Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's All Coming Back, All Coming Back to Me Now.

Thank you Lil Rounds for singing a Celine Dion song on American Idol and providing me with the inspiration to come up with the title of this post.

Do any of you out there have moments when something happens in your everyday normal life and suddenly some memory from long ago comes flooding back to you? Maybe it's just me. [Interruption: Would the general population please stop voting for this moron currently singing on AI? He will kill me before the Conficker worm does.]

So back to the matter at hand. This morning I stopped by Publix to get some deli turkey for lunch sandwiches this week. I realized about halfway home for lunch that I left said turkey in the fridge at work. Curse word. Just when I began to sulk about the fact that I was inevitably going to spend another day stuck in the peanut butter and honey sandwich humdrum, I remembered something that was a staple for me during college: Turkey and swiss on a bagel. YUM. Talk about a Chow Hall speciality. The remainder of the trip home was spent thinking about my daily lunch routine of telling Miss Sue hey as she swiped my student ID, scooting past the Sig-O table to avoid the snide comments of boys who shall remain nameless because I'm sure that they are much more mature now than they were in college, claiming my spot at "Our Table", walking to the toaster to throw a bagel in, and then finally end up in the deli line. In the deli line I would ask Miss Judy Wu (Her husband Mr. Quasimoto worked in the library)for two pieces of turkey and one piece of swiss cheese. She would always repeat it back to me with a super sweet smile on her face and hand me my requested goods. And then I would go back to the toaster where with any luck my bagel would be there without a single burn mark waiting for me to put the pieces together and warm in the microwave for 25 seconds. We won't talk about the oreo "blizzards" that I also made on a regular basis. Isn't that weird? I literally have not had nor even thought about a turkey and swiss bagel in nearly 8 years yet I can remember that part of my life just like it was yesterday. I can remember the conversations, the drama, the fun, the time when Corey McLeroy got taken to Chow Hall jail by Ed Davis and when Dusty Hamby asked for a "Hot Pocket". In most countries they are referred to as calzones, I believe. In a split second you can go right back to another place in time and relive those emotions and feelings associated with those memories. I still do this everytime I hear Sweet Child O'Mine on the radio too. But that's just because Axl wrote that song about me prior to our marriage. Just seeing if you're paying attention.

For the most part these little memory jolts take me back to good times. Fun times. Happy times. Most of the time. However there are some reminders that take me back to scary times. Uncertain times. Times that I would prefer never to relive again. It never fails...every time I'm driving down 316 and see an ambulance, I am right back in my apartment in Dahlonega on a rainy Sunday night exactly two years ago tomorrow: April 1. Every single time, I feel the uncertainty and fear creep in, and my heart just aches for the family of whoever is being rushed down the road toward the hospital. Because I know what it's like to be one of those family members who doesn't know what's going on or if a person they love is going to make it. It's kind of hard to believe that it's been 2 years since dad first got sick. The first 5 weeks after he got sick seemed like a decade compared to the subsequent weeks and months that have followed. When I called home on that Sunday night after Brothers & Sisters went off to make sure that my family had made it home from Ethan's ball tournament ok and to wish my parents a happy 30th anniversary one more time [side note: What fools get married on April Fool's Day anyway? That should explain so much about me.], I never imagined that during the course of the short conversation that I had with my mom that dad would go into respiratory arrest, he would be unresponsive, and she would begin to administer CPR while my two baby brothers called 911. I've never felt more helpless in my life being an hour away and having no idea what was happening. Yet when all of those terrible uncertain feelings come rushing back even now, they are followed up by the same feeling that I had on that night when I was waiting for Justin to come and pick me up: calmness. [Admittedly, I wasn't calm at first...I spent a good 10 minutes literally spinning in circles in the middle of the floor because I could not do anything else.] And when that sense of calm sweeps over me, I am reminded that it's going to be ok. Not because I have the ability to make it ok, but because the One who can loves me and cares for me even in the midst of uncertainty. Why, after I've had such an obvious reminder, is it so easy for me to forget this little lesson on a daily basis? Because I'm human. Because I sin. Because I'm me. But in spite of me and all of my imperfections and flaws, I'm forgiven. I'm protected. I'm reassured. I'm comforted. I'm thankful.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hydrocodone Haze

I'm a firm believer that we really do learn something new every day. Now, sometimes what we learn is not earth-shattering or really all that significant in the grand scheme of things, but learning takes place nonetheless. Personally I love to learn. It's like exercise for my brain. And I'm convinced that exercising my brain is certainly helping me to prepare for the upcoming Country Music Half-Marathon. I've learned a few things this week and in the spirit education [or my incessant need to write], I'll share them with you three readers out there.

