Monday, June 28, 2010

Maybe I should have named him Marley.

I love my dog. I really do. There are plenty of books and stories regarding man and dog, but it seems that there aren't many written from a female perspective. Maybe one day when I have plenty of down time, I'll write about how I've learned so much about loyalty and love and companionship and patience and discipline from Cash, the Wonder Lab. I've heard that male Labs usually begin to calm down around age three. Oh, how I hope that is the case. I just can't imagine that he's going to slow down that much between now and next April. He is wide open most of the time, but much to my delight he eventually hits his wall. When he does, he's so incredibly cute and I love him the most in those moments. It's those moments that I have to consciously remember when the following picture is a snapshot of my reality bright and early on a Monday morning as I'm getting ready for work.

I'm so glad that he managed to destroy not one, but two pair of brown flip-flops in this little escapade. I am beginning to think that the shoe companies are paying him commission.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I like to think of it as heatstroke prevention.

I'm convinced that Athens is the hottest place in Georgia north of the gnat line. In fact, I would not be surprised if Satan himself vacationed here when events happen that result in his own home freezing. I have no factual evidence to back either statement up, but when I walk outside at 7:00 in the morning and immediately break out into a sweat, that's all the evidence I need.

At work on Friday afternoon, I noticed that the weather icon in the bottom corner of my monitor was a red thermometer with three red flames coming out of it. Uhhh...where is the Channel 2 Severe Weather Team now that the thermometer is on fire? I think this is a much bigger deal than 1/8' of snow so I did what any other fair-skinned maiden would do...I drove home from work with the AC on full blast and upon my arrival home, walked promptly to the thermostat and cranked it down to a cool and refreshing 74. Look, I can't help it that I'm cold-natured and frugal and keep it on 78 during the summer. I also decided that there was no other way to ride out this heat wave than to sit in front of the TV for hours on end doing absolutely nothing at all.

In all honesty this is rather uncommon because usually when I watch TV I'm doing other stuff around the house too. But not this weekend because as luck would have it, it was also a Free! Preview! Weekend! on all 532 HBO channels that AT&T offers. So needless to say I loaded up the DVR and am set for at least the next 17 weekends.

I probably would have gotten more accomplished (read: watched more TV) had I not had to walk outside in the sweltering heat at least once every 3 hours or so to walk Cash, or if I had not kept falling asleep. [On Saturday I was kind of like a 5 month old because I had a morning nap and an afternoon nap.] So because I've absolutely nothing else in the world to write about than the countless hours I spent watching TV, I'm going to make this post even more painful to read than it already is. Here's the rundown:

Friday Night Lights [the series, not the movie]. Y'all...I don't know who those writers and producers thought they were fooling when they cast Taylor Kitsch to play the role of a high schooler/new high school graduate, because I've never seen a 19 year old who looks like him. And I see them all day long. Too bad Dillon isn't a real town because I'm kind of jealous of Tammy Taylor's life.

Baby Mama. I love Tina Fey. And Amy Poehler. Why haven't I seen this movie already? Oh, probably because I hardly ever watch movies.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. I don't remember ever hearing about this movie when it was out in the theatres and I'm pretty sure that I would have never even paid $1 to one of those red boxes that are all over the place now for the privilege of watching it. However, I am a fan of Jennifer Garner and I could listen to audio of Matthew McConaughey all day long, and who doesn't love the classic tale of bad boy meets good girl and they live happily ever after?

FIFA World Cup 2010: USA vs. Ghana. I had high hopes for Team USA and I really thought that they had a chance at least up until around the 63rd minute or so. It's all a blur after that because I'm pretty sure the vuvuzelas lulled me right into dreamland.

March of the Penguins. Perhaps I was thinking that surely it would cool things off here if I watched a movie featuring Antarctica. While that proved unsuccessful, I am happy to report that I did actually learn something during my weekend of doing nothing. [Which I guess that means it wasn't really a weekend of doing nothing now was it?] The emperor penguin is pretty incredible. It's amazing what they will do for their young. And seriously, Morgan Freeman as the narrator? Loved it.

