Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Something Else to Make You Go Hmmm

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like there's something not quite right here...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Family Matters

Each year for as long as I can remember, I have attended a family reunion. Well...most years. I have missed a few along the way but there was no sleep lost by any party over my absence. A bit of housekeeping...for the purposes of this blog posting when I make reference to family, I am referring to my mom's side of the family. For years we would all load up each July and make the journey over to a reunion in Ft. Payne, AL because that is where my grandfather is from. It's ok that my grandfather is from Alabama since my grandmother is from Georgia...all of their offspring and their dependents have the correct number of fingers and toes. But then for whatever reason we stopped going. Maybe it's because the majority of the people present was all of us and it was a little silly to drive 3 hours one way to have lunch together when we all lived less than 25 minutes from each other. For a few years now my grandmother's family has had a reunion and it's always the 3rd Sunday in September. This happened to be yesterday for those of you not keeping up with the calendar. Like many families in the South, not very many people have actually left the area so I get a little confused as to why we have a reunion when you see these people at the grocery store on a semi-regular basis, but who am I to question proper reunion protocol. Especially when I'm one of the ones who "went to college and didn't come back home". I usually spend the majority of my time at these events asking other members of my immediate family questions like "who is that?". For instance... Cousin Eddie?? Is that you? (please get my Christmas Vacation reference here, people) And don't be alarmed, there is no problem with this car...it's just got a really rockin' engine. Or something. And for the record, I really have no clue who these people are. My theory is that they are just random joes who heard that my grandmother was making her chicken and cornbread casserole and decided to crash the family reunion. Like Wedding Crashers. But not really at all.

I enjoy going to family reunions though because it gives me a chance to see my aunts, uncles and cousins since I don't get to see them as often as I would like. I love these people. They are my family and family is something that I treasure. I realize that our family is very fortunate in the sense that we all enjoy each other's company. We don't dread holidays. We call each other on the phone just to check in. Now that is not to say that my family is this idyllic little group of people that never encounters any adversity. Like all other families, there has been illness and divorce and other struggles. Some refer to this as life. But we stick by and love each other through it all. It also helps that these people are funny. If they were all residents of dullsville, I would have removed them from my Christmas card list long ago. Not really. And even if we don't end up this way, we all start out as really cute. I mean, seriously...Sophie and Emma are especially cute with their wind-blown Jeep hair. Emma is the most loving little girl I've ever met while her baby sister, Sophie is full of spunk. Just look at her in that picture...I think she's about to throw her fork at someone. Bailey is very serious, but seriously silly when she lets herself relax. Hmm...I think that runs in the family. And her little brother, Zach is a live-wire going in about a thousand different directions at once. I just love little boys. Here he is with his dad and my cousin Kasey showing my uncle Bill how to use a cell phone. I'm not really surprised that Bill needed a tutorial given that he is an Alabama graduate. Even though he is a grandchild and not a great-grandchild like the other kiddos featured here, Micah is still pretty cute. I hope that pre-adolescence attitude stays away just a little longer.And finally the baby...I can't forget the baby of our family. I don't know very many 15 month olds who already have their own dirt bike, but Garrett does...And in the event of a complete economic melt-down, my cousin Kyle, Garrett's dad, will be appearing in a circus side show as the tall man on a little dirt bike in order to bring home additional income. Finally, Cash also got in on the family reunion action this weekend. He got to meet Kyle and Karen's chocolate Lab, Grady...Apparently eating pine straw is the preferred bonding activity among Labrador Retrievers. Cash was only slightly intimidated by Grady's 118-pound size and stature. If Cash ever gets that big, I'm in big trouble.

Edited to add: Correction...it's the 4th Sunday in September. No wonder my whole career as a math teacher never worked out.

Weekend Update

As a rule I try not to be a bore to the blogosphere by sharing the mundane details of my everyday life. Because let's be honest...I'm a girl with a routine and no one likes to read about how I wake up, take the dog out, drink Carnation Instant Breakfast, pry socks out of the dog's mouth, forget to put on mascara, and eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich on a daily basis. Today, however, I feel compelled to talk about my weekend. This means that if you or a loved one is currently suffering from insomnia, the remedy is right here. Sleepy-time tea will no longer be necessary for a good night's sleep.

Saturday started off dreary and drab. If that wasn't foreshadowing of how the day would end here in Bulldog Nation then I don't know what is. I had determined that I would spend my day working away diligently on school stuff but that got old after about 2 hours. Fortunately by then the sun was out so I did what any normal girl would do on a beautiful fall day: I went shopping. Well, I had to go pick up my contacts and since I was already so close to the mall it would have really been a shame not to stop by. Never mind the fact that I live approximately 1 mile from it. I really just intended to run into the GAP to get a new pair of jeans. First mistake. Never in my entire life have I just been able to run into a store and grab a pair of jeans. Especially the GAP, considering my love-hate relationship with their jeans over the years. I've determined it all depends upon what sweat shop they are sown in as to whether or not they will fit me well. My absolute favorite pair of casual jeans came from the GAP about 4 years ago. I really don't think I'm expecting too much by wanting that same exact pair of jeans just without the frayed edges now, but apparently that's not conducive to keeping with the trends. The next 3 hours of my life were devoted (wasted) to searching for the perfect pair of jeans. And it's pretty hard to spend 3 hours shopping in Athens because while this town is known for many things, great shopping is not one of them. In fact, I feel like I should get a concealed carry permit in the event I ever go to the mall at night. Much to my dismay I did not find the perfect pair of jeans. Maybe I just need to stop shopping in stores where the saleschildren refer to me as "ma'm". But I refuse to resort to Mom Jeans or anything of that nature. Maybe I'll consult the 3 magazines that I have at my apartment that all have the promise of helping women find the "perfect" pair of jeans on the covers. Maybe I'll just continue to wear the same wonderful pair that I love so much and just patch them with cool patches. Maybe I'll get lucky tomorrow and find "the pair" at Georgia's retail mecca. Maybe I'll get a life and quit writing about jeans. My 3 hour shopping trip wasn't a complete waste, but personally I think it's a little ridiculous to spend that much time shopping only to come home with a bottle of nail polish. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I made it home in time to watch Alabama stomp the Clarke County Pee-Wee football team over at Sanford Stadium while I made my special recipe chocolate chip cookies for the family reunion on Sunday. Which brings me to my next topic...But that's going to have to wait for a few hours because I've got to get ready for class. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Isaac

