Thursday, July 31, 2008

Doggie Daycare

It's seriously one the best ideas anyone has ever had. Go ahead...roll your eyes. I would have up until about 2 months ago. I have to go to Gainesville once a week for work though and that makes for about an 11.5 hour day. Too long to leave Cash in his crate. So now that he has gotten his puppy shots, he is going to Pawtropolis when I am in Gainesville. It's a great way for him to become socialized and learn to play with other dogs too. He was a little shy his first day as you can see from the picture:Who am I kidding? He looks like one of those dogs on that terrible animal rescue commercial with Sara McLachlan singing that Arms of the Angel song in the background. He is already a Pawtropolis Rockstar though because he made their blog too. I was in complete disbelief when I picked him up on Monday and they had a report card complete with stickers on it like it was his first day of preschool. The staff treats him really well though and he was practically jumping out of the car this morning as soon as he realized where we were at. What I love the most about it is that he is super sleepy whenever I pick him up in the evenings. A tired dog makes for a happy dog owner.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

I am a night owl to the core. It's only natural considering both of my parents are night people, and they are directly responsible for many of the traits that make me who I am. I often joke that I never had a bedtime whenever I was a kid to which Mom always insists that I did. I'm not convinced. There are so many great things about the night: looking at the stars, listening to the crickets chirp during the summer, a bright moon shining against the dark sky, David Letterman and SNL...the list goes on and on. So normally whenever I make a reference to the wee small hours of the morning, it is because I have stayed up all night long until that time of day. Not so much the case anymore. I cannot count the number of times that I have been woken up during the 4 o'clock hour in the past 7 weeks. Sleeping until 6:00 without interruption is absolutely unheard of. Whoever said that puppies sleep all the time is obviously a dirty liar. At first I hated it. I went to sleep with a sense of dread knowing that my sweet dreams would be interrupted earlier than I preferred. However on Sunday morning (as I was walking around outside at doesn't start until 11:00 so technically I could have snoozed until 9:30 and had time to spare...and to top it off I didn't even make it but that's another story for another day), I realized that the mornings aren't so bad at all. In fact, I am really beginning to like them. Everything is so quiet and still. It's great being outside when hints of pink start to appear in the East as the sun rises. To me it seems almost like it's God's way of pulling the covers back on the Earth and saying "ok kiddos, time to get up and start y'alls day" (and yes, I'm confident that God says "y'all"). Then the birds wake up. Even though they sing from a different sheet of music than the crickets, I really enjoy their song too. Since I'm now waking up two hours earlier than I need to each morning, I have time think about the day ahead and set the tone for how it's going to be. Recently I have been thinking about how I have an opportunity to make a difference each day. Now, I know that sounds really trite. It's not like I have to feed the hungry or play shuffleboard at the senior center or drive the Bookmobile or stand on a corner and preach Jesus to make a difference either. My attitude and actions throughout the day in my regular routine can speak volumes to someone. All too often, I slip up and have to check myself before I wreck myself...especially this time of year. But when I have some time in the morning without the tv or computer and with Jesus before I go out and face the world, I have found that my days are much more productive and much less harried. It's a great way to spend the day. Hmm...maybe those morning people have been on to something all along. Now the trick is to figure out a way to be both a morning person and a night owl without causing fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. I vote for mid-day naps.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Sweet Set of Wheels

I believe that the majority of the population will agree with me that this was a bad idea for the automobile industy:However there is still at least one fan of the whole car-truck concept out there, and as luck would have it...this individual was in my apartment complex today!!! As I turned the corner to park in front of my building you can imagine my amusement when my eyes fell upon this:
Seriously? I suppose that this is a car-truck for the elite. Well...that's questionable. Good thing I had my camera in my purse to capture this Kodak moment! Now all I have to do is make friends with the owner so I can cruise around the Classic City in style. Wouldn't Cash look so cute in the back? (Note: Don't worry Mom, I'm not really going to galavant around Athens with a complete stranger.)

