Tuesday, December 30, 2014

HistoryDiva vs. The Electric Car

Several months ago my roomie finally replaced her very old and very decrepit Pontiac (it was a 1999, held together by Gorilla glue and duct tape…and I’m not kidding about that) with an old-ish Prius (it’s a 2007). 

She was looking for a small car (she’s seriously short) that gets excellent gas mileage since her work commute has more than quadrupled in length and she has concerns about the size of her carbon footprint and blah blah blah. 

Me, I don’t worry about things like that.  I drive a ‘regular’ car…the type that runs on gasoline and makes a satisfying growling sound when I rev up the V6 engine under the hood.  I like it that way. 

Now, I’m not a car person by any stretch of the imagination.  I have some very basic ‘car stuff’ knowledge, like knowing how to check and add oil, how to add coolant, how to add windshield wiper fluid, and most importantly when to take my vehicle into the garage to be serviced.  But along the way I have learned one really useful skill which I feel every woman should learn and that is: how to jump start a car.  This singular piece of knowledge has proven itself to be both useful and valuable many times.  It’s simple, straight forward, and only truly intimidating the first time.  
And now for the story…
Yesterday morning my roomie alerted me to the fact that her car wouldn’t start.  For those of you who don’t already know, the Prius has something like twelve different batteries, any of which might lose their charge at any time. Now, we didn’t know which one was dead but since she couldn’t even get the doors unlocked I was leaning toward ‘all of them.’  Asking my opinion on her options for the day I recommended that she call my mom and hitch a ride to work and worry about the car that afternoon.  
During the evening hours it was decided (read that as ‘demanded’) that I would provide a jump start to get the car moving this morning and that she would drive it ‘somewhere’ to get checked out and have a new battery (or twelve) installed. 
Dutifully, at the crack of dawn this morning we headed out to the garage to start her car.  I popped open my hood, wrestled off the battery cover and hooked up my jumper cables. Roomie seemed to be struggling with her version of this task and finally threw up her hands in frustration and asked if I wanted to give it a try.  It took me about 15 seconds to locate the release and open her hood.  
Then I got my first look at her engine and I just want to go on record and say that the engine of the Prius is ridiculous.  I think it’s actually installed sideways.  I didn’t recognize ANYTHING.  So I turned to my roomie and asked the most obvious question… 
“Where are your battery leads?” 
She blinked at me owlishly and replied “I thought you knew how to do this.” 
“I do…on a regular car.  But this is an electric car and since I don’t want to blow it up, how about you go find out?” 
Roomie promptly disappeared into the house to do a quick web search.  Upon her return she announced that the positive lead was inside the fuse box and the negative lead was just outside of the fuse box. 
“Excellent.  Where is the fuse box?” 
More blinking.  And then she scampered away to find out. 
“Here it is!” She chirruped as she pulled open one of the myriad of flat black boxes that litter the engine compartment.  Underneath the cover was a cluster of switches and buttons but nothing that looked like a battery lead. 
“Hang on, I’ll go check.” *insert swooshing sound as roommate runs back into the house again
“Okay…on the diagram online it’s labeled with a big plus sign.  But…I don’t see a big plus sign.” 
“Well…” at this point I picked up the cover of the fuse box and turned it over and found a helpful diagram.  Matching up the pictures I was able to locate the positive lead. 
“Okay, it means that one is the negative lead.” *helpful pointing from roomie
“Alright then.”  I attached the positive jumper cable clamp, made a bit more difficult by the fact that the positive lead is buried in the middle of the fuse box rather than being conveniently located near the side, and then attached the negative clamp to the negative lead…jumping backward when the thing sparked dramatically.  But hey, the car was alive again, all the little lights on the dashboard told us so.  
(Serious side note: when jumping a car you are supposed to attached the positive lead to the battery of the car needing the jump and attached the negative lead to an unpainted metal surface within the engine block. There were no such surfaces within reach of the jumper cables...every single surface was plastic, meaning that my ONLY option was the negative battery lead.) 
I instructed roomie to start her car and just let it run for a few minutes while I wandered back into the kitchen to get myself a much needed cup of coffee.  I headed back out and had her rev the engine a few times to really get things moving and disconnected the leads, returned the fuse box cover and shut her hood.  I then wandered over to my car, removed the other end of the cables and turned my car off so I could put the battery cover back on without getting injured by any of the moving parts of my engine.  
It was then that I noticed the eerie silence in our garage. 
That’s right.  She’d turned her car off.  
“What are you doing?”  
“Well, I wanted to…” 
Thankfully the Prius started up again but none of the dashboard displays would work.  I encouraged her to just bite the bullet and take it into the dealership rather than a discount oil change place because the guys at the dealership are actually trained on the maintenance of her vehicle.  Reluctantly, she agreed and headed off. 
I sighed, packed up my jumper cables, and went to work. 
Now…don’t you wish your life were even half as exciting as mine??? 
- HistoryDiva

