hankrules2011

Book reviews, health, hockey, publishing, music

Posts Tagged ‘friends’

My Fifth WordPress Anniversary

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 26, 2016

WordPress was kind enough to notify me a few days ago, on the 20th, that it was my my fifth anniversary with them, blogging away the whole time. It’s hard to believe. I had come over from Xanga, a blogging site I had been on since 2004 and one I loved desperately. It’s just that friends were leaving that site in droves — I didn’t know why, no one told me — and I felt like the site was going to hell, so while I didn’t delete my Xanga account, I started searching for a new blogging home. I had friends on this place, Blogger, and TypePad, but it was WordPress that really stood out for me, and besides, this online literary journal I had recently become poetry editor for had an account here, so I decided to open my new site here. I did and never looked back. My first posts were unusual and designed to introduce myself to new people, let people get to know me. I didn’t start writing book reviews until about three years ago or so. I wrote about writing, creative writing, sports, health, politics, publishing, published some memes, some lists of favorite books, songs, bands, etc., had quite a few posts which weren’t easy to categorize, etc. But then I started to find my niche with my book reviews, which, much to my surprise, became my blog posts with the most hits by far, as well as the most likes, and even the most comments, when I got any, which is rare. Since then, most of my posts have been book reviews — I published hundreds — interspersed with some sports posts, the occasional political or spiritual/religious post, an occasional creative writing post, some health posts, and a few others that are hard to categorize. But it’s the book reviews that people read. I’ve tried to figure that out but I guess it’s as simple as that’s what people want to read. That simple, right?

Well, anyway, in honor of my fifth anniversary on WordPress, I’m going to provide a link to my blog post from five years ago today: 20 Questions. I hope some of you find it interesting and enlightening. Actually, now that I think of it, I’m just going to post the whole blog post here. It’s short and probably easier than having to click on the link and go to another page. Remember, this is from June 26, 2011. Here it is:

 

20 Questions

Delete my answers and substitute your own. Enjoy!

I’ve come to realize that… I have taken far too many things for granted in my life, even when I thought I was not doing that. It’s a tragedy & I’m trying to remedy that.
Reconciliation is… ideal, but not always realistic. This is exactly the opposite of how I have felt my entire life, but I have wasted way too much time over the years trying to reconcile (or even simply remain on the same friendly terms…) with various people for various reasons and I can count on one hand quite easily the number of times it was worth the effort. Move on.
I talk… more than ever, if you can believe that. I have a lot to say. I spent the last 7+ years living with someone who really didn’t like to hear me talk much, but who preferred watching TV. Like 24/7. For years. Yeah, good times. I’ve got a lot to say and a lot stored up, so sorry….
I love… one special individual more than anyone I ever have at any time in my life, to a shockingly higher degree than I ever knew was even possible. Yeah, I admit it. I also dearly love my parents, my kitties, and several of my good friends who have stood by me over the years. My list of friends I “love” has diminished greatly over the past two years. Pity.
My best friend/s… are fewer than I thought in number, but are critically important to me and people I feel confident I’ll remain loyal to forever and who will be there for me forever. I’m blessed in this regard.
Love… is a newly important word to me, as most of my life it was largely an abstract concept, outside of my loving family. In my middle years, I have been blessed to discover what I now believe “love” is and is meant to be, and I had no freakin’ idea this was a possibility.
Marriage is… hit and miss. Usually a mistake. Usually entered into too soon and without sufficient forethought. A business partnership. Yeah, I’m jaded.
Somewhere, someone is thinking… “I wonder what that whining, bitchy drama queen Scott is going on about now.” Seriously. You think I’m joking….
I’ll always… remember times, places and the special people who have gone out of their way to save my ass in the biggest and worst of situations. Foremost among these are my parents and my best friend, Marcy. Emily, Jim & Eunice, Arnold & Sarah, and Ami have been there for me too. Many thanks.
I truly relax… nowhere. I stopped being able to relax years ago and now I no longer know how to, which is pathetic, and I even feel tremendous guilt if I even make an attempt to relax! Therapy is clearly in order.
My cell phone… is my life. I store everything in my iPhone. I’m not kidding. If that ever disappears, I’m more screwed than if my wallet disappears.
When I wake up in the morning… I now thank God for allowing me to see the sun rise once more, to be able to draw a breath, to have friends and family (and kitties) who love me. I no longer take these things for granted.
Before I go to bed… I talk to my special loved one for as long as possible in order to end each day on a positive, loving and blessed note.
Right now I am thinking… that I have a lot more to be grateful for than I – or most other people – would typically realize, looking at circumstances.
Babies… make me break out in hives. I’m horribly allergic to them. Always have been, always will be. I find them quite distressing.
I am committed to… doing everything possible to survive. And to love and live more strongly and sincerely than I ever have in my life before now.
I miss… my cat Rocky, who died in August 2007. I also miss seeing and hanging with my best friends back out west, including Marcy, Celeste, Marc, Emily and Rachel.
Tomorrow… is a hope and a goal, but not a guarantee.
I really want to be… healthy enough to live long enough to have a quasi-“normal” life and a happy one, to whatever degree that is possible.
I hate… people who don’t understand and who don’t even try to make a serious damn effort to understand.