Face Lift in Progress

The pink had to go. Don't get me wrong - I love the color pink. After all, I am a girl and was a Phi Mu and you all know how we think pink and white is dynamite (I'm embarrassed that I just typed those words), but it was time to change up the blog a bit. Apparently I have a thing for green and brown. Yesterday I wore a brown skirt and green shirt. Today I'm wearing a green skirt and brown shirt. My purse is brown, and my wallet is green. My dog is brown, and his collar is green. I see a pattern emerging which makes it imperative that I rid my blog of the pink music playlist at the bottom and replace it with one that matches the new look. I'm in the process of creating a new playlist with even groovier tunes for your listening pleasure. Be excited... very excited.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blogger's Block

I've got it. Yet, I feel as if I should take advantage of the opportunity to blog now before classes start back. Ugh...Classes. It's not as if there is no blog-worthy subject matter. There's plenty from the past week alone. For instance:
  • It has been an exciting time of arrivals!! First, my friend Christie's (which if she had a blog, I would have inserted the hyperlink to it here...HINT) husband made it back home to her from Afghanistan after being gone for nearly 15 months. Welcome home, Allen! Thanks for doing what you do! Then my old roommate, Allison (which if she had a blog, I would have inserted the hyperlink to it here...HINT), gave birth to her new baby boy. He arrived casually late and nearly drove his sweet parents crazy in the anticipation I'm sure, but he's here and he's healthy and that's all that really matters. Welcome to the world, McKinley! We're glad that you're here.
  • Helicopter parents have been out in full force. They are much more relentless during certain times of year. Fee payment deadline (which is quickly approaching on August 4th) brings out the worst behaviors in them all. I'm glad that my child(ren) will not be a part of the Millennial Generation because I would drive myself crazy if I behaved like these parents. (I know, I know...famous last words, right?...I'll probably end up the Chinook of helicopter parents - 2 propellers - since I just said that.)
  • I finally got to the bottom of the mystery behind my next door neighbor's multiple arrests and visit from Athens-Clarke County's version of Dog the Bounty Hunter. Seriously, he even had his own versions of Beth, Leland and Dewayne Lee with him. Except Leland and Dewayne Lee were about 7 and 10 years old. Sheesh. I digress. Apparently he does things like steal gas from gas stations and bounce checks left and right. Which totally clears up my question as to how he can afford to live next door to me if he bags my groceries at Publix. He can't. He just pretends like he can. I do sleep easier knowing that while there is a criminal next door, he's a pretty harmless one. Unless I try to sell him some Tupperware or something. He may not pay me for that. Sell him Tupperware??? Where do I come up with this stuff?
  • I made it to see Mamma Mia! (remember from a post last week about how jazzed I was to see it?). It was good. Not as good as the actual musical itself, but it was totally worth my hard-earned $6.25. Meryl Streep did really well, but Pierce Brosnan should keep his day job as Remington Steele and James Bond. I'm not sure who thought it was a good idea for him to play a role that requires singing ABBA tunes in the first place.
  • And finally I'm happy to have rediscovered Pop-Up Video on VH1 Classic. Hey - it's a combination of both the small, seemingly insignificant things, AND the big things that make life so grand. Look for the small things and take the time to appreciate those too.

Hmm...seems that the bout with Blogger's Block has passed. That's a relief. :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cash and His Cronies

Cash has made some pretty great friends in his little life thus far. In the jazzy photo collage above they are from left to right: Ellie,Cody and Phoebe. I'm most thankful for these pups' owners though because they are super friends to me. I appreciate Maggie for not making too much fun of me for being so head over heels for my dog even after I teased her relentlessly for her dog being better accessorized than I am. Ok, that's not the complete truth, but Elles is a very stylish canine. Emily has been a life saver to let him out on days when I have to work in Gainesville. She is also my puppy mentor given that Cody is only 8 weeks older than Cash. Even though Cody is angel puppy who doesn't bite or chew on furniture and well, Cash is the reason why I need a new kitchen floor. Hmm...maybe I should send him to Emily's for a week. Nah, then I would just have two floors to replace. Katie was a great encourager when I wasn't chosen to adopt Layla, the Boxer, when I first began my quest for the perfect pup. She even braved the McDonald's downtown during a power outage for the cause. ...and I'm not talking about downtown Elberton. Ok, enough blogging about my d-o-g. I do have a life otherwise.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

In a period of 24 hours...

