There was once a band called Hanson. You may remember it. Actually, they’re still around, but instead of long-haired, pre-pubescent boys, they’re now far less famous young men. Still one of my all-time favorite musical groups. Hey, I’ve shared a lot of embarrassing stuff in this public forum. But anyone who knows me already knows this most embarrassing of facts, so no real revelations here. Just a deep, deep love for the brothers Hanson and a slightly shame-faced Liz.

At the height of their fame, Hanson went on SNL as a musical guest. The folks at SNL were kind enough to include the three fellas in a sketch, which mercilessly ridiculed their most popular tune, “MmmBop.” It took place in an elevator, which if memory serves, was stuck between floors. The brothers Hanson, among a few other people, were stuck on an elevator which was, conveniently, playing “Mmmbop” on an endless loop. The scene jumped in time… forward an hour, everyone was still humming along, happy-go-lucky. Three hours later, the other passengers on the stuck elevator were conversing amongst themselves, attempting to ignore the music. Isaac Hanson was starting to break. An hour later, Taylor Hanson started pulling his beautiful hair out. Zach started acting like a freakin’ crazy person another couple of hours after that.

The point I’m trying to make here is that even the catchiest songs can be unbelievably irritating upon continuous repetition. Honestly, I’ve never tested my threshold for tolerating popular music on repeat more than one or two times over. Recently, I’ve started enjoying the musical stylings of one Miss Miley Cyrus. Please, friends, forgive my sucky taste in music. I know, I know. I should be doing one of two things: 1) listening to what I enjoy and pretending I’ve never heard any of it when questioned about my favorite artists or 2) owning my taste in pop music and acknowledging it proudly. I have no desire to be dishonest about my taste, but I also can’t help but to feel a deep sense of shame for appreciating popular music. It’s weird. But whatever. For right now, I’m owning my enjoyment of Miley. “Party in the USA” makes me dance. It’s just a fun song. I won’t even comment on how much fun I have when I hear “See You Again.” Awe. Some.

Now, if you’re cool, you undoubtedly have no idea what I’m talking about. Which is fine. I think you’ll still appreciate the story that the three previous paragraphs were building up to.

I was in Atlanta for my job. I’m not certain what the radio stations in the area are all about, but with a basically busted CD player and a puny little iPod Shuffle, I was stuck with that. I scanned a few times and landed on 94.1, who was playing “Party” to my extreme delight. I was on my way to an appointment and that’s a fabulous song to get pumped up with.

Well, I soon found out that Miley is headed to Atlanta for a concert sometime in the next month, and by way of advertisement/a ticket giveaway contest, the station was playing “Party” regularly every half hour. “Sweet!” I thought. “This is going to keep me inspired to keep rockin’ the appointments all day long!”

Um. Not so sweet, by the end of day two. I won’t say that I can’t stand “Party in the USA” because let’s be honest, I’ll get over it soon enough and be back to full enjoyment of the song, but there came a point where I actually changed the station during the song’s intro. It was Miley Overload. I was shocked by the vehemence of my reaction, considering how much I generally enjoy the singing and dancing along. But I just spend way too much time in my car to deal with overloading on any one song. Variety, please! Everything in Moderation! Even Miley 🙂

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I’m not one of those people who does very well with geography. I own a GPS. I rely heavily on said device. 99% of the time, I have no idea where I am, even when I’ve been there multiple times. It’s markedly worse, however, when I am first visiting an area. For example, I spent the weekend in Minnesota. I have no idea where Minnesota is. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have a general feel for it, but if you were to ask me to point out Minnesota on a map of the United States, I can only say one word: Fail.

Specifically, I spent the weekend in Minneapolis/St. Paul. And I guess if you were getting even more specific, I’d have to say Minneapolis was the sibling of the Twin Cities in which I spent most of my time. I hypothesized on my shuttle ride in from the airport to the hotel that Minneapolis wouldn’t differ too exceptionally from Birmingham. Rush hour traffic. Smog. Buildings. History. Crime.

I can’t comment on the criminal aspect of Minneapolis, but I know it isn’t worse than Birmingham, who ranks quite highly in the national homicide rankings. I think we’re number three. I personally was not murdered, attacked, or otherwise infringed upon during this trip, which I am immensely grateful for. I was robbed of a weekend, but I can’t blame Minneapolis for that.

