Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Daily Reminder

Today I am reminded of something that we all need daily - that life is precious.  My dad was in a minor wreck this morning, and he is fine except for the emotional mess that comes after a wreck in dealing with insurance companies, etc.  Being the drama queen that I am, I was really affected by this.  If you know me at all, you know how much I love my parents - and how close we are.  I talk to them every day, and see them every week.  I have never moved farther than an hour away, and I am not ashamed of that.  I consider myself blessed to be that close to my family emotionally.  There are a lot of children out there that do not have this luxury, and my heart hurts for them.

When my dad first called me, he was very abrupt and needed the number for T-Roy's towing (what, you think my dad has a smartphone and could look that up himself?  Fat chance!)  I automatically assumed he had broken down.  If you remember me from highschool, I drove a 1992 Jeep Cherokee Sport (and man, I loved that jeep - flow master muffler, size bigger tires......I was a redneck).  When I got married, we bought the Jetta from them as my car - it was only sensible since I was driving to Raleigh for work.  Plus, my dad didn't want me driving a 15 year old car on the highway.  So, what does he do?  Drive my jeep to work - everyday. Yes, the now 20 year old Jeep with over 200,000 miles and NO airbags. I repeat, no airbags.  I have always been terrified of this and worried for his safety. I f you've passed him on I-40, you were probably cussing all the way around him because he refuses to travel over 65 mph.

So my first thought was that he had broken down.  He seemed annoyed, but was short and I couldn't really get any info out of him.  I called him back with T-Roy's number (I mean, really, if that's not a name for a towing service, I don't know what is).  I started to try and grill him about his whereabouts because there was no way I was going to let him sit on the side of the road alone while he waited for a tow truck.  He got agitated and upset, and finally screamed that he had been in a wreck and couldn't talk.

At that moment, my heart stopped.  Adrenaline rushed over me.  I knew he was ok because he called me, but a million thoughts and fears rushed through my head.  What if he wasn't really ok?  What is he was hurt but was hiding it from me?  What if he feels fine now, but will be in pain later, as that sometimes happens with wrecks.  He was obviously also upset because the Jeep was most likely totaled.  You don't buy collision insurance on a 20 year car - the premiums would cost more than than vehicle's total worth.  But I needed to know he was ok, and I wanted to be there to support him in this "mess."  After all, he had done it for me countless times, and know will also do in the future.

I spent my morning supporting my dad - emotionally and logistically.  My only wish is that he had called me sooner.  As grateful as I am for his safety, it always hurts to see your car damaged.  Even though it is only a car, to me that Jeep represented time with my dad and time growing up.  Memories of washing it together and shining the tires so that I could, as my dad would always warn me against -"pimp"- in it to various CHHS outings:)  Memories of driving out in the country and having those daddy-daughter chats about nothing special, but meaning everything.  I know those memories are always there, no matter whether there is a physical car to tie them to or not.

So today, I was reminded that life is so so so precious.  You can replace things, for they hold no real value.  But you cannot replace people.  I can't imagine the pain of losing a parent or child, but I know people that have.  I will never understand their pain, but I pray that it is lightened daily by God's comfort.  There has been a lot of sad news in the waterski community these past months about people we care deeply about - and I am very vulnerable to how fragile we are, and how we have no control at all.  Max Lucado tweeted this yesterday, and I am still convicted of it (and hope I am every day for the rest of my life)-

What if you woke up this morning and had only the things you thanked God for yesterday?

This is the essence of being thankful and knowing what really matters in life.  Any day where you can say, "it could have been worse" is a blessing, because we all know what worse is, and how painful it can be.  I pray that we all take time to truly thank God for the people He has placed in our lives and the love He shows us through them.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Farewell, my loves!

Today is a bittersweet day for me.  I am officially leaving my "other" job.  (I know, I know....what will they do without me??)  I am beyond thrilled to have my life back (weekends and nights - you have been sorely missed) and be able to actually plan a week in advance without trying to take off with the rest of the college age associate population.  I remember getting so frustrated trying to get a day off for a doctor appointment (necessary) and seeing that four 19-somethings had beat me to the calendar for their week long boozecruise in March (not necessary).

I will miss my former work peeps like crazy (you know who you are) and all of our fun times together.  Working retail is sort of a phenomena, in that you really do get close to those you work with because of the bizarre schedule that you share.  When everyone else is off, you are working, so you naturally can only hang with those who are off in the middle of the week also - say, a random Tuesday morning (what, you aren't off then as well???)  When Brent was at Rite-Aid, and working the same god awful hours, it wasn't an issue.  But now that he has a normal schedule, it has really been weighing on me.  I was going into work when he was getting home, and working on weekends when he was off.  Not really the best recipe for a good marriage, right?  But I hung in there for the fabulous discount and great camaraderie.

