Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I'm ready for 2011 to be over.

I am currently at my best friend's house, waiting on her to get back. I'm listening to my son, Tigger and his girlfriend, Miss Mac talking about mythical creatures and her son, Matt-man telling them to be quiet because he "can't concentrate" on his Wii game.

It was beautiful day today! 65 degrees, which means Winter will last into April. I got my nails done and wandered around our mall.

I didn't get to do any laundry today, which means I'll be in dirty clothes tomorrow. I WILL NOT be tempting fate and washing clothes on New Years Day. That is one New Year's superstition I will not break!

Kit-Kat went to a lock-in at the skate-place. I seriously think that someone is off their meds to have 200 teenagers locked up in a skating rink from midnite to 6am!

Darling Hubby has gone to watch the Chickfila Bowl at a friend's house. He keeps texting TOUCHDOWN AUBURN to my phone. I just recieved my fourth. I don't know if that's good or bad, because, as you know, I can't watch the game. I know "The Curse" is still in effect because we didn't start scoring until I stopped watching.

I'm ready for 2011 to be over. Oh, I said that. 2011 has been a really rough year. Between another bleeding ulcer, the tornado, a fall from the roof, I'm not sure what else we can endure.
I'm ready for things to be BETTER.

I've decided that 2012 will be the Year of Self-Improvement!

After finding out that I am gluten-sensitive, my health is slowing getting better. My blood-sugar has been better than it's ever been! I'm losing the pudge. It's a start.

Zumba starts back up in a few weeks. I plan to hit that hard. Really hard. I'm really tired of being this fat.

My mother got me a Kindle for Christmas. With a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips, I plan to start reading again. I've always loved to read. Mother tells me that my love of reading began when I was 4. By 5 I had read every Little Golden Book we had. By the time I was 6, I was reading on a fifth grade reading level. I thought something was wrong with me when they would send me to the library at reading time and I had a teacher all to myself. Who knew? So I plan to re-Kindle (get it?) that passion.

Maybe I will work a little harder on my "bucket list."

That's about it for "resolutions."

Cyn is here now, so I'm getting off now.
Happy New Year Y'all

~En-Joy 2012!
I know I will!

Friday, December 30, 2011

25 Questions: Holiday Style

Okay, so I'm bored and I "borrowed" it from another blog I read.

25 Questions: Holiday Style

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate? Egg Nog....heavy on the "nog"

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa usually just leaves them under the tree but since Julz was going to be late getting to the house, this year, he wrapped them all in one big box. That prevented Kit-Kat from swapping out the gifts she didn't like before everyone got up.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White....colored lights are tacky

4. Do you hang mistletoe? NO! My husband is oversexed enough as it is.

5. When do you hang your decorations up? December 15th. Exactly 10 days to look at them. Then I put them up the day after Christmas

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Ambrosia ...they don't call it "the food of the gods" for nothing.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Well, it used to be Christmas, all of them. They were all magical and wonderful. Now, not so much.

8. What is on your Christmas wish list? A Kindle Fire

9. Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve? Depends on where we are.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? It's all penguins

11. Snow? Love it or dread it? Never get it, so I really can't answer that.

12. Real tree or fake tree? Fake! No needles, or having to water it or any of that hassle.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Not really

14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you? The birth of Jesus! Isn't that everyone's most important thing?

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Didn't I already answer this?? Ambrosia

16. What is your favorite tradition? It used to be the "Oooh-Ahhh" but my family is "too cool" to do that. When I was a teenager, every night before we turned out the tree, my mother and brother and me would link arms and stand in front of the tree and go "ooohh-ahhh." We'd do it from three different vantage points, then turn out the tree. Every night. Without fail. It was silly, but fun.

17. What tops your tree? a bow

18. Do you prefer giving or receiving? Well since I rarely get anything, I guess I'd have to say giving.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole

20. Candy canes, yuck or yum? Depends, are they peppermint or one of those unnatural flavors?

21. Favorite Christmas movie? National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

22: What do you leave for Santa? milk and cookies like everyone else

23. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition? We go to Mother's house, but the kids are getting too cool for that too.

24. Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall? Neither, but is has to be done... > sigh <

25. Christmas letter or Christmas card? If I can get all the kids together, I like to send a photo card. Yet another thing they are too cool for....

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Birthday Wishes!

Happy Birthday Tigger! 18 at last!

Thank you for letting me be your mom


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Confession Time: Life on the Naughty List

Here I am again...on the Naughty List.

It is December 18th and I have not bought any Christmas presents.




First, because my children are now young adults, and are beyond impossible to by for, ( "I don't know. Suprise me. Just give me the money. Go to hell...") but mainly because I just have no Christmas spirit.

I don't have a tree up. I really hate putting a tree up, because you have to take it down. It's a big hassel. Why bother? There is also furniture arranging, and being inconvienced for 10 days.

Yes, I said 10 days. I really believe that is all that is necessary. Any longer and I get a little stir crazy. I can blame my local retailers for that. "Never too early to shop for Christmas!" I've actually been Christmas-ed out since mid November.

Speaking of which, remember when Christmas started AFTER Thanksgiving? It seems like it's getting earlier and earlier each year. When they started putting out Christmas decorations on one side of the aisle and pool toys on the other, it is time for an intervention! That used to be the best part of Thanksgiving. Eating a good Thanksgiving meal, collapsing in a carb-induced coma, and awakening, at a reasonable hour, on Black Friday to shop in a mall, magically transformed overnight into a Winter Wonderland, is one of my fondest memories.

And the non-stop Christmas music, which also starts about 3 weeks too early. What sadistic yahoo thought THAT was a good idea. They say suicides increase at this time of year. Non-stop Christmas music is surely the cause. There are only so many Christmas songs. How many different ways can you hear "Sleigh Ride" in one eight hour day?

Yeah, I know this rant is pretty much the same as last year's. But really, the complaints are the same.

It's not even Jesus's real birthday. According to scholars, it's actually some time around April. It's just the time we celebrate it because it coincides with some pagan holiday. Now people who aren't even believers celebrate it too.

Christmas is no longer magical, or beautiful, or special.

Next year, maybe I can sleep through it.

Bah Humbug

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Dear 16 Year Old Me"

This is a very powerful message.

As a quasi-"Ginger" I know that I must be worried about melanoma.

Since I can't tell my 16 year old self, perhaps another 16 year old will see this message.

Either way, I may save a life.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kill Me

Okay, so I'm dying.

I've been battling a head/chest cold for nearly 2 weeks, with no end in sight.

I'm not sure what I need to be taking, so my medicine cabinet is bulging at the seams. I have stuff to stop snot, start snot, stiffle the sniffles, quell a cough, move the mucus, dry up the mucus, and the " sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-head, fever" medicine for both day and night. I even have the little pearls that look like vitimin E to stop my cough that you have to have a prescription for, but to no avail.

Luckily, I have this one, last weekend to get over it before Christmas Party season begins.

Would I be a sadist to say

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time Change

I am ROCKIN' this time change thing!
Really! I wake up with so much energy!
Unfortunately, I am going to bed at 9:00 p.m. every night.
It's almost like....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Daylight Savings Time and Other Disasters

I got up today and the sun was still orange and the sky was still blue.

Just like I knew it would be.

Just like it was after we played LSU.

Facebook is full of posts on how "LSU cheated" or how "AU fans had better shut their mouths," but the fact remains, LSU won.

Deal with it.

I find it amusing that all of my Alabama brotheren are all up in arms. They are lashing out at everyone. Poor sports. One can't even tell them they played an exciting game without loosing their heads.

Two weeks ago, when the cleat was on the other foot, so to speak, it was quite different.

"What Happened Auburn?" (nener, nener, ne-ner)

I'll tell you what happened... we have an immature defense. And we've never claimed to be the winner. Every game we come out ahead, we count as a good one.

