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...

Friday, October 24, 2008

I Think I'm Ready...

The presents are wrapped, the pillows are fluffed, and the cupcakes are baked! Now, we just wait for the birthday girl to get here to let the party begin!

Oh, I wish you could smell these sweet little confections - chocolate cupcakes with homemade peanut butter icing and a chocolate Kiss on top. Doesn't that say "a mother's love"!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for the ability, despite our current situation, to still be able to celebrate my daughter's birthday with a little something we know she we love and treasure. And the memories we will make together this weekend will be priceless.

I can't wait until she gets here...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

God Has The Best Sense Of Humor

I shared with you a couple of weeks ago that I was laid off - again. It's been 2 1/2 weeks of pure, in-the-toilet funk...sorry, but I cannot fake it.
So, this morning my first waking thought was "maybe something good will happen today". I even shared this thought with my mom and cousin in early morning emails. I was simply going to change my attitude and will myself to have something great happen today. After all, I've submitted countless applications to more than 5 local government agencies, followed up with those that have had an adequate amount of time pass and checked in with friends and co-workers that have agreed to be personal/professional references for me.
By 2:00 this afternoon my faith was waining and I was beginning to think today was NOT going to be the day I received the good word.
Then, my daughter called:
Brandi: "Guess what?"
Me: "What?"
Brandi: "JC was offered the job with the City of Virginia Beach today"!
I looked up, shook my head and said in my personal God voice "you are absolutely hysterical"! It was all I could do not to laugh out loud.
So, it was, in fact, a "something good's going to happen today" kind of day. It's just that God answered the kids' prayer first - and that's okay by me! JC's been trying to get a government job in VA Beach for over 2 years. His patience has paid off and I am SO happy for them both. Along with this position comes security, retirement and great health benefits. What more could I ask for the kids!
And the moral of this little story - when I pray, I need to be VERY specific! Ha!
God is good - and VERY funny...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Brother

Beginning in late September, my family is inundated with reasons for gift-giving...birthdays mostly.

Today is my brother's birthday. Today Charlie turns 47. Closer to 50 than he's ever been before! I'm not sure that most of you even knew I had a brother - but I do. He's 4 years older than me. And if I had to sum Charlie up in a nutshell, I'd have to say this about him. First, I know my brother loves me - unconditionally. We don't have a very close relationship, some of that is the fault of geography but most of it is because we couldn't be any more different than had we come from two different families. He loves a good time; he would prefer that everyone always be happy and free from worry and concern. He is a homebody. He's never been on a plane. He loves to laugh and does so often. He's gotten to be pretty good in the kitchen. He's an awesome auto mechanic. He's loyal - to a fault - to his friends. He lives for the weekend.

We love to celebrate birthdays in my family. They really are cause for rejoice. The birth of a new soul. Oh, what will this little one offer the world? What will they see? How will they serve? We love to acknowledge each others' lives and say "we're so glad you're here".

I won't be with my brother today but he will be exceptionally close to my heart for obvious reasons. And with the great age of computers, I'll be sending him some silly e-card that I hope will make him giggle a little. And I will be praying that he has an AWESOME day and will let Mom and Daddy treat him to a special birthday dinner!

Happy Birthday Brother - I love you...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thankful Thursday

How appropriate that this Thankful Thursday would fall on the 16th of October. October 16th is a special day in our family...

Isn't it amazing the things you remember about your life? I remember being in the first grade and crying on the days that it rained(?). I remember sneaking out during one of my father's birthday parties to ride my older brother's "sooped-up" bicycle, which I was forbidden to do, and wrecking, hitting my head and being taken to the emergency room (happy birthday, Daddy). I still have the knot on my head from that stunt! I remember "field days" in elementary school and after school dances in junior high. And of course, the football games and band camps and basketball games and homecomings in high school. I remember spending many spring breaks in the outterbanks of North Carolina. I remember dying easter eggs with my mom and brother. I remember sunbathing with my grandmother (we were a very young family - ha!). I remember my mom throwing great parties (we're talking live bands, people) for any real reason she could find!!! My mom LOVES to celebrate an occassion! I have countless memories with my best friend Teri - oh the times we had together.