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Miserable Week

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 1, 2014

It’s been a pretty tough week, although I’m going to start with last Friday night.

Last Friday night, at 10 PM before we went to bed, I opened the freezer door and discovered the entire thing was melted. We have a huge ice tray and it was full to the brim with melted ice — water — and water was everywhere, including leaking down into the fridge and down the fridge onto the floor beneath. We weren’t sure what to do. I’d never faced this before. I poured out the water and we mopped up the floor. We turned the temperature all the way up and hoped for the best. We thought about calling someone, but didn’t want to wait up til 1 AM for someone to arrive and til 3 for them to finish, so we left it til the morning.

In the morning, we checked and everything in the freezer had frozen over. Apparently, more water had leaked out, but then it all froze up and everything was iced over in the freezer. But at least it had stopped leaking. At 7:45 AM, I called an appliance repair place. They said they’d get here sometime in the morning. This was important, because we were expecting our friends, Chris and Stephanie and their two daughters, from out of state for a visit at lunchtime, so we wanted to get this out of the way. Well, 10 rolled around and then 10:30. I called for a status update. I was told it’d be a half hour. At 11:30 I called to tell them to cancel it and do it some other time, only to be told they were down the road and on their way. So “Serg” got here, looked at it for two minutes, and told us we needed a new ice maker and another part to the tune of $410. Yep. I wanted a working ice maker and didn’t want to go buy a new fridge, so I agreed and we arranged for someone to come this morning to install it. I had to pay half as a deposit that day, which I did.

The gang then arrived and we ate. They headed to a tourist attraction called Ruby Falls before we met them at the Tennessee Aquarium, which was really cool. Then we ate at a local restaurant called Food Works, which was really nice. Good times.

Sunday was pretty laid back, except I had to deal with the Steelers and the Pirates both losing, the day after the Vols lost. That sucked.

Monday I had an appointment with my pain management doctor. It was a follow up to my surgery of two weeks ago. The results have been disappointing and I’ve had significant pain every day for the past 10 days, so we scheduled yet another surgery for October 8th. This will be my third in four months. It’s getting old and it’s kind of depressing. I also don’t think it’s going to help. I have Trigeminal Neuralgia and most the the pain I’ve been getting has not been that type, so I fail to see how these surgeries will help me.

Then yesterday, just as I was getting ready to take a nap, since I had been up since 2 AM — I have bad insomnia — I got a call from the appliance repair place. They said they were on their way. I said they weren’t scheduled until today and they said I was scheduled yesterday. We argued back and forth before I gave in and said just come. They said they’d be there in under an hour. An hour and a half later, they hadn’t shown, so I called and they said they were just leaving a town about a half hour away. Then, 15 minutes later, they called and said they got the wrong part, could they come by late in the day. I told them, no, come by today at the scheduled time. Geez!

This morning I got a call from them telling me my part was on back order and that it’d be tomorrow. Then later I get a call telling me they have the part and that they’ll be in late tonight. Not this morning, as scheduled. By this time, my wife is livid and I’ve lost all confidence in these inept fools. Gretchen wanted me to cancel our appointment with them and I agreed, so I did, with no argument from the girl who answered the phone. Twenty minutes later, some idiot called to tell me he was on his way to my house with the parts.  I told him I had cancelled and he wanted to know why. I tried to explain, but he kept interrupting me and argued with me for five minutes about why I should not cancel.

Meanwhile, I had called the owner to request a refund and had left a voicemail. I took my nap. When I got up, I had numerous messages. One was from our realtor.  Our house we’re selling tomorrow had a bad leak in the kitchen under the sink and the floor was flooded! Damn! If it’s not one thing, it’s another. I called around to try and find a plumber, found one who could get right out there and called the realtor back, who had to be there to let him in, since I no longer have a key. Then another message was from the owner, insisting there had been a mixup and that I give him a chance and he guarantees he’ll do a great job and I’ll be fully satisfied. While I’m texting the realtor, the owner calls. I tell him to call me back in half an hour. I text my wife. We tentatively and a little grudgingly decide to give him a chance. He arrives at my house just as my realtor calls to tell me the plumber fixed the problem and the floors had been cleaned up, and the buyers had done their final walkthrough, but they found a problem with a part of the kitchen floor that they thought was soft that they want addressed, so I had to scramble to find a flooring expert to go over there to look at it. Gretchen found him for me. I just got a text from my realtor that they’re both going to be at the house first thing in the morning and I need to be there too. I hope nothing serious is wrong. The closing has to go through. There have already been two screwups. We can’t afford a third! Meanwhile, the appliance guy got the new ice maker in, but it’s not making ice. I’m hoping it just takes awhile. Does anyone know how long it takes before a new one starts working? I’m really stressed. Klonopin, take me away! At least, hopefully tomorrow we’ll sell our old house and get that out of our hair. It’s been a nightmare to get rid of and I can’t wait. Hopefully this floor situation won’t be too bad and hopefully the ice maker will start working. Surely this week can only get better, right?