The doormat, linoleum in the kitchen and carpet in the dining room have all been forever changed by this beast:
It looks like he gets to take another trip to Home Depot this afternoon. He'd better bring his wallet is all I have to say.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Athens Anniversary

They say time flies when you're having fun. Who are "they", anyway? It's hard to believe that I have been in Athens for a year this week. Especially considering that this is probably one of the last places in the Eastern time zone that I would have ever chosen to live. While it's no Dahlonega (nor will it ever be), there are many perks to living in the Classic City. I love love love the convenience of being 2 minutes from Publix, Old Navy, Barnes & Noble and Chick-fil-A. Not that I go to Chick-fil-A all that often, it's nice to know it's close in the event of an insatiable urge for chicken fried in peanut oil. The energy in this town during football season is contagious as well so that has been fun too. I really like the downtown area even though I'm still mastering parking there. I'm also still mastering this: The Loop
Loop 10 is quite possibly one of the most baffling things I have ever encountered in my life. Can someone please explain to me how it can be considered a loop when at one point, you have to get off of the loop in order to stay on the loop. I'm getting better, but more often than not, I go the wrong way on the silly thing. There are other things that I'm still working on as well that hopefully I will accomplish during year #2. For instance, finding someone in the area to cut my hair. No. My hair is not "just hair" that "will grow". This head of hair can quickly result in a hairmare if a stylist without experience with natural curls takes scissors to it. I also haven't found a church that I just love here yet either. Athens Church is where I go most regularly, but it's just different from what I am accustomed to. However I am constantly learning that God sometimes has to take us out of our comfort zones in order for us to become the people He wants us to be. And I still haven't had any Michael Stipe sightings either. Never mind the fact that he's on tour. There are many other positives to being here too. I love the people I work with. I have always been fortunate to have a pretty great working environment, but this one is by far the best. The great peeps are the reason why, and I am so appreciative of how they welcomed me in like I've always been a part of the team at The OC. Another good thing (which is the primary reason I moved in the first place) is that I'm becoming smarter every day thanks to my graduate program. Ok, that whole smarter every day thing is open for debate, but I am earning another piece of paper to put in a fancy frame. My time here in Athens is only temporary (this coming from the girl who lived in Dahlonega 6 years longer than originally planned) so I plan to make the most of it while I'm here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Confession: I'm a sucker for movie musicals. I love them. A plot and theme all set to song and dance - entertainment at its finest. Whenever I was a little girl we rented Grease from the movie store so often that finally one day mom just asked if she could buy it.

You can imagine my joy when the answer was "yes" and we carried it home to own forever that very day. I always so jealous of Olivia Newton-John because of all that dancing that she got to do with John Travolta. Not to mention the fact that she got to ride off into the sunset (literally) with him in the jazzy car. Some of my other favorites are Chicago, Hairspray, Dreamgirls, and of course The Sound of Music. When mom and I were in Vegas last year we went to see Mamma Mia! at Mandalay Bay, and we loved it. A musical full of ABBA tunes...what's not to love?!? Needless to say I'm super stoked that the movie opens tomorrow. I know what I'm doing this weekend. In the meantime I'll be listening to my ABBA Gold CD to prepare for it. Yes, I own the CD, and no I'm not ashamed to admit it. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rejected at the Blood Drive

Since I work on a college campus, I am provided with ample opportunities to give the gift of life via blood donation. I've done it once. Shame on me. So today I decided to do a good deed and roll up my sleeves. Let's be honest, I really just wanted some Nutter Butters, and I didn't have change for the snack machine (kidding, kidding). I drank lots of water throughout the morning, ate a good lunch and marched over with the two Emilys at 1:00. I proudly handed my blood donor card (with the big fat "1" donation notation) to the Red Cross employee in order to begin the painful process of disclosing personal information such as my weight and whether or not I've had relations with a man who has had relations with a man who has had relations with a monkey on the continent of Africa anytime during the past 7 years to a complete stranger. Emily O-W decided to turn it into a contest and anyone who has ever played Taboo with me knows how I love to win. The goal was to have the highest hemoglobin count. Her's was high so she was feeling pretty confident until Emily K. came back with a crazy ridiculously high count. So then it was my turn. The pressure was on. First test - too low. I decided to be a trooper and try again. Still too low. Geez! Rejected at the blood drive. It's a-ok though and here's why:
  1. I still got Nutter Butters (a.k.a., consolation cookies).
  2. My blood type is AB-. Do you know how many people are AB-? Um, 1 person in 167. It's the most uncommon blood type. So one would think I need to give blood, right? Not really because the only people who can receive my blood are the other 100 AB- people out there. And we can receive from all the other negatives so whenever the Red Cross harasses others about giving blood, I never get the phone calls.
  3. It's necessary that I eat a steak, stat in order to boost my iron levels.