During my pink and white days of college, our meetings always began with a devotion. Scratch that...they always began by reciting the creed, calling roll, an occasional visit from a Phi guy and then a devotion. We had our priorities in order. Throughout the years though there has been one devotion in particular that has always stuck out in my mind. Now I don't know what year of college it was or even who the chaplain was who shared it so maybe it wasn't at a Tuesday night meeting at all. Maybe it was at a BSU meeting on Monday night before Monday night karaoke (again, priorities...I've always had them aligned. Sure.) Regardless I have remembered that it was a poem about Abraham and Isaac. Recently, I have been studying the story of Abraham in Genesis, and I thought of the poem. Google redeemed itself from the whole "economy" debacle of earlier this week by producing just what I was looking for. It is a poem written by Beth Moore and here it is for your own reading pleasure:

For every Abraham who dares
to kiss a foreign field
where glory for a moment grasped
Is for a lifetime tilled…

The voice of God
speaks not but once
but ‘til traveler hears
“Abraham! Abraham! Bring your Isaac here!”

“Bring not the blemished sacrifice.
What lovest thou the most?
Look not into the distance,
you’ll find your Isaac close.”

“I hear the tearing of your heart
torn between two loves,
the one your vision can behold
the Other hid above.”

“Do you trust me, Abraham
with your gravest fear?
Will you pry your fingers loose
and bring your Isaac here?”

“Have I not made you promises?
Hold them tight instead!
I am the Lover of your soul—
the Lifter of your head.”

“Believe me, O my Abraham
when blinded by the cost.
Arrange the wooded altar
and count your gains but loss.”

“Let tears wash clean your blinded eyes
until unveiled you see—
the ram caught in the thicket there
to set your Isaac free.”

“Perhaps I’ll send him down the mount
to walk right by your side.
No longer in your iron grasp
but safer still in mine.”

“Or I may wrap him in the wind
and sweep him from your sight
to better things beyond your reach—
believe with all your might!”

“Look up, beloved Abraham.
Can you count the stars?
Multitudes will stand to reap
from one dear friend of God.”

“Pass the test, my faithful one;
bow to me as Lord.
Trust me with your Isaac—
see, I am your great Reward.”

There is so much to the story that I have a hard time even beginning to sort out my thoughts. I love how the seemingly impossible is made possible in this story. I mean, Abraham and Sarah were old and they had a baby after spending years with no children. Fortunately for Sarah she didn't have a 19 year-old daughter to exclaim "but mom you're so old" when the news broke. (I once heard about a 19 year-old who said those words to her mother upon hearing the news that she was going to be a big sister for the second time. None of you know her though.) I love how God still makes the impossible possible thousands of years later.

And then there's the other part of the story. The part in which Abraham's faith was tested by showing his willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. The very son he loved and had waited on for so long. Where is the fairness in that? God provides Abraham with a son yet He commands Abraham to take him to Moriah and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Seriously? Yes - seriously. If you don't know the story, I would encourage you to keep reading to see how this works out.

It's in this part of the story that I really start thinking about my life. There have been times when I did not trust God enough to let go of "my Isaac". And these things were nothing in comparison to a child. I don't even have babies yet and it hurts my heart to even consider such a thing. So now I'm praying that the next time there is something that I need to trust God with, I do it. Willingly. Even if it means that I have to let go of a plan or an idea or a routine. This will be no easy task for a girl like me who loves a good plan almost as much as I love a good pair of shoes or a Sunday afternoon nap. But then I remember that once upon a time there was a father who did sacrifice his son whom he loves very much. For me. Because he loves me very much too. So if he did all this so that I might have life then the least I can do is trust him with it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Sweet Set of Wheels

Remember this? How could we forget, right? And does anyone else remember these from the way early 1980's, or is it just me? Probably just me. I remember them because there was a land surveying company near the house I lived in as a little girl and the land surveyors drove them.This afternoon when I opened the blinds in my apartment I was happy to discover that Mercedes has a similar model...
I think that the man who owns this one and the other one has a lady friend in my apartment complex that he comes to visit. Now, last weekend he was driving a new Mercedes worth more than I am, but in my opinion it has much less personality than the one he's in today. And it's always personality that prevails in the long run.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wanted: An Economist Who Speaks Really Slowly