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

O Captain! My Captain!

"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."
 - Robin Williams

Depression lies.


There is help.

There is hope.

If you or someone you love is hurting, please reach out.

Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Just a quick note to let you know that I'm still alive.

I've got 18 draft posts all loaded with pictures and just waiting for stories.

But...well...real life has been tough lately.

So I'll get some things posted eventually...ish. 

- HistoryDiva

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Typical Wednesday Morning Misadventure

So…yesterday I survived the “Scariest Sneeze in the History of the World.” 


Stop laughing!  I could have died!! 

My commute to and from the office involves both heavily trafficked main drags and a few curvy back roads.  One particular stretch of curvy back road includes a slightly narrow bridge which, when crossed in tandem with an oversized pickup truck or SUV, can be a bit harrowing.  

Yesterday morning I was tooling along, one hand on the steering wheel, the other wrapped around my coffee, when I realized that I was going to sneeze.  

Now, a sneeze isn’t a big deal…but when you are behind the wheel of your car a sneeze becomes a little bit more perilous.  

I also happened to be approaching the narrow bridge…and noticed that a massively oversized pickup truck was coming toward me in the other lane. 

And I sneezed. 

And in that fraction of a millisecond as your eyes close when sneezing something else happened that made this moment even more concerning…
Bambi’s mom darted across the road right in front of my car and the oncoming pickup truck!! 
Sneeze over I jerked my eyes open to find that: 
Bambi’s mom would live to graze another day 
Gargantuan pickup truck had passed me without issue 
I was still in my lane and moving at speed 
But most importantly…I hadn’t spilled my coffee.
- HistoryDiva

Friday, March 14, 2014

*blows cobwebs off blog*

So...I really need to post an update.

And I'll totally do that.


- HistoryDiva

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snowmagedon 2: The Adventure Continues

So I would just like it noted, for the sake of posterity, that as far as snow and ice and winter weather in general goes...I'm not a fan.

On Monday, pre-Winter Storm Pax, the young son of one of my coworkers was spending the afternoon in our office after a doctor's visit and overheard us complaining about the logistics of preparing for a hotel stay due to the coming snow.

"But...snow is AWESOME," he exclaimed with the wide eyed innocence of youth.  "Why would you be unhappy about snow??"

"Well, sweetie," I explained in my best cool-grown-up-who-isn't-your-parent-and-might-have-cookies-in-their-desk voice, "snow is fun when you're a kid...but when you're a grown-up, snow really isn't fun."

"But, but why?"

"Oh sweetie....so many reasons."


The storm hit with full force during the over night hours of Tuesday.  The wind picked up and the cold rain we'd been getting on and off throughout the day turned into a mix of sleet and snow.  Opening my door on Wednesday morning to head over to breakfast I was greeted by a wall of sideways blowing snow and the prospect of a potentially dangerous shuffle across the icy parking lot of the hotel.

Once we'd eaten our hotel waffles (not that great btw, the batter is...weird), we piled into one vehicle and set out toward the office at a slow crawl.  We waved at the ABC News affiliate van as we crept past and crunched through the fresh snow into the work parking lot.

The work day rolled along as it usually does...there were just fewer of us to handle everything.  Around lunch time I wandered outside to take a picture of the square covered in snow...

...and forgot that the building was locked and that I hadn't thought to grab my key because OF COURSE I didn't.  Thank goodness I was taking pictures with my cellphone so I was able to call someone to let me back in.

The weather got progressively worse throughout the work day, sleet continued to fall adding a thick crust of ice to the snow which took the roads from 'extremely cautiously passable' to 'get your crazy butt off the road.'

