Sunday, June 29, 2014

All Good Things....

Today is the last day of my vacation.

This post is really long, loaded with pictures and I apologize for that. My intention was to post every day, but I got too busy and would crash at the end of the day.

I started my vacation with a rockin' music festival in Cullman, called Rock The South. It was originally created to raise money for the victims of the April 2011 tornado.  It was awesome! Here are a few pictures

Easton Corbin
Charlie Daniels
Sara Evans
But I had waited all night (ant through a storm) to see Lynyrd Skynyrd. They did not disappoint!

How about a little "Sweet Home Alabama" (Remove your hats gentlemen for "our" National Anthem)


Sunday was pretty much a bust, for obvious reasons.
Monday. I decided that it was time to reclaim my bedroom. I had been sleeping on the couch far too long.I needed to finish sifting through all the things I have just thrown in there the last couple of months.  I was not even going in there, which was ridiculous.
I will not say it was not painful. Coming across pictures, Mother's day cards, baby teeth, a stack of anniversary cards and notes broke my heart all over again. Funny how it all gets to you.
I'm not sure what triggered the insomnia, but I worked clean through until 4:30 Tuesday morning before I crashed, but was back up by 8:00 a.m. to start round two.
There were a few things that I needed to accomplish: I needed to repaint the mismatched headboard and I need to rearrange all the furniture. I didn't want anything to be the same.
I made a trip to Wallyworld to buy paint to repaint the headboard. I also had to buy a few basic tools to replace the ones I had divorced.  I have an addiction to the $5 movie bin. I try to pick up a few with each pay check.
The rest of the furniture is a light pine. The headboard, that I bought at a local thrift store for just $10, had been painted a mauve color. I had used a length of rose garland, wrapped around the top to add a romantic feel. Back when I let the cats in the bedroom, Zipper had done a number on the headboard, scratching the posts and attacking the flowers on the garland. Many were missing. I am over all that now, and promptly threw that dust-catcher away.  Removing it from the bedframe had proved quite a challenge. 
 Twelve years ago, when we moved into this house D/H had put the headboard on backwards. It had proved such a challenge for him, that we never corrected that mistake. The nuts, I found, were not tight at all. No need for my newly acquired channel locks.The first three bolts came out with no problem, but the fourth would not budge. In frustration, I beat on it with a hammer, and pushed at the headboard with my feet. After 45 sweaty minutes, the headboard finally relented and was free from the bed.
The wind had kicked up outside so the newspapers I laid down were trying to blow away. I managed to get all the pieces under the headboard enough to start painting. I had originally intended to mimic the light pine color by mixing a little peach paint and then washing over it with white, But I could not find peach spraypaint to save my life! There was every color of the rainbow, a whole line of fluorescent and about five colors of white, but no peach.  I settled on a satin finish antique white.
Here is the result.

There was also a small, black bookcase that had come with my stereo many years ago, that didn't match anything either.  Because I had used all the first can on the headboard, I had to go back for another can of paint. This time I went to Lowe's because I needed a set of furniture sliders. If I was going to move all that furniture myself, I was going to make it as easy as possible. I chose another can of antique white paint (Lowes, as luck would have it, had the peach I was searching for...too late, that ship had sailed) my furniture sliders and headed back to the house.  I painted the bookcase in the drive way. It also took an entire can, I guess because it was black.
There is some spots that are not really well covered but it was close enough for government work.
Soon, it was obvious that I could not move the furniture by myself. I was tired and punchy and a little dizzy. I had to call for reinforcements. I had been on the phone on and off all day with BFF Cyn because it was her birthday. She must really love me because she came right over, on her birthday, with slave labor ( i.e. Miss Mary Mac and little sister Mad) in tow.  It took no time to get everything in order.
 Next up, was making the bed. I had these new sheets, and couldn't wait to get them on the bed.

 I still need to iron the duvet, but I think that everything came together beautifully. There is still some tweaking, but here is a sneak peek.
My stepmother thinks that I need something larger and more decorative than that picture of me from college over my bed, but I like the minimalist look.
 Wednesday I decided to go shopping. Now notice I said "shopping" which doesn't necessarily mean "buying."  I did a lot more "shopping" than "buying." My first stop was to pick up Cyn's birthday present. Thanks to a hint from her daughter, I headed to Kirkland's and after some extensive searching, I found the canvas she wanted. It was a black and white picture of a tree with "Be still and know that I am God" across the bottom.
I went on to The Summit. First stop: The Fitting Touch. I wanted to get a new bra, since the other good ones no longer fit and because I have strange measurements.  Though I found several, I could not bring myself to spend $100 on just one bra.
 I went across to Victoria's Secret. I found several that I liked, but none of them came in my size. There were several that I did not like available in my size. Apparently 38 B is a very common size and those of us who wear them actually have good taste. 
Last stop was Belk. Oh the time I would have saved. And I definitely got my money's worth! For the same cost of one FT bra, I got two matching bra and panty sets, a slip, and a bottle of Clinique's Dramatically Different moisturizer.
Next stop was a late lunch with Cyn at Red Lobster to celebrate both of our birthdays.  Cyn got the roasted garlic seafood with crab legs and I had the seaside shrimp trio. I had to swap out the shrimp alfredo with a grilled shrimp skewer.