Sense and Sensibility. Oh, Jane get me every single time. "Whatever his past actions, whatever his present course, at least you may be certain that he loved you."... "But not enough, not enough."

Perhaps here I should include the ones that I began but didn't make it through due to a condition known as heavy eyelids: Duplicity (twice). Sex and The City. X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

By this evening, I was disgusted with my own lack of activity and determined that in order to prevent anymore blood clots from forming, I should probably move around a bit. So I took Cash on a jog and then I came back and did the much dreaded Shred. Only to round the evening out with Run, Fatboy, Run....while eating pizza.

Run, Fatboy, Run. Typical British flick which means I've got to watch it again in order to determine if I really like it or not. After all, I am the girl that referred to Notting Hill as Nodding Off for I don't know how long.

So the point of all of this is not to reveal my aspirations of becoming the next Gene Siskel or Robert Ebert. It's to say that we all need down time. And it's ok to be perfectly content doing nothing but sitting at home watching TV every once in awhile. I'm learning a lot about learning to be content. Maybe I'll share more on that later. Or maybe I'll bore you all to tears with another post about television. But for those of you who made it all the way through to the bitter end, there is a reward. In the form of Justin Timberlake...

**Edited to add: My Sister's Keeper. This is the movie that I watched on Saturday night. How in the world could I have forgotten this one? Probably because it's the saddest movie ever so I just repressed it. Otherwise I would need to pop some uppers to come out of the funk that it almost put me in. Jodi are a dark soul.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Day Breakfast Died.

No worries, my three readers. This is not a post about my participation in an annual hog slaughter or anything of that nature.

In 2001 when I moved out of Sanford and onto Ash Avenue I decided that since I was a grown up now I should start doing grown up things like eating breakfast. So I quickly fell into the habit of drinking a glass of chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast [because apparently I was too mature for Nesquik, yet too young for Ensure] on the way to work and then around 10:00, I would have a banana. It was the perfect combination to tide me over until one of my favorite times of day: lunch time. And I have kept this habit for the past 9 years. Until now.

Why, you wonder? Well because tonight when I went to Target to pick some up, there was none. It's not that they just happen to be out, some other product has set up housekeeping on the shelf where it goes. I combed that place over looking for the "new spot" only to discover that there's not one. So I caved and went to my least favorite place in this whole town: Wal-Mart. Same story. As a last ditch effort I went to Kroger. No dice.

Now I know for certain that Ashton Kutcher is going to show up soon and inform me that I will be featured in the series premiere of Punk'd: The Everyday Citizen Edition.

Yes, it is absolutely silly that I'm blogging about a powdered drink mix of all things, but it's either this or work on my applied project for school. The thing about me is that not only am I a creature of habit, but I'm loyal. When I find something that I like, I stick with it which means that when I go to the store and it's no longer there, I'm forced outside of my comfort zone and left standing in the aisle twirling my hair with a confused look on my face. The confused look was probably due to the fact that I was contemplating what I was going to eat tomorrow for breakfast. Pop tarts...Toaster strudels...Who has time in the mornings to plug in the toaster and wait for something to toast? Not. Me. Chocolate milk...Hi-C...I wonder just how much high fructose corn syrup I can consume by 8:00. Talk about a breakfast of champions.

Then I decided that I should probably just stop eating breakfast altogether. [I also contemplated moving for about 30 seconds before I realized that was a bit hasty.] However, if I do that I'll be talking to students by 9:45 like Jillian talks to her big losers on TV. I imagine that wouldn't go over so well with the governor's customer service initiative nor would it fly with the helicopter parents.

Besides, I have to have something to fill my collection of pilsner glasses with or else they will begin to collect dust. And who has time for dusting dishes? Not. Me. This means that I'll at least keep drinking a glass of milk in the morning so I won't have to take once monthly Caltrate by the time I'm 37.

