Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Homeless and sick? C'mon over. I need someone to talk to.

It's not that I don't want to sleep or that I'm deliberately doing things to stay awake - it's that I simply have a brain that's set on nighttime. That's when I'm most awake and functional. I obviously work at night, every other night at a minimum actually, so I guess on the nights I don't work my brain runs wild with all the things I don't have time to think about when I'm working or spending time with my child. Sometimes I do chores, sometimes I pay bills, sometimes I watch television, sometimes I read, and lately I've become ever so slightly addicted to an iPad game! What I need to be doing is shopping. I've got the tree up, with Hal & Sarah's help. Already had lights up outside. Probably need more. I even put a little decoration on my door. When you have a 7 year old little girl, you just have to be in the Christmas spirit. There's really no getting out of it. Not that I've had a ton of trouble with it this year but I've struggled in the past. (We watched the Disney version of A Christmas Carol this afternoon just as a safeguard!).
It's hard to get excited about spending a lot of money when somebody's out of a job, or there are huge bills looming and needing to be paid. A lot of people are suffering right now. I meet people in the ER who desperately need basic healthcare, food, clothing, and shelter. But not every homeless or desolate soul is there from simple bad luck. Many people actually choose to be homeless, to live a free and unencumbered life, and to take advantage of the resources that are available for the poor. That was hard for me to understand when I first met someone like that. But think about that. You trade a potential big house with big debt and live in the woods with others in a commune of sorts - and you don't have to work. You get free meals from the local churches, and "free" health care from local clinics and ERs. Heck we even give out donated clothing at our ER. I wonder how bad being homeless actually is: until the weather gets wet and cold or you break a foot or really get sick. How much sympathy do people deserve when they've put themselves in that position? But this is a question that can't be answered tonight. Here's what lies in my mind in the wee hours. Got a show about a serial killer on television in the background. All I need now is a stiff drink and some pretzels.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I like these Apples.

I have a new toy! It's an iPad and right this very second I'm trying to use the on screen keyboard - feels like keyboarding class all over again. I am not one to spend a lot of money on myself but I couldn't resist the black Friday deal offered by Apple. I wanted one of these last year, of course, but I couldn't justify the expense versus our financial obligations and bring home pay. Thankfully this year is much different for us - and let me say again how very grateful I am that Hal's three year stretch of unemployment and underemployment ended early this year. We don't have an incredible excess but we have enough to pay all of our bills on time, eat well, and get the things we need - and that's enough for me. I am reminded of my father actually. We lived a very humble and frugal life when I was a child, and he in fact still does...but he believed very strongly in the power of a proper education so we had a Apple II C desktop computer with a dot matrix printer attached! Our house was very small but that computer had a front-and-center place right in the living room where my brother and I were encouraged to sit and play with the educational games, type papers and projects, and bask in the discovery and the cool things it could do. Now this iPad has a coolness factor that has exponentially blown me away but here I am in my house, sitting on my 14 year old scratched up leather couch, typing away. In this case the Apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I worked my way through school enough to be able to have a few things but more importantly, I have a true appreciation for the things I'm able to have. Thanks Dad.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lindsey Buckingham rocked the house!

Hal and I went to the Lindsey Buckingham concert at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta - and wow it was totally worth it!  The traffic, the ticket price, the broken parking meter that resulted in all of us getting parking tickets...he was amazing!  That man can SING and can do all sorts of things to a guitar.  He's a true musical genius and it was left brain mania to hear him for 2 hours!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Start Something That Matters - read this book by Blake Mycoskie

Currently half way through this book - it's the really neat story of how Tom's shoes got started.  If you've ever thought about your own start up, this is a great guide with lots of awe-inspiring stories built in.  Blake Mycoskie is one smart dude.  I now own 3 pairs of Tom's shoes and Sarah has one.  We love 'em.  That means my dollars put shoes on our feet and the feet of 4 kids without shoes.  That's awesome!  Conscious buying.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Madison County Fair

This Wednesday night Hal and I decided to take Sarah to the Fair - notice the capital letters to give the word emphasis.  When I was a kid, everyone looked forward to the Fair in the Fall.  Popcorn, pizza, corn dogs, and funnel cakes and all sorts of dizzyingly fun rides - plus a night out with our friends!  I don't know about you, but I never got to go out at night!  This was one of the funnest things to do all year and lots of times we even got to go on a school night.  There you go.  Until that one year when I sat down in someone's puke.  I can't remember the exact ride but "the whirly bird" comes to mind.  All I know is I sat down in the seat and felt an oozing warm wetness and then smelled that horrible puke smell, stomach acid, half-digested food, and nasty green bile.  It was a  yucky disaster.  My dad got so bent out of shape, and we pretty much had to leave because who in the heck brings a spare set of clothes to the freaking Fair?!  Ugh.  It was awful and I've been trying *not* to remember that night or the Fair ever since.   But last week Hal started talking about it, and then Sarah started talking about it, and then I found myself pretty much being coerced into to going or facing the fact that I'm probably a crappy mother.  So I went.

The smell of hay and cows and popcorn all mixed into one was the first sensation besides the colorful lights that I experienced upon getting out of the car.  There was the Boy Scout who was supposed to be helping us park but was instead more interested in playing with the gravel on the ground at his feet.  His mother kept yelling at him and I laughed in sympathy at her frustration.  Four bucks to get in wasn't bad - we had almost $40 in cash after raiding the kiddo's piggy bank.  I decided that this was a good opportunity to teach Sarah a little bit about how spending money works.  She got to buy tickets, food, and go on 4 rides all by herself.  She saw someone she knew and got so excited that she lost herself in telling us rather than saying hi to the person she'd spotted.  Hal tried the boiled peanuts while we listened to some live country music - I snapped a few pictures and just took it all in, and wasn't terribly focused on avoiding puke.  I guess the ER has softened me a bit where vomit is concerned.  Can't avoid those sights, sounds, or smells in the ER!   I visited the cows and tried to figure out whether or not I appreciated the showing of cattle and had a whole ethical debate in my head about whether or not I really should be eating meat.  I guess at my core I really am a nerd.

