My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Freak-out Friday

I put a little cinnamon in my coffee this morning and it's really, really good.

Our next door neighbors left for Columbia yesterday but unfortunately, they left behind a mess. It's a royal pain moving out... I know it's always been something super difficult for me to wrap up... which is why the fire was a blessing in disguise for us. The restoration people had to handle that move out process. Austin said that their church was supposed to take what was left. I am pretty sure the church was to take the furniture, not clean carpets, pick up trash left behind, etc.

One thing they left behind is a cozy ottoman and Stubby is delighted to have a new comfy perch beside me. He was using my IKEA step stool which was hard wood. Stubby seems to be out of sorts lately. Old age.

I bought a long, thin table to go under my window and padded it with blankets for a huge window perch. Trouble loves it but Stubby hasn't bothered with it.  Life around here is all about the cats.

Well, not entirely. I went with Austin to the college fair at his school yesterday. It was... um... well, I'll just say this: It was nearly impossible for me to imagine going to college when I was his age. I just didn't have the resources. Jim did it but it was a real struggle for him. Bryan did it and it was also a struggle for him (financially, never academically). By the time it was time for me to get serious about college, I was pregnant. So that was that. In retrospect... I could have done it... but at the time my focus turned to supporting my family... and it's been that way for 25 years now.

For Austin... I want him to see the sky as his limit. I want him to know that whatever he commits to do, I will support him. The problem is that his grade point average is "barely passing". His handwriting is still, as a senior, so poor that he couldn't even fill out the contact cards for colleges he was interested in so I had to. His ability to  prioritize time to be able to work independently as a college student just isn't there. He still, as a senior, has to have a study skills class to be able to complete his classwork.

He is big on ideas and lax on follow thru. He doesn't understand socially acceptable behavior... he dressed for the Probe Fair - to meet college reps - in plaid pajama pants, a striped shirts and flipflops. He thinks taking the SAT is free. He didn't really understand how to explain what he wants to do... he thinks he has to get a "large animal" degree and then go back to get a "small animal" degree. He couldn't pass chemistry but thinks he can pass the undergraduate work necessary to get into a good Veterinarian program.

And I don't want to reign in his dreams.... but I am tasked with the responsibility of helping this young person become a contributing member of society. I kept pushing him toward the technical school reps... I kept suggesting that he get certified as a vet tech and then start working in a vet office and make sure he likes it. He doesn't have the small motor skills necessary to write his name legibly. How would he have the skills necessary to provide delicate procedures on animals? How will I ever know if he's turning in his assignments? How many semesters of schooling would we pay for him to act the way he's acted in high school... not understanding that it's mandatory - not optional - to turn in his work.

And that's if there was any give in my budget AT ALL for school. One cute little sorority girl turned admissions rep cheerfully offered the information that they have such great scholarships available that the average parents contribution is only $10,000 a year. I nodded and smiled and said, "well, isn't that nice?" I wouldn't be able to squeeze an extra $100 out of my budget, especially once child support stops. His dad surely isn't going to pay for college.

Austin is frustrated because everyone keeps trying to steer him away from what he wants to do. I want him to dream big. But I also know that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. He does what he wants to do, when he wants to do it, whether it's school work or chores or whatever. He doesn't understand the huge commitment involved in getting a college degree.

Raising 3 year old Austin meant staying up all night because he did. It meant taking him into the bathroom with me because otherwise he could destroy the house in the time it took me to go. It meant Poop Picasso works in his crib. On the sofa. On the carpet. It meant never having any time for myself. It meant apologizing to other parents when he bit their child. It meant losing friends because people didn't want their kids around him. It meant dirt everywhere. It meant not being able to leave him in the church nursery and not being able to get him to behave well enough to take him in church with me. It meant feeling very isolated and overwhelmed when his dad didn't help with him. It meant separating fights between him and his brothers when he tore their stuff up. It meant worrying that he was going to starve to death on his constant diet of grapes and yogurt. It meant negotiating in such a careful way that we never varied at all from his routine and apologizing to everyone else in our lives because we had to.

This. Is. Harder. He wants to be an adult and he wants to be independent and he wants his own money and his own options and he wants to do what he wants to do and the hard reality is that even for people who have everything going for them: two parent households, college funds, great grades - and no autism - even for them, this time of life is difficult. That transition to having your first car (how can I let him drive?) and your first job (can I explain to his employer that he has autism? would he offend a customer?) Can I trust him to be responsible with money? How can I make sure he's not making the wrong kind of friends again?

It's a fine line between a reality check and crushing someone's dreams. I can't be the person who crushes my child's dreams but I don't want him to get hurt either.

This weekend he's helping around the neighborhood putting up gutters or cleaning out gutters or... I'm not sure exactly. That's the kind of skills I want him to learn... how to do stuff...

Anyways... it's Friday! Yay! Hope you have a great day and an Awesome weekend. Go Gators!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Thankful for prayer

I went to the doctor yesterday and lost another hour and a half of my life that I'll never get back. I love my doctor, I really do. She's a sweetheart... she really cares. But while I was in the exam room, pacing for 45 minutes, I overheard her chatting with the office staff... making phone calls to dispute a request for records... arguing about whether or not a patient who was in a wheelchair could be weighed... I mean... it's not like she was doing surgery on me. It wasn't a huge, difficult, involved diagnostic process. I have infection in both ears, sinus infection, upper respiratory infection and my left eye is infected. She thinks it started with allergies and exacerbated. I got a penicillin shot and was sent on my way. Her total time with me was about 8 minutes. The nurses spent more time with me just getting my vitals and giving me the shot. And for this... my insurance is billed $125. I don't know... it just didn't sit well with me.