In an effort to try to figure out what the heck is going on with the economy, the other day I googled "economy". It was then that I was confronted with the harsh reality that Google does not have the answers to all of life's questions. So I found myself cursing my degree in psychology and wishing that I had listened to my mother's advice about taking courses in college that I would really benefit from one day. Then I remembered that she was always referring to biology when she said this, and might I add here that not once in my entire professional career, mother, have I ever needed to draw a diagram of a cell. Next I remembered that I did take economics in college. 1.5 times. I withdrew from the course at the mid-point during my first go around. Therein lies the problem...It's not that I wasn't capable of succeeding in the class, it just bored me beyond measure. But now that I'm a working girl with an income that's not increasing at the same rate that the price per pound of bananas is, it doesn't seem as boring. Something tells me that the rising price of produce isn't the biggest problem either. Fannie and Freddie are no longer just the weird distant relatives who live in West Virginia, and the SEC is something other than an athletic conference. Breaking News: This is worse than I thought...John McCain just cancelled his appearance on David Letterman. I'm not trying to make light of a subject that is actually very serious, but it's my way of compensating for my own lack of knowledge and feelings of uncertainty. Am I the only one here who is completely lost in the sauce? Maybe I'll start by going to Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy of this:

Reverse Psychology?

Hmm...for some reason I suspect that Jim and Jack were responsible for this ad.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What's A Girl To Do?

Grey's Anatomy or The Office. I have less than 72 hours to decide and quite frankly, I'm having trouble. It's almost enough to take the easy route by calling Charter to get DVR. But then I remember it's just TV and I have better things to do with my time. Like write papers for class and walk my dog and nap and act like I'm training for a half-marathon. So I must choose. Because after all, life is made up of a series of decisions and it's the real important ones such as this that will really chart the course for the rest of my life. (insert eye roll here)

I feel this loyalty and allegiance to Grey's because I've been with it since the beginning. Back when Meredith proved just how much of a lady she is by hooking up with a random man in the bar who we all now know and love as McDreamy. Sure, I cried a couple of seasons ago when Denny died just after proposing to Izzy and she went running down the hallway of the hospital in her prom dress with that Snow Patrol song playing in the background. (Nevermind the fact that she was responsible for his death.) But honestly, I'm over the drama. How many times will Mer and Der break up only to make up? How many more combinations of intern/resident/attending relations will the writers come up with? How many more STD's will be contracted in the process? And these people are supposed to be medical professionals.

Whatever happened to good and wholesome prime time television like Dallas and Dynasty? Er...I mean The Cosby Show and Family Ties. Now that was some good Thursday night television. I was always so conflicted on Skate Night (when the local skating rink would open up one Thursday night a month for my elementary school only) because I hated missing "my programs". Alex P. Keaton was so dreamy. Fortunately we had a VCR so I never really missed an episode, I just watched it a day later. I digress. Back to the current matter at hand...

The Office. What's not to love about The Office? The wit and humor is terrific. I believe that all TV couples should be like Jim and Pam. Everyone needs a Stanley in their office. I could go on and on, but it's 11:24 pm and I have better things to do with my time. Like go to bed.

Which one will you all choose? I'm curious. Because everybody who is anybody will be watching one of these two shows on Thursday night. Not really...Survivor watchers are somebodies too.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fat Camp Update

Good news - my fingers have recovered from Friday's excessive blogging and I've managed to stave off carpel tunnel for the time being. In the fourth and final post on Friday, I made reference to my morbidly obese cat, but then I realized that said cat is glaringly absent from this little blog o'mine. I have a good reason. Sort of.
I got Slate (the morbidly obese cat) the year after I graduated from college. I can be honest here because well, he can't read so he'll never know, but I really wanted a dog. It's just that I traveled all of the time with my job so it wouldn't be fair to get a dog with me having that kind of schedule. The beauty of cats though is that they can take you or leave you and more often than not, they leave you. Cats are snobby. Cats are finicky. Cats are loving and cuddly but only on their terms. Needy, they are not. But looking back now, I fear that Slate coped with his loneliness by turning to the food bowl...(Sidenote: His eyes are not normally that bright and creepy looking). To answer your and the vet's questions...yes, I limited the amount of food he ate daily and yes, I am aware that cats can develop diabetes. He's just big boned with a big fluffy coat. Ok, he weighed 27 pounds at one time, but I thought it was kind of cute that he could wear a cat bed as an accessory...Besides, holding him was a great arm workout without having the travel time to the gym...
But when I moved to Athens, Slate could not come with me. I know what you're wondering... "you have a soon-to-be-80-pound dog in your apartment yet you were not able to have a cat?" Yes, that is correct. One of the rules in the throngs of pet rules at this luxurious complex where I reside is that cats must be de-clawed. No way, Jose. That is mean in my opinion, and I refused to even consider such. And being the first-born child that I am, a rule is a rule is a rule, and I was not about to break it. What if they go around and do claw inspections on the felines when residents are at work? They need more work to do, is the answer to that, but you just never know. So last summer Slate went to live with my parents and brothers. Throughout the years when I would go out of town for several days, I would take him there and each time he would always lose a little bit of weight (you would too if you had two wild and rambunctious boys chasing after you all day long) so I began referring to his trips there as fat camp. While he is still rather fat, I don't think he is as big as he once was. Well, I know he isn't because the same day I rushed Cash to the emergency pet vet (don't laugh...you would have too if you had a precious 6 week old puppy that fell face first into his water bowl and stayed there dead to the world until I fished him out of it) Slate was diagnosed as anemic. I thought I was going to have to moonlight at the Waffle House as a waitress to afford pet care that week. I am so grateful to mom and the boys who nursed him back to health and here he is today - a slim and trim Slate...
Well, here he is at least. Slim and trim...that's questionable. But that's part of what makes me love him so much. As for me, I'm yesterday's news to him. Especially now that I've betrayed him by getting a dog of all things.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Life Begins at 25"

