Sunday, December 21, 2008

What We've Been Up To...

First, we did this...

Then we did this...

And because we did that, we made this...(that's actually The Chatham News)
You can check out the full story, along with color photos, here. Just another benefit of living in a tiny town - where everybody knows your name (that is, of course, unless your performing criminal acts. Then, well, it's hard to hide!).
It's been a VERY full week and I don't see things slowing down over the next 7 days. The horizon for me holds last minute shopping (stocking stuffers mostly), a little more baking and travel home to No. VA Friday evening to spend Christmas with my family next weekend. I am so thankful to be able to actually spend Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day with Michael! Turns out his schedule fell so that those were his two days off. We plan on being very lazy, enjoying our home and "Christmas surroundings" here in the house and remembering the true meaning of the season... I was fortunate enough to participate in our church's annual Christmas Caroling Friday night. That is always such a treat. The best part is piling into the trucks to get from house to house. You really get to know your church family members when you're crammed in like clowns in a VW. Pizza and fellowship followed and we called it a night around 11:30. And then last night Mike and I attended his SWAT team captain's annual Christmas party. I always love being involved with these people. I never feel more safe and secure than when I'm surrounded by 13 strapping cops/SWAT specialists packing heat! Ha! Awards were given and recognitions were made and a good time was had by all... I'm very proud of my husband...and all the team members and their wives. This is a group of highly trained men who are called out on a moment's notice. And many times they're creating a surprise situation for a volatile criminal (drug dealers usually). They trust each other implicitly and literally have each others' lives in their hands. But I couldn't ask for a better group of men to help protect my husband or the wives that support them and each other.
Oh, almost forgot. We had our Christmas luncheon at work Friday afternoon. It was held at The Old Granary Restaurant in Fearrington Village. Another lovely way to celebrate the season (and yes, grace was said again before the meal...did I say I think I'm going to like it here?).
So, I think that brings me up to date. This working at an office away from home really affects my ability to blog...and cook decent dinners...and clean my house...and, and, and... But I am grateful and hope to be falling into a less structured pattern soon!
I'm praying that all of you have a full heart and will soon be surrounded by those you love and who love you most. I'm also prayerful that your travels will be safe and that you'll be making more sweet memories with your families and loved ones.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our Reindeer Weekend

Ask me how much fun we had this weekend...go ahead, ask me!
Saturday the 13th was our local YMCA's Reindeer Run. This is a beautiful 5k run through the rolling streets of downtown Pittsboro, NC. And this year, I wasn't in it alone. Nope, Michael and Brandi both got to participate! We made quite the impression with our antler "ears"...

and Michael's race day pose, this one known as "Reindeer Man".

We think we may be famous. There was a man hanging around the event with a big camera around his neck taking names. We can only assume he was with the Chatham News (?).

I mean, who wouldn't want to report on two "reindeer" running through the streets of our quaint little town? Stay tuned. The paper comes out Thursday and the mystery will be solved - we'll either be featured as runners or will be looking to track this man down and turn him into the law! Later that day, Mom, Brandi and I went to the Garden Supply Center in Cary. You simply MUST visit this place at Christmas if you're ever in Central NC! BEAUTIFUL!!! Mom had us doing silly poses in front of all the different Christmas trees. This one included top hats as ornaments. We carefully borrowed two to pretend we were with the Rockettes and showed off our "jazz hands". It's okay, you can say we're dorks.

We really did have a great weekend together. It was really like an early Christmas for me having my folks and Bran with me. There's really nothing left on my list...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I Think I'm Going To Like It Here...

Friday December 5th was my first day with WLHC-FM "Life 103.1". Officially I'm a "Marketing Consultant". And I'm very excited. I'm based in Sanford, NC in a small, historic, 4-story brick building with tons of character. The office is very small, warm and inviting.

When I arrived Friday morning, there was music piped throughout the office (103.1 of course) playing at just the right level, the owners' dog "Scout" was resting comfortably in her bed in Mary's office and when Alan took me to lunch to further discuss my role and responsibilites...he said grace before we had our meal.

Yeah, I think I'm going to like it here...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Our Maiden Voyage

Remember me mentioning my birthday gift from my parents here? Well, let me elaborate...