But it's a small town. My options are limited. I like walking through the door and the receptionist immediately knowing who I am and asking about my kid and how my back is doing. The past couple of visits, though, have been unreasonably lengthy and I don't like wasting time.

So... that's the deal, though... my ears are full of fluid and my left eye is really weak. The upper respiratory stuff is annoying but not being able to hear clearly and not being able to see out of one eye is what aggravates me the most.

Our neighbors have moved to Columbia.. or rather are on their way now. Pray for their safe travels and their new life back in Maribel's home country. Praying we get nice, quiet folks next door. People who are sociable for Austin's benefit and not offended that I'm not sociable. He really enjoyed James and Maribel and they were very good to Austin.

Austin is working with our maintenance man this weekend. Austin said he didn't know if he was getting paid or not but... surprisingly... he said it was ok either way. Seems like he's finally buying into my theory about "interning" to learn skills that he can later get paid for. No matter what they're doing this weekend, without a doubt, he'll learn how to do things that will be of value to him at some point in his lifetime. I'm proud of him for shifting from his, "no money, no work" paradigm. That's just not how the world turns. It's also a huge thing, from an Asperger/Autism standpoint for him to see value in something that is intangible. "helping" is valuable. "learning" is valuable. Lots of things that don't actually translate into cash in your wallet are valuable.

My cousin Rik, who I had not seen since childhood until our last reunion in March, has a stepson, Ivan, who was in a serious car accident on Tuesday. Initially the report was that he was on life support but from what I can tell... reading in between the lines of his mom, Vanessa's updates, etc, it sounds like he has a good prognosis but will have a long recovery. I can't imagine the fear that strikes a mother's heart when she gets the news that her 16 year old son is seriously injured. They were heavy on my heart all day yesterday. I only briefly met Vanessa at the reunion but we've connected via facebook... and I've been able to interact with cousin Rik via facebook... and their blended, Brady bunch family... I prayed for Ivan, of course, throughout the day but as a mommy, I really felt a burden to pray for Vanessa, for the decisions she has to make, for the strength she needs, for the care and keeping of the other children. It's a great thing that she married a Pennington because we are a praying family and have been for generations. To my knowledge, other than my grandparents, who were born in 1908 and 1910, we have never lost a family member, not even a stepfamily member.

It's another short workday for me as Austin has the Probe fair at school this afternoon. I'm allowed to go with him and I think it's important that I do- so that we are both on the same page as far as what's available and what's pragmatic for his future.

At any rate... it's Thursday... and I guess I involved quite a bit of whining and complaining in this post. I didn't mean to... just sort of relaying the frustrations I'm up against today... and I know that there are many of you who will take those frustrations and lift them - and me - up in prayer. I'm thankful for that. For the power of prayer, for the huge number of praying friends and family members that I have, for living a life that is so richly blessed that the worst thing I have to complain about is too much time spent receiving medical care for a minor illness. Hope your worst things today are minor... hope you find power in prayer... and I hope you have a Thankful Thursday!

love and hugs!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

bipolar web surfing Wednesday

Ever read the Drudge Report? It's a must see for me even though it scares me to death sometimes. Yesterday there was a headline that read:  Iran threatens war ships to US. Seriously... if that doesn't snap you out of your isolationist perspective and drag you right into the reality that most of the world feels... I don't know what will. It had -a big picture of Achmin-however-you-spell-it with a big old Quran ... it's Jihad, people. They hate us and they think they will go to Heaven with ten vestal virgins if they kill us. I don't know what a vestal virgin is, exactly, but apparently that's what every Islamic terrorist seeks.

When you get right down to it, how many friends does the U.S. really have? And if we stopped subsidizing everybody, how many of those "friends" would be left?

I try not to dwell on it. Ultimately, whatever will be, will be. All the doom and gloom of being the most hated country in the world... and the frustration of having two warring factions within our country who can't agree on whether or not the sky is blue... makes me want to stop looking at www.drudgereport.com and go to

www.icanhascheezburger.com ... which always makes me giggle and go "awwwww"....

Just like... those times that I check my bank account and subtract the outstanding obligations and divide what's left by the number of days left until payday and then try to factor in the probability of whether or not the magic of child support will appear... just when I start to really feel depressed... I click on

www.tmz.com and immerse myself in totally irrelevant and trashy celebrity gossip. I know we're not supposed to gossip. It's my guilty pleasure.

And if I'm feeling sick... I google my symptoms or go to www.webmd.com to determine what horrible tropical disease I have developed, despite being landlocked and 3000 feet above sea level.

I have to check the news from various and as sundry places such as www.news4jax.com to see if anything is happening in any of the places we frequented. Every now and then I get validation that we were not living in as desirable of an area as I was led to believe.

I have to go to www.mycharmingkids.net and www.kellyskornerblog.com to find out what McMama's five kids and Kelly's two are up to. I also will check my sister in law's blog to see if any cute pics of my nieces and nephews have been posted.  I go to Beth Moore's blog - and her daughter Amanda's blog to get a sweet Christian perspective on the activities of everyday life in the Moore family.