We finished up the evening having coffee at her house.  I had a very interesting chat with W, who had gotten called away on business at the last minute. ("Story of my life lately" he said.)
Thursday, my birthday, started off with lunch at PF Chang's with my mother and the Chief. I had the Schezwan beef. For desert we had banana spring rolls and coconut ice cream.  I stopped back by the local Wallyworld, which is much better than ours, to pick up a few things. I got a pair of Battenberg lace curtain panels to replace the grungy shades in my bathroom. And they had the most awesome $5 movie bin, and and equally awesome $4 movie bin across the aisle that my Wallyworld doesn't seem to have! I bought several double features packs so I got twice as many movies, most at only $2 a movie. By the time I was ready to leave, the bottom had dropped out!  I finally had to just run for it because I was needed at a fund raiser.
The Miracle League as having a fund raiser at the local steakhouse. Miracle Mary had begged me to be there to help out. Little did I realize the cleverly disguised ruse she had orchestrated. She got me a cake
(many thanks to her son for picking out the AUsome color scheme and the other crown)
and a birthday tiara, which I wore while telling patrons about the fund raiser.
She even invited Dooder, who took a break from his busy schedule of protecting and serving to come by with a card.  After a steak dinner (Happy Birthday to Me!) I headed home where I had another nice chat with W from his hotel.
I didn't even have time to think about the fact that my husband had left six months ago that day.
Friday, I did nothing for most of the day. Around 5-ish I get a text from Cyn. A picture of a large salad and a plate of steamed shrimp. "Come on over." it said. So I had dinner with her family. Then we settled down to watch a new Kirk Cameron movie. It was very odd, but we kept pausing it to laugh about things that the dialogue brought up, and the evening was punctuated with text from W.
It was nearly 1:00 a.m. before I got home.
Saturday was spent watching my newly acquired movies. Around noon I laid down for a little nap.  That little nap lasted over six hours! I missed all the games at the Miracle League park. Thankfully I still had another event coming next week.
And that bring us to today. The last day of my vacation. I report back to work tomorrow.
I don't know where my vacation went.
I don't particularly feel rested.
I guess it's back to the grind

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rockin' It For the Weekend

Yesterday on my way into work I heard something unimaginable; an 11 year old California girl has qualified for match play in the US Women's Open in Pinehurst North Carolina.

I will let that sink in for a minute.

11 years old.    E L E V E N

What were you doing when you were eleven?

Eleven year old Lucy Li is the youngest person to ever qualify for the tournement, surpassing Lexi Thompson, who qualified at 12.

The pictures of her after the first day of play, show her calmly noshing on an ice cream cone, like 11 year olds are supposed to be doing, and discussing her day with the press. Finishing 8 over par, just 11 strokes behind the leader, the number one golfer in the world, Stacy Lewis.


If you've got it ....Rock It!

Rock on, Lucy, Rock on

"Just The Way You Are" - Bruno Mars - 2009
Doo-Wops and Hooligans - Elektra
Speaking of Rockin' I will be rocking it this weekend at Rock The South in Cullman Alabama!  Originally intended to raise money for tornado relief from the 2011 storms that devastated our area,  now is used to raise money for a variety of local charites. I am only interested in seeing Lynyrd Skynyrd, but the rest of my entourage are more country fans than I am, so we should all have a great time. I CAN'T WAIT!
Then, I start my much deserved vacation

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Auburn Family Mourns

Yesterday was a very sad day on The Plains.

Tiger: War Eagle VI died at age 34.

She was believed to be one of the oldest living golden eagles in captivity.  She is one of several in a long and storied legacy.
Tiger was the first eagle to ever fly free over Jordan-Hare stadium. Until then, previous WE's just sat on the sidelines with their trainers.
In February 2002 she performed this feat at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah as part of the opening ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympic games. I remember how proud I was to be an Auburn Tiger, and watched in silent awe, with the rest of the world, as she soared above the crowd. Some of my Bammer fans had even commented on how well she had represented our state. The next day she was featured on the Today show. The hosts were amazed at something we here in Alabama often take for granted.
Tiger:WE VI ...fearless and true.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Tonight for dinner I made a little black bean soup.


