Reflecting

I've always wanted to be an author. (Pause. If I'm being honest, there are about 100 things I've always wanted to be. Artist, zookeeper, veterinarian, used bookstore owner, greenhouse owner...you name it, I've dreamed of doing it. Un-pause.) One day, I actually sat down and started a novel. (No, you can't read it.) What I found in my miserable attempt to write a novel was that I have great ideas, terrific beginnings, and wonderful endings. What I don't have is the talent to fill in the details.

A good and successful author has a gift to make his or her characters come to life. You feel like you're right there in the story, experiencing the adventure with the characters. I don't have that gift, and after many failed attempts at my novel, I knew that I just wasn't meant to be an author. I'm fine with it now. Mostly.

In May 2008, I started this blog. I was almost 30, and thanks to BFF Jessie she talked me into documenting my 30th year and my weight loss adventure. I posted 7 times from May through December 2008. I know, I rock.

Then in January 2009, I met Christy. (Stay tuned...there will be a post about that soon.) She talked me into restarting my blog.

What I discovered in 2009 is that I may not be an author, but I AM a writer. And I think that I'm pretty damn good at it. Writing here is like therapy to me. It's where I can come and say anything I want. It's where I let all of my feelings hang out. I think Jessie said it best when she said, I am most me on my blog.

What my self-therapy led me to was all of you. New friends whom I have grown to love so much. I never in a million years would have thought that anyone (but Jessie) would have wanted to read what I had to say. And not only did you read, but you gave support and helped me to see things in a way that I can't always see them by just arguing with myself. You've encouraged me to write more, which in turn helped me grow more as a person, helped me to discover more of who I am on the inside, helped me to love myself more, and helped me find peace.

And THAT'S what I love about 2009.

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A Christmas Funny

Most of us stop believing in Santa when we're still kids, really. And when the day comes that your whole world is ruined because you've found out that the magic that was Santa Claus was really your parents, Christmas just isn't the same. You feel like it's lost it's magic a bit.

If you have children, the magic returns when you get to play Santa. I don't have kids, but I used to help play Santa at my aunt's and uncle's house when my cousins were little.

My cousin Aaron is now 18, but when he was 4, my uncle got the bright idea to buy him a micro-machines city. (If you're unfamiliar with micro-machines, they're tiny little cars and you could (can?) buy these playsets to go with your micro-machines.)

Now, if you're a parent, I know you know how toys come with stickers. Well this city came with FIVE sheets of tiny little stickers to go onto the city. So, he doesn't have to spend all day Christmas Day putting stickers on this playset, my uncle decides that we'll ALL do it Christmas Eve.

Now, imagine two adults and two teenagers taking "shifts" going to the bathroom to put stickers on this toy. To make matters worse, you had a "map" of the city. So you had to locate where each sticker had to go. This took forever. We'd each take a while in the bathroom. (Not my idea of a fun Christmas Eve evening, by the way.)

At one point right before Aaron was to go to bed, I was headed for my third trip to the bathroom. Aaron noticed.

Aaron: April, where are you going?

Me: I have to go to the bathroom.

Aaron: AGAIN?!

Me: Yep.

Aaron: Man, ya'll sure have POOPED a lot tonight.

And he walked off.

Moral to the story: Just wait until Christmas Day to put the stickers on the toys.

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Snow. Lots Of It.

Usually when they call for snow here, I just kind of smirk and say, "right." Oh, don't get me wrong, it'll snow sometimes, but it's only a dusting and never lasts more than a day.

Last night, they called for snow, and boy did we get it. It hasn't snowed like this here since 1996. Some will argue that it was 1995, but I know it was '96 because I was a senior in high school, we were out of school for two weeks, and my exams were cancelled.

So there.

Since snow like this is so rare here, of COURSE I had to take pictures!! (So, those of you who are used to snow, please bear with me, k? Thanks!)


The girls' dog house.


Pretty.


A neighbor dog came by for a visit.


There's a picnic table under there.


I love this one.


Bayleigh sees something. I love the snow on her back. She didn't.


Snow is piled everywhere!


I was making her fetch snowballs. She'd reach them and then couldn't find them. Bad Mama.


I think this one's my favorite.




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Did You Ever...

Tonight, I walked into my kitchen, I took off, and I slid in my socks to the refrigerator. Oh man, how I loved to do that as a kid. Even though whatever adult was around would fuss at me for doing that, I'd sneak and do it as often as possible. And even though I fell and busted my ass more than a few times, I'd still slide across the floor in my socks.

Did you ever do that? Or how about after taking a bath. You knew your favorite show was almost on, so you had to hurry up, so you'd get your PJs on as quickly as possible without really drying off?

Or, just playing in the rain and jumping in mud puddles. Did you ever?

The things we did as kids without even giving a second thought to. Things that we may would get "in trouble" for really were the best times. I like to think of them as a kid's breaths of fresh air. Even though, for the most part, we had little stresses as kids, we all needed those moments where we could just take a moment and forget about school or homework or *gasp* cleaning our rooms. Without even thinking we took moments and did something completely illogical.

The holiday season can be particularly stressful for me. I never know what to get people, and never have enough money to buy my loved ones what I'd really like to buy them. Yes, I know that it's the thought that counts, but what to give? I generally will shop and shop and shop until it's the last minute. I think sometimes as adults, we get too wrapped up in the worries that are life. It stresses me out so much that I notice that smaller, dumber things start to annoy me. Have you ever notice how that happens? One big thing stressed you out, then the smaller things start to bother you. Work, school, kids, spouses, bills, holidays, friends, this event, that event. We get so wrapped up that we sometimes forget to just take a second and breathe. We forget that we need those little moments to do something completely illogical.

We need to just breathe. Or slide in our socks across the floor. Go ahead, give it a try. Just don't fall, k?

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Most Annoying Christmas Decoration Ever

When I helped my mom decorate her house for the holidays (it's a tradition with us), I was secretly hoping she would forget a particular decoration. We had everything up, and then she said, "Hey, we need to get the snowmen out!"

This was what she was referring to:



Oh, yeah...sure you may think this is cute, but the thing has a motion sensor, and is extremely sensitive. This means that if the wind blows, the damn thing goes off. And if that's not bad enough, my nephew LOVES this thing. Begs to make the snowmen talk. He was fascinated with them last year too, which was cute since it was his first Christmas....until it was freaking March and my mom still had those little punks hanging on the wall.

So forgive me for not looking forward to hearing those little shits the 5 million times I'm going to have to hear them this holiday season.

That is all. ;o)

What I Was Thankful For

As Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end, and the start of the Christmas season is now beginning, I thought I would take some time to reflect on my weekend.

I generally hate family functions. I've told you in previous posts about the aunts. They stress me out. When they're together, someone usually ends up in tears. (This year was no exception.) But while there was a lull in the chaos, something hit me and I took a moment to reflect on it...

