Friday, August 31, 2007

Requirement for Life: Sense of Humor

Getting dressed for work each morning is a pretty simple task for me. Jeans, check. Chacos, check. T-shirt, check. This morning, I couldn't help but smile as I pulled out this coral shirt that reads "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." (We won't dwell on the fact that the text is perfectly located over my chest, ha).

This week has been INSANE. I'm not really complaining. I don't wake up and pray in the morning to have a crazy day, but in some ways they certainly keep you on your toes and keep life interesting.

It's really just been one thing after another at work this week. Case in point:

- We got a computer virus that got all five of our computers. I knew it was serious when Bob told me to call someone to come in and fix it. We were rendered inoperable for an entire day. Amazingly, I still managed to find plenty of things to do. I cleaned out my file drawers. I really couldn't cram another sheet of paper in them, but believe me I would have tried. Then I rolled a bunch of change that had been collecting in the breakroom drawer for years. When there's only 5 of us around here, surely we don't need like $200 in change for the coke machine... that we stock ourselves... and empty the change container back in the drawer when it gets too full. Needless to say, mr. computer virus (because any other name we have for it shouldn't be spoken here) did a nice job of shutting us down for a day and caused my stack of work to pile up.

- One of our credit cards was declined. When I called to find out why, I was told we exceeded our credit limit and the account was closed. Yes, you read correctly - CLOSED. I'm very good at being perfectly polite during these kinds of phone calls so I turned on my southern charm but also pulled out a good dose of tact as I questioned why our account was closed when we had just gotten to bill in the mail and saw we needed to pay up today. I did toss out a sentence or two about it being pretty shady of them to close our account without notifying us, especially when we pay in full and on time every month. Needless to say, the account is being reopened, and I am positive that the customer service rep I dealt with was by far the most lovely customer service rep I've ever had to call. She was a good example of how they should handle calls.

- I pretty much did my job operating off of 3 computers the past few days. As we worked out the kinks from the virus, certain programs wouldn't work on certain computers. I'm pretty sure I got an extra half-mile run in just from all the back and forth I had to do.

- Apparently the computer virus killed some of our equipment so we're behind on something to do with building the cabinets. I don't know much about all of this, but Bob keeps making comments about how there couldn't have been a worse time for all this to happen.

So, despite all the hold-ups and problems that we encountered this week, we still managed to keep things rolling for the most part and really aren't all that far behind. However, it has been more exhausting than when everything just works perfectly. I think that I am sastisfied in some way by going home at the end of the day knowing that even though things didn't go smoothly, we still managed to tackle it all and take care of things. I find my job to be very fulfilling, but there's this greater sense of accomplishment you feel whenever you get through those really tough days, you know?

I think how you deal with the issues life throws at you ends up coming back in your direction in some way. You really do have to keep your wits about you in the face of everything going wrong and have a good laugh about it. If you don't, it's going to make you nuts. You have to find the will to give it all a good laugh. And in the end, it all works out and you can see that it was a good thing you didn't stress over it. A word of advice... be nice to everyone, no matter how much is wrong and how many things are making you want to pull your hair out that day. I had to make two phone calls today to service providers for some of my personal bills and talked to two more of the nicest customer service reps ever. Not only that, I managed to get 3 new phone features as well as a higher speed Internet for only $2 a month more than what I pay now. That's certainly something to smile about, and I think when you put good things out there for other people, then other people give good things back to you. (I'm talking more about how nice the people were on the phone than the extra features for dirt cheap, but those are nice things, too!)

The reason my shirt selection made me smile so much this morning is NOT because I'm a Cyndi Lauper fan (the guy at the tire company today asked me if I know all the words to the song... I don't.) It's because I know that when it comes down to it, life is meant to be enjoyed. Even when you have the biggest headache because someone else didn't do what they said they would do, or when something you ordered doesn't arrive on time, or when you are fighting a war with a computer virus and want to find the person who created it and hang him by his toes... there's still something to smile about and plenty of reasons to enjoy the life you've been given.

I won't lie though... I am certainly glad that it's a 3-day weekend, and this girl is ready to have some fun!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to It

My sister called me on Tuesday. "MEL-anie!" She had that tone in her voice that says something is wrong. My heart always stops for a beat or two until she goes on with her next sentence. "It's only the second day of school and I'm already stressed out."

I didn't mean to laugh. I know it's NOT funny. But she is one of like 4 people who have sent me some sort of text or email or something to tell me that school really is back in session with full force. So, I wish all of you back-to-schoolers the best as you start working away again.

It always takes me back when I get these calls from her about school. Since she's attending the same college I attended, I can easily picture her walking about the business building trying to find her marketing class. Even though it's already been two years, the whole registration process is all too familiar. Yesterday's stress for her came from the desire to drop a management class that she just knows will be terrible and trying to figure out something else to take so that she doesn't end up in college any longer than necessary.

