It all started with a coloring book...

Did you guys know that, you can get a whole box of 120 Crayola crayons? I had no clue. Yet, a couple of months ago, I received a box of 120 crayons as a gift and it is one of my favorite gifts ever. Maybe one day I'll tell you why it is one of my favorite gifts ever. That day is not today.

When I opened my amazingly perfect gift of 120 Crayola crayons, that famous Crayola smell spoke to my senses. (It's one of my favorite smells.) I had the picture that I wanted to color chosen but before I started filling the white page with color, I looked over each and every crayon.

How could I possibly, use these perfect crayons? They were brand new and perfectly shaped. It broke my heart to ruin that. For about 10 seconds.

As I colored, I remembered the show on TV that I watched on how crayons were made. I wished it were on right then.

I know you're all wondering: April? Just what are your favorite Crayola crayon colors? You're thinking that, yeah? I mean, how could you not? NO WORRIES. I'm going to tell you.

Burnt Orange is my absolute favorite color ever. It's Hokie Orange. (Not to be confused with Tennessee Orange, which is pretty great, too.) It's a color of autumn, which is the most beautiful season. I drive a burnt orange car, for crying out loud.

Mango Tango is such a fun color. It's still orange (which in case you didn't know, is my favorite color), but with a twist. Also, for coloring purposes, it is great for shading when used with Burnt Orange. Using these two colors, I can draw the perfect setting sun. Plus, mangoes are great for you!

I have always loved the color Eggplant. I do not like the food, but the color is great. (OK, fine, I've never tried it, but I'm pretty sure I won't like it. Feel free to prove me wrong.) It's probably my second favorite color after orange.

What color goes great with purple? Green. And Fern goes great with Eggplant. Whenever I use Eggplant when coloring, I'm almost sure to use Fern. If you have those two colors handy, go ahead and try it, I'll bet you go, "Ooooh!"

And what is better than Crayola crayon color names? Not much, really. My favorite Crayola color names are Fuzzy Wuzzy and Tinkle Me Pink. They make me giggle.

Do YOU have a favorite Crayola crayon color? Let's hear it!

posted under | 3 Comments

What do you mean they don't want to be fed?!

I cannot express to you how awesome my thirties have been to me so far. I've traveled here and there, I've met so many great people. I became an aunt to the best little boy in the world who calls me "Apul" instead of April. I have found my heart and am on a constant journey to be the most authentic version of me that I can be. I thought, too, of how close I am to reaching that grand age of thirty-five.

Most people freak out when they think of turning thirty-five. Am I right? Well, not me. There are so many things that I have to look forward to. So many things that I cannot wait to do. So, I'm looking forward to spending my thirties just LIVING.

So, just for you, here are some things that I've decided that I really need to do before I turn thirty-five:

1. Feed a giraffe - Guys, I've been waiting to do this like my whole life. Two summers ago, I went to the NC Zoo on the very first day that the brand new giraffe feeding station opened. Every night the week before, I dreamed about feeding a giraffe and that giraffe loving me from the get-go, and, of COURSE the Zoo asked me to stay forever to be this giraffe's keeper. What really happened was four young giraffes decided they weren't hungry when it was my turn at the feeding station. They wouldn't even come close, and my heart was crushed.

2. Visit London - I know this one is going to happen. It's in the bag. I have a plan, which includes selling my house. As soon as the money hits the bank, I'm purchasing tickets. (All I need to do now is turn in my passport forms.)

3. Run one or more 10Ks - Stop reading. Pick your jaws up off your keyboards. I KNOW. Yes, running is still not my thing. It will never be my thing, but I think if I keep the distances to 10K or less, I can make this happen. I mean, I can run 3 miles, no problem. After that, my brain shuts down and says, "You are done running for today. Thank you for playing." But I think I have some 10Ks in me. Really. I do.

4. Go to Atlantis or Hawaii - I want to see blue, blue waters. I want to learn to snorkel in those blue waters so that I can say hello to Nemo and Dory. And I want to swim with dolphins. Yes. This has to be done.