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Baltimore Trip

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 18, 2014

Well, Gretchen and I made a nice trip up to Maryland and back a few days ago and I thought I’d write a little bit about it. Last Thursday, after work we headed out on the road from Chattanooga up to Abingdon VA. It took about four hours. We stayed at the Alpine Motel, a retro motel that was somewhat decent. The next morning, we ate breakfast with our friends Chris and Stephanie. It was really good to see them.

It should have taken six hours to get up to Columbia MD, our destination. It took nearly nine. Traffic was the worst I’ve ever seen in my life. About 30 miles south of Roanoke, we got stopped by a wreck and sat still in traffic for an hour. That really slowed us down. Of course, the Virginia cops were out in full force, as always, so you can’t speed there to make up time. When we got to DC, we hit mega-traffic, which continued into Maryland and all the way to our destination. It took HOURS to get through that traffic, and it was in the middle of the afternoon, not during traffic hour. Weird.

We finally arrived at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel, where we’d be staying. We were on the fifth floor, and it was very nice. (I wrote reviews of many places on Trip Advisor. You can find them here.) The room wasn’t the biggest I’d seen, but it was plush and clean and we liked it. I’ve had to deal with bad insomnia for years, often getting up at 1 or 2 AM (like this morning), but the bed was so comfortable there, that I was able to sleep in until 8 every morning. It was awesome!

Friday night, we went to a restaurant called Clyde’s and met Gretchen’s parents there. We had a lovely meal and it was good to see them. Then we went back to the hotel and had drinks at the bar there before turning in.

Saturday we got up and went to Eggsplantation in Ellicot City to meet our friend Cindy for breakfast. I had pancakes and bacon and it was delicious. The place was nice, but pretty expensive. We looked at Cindy’s new car after breakfast, before gassing up (gas was so much more expensive there than in Tennessee) and heading to downtown Baltimore. We went to the Walters Art Museum. I have already written a review about it, so I won’t say much, but we enjoyed ourselves a great bit. It was free to get in, which was cool. We particularly liked the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman exhibits, as well as the medieval exhibit. It was cool seeing a mummy. When we left, we went to a quirky area of town called Hamden. It had tons of shops and restaurants and reminded me of Atlanta’s Little Five Points or L.A.’s Melrose Avenue. We parked and wandered around. We went in a little, extremely overcrowded used bookstore, but didn’t find anything we wanted. We ate lunch at a place Gretchen has talked about for years — Cafe Hon. It flat out sucked! The food was terrible and the service was worse. I gave it a really bad review on Trip Advisor. Gretchen was especially disappointed.

After we left Hamden, we drove back to areas Gretchen used to live in to check them out. It was nice to see parts of her history. Later, we went back downtown. We found a bizarre little parking area in an alley behind a building for $20. We thought it was a pretty good deal, cause all of the parking garages were full and we were going to go see a ballgame that night and it was fairly close to the ballpark. More on that later.

We walked to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area. It was crowded, probably because it was such a beautiful day, but it was pretty neat. They had street performers, some pavilions with shops and restaurants in them, an old submarine you could tour, the World Trade Center, where you could go to the 27th floor to look out over the harbor, and more. We spent some time wandering around there before finally starting to head over to the ballpark. Outside the park, I bought a nice Orioles cap and it looked and felt pretty good. I did it even though I’m a Pirates fan. Heh. We arrived at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and waited for Gretchen’s two boys and a girlfriend to show up. It looked like a beautiful stadium. I had bought tickets online before we went, so we had sweet seats behind 1st base in the 24th row. They were shockingly expensive though. The kids finally showed up and we went in to find our seats. The stadium was beautiful, as advertised, but the seats were incredibly uncomfortable. I don’t know what midget designed that stadium, but I’m of average height, and my knees were jammed up against the seat in front of me and I had no leg room. There were essentially no rows. If people wanted in or out, virtually the entire row had to get up and get out to let them in or out. It was stupid. I was so damn uncomfortable. But it was a nice night for baseball. The Orioles were taking on Toronto. Unfortunately, it was a dull game and Gretchen and I left with Baltimore up 1-0 in the top of the ninth inning. Surprisingly, we found out later, Toronto hit a homer to tie it up and Baltimore finally won it in the 12th inning. So we started looking for our car. And we couldn’t find it. It was horrible. We walked those streets for miles and I got terrible blisters on the bottoms of my feet and my shins hurt and we couldn’t find my car anywhere we went. We stopped and asked for directions, but after more than an hour of this and after having covered seemingly every street within miles, we couldn’t find that little back alley parking spot. We started getting really terrified. We were in a big, strange city late at night with, frankly, gangs of possible thugs wandering around doing who knows what. We were really worried. Just as Gretchen was about to call the police, we found a building she recognized and went in that direction. We found another. Finally, I spotted the alley and our car and we headed for it in great relief. We were pretty panicked by then. It felt great to get in that car! We finally got out of there, made it back to the hotel, and hit the bar where I slammed some tequila shots and Gretchen had some Southern Comfort. Boy, what a day!