Look - I know what you are all thinking..."good grief, put some mittens on that girl so she can't keep typing". Fortunately I've narrowed down the cause of today's bloggerrhea to one of two things:

First...Living alone for 4 years has finally taken its toll on me and I just need someone, anyone, everyone to make conversation with me. But then that can't be it because when you get tired of reading all you have to do is click that magic little "x' in the upper right corner of your monitor and I'm gone. Nevermind the fact that these are all one-sided conversations and no one is talking back to me. Which I don't enjoy because I'm really more of a listener than a talker. Really.

Or...I have to put together a powerpoint presentation on how the military is a provider of adult education before my class on Monday and read boring books until my eyeballs fall out of their sockets. Ahh...suddenly the excessive blogging makes perfect sense. Perfect sense to waste time so I'll be stressed out by Sunday afternoon. Actually it does for me because I work much better under pressure.

So what is it that I'm blabbering about now? Oh yes. Life. And my motto of how it begins at 25. I alluded to this in an earlier post so it should be no surprise that I've chosen this moment, when I'm delaying the inevitable class work, to write about it.

Until my sophomore year of college I had my life completely planned out. After graduation I was going to return to my hometown, live on my family's land, teach math at the high school I graduated from all as the new wife of the high school baseball coach. Now at the time I had no idea who said baseball coach was going to be, but that didn't matter...I was certain everything was going to fall into place. Because that's just how life works for good little girls who grow up to be math teachers. But then I failed Calculus. (Up until that point I had never made anything below a B on any of my report cards and suddenly I had a big fat "F" with zilcho quality points to factor into my GPA. Super.) So needless to say I changed my major during my sophomore year and other things began to change as well. During that spring semester I realized that I wasn't going to move back home after I graduated from college. Now, one may ask "how did you know that?" Well, I don't know, but I just did. And because of this new knowledge I was more homesick during those few months than any other time throughout my college career. Which led me to begin wondering...if I'm not going back home after I graduate, then what does that mean for the rest of my plans?

Somehow the next two and half years passed in what seemed like about 30 seconds and suddenly I'm a college graduate who began her first real job the very next day after graduation. It goes without saying that on my first day of work I did not wake up in my own home and share the paper with my husband over breakfast before commuting to work together and sneaking one last smooch in the teacher's lounge before going our separate ways for the day. Instead I woke up in Dahlonega, GA feeling kind of like a failure. (I know...illogical, but we'll get to that in a moment) My best friend, Shelley, had gotten married 4 months earlier and she was off living her new married life.
Suz was off in Atlanta living the life of a working girl in the city and while Mag was still in Dahlonega, she was in PT school which I'm convinced was located under a rock because we lived one block away from each other and I never saw her. Seriously. So I wondered things like where did I go wrong? Why didn't my plan turn out? It seemed like a pretty good one with no completely unrealistic expectations. And although I eventually settled into my life, I continued to ask myself these questions for about the next 2.5 years.

2004 was a big year filled with many milestones. It was the year that I turned 25. It was the year that I started living sans roommate(s). It was the year that I was in 4 weddings in a period of 6 months and attended I don't remember how many others. It was the year 3 of my closest friends, one being Shelley, became mothers for the first time. It was the year that I finally became comfortable in my own skin and happy with the life that I was living. So in a sense, my life began. Hence the motto.

Back in 2003 at the naive age of 24, I was pretty much dreading the next year. I thought that 25 was so old. I mean that's practically how old Sarah was when she had Isaac, right? And there I was without an Abraham in sight. I was completely nervous about living by myself. What if I fell one day trying to change a light bulb and no one missed me for days? What if a hornet got trapped in my apartment with me? (ok that really happened and it was scary) What if I made it ok all by myself? (I know, illogical...but we'll get to that in a moment) As for all the weddings, I wasn't so much nervous about making 4 trips up and down the aisle because I had had plenty of practice in 7 previous weddings. For those of you keeping count at home, it's 11 weddings with 11 dresses. And I loved each experience and am still honored that I had those opportunities. It was just that friendships change a little bit with marriage (as they should) and the same goes for when friends have babies. So 7 friends with major life events all occurring between the months of May and October was a lot for a girl to take in. Especially when I was still living in Dahlonega...the very town I swore I would never remain in after graduation back in oh, 2001.