First, I hail from the great state of Virginia.
More importantly, Northern Virginia - not twelve miles from Washington, DC. I LOVED IT!!! I had EVERY convenience I could ever want. From our neighborhood, I could drive 1 mile east and hit Giant (the grocery store), Szechuan Star (the best Chinese restaurant EVER), Sally Beauty, Advance Auto Parts, Gold's Gym, The UPS store, Starbucks, etc., etc., etc. Or, I could drive 1 mile west and be at one of the best rec centers in Fairfax County, the Safeway (another grocery store), the post office, CVS (the drugstore), Mobile gas station, etc., etc, etc. And on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights, I could put my Waste Management-provided trash bins on my curb and, like magic, when I awoke Monday mornings and Thursday mornings my garbage was gone! I loved this, too!

Then, I agreed to move to Bear Creek, North Carolina, where the only thing within a mile of me east or west (or north or south for that matter) are more old houses, chicken barns, cows and horses. And, needless to say, there is no Waste Management coming to collect my garbage or recycles.
I would not be intimidated by this little inconvenience. After all, I had a pick up truck! Yep, that's right...big city girl driving a Ford F150...okay, so it was so I could haul my horse around in our younger years but nonetheless, I still had a truck and was prepared for this "do-it-yourself" trash delivery system. What I failed to realize was, my 1986 pick up with close to 200,000 HARD miles on it would not last forever.
Bringing us to my recent birthday present - and my Calvary (once again).
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine my Mercury Grand Marquis would be transporting my dirties! But, you gotta' do what 'cha gotta' do to get by in the country. And like I've said before, the country will make you tough or bring you to your knees! I am prevailing (although a little embarrassed) - I am winning this country war!

And Sadie dog - well, going to the dump/recycle center is the event of the month for her! And this is one smart dog. She knew that when the truck was started, she was hitting the road! And even yesterday, as Mike hooked up the trailer, Sadie WENT OFF!!! She knew mom was going to make an exception and she'd be allowed in the "big car" and she was road bound. I figured what the heck? I'm hauling trash, might as well let the dog in the car, too! Ha!

Oh, this little life in the country. Always a story to share...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving '08

You all know the feeling. "Turkey" overload. When, despite how hard you try, you can't keep your eyes open or your head from bobbing like one of those dolls on the dashboard of a '77 Fairlane.

That's how it was here in the woods last Thursday afternoon. Not long after the dishtowel was hung up to dry, we all headed to our respective resting places for a much needed, and deserved, mid-day nap.
And it was no different for even the dog... (can we say "rotten"?)

Crunchie Munch came home from ICU last Wednesday, Thanksgiving eve. Yes, he's sporting a new do, too. That hair was just simply too much for the vet techs to handle. Plus, we can't afford for Munchie to get "backed up" with his own hair (he's an obsessive groomer)! So, he got a standard military buzz. We're pretty sure he's over the initial humiliation of it all.

As for his health, overall he seems to be doing "okay". I'm still cautiously optimistic. He continues to be on two antibiotics, which we'll be wrapping up soon. He's also on a compounding serum that helps his little system do what it's supposed to do. I suspect he'll be on that for the rest of his life. He's also eating on his own - what little he does eat. The mornings are the best for that. He actually waits with the others for his bowl to be filled. The evenings, I have to hunt him down (not sure what that's all about). And during the day he simply finds a warm, sunny spot to sleep.
I'm still concerned about his behavior because he's not like he was before. Maybe in time... He may be getting his staples out this weekend so we'll see what the docs have to say then. In the meantime, we just keep plugging along - 'cause we grow 'em tough here in the country!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ready, Set...SHOP

We barely allow ourselves time for our Thanksgiving dinner to settle before we're up and out the door on the hunt for some gift we think a loved one cannot live without!

I have found the best way to handle the holiday shopping is this... a gift for you, a gift for for you, one for me...

My first example of the this year's equal holiday shopping, the coffee I look forward to all year long - Starbuck's Christmas Blend...ummm....YUM!

I was shopping at 'Bucks for my secret pal at church and scored big time for her! They actually had a pre-made gift box that included the Christmas Blend coffee and an assortment of 5 specialty truffles - coffee and chocolate. Next to diamonds, a girls best friends. And by the time she finishes off her treat, she won't even remember she has a husband and three children!

But as I was combing through the pretties my eye caught this BEAUTIFUL mug. Snow white with doves embossed on it with tiny red hollyberries dotted throughout. I could taste how good that Christmas Blend would be in the lovely mug - and told the barista to add it to my stash.