There is one thing that stuck with me though: one of the fair tents had merchandise for sale - almost all of it cheap cheesy crap from China but I took a look anyway (it's a woman's right to shop no matter where she is).  There was a hanger of flags and I looked all the way through them.  There were military flags, POW MIA flags, and rebel flags but not one actual American flag.  I understand pride in where you come from but the rebel flags need to go.  To me they are a sign of ignorance and hate nowadays rather than anything resembling pride.  They are simply outdated.  Fortunately there wasn't a long line of people hurrying to buy them.  It's funny to me that the same crowd of folks that would buy leather bracelets with christian fish symbols on them would buy the rebel flag as well.  There's a reason why that particular collection of merchandise was in that tent for sale.  Consumer demand.  Sad, but true.

Otherwise enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eight bucks for this?

A couple of weeks ago while walking back through the hospital from taking a visitor upstairs, I stroll by the gift shop.  Through the glass wall I see this and I have to go in for closer inspection.  I'm all for reduce, reuse, and recycle but I must admit, I'm not for this.  This $8 "recycled" plastic coke bottle just takes the proverbial cake.  Eight bucks?  For this?  Seriously?  Even if I carried a purse, I cannot imagine ever having one of these in there to "store" things.  I applaud the sentiment behind this product but come on.  Eight bucks?  Maybe $3 would be more reasonable but I still wouldn't bite.  Would you?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Whoa! Why haven't I already found this?

Read this now.  Ever wondered what happens when you die?  Who hasn't?  This book is fascinating!  Thanks Carla Baron for suggesting I read this!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dear Virus, please expire.

Last Wednesday night I spiked a fever, then got the sweats, then threw up, then got the squirts.  It was hell, and I felt just awful.  So now it's more than a week later and I have to come home early from work because I'm running a fever again.  In fact, I've pretty much had a fever almost every day since last Wednesday.  I think there should be an automatic "you've suffered enough" expiration date on all illnesses.  I've also decided that besides the death of a loved one and perhaps a nasty break-up with the love of your life that vomiting is one of the worst human experiences.  I could live a thousand more lifetimes and not ever need to do it again.  Every time I throw up another food item gets scratched off my eat list.  This time it was Zaxby's chicken (that I'd pulled out of the fridge, leftover).  Once before it was spaghetti - I still remember puking so forcefully that whole noodles came out my nose.  Red Lobster was crossed off the list when I was 21.  What will it be next?  However, I must say that this virus - this god awful bug - prompted me to eat something I probably haven't eaten in 20 years...Campbell's chicken noodle soup.  I have no idea why except that I lost more than 5 pounds in one day and was starving so bad that my stomach was about to digest itself...and I was at work and desperate.  I kept it down.  Healthy and cheap my dad would say...if I gave him the satisfaction of telling him!  :)

Monday, August 15, 2011


You all died so suddenly,
even when we knew it might come.
I see people die now.
I know that pain in the eyes of the ones they leave behind.

I've felt it eight times before,
and it's awful.
A great big elephant sitting right on my heart,
and he won't move to save my life, my mind.

During the days when I think of you I ask you to visit me.
I tell you that I love you, that I miss you.
That I'd love to just sit and talk.
I wish I'd come to see you more when you were here, like you asked me to.
I say this out loud.

But in the night, in those wee hours and my half conscious slumber,
this is when you come.
Your face shines through and I recognize you.
Rocking in the chair, standing in the corner, sitting on the couch.

There you are!
Sometimes you only smile.
Sometimes you tell me something I might need to know.
I say I love you.
You say I know.

Love lives on, and does not die.
The body, yes.  But only.
My soul and your soul, connected forever.
You have work to do now, and I've gotta finish this life.
But please, come see me anytime you can.
I love you.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Read The Borrower.

I just stayed up 3 hours extra to finish reading this book.  You've got to get your hands on a copy and read it.  Really great story - and yes, it's actually fiction.  On rare occasions I will pick up a promising fiction book - I bought this one a few weeks ago at Borders and just recently had the time to read it.  It's about a librarian and a little boy.  Read it as soon as you can. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm just smurfed.

Ah.  Time alone.  Quiet time.  And I can think of nothing to do.  I'm so tired I don't even want to read.  I did read my daily cnn.com and was moved to tears reading the bios of the soldiers killed in the chopper crash.  So sad that we are still fighting a stupid war, and spending billions upon billions to do it.  I support our troops and the sacrifices they are making but don't like the war and the fact that our guys and girls are dying over there.  I'm really not one to discuss politics often though, because opinions obviously vary widely.  I'm just one person.

Jennifer and I took the kiddo to see The Smurfs movie last Friday and now we've become obsessed with collecting those little smurf happy meal toys.  Generally speaking I don't like happy meal toys because of their environmental effect, but these guys are just plain cute.  And they make me remember playing as a child with my friends and my own little smurf figurines.  Those are selling mad now on Ebay too.  It's quite funny.  Kind of like NKOTB, those toys take me back.  I also bought Sarah 2 of the old Smurf cartoons for her iPod touch and she loves them.  She can now talk just like Gargamel.  It's really funny.  She's always been quite the dramatic actress, so I've signed her up for an acting class this fall.  Even though it's gonna cost me $60 a month, I can't wait for her to have an outlet for all of her natural born creativity, and I can't wait to see what she does on stage!  Hal and I were avid movie-goers before she came along - for 8 years we saw lots of movies!  She's now into movies too and I think she'll beat the socks off her friends in a few years when somebody breaks out a movie trivia game.  We shall see. 

What to do now?  I've got this Smurfy game on my iPhone I might play for a while.  It's rather mindless and I love watching those little Smurfs grow crops.  Speaks to the granola mom, tree hugging, hybrid driving, smurf lover in me.  :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Heading to Jacksonville to see the Jacksons!