"You could have at least pulled for us!: I don't know why if was asumed that we would pull for them. We wouldn't pull for them any other time. Why would this be any different? I personally just don't pull for anyone but Auburn. It's that simple.

But that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy a good game.

On an other note, so far, we've survived the transition to Daylight Savings time. No heart attacks here. "Falling Back" seems to be an easier transistion than "Springing Forward."


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wow...I Mean, Just Wow...

I haven't posted since September. I skipped over October completely.
So much stuff to write about. Where to start...?

Out of Body Experience
I've been on the strangest, out-of-body experience of late. Everything feels strange and I can't put my finger on it. Like I'm watching. Probably has something to do with Daylight Savings Time.

Daylight Savings Time
My feelings on this subject are pretty well documented, but I have learned that heart attacks nearly double in the weeks surrounding the time change. Coincidence? I think not.

Another broken toe.
I have the worst luck with my toes! I came home Monday not feeling well. Then I stayed home Tuesday. When I finally did muster some sort of energy to get off the couch, I fell UP the stairs in the garage.

I've got some pretty interesting people "friend" me on Facebook.
Sometimes I wonder about that. Do they "really" want to be my friend, or do they just want to see what I'm doing? Oh heck, who am I kidding? I want to see what they are doing too. My life has become so boring, I find myself living vicariously through my friends anyway.

We finally got the roof fixed.
Not the WHOLE roof, mind you. Just the back half.
Don't get me started on that...I'm still mad.

Julz's new boyfriend.
Is he a boyfriend? I mean, yes, he's a boyfriend in the literal sense of the word, but shouldn't that relationship be a little more even?

My ex-sister-in-law Rena died. Bless her heart, she fought the good fight for many years.

Upheaval at work.
Never ending drama. Sometimes I want to go back to checking groceries.

Gluten Free is Killing Me!
Yeah, It's saving my life, but it's killing me at the same time. I R E A L L Y miss bread, cakes, pies, cookies, etc... Yeah, I know there are many things that are gluten free, but they are V E R Y expensive! I spent $5 on 20 cookies...wait, let me say that again...twenty cookies. I'm a sucker.

Alabama vs. LSU
Arogance vs. Asshole. Who cares? Lucky for us, someone's gonna lose.

That's about all for now.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My little brother in "Talledega Nights"

Well, I have finally found the footage on Youtube of my little brother in "Talledega Nights."
I am extremely proud of him!

Though he is in all the racetrack scenes, he is most visible here.

That's him, up on the platform seated next to Michael Clark Duncan.
Yeah, the guy in the sunglasses and ball cap.
Yes, we know he looks like the late, great Dale Ernhart Sr.
That spooked a few folks at the track too.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Have You Forgotten: 10 Year Anniversary of 9/11

It is time for the annual repost of my 9/11 story.

The last few days have been somewhat emotional for me, as the tributes have begun playing on t.v. It's hard to believe it's been ten years now.

If you are a regular reader and have read this story before, I urge you not to skip over it. It's going to be a little different than in years past and here is why:

"All You" magazine had wanted to publish it in this month's edition, along with other 9/11 stories from readers across the country. I was very excited, but after working with the editor, it became clear that for me, the story was still too personal. I was not ready to share it in that medium yet. So my Bucket List item of being published will have to wait a little longer.

I also became aware of a problem that may be caused by the disclosure of a few facts about my customer.

I work for a coffee company . It is a coffee importer and distributor based in Birmingham, Alabama. We primarily handle coffees for Food Service (hotels, resorts, restaurants, hospitals, etc...) Office Coffee (that stuff in your breakroom at work) and Convienence Stores (gas stations, truckstops and the like). We even offer the option to purchase it for your home through our home goods department. But a large part of our business is Private Labeling.

Have you ever looked at a bag of store-brand coffee and read "packaged for This Store in Birmingham, Alabama?" Well, sometimes, Birmingham, Alabama means us. That is "private labeling." Some companies don't take kindly to the source of their private labeled products being revealed, so I've removed the customer store name. The real point of the story is not where the coffee was going, but the person delivering it and my reaction. And, I like my job.

Next February will mark my 21st year there as a customer service professional. Oh, the stories I could tell.

Like this one.

Tomorrow will be September 11th. Patriot Day.

I'll be wearing my yellow ribbon and my American Flag pin.

This year, marking the ten year anniversary, I know that it will be commemorated with the reverence that it should.

Even after ten years, the emotion is nearly as fresh and raw as it was watching the non-stop news footage.

And every year since, I have thought about 5 cases of coffee.

I cry when I tell it because the emotions bubble back up, so you are at an advantage reading it, though I am about to cry just typing it.

Every now and again, a private-label customer would request a few cases of coffee be sent directly to one of their stores. On September 10, 2001 they requested that I send five cases of coffee to the store on the basement level of WTC. I am told this is where the food court was. They had requested Next Day Air, Early A.M. delivery, which means it is delivered first thing in the morning. I processed the UPS shipment myself, to ensure it was done in time for pick up.

It stood out to me because the address was simply :

(Store Name)
Basement Suite#
WTC, NY and the zip code.

I remember thinking, "How cool is that?"

At the office the next morning, I arrived early enough to make my coffee, prioritize my "things to do" list for the day, and settle in. My department is a long room, lined in cubicles, with a walkway from our main breakroom to our lobby on the interior side and a wall of windows on the other. The cubicles in the center face outward, creating a large open area in the middle of the room. Between each workstation is a curved countertop and a chair, so in the center there are two that face one another like tables in a cafe. The space is very conducive to lingering and chatting by those passing through to and from the main breakroom. At times it can be very disruptive.

Our purchasing agent at the time, a fellow named Ron, was walking through on his way to the main breakroom, coffee cup in hand. You must know this about Ron. He was a very serious individual, but was also extremely funny. He had the driest sense of humor and could deliver the funniest jokes with an expression so deadpan, that sometimes it was hard to determine if he was being serious or pulling your leg. So when he stopped in the center, and asked "Did you hear a plane crashed into the World Trade Center?" we all paused for the punchline.

After convincing us that he was serious, I raced to the breakroom to see the breaking news on t.v. The address of my previous day's shipment suddenly came to mind and it dawned on me, the UPS driver could very well be there at that very moment. I was standing there watching, when the second plane hit.

As the events of the day unfolded, I thought more and more of those five boxes of coffee and the unsuspecting UPS driver I'd sent to his death. I prayed for a lot of people that day, but I prayed specifically for him.

Over the next several days, I began to think about him quite a bit. Was he married, did he have children, what kind of person would he have been....? Because I would never really know his fate, it started to be too much for me. Every time I saw footage of the dust & debris, I imagined a UPS truck buried beneath it.

Though it may sound strange, I felt really guilty, like somehow I was responsible. I cried uncontrollably, nearly daily, over this person I'd never met.

Two weeks went by. My best friend told me that I was going to give it to God and let it go. So I finally prayed that God would give me some peace over it and release me from this guilt I was feeling. I prayed once more for him and his family and "laid it down."

The very next day, our local UPS driver returned those five boxes of coffee stamped "UNDELIVERABLE." They looked as good as the day I sent them out. I took their pristine condition as my sign from God that the driver I prayed so diligently over, was okay too.

Looking back, I can't explain why I was so upset over this person that I didn't know, when there were those who I did know right in the heart of the events.

  • My cousin, Amanda, pregnant with her middle daughter, on a courier run in New York. Her company had called her back to the office, just shy of reaching WTC, where her deliveries were to be made. She was one of hundreds of thousands who fled Manhattan on foot across the George Washington Bridge.

  • One of our DC route reps had just left from making his Pentagon delivery, watched as that plane passed overhead. He called in, shaken but okay, and told one of the CSR's "I think I just saw a plane crash."

  • Moments later friend Penny Huggins Bailey, stationed there as a protocol officer, would be saved from the direct hit by an overwhelming surge of mother's intuition.

