"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
-- Unknown

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Life in a small town

When you live in the middle of nowhere, recreational activities tend to be pretty limited.

While there is an obvious lack of bars, restaurants, theaters, museums, retail developments, coffee shops or anything else of much interest, there is an overabundance of pastures, farms and dirt roads.

To the bewilderment of most people who have access to other forms of entertainment, riding dirt roads is actually a popular pastime in most small towns. Trust me — when I moved here, I didn’t get it either. But now, I actually enjoy creeping down a dirt road at snail’s pace with some of my best friends — good music blaring on the radio, windows down (when it’s not too cold), laughing, with camera in hand.

The camera is an important part of the experience because you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to capture something that is a blatant reminder of just how southern you actually are.

Yes. That’s a real road. And yes, I was so amused, I made Willis turn the Jeep around so I could go back and take a picture.

Welcome to Alabama.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh... you mean it's not a joke?

For years I’ve joked about my focus problems – self diagnosed as ADD, my thoughts bounce from mundane to complete chaos and back again. Task lists are daunting. Prioritizing? Nearly impossible. I fidget constantly. I start projects with enthusiasm, then easily get sidetracked – never to return.

In school, I was a “doodler” – constantly moving my pen across my paper as I pretended to listen to whatever lecture was coming from the front of the room. I’d start class strong, but somewhere around the five minute mark, my mind would wander to something completely unrelated. “Hmm.. I need to do laundry when I get home.” Or “Oooh, don’t forget to get paper towels at the store later.” Or “I swear, if that girl smacks her gum one more time, I’m going to throw my shoe at her!” My notebooks were a jumbled mess of doodles and shopping lists. I got by. I made decent grades. But most of my work was done on my own. Usually at the last minute. With the aid of large amounts of caffeine.

Most of my professors either didn’t notice or didn’t care about my inability to pay attention. The one who did notice caught me completely off guard and really hurt my feelings. My junior year in Troy, a certain bow-tied professor called me into his office after class and proceeded to tell me how “rude” I was. He told me that it was painfully obvious how little I respected him. When I asked him why he thought that, he told me that day after day he watched me stare into space or scribble on my paper instead of “actively listening” to his lectures. Despite my effort to assure him that I didn’t mean anything personal by my lack of focus, he chewed me out and told me that my disrespect would not be tolerated. He made me feel so bad, I wound skipping several classes just to avoid him. Despite my steady stream of A’s on papers class assignments, he gave me a failure to attend and I had to repeat the course. (I chose a different professor for my second attempt.)

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you might remember that my frustration with my attention issues had been building. It was affecting my work and causing some pretty extreme anxiety. Finally, after years of dealing with it, I saw a doctor and found out that my jokes about ADD were actually dead on.

Now (with the help of prescription drugs) I finally feel myself getting a handle on things. It’s a work in progress – along with the medication, I’m having to train myself to do things a little differently. The doctor recommended a few different techniques for tackling those daunting tasks lists. And the great thing? My doctor has ADD. And he made it through MED SCHOOL. If he can do that, surely I can handle whatever I need to accomplish.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bring it on 2010

It's been a strange year for me.

It feels like it's been a year of loss - first my mentor and college advisor passed away. Then my grandfather. I broke up with my boyfriend of more than four years, and even lost my little buddy - my puppy Toby. He's been missing since October. My dad's kidney disease has caused him to be pretty sick this year, and as I type this post, my little brother is laid up on the couch recovering from knee surgery.

But, despite the heartbreaks and obstacles that this year has presented, I still know that I am so blessed. I've made some wonderful memories with my family, and learned to finally stand on my own in a town where I knew no one. I've made some fantastic friends, gotten involved in my community and moved into a new home. I guess there have been just as many triumphs as disappointments, and I feel as though I've grown tremendously in a very short amount of time.

I look forward to seeing what 2010 will bring. I won't be naive enough to think there won't be more hard times - but I've learned that I'm more than tough enough to survive. It's a good feeling - knowing that I'm capable of handling whatever life throws my way. So bring it on 2010. I'm ready for what ya got.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm baaaaaaaack.....

Remember me?

Okay - so I kind of disappeared for awhile. Unexpectedly. And for that, I'm truly sorry. (Heck, what am I saying... I bet you didn't even miss me!!)

My life has changed a lot over the last year, and as therapeutic as this blog had been, I think I just needed a break - some time to clear my head. Plus, I became so consumed in reading umpteen million blogs a day - it kind of lost its appeal.

But I've missed having an outlet for my thoughts, so... here I am. Back again.

If you're reading this, thanks for hanging in there... I guess that means you didn't unfollow me just because I bailed for a while. There are at least two possible explanations for that: 1) You had complete faith that I would one day return; or the much more likely 2) You didn't even realize I had quit posting. Either way... hello again.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas. And I'll be seeing you soon :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Busy, tired.... and thoroughly happy

My life has been a whirlwind of activity lately, and I have to say… I’m loving it.

When I moved to this sleepy little town last year, I was convinced that there was NO ONE close to my age to hang out with. Ever. Anywhere. But I obviously wasn’t looking in the right places. Scratch that – I obviously wasn’t looking AT ALL. In any places.

Over the last two months I’ve met so many great people. I’ve gone from sitting at home by myself every single day after work, to almost never having a moment alone. I’m weeks behind on my TiVo – and I honestly couldn’t care less. Who needs to watch TV when there are other things to do? For example:

Last Wednesday night I went out with a few friends, stayed up way too late and had a fantastic time. Sometime in the wee morning hours, a long-time buddy from back home called and said he was going to come spend a few days on my couch. By the time I got off work Thursday and bought some groceries, Chris was well on his way to Andalusia. He, my roommate and I spent the remainder of the night with a group of people – playing cards, talking and just cutting up. Chris and roomie were both off all day Friday, so they were bums while I worked – then, as soon as I got off, we all piled in the car and bolted towards Montgomery for the Zac Brown Band concert with my buddy’s kids. After the concert, we dropped the kids off, then proceeded to enjoy the night. My head didn’t hit the pillow until nearly 5 a.m.

Of course, the older I get, the less I can sleep – so I was up at 8:15, ready to go. Got a shower, woke up the other bums at my house and we got the grill ready for a long day of football. Throughout the day, we bounced between my house and two others – constantly surrounded by people thoroughly enjoying themselves. Sunday was much of the same.

So far, this week’s been pretty low-key – just some down time with a couple of people each night. But tomorrow we’re leaving straight from work to head back to Montgomery for the Pat Green concert – which I’m pretty excited about. It’ll make for a long day Friday at work, I’m sure. But it’ll be worth it.

In the coming weeks, we have trips planned to Troy, Birmingham and Mobile. Not to mention my meetings in Destin next month and a trip to north Georgia for an apple festival with my family at some point in time.

I wonder sometimes how I made it so long without things to do here – how I let myself be so isolated and alone. At the time, I’m sure my reasoning made sense. At least to me. I didn’t want to rock the boat – I didn’t want to cause drama in my relationship. But now that the relationship thing is no longer an issue, I’m starting to loosen up and enjoy myself. And thank God for that.

So if you’re wondering why there have only been three blog posts ALL month… I guess I’m just too busy having fun to stop and write about it most days. Maybe one day I’ll get back on track – or maybe this blog thing has run its course for me… I haven’t really decided yet.