As I said, one for me, one for you. I am now officially ready to get underway for Christmas 2008. (...and don't tell me you're not out there picking up a little somethin', somethin' for yourselves, too!!!)

Happy Shopping Girls!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful Thanksgiving Thursday

My blessings are too numerous to count. But at the top of my list would be my health, and that of my husband and family. I learned first hand last year, especially, how important it is to take care of ourselves. I realize that only so much of it is in our hands/control but it's vitally important to do what we can to maintain our own good health.

So on this particular Thanksgiving, I'd just like to say how grateful I am to be in good enough physical condition to have completed the third of our tri-fecta series running races (8k or 5 miles). Yep, this morning while you were basting your turkeys, Michael and I were freezing!!!!! Oh BRRRRRRR... I didn't think it was supposed to get this cold in the south!
We were surprised by the number of runners. There were more than 600 people participating in this event. I'm guessing most weren't the preparers of the Thanksgiving feast or they were going to a restaurant for their meal.
The course ran a beautiful stretch through Carrboro, NC. It was challenging with at least 3 good-sized hills. There were the fans along the route cheering us on and some ladies who were obviously up early starting their birds who took time to step out the front door or wave to us from behind their picture windows. I love it!

Michael was especially excited about the event... He finished in about 44 minutes, a great time.
And I was pretty proud of myself, too. I wrapped it up in about 53 minutes.

But the absolute best part about this day was bearing witness to the greatest form of humanity I think I've ever seen. At the starting line about 2 rows in front of me was a man and a young boy of about 12 who I'm assuming was his son. What makes the scene so warming...the man was blind...and his son was his guide through this race. My throat swelled and tears fell. My heart was so full. First for this boy and his dedication to his father. And then for the man who's passion for running is so great that even complete darkness does not keep him from doing what he loves. I watched these two run as one. I thought how challenging it was for that boy because he had to keep his right arm rather straight and still so that his father could keep his grip on the boy's elbow. That is to say nothing of the challenge for the sightless man. It was a scene I will never forget and one I'm so thankful to God for putting before me.
I have always believed, much to the chagrin of my husband, that there is good in everyone. I believe that to the core of my heart. And when I am witness to experiences like the one today, my beliefs are confirmed.
My cup runneth over and for that I am grateful...
I hope your homes are full of Thanksgiving blessings.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Carolina basketball, to be exact.

I tell you this for free, people, I had never seen a basketball game, live or on the television, professional or college, until I met my husband. Actually, I've never been as close to sports in general in my entire life as I've become over the last ten years. Michael is a junkie. There, I said it. He lives and breaths basketball, football and baseball; professional, college and even little league.

But I have to admit, there's nothing better than being in the arena or at the stadium to get the full effect of the game, the excitement and the enthusiasm of the fans. And, you know the old adage, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

I don't know if I've ever shared with you that Michael hails from the great state of Kentucky. If you know anything about Kentucky, you know it's horses and the UK Wildcats basketball team. I remember my first visit back home to meet Michael's family. EVERYWHERE I went, I was in a sea of royal blue. From infants to great grandparents. From Wal-Mart to Nordstrom. From the Gremlin to the Mercedes...Kentucky hats, shirts, shorts, earrings, ponytail holders, gloves, tank tops, sweatshirts, socks, sweaters, jackets, china, tablecloths, flags, yard get the idea. These people were born into it the team spirit; they never stood a chance. And I quickly learned that if I were going to fit in this family, I better don my UK duds ASAP. And the loyal wife that I am, although you can't see it in the photo above, I am sporting a rather striking UK a sea of Carolina Blue. Oh my. This is one of those occasions when I am SO glad my husband is an officer of the law! Ha!

Every two years these cats come to town (sometimes with their biggest fan in tow, Miss Ashley Judd). And ever since we've lived here we've been fortunate enough to attend this match up, except for 2004 when Michael simply could not get out of a work assignment. It was a dark day in Bear Creek that afternoon. And every two years Michael's uncle, Dale Emmons, makes the trek east to Chapel Hill to root on his beloved Wildcats. We've come to so look forward to this tradition that's been established. Dale always makes time in his trip to meet Mike and I for breakfast or lunch and catch up on the family.