I learned just how talented my baby cousin, Justin is. It's something that I've suspected all along, but here's proof. I'm so proud of him. This is at the Bluebird in Nashville.

I learned that I should not take hydrocodone cough syrup at 1:30 on a Thursday afternoon while at work. Doesn't really do much to aide in productivity. Well...my productivity anyway. I'm sure my co-workers were able to get more done by not having to listen to me hack. Nor should I take it on a Friday night after a little honey, lemon, and whiskey potion. I felt like it was my freshman year at the Pajama Jam all over again. Except there was no fruit in the bottom of a cooler that I felt compelled to eat. Fruit's healthy, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong.

I learned that a girl can fall from the #1 position to the #35 position in one of her NCAA tourney pools in a matter of hours. There are some lessons in life that are a little difficult to learn.

I learned that I've been bitten by the travel bug. Big time. More on that when I have more plans.

I learned that my friend, Donna, became a mommy. Congrats to her sweet family of three!

I learned that I'm not nearly as cool as I think I am. Picture it: Saturday I'm at work for Open House. It's monsooning outside and three of us are walking through a building to stay out of the rain. I'm leading the way...talking the whole time...not really paying attention. I go to push open the glass door and run SMACK! DAB! into the glass window that separates the two doors. Fortunately bruises to one's pride are not visible.

I learned that The Princess Bride is the 80 movie that defines me, Sandy is the Grease character most like me, Aerial is the Disney Princess that I am most like, that my parents should have named me Olivia, the US President I am most like is Calvin Coolidge, and Dolce & Gabbana shoes define me. Who knews that there were so many similarities between The Princess Bride and Dolce and Gabbana shoes. How in the world did we ever form our identities before Facebook quizzes?

I'm learning that I may have to let go of some of the dreams that I have for my life. But since I'm still learning this, I'm not quite ready to share. Yet.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Jerry Garcia called. He wants his rain boots back.

It seems that monsoon season has arrived here in The Classic City and not a moment too soon, might I add. With this rain, the pollen will clear for about 5 seconds and the lakes will rise to mud puddle level just in time for us to send the water West and South to our neighboring states. Because we're generous like that in Georgia. I digress.
Now all of this rain is well and good unless you happen to be the proud owner of an 11 month old Lab puppy whose hobbies include puddle plunging...
and rolling in grass...The good thing about water dogs is that they don't really mind getting wet when it's raining outside. The bad thing about high energy Labs is that they need lots and lots of exercise come hail or high water. Given that today is pay day, I decided to head on over to the local Target to pick up some of the super cute rain boots that I've seen while out and about. You know, the thing about rain boots is that they are the type of thing that you never really think to buy them until you need them. Which is also when most other people think to buy them. I arrived at Target only to find zilcho boots. So I decided to try Academy Sports next. Hello, it's a sports and outdoors store, they should be rain boot rich, right? Wrong. Well at least in the $19.99 price range. Not even Payless would be my source of shoes on this dreary day. I should probably mention here that while I was doing all of this shopping for rain boots my cowboy boots were getting wetter with each falling drop of rain. As a last resort I decided to try TJ Maxx or Steinmart and ended up in Steinmart for the sole fact that it was the closest to my car by the time I finally found a parking space. I wasn't really all that optimistic that I would have any luck there either because not only are rain boots functional, they are also a pretty big fashion trend. I apparently missed that segment of fashion week. So I remember as I'm walking into the store that it doesn't really have a shoe section. Whatever. As I'm casually milling around the purses, I happen to look a little to my left and see a whole display of rain boots. One pair happened to be in my size. I thought about waiting to see if Target would get a new shipment in tomorrow, but in reality tomorrow would not be soon enough. Instant Gratification! I needed it! Right! Then! So I pick them up and take them to the counter without even trying them on. As I'm walking up, I suddenly get a little embarrassed that I'm about to actually purchase these shoes. I mean, I pride myself in my taste of shoes. I have tons of shoes. [No, it doesn't matter that I only wear the same 4 sad pairs over and over again.] And I was about to purchase u-g-l-y with no alibi. I put them on the counter and proceed to explain to the girl working (who I thought to myself was super stylish and cute and probably even a Phi Mu...until I remembered that Phi Mu's at Georgia probably aren't working their way through college at the local Steinmart) that I had a dog who had to be walked and it was all about functionality at this point. In her mind she was probably thinking, "geez lady, act your age and not your shoe size and get some Dr. Scholl's rain boots why don'tcha?" I finally made it back home and decided to take them on a test drive. Of course I spent no less than 10 minutes picking out a "thrown together" outfit in the event cute British neighbor happened to see me outside walking my dog and decided to come chat. [And might I add that the extra time was not spent in vain.] So this afternoon, I learned that I don't mind walking the dog in the rain nearly as much when I can be pulled through a puddle with nary a concern about getting my socks and shoes wet. So here they are in all their glory...
Hideous? Yep. But functional nonetheless. And functional is what I was looking for when I made my purchase. It wasn't like I was going to wear them anywhere other than around the apartment complex anyway. Or so I thought. No less than 3 hours after purchasing these bad boys did I find myself in Publix wearing them along with cropped yoga pants and an old Phi Mu t-shirt. Apparently I had had one too many tokes on the peace pipe and forgot the oath that I made to always be presentable when out in public after people who I've never even met started recognizing me from reading my blog. I realize that you can't get the full effect of them in the above picture. Which is why I took this picture after getting home from the grocery store...
Now all I need is a few bears dancing in a line around my arm and I'll be set.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The best things that bloom are battered and fried.