A fellow coworker (another of the hearty six I mentioned yesterday) took pity on us and offered us a lift back over to our hotel in his 4-wheel-drive vehicle provided that we were ready to roll out by 3:00PM at the latest. 

Now...our workday doesn't end until 5:00PM.

And we were not authorized to close the office early.


...we improvised.  
We wrangled a laptop from the lone IT guy, installed the chat app onto our cellphones and tablets, had the phones forwarded to our cellphones, and booked it back to our hotel.  And ran the company from out of a hotel room for about two hours.
Man...the lengths you'll go to for a paycheck.
Once we were done with our work day we shut everything down and just kind of collapsed into three exhausted heaps who sat around staring at each other for twenty minutes or so because we were simply too tired to move.  

 The view from my hotel room, looking right.

 And the view looking left.
There are four hospital employees sharing a room in the hotel with us (met them this morning at breakfast) who were attempting to get into work for their overnight shift around dinner time yesterday.  They got stuck halfway across the street and then slid backwards into the parking lot, fortunately the local PD showed up to help them out and the ladies got a lift into work in the squad car.

- HistoryDiva

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snowmagedon 2: The Electric Boogaloo

Hello boys and girls! 

As I'm sure you're aware the deep South is currently being buried under mountains of white stuff by Winter Storm Pax.  Which is weird and uncharacteristic of our normal winter weather.   

But this time we are prepared.

All the major roads are empty because everyone actually took the advice of our officials and stayed home, which is great.

Unless you HAVE to be at work.

Like I do.

So I'm 'stay-cationing' at a local motel near the office with four of my fellow coworkers (we just discovered this morning that a lone IT guy is there as well).  

My comfy, cozy room. 
It isn't a five star situation but hey, it's warm.

The view from the office lobby this morning.

We heard on the news that they are declaring a 'white out' in our area...which I believe.  We struggled into work through driving snow which is covering a layer of slush making travel a serious challenge...which is why there were only six stalwart employees in the entire building.

The view from our office...and that'd be my car on the right.
So it looks like we'll be bunking over at the motel for at least two more days until the storm blows through and things thaw/melt enough for us to safely get home.
- HistoryDiva

Friday, January 31, 2014

Just sayin'

This is for all those people who have been publicly slamming the ATL about snow shutting down our highways.

In Los Angeles, California it's sunny and 75 degrees today.

And this is the 101.

What's the matter California?  Don't you have enough resources to handle it???
Bite me, ya'll.

- HistoryDiva

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Hey! Do you wanna build a snowman?"

Hello from the SNOWY south, ya'll!

As I'm sure you've heard, unless you've been living under a rock, Winter Storm Leon shut down the city of Atlanta...and most points north, south, east, and west of the city.

Traffic on all of our mayor roadways ground to a stop as the storm rolled in around 1:00PM yesterday...and stayed that way.

And is STILL that way in many places.

Here, have some pictures...

Six lanes of parking lot.
And here's a view from overnight. 

No flights moving in or out of Hartsfield-Jackson International.
Now for the one or two of my readers who do not live in this area, let me explain WHY 2.6 inches of snow brought a major metropolitan area to a chaotic halt.
This is the south, the Deep South to be exact.  We get weather like this...well...let's just say that in my lifetime I can count the total number of times I've seen what we would call 'serious snow' on one hand. It just doesn't happen here that often. 
Yes, we usually get one 'snow day' a year but the difference is that in the south our 'snow' is actually more 'ice' than fluffy white stuff. 
And ice, boys and girls, causes all the problems and makes all the difference.  Because snow is inconvenient, but ice can kill you.
Yes, we have snowplows and gravel/sand to spread on the roads.  And yes, the DOT is working to get things cleared up as best they can.  But resources of this nature are limited here because of how rarely we see this type of weather event. 
So we deal with it as best we can...confident that the sun will come out the next day and melt it all off by lunchtime.
Because after all, this is the part of the country where you can get frostbite and a sunburn in the same week. 

On a more serious note, I would just like to take a moment and give a huge shout out to all the businesses and individuals in and around Atlanta who opened their doors and homes to stranded motorists last night.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking it upon yourselves to selflessly help your fellow man in a moment of real crisis. 