There was a resurgence of hospitality, patriotism, and faith. People were kinder, gentler, more caring, more forgiving. More were proud to be American and began to relish what was good about our country, rather than harping on what was wrong. And everyone began to rexamine their faith.

Ten years later, my emotions still overwhelm me, and the tears come as easily now as they did then.

Alan Jackson's "Where Were You" effortlessly captured everything I had felt about the events surrounding 9/11. Thursday, I had posted the video of it from the live performance to my Facebook page. I watched the full five minute video to make sure it was complete and not compromised in any way before I posted it. Half way through, I realized that I was crying.

I know, when I tell this story to my grandchildren some day, I will fight back a tear even then.

I realize that to some extent, as a nation we should "move on." But I was raised that the first part of getting where you are going, is knowing where you've been.

Never Forget

(As always, dedicated to those who unsuspectingly gave their lives Sept 11, 2001, the people who knew & loved them, and all our military hereos keeping us safe ever since.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Blog of Note

I've been blogging here since 2007 and have never once been selected as a "blog of note."
Now that might not be a big deal to some, but I've been rather faithfully blogging for some time now and haven't even recieved as much as an honorable mention, while some "blogs of note" have shriveled up and blown away, or worse, moved to Wordpress.

Then I thought about it.

Have I written anything noteworthy?

Have I inspired someone or entertained someone enought to tell The Blogger Team "Hey! Check this one out!"

I guess not.

So I guess I will keep trying, and maybe one day I will earn the coveted "Blog of Note" distinction to put at the top of my page.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wonderful Birthday Weekend

I am amazed at how quickly my birthday has started coming around! My birthday is exactly 6 months from Christmas and it just seems like yesterday that it was Christmas.

Getting old =(

I am now forty-four.....yep, 44.

Looking back over 4 decades of my life, there are a few things I'd like to tell my younger self in hopes of making my older self a better person.

To my 4 year old self: that squirmy, smelly, whiney thing in the next room will one day be your greatest ally. In the meantime, tolerate him. It gets better.

To my 14 year old self: They keep refering to this royal wedding as a "fairy tale" and it is. Charles and Diana will one day be divorced. Marry for true love. AND that smelly, whiney thing in the next room will be your greatest ally one day...I the meantime, don't kill him. It does get better.

To my 24 year old self: Run.... Don't worry what other's will think. It will only get worse. Just leave. Pack up your little girl and run! Someone else WILL love you one day, and make you his wife and give you more children and you will be happy.

To my 34 year old self: This too shall pass. You remember what it was like to be 13. One day your "little girl" will come back to you and she see that you tried to make the best choices but that you are human. And see what I mean about your little brother? He turned out to be pretty fun huh?

And finally to my 44 year old self: It's never to late to go for your dreams! Remember that if you put your mind to it, nothing will stand in your way.


We spent the weekend in Montgomery at Alabama's National American Miss.
This was Kaitlyn's first pageant.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

Forty years ago today, my little brother was born.

Actually, I guess now that he's forty, I shouldn't continue to call him my "little" brother.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Guess I'm a Little Behind (in more ways than one)

My oldest called me today and demanded to know why her baby sister had more posts than she or their brother had.

Well, I guess I'm a little behind, in more ways than one. Read that anyway you like.

I missed my annual "Happy Birthday Julz" post because 1) we had just survived a tornado and had no power and 2) I wasn't here to post it on her birthday anyway. I was enjoying a much deserved spa day, compliments of my boss. I did text her the morning of her birthday as we were leaving for the spa. I know that she got it because she replied with my catch-phrase for all mothers on their child's birthday: "Happy Giving Birth Day." I cried when I got it and I saved it in my messages, because I'm sentimental like that.

So I am a month late posting a big Happy Birthday to a very important person in my life, my daughter Julz!

I am also seven months behind posting Happy 17th birtday to Tigger, who turned 17 back in December.

He's a little more forgiving, especially when I let him drive my car to his girlfriend's house.

While I'm at it, I missed saying Happy Birthday to my darling hubby, who also celebrated in March. I took the day off to spend it with him, so I doubt he cared that I didn't post it.

There, that should catch me up.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary Baby....

Today is our 12th wedding anniversary!

Where has the time gone?

Looking back over the past 12 years, I can safely say that we have weathered many a storm, and much like the one last month, have come out the other side more the wiser, but virtually unscathed.

I think that I'll keep him.

Happy Anniversary Baby!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Getting Published! Well...Sort of...

Move over Helen Gurley Brown...I am burning up the printed word this month, as I am featured in THREE magazines, almost simultaniously!!

I was really excited to find out that a comment I made about enjoying an inexpensive girl's night out, was published in the May issue of All You magazine (pictured above, page 194 inside the back cover).

Many of you know that I am no stranger to this magazine. I am a member of the "reader's panel" that is frequently consulted for content imput. My first response resulted in having had a family recipe published in the May 2009 edition. It was for our easy "pasta bake" recipe, that was so easy, a young Kit-Kat frequently made it by herself. When I was contacted that it would be published, I was asked if I had a headshot to go along with it. As a pageant girl, it's always handy to have those laying around. I had responded "Of course!" As you can see, it came in handy again.

A few days after it's release, a friend let me know that a comment made on the Facebook page for Pageantry magazine was published in the Summer edition, in a column called "Socially Speaking" (I'm on page 92). Yep, same headshot.

I am currently awaiting the release of an article in the June edition of MORE magazine, where the Beauties of America pageant I was in last summer will be featured. I am told from someone close to the source, that I am in the article quite a bit.

Update to follow!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Confession Time:Surviving a Tornado

I can add a new term to the list of descriptions that define my life so far:

Tornado Survivor.

Yep, we are survivors of the deadly Alabama tornadoes of April 27, 2011. We are alive and well (for the most part) and I am not certain who sustained more damage, my house or my husband.

But I will get to that in a minute.

It was a normal, everyday work day. I had gotten up at 4:00 a.m., as per my usual routine. In order to bathe three full grown people and still have hot water for all, I must bathe at 4:00 a.m, Tigger (who is as large as his dad) bathes at 5:00 a.m. and Darling Hubby bathes at 6:00 a.m.

Storms of any kind make me extremely nervous, and have done so all my life. A close call with storm when I was little, has made me panic whenever the sky clouds over and the winds pick up.

In the 12 years that we have lived in our home, whenever a storm blew in, my first thoughts were of the three oak trees in our back yard. They were all relatively young, tall and spindly compared to the older ones on our street, but were still large enough to cause a problem if the right wind came along. Over the years I had watched in dread as they whipped back and forth, but always emerged on the other side of the storm standing as strong as ever.

Usually, I take my shower and lay back down until 6:00 a.m., but not this morning. The howling wind was enough to make me stop and watch the local morning news show, which was already on what they like to call "wall to wall" storm coverage. A line of fast moving storms were blowing in from Mississippi at a rate of 70 miles per hour. There were indications of rotation as well. I was glued to the t.v. set from about 4:30 until 5:45, when it was announced that the fast moving storm would reach the Leeds/Moody area in roughly 15 minutes.

I went out to the car and unlocked the doors. so that when I was ready to leave for work, I wouldn't get drowned trying to get into the car. It was not raining yet, but the wind was blowing so hard that it blew my house-dress up over the back of my head. Thankfully no one was out yet, so I didn't fully embarass myself or any of my neighbors.

Having made certain that Tigger had been out of the shower long enough for the hot water to recover, I made Darling Hubby get up and get into the shower. A few moments later, the power went out. "Grrreeeeeaaaatttt" I hear him groan from the bathroom.

Suddenly, there was a loud roaring sound. It was much like when rain starts falling hard and fast. I wanted to see how much it was raining.

I love the smell of new rain, right when it starts raining. There is something dirty and gritty about it, yet fresh at the same time. We once went to one of those "4D experience" movies where you got to smell and feel what you were watching. It was about "tall tales" and this particular story was about it raining frogs. The storm that was to bring the frogs started blowing and the creators had gotten that rain smell just right. I could have sat there all day, just smelling that smell. Whenever we have rain, I stand on the porch, breathing in that smell until I am either drenched or someone comes and gets me.