It's official: I'm allergic to Athens. I can't say that I'm surprised given the fact that I still say that I'm "new" in town. [Or perhaps that's just the denial that I'm planted here for 2 more years emerging.]

Having lived in Georgia oh, my entire life, I did not really understand what was happening last spring when the majority of my time was spent planning activities around my regularly scheduled dose of Claritin. Talk about a junkie waiting for her next fix.

Fortunately the arrival of my old friend, fall, and the long winter months enabled me to forget the misery that was spring 2008. Until this past Saturday when I woke up with a sore throat. Sunday afternoon at the dog park, I spent some time contemplating the effectiveness of ramming the end of a coat hanger inside my ears because they itched so bad. Ohh that itch...it went as deep as my brain, y'all. By Monday night the dry hacking cough set in. It's so dry and hacking that I wouldn't be surprised if people suspect that I am a new smoker who hasn't quite gotten that whole inhaling part mastered yet. Yesterday morning I mistakenly put sheets of sandpaper in my eyes instead of my contacts, and today the tumorysm came back. What is a tumorysm? Well, it's a self-diagnosed condition that is a combined brain tumor and aneurysm. You won't really find much about it on WebMD, but last spring when I fell victim to plant reproduction I coughed and sneezed so much that I got this terrible pain that shot through the left side of my head anytime I sneezed or coughed [or shook my head back and forth really quickly]. The good news is that it seems to be a seasonal ailment.

I think when I'm done with school I'm going to move to the desert. Nothing blooms in the desert right? Sure, I will probably contract a fierce case of melanoma if I happen to walk to the mailbox one day without slathering on the SPF 45, but it's a small price to pay in exchange of 3 months of sneezing, hacking, and being called four-eyes. Until then, I'll just spend time here in the local Outback.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

(Insert Steven Curtis Chapman Song Here.)

If you're a regular lurker to this little blog o'mine, surely by now you've figure out that I can ramble from here to Topeka about pretty much everything that doesn't amount to anything. What can I say - it's a gift. I've been "mentally writing" this post in my mind for about a week now. I try not to do this too often with this blog because I want my words to be as unscripted as possible. However this time I want to use just the right words. Yet I'm struggling. But tonight I realized that part of why I'm struggling is that words are one-dimensional. Flat. Sure they create meaning and we use imagery and blah blah blah. [Have I mentioned that 2 of my 3 C's in college were English 1101 and English 1102? Now I'm certain that the Blogger police will revoke my writing privileges upon reading this news so it's been nice knowing you people.] But how in the world can words properly summarize people and relationships between people who are three-dimensional? It just doesn't seem possible. So here's my attempt at the impossible...

Last Sunday afternoon I arrived at Suzanna's mom and dad's house for our scheduled lunch and the driveway was full... of minivans and other vehicles that were familiar. [Of course I immediately recognized them as belonging to my friends. I'm the girl who remembers that the Career Counselor at NGCSU drove a white Honda Accord...Just call me Rainwoman.] Now I should say that I was a little tipped off that something more than just lunch with Suz was going down because about 45 minutes earlier I had received a voicemail from Kat which began with "Hi HP, I guess you're getting ready for your party...", but I had no idea that Maggie would be there too (she was going with her family to have lunch for her mother-in-law's birthday)...or Beth (I just saw her on Monday)...or Angel (she has 3 kids under 4 and well, if I had 3 kids under 4 I would be doing good to manage to brush my teeth each day. Driving to Athens on a rainy, cold, yucky Sunday afternoon would be a feat too large). Oh the happiness that my heart felt though to know that as soon as I walked through those doors, I would be surrounded by some of my favorite people in the world. All in one room! It was almost too much for me to handle. I'm feeling verklempt now just thinking about it. [If only Linda Richman had been there too...]