Either way, it has definitely helped me through some tough times over the past year – and for that I’m grateful. I had no idea how therapeutic it could be to spill my heart to a bunch of total strangers. You guys are awesome – and I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around this place sometime soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A ghost from the past

My freshman year in Troy, I met Chuck. His warm personality and impeccable taste in music drew me in immediately. He had a contagious smile and a sense of humor that was out of this world. We were friends from the very start.

As the school year drew to a close, we both found ourselves free from past relationships and we tried our luck at dating. We spent all of our free time together – cooking, laughing, partying and just enjoying ourselves. But the chemistry was never there. Don’t get me wrong – we adored each other. But we lacked the spark that is essential for a lasting relationship. By the end of summer, we decided we were better off as friends, so we ended things with no hard feelings. He met my next boyfriend and I became close friends with his girlfriend. We still talked several times a week and remained very close.

As time went on, I began seeing a different side of Chuck. As happy as he seemed on the outside, he had his demons. He started dabbling in different drugs – always calling me for counsel when he started feeling guilty about it. He drank a lot, and often made bad decisions as a result.

In July of 2005, I got a frantic phone call from his then girlfriend. Chuck got behind the wheel after way too many drinks. He had a horrible wreck that took months of recovery. He had to have reconstructive surgery on part of his face. He needed braces to correct the damage his steering wheel had done to his mouth. It was bad.

I just knew that the wreck would serve as a wake up call – that he’d settle down some and surrender his keys when he wanted to drink. I was wrong.

On February 12, 2006, I got another phone call. This time it was from Kevin (my then boyfriend and most recent ex.). He worked for the Sheriff’s department and had been called to work a wreck at two that morning. When he got there and ran the tag, he immediately called me. It was Chuck. Kevin didn’t know his status, but told me he’d call me back as soon as he did. Instead of a call, I got a knock at my door. I opened it slowly, vainly hoping for good news – but instead, Kevin looked at me with sad eyes and shook his head. I fell to pieces.

I walked through the next few weeks in a daze. I went through so many different emotions. First, I was angry. I couldn’t help it. I was so mad that he’d do something so selfish and stupid – especially after his close call less than a year before. Then there was the overwhelming sadness of losing such a close friend. It seemed so unreal – so that’s when the denial started. I refused to acknowledge it for awhile – which of course just made it that much harder when I finally had to face the fact that I’d never see him again.

But then life resumed. It had to, you know? You get busy with your life and don’t have time to dwell on being sad. Over the past three and a half years, I’ve thought about him a lot. I stop by his grave and talk to him every time I pass by the cemetery, which isn’t that often anymore. I still think about him, but not like I did back then.

That’s why last night’s dream hit me like a ton of bricks. Out of nowhere, he was there – so real and just as vivid as life. I woke up so confused. Here’s what I remember:

I was lost – I know that much. I was wandering around the woods and came upon a group of girls sitting around a fire. There with them was Chuck. I can’t explain it, but I knew he was a ghost and that I was the only one who could see him. No one seemed to see me either, though. Chuck looked up at me and smiled. “I’m lost. I need you,” I said. He just nodded, stood up and walked over to me. He never spoke – but he put his arms around me. It felt so real. I could smell him – feel his embrace. He pulled away and looked at me, and although he still didn’t say anything, I knew what he meant. His look said, “Let’s go.”

He led me by the hand through the woods. At some point, we were swimming. I kept getting pulled under, struggling to keep going. He got behind me and pushed me through the water. The next thing I remember, he was standing on the shore, pulling me out. I was sobbing and he just looked at me with knowing eyes and gave me a sad smile. I leaned into him, put my head on his chest and just as he put his arms around me – I woke up.

What is that about? It was so random, yet it seemed so significant. I’ve been in a funk all day – I just can’t shake that strange feeling I woke up with this morning.

I don’t always put a lot of stock into dream interpretation, but if any of you would like to take a shot, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I'm still alive, I promise!

Wow – so it’s been awhile, huh? I don’t have much time, but thought I’d stop by for a quick update.
  • I’ve been staying busy as best as possible. While I don’t have any terribly exciting stories to share, I have made a wonderful friend over the past couple of months that I’m sure I’ll write about soon. I’ve become more convinced than ever that some people come into your life at precisely the right moment in time. This is definitely once of those instances.
  • My focus and attention problems are getting worse. I’m having a terrible time concentrating on tasks and staying on top of projects lately. It’s one of the most frustrating feelings I’ve ever experienced — knowing exactly what needs to be done but being completely incapable of focusing long enough to accomplish it all. I make to-do lists like you would not believe, then feel extreme anxiety when I fail to cross items off. I’ve been thinking pretty seriously about talking to my doctor about it. I don’t know if my problem warrants medication, but I’m to the point where I feel like it’s worth looking into. My job requires concentration and I can’t afford to keep dragging my feet around here. People can only be so understanding. Speaking of doctors, I missed two days of work last week (like I needed to be any more behind) because I was out sick with bronchitis. Fun stuff.
  • I’ve been feeling particularly cold-hearted lately and I hate it. Kevin and I have been broken up for two months now, and I’ve pretty much cut all contact with him. I hear that’s what you’re supposed to do when you break up, but a part of me is having a hard time. I feel like we were friends for so long, so it’s a shame we can’t still talk. But the majority of me feels like it’s entirely too hard to try to be friends right now. It’s not that I don’t care how he’s doing – it’s just that I need time to heal and move on. And aside from the occasional text, he’s respected that. I sincerely wish him nothing but the best in life. I’m just not ready to be best friends.
  • On a positive note, it’s FINALLY football season. For me, there’s nothing quite like a Saturday filled with the excitement of college football. Can I get a ROLL TIDE?!
  • And more good news: Maverick is doing fantastic. His neck is healing up quite nicely and I honestly could not ask for a better dog. He is sweet, gentle-natured and loyal beyond belief. He and Toby have become the best of friends and I’m so glad he’s become such a perfect part of our household.

Well, I guess that’s about it for now. I plan on catching up on all of your blogs this weekend. I honestly have not even signed into blogger in over a week – so I’m a bit behind…

Happy Friday!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

My new hero

Ever since I rescued Maverick, people have been telling me that I’m his angel here on earth. But I think it might be the other way around. He might actually be MY angel. He most definitely came to my rescue last night when I was right on the verge of desperation.

I spent the majority of the evening cleaning my house, doing laundry and replacing light bulbs (I swear, every fixture in my house had at least one blown blub). By the time I finally stopped to catch my breath, I realized that it was after 10. I figured I’d let the dogs out, finish the dishes and get ready for bed. Of course, things NEVER go as planned.

Toby apparently thought it would be a terrific time for a late-night sprint – so before I could shut the gate behind him in the yard, he shot off down street. Now, if you’ve followed my blog for any time at all, you probably know that this isn’t such an uncommon occurrence. In fact, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t learned my lesson yet, or how the hell I keep letting that ignorant dog get away from me. Well – he’s MUCH quicker than you could ever imagine. Seriously – sometimes I don’t even realize he’s gone until he’s halfway down the block.

Maverick, being the wonderful dog that he is, only trotted to the edge of the yard and quickly came back as soon as I called after him. I put him in the backyard and shut the gate before I took off down the street after Toby.

After several minutes of running, he finally found a fenced in yard that looked inviting. I snuck in behind him and shut the gate, feeling better now that he was corralled in one area and not roaming along the highway. Unfortunately, the yard was huge and I kept worrying that the owners would eventually come out yelling (or shooting) at me for being on their property at such a late hour.