But the clearest memory I have is the birth of my daughter. Today is Brandi's 26th birthday. And I cannot believe it. How thankful do you think I am? I remember the 16th of October of 1982 like I was experiencing it this very moment. From the moment I woke up that morning to the moment my mom finally made it to the hospital for Brandi's arrival. That was a bittersweet day, my friends. For while I was delivering Brandi, my parents were in Southern Virginia burying my grandmother - my father's mother. But God is good is He not? Because that baby was such - and continues to be - so very special to my father. I can't believe that there is another grandfather out there that loves their granddaughter any more than my father loves Brandi Lee. I can't begin to imagine how he felt that day... I know Brandi didn't "replace" my grandmother for my father but she sure did help fill that void in his heart.

So, today we celebrate my wee one. My little schtoogy. My greatest accomplishment. That which I love more than life itself. My little ray of sunshine. My little woman. My Bran...
I can physically FEEL the love I have for this child. I'm sure you moms know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.

"God sent children for another purpose than merely to keep up the race - to enlarge our hearts; and to make us unselfish and full of kindly sympathies and affections; to give our souls higher aims; to call out all our faculties to extended enterprise and exertion; and to sing round our firesides bright faces, happy smiles and loving, tender hearts" - Mary Botham Howitt

"The beginning is scary, the end is sometimes sad but it's the middle that counts and is so exciting" - Hope Floats

Happy Birthday my sweet Bran...I'm so thankful that I'm YOUR mom...

My cup runneth over

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Different Cornucopia of Sorts

Cornucopia - 1. "a representation in painting, sculpture, etc. of a horn overflowing with fruits, flowers and grain; horn of plenty", 2. "an overflowing fullness; abundance".

My cornucopia runneth over (with my little Bea...)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Almost Forgot

Oh, that is such a lie... I didn't forget to post this event and these pictures. Truth is, I've just been in a funk, feeling sorry for myself and not very "perky" or creative - which I think is what makes reading these things so much fun.

But we had such a good time here that I didn't want anymore time to pass without calling out a great date night with my DH.

I went to and graduated from (with a BS degree) a 4 year college. However, due to my circumstances I needed to stay close to home and chose a small college that I could drive to daily. My school did not have extra curricular activities; there was no basketball team, no football team, no marching band, etc. At the time, I didn't miss those typical college experiences because I was so focused on school and raising my daughter and finishing college, a statistic that was really unrealistic and almost out of reach for someone like me in my situation.

But today, 20 years later, I am experiencing those things that were just out of my reach. And I am loving it! And maybe even appreciating it a little more because I'm old enough to really grasp what's going on around me.

On Saturday October 4th my husband took me to the UNC vs UCONN football game. My first ever. This may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but to me it was a long dream come true! The kids, the junk food, the band, the cheerleaders, ESPN, the alumni, and the sea of Carolina blue...I was in awe...
I'm not sure how long you have to live in a "new" place or what, exactly, you have to do to officially "come from there" but after that silly college football game, I thought to myself "I've arrived - I'm a Carolina girl"!!! I mentioned this to my preacher the Sunday after the game - he's originally from the Northern Neck of VA. He said he thinks one has to attend a Nascar race in order to truly reach Carolina status - at least that's what the men at church told him. I said if that's the case, I'll NEVER officially be a Carolina girl!!! Sorry race car fans!!

Regardless, I will forever be grateful to my husband for making this memory with and for me. He knew I had this little tiny hole in my heart and it was his desire to help me fill it. And I'm sure this will just be the first of many UNC football games. Second to being true Wildcats (DH went to UK), we are by geographic default Tarheel fans - true, Carolina blue Tarheel fans.

I hope this little Tarheel fan stores this memory safely in her heart. I just wish her parents knew how it warmed me so that they were exposing their child to such good, wholesome fun so early on... Without even knowing it, they may have planted the college seed in this little girl. We can only wait to see what her life holds.