This year was no different. We knew Dale was en route and Mike was able to work out his schedule so that we would all meet and have a sweet visit over lunch. We were down, however, because Michael was not able to score any game tickets this year. Little did we know Uncle Dale had come to the rescue! He surprised us as we were leaving the restaurant! He asked us where we should meet up later that night in order for him to hand off our tickets. Michael and I looked at each other like he had three heads. Dale says "oh, did I forget to mention I was able to hook you up?" He just as well handed us two bars of gold.

What made this game most noteworthy was, not only was it a complete surprise, but, as I told Dale, Michael was especially deserving of such a treat.

My husband works hard. He puts his life on the line everyday and I continually pray that the public recognizes that. But when his back is to the wall, Mike takes on true grit. It has been challenging for us since I was laid off in October. But Michael has risen to the occasion, as he always does, and picked up all the off duty work his schedule will allow - thus putting himself further in harm's way.
No one was more deserving...(I'm just sorry UK lost - go Heels (hee, hee, hee) )

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday

A bit of a set-back but I think we're headed in the right direction (she says VERY cautiously and maybe even a little overly optimistic).

I have so much to be thankful for today. First, the beautiful, bright clear sky and warm sunshine even though it was pretty chilly. And for the reflection I had today on the WONDERFUL day I spent yesterday with my buddies, Cathy and Linda (Cathy was our hostess at her home in Cary where we were treated to a crafters paradise and could make whatever holiday treasure we's mine... A pretty wreath in soft blues and silvers that I will hang on the door from the front hallway into my dining room (and all the materials came from Dollar Tree!).

I am also grateful for God's answered prayer, an unspoken praise if you will. He is good, isn't He? And He truly does not forsake us. He knows my heart and for that I'm grateful as well.

And, I'm most grateful for the care and attention our Crunchie Munchie is receiving at Cole Park Veterinary Hospital. Munch had to undergo a second surgery Tuesday and has been in the hospital ever since. The doctors are being careful with me regarding his prognosis and I appreciate that. I wouldn't want them to give me false hope. In the meantime, I visit Munch every day and am hopefully willing him to get on the mend. It's become exceptionally quiet around here because Munch was the instigator - always getting the dog fired up and causing the other cats to hiss and spit and run like their tails were on fire. Munchie has never been the treasured gem in the jewelery box but that never seemed to bother him!

It was good to see him be a little silly this afternoon...more like my old Munch and for that I'm grateful. He's really one only a mother could love...and I do.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fat Baby

Boots people - not wee ones!!

As I've shared with you in the past, I am a boot addict, a junkie. I love tall ones, short ones, all colors, plain black ones and brown ones, low heels, high heels and no heels. I love pointed toes, square toes and rounded toes. I like fashion boots, riding boots, cowboy boots and even rain boots. I don't think I could be any more clear. And, as I shared with you here, I am all about the color red especially.

So when I discovered Ariat Fat Babies - IN RED NO LESS - they couldn't have been boxed and bagged fast enough for me. Don't you just LOVE the "bling"??

And yes, I've clicked my heals again and again but I've yet to be transported someplace magical - other than home that is...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Well, we have another patient in the recovery room (aka the downstairs bathroom) and for that I'm grateful.

I brought Munchie home from the hospital today, after a week's stay at Cole Park Veterinary Hospital and a surgery performed by a board certified veterinarian who removed all but two inches of his colon (it was worse than any of us thought). I will have no heat this winter, good thing I don't have to fill my car with gas every week and, well, I really do like baked potatoes and cereal. The important thing is that the cat's better...right?

I've got Munch all set up in the bathroom where I snapped this photog of him eating the last of his dinner. This is a mile marker people. It's been at least 10 days since he ate anything worth mentioning. Now, we make sure the surgery was a REAL success?...

He goes back a week from Saturday to have the staples removed (a huge incision along his belly - probably 10 inches, easily the length of his body). We're just hoping all stays quiet until then.

Oh what we do for our four-legged loved ones... I know my husband had to look DEEP, DEEP within himself to agree to this one (I love you honey...). But hey, we had to have the dog rebuilt 6 years ago so fair is fair.

Pray, pray, pray that I find work soon!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Weekend

It's been an emotional, bittersweet last 4 days for us...

