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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