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 vet...as 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.