Then 2004 happened. And all of these milestones started taking place. The first being my birthday in March when I realized that I kind of liked the number 25. A good, solid number. Plus, I could rent a car. I was so busy with showers and parties for my girls that I never really thought twice about moving into my new apartment. In fact, coming home after a crazy busy day to no one but my morbidly obese cat was kind of nice. And I felt no guilt about having fancy dresses and strappy shoes strewn out all over the place either. They were in no one's way but mine. Somewhere in the middle of all of the matrimony madness it dawned on me that if I was 1. already married to Mr. Heather Page (teeheehee) 2. changing diapers or 3. choosing my own bridesmaids, I would have missed out on a lot during such special times with such special people. Also during this time I finally admitted to myself and everyone else that I absolutely loved living in Dahlonega. Sure I did not plan to live there forever (and what do you know...I didn't) but it is a great place. Turns out I was actually doing pretty cool things with my life. Things that I would have never had the opportunity to do had I been stuck in Hickory Flat teaching the quadratic formula and tripping over smelly baseball cleats.

Now that I'm 6 months shy of 30 (gulp) and looking back over the past 7 or so years I can see even more clearly why things did not work out like I had planned. For one, I feel as if I'm a completely different person now than I was when I was 22. I had no idea what I really wanted in life at 22 and let's be honest baseball players-turned-coaches kind of lose their charm (and their physique) throughout the years. If I had built a home-sweet-home on my family's land, that home would have been bulldozed down last year because we sold that land and a subdivision now sits on it. I would have never moved to Athens and met the friends I have made here nor would I have Cash, the wonder Lab. These are just a few of many things.

There is nothing magic about the age 25. But that year of my life was a very special and important one. It was the year that I realized that it's not "either/or", but "and then". As in, I can do all of this single-girl-Miss-Independent stuff and then have a family. One day. When it's time. A time not to be determined by me. It was the year that I said "you know what, I'm a pretty ok gal and what you see is what you get. 'I'm good enough...I'm smart enough....And doggone it, people like me.'" Sometimes I refer to it as the Stuart Smalley year. Not really.

While the road to this point in my life was filled with a few curves (and detours, undoubtedly caused by my own doings), I'm glad that I traveled it and I'm glad that it has brought me here. I really am. The reason why is because it was necessary so I can continue to become the person God wants me to be in order to what He has called me to do. Isn't that our purpose after all?

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." -Proverbs 19:21

Accept No Substitutes

Seeing as though it's Friday and I've been slaving away (bahaha) I decided to break the usual peanut butter and jelly sandwich pattern and treat myself to a sub from Publix for lunch. As far as I'm concerned Pub Subs with Boar's Head Turkey were served at the great feast. About 30 seconds into my drive I remembered my newest guilty pleasure...
and decided that I must have some. Immediately. Upon making this decision, I began to accelerate my car like a mad woman. Now the problem with this is that I work only about two minutes from the grocery store in an area not conducive for Autobahn speeds. The other problem with this is that I don't even really like potato chips. I can take them or leave them. That is, until I met Kettle Chips a few weeks ago. At Publix I patiently waited in line for my sandwich, and much to my dismay they did not have the little bags of Kettle Chips in the deli area so I cruised over to the chip aisle. I got about 2/3 of the way down before reality hit: NO KETTLE CHIPS. Sure, I found Lay's brand kettle-cooked chips, but those were unacceptable. I wanted the real deal and I would not waste my time, money or calories with any other chip. Shopping was not a pleasure at Publix today. Some of you are probably thinking that I'm a little brand snob and wonder why am I making such a big deal over ridiculous potato chips. If you are, then go eat one of these chips and you'll start singing a different tune. Now my mama worked hard not to raise a brand snob, but thanks to my daddy, I am one anyway. Fortunately it's only in regards to two things: food and shoes. Weird, huh? But we'll focus on those little personality quirks another day. In the meantime just delight in the fact that should you ever visit my house you are guaranteed Kellogg's or General Mills cereal for breakfast. I do have a point that's a little less shallow than a specific brand of potato chips here so please stay with me because I'm slowly getting to it. How is that we can walk out of a store without thinking twice if they don't have exactly what we want yet we'll spend months or even years sometimes in not-so-ideal situations because we're afraid that it is the best or only option? This is where faith and trust comes in and sometimes (most of the time) that is where the difficulty lies. It was easy for me to prance (I didn't really prance because I'm wearing heels and my parents didn't splurge on charm school when I was a girl) out of Publix because I know that I can go to the Kroger across town and have my pick of Kettle Chips. Sure I didn't have them for lunch like I originally wanted, but when I leave the gym today and head towards my apartment, I will drive right by the store and pick some up. And they'll be even better because I'll be able to scarf them down with less guilt since an hour of cardio will have taken place. So the next time you consider accepting a substitute, prance away from it knowing that the best is out there...and it'll be even better because you worked and waited for it.

Can't Decide?

Fact: The average American only does 8% of his of her week's work on a Friday. I heard that at a professional development conference so it must surely be true. I'm offering this little tidbit of information up as an explanation to why I'm blogging so much during normal business hours. It's because I've far exceeded my quota of allowable work already. Excuses, excuses...I'll stop making them.

I have already decided how I will be casting my ballot (is that worded correctly?) on Election Day but for those of you who are still in the decision-making process, might I recommend that you do this. Ignore all of the future debates, ignore the context in which these little blurbs were taken from and make your decision based solely on the results of this quiz. I'm kidding, people. My quiz results, however, are in line with my choice of candidate which therefore proves the validity and reliability of the measure. (Suddenly I feel like I'm re-living the nightmare that was Research Methods.)