We literally ran circles around this yard for twenty minutes. I was sweating and tired and on the verge of tears. He played deaf and refused to come to me, no matter how many times I pleaded. I honestly thought very seriously about leaving a note on the door of this house telling the people that they were more than welcomed to keep the dog that was now penned up in their backyard.

Finally, exhausted and frustrated beyond belief, I sat down on the edge of a plastic slide, trying hard to keep my angry tears held inside. About that time, I heard a noise at the gate and I figured the owners had reached their breaking point and were coming to kick me out of their yard. Only when I looked up, I realized the noise had come from my new hero, Maverick. The little angel had managed to open the gate at our house and TRACK me two blocks down the road. He sat there patiently waiting for me to let him in this stranger’s yard. As soon as I did, Toby came up to us and I was finally able to pick him up and take his little miscreant butt home. Maverick led the way and was waiting at the door when Toby and I got there.

I curtly told Toby that I was ashamed of him, for what good that did. He has been treated so well and spoiled beyond belief for the past two years, yet every chance he gets, he runs off. Then there’s Maverick – the poor dog has never been properly trained, yet he minds so well. And not only does he not run away – he follows my scent over a quarter of a mile to find me and lead me home.

Maybe he can teach Toby a thing or two.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Say what?!

Holy cow!!

I just realized that I now have 104 followers! Who are you people and why do you care about my little mundane life?! That’s incredible.

When I started blogging, I had no idea what I was getting into. I thought I’d publish a few posts, then move along. But something amazing happened. I started getting comments from complete strangers. I started seeing visitors coming in from around the world: Australia, Spain, Romania, Japan, India, Germany, Canada, Mexico… I was hooked. I never thought I’d feel such strong feelings of friendship for people I’ve never met in real life.

So thank all of you who take the time to stop by each day and read my random thoughts. If you leave comments, you have no idea how much appreciate your kind words – they get me through the day sometimes! And if you don’t leave comments… well, that’s okay too. But I’d really like to hear from you! Even if it’s just a short hello.

Don’t be a stranger!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not for the squeamish...

I picked Maverick up from the vet yesterday and got some heartbreaking news: the poor puppy has heartworms. I have to take him back in two weeks to have his wounds reevaluated and we’ll discuss treatment options then. Thankfully I have a wonderfully supportive family that has been very generous in my efforts to get Mav healthy. My dad and stepmama have helped fund this initial visit (THANK YOU!!) and my mom and stepdad have offered to help with the heartworm treatment (THANK YOU!!) I’m so glad I come from a family that understands and shares my love for animals. You guys are awesome!

The vet gave me two weeks worth of oral antibiotics that I have to give him twice daily, as well as a solution that I have to dilute with water. Each day I have to fill a syringe with the mixture and flush out his wounds. Thankfully Mav is a really sweet, laid-back dog and he’s been very good at taking his treatments so far.

He and Toby have gotten along splendidly. They play (and nap) together quite well. I’ve yet to introduce him to Ollie – I don’t think he has any experience with kitties, so I’m keeping them separated for now. In fact, as much as it breaks my heart, Ollie may be going to live with a friend of mine pretty soon. She’s about to move into a new home by herself and I think the company would be good for her. And with two dogs (one wounded and one just plain retarded) I think I’m going to have my hands full.

Now – if you’re at all squeamish, please discontinue reading. I’m about to post a few pictures of the damage to Maverick’s neck and side. You’ve been warned.

This first picture isn't so bad. If you look closesly, you'll see some old wounds that the vet found when he was doing his physical. Apparently he’d been bitten before and received no care then, either. These aren’t nearly as bad as whats on his neck.

Now, here’s the really sad one. You can see the two wounds, with the bottom one obviously being the worst.

I know I’ve said it before, but I just DO NOT understand how people can let their dog get hurt like this and not do something about it. You better believe that if Toby were to get chewed up, I’d be rushing his little butt to the vet so fast it’d make your head spin. If the office was closed, I’d be calling the vet at home and telling him to get to the clinic ASAP.

Anyway, despite the pain that he has to be in, Maverick remains in good spirits. His tail wags constantly and his tongue is permanently hanging from his mouth. He’s such a good-natured goof.

How can you not love this face?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Call me crazy...

I think I’m going to make a big sign to hang on my front door that reads, “Heather’s Home for Lost, Unwanted and Mistreated Animals.”

My little furry family has gained another member.

Meet Maverick the German Wirehair Pointer.

Pitiful, right? Y’all, he is about the sweetest thing I have ever met and his story broke my heart.
To sum it up shortly, he is a very expensive hunting dog who was no longer wanted after the novelty of a having a puppy wore off. His owners dropped him off at my friend’s house. Unfortunately, this particular friend and his family already had three other dogs and they weren’t too keen on having another one around to feed. They talked a lot about getting rid of him – joking that they’d just drop him off on a dirt road if they didn’t think he’d find his way back again. Y’all, I don’t joke like that. I told them I’d take him home with me. They didn’t think anything of it, and I didn’t pursue it like I should’ve until this past weekend.

Friday night I noticed that Maverick had a big spot of discolored, badly matted fur on his neck. I asked what happened and my friend casually said, “Oh, Miller (one of their other dogs) bit him.” I looked closer and saw two HUGE gaping wounds on Maverick’s neck. I asked what they were going to do about it and this is the response I got: “Nothing. He’ll be fine.”

They proceeded to tell me that if it got too bad, or if he got sick, they’d just take him to the woods and shoot him. I almost threw up. I said, “LIKE HELL YOU WILL.”

Needless to say, first thing Saturday morning I showed up and informed them that Maverick was coming to live with me. I took him home, bathed him, cleaned his wounds and introduced him to Toby.

I took him to the vet yesterday and they kept him overnight. They said the wounds were badly infected and they’d need to clean them out and start him on antibiotics. Apparently Maverick’s old owners took him this vet once upon a time, so they had his records on file. Turns out, he’s just shy of three years old, but has not had any shots or medication in the past two years.

I’ve never understood people who get pets and then don’t take care of them. They aren’t toys to play with until something new comes along. They’re living, breathing, feeling beings who will love you unconditionally. All they need in return is a little nurturing.

People complain that vet bills are too expensive. “They’re just dogs,” they say. Yes. They’re dogs. Dogs that you didn’t have to get in the first place if you weren’t willing to make a commitment to their health and wellbeing. Dogs that deserve a loving, happy home. Dogs that do NOT deserve to be in constant pain because you let their neck get so infected it started oozing puss. (Sorry for that last one. I know it’s gross. I saw it first hand yesterday.)

Anyway – I’m getting off my soapbox now.

I’ll keep you updated on the healing process. I’m sure I’ve gotten myself in too deep – I’m sure I need another animal like I need a hole in the head. But regardless, he’s here now and will be taken care of and loved very much.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's not easy being this smart...

Weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat: Hi, my name is ______ and I am a _______. (inspired by Emmy from Emmy Mom One Day At A Time.)

Hi, my name is Heather and I am a COMPLETE MORON!

Let me explain.

Yesterday afternoon I found myself locked out of my house. Barefoot. In the rain. On my lunch break.

I was wearing a really cute (but totally impractical) pair of heels that I slipped off as soon as I walked in the door. I ate a quick lunch, did a few chores around the house then decided I’d go back to work a little early (it’s been a busy week). Without thinking twice, I walked outside to get Toby from the yard and pulled the door shut behind me. Only Miss Genius here automatically locked the door out of habit and found herself standing under the carport barefoot with no way to get back in. Brilliant, right? Luckily I had my cell phone in my pocket. I tried my landlord with no luck. I tried several people from work with no luck. I tried my friend Jessica, hoping she could bring me a pair of shoes and drop me off at work, but she was out of town for the day. FINALLY, I got in touch with a lady from my office who was able to come pick me up – and she just so happened to have an extra pair of shoes in her car. Halleluiah. I don’t know what I would’ve done if she didn’t. My purse was locked in the house, so it’s not like I could go buy a pair to wear.