In early August, I was offered a permanent position at Peace.  I didn't even hesitate, and am now the Director of Tutorial Services at William Peace University (yes, I AM excited about going co-ed next year!).  It is one month in, and I am loving every minute of it.  I feel truly blessed to get up and be excited about going to work (tissues, please...) I felt like a child at Christmas walking around campus, getting congratulated by my fellow colleagues, and having cute as button freshman to teach.

I will miss our late night convos, silly stories of weird customers (yes, we do talk about you when we go in the back of the store), and random trips to the very expensive candy kiosk in the food court.  But in all seriousness, I love you guys - you made working there soo much fun, and I am glad to have you as friends.

So, farewell, was a blast and I love y'all!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five years ago.......

Five years ago today....Brent and I committed ourselves to each other, and our relationship to Christ.  It is truly a blessing to call him my husband, and I cherish the life we have together.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What season is it anyway?

When you live in North Carolina, you have a hard time with normally only have "hot as blazes summa," and "just warm enough to sleet winta."  I think the nostalgia with Fall is that we really never have we are always fantasizing about what it would be like to go walking around gazing at brightly colored leaves with our cute new wool sweater, all the while sipping a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  A much more realistic scene is bare trees (all those leaves either fell off in the hurricane, or the tree is dead because we haven't had a pinch of rain), in 80 degree humidity, with sweat beading on your upper lip while you drink a hot mocha, instead of iced.....I'm sure you get the picture.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my man Greg Fisher has forecasted a day next week where we will only be (wait for it...) 74...if we even make it out of the 60's!  For all you heat seekers, sorry..but I am ecstatic.  I love warm weather, but enough already.  I want to get dressed for work and not look like I ran a mile outside by the time I get there.

Labor Day means football and fall are approaching.  In preparation, I earnestly wore all my seersucker and linen this week because, like any true southern girl, those go in the attic next Tuesday. Happy Fall, yall!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Grandpa Harke

As if life wasn't crazy enough last week (work starting, an earthquake, Irene), there was an even more sad event.  My mom's father passed away overnight last Monday.  He had been in a rehab center after falling and injuring his leg badly, and was doing fine.  But Monday afternoon, he became very spacey and unresponsive, and died in his sleep later. 
The funeral was a great tribute to his life.  The service was held in the same church that he attended his whole life, and where his father was once a Pastor.  Because my grandpa had served in the Army during World War 2, he was given a military service at the graveside. That was one of the most touching events I have ever been a part of.  The men who were there to honor him had a quite a bit of "fruit salad" (the decoration for honors they had received).  It was such an honor to witness that, and to thank my grandpa for his life, and service to our country.  I find peace knowing that he is now with the Lord, in perfect health and spirit. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mean Irene

A lot has been happening around hopefully there will be more blogs posted this week:)  In the Triangle, we were fortunately spared from any of Irene's destruction....but that was not the case in Eastern NC.  We have close ties to most of that area since Brent is from Washington.  I was out of town Saturday when the hurricane hit land (more on that in a future post), but thank God for smart phones!  If I didn't have Twitter, Facebook, and texting - I am not sure how would have gotten any information on our friends and family.  The only major hurrciane I have ever been through was Fran, in 1996.  I would have slept right through it if a friend hadn't called to check on us in the middle of the night.  Because Fran hit such a largely populated area, the destruction was so enormous, and I remember thinking life would never get back to normal.

I can only imagine that is how the people in eastern NC feel right now.  We drove down to Washington yesterday to help family and friends who had trees down or water in their homes.  My in-laws did fairly well, as they only had about 2 inches of standing water in parts of their condo.  The water table was so high that water was leaking through the concrete slab and up into the floors.  The worst part must have been when my mother in law noticed storm sewage seeping up through the tub drain, almost overflowing the tub into her home.  I can't imagine how nasty that smelled, and how terrifying that must have been.  Thankfully, the sewage did not leak onto the floor.
We knew that my sister in law, Kathryn, had gotten the worst damage down in Bath.  They live right on the creek, and are surrounded by some really large, old trees on their lot.  Their house is high enough above the river that they were not in danger of flooding.  But they did have a large tree come crashing down on (and into) my niece's room.  Apparantly, they were all in the room next door when it happened and quickly ran (screaming the whole way, I'm sure) to the opposite end of the house.  Some neighbors and good friends came over to give them shelter at their house. But poor Grace lost everything in her room - they are not sure that it is safe to go back in there.  My heart hurts so badly for her - no 10 year old should have to deal with that.  I am not a parent yet, but I know that we all want to shelter children from the evils and truths of this world, even though it isn't always possible.

I feel extremely lucky than none of my family or friends were hurt in this storm, and most had very little damage.  I have friends on Harker's Island who were all fine, and also in Wanchese who faired well.  I am so thankful because I know there were people around them not as fortunate.
This was the scene all over her yard.  You could barely walk around without climbing over a tree or limb.