5. Write a book - This one is calling at me more and more. I've started countless books and never finished them. I'm not even sure I still have any one of them because they're on my ancient desktop that got a stupid virus and now sounds like it will blow up when I attempt to turn it on. (Yes, I had virus protection.) Anyway, the point is, I'm not sure exactly what I want to write about, but I feel a story brewing in the back of my brain.

And there ya have it.

posted under | 4 Comments

My favorite photos

I was asked what are my favorite photos that I've ever taken, so I looked back through all of my old posts and realized how hard of a task this was going to be for me. I've narrowed it down to five, but really, I love so many of my photos. I only play at photography, so when I get a good shot, I get super excited. If you've been here for a while, you've seen these before. If you're new, I hope you enjoy.

Snow falling during one of the many, many snows of last winter:

This has to be my favorite photo ever of Kelci (same snow):

*siiiigh* I love giraffes:

Self portrait of me and the little dude last year:

This shot just popped in my head and all of a sudden I HAD TO CAPTURE IT. It's my nephew's hand, in case you were wondering:


posted under | 1 Comments

One night I dreamed I had to find someone and I never did...

Dreams. Do they really mean anything? Honestly, I'm too afraid to find out. I have always dreamed vividly, even when I was a kid.

In my dreams, I have gone everywhere that one may imagine going. I have done everything that one may imagining doing. I've met famous people, traveled the world, gone to magical places, and starred in all of my favorite TV shows. (In MY dreams, the third season of LOST was much, much better.)

But with good dreams can also come bad ones. I used to have a lot of bad ones. I've woken up in a sweat and have been too scared to go back to sleep. I've wondered if whatever monster was chasing me through those dark and scary woods would really find me in my bed. I had terrible dreams that I was in school and forgot to wear my bra and EVERYONE MADE FUN OF ME. That was a nightmare for a girl who always felt different and only wanted to fit in.

When I was in my early teens, a Native American store opened up in a nearby mall. They had these things called dream catchers. I read on the tag that dream catchers were meant to keep bad dreams away.

After much deliberation, I decided to buy one. I chose the one that was different from all of the rest.

I hung it in my bedroom window and went to sleep knowing that I would never have to worry about a nightmare again. And it has been with me, hanging in my bedroom window every night since I bought it. When I move to a new place, the first thing I do is hang my dream catcher.

Does it really work, you ask? The answer is simple. I would be lying if I said that all I've ever had since that day were amazingly good dreams. A few bad ones here and there do manage to get through. But here's the thing: I know it works. It works because I believe it works. It works its magic every night because I give it the power to.

You may call it superstitious, and it may be. I don't care. Why would I take the chance of taking it down and being stuck with that dream where I go to school with no bra on?!

All you have to do is believe. And I believe.

posted under | 4 Comments

Magic Does Exist

Sometimes we get lucky
And for a short while
We find a place
Where time almost halts
And everything is right with the world.

posted under | 3 Comments

Gerbils are not dogs. (But they can be fun.)

The one thing I always wanted was a dog. Every so often, I would beg and beg and beg my dad to let us get a dog. I would plan my approach, make sure he was in a good mood, be extra helpful around the house, finally work up the courage, and in my tiny little voice I would ask:

"Dad, can we get a dog?"

"No, April. I've told you this before."

This would hurt my feelings so bad. I just couldn't understand. Dogs were great. Why couldn't he see that?

Recognizing that he had hurt my feelings, he would try to make up for it by telling my I could get some other kind of pet.

My second favorite of the tiny critters I grew up with was my gerbil. She was grey with a white spot on top of her head. I named her Penny from the Disney movie "The Rescuers".

At eight years old, I had the patience and determination to earn Penny's trust, and soon, we were fast friends. As soon as I got home from school, I would get her out of her cage, put her on my shoulder, and together, we would go on great adventures throughout the house.

One day, Penny and I walked into the living room and my dad was napping on the couch.

Now, I'm not sure why I thought this was a good idea, I looked at my gerbil. Then, glanced down at my dad's chest. Then, I looked back at Penny, and thought, Let's wake Dad up! He'll think it's great!