Sunday was Gretchen’s birthday party, the reason for the trip. It was her 50th, which is big, so we had invited family and friends to her parents’ house and she was pretty excited. On our way, we stopped to pick up the gluten free birthday cake I had ordered last month. Thankfully it was ready and it turned out great. It was really good. We got to her parents’ and chatted before people started arriving. Her parents laid out a spread and we toasted Gretchen with champagne. There were people there we hadn’t seen since our wedding last year, so it was nice to see everyone. Gretchen opened presents and she got quite a haul. She did well. Heh. The party lasted from about 1 til about 7 or later, so when we got back to the hotel, we were kind of tuckered out from the day. That didn’t stop us from hitting the bar, of course.

Monday we went to Annapolis with her parents. On the way, we passed the NSA and I was SO very excited. I wanted to go tour their museum — they actually have a museum — but we didn’t have time. Oh well. Annapolis was pretty cool. I had wanted to go on a tour of the Naval Academy, but because of my blisters, we couldn’t do it — I couldn’t walk far. Downtown was old and historic and we enjoyed wandering around. We ate lunch at Carrol’s Creek Cafe, which wasn’t too bad. We had a bizarre old server who entertained us. We went back to our hotel in the afternoon and although we were supposed to stay another night there, Gretchen and I decided to head out early because it was supposed to rain all day Tuesday and get colder and we didn’t want to drive far in that weather. We went a different way this time, without that much traffic, thank goodness.

We drove further than we intended, about six hours all told. We spent the night in a Holiday Inn Express in Salem VA, right outside Roanoke. It was a great hotel room! We were really impressed. It was a king size suite and it was huge. All that room. Unfortunately, the bed was too hard for me, so I woke up with a sore back. Oh well. The breakfast was great though. They had a pancake machine that made great pancakes in two minutes. I love pancakes, so I was elated. They had lots of room, many tables, unlike many hotels, and a lot to choose from. We felt like it was a good deal.

We left Salem Tuesday morning about 9. And it did start to rain. Visibility was pretty poor for a good part of the way, with poor Gretchen driving, and shockingly, 50 miles east of Knoxville, it started snowing!!! It was 84 just two days before, and even when we started out that morning, it was 65 there in the mountains. And now here it was snowing. Crazy. Gretchen drove through the snow, but at some point we had to stop for gas and I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. It was COLD gassing up the car! We finally made it home after about six hours or so. Our cat Henry was glad to see us and purred all night. We had lots of mail. My mom had gotten our mail and fed Henry each day, which was nice of her. She’s about ready to move back up to Knoxville in a couple of weeks, so we won’t have her to do that for us anymore. Don’t know what we’ll do the next time we have to travel….

Well, that’s it. It was a good, but exhausting trip. Unfortunately, Gretchen — and maybe me too — came down with something and has been sick ever since. Hopefully we’ll both improve quickly. It was nice to see Gretchen’s old stomping grounds as well as family and friends. Maybe we’ll make it back sooner next time. Sorry I didn’t post pics. I reserve the right to do so in the future. Heh.

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Our Wedding and Honeymoon

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 14, 2013

Gretchen and I got married last Saturday, April 6th. It was beautiful out — a perfect day for a wedding. Our wedding was at 5 PM at our tiny Episcopalian church we attend. My father was my best man. Gretchen’s best friend, Cindy, was her matron of honor. We had invited about 22 people to attend. It was a small, intimate gathering.

