remembering bandy...

on friday, january 11th, my paternal grandmother-- dollie jeanette abrigo-- passed away rather unexpectedly. she was 74.

bandy (my nickname for her since i was able to speak) valiantly struggled through many health issues in the last several years of her life. and though these illnesses robbed her of her mobility, they never robbed her of her sense of humor (she laughed at my lame jokes until the very end), her vanity (she had her hair done at the assisted living facility every week), or her faith (she and jesus were absolutely on a first name basis as she invoked his name every time she moved). she was an awesome grandmother and i looked forward to spending every one of the summers of my childhood with her in south georgia. like many people in my family, she pushed me to be better than i thought i could be, reveling in my successes and not dwelling on my failures. her death reminded me of how fleeting life is, how you don't get to choose when you leave and how important it is to not regret.

this year long adventure is dedicated in her memory.
i will miss sharing my stories with her.

proverbs 3:23-26:

then shalt thou walk in the way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. when thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. for the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

second new thing...

and we're back. thanks for sticking with me. so this adventure has proven to be way more difficult than i ever thought it would. and challenging in ways i never could have imagined. after the fiasco that was the first new thing, i wanted my next foray into the 52 new things to be relatively painless and worry free. so, for my second new thing of 2008, i decided to help the environment and my sanity. i needed an easy new thing to boost my ego, so i chose to recycle my christmas tree.

and here she is. isn't she a beaut? this little douglas fur-- let's call her "doug"-- was a pain in the tookas from the beginning. i purchased "doug" at my local home depot (insert lesbian joke here) on a saturday and then left town for three days. when i returned, not only had she been completely lazy (and didn't decorate herself), she also turned into a complete slob (leaving needles all over my white carpet). after only 5 days i already had needles on my carpet. great.

anyway, as is tradition in the collins family, the christmas tree stayed up until after the coming of the new year, falling needles and all. so once i returned from a lovely holiday with the mom and the dad, i prepped "doug" to meet her maker. atlanta has a wonderful program every year called "bring one for the chipper" and i was totally stoked about participating in a city wide green initiative. i googled the program and found site information on the city government website and prepped for a date with the chipper on january 8th.

see. these 52 new things are gonna turn out to be super easy. well, other than the clean-up. see picture to the right. and on a side note, nice tookas shot, madison. very lady-like.

on the morning of the 8th, i decided to double check the location and times for the recycling extravaganza. only this time i googled "bring one for the the chipper" and lo and behold, what did i discover? the event was not on tuesday, it was scheduled for saturday. the 5th. as in three days before the 8th. awesome. another plan thwarted. undeterred, i visited the sponsor page for the event, keep georgia beautiful. i emailed the contact for "bring one for the chipper", kim portmess and relayed my story. i am new to the city. i trusted the government. i don't want to hurt the earth by sending my recyclable she-tree to the landfill. any ideas? fully expecting to get the ol' fists double beat ala friends, i was surprised to receive a prompt response from kim. she's new to the city, too. she made the mistake of trusting the atlanta government website once, too. and i could take "doug" to the home depot where a few trees from saturday's event were still waiting to be mulched. awesome. thanks kim!

i wish i could do a flip book of pictures showing the sheer hilarity of the process of trying to get that tree in my car and to the home depot on my own. truly one of the funniest and frustrating things in my life. until google invents that application, this picture will have to do.

i decided to take the tookas exhibitionist with me as protection from the day laborers hanging out in the parking lot at the hd. once we arrived at the hd parking lot, i realized that kim had fibbed a little. if what i encountered there was "a few trees" left over from saturday's event, i'm truly glad i missed the actual day. there must have been 800 christmas trees just hanging out in the middle of the blacktop in front of the old hd. the unemployed immigrants and homeless looking for work ended up being the least of my worries as i struggled in my dress pants and sweater to get "doug" out of the back of car and on top of the pile of he-trees and she-trees. but i accomplished it. and "doug" found a second purpose, as mulch for some one's landscaping.

after the "recycling" went off without a hitch, i thought i was home free. wrong again, little lady. unfortunately we suffered an improbable loss. during the minuscule two hours madison was left to her own devices in the car as i finished up my work day, an unspeakable event happened and a hard decision had to be made. madison managed to lodge her lovely lupine leash between the passenger seat and the middle console and in a desperate act, she chose to free herself, chewing the leash in half. we mourn the loss of this fair friend, a companion since our lives began together. farewell fair leash. you will be missed. especially by the roo.



the blog post for the second of the 52 new things will be late this week due to a death in the family. thank you to all of you who have offered love and support. i hope you will return later in the week when the 52 new things returns.


first new thing...

