"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

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!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ready for the weekend

Happy Friday!

If the weather cooperates, this will be me Sunday:

Kevin and I have decided (or I decided and begged Kevin - who happily agreed) to go tubing in Florida. I've been needing some outdoor fun to make it feel like summer. I figured this would be a relaxing way to soak up some sun.

I was shocked to realize that June is nearly half over. I haven't done any of my typical summer activities. No swimming. No time at the lake. Or the beach. No wonder I've been in a funk lately. Oh well. I hope to remedy that this weekend.

I almost felt bad asking Kevin to go. It's about an hour drive, which means he'd have to be at my house early Sunday to leave. Basically, he'll have to work until 7:00 Sunday morning, then drive an hour and a half to my house, then another hour to Milton with no sleep. I know he likes to use Sunday as a day to catch up on some rest, so it means a lot to me that he was so willing to appease my whim.

In shredding news, I'm disappointed to tell you that I haven't lost any more weight. I'm on day eight (well, I skipped yesterday - so today will actually be day seven), so I guess I still have plenty of time for progress. I promise I had good reason for skipping yesterday...

Yesterday morning I led a two hour tour of of one of our power plants. Outside. In 98 degree heat. And inside around very HOT equipment. With a hard hat on. YUCK. My hair was disgusting when I took that thing off. I figured I burned some calories, though. Oh, and guess what else I got to do yesterday! One of our line crews sent me up in a bucket truck - nearly 100 feet in the air! I'm sure they don't see the excitement in that, since they do it all the time - but for someone who sits behind a desk 90 percent of the time, it was a fun change of pace.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great weekend! I'll be back Monday. Possibly with pictures. (If I can remember to charge my camera.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The things we take for granted

Weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat: Describe something someone has done to make you feel special.

If you’ve been following this blog for any time (or you happen to know me in real life), you know that my boyfriend and I went through some very difficult months earlier this year. In fact, I called it quits for awhile. I won’t rehash that story now, but for this post it’s important to know that I broke things off and he had no reason in the world to do anything nice for me. But he did anyway…

Somewhere around the end of March, I came down with a pretty vicious virus. I couldn’t eat for two days. I literally threw up everything I tried to put in my mouth. (Disgusting, I know. Sorry.) I went to the doctor and was so weak after a shot of Phenergan that the nurse wound up driving me home. Around day three, I quit throwing up, but still felt absolutely awful. Kevin had been calling to check on me throughout the week. He sounded concerned, but I assured him I’d be fine. I just needed to rest. He kept asking if I wanted company and I told him no. He lived too far away to come by just because I was sick. And he didn’t need to chance getting whatever I had.

But he came anyway. He drove over an hour to bring me my favorite kind of Gatorade and some cream of potato soup – my favorite when I’m sick. He put it all away in my kitchen. Then, with hardly a word, he walked to the living room. As he sat down on the couch, he grabbed a blanket and told me to lie down. I laid with my head in his lap for who knows how long, while he sat there patiently playing with my hair so I could sleep.

Y’all, we weren’t even together. I had broken up with him – and according to him, broken his heart. Yet he still sacrificed his time and chanced getting sick to come take care of me. It made me realize just how much he really loves me, something I had questioned when we broke up. It made me rethink a lot of things. I realized that I took so many things he did for me for granted.

It was just shortly after this incident that I asked him if we could start over and try “us” again. I’m so glad he was willing to give it another chance, because things have been so fantastic lately. We’re really working on a lot of things and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.

Who knows what might’ve happened had I not been sick? Would I have realized how much he still cared? Would we have given the relationship another chance? I guess we’ll never know. But if those few days of Hell were necessary to get us to where we are now, then I’m so thankful for them.

Although, I’d be just as thankful if we’d reached this point without all the vomiting. Just sayin’.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Still kickin' (and squatting and lifting and punching and sweating)

I'm happy to report that I have made it through four sweaty days of the 30 Day Shred - and Jillian hasn't killed me yet.

In all honesty, the workouts (while tough) aren't nearly as scary as I thought they'd be. After reading several blogs about the intensity of the program, I had a sinking feeling in my heart that I wouldn't be able to make it through my first few days. But here I am. And guess what? I've lost 3.2 pounds - SINCE THURSDAY! Heck yeah!! Jillian - I will follow wherever you lead me, my dear.