I found it humorous that she was more stressed over whether or not she should add a class that required her to be on campus on Fridays (oh, the horror!) than she was over her Business Law class that will have papers, projects and 13 tests. But then again, I had a decent number of semesters with no class on Fridays. We have to keep our priorities straight when it comes to scheduling, right?

While I'm certainly glad to not be starting back to school this week, it is always kind of fun to remember what those first few days are like. I can remember sitting in the hall of the BAS waiting to go into my very first college class ever. I'm pretty sure I was so nervous that I was fighting to not cry. It was University 1010, which ended up being the biggest waste of my time ever. I remember sitting in other classes and looking at the syllabus, knowing I was going to promptly drop that class on WebMT as soon as I got back to my dorm room. Then there were the classes that I KNEW without a shadow of a doubt were going to try to kick my butt all semester long... except that the class didn't know that it'd be hanging its head in shame come finals time because I was the one that did all the butt kicking. Ah, dear Freedom of Expression class... you only thought you'd bring me to a childlike state of tears with your essay tests and your two hour lectures and your class discussions of somewhat inappropriate things... but Dr. Kimbrell put a smiley face sticker on my paper that counted for like half my grade, and it totally made my day.

Good times, those college years. But I know I had my moments of stress, too. They usually came as a result of having so much work to do, and so many social activities to be involved in. I guess you could say I wanted to be able to do it all. I gave it a solid effort, too. There was also French class, which really just gave me a perpetual headache. What was I thinking, minoring in French? Ask me how I often I use it... never. Ok, maybe once in a blue moon. But at the same time, the hardest I ever worked on a paper in college was definitely the one I had to write in French Literature. It ended up being a rather fulfilling thing for me.

I'm glad that I got a great education. I always enjoyed school ever since the first grade. (I was miserable in kindergarten. Granted, I don't really remember... but I know it was first grade before I liked going to school.) I looked forward to starting my classes and having all my folders ready and planning out the best time to find people in the KUC to eat lunch with... But I'm also glad of where I'm at now. I have a fantastic job and while I don't actually use my degree in it, I know that I will when the time is right. I know it's a privilege in a lot of ways to have an education. I'm not pursuing more school myself right now, but I am always pursuing knowledge. I don't mind admitting to be a bookworm. There's so much interesting stuff out there to know.

So this nerd's off to bed. I worked a 10-hour day today. I never do that. The only other time I've done that in this job was the day Bob needed me to help him field measure a bunch of condos we were doing cabinets for... and I woke up sick later that night. (But I doubt it had anything to do with work.) Sometimes you do what you've got to do. It can be tiring. It can suck everything out of you and make you want to just go home and take a nap. But then there's me and my crazy butt who comes home, showers, and goes back out for the evening. Yes, it's definitely bedtime for me. Besides, I gotta rest up for a 7 mile run tomorrow!

Best wishes to everyone, whether you're doing the school thing, the work thing, the mommy thing (congrats to Aleesha and Joel on their little bundle of joy they had on Thursday!), or whatever else you may be doing!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Tribute to Friendship

I was on the phone with my best friend Stephanie last night for like the second time this week (we usually stick to email but sometimes you just need to talk on the phone) and part of our conversation turned to how it really has been 10 years now that we've been friends. Saying that out loud makes it sound so huge. The truth of the matter is that it IS huge.

It seems a fitting time to make a bit of a big deal about reaching a ten-year marker in our friendship. Last night after we got off the phone, I was still wide awake so I started working on getting some stuff organized in my closet. I came across a box of all my old journals. I knew it was there because I put it there a few weeks ago, but I hadn't opened it in several years to flip through any of the notebooks.

For those that don't know, I have made a journal entry of some sort about every day of my life since I started high school. I honestly don't know what got me started with it other than my enjoyment of writing. Some days I don't write much. Some days I fill up page after page. Sometimes it's thoughts about life. Sometimes it's a prayer. Sometimes it's an account of things that happened to me. Sometimes it's just two very uninteresting sentences. I think in the back of my head, I feel like I'm doing it to 1) have a lot of my own reality recorded to aid me in the writing of book one of these days and 2) to leave behind a written account of my life. NO ONE, and I do mean no one, reads these journals but me... but I think once I'm gone I probably won't mind anymore and would want someone to have those notebooks.

So with that said, I want to share a tiny excerpt that I found about Stephanie in my journal from that year. It's not the first thing I wrote about her, but it's something I recorded about 3 months after we met. There's certainly plenty more entries that include Stephanie, but this is the first one where I really said something about the friendship that we were in the midst of developing. I rarely share anything with anyone out of my journals, but I feel like this is a fitting way to sort of celebrate that Stephanie came into my life that day in math class. Keep in mind I was 14 when I wrote this.

