Top 10 Things I Miss from Tennessee

Since moving from Knoxville to Los Angeles, I’ve certainly experienced my fair share of homesickness. While I love my new city (hey, I can lettuce wrap anything, my electric bill is about $35 per month, and buy any alcohol on Sunday!), it’s clear that some things are just better in Tennessee.

  1. Nice people

I’ve yet to experience someone being rude to me, specifically (if I’m not counting the idiot that yelled out his truck window to tell me that he hated my dog while I was walking her), but there are a lot of vocal jerks. It’s a fairly common occurrence to see someone bellowing into their phone or giving a complete stranger a piece of their mind.

  1. Measuring distance in miles instead of minutes

Depending on the direction you’re going and the time of day, going just a few miles can take half an hour. Knowing something is 20 miles away can be daunting.

  1. Leaving the poop

I hate picking up my dog’s poop. I understand why the law exists but I don’t have to like it. Carrying around that little warm baggie grosses me the hell out. (Or at least give me a place to throw it away!)

  1. Sweet tea

I need to buy a pitcher so I can start making my own.

  1. Turn lights

Turning left it is probably one of the most terrifying things in L.A. as it mostly consists of a social contract among Angelinos. When your light turns red, you turn left and pray that the oncoming traffic gives you a minute to get out of the way.

  1. Free shopping bags

It is 10 cents for every bag you get at any store. Those suckers aren’t free here.

  1. Breathing

Evie and I are both allergic to something out here. While I never dealt with allergies in Knoxville (shocker, I know), I’m definitely susceptible to something in L.A. I dislike the itchy eyes and my morning sore throat. Plus, Evie hasn’t stopped sneezing since we got off the 10.

  1. Parking

Not only is parking a struggle when you’re out and about (think expensive garages, sparse metered parking, and valet-only lots) but parking at home can be a pain, too. Each neighborhood has a district tag ( that you pay for either annually or quarterly) and you can only park in your specific area in the evenings and on weekends. Additionally, you have to move your car around at least once per week for street cleaning or get a ticket ($70 lost… already happened).

  1. Lack of honking

In Tennessee, no one honks. And if someone does, it’s because something terrible is happening. In L.A. the general population is honk-happy. It gives me a headache. There are so many great outdoor things to do in L.A. but the mood is always ruined by obnoxious people in cars.

  1. Fast food BBQ places.

I miss quick BBQ so much. What I wouldn’t give for a freakin Buddies Bar-B-Q.

Top Ten: Things I Wanted to be when I Grew Up

You are probably well aware that I am currently in my last semester of getting my master’s degree in Information Science. BUT it took me a while to get to here. Here are a few of the things I wanted to be while growing up.

 

10. Ballerina

I think this is quite possibly a standard among young girls that take ballet.

 

9. Musician

Another standard. I was fairly certain I was going to join a band and become famous. Duh.

 

8. Movie Director

This was short lived. As a teenager I loved putting together little movie clips with my friends. We didn’t make anything really worth showing the world but we had a lot of fun.

 

7. Journalist

I went through a period where I really thought I wanted to be a reporter. NOT making the High School Journalism/ Year Book class really killed that dream. Thanks Sequoyah, you dream crusher, you. I still hold a grudge.

 

6. Marine Biologist

I think this is the first “serious” career I wanted. It started around middle school and I loved water and animals so I guess I thought they went well together. Only, it didn’t stick. Science is not my forte.

 

5. Writer

I must admit, some small part of me thinks I’m going to publish the next great American novel.

 

4. Actress

I did a lot of acting growing up and it was always something I thought I was good at. I won the drama award in high school twice, but I didn’t think I had the luck or the look to do anything substantial. A drama teacher was certainly not something I wanted to be.

 

3. Meteorologist

This was my high school dream. If I couldn’t be an actress at least I would be on tv. Weather always intrigued me. I was that kid that, during the tornado watch, would go outside and watch the sky turn green (ok, maybe that was stupidity).

 

2. Psychologist/ Therapist

Oh college. This was a whim for a while. I was a psychology major and thought I was pretty good at counseling. Only, this was another career path that would take significantly more education and I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest so much time.

 

1. Lawyer

I wanted to be a lawyer probably the longest. I loved arguing when I was a kid, and I pride myself in being a very logical person with decent writing skills. So, naturally, this was on my radar.