In a few hours we take off for Jacksonville, Florida!  I haven't seen my family down there for almost 2 years.  We were supposed to have Thanksgiving dinner there last fall but things didn't work out and I wound up staying here and having Thanksgiving with my Aunt Barbara.  Thank goodness I did, because by February she was gone.  In fact, most of my father's family is now gone.  At least half.  Florida has always been the home of my mother's family and even though I didn't see them near enough growing up, I've tried to see them more as an adult.  But obviously when you're an adult you have jobs, kids, responsibilities that get in the way.  So I don't get down there enough still, but when I do the whole clan usually comes to visit.  It's quite fun and I'm really excited to see them all!  And little Sarah is really pumped up too!  Pictures to come of the Jackson clan!  :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sad day for book lovers.

Borders bookstore's liquidation sale makes me so sad - I was in there yesterday on my day off and books were scattered everywhere.  Some people were still grumbling about the prices, even though some things are up to 40% off now.  I'm going to miss the brick and mortar store.  I loved going there with my family or even all by myself.  It was a great way to peruse all the latest offerings from the literary world - I found many great books that way.  I have a busy life and don't always have time to read all the news snippets about new books coming out.  That's why when I found a good book I liked to post them on here to share with you all.  My father always said to me that if I could read I could figure out how to do anything else.  I found that to be true in college when I virtually taught myself Physics by reading my textbook.  I think putting textbooks in digital format is a good idea - but only if there's significant cost reduction.  Textbook prices are ridiculous.  But the novel, the non-fiction book, the memoir, even the trashy romance story - those need to be printed on paper and bound as books and displayed at the local bookstore.

I wasn't one of those people who just went to the bookstore and treated it like a library - sat and read the book then put it back on the shelf without making a purchase.  But I was someone who bought books at Borders with the coupons they gave Rewards members.  I didn't like paying full price - not because I don't think books are worth it, just because of my own finances. 

I will really miss my Borders bookstore.  And I truly feel awful for all the employees who will very soon be out of a job.  I talked to one at the checkout the other day who was nearly in tears.  Soon she will have no health insurance and the place she's worked for 11 years will be gone.  The friendships, the relationships with coworkers, the frequent customers she liked seeing...gone or at least damaged.  It's sad.  I really hope the print book industry doesn't go out.  There's nothing quite like curling up in my bed with a book in my hands while a thunderstorm rages outside.  Nothing like it at all.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What I'm reading now.

If you are fast you can read this in a day and if you work with anyone at all besides yourself, it is bound to benefit you!  I'm starting it tonight.  Read some snippets in the Border's bookstore today.  (I'll not go into the teary eyed hissy fit that I could easily muster up right now due to Border's going out of business - it's a sad time.)

Books in my hand make me happy.  I'm not sold on the ebook idea yet.  I've read one book on my iPhone so far.  It was a fine experience, but doesn't match holding the book in my hands, turning its pages, and the smell of the paper and ink.  Laugh if you want, but I like to get my senses involved when I'm reading.  Except taste.  Eating a book would be gross...but it would probably be enough to get me on that "My Strange Addiction" show!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thoughts after a long night in the ER.

I'm thinking there must be a bunch of introverted folks reading my blog - or - I'm not saying anything worthy of many comments.  I can always depend on Brandy, my long-time friend and trusty side-kick all through my school years.  She had the unfortunate last-name-starts-with-a-B problem which meant she sat right beside me for what, 12 years?  Whether she wanted to be my friend or not, she was stuck with me.  And I love her for it.  Isn't it about time for a high school reunion?  Brandy, let's do dinner!

Tonight in the ER was long and hard.  Some icky sad things happened, and there were more than the usual odd assortment of strangeness.  Strange patients with strange situations that sometimes have strange endings.  I love calling a spade a spade and being right about it.  I was hitting the nail on the head so much tonight that I felt slightly psychic...and no, there were no tarot cards involved.  Not even my magic 8 ball.  Sometimes I joke with my coworkers that I seem to have left my magic wand at home - there are some problems even I can't solve.  Ha!

I've had a number of nurses tell me that they couldn't do what I do.  Well, let me be very clear - there's no way I could do what they do either.  Nurses put up with a lot of crap, on a daily basis.  If you are a nurse coming on for a 12 hour shift you can count on being yelled at, puked on, at fault whether it's your fault or not, and probably stressed to the core.  You can laugh till you just about pee in your pants (and why shouldn't you since you haven't had a bathroom break in 8 hours?) and you can cry because your heart genuinely hurts for this patient and his/her family that you've never even met before.  It's like jumping on an emotional roller coaster every single day and praying for the best.  They do it because they love helping people, because some nights it can be exciting, and because they know deep down they are making a difference.  I really have a lot of respect for what those guys go through.  I could never be a nurse.  But that's one of the few things I've figured out I don't want to be when I grow up.   It takes all of us to make the ER run smoothly, and in a larger sense, it takes all of the greater collective us to make the world go round.  There's something out there for everyone.   It makes me sad to see people come into the ER high on narcotics or illegal drugs or alcohol just living for the next high.  There's intrinsic value in each one of us - but it's up to us to make the most of what we're good at and do something for the greater good of society.  If I can make a small difference for even one person, then I can feel good about that.  But take this guy Blake Mycoskie who founded TOMS shoes - this guy is making a difference for millions of kids who didn't even have shoes on their feet.  That's a big deal.  And now his company is trying to help those same people in 3rd world countries or areas affected by devastation and natural disaster see better too.  You buy a pair of sunglasses from him, he helps give someone their sight back.  Now that's helping.  That's making a difference.  That's living your life to its fullest potential.  I wish I had an idea that great.  We all have a purpose here - what's yours?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Comments are welcome here.

I just checked my Google Adsense account and see that you guys are actually reading my blog!!  I'm blushing over here...along with sweating.  It's hot in my bonus room!  This thermostat hasn't worked right since we moved in.  I need an exercise bike up here! 

As usual, every other living organism - including the fish, is asleep right now.  I'm awake.  I climbed in bed and gave it the good scout's try, but then Hal started snoring and I got a text, figured out Jordan Knight was on George Lopez tonight and then all efforts to sleep were off.  Just finished watching that and his online interview with Jordan right after the show.  He's very cute but he was never my favorite.  His new album is quite good though and even you NKOTB haters should give it a listen if you like pop dance music.  It's sexy and fun.