This past weekend was our previously scheduled trip home. We (I come up from NC and Bran comes over from VA Beach) go "home" every 4-6 weeks for a visit and for me to meet with my farrier and have my horse's feet trimmed and just spend quality time with him. When I moved to NC 6 years ago, I made the very difficult decision to leave Jess in Virginia. Jess is 26 years old and has been at the MacEwen's farm for more than 15 years, where he's been loved and cared for and has made lifelong friends. I felt like a move would be life threatening to him. The arrangement has really worked out well. While I don't get to see him every week, our time together has been priceless and memorable and it's afforded me time with my family as well.
That's a little history...

Beginning this past Thursday, our animal-filled lives started spiraling downward. My Crunchie Munchie was urgently taken to Cole Park Vet for what we initially thought was a urinary blockage (can be life threantening). After many tests, Munch has been diagnosed with Megacolon. My daughter, who has worked in veterinary medicine since she was 12, has been a ray of hope and inspiration to me and helped me to understand this condition and simply said I need to relax and be patient. Everything that can be done for this little guy is being done, aside from surgery, which is a last resort. He's still in the hospital as of this morning and I plan on seeing him later today.

This is Munch when he was healthy...

Later that same evening, Bran noticed her littlest feline "walking funny". Her front half was walking forward but her back half was walking sideways. Brandi quickly scooped up Bebe and took her back to work with her where blood tests were done and observations were made. By Friday night, it looked as if Bebe were not going to make it (needless to say, Bran did not make the trip home but stayed by Bebe's side). But Dr. Mar was not deterred and pumped little Bebe full of antibiotics, forced fed her and put her on a warming blanket. Ultimately, Bebe was diagnosed with having cysts on her brain that had swelled and were causing pressure and neurological-like symptoms (sorry, cannot recall the medical term). So, as a family we worried and fretted about these cats and comforted each other as only real animal lovers can do. We were happy to learn that by yesterday afternoon, Bebe was almost back to her normal self. Amazing! I love those vets that refuse to give up when they believe there's reason enough to fight but not at the expense of the pet's overall well-being. Good bless Bran's Dr. Mar and our Dr. Pagel. They really understand where we're coming from and how much these sometimes nasty, stinky creatures mean to us!

This is Bran's Bebe not feeling so well at all...

But then, there was this...
About 4 years ago Jess suffered a rather nasty injury to his coronet band - a very deep tissue cut. He was doctored and nurtured but despite the effort, he subsequently began to suffer from "ring bone". Think of the "jelly-like" stuff between the vertebrae in our back. There is similar "stuff" in where the hoof wall meets the horse's leg (where it "bends"). Ring bone is where the jelly-like stuff starts to deterioate and the bones then fuse together. The fusing is a long, extremely painful process. But once it's complete, the prognosis is fair for most horses in that they can resume activity and can still be ridden, albeit LIGHTLY - usually never like before. I watched Jess go through this process for an entire year. I have never felt so helpless or useless in my life. Everytime I was with him, I just cried. I can remember during this time when my farrier was trying to continue to care for Jess' feet. Eric (my farrier) would be carefully and cautiously trimming the hoof, with his back to me of course, and I'd be holding Jess crying my eyes out trying not to let Eric hear me! He'd be talking away and then stand up and turn to find me a blubbering idiot! He'd hang his head and awkwardly pat my shoulder and tell me it WOULD get better!! We can laugh about it now but back then...

I NEVER thought I'd get on my horse again - despite the constant fussing from Eric and the encouragement from Dave & Sherry, the farm owners. They all said it would be good for us both, that Jess needed the work out (and, well, so did I). But my fear of a relapse was too strong. I would not be able to live with myself if I knew I was the cause that Jess went lame.

But this weekend I thought, these people are knowledgable and love me and love my horse and they would never give me poor advice. And my equine vet said all along that once the bones fused in Jess' foot he would be rideable again.
It was a beautiful day and I had time on my side and a persistant niece with me. And I decided that Saturday afternoon how sorry I would be if I never got on my horse again... I will NEVER have to worry about that regret. And God willing, we'll have many more quiet, memorable rides together...
Even Christa took a spin on the old guy...
And to top the day off, we spent the evening with my grandparents. There are so many of us with birthdays in the fourth quarter of the year that we decided to host a little gift exchange (it had to be under $5.00). I'm afraid I was lax with the photos because I was coordinating the game and the dinner and the dessert but I did snap this one.