My granddaddy (my mom's dad) is one of the most wonderful men I have ever had the priviledge of knowing. Since losing 60 lbs, every time he sees me, he tells me how good I look. When some in my family start to try to make me feel bad for still being single, he says, "April's the smartest one of all of you, if you ask me." Then he'll wink at me. One of my favorite things to do is to sit and watch science fictions shows and movies with him. And if you walk into my house, you'll see that a lot of my furniture doesn't match. I have a lot of wooden furniture mixed with the more contemporary things that tends to reflect my style. Most of the wooden furniture in my house was handmade by him. I can remember watching each piece being made. I can remember bringing each piece home. Each piece of that I have is a work of art. Made from love by a man who loves his family so much. I will treasure each piece forever.

Granddaddy is in the end stages of emphysema. He's been on oxygen for at least ten years now. (It's actually more than that, but I can't remember exactly what year he went on oxygen.) The color in his cheeks has been gone for a few years now. He can't walk ten feet without getting out of breath. A few days before Thanksgiving he came down with bronchitis. Each time he has to fight bronchitis, it weakens his lungs even more. At one point on Thursday my granny said to the aunts, my mom, and I, "He's never going to get better." We all know this, yet every time we hear it, it breaks our hearts just a little bit more.

At one point, we were all in the den. My granny was in her chair, my mom and the older aunt were on the couch, and I was in my granddaddy's Hoveround. (Hey, don't judge. That thing is a freaking blast to play with, and Granddaddy gets a kick out of us playing with it.) I looked over and my grandfather was lying back in his recliner asleep.

I wish I could say that he looked so peaceful, but he didn't. Even in his sleep he was struggling to breathe.

For a few minute, while sitting in his Hoveround, I checked out of the conversation that was going on between my grandmother, mom, and aunt, and watched my grandfather sleep. In those few minutes, I remembered what it was like to watch him make those pieces of furniture. I thought he was such a strong man then, but I realize now how strong he really is. Each day is a battle for him, and we all know that he is fighting a losing battle. Yet each day, he fights. Each day, he's thankful he is still here.

So, this Thanksgiving I was thankful for my granddaddy. Thankful he still fights. Thankful that he is still here.

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The Boy Who Never Smiles

This is my cousin's son, HL. He's a quiet child, and rather than be mean about it (because he's only two), we'll just say he's not a people person. Most conversations with HL go like this:

Me: Hi HL!

HL: No.

My aunt had been saying how all week she tried to get him to smile for the camera. And while it's true that when you say, "Hey, HL, smile!" You get this:


I decided that I was going to get him to smile for the camera. For a couple of reasons. One, I knew I could do it, and two, I knew it'd make the aunt green with envy. (I know I'm mean.) What my aunt failed to understand is that you have to make it a game. So, I played peek-a-boo with him and made silly faces at him, and this is what I got:




Ain't he cute? ;o)

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The Sisterhood Turns 1!!

Dear Christy, Melissa, Lisa, Brian, Crooked Eyebrow, Beth, Thea, Christie, and Heather,

Christy, Melissa, CE, Brian, and Beth, a year ago you brainstormed and planned and brainstormed some more. You had a vision. A vision to help people (as well as yourself) to be successful in their weight loss journeys.

There are just some things in this world that you know from the beginning that they are extraordinary. Special. Great.

There are some things in this world that you know that so much care and love has been put into it that there is no way that it can NOT be great.

The first time I ever explored around The Sisterhood, I could tell that you all put a lot of love and care into sharing information. I could tell that you loved what you were doing. I could tell that the only thing you wanted to do was to help people in their journeys as well as share your journeys yourselves. I could tell that you wanted it to be something great.

And something great it is.

Now there are more of us (Hi guys!!). I can't tell you how humbled and privileged I feel to be a part of something so great. All I've wanted to do since figuring this whole weight loss thing out is to help others. To find SOMEONE and help change his or her life as mine has been changed.

For a long time, I didn't know how to go about that or even where to start. Then I was lucky enough to find you. And we are helping people change their lives, and I love it.

Not only have I found a place to support me in the last pounds of my journey, but I have found friends. So many friends.

We laugh together, we've cried together, we have definitely shrunk together. We're sisters. Fabulous shrinking sisters. And together we are strong.

A year ago today something great began. Ladies, Happy 1st Anniversary!! Let's cheers with our water....here's to many many more!

I love you all so much,
April

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My Thoughts While at the Eye Doctor

Thirty minutes past my appointment time. Why am I still in the waiting room?

I really could pee, but I'll hold it and just go after I get home.

FINALLY. She called my name. Shit. Now she's going to blow in my eye when that stupid machine.

And of COURSE she doesn't remember that I have a hard time not blinking.

Sure she says that this thing won't poke my eye, but what if she slips and it pokes my eye out. And she wants me not to blink. Right.

And you would know that my nose would just to stop up right now at this moment. Because earlier when I wasn't going to have an eye doctor in my face looking at my eyes was a much better time for the ability to breathe from my nose.

Yeah, I fucked that line all up.

My eye doctor reminds me of a kindergarten teacher.

Okay, yeah. I do know the words for "up and down" and "sideways".

NO NO NO NO. I do not want to dilate my eyes, but you obviously do, so do I have a choice?

Why does it take 15 minutes for your eyes to dilate, but 3 years for it to go away?

It cannot be healthy to be shining this bright light into my wide open pupil.

Oh no, what is that contraption she just placed on my face? It's pressing against my sinuses. PLEASE, nose, do not drip snot and embarrass us. I will cut you off my face if you do.

I totally shouldn't have had onions on my salad at lunch.

She's still looking inside my pupil. I wonder what she'd say if I asked if she could just make sure my brain is in there.

It can't be good that I'm now seeing blood vessels or nerves or both in the reflection of the light. Can it?

Okay, now I REALLY have to pee.

Finally time to go home...whoa, why do all the car lights look like giant orbs?


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The Gift That Will Never Be

I realized on Sunday that this coming week unofficially begins the holiday season for me. And I'm really dreading this Thanksgiving for one reason: my aunt.

My mom has two sisters. One a few years older; the other 16 years younger. I refer to them as "the aunts" when I have to be around both of them at the same time. They both drive me insane. The younger aunt is very unhealthy and extremely jealous that I've been successful with weight loss, but instead of fixing her problem, she insists on trying to make me feel bad. I've learned recently to "not engage the aunt". But that is a whole other story.

The older aunt and her family are visiting from Louisiana. They'll be at my grandparents' house this coming weekend through Thanksgiving. My mom and I will be going for visit #1 this weekend. I'm really annoyed with with my aunt. A few months ago, I was outright angry, but now, I'm just annoyed. Really annoyed.

Let me first pose a question to you: If someone gives you an heirloom as a gift, but gives it with the stipulation that you have to one day pass it on to the next girl born in the immediate family, does the original giver then have the right to ask for the gift back?

