Moody Phones

My phone won’t talk to me. I think it must hate me. Either that, or it assumes I’m literate enough to read its response (which I imagine takes on a smart-aleck tone if spoken). In my mind, it says, “You’re a writer. Read THIS!”

I don’t have an iPhone, so it’s not like Siri is being PMS-y. Mine is an LG, which I love. But when I watch commercials, it shows people asking Google (which I guess is my phone’s mascot) questions and Google speaking to them. When I try, Google gets moody. I’ve been a faithful user of the search engine for many years, but I guess that doesn’t matter.

Aside from my phone not speaking to me, it’s also outdated and I only got it a few months ago. They have just released the newer version of my phone (maybe Google talks on that one). That explains why mine was so cheap when I upgraded from the basic phone I had for two and a half years.

Yes, this is my first smartphone. Yes, I’m aware that the year is 2015.

I’ve also had trouble with the GPS talking to me. Well, at least when it’s set as a woman’s voice. The man’s voice will talk all day. The woman says, “I don’t care how lost you get. Figure it out yourself.”

Come to think of it, Google’s voice on those commercials sounds feminine. Maybe that’s my trouble. All electronic devices are stuck on the PMS setting when they use a woman’s voice.

How to Drive in the City

Southern drivers are not known for being the fastest in the world. Unless you’re in NASCAR, but that’s another category in itself. In California, this Southern girl had the opportunity to drive a few times. No, I didn’t get run over. It reminded me of drivers in a city near to where I live, but more aggressive. So I’ve come up with a guide that will help you navigate cities and areas with faster drivers than, oh, say, your grandma. Unless she’s a leadfoot.

1. Stop Lights

In the city near me, these are more like suggestions. Green light? Go. Yellow light? Go faster. Red light? Hurry through that intersection so you don’t get hit.

Though I didn’t see as many people in California following this rule (maybe they understand traffic signals better), I didn’t drive a whole lot. And while I was riding in the car, I wasn’t paying much attention.

I did notice that no one seems to know how to navigate four-way stops just like here. For some reason, it makes sense on paper, but when people get to a four-way stop it’s every man for himself.

2. Turn Signals

These are practically illegal in California. I started out using mine until I saw no one else was. Literally. That guy who’s barely in front of you in the other lane absolutely expects you to read his mind and anticipate his lane change. If not, too bad. It’s your fault.

Not wanting to be a noob since the car had a California license plate, I quit using mine too. As long as I didn’t speak, I fit right in!

3. The California Wave

Remember that guy who cut you off? It’s perfectly acceptable to express your feelings with a one-finger wave. They expect these things. If you don’t, you might hurt their feelings. For good measure, and to make sure they see it, blow your horn too. Nothing makes them happier.

4. Turning

In addition to running red lights, it’s a good idea to squeeze your car into the five-foot space next to the car in front of you just so you can turn on red. The people who are coming will wait. Also, ignore the “no turn on red” sign. It’s just a suggestion.

Not enough room? Go up on the curb if you have to. Make room. Just be sure to turn on red because you are in such a hurry and that BOGO sale on shoes will run out in five minutes.

Happy driving!

If You Try This, Don’t Become a Chef

My fiance Kirk and I watch a lot of cooking shows. We didn’t always. We’ve been on a cooking-show kick ever since we got hooked on Kitchen Nightmares and Chef Ramsay’s constant yelling.  That doesn’t make me jump at the thought of becoming a chef, but the drama is fun.

Ever since then, I’ve experimented with some new recipes and combinations. To my (and everyone else’s) delight, it’s actually been good.

Kirk also has the experiment bug. However, his haven’t turned out exactly like the chefs we’ve seen on Chopped when they’re given a basket of random ingredients. Two major examples stand out to me.

One night, Kirk and I decided we wanted omlettes for supper. Breakfast for supper works, right? He wanted to be a sweetheart and make both of ours. I told him what I wanted and waited patiently in the living room. Not too much later, he brought my broccoli and cheese omlette. It was good!