Better living through web-surfing, right?

I have a doctor's appointment for this afternoon. My mildly irritating sore throat/earaches/sinus pain has developed into a truly miserable earache and stuffy nose and I think after three weeks of waiting it out, I've got to admit that it's not going away on it's own. I've also lost my appetite and nothing tastes right. I can handle everything but not being able to eat... (just kidding) (mostly) So there's that on the agenda...

Tomorrow I'm going with Austin to the Probe fair, that thing where different colleges come to your school and try to recruit. I'm really pushing Austin toward some kind of technical "learn a marketable skill" type school and THEN ... once he's able to support himself and be a contributing member of society (if not this household) then  he could take a few college classes to move forward on to bigger and better things. I don't mean to discourage him from getting a college degree. I have a high degree of respect for people who have high degrees... and a large part of my circle of influence here in the mountains are people, like my sister-in-law Angie (Dr. Gant) who have made education a foundation of their lives. I support that. I just can't afford to support Austin through another four-six-ten years of begging him to get up in the mornings and driving him around and running interference when he doesn't perform up to minimum standards.

I am now officially listed as Heather Gant on my insurance license from the State of Georgia. They took forever to make the change and then had me listed as "Heather Grant". When I called the state and said, "thank you very much for updating my license but my last name should be Gant, not Grant"... the girl who answered the phone burst out laughing and said, "that WOULD be a problem, wouldn't it?". It was refreshing to speak to someone with a government job who still maintained a sense of humor. They corrected it in one day so I was in a good humor as well. Now I have to wait for State Farm to correct my sales agreement to match my license AND THEN I can order my new business cards with my new name.

Legally, however, until I submit the request through the county with my $287 name change fee, I will remain as Darby on my drivers license and other official government documents. I'll get there. It might have been easier to go to the divorce hearing and request the name change then... but that would have cost me at least a day of work plus travel expenses plus the aggravation/upset of having to see him and at the time, weighing out the emotional/financial cost, it just made sense to wait until I could do it myself. Here. In Georgia. Tucked away in the safety of these mountains where strangers are friends and evil ex-husbands don't dare to venture. Not to imply that I have multiple evil ex-husbands. Only one of them was evil. And I can't say for sure that he was PURE evil... just really, really mean to me. And my kids. And cats. And so on.

It's Whiny Wednesday, y'all... I'm working 5 and a half hours today... probably sacrificing an hour or better to see the doctor... who knows how much time getting prescriptions filled... and then I can curl back up in my nest and yub my kitties... so hopefully, it will be a day that is filled with sunshine and happiness and joy... and... making a difference!

Have a great day! Love and hugs!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

making a difference

This whole mindset of making a difference is really retraining my attitude and thought process. No matter how much I hurt when I set off for work, I tell myself that I have to stay at it until I have made a difference to somebody. And then... once I feel that I've found that person for whom I've truly made a difference... it's such a good feeling that I want to keep going. It's addictive, you see.

Yesterday it was a client who was out of work and considering a move to another area of the country to try to find work. She is in a field similar to my brother - counseling - and I expressed surprise that she hasn't been able to find work here. I joked, "I come across crazy people all the time"... and we had a good laugh. She mentioned one job offer she had received that required more of a faith based counseling perspective and she had gotten away from her faith. I just said, "maybe it's time to return to your faith... and then you'll have a job". There was more to the conversation but I don't want to betray confidence... at the end of the conversation she said, "you made my day... I'm so glad I called in". Yay! I made a difference! And it was before 10am!

I think for anyone who struggles... whether dealing with chronic pain or other illness or even mental health issues like depression... if you can just get out of your nest long enough to make a difference to one person... it will change your life. I love being with people. I love my job. But pain robs you of any pleasure in anything you do. Even when you're not hurting (which is rare for me) you live with the fear that any over-exertion or change from your normal routine will cause your pain to return. You paint yourself into a little box, the normal, abbreviated routine that you can control, hopefully to the extent of mitigating the pain.

Making a difference makes the effort seem worth it. It's probably why my mom volunteers at the hospital. It gives you an opportunity to take the focus off what's hurting you long enough to help someone solve the problem of what's hurting them. If there's one thing you learn when you have any chronic condition - it's how to get around the pain. You learn to be creative. When you're immobilized, whether by pain or discouragement or fear - you learn to be creative. Those shortcuts you create for yourself make you an expert at problem solving... and you can find that shortest path from point A to point B for others.

I haven't talked about this much here but I didn't drive until I was in my late 20's. I can't tell you why. I just had such an immense fear of driving that I never learned how to drive. My parents had one car, it was a manual transmission, I was afraid to drive it, there really wasn't time for anyone to teach me to drive it. My mom didn't drive until I was 18 so it wasn't like she was going to teach me. Her mother never drove. And I believe it was two more generations back - my grandmother's grandmother - who never even rode in a car. She was worried that the undertaker was going to put her in their new automobile when she passed away but instead... it had rained too much and the roads were washed out so they had to bring her to town for burial with a horse and wagon. So... I come from a long line of women with issues with automobiles.

The opportunity to learn to drive wasn't something that was available to me until I was already married and pregnant. And then... I felt this overwhelming sense of mortality and didn't want to do anything to hurt the baby inside me... and then I didn't want to hurt myself since I had a little baby to care for... and then the years ticked by and I just never learned. I passed my driving test at 21 but was still terrified.