Now let me explain: My aunt had a daughter who passed away as a toddler from leukemia. When I was born, she gave me a baby bracelet and told my mom that it would be my job one day to pass it onto the next girl.

I remember from a very young age asking my mom to look at "my bracelet". I was so proud to own something that was my cousin's. I knew that my cousin had been special, and it made me feel special to have that bracelet. I couldn't wait for the next girl to be born so that I could give it to her. From the time I was a kid, I have been planning just the perfect way to pass this bracelet on.

The problem has been that there have been no girls born. With each pregnancy and birth, a boy has been born. But still I held out that I would maybe get to pass the bracelet on. Until...

My aunt called my mom and demanded (not really asked) for the bracelet back. For no particular reason other than the spirits told her she needed it back. (No, I'm not joking.)

Knowing her situation, I suspect that she pawned it. And that really breaks my heart. That bracelet was my prized possession my whole life, and it and my right to pass it on was just ripped from me. If she would just have been up front with me, I would have gladly paid her what the bracelet was worth.

And now I have to go see this aunt and give her a hug and act like nothing is wrong. (Because I refuse to do anything that may upset my grandparents.) Maybe I can "accidentally" step on her toes or something as I walk by? Yeah, maybe I'll do that.

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Sunflares!

I'm still visiting Christy in Texas!! On Wednesday we went hiking and she taught me how to take photos of sunflares! I'm still very new to photography, so I was super excited to learn this. So excited that I took A LOT of shots of sunflares. Here are a few I took, I know they're not great, but it's a start! I hope you enjoy!





If you want to see more pics from our hike, go here!

I Captured Love

This week, I'm at Christy's house, and I've been so excited to get to post these captures, so Beth, I'm totally cheating this week. These shots are all ones that I've taken over the course of a few months. It's how I captured love.


Crooked Eyebrow herself said it perfectly when on Twitter she called it the "quilt that blogging love made".

We all chose a fabric, and I took them all to my mom. We put them all together.

And sorted them so they could be washed.


After we chose the quilt pattern, my mom cut the fabric into squares.


Then we arranged the fabric into the pattern and made sure each square had found the perfect home.

After, we organized labeled each row so no square would lose its way.


Each square was sewn...


and hand tied with such care and love.

We may not have all met face to face yet, but we all are friends. We have a bond. And there is love in that bond. As friends, we wanted to do something very special for a very special little girl. So, that's how the quilt that blogging love was made. And that is how I captured love.

Want to see more You Captures? Head on over to I Should Be Folding Laundry!

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Thanks to Twitter

I can't even believe I typed that out. Seriously. Twitter can be such a great big pain in the ass sometimes that I just want to stick a fork in my eye. Like, the "Over Capacity" message? What the hell is that? Or how about the time when like 2,000 of my tweets just disappeared. (They did return about a week later, but still.) And I am so totally over blocking these porn people who follow me just because I use the word "hooker" in some of my tweets. Stupid Twitter.

But then I sit and think, if not for Twitter, I would have never written this post. (Or ones about Butt Growls or funny little poems!) I would have never started writing on my blog again. I certainly never would have gone to Chicago to Blogher because I wouldn't be a blogger. I would have never met any of you.

For those of you who may not know, let me explain...

Ten months ago this week, I was doing a live search on Twitter while watching The Biggest Loser. I noticed this one tweet by this user called @shrinkingjeans that said that she was watching the show for the first time. I clicked on the profile and found a blog called The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. So, I followed @shrinkingjeans on Twitter, and not a minute later, @shrinkingjeans followed me back. We exchanged a few tweets and that was that.

The next day I visited the site again. What a terrific site it was. I wanted to tell these girls (and guy) what a great site they had, but you see, I can be a bit shy at times. And hour later, and many do-overs of my email, I sent the site a message. Within 5 minutes I had responses.

Christy, Melissa, and Crooked Eyebrow all replied, and Christy and I chatted on and off for a lot of the day. (She was the one I was chatting with on Twitter the previous night!) By the end of the week, Christy had convinced me to join them in their challenge and to start writing on my blog again.

As mad as I get at Twitter, I can't hate it. It's because of Twitter, I met Christy, and I joined The Sisterhood, and I became friends with all of you. Some of you I've met face to face already. Some I haven't, but I know we will some day! (Hopefully sooner than later!)

It's all because of Twitter. And because of Twitter, I'm going to visit Christy in Texas this week! Christy, are you ready?! ;o)

Headed to Blacksburg...

You can read all about it over here!! (For those of you who tried to comment last time and couldn't, that problem is all fixed now!)

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It's a Shrink-a-Versary!!

Shrink-a-Versary Challenge with the Sisterhood!

Hey you! Did you hear? November is our one year anniversary over at the Sisterhood, and we're celebrating in shrinking fashion!

All month long, we're going to have give-a-ways (um, like EVERY SINGLE DAY), and we have this awesome fitness challenge starting soon, and a brand new weight loss challenge (that starts today!), and maybe a few other fun things in store! But to enjoy the fun, you have to get in the game, so head on over to the Sisterhood. Do it now! Go! ;o)

So, this weight loss challenge...I sure hope it goes better than last challenge. The good news is that there are only two tailgates left. The bad news is that it's the beginning of the holiday season soon. This doesn't worry me too much because I've done really well the last two holiday seasons.

As some of you know, last year I tried the P90X program. I believe that was the hardest fitness program I've ever tried in my life. One thing that the trainer, Tony Horton, said almost every single work out was, "try your best and forget the rest".

I'm so bad about putting pressure on myself to do well. It's a bad habit that began in childhood and I've allowed to carry on into adulthood. I hate the feeling of letting those I care about down. I hate the feeling of letting myself down. Once I get that feeling, then it's hard for me to maintain focus. I let that happen here recently, and shame on me for that.

So, this challenge, I'm going to try my best. I'm going to hopefully shrink, and I'm just not going to worry about it. (Or try to.) I'm going to try my best. Will you join me?

Starting weight: 146.2

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A Ghost Story - Repost

Since it's the week of Halloween, I thought now would be a good time to repost a story I told in May when not as many people followed my blog. So for some of you, this is going to be a repeat, and I'm sorry, while for others it's going to be new. Enjoy!

Flashback 11 years ago. I was fast asleep in my nice, warm water bed and was having the most unusual dream ever. I only remember one of the details of the dream. This detail is so disturbing that I do not wish to discuss it, but know that as soon as it scared me, I woke up.

Something was very wrong about how I woke up. First, I was on my back. I never sleep on my back. And my arms were in a position so that my fists were at my chest. I couldn’t move. I was literally paralyzed from the neck down. It was as if a ton of weight was just sitting on my body.

I started to panic.

Then I realized I wasn’t alone in the room. I looked over and I see a pair of sheer white legs. I looked up and there by my bed stood a foggy mass in the shape of a man. His clothes looked like he was from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. He was very tall, and you could tell that when he was alive he had very, very blue eyes. And he was staring down at me.