But as I walked around the city (accompanied by a physically intimidating male – my boss – and covered thoroughly in winter-weather-ware), I came to find that Minneapolis has several things to recommend it that Birmingham cannot offer. It was clean. As far as I know, its mayor was not recently arrested on fraud and embezzlement charges. The buildings are cool, architecturally speaking. The Mississippi runs through it. There are bridges.

Working against Minneapolis are also a few key issues: the temperature, the accents of everyone around me, the fact that things are built to accommodate snow. The inclusion of an ice-scraper in every car rented in the city.

And honestly, where is Minnesota, anyway? Come on, it’s not like it’s California or New York or Texas or Alabama (I kid…no one knows where to find good ole’ Bama on the map) for goodness sakes! It’s not like Minnesota really had an impact on my understanding of American History or features memorably in any astonishing current events (well, they may be the state that had the wrestler for a Governor, that’s fairly astonishing). I honestly don’t think I should be held responsible for the knowledge of where Minnesota resides among these United States. I’m sure I was responsible for that information waaaaaaaaaaaay back in fourth grade or whenever we were taught state geography, but only bits and pieces of that stuck with me.

Bearing all of this in mind, I think it’s clear that I’m not a geographically minded person. State lines? No, that’s definitely not my state of mind.

I do a fair amount of driving for my job so I’ve gotten to be something of an expert at finding the best deals on gasoline.

What’s a little trickier to avoid is the gas pump that pumps gas so incredibly slowly that you spend approximately 15 minutes pumping 15 gallons of gas. And I’ve found at least half a dozen of these sorts of gas pumps in the past month. What’s with these slow pumps? Are they old? Do the owners know they go slowly and therefore take five cents off of the cost of each gallon? That correlation between cheap and slow would explain the high percentage of slow pumps I’ve been encountering lately.

For illustrative purposes, this is what it feels like to be standing at one of these slow pumps:

Credit card swiped, approved and returned to your pocket, you lift the nozzle and insert into your vehicle. You pull up on the handle and wait. Hmmm. Is anything actually coming out of the nozzle? You check the display screen to see that you’ve pumped .034 gallons in the five seconds it’s taken you to perform these actions. You squeeze a little harder on the handle, hoping to get a little more flow. 0.092 gallons. It strikes you as odd that you can actually see clearly each of the numbers one through nine appear in the thousandths column of the display. It’s only been twenty seconds but your hand is beginning to feel a bit tired so you search for the metal bar on the handle that would give your hand a break. Gone. Broken. Never been there. Seriously, this is becoming more than annoying. If you’d just know before you started pumping… And then your opportunity comes to give someone else the advice you would have been grateful for when someone pulls up on the other side of your pump. But you don’t say anything. Never talk to strangers, right? They do their credit card thing and start pumping and though you never would have thought it possible, things are moving even more slowly than before. Honestly, you hope that your compatriot on the other side of your pump isn’t as stubborn as you are and gives things up rather quickly. You’re now up to 3.073 gallons. You notice that there are painters spraying a new color on the top of the convenience store attached to this gas station. You question the color choice – you rather liked the green they’re painting over with an unfortunate brown color. You watch as they work their way from one side of the roof all the way to the other. Check the display: 8.917 gallons. Makin’ progress. It turns out your compatriot is just as stubborn as you, or else just as desperate for cheap gas as you are. He sighs audibly. You sigh in return. Good thing you’re just on your way home and not on your way to an appointment, because this is the sort of thing that would normally get you super frustrated. You switch hands on the handle because you’ve got another seven gallons to go before your tank is full. After removing your right hand from the handle, you realize it is temporarily stuck in the gripped position. What a nice feeling. Under normal circumstances, you’d probably start swearing under your breath at this point.  But the extended exposure to the gasoline fumes has left you in a very zen-like state. You’ll get done. Eventually.

I’ve written about ten drafts for posts in the ten days since I last posted. I get started and then… my motivation disappears.

I couldn’t quite make an entire post out of the lone white chicken I saw poking around on the side of the interstate on Monday as I drove to Chattanooga. It was odd, to be sure, but what else is there to say?

And my husband strictly forbade me from discussing the recent debacles we had while attempting to “have some alone time.” Let me just leave you with this image (if the last one wasn’t enough): I laughed so hard I actually vomited in my mouth. Come to think of it, I think I’m actually going against his request in writing even that much… oops.

I also wanted to comment on an oddity I found in North Carolina last time I was there: A McDonald’s without a drive thru. I mean, what? Do such things actually exist? Or was I hallucinating again? But again, what more is there to say about that?

