was about to commence.  Instead, Gary commented back to her, “I meant no offense!  Why, your mom talked my ear off about you on Wednesday, so much that I’m ready to adopt you myself!”

Sally was mollified and properly flattered.  She thanked Gary and called off the nuclear arsenal that she had been prepping.

Luckily, Gary (aka The Skipah) made time for me on Sunday, too.  We visited the famous Cove in La Jolla, which is only 30 minutes from my apartment.

Pause for a minute.  How awesome is it that the beach is 30 minutes from my apartment?!  And that the mountains are a short 20 minute drive in the other direction?!  OH MY GOD I LIVE IN A POSTCARD!!

Ok, I’m back now.  Gary looked at the sea lions and said, “You’re right, they do look kinda like slugs.”  A few minutes later, he added, “I smell ‘em now!  I’m ready to go – I need more fish tacos!”

He was a trooper!  Our hosts (one of my coworkers and his fiancée) led us a few miles around town.  We walked along the beach, then back through town for fish tacos (which weren’t as good as Rubio’s) and gelato.  Gary and I bought trinkets at some souvenir shops, which reminds me: Gary, I need a pic of Sloane in her new t-shirt!  It’s day-glo yellow, which I think is gawd-awful but which seems to be in style.  I hope she likes it!

Gary’s overall assessment of La Jolla was summed up in two sentences, “Waaaah!  I have to go home tonight!  WHY?!”

That’s how Sally & Penny felt when they visited, Gary, so you’re in good company.

Gary texted me after he got home, “#FriendsForLife.”

I replied, “#ForeverFriends.”

Yep, I’m headed to a wedding in Indiana in the near future.  Stockpile the hooch, there’s a Texan headed to Madison!

See more pics on my Instagram (jules_strawberry_rules) or Facebook page (Jules Strawberry).  I also tweet amusing things occasionally under the handle “JulesSBerry.”

Dr. Gary Lum sent in a question which I’ll answer next week.  He asked, “Why are Texans so friendly?”  I have a theory, folks, which will knock your socks off!

Ok, maybe the socks will stay on, but it’s still a fabulous theory, endorsed by several California engineers!  These engineers may know nothing about social engineering or psychology or sociology, but they’re friends of mine, so they *must* be right.  Right?

Anywho, check back next week for more entertainment!

Cheers!

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Ugh, I’m bored

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“Ugh, I’m bored,” he texted me at 8 p.m. on Saturday night.

He was not my son, nor was he a teenager, like you might expect.  He was a friend that had previously asked me out, later cancelled, and never rescheduled.  AND he’s 45 years old!!  Old enough to KNOW BETTER!!

Here’s a tip for you: if you want to see me on Saturday night, ask me out by Wednesday.  Don’t wait until Saturday night and express your boredom, however elegantly.

Of course, this was a booty call.  He expected the convo to go something like this:

“Me, too,” I text.

“Why don’t you come over?  We can watch a movie or something,” he’d reply.

Warning!  “Something” in this context means sex!!

“Eh sure,” I’d say, bored and possibly clueless.

I may not be psychic, but I’ve had one or two or ten similar convos in my lifetime.  Sometimes, they even cured my boredom, if you know what I mean (wink, wink, nudge nudge!).

*Back To Reality*

My real response was, “I’m having a great time.”  Because truthfully I was out with friends having a blast.  (Shout out to my homies – you rock!)

Then I thought about it, laughed a bit with my friends, and we sent him, “I’m drunk!  Whatcha doin’?”

Note: this was a trap.  Anything sent back to me would been read out loud and mocked by everyone present.  This is what happens when you send a stupid text to me and I’m out drinking, though I think most people would do the same. At least, that’s what my friends tell me, while they’re egging me on.

Plus, I may have mocked him even if I wasn’t drinking.

That gentleman (wisely) didn’t text again.  Maybe one of the other women that he texted replied.  Because men who send out texts like that ALWAYS text more than one woman.  Sorry, Suzy*, you’re not the only one, so quit thinking you’re special when you get that booty call.