This created a huge burden for my friends and family. I expended more effort arranging the logistics of getting me and my growing family where we needed to be than it would have taken to just get behind the wheel and drive. It created a huge strain on my marriage. I couldn't do anything or go anywhere - at times I was a prisoner in my own home, especially when Robert pulled his disappearing act. It placed an unfair burden on him. The fear... a fear I couldn't explain then and certainly can't explain now... took a life of it's own, the same way my pain has taken over my life now.

Finally, one day, my friend Rachel's daughter Rebecca got sick at school. Rachel lived well over a mile from me in our mega-subdivision and was without a car that day. She asked if she could walk to my house to borrow my car to go get her little girl - who was throwing up at school. I thought of the time that would take and how miserable Becca must surely be... and I said, "that will take too long. I'm pretty sure I can drive to your house". And I did. And you know what? Nothing bad happened. Quite the opposite. It wasn't even that scary. It was actually freeing. I made a difference for a sick little girl and her worried mommy that day.

Then I found that I could push myself a little bit further beyond my comfort zone and drive me and the boys to church. I didn't have to worry about whether or not their dad was going to wake up on Sunday morning to take us. Then I figured out I could drive us to the ball field and I didn't have to worry any more about the boys being late or missing their practices or games. AND THEN... I figured out I could drive a little further to the little lake where we could go and swim during the summer. Slowly... our world expanded. I began to sell AVON to make some extra money because I could drive to deliver to customers. I was able to pick my kids up from school. I was able to spend time with friends and family. It changed my life.

And it all started because I wanted to make a difference for Rachel and Rebecca.

God has a way of taking the things we do for others and using them as a blessing for us. God has a way of taking our biggest barriers and making them our biggest stepping stones. My pain is frustrating... and at times isolating... and frequently discouraging... but it's changing my life in a way I never expected. I have to make a difference to others to make it seem worth it to get out of bed... and because of that I'm focusing more on MAKING a difference!

So... I guess the moral of the story is to look beyond whatever your circumstances are... figure out a way to make a difference to someone else... and maybe, just maybe, it will make a difference to you as well.

Please keep my friend Gina in your prayers. Her father passed away on Saturday. She had to drive down to Fort Lauderdale (from Atlanta) yesterday to handle the arrangements and start settling his affairs. His burial will be in Oklahoma so she has a lot of driving in the next few days... and will miss work... pray that she will have a safe journey and that she will have the money to handle everything. She's a single girl like me so there's no back up income for her. Her mother passed away a few years ago... it's just Gina and her brother.  I wish I had money to help her... or the free time to go with her... but instead, I'm just going to rally a covering of prayer for her, so please, be sure to pray for her throughout this week.

Hope you have an awesome day and I hope you find a way to make a difference to somebody...
love and hugs!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reasons to love Monday

It's my mama's birthday today! I don't think she's one to lie about her age... but I won't post it here just in case. She's 20 years older than me, you do the math.

My mama is resourceful, crafty, loyal, devoted, creative... and she has been the BEST grandmother to my kids. I couldn't have done it without her help. Happy Birthday Mama!

My computer wouldn't boot up this morning... I had a mini-panic and just went back to bed. I guess the extra sleep didn't hurt. I'm coughing up thick green slime - not having any trouble breathing and my head isn't really stopped up. I haven't had any sinus headaches over the weekend... so I'm not sure if I should bother with a doctor visit.

Not much time this morning... here's an abbreviated version of reason to love Monday... feel free to add your own!

1. Looks like we've gotten past the hot weather. We'll have some low eighties this week but none of those miserable days.

2. Duane is at a big State Farm function so no staff meeting this morning! WOoohoo!

3. I had a very restful weekend which should put me in a position to be a rock star salesperson this week.

4. My S key is sticking and it's getting on my nerves.

5. Austin is debating that my 3 minute miracle conditioner is considered "leave in" because you leave it in for 3 minutes. He's going to school though... and he's dressed half way decent (ie, no pajama pants). He was really out of sorts this weekend and I was worried about him going to school... but he is.

6. Have I mentioned it's my mama's birthday?

7. It's also my cousin Dixie's birthday too, I think. She is... 27? I think? Technically Dixie is my first cousin once removed (since she's the child of my first cousin)

Ok... that's it for now... gotta run harvet all my imaginary farms and feed my imaginary animals because if I don't... nothing will happen....

Have a great Monday, y'all!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

more truths...

I copied this from my friend Barbara who sends me the sweetest cards! Some more truths for us:

1. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is. 
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong. ... 
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger. 
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font. 
5. How the *#$@( are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? 
6. Was learning cursive really necessary? 
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood. 
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
 9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired. 
10. Bad decisions make good stories. 
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day. 
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again. 
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to. 
14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call. 
15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well. 
16. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option. 
17. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger. 
18. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said? 
19. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters! 
20. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time...

the truth? you can't HANDLE the truth!

Remember that famous line from the movie A Few Good Men... in that dramatic court scene with Jack Nicholson where he's being hounded about what really happened to the marine who was killed... ? The truth in the case was that a murder was committed and the reasons behind it have to do with tradition and honor and a code that would be out of context anywhere else but Gitmo.

I'm not talking about murder here. I'm just talking about what I often refer to as "sausage making"... the things that end up going on behind the scenes that are icky and uncomfortable and less than what we want the world to know about.