Medieval Times with Micah

Let me start by saying that Micah is quite possibly Mom and Dad's greatest child. Now, we all have qualities that make us great in our own ways (at least that's what Mom tells us), but Micah is the best I think. He's so go with the flow and patient. After much patience, he and I finally got to have our fun weekend together. Of course his weekend came after Ethan's weekend. The boys are so different in terms of their interests so there was no sporting event involved this time. Well, I guess technically jousting is a sport. Maybe not so much the staged and rehearsed kind that you find at Medieval Times though. On Saturday night we went down to Discover Mills for the festivities. Now I'm not one to get all jazzed about swords and shields and men with their long hair and sparkly tights on horseback, but I'm probably the most well-rounded child so I can appreciate it for the entertainment that it was. Micah really enjoyed it though and knowing that he had fun is what made it totally worth it for me. (Unbeknown to Micah, the Golden Knight was waiting to pounce at just the right moment.)
Afterwards we headed back to Athens. Upon our arrival at my apartment, Cash really proved himself as a "guard dog": Sunday night we headed back to my parents' house and I was able to spend a couple of days with the family as well. Traveling with a puppy and a brother is quite exhausting. It even wore the passengers out:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cash on Ice

Look - I know that it appears that I'm obsessed with my dog from all the pictures I take of him. I promise, if he was your dog, you would be obsessed too. Unless of course you had some aversion to puppy teeth or barking at 1:15 a.m. or constantly digging bark and rocks out his mouth. Thanks to my neighbor emptying his cooler on Cash's potty spot, I found out last night that my little water puppy does not discriminate between frozen or liquid H2O. He played and played and played in it until it was all melted. Considering it's July, that was all of about 25 minutes.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Puppy Looks Like a Dog

Holy geez...this pup is growing like a little weed, and he is already losing his puppy look. I happen to know that he's still the cutest dog in the world though so it's ok that his looks are changing. His weight doubled in 3 weeks and who knows how many more l-b's he has packed on in a week since his last visit to the vet. His latest trick as of yesterday morning is jumping on the can see he's quite proud of this feat (and his big feet!) by the picture.

Gotta' Love Small Town Politics

The political season is really heating up with the Georgia primary just days away, and it became very apparent earlier this week on my commute into work. No, I do not drive the Delorian and work in the year 1943. This picture was taken just yesterday.
There are two unfortunate things about this: I did not get to snap the picture during the morning or evening "rush hour" commutes when Mr. Malcom himself sits proudly in the back of the truck waving an American flag. Secondly, it's a shame that I do not live in Oconee County. If I did, I would certainly cast my vote for him because he's got a sweet ride, and that's enough for me. I can only hope that Alan Jackson's "Little Man" is playing from the radio...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Branch on The Vine