My landlord finally called me back late yesterday afternoon to inform me that she is OUT OF TOWN until tomorrow. Awesome. So a friend dropped me off after work and I waited patiently in the rain for a locksmith to come and let me into my house. Ten minutes and forty dollars later, I was finally in.

Moral of the story? It’s a good idea to have a spare key or two incase you’re an idiot.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oh, the irony....

Life is funny sometimes, isn’t it?

Growing up, I had big dreams. I wanted to travel – wanted to see the world. I dreamed of living in an apartment in New York. I imagined all of these grand adventures I would have and interesting people I would meet.

In high school, I started dating a guy who changed some of those dreams. I was “in love” and we talked about our future life together. He wanted to stick close to home and told me numerous times that he had no desire to travel anywhere too far away. We made it through high school and I chose a college in my little southern state so I wouldn’t be too far away from him. In the beginning, I hated my small-town life. I was bored and constantly thought about leaving and starting over somewhere new. But a funny thing happened at the end of my first year. By the time me and my childhood sweetheart broke up, I was in love with my life in Troy. I made friends and eventually began dating my most recent ex, who was even less keen on the idea of moving away from his hometown. So I did what I had to do to make sure I stuck as close as possible – that’s how I wound up here at my current job.

And I’ve learned to love life in my small town. I enjoy the slower pace and friendly people and I’ve tried to become as involved in my community as possible, joining service groups like Junior Service League and Kiwanis Club. I go to church and have a good circle of friends. I enjoy the rolling pastures and lake views that my little town offers – and overall I’m very satisfied with where my life has brought me. But there are days I still dream of something more exciting.

And you want to know the funniest part? A few nights ago I spoke with my high school sweetie – the one who wanted to stick close to home. The one I made sacrifices for several years ago. As we were catching up on life and everything that has gone on since we broke up five years ago, I couldn’t help but laugh a little. Mister “I want to stay in Alabama” is currently living in Hawaii and is relocating to Miami at the end of next month. He joined the Coast Guard, and as a result, has been able to live in some gorgeous places. And mister “I have no desire to travel overseas” will be heading to Spain for training this year. So, as I volunteer to make funnel cakes and judge the photo contest at the county fair in the fall, he’ll probably be seeing some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world.

Yep. Life sure is funny.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Where's the love?

I’ve been thinking about faith a lot lately – well, religion in general, I guess. I’ve noticed (with startling frequency) the number of people who have a really bad impression of Christians, and after some soul searching, I think I’ve figured out why.

A lot of people who call themselves Christians have stopped practicing the way of Christ. We’re taught that He was compassionate, loving and accepting of everyone, no matter how tarnished their reputation. Yet today, too many of us are judgmental of those who don’t fit our idea of an upstanding citizen. Some so-called Christians preach fire and brimstone, eternal damnation and the wrath of God, yet often forget to preach love, compassion and forgiveness – which, in my opinion, are some of the most wonderful aspects of the Christian faith.

Instead of leading by example, too many of us try to scare people into salvation. For example, take this verse from Corey Smith’s song “Where’s the Love”:

Young boy from a trailer park is lost and confused,
Lost faith in God after all the shit that he'd been through.
One day the preacher drops by, says "Boy, you had better change your ways,
Lord knows you're a sinner, son, and you'd burn in Hell if you died today."
Well, that news didn't sit too good with a boy who had done the best he could.
Church talk has scared him to death like his drunken father said it would.

Where's the love?
Where'd your love go, my savior?
Oh where's the love?
Where's the love that Jesus spoke of?

I don’t know – I’m not trying to get preachy here. I generally keep my religious beliefs off of my blog – but I couldn’t get this off my mind today.

What are your thoughts?

Do think some Christians take the wrong approach when talking to nonbelievers?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The perfect storm

So, yesterday y’all got to see my sassy side. See, I’m not all smiles and sweetness. Bet ya think I’m a real tough cookie now, huh? Yep. That’s me. You should be scared.

Or not.

Anyway, moving on…

I saw the most incredible lightning storm last night. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I have always been completely fascinated with lightning. I could watch it for hours. There’s something about it that sparks a childlike excitement in me. And last night, I had the perfect view. I was sitting on a big front porch, overlooking nothing but pastures and ponds. No buildings to block my view. No city lights to take away from the effect. I’ve never seen so much lightning so continuously. The sky lit up with Mother Nature’s very own fireworks for over an hour. The only sound was the soft patter of rain and the rolling booms of thunder. It was fantastic.

I was much too preoccupied enjoying the sights to snap a picture, but I found this one online and thought it was pretty:

Is it sad the the highlight of my week so far has been watching a storm? Guess that shows you how exciting my social life is :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If I only had the hutzpah... whatever that is

Weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat: List ten things you would say to ten different people in your life...if you had the hutzpah. (inspired by Cassandra from Cassagram)

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, so I figured I was overdue.

We all have things that we hold back – comments we want to say but simply don’t have the hutzpah to spit out. I’m using my context clues with this one, seeing as I have no idea what hutzpah actually is… I guessing it’s nerve? Gall? Guts? Am I close? (We’ll just pretend I am.) So, if I had the hutzpah, I would say:

To a certain self-pitying friend: Enough already! We’re here if you need us, but there’s only so much anyone can do when you lock yourself in your house. Sometimes life sucks for no apparent reason. Move on and LIVE YOUR LIFE.

To an old college professor: Dude, I missed two classes all semester. I came in late (still during roll call) a few times. You gave me an FA. Failure to attend. Seriously? Then you told me I could write a paper for each absence, which I did. With a broken wrist. And you still failed me. Oh, did I mention I made an A on every paper I turned in that semester? Yeah… I loved repeating your class. Jerk. Get over yourself.

To the woman wearing a tube top and falling out of her hip hugger jeans at the grocery store: No one needs to see that while they’re shopping for food. You’ve single-handedly made the entire store lose their appetite. Thanks. Please come back when you’re not dressed for the Jerry Springer show.

To someone who will remain nameless: You frustrate me beyond belief. I’m not sure how to handle myself around you and that terrifies and confuses me.

To my parents: Where are my musical genes? Where is my rhythm? Why can’t I clap to a beat or hum a damn note on key? I blame you. Seriously. I could’ve been a rock star.

To one of my long-time besties: Honey, I love you, but a giant Coach bag (while gorgeous, I’m sure) is not something I want to hear about when I’m telling you about my breakup. I’m very excited that you have a generous boyfriend who spoils you rotten, but bringing that up when I’m telling you about my misfortunes? Not so cool. Just sayin’.

And finally, to myself: Loosen up and believe in yourself, chickadee! Life is too short to doubt yourself so much. Have fun and quit worrying and over analyzing every situation!

Well, I didn’t make it to ten, but that’s all I have for now. And ya know? It felt good to get a few of those off my chest. I might have to do that more often.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday ramblings...

Another weekend - woo hoo!

I honestly have zero plans for tonight, which scares me a little. I've gotten so used to staying busy. The idea of sitting at home is a little overwhelming. It's still early evening, though, so maybe something will come up. Don't get me wrong...I'm not afraid to be home alone with my thoughts. I've just become so used to being constantly entertained. Constantly surrounded by friends. Maybe I've become a little dependent.

