Friday, January 21, 2011

Soundtrack: My Days Are So Mixed Up Edition.

Y'all. Where has this week gone? After my lack of schedule and structure last week and an atypical week this week, I now need a personal assistant to keep me informed on things like what day it is. Or I could always look at my calendar, but that's just boring. I've had this little musical medley compiled in my head since Tuesday, but somehow since then about 72 hours have passed. I can't let a good list go to waste though so here you go... You're welcome.

Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson. I'm starting with a Michael Jackson song. And of all MJ songs to feature, it's this one. Weird, right? Even weirder...I heard this song at church last week. I've gone to the same church for 3 years and secular music in church still catches me off guard. It's got a good message though. Well, if you want to make the world a better place, it has a good message. And who doesn't want to do that? The same people who as kids said that they want to be a junkie when they grow up. That's who.

Everlasting God by Chris Tomlin. You know how every once in awhile there are those Sunday's when every single song in church is awesome and you wish that it was just a sing-along hour? That's how last Sunday was at church so I'm featuring the entire set list. And while I'm on the subject of Chris Tomlin, check out this bonus clip. Hilarious.

Blessed be Your Name by Matt Redman. Blessed be his name when I'm in the desert place and in the wilderness too? Yep, even then.

Mighty to Save by Hillsong. Everyone does need compassion and mercy and love and all of those other things so you can't go wrong with this song. If you don't, then share some of yours with me. Thanks. Fun fact: Hillsong is coming to the Gwinnett Arena in March. I can't keep track of the days of the week, but I can serve as an event planner for you all. Hmm. And this concludes my Sunday morning worship song portion of today's segment.

Rolling in the Deep by Adele. Have you heard this song? I literally just heard the last part of it in the car the other day but it caught my attention enough for me to figure out the name of the song and who sang it. Yes, I could have done this using the Shazam app on my phone that is smarter than me, but I did my research the old-fashioned way by Googling a line that I could remember when I got home for lunch. As an aside, I don't think Adele looks like I imagined she would look based on her voice. Don't you hate it when actual pictures don't match the mental pictures you've created? Oh, that's just me? Oh well.

Life in a Northern Town by Sugarland (featuring Little Big Town & Jake Owen). Originally done by The Dream Academy (thank you, Wikipedia). I think it's the "hey um um um um's" that get me in this song. Or the Salvation Army Band that plays while children drink lemonade.

Forever in Blue Jeans by Neil Diamond. Confession: I love Neil Diamond. But who doesn't, right? Or does this confession confirm my suspicions that I'm a 62 year-old trapped in the body of someone half my age? I wish that I could be forever in blue jeans. Specifically my 7 "A-pockets" that I'm currently sporting. I wish I had a pair for every day of the week. But that would be a little excessive.

Simple Girl by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Can we please discuss the origin of their name? I heard this song on Parenthood this week which IMHO is one of the best shows currently on TV. Because it was only a snippet, my first thought was that it sounded a little Paul Simon-ish. But after a complete listen, it's Paul Simon-ish after he hung out with The Beatles who hung out with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
Runaway by The National. Also on Parenthood. Also great. But I'm not a proponent of running away. How can the man in the mirror take a look at himself to change if he's running? Exactly.

Radioactive by Kings of Leon. I like to think that Kings of Leon and The Killers go to the same family reunions. I put them in the same category and I don't have large amounts of room in my world for their kind of music, I do love them both equally. What did I just type? Apparently I've been hanging out with The Beatles and their diamond dust too.

Dueling Ninjas by Trace Bundy. I actually heard this on Pandora earlier today and I totally judged a song by its title. I mean, Dueling can it not be cool? And then I watched him actually perform this song and determined that it is in fact way cool.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

That time I went roller-skating with a bunch of strangers.