Topped with a dollop of sour cream, and turned out great!


Over the Hump and Down Hill Toward VACATION

Welcome to Hump Day!

I have offiically begun the countdown to vacation! One whole week of not having to be anywhere, or do anything, or be responsible, or punctual, or awake. I will not know how to act!

Next week is also the week of my birthday.

W gave me some really exciting news last night, though he scared me half to death ringing my doorbell at 9:07p.m. 

My mother raised me that "business hours" are from 8:00 a.m. until 8:59 p.m. One does not call someone, or go see someone outside of those hours, unless it is an absolute emergency, like someone is bleeding profusely, or dying. And then only if I can help them in some way. When I was in high school, any friends who would call me late at night, would be greeted with "It is after 9:00 o'clock." Then she would stand over me until I also explained that normal, sane, respectable people did not call someone after 9:00 o'clock and that I would speak to them at a more reasonable hour. Even after I was an adult and out on my own, it felt somewhat naughty to be on the phone with someone after 9:00 p.m.  One was just not meant to be on the phone after 9:00 p.m. Ever.

After this life long conditioning, if Mother ever calls me at 9:05 p.m. to tell me something that she forgot to mention to me at 8:59 p.m. I instantly panic. It is almost Pavlovian. When my brother had his accident and I saw it was my mother calling so late, I knew it would not be good. The day my nephew was born she called me at 5:00 a.m. and despite the happy occasion, my heart still raced a good 30 minutes after the fact. 

But I digress.

He said they are switching some things around at his job, so that he will actually going to be off on the weekends. "Just in time for your birthday!"he said.  He said that his week nights may suck now (more than they suck already...really?) but he will actually get to PLAN some things for the weekend.  I wasn't sure what to be more excited over: That we would actually get to go OUT on a real date (rather than trying to watch a movie in a limited time span on a week day) or that my birthday had crossed his mind.

He only stayed for 15 or 20 minutes, but the little unexpected visit renewed my spirit.

Despite my late evening last night, I awoke with a little spring in my step today.

Three days until my vacation....

Let the countdown begin!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Celebrating Early

My birthday is next week. As you know, Dooder's was last week.
My mother likes to split it down the middle and celebrate the week in between.

Coincidentally, my office celebrates each month's birthday on the 15th (or the closest work-day to it)

This year, both celebrations fell on the same day.

Usually we do it later in the week, but with my nephew Scooter at camp and the girls leaving to be camp counselors at the end of the week,  Monday was the only day we could settle on.

At work, we had banana splits and ice cream sundaes

I still had to buy Kit-Kat a couple of pairs of shorts and her one piece bathing suit for camp. With a little time to kill I went to a local trendy clothing shop and picked up a couple of pairs of really cute cargo shorts.  The bathing suit will have to wait until tonight, but she's left my options open with the statement: "I don't care what it looks like." Oh goody.
Then, at my mother's favorite Mexican restaurant, after dinner we had cupcakes. Usually, I skip the cupcake. But Julz made a special trip to Whole Foods just to bring me a GF cupcake, made with rice flour. It was super sweet.  And I was tickled to be able to celebrate along with everyone else.
I could only eat half of it, and by the time I got home, it was obvious that I had over did it.
I was nauseated and sleepy.
I was struggling to stay awake and keep my shrimp taco down, during my nightly phone call with W.  I had to bid him an early "Goodnight."
This morning I awoke with a splitting headache and I am still somewhat nauseated. My tounge is coated, a symptom of my diabetes that usually signals my sugar is high without having to stab my finger tips.
 If I could throw up, I know I'd feel better.
Today, I will spend drinking water. I brought 2 eggs so I will have a high-protein lunch.
So much for left over ice cream

Monday, June 16, 2014

Magic Monday

Today we can all thank local radio celebrities Rick and Bubba for getting this song stuck in my head so early on a Monday morning.

I really loved The Cars, so it's not so bad.

"Magic" ~ The Cars ~1984
Heartbeat City -Elektra

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day Daddy! I love you more than words can express!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sittin' Pretty

I've made it throught another week...Bring on the weekend!

Nearly six months out of "the life changing event" and I am happy to say that things are going much better than expected! But we all knew that I would land on my feet with no problem, now didn't we.

What I am most surprised by, is how easy it is for me to handle everything (including the mortgage) on just my salary!  I guess that is the beauty of paying everything ON TIME.