The day so many (or 3) have been waiting for has finally arrived. It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day. And what better opportunity will I ever have to post this picture of me with a pirate poser? Personally, I find it so bizarre that days like this actually exist and people celebrate them, but what do I know? The answer to this question is "not much". And if you find no pleasure in talking like a pirate, then no fear...this is America where opportunity abounds and you too can declare a day for something nonsensical of your liking.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Go Yearbook Yourself

I have no less than 5328 things to do at work in order to get caught up after being out for a week so I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. It makes perfect sense that I have just spent the last 25 minutes of my work day here. Come on everybody, play along!

HP - Class of 1960

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Can You Feel It?

Fall. I know that it doesn't officially arrive until the 22nd of this month, but as far as I'm concerned it arrived today. Maybe today was just a little tease from Mother Nature to let us know what lies ahead. Just a little bit of encouragement in the event that we wake up tomorrow morning and it's 93 degrees with 85% humidity. Thanks for the sneak preview, Mother Nature...I know that the good stuff is coming so I'll try not to complain too much when my make-up melts off of my face during Cash's mid-day walk.
Today I decided to celebrate the arrival of my most favorite season of all by enjoying it to the fullest. Well...to the fullest extent that one who is on her first day back to work after staycation can. I went for a run outside wearing my favorite running combo: a long-sleeved t-shirt and shorts. Yes, it was cool enough for long sleeves. Or maybe I'm just cold-blooded. Speaking of cold-blooded, about 10 minutes into my run I crossed paths with a snake who decided to take advantage of the weather too. Now I know that all creatures are God's creatures and all have their own purpose, but I can't believe that the life purpose of that snake was to give me a near heart attack. I wish I could say that I used the survival techniques learned during my time as a Brownie Girl Scout to avoid the potential crisis, but the main survival technique we learned was how to bake cookies using all-purpose flour when the self-rising is all gone. Not really applicable in this particular situation. I know there is some rule of thumb about how the shape of a snake's head indicates whether or not it is poisonous, but I personally didn't want to get that acquainted with it. As best I could tell it was an anaconda or a python. Because those are both common in Northeast Georgia.
Back to my tribute to fall. I really love everything about it and all things associated with it. The temperatures are nearly perfect, the leaves are absolutely gorgeous (I can't wait until they start turning), the sound of the wind blowing the leaves is so relaxing...the list goes on and on. It's when I'm at my best. I think we all have a season that is our "best" season so if fall is not yours then thank you for your patience as I enjoy it. And remember, your season is coming. After all, I believe that for those of us who are God's kiddos, all of these great days and best seasons here serve as little reminders of what is in store. Thanks for the sneak preview, Lord...I know the best stuff is coming so I'll try to make the most of all the good I've been given in the meantime.

Monday, September 15, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Staycation

They say all good things must come to an end. I really wish that "they" would identify themselves because I don't always agree with this statement, but I'll spare you all a deep, philosophical posting today. It is true, however, for my staycation. Over the past week I did not discover the key to independent wealth, nor did Ed McMahon show up with the Publisher's Clearing House Prize Patrol (he probably wishes they would knock on his door about now, actually) so that means tomorrow I'll be back at work...nose to the grindstone...slaving away. Now for the moment you've all been anxiously awaiting - my staycation in pictures (and words...a lot of them).
The first official item of non-business was a trip here: For those of you who are Athens savvy, you may recognize this as Tasty World, but I actually headed upstairs to Republic for a hair cut. It was 10:30 on a Wednesday morning, after all. Now the salon experience was just that...an experience. I'm very picky about who cuts my hair because one bad hair cut with this curly stuff makes for a very bad month or two. I went to the same stylist for 8 years before moving to Athens, but it was finally time to end that relationship because driving 2 hours for a hair cut was absurd with the price of petrol on the rise. Hmm...maybe all good things do come to an end. I was quite impressed with Republic even though I was a little concerned when the receptionist asked me if I wanted something to drink and offered up beer or wine as a suggestion. (please reference time of day from prior sentence). But once I sat down in the shampoo chair they probably could've given me a purple-streaked mohawk and I wouldn't have cared as long as they promised to wash my hair again. Between hair cuts I forget how much I love having my hair shampooed. I decided right then and there that when I win the lottery I'm going to install a hair washing station and hire someone to come wash my hair each morning. Currently I'm trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to win the lottery if I don't play it but that's just a minor detail that I'm sure will work itself out. All was going great until she got out the hair dryer to "lightly diffuse" my hair. Um, big mistake. Huge mistake. I only have a hair dryer because I feel like that is one of those things that you need on hand "just in case" but I never actually use the thing. After rushing immediately home to re-wash and style my new 'do I found myself here later in the afternoon:
Ok, the truth is my class isn't on main campus but I just love the Arch. It's symbolic and a little more aesthetically pleasing than some 1960's structure by the river. Throughout the rest of the week I managed to take a few trips to the gym and Target and Old Navy and Bed, Bath and Beyond and Academy Sports and Outdoors and Starbucks and Publix. So I like to shop on occasion. It's my staycation, I'll shop if I want to. By Saturday I had had my fill of watching Geraldo hug a tree in 110 mph winds and was getting a little restless so I decided to take a trip. I had originally planned to go here
with my family because I am missing the mountains so badly. But then I decided to make the trip in October when the leaves are pretty so get ready mountain friends, I'll soon be in a city near you. Instead I just went to my hometown. No visit home is complete without a trip to Mu and Pop's house:
Aren't Mu's flowers pretty? Cash thinks they are very tasty. He really liked the elephant ears too...
I just liked the way he sat on the stairs...
That dog's owner really needs to inform him that he is in fact a canine, not a human. After eating leafy greens and watching football all afternoon, the boys were ready to relax: Speaking of Ethan, the craziest thing happened between my last trip home and this trip... He grew taller than me. Yes, I know we look about the same height in this picture, but he's taller. My baby brother is growing up. We can carry on real conversations, he's smart, plays baseball and he's funny too. No wonder all the little girls blush when he says hello to them. After a great couple of days with the fam, it was time to head back to Athens. On my way back over, I stopped by Maggie and Wes's for a cookout. Katie was there too. Now, Jeffrey, her adventure loving husband was off running 20 miles in the mountains, and even though we missed him that just meant more brownies for us. I just love time with my friends...These are some fun girls. Oh the fun we've had over the past 11 years. 11 years? Ack!! When did we get old? Weren't we just walking around the Drill Field on our way back to Sanford last week? Now we're all grown up with dogs and husbands and babies and stuff. Well, we all three have dogs... And just look at Maggie's handsome little man, Colt: No, folks... your eyes are not playing tricks on you in the previous picture. That is in fact a weimaraner hurdling patio chairs in the background. Ellie wanted desperately to come in with the rest of us, but this had to happen first:She really likes having her hair shampooed by someone else too.