You saved lives and you're heroes. 

- HistoryDiva

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Weekend Away - Part 3

Hello boys and girls!  Sorry for the delay in posting but I was off on another adventure and have been trying to catch up on a few 'real life' things before getting back to Blissfully.  Now if I just get off my duff and get my new pictures uploaded...

So, where was I?  Oh yeah, my long weekend in Helen.

As we were visiting the mountains during the holiday season, my aunt was eager to get some pictures of the town covered in Christmas lights.  So after dinner on Monday evening we headed into downtown, and you guys?  There was nobody else around. 

I mean seriously...there were a total of three people in town and we were them.
100% empty streets.
So we totally took advantage of it and ran all over the place! 
My lovely relatives in front of the "Santa" tree.
And speaking of Santa...there's a big pavilion in downtown where local musicians perform during the summer and which serves as the hangout for Santa and Mrs. Claus during the Christmas season.
Now, the Santas weren't around...
But their chairs were... 
The conversation went something like this...

Me: Hey look!  Santa's chair!
Aunt: Yeah, so?
Me: I'm gonna go sit in it! And so should you!
Aunt: We can't just sit in Santa's chair!
Me: You wanna bet? 
Now, I'm pretty sure that qualifies us for the 'naughty' list...but still: totally worth it.
I feel that the lesson to take away from this one is that opportunity doesn't always knock - sometimes it leans on the bell.  
Also, I am easily amused.
Make of that what you will.   

My uncle made some new friends.
They're really tall...but rather flat in terms of personality.
Yes, I climbed inside a gigantic Christmas wreath to get this picture.
I'm a wee bit shameless.
There is a tiny little hill top park right on the edge of the downtown area which is something that, though I've visited Helen many times, I never realized.  Its a beautiful area, full of mountain views and crowded with picnic tables.
  And there's a waterfall...which they light up for the holidays.

There is a mini-golf course outside of the town and the owner went impressively overboard with the decorations, which we loved.  So we circled their parking lot to get better pictures. 

And I may or may not have gotten out of the car, run across the parking lot, jumped a small fence, and climbed into the middle of that clump of pre-lit trees and hugged a light up reindeer because OF COURSE I DID.

My aunt is somewhere in this picture...see if you can spot her.
- HistoryDiva 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Weekend Away - Part 2

One of the more unique tourist spots in Helen is an alpine model railroad museum called Charlemagne's Kingdom

This is a fifty foot long, handmade, HO scale model railroad that is designed to depict the various terrain and architecture of Germany...from the shores of the North Sea to the 22 foot tall replica of the "Matterhorn." 

Model trains are the life long hobby of the owner who, along with his very supportive and understanding (and no doubt long-suffering) wife, constructed this replica of his homeland in the purpose built exhibit hall. 

"The model, complete with bridges, autobahn with moving vehicles, and authentic German rural, industrial and urban architecture, is fully peopled. The computer-operated railway system with intriguing train track layouts, terminals, tunnels and trestles is circled by miniature Hot-Air Balloons." - quote from website linked above

Apparently, my aunt and uncle have been gagging to see this place for years.  Who knew??

And you guys...tickets are only like $5, so why not go?

I have to admit...this place was kind of amazing.

There was just so much to look at.
Lights flickering, trains and trolley cars rattling past, hot air balloons circling overhead.   

Tiny villages and farms, vegetables growing in neat rows, cows and sheep out standing in fields.

City centers, parks, streetlights and tiny little VWs.

Tiny little flowers growing in tiny little window boxes.

A dragon attacking a castle!
There were two 'crashed' space ships in there too, but I forgot to take a picture.
Little train stations, hospitals, churches, and fountains.  

There was even miniature scaffolding on one of the buildings and tiny construction workers standing around on a smoke break.

See the bridge on the right?  Tiny bungee jumper!

Tiny little people shopping, walking dogs, delivering mail, having coffee at a sidewalk café.

Also, traffic was at a standstill on the Autobahn because a jack-knifed semi.
Rescue vehicles and a crane truck were on the scene...but the cops weren't.
The walled city of Rothenburg, which is where my uncle's family is from. 

Wow...that dragon is really determined.