I went to open the door, to see how much it was raining. But I couldn't get the door open. It was like it was stuck. I tried pulling with both hands. The door only opened a crack. I looked through the crack, but I couldn't see the porch rail that was just a few feet from the door. Then my ears popped. My immediate thought was,"That's not good" and I let go of the door. When it slammed shut, I locked it.

Tigger came out of his room and said "Mom, you'd better come here." I tripped over Zipper, who was under my feet. JB had slinked off to the garage to hide around five. I picked Zipper up, which didn't make him happy, and met Tigger in the hall. Kit-Kat soon joined us. I was about to open the door to the bathroom when there was a loud bang on the roof.

"What the hell was that?!" Darling Hubby yells from the bathroom. Soon, he is standing in the hall with us, sopping wet, with a towel wrapped around his waist.

The headline "Wet Naked Man Found Dead In Hallway With Family" flashes through my mind.

Then, as suddenly as it had started, it was quiet again.

From the kitchen window, we could see the tree. Limbs were everywhere, covering the window, blotting out the light. It was hard to determine how big it was from inside. Darling Hubby, Kit-Kat, and I, who were not yet dressed, each went to get dressed and Tigger put on his shoes.

As we cautiously peered out our front door, it was obvious something big had happened. We stood on the porch, staring in disbelief at the debris that littered our lawn, driveway and the street in front of us. My next door neighbor, also in her robe, called out to us from her porch. She didn't even have a stray leaf in her yard. It was surreal.

We walked out into the yard and only then did we see the trees on the house and the fences. My biggest fear had finally come to pass.
Down the street, we could see the oak, on the downed power line and blocking the street. We checked on my other next door neighbor. She was alone. Her husband had been out of town. But we were all okay.

Within the hour, the sky was clear blue and the sun shone brightly. Like nothing had happened.

We couldn't get in the back yard. Trees had fallen across both ends of the fence and both side of the house. Large portions were in the front yard and street. Cars sped down our street, heading for highway 411, only to be stopped by the oak in the road. They would throw up their hands, as if the roadblock were our fault, then begrudingly back up into our driveway and go back the way they came. One woman in a silver SUV backed over our mailbox, all while I yelled for her to stop. She asked my neighbors, then standing in the street, what the noise had been. Both had answered that she had backed over our mailbox. She said "oh" put the SUV in drive, and drove away without so much as a "sorry." (I hope it boogered up her really I do)

It took over an hour for the shock to subside and for us to determine what we needed to do. We weren't certain who to call. We had been told a few years earlier that our insurance agent had retired. The home owners had been added into the mortgage, so we never had a reason to see him. Our neighbor, who used the same company, had given us the catastrophy number. I called and left a message. We walked up and down the street, surveying damage and checking on other neighbors. The sirens of emergency vehicles wailed in the distance, along with the alarm at Tractor Supply at the end of our street.

By the time someone called us back, we had already heard of the next storm system that would be coming into Alabama later that afternoon. The catastrophy agent told us they would not get to us anytime soon, to clear what we could clear safely, and make temporary repairs to avoid further damage from the next storm systems. Darling Hubby went on the roof to start clearing the limbs and survey the damage. I went into town for tarps.

Leeds was also without power, so I drove into Birmingham to buy tarps and supplies. My mother met Kit-Kat and I at Golden Rule to buy us lunch. It was clouding over and 411 was a parking lot when I made it back to Moody. I called ahead to tell Darling Hubby that I was stuck in traffic, but on my way, when a stranger answered his phone.

While clearing the tree that had hit the roof, the last limb snatched him off the roof. He fell ten feet on to the concrete patio and brick steps below. The ambulance passed me as I sat in traffic. I could not get to him fast enough. When I reached him, he looked dead. The panic welled up in me and I threw up in the yard. Thankfully, God had His hand on him and he escaped with a few fractured, but not broken, vertebrae that would heal on their own. I have never been more grateful in all my life.

As we sat at UAB for the rest of the night, we learned the lady in the room next to us had pretty much the same accident D/H had. She fell from the roof while helping patch a hole. She was not so lucky. They were having the "we will see if she is still paralyzed when the swelling subsides" talk in the hall.  I laid my head on D/H, who was angry, still imobilized flat on his back with a c-collar,  and cried. That easily could have been him.

And that is where we were when the more severe storm came in. I remember James Spann working to get the Tuscaloosa tower camera on-line and when it came up, the huge tornado left him speechless. It was like a  scene from a horror movie.  Soon the ER was filled with survivors of that storm, diverted from hospitals in Tuscaloosa that were already at capacity. One woman, bleeding and scratched, wandered around in a disposable scrub suit. the force of the storm ripping her clothes from her body. It was all so horrific.

Here are photos of the house and yard, taken shortly after the storm was over. I wish I had taken one of my next door neighbor's yard. There wasn't even a stray leaf over there. It was almost like there was a bubble over her house.

This is the bedroom end of the house. Those windows are Tigger and Kit-Kat's rooms.

You can sorta see what I mean about my neighbor's yard in this one.

Here is the back yard.

And the side yard.

I've heard of this before, but never really seen it. This stick is imbedded in the wall of the house.

We aren't really certain where this tree came from. But the oak tree caught it and kept it from going through the house and that's all that matters.

This is the view from inside the kitchen

Even Zipper had to check things out.

The street where we live didn't fare much better. We were blocked by a fallen oak tree that brought down the power lines.

Here is where Darling Hubby landed on our concrete patio. His head and sholders were on the steps (that is the navy blue shirt they cut from his body there in the lower right hand side of the photo) and he lay sprawled across the patio with a foot on either side of the dryer.

Ironically, that eyesore dryer actually saved my kitchen. The weight of the limb was resting on it, and that stopped it from going all the way through the roof, ceiling and kitchen window.

I know that this is pretty small beans compared to those who lost everything, including their loved ones, but it was traumatic for us just the same.

A life-long friend, an only child, had to bury both of her parents. They were swept away running for their storm shelter. Their bodies found a mile away from their home. As I stood in line to speak to her, she just kept saying over and over again, "they always knew they would die together."

It made me think of how things could have been much different for us.
I cherish my family.
And thank God everyday for letting me keep them


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

God gave me the task of nurturing and protecting the three most special people in the world.

My children.

I am blessed beyond measure.


Saturday, April 23, 2011


Easter beings in 5 hours.

I am roughly 12 hours from an ice cream binge. Why? Ice Cream was my Lenten sacrifice.

Lent is a forty-day season of preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter.

I found this website that explains Lent this way:

"Today, Lent is marked by a time of prayer and preparation to celebrate Easter. Since Sundays celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the six Sundays that occur during Lent are not counted as part of the 40 days of Lent, and are referred to as the Sundays in Lent. The number 40 is connected with many biblical events, but especially with the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing for His ministry by facing the temptations that could lead him to abandon his mission and calling. Christians today use this period of time for introspection, self examination, and repentance. This season of the year is equal only to the Season of Advent in importance in the Christian year, and is part of the second major grouping of Christian festivals and sacred time that includes Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost."

I've given up things for Lent before, gum, soda, chocolate, but none has really gotten to me like Ice Cream. Forty days is a really, long time.

I was in the habit of having a small bowl of ice cream every evening, kind of a reward for the crappy days I usually have at work. I had come to look forward to that little bowl of ice cream. That is why it was the perfect sacrifice.

I had run out of ice cream over the weekend before Ash Wednesday. On Fat Tuesday, I had every intention of pigging out on a pint of Hagen Daas, but completely forgot, and the next thing I know, Lent had begun.

That didn't stop me from going to the freezer every evening around 8:30ish to stare into the open space my ice cream had previously occupied. I complained to all my friends about how hard it was. Without thinking I turned to my best friend and actually said "I don't know how Jesus did it!"