The date was January 18, 1998. It was 13 years ago today, but that particular year, the 18th was a Monday. Please allow me to take a moment to reflect on the fact that I was a freshman in college 13 years ago. Surely I was gifted and started college at age 12 because I don't feel a day over 25.
The Monday of MLK Weekend signifies Bid Day at good ol' NGCSU. It's a grand and glorious occasion where boys come out in droves to see which poor unfortunate girl will lose her footing and fall during her run down the hill to the drill field and collegiate women between the ages of 18 and 23 yell and cheer and paint their faces with their respective sorority colors to name just a few of the nonsensical activities. Please allow me to share my thoughts and views on Greek life in general before we delve any further into today's post. Do I believe that everyone should be in a sorority or fraternity? Nope. Do I believe that one can have fantastic college memories and find lifelong friendships outside of a Greek organization? Absolutely. Do I believe that all sororities are full of ditzy girls who make unfortunate life decisions as they are portrayed in the movies? Heck no. Did my personal experience in a Greek organization instill confidence and leadership skills in me and allow me to meet my very best friends in the whole wide world? Yes, indeed. I loved my time as Phi Mu at North Georgia. But I love the friendships that exist today as a result of my time as a Phi Mu at North Georgia even more. I learned about life with those girls. We did stupid and silly stuff like getting completely bent out of shape over something as trivial as a t-shirt design for an upcoming formal...among other things.
Because it's a reoccurring theme in my life these days, last night when I was thinking about Phi Mu and college and blah blah blah, I thought the choice that I had when deciding which group I wanted to join. During the last night of Rush, I attended two parties. One was Phi Mu and the other was well, another group. I had long decided that I was Team Love, Honor, Truth or nothing at all, but some girls like to play mind games. What? Girls playing mind games? Never!
At the other group's party, the girl that I was paired with told me her story of how she too really wanted to be a Phi Mu. And how she thought that they really wanted her to be a Phi Mu too, but something happened and then she didn't get a bid from them. The good news though was that she was completely ok with that because she found a home and lifelong friendships in the other group. [I know, I's totally eye roll worthy but stay with me, I'm getting to the point.]
So I left that party feeling not so confident, and the choice which seemed crystal clear an hour before was a little cloudy. Even though I knew where I wanted to be and what "felt right" deep down in my getting-bigger-by-the-minute-because-I-was-a-freshman-in-college gut, doubt entered into the equation. The way I saw it, I could either go with the easiest and most direct route to the drill field by choosing "other group" or I could take the risk of sticking to my pink and white guns by holding out for what I knew was right even though there wasn't a guarantee I would have a lovely arrangement of pink and white carnations waiting for me the next day.
In the grand scheme of things, my time in a sorority in college is only a little blip on the screen that is the movie of my life. But the ripple effects last much longer. On Bid Day, I really and truly knew the names and faces of about 10 of the 70 or so sisters. In my Phi Class of 34, I knew faces but no names of only a handful. I literally went roller-skating that night with a bunch of strangers. But now 13 years, 5 bridesmaid dresses, and countless late nights of solving the world's problems one bottle of wine or roll of cookie dough at a time later, the risk of the unknown and of my plan not working out as I hoped and thought it should was absolutely worth it. In that group of strangers, I found friends who know me better than anyone else on this planet. We all face unknowns in life each day. How many times have we been tempted to settle for what's guaranteed and immediate even when we know deep down it isn't what is right? How many times have we taken the risk and in hindsight declared that the risk and uncertainty was absolutely worth it because the pay-off was so much greater? My hope is that we all risk more and settle less when it comes to decisions in life. I think that's step #1 in staying true to ourselves...and to the One who put us here in the first place.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"I hope you slip on the ice and break your neck!"

For some folks here in the lovely South, last week's "weather incident" left them with a serious case of cabin fever. Tempers were a little bit shorter than usual because homes seemed to shrink in size over a matter of four or five days. Maybe that was why on Saturday when I headed downtown to meet some pals for lunch, a gentleman proceeded to scream the subject line of today's post at me for a good two minutes when I refused to stop for a moment in order answer the question that he needed to ask me. Blame it on all the cop dramas that I had the opportunity to watch last week, but something makes me think that a man who comments on the fact that I had parked "out of the way of everyone else" and then proceeds to compliment me on my choice of handbag isn't interested in my opinion on health care reform or how much wood a woodchuck can chuck. Something also makes me think that it could have been July and his wish for me would have still been that I slip on the ice and break my neck. Anywho...