Of course now that it is only me and Julzon my insurance (The Employee and Child plan)  rather than the Family plan, my coverage now costs me HALF what it did. It was like getting a raise! I've also cut the power bill in half, just by turning off lights when I leave the room. This month's gas bill was only $26!  And of course my car insurance is practically non-existent. It really does pay to be a good driver. After struggling for so many years (thinking we were paying the bills with TWO equal incomes...silly me), I'm amazed that I'm not even having to try that hard.  I am making ME happy and that takes hardly any energy at all. Living life on MY terms.  It makes me feel sad for the rest.

I have a comfortable life and I am happy with what I have.

But then again, it's not about the money now is it

As Ms Stefani says..."All the riches baby, don't mean anything...."

"If I Was A Rich Girl" - Gwen Stefani 2004
Love, Angel. Music, Baby - Interscope

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Another Birthday!

Happy 43rd Birthday to former major leaguer Ryan Klesko!

Now anyone who knows me well, knows that Ryan Klesko is my ultimate man-crush.  Above Matthew McConnaughey, above John Cusack, above Kevin James, above Fred Durst. As a matter of fact, those are my top five "leave my life and run away with" guys.

I first became a fan of his when he was a  member of the Atlanta Braves fron 1992 to 1999. My grandfathter got me watching baseball and the Turner network played every single game. When he relocated to the West coast to play for San Diego and later San Francisco, I could not follow as easily because their games were not always televised here.

A permaplaque photo from the 1995 World Series hung in my home, along side my family photos, until we moved to our new home in 2000.

He announced his retirement in 2008 and dropped off the radar.

Imagine my surprise when I returned to work  from a one day vacation in 2012 and learned that he had been a guest at my office!  I cried for nearly an hour!!

Later, I learned that he would be back! And because I was such a fan, they would give me the opportunity to meet him and if he was willing, get a picture with him.

I could hardly contain myself when the day came. He was super nice! My coworkers had told him what a huge fan I was and quizzed me right in front of him about his facts and stats.  I told him about going to a sports memorbilia show to get his autograph. He had been late coming in from Atlanta and had gotten pulled over. He was nearly 45 minutes late.  I was probably 20 people from getting my autograph when they pulled him from his seat to rush him off back to another scheduled appearance. He had apologized profusely. He said that he never liked being "over scheduled" and loved meeting the fans.

When I asked for a picture with him, he was more than happy to comply.  He whipped off his ball cap and pulled me in close. You can not see from the photo how I blushed, but I was suddenly hot and sweaty from head to toe.

After it was taken, he said "Lemme see" and I pulled it up on my phone for him. He said "Awww maaan! My hair is jacked!"  He offered to take another, but I thought I may have a heart attack before I could get out of there. I told him this one was fine.
Later, my coworker, Dave, came to my office. He held out his hand. In it was a baseball.  He said as he had walked Ryan back to his truck, Ryan had fished this baseball out of the floorboard. It's was obviously used, probably a discarded ball that he used to play with the dogs.
"Hey, take this to Joy" he had said, as he scrawled this message and his signature on it. "Tell her I'm sorry it's so scuffed up, but it's all I've got on me."
I wouldn't trade this chewed up ball for all the gold in the world.

Happy Birthday Ryan! I hope it's a good one!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Happy Birthday "Baby" Brother

Today is my little brother's 43rd birthday.

He has been through thick and thin with me, always the calm, level headed, voice of reason in a crisis. He has been my shoulder to cry on, and the source of much of my laughter. We share the same fiery temper. Through skinned knees, bruised egos, and broken hearts, my brother has always been there for me. He is my hero.

Don't know what I'd do without him.

En-JOY your day Dooder!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Weekly What I Wore

So I bought this new dress this weekend at the Vanity Fair/ Wrangler outlet at the Grand River Mall.
Only $25! Reminds me a lot of my favorite Banana Republic pullover dress.  
I loved the graphic print and classic cut.
The only thing that I didn't love was the belt, which hit me a weird place.
But I deciced this is MY dress now and no one is going to tell me how to wear it.
So I cut off the belt loops.
Here is what I got.

May not look like much of a difference to you, but it makes a HUGE difference to me.
I paired it with my "most expensive shoes ever"  to complete the look.

Monday, June 9, 2014

You Mean It's Monday....AGAIN!

I can't believe that it is Monday again, already!

I am so stinking tired. I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.

Luckily W gets his boys this coming weekend so I will get a little break. I am not at a place where I am comfortable meeting them. I know that I will grow attached. I need to see how things work out with W before I add anyone else.

I can't have my heart broken again so soon.