I've been thinking of making some changes lately.  I've mysteriously started to study for the LSAT - that's the Law School Admissions Test.  I honestly cannot tell you why I'm doing this.  I guess it's sort of fun (shut up Jennifer Aaron, I know you think I'm nerdy)!  The test is based mostly on analytical and logical thinking - and those things are mostly what I'm good at especially in the PAC job that I have.  I'd imagine that if the 11 of us sat for that test our scores would be very high collectively.  And if there was a way to test how quickly we can walk into an unknown emotional situation in a room and size it up successfully we'd all be winners.  That's why I love my job (most days) - because you never know what's coming through the door.  So I don't know if I actually want to be an attorney or not.  If I did I'd probably want to do higher education law or healthcare risk management or maybe even social justice stuff.  I think I might take the test in December.  That gives me a few months to study.  And even if I suck at it or don't go to law school, studying this stuff might help me stave off alzheimer's disease!

Then there's the birthday that I've got coming up.  I'll be 37 soon and I think I should have accomplished something by now.  For 24 years, I've wanted to WRITE A BOOK.  So far I've scratched out an unpublishable manuscript - unpublishable because it's too honest, too revealing, too fraught with controversy.  At least my trusty advisers have told me so.  Some people are lauded for sharing their darkest secrets.  For being brave and bravely writing.  But oh well.

So I need to write more but I don't know what the story should be.  Being a published author would thrill me, but the last few years have been tough economically and it's hard to work full time and write.  Now that the man of the house is working full time again it's easier, but still there's lots of bills to pay down before I'd have the money to hire an editor or an agent.  And then there's the lingering doubt that plagues us all - "am I good enough to write a book that anyone would want to actually read?"

Only time will tell.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Get busy!

In an hour I'll be about ready to leave for another night at work in the ER.  I need a vacation something fierce.  I need several days in a hotel - maybe in a big city somewhere - where there's a big fat bed with big fluffy pillows I can sink my head into.  I don't even need a television.  All I need is a box fan, a bucket of ice with some Diet Dr. Pepper nearby, and some sleep.  Precious sleep.  Quiet.  Nothing but me and dreamland.  For maybe 24 hours.

Things you guys should do while I'm away:

Buy Tom's shoes: They are really comfortable and yes they start at $44 but a needy child in a 3rd world country (and even here in the States too) gets a new pair of shoes.  Their giving model is One for One.  They've been giving away shoes since 2006 with over one million pairs given to children.  Now they've started with eyewear as well.  Sunglasses start at $135 but you can help a blind or nearly blind person get cataract surgery, glasses, or just give sunglasses with UV protection to someone who needs them so they won't get cataracts.  I bought myself 2 pairs of the TOMS shoes and even got Sarah a pair for her back to school shoes.  I wear mine on my 12 hour shift in the ER and my feet do not hurt!  And by the way, I've yet to actually pay full price for a single pair.  Check out Kinnucan's.

Sign up for Swap.com:  Seriously, who among you could stand to get rid of some CDs, DVDs, games, or books that are sitting on your bookshelves collecting dust?  If you're like me, your music is now all loaded onto your computer and therefore on your iPod or iPhone.  I very rarely read a book more than once so they sit silently day in and day out on my shelves.  Your kids outgrow or get tired of their x-box games, and the DVD you thought you had to have has now retired to the entertainment center because if you see that movie again you just might stick a fork in your eye.

BUT that doesn't mean there's not more books, CDs, DVDs, and games out there that you're not interested in!  So sign up for swap.com, put in to their system all the things you have that you'd like to trade, then select all the things you'd like to have and viola! - trades will start to appear.  All you have to do is mail your stuff to the next guy and watch your mailbox for your new (slightly used) stuff to appear!  Cool huh?  And it'll keep the US Post Office going for a bit longer.  Trading is cool.  Why didn't I think of that site?

Okay.  Must get dressed now and go face reality.  Another day, another dollar.  Here are your links.  Now get busy!



Friday, July 1, 2011

Getting reaquainted with the 15 year old me.

Today I had the sudden urge to retrieve some boxes stored at my father's place.  I was looking for my old yearbooks mostly, but I forgot that in the same box was an armful of Mead Five Star spiral bound notebooks, in a rainbow of colors, in which - over time - I'd poured out my heart and soul.  In December of 1989, the 15 year old Heather decided to write in a journal every single day for a year.  And so it went.  Every day, usually 2 whole pages long -- and I didn't have that curly bubbly girly hand writing that many of my friends did.  Small text, print, in pencil.  So after my stroll through yearbooks from 6th grade through graduating UGA - I picked up a notebook and began to read. 
Oh teenaged angst!  Boy was I full of it.  I want to get to know myself again, from that youngster's perspective, and perhaps reassure myself all over again that life is full of ups and downs but that I'll survive.  She did.  I do.  I will.  I used to smile when I heard the words "inner child." I imagined a cute little pixie girl riding a bicycle all up and down my rib cage, resting on my stomach, before diving down to pedal through my intestines.  Inner child?  What the hell is that?
Well, here she is.  Even though I thought I was grown at 15, I was still very much a child.  Let's see if I can remember what the world looked like through her eyes.  Let's see what I've learned in the last 21 years.  I wish I could hop on a time machine and give that girl a hug because she needed it.  If I could, I'd try to grab her young body - thin thighs and smaller butt.  But I'd totally forget the zits. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Well, I'll be. We did it.

One week ago we decided to not eat out.  Sounds simple, but for us, it was a huge change from normal.  And guess what: we did it.  All I wanted to do was make it for a week, so a half-hour ago I hit the mark.  I could have gone running out of the house to grab a quick Reece's Mcflurry at McDonald's or a pepper supreme burger at The Grill - but quite honestly I think there's been a total change in perspective in this house.  There were even a couple of times I could have given in rather easily: once when I found myself in a Starbucks with Jennifer and this very afternoon when my dad came over and unknowingly brought a vegetable plate from The Ila Restaurant.  Now that was hard to resist.  But it was really important for me to stick to the one full week and not give in.