Tomorrow morning should be fun, though. I'm going to go over to a friend's house to swim and layout. Good Lord knows I need some sun. I'm beginning to get transparent. After that I have plans... I just don't know what they are yet. Apparently there are few options on the table.

Anyway - no matter what I wind up doing this weekend, one thing is for certain: It'll be here in my sleepy little town. And you know what? I'm finally okay with that. Just a few months ago (maybe even last month) I had my bags packed and ready to go when I got off work every Friday. I found every excuse I could to leave. Birmingham, Destin, Mississippi, Mobile - not to mention Montana and Wyoming. I just had to get out of here. Not anymore. I have realized that I actually really, really like it here. Which is definitely good for my gas tank (and my wallet).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Therapy, of sorts...

In all honesty, I’m not sure how to do this. Granted, I’ve never had any problems expressing my feelings… but these are feelings I’d really rather keep to myself. However, it’s been suggested that it might be therapeutic to type out some thoughts regarding last month’s big break up.

Let’s see… how do I feel? Sad, disappointed. Like I lost my very best friend. I think that’s actually the hardest part. As in any relationship, we shared a lot of laughs and there were times I felt he understood me better than anyone else ever had. Of course, there were also times when I wondered if he knew me at all.

It’s hard to face the realization that someone you care for so deeply might not be the right person for you. I’m not going to go into personal details here. I’m not going to point fingers or place any blame – but I will say that my heart had been hurting for quite some time. In the end, it was a hurt that I couldn’t deal with anymore. A pain that I just couldn’t face for the rest of my life.

So, I’m dealing with it in my own way. I’m staying as busy as possible and trying not to dwell on my sadness. I want to move on with my life. I want to be happy. And I want him to do the same. No matter how things ended for us, Kevin was a huge part of my life for a very, very long time. (We met when I was 19.) I genuinely hope that he can find happiness. I wish him nothing but the very best in life.

I find myself wondering how long it’ll hurt. It’s been about a month, and there are still days that it feels brand new. I came across some pictures yesterday and nearly fell apart at work. Not good. But then there are also moments - when I’m surrounded by friends, laughing and enjoying life - that I almost feel normal. It’s like a see-saw.

Anyway – I know I’ll be fine. These things happen every day and my case is not unique. Things WILL get better.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What bad mood?

“Man – I’m having one of those days. I knew it would happen eventually. I knew all of my positive thoughts and good vibes would waiver at some point. I’m not saying that they’re gone – they’re still there, relentlessly fighting to get back to the surface and kick this sullen mood I’m in.

For the most part, things have been good lately. I’ve been putting in a lot of time with friends, staying busy and trying to keep my mind occupied. I know that I have to deal with memories, thoughts and sadness – I know I can’t put those off forever. But sometimes they hit me so hard.”

I was in the process of writing this yesterday and never finished. As I sat there, struggling for the right words, a friend of mine called and asked if I wanted to come over and help her babysit her brother-in-law’s kids. So, having nothing better to do, I happily agreed. And you know what? That was just the thing I needed.

I had the best time with those adorable little kids. We laughed, played games and acted as silly as possible. By the time I left, I didn’t even remember being in a bad mood. I signed back into blogger this morning and saw that I had a draft saved – I couldn’t believe how drastically my mood had changed since then.

There was definitely a bit of magic in their laughter that brought me back to good spirits. There’s something about hearing a six year old tell you, “YOU’RE FUN!” that really makes things better.

And their charm has held. So far today, I’m upbeat and staying positive. Next time I’m feeling down, maybe I’ll ask to borrow them for awhile. It seems that playing make-believe, eating ice cream and having my hair “fixed” made all the difference in the world.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thank ya... thank ya very much

Big shout out to RileyScott and Judge Fudge who both gave me terrific awards last week (or the week before…or the week before the week before? I’m a little slow sometimes.)

First, is the Kreativ Blogger award from the very funny Judge. To accept the honor, I must tell you seven things I love. And here they are:

Meeting new people. This has been a big deal for me lately, as I’m trying to make my little town feel more like home. I’ve been pretty successful and am feeling pretty good about my expanding list of friends. I’ve even discovered that not ALL of my neighbors are retired with great grandkids. Some of them are actually pretty close to my age. Score.

Sweet tea, which was sorely missed on my trip out west. Why is it that NO ONE else in the United States knows how to make sweet tea like us Southerners? It’s not a tough concept people! Add sugar while the tea is hot, then pour over ice. The end.

Thunderstorms. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sunshine and blue sky kind of girl most days… but I love sitting on a covered porch and watching a thunderstorm. I love the sounds and the smell of rain. And I love watching the sky illuminate with each bolt of lightning.

Good ol’ fashioned belly-laughs. The kind that you almost can’t recover from. When you laugh so hard you find yourself short of breath but still can’t stop laughing. Those are the best.

Unexpected good news. For instance, I just found out today that instead of decreasing (as predicted), my dad’s kidney function is actually INCREASING. Hallelujah!

Coffee. And more coffee. And maybe a little bit more – just to be sure I’ve had enough.

YOU. All of you. Anyone who takes a minute or two out of their day to check in on me and read about my boring little life. And those of you who leave sweet, funny, thoughtful comments? Yeah… I definitely love you.

Now, moving right along… RileyScott kindly passed the Honest Scrap award my way. To accept this one, I have to tell you ten random (yet honest?) things about me.

I hate scary movies. I do. So much. I watched one Wednesday night with some friends and literally could NOT sleep all night long. I kept the light on in my room like a baby. With every creak of my old house, I prepared myself for the worst – convinced that Jason was going to come slice me open if I fell asleep. I’m such a wuss.

I talk to my dog like he’s a person.

I thrive on change. To say the very least, I’m definitely not set in my ways. Sometimes I daydream about moving somewhere new and starting from scratch. It seems pretty exciting.

When I was little (like four years old), I wanted to be Johnny Appleseed. I had a book about him and thought that it would be so much fun to roam around planting trees all day. I thought he was the coolest. (Shut up. I was four!)

Don’t tell anyone, but I secretly watch Hannah Montana. Hmm, I guess it’s not such a secret anymore. Oh well, it’s not like I said that I secretly thought Billy Ray Cyrus was cute (even when he had a mullet.) Nooo… I didn’t say that.

I think I could survive off of mashed potatoes.

I’m determined. Others might say relentless. Or stubborn. Or hard-headed. Or nagging. Or that I tend to beat a dead horse. Whatever. I just like to get my point across.

I tend to invent words. It started early. Apparently, my word of choice when I was about seven was “cinchy.” As in “That’s a cinch.” or “That’s easy.” Only it’d come out, “Oh, that’s cinchy.” My mom and stepdad say they hated it because it made me sound like a know-it-all.

I hate shoes that have to be tied. I especially hate shoes you have to wear socks with. I hate it when one shoe is tied tighter than the other, or when your sock gets a wrinkle in it or bunches up near your toes, or around your heel. I don’t know how many times I adjust my socks or retie my tennis shoes when I wear them. It’s my very own little obsessive-compulsive tick.

I’ve been practicing my cursive. Some girls have the prettiest flowing handwriting. Me? I was told that my cursive looks like a five year grabbed a pen and started scribbling. So I’ve been working on it. And personally, I think it’s getting much better. If you squint and tilt your head sideways, it’s almost legible now.

Well, that’s it. Nothing left to do now but share these with a couple of deserving bloggers.