That's my grandfather in the burgandy sweatshirt, my dad on the sofa and that's my niece Christa with little Natalie, my mom's cousin's daughter. Natalie kept us all quite entertained. Look for her in Hollywood people.
Again, a bittersweet weekend and one I won't soon forget. I'm convinced often that both trials and triumphs are put before us so that we will have a closer walk with God - a time to tell Him thank you and a time to ask Him for support.
How was your weekend?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just Do It

The day has finally arrived. We made it. And it is my prayer that everyone who is eligible to vote will do so. It is a true privilege to have such a right as to choose our beloved country's leader. Why would anyone simply choose not to be a part of that?

And regardless of the turnout, I think we're in for - and ready - for a change. And while some changes we make in our lives are frightening and can almost be paralyzing, they usually end up being for our greater good in the long run.

Let's exercise our right to vote today and in the coming months, let's exercise our right to pray for our new president. For whomever takes this seat has a difficult road ahead. We need to be supportive and respectful Americans.

God Bless America and God Bless the future of our country...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's My Birthday...

"It's my birthday, not a holiday, but I'd like to say, it's my birthday...go Joyce, go Joyce, go Joyce!!!!" (hands raising the roof)...

Yep, today's my special day!! Yeah!! I LOVE birthdays, but I've already shared that with you. I just think it's awesome to celebrate one's being, our very existence.

I've had a WONDERFUL weekend! My parents arrived late Thursday night. Mom and I were up until after 1:00 AM catching up. Friday was a day of errands and some relatively minor mechanical work. Yeah, my folks had a little red trailer made for me for my birthday (I wasn't quick enough to snap a photog or two before my dad tucked it in under a tarp for safe keeping. I'll undress it one day soon and post pics for you). It is TOO cute. It's a trailer to pull behind the truck/car to carry whatever you need (yard waste, mulch in the summer time, hay bales, trash, a cart load of puppies...hee, hee). See, there is no trash/waste collection in these parts - we are on our own! So, the trailer was a much needed and much appreciated gift! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Saturday mom and I spent tooling around Apex. We hit Home Goods and boy was it good!!! She treated me to some after Halloween goodies at unbelievable prices! I got the cutest rug to put at my kitchen sink; a black background with three white ghosts on it. And four great dessert plates (I have a china fettish...); two have these funny witches on them and the other two have pumpkins. I'll have to post pics 'cause they're very hard to explain. Let's see...we then went to downtown Apex and strolled in and out of the shops - LOVELY. And then visited the Garden Supply in Cary - AWESOME. They were decking their halls for Christmas, while it was 75 outside! I love the South baby!!! Back home we changed and grabbed our dessert and blankets and headed for the church. It was our annual Fall Fellowship get together! This year there was a blow up boxing ring. There were two "stumps" to stand on and these "sticks" with these huge Q-tip looking things on the ends. The idea, very Survivor like, was to knock your opponent off their stump. We had husbands beating wives, children beating mothers, brothers beating sisters, deacons beating the was GREAT!!! Then, it was time to eat. Fried chicken, barbeque, butter potatoes, green beans, cole slaw, biscuits and a table full of desserts. I LOVE the South baby!!! Then, it was time to hit the wagon. Two farm tractors get hooked up to two HUGE flat bed wagons. The wagons are filled with hay and we pile high with homemade blankets and sweatshirts. The closer you get, the warmer you stay. It gets pretty chilly back in those open fields! This year's ride went perfectly. Not like last year when the wagon we were in ended up with two flat tires...yep, two flat tires in the middle of I don't know where and boy it's a long, dark walk back to the church - through the cemetary. Talk about a Halloween to beat all Halloweens!!! And that was my parent's first trip! I never thought I'd see them again - Ha! But they laughed and were great sports and came back for more this year! But before we took off this time, the tires were inflated and the gas tank was topped off, just to be sure! We sure have made some memories here...I love the South.

I was also treated to some spending dollars from my brother - how sweet was he? And my DH gave me a gift certificate to get my nails done for the next six months I think! Thank you Mikey! Got some nail polish and a wonderful Rascal Flatts CD and countless cards and emails from friends and family along with sweet well wishes from my church family this morning. I really am a lucky girl. And I love my life and everything about it and all that it brings me...ALL that it brings me.