I waited for him, all the while smelling a strange aroma coming from the kitchen. I couldn’t figure out what it was until he came in the living room and proudly announced he made a banana omlette. Not even joking. Out of morbid curiosity, I tried a bite. It was nasty. Half egg and half cooked, mushy banana. He ate the whole thing, but later said he thought it was gross. I’m not sure why he thought it would be a good combo.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt on that one. It was an experiment gone wrong. But last night, there was another banana incident.

In the South, we love banana and mayonaise sandwiches. They’re so wonderful on a summer day. Kirk isn’t from the South, so it took him a while to warm up to the idea, but now he loves them.

Last night he was going to make one. I walked into the kitchen as he was spreading mayo on his bread and saw, to my horror, mustard sitting out, waiting for him to use next. You just don’t do that. Yuck. He protested as I put it away, so I put a little mayo and mustard on the end of the banana and made him try it (by that time he was skeptical about it). Again, he agreed with me that it was nasty.

Where he comes up with these ideas is beyond me. I think I need to get him off the cooking shows. They’re a bad influence. Especially if he’s going to be cooking for me in the future when we’re married.

Either that, or I need to get used to strange banana dishes.

My Car Rules

I drive two cars. My primary car is my Honda. My weekend, sunny day car is my Mustang. It’s interesting that I ended up loving Mustangs so much because my family is all about Camaros. I’ve grown up around them, ridden in my dad’s classics, gone to car shows and admired them, but I’m a Mustang girl through and through. I’m a rebel.

But my family loves my Mustang too. Especially my brother who wants to play like it’s a secret.

Before I got my Mustang, I had already decided I would be as gentle and as careful with it as humanly possible. Therefore, I have established some ground rules for my car that have caused a lot of laughs, but that aren’t changing.

1. No Food or Drinks

Passengers can enjoy a ride free of food or beverage when they take a ride in my Mustang. If you’re starving or about to dehydrate, you might want a different ride. Dad once got a cup of coffee and got in my car, fully prepared to sip it as we rode around, and I made him wait. His coffee got cold.

It’s a miracle I participated in a Christmas parade complete with candy throwing.

2. Keep It Dry

People really don’t understand this one. I don’t drive my Mustang in the rain. Ever. Once I was out and it started sprinkling on it and I made a mad dash home to get it under cover. There was one rouge cloud waaaaaay up high.  So now I only drive it on sunny, almost cloudless days. I can’t stand the thought of it getting wet because I pride myself on keeping it clean (except for right now when it needs a wash).

3. Become an Anti-Social Parker

I never–let me repeat–never park next to someone unless it’s my parents, brother, or fiance. Ever. I choose a safe distance from others and then if I come back and someone has parked next to me, I have a minor freak out. Not really, but I do check to see if they hit my Mustang with their door in their hurry to catch the BOGO special on electronics at Wal-Mart. Heaven help the people who park next to me.

4. Don’t Race

It’s amazing to me how many people asked how fast my Mustang would go when I first got it. When I explained that I didn’t know because I kept a safe speed, they laughed. Then they proceeded to tell me how fast they would drive if they had it. That, people, is why I don’t let anyone (not even my fiance) drive it.

Do you have funny rules for your car? If so, I’d love to hear it. Leave me a comment and tell me the rules that made others laugh. I bet I’ll understand completely.

More on Flying: The Passengers

Since I’m on a roll with travel advice, I’m going to spend some time talking about a few common passenger types. There will usually be at least one on whatever flight you’re on and depending on where they’re sitting, it could make for either a smooth ride or a headache.

1. The Chatter Box

You don’t know this person. It’s the first and last time you will ever see them, but by the time the plane lands you will know how they broke their arm when they were five and how rocky or successful their marriage is. Plus, all the gory details in between.

This type of person is a mixed blessing. Depending on your personality, you could walk away with a new best friend or be grouchy as ever because you didn’t get to sleep and it was an overnight flight (been there).

2. The Anti-Social Seatmate

This person might not be anti-social normally, but something about being on a plane makes them get really quiet. Or sleepy. Or into their book or music or phone. For some reason, that becomes more interesting than anything else around them. Their mouths don’t open once except to drink the complementary soda.