With the organist playing from Handel’s Water Music, we processed down the aisle and then it was Gretchen’s turn to be walked down the aisle by her father. She looked lovely. It was great to see the faces of friends we hadn’t seen in years out there. We had a ceremony that lasted about 25 minutes, and it was wonderful. Nearly perfect. We each said, “I will” instead of “I do,” per the rector. Afterwards, we stayed for some photographs and then proceeded on to the Mayor’s Mansion for the reception. It was lovely. We had a bar with Merlot, Pinot Grigio, and Reisling. We also had coffee and tea. We all mingled for a bit, while they played the wedding mix I had prepared — Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Mozart, before later kicking it into gear with the Bee Gees and KC & the Sunshine Band and Queen and the Moody Blues, etc., et al. The food was Italian, and it was arrayed beautifully in buffet format. It sure didn’t look like your typical buffet. Somewhere along the way, we ran out of wine and had to order more. Lushes — hah! Dinner was fantastic and we had a good time talking with people. Then it was time for the champagne toast, and my father gave a really excellent toast. It was very moving. Then cake cutting time. We had a simple two layer cake which looked lovely and we fed each other a piece. We’re not into smashing each other with cake. Gradually people started leaving, and we said our goodbyes sadly, knowing we wouldn’t see some of these people for a long time. Still, some long distance friends said they’d be coming back, so that’s cool. It was a wonderful reception, and I want to give a shout out to the people who were there: our parents — both of us — and Gretchen’s two sons, Sean and Jeremy (and Sean’s girlfriend, Katie). Gretchen’s friends Linda and Bob came down from Maryland. My friends Arnold and Little Amy came separately from Knoxville. Chris D and his wife Steph came from Virginia. Ami I came from Asheville NC. My friend Rachel came all the way from Seattle, which was a pretty long distance to come. Kudos and thanks to her. (She took lots of good pics too. Thanks Rachel!) We also had local church friends Dee and Kelly there. It was nice.

We spent the night there, as it is a posh B&B. Gretchen’s dad put us up there, which was nice of him, especially since he took care of the reception. We had a lovely night and ate a nice, lite breakfast with her parents the next morning before going home to prepare for our honeymoon.

On Monday, we left Chattanooga for the beach at Gulf Shores, AL. We had a fantastic honeymoon and with the exception of one day, the weather was perfect. The ocean and beach were beautiful. We stayed in a large condo at the Beach Club in Gulf Shores. Aside from the fact that one of their restaurants and their little store were closed for renovation, it was quite nice. Since it was a private beach, it wasn’t crowded and the pools were great, as were the hot tubs.

After spending time at the beach Monday and Tuesday, we drove over to Pensacola FL on Wednesday. We immediately went to McGuire’s Irish Pub, which we had heard about. The food was delicious — the second best fish and chips I’ve ever had, after Santa Monica’s Kings Head Pub. We then went to the beach at Pensacola, mostly to say that we went to the beach in Florida. We then went to tour the Naval Aviation Museum, home of the Blue Angels. It was interesting and we saw lots of planes from WW I on to the present. We could have spent much more time there, but we wanted to get back, first stopping at the lighthouse on the way. On Thursday, we went to a place where we raced go karts and that was a lot of fun. I whipped poor Gretchen’s hind end there, never letting my foot off the accelerator. Sorry honey! We then found a really cool putt putt place with a pirate theme. The game was tied after 17 holes, but I made a great putt on the final hole to win by one. Gretchen handled it well, considering she’s a self described poor loser. LOL! We went souvenir shopping in Pensacola and Gulf Shores and picked up some t-shirts and post cards. Thursday night, we went to King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant on the recommendation of Little Amy. I had flounder and shrimp while Gretchen had crab and oyster stew. We were both pleased with the place and the food was delicious. Since Friday was our last full day there, we were determined to grab some more beach time, so we did — and got a little burned. Heh. It was fun though. That night, we went to Lulu’s to grab a bite. I was less impressed with Lulu’s. It was a tourist trap and although it was supposed to be a seafood restaurant, aside from shrimp, all they had was mahi mahi and snapper. I had a burger. Their souvenir shop was virtually as big as the restaurant and somewhat gaudy. Oh well. We went back to the condo and had a cold bottle of pinot grigio. Yesterday morning, we packed up and hit the road to return to Chattanooga, happy with our wedding and honeymoon, but a little sad that it was all over after all these months of planning. We were sad, too, that we probably won’t see this gathering of friends again like we did at the wedding. However, Little Amy, Ami I, and Rachel all said they were hoping to make it back some time this year, so that’s something to look forward to. I also have to look forward to spending the rest of my life with my one true love, Gretchen, my twin soul cubed. We’re a good match and we’re happy together. I guess that’s about it. Tomorrow we start back to work. Tomorrow is also Gretchen’s birthday. I wish we didn’t have to work on her birthday, but I’ve gotten her a cool gift, so I think she’ll be pleasantly surprised. Cheers!

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I’m Getting Married!