"They weren't bad friends [I was talking about my friends from middle school]. But they weren't the kind of honest-to-goodness TRUE friends that I want. I don't know that I've ever had that. But maybe I have found that now. Stephanie and I are really nothing alike. She's a cheerleader and a lot more loud and spunky than me. But I know I'm just kind of shy. I wish I wasn't though. I still have no idea why she seems to like hanging out with me so much, but I guess maybe it's for the same reasons I like hanging out with her. We get each other. We laugh... a LOT. We seem to understand each other, and we always have fun. I don't know... but I think that maybe we could end up being really good friends... maybe even for the whole time we're in high school. That would be nice. I'd really like to have a girl that I can trust with secrets and stuff... and that won't laugh over who I like... and that has good advice and stuff... I think maybe Stephanie is that kind of girl. Maybe that's how we're really alike."

Somewhere over the course of the past 10 years, we've become so much more than just good friends who have fun together. I trust Stephanie with anything, even the most personal details of my life that I don't dare tell anyone else. Despite the days and usually months that go by between when we get to see each other now, it always feels as though no time ever passed. That's the part that amazes me... our lives have changed so much over the past 10 years, but at the same time it doesn't really feel all that long ago when we were wandering the halls of LHS like we owned the place and passing notes about cute boys (all written utilizing quality code names, of course) and having sleepovers and going to church together and laughing and crying and so much more...

I think that as both of us have grown into women, our friendship has grown into something that really can't be defined any more. She's my best friend, but I would call a few other people a best friend, too. I mean, I'd like to marry a best friend someday. But the friendship between me and Steph is so much different than anything else. I feel confident that we've got a lot of years ahead of us to continue to grow and shape one another, because when it comes down to it that's what happens in relationships. I know I am a better woman today because of Steph and the influence she has over me. I admire her. I love her. And she better hope she doesn't ever decide she wants to get rid of me because it's not happening, ha! But seriously, I know we'll be old and gray and sitting in our rocking chairs still laughing and talking and enjoying this life.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: My relationships matter more to me than anything else in my life. I am thankful for all of my friends, and my prayer is always that I'm giving and loving in each of those relationships. I certainly hope that all of my relationships will continue to grow and flourish, and my life is more fulfilling because of ALL of them... but it seemed fitting today to highlight the one I have with Steph.

We've had a lot of adventures (ok, and maybe some misadventures, too) over the past 10 years... and I'm certainly look forward to more.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How Far is Too Far???

Today I was doing a little Internet perusing for some news, and I came across this article. For those of you who don't have time to go read it (or if the link doesn't work for any reason), allow me to give you the basic summary.

Apparently there is new airport security made up of people who are trained to watch faces and body language for "signs of bad intentions." It could be any of the security officials, as there is nothing that designates them from the rest of the security staff. Currently these new agents are in about a dozen airports nationwide, and plans call to have 500 of these agents in airports by the end of 2008. If they deem that a person seems "suspicious" while they assist them through their check-in or through the security x-rays or maybe even help them with their bags, they will turn them over to law enforcement officials for further questioning.

And get this... they have a name: Behavior Detection Officers. Is it just me or is anyone reminded of a variety of things from Orwell's 1984 or maybe even Huxley's Brave New World? Are we really getting to the point that we are being watched THIS closely now?

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for our nation taking certain measures to protect the people. I tend to be a fairly safe and cautious person myself. I don't walk around deserted streets alone at night. I don't leave valuables in plain sight in my car. I lock my doors. But I also don't walk around paranoid that something could happen to me.

I guess I'm just wondering where the line is in a post-9/11 world. It's hard to make a criticism of something that is being put into place for our safety. I get that. I fully understand the reasons. I agree that we should be doing things to protect ourselves. However, I think there HAS to be a line.

I found a few more articles on the matter that I won't bore you with, but the jist of one of them was pointing out how they'll look for "negative" facial features. I can think of plenty of reasons why people would be wandering around the airport with these so-called negative facial features. Maybe they're afraid to fly. Maybe they just had a fight with a significant other. Maybe they're running late. Maybe they're irritated because the airport is always running late. The list goes on...

It just seems to me that yes, maybe they can catch a few suspicious characters this way... but to what cost to the rest of us? How many innocent people are going to be held up more at the airport because they're not coming across has happy and peaceful? I'm torn in some ways... I don't mind being held up a bit if it means my life is being saved, but I also think it's possible to take it too far.

Maybe I'm way off base. Maybe I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about. Maybe Behavior Detection Officers are the way to go to keep our airports as safe as possible. But even if all those things are true, I still believe that it's possible for all of this to get taken too far. At some point, someone's got to draw a line between a reasonable concern for the safety of our nation and an unreasonable state of paranoia. Feel free to agree or disagree... either viewpoint is welcomed. :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Random Monday Musings

Musing 1: There was a huge storm last night. I'm talking continuous lightning that lit up my bedroom even though I have blinds.... crazy loud thunderbolts. I had actually gone to bed at a decent time last night (amazing, I know) and the storm woke me up. I typically am a VERY deep sleeper and often ask the question "What storm?" anytime someone mentions a late night storm.