Thanks to reality tv we know far more than we ever wanted to know about Hoarding, polygamy, the Jersey Shore, little people, beauty pageants, wedding dress shopping, wedding planning, alligator hunting, tattoo artists, fat people, Hugh Hefner's women, etc, etc.

It seems like we know so much about so much but yet we rarely get the truth, the whole truth and nothin' but the truth about anybody or anything. All the world to me's a scam and we are merely players (to misquote Shakespeare).

In my blog I seek to share my honest thoughts and opinions and to be transparent up to the point of embarrassing my family and friends. I am my authentic self up until the point of sharing stories that would cause hurt to someone else or bring conflict into my life. I don't know if you've realized this yet - I hate conflict. I have certain professional ethics and privacy requirements that I have to keep that prevent me from sharing some of the stories of what happens in my daily life.

But the truth is... for the most part... I'm an open book. Actually, a couple of people have suggested that I write a book. Austin wants me to write a book about raising a kid with Aspergers... but he hates when I put Facebook status' up that mention him. My dad wants me to write a book about the people who cross my path.... because I do come across some really colorful characters. (I know you couldn't hear it in the written word but when I say "colorful" it comes across very southern, such as "cull-uh-fulll"). I just feel like most of what I write about is me... and really, who wants to buy a book about me?

Today, I feel incredibly relaxed and incredibly boring. I have been lazier today than I have been in a long, long time. Other than my early morning run for supplies yesterday morning at first light (I never go out in the dark because I'm afraid of bears. Seriously.) I've been tucked into the nest. I've been in a good bit of pain over the past week... more than usual... not sure why but I am hoping having a very quiet weekend will help.

I ventured over next door to look at their yard/estate sale. They are moving to Columbia (as in Bogota, the country, not the city in South Carolina)  this week and were trying to sell everything they own. We bought a staple gun and a long thin table that fits perfectly under my bedroom window for a cat perch. I'm tempted to buy a dresser from them as we really need a dresser but... we really need to not spend the money. There are other things ahead of clothes storage that are a priority. They gave Austin a box of candles (I don't know why) and a PSP2 which he didn't need at all.

She makes beautiful jewelry but I'm not a jewelry person. She suggested that I buy it as gifts... and again... it's hard for me to buy jewelry because I don't really know what people like. And honestly... I don't have a lot of jewelry wearers in my life. Or a lot of money to spend on random things, even though they were lovely.

Austin will miss the neighbors but for me... I'm just such a hermit. I haven't really bonded with them. I don't mind them. They're nice enough people. She doesn't speak great English and has emphysema so she hasn't been out much in the two months we've lived here. I haven't been out much either. Work and home... that's my whole life right now. I guess that makes for a boring blog.

Jim brought Sarabeth and Jamie by to see me at work on Friday, which was awesome. I love my girls so much... and I just don't get to see them enough. They can't really hang out at my house because of the cats and I just don't have the energy to do much after work.

Austin's been a bit sassy and rebellious this weekend. I'm kind of rolling with it and not really arguing with him. I sense that he's sort of going through a rough patch and I'm not interested in being sucked into his dark vortex right now. He'll work through it. Once he needs something he'll snap back into line. In the meantime. Whatever.

It does make things sort of lonely when my kid is moody and uncommunicative. He hasn't wanted to go anywhere this weekend and ... well, it's ok. I needed to rest. We did so much last weekend... and the weekend before as well.

I read a lot about people being their authentic selves... I think... authenticity means that we are willing to share our imperfections... and I think our true selves are selfish and self absorbed, uglier than we would want anyone to see... but wisdom that comes with age... and temperance that comes from societal norms... and peer pressure that causes us to seek acceptance... modifies our authentic selves into something that will not offend... or embarrass us. I mean... do y'all really need to know that I bite my fingernails? Or that I haven't washed my hair since Friday? How much authenticity do we need... and does it help us connect with others or separate us from others?

I don't necessarily agree with "political correctness"... I would not necessarily confront someone or intentionally offend someone but I do believe that political correctness has ended up, to some degree, like affirmative action in that it has stifled and stigmatized those who are in the majority and has sought to take away the liberties of some in order to allow liberties for others.

I feel like your freedom should only extend so far as it doesn't compromise my freedom. It's like... smoking in public... I support the right of smokers up unto the point of their smoke keeping me from enjoying the fresh air I feel I should be entitled to. I support the right of people to drink, up until they reach the point where they get behind the wheel and endanger my life. I support the idea of giving people a hand up up until the point where it takes away from my income as a hardworking person to give to someone who is manipulating the system to get a free ride. I believe there is a great difference between rights and privileges. We are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not a guv'ment check on the 3rd day of every month...

Anyways. I once read that small minds discuss people, mediocre minds discuss events and great minds discuss ideas. I guess I've done all three in this blog post so who knows where that leaves me.

Watching Fiddler on the Roof... brings back great memories... hope you're all having a great weekend! Love and hugs, y'all.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Photo Finish Friday - Featuring Friendly Fowl

I have the sleep habits of a milkman or a morning drive-time dj. I'm asleep before 8 and wide awake at 4am. It's bizarre. I don't try to fight it... I just enjoy my early mornings and those couple of hours of leisure time before I have to start the glam routine for work.