Things I noticed:
It's not that scary to grocery shop.
There are very tasty things in the grocery store that I can make very easily at home.  Assemble, I'll say.
There are definitely things that I crave from a restaurant: sushi & frozen yogurt for sure.  And maybe the cheeseburger from McDonald's...and definitely the steak and cheese from Subway...ah!
One week has gone by and I haven't starved to death (not that there was a chance of that anyway-I have lots of fat reserves - the Adams hips I call 'em).

I ate turkey and cheese sandwiches, chips, lean cuisines, lots of fruits, broccoli, yogurt, smoothies, cereal, cookies, pop-tarts, and home-made spaghetti.  One week is not enough time to really get creative in the kitchen, but it is time to see that I could be if I invest the time.
In some ways I felt like I was returning to something simpler.  When I grew up, we ate whatever my grandmother put on the table, whether we liked it or not.  There was no going out to eat.  I mean, talk about local food.  We grew our vegetables in the summer, canned them so we'd have plenty all winter long, and grew chickens too.  We bought milk from the lady up the street who had a small dairy - literally about a mile and a half away.  We bought hot dogs, chips, flour, Dr. Pepper and novelties that would have been hard to make on our own - but I'd say at least half our food we grew.  And we ate mostly vegetables.  I had to try everything, including those nightmarish chicken livers my grandmother loved so much, and a bite of a pickled pig's foot once too.  OMG.  But I survived and never struggled with my weight growing up.  I still remember the smell of my Granny's freshly cut fried potatoes.  I could have eaten those every single day.  I remember "looking" through the pinto beans before we cooked them, to weed out any bad beans.  I helped peel onions, tomatoes, and apples.  I stirred the soups, and the chocolate for her famous chocolate pies.  I even know how to make buttermilk biscuits.

I guess I abandoned that part of me in favor of convenience and because I'm married to a guy whose only vice is restaurant dining.  Over the years it just became normal.  We even convinced ourselves that we could eat out cheaper than eating in.  We don't eat leftovers, we reasoned.  And what about all the time we'd have to invest in food prep and cleaning up?
What goes with a meal, but conversation?  What goes with grocery shopping, but an activity together?  One of my coworkers called grocery shopping "kind of a date" with her man.  Who's ever stood at the sink washing dishes with their mate and put their wet hand on his or her butt for fun?  All this brings opportunity to be together, even if it is just standing in the kitchen sharing a laugh or a tease.  It sure beats running to a restaurant, having dinner, and then returning home to solitary activities or television.

Now restaurants have their place for sure...and I'm not all of a sudden a hater.  It's good for when there's no time for cooking a proper meal at home, when traveling, or in some sort of crisis situation - like the time I became so depressed all I wanted was french onion soup from Bennigan's.  And what about celebrations?  Sometimes we just wanna go out.  That's perfectly okay.  But it shouldn't be what we do for every meal and it shouldn't be the standard.  Eating out all the time gets boring, monotonous, and extremely expensive.  I think I'm gonna try to stay the course with this, and try to figure out how to slowly and thoughtfully add restaurants back into my life.  But right now, I'm gonna go downstairs and raid the fridge!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No Restaurants: day one.

I hate grocery shopping - have pretty much avoided it since I was pregnant with Sarah and couldn't stand the smell of food anywhere at any time - even the sight of certain foods bothered me!  But today we literally almost had no food in the house, unless you count pretzels and ketchup, Dora yogurt and pickles.
Anyway, I finally got up the gumption to go to the store specifically to buy food.  We walked around tossing food willy-nilly into the buggy and wound up with a $210 tab at checkout.  (props to the store for printing the receipt on front and back!)
Standing there watching our cashier ring up all of those items made me wonder if we could actually go without purchasing anything from a restaurant for a month.  When I suggested this to Hal, the eternal restaurant-goer, he said maybe we should shoot for a week instead.  So here we go.  Gonna try to make it until next Tuesday without purchasing any food or drink from a restaurant, snack bar or vending machine.  I suspect it might teach us a thing or two - how to cook at home, how to eat better, how to do the dishes!  We're spoiled.  Even when we're near broke we can afford McDonalds.  Cheap food adds up though - it takes a toll on our bank account and our bodies.  And it's not so cheap either...eating out during the last 30 days cost us a whopping $578.68!  Something's gotta give.  I encourage you to add up what you've spend eating out during the last month.  It's crazy how much you can spend on food, beverage, and tips.  Anyway, wish us luck.  Wonder what I'll crave the most?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Price of Everything - very interesting book!

I just picked this up last week and already I'm sucked into its pages.  It's non-fiction of course (that's my style) and full of facts but written in an easy prose that can be followed even if you flunked economics 101.  I never had a course in economics!  But this book is fascinating and really does look at the psychology behind prices and how what we're willing to pay for things sort of defines who we are.  Pick it up at Borders or Amazon.com.  Speaking of prices...I used a 50% off coupon at Borders when I purchased this!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Craft hour at the Posey house.

Tonight I almost lost my mind.  That's right, I did something domestic and crafty with my daughter - who was so excited she was beside herself!  And, to make matters even more strange & spectacular, her father (who has no craft skills that I've ever seen) participated in this rare event with the kid.  It all started when I began drinking beer.  Now, this was weeks ago - but I decided to start trying "new" beers as a sort of taste test.  This takes forever because I can at most drink probably 3 or 4 a week.  So one day I pryed the bottle cap off a British beer and liked the design on the cap...so I sat it on the bar in the kitchen (not unusual for an odd assortment of things to be on the bar).  And then over the past few weeks I kept adding bottle caps.  Now, the bar isn't too far from the refrigerator...where my little 6 year old artiste puts her MULTITUDE of drawings.  Inevitably she runs out of magnets to hold up said drawings.  So one day when my eyes saw the bottle caps and the drawings I thought, *eureka* *holy moly* I've got a solution!  So today we spend a ton of money at the craft store buying all sorts of things to help us make these magnets, including a very cool (uh warm really) hot glue gun and a (super awesome I love it) 1 inch round circle punch.  And when Sarah saw a unpainted wooden treasure chest that needed paint and decoration...well she of course had to have it...and I looked straight at Hal and said "um, that's all you." I wish I could say our little craft hour was cheap but it wasn't!  But it was fun and I hope all these supplies will keep the kiddo busy for the next 100 or so days until school starts back.  Tomorrow is Day 1 of summer vacation!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama's death not a reason to party.

