Easter Eatin’

Happy Easter, y’all!

I’ve been up to a lot lately that I will post about when I have some free time, which will be on the fifth of never.  Just kidding.  Kinda.

Even though these posts won’t be in chronological order, I thought I’d share my Easter while it’s fresh in my noggin.  My dear little sister, Eugene drove down from Lexington, Kentucky to join me for the holiday.  I hadn’t seen her since Christmas, which seems ridiculous since she lives only three and a half hours away.  She arrived last evening and we went out to dinner at Germantown Café, which we had been to last summer for brunch.  The brunch last year was fabulous and dinner certainly didn’t disappoint.

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My friend and her sister joined us and we ordered two appetizers to share: pork belly tater tots and fried green tomatoes.  I normally don’t like tomatoes but I didn’t mind choking these down one bit.  They weren’t half-bad; in fact, they were more than half-good. The pork belly tater tots were slightly smoky, but not overwhelmingly so, which was good.  I’m not a huge fan of smoky things, including cigarettes.  They were very rich but quite tasty.

For my entrée, I had the fish special, which was a panko-crusted tilapia with a Puttanesca –like medley over parmesan polenta and asparagus.  If there is ever a fish and grits/polenta dish offered at a restaurant, I will most likely order it.  It’s one of my favorite combinations ever.   This wasn’t the best I ever had, but it certainly hit the spot.

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We moved on to Holland House for drinks/dessert.  I ordered a drink on our waiter’s recommendation that wasn’t on the menu.  I don’t recall the name, but it was a bourbon-based concoction that tasted like fall in a tumbler.  Fall is my favorite season and bourbon is my poison, so I definitely enjoyed it.  It didn’t hurt that Holland House is such a neat scene with its dim-lighting and parlor-like feel with just the right balance of rustic and refined décor.  Initially I had wanted to sit at the bar to people watch and observe the theatrics of the bartenders making their artisan cocktails, but it worked out that we were seated by the fireplace since it was a cold, rainy night.  We ordered dessert to finish off the evening.  My sister and I split a flourless chocolate cake with a scoop of homemade carrot cake ice cream.  The dessert wasn’t as spectacular as the drinks, but all in all, it was a fun evening.

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After church this morning, my sister and I headed over to Pancake Pantry, which I have been wanting to try since I moved here.  I was forewarned that there would be a line down the sidewalk and today was no exception.  Poor Eugene toughed it out in the rain with me, each of us with a malfunctioning umbrella and no outerwear, for about 45 minutes.  Thankfully, the food was worth the wait otherwise I think she would have killed me.  She ordered pecan pancakes and I ordered chocolate chip.  We also rounded out the meal with an order of sausage patties and hash browns.   The pancakes were superb and the sausage was the good stuff.  The hash browns, while good, were clearly crisped up on the griddle with Parkay margarine.  I know this because Parkay has a very distinct flavor which I first experienced as a child when I insisted we purchase the Parkay spray margarine I had seen on TV because it looked like fun to use.  It is not tasty and I’m going to have to dock Pancake Pantry a few points for this faux pas.  They have a good thing going with their pancakes with whipped butter, though.

In my typical fashion, the visit was centered around food.   Eugene didn’t seem to mind and I didn’t have to cook.  Not that I mind cooking, but I still don’t have barstools so there isn’t a proper place to sit and eat a meal in my apartment.   I’m working on it though.  Thank goodness Nashville has a lot of great restaurants.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

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One Year Sweeter

Today is the one year anniversary of the Sugarlump, which means I have lived in Nashville for almost one year.  Man, does time fly.  I have a few reflections to share on this momentous day:

While I started this blog mainly to capture moments of my life that I never want to forget, it has proven to be so much more.  It eased me through the transition to my new home.  It has kept me connected to my family and friends who regularly read the Sugarlump and comment.  In turn, it assures them that I am alive and well.  Some of my extended family members and family friends have probably learned more about me through reading my blog this past year than they had learned about me in all the years they’ve known me combined.  Whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know.  I’m just putting it all out there.

Most surprisingly, The Sugarlump has connected me to new friends who I know only because they have found my blog or I have found theirs.  Who knew complete strangers would take the time to leave a kind note or helpful tips?  This blog regularly reassures me that this world is indeed full of good people.

This blog has given me the motivation to learn more about photography as it provides a great outlet through which to share the thousands of photographs I have taken since moving to Nashville.  I apologize to my readers who don’t care for cats or weather reporting.   I hope to get out more this summer.

Though I am generally journaling-averse, writing posts has been a kind of therapy for me.   It helps me to find joy in the little things as I reflect on my day.  It puts things into perspective.  It keeps me connected in a more meaningful way.  I never would have thought I’d call myself a blogger, but a blogger I have become.