I'm not really afraid of storms or anything... But there is something unsettling about being in this state of grogginess and hearing all this thunder that's shaking the four windows of your bedroom. Plus, my cat doesn't care much for the thunder and was meowing his dissatisfaction with the noise. I pulled the covers up a bit closer to my chin, I shoved my two little teddy bears up under my arm, and drifted off to sleep again despite the music and fireworks God's angels seemed to be providing.

(A side musing: Yes, I sometimes sleep with two little teddy bears. Not every night.. sometimes they just lay on the other side of the bed disregarded. I don't care if you make fun of me, but it would certainly be appreciated if you'd find this a rather endearing quality about my femininity.)

Musing 2: Because of the above mentioned huge storm last night, my power went out. Clearly this happened after I fell back asleep. Needless to say, I woke up about 5 minutes before I needed to be at work. Always a good way to start the day, yes? Judging by the time on my blinking alarm clock, the power stayed out for about 4 hours. Pretty intense if you ask me.

Musing 3: My sister apparently has got some game. I wish I could tell you why I say this, but she'd totally have a heart attack if I made it public knowledge. I definitely got a kick out of one of her most recent stories concerning her college life and was even reminded a little bit of some of the fun I had at the ripe age of 20.

Musing 4: Some water collected in a puddle on our new asphalt parking lot at work. Bob was a bit displeased over it since he told the paver he didn't want that to happen. However, I watched about 6 birds bathe in it this morning. They certainly appreciated their temporary bird oasis in the summer heat. It was cute to watch.

Musing 5: I recently learned that these days dermatologists are saying the absolute best thing to wash your face and entire body with is Cetaphil. Not only that, but the Cetaphil lotion is the best moisturizer for your face and body. Apparently it cleanses well and prevents those oh so dreaded breakouts that some of us never seem to outgrow. I've made the switch. I'll let you know if it's worth it.

Musing 6: This one is just because one would probably expect that 5 musings would be a good stopping point, but no... I have one more. I am insatiably thirsty today. I'm not sure why. I don't think I'm dehydrated. I haven't even gone for a run in a few days (though I'm getting on top of that tomorrow for sure!). But I still keep going to the kitchen about every 15 minutes for more to drink. Unfortunately, this means I'll probably feel the need to pee every 15 minutes all night, and that's always pleasant.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

FINALLY

I no longer just have a house; I now have a home! After another Saturday full of unboxing, I finally have everything put away and all of the rooms decorated with a bit of Melanie style. (Ha, because "Blair has Flair!" I'm pretty sure that campaign slogan was an intrical part of me obtaining my best friend, or maybe of her obtaining me rather... who knows any more).

You have no idea how good it feels after three months of cleaning, painting, moving, unpacking and decorating to be completely done. The celebration party will certainly be happening sooner rather than later, so if you're interested in joining in on the fun just let me know so that I can share the date with you.

Everything has really come together in the nick of time. I am starting my training for marathon number three THIS WEEK. I'd still love to have some company so if anyone's interested, let me know. And if not, I could certainly appreciate some spectators on race day. I promise watching a marathon is pretty painless and actually rather interesting. Many people find it inspiring. :)

This has been such a busy summer between the move, some running, work getting more and more hectic, a decent bit of traveling, a little bit of dating, beginning some volunteer work, and quite a few fun evenings with friends. I wouldn't trade any of it, but I am glad that my life is finally slowing back down a bit and giving me some more time to get back into a more normal groove. I feel like I was walking around in a state of exhaustion there for a while, so apologies out to anyone that got less than the best of Melanie at any given time the past few months. I promise I'm back to having a bit more free time on my hands.

I used some of that free time last night to check out the new movie Superbad. (Note: A special shout-out to a specific dear reader who felt that a post should be written about the terrific evening that was had. You know who you are, and I hope this will suffice since I didn't realize you would go looking for such a post before the evening was even over, ha.) Now, the MSN Movies article about its $31 million opening weekend (so far) describes the plot as "pals on a quest for alcohol to impress the foxy host of a party." This is quite the understatement.

I won't spoil the details for anyone, but I must say that I laughed a good bit. I have a new appreciation for "These Eyes" by The Guess Who. I bet that's one song that will see higher downloads over the next few weeks. And I'm still cracking up over "They said in health class that would happen." So, if you decide to go to this movie, be prepared for any number of things... the movie is indeed a comedy, but often due to what some might consider a bit on the lewd and crude side.

Today's been a relaxing day. I can't explain how good it feels to know that I have my free time back and no longer live in the midst of a house of boxes. Tonight starts a new week... a new week that I'm looking forward to. I hope everyone finds something to smile about today. And I promise to write about more interesting things than unpacking now. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

One Year Anniversary

Nope, I'm not married. I'm not even in a relationship to celebrate any sort of anniversary right now. But today IS my one year anniversary at my job.