It seems though that the possibilities for something new are endless. And by "endless" I mean until I travel out of the greater Athens-Clarke County area and go shopping elsewhere. Until then though what do you all eat for breakfast? Maybe there's something better out there than powdered chocolate as a breakfast item after all.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Y'all. About an hour ago I finished up Session 1 of Level 1 of The 30 Day Shred. And let me tell you hurt. Although, it didn't hurt then nor does it hurt right now as badly as it's going to hurt tomorrow morning when I wake up. To add insult to injury, I'm going to subject myself to the same pain tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. [Hence the title of the dvd] Why in the world did I even start? It's only going to get worse before it gets better. I've done this before so on Saturday when I got the bright idea that I would begin the shred again today, I should have reconsidered. For those of you who aren't couch potatoes who find it entertaining to sit at home on the sofa while watching a show about people who lose massive amounts of weight by way of sheer torture, The 30 Day Shred is kind of like the home edition of The Biggest Loser. Except Jillian isn't as mean. And it only lasts for 20 minutes instead of a whole television season. I do believe that if she goes to Peru instead of the Aruban authorities to question Joran van der Sloot he will start speaking the truth in about 17 minutes. Anywho, I'm not here to talk entirely about Jillian and her tough love. But seriously, why do we put ourselves through the pain of this extreme workout? Because in the back of our minds, we believe and hope that it really is going to make a difference in the way that we look and the way that we feel and improve our overall health and well being. And after we do it once and experience a little bit of success, we'll keep going back. The pain becomes worth the pay off.

I've been thinking about this idea a great deal these days. It seems that pain is more often than not the price for improvement. For example:

It's not really pleasant to get my eyebrows waxed (confession: now I find it relaxing and I really love it, but that was not the case at first), but I love the way that they look in a couple of days after the red streaks have faded.

Walking through Hartsfield when the train isn't working in my best high heels is nothing short of uncomfortable. Especially when I'm a hurry because I'm late for my flight. But without those heels my outfit would not be as cute.

There's a reason why the phrase "No pain, no gain" is so popular. Because it's true. We see the benefit and the improvement on the outside and we also feel it on the inside. In the nine years since I graduated from college (um, gulp, I'll deal with that realization another day) I have probably lost a total of 40 pounds. (yep, it's fact) It was a result of exercise and lifestyle change. Sure, it wasn't fun at first and there were days that I had to force myself to go to the gym instead of McDonald's, but eventually I welcomed the sore legs because I knew that something good was happening to my body.
So...what's the difference between the above mentioned types of pain and emotional pain? Is there one? It seems like when tragedy happens or we experience hurt or grief or loss or anything that makes us sad, we immediately look for comfort. Alright, I immediately look for comfort. I can't speak for everyone else. Why is it that I welcome the fact that my legs are already so sore (I've taken a couple of breaks while writing this) when I walk down the stairs, yet I pray to Jesus for this pain in my heart to get better. Preferably by yesterday. Can't this type of pain also be an indicator that we are becoming healthier and improving our lives? I choose to believe that yes, the pain is worth the pay off!

It is easier to recognize the need to shape up when we can look in the mirror and see that the skirt no longer zips or that where we once had 2 eyebrows they have been joined together in a blessed union to become one. Or maybe it's not so obvious that others would notice, but you can tell. I believe that just as we continuously assess the need to make ourselves better on the outside, we should also look within to see if there is a need. I've learned though that looking within is a little more challenging. It's painful to simply recognize that we need to improve our hearts. But the one that matters the most recognizes it long before we do. And just like our parents signed us up for painful things during childhood because they knew that we needed them to survive (i.e., swimming lessons), our heavenly Father will sign us up for events that might result in some emotional pain because He knows that in the long run our hearts need them to survive.

It seems that the pay off is never immediate. The discomfort lasts long enough to make us remember that it's not easy. But typically when you have to persist through something, the victory is even sweeter and we are more appreciative for it.

Sure, there are questions along the way:
What does Jillian mean when she says "phone it in at the gym"?
Is the lady waxing my eyebrows talking about me to her coworker? And why did her coworker just look over at me and giggle?
Will my future Medicare coverage pay for my foot surgery that I'll need when I'm 64 if I continue to wear these awesome heels?
Why does my water dog with webbed toes hate getting a bath so badly? [oh, never mind, that's irrelevant to this post, but I did ask myself that question tonight when I was wrestling him into the tub]
Because I'm sad, does that mean that one day I'm going to end up being mean to people like Jillian?
Can't I just wear a tank top and shorts to the beach instead of a swimsuit?
Am I being Punk'd?