For the Kreativ Blogger award, I choose Trudy at Third Time’s a Charm.

And for the Honest Scrap… scarlethue at A Beautiful Truth.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Want more?

Okay - here's a link to my Flickr page so you can see more vacation shots. I didn't upload all of them... that'd be a little overwhelming. We'll take baby steps here, okay?

Anyway, go check it out if ya want. If not, then just ignore this little post. :)

I'm baaaack....

And feeling so good! My trip out west was just what the doctor ordered. We had such a good time.

Y'all, I've never in my life seen such gorgeous scenery. I still can't get over it. We flew into Billings, Montana, and over the course of a week, circled Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park before flying back home (at 6:00!) yesterday morning.

The weather was warmer than we expected - they would have a heat wave the week we roll into town - but it was still pleasant. The lack of humidity was a wonderful thing. My hair actually stayed straight everyday instead of turning into a big frizzball like it does down here.

I can't begin to describe the landscape. Everywhere we went was so different. One day we'd be looking at rolling fields of wildflowers in front of a mountain backdrop, then the next day would be an uninhabitable terrain of boiling water and bubbling mud pits. Still another day was an arid landscape of red rocks jutting from bare earth. I, personally, really enjoyed the Tetons, which were still capped with snow in some areas.

As a family, we shared a lot of laughs over the week (mostly at each other's expense - at least we can joke on each other). It was wonderful to spend a week with my little brother, who is growing up faster than I'd like to admit. I got to see, first hand, how smart (and goofy) he is becoming.

I'm sure I could ramble on and on about my time out there, but it wouldn't do it any justice. So, without further ado, here are a few pictures from my trip. I'll try to get a Flickr page up and going soon with the rest - I don't want to bog Blogger down with too many right now.

The Tetons
The Tetons

South of Cody, Wyoming

My mom and stepdad

We saw SO many of these guys - one even crossed the road in front of us.

Elk - we actually saw a lot of wildlife. We saw antelope, bison, big horn sheep, a wolf, grizzly bear, mule deer, bald eagle, moose... and probably lots more that I'm not thinking of right now.

Old Trail Town in Cody, Wyoming - home to several old cabins, stores and saloons from the days of Jeremiah Johnson, Buffalo Bill Cody, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

During a hike in Alta, Wyoming

Lower Falls at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

The canyon

Part of the Yellowstone River

Outside the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana

Monday, July 20, 2009

Excited? Duh...

Guess what time it is?!

Time for me to get super excited about my trip. Yes, friends. As soon as I get off work tomorrow afternoon, I’m heading to Birmingham to meet up with my family. By Wednesday evening, our adventure out West will officially begin.

We’ll fly into Billings, MT and make our way down to Jackson, WY over the course of the week. We’ll explore as much of Yellowstone as we can, before reaching the Grand Tetons and seeing some of – in my opinion – the most spectacular scenery in the country.

I still haven’t packed. I know, I know… way to wait till the last minute, right? I spent most of the weekend swimming and hanging out with friends and just couldn’t get myself into organize and pack mode. I have my very first Junior Service League meeting tonight (yep, I’m trying to get involved in my community) but as soon as that’s over, I’ll be running around like a chicken with my head cut off, throwing anything and everything I can think of into my suitcase.

I’m dropping Ollie off at my friend Kelley’s house tonight – then running by the doggie daycare first thing tomorrow morning to drop off Toby. I’m a little sad to be leaving my babies for so long, but I know they’ll be well taken care of.

Anyway, this will probably be my last post for awhile. I’ll be sure to take lots and lots of pictures of the gorgeousness to share with you when I get back. In the meantime, check out some of these images I stole from various places on the Web:

See you on the other side of my vacation!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Go ahead and laugh - it's okay

So, are you guys ready to laugh at my expense? Come on, you know you want to. Just listen to a few of the things that went down yesterday.

We had a company wide pizza luncheon, so the boardroom was filled with people hanging out, eating and watching Andy Griffith DVDs on a giant projector screen. Everything was going fine – we were all sitting around, talking and enjoying ourselves. Then I thought I’d get back to work a little early and get some things done. So I stood up and started making my way down one of the long aisles of tables and chairs. Suddenly, my foot caught something and CRASH. I knocked over a chair. Loudly. And then I nearly fell over it. With my plate and Dr Pepper in hand. And everyone seemed to stop what they were doing and look at me. I lost it. I just cracked up and could not stop laughing. Half the people I work with probably think I’m a klutz now. The other half either already knew, or had already gone back to their desks.

Then, as I was getting up to leave work, I stepped on my own toe with my high heel. OUCH. Who does that? Me, apparentely.

So, I made my way home, ready to relax and enjoy my afternoon. I got out at the house and opened the storm door. I put my key in the inside door and – per routine – leaned into the door with my shoulder to push it open (it tends to stick). Only when I leaned into the door, it suddenly felt like someone lit my arm on fire. Wasp. Or yellow jacket. Or some type of flying, stinging devil bug. I don’t know. I didn’t look too closely. I was too busy yelling obscenities at it while rubbing my arm, convinced that it might soon fall off.

After making sure the stupid thing was gone, I changed clothes and started some laundry. It was raining, so I had not taken Toby out yet. I guess he was extra eager. As soon as the door opened even a few inches, he shot off down the street before I could stop him. Great. So, on top of my toe hurting from stepping on it with my heel, and my arm hurting from being stung – I had to chase my idiot dog down the road barefoot. In the rain. By the time I caught him, we were both covered in grass and mud.

Yeah. Yesterday was a good day. At least I was able to find a little humor in it all.

But I survived. And today I’m starting fresh. A good friend of mine told me that you have to “Dominate your day. Don’t let your day dominate you.” Yesterday totally kicked my butt, but today? Who knows? It’s looking pretty good so far.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sounds like life to me...

Hello again.

Have you ever had weeks, or maybe months – or how about entire years – that seem to be working against you?


Because I definitely have.

But you know what? The other day, while I was wallowing in my sorrows, I heard a song on the radio that made me nod my head and say, “Yeah… that’s a good way to look at things.”

Check out the lyrics to “Sounds Like Life To Me” by Darryl Worley:

Got a call last night, from an old friend’s wife.
Said “I hate to bother you,
Johnny Ray fell off the wagon,
He’s been gone all afternoon.”
I know my buddy, so I drove to Skully’s
And found him at the bar.
I say, “Hey man, what’s going on?”
He said, “I don’t know where to start.

Sarah’s old car’s about to fall apart,
And the washer quit last week.
We had to put Mama in the nursing home
And the baby’s cutting teeth.
I didn’t get much work this week
And I got bills to pay.”
I said, “I know this ain’t what you want hear,
But it’s what I’m gonna say,

Sounds like life to me. It ain’t no fantasy.
It’s just a common case of everyday reality.
Man I know it’s tough, but you gotta suck it up.
To hear you talk, you’re caught up in some tragedy.
It sounds like life to me.”

Well, his face turned red and he shook his head.
He said, ‘You don’t understand.
Three kids and a wife depend on me,
And I’m just one man.
To top it off, I just found out
That Sarah’s two months late.”
I said, “Hey bartender, set us up a round.
We need to celebrate!

Sounds like life to me. Plan old destiny.
Yeah, the only thing for certain is uncertainty.
You gotta hold on tight, just enjoy the ride.
Get used to all this unpredictability.
Sounds like life.

Man, I know it’s tough, but you gotta suck it up.
To hear you talk, you’re caught up in some tragedy.
Sounds like life to me.”