When looking at the picture above, to the unknowing eye, I'm sure that it seems like what it is: A snapshot of a group of gals who happen to be super cute and don't look a day over 25. Perhaps they went to college together. Maybe they all owned more lion and ladybug paraphernalia than the law should allow at one point in time. All of these things are true, but there's so much more to this picture. There's history. About 10 years worth now. There are stories. Far too many to tell. There are laughs and tears. The time our sophomore year when I knocked on Angel and Maggie's door during Rush in a panic because I washed my face with self-tanner. There are ups and downs. The time that I threatened to make Suz and Beth sit on the aerobed together and hold hands because they were in a silly little spat. There are shared learning experiences. The time that I learned not to let Kat wax my eyebrows in her dorm room.

I love this picture for many reasons. You see, while we all have a lot in common, it's very rare to have this combination of people in the same picture. It's not like we were a group if 6 BFF's all throughout college and beyond. There's actually a couple of combinations of groups combined in this picture. The collective Beth and Suzanna. The Singles Club. The "AMP" of KAMP [if only Katie had not been off leading young girls to the Lord on Sunday that group would have been complete] Sure, the relationships have changed over the years, but the older I get the more I understand that is just the reality of life. I believe that sometimes people are in our lives at a specific time for a specific reason. Others are in our lives forever. There are others who are always in our lives but just on a different level. When I look at this picture, it enables me to remember the history, the stories, the laughs and tears, the ups and downs, the learning experiences that I have shared with each and every one of them. And while many of them are the same, there are differences too. That's the thing about friendships that I absolutely love. The different roles we play in each other's lives. Finally when I look at this picture, I am humbled. I never really understood what true friendship looked like until college. These women have helped to shape me into person I am and who I hope to become. They have loved me when I made dumb decisions. They have prayed for me when my little world was rocked. They have eaten with me when only cookie dough would make it better. They have listened to me when I needed to talk. They have talked when I needed to listen. They have encouraged me when I needed a confidence boost. They have humored me when I needed to be humored. They have laughed with me when I needed to lighten up a bit. And even more remarkable...they do all these things even today and I know that they will tomorrow too. My cup runneth over.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Inspired by Rex and Starla

Ninjas in West Virginia? They really are everywhere.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where's my 8th grade spirit wear when I need it?

It's March people and that can only mean one thing: Madness. Sheer Madness. This time each year I act like I follow college basketball and become totally engrossed with the sport for 3 weeks. Don't get me wrong, I do love me some college hoops but if I have to choose between watching a game or oh, let's say that episode from The Cosby Show where it's the grandparents' 50th anniversary, I choose Cosby. Every time. Even though I've seen that episode no less than 23 times. Now when the Saints make it to the big show, that's when I'll become a little more loyal to the entire season. Besides, I live in the heart of SEC country...basketball isn't a sport. Enough with the excuses.

A couple of years ago I was invited by gal pal Suzanna's husband, Mike, to participate in one of those NCAA tournament group thingies. [This is where I have to pretend like I don't really know anything about sports in order to keep up my girly facade that I worked so hard to build. I was a high school softball player - it took years to prove my girliness.] And [not so] surprisingly...I WON! That's where strategery will get you ladies and gentlemen...into the winner's circle. I actually did a great deal of research and put a lot of time and thought into my choices that year. Have I ever mentioned here in the blogosphere that I love to win? I do. Winning is fun. If by chance you ever find yourself on my Taboo team, you had better pay attention. Because we will win.

This year I thought that I had gotten left out of the fun and games with Mike's friends. I reassured myself that it was because those fragile male egos could not stand to lose to a girl. So today when I was cruising the blogosphere, I stumbled across an opportunity to participate in another group on BooMama's blog. I peep her blog from time to time because y'all...she's funny. Blame it on the madness of work and school, but I hastily completed my bracket without much rhyme or reason to my selections. Sadly I can't even say that I chose the teams based on the mascot because when I selected my winner, I realized that I didn't even know what it was. That's a bad sign if I don't even know the mascot of the team that I have chosen to win the whole sha-bang because as I proclaimed earlier today, I am a vat of useless knowledge. This called for some internet research. Turns out my selection might not be the greatest.