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 2, 2013

I’m getting married this coming Saturday to the love of my life, Gretchen. We’ve been together for awhile now and have been living together since August 2011. We met online on a blogging site in 2004. We’re a really good fit and we’re both very excited about this.

We’re having a very small ceremony and reception. We’re inviting 22 people, almost all of whom are having to travel from out of town and out of state. The person coming the furthest is coming from Seattle. We feel very honored to be sharing this time with our close friends and family. Some people from our church have inquired about coming. We feel badly, but we didn’t invite the church members. We want a small ceremony and the reception is expensive and we can’t afford to have too many people at the reception.

We’re getting married at the Episcopal church we’ve been attending since last May. We’ve really come to love that church and the people there. It’s very warm and inclusive. The ceremony will be simple. Gretchen’s best friend will be her matron of honor. My father will be my best man.

After the ceremony, we’ll all travel to the Mayor’s Mansion Inn for the reception. We’ve got the place for three hours. It’s a lovely old three story B&B built during the 1800s and it’s really exquisite. We’re having an Italian buffet and our cake will be in one of the parlors. I’ve put together a wedding mix on my iPod, which they’re going to pipe through their allegedly great sound system. I’ve got it starting with stuff from Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, a little Mozart, and ending up with some KC & the Sunshine Band, Bee Gees, Queen, Journey, Tears For Fears, before finishing up with Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” We’re having enough champagne for a toast and bottles of Pinot Grigio, Merlot, and some Reisling, my personal favorite. We’re hoping our friends and family members mix well since no one will really know each other. We’re also staying there that night, so that’s convenient.

Sunday, we’re returning home. We thought it would be nice to have a Scott & Gretchen visitation day for our out of state guests, just so they could see and talk to us for longer than they would at the wedding. They’re coming a long way. This will give them a chance to see our house and we can all chat for awhile.

On Monday, we leave for the beach at Gulf Shores, AL. I’ve been there before, and truthfully it’s not my favorite beach. Gretchen’s really looking forward to it though, because she loves beaches, and I’m looking forward to getting away, so this will be a good honeymoon. We’re staying at a friend of the family’s condo in a really nice series of high rises called The Beach Club right on the beach, so that’s helpful and convenient.

This is not the first marriage for either of us. We’re each anticipating this will be our last. We feel like we truly fit together as two people are meant to and we have a marvelous relationship. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my life with Gretchen, and I’m looking forward to this weekend and the following week.

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New Friends

Posted by Scott Holstad on December 2, 2012

Gretchen and I went to a small dinner party last night given by a couple in our new church. In addition to them, there was one other couple. The six of us had a great time! We watched the SEC championship game, had cocktails, had a wonderful meal, and talked about everything under the sun. This meant a lot to me because I have made exactly ZERO friends since moving to Chattanooga in 2006. And I make friends everywhere go, so it’s been different and hard. I’ve moved about 27 times and have friends all over the country. There’s Ami in Asheville, Karen, Little Amy, Arnold, Chel, all in Knoxville, Marc in San Francisco, Irene in Santa Barbara, Carey, Marcy and Celeste in L.A., Rachel in Seattle, Dee and Jessica in Atlanta, Jilly in Nashville and so many others, many I’m forgetting to mention. But outside of the occasional work friend I’ve made here, I’ve met no one. Part of it is because I’m now middle aged, so I don’t go bar hopping anymore and I don’t really hang out at the usual places people meet. I was also in a relationship when I moved here where my companion stayed in the house 98% of the time, so I never got out anyway. When we did, it was to get together with some friends of hers or to meet friends of mine in from out of town. My now-fiance moved here in August 2011 to invest in our relationship, which until then had been long distance. She’s also been frustrated at the lack of friends. So in May, we started attending a little Episcopalian church near us, and we’ve grown attached to it. The people there are really warm and friendly, and the services are nice, so we’ve been going back. (Neither of us are big church goers, traditionally.) So now some people have “taken a shine” to us and have invited us to their place a couple of times, and a couple of weeks ago I went out with some of the guys from church. For beers and political talk. I grew up a stringent Calvinist, so this was frowned upon during my growing up days (drinking, that is). It’s nice to be at a church where people are so “real.” I was sick of trying to fit into evangelical shoes when at heart, I’m really not one at all. Anything but, truly. These people last night were friendly and down to earth, very accepting and inclusive and I’m really grateful. I know these people won’t read this blog, but I want to extend a shout out to Kelly, Dee, Gene and Sally. Thanks all. I hope and actually know it won’t be the last time. New friendships are starting and it’s a wonderful thing.