Pretty good, right? I mean, apart from all of the “ain’ts” and such. But the part that really hit home for me was the, “Man, I know it’s tough. But you gotta suck it up.”

I guess that’s where I’m at right now. I gotta just suck it up and get on with life.

And for those of you wondering… I’m single again. Things didn’t work out. And I really don’t want to talk about it right now.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

All you ever wanted to know (and probably some you didn't)

The very sweet Kelly over at My Voice, My View knew that I’d been hard pressed for blog material lately. So, being the sweetheart that she is, she tagged me for this fun little meme. It's kind of long, but let's face it - I know you lie awake at night, wishing you could know a little more about me. So here ya go. You're welcome.

The Rules:
1. Respond and rework. Answer the questions on your blog. Replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, and add one more question of your own.

2. Tag other people.

What is your current obsession? The Sookie Stackhouse book series and TrueBlood DVDs – thanks Jen! Add that with my love for Twilight and people are going start thinking I’m a vamp lover. (Or Fang Banger, as they’re so delicately called in the books.)

What are you wearing today? Black pants, and magenta shirt and white, strappy sandals – at least that’s what I wore to work. Now I’m in a pair of plaid lounge shorts and a tank top.

What’s for dinner? I don’t know yet – that’s usually a last minute, what-can-I-grab type thing for me.

What would you eat for your last meal? Roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, butter beans, mac and cheese and a roll. And banana pudding. Yum.

What relaxes you the most? This week has been all about my gianormous Jacuzzi tub and a glass or two of wine.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? I’d get a head start on my trip to Montana.

Which language do you want to learn? I would absolutely LOVE to learn Italian. It’s not exactly practical, but I think it’s a gorgeous language. And who knows? Maybe I’ll move to Italy one day and it would be really handy.

What do you love most about where you currently live? It has a lot of small-town charm. The street lamp-lined sidewalks, town square and local farmer’s market – I love it all. I miss being away from my friends and family, but I couldn’t ask for a better little town to call home.

What style is your current home decorated in? Is comfortable a style? Ha – I don’t know what you’d call it, but it fits me and feels very much like home. It has a warm and cozy feel to it.

If you were a time traveler what era would you live in? The 60s, for sure. I did a post on that one time – see?

What is your favorite color? Blue – all shades and variations.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? I don’t normally wear 'em, but right now I’m digging this pretty little skirt I bought a few weeks ago. It’s so girly, which is normally not me at all. Here it is:

What were you doing ten years ago? I was 14 and about to start my freshman year of high school. I had an infant brother that I was still getting used to and life was a little chaotic.

If you had $300 now, what would you spend it on? A new iPod – mine’s full and I need more space!

What are you going to do after this? Remember that gianormous Jacuzzi tub I spoke of earlier? It’s calling my name.

What are your favorite films? I’m a big fan of the Boondock Saints, Across the Universe, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina (the original), the Godfather trilogy, Spanglish, The Princess Bride, Gone With the Wind, Dazed and Confused (it has a great soundtrack!), and…more than I can name. I love movies – hence my ever expanding Netflix queue.

Your favorite books? Okay, now this is just impossible. I love every word Greg Iles has ever written, along with James Rollins and Chuck Palahniuk. Aside from that, my bookshelves (and Kindle) are usually filled with either action/adventure or mystery/suspense. I love books that grab your attention from page one and keep you reading well into the night – turning pages with speed to see what will happen next.

Do you collect anything? Nope – but my floor and furniture tend to collect dog hair.

What makes you follow a blog? It varies, but most of the blogs I follow belong to funny, insightful, honest people that I can relate to in some way or another. Monetary bribes don’t hurt, either. Just sayin’.

What’s your favorite candy? Mike & Ikes – I love the fruity, chewy goodness. Man, now I want some!

Ann's Question:What makes you comment on a blog? I used to comment on every blog I read, every day. But I’ve been a lurker lately, only commenting on the posts that I really have something to say about. I guess I’ve just been short on words.

Amy's Question: What is your favorite thing to do when you have some free time? Read, talk to friends, hike when the weather’s nice and I’m somewhere pretty, watch movies, go for a drive, play with the animals… I’m pretty self-entertaining.

Tonya's question:What is a talent you wished you had? Well, I’d love to pick up the guitar that’s sitting in my guest room and magically know how to play it. My lessons fizzled out and the whole “teach myself” thing hasn’t worked, so far.

Gena's question:As you may know, I am all about "Serene Moments", so what is your "Serene Moment"? I might have mentioned it before – but see, I have this great big tub… and I can turn on some music, soak for awhile and forget everything else.

Noelle's question: If you could go to heaven, who would you see and why? My granddads, Prof. Warden and my friend, Chuck. I miss them all very much.

Vickie's question: Who is your favorite actor? I don’t really have one. But I do love Hugh Laurie, who plays House. He embodies the character SO well.

Kitten's question: Other than Blogger, Facebook, and/or Twitter, what are your most frequently-visited websites? I don’t check any site frequently, but I do update my queue on Netflix pretty religiously.

Kelly’s question: What was your favorite subject in school? I loved my journalism and literature classes – but I probably had the most fun in my mythology class. The professor was hilarious and each class was like story time. Surprisingly, I also loved my Western Civ. classes – but again, I think it was the professor who made them so good.

My question: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I used to be a night owl – I could easily see the sun come up before heading to bed. Not anymore. I’m sleepy by 9:30. In bed by 10. But I’m most definitely not an early bird either. Do not expect me to get up cheerfully. Smiles are not usually handed out until after my morning coffee. I guess I’m more of an early evening gal. How exciting, right?

Now it’s time to pass it on. Savannah, Jen and Kim – I’d love to read your answers! Be sure to add your own question at the end to keep things interesting. Anyone else who wants to do it, feel free! I don’t discriminate. Just let me know you’ve done it so I can come learn more about you.

My apologies...

I know I’ve been MIA a lot lately. From my own blog, as well as yours. I’m sorry for the lack of comments. I’m still hanging around, lurking in the shadows most days. I’ll try to do better, but I’m not making any promises. I was falling into that dangerously consuming obsession of feeling like I was missing something if I didn’t read a billion blogs a day and I felt like I should take a few steps back.

Plus there really hasn’t been anything blog-worthy in my world lately. Sure, there’s a lot going on – but it’s not all been fun and games and I just don’t have the energy or the desire to drag it all out into the open.

Let’s just say that my trip out west could not come at a better time. We moved it back a week, so now I’m counting down the days to July 22 – when I’ll be on a plane to Billings, MT to start a week worth of down time surrounded by some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. I’m so glad that my family enjoys outdoorsy stuff and that (even though I’m technically grown and gone) they’re allowing me to be a kid again and crash their vacation.

So, only thirteen more days until I get a chance to see one of these guys:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I'll be happy when...

Weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat: I’ll be happy when…

You know what? Scratch that. Why do we always say that? “I’ll be happy when…” Or, “I’d be happy if…” Why can’t we just be happy now? That’s my philosophy today.

We should all quit waiting for something or someone to make us happy.

So today, I am happy because:

We have a three-day weekend and I’ll be in Birmingham with my friends and family for the Fourth of July.

I have the first two disks of True Blood: Season One waiting on me at home for my viewing pleasure.

It’s summertime and I’m planning on hitting the pool at some point this weekend for some much needed sunshine.

I know that even though he’s over an hour away, I have someone who loves me and has my back no matter what.

