Malevolent Monday

First things first, it’s Monday.  A day to be dreaded by most everyone because it isn’t Saturday or Sunday but has the unfortunate circumstance of being after those two lovely days.

Anywho, it’s Monday.  And It’s exactly 1 year to the day that my Grandma fell and broke her hip.  She had a really hard time recovering and hasn’t been the same since.  And yesterday she fell again… and broke her other hip.  Crazy huh?  She had surgery today and we are waiting to hear how it went.

Since they live in Florida for aDSCN1088 little more than half the year, it means they are there and the whole family isn’t.  Last year my dad, my cousin Lacey, her baby Wylie and myself went down to visit them and help out a little.  And now we are all on standby to see if an emergency family visit will be needed again.

We hope not.  We love them, and of course we love Florida, but things were just scary last year and we do not need to repeat that. If you are so inclined, she could use some extra prayers right now.


I Wonder…

I took a little driving trip to le outlet mall today and as I was driving, I had the privilege of seeing some absolutely amazing views of the mountains.  And it made me wonder…

Do they only make me stop in awe because I haven’t seen them daily for months or years on end?

Do the people who have always lived here appreciate the natural beauty they are surrounded with everyday?

I truly hope they never become something routine for me.




Brave [breyv]: 1) possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance. 2) to meet or face courageously: to brave misfortunes. 3) to defy; challenge; dare.

Since the moment I announced that I was packing my bags, leaving everyone and everything I knew behind, and moving to the beautiful Appalachian region, I’ve had so many people look at me in shock and say, “Wow! That’s brave!”

I’ve never thought of it as a particularly “brave” thing to do. A little crazy nuts maybe, a little impulsive maybe, but not brave. But each of these people have used exactly that word.

I don’t know if I fully agree but I liked the last definition I found:

To defy; challenge; dare.

I agree with that wholeheartedly.  I defied everyone who didn’t believe I could or should go.  I challenged myself to be something different.  And I dared to believe that I was meant for something more.

I will take that word and wear it with a smile because I’ve learned something about myself… I learned to be brave.


Tell Me This

How is it possible that there are NO local phone numbers available through Google Voice OR Verizon for the Johnson City area?!  They give you “local options” that include places like Kingsport, Elizabethton, Limestone… but how do I know which one isn’t going to be long distance?

The whole point of me changing phone numbers is so I can have a LOCAL number that my staff can call if they need to reach me.  So if I can’t get a number that won’t charge long distance back to my cost center, I might as well stick with my Michigan number right?


As far as I can deduce by using the phone book and internet searches, Limestone seems to be truly “Local” where Elizabethton and Kingsport are in question.  Can anyone confirm this?phone



netflixMaybe it’s a product of not having any friends or family in the area to keep me occupied on a Friday night… or the fact that my first paycheck since mid-December is “on hold” at the bank until tomorrow… or the fact that I’m just lame and wanted to do nothing much after total information overload the past 3 weeks… No matter what it was, I decided to sign up for Netflix on Thursday.

Now I’ve had Netflix in the past but deactivated my account because a) I wasn’t using it enough to justify the expense because b) the apartment I was living in had NO box for outgoing mail and c) I was too lazy to drive to the box in the business complex a bit down the road.  This was all pre- instant movies and my having a Wii. I loved the service back then and was sad when I closed my account.

But I am convinced Netflix rocks for a few reasons. 

  1. Even though I am a former member, I still qualified for a free month “trial” of their services.  Score!
  2. My movie queue from my prior membership was still there, ready and waiting for me to catch up on all the movies I missed.
  3. My first physical movie selection arrived on Saturday [Eat, Pray, Love]
  4. It was SUPER easy to connect my Wii and start watching movies immediately!

Yup I’m a happy camper!  Next weekend I promise I will go out and explore the area and get some pictures posted… next weekend.


On The Books!

plannerMy first official visitors are scheduled to arrive in just a couple of weeks.  They will not be staying overnight and are more just passing through… but its exciting all the same!

My Grandpa and a few of my uncles are going golfing in Myrtle Beach and they have to drive this way to get back home so they are making a short pit stop before holing up in Knoxville for the night. They are planning on being here for dinner and right now the plan is to go out.  I suggested a couple places and then it was suggested to me that maybe we should go somewhere “local.”


I’m barely a local so how do I know what is good according to the locals? I know of a couple roadside BBQ places but they have weird hours. I know of the Hibachi Express but I highly doubt that’s the direction they are looking to go.  I know of the Parson’s Table because I’ve been told its BYOB. (I live in a DRY city meaning no alcohol is served or sold within city limits – what the heck was I thinking?? Thankfully the city limit isn’t far from my house!)  They could be here as late as 7/8pm so it has to be someplace with later hours.

So where should we go? I’m looking for suggestions!  If you know of someplace good in Johnson City/Jonesborough, let me know!