I had several close calls, mostly involving milk shakes.I know that drive thru operators have thought I was crazy these past few weeks.

I was starting to be okay with my sacrifice when the unthinkable happened 2 weeks ago: darling hubby bought more ice cream! So I've spent the last 2 weeks looking into the freezer every night at this:

The spoon is from a weak moment. I left it there as a reminder that I am stronger than temptation and I can do all things, including NOT eating this ice cream, through Christ who strengthens me.

It also assures me that I will have a clean spoon at the ready tomorrow morning.

I helped the Easter Bunny out today.

I spent most of the day today driving around town trying to find three chocolate crosses. Actually, two milk chocolate crosses and a white chocolate cross. (Tigger hates chocolate).

I have always believed that, while the Easter Bunny can drop by and leave a basket full of goodies, some of those goodies should be related to the actual holiday. I have never allowed a chocolate bunny in any of their baskets. And never had to, until last year.

Again, like last year, I was unsuccessful at locating the aforementioned chocolate crosses. I am disappointed and understandably irratated. Just like there is no "Christmas" without Christ, without the cross, there would be no Easter.

I think that between now and next Easter I will try to locate a candy mold and just make my own. How about that for a new Easter tradition?!

In the meantime, I'm going about the normal pre-Easter preperation: ironing, making sure everyone had shoes and socks (yes, I have teenagers and I still have to do that), getting things together before the mad dash to Mother's church in the morning.

Maybe the kids won't notice the bunnies.

Blessed Easter everyone!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Confession Time: I'm a Packrat

You know how in a movie, when someone gets fired, they hand them a little box to put their belongings in to leave?

That will never be me.

If I were ever to be fired from my job, it would take me three days to clean out my desk.

Why? I'm a pack rat.

This is what my desk currently looks like:

I find it hard to part with things, especially printed information. You never know what you may need down the road. Trust me, if someone in my office needed to know the price of tea in China ten years ago, I have the memo.

Though it might take me a few minutes to find it.

Yes, I know. But there is some method to my madness.

I love "sticky notes." I honestly don't know how I functioned before I had them. I jot down things on sticky notes all the time. I have several sizes and colors of sticky notes and use them for everything from jotting down a quick reminder to scripting whole memo's to document occurances. The downside to sticky notes is there is a limit to their stickiness and you often find them stuck to unrelated items. I cleaned out the bottom of my purse today and found six sticky notes in the bottom. They have random notes (such as "home", which means "take this home") to telephone numbers of unnamed people (here I must apologize, if you are expecting a call from me, as soon as I figure out which one of these numbers might be yours).

I also love highlighters. I use a different color for each day of the week, an idea I got from a former nurse, who explained that each shift used a different color to make chart notes. It was a given that notes in a particular color were made by a particular shift nurse at just a glance. That seemed logical to me so I devised my own system. Monday's are yellow, Tuesday's are pink, Wednesday's are green, Thursday is blue, and Friday is orange. I've used this color code for years. If you bring me the original document of an order I keyed ten years ago and it's highlighted in green, I can tell you at just a glance that I processed the order on a Wednesday.

I use a type of paperweight to mark various stacks of pending work. They are actually laminated strips of paper, each printed with the type of stack they are protecting. "Orders with Issues" is my favorite.

A great deal of real estate, that large bottom desk drawer to be exact, is filled to the brim with my "Things To Do" note books. I use them to jot down my objectives for the day, or things that I handle that day and tick them off as they are down. And I probably have everyone one I've ever used. You know that memo about the price of tea in China? There is a note made that I recieved it and sent it to be distributed to the CSR team and it's in a notebook in the bottom of that drawer.

After 20 years at a company, one accumulates quite a bit of personal property. I have a stress ball shaped like a coffee cup. I have a stress ball shaped like a lion. I have a stuffed fish, a paddle ball shaped like a fish, I have a paddle ball shaped like a lion. I have 2 dozen coffee mugs and about 30 magnets, half of which are somehow coffee related. I have at least 15 different name tags from various events. There is an apothocary jar full to the rim with buttons to celebrate a customer visit. I have 10 or 12 photos of my family, none of which are remotely current.

Under my desk is a box of tee shirts, 4 empty vases, and a box of empty Walmart bags (that I do share whenever we get the "cleaning out the fridge" memo). There is no telling what is hiding behind that black curtain behind my chair.

We have a "tour ready" philosophy, that I am currently failing to meet. I try to conduct my tours in the middle of the room where it's less crowded and I don't have to worry about explaining the cartoon I have pinned to my wall that makes me laugh hysterically whenever I take the time to read it.

My email is not much better. IT has me on their "top ten offenders" list and has since disabled my "manual empty" option on the trash folder. It automatically empties itself every sixty days. The thought that sixty-one days from now I might need something I fliptantly deleted has driven me to avoid deleting anything.

Letting go of things is especially hard, because time and time again, I've thrown something out/deleted it, only to have someone ask me if I have it the very next day.

Maybe it's just the thought that one day I will be able to save the day because of something I've saved in my email or on my desk.

People do come from all over the office in search of things, because they know, of all people, I'm most likely to have it. They are more surprised when I don't have it than they are when I do.

I have a personal goal to have my office weeded and organized by the end of this year.

But it looks like I may have to take a few days off to do it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Confession Time: Lazy People and the Motorized Shopping Scooter

Lazy people irk me.

Lazy people who feel the need to use the motorized shopping scooter at my local Walmart irk me more.

I completely understand the need for the motorized shopping scooter. I understand that I may, one day, be someone driving one. I completely understand why I completely understand that there are seemingly healthy-looking sick people that also need to use them. But I slso know a few seemingly healthy-looking sick people who wouldn't be caught dead on one too.

Our local Walmart has about 6 or 8 of these scooters. Yesterday, while I was grocery shopping, ALL of them were in use. They were all over the place, putt-putting along and making navigating the aisles a little time consuming. I am fine with that.

But when I see an extremely overweight husband and wife, who happened to park next to me in a regular parking space, not displaying a handicap placard, having showed no problem making it from our parking spot into the store, driving along shopping, it REALLY irked me!

I mean, what are the odds that they would BOTH to use the scooters?!
It was obvious that they were just too lazy to walk around the store.

My BFF has fibromyalgia. She doesn't "look" like she has a debilitating condition. If anyone deserves a ride in the scooter, she does. But she won't. Just like she doesn't need to be lifting the milk from the cart, she wouldn't dream of giving into her condition. She is fighting it tooth and nail. And she wouldn't dream of using a scooter.

I broke my toe about this time last year. I spent nearly 2 weeks on crutches, but at no time during that time did I feel the need to use the scooters.

Everytime I see someone scooting along, too lazy to walk the aisles, I think about the movie "Wall-E." You know, where everyone is overweight and atrophied and riding around in little scooters, watching the t.v. and not interacting one another, despite being side by side.

Yeah, it all starts with the scooters at Walmart.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

You Gonna Make Me Lose My Mind Up In Here...

Today was the Moody Miracle League Opening Day! Despite a chilly start, the weather could not have been more perfect. We are excited to welcome a host of new players.

I was in charge of registering volunteers and selling an awesome souveneir tee shirt and caps.

The recent thunderstorms have produced high winds that did damage to the gazebo where we usually set up the souvenier table. I had to set up on one of the picnic tables under the pavillion. Because we have a tee-ball field adjacent, and the other fields behind us, there is always mixing and mingling and passing through from one area to another. We have wide sidewalks on one side of the pavillion and a walking track on the other side, so traffic moves through easily.

Which is why, there was no reason whatsoever, for my former stalker, Dan Smith* to walk his family like little ducks right thru the pavillion, right next to me.

Luckily, earlier in the day I had moved an adirondack chair that we have under the pavillion up next to the table so that one of the parents could charge their cell phone at the adjacent outlet. It blocked the path directly behind me or he would have passed close enough to touch me.