I have an amazing family vacation just around the corner and will get to see some incredible, awe inspiring views.

OH MY GOSH – TIME OUT! I just realized that I never told y’all the best news! My stepmom is a kidney match for my dad! They found out a few weeks ago. I can’t believe I didn’t blog about that already. What’s wrong with me? He won’t have the transplant for awhile, but it’s such a relief to know that he has a match and won’t have to go on the donor list. I literally danced a little jig the day they called to tell me.

So yeah – as you can see, I have plenty to be happy about today And most everyday for that matter.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Won't you share in my excitement?

I'm sorry to inform you that you'll have to look elsewhere for reading material July 14-20.


I found out today that I'll be able to take the time off work to fly to Montana with my family. Two weeks from tomorrow. As in really soon. Which is good, considering I've never been much for the whole "patiently waiting" thing.

I cannot begin to tell you how stoked I am about this. I've wanted to go there ever since I can remember. The mountains. The hiking. The fishing. The rafting. The horseback riding. The wildlife. The views. Are you kidding me? It's like heaven on earth. And according to the Web site, the highs for July are in the 70s. Hallelujah. Some relief from this 100 degree weather!

You know I'll bring back plenty of pictures to share. If only I was a talented photographer like the impressive Dan Felstead. Dan, your pictures never cease to amaze me. I need a crash course in photography ASAP! I want to snag a close up of a bison.

Anyway, Montana and Wyoming ... here I come!!

Back from Destin

Well, I'm back from another fantastic weekend. I only wish it had lasted longer!

We had a wonderful time in Destin - even though our feet never actually touched the sand. Weird, I know. Saturday was spent strolling around the Destin Commons, finding some cute summer clothes for work. I found two adorable skirts at Ann Taylor Loft - which was a huge accomplishment for me. I NEVER wear skirts.

Saturday evening we went to one of my favorite places - AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar. YUM.

We had to wait for awhile because it was slam-packed with people ready to get their eat on. Luckily for us, the place sits on the water, so we strolled up and down the harbor looking at the boats and enjoying some icy margaritas. By the time our drinks were finished, our table was ready.

After supper we caught a late showing of Transformers, which I LOVED. Kevin mentioned that he wanted to see the new Terminator flick, too - but it was 12:30 when our first movie was over. We could have caught the 12:40 Terminator, but were both too tired, so we called it a night.

We stayed at the Grand Sandestin at Baytowne Wharf. It was beautiful. The resort sits on the bay and is surrounded by a cute little village of shops and eateries.

I tried to take more pictures, but y'all it was so humid, my camera lens kept fogging up. Look:

We slept in and took our time getting ready yesterday morning, then headed over to the outlet shops to browse for a bit. Then, after a yummy lunch at Hogs Breath, we sadly began our drive home. But not without a quick stop at the Eglin Air Force Base Armament Museum. Kevin is a helicopter nerd. He loves them, so he really enjoyed walking around and looking at all of the aircraft.

We're definitely going to go back soon. Hopefully for a longer stay. And maybe we'll even make it to the beach next time!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Beach bound

Happy Friday!

Wanna see where I'll be this weekend? Do ya? Okay... here, take a look:

Kevin and I are leaving tomorrow to spend a couple of days in Destin. There will be much shopping, seafood and soaking up the sun. Maybe even a game or two of minigolf, if I can talk him into it.

I hope you all have a great weekend. See you Monday!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fast friends

Just a quick picture post to show you how well the furry ones are getting along:

Yep... pretty much inseparable.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Help wanted

Weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat: Create a Help Wanted Ad. (inspired by Jenners)

Diligent reader to review and report upon the eleventy-billion blogs I’ve missed in the past week. Applicants must have an impeccable memory and keen sense of humor. Must be willing to post witty comments under my username. Only payment will be my undying appreciation. Nonnegotiable.

An individual skilled in the art of canine obedience. Applicants must be patient, firm and tolerant of loud, obnoxious barking. Should be able to reinforce the idea that kittens are not chew toys. Will be expected to trim razor-sharp puppy talons on a regular basis. Hog wrestling experience is a plus.

Human alarm clock. Applicant must be willing to stand motionless for eight hours. At determined time, must turn on the lights, turn off the ceiling fan and remove my covers. If I still remain in bed, qualified applicant must turn on loud music and physically remove me from my comfortable spot of slumber. Will be expected to continue efforts until I am fully awake and functional. Omelet-making skills will increase chance of hire.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Itty bitty kitty

Meet Ollie:

Ollie is scared to death and wondering where he is.

Toby couldn't be more excited. If he could play a little gentler, I might consider leaving them out together. But as it is, he'll have to watch through the bars for now. At least while I'm not home. He tried to pick Ollie up by the neck and tote him off last night. I didn't figure that was a good idea. Poor Ollie.

This is as still as Toby got all night. And it was only after several warnings from me, to lay down and stay.

Anyway, the next few days should be interesting. Like I said, I've never had a cat before, so I'm a little out of my element. He handled a bath quite nicely last night. Didn't even squirm as I scrubbed all of the dirt off of him. I have a feeling that won't last. But I hear they're self cleaning, so maybe another bath won't be neccessary. The toughest part is going to be getting Toby to calm down and relax around him.

If we were a Disney movie, this would totally be us:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Back from the river

As promised, I'm back.... with pictures! I decided NOT to charge my camera, but to buy a water proof disposable camera. With my obscene clumsiness, I can't be too careful. Sure enough, five minutes down the river and I dropped the camera in the water. Anyway, I took the thing to Wal-Mart today and they burned the pictures onto a disk for me. Yay!

We left out around 10 Sunday morning.

Don't let that look fool, ya. He was excited, too. He just needed some help smiling. I had to show him how to do it:

Anyway, we got to Coldwater around 11:30 and got signed in for the noon river trip. We got our tubes ready and piled into the van to head up stream. Of course, as soon as we got in the water, I was ready with the camera.

I found out pretty quick that there's way more to tubing than I thought. I was thinking we'd just float along, take a little nap here and there. Ha! Who knew you actually had to steer? Apparently Kevin, who kept reminding me around every bend to paddle harder. I'm sure he wouldn't have been nearly as worried about me paddling if our tubes weren't tied together, though.

See... here he is trying to get the knots out of the rope at the end of the day. At first, he just tied the cooler tube to his and let me float along on my own. But after we got separated around the first bend, I made him hook me to the group!
The trip only took about three hours, which was shorter than I expected. Of course, we didn't stop at any of the sandbars along the way. Overall, we had a fantastic time. The weather was beautiful, the water was cold, and I couldn't have asked for better company. I can't wait to go again!
In other news, I brought a kitty home today. Seven kittens were found behind the building at work - no mama in sight. We're trying to find homes for them, but you should know that I had to save at least one. I took him to the vet this afternoon and they said he was about five weeks old. He's orange and fluffy and absolutely precious. I had the vet give him his first set of shots, then headed to the store to buy some kitty food and other essentials. I've never had a cat, so this should be interesting. Pray for me.
Toby adores him, which is one less thing to worry about. He's been covering him in dog kisses all afternoon. I'm trying to keep them separated when I'm not giving them my undivided attention - at least for now. Toby doesn't realize how rough he plays, and I'd hate for him to accidentally hurt the poor little guy. I haven't quite decided on a name yet. He reminds me of Oliver from that Disney movie. Maybe I could call him Ollie for short? I don't know... I'm finicky about names. He'll go through 12 before the end of the day.
I'm charging my camera now, so I'll be back tomorrow with pictures!