I am officially addicted to Google Reader.

I just found out about it today when I was reading one of the many blogs I check, Decorno. I check a LOT of blogs. Too many to admit, actually. I don't read every word, but I scan for things that are interesting or inspiring, and it can be time consuming. With Google Reader though, they are all in the same place, and it automatically lets me know when someone has put up a new post (read: no more checking for new posts in vain).

Anyway, when I discover a new product that gets me excited, I can't help but share. If you're a blog reader, try this out - its really cool!

Heather C in Tennessee

So this past week and weekend, Heather C. came to visit me all the way from Austin, Texas! Heather and I have known each other for 11 years. We met outside of the art building at college when we were 18, we hit it off immediately, and we've been good friends ever since!

One thing I love about having someone come visit that isn't from this area is getting to see my town from someone else's point of view, and it always makes me appreciate where I live a little more each time. Here are a few highlights from her visit:

The first full day, of course we had to go to the Smoky Mountains.

We drove up Foothills Parkway to see the view...beautiful as always, but a little hazy.

Then we went to a swimming hole in the Smokies. The water was FREEZING but it was still really fun to be in it.

A couple days later I decided to show Heather another view, and this one was at the top of Sharp's Ridge. It was, um....interesting. The view was good and all, but when we got out of the car, these two dudes we like, "Hey girls?" *long pause* "Don't stay up here too long." *suspicious grins* We were a little freaked, so we just took a quick snap shot and hopped back in the car and locked the doors.

This is Heather's Let's Get the Heck Outta Here smile

Once we got in the car, we were ready to hightail it out of there, but the car wouldn't start! And I'll be honest - at this point I flew into an all-out panic :) Finally after several tries the car started and I flew down that hill so fast. Its kind of funny to think about now, but not so much at the time. We made it out of there, though! And I got my car all fixed up this morning.

That night we sat on the patio at Urban Bar and people watched before seeing Tift Merritt at the Pilot Light. She was SO good. It was kind of a weird venue for her to be playing in, but other than that it was a great show.

The next to last day was Market Square, Gay Street, and World's Fair Park. We went up to the top of the Sunsphere and saw 360 views of the city (and I learned that they put real 24K gold dust in the windows to make them extra shiny). We walked around downtown, we peeked inside the beautiful Tennessee Theatre (Weird Al Yankovic was performing that night, but we didn't see him), and we hung out at the Bistro for a little while with the Disc Exchange crew.

I didn't really realize how much we packed into 4 days until I typed it all out! I guess too it was kind of important for me to show Heather that Knoxville really is awesome since she lives in such an awesome city herself :) Besides seeing all the sights, we really just did a TON of talking. I knew that would happen before she got here, and I loved every minute of it. I don't really like to talk on the phone, but I looooove having someone to talk to face-to-face.

So yeah...it was good times. The only bad thing is that I always get the My Friend Just Left Blues after people go home, but I'll be okay. I had such a blast - thanks for coming to Tennessee, Heather!


This past Friday I had the pleasure of seeing my all-time favorite musician in concert for the 2nd time.....TOM PETTY! Oh MAN he was good. But I'll get to that in a second.

Seth, Todd, Xembra and I headed off to Charlotte, NC for the show, and rocked out to Petty in the car the whole way. The closer we got, the darker the clouds got, but magically there wasn't a cloud in the sky once we got to the amphitheatre.

We had such a good time, just sitting out on the lawn and listening to the opening act, Steve Winwood.

Towards the end of his set, he sang one of his biggest hits - Higher Love - or as I call it, The Big Business Song :)

As soon as the sun went down, Petty came out, and he ROCKED it.

All of these Petty pics are courtesy of Xembra, by the way...Seth and I were just too far away and our camera wasn't powerful enough to get any good shots of the stage. Thanks Xembra!

He is so freaking talented, and he puts on such an awesome show.

Seth and I were really worn out the next day after all the excitement, and were pretty much out for the drive home.

These pics are also courtesy of Xembra :)

What a great trip and a great show! Oh, and I didn't make a bit of progress on my other house project...I was just too worn out. It'll have to wait until weekend after next because I've got company coming all the way from Texas tomorrow and she'll be here for the rest of the week and weekend. I can't wait! Having good pals or family come visit is the BEST :)


Sigh of relief

Well, I just wrapped up the busiest work week of my entire year! Fiscal year end stuff...nothing exciting enough to talk about here. Let's just say that it was intense and stressful and I'm just glad I made it through. Tonight I've got a great reward for such a tough week, but I'll write more about that after the fact.

In the meantime, I finally took some pictures of the hallway that I painted orange about a month ago. Here it is looking from the living room into the hallway, with some of the green bathroom in there too:

Its pretty hard to get a picture of the hallway, but this shot shows the tiny strip of orange wall in between the green of the bathroom and the purply-taupe of the bedroom:

Gah, I love color so much. I still haven't picked one for the den yet, but once I do and get it painted, I think I might be kind of sad that there won't be any more rooms to pick colors for.

One other quick project I wanted to share - I've been thinking about the built-in bookshelves for months now, and wanting to either paint the insides of them or put paper on the back wall behind them. Then this past weekend I had one of those great productive Saturdays where I got tons of little things done that I'd been meaning to do for a long time. I had 2 large sheets of paper that I ordered as a possible option for the TV stand (and never used), so I just cut them to size and put them on the back of the shelves!

It didn't take any time at all, and it would work on any kind of bookshelf (built-in or not) and with any kind of paper.

I've got one other project in the works right now, but its not as simple as this one...it involves sanding (UGH) and staining. I'm going to try to get it done this weekend, but we'll see how it goes. I've never stained anything, so I'm not sure how long it will take to dry or how many coats I'll need to do. More on that later!

Dog Days of Summer II

I waited a whole year for Dog Days of Summer at the Smokies stadium, and it was finally time to take Ruby to her 2nd ball game last night. Last year she did really well and had a great time, but this year was a little different since she can't see anymore. From the moment we got out of the car, she was pretty overwhelmed by all the smells and sounds of thousands of fans and thousands of dogs. There were WAY more dogs this year...an adorable red heeler that was also blind, 2 great danes, a tiny dog wearing jeans and overalls, a blue heeler puppy, and about a million other varieties. Ruby was having a hard time moving through the crowd with all the noise, so I ended up just picking her up and carrying her to our spot.

Once we got to our spot (the same one as last year), Rube still looked terrified.

She stayed close to the wall and wouldn't get on the blanket. She wouldn't drink any water and she stayed behind Seth for a good 45 minutes.

Then she started relaxing a little, and I caught a smile.

After awhile she was ready to join us on the blanket. What a beautiful summer night!

She finally laid down and got comfy...

And soon she was fast asleep :)

What a sweet girl, and a great ball game!