Now, being a girl that loved the show Unsolved Mysteries, you would think that I would have been thrilled, but the truth was I was scared out of my mind. How I didn’t pee all over myself, I’ll never know. I remembered watching a show once and the person on it said that if you ask spirits to go away, they will.

So, I turned my head and closed my eyes and repeated, “please go away, please go away,” until the weight lifted and he was gone.

A few weeks later my mom and I were visiting my grandparents. We were all at the dining room table and my granddaddy said that he had come across some old pictures that he wanted to show us. He passed one to me and said, “this is my grandfather, Lee.”

My stomach jumped to my heart. There was the very tall man with white blue eyes staring back at me just like that night by my bed.

Did you get the chills?


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Kinda Like A Sorority

I once heard this saying that you would meet the best of friends that you'd keep forever in college. I'm sure that's so very true for a lot of people, but for me that wasn't true.

I've been thinking about this lately and a few of you have reminded me of this recently. So, I think I'll talk about it just a bit. (If you don't mind.)

Let's go back to college... I went to a small college near my hometown that likes to think of itself as "the Harvard of the South". Now, I give you that nothing about my four years there was easy, but it cracks me up to know the attitude that some of those folks like to take.

Since I lived literally 10 minutes away from campus, my dad made me live at home. "There's absolutely no need for me to pay $5,000 for you to live 10 minutes from home," he said. Logically, he was right. Now? I wish I wasn't so logical.

So, to try to "fit it", I joined a sorority. Now, if you know me at all, you're thinking, wha?? Seriously?

Yes. I did. And to be honest, without those girls, I would not have made it through college. They helped me to begin to see that I am a strong woman. Not once was I hazed. I never felt like I "paid for my friends." (The dues I paid were to pay for things we did, like dances and t-shirts and parties, etc.) I always felt loved, and we were so amazingly diverse. I loved it. And, without them, I would have never had the fun that I did in college.

But, outside of facebook, I don't talk to very many of them on a consistent basis. It's hard to live with your parents and make the bonds that a lot of people do in college.

So, I spent a lot of my 20's desperately seeking lasting friendships. Some of them were right in front of me, and I just didn't see them until here recently. Others were terrible for me, but I was so hungry for good friends, that I didn't see just how bad they were for me.

I let them convince me that I was weak and ridiculous for being silly and, well really, just not worth a damn. I felt like crap most days. I tip toed most days. I was miserable most days.

Then one day, I had enough. I broke those friendships. I told myself they just weren't healthy for me anymore, and I broke the connection cold turkey. And I felt lost.

I felt like I had almost no one.

Then, one day, I found one person from my childhood. And not only did that person remember me, but she wanted my friendship. She helped me to see that I WAS worth so much more than I was giving myself credit for. And that I wasn't weak, but strong. And yes, I'm very silly, but you know what? That's perfectly okay.

Eventually I became the person that you all know now. I'm not weak, I'm very strong, and yes, I'm silly, but you know what? Who the hell cares? It's fine, and it's fun, so all is good.

I know I still struggle with some of this. I know some of you have seen this, and I know it can be annoying. I'm not asking for patience (because I know it's so freaking annoying) but I do appreciate it. I sometimes feel like the friendships I have made here are the ones that most people make in college.

So many people see a sorority as a bad thing. All you hear about is the bad, so it's hard to know that there is good out there when it comes to sororities. But when I think of a sorority, I think of a group of women who share a common bond in something. In college, it's the actual sorority. The bond that is created exists because because of the secrets you share within the sorority. In life, it can be motherhood or knitting or oh, I don't know, happy hours, or blogging.

So, to me, we're all kind of like my sorority. Diverse and fun and so very full of love. When one blogger meets another, a secret handshake of sorts is exchanged. That "bond" is there. Some you get to know better than others. That's fine. It happens in sororities. Also, when one falls, we're there to pick her up. If she succeeds, we celebrate with her. We just care. We're lasting friends. And I love it.

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LOL Dog

I took these shots of Bayleigh one night while I was watching TV. And since I don't really know what to write, I thought I'd share.


"Ohmyachinghead. I knew I shouldn't have drank all that beer last night."



"She doesn't know I just tooted. Hee hee."



"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?! TACKLE HIM!"


:o)

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The ABCs of Me

So, I'm stealing this from Melissa because I love random posts, and she told me I had to. Enjoy!

A– ADVOCATE FOR: Drink Beer at Work on Fridays.

B – BEST FEATURE: I do have some really great eyes. For real. And my calves are to die for. Really.

C – COULD DO WITHOUT: Allergies. And I tend to worry a lot. I don't know why.

D – DREAMS & DESIRES: To win the lottery so I can take care of my family and friends. It's going to happen one day, folks.

E – ESSENTIAL ITEMS: My ipod and my blackberry. ;o)

F – FAVORITE PAST TIME: Painting, reading, spending time with good friends.

G – GOOD AT: Remembering random facts. Seriously, it's a disease.

H – HAVE NEVER TRIED: To watch Grease the whole way through. I KNOW.

I – IF I HAD A MILLION DOLLARS: See "D". And I'm going to book a week long trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas. Who wants to come?

J – JUNKIE FOR: Science Fiction. But only the realistic kinds. Like Star Trek and Star Gate.

K – KINDRED SPIRIT: Oh, do I have to choose just one? I don't think I can. Let's see. Jessie, Lana, Melissa, my girls at Shrinking Jeans.

L – LITTLE KNOWN FACT: When I was a teenager, I taught myself to juggle. I'm pretty good at it, too.

M – MEMORABLE MOMENT: I guess the biggest was holding my nephew for the first time. He was just 4lbs 9oz when he was born. I was so afraid I would hurt him!

N – NEVER AGAIN WILL I: weigh 200lbs. The End.

O – OCCASIONAL INDULGENCE: Cake. It's so occasional that I get a sugar high when I eat it. It's fun to witness.

P – PROFESSION: Claims Research and Adjuster for a major health insurance company. I fix your claims if I can, so I'm the good guy. Or girl. Whatever.

Q – QUOTE: "There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting." Lucy Maud Montgomery (I so relate to Anne on this one.)

R – REASON TO SMILE: Lots of FUN times ahead!!

S – SORRY ABOUT: Not realizing how much I love myself earlier in life. I think I missed out on some real fun times.

T -THINGS THAT ARE WORRYING YOU RIGHT NOW: That my family is falling apart. Really can't talk about it right now.

U – UNINTERESTED IN: Haunted Houses. I really just don't like 'em.

V – VERY SCARED OF: Spiders. I get really big ones in my house for some reason. Like ones the size of my, um, pinky nail. Hey, that's HUGE when you're scared of them!

W – WORST HABITS: Worrying.

X – X MARKS MY IDEAL VACATION SPOT: Atlantis in the Bahamas

Y – YUMMIEST DESSERT: Chocolate cake.