I loved my break last week. Sure, a week of isolation reaffirmed my belief that I never want to become a hardened criminal locked up in solitary confinement for years on end, but for the most part this temporary break from the hurried world we live in was good for my soul. Each day was essentially a carbon copy of the one before. Woke up, walked dog, fed dog, made coffee, drank coffee (all morning long), read books, walked dog, fed dog, watched TV, exercised, drank hot chocolate, read more books, and watched more TV. Personally I'm just glad that someone was finally at home to hold down the couch all day. Otherwise, I'm sure it would have escaped. The best part about all of this nothing that I managed to accomplish during the snowcation? It was guilt-free! I couldn't get work done because I wasn't able to drive to my office. I had plenty of time to clean my apartment during the 6 days I was there so it wasn't like I even had housework that I needed to get done hanging over my head the whole time.

I think so often we get so hung up in the "should be" and "could be" that we don't take the time to enjoy what actually is. Late last spring my mama gave me some of the best advice that I've ever been given. She told me to stop doing and just be. It's simple really, but do you know how hard it is for a busy bee to just be? Who is going to make the honey if I stop doing everything around here?!? Tomorrow though, I will go back to work. As much as I will miss my 9:30 date with my book and coffee mug and my 2:00 date with Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson, it's time that I do something productive with all of this good energy that I've been building. I think I'll start by picking out an outfit that doesn't include elastic waistbands, pre-shrunk cotton shirts, and Uggs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Soundtrack: It's Cold Edition.

It's been 80 hours since I've left my apartment complex. Not that I'm counting. In fact, if not for the 67 pound four-legged generator of boundless energy that looks to me for food and walks, I would be able to say that 80 hours have passed since I've been outdoors. Because who am I kidding? It's freezing out there and my closet isn't exactly adequately stocked with enough wool and fleece for the current outdoor conditions. In honor of Snowmageddon/Snowpocolypse/Snow Jam/The Bane of a Southerner's Existence 2011, I'm featuring cold songs. Yo VIP, let's kick it!

Ice, Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice. I'm dreaming of A1-A Beachfront Avenue. The next time I'm off of work for 4 days maybe I should roll down there in my 5.0.

Cold as Ice by Foreigner. In fact, my hands are as cold as ice. Even while indoors. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that my thermostat is currently set on 64.

Song for a Winter's Night by Sarah McLachlan. So this song is actually featured on her Christmas CD, but technically it's winter now therefore it's appropriate. Besides, it's really not a Christmas song at all. It's a sad song.

Midnight in Montgomery by Alan Jackson. Feel that lonesome chill? I certainly do after being stuck in my 64-degree apartment alone for 4 days. Did I mention that I don't have to work tomorrow too?

Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band. This song is currently tied for first place as being my favorite ZBB song ever. Love it. Even though I discovered it pre-NYE concert, it was one of my favorites of the night at their show as well. Interestingly enough, the song that it's tied with is also appropriate this week...

Cold Hearted by Zac Brown Band. I hope the fellas debuted this song at their March 13, 2010 show. It's haunting and beautiful and the only thing that could make it better would be if Alison Krauss sang it instead or maybe with him. Listen to the song and then put her voice in it. It works. Speaking of Alison Krauss...

Restless by Alison Krauss. If I had to pick one adjective to describe how I'm feeling right about now, that just about sums it up.

Don't Eat the Yellow Snow by Frank Zappa. Sounds like sound advice from mama if I've ever heard sound advice.

Warm It Up by Kris Kross. Sure, the last time I heard this song I was wearing IOU brand sweatshirts and coveting my friends' ZCavaricci's but there's no shame in bringing a hit out of the archives every once in awhile.

Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett. I wish I was there. I wish the DOT would find their lost shakers of salt and make all of this ice go away.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A hostage situation of sorts.

Meet my captor...

[Pretend like the above picture is horizontal and let it serve as exhibit #4275 of why I loathe uploading pictures to Blogger.]