And, because no miniature Germany worth it's salt would be complete without it...

Neuschwanstein Castle
- HistoryDiva 

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Weekend Away - Part 1

In December my favorite aunt and uncle decided that they needed another week of vacation...so they booked themselves into a resort in the tiny little mountain town of Helen, Georgia. 

And then...they invited me to use up the last of my vacations days by spending a lovely long weekend with them. 

And since I'm all about getting away...I totally took them up on it.  Because duh, free vacation.

So I headed up to the resort after work on Friday night (in the INSANE driving rain), because this one was so close to home it was practically a 'stay-cation' but again, free weekend away so no complaints! 

Saturday was beautiful and clear and mild.  My uncle and I wandered all over the resort, and spent some quality time looking at the river, which was running high and fast because of all the rain the night before.  We ambled back to our 'chalet' to pick up my aunt and we went - brace yourself for some SERIOUS fun now - grocery shopping. 

Mid afternoon my cousin, TiaDiva, materialized for an afternoon of wandering, shopping, and eating funnel cake.  So as my aunt and uncle headed home for the night (they had tickets to a production of the Nutcracker and didn't want to miss church the next morning) TiaDiva and I headed into downtown Helen. 

We wandered and shopped, hitting our favorite places (i.e. Hansel and Gretel Candy Kitchen), found a 'fabulous' new Christmas decoration that I knew we just had to have, and stopped in at a cute little coffee shop.  TiaDiva had a hot cocoa, and I had a spiced pumpkin cider which was divine. 

And then TiaDiva spilled a cup of water all over the table...and me.

*le sigh*

We then went in search of funnel cake, a perennial favorite with TiaDiva.  Having found one we plopped down for some people watching while we stuffed our faces with empty powered sugar coated calories. 

Helen was impressively busy for a winter Saturday.

Having gotten her fill of funnel cake and chocolate coated potato chips, TiaDiva headed home for the evening, leaving me all by my lonesome in the mountains.

Taking advantage of quite solitude, I found a very pleasant jazz/Christmas music channel on the television, build a fire in the fireplace, and curled up on the couch with a book.

I made fire!!
It was a little slice of heaven, right there in the mountains of north Georgia.

- HistoryDiva

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Diva's Vacation - Part 9

The week of my vacation in North Myrtle Beach was right in the middle of November, a month that is usually on the chilly side even here in the deep south.  So I was pretty happy when the weatherman said that SC would be having a mild weather week. 

Never mind that Wednesday was freezing cold with gale force winds that were actually lifting people off the sidewalks.  My credit card was stolen by someone in Maine that same day...but that's a different story. 

But Saturday, our last day in Myrtle Beach, was beautiful.  The high was in the upper 60s, the sun was out in full force and even though we were just two weeks from Thanksgiving I was determined that I was going to be barefoot in the ocean for a least a few minutes...because what is the point of a trip to the beach if you don't get into the ocean for at least a few minutes? 
This is my favorite picture of the entire trip.  Just ocean and sky and you can't really tell where one stops and the other one begins.  I could have stood there and looked at that view for the rest of my life and been absolutely content. 

The tide was just starting to come in and the waves were getting bigger.

The sun going down on the Grand Strand.
We had spectacular sunsets the entire week, each one more beautiful than the last.

Toes in the sand...just before the wave crashed over my feet.

I love the way the light starts to fade out of the sky...like the sun is drinking back in all the light its given the world during the day. 

Crystal blue giving way to pale yellow.

Love the reflection of the setting sun on the ocean.

The pinks and purples of twilight seem to just ooze up out of the ocean. 

Our resort.  We were in a room on the 5th floor way over on the front left side of the building...so if you leaned out over balcony railing and looked to your extreme left you could see the ocean from our room...which was the only disappointment of the trip. 

I waded into the ocean up to my knees to get this picture (I rolled my jeans up). 
Love the orange and deep purple on the horizon.

Sadly, it's impossible to see in this picture, but there is a gigantic ferris wheel down at the far end of the grand strand and the setting sun was lined up perfectly inside the rim of the wheel.  We could also see pelicans and gulls outlined as black silhouettes against the sky.

The moon rising in the distance. 



The last of the daylight...

...and the end of a wonderful trip.

- HistoryDiva