I did receive another text that night, only from someone else.  “How was the rest of your day?” The gentleman asked. This was a guy who had taken me to lunch.  And yes, he had contacted me prior to Wednesday to set it up—on Monday, in fact!

I smiled as I answered that text.

Jules’ Rules

  1. If you want to see me on Saturday, contact me by Wednesday.
  2. If you send me a stupid text when I’m drinking, you will be mocked. (And possibly when I haven’t been drinking, too.)
  3. Asking me how my day was, is much nicer than a booty call, and much better received.

Cheers!

*I do not know anyone named “Suzy.”  This comment was for naive women in general.

PS In other news, my titties are normal!  #AnnualMammogram

What’s Going On?

“Oh, look, it’s Simon Chipmunk!” someone in the crowd says, looking out the mall window.  “He must be promoting his new movie, Chipmunks 10.

A motor boat sped by on the water, with a faded Chipmunk-costumed person waving at us.  Why was this exciting?  Because we had been standing in line at the Bed, Bath, and Beyond for what seemed like hours (it had probably been 10 minutes) and the line stretch around the corner, so that I can’t even see the cash registers.

I woke up.  Seriously, that dream was so boring, that instead of putting me to sleep, it made it wake up!  Chipmunks have more exciting lives than mine!

I don’t need a therapist to interpret the dream, either: my life has been boring lately.  Boring, Sidney!  Boring, Boring, Boring!

(Reference: Sid and Nancy.  They were drug addicts and rock stars of the Sex Pistols; but I guess even that lifestyle gets old after a while.  So they got married.  Eh, why not?  It was something to do.)

The reason that we were at Bed, Bath, and Beyond is that I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my house and thinking about it lately.  Riddle me this, Batman:

  1. If I sell my house, I could net a profit of $50,000 or more, which would pay off my student loans and then some! Or, I could throw one KILLER party!  (Don’t count on it.  I’m bored, not stupid.)
  2. If I sold my house, then I’d have to move into an apartment. That seems like a step backward, and I’d be paying the same amount of rent for a two-bedroom apartment as I pay for my mortgage on a four-bedroom house right now.  Oh, ya, housing in Dallas is stupid expensive right now!
  3. Sally (my darling daughter) wants one of the beds for the apartment she’ll be renting in August. So If I move now, I’d have to move the bed to a storage unit until August.  Then move it to Austin.  Which sounds like a lot of work for an old bed.
  4. If I wait until August to sell, then we can move the bed directly to her apartment, saving the cost of one move and the storage unit.
  5. What if home prices continue to rise? Will I kick myself for selling now?  Like people who used to own property in California worth $60k which is now work $1.5M.
  6. But what if prices fall – will I kick myself in a year if I don’t sell now?

This dilemma has been making my head ache for the past month or so.  I talked to a gentleman last night who thinks the housing market will stay strong for another two years, and will plateau before it declines.  Whew, I have some time to decide.

Because—do I really want to live in an apartment, with neighbors who may be noisy or have crying babies or take my parking spot?  I’d be paying the same amount per month for less space and less privacy, which is just wrong.

On the other hand, I’d be debt-free.  THAT would be awesome!  I could put money away for my next big trip instead of paying interest on mortgage loans and such.  So which is more important: living debt-free, or having a nice big house?

The Plan: I’m fixing all the little things around the house (broken tile, cleaning the grout, etc.) and will decide in August.  I don’t have to move now, so I’m not going to sweat it too much.

In Other News

My life hasn’t been completely boring.  I had a girls’ night at my house with some of my closest friends: Gabby Gumbo, Lolly, and Allie Apple.  The plan was to watch a movie, but we talked for 5 hours instead!  The takeaways:

  1. Men can be really stupid and/or clueless sometimes.
  2. Some guys know to send really good text messages – damn, I’m blushing just thinking about it!
  3. We WISH the same guys were that smooth in person!
  4. The guy who is going through the divorce doesn’t want to get married now, but he’ll come around. Right?
  5. That guy who is just my friend, but we’ve been texting a lot and hanging out some—the girls think that I should just invite him over and jump him.
  6. That guy who is just my friend, was drunk off his ass and texted this reply, “I wouldn’t be of any use to you.”