From what I can tell based on the non-stop news coverage of Winter Storm Watch 2011, the entire state seems to be enjoying a few snow days. At the rate we're going, it might even be a snow week in some places. Currently my fingers and toes are crossed because working two full weeks after an entire week off for Christmas is quite exhausting. I'm due for a break.

At some point of the days are beginning to run together the [former] governor declared a state of emergency. I guess it would have been on Sunday actually since our new governor was sworn in yesterday. The world's busiest airport will shut down and malls across the state will close for days but democracy cannot be delayed people! It's nice to know we haven't completely lost focus of our priorities after all. I digress. Today, however, I declared an entirely new state of emergency: I baked the last batch of cookies. Being in this apartment that is the size of a man's shoebox without medication that comes in the form of chocolate chip cookies may very likely be the cause of my undoing. Especially if the sun doesn't come out tomorrow to speed up the great thaw. Little Orphan Annie lied when she sang about betting my dollar on the sun. All day long today, the sky was grayer than the hairs that I have to pluck out of the crown of my head way too frequently these days.

Honestly I'm enjoying sheer boredom. Reading, exercising, catching up on bad cop dramas, sleeping in, drinking coffee...I really was born to be a lady of leisure. In fact, the most exciting part of my day today was the 10 minute long phone conversation I had with the lady from the IRS. And if this hostage situation continues, I might just reach a new level of boredom that I actually share with you all why I was on the phone with a lady from the IRS in the first place.

Anybody else out there enjoying being a captive in your own home?

Monday, January 10, 2011

My resolve to be resolute.

Earlier this evening I engaged in a little friendly competition with Mother Nature. If it snowed enough to warrant a snow day, then I would blog. If she made fools out of local meteorologists and the clouds remained greedy with their precipitation, then I would not. What can I say? I grew up as an only child who stooped to low levels for the sake of amusement [after my parents had fulfilled their parental obligation to entertain me beyond measure, of course]. Guess what: Mother Nature won. She always does, my friends. Always. So now even though I should be using my Internet resources to research "building fires in fireplaces" while I still have electricity, I'm keeping my end of the deal and blogging. Besides I don't have any firewood. Or matches.

Today's Topic: New Year's Resolutions.

Now that it's January 10th, many of us who made them are now to the point where we have to stop for a second and think about exactly what it was we resolved to do in 2011. Or do you three readers not make resolutions?

I've been known to make a resolution or two throughout the years. For example, there was the year that I decided to keep an exercise journal. I did...for about 3 years. There was also the year that I gave up french fries. I did...for about 6.5 years. Once I decided to form the habit of taking a multi-vitamin everyday. I did...until I ran out of them that one time and never bought anymore at the store. Until last week. One year I decided to journal daily even if I really had nothing to say. I did...until October of the same year.

Of course it's easy to identify the benefits of all of these resolutions. I happened to be training for a half-marathon the year I started the exercise journal so it was especially important that I keep track of my progress. Cutting out french fries is a no-brainer. Look at how heart healthy I was for those 6 years! Never mind all the cookies and pizza I supplemented with during the absence of my favorite deep fried carbohydrate. Multi-vitamins? Who doesn't benefit from those? But the more I sit here and think about those resolutions, the more my real purpose and intent behind those resolutions becomes apparent. Sure, I remember exactly what I wore on the first day of kindergarten [and all sorts of other random, ridiculous things], but does anyone find it odd that I remember exactly how long I kept those resolutions? Yes, odd even for me...the girl who remembers everything. Here's the question: Did I keep those resolutions for the benefits gained from them or for the 'bragging rights' to share how long I kept them? Hmmm. Was I simply going through the motions so I could check off another box of something that I had completed? Is that really the purpose of resolutions? Probably not. And it's probably something everyone else in the entire universe figured out long ago but I've said it before: it takes me longer to learn the simple stuff.