And even though I have slacked off on the blogging as my life has become busier in Nashville, I hope to continue celebrating blog anniversaries.

Thanks to my faithful readers for all of your “likes” and comments.  You make my day.

Love y’all,

Sugarlump

Tax Avoidance (Not Evasion)

It’s funny how, when faced with doing your taxes, vacuuming the sofa and ironing your socks become wildly appealing activities.  Suddenly, tackling that oil painting for my living room that I’ve been putting off since I moved in 11 months ago seems very urgent.  Brushing the cats’ teeth and cleaning out that “catch-all” basket of receipts, screw-drivers, lotion samples, paperclips and nail polish is just too hard to resist.

Doing my taxes really isn’t all that bad.  Because I own a business, I have an accountant who sends me a really nice tax organizer that makes the experience as painless and straight-forward as possible.  Every year, after I complete the document to return to her, I remark on how surprisingly simple it was.  And every year, I put off doing my taxes because something about it makes me want to do just about anything else.  I can’t explain it.

Today, instead of doing my taxes, I’ve done 4 loads of laundry and 1 load of dishes.  I’ve vacuumed, changed the sheets on my bed, rearranged the furniture and cleaned out the refrigerator.  Then I happened to find myself at Homegoods where I purchased 2 mirrors that were not the size I needed, but I had to have them.  Consequently, I have spent the last hour re-hanging everything on the walls in my apartment to accommodate said purchases.

At least I will have a fresh environment in which to do my taxes…whenever that may be.

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Off to French-braid Scarlett’s fur.  Doesn’t she look excited.

Y’all be responsible,

Sugarlump

A Very Costly 46 Cents

I’d like to start by saying that I pay most of my bills online as this is my preference for the sake of efficiency, peace of mind and instant gratification.  Two of my utility companies, however, are stuck in the previous century and charge a fee of roughly 10% of my bill to accept payment electronically.  I refuse to pay this outrageous fee given it is significantly higher than the cost of a stamp (even though postage has gone up).

As I went to pay my two paper bills by check (quick poll: how long do you think before checks are obsolete?), I realized I only had one stamp.  No problem, I would stop at the mail center store just down the road from my apartment when I was out running errands.

I pulled into the parking lot for the mail center store toward the end of the day only to find that the store had gone out of business in the month since I had been there last.  If only I had to pay more bills by mail so I could have kept them in business.  It sure was a handy location.

The bills sat in my car for the next few days as a reminder to buy stamps at a less convenient location.

On my lunch break a few days ago, I headed out to McDonald’s for some McNuggets.  I’d had McDonald’s on the brain ever since one of my coworkers ate a sausage biscuit in front of me as my stomach growled, unsatisfied with the oatmeal and blueberries I’d had for breakfast.  Feeling slightly guilty for straying from my healthy choices, I asked if anyone else wanted anything from McDonald’s.  My pregnant boss asked for a medium order of fries.

I went through the drive-thru and headed back toward the office.  When I was almost there, I happened to glance down and notice my bills in the center console.  I figured I might as well stop off and get some stamps while I was out, so I made a U-turn and drove to Fedex Kinko’s.  I waited at the counter for about 5 minutes as the 3 employees decided not to pay attention to me.  When one finally came over, he told me that they don’t sell stamps but the Walgreens across the street does.  So I hopped back in the car and drove over to Walgreens.

I arrived at Walgreens to utter chaos. There were two checkout lines, both manned by people who seemed to have the opposite of a sense of urgency despite the fact that there were about 10 people in line.  I waited in line for nearly 10 minutes as the cashier studied each of the purchases of the people ahead of me.  I was delighted to wait in line on this dreary, raw day as the young boy in front of me, wearing basketball shorts and no coat, proceeded to cough up a lung.

I finally made it through the line and asked the cashier where the nearest mailbox was.  The woman behind me in line suggested I take my bills to Fedex Kinko’s just across the street.

So I headed BACK to Fedex Kinko’s.  A line had formed and the staff seemed flustered.   Seeing a box that said “outgoing packages,” I walked up to the desk and asked one of the employees if she would kindly just toss my bills in the “outgoing packages” box.  She proceeded to tell me that they don’t take regular mail, but there is a mailbox in the shopping center down the road.  Just fabulous.

I headed down the road to the mailbox and dropped off my very irritating bills. I probably wasted at least a gallon of gas and 30 minutes on this adventure for a stamp.  And by the time I got back to work, I had only room temperature French fries to present to a pregnant lady.  It might have been worth that online fee after all.

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Continuing my brilliant success at life, yesterday, I vacuumed up my phone charger.

Y’all be smart,

Sugarlump