Things That Feel Odd

There are a few things that feel weird to me and remind me that I’m not in Michigan anymore …

  • The southern accents all around me.  Yes I’m in the south and I should expect it but somehow it still takes me by surprise.  And there are some people I still struggle to understand because its really strong.
  • Having a 2 level home. I’m just not used to it and I feel like I’m not using the 2nd floor enough… even though I sleep there for hours every night!
  • Paying sales tax on food. It’s 5.5% instead of 0%.
  • BUT there is no state income tax so my paycheck is a little bigger than it would have been in MI.
  • The fact that its light outside when I leave the house at 7am… and actually sunshine at all this time of year feels foreign!  Its funny to listen to coworkers complain after 2 or 3 cloudy days when I haven’t really noticed except for the fact I don’t have to use my sunglasses.
  • Using my parking brake all the time.
  • People openly talking about God and their faith. Almost daily this takes me by surprise.  It’s definitely not a bad thing.
  • The grocery store… there are plenty of options, just no Meijer Sad smile which means I haven’t been able to find certain things I used to buy all the time.
  • Throwing away soda cans… there is no $0.10 refund on these and although you can bring them in for recycling, I’m getting the feeling its not the norm.  If you are in a meeting and they have cans there, the trash can is just full of them.dr-enough
  • No Faygo pop but seeing something faygocalled Dr. Enuf.




  • Also on a side note: calling it soda instead of pop is just wrong!


I Have Been Quiet

confessionWell it’s been 11 days since my last post… and that sentence makes me feel like I’m at an AA meeting or confession or something! “Hi my name is CK [Hi CK!!] and it’s been 11 days since…”

Surely after moving 800 miles away from all my friends and family and starting a new job, moving into a new place, being embedded in a new culture I have something to say about it all, right?

Well… yes I have plenty to say… my brain is just on overload and I’m having trouble putting together complete sentences at present.

Over the last 3 weeks I have been in day long orientation sessions, visited all but 2 of our 14 hospitals, met approximately 785 new people including most of the CFO’s for the system, tried to figure out the 5 or 6 [see I’m still not sure!] different coding abstracting systems that all have about 3 names each and which hospitals are using which systems all while trying to figure out what the current departmental strengths, weaknesses and opportunities are.

information-overload Sigh… yes I’m on overload.

My director has asked me more than once if I’ve hit the “what the heck did I get myself into and how can I get out?!” moment yet and I think she is slightly surprised that I keep answering no!  Even though my brain is on overload with all the new, I feel that I am in the right place.  And that is really what matters most, isn’t it?

So I would like to promise you all that I’m coming out of the silence and will be posting on a more regular basis again but I just don’t know right now.  I have a ton to update you all on [101, cancer update, Tennessee pics] and at least 2 book reviews to post so there are things in the works but if my brain says “don’t you DARE turn on that computer when you get home!” I have to listen.  I think you can only take in so much before your brain goes mushy and no one likes mush.

So since I just came from 8 hours of leadership development classes, I’m going to log off and access my Netflix and pop some popcorn.  The to-do list can wait one more day!


SGK Plates!

I recently discovered that I have 30 days to get a new drivers license and plates on my car – oh the joy.  Now imagine my delight when I found out that I have to visit not only the DMV but also the county courthouse to do both of these things.  It *almost* made me miss the Secretary of State office back in Michigan… almost. 

But then as I was looking into my local Komen affiliate info I found one tidbit of joy in the growing to-do list...  KomenLicensePlate

They have PINK RIBBON license plates in Tennessee!!!  Oh.Em.Gee. I die.

This is the most exciting news I have had since I found out I got the job!  You bet your bippy I will be getting one of these beautiful plates.  I mean seriously… pink+SGK+platinum VW = fabulosity does it not?

In other exciting news… I learned how to Skype tonight!  My first call included dad, mom & Grandpa S!  What a nifty bit of technology that is!  I shall definitely be participating in more videoconferencing fun!Video call snapshot 1



appalachiaAs it is my 8th day here and I’m still getting used to the culture, I feel I should share with you some of the interesting things I’ve learned over the last few days. 

First and most importantly, you don’t say “Appa-lay-shiun” you pronounce it “Appa-latch-ian” as any good local would.  If you say it wrong they immediately know you aren’t from around these parts.  You may even be corrected, very politely of course.

Which leads into the next thing… if you are correcting someone or speaking about them without their knowledge (not gossiping of course because as we all know, Southern ladies don’t gossip, they just share information) you are required to say “bless her/his heart.”  Oh boy, I’m sure I will get a lot of blessings until I learn my way around!

I was also informed that I must start adding a “the” in front of things.  For example, “I am going to THE Wal-mart”, or “I’m going to watch THE TV”, or “I’m going to THE bed now.”  Its not a particular idiom that I’ve noticed yet but they tell me it’s true. They also told me that if I’m at the Wal-Mart I am required to talk to everyone I see or fear being branded rude.  This includes the cashier to whom its only polite to discuss anything and everything with, bless her heart.