Z – ZODIAC SIGN: Gemini. And I love it. More than you know.

WHAT ARE THE ABC’S OF YOU?

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My Fear

I've thought about this a lot lately. And when I mean a lot, I mean A LOT.

Usually when asked what my biggest fear is, I will automatically answer with "death". It's true. Death scares me, but I don't think that's my biggest fear. It may be part of my biggest fear, but the more I think about it, my biggest fear is something completely and totally silly and out of my control.

My biggest fear is the unknown. I would go so far to say that my fear has influenced tons of decisions in my life. (Aren't fears funny things like that? We let them control us. Why? I mean really, if you think about it, it seems sort of silly doesn't it? But as silly as it is, I'm guilty of letting my fear control me.)

For example, I can say that I lived at home through college instead of going away because my dad made me. While that is true, had I not been so afraid of what was out there, I would have insisted on going away, and I know my parents would have let me.

Also, I've been at my company for 9 years now. I love the people I work with, but I hate the job and don't feel much better about the company. Yet, I've done next to nothing to move towards something that I know I would love. Why? Because, OMG, what's out there?

What would life be like if I were to do these things? I don't know. It's unknown, so I'll just stay right here, thanks.

There are so many things that I shy away from because I just.don't.know.

I know you're thinking, OMG how do you live that way? Well, I can be fun, I swear! I mean, I got my belly button pierced on a dare for crying out loud.

I know the fear itself isn't silly, but the way I can let it control my decisions is. So, if I know this then why do I do it? And now, I've lived this way for so long, that just stopping would be, well, weird to me.

I'm sure six or so years ago, I could have given you some terrific, well thought out, and seemingly logical explanation for why this fear was a good thing, but the truth is I just don't know anymore. And since I can't give good reason for my fear, or better yet, why I let my fear control me, then there must be no good reason. (How's that for logic, eh?)

Really, I'm tired of letting it control me. I'm tired of being such a coward that I shy away from things. It really is hard work. I'm ready for it to be easier. I'm lazy like that.

I feel like recently, I've made really good progress on breaking this terrible habit. I've met some amazing new people OVER THE INTERNET, and met a lot of you (which trust me, that wouldn't have happened a few years ago. No way.). I've taken a really hard look on my inside and have worked on trying to get happy and stay happy. I've lost 62 lbs. These are things that you just don't do by living in fear of the unknown, but this is something that I still need to work on. And work on it I will.

I can't promise that tomorrow I will wake up and just throw this fear out of the window. I can promise to be more aware of it and to try not to let it get to me as much. I think in time, I won't let my fear control me as much. And that makes me happy.

But you can't make me like spiders. No way. Not ever.

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10 Things about Me...

Mendie over at The Little Ladybug that Could tagged me for this neat little award/meme. I'm supposed to tell you ten things that you probably don't know about me. We all know how I love random, so, here we go!

1. I have seen every episode of Star Trek: Voyager. At least twice. My fellow Trekkers would hang their heads in shame.

2. The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin was/is one of my heroes. Five years ago, I was ready to pick up and head to Australia to beg him for a job. I think he would have hired me. I cried the day he passed away.

3. Yogurt makes me gag. I want to like yogurt. Try it often, gag every time. Boo.

4. When I was six, my mom had my hair cut into a Dorothy Hamil cut. I was that cool.

5. I spent my summers at the lake nearby. Our bathroom was an outhouse. I opened the door to the outhouse one day to see a brown spider the size of my head creeping out of the hole. I never would enter an outhouse again. Think about that one.

6. One of my favorite places to go is the antique mall.

7. "We Built This City" is one of my favorite 80's songs. I don't care what you say, it's iconic.

8. I have to "jump start" my washing machine mid-cycle every time I use it. I paid $100 for it, so I REALLY know the meaning of the saying "you get what you pay for".

9. I cry almost every time I hear bagpipes. (Long story.)

10. I can still sing the theme songs of the shows Kids Incorporated and the new Mickey Mouse Club. (I may or may not have been in the Mickey Mouse Club fan club.)

Now, I'm suppose to choose 10 friends to tag, but as you know that would mean I would actually have to make a decision, and we all know I can't do that. So, if you want to play, go for it! Thanks Mendie for the kudos!!

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Meet Lucy

I could tell that for about a month now that my mom has really been missing having a dog around the house. So, when she and my dad were in North Carolina on Friday, and she text me to Google the number for this mini-dachshund breeder. I gave her the number and a picture of one of the pups and dared her to not come home with this dog.

Of course she did, and I went over to see the new baby, and we named her Lucy. (Thanks Melissa for the suggestion!)

My dad had said that he wasn't going to get attached to a new dog, yet who was in the floor playing with her as soon as they got home? Mmmm-hmm.

Not only did Charlotte have back problems, but she was also born with a heart murmur. Something that we didn't know about until she was older and something that ended up causing her death. So, my mom and I took Lucy to the vet on Saturday morning. They led us into the room where we had put Charlotte down. My heart stung with sadness. Our vet seem excited to see us with another dachshund, and as she examined Lucy, my mom and I held our breaths.

"No murmur," the doctor said, and my mom and I sighed with relief. Mom has a healthy puppy. All 4lbs 7oz of her.

Yes. This is my mom's pup, not mine. And that's something I'm just fine with because my mom (and dad) needed Lucy.



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Dear Charlotte

I'll never forget the day that we met. Your breeder walked to the back of her house to the "dog room", opened the door, and out you and your sisters raced. One of them was black and tan like you and the other was a blonde color. I watched the two of them run around the room just shouting, "we're free! Run! Run! Run!" I was so amazed by how much energy they had that I momentarily forgot that there were three of you.

Hang on, I thought. Where is the third.

I looked down and there you sat at my feet, sniffing my toes. Then you gave my big toe a tiny little lick, and looked up at me with a look that plainly said, "Here, I am. Let's go home."

And go home we did.

We had so much fun getting to know each other that day and that evening. By the end of the afternoon, we had named you Charlotte because I picked out a purple collar (which would your color) and Clay (now Clay, Sr.) picked out a teal leash and that was the colors of the Charlotte Hornets NBA team. Hey, we were a basketball family!

It really was one of the best days of my life, meeting you.

And then night came. I was determined that you would be crate trained, and you were determined to keep me awake all night because of it. By 3 a.m., I was ready to send you back. But I didn't, and you became my best friend. I will miss you every single day for the rest of my life. You were just that special.

I want you to know that today, Mom got a new dachshund. Her face reminds me a lot of you at that age even though she's a different color. I also want you to know that she is in no way replacing you. This is just a new chapter for Mom and Dad. Mom (and Dad, even though he won't admit it) needed this little girl. I know you understand. If possible, show her the ropes, okay? (Just be nice and teach her to pee under Clay's chair, not mine.)

Love,
April

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You Capture: The Color Red

This week's You Capture challenge was the color red.