I saw him coming, and he saw me too. Our eyes locked. I sat, frozen with fear. His eyes never left mine, nor did mine leave his. He practically walked right up to me. His wife did not notice, because she was busy texting.

I told the parent charging the phone and another parent because I was freaked out.

Next time it happens I will embarass him. Heck, I'll probably embarass myself.

I will jump up and shout "STOP WATCHING ME!!!!!!!!!"

He will not get away with it again.

*names have been changed to protect the innocent, namely me

Thursday, March 31, 2011

ABC's Of Me

I follow a few blogs and saw this exercise today on A New Kind of Normal and thought I'd do it too! Whatever it takes to help those who follow me know more about me. I challenge my fellow bloggers to do it too! The ABC's of Me!

  1. Age – mentally I'm 18; physically I am celebrating the 25th anniversary of my 18th birthday (do your own math)

  2. Bed size – Queen (just like me)

  3. Chore you hate – chores I don't hate is a much shorter list. Really, are there sick people out there who LIKE chores?!

  4. Dogs – None, tho I would really like a purse pup. Unfortunately, I think my cats would eat it.

  5. Essential start of your day – COFFEE

  6. Favorite color – Cerulean blue (thank you Irma Baumlein!)

  7. Gold or silver – actually, I prefer platnium

  8. Height – about 5 foot 7ish , but if I don't work on my posture, before long I'll be 5 foot 4

  9. Instruments I play (or have played) – flute, piccolo, stand-up string bass (and I can hold my own on bass guitar because the frets are the same) and the tri-toms

  10. Job title – Assistant Manager of Customer Service

  11. Kids – Julz, Tigger and Kit-Kat

  12. Live – Ala-freakin'-Bama

  13. Mom’s name – um....Mother

  14. Nickname – my godchildren call me JoJo, the others are unprintable =)

  15. Overnight hospital stays – more than I care to remember, ball park, about 10 maybe?

  16. Pet peeve – Oh my, that list is long and distinguished, but A-numero-uno would have to be hand washing, followed closely by bad driving

  17. Quote from a movie – "Yes, married, jeesh"

  18. Right or left handed – really depends on what I'm doing.

  19. Siblings – unfortunately...LOL! Just kidding Brother!

  20. Time you wake up – 2:00 a.m, 4:15 a.m , and 6:00 a.m and when ever else the bladder tells me

  21. Underwear – Oh Goodness Yes...white cotton and totally unsexy (I'm old now, I've earned the right)

  22. Vegetable you dislike – beets

  23. What makes you run late – too much fabulousness, too little time to get to it all.

  24. X-rays you have had done – the usual, teeth, wrist, arm, ankles, feet, ribs, appendix, skull

  25. Yummy food you make – baked bacon wraps and grape jelly meatballs

  26. Zoo animal - I am quite partial to penguins but our zoo doesn't have any.

Let me know if you post this yourself. I love reading these!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sha Na Na Na Na Na Na...Happy Birthday Sweet 16!

Happy 16th birthday "Kit-Kat" I love you!

Thank you for letting me be your Mom.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Confession Time: Shaving

NOTE: This confession is not for the faint of heart.

For the record: I HATE SHAVING MY LEGS!

There, I've said it. It's not that I don't like having silky smooth legs, I just hate the process that gets them there. If I could shave them one last final time and never have to worry with it again, I'd be the happiest girl in the world.

(Also for the record, these are NOT my legs. Note the scarred knee. This is just for illustration purposes.)

I know. Hairy legs on a woman is not very sexy. Frankly, I've NEVER been any good at it. I have very coarse, unusally dense, curly hair on my arms and legs that grow in all directions. Despite spending a great deal of money on the best products, and a great deal of time, carefully shaving, I still manage to aquire quite a few nasty nicks or a large amount of razor burn. I leave behind enough blood in my beige bathroom to look like a 70's slasher moview was filmed in there. Silky smooth legs in between a dozen or so band-aids are not sexy either.

Then there are the spots that I miss. And not just little spots, long swatches of fuzzy skin, usually visible to everyone but me. My knees and ankles are always the worst, mostly because they are thin and bony. I will never forget my embarassment as a lunch date pointed out both a patch of razor burn and a missed patch on my knee. Yeah, he was a superficial jerk, but I digress.

This is quite possibly one of my biggest secrets. There was a time when I was extremely meticulous about my grooming rituals. I'd never dream of being caught with ragged nails or chipped polish. I wouldn't go to the mail box without my hair curled or my makeup perfect, I wouldn't dream of having a single stray stubbly hair visible. But as more important things in life started happening (code for being a busy mom), I came to care for myself less and less. Yes, I know there are women who can juggle EVERYTHING that life throws at them. I am not one of those women. Somethings have to fall by the wayside. Most days, if my top matches my pants, and my shoes match those, I consider it a good day, whether I have on makeup or my hair is fixed or not.

This is not to say that I am not clean. As I have posted here before, cleanliness is very important to me. Proper bathing is paramount!

I try to avoid shaving my legs whenever possible, usually the Winter months, and hold out as long as I can. I can get away with it easily because I usally wear pants all Winter. Every now and again, I will wear thick tights or tall boots with a skirt, just to vary my wardrobe, all while hiding my hairy legs. Then, usually about right now, it's time to start shaving again.

Now, as blase' as I am about shaving my legs, my underarms are a completely different story. I can't take a shower or bath that I don't shave my underarms. Even if I'd just shaved them that morning, I've got to shave them again.

I think women with unshaven underarms are just gross, no matter who they may be.

I even think that men should shave theirs too. My husband had unusually hairy underarms when we met. Whenever he felt the need to wear a tank top, which was often, everyone got an eye full. It always reminded me of Krumm, from the Ahh! Real Monsters! cartoon series.

Thankfully, when he started working out, someone convinced him that it would be beneficial to shave them, so he did.

I've always wondered why it was decided that women must shave certain body parts but men must not. Think about it. Where it is desireable for men to have hair, it is desirable for women to not have it.

Interesting double standard.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

One of THOSE Bloggers

I am working to avoid becoming "one of THOSE bloggers." The ones who start a blog, gets loyal followers, then doesn't post for months at a stretch. Despite having lots to say, having time to blog it is becoming harder and harder. So, as they say, life happens.

So here is a little bit about what is going on right now:

This was my last Saturday to sleep late. The Moody Miracle League season starts next Saturday, April 2nd. Since I am the volunteer coordinator, I have to be their early to ensure all the volunteers are registered, oriented, and matched with a player. I will have to get up that same time that I get up for work.

Kit-Kat turns 16 on Tuesday and she is most enthusiastic about driving practice. Tigger, who is now 17 but still doesn't have his license, not so much. I'd like for both of them to have their license soon, despite having a car for either of them to drive. I'm also not looking forward to the jump our insurance rates are going to take. Yeah, our agent LOVES us!

Work is....well, work. (That is about all I can say without instigating possible legal ramifications)

On the upside, I've been contacted by the fact checker of both "All You" magazine on a blurb that I submitted, and "More" magazine about the pageant I was in last August. Look for me in the May issue of "All You" and the June issue of "More"!

I just watched "The Blind Side" for the one millionth time. I am completely fascinated by Sandra Bullock in this role! I've spent most of the morning googling her wardrobe and makeup for it. So far, I've only found information on the plastic watch she's wearing (the kind that made my arm break out= yech!), and some kid doing a subpar youtube tutorial on what she thinks might be the eye makeup technique. So much for finding everything you need on the internet.

For the record, I sincerely doubt that LAT would have thought that Nick Satan was "extremely handsome." He looks like a cross between a used car salesman and a televangalist. He reminds me of the guys that used to golf with my dad and then spend the rest of the day in the Nineteenth Hole smoking cigars, drinking goodness knows what, and watching more golf on tv. Plus, he's old. Equally unlikely that he would actually comment on the window treatments, otherwise his line delivery would have been more natural.