So, I held Penny over my sleeping dad, and gently plopped Penny down.

My dad woke up to Penny staring him in the face. His eyes got as big as saucers, and then it happened.

In what seemed like slow motion, my dad yelled and jumped all at the same time and sent Penny flying across the room.

Horrified I rescued Penny from the floor, held her closely with both hands, and as I was storming back to my room, I looked back at my dad with a look that said, "How COULD you?!"

After that day, our adventures were much quieter. We read books.

See, if Dad had just let us have a dog, he wouldn't have been scared by a little gerbil. Am I right?

posted under | 1 Comments

His Eyes Always Twinkled

My original post was going to be a letter from Charlotte. I will probably post Charlotte's letter one day, but this post is more important today.

I got my belly button pierced on a dare.

I was pondering whether or not to actually go and have my belly button pierced and then my mom said, "I'll bet you fifty dollars you won't do it." That was it. That's all it took for me to set a date, go into the tattoo shop, and have my belly button pierced. (And almost pass out immediately afterwards.)

I was prepared for my navel to be sore for days and days after. I was not prepared for was not being able to sit up straight. Sore, I could handle. Needing to lie down flat or die, I could not.

Around the same time that I decided to show the world that getting my belly button pierced was no big deal, my uncle was undergoing chemotherapy. I'll never forget the day he said, "There is a growth, and it is malignant... But I'm going to win. I will beat cancer."

My uncle was a firefighter. He battled burning buildings. He saved people's lives. When he said he would beat cancer, we knew he would.

A few days after my piercing, we went to visit my uncle at his house. He had lost all of his hair, was constantly hooked up to an IV, had a feeding tube, and was the happiest I had ever seen him. I, of course, could not sit up straight because of the voluntary pain I had just put myself through. And, of course, he noticed.

"What is the matter with you," he asked.

"Nothing," I replied.

"She had her belly button pierced," said my aunt. (My uncle's and mom's sister. aka "RAT")

He asked if my dad knew. Nope, I told him. And then it began. He teased me and said he wanted money from me in exchange for his silence. I laughed, but thought, he could actually be serious.

One day, I visited my uncle right before cancer reached his brain. It was the last time we looked at each other in the eyes. He didn't speak much, but he looked at me and gave me a signal with his hand. With a twinkle in his eye, the signal said, "Where is my money?" My response was a smile.

We buried him on a hillside just a few short weeks later and after everyone left, I stayed by his grave, dug a hole in the earth with my bare hand, and buried some hush money. It was my final good-bye to the uncle I loved so dearly.

In the 18 months he had from the time he learned he had cancer until the time he left us, he became a whole new person. The uncle I grew up with annoyed me. He teased me constantly. I thought he didn't love me. In those 18 months, I learned that he teased me because he loved me.

In those 18 months, he learned really how to really show his love, how to live, and how to make peace the hand life had dealt him. To me, he won his battle.

He told us he would beat cancer. And beat cancer he did.

Dear Mendie, I know our situations are different. I know times right now are incredibly tough. But feel peace in knowing that we are here for you and we all love you. Even though it may not seem like it right now, your aunt beat cancer, too. Because really? Cancer never wins.

Much love to you, dear friend.

posted under | 8 Comments

They don't call me Grace for nothing

My teammates on my high school basketball team decided one year that every one needed a nickname. Most got cool nicknames like "T-Dawg" or "Lightnin'".

I got "Trip."

Yes, I fall a lot. Or I run into trees while playing tag in the dark. Or I fall out of my chair at work. Or I trip in the movie section at Target. (Those horror DVDs, man, they will get you EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.) I'm not allowed to have a sharp knife in my hands in my mother's presence, and every time I climb a ladder, people around me shout, "Oh my God! Get down!"

When you are as graceful as I am, these minor little incidents leave footprints on your body. OK, fine, they're scars, but I like to think of them as footprints. They help to tell the story of me.

My favorite has been with me for 29 of my 32 years. I remember vividly the day I got it. Actually, I think it's safe to say that this was one of my earliest memories.

