"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

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.