so here it is. the first blog documenting my year-long adventure of 52 new things. you would think i would want to start off with a bang. go ahead and swing away at the first pitch. a real home run shot. well, i hope you aren't too disappointed. for the first of 52 new things, i chose to accomplish something that i thought would be a piece of cake. i set up my own wireless internet network.

when my dad asked me a couple months ago what i wanted for christmas, i said two words: wireless internet. so, lo and behold, on christmas morning, what did i find under the tree? a wireless router! sweet, right? all i would have to do is follow the directions on the handy-dandy instructional cd and in five-- maybe ten-- easy minutes i would have freedom to roam through my apartment wire free. look up naive in the dictionary and there will soon be a picture of me in my christmas pj's totally unconcerned about the phd in computer science that i would soon need to establish that wireless network.

case in point: reaction shot #1: this is me completely dumbfounded by my computer's inability to establish an internet connection whenever it was connected to the dsl modem through the new hoity-toity wireless router. see, in order to set up the wireless router, this whole "conversation" has to occur between the computer, the modem, the router and the internet. when the ethernet cable was connected directly to the modem and the computer, everything was golden. peeps be seriously communicating. but when that pesky little middle man router was added, something gots seriously lost in translation. that is a look of total fear on my face. i had every right to be afraid...

fast forward one hour later to: reaction shot #2: same issue. nothing new. other than the fact that now i am angry. seething, if you will. even audrey is a little concerned at this point. i simply couldn't figure out what was the problem. i have slightly more than rudimentary computer troubleshooting skills. i mean, i watch chuck. but i was at a loss. and i hate losing! but i'll be damned if the first of my 52 new things is derailed by a little thing like technical difficulties. so i did something completely unexpected. i called technical support at at&t and steadied myself for a completely frustrating and more than slightly unintelligible conversation with someone strapped to a headset in bangalore.

much to my surprise and excitement, after 5 minutes of holding (to some really horrifically bad muzak) i was greeted by amber-- a bona fide southern girl (accent and all) stationed right here in the great state of georgia. things are looking up. i relayed the current sitch in 50 words or less, fully confident that a) i couldn't possibly be the first person to have this problem; and b) that with a little georgia peach ingenuity amber and i could lick this problem in no time flat. silly little rabbit. see, it is the policy of this great multi-media conglomerate (aka the gestapo of communication) to only troubleshoot problems caused by or resulting from malfunctions of their products. i had purchased my wireless router outside the at&t "family" (read: mafia) and they were under no obligation to help me out. at this point i think my bottom lip began to quiver. what's a damsel in distress to do?

thankfully, there still exists some customer service in this world. amber took pity on my nerve-rattled self and walked me through a 45 minute process that required several reboots and higher order computer procedures (who the hell knows how to "bridge" a modem? raise your hands...alright, dad, you don't count, but anybody else? i thought not.) that i never would have been able to do on my own.
amber was understanding, funny, and (unfortunately) taken. but at the end of it all, i had set up my own wireless network. so much for it being a piece of cake. but, you know what? it's still pretty sweet.


i know this caucus is true...

it does seem inherently wrong that my first blog post after starting my year long project of doing 52 new things in 08 is, in fact, unrelated to anything new. i mean, i dance around my apartment in the middle of winter in a tankini and scarf all the time. it's just this time i thought i would share some reaction shots from this true dance dance revolution that followed the news of barack obama's WIN in the iowa caucus tonight.

dance party for obama!

madison even got into the excitement...

in general this blog will be apolitical. and fun. which is what me chasing the dog around while blasting "signed, sealed, delivered, i'm yours!" by the great stevie wonder was all about last night. madison is often fearful of these types of spontaneous displays of elation but even she was reticent to its presence last night. so, perhaps you, too, will indulge me and let me enjoy the moment?

fired up! ready to go!


what a year for a new year...

last night, as i rang in 2008 with a few relatively new friends in a relatively new city, i not only memorialized the year that was 2007, but i also-- for the first time in a long time-- was elated for the champagne toast that signaled the coming new year. for today marks the beginning of a new adventure. an attempt to push myself out of the unhappy rut i have dug for myself over the last several years. 366 (it is a leap year, after all) opportunities for change.

2008 will mark the closing days of my 20s. but rather than wallow in this unchangeable fact, i choose to make something good out of it. so every week in 2008 i will do something new. something i have never done before. 52 new things. some will be big, taking months of planning and months of saving. others will be small, spur of the moment responses to unforeseen nuances of the year to be. but i look forward to every one and hope that you will come along on this wild ride, offering support, good natured mocking and useful suggestions along the way. please email or leave a comment or two to help me find my 52 new things.

so, here we go, ya'll. i hope you will come back every sunday to read what new thing i accomplished the previous week. i promise to keep it entertaining and UP-TO-DATE.

to quote rent, the best musical of the 1990s, it's gonna be a happy new year!