This is normally a clear shot to the river.  You can scarcely see the water from where this picture was taken.

This was Grace's room and the girl's bathroom.  It is very scary to see in person.

Another view of the backyard and waterfront

The front of the house, you can see the tree draping over the back part:(

There were scenes like this everywhere - especially in some of the older neighborhoods in Washington.  Huge oak trees fallen all over yards, the road, on cars, etc..  I am not sure how high the river came - I heard reports that it was at least 12 feet at one point.

Just in case you thought this post would lack my normal sarcasm, think again:)
If I see one more news story about NYC and their so called "destruction," I will scream!  Can the small town, for once....just once.....get a bit more recognition?  I am fairly certain the Northeast's Tropical Storm "devastation" does not even compare to NC's Category 3 Hurricane. Just sayin...

Friday, August 12, 2011

39 years......

Today is my parent's 39th wedding anniversary!  I am so blessed to have them as my support system, and they have taught me so much about life and love.  In a world that is filled with couples who say "I do" one year, and "I don't" the is refreshing to see that commitments still mean something.  Here's to them - 39 years!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Keepin' busy

Not much going on around here - summer is (gasp) winding down, and I have no idea what I have been doing for the past 2 months.  The weather has been unbearable.  I am glad to get up and ski at 6am because it seems to only be 85 degrees at that hour.  I recently went through a lot of my crafting things (translation: Brent made me clean out my space in the laundry room), and found a ton of beads that I had never done anything with.  I was almost embarrassed, but happy for some motivation to do some indoor, free projects.  You might spot me sporting any of these beauties sometime soon:)

I love this one.  The beads are huge, and a beautiful bright grass green.  The picture does not really capture the color.

I bought this link strand from Michael's on clearance for $1.99......not sure whether to make it into a long necklace or cut it into several bracelets.  

These red coral beads are actually from Pottery Barn - I saw them at the beginning of the summer on a long strand and wondered "weird find for PB, but could be a cute necklace!"  They are probably supposed to be vase fillers, or something decorative like that.  I think they will pair nicely with these cotton ball pearl beads.
I promise not to wear all these at once, although the temptation is there!   Round beads paired with smaller spacers in various colors are so cute, and you can layer them with other things.

Hope everyone else is taking advantage of fun things indoors!  I am headed to Florida later this week, and believe it or not, the weather there will be much nicer than here - go figure!

Friday, July 15, 2011

House guests

This past weekend, Brent and I hosted two sets of house guests....and loved every minute!  Saturday night, the one and only, Tommy James, decided to stay with us while skiing at at tournament in Smithfield (hey - it was the only place close enough that would have him!)  Brent and I were so excited since Tommy is always filled with hilarious stories and instant entertainment.  The night proved to starting out right when Tommy requested Mike's Hard Lemonade as his choice of manly beers or hard liquors for him!  Our neighbor, and good friend, Daniel also came over - as his wife and daughter were out of town.  He lovingly referred to it as "batcheloring it up."  Scott, and his girlfriend joined us, and we spent the entire night laughing!  I have no pictures - although it would be great blackmail.  If you were lucky enough, you might have even seen some somewhat inappropriate facebook status updates when my phone was hijacked.  Thank god I know how to delete, and delete fast!
Sunday morning, we booted one guest out with 30 minutes to spare on the next set.  Marcus and Lilly are dear friends, and we were so glad they were coming to stay with us for the night.  They left Davis at home, so I only got to see little Livi - who is precious!  God, please let me have a girl child!  She went straight to my jewelry - trying on everything and prancing around like the princess she is.  It was adorable.  Lilly, an extremely talented yoga instructor, convinced me to take a class at Triangle Yoga with her.  I agreed - how could I say no?  How do you tell someone you respect that you're really kind of lazy and don't like to all.  I can still hear her words now "It's a Level 1-2 beginner class.  You'll do fine!" So. not. true. The class was NOT a beginner class, and I struggled the whole way through.  I looked like Chris Farley - sweating in places I didn't know existed, huffing and puffing, glaring at the clock to see how much time was left.  Keep in mind I had not done yoga in over a year and a half.  I used to go quite regularly, but the instructor I liked left our gym, so I did too.  Honestly, it was not as bad at I make it sound, and I really enjoyed it...especially after the 90 minutes was up:)  I was so motivated that we went for a pilates/yoga mix class the next morning - now pilates is much more my speed and I plan on going more often.  If you live in the area, Triangle Yoga was fantastic - anyone want to come with me?
We ended the day with some shopping (hey, when you live in Washington,
 don't pass up a Southpoint trip when in town!)  I proved that parenting will never be my strong suit at Urban Outfitters when I let Livi climb all over the display bed that, as the rude saleslady referred to, was "ONLY for display."  Well, I didn't see a sign, and if she (who was all of about 17 years of age) had ever been shopping with a 4 year old, then she would understand why the bed was such a glorious source of entertainment.  So there.
Livi is much better at yoga than off:)

The infamous bed at Urban Outfitters - beware parents: you will get called out if you even think of letting your child play on it.