It's been a good year. I've been learning so much about all sorts of things I never had a clue had to be done in a small business. I believe there's been a post or two about how much I enjoy my job, so I won't repeat myself here. Suffice it to say that I'm pretty happy, and I never dread coming to work. (Well, I don't look forward to being up at 6:30 every morning, but I don't mind it like I did back when I hated my old job.)

It's been a good year for other reasons, too. I've really come a long way since last August. Having a good job working for a good guy makes an unbelievable difference in one's state of happiness. But other things have really worked out for me as well.

I've been living alone for a little over a year now, and I love it. I have learned so much about myself already. On top of that, I got the chance to move into a house, which is simply fantastic. I've traveled to Boston, Florida and Chicago. I've seen old friends and made new ones. I've run another marathon and have started training for a third one. I work hard. I play hard. I sleep hard.

I guess I just feel slightly nostalgic today as I remember my first day here last year. I would daresay that my life changed a lot last August because of a lot of different things. It's all been for the better. I am certainly full of hope that things continue down this path. It feels good to be genuinely happy and to be living a life full of love, beauty and joy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Soundtrack for My Life

I'm totally copying this from Danielle. It's totally cheesy. But it seemed like something fun to do today.

IF YOUR LIFE WAS A MOVIE, WHAT WOULD THE SOUNDTRACK BE?
So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...

Opening Credits: Trouble (Coldplay).. this doesn't bode well, does it?
Waking Up: Time Well Waisted (Brad Paisley)
First Day At School: Rapunzel (DMB)
Falling In Love: Yeah! (Usher)... ha, a lady in the street...
Fight Song: Soul Singer in a Session Band (Bright Eyes)
Breaking Up: Even Better Than the Real Thing (U2)... this gives me a laugh
Prom: I'm Looking Through You (The Beatles)
Life's OK: Idioteque (Radiohead)
Mental Breakdown: Where Are You Going? (DMB)
Driving: Tired of Being Alone (John Mayer)
Flashback: Long Black Train (Josh Turner)
Getting Back Together: If You Could Only See (Tonic)
Wedding: Until The End of Time (Justin Timberlake)... fitting title I guess
Birth of Child: No Need To Argue (Cranberries)
Final Battle: Needs (Collective Soul)
Death Scene: Iris (Goo Goo Dolls)
Funeral Song: Back Where I Come From (Kenny Chesney)... how ironic!
End Credits: Sleeping In (The Postal Service)

Well, they are nowhere close to what I would select if I were actually picking them instead of going off an ipod shuffle. Maybe I'll do another post soon about what I'd want if there really was a Melanie soundtrack.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Progress!!!

I spent the whole weekend (well, almost) cooped up in my house trying to get everything done and make it look more like a home as opposed to a disaster zone. There are no more boxes in the dining room. I repeat: NO more boxes in the dining room.

Things have been unpacked and put away. Things have been cleaned. Things have been hung on the walls. Things have been thrown away. Things have been placed in a box destined to go into a yard sale next month.

Oh, how it feels so good to get so much done. Granted, I still have a few last boxes of picture frames and other decorative stuff. And I've been procrastinating on giving the kitchen the scrub down that it so desperately needs. Nonetheless, I am almost done. The finish line is in sight. Now I can finally relax and enjoy the new place... and of course, throw a party.

I did venture out a couple of times over the weekend (because goodness knows I enjoy life the most when I squeeze in as much good stuff as I can). I joined a good friend of mine Saturday night for dinner at Bonefish Grill to celebrate another recent success of his in the real estate biz. I also spent some time with my folks who were ever so kind to spend a lot of time on Sunday helping me hang things on walls and then take me to dinner on top of it. Good parents, those two. And I capped off my weekend with an impromptu late night pool party... slightly irresponsible considering I needed to be up at 6:30 for work, but you're only 24 once, right?

I'll try to get some pictures up of the new place soon. I'm very proud of how well everything has turned out. I'm ready for visitors now, so feel free to come hang out (though I ask that you call first). I love the feeling of satisfaction after accomplishing big projects such as this one. Now if I could only get that far along with this pile of papers on my desk at work...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting to Know You...

... getting to know all about you... I don't know any more of that song, but it always comes to my mind anytime I use the phrase "getting to know you."

No beating around the bush here... I want to get to know you. According to my special little map, I clearly have readers all over the place. Now I know who a few of you are, and you know that I know. (Ha, I can't help but think of a favorite Friends scene after saying that. "But they don't know that we know that they know we know!!!") But as for the rest of you kind souls, I am clueless about you.

I can't help but wonder who it is that's reading in the Texas and Oklahoma areas. The dots in that area indicate that we have some frequent returners. I'm also quite curious about my international readers.

So, with all this said, tell me about yourself. Leave a comment and share something about yourself. Don't worry, you don't need to share anything too personal. But I'm just curious about who you all are as we share in this journey of life together.