A couple of hours after I completed my bracket, whaddya' know, I got an invite from Mike to join his group. Of course I was going to join. On the way home from class tonight I debated with myself as to whether or not I would remain loyal to my team that I have chosen already or if I would try to make a better selection based on stats. Stats schmats...I'm staying true to the blue and gold. GO PANTHERS!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Say again.

This morning I woke up to the sound of rain. I love that sound. I loved it even more when I lived in a little tin-roofed cabin back in the woods. I love that sound so much that it was all that I could do to drag myself out of bed. Who am I kidding? It wasn't my own will power that got my two feet on the floor. It was my 60-pound dog's Chihuahua-sized bladder. Within the first 5 minutes of being awake, I determined that this would be the day that Cash was reunited with doggie daycare. After all the meds that dog has been on for the past 2 weeks, Giardia will run and hide when it sees him coming. [I'm really going to miss that cup. It was the last reminder I had of the 2004 Gold Rush reception at the Alumni House and the 3 shots of beer we got in exchange for our annual $10 young alumni dues.]

After dropping Cash off, I went to church. [Gee HP, that's so good of you...I'm sure that Jesus himself put a star by your name this morning. In fact you got 2 stars because after all, it was raining.] I looked for every excuse in the book this morning not to go to church. The rain. It was pouring, I didn't have an umbrella and it is a long walk from the parking deck to the building. It's not like my hair can get any curlier so what was I so worried about? Nonetheless, I decided to stop by Publix on the way there to get an umbrella. Once inside, I couldn't find the umbrellas. After about 5 minutes I finally found the display in the deli because that makes perfect sense to put them there. The extra time in the store meant that I would be late and I hate being late to church. So I should probably just go home instead. Besides the sweater that I was wearing had that weird chemical smell from the dry cleaners and I didn't want to assault the olfactory receptors of those sharing a row with me. I mean seriously...I was grasping at straws. Yet I went. And I made it inside before the service began. And thanks to the rain and/or Spring Break, it was relatively empty so no one gave me funny looks for being the girl who used perc for perfume. Coincidence? I think not.

Of course the service was exactly what I needed. [Shocker, right? Why else would I be dragging my heels?] It's the 2nd in a series entitled Say. Words are so powerful. They can build someone up or knock someone down in a matter of moments. Most of the time we don't even realize how much of an impact our words have on other individuals. Yet we can remember clearly times that words have had powerful and significant meaning in our own lives. Many of the decisions that we make come as a result of words spoken to us by friends, family, co-workers, etc. So this morning I was really convicted about how I'm using my own words. What if each morning we were given a set amount of words that could be spoken and once they were used up, you could speak no more until the next morning? Would we think a little more before we speak?

For the past 3 days, it seems like every time I turn around I am yelling "NO! Drop It!" at my dog. (Have I mentioned that it's been a rough couple of days?)Sure, I was talking to a dog, but the constant negativity of my own words was making me a little grouchy. I'm sure this grouchiness was apparent in the words that I was speaking to others. Or at least my mama caught on if no one else did. And not only does grouchiness lead to unkind words, but it leads to frowning which leads to fine lines and wrinkles...it's really a vicious cycle.

Last spring I shared some thoughts about the power of words and for those of you suffering from insomnia you can check them out here if you're really bored. But you don't have to take my word for it. I would just stick with Paul's. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." - Ephesians 4:29.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Warm and fuzzy generally makes me itch.

Earlier today I was all set to write about last night's episode of The Office. Because nothing says absolutely hilarious quite like Stanley when he said to Michael: "I've got a golden ticket idea. Why don't you skip on up to the roof and jump off?" The world would be a better place if every office had a Stanley working in it. However plans changed after my dog robbed me blind of my PBH (peanut butter & honey sandwich), but more on that in another post.

Blame it on Friday the 13th, blame it on the new Facebook layout, blame it on the looming rain, but I ended up watching Oprah this afternoon. I never, ever watch Oprah because I believe she uses her power for evil, but according to the guide the founder of Facebook was on the show this afternoon, and if anyone could provide me with the tutorial that I needed to understand what was happening with this new layout, it was the 24 year-old brainiac billionaire that is Mark Zuckerberg. [That is quite possibly the longest run-on sentence I have ever written. Sorry grammar police.] After he failed to explain his rationale for changing things up and totally throwing us non-Millennials for a loop, I continued to watch because it's hard to break the spell of the anti-Christ. [I love the First Amendment.] Not to mention the fact that I was absolutely roped in when she announced that John Rendall and Ace Bourke would be on the last segment.