I hung tough yesterday. My headache never really went away but I think I did a good job of faking it. I may have been a little unfocused at times, but I stayed there all day. I'm sure I can make it again today. If I'm still headache-ing over the weekend, I'll check in with the doctor. Ultimately... I can't take decongestants because of my tachycardia... I don't WANT to take antibiotics because they make me sick... so it's best if I can just wait it out.

I did have a whiny moment on my way home from work... Austin called and said there was water leaking onto our dining room table from the apartment above us... it happened once before when we were moving in. There was a lot more water this time. I told him to go find Morrie, the maintenance man who lives upstairs from us. When I pulled around the corner to our building Morrie and his wife Ellen were hanging out with James - our next door neighbor. I thought, "Awesome! Austin has already gotten Morrie down here and it's fixed"... but when I stepped inside the door Austin said, "I looked all over and couldn't find Morrie". I'm not sure he was lying but... I don't think he really looked too hard, what do you think?

At any rate... there was a good bit of water... but it stayed on things that are waterproof like my little china cabbage leaf tea set and the dining room table and the linoleum floor. Austin went over to talk to Morrie and he knew immediately what the problem was. There's some pipe defect that has caused this to happen in every apartment and his apartment is the last to get repaired - that whole concept of "the shoemaker's daughter never has shoes" - where he's put the repair to his apartment last. He can do all the work from his apartment so we won't have any destruction/construction mess, which is good because dust is not good for me. Austin and I dried up the water. It's a leak similar to what we had in my trailer - the drain in the bathtub is pulling away from the tub and it causes some of the bathwater to leak below. In our trailer "below" was the ground underneath. In this apartment "below" is my dining room. So there you go. Good times.

I started to have a mini-meltdown about it and then reminded myself that this was soooo minor in relation to most of the crisis' we have faced this year. No big deal. We did tease Morrie about falling through to our apartment... and how he would become "that thing we smell" when he gets stuck between floors. Although there really isn't a "between floors" here.

I still love my New Nest. I love it the most on weekends and I love it even more when it's clean (and it mostly is) and the weather is mild (and it will be) so that I can keep the windows open . We are officially into Oktoberfest in Helen which means traffic will be picking up with tourists heading to town on the weekends to enjoy the colors of the leaves. There is already a tiny bit of color at the tips of the trees. Nothing worth coming to see yet so all you folks from Atlanta can wait another week or two before you clog the highway to Helen. Oktoberfest means that Austin and I will be avoiding Helen as much as possible over the next month or so on weekends. It works out ok because I'd rather grocery shop early and be home in the afternoon to watch football.

These photos are not the best quality because I couldn't get too close... every morning on my way to work I play chicken (pun intended) with the Abernathy's chickens.

I'm having lunch with Stasha today! Haven't seen her in a few weeks... have to get caught up on her wedding plans. She's getting married next May. Not sure where we'll go but it will be a treat to have lunch with someone... a nice break in my work day.



One last thing I wanted to mention. Remember about two months ago when I mentioned that the aunt of our church secretary had disappeared? They found Aunt Pat on Wednesday... her car had run off the highway on the way to Clarkesville and flipped over. It looks like she may have already been unconscious before the car left the road as there were no skid marks or indication that she tried to brake. Possibly she had a medical "event" that affected her and caused her to lose control of the car. Hopefully she didn't suffer. She was missing for 62 days.

You've got to make every day count... never know which will be your last... Go out there and make a difference to somebody!
love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

thankful thursday, pain in my brain edition

I'm fighting the urge to be whiny like I was on Tuesday. My head hurts. It hurts something fierce. I am (once again) self diagnosing a sinus infection. The pain in my brain keeps moving from behind the left eye to behind the right eye and I'm not a happy camper. It hurt too bad to make coffee. I'm going to treat myself to a pumpkin spice latte today. Maybe that will help get me through today. It's Thursday. I can do this. Right?

Today I'm thankful for Starbucks. It's expensive. I'll eat a pb&j for lunch to be able to afford my Starbucks this morning. It's an indulgence that I want/need today.

I'm thankful that Trouble, the cat formerly known as Lex-ilishus, has gotten over his skittishness around Austin. Austin says he's "his cat" now. Whatever. I feed him. He sleeps with me. Austin just hauls out the poop.

I'm thankful that Austin hauls out the poop.

I'm thankful that I remembered to buy advil the other day. It's the only thing that gets rid of headaches without knocking me out.

I'm thankful that Austin did the dishes yesterday.

I'm thankful for Rush Limbaugh. He keeps me company during lunch.

I'm thankful for the rain we've had the past two nights. Rain + open windows = great sleeping noise.

I'm thankful those two hikers were freed. I still think it doesn't make sense to hike along an unmarked border between Iraq and Iran. I just don't think any good can come from it. Obviously.

I'm thankful for my memory foam pillow.

I'm thankful that I organized my closet last weekend.

I'm thankful for the Ikea catalog that came last week. I haven't looked at it yet and I probably won't buy anything out of it but it makes me happy.

I'm thankful for the car that keeps on chugging along and that she's paid for.

I'm thankful that Austin woke up in a good mood today.

I'm thankful that Logan and Hillary's baby girl is still baking. We had a scare last week and Hillary is on bed rest for the duration but Iridessa Skye is still in the oven. It's hard enough to be teenage parents... they don't need the compounded tragedy of a premie. 26 weeks and counting.

I'm thankful that there is another weekend coming very, very soon.

I'm thankful that I managed to write a blog entry today. I started not to... and decided it would help me gather my wits about me. It did.