After only three days of Level 1, I decided to kick it up to Level 2 today. Crazy right? I think most people do Level 1 for at least a week. But I was getting bored, so I figured, "Hey, why not?" Good grief... ten minutes in and I was wondering what I had done. But I made it all the way through, which made me feel really good. Maybe I'll attempt Level 3 tomorrow. (Hahaha... yeah. That was joke.)

In other news, I'm missing my family reunion in Mobile today. While I'm pretty bummed about it, I think I really needed to stay home this weekend. I've been on the road so much lately - I felt like it was time to get caught up on some things here. There's a line in one of my favorite songs that says, "I'm buried in my bedroom until 14 feet of clothes. I could drown in all this clutter, I suppose." Yeah... I know the feeling.

On that note, I hear the dryer buzzer. Time to fold...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New career?

Weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat: If you could change career paths now and be anything you wanted to be...what would you be and why?

The possibilities are pretty endless here, aren’t they? But I’ve always been a dreamer, so I don’t think I’ll have a problem coming up with alternative career choices.

Let’s see… OH, I know! What about a treasure hunter? An “Indiana Jones” of sorts – only female (obviously). Is that considered a career? Probably not. I don’t imagine there are many benefits. No 401k or retirement plan. But it would be fun, wouldn’t it? Traveling all over the world, searching for lost artifacts? I guess I could have said “archeologist,” but that doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as “treasure hunter.” But now that I think about it, Indy always had someone chasing after him with guns, didn’t he? I might have to rethink this one…

Okay, here’s another. It would still allow me to travel, but would be considerably safer – not to mention offer important things like medical and dental insurance. I could be a wildlife photographer for National Geographic (or NatGeo, as they’re now called). Yeah, that could work! I can almost picture myself on a safari in Africa – getting up-close and personal with a giraffe. (I would’ve said “lion” but that didn’t sound nearly as safe.) Oh, wait. You actually have to know how to take beautiful pictures to be a photographer, don’t you? Well dang. Moving on…

What about an astronaut! Why didn’t I think of that before? I’ve always been entranced by the stars and have often dreamed about exploring space. I can’t imagine how surreal it must be to look down on Earth from such a distance. Of course, astronauts have to stay in pretty confined spaces for months on end. And I’m a tad claustrophobic, so I don’t think this career path would really suit me either. I’m beginning to get discouraged. Surely there’s something else I could do…

Oh! I have it! And is PERFECT! It’s not really that drastic of a change, though. In fact, it involves the same skill set I already use, only on a MUCH larger, more exciting scale. I could be a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine! Not only would I get to write – which is something I truly love to do – I’d get to meet and interview some the music industry’s biggest stars. A perfect marriage of my two greatest loves.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Time to shred

Yeah... so all of those posts that mention food (like big, greasy 5 Guys burgers) have made me realize how much I need this:

Last week, my cousin Jen started Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. Now, I’ve done Jillian workouts before. The woman is tough – but she is highly effective. I’ve been tossing around the idea of doing this particular program for awhile, and after hearing about Jen’s success – I’m sold. The girl lost three pounds in her first week. Go Jen!!

Anyway, my very own copy of 30 Day Shred will be delivered to my door Thursday (thanks to Amazon.com). And y’all – I’ve got to commit to this. Sitting behind a desk eight hours a day/five days a week is not doing nice things to my midsection. In fact, what it’s doing is downright hateful.

I’d love to post before and after pictures, or even do one of those neat little tracker things that shows my progress, but I’m just not that brave. I’m sure it would help make me more accountable, but it’s still not happening. Just trust me when I say I need this badly.

I will, however, let you know how it’s going on a periodic basis. Maybe weekly? I’ll probably wind up posting about what a major you-know-what Jillian is. Or how I think I’m dying. But either way, I’ll try to let you know if I’m Shredding properly.

On a completely unrelated note – have any of you ever watched Saving Grace? I don’t know what channel it comes on – but a co-worker recently recommended it, so I added it to my Netflix list. The fist two discs of Season One came Friday, and y’all… I’m hooked! It is faaaan-tastic. Basically it’s about Grace – a wild, but lovable woman on a fast track to Hell, who winds up getting a “last chance” angel named Earl, who tries to steer her down the path of righteousness. It’s hilarious. Earl is an unconventional, tobacco-chewing angel who literally fights Grace every step of the way. I love it.

Oh, and it’s June now. Were you aware? Because I wasn’t. When did that happen??