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Writing and Working – 1991

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 26, 2012

I’ve been writing a few diary excerpts from old diaries I recently found. I thought I’d copy one here from the summer of 1991. I had moved from Knoxville to Phoenix during the Bush 1 recession and I couldn’t get a job. After getting kicked out of where I had been staying and literally relying on my car for living a little while, I eventually rented a room in a dump in Tempe before getting a horrible job in downtown Phoenix, where I then moved to be close to work. I worked from 6 AM to 6 PM six days a week plus one Sunday. That’s roughly 28 days a month. It was grueling. And I was getting up early and going to bed late to be a writer, writing feverishly for hours every day and then submitting stuff to mags and publishers. I don’t know how I made it. Anyway, here’s this entry:

__________________________________________

June 3, 1991

Long day at work today. Like always. When I got home, Knoxville Ami called me and we talked for awhile. I miss her. I wish I could hang out with her for a few days. I miss Robert too. We were quite the trio.

I got up this morning at 4 AM to try and get some writing done. I’ve been researching what pays because I’m sick of being dirt poor, living in a roach infested apartment in gangville Phoenix. Mags like Esquire pay, but they generally only accept about one unsolicited submission a year. Porn pays. Smut mags like Oui, Chic, Swank all pay $100-$400 a story. Hustler pays $500. Two of those a month and I’m doing a lot better. I got three pages done this morning. I have a lot of interesting experiences to draw from….

I really feel like my life, and life in general, is one big waste. I sit here every night writing and waiting for time to pass so I can go to sleep to get some rest so I can get up in the morning and do menial work simply so I can come home in a robotic state of making the hours pass so I can go to sleep again and escape, only to get up the next morning and start the same fucking grind all over again. No one seems to understand this nightmare — not even my closest friends. They tell me it’s a phase, a learning experience. I think “stagnation” would be an understatement. Brain and body rot is more like it…. I spend every day looking forward to my mail cause I have nothing else to look forward to in life. No money! No future! Nothing. Maybe I’ll get an acceptance from a magazine. It’s happening more frequently, but poetry doesn’t pay rent. Who am I kidding? Writer. Shit!

__________________________________________

Working 12 hour days 6 days a week for shit pay really wore me down. And my 2-5 hours of writing and submitting to magazines each day further wore me down, although sometimes I think it was also the only thing that saved me. I lasted in that environment two years before moving over to L.A. to go back to school.

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An Absurd College Love Life

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 19, 2012

As I’ve blogged about recently, a couple of weeks ago, I came across 16 old diaries of mine in an old box. These diaries date from 1984 to 1992 — mostly my college years. I’m remembering some things I’d forgotten, I’m trying to remember some things I wrote about but have no clue what was going on, and I’m pretty much shaming myself at my … socially outgoing life back then. I liked to have a good time. Thank God I settled down in my 30s….

This entry I’m about to post is a short excerpt from a longer entry in 1987, when I was 21 and in my third year of college. I’m posting it, at the risk of embarrassing myself, because I think it’s funny in its complete absurdity and silliness. God, the drama! OK, here it is:

______________________________________

December 17, 1987

OK, so I’ve got to get my love life straight. I’m going out mostly with Kim. I’ve also gone out some and expect to some more with Beverly, Jayme, and Margaret. I’m supposed to go out with Maureen and Maria. I’d like to go out with Becca and Jenny. I’m also trying to get Shelby and Ellen off my back. I’m still infatuated with Sherrie. I’m close friends with Karen. I need to maintain a close friendship with Dee. I also have to keep Kaye and Amy in mind. Whew! It’s sadly funny….

______________________________________

So, I kind of played the field in college. A lot. What can I say? I liked girls. As I said, thank God I eventually settled down. For what it’s worth, I’m living with the complete and utter love of my life, my girlfriend, Gretchen. We like to say that we’re twin souls cubed. Heh. This relationship is actually mature and loving and caring and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life, so I’m truly lucky and happy. I’m just glad none of those college girls worked out for me, dammit! LOL! So, there you have it. My secret’s out. Pretty pathetic, isn’t it? Heh.

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Arbitrary Diary Excerpt

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 18, 2012

As I’ve blogged about lately, I found 16 old diaries of mine, dating from 1984-1992. I’ve been slowly reading through them. I thought I’d open the one I’m reading to just any page and type out what I wrote for that day. Bear in mind, I was not overly deep as a 20 year old. Rather, I seemed to just record things that I did or that happened to me throughout the day. Aside from when I was writing like a drama queen due to tempestuous adolescent relationships, I rarely explored anything beyond the surface. Pity. Well, here’s an entry. For what it is….

November 10, 1987

It’s really a very rainy day out today. I got up at 11 AM and went to the library to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Didn’t like it too much. I liked the print version so much better. I just loved reading it in class. While at the library, I talked with Stan, Bruce F, Ellen R, and Jane A.

Morris K sent me some materials for my big deposition this Thursday. Yikes!