On Sunday, I set out around my parent's house to find the perfect color red shot. My mom's car is red, so I took different shots of different parts of the car, but this one ended up being my favorite.



But that was really the only decent one that I got, so I was all set to just post that one and then I walked by Cagney's cage. Cagney is an African Grey Parrot. Greys have RED tails!

Now, I realize that you may be getting sick of Cagney pictures, but she has a RED tail. How could I not take pictures of it?

So, remember the last time when she nearly got hold of my lens, I but my bigger lens on my camera so that I wouldn't have to get so close to her. But she's a camera diva, and she didn't understand why I didn't want to take pictures of her face, so this turned into a dance of me moving to one side to try to get a shot, and as soon as I focused and shot, I got a blurred picture of her face. So, I'd move to the other side really quick and the same thing. Thirty minutes and 50 shots later, I had three or four decent ones and two good ones.

She's waving to you here. Obviously, she's not aware that I'm not taking a picture of her face.



After thirty minutes, I got pretty quick at the little dance game. Yeah.




And there you have the color red.

Want to see more You Catures? Head on over to I Should Be Folding Laundry!!

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Dear Jon & Kate:

I admit it. I loved your show. Since childhood, I have always been fascinated with stories of multiples. I've probably watched every TLC and Discovery Health channel show on multiples there is.

I can remember watching your show for the first time and thinking how amazingly wonderful it was to see the two of you bringing up your children in such a loving and caring home. Sure, Kate seemed to be the one to wear the pants at times, but it was funny and oh my goodness, your kids were just so adorable.

Then you went and turned dumb. Both of you.

It really kind of annoys me that I'm wasting a post on you, but I feel it has to be said. And well, both of you ceased to amuse me, oh about...let's see...MONTHS ago.

I admit, I felt that Kate was doing the right thing in laying low and staying out of the limelight. I felt for her a little bit each time I saw as headline with Jon being even more dumb.

Then this week happened, and Kate made the morning show rounds crying that Jon had stolen all of her money.

Kate, honey, do you really believe that we buy that load of nonsense that you're completely wiped out? If so, take a look at your house. And I'm almost certain your clothes didn't come from KMart. I just don't buy that a couple of hundred thousand is all you had.

Jon, I can't even look at you anymore. Every time you speak, you just get more and more dumb. Seriously, listen to yourself. You remind me of Roger Clemens with the crap that comes out of your mouth. One difference, the things that Roger Clemens said were so ridiculous it was funny. You're just ridiculous.

How two seemingly intelligent people lost so many IQ points in such a short amount of time is beyond me. The world doesn't revolve around you, there are REAL people with REAL problems in this world, so get over your reality TV nonsense. Get over yourselves and focus on those 8 little children who would be completely embarrassed at their parents' behavior if they were old enough to know what's going on. I'm over you. I want you to GO AWAY. And I'm fairly certain that I'm not the only one.

That is all.

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The Random Dog Post

As most of you know, I have dogs. And I don't think I go overboard too much talking about my dogs. I mean, seriously, I wouldn't want to read about how crazy they can make me every day, so I know you wouldn't want to either. But every now and then they do things that absolutely crack me up. So, here are a few examples of these things. I hope they make you laugh.

When Bayleigh (the cocker spaniel) gets quiet, I know she's up to something. And usually that something is not good. Her favorite thing is to jump up on the toilet seat, steal the TP from the back of the sink where I try to keep it out of her reach, and shred the roll to pieces. Kelci (the shepherd) usually is the one to give Bayleigh away because she tries to "join in" but marches into the living room with TP hanging out of her mouth. After I take the TP away and give a good scolding, Bayleigh promptly gives Kelci the "I hate you look".

Last week, Bayleigh was out of sight, but I could hear her playing. She would get quiet, then I would hear the thump, thump of her paws. This means she has a toy. At almost 7, she doesn't play as much as she used to, so it does my heart good to hear her playing. The thump, thump sounds were getting closer. All of a sudden, I see her the top of her head, and she is concentrating hard on something in between her paws. Oh no, that means her "toy" is alive and under her paws. Suddenly she moves her paws, a spider dashes for dear life, she pounces, her short tail wagging as fast as it could, spider is back under her paws. When I got her away from the spider, the poor thing had two legs left. I hate spiders, but that poor thing looked just pitiful.

One chilly morning last week, the alarm goes off, I walk to the back door to let the dogs out, Bayleigh dashes out, no Kelci, I walk back to my bedroom and all I see is Kelci's tail sticking out from under the bed. I drag her out and to the back door, open the door, Bayleigh dashes back in, Kelci races after her. Yes, there were cuss words.

I used to have a trash can with a swing top. One night, I ate leftover spaghetti and tossed what I didn't want into the trash. Then, I let the girls in, fed them, and then headed to the couch to watch some TV. I could hear Kelci in the kitchen walking around, then she trots into the living room, stick her face in mine and burps spaghetti. GROSS. I didn't crack up then, but now that story makes me laugh.

Yes, my dogs crack me up.

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I Am A Blogger

I've been thinking about writing this post, or one like it, for a while now. Then, Heather wrote this post, and I accused her of reaching into my head and taking my idea away, so now I'm copying her. I kid. It goes sort of goes along with her post, but I'm taking a slightly different direction with it. Heather, I hope you don't mind me sort of copying you. (Even though you really did reach into my head and take it away. Love ya!)

I remember the first time I heard the word blog. It was on a TV show, and I thought, what the heck is a blog? Rather than get up and walk all the way to my computer room where my ancient desktop was located, I just shrugged it off and stayed on the couch. (I can be lazy, ya know.)

Not long after that, I started listening to some tech podcasts, and of course most of them have blogs, so I found out, that a blog is a place where you write. Oh. Interesting, I thought, but I still really didn't get it.

You see, I'm a math major. There are two reasons why people are math majors. First, we had no clue when we became math majors that we would still have to write papers. Long papers. I've written math papers that could put word problems to shame. Second, we love science, but hate labs. (See lazy.) It isn't that I didn't like to write. I love to write. I've written tons of things, but I never felt that I was any good at it. I know I have great ideas. Clear beginnings. Fantastic endings. But I always felt like I lacked the talent to fill in the details.

Jessie was the one who put the idea into my head to start a blog. So, one night, after a few beers, I made that terrible hike of 15 feet to the computer room, sat down at the computer, and logged onto blogger. And I created a blog. And I sucked at it.

I had a few okay posts in the beginning, but I just didn't stick with it. I couldn't come up with things to write about, and I felt like the quality of my writing just didn't deserve to be published for the whole World Wide Web to see. So, from May of 2008 through December of 2008 I had 7 posts. Go me.