Go forth and conquer, y'all!
Love and hugs!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not a Whiny Wednesday because I got it out of my system yesterday....

It's Whiny Wednesday but I don't feel it today. Guess I got it all out of my system yesterday.

I really, very much wanted to crawl back in bed and not face the world yesterday. I didn't.

I went out there with the determination to make a difference to SOMEBODY and ... I can think of at least five people yesterday who validated me in some way.

There were two who said, "you explained things to me in a way that no one else ever has".

There was one who thanked me for remembering him, recognizing him, asking him about specific things that he had talked to me about months ago... that was awesome - that I remembered because I don't always.

I brought in two new clients and have another scheduled to come in before the week is over.

I mean, it's one thing to go to work sick and exhausted and in pain and spend the day going through the motions but not feeling anything at the end of the day except sicker and more exhausted and in more pain. To suck it up and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day - that is a very good thing!

The first of my Christmas shopping arrived... some stocking stuffers for my boys - things I rarely even think about until Thanksgiving and then try to find the resources of time, energy and money to pull it all together at the last minute and I have them more than THREE MONTHS before Christmas. I feel like a Rock Star!

I had a friend who, bless her heart, has a teenage son who ordered a PARROT to be delivered c.o.d. (cash on delivery) and a courier showed up yesterday with the parrot expecting her to give him $350. Made all the random unauthorized purchases of my kids pale in comparison. I mean, a PARROT???

Of course, when I shared the parrot story with Austin he said, "do you think I could order an iguana online?" Geez.

I know she was ready to throttle him but... man... that story cracked me up!

I saw a beaver while I was having lunch. That was unusual.

There was a gas leak a couple hundred yards away from our office and traffic was being turned around right before people got to our office. That was exciting. There was a fireman in full gear, hat and all, directing traffic. And then, I guess the threat level was lowered so a City Employee was directing traffic... in his flipflops.

There's hope for Austin yet.

But then... they were letting one lane of traffic through by the time we left the office so the lane heading to the right (toward Clarkesville) was dead stopped... and the lane heading in the direction I needed to go was free flowing. I took a chance and pulled out even though I didn't have a good line of sight of what was coming and I ALMOST creamed a BMW. Gotta feel like God is on your side after that!

So anyways... the moral of the story is... yesterday was a day worth getting out of bed for... and I imagine today will be too because I'm going to set out with the same mindset: make a difference to SOMEBODY. When you welcome every encounter with another human being with the potential of that encounter being THE encounter that defines your day and validates your efforts... things seem to go better.

Today is Pop's birthday so if you know my daddy, be sure to stop by his facebook page and wish him a Happy Birthday. And if you're not facebook friends with Pop, you can wish him a happy birthday here because he reads my blog most days.

And no, Pop, I haven't forgotten to look for that thing you asked me to look for. I just need Austin's help to get to the place where the thing is and we haven't both been awake and cooperative at the same time. I don't think I have it... but I will look.

Happy Birthday Pop! I love you! You're the best daddy I've ever had!

Y'all have a Wonderful Wednesday and let me know if you're able to make a difference for somebody... because then I will feel like I made a difference for you!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

News Tuesday from the wrong side of the bed

It's Newsday Tuesday... the day where I share my opinion on all the news from the Nest and beyond.

I usually start writing my blog before 5am with my very first thoughts of the morning. My first thought this morning was.... ugh.

There is fluid in my ears so every time I move my head, I hear the ocean. Sidebar... I never realized how much I move my head when I talk. I'm a puppet head.

I have pain behind my left eye that feels like someone is digging around in there... it extends from my eye to my ear.

Both eyes are itchy.

My hair is heavy and not just because it's second day hair.

It's raining outside so every single joint hurts, especially my hands and the dead center of my spine.

It's just not a happy day in the nest. That's why I started with my happy music... Laura Story's song, "Blessings". I usually just skim over youtube videos when people post them on their blog because usually I don't have the patience to listen. But... if one or two of you take the time to listen to this song, I bet it will be the one or two who will really be blessed by this song.

It's also one of those days that has me ready to scream at the tv. Yesterday evening I had to switch off the evening news and watch old episodes of COPS. I just get so incredibly aggravated with politics. FAIR SHARE? REALLY? Nobody agrees on what a fair share of a person's income is... so it was easier for me to watch some poor mullet head from the shallow end of the gene pool get cuffed for playing whack-a-mole with his baby mama. I mean, next to Warren Buffett and his "Buffett Rule" which means he'll go to extremes to avoid paying taxes and then pretend like he's SO committed to taxation to excess that he wants his name attached to a tax.

I just can't talk about it today. I just feel like logic is a gift you're either born with or you aren't. It would be one of those days that some wise guy will pop off with a comment that makes me want to climb thru the screen and put him out of my misery. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! I'm just glad I didn't make the mistake of dating you. Lord knows I've had my FAIR SHARE of undeserving mates.

I had nightmares all night last night. I dreamed that Darby came back and was two-timing his current commitment with me. Yes, I became the Darby other woman. Never. Ever. In a million years, no matter how bad my judgment becomes will that happen.

I'm really in a foul temper. It doesn't help that every other commercial is for online dating. If you missed my last foray into online dating, check out my blog entries from the end of 2010. Which... was fairly misguided of me if you consider that the carnage that my life had become three years ago was brought to you courtesy of online dating. Even if my odds of meeting Mr. Wonderful are slim to none here in the Nest, I'm willing to risk it. If I have to pick between a man and my cats... I'll take the cats.