Happy comment leaving to you all. I'm looking forward to knowing you better. :)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Quotes from The List

I imagine that Danielle is not the only one who was outraged yesterday that I didn't share The List with all of you dear readers. I hope that you will understand that it's really not the kind of list that's meant for public sharing. (Although talk to me when you're back in TN Miss Danielle, and we can likely make some sort of arrangement since you know half the list already anyways, ha).

I do however think that Stephanie had a great idea for a good compromise - sharing some of the best quotes from our lists. Granted, without context they won't all make a lot of sense, but I think that anyone will still recognize the degree of seriousness we maintained as we approached this list making. So, without further adue, a list of quotes from the three lists (although I won't be accrediting any of them to their authors)... starting with two of Steph's favorites:

  1. When he told the other guys, they threatened to beat him to death. Apparently they are very serious about my chasity.
  2. He'd ask me out, I'd go, I'd remember why I wasn't interested even though he was a nice guy, and that'd be that.
  3. Biggest and longest running rebound in the history of man.
  4. Then he said he didn't want to date anyone (ouch). He would later write in my Sr. yearbook that he desperately regretted that decision (ha!).
  5. We had a solid 3 months of bliss before he dumped me to go to college... 10 minutes away.
  6. I think we really did love each other, which is nice.
  7. Ugh. Don't remind me. You all know the story.
  8. We never even kissed... I wouldn't let him close enough.
  9. Married man... he had a broken hand with a cast so I couldn't see the ring!
  10. This was the guy who thought he was sooooo much smarter than me. He now attends law school at lesser institute of learning.
  11. We all pretty much know this story. My first love.
  12. I was ridiculously cool about it, and we were awkward friends until I promptly lost touch with him the next year.
  13. Story to be continued as life progresses... :)

I realize that some of you may feel like all I'm doing with this is being a big tease. Well maybe you're right. But us girls have to have our secrets amongst ourselves, and it was either share some of the quotes with no context or post a VERY watered down version of the lists with no real names... and that wouldn't have been very entertaining, now would it?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Upon some past gentlemen callers...

Over the past couple of days, I've been engaged in a thoroughly entertaining round of emails with two of my favorite gals. It all started when Amanda mentioned an ex-boyfriend I knew nothing of since I had not known her way back when. I needed more info. I needed to know when he happened, what happened with them, and why he's gone now.

Ask and you shall receive. Soon after, Amanda provided Steph and I with a detailed timeline of the various guys she's at some point dated over the last 10 or so years as well as important facts about each one. Because it was just a load of fun to read (we're really quite a clever bunch of girls who know how to make even the simplest list into an enjoyable read), Steph decided she should make one, too.

Stephanie is the only one who has completed her list. She'll actually be celebrating her one year anniversary this weekend. I like her husband better than any other guy from the list. But I had forgotten some of those on the list, especially from early high school days. She always had a string of guys lining up to date her. I certainly hope her husband knows what a catch he got. Well, I'm confident that he does...

I couldn't be the only one not playing this little game, so I composed my own list. I have to say that it's actually kind of fun to take the walk down memory lane and remember the different guys who at one time wanted nothing more than to take me on a date... or the ones that I wanted nothing more than for him to realize I existed, ha! (I was a little shy in high school, to say the least). I hadn't thought about some of them literally in years. Should any of you be reading this, I hope you are doing well.

I have to say that I've been fortunate to have known some pretty terrific guys. Granted, not one yet that was so terrific that he's in my life for good (no offense boys), but I'll find one to keep around when the time is right I'm sure. Nonetheless, I know that I've had a lot of fun over the years when it comes to dating. I'm confident that I learned something from each relationship. And really I think that in the end if it doesn't work out, you can't ask for much more than that. Even those that have broken my heart still managed to bring a lot of joy to my life (before said heart breaking, of course) and a deeper appreciation for what it means to love somebody.

So these emails this week has certainly brought many laughs along with some fond memories of days gone by, but in the end these lists kind of have a part in the women that the 3 of us have become. I think we learn the most from the other people in our lives. Amanda and I are still working on finding the end of our list. But for now, it's been fun to remember stories about first dates and first kisses and the times we wanted to get home fast and times we wished we didn't have a curfew... thanks for the walk down memory lane girls!

Monday, August 6, 2007

I Won't Eat Mushrooms

I'm not a picky eater in the usual sense of the meaning. I'll try things. In fact, I often say that I'll try anything once. Granted, I imagine that there are probably some foods out there that it'd be really hard to get the nerve up to try... like octopus or dog. I could very well see myself going back on my "try anything once" rule in some situations.

I'm more picky about the way in which I consume my food. Anyone who's ever eaten a meal with me has likely picked up on this very quickly. I almost always eat one food at a time. For example, when I fixed my plate for dinner at home when I was younger I would place my chicken, potatoes, macaroni, and bread (and anything else we may have) on the plate and then consume one item at a time. I usually ate my least favorite item first and saved my favorite item for last. My favorite item sometimes changed according to my moods. Some nights I'd want the potatoes last and other nights the macaroni.