PF delic!

Notice Livi's jewels!  She would have rocked all of my collection of Lilly would have let her!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Skirtin' around

Life has been pretty boring here at the Talley household.  The house has seemed soooooo quiet without Daisy here, but we are adjusting.  The cats sleep pretty much all day, moving from comfy spot to comfy spot in every room.  I have cleaned and organized my entire house, and all the laundry is clean, folded, and put away.  I think there were some clothes in the dirty laundry bin that I haven't seen in year - somehow getting lost at the very bottom.  And now that all the laundry is done, I have found that I really don't have enough room for all the clothes, towels, sheets, etc... that we own.  Ahhh...sigh...such is life.  I guess there are bigger problems.

When Daisy was sick, I spent a lot of time at home with her in the last week.  I didn't really want to go far, because I felt bad leaving her, and I was never sure what I was going to walk into when I returned.  I decided to finally tackle some sewing projects.  My dear friends, Katie Skeen and Stefanie Almond inspired me at a tournament to start sewing some simple skirts, because everyone knows if I can wear it, I will find a way to get it done.  They were super easy, much easier than I thought.  And I'm really not sure why I hadn't started doing them earlier.  I did make a few mistakes on the first one, but they were not noticeable and I made sure to not repeat myself with the next.  The first one took about 2 hours, and the second less than an hour.  At this rate, I could have a skirt for every day of the week in no time. (because I am clearly running out of clothes...)

They are simple rectangles, with a drawstring waist.  I am sure a cuter ribbon would jazz them up more, but it was all I had in the house (forgot to buy that peice, whoops).  The drawstring waist works perfect for girls like me, with....uh....curves.  Because my rear is so much wider than my waist, I have a hard time finding things that fit in both places.  These are perfect and I think the drawstring creates a little ruffle effect - which I love.
Love Amy Butler fabric!

Excuse the mess in the background...and the self portrait via mirror.

I took a trip to Wish Upon a Quilt, and picked up these two fabrics -
The carolina blue and white is a must for our Carolina games this fall.

I think the true test of my skirts was when I walked into Charlotte's at North Hills wearing one.  Immediately, the girls working there were oohing and ahhing over it.  I just let them wonder what high priced boutique I bought it from:)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Today was a sad day

 Today we had to let go of our beautiful Daisy.  She put up a brilliant fight but lost the battle to her chronic liver disease.  Daisy marked our life with a brightness that only a wonderful canine can.  Reflecting on our past is necessary, but also painful.  In time, those are memories that give us meaning to the name or even the word “Daisy.” 
            For nine years, nine months, and 15 days, Daisy brought nothing but absolute joy to our lives.  Arriving as a Christmas gift in 2001, Daisy developed into a companion that saw us through most of our adult lives to date.  From acceptance to graduate and pharmacy schools, to helping me propose to Elizabeth, Daisy played a part in it all.  She helped to make our home complete.  For nine years (even in her final days) we were met at the door with a stuffed animal and a huge tail wag!!  Her love seemed to permeate whatever emotional shield put up by our roughest days.  Somehow laying with her made everything much better.  She had a love of people (most markedly her grandmother Karen), other dogs, little children, and mostly food.  Daisy was the most tolerant dog that ever lived.  That was evident in how she allowed Swerve (our male cat) to love and hug on her daily.  She sacrificed her own comfort so that others could be happy.  Often times, she could be found locked in our niece’s room while Reagan dressed her up and put bows all over her.  But Daisy never minded, and she just smiled all the way through. 
            Towards the end, we knew our time with her was marked.  We had no idea it would go downhill so quickly, but we are grateful she did not suffer long.  We were so thankful to have this last week with her.  It was such a blessing to be able to love her completely, and be such a big part of her last days.  Her last breath was taken with us hugging her, and telling her how much we loved her.  We know she is in heaven, full of life and void of her suffering.  All of the pain and discomfort she felt, we have now taken for her.  She has moved on to brighten others’ lives as richly as she did ours. We pray that one day we will be lucky enough to join her again.  For sure when we get to Heaven, there will be a stuffed animal and a huge tail wag to greet us!!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Beach bound!

Today, Brent and I are headed to the beach!  I have been so excited about this trip for several reasons.  First, Brent's schedule rarely allows vacation.  The only bad thing about being a pharmacist is that no one else can do your job, and in an independent pharmacy, there are not many others to cover for you!  We also rarely go to the beach.  Growing up skiing meant most of my travel was to strange, rural places with holes filled with water....not quite exotic, if you ask me!  I wouldn't change my life growing up, or now, and going to the beach is a rare treasure.
We are staying for a few days, and have lots planned.  You know me - I can't sit still for more than 45 minutes!  Thank goodness Brent is the same way!  Here's where we are headed....