I also wanted to thank the person who came up with the idea of planting wildflowers in the interstate medians. Gorgeous!

And I’m trying to get rid of my cats. Well, when I say get rid of, what I really mean is find temporary homes for them until we can get our house in Auburn sold. That many kitties in a tiny house tend to cause quite a stink. Any takers? I’m thinking we should have the house sold and be in a new place by February at the latest. Hmm?? I think I will actually write an entire post devoted to these beauties soon. There will be pictures. Get excited!!

In addition, I considered posting the first chapter of my book for general review. Any thoughts on that, one way or the other? I’m a chicken so I’ll need encouragement 🙂 (—- don’t you just love when a completely random post comes full circle?)

An Ode to Power Naps:

On a morning before the sun appears
And when even summer air is slightly chilled
A traveller must set out, must shift the gears,
And make her way, thoughts of sleep unfulfilled.
Many hours on the road she must endure
Before her destination is at hand.
And yet, she fades before her work is through,
So, in a recess, seeks out the cure:
For those who still are in demand,
A power nap might be just what you are due.

{Note: Odes are harder to write than I remembered when I started this post. Usually they are more like 3 stanzas long, but we’ll just call this an Irregular Ode and be done with it. The LG Chronicles will be back with Part V tomorrow. Peace!}

Welcome to the mind of an overly literate, book-loving, impossibly voracious reader who also happens to sell books for a living.

But I don’t just sell the books, I have to learn them. I have to be able to answer wild questions that come from nowhere and convince book buyers  that this is the book they need in their store.

Today was my last day at sales conference, where all this learning was to take place. At the very end, right before I hopped onto the subway for the final time this trip, I was speaking to another new rep who said, “I feel so…full.” I said something silly in return about how I’d skip dinner because I’d consumed so many books this week and felt a bit like I’d made a bad pun. And maybe it is a silly play on words, but for some reason I started composing a poem around it in my head (which I almost never do – I’m no poet).

I’m at the airport now and I wanted to share the result with you, rough though it may be. I hope you enjoy!

Book Eating

Overflow of content
where does it all go?
Those first few bites
like a crisp turn of phrase
with a sprinkle of salt
to keep it fresh –
crinkle as the paper tears
bursts of flavor on my tongue.
With each greasy word
Times New Roman coats my lips
somedays full color, mostly
black on white
no color for this dry-run
run-down
down and dirty
sales pitch for the salesman.
Like a street corner lunch on the run
they cram it down my throat.

Book eating –
thought, text, ink, paper
consuming words all wrapped in a bun,
for easy handling.

No one cares I’m full –
overflowing –
I have to shove it in;
every last bite
each crucial tidbit
every savory morsel
each crumb that threatens
to fall unnoticed to the ground.
I have to condense the pages
spit it out
make it sound worth buying,
worth reading,
worth consuming
            with relish

            and mustard.

So today I flew from Birmingham to Atlanta to New York City. On these flights, I saw a great many interesting and unique things. I’d like to share:

  • I saw one of those unique people who must have been born with a blue tooth unit attached to their ear. This man was on a two hour flight with me and did not once remove this thing from his ear. That smacks of addiction.
  • One of the most awkward things I’ve ever seen was this poor man sitting next to me that honestly (and I’m not exaggerating here, I know I do that sometimes, but seriously, this is the truth) took five minutes trying to open a little bag of peanuts. He flatly refused to use his teeth (fine, I don’t really blame him here, with all the swine flu nonsense, but he wasn’t wearing a mask or anything, so surely he wasn’t a fanatic?). I tried not to notice. I almost volunteered to open it for him, but I figured he didn’t want my germs, either.
  • This Asian gangsta dude wearing his pants down below his butt showed me his boxers accidentally/on purpose: pink elephant boxers. How cool.
  • A morbidly obese, loud, and incredibly talkative film producer/director shared with me about a movie he just finished making: Blonde and Blonder with Pamela Anderson and that unsmart girl that was married to Charlie Sheen and had her own E! reality show… can’t think of her name, but it sounds like a truly inspirational film.
  • The Baron’s Baseball Team Mascot. In full costume, including the baseball head. On my plane. Very weird.

In such a manner did my entire day pass… it was rather surreal. I’d have to say I’m glad to be out of airports for awhile (not that long, I fly back in a week), but I have known New Yorkers to be just as oddball and surreal as my fellow passengers on Delta Flights 1690 and 1780, so maybe I’m in for more of the same.

Until I find the sanity and time to post again, Later, yous guys!