Happy Week Y'all

Friday, June 6, 2014

Gluten Free Fail

I had a great recipe for Gluten Free Meatloaf.

It was kinda a "FAIL"

Not really. It was pretty good, but it didn't stick together very well. I either need more
Rice Chex crumbs or another egg. Or maybe I should have made meat-muffins instead.

Last time, I crushed the Rice Chex with a ziplock bag. It took forever. This time I used my single-serve blender to crush them and it went really quickly.

But it also pulverized them to almost a powder. Not

Anyway. Here it is.

I paired it with garlic-herb potatoes and canned asparagus and washed it all down with a glass of muscato.
For a "Fail" it wasn't half bad.

Let's Get This Party Started!!

Oh yeah,

BIG plans with W this weekend. But

Let's get this party started.

(A favorite)

"Get The Party Started" ` Pink 2001
Missundaztood - Arista

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Just Another Day

Today I am thankful.

I am thankful that despite an industrial accident at my office, that I still have a job to come to today.

I am thankful that despite the nature of the industrial accident, all of my coworkers were unharmed.

I am thankful that today, just 24 short hours later, we are back in business.

God is good!

Yesterday was crazy. Phones rang non-stop, We were handed statement, after official statement. I had the President of the company, and several VP's, in and out of my office all day.

"W" had heard of the accident on the radio driving into work. When he couldn't reach me, he said it made him a little nervous. That was surprising, but it really made me feel good.

I thought about the wrench incident last week (or was that the week before?).  Would anyone call me if he were hurt? Too soon to tell. We are taking things slow. 

It has been a month now since we reconnected. Hard to believe it has only been a month. I guess because we have known each other forever.  It's not so much "getting to know you," as it is catching up. 

We recently shared a laugh over a picture one of his classmates posted of him, with a group of mutual friends, in the parking lot of my high school job. I am still amazed the we didn't meet back then.  His then-blonde hair, in carefully coiffed "wings", hint of a moustache, grinning like the Chesire Cat into the camera. 

Now, his hair is grayer, but still as thick as it was back then. Surprising for a man of 46 to not have some thining spot somewhere on his head. His brother, only a year older, started balding some time ago, and like many others, opted to shave off what was left.  I guess W got the good genes. He obviously passed them on to his children, both stocky and strong.

He is taller than me. It has been a very long time since I had to stand on tippy-toes to kiss someone.  Once an athlete, his walk denotes a hint of a limp, from the wear and tear on his knees. He jokes about "never missing a meal," patting his stomach while he does so, but something about his size is reassuring, making me feel safe and secure. He reminds me often of how his unmedicated blood pressure is perfect. I remind him that we should all be so lucky.

He is patient and understanding. He knows what I have been through. He overlooks my inability to fully trust him, but never brings it up. He just gives me "that look" when I question something, that tells me, the one that says I should know better.

A manager himself,  he is easy to talk "business" with, bounce ideas off of, get advice. I never realized how important it was to be on equal footing, career-wise, or how beneficial it could be. When I would try to express how I felt about problems with my job, D/H, content just to be a laborer, had no common ground to relate. It was still "manager to employee."  W, on the other hand, worked his way through the ranks to manager, and understands both perspectives.

But as a manager, he understands that he doesn't leave untl the job is done, regardless of if it is long past "quitting time."  He texted me from his job site about 7:00 pm: "Still in (City)"  It might as well say "I won't see you tonight." 

It was just as well.  I had needed the evening to decompress.  I drank a Bloody Mary and settled down with the cats, to watch t.v. Since getting the digital antenna, viewing has been much more enjoyable. Still havent felt the need to spring for sattelite, but W keeps making hints about what I will do when football season starts.

It gave me time to reflect on how simple my life was now and how grateful I was for it.
The bills are paid, I am fed, I have a roof over my head, and I have a nice job to go to every day.

Life is good.

En-JOY it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

All Is Well

I am fine. No one injured
No other comment

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday....We Meet Again...

#$%^&*!! It's Monday AGAIN!

"Monday Morning" ~ Christina Aguilera - 2010
Bionic - RCA Records

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pork: The Other White Meat

Today I decided to cook the pork chops that I bought back in December. They had been lurking in the back of my freezer.  I hate slaving over a hot skillet so I decided to try cooking them in my crockpot.

The result was nothing short of fall-off-the-bone amazing!

Just a pack of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix, a can of cream of mushroom soup.a can of cream of chicken soup, along with a small can of mushrooms finished off the yummy gravy.  After four hours in the crockpot they were done.

They were so tender they fell apart as I tried to plate them.

I served with steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, and rice and a glass of muscato.

Dinner is served!