Go heels!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Knocked Down - Again


Yep, that about sums it up. We've been hit again here in the country. I was laid off from my job this past Monday. I knew better than to stay in my field... but that job came along and I wasn't getting any response or positive feedback or offers from any of the local government jobs I'd applied for and time was running out for us. So, I signed up.

You know that "gut" feeling you get? That nagging feeling that won't leave your thoughts? Just this constant churn deep within you that something's simply not right?

I had that feeling the entire time I was employed with this company. Even though I was a telecommuter, I'd never felt so micro-managed! I always felt like I was being observed through a microscope. I woke up every day praying that I'd have a positive day because I never felt confident that I'd have a job at the end of the day. I HATED working like that and having those types of feelings! I've been in commercial leasing for more than 12 years, in a variety of capacities. But I've never felt such pressure as I have over the last 4 months.

I had recently learned, also, of what I considered shaky business practices, involving the "confiscating" of any commission I earned. It upset us (me and my DH) so much so that we agreed I needed to move on and away from this organization. Little did we know that just a few days later they were going to make the decision for us.

I did learn that I was one of 5 employees who were laid off. I am selfishly taking some perverse form of comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in this journey and that it wasn't due to lack of performance on my part (which I knew it wasn't but you know, you start questioning your work ethic, self esteem and overall worth as a person...).

I am fearing this lay off more than the one back in January simply given the state of our country's economy. We all see the news and read the papers - this is not a good time. I am more determined now than ever to land a position within my local government. Somehow, someway I am going to get the message across to these people that I am what they need. What is the issue with these people that they don't believe I am looking to 1) make a career change and 2) realize I'll need to start at the bottom to do it and 3) am willing to take the pay cut to get my foot in the door???!!! Oh, it is so frustrating!! If any of you out there in blog land have experience or tips in this arena, PLEASE, PLEASE share them with me - I am ALL ears!!

I am taking stock that, despite my batmobile has been flatmobiled, I have my faith. And I've taken to heart two messages Robin Roberts recently shared on GMA earlier this week: "Make your mess your message" and "Position yourself for performance - show up". Despite my recent position, I have to practice what I've always preached here and I have to continue to find the wonderfuls in my life and all that I'm so grateful for. We are in for a hard struggle but I'm prayerful that we will be able to ride this storm and come out the other side still with our home intact, our health and a stronger people because of it. I can't help but feel like I've let my DH down - we are, after all, a team but it seems as though he's had to carry us alone more times than I am proud to admit. But if there's anyone in this world I would have to go through a crisis with, it would be my better half. He is my pillar of strength.

So, please add us to your prayer list and bear with me as I try to keep my chin up every day.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Two Down, One To Go

Saturday was the epitome of the perfect Carolina day. A crisp, brisk, "see your breath" morning with blinding sunshine and the bluest of skies that you can only find in North Carolina. But you know in just a matter of a few hours the temperature will be t-shirt and jeans perfect!

And it was a great day for a race!

The DH and I ran the Carrboro 10k (6.22 miles) Saturday morning and both of us set personal records! Yeah Mineers!! Yeah "big blocks"!! The Carrboro 10k is the second in the Tri-Fecta of races that this little town is hosting. We ran the first on July 4th and the last will be run Thanksgiving Morning (I've already convinced myself that means I can eat unlimited amounts of stuffing and dinner roles - yep...). We understand that if you complete all three races you're rewarded with a great Brooks running jacket! And, well, I'm all about the free stuff! I figure why not? I KNOW I'm never going to win one of these races so why not be in it for the goodies - and the good health that comes with it...

As the runners crossed the finish line, we were directed to the track where we could load up on water, power aid drinks, bagels and bananas - yum! This is a great time to chat with everyone, learn a little bit about the fellow runners and just take some time to cool off and relax.