Then one evening in January, I was watching TV with my laptop in front of me. I hadn't thought about my blog in months. I had decided that it was just one of those things that I started, but never finished. (Yeah, sometimes I'm bad about that.) That night, I happened upon Christy on Twitter. Over the next few days, Christy encouraged me to start my blog again. I did, and I finally got what it meant to blog. Things to write about just started popping into my head. Some are pretty good, some aren't. But what I found that's so very important and exciting to me is that I've found just how much I love to write. I love sharing with you all the crazy things that my animals do, or the weird bathroom incidents that I encounter. I love that I can come here when I'm hurting and pour my feelings out. I love that, for the most part, you all seem to enjoy reading what I have to say. The people I have met because of this blog are amazing, wonderful, and inspiring to me, and you really do my heart good!

Very few people here at home (you won't ever hear me say "in real life") know about this blog. It isn't that I don't want people to know that I'm a blogger, it's just that they may not get it. I mean, really, you should see some of the looks I get when I wear my "Born To Blog" shirt. (And it has nothing to do with the fact that "Born To" is written right across my chest, I'm sure!) But I'm finding that I'm sharing the fact that I blog with more and more people. I'm proud of the things I write about. If they come here and don't like what they see, they'll move along, and that's fine. But maybe if they don't like what they see here, they'll happen upon one of YOUR blogs and like what they see there, and that would make me very happy.

So, now, when someone asks me what do I do for fun, one of the first things I say with a smile on my face is, "I am a blogger." Wonder if my math professors would be proud? ;o)

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You Capture: The Feeling of Fall

In my front yard I have a huge oak tree. It's probably one of my favorite things about my house. I love when the leaves start to turn. That's really when I get my first feeling of fall.


I was so excited this week to see the first few yellow leaves. I know that in just a few weeks the whole tree will be full of bright fall colors. I love to sit on my front porch and watch the squirrel who lives in my tree hide nuts, then find nuts, and jump in the leaves. (He doesn't run. We're tight like that.)


But today as I was driving up my street, I saw that half of my tree was just gone. There are power lines that run through my tree, so I knew the electric company would trim it soon, but those bastards chopped half of my tree away. Including the my squirrel's nest. And now it looks like it may die. I took this picture with my phone. ( I'm going to take better ones tomorrow. I may be writing a very unhappy email to my electric company tomorrow.)


You see where you see sky? You're not suppose to. Now, instead of sitting and looking at my big beautiful tree full of colors and my squirrel hiding and finding nuts, I get to see sky and power lines. *sniff*

Want to see more You Captures? Head on over to I Should Be Folding Laundry!

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Half A Step Off

I began playing basketball when I was 12. I was the tallest on my team and was taught to play center and forward and loved every minute of it.

Just one year later, every one else grew, and I didn't. I went from being the tallest on the team to on of the shortest. I went from playing forward and center, to playing guard. The problem with that is that I wasn't a great ball handler. In fact, I'm not super athletic at all. I had to work very hard at playing basketball.

I ended up trying out for the school squad, made the team, but sat the bench during the 8th grade. In 10th grade, I had worked my way up to sixth man. (This means, you're the first sub in during a game.) I played a lot, and I loved it.

Then came varsity and back to riding the bench. My coach was convinced that I had no business playing basketball yet, instead of cutting me, she kept me on the team and would put me in the last minute of every game. Fun stuff, huh?

Let's skip to my senior year. I was the only senior on the team, was determined to make captain, and didn't. Not because my teammates didn't vote for me, but because the coach didn't want me to be a captain. I could have quit right then, but I didn't. I decided to stick it out. I earned some playing time by not playing in our Jrs versus Srs flag football game during homecoming week, but I still only average around 2 mins a game.

Then one day, we were playing the team that was known for the best player in the area. She was super quick, scored a lot of points, and was definitely on her way to playing college basketball. And within the first few minutes, she was well on her way to beating us herself. (This also caused our coach to throw her suit jacket on the floor much in Bobby Knight fashion. I'm convinced that the only reason she ever wore that jacket was so she could take it off and throw it.)

All of a sudden I hear, "April! Get in there for (I forget who)! And you got Shelley."

Do you want to take a guess at who Shelley was? You guessed it. The best player in the league. I'm not quick, and I'm short. This could end bad. I knew our coach had done that just to try to humiliate me. She had plenty of other talented players that could have handled this assignment.

In a split second, I decided I was not going to let this end poorly. I had a game plan. I knew she was quicker than me, so I played half a step off. What this means is that when guarding her, I backed up just a bit more than I would someone else I may guard so that I could keep up with her. Also, I learned quickly that I could anticipate her every move by just watching her eyes. (In basketball, you're taught to watch the ball on defense. Or at least I was.) As good as she was, she telegraphed her every move.

I held the best player in our league to just 5 points the whole time I guarded her in the first half. She was frustrated. To help matters, I matched her 5 points.

I would love to tell you that in the second half, I made the winning basket. The truth is once we got back in the game and had a chance to win, she pulled me, and I went back to my seat on the bench. We still lost that game, but it wasn't because SHE beat us. It was because THEY beat us, and that for me was a personal victory.

Life sometimes reminds me of that player. It can be quicker and taller and ready to kick my ass single-handed. Some days, it's going to score a career high on me. That's just going to happen. I can't predict when it will, but I can try to prepare myself.

There was a time in my life when I let life control me. I worried about where I was, where I had been, and where I was going. While I can be laid back, I like to know where I'm going. Where things are headed. Truth is, I still worry, but I'm learning to not let life control me. I have a game plan. I try to play half a step off. That way I can keep up and try to anticipate.

Yes, some days, I'm going to lose the game. In fact, I may lose a lot, but as long as I can have small personal victories in life, like I did that day on the court, I think I'll be just fine. No. I know I will.

Just play half a step off. ;o)

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What's Going On?

I know it's been almost a week since I've posted. What the heck?

Thing is that I just don't really have anything to talk about at just this second, which is weird because usually I have a ton to talk about.

Well, okay, maybe not a TON, and I know my posts can be short, but usually I can find SOMETHING to talk about.

I mean, I could tell you about how my dad bought my nephew yet a new not-so-cheap toy today. WTF? I walked into my parents' house today and said, "Is it Christmas?"

I could also tell you how grumpy the little dude was today and how my brother went down to the family room to take a nap instead of taking care of his kid.

Okay fine, I took a tiny nap, too, but once it was apparent that my nephew wasn't going to let me sleep, I got up and played with him, while his daddy (my brother) napped.

I love, love, love that my nephew is talking more now. I can actually understand half of his wants and needs now, as opposed to just guessing and guessing wrong.

His favorite words are, "Up." "Down." "Mommy." "Grandpa." "Peace." (I know, right?) and "Tractor."

He can also form the tiny sentence, "What's that?"

Whoa, this ended up being the most random post all about my nephew, huh? Dang, I didn't mean for that.

What do you all write about when you don't have anything to write about? Any questions you have for me? I'll be happy to answer them!

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Meeting Elmo - Sort of.