I've wanted to check out the new Coach outlet at the Grand River Mall, but my car has developed the annoying habit of dying in shopping center parking lots. Once I've driven there, I am pretty much stuck for 2 or 3 hours. Twice now, Super Dave, the darling hubby of my BFF and partner in crime, Cyndi, has come with his wrecker to save me. The last time this happened, the part cost $300.

Did I mention the car pays off next month? At least I know where the money for the part will come from. Though it would also fund a really nice, classic Coach bag.

Every day I look in the mirror and see less and less of the Joy I know, and more and more of my grandmother (except without the grandchild, which all of my friends seem to be having all around me.) That is UNACCEPTABLE! I hope I get a good bonus this year. I am going to use every cent of it on some sort of self improvement ( smart lipo, down payment on a face lift, etc...) I wonder how much it would cost to have plastic surgery to look like Jennifer Anniston?

In two weeks we will be having our monthly classmate dinner. That is always a lot of fun and is the only date night I've been getting lately with the darling hubby. I have a large group of former classmates on Facebook and each month I invite the whole group. I really wish that more could attend, but have a great time with the core group that started the habit. We are becoming quite the bowlers, finding ourselves at the local lanes after every dinner. Darling hubby and I are going to have to invest in our own balls, as there are hardly any that are useful at the lane. I have fat fingers, so I need large finger holes, but my wrist won't let me support a ball over 8 pounds.

Kit-Kat has been selected to participate in the Alabama prelim for National American Miss and, not only does she actually want to participate, darling hubby is actually going to let her! I am thrilled at the prospect of her competing and she is excited because it will "look good on her college transcript."

I have recently been plagued by nearly unbearable pain and fatigue. My legs have ached constantly for the better part of two weeks, and over the counter meds do little but increase my fatigue. I have to limit them during work hours for fear I will fall asleep at my desk, despite the gallons of coffee I consume. I don't have time to go to the doctor to have it checked out, for reasons listed above. It has done quite a number on my attitude as well. I'm trying to put on a brave face and work through it, but it has made my fuse really short. I've spent more than one lunch hour in the bathroom crying because despite putting on the brave face, something has gotten to me. Rather than asking me if I am okay, or if I need help with anything, or anything remotely encouraging, I'm being reported for having a sour attitude. Gee, I wonder why.

Well I need to get off the computer now, because, like everything else in my life, someone else wants to be using it.

~ En-JOY

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rednecks....recycling BEFORE it was vogue

A recent Facebook exchange with one of my friends from Oregon about my mother's newest yard art, a bottle tree, got me to thinking. Rednecks were recycling long before it was vogue!

With the push for everyone to "go green," recycling and repurposing (a.k.a. "upcycling") is all the rage. But it is hardly new. I've grown up with it. The act of taking an object, usually trash, and giving it new life as something else, is a Southern tradition. I've always known that Southerners were a resourceful lot. But the ingenuity of the Redneck brings recycling and repurposing to new heights.

I share the following examples of Redneck Arts and Crafts

The Crochet Beer Can Hat

For men...

and for ladies

The Tire Tulip

The Bottle Tree

My mother's is very similar to this one, but not quite as "full." I picked this photo, not only because it was very colorful, it also showed a variety of bottles. She only has wine bottles on hers right now, but after I shared this photo, she's going to explore more options.

Beer/Soda Can Pinwheel

A Candy Wrapper Belt

with matching Gum Wrapper Bag

to go with the Gum Wrapper Prom Dress

or maybe the Juice Box Purse

to go with the Duct Tape Prom Dress

Ladies Activewear

Storm Shelter

The Classic: A White Porcelain Planter

And lastly, our (yes, I do mean OUR, as in my family...see Darling Hubby in his favorite Auburn hat and little Kit-Kat?) house boat. We call it, The Campoon.

My grandparents taught me that anything with use left in it, was still worth something to someone. Sometimes, you just have to think outside of the box.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

What Time Is It?!

This post may be somewhat of a rant. I'm a little disoriented and cranky.

I can not believe how quickly this time change crap rolled around again! Isn't this the craziest thing you've ever done? Twice a year, we mindlessly follow along, and roll our clocks back and forth and then don't sleep properly for months, until it's time to do it again.

Right now it is 10:19 p.m. Central, but my body is conditioned so that it believes it is 9:10 p.m. so I am not sleepy, not-- one-- little--bit. Since I get up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready for work, my poor body is conditioned to believe that it is only 3:30 a.m.! This will cause me to drink unimmaginable amounts of coffee at my office, thus keeping me up tomorrow night. It's a viscious circle. Given I already have a sleep disorder, it's extremely hard to recover from this disruption.

In 1966 our "friends" on Capitol Hill decided that we needed more daylight, so they decided to pass a law that twice a year would disrupt the natural sleep rythms of the entire nation. I have a hard time believing that my parents would have voted for this nonsense. Who do I have to vote into office to make it stop?

Studies show that lack of proper sleep contributes to a whole host of heath problems, including obesity. Ironically, obesity in America has been on a steady rise for the past 40 years. A coincidence? I don't think so. The government is so concerned with the obesity rate in America, one would think they'd take a long hard look at the correlation between the two.

It is no longer necessary for us to swap our clocks back and forth. The remainder of the year, we make adjustments to make up for the "missing" daylight. The states of Hawaii and Arizona decided that observing Daylight Saving Time was unnecessary and have successfully functioned without it for quite some time now. It's time for the rest of the country to follow suit.

The most logical answer for those who want more daylight is for THEM to GET UP EARLIER!

There are more people in favor of abolishing DST than keeping it.
It's time we band together and bring this issue to a vote.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Surviving A Stalker Part IV: The Aftermath

So Dan Smith* has been caught, convicted, sentenced to two years probation, and a restraining order has been imposed. Most importantly, and often overlooked, the calls stopped completely once he had been picked up (how's that for a little concrete proof?), never to happen again. One would think I'd feel safe.

They would be wrong.

My number was listed under both my name and my grandfather's, as it has once been used as the number for his business. I had the phone company take my name out of the book, but leave my grandfather's. The local phone company kept a tracer trap on my phone (for only an additional $5 a month) for the rest of the time that I lived there. When the services came available to my area, I was the first to be offered caller id, annoymous call rejection and last call return along with per line call blocking. It was several dollars tacked on to my phone bill, but it was all worth it.

I was suddenly super-aware of people looking at me in public places, almost to the point of paranoia, or coincidentally following behind me, either walking through a store or out driving. I started dressing down to go unnoticed out in public, usually a black yoga pants and black hoodie, when ever I went shopping. I found myself interupting my shopping to abruptly move to the opposite side of the store to avoid anyone that might be following me. If I observed anyone driving behind me for a long period of time, I'd intentionally slow down to make them pass me. If they didn't pass, I'd start making erroneous turns or stops to see if they would follow.

I had become introverted and quiet, hardly speaking to anyone in public. I used to be the one who would spontaniously strike up a conversation in the grocery line, but I became suspicious and uncomfortable with any stranger who attempted to speak to me.

I also avoided giving out my phone number for any reason. Someone could have offered me a guaranteed million dollars in exchange for it and I would have told them to keep their money. I stopped registering for prizes and give aways, I only put my work number on documents for school. I didn't even let them publish it in our church directory.

I also forbade anyone who did have my number from giving it out. My grandparents were the worst at doing that. Because my grandfather's name came before my parents in the Leeds phone book, people trying to find me or my little brother often called them first. They would just blurt out our number to whomever asked, without any further questions. I instructed everyone that if anyone called looking for my number, they were to take a message, call me with it, and I would call them back myself. Anyone who wouldn't leave a number was immediately suspicious. If the caller wouldn't accept a call from an annonymous number, I'd drive up the road to the quickmart and call from their payphone (payphones...remember those..LOL!).