Perhaps the most interesting phrase I’ve heard… “I don’t care to.”  Ok so for all my Michigan friends and family, what exactly do you think that phrase is supposed to mean?  If you said “I’d love to!” you would be exactly correct.  Now I have no idea how you are supposed to get that out of that but I know I better watch what I say and really pay attention to what they say and clarify if needed!

All in all its been an interesting 3 days on the job, that’s for sure!  I’m a little overwhelmed with information but I’m sure it will get better.  It will also help when I finally get rid of these Tennessee germs that my body is soooo not used to yet!  I’m officially at a week now fighting this I think?  Yesterday I came home from work and slept the rest of the day and night away and woke up feeling better finally.  I’m hoping for a repeat performance tonight (especially since its snowing and I’m terrified of the TN drivers) so I’m completely better tomorrow. Maybe I can catch up on a few things then… we shall see!


How Did I Do?

I can usually never remember what my new year’s resolutions are but last year I just so happened to blog about them!  So how did I do?

Well I did get back on a training schedule for the 3 Day but did not manage to focus on eating right and dumping the pounds.  Well I did dump about 20lbs but packed them right back on the last few months… I’m a big stress eater.  I acknowledge this fact. I get a big fat C+ on this one – only getting the plus because I was making progress for about half the year.

I did pretty well decluttering my apartment – heck I even sold my kitchen table before moving to TN! I would give myself an A- on this one.

Read one book per month – well I read well over 12 books, maybe skipping a busy month here or there… I will give myself an A because the overall goal of this resolution was to get back into reading.  Mission accomplished.

Go out with the girlies at least once a month – we maybe didn’t stick to a strict schedule but I think we did pretty good getting together!  I’m going to miss you girls and think you are all stars so we all get an A+!

Define a budget and kick debts to the curb…. uhm…. yeah… D-.  Let’s move on.

Be a kick butt 3 Day captain with a super successful fundraising year – Every team member raised their share and made it through the 3 Days.  With over $15,000 raised, I give us an A+!  Soooo proud of the team!  If you want to donate for next year: check this out!

So what are my goals/resolutions for 2011?

  • Really dump the extra poundage and focus on healthier eating habits, perhaps joining my friends at WW once again
  • Keep on reading – at least 12 books this year
  • Start my 365 photo project
  • Knock down debts by at least half and set a budget to stick to

2011 promises to be very exciting for a number of reasons and I am definitely looking forward to see what it brings!



So I actually had to read my own blog to remember when the last time I posted was.  Sad. So sad.  So much and so little has happened since Christmas Eve!  Where could I begin?  I guess I’m just going to give you the highlights to get you all up to speed.

One. The holidays were wonderful.  I managed to focus on spending time with family and friends instead of packing which made for many special moments even if it did add a little to the stress levels.  The night before I left Michigan I barely got 2 hours of sleep because of all the things that had to be done that were running through my mind.

Two.  I was dreading the 12hr drive to Tennessee not only because of the lack of sleep but also because I was toting the kitties in the car.  Cats HATE cars. Mine tends to cry/meow very loudly the entire time we are in the car. This trip started out just like I thought it would but after about 20 mins I heard not a peep!  Amazing!  Were they still alive? They rode like champs and made mommy proud.  And I didn’t even have to sedate them!  They didn’t like being cooped up in the hotel bathroom the first night though and let me know they were feeling neglected by ripping the hair dryer off the wall and turning it on.  Oh how I wish I had a video camera for those moments!

Three. Since arriving, the temperature has been anywhere from about 35-65F.  Being from Michigan, I’m used to crazy temperature swings but down here they are on a slightly warmer scale. Love it!  I’m sure my cow neighbors appreciated the snow melt as well. ;o)

Four.  Apparently moving to this area as a single woman immediately makes you eligible for adoption by any and all slightly older southern ladies in the area.  I have even been adopted by Ms. Carolyn at the Chick-Fil-A.

Five.  It is impossible to find a silverware organizer for a drawer that has a 7 inch maximum width.  But you can find magnetic curtain rods in many stores!

Six. No matter how organized you thought you were when packing, there will be way more “random” boxes than you remembered causing you to go up and down stairs 5 or 6 times per box until the contents are emptied.

Seven.  I acquired a terrible cold/sinus infection about a day after we arrived so the unpacking and getting organized has been going slowly.   I firmly believe everything would still be in boxes if my wonderful family hadn’t been here to help me!  I think I only have maybe 10-15 boxes to go, most of which are “spare room” items (read: not critically important for survival) but maybe 3-5 are classified as “bathroom.”  That means its time for another cup of Thera-Flu and back to work for a bit!