Our boat is waiting for was nice of the crew to get it ready for our arrival!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel

There is something about the month of May that is so nostalgic for me.  I have very fond memories of winding down college exams and coming home for the summer.  Exam time, for me, was great.  It was a real taste of freedom with no classes, and few actual exams.  Because I was an English and History major, most of my exams were papers or projects.  I seldom was burdened by the overwhelming anxiety of taking semester long tests.  The air was getting warmer, campus looked a little less busy, and all of us girls were falling in love with our newly tanned skin.  While I am no longer in school, and have been out for some time now, I still feel a little twang whenever this time rolls around.  It's a time full of promise and hope (and no, hopefully that is not Obama's 2012 campaign slogan).  For me, summer brings more time with my family, more time to ski, and usually, the absence of a job.  This year is no different, and I have so much to look forward to.......

First, we know our time with Daisy is limited.  She has a very severe case of chronic hepatitis, which is not great, but is treatable for an unknown amount of time.  Daisy is now on several vitamins and a new diet.  She will, however, need to forgo her beloved table scraps.  Yes, we are THOSE dog owners that feed our dog what we are having.  Looking back, it may not have been a great trend to start, but that's all water under the bridge now.  If she learned how to beg, she can now learn how to un-beg!

Second, I will only be working one job this summer!  Woo-hoo! Truth be told, I was not made for the working world.  If I could work whenever I wanted, on a "if I felt like it" basis...that would be great.  (I'm just being honest......)  I like both of my jobs, but doing them at the same time (sometimes on the same day!) sends me unto a tizzy!  With Brent working hard at the pharmacy, someone has to take care of the house - and I strongly believe that person is me.  Hats off to all housewives and stay at home moms - it is a full time job and much appreciated!  Brent works hard for us to have our home and life together, the least I can do is keep it up!

Third, skiing has started.  I am motivated more than ever to ski.  I am not getting any older, or is it younger???, and I feel blessed to have competed this long.  I can't wait to do it all over again this summer.

Fourth, I have several family things planned.  My aunt and uncle were in town for a few days this month, on their way from Florida back to Maine.  It was so good to see them, as I have not seen my aunt in 3 years.    We were also able to visit Brent's family, and I can't believe how grown up our nieces and nephew are getting.  I guess that means I  am getting old too:)

Lastly, Brent and I are headed to the beach this week.  We had a three day weekend, and now a 2 day work week - it's ok, you can be jealous.  I am so excited to get away for a few days, and the weather looks to be beautiful!

So, happy summer everyone - it has officially started, and I hope everyone is enjoying every minute of it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Finally here....

Waterskiing is a sport I have done since I was 8 years old, and I started to compete in tournaments when I was 13.  Every summer, my dad would take me all around the state and southern region to tournaments on the weekends. We spent countless hours training on Jordan Lake at 6am, or down at Coble Ski School in Lillington.  As I grew older, skiing became more and more of a priority, which is usually not the case.  Most kids that ski usually start to fade as the social demands of high school, college, or marriage and kids demand their time.  There are not many of us that still compete from my Junior days.  I now train at Gresham Lake in Raleigh - located at 540 and Capital Blvd (yes, that is a concrete plant on the starting dock end), and at Badin Lake in Stanly County.  As I have grown older, my desire has actually increased.  I like to think that because I have more responsibility now as an adult, I am more motivated to ski.  You really appreciate things when you cannot have them - as is the case when you are working and can't find time to ski - so when you finally do have time, it's heaven.  Most springs, I start in April, at the latest.  This year, I didn't have time to ski until last Saturday - April 30.  Technically, I guess you can say I started in April...but that's borderline cheating.  It seemed like every day that I was off, it was either too cold, rainy, or windy to ski.  And of course, when I was working, it was beautiful.  I had planned on going to a judges and drivers clinic in Ahoskie, NC, but work had other plans.  I guess with students taking off for exams, etc...I did not get my name down fast enough to request off.  I was super pissed.  I had had a lot of trouble with requesting off lately, and this was the last straw.  I was determined to get my shift covered, and go to the lake.  Luckily, I did find someone to switch shifts with, and I am forever grateful to Caroline for doing it.  Saturday was, by far, one of the best days I have had in a long time.  After not skiing since October, and not seeing my "ski family" since then either...I couldn't wait to reconnect and get in the water. I can't explain the bond that we, as waterskiers, have.  We spend almost every weekend together in the summer, and we are an excellent example of community.  Because the sport is based on individual performance (wins are only important at State, Regional, and National Champs...), the support we give each other is tremendous.  We never wish anyone to do badly, and are always encouraging one another. We coach one another, celebrate with one another, and hurt with one another. Sometimes we have quarrels, but we get over it, and we are always, FAMILY.
Our lives are now entwined on Facebook (a good thing about social media!) and we have the chance to keep up over the winter.
Beaver Lake - Ahoskie, NC - April 30, 2011