I'm pretty sure that everyone in the world including the women at the YFZ ranch has seen the YouTube clip of Christian the Lion. If not, thanks to the power of modern day technology you can watch it right here. Right now.

Ok, perhaps I should have warned you first-timers that Whitney Houston would be serenading you throughout the whole happy reunion, yet were it not for her, the warm-fuzzy feeling that the clip evokes would be a little lukewarm. But we can all use a little warm and fuzzy in our lives at some point in time. Even if it reminds you of the Christmas sweater that your grandma gave you back in 1993.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's all fun and games until someone loses a toe.

It's Spring Break here in Dawg Country and that can only mean one thing: foolhardy debauchery abounds for the 18-23ish year-old population. Of course most of this nonsensical behavior takes place in far off and exotic places like Florida (less those brave souls who scoffed at the rampant travel advisories against going to Mexico, threw caution to the wind and headed South of the border). Fortunately for those of us who are stuck in town working due to responsibilities like paying bills and the unshakable urge to eat 3 meals a day that do not include ramen, the Red and Black is on the Spring Break beat to report on the decision making skills of Georgia's best and brightest. The following is an excerpt from the full article that can be read in its entirety from the hyperlink in the previous sentence...

"A University of Georgia student in Florida for spring break was arrested Tuesday after shooting himself in the foot following an altercation with beachgoers who insulted him, according to a police report. [Name removed] a first-year economics major from Milledgeville, told St. John's County Sheriff's deputies a group of guys were harassing him and his girlfriend at the Cabana Club on Ponte Vedra Beach because they were from Georgia. The group followed [name removed] to a parking lot, where he pulled out a shotgun from his 2005 Mazda "to scare them away," the report states. He went back to the beach to get his girlfriend. When they returned, as he was moving the gun from the back seat to the trunk, it went off and he suffered a gunshot wound to one of his left toes."

Perhaps this altercation stemmed from the deep-seated rivalry that exists between Georgia and Florida that comes to a head each fall in Jacksonville. But to be honest I can't really blame the Floridian for harassing this student if that is in fact what happened. Why, you ask? Because a true Georgia boy would not have his shotgun in the back seat of his 2005 Mazda. No sir. A true Georgia boy would have his shotgun placed appropriately in the gun rack that runs along the back glass of his pick up. Just as God intended.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Have you ever had one of those mornings? You know the kind I'm talking about. It starts off as a fairly normal morning with nothing out of the ordinary. You might even be so lucky as to make it to work on time without having to skip breakfast on a morning such as this. You're just going along minding your own business, doing your own thing and then suddenly out of nowhere God shows up. My day started off much like what I just described above. I actually made it out of bed in time to exercise the dog before work which I thought would be the highlight of my morning until I saw the sunrise as I was driving to work. It was the biggest and brightest orange ball that I have seen in a very long time (except for when I played a mad game of HORSE with Ethan the last time I was home). And then when I turned onto the road that leads to campus this is what I saw when I looked to my left...
Enter God. Magnificent. I'm being nothing but honest when I say that my relationship with God has been a bit stagnant over the past couple of months. Sure I've been going through the motions of going to church and every once and again I'll pick up my Bible, but in short - life has gotten in the way. Can I get an amen? And then just when I least expect it...on a random Tuesday morning in March...there he is providing me with a simple reminder that he's been here all this time. Just as sure as the sun rises, there is he. And I know that I've said it no less than a thousand times, but I just love how he reveals himself to each of us in different ways. There are many others who saw this same sunrise this morning and it might not have meant the same to them, but for me it was like going to church. (Minus the whole sitting in an auditorium that is kept at a balmy 68 degrees for 70 minutes.) Or much like being reunited with an old friend. It's a good feeling. This past Sunday my best friend, Shelley, called and we chatted for nearly an hour. I haven't talked to her since last April. It's ridiculous that we haven't been better at keeping in touch with each other, but again...life happened. But it was just like we picked right back up where we left off and it was so good for this little soul o' mine. And that's how it is with God. Here is where I should probably insert that sometimes I'm a little slow and I need more than an amazing sunrise to remind me that we are not all stars in our own shows. The song that was playing on my radio while this incredible sunrise was unfolding before me was Magnificent by U2. [For the three of you who are living under a rock and avoid the TV, radio, internet and newsstands like the plague, U2 just released a new CD.] I don't know if the boys from Ireland are letting their spiritual lights shine through this song or not, but one could definitely make this inference. (You can listen to it for yourself here.) I just love it when the ordinary becomes extraordinary out of the clear blue sky.