So Osama was killed Sunday by U.S. forces. That was kind of good to hear...and when I say kind of, I mean it. Images on television of people rallying in Times Square New York, and in front of the White House shouting U.S.A. and "hey hey, goodbye" totally surprised me. Are we really, as a people, celebrating the assassination of Osama bin Laden? Yes, he was a monster. Yes he killed many, many people through his commands, his subservients and his terror. I get all that. I still remember the exact moment I heard of the horrors happening on September 11, 2001. I did not know anyone personally who died in those attacks, however I felt the grief in what unfolded during those hours and days. It forever changed my perspective, maybe in the same way D-day or the Kennedy assassinations did for those generations. But no matter how I shake my head, I can't understand cheering for someone's death.

Is that the Christian thing to do? Regardless your religion or spiritual beliefs, is celebrating the killing of another person truly what you're supposed to do? I can agree with a collective exhale, with a sigh of relief, even with a desire to see a picture of his dead body just to be sure. But hooting and hollering and singing and partying doesn't seem right.

The mistakes that man made in the name of his religion, his mental illness, his unique and awful badness - those mistakes will bite him in the tail one day - karma is real and it really can be a "bitch." But us celebrating might bring on a bit of bad karma too. It feels good to shed the world of evil - and he was certainly evil in this lifetime - but we are not the judge, and whether or not we like it, his life did serve a dreadful purpose that might just be too big for us to understand, let alone agree with.

I feel good for our servicemen, for the victim's families, for our government...but I do feel wary of what may come. What will Osama's followers feel when they see footage of us celebrating in our streets? We need to calm down and treat this situation with the grim respect it deserves.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Story of (my) stuff.

Today my husband and I spent hours cleaning out the garage - and it's FAR from finished.  We got rid of a lot of stuff.  It's sitting out by the curb waiting on the garbage truck that comes in a few hours.  Of course there's a nice windy storm of the century brewing up right now that may blow our garbage all over the neighborhood...but at least it's not in our garage anymore.

Isn't it neat when you find stuff you thought you'd lost?  You're so excited - I literally heard myself squeal when I spotted my timbuk2 bag in the bottom of a box.  Hal found some iron tool and shouted "hey!"  Sarah was all over the place rediscovering toys she hadn't seen in a while...some she'd outgrown but still wanted to keep.  We found clothes we'd forgotten but would still love to wear, clothes we can't fit into anymore, and lots of things to give away.  Hal's SUV has several bags in the back of it now, headed straight to the Goodwill donation center tomorrow.

Ah.  Feels so good.  Too bad it doesn't happen very often.

See, Hal and I are messy, disorganized, pack-rats.  Plain and simple.  And we've moved a lot.  All over Athens in the beginning, then up and down the Eastern U.S.  When you're moving either quickly or with a toddler and 2 cats in tow, you tend to just throw crap in a box and make a run for it.  And if you're already disorganized to begin with, you get a hodgepodge in each box.  It's kind of like, what's behind door number # 2 Al?

Every once in a blue moon (like that old Southern adage?) we both get sick of the mess at the same exact time, and we actually make progress clearing out and cleaning up.  But there are still things we hang on to, despite knowing that we'll never actually use them.  Like Hal's bag 'o karate videos - VHS tapes!  We don't even have a VCR anymore!  Or my collection of coffee cups.  I will never have 40 people in my house at once all drinking coffee.  But yet, the stuff persists.

I even read a book last year about getting rid of stuff...called The Story of Stuff.

I rarely invite people inside our messy house.  Yet I'm a social person!  You think that would be enough of a motivator.  I don't know what the right combination is.  Today I was both sick, and tired, yet we worked for a long time and got rid of a lot of things.  I wish I knew what magic spell brought that on.  I'd be more apt to bippity boppity boo if I did.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Earthbound Spirits?

This is a whole new idea for me to take in - this book is fascinating - it talks about ghosts who are Earthbound - which are different than the ones mediums can talk to, because Earthbound spirits haven't yet crossed over into the light.  Huh?
I'm currently almost half-way through.  The author is the woman who inspired the television show The Ghost Whisperer.  Cool!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Learning the Tarot

I have discovered Tarot cards.  Before you read any further, allow me to state...
*no, I'm not a devil worshipper or a pagean
*yes, I believe in God, read the Bible, and attend Church occasionally - currently looking for a church closer to home

Right now, I'm on a quest for understanding, both Spiritually and Literally.  It's not enough for me to sit back and let life happen to me, although there have been periods of time where I've done just that.  I want to be an active participant in my life - directing it at will if I can.  That said, I still hold the belief that everything happens for a reason.

The Tarot cards (in the traditional 78 card deck) leave nothing out in our human experience here on Earth.  In the meanings of the individual cards you can find every form of human suffering, joy, fear, challenge, and fulfillment.  It speaks to all of the things that oppress us, hold us up, hold us back, and what we have inside of us that can propel us forward.  They go back at least as far as the 15th century, AD. 

Here's how I think it works.  We all have a conscious mind - that's what we use daily - it's the conversations we have with ourselves all the time.  Then there's the more mysterious yet unusually omnipotent subconscious mind.  This is the part of our higher awareness, our higher self, that can guide us through situations where our conscious mind gets bogged down in emotion and facts.  The higher self can recognize these events for what they are and steer us through by saying, no - here is the direction you must go.  The Tarot is a tool for uncovering the thoughts and perceptions of the unconscious mind.  It's what our soul already knows on a deeper level but our brain just can't figure out on its own.  Some people go to therapists, some meditate, some use dream interpretation or hypnosis even - all of these are designed to help us get to the core of the matter.  The key is helping your self figure out your life. 