I've had an interesting year and I'm prayerful that this coming year will be even more memorable and that I'll make a difference to someone. I want to work on staying healthy and continuing to run. I want to work on gaining a position in a company where I can be happy and be a quality employee and offer something special. I want to get more involved in my community. I want to join a committee of some sort in an organization that I'm passionate about - I have to research this further. I want to do more volunteer work. I want to be a better Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. I want to make sure I recognize the little things/moments in life. I want to say I Love You more. I want people to know I care about them. I want to have greater faith in the new leadership of my country and believe that things will get better for us all. I don't want to take anything for granted. I want to celebrate my life everyday.

My sweetest thanks to those of you who sent birthday wishes to me. Please know how they touch my heart to the deepest. I treasure each of you and I treasure each and every birthday!!

Happy birthday to me!!!! Yeah!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Second (Important) Posting

This is my grandmother, my mom's mother. I'm not sure how old she is in this photo but I'm thinking it was taken in the early to mid 1940's. Isn't she breathtakingly beautiful?

Today is my grandmother's birthday and I believe she's 83. While I'm not able to celebrate with her today, she did get her celebratory birthday sing-a-long from me, my daughter and son-in-law with the dog as back up!

My grandmother was and is something else. She's often referred to as "crusty". And all things considered, she was a very young grandmother to my brother and me and an even younger great-grandmother when my daughter came along. She was a smoker for more than 50 years of her life. As a kid, I thought she was so glamorous when she pulled out her cigarette case. She sports a tattoo on her right shoulder blade. She cusses like a sailor. She is a jewelry hound - the bigger the stone, the better (that's where Brandi gets it from!). She has always had the most beautiful smile. She's never been a snuggler or hugger but she's quick to tell us she loves us. She has a deep, soothing voice when she's trying to comfort us. She will not hesitate to tell us when we've put on weight. She is ALWAYS on our side. She loves lipstick (that's where I get it from!). She likes to shop but is an in and out kinda' gal - no window shopping at all! She loves Chinese food. She's never driven a day in her life. She is the last surviving child of 5. She had her last child AFTER my mom had my brother - yep, my brother is older than our uncle! She has the most infectious laugh and I've actually seen her laugh until she cried! She has always been there for me, never judged me and always supported me. She has the most beautiful blue eyes. As she gets older, she doesn't hear as well so we can now make fun and laugh at her and she doesn't even know it - although she tells us to shut up anyway (remember, crusty). She and my grandfather have lived in the same house for over 40 years. She loves me to her deepest core, and I've always known that.

How blessed am I?

Happy Birthday Ma! You rock - always have, always will.

I love you with all that I have.

Wish Me Luck

It was a total shot in the dark when I contacted these folks about employment opportunities. I am a huge fan and regular listener of this little, independent radio station here in Sanford, NC. But I thought I had nothing to lose by sending in my resume.

Tomorrow morning at 10:00 I have my first interview as a sales and marketing representative.

Now, I have absolutely NO experience in the radio business but we're never too old to learn something new, right? And I've always had a curiosity about this business, about what goes on in those little tight control rooms with all those buttons and head phones. If nothing else, I'm looking forward to a station tour tomorrow!

I just need to be positioned for performance...maybe this is it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

I'll spare you most of the commentary and just share the weekend in pictures instead. Enjoy - we did!!!

It was Carolina vs Boston College (Carolina won!!! Go heels!!!)

It rained...

...and rained (hey, don't laugh at the plastic "trash bag" rain gear! They were truly a saving grace!)

But sometimes the sun peeked out and we had to put on some bling! (Hmm...that little girl next to me musta' ate some bad cotton candy...)

And that made us super happy!!

Then, we were off to the races! For the annual Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA 2008 Pumpkin Run!!

At this point, Brandi's second guessing her willingness to participate in this event with us!! Ha!!

But she finally warmed up to the idea (and was able to pin her bib to her shirt) and told us she was here to save the day!!

Bran and I ran the 2.5+ miles in about 25 minutes...not bad for a first time trail runner and an aging "big block"! Here are Bran and Michael after the run relaxing and looking forward to some pizza!! Of course, if I didn't eat so much pizza I could probably run a lot faster... Forget it, I really like eating pizza!!!

I'm getting ready for some post-race photo ops...

Michael and me cheesing and feeling pretty good about having put another notch in our running belts...and a little half notch because Bran got to play, too!

Bran, it's our only desire that you'd agree that we made precious memories with you this weekend and that you enjoyed your birthday goodies!!! It is such a wonderful feeling to give, isn't it? Thanks for letting us celebrate you...
Be sure and share your cupcakes with the girls at work.
We love you bunches you little schtoogy...