How often do we go through the motions of life completing tasks and taking action on things just to say that we've done them? Or not doing things so we can say that we didn't do them? Is that really living? While I love lists and forms and filling in blanks, I've learned that life is too dynamic and three-dimensional to ever fit neatly on the one-dimensional list that I've created. It's too big to fit into the finite space of a blank on a page.

Very rarely do the things that I write here and the things that I write in my journal intersect. My journal is for me. But today I'm going to share what I journaled this afternoon with you. It's my 2011 resolution...of sorts. Here goes: "...I want this year to be my year of living in the moment, not dwelling on the past or looking so forward into the future that I miss the here and now. This does not mean that I am not hopeful about the future because I am certainly hopeful. God is such a big and mighty God that I am confident he is going to use me in a big and mighty way. I pray that I continuously seek his will for my life so that I can do the work that brings him glory. ... I want to give back this year. People have loved me and shown me such compassion and grace through such a tough time last year. My desire is that I pass that along to those around me who are hurting. I pray that my heart be full of love and compassion because love and anger cannot reside together in the same heart. And it is love that never fails. I want to open my heart to love because that is what it is ready for."

Note: When I refer to love I'm not referring to love of the starry-eyed and giddy as a school girl persuasion. It's just that my heart has healed to the point after dad's death and the event we will simply refer to as "the summer that earned me size 2 pants" that I'm no longer so numb and incapable of giving to the people around me.

My resolution for this year isn't really quantifiable. In fact probably when I go back and reread this little ramble before I hit "publish post", I'll wonder just what exactly it is that I'm so determined to do. But that's kind of it...I'm determined to be determined in the things that I do. I want to do them with heart. I don't want to lose heart when I don't put my heart into something like I could have or should have. This is a tall order. I should rest up.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My 12 Days of Christmas

Hi, blogosphere. I'm back after a bit of a holiday hiatus. Do you all remember Christmas? It seems like eons ago, right? Its only fitting now that nearly 12 days have passed since the most recent celebration of the dear lord baby Jesus's birth, I will attempt to recap how I spent my Christmas vacation. Initially I had planned to just sleep through the entire season of giving and joy and celebration. But then I determined that if I slept through the gift exchange someone else would get to open my presents. And there's nothing that two boys within the 12-17 year age range want more than a crock pot or coffee maker.

I'm happy to report that I started and finished all of my Christmas shopping approximately 5 days before Christmas. I did simplify my gift-giving a great deal this year because shopping for people who already have tons of stuff stresses. me. out. The boys and I engaged in a little friendly competition this year to see which of us could come up with the "best" gifts for each other from Goodwill. I'm quite proud of my PCB"belly buster" shirt and blinged-out handbag. With any luck, I'll wear them together while out on the town here in the Classic City. I don't know if I should tell you all to Beware or to be excited.

Probably the biggest thing to report is that during my 12 days of Christmas, I was literally home for 12 days. And by home, I mean mom's house. I'm pretty sure I haven't spent 12 days in a row there since I was in college. Not that I have this crazy aversion to my's more that I very much love my space with my things and my bed and my kitchen and my time, blah blah blah. Call me an independent only-child. It wouldn't be the first time I've been called one of those. I'm happy to report that a good time was had by all during my 12 days of captivity (Oh, I kid!).

In addition to lots of family time, I enjoyed the snow on Christmas Day (in! the! South!), catching up on my recreational reading, catching up with some sweet friends, seeing Common Thread at Smith's Olde Bar, spending NYE in Atlanta to the tunes of the Zac Brown Band, and watching True Grit to start off the first day of 2011.

This post provides me with plenty of opportunity to share pictures of my 12 days. That was my original intent BUT my fancy-smancy new-fangled phone is taking its own sweet time sending some of the pictures that I've taken over the course of the holidays. Instead I'll just cheat and include this hyperlink which makes my pictures from the 2010: Chapter 12 Facebook album accessible to you all . With any luck my pictures that I took with my phone in 2010 will show up in my inbox sometime before the end of 2011 and I'll eventually include those in the FB album. Why am I sharing my inner thoughts and monologue with you three here who have been so kind to stop by and read? No idea. I'll add that to my laundry list of things to work on in 2011.