The other extremely picky thing about my eating habits is that I don't like my food to touch. The example I just gave about a meal is a good one... none of those items would have been touching each other on my plate. I actually tell servers at restaurants to make sure that my food doesn't touch. I'll admit that this is just one of those weird things that makes me unique. There's no real rhyme or reason to it other than I just don't like the food to touch and for the tastes of individual items to merge in my mouth (even though I KNOW it's all going to same place... that's not the point).

So recently, as part of me not actually being a picky eater, I've tried lobster (a huge feat because I typically am not a seafood kind of gal). It was actually pretty good. I didn't want to eat a lot of it, but I enjoyed the bites I had. I've also had some fish in the past few days. I never eat fish (it's that whole seafood thing again). I had a delicious salmon meal at Bonefish Grill. I've always hear they do fish right, and I must say that my meal was thoroughly enjoyable. I still don't plan on eating fish all the time though. It's not my favorite.

I'll keep trying new things. Maybe I'll even keep trying sushi, even though I've never enjoyed it the other times I've tried it... but people keep going on and on about it so maybe I need to keep trying. But I do know one thing I will NOT eat, and that's mushrooms. Never. Don't like 'em. Don't even try to get me to eat one. I just won't do it. I will stand firm in being picky about that one.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Reasons Why I'm Still Living Out of Boxes

I moved on July 14. Today is August 5. My dining room is still full of boxes. Normally, this would have driven me nuts, and I'd have stayed up late every night for like a week to get everything put away. But that has not been the case. There are numerous reasons why everything is still in the dining room and why if you were here right now you'd think the place looked terrible.

A - Between the move, work, traveling to Chicago for a crazy girls' weekend, and trying to spend time with a friend who was moving away I have not really had the time to spend unpacking or the energy to have to focus on what I'm doing... because those of you who know me well know that there has to be a method of organization as I put everything away. If I didn't do that, I'd never find where I stuck anything. It has to make sense... this house is big.

B - This reason is kind of part of the above reason... I haven't really been home long enough to get more than a box or two done. The boxes I have unpacked were mostly only because I HAD to find something in it. I'm not complaining. Allow me to offer a sublist of my recent social activities:

1. My weekend in Chicago, which I've already highlighed for you...

2. I recently went to my first Frist Friday at the Frist Center. I'm really determined to start taking advantage of more of the cool things that Nashville offers. It was an evening well spent in pleasant company. We got to check out the current exhibits, enjoy some yummy chips and dip, and check out a concert by Anthony David. I had never heard of him, but I definitely came home and downloaded some of his music.

3. I have met with someone about some volunteer work I'm doing (more to come on this later), went to a meeting with my investment representative and made some semi-important decisions about money, and have started my marathon training for the next marathon I'll be running in December.

4. This weekend I got to see a friend who lives in Knoxville and was in town for a few days. I hadn't seen him since Steph's wedding last summer so it was fun to catch up. We ran into someone he knew at Chili's which was funny. He brought me a really cool shirt he got when he was staying in China for a month.

5. I went to the Nashville Zoo yesterday. I hadn't been there since the 4th grade. I was really surprised it cost $13, but it's a non-profit kind of place so we definitely didn't mind since it's for the animals. There's something really fun about watching monkeys swing on ropes and appreciating the size of elephants. I was a little grossed out by a few snakes and spiders in the reptile house. There was a really cool bird show where I saw like the biggest owl. (That's why there is a picture of an owl above.) It was a hot day, but I really enjoyed checking out all the exhibits. Except the leopards and red pandas... they were "inside cooling off." But I checked out the meerkats for quite a while... I like them. Sam provided some excellent company for checking out all these critters. He had never been to the zoo in his years here, so we HAD to cross that off his to do list before he left Nashville for good.

C - I just figure that my stuff isn't going anywhere. Yeah, I don't like the clutter. But sleep and work and running and the above mentioned social activities ranked a little higher on my priority list. My stuff will still be here when everything else is done. (I am going to start working on it today.. it seems like a good idea for a Sunday afternoon.)

D - I need some help with a few things like hanging pictures and putting in shelf paper. For whatever reason, I really struggle with getting shelf paper cut and stuck down well. My mom is a pro though. Granted, I can still get everything else unpacked and put away, but the kitchen is at a stand still until that shelf paper is down.

I'm out of excuses though. This will be another busy week with work, running, a dentist appointment, a hair cut, and possibly a few dinners with friends... but I think I'm finally caught up on my rest and that all of the unusual happenings in my life have leveled out. So it's time to get busy. I'm determined to be productive. If I don't have pictures posted of how good everything looks within 2 weeks, someone needs to start harping on me about it.