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." - John 15:1-9
Last Sunday at church the pastor challenged each person to begin his or her day by reading the above passage throughout the following week. Well I did manage to read it, but I was not so successful in beginning my day by reading it. More like last thing before closing my eyes at night. Sigh. I have a sneaky suspicion that it would be even more effective had I fully risen to the challenge, but alas, the late night reading was not in vain as I did manage to gain some new perspective from an old standard as far as passages in the B-I-B-L-E go.
"He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."
Now I'm not gardener by any stretch of the imagination but the whole concept of pruning branches that do bear fruit really stuck out to me this week in my reading. So, in order to educate myself on the pruning process, I consulted the most reliable source on the internet, Wikipedia. Here's what I learned: Pruning is the practice of removing diseased, non-productive, or otherwise unwanted portions from a plant. (I can definitely think of times when I have been the queen of non-productivity). The purpose of pruning is to shape the plant by controlling or directing plant growth, to maintain the health of the plant, or to increase the yield or quality of flowers and fruits. Hum. Learning was taking place so I continued to read. The time period for which pruning of large branches can take place is during dormancy in winter or in mid-summer just after flowering. Lately it seems that I'm in the midst of a dormant period in my relationship with Christ. Maybe you've experienced something similar before in your lives. For me, I am not the greatest example to others, sleep is more productive than prayer, my Bible is...somewhere. Talk about a withered branch needing to be tossed. A couple of weeks ago I was completely broken. While periods of brokenness are some of the most difficult times, I was also comforted because through it, I was reassured that God is using me some way some how. The trick for me though is being ok with being used in ways that I did not plan and in ways that I may not see the final outcome . Ahem....notice the "I" in the previous sentence. One day I'll get over myself. I'm sure of it. The truth is, as God's children He is going to use us the way He sees fit and knows is best and if that requires some pretty intense pruning along the way, I think it's worth it if the result is greater amounts of sweeter fruit.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Let Freedom Ring

It's been said that the best things in life are free. But are they really?

Free. According to there are 42 definitions for the word. Whoa. In light of the 4th of July, I've been thinking about the whole concept of freedom and being free. I've come to the conclusion that the best things in life are not free. Sure, they may be free for you and me, but somewhere down the line, a price was paid by someone. Naturally, one of the first things that I think of when I consider freedom is the fact that I was fortunate enough to be born here in this great land that is the United States and all the liberties associated with being a US citizen. I love the fact that I can live, worship and vote as I choose. Even more remarkable is that my next door neighbor can live, worship and vote in a completely opposite way and there is no one with any authority to tell us that can't happen. And it's not just freedom in the big's the little things too that really add up. Many of which we complain about. Well, I shouldn't speak for everyone, but I do anyway. For example, the puppy that I love so dearly apparently suffered from a shrunken bladder last night because he woke me up to go outside every 2 hours. I was less than pleased, but my biggest concern as I walked out the door each time was whether or not I was awake enough to make it down the stairs without tripping over his leash. (Ok, I'm not naive to the fact that all places in America aren't like this either) It still blows my mind to think that I was born here of all places. The land area of the entire world is almost 149 million square km and the land area of the US is just over 9 million square km so technically the odds were not in my favor. It's quite humbling actually when I consider other places I could have ended up and the ways of life there. Life here in the US hasn't always been as we know it though. Many brave heroes from long ago paid for the liberties we now refer to as our rights. Today if someone infringes on them, shame on that person and off with their head. Not really...they can keep their head. It does this little soul of mine good to know that there are still brave men and women who love our country enough to continue to fight that these rights remain ours (gee...this would be so much better if "God Bless the USA" was playing in the background). I have the utmost respect and appreciation for them and their families and it's an honor for me to be able to call some of these folks friends. My heart is heavy for the soldiers walking around with battle scars, both visible and invisible, and for the families who woke up this morning unable to celebrate the holiday with the soldier they love.

For me, there is also great freedom in knowing that there is a God who loves me...all of spite of me. And I'm reminded that while His love for me is free for the taking, there was an innocent life given so that this little soul o' mine will live forever.

So, nope...the best things in life are not free when it comes right down to it even though we are the beneficiaries of these great freedoms. Today when we're at our cook-outs trying to decide between a hotdog, hamburger, or chicken (or maybe choosing all three!) let's be mindful of the purpose of the gathering and grateful that we are privileged enough to be making such a decision.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

So my blog is rather shallow these days...much like the local lake levels. But as I was driving to the gym yesterday, I spied this with my two little eyes:The picture really doesn't do it justice but this van is adorned with poetry, painted milk cartons and all sorts of other random stuff. I do believe that my favorite part though is the three "ghosts" hanging from the roof on the inside. It's almost as cool as the real tree Ford Escort that I used to see in Dahlonega.