Staycation is officially over at 5:00 tomorrow morning when my alarm clock makes that dreaded beeping noise. Congratulations to those of you who managed to make it through this entire post without dozing off and bruising your forehead on your keyboard. For that, you deserve a staycation of your own. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yay for SNL!

So I think that one of my three blog readers is none other than Tina Fey. It must have been my plea for humor that got her on the show. In case you missed it earlier, click here to see Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. I just love YouTube.

Update: It's already been taken down from YouTube...apparently copyright infringement is kind of a big deal, but here's a picture of Tina and Amy playing Sarah and Hillary...

Friday, September 12, 2008


"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?" - Isaiah 40:12
When I woke up this morning I had not planned on spending much of my day following Hurricane Ike's trek through The Gulf. But that is precisely what I have done. So in the midst of cleaning my apartment and running errands (I really live large on staycation), I have been glued to the TV. Partially because I think that the on-location reporters are absolutely ridiculous so it's a form of cheap entertainment, but mostly because I'm a little bit intrigued with weather systems. Uh-oh, my invisible pocket protector is showing again. Y'all...this storm is big. The picture of Ike above was taken from the International Space Station. The last time I checked, the International Space Station was in...Space. The satellite image puts it into a little better perspective for me: According to the news (and it is always completely accurate, right?), this storm is 70% bigger than normal hurricanes and is basically the size of Texas. Speaking of, apparently Ike didn't get the "Don't Mess With Texas" memo because he's definitely messing with Texas...

And to think that these pictures were all taken today before the storm even made landfall. I believe that is not supposed to happen until around midnight or so central time. I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone in the direct path of this storm would ignore evacuation orders, but inevitably some folks always stay put to ride it out. And they are even able to maintain their senses of humor...In case you can't read the message it says "Go away Ike, Tina Ain't Here"Tonight I was listening to a news report and there was a man on the phone who has kept his family in Galveston because they did not want to leave their pets. And he sounded pretty terrified on the phone at that point. It's not my place to question this man's judgment, but my heart became so heavy for these people who are now stuck in this storm. Especially the children. How scary for them because they had no choice in the matter. How sad for these parents who may have to live with some pretty big implications of their decision to stay.But I cannot watch all of this without thinking about the bigness (Is that a word? It is now.) of God. This storm is huge, but it is nothing compared to Him. This reality is honestly much bigger than this little mind of mine can fully grasp. And I know this might sound really weird to some of you, but in natural disasters such as this the realness (look, another new word) of God is much more apparent to me than it is at other times. I'm having trouble putting into words what I'm trying to say...so I'll just keep rambling. While great destruction will undoubtedly come as a result of this hurricane and it makes me sad to think about that, there are also going to be those miracle stories with no logical explanation to them. That's God revealing himself, I believe.

In thinking about all of this today, I remembered a message series by Louie Giglio called Indescribable. It's a two-part series and it's absolutely incredible because he goes into how big God and His universe is and how small we are in comparison. He also does a series about how though we are only small little bits in God's universe we are fearfully and wonderfully made small little bits. I can't find an easy link to the series, but here is one of my favorite parts of this talk. If you want the actual series, let me know and I can get it to you.

(BTW...All of these photes were pictures from the Associated Press. Yes, I should've credited the photographers, but I promise not to be a pirate and sell them or make copies of them at Wal-Mart or anything else illegal.)

Yep, It's Football Season

Whoever said that less is more obviously never spent any time in Athens during football season.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Defining Moments

We all have them. These moments play a role in making us who we are (and are becoming). Hence the term "defining moments"...It's official folks, I speak with the wisdom of Solomon. Most of the time these defining moments are quite personal affecting only one individual or a small group. But every once in awhile there is an event or a moment when an entire population is affected. Whether they are personal or all-inclusive, these moments cause us to pause because in that instant something has changed. Something is different. And often these moments are used as references in time..."That was before _____" or "I did that after_____".