Monday, March 9, 2009

It's the End of the World as We Know It.

The following two pictures documents three signs that can only mean one thing: "time ain't gonna' stand much longer." [Thank you Southern elders for allowing me to use that phrase in my blog.] Tonight Beth and I stopped by Target after a fabulous birthday dinner because her husband decided that they would host a party at their house that would require invitations to go out tomorrow. Nevermind the fact that she owns a stationary business...we're working against a timeline so bring on the laser printer. On the way into the store we stumbled across this... iceberg which happens to be sign number 1. There is definitely something awry when today's high in Athens was 77 degrees, I'm wearing flip-flops and there are huge chunks of ice on the ground from last week's freak snow storm. Sign number 2 is also in this picture: The fact that I wore these pants all day long without being arrested by the fashion police. Apparently the recession and Georgia's above average unemployment rate has caused people to lose sight of the important things in life like how I look when I dwell amongst the citizenry.

Just when I thought that conditions could not get any worse, we actually entered the store. There at the end of the make-up aisle in primo display position was this...We have certainly entered into some desperate and dark times when today's trendsetters are wearing colors such as "Lime Alive" and "Turquoise Tempest" and "Indigo Impact" across their eyelids. At least Jesus will be able to spot them when he comes back.

As if I needed another reason to love JT...

Thanks, Emily for making sure my Monday got off to a great start. I especially love the Michael McDonald impersonation...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thirty Thoughts

  1. I remember when my mom turned 30. She was ancient...how mortifying to have an ancient mother. How dumb I once was.
  2. I'm so thankful that I do not currently have an 8 year-old walking around talking about how old her mother is while I fix her lunch and do her laundry and cart her around to ballet lessons.
  3. In the event that I ever do have an 8 year-old I refuse to think about how old I will be by the time that day comes. Interesting...I just used a thought on something that I refuse to think about.
  4. I know that it's grammatically incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition, but it's my birthday, I'll use poor grammar if I want to.
  5. There have been some ideas in life that I should have given up on long before I did.
  6. There are others that I should have waited a little longer on before throwing in the towel.
  7. I guess that's the beauty of free will.
  8. Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky to be blessed with such great people in my life. I think it's more than sheer coincidence that my friends are the funniest, smartest, wittiest people in the world.
  9. I get bored with people who aren't funny, smart, and witty.
  10. Yet I'm easily entertained by simple things in life.
  11. I guess that makes me somewhat of a paradox.
  12. Yesterday I wore my Academic Bowl t-shirt from the 6th grade (1991). I'm not really sure what that says about me, but I think it's pretty awesome that I can still fit into something that I wore when I was 12.
  13. I've determined that this will be the year that I finally attain smoking hot legs. Or at least smoking hot legs for someone who is 30.
  14. My dog has taught me so much about unconditional love and happiness in the short time that I've had him. I wish I could be more like him (minus the rolling around in the grass and eating gross things traits)
  15. I worry much less than I used to. It's true. At this rate, by the time I'm 35 I'll be worry free. Hey...a girl can dream, can't she?
  16. I should be out running instead of blogging if I'm really going to run 3 half-marathons this year.
  17. I think I'm off my rocker for running 3 half-marathons in an 8 month period. Thank goodness San Antonio is a flat course!
  18. My creativity is obviously waning in my old age because I'm really struggling to come up with 30 thoughts.
  19. There are few things better than an unexpected phone call from a friend that you haven't talked to in nearly a year.
  20. When I was in college I thought that I would surely have life figured out by the time I was 30.
  21. Now I think it's silly to even try because I'm learning that the older I get the less I know.
  22. 30 is the new 25.
  23. I don't really know what 30 feels like, but I'm pretty sure that I don't feel it.
  24. Sometimes denial is the state that I prefer to live in. (see #23)
  25. I think that I was silly when I swore that I would never dye my hair. The day that I find 3 gray hairs is the day I call Chala at Republic to mix up some color just for me at the color bar.
  26. I really should cook more actual meals. This means that I will have to start eating leftovers as long as I'm cooking for one, but I'm 30 now so it's time I get over my weird food quirks.
  27. I've decided that I will really come to love Athens once I leave this town. With any luck that will be sometime before I reach another milestone decade birthday.
  28. I love my memory. And my hair. It took many years to be able to love these frizzy, unruly, Carrot Top-like locks.
  29. I find it astounding that I can clearly remember things from 25 years ago. That's a quarter of a century, people.
  30. I think I'm a pretty lucky girl to have this life that God has given me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The reality of reality television...