Friday, August 3, 2007

17 Kids...

I don't watch the news. I refuse to sit and hear 25 minutes of bad news, 4 minutes of commercials, and one minute of soft fluff at the end in an attempt to make it sound like the program is not all bad news. After studying journalism for four years, I can't help but be aware of the slant that is often placed on the news... and the fact that a lot of news programs are focused more on ratings than on the true purpose of journalism to simply get the information to the people.

Because of this, I go looking for my own news. This usually happens each morning when I pull up msn.com. I like getting my news here because 1) I read what I want to read; 2) I can easily form my own opinion in my own time about what I think about it; 3) If they don't give me enough info, I can quickly search for more; and 4) I'm more likely to find just as much positive news as negative news.

One headline in particular caught my eye this morning. "Woman gives birth to 17th child - and wants more." It was not a misprint (as msn.com is prone to do... I've often considered emailing them and asking if they need an extra proofreader). There is a couple in Arkansas who just had their 17th child... they already had 10 sons, and this new child makes their seventh daughter.

And they want more.... I mean, really? Wow. Not only do they have 17 kids that they homeschool and drive around in a bus (yes, a bus! But what else could the drive around in?), but they also all have a name that starts with 'J.' My parents have enough trouble keeping the names for me and my one sister straight, so I can't imagine how they can ever call for the right child when they've got 17 J-names to go through and find the correct one. And they want to add more to the mix?

Here's some perspective... this woman has been pregnant for a combined total of 10.5 years of her life so far. I think my friend Aleesha who is currently 36 weeks pregnant would be quick to say that she can't imagine being pregnant that much. I mean, I haven't ever been pregnant but I can still safely say that there is NO way I'd want to spend that much of my life in pregnancy. Wow.

So, all this to say, there is certainly some interesting news out there. Like the seven-legged goat in New Zealand that I read about yesterday. Or the theft of a completely full 10,000 gallon inflatable pool from someone's back yard during the night... and not a single drop of water was found anywhere. I think I'm just as interested in knowing about these odds and ends as I am news about our country and other happenings. There's something that really brings perspective to your life when you know about the more unusual things that are going on out there. Or maybe it's just that the writer in me is more excited by these odd stories than just another typical news stories about the war. Either way, I think I'll keep getting my news from my own personal searches for it. In the end, I feel more knowledgable about this world we live in by doing it that way.

But I know one thing... I will NOT be having 17 kids. Ever. Maybe 2... or 3. But not 17.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

When all else fails, go to Chick-fil-A

This week has been insane. That's pretty much an understatement, but I can't find a word to do the week justice. And it's only Wednesday.

Don't get me wrong - it hasn't been a bad week. It's just one of those weeks where everything is happening all at once. The second I get deep into all of the paperwork piled up on my desk, the phone rings. Or I have to run an errand. And I don't mind... that's what I'm here to do. But there have been far more interruptions than usual. I keep thinking of more things to do, causing my To Do List to resemble something more like a novella than a list. Not to mention that I've had a lot of interesting stories lately about my personal life... but those don't need to be recorded here.

I also started running again this week. I had taken a few weeks off since my last race (ok, 6 to be exact). My ankle had been bothering since the marathon in April, I was moving, and quite honestly I just needed a break. It felt good jumping on the treadmill Monday and running a fairly quick 3 miles. So far the plan is to go do the same again today. My next half marathon is only 6 weeks away so I've got to get on top of things. Ha, not to mention that technically this is the week I'm starting my marathon training for Huntsville. I don't think I'm in too bad of shape though. I would have been in pain during Monday's run if I'd lost too much of my strength.

Things have just been kind of crazy around here. So much so that even the Bob (my boss for those of you who don't know) has had a few rants and raves of his own. Mind you, his rants and raves are not scary or really even full of that much ranting and raving. Nonetheless, I was sitting in the line at the bank window today and feeling mildly irritated that the person in front of me was taking so long that they clearly should have gone inside... or maybe I was only irritated because it's 95 degrees and no amount of air conditioning can battle that when you're sitting directly in the sun in a car with a black interior. That was probably the case. Regardless, inspiration struck.

Getting a chocolate milkshake at the Chick-fil-A can always make a hectic, crazy week like this one seem better. I smiled. I made the deposit and made a beeline across the street. I didn't even call Bob to see if he wanted one. I walked out with two, one short the whip cream because I don't like it. Bob was on the phone when I got back. I put a little sticky note on the shake that said "No arguments" and placed it on his desk. Bob tends to count his calories and things of the sort, but I knew we were having the kind of week around here where calories don't matter if the sweet treat brings you some relief. He had finished it before he finished his phone call.

I'm still hot... the shop feels like it's 90 degrees, too. I'm still worn out from working non-stop either at work or at my house or running around town getting things done. But I'm happy. And I have a belly full of the most amazing chocolate shake in the area. Not much to complain about... life can be complicated, but it certainly is beautiful.