Since before he could walk, my nephew has LOVED Elmo. The kid can spot an Elmo from a mile away. Since Elmo is NOT Barney, I'm fine with this. (Like I have much say in the matter anyway.)

But, when my mom told me yesterday morning we were going to meet Elmo, and I had to come to take pictures, my palms got a little sweaty. I don't like mascots. They annoy me, and I don't like them touching me.

True story: So, I forget why, but in Chicago, I was sent by two girls who shall remain nameless, (Hi Roomies!) to go and see what was going on in the Energizer suite. So, they gave me the suite number and off I take. I arrive on the floor and the sound of a beating drum should have clued me in, but no, I turn the corner anyway and there was a 6.5 ft Energizer Bunny. I almost died right then and there.

Back to yesterday: Our local civic center was having this Kid Festival. You show up, there are all kinds of activities and TONS AND TONS of mascots walking around. This is a nightmare for me, but we NEED Clay's picture with Elmo, right? Hmph.

And of COURSE there is a line to see Elmo. Fine. I can handle this. All of a sudden cheers from the kids, Elmo has arrived and this is what I see:


Are you freaking kidding me?! Is that not the scariest Elmo you have ever seen in your life? I wouldn't wish that Elmo on anyone's child. For real. And did you know that Elmo wears Nikes? I'm just sayin'. And Clay didn't like Elmo either. Trust me folks, he's not smiling in this picture.

I have to admit, I'm more than a little disappointed that whomever put this little shindig on couldn't fork out a little more money to get a better Elmo than that. I know Clay was too young to get it, but I heard one kid who was old say, "that's NOT Elmo." I wanted to give that kid a high five. Instead, they had Mr. McFeely from Mr. Rogers. Don't get me wrong, I've met Mr. McFeely before and he's a super nice guy, but no one cared that he was on stage. These kids came to meet Elmo.

Clay did; however, enjoy petting this owl and alligator:


In fact, he wanted to give that alligator a kiss. That's my boy.

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Inspiration


I know that I've receive awards on blogs before, and I love that some of you have liked what I've had to say enough to give me awards. But I'm terrible at passing them along. I know this, and I'm very sorry for this. It isn't that I don't want to pass the award, it's just that I never can DECIDE who to pass them to. I'm terribly indecisive, and so many of you have touched my life in so many ways, that it doesn't fair to choose just some of you for an award, but not others.

That said, this week, Christie gave me an Inspirational Blogger Award this week. An award that she created herself. She also passed it to Brooke, who also gave me kudos in her "acceptance post".

Ladies, thank you so much for thinking of me when you think about who inspires you. Christie, you are one of my heroes. Seriously, you make me want to want to do triathlons. (Nope. Not getting roped in yet.) Brooke, it has been a real pleasure helping you get to your goal weight. You are THE BEST student a person can ask for, and you've helped me learn even more by teaching you. You both are awesome and inspire me to be a healthier and better person each and every day.

It's funny where we find inspiration. It can be something as simple as a picture someone takes, or a sentence one writes (or an entire blog post), or just the way person treats you in every day life.

For so many of us, the things that inspire us, help build us into what we are today. If I had never watched the Biggest Loser, I wouldn't have been inspired by Jillian Michaels and the others on that show. I may never have been inspired to change my life physically and may never have lost 62 lbs. If I had never signed up for MySpace (I KNOW.), then I may never have re-connected with Jessie. I may never have been inspired to fix my soul.

And as funny as this sounds, even our bad experiences can inspire us. If I hadn't gotten mixed up with the wrong people in my early 20's, then, I may never have been inspired to not be like them.

With every thing I do now, every way I am is the cause of some sort of inspiration. When I think of that, I think of how very lucky that I am.

Now, comes to the part where I have to decide who inspires me, right? I seriously can't. I know that I've met some of you face to face and many I haven't, but really, if we've spent any time getting to know each other, you are my friend, and every single one of you inspires me in some way. Every single one of you has touched my life in some way. You all make me a better person, and I honestly, can't thank you enough.

Also, I'd like to thank the Academy. ;o)

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You Capture: Macro

Yeah, I know I've pretty much sucked here lately and not done my You Capture assignment. And honestly, I wasn't going to participate this week. I feel horrible that I can't comment on everyone else's posts because of scheduling, but I'll try. I promise.

Anyway, I love noses. I don't now why, I just do. So, I decided to wake up all of my animals last night and take pictures of their noses. They were all mad, but I like what I got. Enjoy!

Kelci was pretty much over it by this time.


Now I realize this is more of a head shot, but I was shooting blind since his cage is so small. (Picture my camera in HIS cage, him HISSING, and me taking a zillion shots to get this one. Yeah.) Oh, this is Neville, by the way.


Cagney's Cagney. She's a diva.


This is pretty much Bayleigh's "I hate you" look. But doesn't she have the cutest nose?!




Wanna see more You Captures? Head on over to Beth's place!

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Dirty Dancing

While it makes me sad to hear of Patrick Swayze's passing, I'm not normally one to blog about celebrities or to give them tributes on my blog. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that he was my favorite. Because he wasn't. I'm not going to sit here and tell you how shitty cancer is. Because we all know it is.

I'm going to tell you about the first time I saw Dirty Dancing. It's a funny little story, and I'm sure that Mr. Swayze would get a kick out of it.

Let's rewind to the late 1980's. We were at my grandparents' house for the weekend. We did that often back then. My mom and my aunt decided that they wanted to see Dirty Dancing, and the theater in town was playing it.

Problem. My brother and I had to go, too. (How long ago was that movie released? I'm 31, my brother's 27. Let's think...how old were we? Right.) I'm not sure what they were thinking a movie called Dirty Dancing was going to be about, but they called the theater and found that there was no nudity, it was PG-13, so how bad could it be? Right?

So, my mom and aunt load my brother up with popcorn and candy (the perfect bribe for taking a kid to a non-cartoon movie), picked our seats in the theater with duct tape covering the holes in the seats, and we were going to watch Dirty Dancing.

All was going great, and then...

Baby follows what's his name to where all of the employees are hanging out. Know which scene, right?

So, all of a sudden right in front of me was a bunch of people, well, um, dirty dancing. My mom and aunt gasped, my mouth dropped to my seat, my brother yelled "EW GROSS!" and hids his face in the seat...

Oh, the questions that my brother asked after that movie, then declared HE was never getting married or kissing a girl or none of that gross stuff. RIGHT.

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Psst...

So, I'm headed to a tailgate bright and early in the morning to watch the Virginia Tech Hokies take on Marshall!! And all I can say is THANK GOODNESS football season is HERE!!


What you may not know is that I didn't always love the Hokies. Wanna know how I became a Hokie? Visit over here!!

Peace!

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I'm a walking contradiction. While I love to draw, paint and read, I also love all things gadgets, science and even science fiction (I know). My animals (two dogs and two birds) are my heart, and if I could figure out how to legally own a giraffe, I would. That all said, I have my BS in Mathematics. :o)

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