is that it isn't real. Bless the hearts of those souls who believe it is. Last night I gave ABC three hours of my life that I will never get back in order to witness "happily-ever-after in the making". Of course I always roll my eyes right out of my head at the ridiculous drama of it all but maybe that's because I'm far too jaded for my own well-being. Beautiful, seemingly intelligent women crying over a good looking stand-up guy asking him to love them. [Insert incredibly romantic scene in Notting Hill when Julia Roberts shows up in Hugh Grant's bookstore here.] Thank you major media markets for perpetuating gender stereotypes. But who doesn't love the idea of a happy ending? We all do. So that's why we watch. As for the people who go on these shows, who am I to question the decisions they make? Just because I would never be caught dead on national television wearing my bikini making out with the same dude that was smooching on a dozen other women in the same afternoon only for my grandma to watch with the other deacons' wives six months later doesn't mean I'm entitled to judge them. [Yet I do. Which I'll talk about another day when I'm feeling especially convicted and introspective.] For now, I'll leave you all with this. Jimmy Kimmell keeping it real with Jason the Bachelor last night after all the prime time nonsense...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Attention GA DOT: Salt Truck Needed on 316.

There are at least 20 other things that I should be doing right now. Primarily sleeping. Even my [wilder than the average] dog just went and stood in front of my bedroom door and looked at me with those sad puppy dog eyes until I opened it for him so he could go lay down. If not sleeping, I should be reading for class because I certainly am behind even though I've devoted far too many hours to the cause already this week in my opinion. Instead I'm blogging at midnight because tomorrow is a Snow Day! And it's hard-wired into my being that snow days equate to staying up late and doing nothing related to school or work. As I was driving to my parents' house on Friday evening for the first leg of HP's Journey around Georgia 2009, I had a phone conversation with my mom about how I was probably going to have to head back to Athens either late Saturday or early Sunday to prevent getting trapped at their house in the looming snow storm that had the weather people all abuzz. Because like I told mom "it never snows in Athens so I'll have to get back there to be at work on Monday" [I was seriously doubting the likelihood of a snowstorm anyway because at the time of the conversation I was wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt and jeans.] Guess what...
It snows in Athens. Technically the picture above wasn't taken in Athens. It was taken on my way home when I was stopped at a traffic light somewhere on 316. To be specific, the part of 316 that was easier to drive on than the part closer to home. Driving at an average rate of 25 mph for approximately 30 miles provided me with plenty of time to draft a new piece of legislation. I propose that all Georgia drivers must take their driving test in Minnesota during the winter months before being given a license. I don't understand why we get all sorts of crazy on the road as soon as the first flake hits our windshields. I passed 4 wrecks in a 10 mile stretch this afternoon. A Ford Windstar almost plowed into the side of me because apparently Bobby LaBonte (sorry Nascar fans, he's the first driver I thought of and I have no idea the quality of his driving skills or what kind of car he drives) was behind the wheel and he had a hankering for a biscuit from Bojangles. [Side note: I discovered Bojangles biscuits this week and the experience literally changed my life.] I'm not saying that my 18 hours of private driving lessons nearly 15 years ago [aghhh...age crisis] was the only preparation I needed to learn how to drive in the snow and ice, but doesn't it just make sense to stay in the tracks of the cars that are just ahead of you? Instead of trying to blaze your own trail in a minivan? I'm pretty sure you can't flip the hubs (um, I could be a little off on my 4WD lingo here) and cruise on by. Fortunately the rest of the trip was uneventful because I was going to need a lot of energy to keep up with this beast...
To say that Cash loves the snow is a bit of an understatement. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to have to move to a cold climate now or else he'll sink into a deep depression. We spent a lot of time outside this afternoon which is fine by me because have you ever spent much time in a 1 bedroom apartment with a 10 month old Lab who hasn't been exercised all day? It's not pretty...The snow, however, was very pretty.
It snowed...
and snowed...
Unfortunately many of the trees have been slacking in the exercise department [it happens to the best of us] so they were not up to the task of hosting all of this wintertime goodness...A few of the extra wimpy ones enlisted additional assistance...The only thing that could have made the afternoon better was if I had collected some nice clean snow to make up a batch of snow cream...but I don't keep sweetened condensed milk on hand which is a key ingredient in the deliciousness that is snow cream. And of course, I would have needed some folks around to share the snow cream with, but it kind of goes without saying that the snow is much more fun when shared in the company of others. Maybe I should make some friends in my apartment complex before the next time it snows. Something tells me I'll have plenty of time since "it never snows in Athens".