*this does not mean I don't pray - it's absolutely possible to believe in God, pray for guidance, and use the Tarot at the same time.

I've been practicing for a few weeks now and have definitely had some success!  It's amazing how much more SELF REFLECTION I'm able to do once I consider what the cards are trying to tell me on any given day.  And I've freaked out a few friends too!  The Tarot always has something to tell you.

If you're interested in learning more, check out www.learntarot.com.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Big Daddy Starbucks wrote a new book!

As you all know, I'm a huge fan.  Reading this right now and it's so neat to see what went on behind the scene when SBUX stock toppled and Howard took the reins of the company again.  I was actually working for the company during this time and remember very clearly attending the 3 hour retraining that he describes in Chapter 1.  If I could I'd work for them again today because he's such an inspiring leader, because the company is founded on strong guiding principles, and because I believe in what Starbucks has created.  Great reading!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Don't squash the caterpillars.

"Something traumatic happened today," the kindergarten teacher told me as she walked my 6 year old to the car.  "She cried - she'll tell you."  Sarah was already frowning mightily when I asked her what happened.  "Diego killed a caterpillar on the playground!" she shouts at me - arms crossed, lips pursed out as if she might cry again right then and there.  "He squashed it with a stick!"  I asked her what she did and her response was that she'd thrown her jacket down and stomped away crying...with much drama if I know my little girl.

So this makes me think.  Sarah went to the butterfly exhibit at the Florida National History Museum a couple of weeks ago.  She learned all about the life cycle of a butterfly - knew the stages before the beautiful creature gets its pretty wings.  She knew that caterpillar lost it's chance to become a beautiful butterfly.  She probably didn't have the wherewithal to explain all this to poor adventuresome Diego, who probably felt awful after Sarah's dramatic display of emotions.  But what one does not know, one cannot fully judge.

There are many situations that present themselves in our lives as we go through each day, month,  year, as time passes on and on and we grow older and experience more.  When we are children, most of us have a natural wonder - eager to see and experience all that we can.  As we grow older and things don't turn out the way we planned, some of us close ourselves off to what could be lurking around the bend.  Everything doesn't work out the way we want it to.  No one can tromp through life without taking a misstep once in a while.  It happens.  If you live, you hurt.  But joy can be and is found every day. 

Caterpillars aren't cute creatures.  In fact, they're quite ugly, unless you're watching A Bug's Life!  Looking at that caterpillar crawling in the dirt, all hairy and nasty, I can see why Diego might want to get rid of it.  Just end the poor thing - get it out of its misery.  But see, if he'd only given it a few more days, he would have witnessed just how beautiful that little guy would become. 

When something in your life seems ugly, doesn't fit just right and right away, or just doesn't measure up to your expectations - when the going gets tough and you're sure you should end it - that's when you have to hold on and wait a minute.  Give it some time.  Let the thing grow a while undisturbed save for any nurture you might want to give it.  Feed, water, and hold the thing in your palm, close to your heart.  You just don't know if that thing you're thinking about squashing could become something to behold if left to develop naturally. 

Inhale.  Exhale.  Have patience.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cocktail, schmocktail.

What the heck is a cocktail dress anyway?  I'm about the most unfeminine woman I know, and this very Saturday I have to come up with a DRESS to wear to my brother's wedding.  Yes, my baby brother is getting married.  I distinctly remember changing his diaper a time or two and winding the crank on his swing when it stopped and the little shit started crying.  Ah, but he was cute.  And I was so happy to hold him and play tricks on him when I was a mischievous 9 year old and he was a gullible 3 year old.  I quite happily convinced him that my feet could talk one day.  I tried to play with his "boy" toys even though I was girl(ish).  And I used to watch him walk around the yard with a stick in his hand pretending to be He-Man - making sure he didn't wander out of sight.  On our tire swing that hung from a very high limb on one of our dad's 200 year old oak trees, Josh could really swing dangerously high.  We were always afraid that thing would break and he'd go sailing into the yard smashing every bone in his body.  I think my father really believed Josh wouldn't live to be 10 years old.  But he did.  The little guy is now 30.  And he's getting married.  Ah...but forget nostalgia.  Now the pressure's on for me to find a stinkin' dress to wear to his wedding and I haven't the foggiest idea of where to start.  What the heck is a cocktail dress?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Read this book by Jessica Jewett

I read this in ONE NIGHT!  If you have a Kindle or Kindle program on your iPhone it's only $4.99.  Amazing narrative from an amazing lady about her past life as Fanny Chamberlin (wife of famous Civil War soldier Lawrence Chamberlin) and her reincarnation to her present life.  Very inspiring story.  Open your minds and your hearts to the possibilities, and support independent publishing at the same time.  Definitely grabs the reader from the first page to the last.  I didn't want it to end!  Two great things to compliment the book, only after you've read it, are to watch the movies Gods & Generals and Gettysburg.  I have always been very interested in the Civil War since being exposed to it in my 11th grade U.S. history class.  I was in the theater the first night when Gods & Generals came out (even though I had my wisdom teeth out that day)!  I have also visited the Gettysburg battlegrounds several times - which is something everyone who lives in America should do at some point in your life.  It doesn't matter where you're from, North or South, a lot of tragedy took place there, and you kind of have to see it in person to understand how huge it really was.  Put it on your bucket list.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hello Grief, come sit a while.

A few years ago, I totally lost myself in sorrow.  When three of my relatives died within a 4 month period, I just got so sad that I looked so hard for a diversion that I couldn't see straight.  I made mistakes.  At some point in time in life I guess we all do.  We all screw up and we can blame it on whatever makes us feel justified, but what I know now is that I wasn't justified simply because of the pain I felt.  That was then - this is now.  Now I feel the onset of that same overwhelming sorrow.  What I think I have learned is to just SIT in it.  Let myself feel the pain each day until it begins to lighten up - that is, not to try and escape it, but to feel it wash over me, acknowledge it for what it is (grief) and then try to release it each day. 