As I type I can think of a few personal defining moments or events that forever changed me. The first one that comes to mind is the arrival of Ethan. My only-child world was absolutely rocked at the tumultuous age of 14. When I was a little girl, I cried and begged and prayed for a baby brother or sister, but by the time I was around 9, I had come to love my little world of undivided attention from mom and dad and my ability to play independently without having to fight someone for a toy. So by the time 8th grade rolled around I was worried about important things like how to tame my frizzy hair and which shirt looked best with my Guess jeans. I had no time for infants in my busy schedule. Or so I thought. Of course I wouldn't trade Ethan for all the oil in Alaska, and that's saying a lot considering the price of gas these days. It was lonely being the only. And I kind of like the role of big sister. There are other moments too like accepting Jesus as my Savior and turning 25 that were integral in making me who I am today, but I think I'm going to devote an entire blog post to each of those events one day soon. I've been putting those together in my head for awhile now, but they are still under construction.

Now for the defining moments that entire groups of people remember. You know...the ones where people can remember exactly what day it was, where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Like when Kennedy was assassinated or when Elvis died. Or when our grandparents hear the date December 7, 1941 it is more to them than just something that had to be memorized for history class. I can remember exactly where I was the day the Challenger exploded. It was January 28 which also happens to be my grandmother's (MuMu) birthday. I was actually at Mu's house because schools were closed that day due to snow, so I was thrilled to be able to watch on TV the launch of the Challenger. I was sitting at the bar in her kitchen eating lunch (I'm sure it consisted of milk, eggs and bread since it was a snow day in Georgia, after all) and watching the TV. Even my little 6 year old mind knew that something was wrong when it exploded and the smoke wasn't supposed to look like that. Fast forward to my last semester of college. It was a Tuesday during fall semester, and I only had one class early that morning. After class, I hurried back home to get ready for work and then made it to The Smith House just in time for my shift to start. When I got there, most of the kitchen staff was crowded around the TV, but I wasn't really paying attention nor was I curious as to why they were watching TV instead of frying chicken and making mashed potatoes. Then the North tower collapsed. Needless to say I started paying attention. The work day was a fog. I just went through the motions but that was ok because everyone else was doing the same thing. 3:00 could not come soon enough. I just wanted to go to my house and watch the news to try to get some sense of understanding and an explanation of what was happening. But how can you explain terrorism? How can one make sense of that? I wanted to be with my family, but a trip home wasn't realistic. Besides, I was so rattled, I didn't want to leave the safe-haven of a small little town in the North Georgia mountains. So my roommates and I sat gathered around our itty bitty TV hanging onto the words of the reporters and heart-breaking images of that day. Life as we had known it had changed forever. Not only was I so sad, I was angry. How dare a group of individuals take away my sense of security and safeness and replace it with feelings of uncertainty and fear. If they could pull this off, what else were they capable of? Honestly I choose not to think about this anymore because why sit around pondering "what if?" all day long? What would this mean for all of my camo wearing friends and classmates? We know today that it eventually meant deployment(s) and becoming war veterans. September 11, 2001 is a date that will be an answer on a history test for the majority of anyone who is Micah's age or younger. He was 3 at the time, and has no memory of it when it happened. But for the rest of us, it is a date that will bring back memories and a mix of emotions. And while it was a defining moment for our Nation as a whole, it was also very personal for each of us. We will never be the same as we were 7 years ago before September 11 and many things have changed in the aftermath. But I believe there's one thing that hasn't: This is still a great place with more good eggs than bad ones and I'm so thankful that it is my home.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Staycation Is Here

So today was my last day of work until next Tuesday. A whole week off of work! Whatever will I do?!? This is only the 2nd time in my life that I have taken so many consecutive days off of work. It's not that I don't have the time to take. In reality I could not work for about the next 4.5 months and still have some leave left over. It's more that I enjoy my job so I kind of like being there and in the grand scheme of things I haven't been a professional working girl for all that long. Seven years is not a long time when I'm in a job that takes 10 years to become vested. And I'm really hoping that paisley vests are back in style if I'm still working there come 2011 because that's the kind of vest I want. I humor myself, if no one else. I digress. The truth is, I would rather be on the rocky shorelines of southern Maine: Or in a quaint little New England town turning my nose up at clam chowder:

(I would not like to have this larger than life hair though. I haven't developed the super power of keeping the wind from blowing yet.)
A foggy morning turned clear day in San Francisco is always a hit. I've made the trip twice so why not go again?

And nothing beats a redwood forest. Seriously. This is one of my favorite places in all of the world.

But Mt. Rainier runs a very close second...

I wonder how Annabelle the Buffalo is doing out in Colorado. I would like to see her again because it's been awhile. I like to think my posture has improved since this picture was taken...

Now that Celine is out and Bette is in, Vegas would be a nice option:
Oooh...now you're wondering if I'm being serious about wanting to see Bette aren't you? Keep pondering that while I think about paddling down the Potomac...But I'm on staycation and that means I'll be having fun around here. The good news is I never leave home without my camera so I'll be sure to photograph all the fun I have going to exotic places like Target and Barnes & Noble. I'm planning to have more fun than the law allows while avoiding the law, that is. I doubt that they would let me take pictures in jail and mugshots are always so unsightly.

PS...I'm not sure why some of my pictures have white borders around them. I saved them to my desktop from my shutterfly account so maybe that has something to do with it. I'm sure it aggravates me much more so than it does the 3 people reading this. I think I'm up to three readers now by the way!