Your best bet is to avoid talking to this person because when they put in their ear buds it was the equivalent of saying, “I don’t know you, nor do I care to so leave me alone.”

3. The Sleeper

This person drank three espressos from Starbucks before boarding the plane and they’re about to bounce all over the place, but when the plane leaves the ground they just can’t keep their eyes open. Perhaps it starts when you’re shoved into your seat during takeoff. Maybe that’s soothing?

These people are similar to the Anti-Social Seatmate because you almost forget they’re around except for the snoring. How do they manage to sleep through the turbulence?

You can bet when the plane touches down they’ll be wide awake and ready to go again.

4. The Crying Baby

The worst of the worst. It’s embarrassing for the parents and annoying for the rest of the passengers. It’s even worse when the baby screams at the top of his lungs for the entire takeoff and landing. True story. Been there. The other passengers and I were ready to lock the kid in the bathroom for the duration of the flight.

Your only defense is to bring some ear plugs and some Tylenol.

Good luck.

Read This Before Choosing Your Airplane Seat

Hello again! This month has been really hectic but I’m hoping things are going to be slowing down a bit.

So, I posted recently about going to California. It was so, so fun and I wish I was still there. That was a much needed vacation.

It wasn’t my first time flying, but I did make some new observations about plane rides. This all started when I got on the plane in Phoenix and the pilot proudly announced that it was a new plane (that made me a bit nervous, but that’s another story). I pointed out to my fiance that the seats still felt like a million butts had flattened them to the width of pancakes. Airlines obviously don’t splurge on their seats.

That lead to some inspiration for this post: the pros and cons of each seat.

1. The Aisle Seat

Pros: This is arguably the best seat. You don’t have to ask someone to move when your bladder suddenly shrinks to the size of a pea when you get to altitude or when a nice patch of turbulence reminds you that you need to go. You’re closest to the attendants so when they ask if you’d like anything, you’re first in line.

Cons: Your travel companions will have to jump up and go to the bathroom about five hundred times before you land and that means you have to move. Trying to take a nap? Their bathroom situation is more important. Also, you will get brushed up on by more than a few butts as people squeeze by to get on the plane or to move around in general.

2. The Middle Seat

Pro’s: Nothing, unless you’re traveling with friends or family and they’re on either side. If you’re not, then I’m sorry about your luck, Chuck.

Con’s: There is no comfortable way to sleep. Believe me, I’ve tried. Pulling out the tray and resting on it will only work for so long. On our way to California, I woke up from my nap and saw my fiance (in the middle seat) with his chin on his chest asleep. He was just asking for a neck cramp. It was a miracle that he didn’t get one because my neck would have been stuck like that for a week.

3. The Window Seat

Pro’s: You can see the passing landscape. That’s why this is my favorite seat. Also, if you need to sleep you can lean your head on the window/wall.

Con’s: Seeing out the window if you’re scared of heights. Of course you can close it, but still. If you choose this seat, you will probably be the one who makes everyone else have to get up five hundred times. Otherwise, you’re pretty much stuck there in your little window seat.

Wait. Why is it my favorite again?

California vs. NC: Time Zone Battle

By now, you’ve probably noticed my absence for the past week. If not, act like you did. I was in the sunny state of California visiting family with my fiance. Except while we were there it was cool and breezy the whole time which meant I never got to unpack my shorts. My one pair of jeans were well used.

It was such a fun, relaxing trip, which we both really needed. You don’t quite know how much you need to rest until you finally do. Plus I got to see my fiance’s family, whom we don’t see much because of the distance. I’ve got the best parents-in-law!

The tricky part for me right now is adjusting to that pesky North Carolina time zone again. It was easy adjusting to California because, being the sleep-lover that I am, I gained three hours. On the way back, I lost three. I’m that person who takes forever adjusting when we lose an hour every spring, so this is a challenge. Hopefully, I’ll get back on schedule in the next few days. And no, this isn’t my first time adjusting to NC time after being in California. It just sounds like it!

So anyway, that’s the brief update telling you I’m back! Prepare for more fun stories in the future. 🙂