This all being said, I got to experience this family after a long drought on Saturday.  We caught up on the winter and planned for summer.  I got to ski - trick and jump.  And I cannot explain how awesome it felt to be back on the water.  The air was cold (actually colder than the water), but it was exhilarating.  I did not want to stop, but of course, I could not be a water hog.  I left the day feeling like I had done exactly what I was made to do that day.  It was a peaceful and content feeling.  I loathed the fact that I had to return to normal life, and spent most of the 2 1/2 hour ride home brainstorming how we could move closer to our ski sites, and live a much simpler life - away from the traffic and consumerism.  Skiing has always been a social sport, but laid back and often in very rural parts of the state.  (New London, Southmont, Ahoskie, Lillington, Harmony...have yall even heard of these places?  well, they exist!)  Don't get me wrong, I love being near certain amenities, but they are not what's really important in life.  It's not that I want to ski more (and I do!), it's that I want to have land, space to sprawl out.  I want to sit on my back porch and not hear, or see, ANYONE.  I want to drive into a town where they know me, and know my family, and care about me. You can't really get that in Durham, if you know what I mean.
As we drove home, I gazed at the houses along the highways that overlooked fields and fields of land, and felt envious.  A few years ago, I probably would have thought to myself, "who the heck would want to live all the way out here...ugh!"  But now, I long for it.  Am I crazy?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011



Just as the title reads...such truth to these words! After all the tornadoes, it really hits hard that all these "things" we acquire have no real value or meaning when it's all said and done.


Don't judge - this book will change how you look at food.  It's not about dieting - trust me and read it - I promise you will agree with her!

Just finished and loved....

Wearing these scents......

If you love summer, sun, wind, and the sea - these are a must!  I immerse myself in one of them every morning before I leave the house.

Listening to.....

Jason Aldean - love love love all his albums, especially Relentless.  He never gets old!

Just discovered him, and love his 90's country feel.

Lusting after...
I do have a 3 year old Blackberry that does not Tweet, upload photos to Facebook, or save text messages consistenly. Hmmmm...this may be a reality in the near future:)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I have been very busy the last few weeks, as I am sure everyone else is as well!  Between the semester winding down at Peace and shoppers exploring their newfound credit at the J. Crew, I have had a total of 4 days off in the past 4 weeks - that includes working weekend days.  I am exhausted....and my poor house shows it!  And you know the saying, "when it rains, it pours"...well, it's true!  To add to my busy schedule, I decided to have a flat tire on our boat trailer (on the way to the lake, and on my one day off), and our sweet Daisy is not doing too good!  I guess with all the crazy and bizarre weather we've been having, I should have known something was up!

I'll start with Easter - this was the day I had most been looking forward to - the mall was closed (thank God, literally) so I knew I automatically had the day off.  I have had a hard time requesting days off lately, so it was great to just be able to plan, and know that I could do whatevs I wanted!  I was able to go to 2 (yes, 2!) church services - sunrise at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, then normal service at Church of the Good Shepherd (our regular church).  I had spent some time here and there in the preceding days getting the boat ready, since this was my only day off in 2 weeks. But after we got home from church, packed our cooler with goodies and drinks, we found that the impeller had not been put in, and the battery (which had been charging all night) would not start the engine. I could feel myself slipping into Debbie Downer phase, as one thing after another went wrong.  Brent quickly raced to Autozone, bought a new battery, replaced the impeller, and off we were (a few hours later than what I hoped).  About 75% of the way there, I felt a rumbling, looked at the trailer tire in my rear view mirror, and yelled "flat tire, flat tire!"  I was actually proud of myself for knowing what was actually going on - usually in panic situations, I end up just yelling something nondescript like "oh no," or "shoot!"  Hwy 751 down to Jordan Lake is not exactly shoulder friendly - and we had to drive for what seemed like an eternity to find a place across the highway to pull over - into someone's yard.  Hey - it was an emergency - your grass will grow back.  To make matters worse, Brent quickly found that all the crazy weather we had really soaked this guy's yard in particular, and we ran out of yard space that would not be considered a mud pit.  So there we were, all ready to go out on the boat, me finally getting to ski, and just relax.  After a dead battery and replacing an impeller, we now had trailer tire that had completely come off the rim - and we were only inches away from cars flying by at 60mph.  Oh - and did I mention it was about 90 degrees out and 100% humidity?
The road was literally a foot away from the flat tire...and to make matters worse, jacking up a trailer with a boat on it is not the easiest!