Any time we find ourselves feeling a little uncomfortable, it's natural to ask questions. But it's how we respond to the questions that matters the most. If we talk ourselves out of trudging along through the pain, we will never get to the pay off. Sure it's easier in the immediate future, but not in the long run, is it? [Trust me, plucking as opposed to waxing hurts much worse.]

And the hard part is that until we've been through it and get past it and actually see the end result, it's easy to doubt and get discouraged. Enter faith and hope. If we are equipped with those two elements during a painful situation, we become confident and we persist. Persistence leads to success.

Eventually the pain subsides because we are conditioned to handle what we have been training for or what God has been preparing us for. The pain is replaced with the thrill of victory. And while the bronze or silver would have been pretty cool, if we keep on keeping on and put our whole heart into it there's nothing quite like the gold.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Somewhere between a sitcom and a sad country song

Today at work I had to contact the building and grounds guys because my office was a couple of degrees colder than my refrigerator. Picture it: I was wearing a cardigan and had a winter coat wrapped around my legs. In Georgia. In June.

This evening when I got home from work, the AC was running full blast, but it was no less than 90 degrees [that's just as high as the thermostat will register so I'm convinced it was hotter] in my apartment. In Georgia. In June. Had I not already repented, believed, and confessed back when I was 14 I would have been scared to death that I had somehow entered into the foyer of hell.

Alas, I am happy to report that my new friend and HVAC technician, Johnny Johnson [and yes, that is his given name] just left so I should be tucked snugly under my quilt with the cool air blowing on me by bedtime!

[I think that I just wrote the pilot for my sitcom...I didn't say it was going to be a good sitcom.]

At least once every couple of months I make the remark that one day the story of my life is going to be retold in the form of a bad sitcom. Usually this statement is made as a result of some ridiculous event that happened.

For example:

The other day when I flew to Boston I was upgraded to first class. It turns out that I'm automatically qualified for that free upgrade (along with priority boarding and free checked baggage!) since I single-handedly footed the bill for the entire Delta fleet's fuel costs last year. I was pretty stoked and that scene from Jerry Maguire when Dorothy and Ray were on the plane kept playing over and over in mind. So I straightened my hair, put on my best red heels, and was ready to fly in style. I had visions of suits, nice purses, and laid back travelers casually sipping their first-class cocktails. When I sat down in my seat, I was surprised to find that my row mate could pass for
Juanita Solis from Desperate Housewives. When I discovered that Carlos and Gabi were not on board, I immediately questioned at what point in my life I had taken a wrong turn which resulted in me ending up in first-class for the first time at 31 when the 8 year old beside me seemed perfectly accustomed to bigger seats and complimentary water upon boarding. Stick with me because it gets better. As soon as I got settled in and buckled up, she decided that she needed out. Did I mention that she didn't speak English? Finally, she's back and settled. Plane is taxing for take off. She starts yelling to the woman two rows up in her native language. Mama yells back. Little Juanita scrambles for the BARF BAG in the seat pocket in front of her. It is used for the first time before the wheels even leave the ground. Sweet. Mercy. This happened 2 more times in the first hour of the flight. By the 3rd time, this free first-class upgrade girl had had enough and I kindly requested that the sick girl's mother actually take care of her child instead of drowning out little Juanita's continuous pleas for help with her first-class ear phones.

And let's not even talk about how my mama came into town the other night because I was having a really bad day and she came armed with Mayfield Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream for comfort food.

Alright, I get it. My life really isn't that funny, after all. Maybe I'm just simple-minded and easily humored. Which is a good thing because it just so happens that while there is plenty to laugh at, I'm also going through a season of sadness. And we all know that the best country songs are derived from seasons of sadness. I'm not here to talk about my circumstances. Nor am I here to talk about Willie or Waylon even though I have been listening to my fair share of music these days, and there are some songs that I find so comforting.