Here we are after finding each other when I crossed the finish line. Happy, healthy and successful. See what I mean about that Carolina sky? I know every state in this awesome country of ours has something magnificent to offer. Carolina does not fall short. The mountains, the Carolina coast... and that Tarheel blue sky. I simply love it...
And if you take the time to linger awhile you will have the pleasure of watching the best part of the day - the kids' race. I had my money on superman (you see him there on the left)... I shouldn't have been fooled by the shirt! He fell back quickly and never recovered. I wonder if there's a Tri-Fecta for 4 year olds - children, that is, not equines! Ha!

I love this little life of mine and everyone I have in it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nature - Beautiful and Brutal

I have a love-hate relationship with nature.

I'm the first to admire and mention something awesome and wondrous and breathtakingly beautiful.

I'm the first to grab the camera and stop one of those moments "mid-flight".

What I have NEVER been able to get my mind around, however, is how we can have something so pretty in our world as these Gerbera Daises every spring...

Or something as magnificent as the view of the Rockie Mountains from Estes Park, CO...

And, at the same time, something so heartbreaking as this - a 3 legged deer.

I was sitting on the sofa yesterday morning drinking my coffee when I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye. I went to the window and saw this sweet little girl grazing in the side yard. She was facing the opposite direction when I looked out the window and I noticed when she moved she sort of hopped. I then realized I didn't see her front, right leg. I thought to myself, "awe, she's hurt and is holding her leg up". But then she turned around and I saw full on that she doesn't HAVE a front right leg.

I was filled with anger... Seriously??? A deer with only 3 legs? Much like a horse, a deers legs are their life line.

Oh, why does it have to be so...hard and mean? Or why can't I not let it bother me so much?

They say when we get to heaven we will be in such awe of our Heavenly Father that we won't care about what's going on here on earth or what we've left behind. I'm hoping and praying that's not the case because I have a list of questions the length of my arm that I really want answered when I get there. And one of them is why do the little animals have to suffer?

But herein lies the good news, I guess. It's going to be perfect in Heaven isn't it my friends. Simply perfect and without pain or sorrow or tears of sadness or sickness or soreness... or 3 legged deers. Amen to that...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

First Fall Thankful Thursday

This is Sweetie... and I love her. Sweetie is one of the three original kittens my husband brought home shortly after he moved here. She is the matriarch of the feline herd. She doesn't have to "say" anything, a look will suffice when any of the others are out of sorts. Sweetie comes and goes as she pleases, including in and out of the house. Not long after their arrival, Sweetie and her sister, "Tipper", each had a small litter of kittens. Tipper was less than a loving mother to her babies and it was amazing to watch Sweetie step up and take her nieces and nephews as her own. Sweetie is the dog's favorite "toy" and the only real competition Sadie has in the house. And she's my snuggle bug when I go to bed at night (remember, my husband works nights).

So, for all these reasons and so much more, the last thing I want is for Sweetie to hurt. But for the last week she's been walking around holding her front left leg/foot up off the ground. She refused to put ANY weight on it and pulled away from me when I would try to examine her paw. Enough was enough. It was time to break down and head to Chapel Hill.

I'm happy to say that there are no broken bones or sprains in Sweetie's leg. Dr. Droke thinks she's either 1) simply jammed it jumping off something relatively high - I mean she IS carrying a few extra LBS...15.5 to be exact or 2) is experiencing pain and swelling due to a bite/puncture wound.

We came home with a vial of pain medication and as early as this morning after only two doses Sweetie is showing signs of improvement.

So today I'd like to express my gratitude and thankful heart, specifically, to Cole Park Veterinary Hospital but also to all veterinary clinics in general. I've noticed that all my favorite bloggers are animal owners and lovers so I know you can appreciate your treasured veterinarian and staff and the message I'm putting out here today. Our animals (okay, four-legged children) bring so much...chaos into our lives I don't think any of us would want it any other way. My life would not be complete without my cats, dog, horse...even the raccoons and opossum that visit nightly make for some great laughs and awesome pictures.
Just don't wear black or blue when you visit my house - there's enough animal hair on the furniture to stuff a king-sized pillow.
Thank you, God, for our four-legged loved ones...