I lost my aunt, as you know, about 11 days ago.  Yesterday I found out that a new friend, a person I'd recently tried hard to help and then strangely gotten attached to, died in the wee hours of the morning.  Someone reminded me that death comes in "3's."  I'm trying to ignore this superstition because I don't know that my heart can take another loss right now.  Normally I'm chatty, feel pretty okay about life, despite my sometimes stressful job.  Right now, I don't want to talk.  I don't have anything to say but a simple question to the Universe - "Why?"  I know that death is a part of life.  And if I didn't already get this notion, my job would have taught me well over the last three years.  But lately it seems that people are dying in middle age - in their 40's, 50's, and 60's.  And a lot of people are dying.  I'm sure it's proportional to the population - maybe a result too of our toxic environment.  The Bible says that our days are numbered from the start - that God knows when each of us will go.  It's predetermined how and when we die.  I don't know about that necessarily because some things just seem so freakishly odd that I just can't figure how or why it should have gone down that way.  But then, I don't have that supreme understanding of the way the world works.  I wish I did.

Right now I guess I'm gonna concentrate on being sad.  Sounds weird doesn't it?  6 years ago I was doing everything I could to distract myself from the sadness, but that lesson is learned.  There's no escaping what the heart truly feels.  An old adage tells us not to wallow in sorrow or self pity, but I say that you should - at least for a time.  If you don't feel it, sort through it, try to understand and come to terms with it - then it will eventually catch up to you anyway.  Like that day in 2005 when I bit down into an old lady's teacake cookie and cried for half an hour.  The taste of that cookie reminded me of my Granny whose loss I hadn't fully mourned.  Grief sneaks up on you throughout your life.  You'll never really be finished with it.  It does get easier though, as I finally learned once I let myself know that heavy-hearted, there's an elephant standing on my chest - feeling.  Sooner or later the elephant doesn't feel so heavy, doesn't take your breath away quite as bad, kinda backs over into the corner of that room in our minds where we store the painful stuff that is quite definitely part of living a full life.  The heart takes chances we sometimes can't help.  We love when we do - and there's no choosing who we love and when that love takes hold of us.  That love that we feel, that genuine concern for another person above and beyond what we feel for ourselves - that is where the grief comes from.  But as another old saying goes, "tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all."

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Steve Harvey is a great comedian.  I vividly remember watching him on Kings of Comedy tell a great story about how women really needed to "build a man." One man simply cannot do all the things that a woman needs, so she must build a man using about 4 different types of men to get satisfaction out of her life.  One had to be rich, one gay, one old, one vibrant and sexy...and the joke went on.  It was really funny and I still smile when I think of it.  Not such a crazy idea really.

The Indigo Girls wrote a song years ago called "Kid Fears."  It's about having a tough childhood, and there's a line in there about how we should "replace the ones that we love." This is what I had to do.
I was very young when my mother and father divorced, too young to remember the loss on the day it happened.  I have no idea what my parents argued about, how it all went down, the looks on their faces, the things she packed when she left.  All I know is that the loss I can't remember, the thing that changed my life forever, has hurt me all these years.  I hardly ever heard from my mother after she left.  But in that empty space, there was a soft spot for me to fall some days - most days even.

If Steve Harvey could tell the story, he'd say I built myself a mother.

My Granny was there almost everyday as I grew.  I lived with her part of those years.  She cooked for me, took care of me when I was sick, talked to me and instilled values in me.  When I was sad she'd hold me close in bed beside her, tell me stories, pat me on the back.  She was a gift to me all the years I had her.  Then she was gone.

My Aunt Sharon was my oh so cool aunt.  She took me school shopping when I was little, let me spend nights at her house with my cousins, took us to the mall when we were teens, and she thought I was smart.  I loved that she called me for my opinion when I got older.  She was the one who told me when I was 21 that I wouldn't know who I was until I was at least 30.  She was right.  I'm 36 and I'm still baffled by some things.  Two months before Granny died, we lost Sharon to a hard-fought battle with cancer.

My Aunt Barbara was the last in my trio of mother figures.  She was a lot like Granny in that she was a great cook, and tried her best to keep our family grounded after so much loss.  She was very funny, had strong arms and gave tight hugs.  Just a few weeks ago she brought a bunch of clothes over for my daughter.  She'd been shopping and found a deal.  She thought of me like another one of her own.  I can't tell you how many weekends I spent with her as a child.  I always felt safe and loved in her presence.  I remember that she gave me a lot of touch - held me in her lap, ran her fingers through my hair, hugged me tight every time I saw her.  And tragically, she is now gone too.  We lost her on Sunday.  My family will never be the same.

The sadness I feel right now might not be temporary.  It might be permanent.  I'm in a dark place for sure.  When I was in my 20's I remember Hootie and The Blowfish had a song about a "motherless child." I always identified with it because I felt like when I was small I wore a big banner that said, hey...here's a kid whose own mother didn't love her enough to stay.  But all these years later I know that isn't how the situation actually played out.  Their divorce wasn't my fault.  My mother's love for me isn't easily understood by me or anyone else.  People have flaws.  Myself included.

But now that it's all said and done I realize I wasn't a motherless child.  Even though they didn't give birth to me, they were all three mothers to me.  They all loved me and helped me through my life.  If I had truly been alone I wouldn't be able to feel such pointed sorrow right now.  I guess it is better to have loved and lost than to have never felt that love at all.  I'm going to try to remember the good times, the times we laughed so hard we couldn't even talk...and when we went on crazy adventures together.  When you're young, and even now, you never know when you might be building a memory that will stand the test of time, that you'll hold close in your darkest hour.  That memory that might circulate in your brain over and over and over again and hopefully bring you some peace.

So as you continue to live your life, don't just go through the motions.  Take time to say I love you.  Make time for each other.  Build your house with memories, and fill your heart with love.  These are the things that matter.