The homeowner came out to help us - and we were then joined by his son and girlfriend who had come over for an Easter visit.  (Happy Easter, strangers!  I felt terrible, but they were the nicest family) They offered us their jack and help - it was a rare occasion of human kindness.  It made me sad, because so often we are afraid of people - we are taught to keep to our selves, not to talk to strangers, and to look the other way.  The mindset nowadays is - everyman for himself - it's not our problem, let them deal with it.  Thank God these people did not think like that. I will always think of their compassion every time I drive by their house.
We got the spare tire put on, only to find that it was dry rotted in a few spots and very low on air.  Brent, wisely, decided that we should turn home, and abandon our plans.  I agreed, but my heart sank.  One day off - and nothing to show for it. No fun times, no cleaning, no nothing.  We limped home - I pouting in the passenger side, and Brent, brainstorming on how to salvage the day and my downward spiral into the dulldrums.  It was a very low point for me emotionally.

Plan B - we unhooked the boat, let Daisy into the truck, and hauled booty back down to the lake.  If we couldn't be on the boat, we could at least be near the water.  Daisy was super excited - as she is for any ride in the car.  She basically dragged me to the water's edge.  I could not get the leash off fast enough.
So, what looked like a complete failure of a day actually turned into a blessing in disguise.  (as they almost always do!)  We learned last week that Daisy's liver is not functioning properly.  She had been drinking a ton of water, and not really eating all her food (um...obviously something is wrong when a lab doesn't eat all their food)  We took her to the vet, and her liver enzymes were out the roof high.
She looked so pitiful before I took her to the if to say, "please don't make me go!"  She took her "bear" in with her for comfort.

She went in for an ultrasound yesterday, and they found some suspicious spots, which are now being biopsied.  According to the vet, best case scenario is chronic hepatitis - which is treatable with diet and supplements.  Worst case scenario is cancer.  We won't know the results for a few days, so we are enjoying every minute with Daisy that we can.  It is hard to believe she is almost 10 years old.  It seems like yesterday when Brent got her, and all his college friends were feeding her hot dogs and taking her for runs.  She has been such a huge part of our lives - she even helped Brent propose to me out at Duke Forest.  As we affectionately recall, the ring was clipped into her leash and when I found it, I dropped it, and Daisy jumped all around in excitement - pummeling it into the dirty ground!  I can't imagine life without her.  All these things have been consuming my thoughts, and putting life into perspective.  What will Swerve do without Daisy to cuddle with?  What will it be like to walk by myself? Who will be our security system when we are gone?  Will the UPS man miss the ferocious barks coming from house 15 when he drives by?  I know she is still with us, and I cherish her, but the reality is that our pets do not live forever.  I know, at some point, I will have to face these questions.  I can just pray that it is later, rather than sooner.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To Tweet or not to Tweet....that is the question

Clearly, I have joined Twitter - shut your mouth and slap yo momma silly! I was very reluctant, and am still a bit unsure.  Immediately, I felt a sense of panic - How do I do this?
What are all these symbols? 
What do they all mean? 
Is someone reading this? 
Do they care? 
And the one question that plagued me all night - WHAT will I tweet?  
I am pretty good with coming up with clever, witty blog entries (or so you must think since you are reading this), and perhaps an occasional funny Facebook status......but an entertaining entry less than 140 characters long??  That gets me into a tizzy.  First, who really cares what I am doing - and if you do, then I beg you to please go outside, enjoy this weather, and find something constructive to do with your time.  Second, I have noticed that no one really comments or replies to Tweets - is this correct?  Heck, I like when people comment or "like" my Facebook updates - it's the only way I know that what I said mattered!  Now, I am just sending out info into an abyss for my 10 followers to read - or maybe they're not reading....who knows?!

And to add to the turmoil, I also learned that my 3 year old Blackberry is too ancient to support Twitter - so I can't even Tweet when I am away from my computer - whodathunkit?

There was a bright spot to all this havoc, and I am enjoying reading everyone else's tweets....while still trying to think of a cute and clever profile description for myself.  I did some research earlier this morning, after my barrage of follower emails (I did feel special), and found that some of my favorite authors are also tweeters (is that what we call them?)...and they actually post stuff that interests me, and inspires me.  I wish I could retweet everything posted by Max Lucado - here is today's:

Marriage is God's idea. 
He created it because most of us are better God-followers 
with a partner than we are alone.

Regardless of your views on religion, marriage, one can deny that as humans, we were created with emotions and an insatiable need for belonging.  Something that has been on my mind and heart for quite some time is this:  Are Facebook and Twitter producing a generation of humans who will be unable to communicate and effectively connect with others face to face?  It's so easy with these mediums to get into the depths of other people's lives - stalking their photos, seeing who they're friends with, comparing, envying....without ever truly connecting with them.  Perhaps a little mystery should be the case for this young generation - not everything should be posted for your 1,035 friends to see (and really, who has that many friends?)  Brent and I were talking last night about how we can't begin to imagine what it would have been like to go through middle and high school again with Facebook.  That awful break-up in 11th grade - just go ahead and skin me.  Those years were bad enough, let alone add a social audience of so-called friends to the mix.