Sherrie just called. I’m surprised. She said she’s not staying after class tonight. I asked her if she had weekend plans. Friday night, she’s going to a party at Scott G’s, and Saturday she’s studying. She has no time for me anymore. I can handle that. I guess I’ll go out with Margaret and/or Shellie. Jennifer will probably ask me out too. I asked Sherrie if she’d dance with me sometime again. She said she’d like to. She then asked an odd question: Do you always go dancing when you go out? Well, half the time I do. I enjoy it. I asked if that applied to her or to other girls. She said both. Well, she and I have gone to movies, the zoo, ice skating, plays, etc. Besides, she drinks a shitload of beer every time she goes out. So what’s the difference? I really don’t know why she asked that. Obviously we’re to be little more than acquaintances from now on. Oh well.

I went to class tonight and then the library. I saw Sherrie briefly before class. I also called Shellie and asked her out for Friday night. Laura H was at the library, but I just ignored her. I saw Kim W there and talked with her for awhile. We were friends at King. She’s a grad student now.

Later, I went over to Andy Holt apartments and talked with Laura S. Then I went up and visited Ellen W. She was really glad to see me. I then ran over to Ruby Tuesday’s to meet Karen. We had a few drinks and a good time talking. Sherrie had left a message for us to meet her at the Last Lap around 8. That’s one of Scott G’s hangouts. Sure enough, who shows up at 8:30 but Sherrie with Scott G in tow. We all got drunk. I left around 11:30. I had a good time with Karen. She’s considering telling Chip that she doesn’t want him to present her at Cherokee and instead asking of friend of hers — Grant. She and I talked about a lot of things. We decided that Sherrie has close friends to buy her drinks and then when they get too serious, that’s it, they’re gone. That’s probably what will happen to Scott G. I supposed at least he’ll get laid for his troubles.

It sure is nice getting dumped on. The sad thing is, I’m still crazy about her, even if she is a shit person. Hell, I’d do it again. She’s great. It’s just too bad that her character is as low as a ditch on the side of the road. What’s up? I’m nice; I don’t get it….

Well, good times. It’s snowy tonight, and it’s supposed to be a high of 41 tomorrow.

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Old Diary Excerpts

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 17, 2012

On April 11th, I wrote a post called Finding My Old Diaries in which I told of finding 16 old diaries of mine dating from 1984 to 1992 in an old box I haven’t touched since the ’90s. I’ve been slowly reading through them. I’m now on volume 7, starting July 29, 1987. I’ve realized in these first six volumes what an insipid twit I was. In my defense, I was a teenager going on 20, so I guess I’m allowed a mulligan, right? Heh. God, I was obsessed with relationships, sex, friends, music, sports and several other things. Wow, I was a drama queen! Hopefully I’ll mature in the coming volumes.

I thought I’d print a few excerpts from one of my old diaries about my wonderful long gone dog, Scamper, dying. She was a Schnauzer and had been my best friend for close to 16 years. Anyway, here goes:

August 10, 1987: I dug Scamper’s grave tonight. It’s very sad, incredibly unhappy, and I’ve been crying nonstop. She’s going to be killed tomorrow. Stroke. Wouldn’t make it. 15 1/2 good years. You couldn’t ask for a better dog. I’m going to miss her a lot….

August 17, 1987: Scamper died today finally. Mom took her. From what I understand, it was peaceful at least. I’m really very sad. I love her and I’m going to miss her…. I hope she’s happy now.

August 18, 1987: Scamp’s gone and I’m so terribly sad. She’s lying in her little grave, all alone. I feel like being bitter about it, want to be bitter, but there’s no one to be bitter at…. Last night, Chip and Laura came over and we went to Dee’s. We went out for some beer. Laura brought me flowers and they consoled me. I was really touched. It was truly very nice of them….

Well, enough of that. I didn’t write very much. My entries were all quite short back then. My later diaries have much longer entries, some that stretch on for pages. For a little levity, here is part of an entry from the next month.

September 10, 1987: This trip to Hilton Head was great — 10 days, eight of which were rainy. Nonetheless, we had a damn blast! We hit all the bars and restaurants for happy hours. I think I gained six pounds! I drank a lot of Becks Dark, Sol, and gin collins. At Ruby’s, we ran into Brian B and Mark L from Knoxville and ran around with them. About 20 of us rented CQ’s yacht one night and went out until about 3:30 AM. We had a keg, six cases of beer, and seven bottles of wine. One of the girls fell overboard and another got sick, but a good time was had by all (or nearly all — heh!)….

OK, so I partied a lot in college. Sue me. Everyone else did too. LOL! I guess this is it for now. I’ve encountered many interesting entries among all of the completely superficial ones, and it’s bringing back a lot of (hazy) memories. I’m really glad I found these. Maybe if I happen upon something else remotely interesting, I’ll blog about it….

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