On my way home from work yesterday, Third Day's version of
Blessed Assurance came on the radio. And tomorrow or the next day or the next [whenever I get around to it], I'm going to talk more about this song. For now though I'm going to laugh at a real sitcom and be thankful that I'm not a working mom who sells cars for a living.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I think that it is within our human nature to count days. As children, we count the days until summer vacation or until Christmas morning. Expectant parents count the days until the arrival of their child. And then 18 short years later, they count the days until they drop that same little baby off at college. Middle aged working folks count the days until retirement. Those of us who still have many working years ahead just count the days until the next weekend.

These are all milestones in a person's life. Many warrant celebration...others resignation. Some are bittersweet or sad while some are filled with pride and joy. They are mile markers in this little journey known as life and we often reference them when we are telling stories or just reflecting on certain stages of life. Some of these milestones hold more significance than others and the great thing about them is that they are so totally subjective depending on the person. Example: I remember that I got to shave my legs for the very first time on the-day-before-the-first-day-of-5th-grade. Insignificant? Definitely so in the grand scheme of things, but not to me as it marked a rite of passage into "grown-up world". Or so I thought. Silly me, now I know that it just opened the door to a never ending chore. But I'm not here to talk about the fact that I believe that electrolysis would solve a significant amount of my problems.

This weekend I am reaching another milestone: the first year without my daddy. They [whoever "they" are] say that it usually takes a full year to grieve a death. I'm certainly no expert because this is the first time I have ever had anyone very close to me pass away, but maybe there's some truth in that. I don't really know that the grieving ever really ends, it just changes. I'll let you know my opinion on that in the future. It's incredible for me to think that a whole year has passed and he hasn't been here with us. Especially when there have been significant milestones with each one of us throughout this very same year. There are some days when it still kind of dawns on me that he's really gone. It's not the days that you brace yourself for: Christmas, his birthday, even the one year mark. It's the ones that just sneak up on you when you least expect it: a random Tuesday night driving home from class and you hear one of his favorite songs on the radio, my birthday, when you're out and about running errands and happen to run into a man wearing overalls.

I can remember details from the day that he passed away so vividly. Little did I know at the time that remembering those details today would bring on a whole new type of grief that I never anticipated. Through the pain though, I am thankful that I can remember the details. One day I will be thankful for the details because as time continues to march on, it will be another way in which I can still feel close to him as we were with him during his last moments.

Today, I do not grieve for my daddy. The reason why I don't because he is much better off in Heaven than we are down here dealing with oil spills, wars, 82% relative humidity with temps in the 90's, and the fact that Kate Gosselin has been given yet another gig on television. I grieve for purely selfish reasons. I miss him. So do mom and the boys. I wanted him to be present at all of the other milestones that are still to be reached. He never missed a single event of mine during childhood, and it was never in the plan that he would miss the ones still to come. It is comforting to know that he never wanted to miss anything either. And really, he still will not even though he is no longer here with us physically. The people we love the most will never leave our hearts so he'll just be in mine as I continue on my way.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Have Mercy.

I remember my very first crush. His name was Blackie and he was in a band.[Please, people, it's been a rough week...let's not raise eyebrows over the fact that General Hospital was a regular part of my television line-up as a three-year old.]

After a few years of touring with the Riff Raff in Port Charles, he apparently needed a new gig so he loaded up the truck and moved to San Francisco. And became Uncle Jesse.Who cares about the name change or the fact that his rocker dude image had potential for being slightly tarnished considering he was part-time caregiver for three little girls when he wasn't touring with the Rippers, he was still cute. And I had a standing date with him every Friday night at 8:00. [Along with a half-million other 12 year old girls. Whatever.] After the early 90's we went our separate ways. The demands of middle school were too much for me to maintain such a relationship.

Yet, I am here to proclaim that hope springs eternal! And Emma Pillsbury knows this better than anyone right about now. Last night during the Glee finale, I was so happy to learn that she has found herself a new man. Her dentist. It just so happens that her dentist has some musical experience. After all he was the front man in the Riff Raff
and the Rippers.
I definitely sense that a power ballad sing-off where he and Mr. Shue vie for the affections of one Miss Pillsbury is on the horizon for Season 2.