This human disconnect is no better referenced from an experience that I had a few years ago.  I went to a certain social engagement 2 years ago - it was school sponsored, but also marketed privately through Facebook.  I was invited, through Facebook, to someone's house before the event.  I respectfully hit the "will not be attending" button, but went to the main event.  There, the person who had invited me (again, via Facebook), walked right past me and never said hello the entire evening.  You might argue that maybe she didn't know me, or remember me - well, shoot, my profile pic is up for all to see and she did consciously click on my name to invite me.  So, does Facebook make us cowards in real life? Here, she was perfectly willing for me to come to her house, but could not say hi when faced with the human version of me.  I am still baffled.

On the hindsight, I do see more of a connection when Facebook and Twitter are used as a supplement to human connection, not as THE connection.  I am friends with people who I rarely see - but feel close to because I read and comment on their blogs, and visa versa.  I won't lie - it makes me smile when I get the little alert on my Blackberry that someone "likes" my status.  I feel good inside.  And when it's your birthday....oh feel loved.  People you haven't talked to in years suddenly come out of the woodwork to wish you well on your day. 

I know I love Facebook just as much as the next person, and I do have to limit myself to how much time I spend on there, so lest you think I am preaching or judging, know that I am saying all this to myself as well.  So I am curious to know what yall think - are there negative implications to all this social media?  Do you ever wish you could go back to the days before it all?

And someone...anyone.... explain the difference between Facebook status updates and Twitter to this poor, clueless girl. 

Happy Wednesday:)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring cleaning

I have been pretty busy these past few weeks - and, yes, Brent and I are still holding true to our Lenten promise - no TV in the bedroom!  I will admit, I did chose a pretty easy thing to give up - at least in the sense that it would take A LOT of effort to break our commitment.  (EX: Lifting a gigantic TV onto a 6 foot tall armoire and then detangling miles and miles of wires to plug in on the other side of the room.......not really an easy fix!)  I am still on Book #2 (Max Lucado's Cure for the Common Life), and I have recently gotten back into my magazine addiction (Martha, Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens - and a recent US Weekly {gasp} that had my fav, Reese Witherspoon, on the cover)  But I am dedicated to reading, and we have really enjoyed the quiet that the absence of TV has brought.

On our list this month is major home improvement.  Something about spring really makes you aware of your clutter and decorating needs.  We have made a lot of improvements on our house and yard over the last 4 years (and mostly when I say "we," I mean Brent!)  I love our home, and I am so grateful for all Brent's hard work.  Here is a snapshot of some recent improvements that were of minimal cost, and made a HUGE difference in our house!
I saw this pillow cover in Pottery Barn (new summer collection) and had to splurge!  For summer, I put a cream matelasse duvet cover on our red comforter.  It is a bit of a pain to keep clean (I think I have washed it 10 times so far!), so if you do go the white route, make sure you get a quality cover.  This one is from Pottery Barn, but was super on sale last season:)
This is the new set up - and I am still loving it every time I walk in.  Putting the bed in between the windows made a world of difference - so much light!
I even spruced up our guest room - these shams were once on our couch, but worked perfectly here.  That is one thing I am learning - if you coordinate right, you can mix and match things from each room when you need a change of scenery.  Pillows are the easiest and cheapest way to add new color and dimension to a room.

This bureau (once in my grandparents house) was in our bedroom, but there was not enough room when I rearranged everything - now it serves as a linen chest at the bottom of our stairs - and a handy place to collect mail:)

I make wreaths for every season - my husband laughs at me, but I don't think he knows how expensive wreaths are!  I use either grapevine forms, or straw - which can be bought at any craft store.  I then hot glue flowers into the form. 

I am so proud of this room!  A year ago, Brent painted the entire trim white in the kitchen and dining rooms (it was dark wood stained and very 80's).  We then painted the walls a robin's egg blue/grey - which I love.  I recently bought these black and cram toile print curtains at Lowes (yes, Lowe's!  and they were only $19 a piece!)  I love the way they frame the room, yet still brighten it up.

You may be wondering why I have posted a picture of our shower head - well, it's new!  We desperately needed a new one - the old head had water stains and all sorts of yuckiness on it.  This one was very reasonably priced and has several settings - in case you want to blast yourself out of the shower of pressure wash your hair.  It did make a huge difference - just make sure you have enough water pressure to support the type of shower head you are getting.  Luckily, we do - otherwise 15 E Bayberry would be on the market:)

I have several other projects we are working on.....but my camera is dead after last weekend's trip to Washington, NC (pics on Facebook) I will spare yall until the next post!  Happy cleaning!!!