 

Top Ten: Books

As of this day in 2014, these are a few of my all-time favorite books. Trust me, this isn’t a brag list. I do, on occasion, read something of literary significance but to be completely frank, I read a lot of weird shit. And honestly, that’s usually what entertains me the most. So, if you’re looking for a recommendation from me (and don’t follow me on Goodreads) here is what I would tell you:

10. Emma- by Jane Austin.

I guess I do love SOME things that can be considered a classic and Emma is one of those stories. Yes, I realize she’s a little annoying and thinks she knows everything, but I can relate to that! Seriously, she covers things that happen in real life. (I’ve totally been in about 70% of the situations Emma finds herself in) And oooh, when she messes up she really does it properly. P&P is the standard Jane Austen most people love to talk about but I think we forget about the other strong ladies she writes. Besides, I was never a Darcy fan, anyway.

9. Easy- by Tammara Webber

This isn’t a book that probably makes a lot of genra-crossing top ten’s. It’s a Young Adult novel, but I believe the actual rating is YA-M. It covers more mature topics than would be acceptable for a young teen and the heroine is of college age. It is a romance, but I wouldn’t consider it particularly heavy on the subject. Probably my favorite aspect of this book is that it focuses on a girl who is almost raped, and how she deals with it. She has, what I would consider, a very realistic and honest response without turning into the girl that needs to be saved by a guy. However, Ms. Webber certainly writes a very yummy hero.

8. Divine Evil- by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts doesn’t JUST write the fiction your mom reads. This book was honestly super creepy, disturbing, and made me a little scared to go to sleep at night. Mostly because it seems like something that could really happen in a small town. Again, this is another book with a romance element (ok, this IS Nora Roberts) but you should maybe give this one a chance if you enjoy reading thrillers.

7. The Vampire Lestat- by Anne Rice.

I love a good vampire book. Especially when the vampires actually act like vampires. (Please no sparkling). Lestat is my absolute favorite of Rice’s vampires, so of course I enjoyed his story. Dude is seriously screwed up. Don’t expect any sort of love story in this one.

6. Can You Keep a Secret?- by Sophie Kinsella

I love this book. It’s total chic lit, but I found it to be hilarious enough to add it to my ‘re-readable’ shelf. I’ve gone back to this book several times and if you need something funny and light, this is the book for you. You might recognize Sophie Kinsella as the author who also wrote the Shopaholic books.

5. The Stranger Beside Me- by Ann Rule.

Ok, I know this is a creepy one. I suppose I should have said True Crime in general, but most of my obsession with true crime novels started with this book. The Stranger Beside Me is the story of Ted Bundy. If you know anything about him, he was a serial killer in the mid 70s. I always found him to be interesting just because he was so handsome and charismatic, a law student, and generally someone you would not expect to play a villain. Ann Rule’s book is also interesting because she actually knew and worked with Ted and began investigating the murders for her book before he was even a suspect. What timing.

4. Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs- by Molly Harper (Jane Jameson series)

I know I just told you that I like ‘real’ vampires, but here is a series with a “nicer” brand of fanged monster. I found a lot of similarity with this series and the Sookie Stackhouse series. The only difference is that I liked these books. They’re really funny and the heroine is a librarian in the South so I totally appreciated that element. Harper also has a werewolf series that’s equally amusing, so if vampires aren’t your thing, maybe give that one a go.

3. Touching Evil- Kay Hooper

Really, I like the series and the author but this was the first book I ever read of Kay Hooper’s so it stuck with me. Another serial killer fiction with paranormal elements, it’s really the type of book I probably read the most. I particularly like the ‘evil’ series by Hooper but all her trilogies are worth a shot if this genre appeals to you. This is another one with a romance twist, but I definitely stayed creeped out for most of the read.

2. Unraveling- by Elizabeth Norris

Probably the best description of this book is a mash up of Veronica Mars and the XFiles. Aliens, romance, traveling between parallel universes, this book has it all. Plus, even though the book is Young Adult and set in high school, I found the heroine to be rather likable which is becoming increasingly difficult for me as I get older. This was probably my absolute favorite book of 2012.

1. The Harry Potter series- by JK Rowling (surprise surprise).

There is no other series that has captured my interest quite like Harry Potter. I began reading the books shortly after Chamber of Secrets was published in 2000 when I was around fourteen. I remember watching an interview with JK Rowling on the Rosie O’Donnell Show (I loved that show! One of the few talk shows my mom let us watch) and I was completely intrigued with the wizard concept. Of course, I completely fell in love with the books. From that moment on, you could find me at every midnight book and movie release, usually in costume, anxiously awaiting the newest addition to the series.

The extent that I love these books is probably at a weird, creepy level almost bordering on a serious obsession. But really, I was one of those unique few that could place the series very specifically on my childhood. I love the books through my teenage years, and weirdly enough, the last book was published in the same summer I graduated from college, unceremoniously propelling me into a Harry Potter-less adulthood.

So there you have it- my favorite books.