I’m also training for a Spartan Race (obstacle course race), which is completely insane and I don’t know WHAT I was thinking when I signed up.  I jogged two miles this morning and did 15 burpees.  I need to be able to run five miles and do 30 burpees to succeed in this race—and it’s on June 18!  Eeek!

And in other, other news: I had a perfectly professional, friendly meeting with a guy yesterday, one-on-one.  He didn’t say anything flirtatious or outrageous; he was 100% respectful.  Whoo hoo!  Gentlemen still exist!

Of course, he’s happily married.  Good on him!  Now, if I can find a nice gentleman who is single…

So see, my life really isn’t boring!  Well, not completely.  I swear I’m not standing in line at the mall for hours or keeping up with the Chipmunks—are they still making movies?  See, I don’t even know.  Grey’s Anatomy, The Big Bang Theory, and New Girl are my fav shows right now; I do not watch children’s movies!

The X Men aren’t for children, are they?  No?  Good.  Whew.  Because I do love my comic book movies!

Cheers!

PS New romance series coming soon.  Come back on Monday for deets!

Zion Adventure

JNS_EAS_May2

VACATION STARTS TODAY!  Sally, Corvus Tomatillo and I are starting our journey tomorrow.  PUDDING!!

Here’s the agenda:

Tuesday

Sally & I have breakfast with my father, stepmother, and Jack (who is now living with my dad, i.e. his grandfather).  Dad is going to drive us to the airport so that I don’t have to pay $20/day to leave my car at DFW.  Or is it $40?  Anyhow, it really adds up, so I’m grateful to have family that lives nearby.  At those rates, I can buy us all breakfast and still come out ahead!  It helps that Dad likes to eat at IHOP and use his senior citizen discount.  If he preferred the Gaylord Texan, then I might be better off paying for parking.

From DFW, Sally & I will fly to Sin City.  She’s never been, so she’s keen on visiting M&M World.  Her exact words were, “Oh Mommy, can we visit the M&M store?  Please please please mommy I’ve never been.”

Since I’m wrapped about her little finger (a life-long affliction), I answered, “Sure!  Let’s fly in early enough that we can walk The Strip and you can get a feel for Vegas.”  Subsequent planning has shown that Vegas is better at night: more shows, the lights are on, the freaks are out.  Eh, so, Sally will get to see Vegas by daylight; she can come back for her bachelorette party for the night life.  Her bachelorette party in the far, far, distant future.  Now I’m freaking out!

There is a magic show at 1 p.m., but I’m not sure if we can make that and see the sights.  We only have four hours.  But then, a show in Vegas would be pretty cool.  One hotel offers free circus acts from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; we’ll stop by there if we have time.

After four hours of walking the Strip with our luggage (any advice on where we could stash it?), Corvus will pick us up and take us to Zion.  He lives in Tucson, so Vegas is on the way for him (sorta) and only an hour and a half from Zion.  We’ll stop for groceries so that we can do picnic lunches and grab wine—I’m not sure if that’s his plan, but it’s definitely mine!  The corkscrew is already packed!  After all, I’ll be earning the wine by burning all those calories hiking.

We’ll spend Wednesday hiking at Zion, Thursday hiking at Bryce Canyon (a short 1.5 hr drive away), then decide where we want to return on Friday.  Then Saturday, we’ll be coming home.  My sister (Mrs. Cherry) will pick us up from the airport and we’ll have dinner with her & her family.  Strawberries & Cherries at one meal – what a treat!

Can’t wait to share our adventures with you!  There will be a plethora of pics!  And probably more inside jokes – I have a prank planned for Sally, but SHHHH!!! Don’t tell her!

Cheers!

PS Ed, my tenant, will be at the house, so any would-be burglars can forget it.  He’s an armed and dangerous red-headed Texan – don’t even try it!  Seriously, he dresses as the Joker so often, I think he’s becoming the character.  It’s so serious, he won’t date a girl unless she looks like Harley Quinn.

PSS I’m so excited right now, I’m screaming like a 12-year-old girl!  WOOOOT!