When my boyfriend became my husband, and we set up household together, I insisted that we keep all the same services on our new home phone. Every so often he will ask if we can drop something and I will tell him no. Our name is not even on our mailbox.

Barbie* did wind up marrying Dan, despite hearing all the evidence and knowing the torment he was inflicting on other women. They still live in my town. Because it's not a big place, I find myself running into them from time to time.

Once, while on a major grocery shopping trip to WalMart, found myself buggy to buggy with them at the corner of an aisle. She was clearly, enormously pregnant, pushing the buggy, and he was following along like husbands do. Normally I laugh, say excuse me and make a comment about having traffic signals at the ends of the aisle, and move on. But all I could do was gasp. I turned in the opposite direction from where I had intended and hurried down the next aisle, then back over to the aisle they had just come from, and stopped to catch my breath. There I decided to head for the dairy section, the direction they had come from, and shop in reverse. I'd grab exactly what I needed and then go. I would blend in and slip out.

It was then I realized that I was wearing a pull-over in bright, safety yellow, that we had used for Julz's "duck" costume the previous Halloween. The tank top I had worn underneath was not appropriate to be seen in public, even in the best of circumstances, much less the cold, wet weather outside. So much for blending in.

As I went to make my dash for the dairy, they suddenly turned back down my aisle, an aisle they had already shopped! Dan was now pushing the buggy, while Barbie waddled along behind. She rubbed her swollen belly, stopping only long enough to put items in the buggy. I tried not to appear bothered (or worse, panicked) as I made my way to the main aisle (or as Walmart likes to call it "action alley") to make my way up to the dairy section.

I went straight for the eggs. I stopped to check my eggs for cracks, turned to put them in my buggy and who should be standing there next to me! I went to the adjacent milk case, they moved with me. I went down the cereal aisle, and they followed. I skipped the chip/snack aisle to go to the sodas and they followed yet again. I decided that my family didn't need sodas, turned down the cold case aisle and practically ran straight to the front.

I lucked up on a checkout with only one person ahead of me and quickly started unloading my cart. Having worked in a grocery store, I was really pretty good at stacking things on the belt so that the cashier had the easiest time. I began packing my buggy as the casheir filled bags and looked up to find the Smiths in the checkout next to mine. There was a customer in front of them, still being serviced. Barbie was chatting cheerfully with the customer, but Dan was staring right at me.

For a split second, panic welled up in me and I nearly bolted, leaving all my groceries behind. But that would be letting him know he'd gotten to me. I busied myself with my own check out process, but every time I looked up, Dan was staring a hole through me, with this smirk on his face. I came close to yelling, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU LOOKING AT PERVERT?!" or "IS THIS 500 FEET?!" (though I think that the restraining order had run out by then )but thought better of it. I didn't want to become that woman that freaked out in WalMart, that every time I came in the employees would point and whisper, "Hey, there is that lady that freaked out in here that time." (Did I mention that I'd once worked in a grocery? I KNOW things like that happen.) Luckily, I had a jump start on checking out, so I was able to get out before them.

I practically ran to the parking lot, I threw all the groceries into the trunk, not caring if I squashed the bread or broke the eggs. I put the buggy between my car and the next (a personal pet peeve) instead of walking it to the buggy corral, lept into the car and sped out of the parking lot. Instead of going straight home, I hopped onto the interstate, drove up to the next exit and took as many narrow back roads as I could, several miles out of my way.

Thanks to Google Maps, I later learned that I had driven right by their house in doing that, so I did not make that mistake again.

Another time, I was working the souvenier table for the Miracle League. At the time, it was under a gazebo next to the adjacent tee-ball field, instead of next to the concession stand where it sits today. From there, it was harder to watch a Miracle League game, especially if there was a tee-ball game at the same time.

I love watching the tiny, tee-ball players as they learn to play the game. Some are so tiny their extra small uniforms still swallow them up. Most of the yelling comes from the parents but they yell out when they have to go to the bathroom, in no uncertain terms, for all the field to hear. Sometimes they forget and run toward third instead of first. There are times when it seems they would all rather be digging in the dirt and leave the game to the grown ups, who seem more concerned with it anyway.

I had gotten up to get a tee-shirt from a storage box when I saw them. Barbie, pregnant again, was standing on the fence line, cheering for a little munchkin at bat. Crowded in the tiny space between his shoulders was the word "Smith." Just to Barbie's right, sat Dan in a folding chair, close enough that I could reach out and slap him. And rather than watching his son at bat, he was looking at me.

You know how when you catch someone looking at you, they jump? Well I am not certain who jumped more, me or him. He quickly turned his attention back to the field. I turned back around to deal with my customer, but my heartbeat was hammering in my ears. I sat down and threw another glance over my shoulder. There he was, staring at me with a smirk on his face. It reminds me of the expression the Grinch makes. He and I both knew that the restraining order had long since expired. I thought about yelling at him again but didn't want to embarass myself. i was now a member of the Miracle League board and didn't need to cause any trouble at the park.

I flagged down another volunteer to handle the souveniers and trotted out onto the field to buddy a player in left field, putting the stone pressbox between me and him. A few minutes later, he was at the concession stand, watching me as he waited in line. He then sat down on the shaded bench next to it, where he could watch both me and his son's game unobstructed. I couldn't take it anymore. I told the coach that the heat was getting to me and asked for another buddy for my player. I told Mr. Johnny, our announcer that I was going to have to go home and I dashed to my car. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I called my husband, who now seemed unconcerned. "That's been a long time" he said, "shouldn't you be over that by now?"

Yes, I guess I should. But I'm not.

Over the years I continue to run into them in the grocery store, the gas station and the ball park. Most of the time, I see him first and can exit unnoticed. The times that I don't, I fight the urge to scream in his face, draw attention to him, embarass him, maybe clue his wife into the fact that she didn't change him. I figure that eventually, she will find that out on her own, when he starts again. At least this time, he will have a record and it will be a repeat offense and some poor girl won't have the same trouble I did.

Whenever I hear of someone having strange phone calls or noticing stalker behavior, I always share my story and these words of advice.

DOCUMENT : Keep a journal of dates, times, duration of incident, type of behavior (calling, following, driving by home, etc...) No detail is too small.

REPORT: Go to your local police or sherrif's department (or the law enforcement department that covers your area, if it is happening somewhere other than home like work or school)or call law enforcement to come to you. Ask to file an incident report for every incident. Carry your journal so that all details will be included. This will provide a paper trail for the pattern of behavior.

DEVELOP A SUPPORT NETWORK: Let your family, friends, coworkers, teachers know what is going on. Do not keep what is happening secret. Those who truly love you, will not judge you. They will do what they can to help you.

I once read "If I Am Missing or Dead.." the bone chilling true story of the murder of Amy Lynne Latus. Ten weeks before her abusive boyfriend strangled her to death, she had written a letter about the abuse, sealed it in an envelope marked "If I am missing or dead" and taped it to the inside drawer of her desk at work. She had kept the abuse a secret, rather than seeking help from her loved ones. Don't ever make that mistake.

SIGN THE WARRANT FOR ARREST: When someone crosses the line between nuIsance and criminal behavior, it's time for legal action. Do not be afraid to sign the warrant.

PRESS FOR PROSECUTION (where applicable) : Reoccuring criminal behavior should not only be documented, it should be punished.

SEEK COUNSELING: Victims go through many emotions. Anger, fear, self doubt, did I do something wrong, was I too nice, why didn't I see this coming, etc, etc, etc... Don't try to deal with those emotions alone. Seek counseling specifically for victims.

So in the aftermath, I'm a little less outgoing, a little more observant, a little less trusting, a little more paranoid.

Don't let yourself be a victim.

*names have been changed to protect the innocent, namely me.

On a happier note, here is this year's Valentine's gift from Darling Hubby.
He always knows how to make me feel special
Love the penguin balloon! It reads "Our love warms my heart"

Thank you baby!