I'm not sure if I could have been considered a "good little helper" or just too curious about things for my own good, but this particular day, I was "helping" my mom iron clothes. My first memory is of my mom's voice:

"April, don't touch the ironing board."

Naturally, what did I do the first chance I got when my mom turned her back? I put my hands on the ironing board, and the next thing I remember is PAIN.

The hot iron landed smack on my left hand.

My memory after that is fuzzy. I remember feelings more than anything. The pain I felt. The tears streaming down my face. How scared my mom's voice sounded.

After the wound healed, I had a scar that covered my whole hand and was extremely noticeable. I would get questions about it all the time, but I never was self conscious about it. I loved to tell the story of my scar. It was a battle wound for me.

Now, I know what you're thinking. What a terrible first memory! Right? That is what your thinking? I don't see it as terrible. It helps to tell the story of me. It's smaller now and a bit faded, but every time I look down at my left hand, there it's been for as long as I can remember. And every time I look at it, I smile.

It's one of the first footprints of my life.

posted under | 8 Comments

"You'll be amazed," is what Dad said...

I've been battling a serious case of writer's block here recently. I know what's causing it, and maybe I'll share it soon. Or maybe I won't. Until I figure it out, I've decided to do a NoBloPoMo. So. From now until December 9th, I will blog everyday. Some things you may know, some days you may not. Either way, I hope you enjoy.

My family didn't take vacations when I was a kid. We had a camper on a lot at a lake, which is about forty-five minutes from our house, and that is where we spent our summers. I wouldn't trade my childhood summers for anything. (OK, I may trade the women from a nearby lot who always thought I was a boy. But, whatever.)

As my brother and I became teenagers, we started asking if we could go on a real vacation. You know, like ones where you stayed at great places like... the Holiday Inn(with a pool)! Ones where you got to eat out in restaurants every meal.

In the summer of 1996, we convinced my dad to take a road trip. The deal was that if we agreed to go to one place my dad wanted to go, he would take us to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg and then we would drive to the beach. My brother and I thought this was the best deal ever.

Until... my dad decided that he wanted to take back roads from our house, stop at whatever historical sites we could find, and go to the Civil War battlefield in Petersburg, VA. This is where the Battle of the Crater took place. (You may be familiar with this battle if you've ever seen the movie Cold Mountain.)

For DAYS before and then for HOURS in the car. (Timeout: I should mention that the day before our trip, I went to the doctor for strep throat. My mom wanted to cancel the trip, but my dad was so excited about seeing this battlefield that I insisted that I was fine and our trip was still on. I was miserable the whole time. Timein.) Where was I? Oh, right. For days before and then hours during the drive to this battlefield all my brother and I heard was how the Union soldiers dug a tunnel under the Confederate soldiers and blew up the ground right out from underneath the Confederate army, which left this huge crater that could still be seen today.

I admit, I was excited. My brother wouldn't admit, but he was, too. I love history, so to see a huge crater from the Civil War was fascinating to me. My brother was just excited because it involved something being blown up.

Once we were on the battlefield, my brother and I walked ahead of our parents. (We were cool like that.) We saw a sign that marked the path that led to this now crater that, to hear my dad talk, was the size of a small canyon. Even though, all my brother wanted to do was "get to the part where the bomb went off", he humored me and read all of the informational signs.

And then...

We reach the crater.

What we saw was a small little "hole" in the ground. You can't really call it a hole. Because it looked like part of our backyard. I mean, if you didn't have a sign saying, "HERE IT IS!" you would have walked right past it.

My brother leaned towards me and whispered, "Is this it?"

I whispered back, "Shut up. Act excited."

He responded with, "I can't."

After all of that build up, I was disappointed, too. But you know what? I loved our summers at the lake. Those summers were some of the best times of my childhood. That trip,though, was my favorite of all. Not because of the hotels or the restaurants or the things we did. But because, even though I was miserably sick with strep throat, it was the one time in my life that I remember that for five days straight we enjoyed each other, laughed lots every day, and just had fun.

posted under | 8 Comments
Newer Posts Older Posts Home


Recent Comments