Really regretting cancelling my doctors appointment last week. I could have gotten ahead of this sinu-strep-ococcus disease that's turned my head into a slime factory. And not the good kind of slime, either. Slime with no outlet. It just keeps jiggling around in my brain like I'm filled with the stuff inside of Stretch Armstrong. (if you don't know who Stretch Armstrong is, you're too young to be reading my blog)

How do you cheat in a beauty pageant? Fake boobs? They all have 'em. Caps on your teeth? Hair extensions? Spray tan? There are allegations that the new Miss Universe cheated. I don't get it but I'll keep watching Fox and Friends to find out. OH... they're saying she faked her documents. Typical racist crap... if we don't like the BPIC - black person in charge - we attack their legitimacy. Never mind. Attempt at Obama humor.

I start my work day with Fox and Friends and end my work day with the last five minutes of The Five. I love The Five. Bob Beckel cracks me up. I mean ... for a liberal Clinton-ite recovering alcoholic womanizer he's pretty funny. I have love for Dems. Just not their politics.

I offered to take Austin to school today and he declined my offer. It's not POURING rain but it's a steady rain and he has to walk down a dirt road and stand out in the rain to wait for the bus. He's so dedicated to his education. Actually... the truth is... there's a girl involved. But at least his pajama pants match his shirt today. Small favors.

My cats are hilarious... I say, "where did the boy go? there goes your boy... your boy is leaving" and they both shoot to full alert and run/limp to the window to try to catch the last glimpse of him. They love their boy.

Ok. I've bored you long enough. I'll get over the grumps at some point today. Love and hugs, y'all.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Reasons to Love Monday, Reasons to Love Life

There's a peace I've come to know.. though my heart and flesh may fail... there's an anchor for my soul. I can say, "It is well". Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed. The victory is won. He is risen from the dead and I will rise... when He calls my name... no more sorrow, no more pain. I will rise on eagles wings, before my God fall on my knees and rise... I will rise.

Chris Tomlin says it so much better than I could. As a matter of fact, there was a time that the only thread I was holding on to was Christian Music... praise songs, contemporary Christian music... it was my only escape from the darkness that held me prisoner. Every song, every lyric, held promise for me that there was a better day coming for me... if not in this life, definitely after this life had ended. There are still songs that bring me immediately bring me to tears because they take me back to the moment in time when I had no hope of ever having anything better than what I had then... and what I had then was despair. I had taken a chance on love and missed the mark... and lost everything that mattered to me, my home, my children, my job, my community, my family was far away and distant (those are two different things, you know). I was more alone than I had ever been in my life and I was sure there was no hope for me to ever feel anything but absolute despair. I went to sleep hoping to never wake up again.

That was three years ago. Obviously... I survived... there was more for me... so much more. I may not have the life I thought I wanted but I have the life that God has gifted me. His message to me and through me is clear and I have had many opportunities to share it since then... in long version and short version... to say to friends and strangers alike, "don't give up". What seems to be your worst moment may be the start of your greatest blessing.

If you don't believe in God, at least believe in a force greater than yourself. Believe in the resilience of the human spirit. Believe that there are people who are beseeching their Greater Power on your behalf. Raise your hands to receive a blessing... open your heart to allow yourself to be loved, maybe not in the passionate, romantic, fairy tale kind of love you thought you wanted... but in a greater, more excellent way. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you've done... you are loved and there is nothing you can do to stop that love. It is there. If you're alone on a deserted island (and at times I felt like I was) you are still loved. If you can read this... even if you're not reading it the day it was written... you are loved.

More than being loved... believe that your life has value. You make a difference to someone, somewhere. You are worth fighting for. Even if you seem to be alone on that island, you are not really alone. Your life has value to someone. You might be the very person that God - the Universe, whatever - has designed and designated to stop traffic to prevent a dog from being hit. You may be the one who was meant to hold the door for the young mother with her arms full. You may be the one who will be the first on the scene of an accident. You may be the one who smiles at someone on the street... when that person needed to catch a glimpse of human kindness. YOU NEVER KNOW what your purpose on this planet is.

Even if you've lost your independence. Even if you've missed the mark you set for yourself. Even if you feel like a failure... in your failure, you may be showing those around you how to withstand disappointment.

When I woke up on September 20, 2008, my family had gathered in my hospital room - both my birth family and my in-laws. I have some memory of people coming and going but the most vivid memory I have carried with me from that moment was my brother in law, Tim - the only brother in law I have ever had, mind you, because my first husband was an only child and I am the only girl in my family - Tim, my rough, redneck, country boy, NASCAR watching brother in law - the brother in law who tried to convince me to smoke pot with him - the brother in law who was raising a child he had with a stripper-  sat at the end of my bed holding a bible. He never had time to share with me what he obviously came to share. I saw him once more at the funeral for my (then) step-son's mother and talked to him about life insurance but he said that the Lord would return before he died. It didn't happen that way. Tim passed away in May. I never found out what he was going to tell me that day and maybe, that was God's plan all along. Sometimes it's enough to just show up and be prepared to share your faith. Sometimes just being there is the difference you're supposed to make.

It's Monday and instead of having a dozen different silly reasons to "love" Monday... I'm going to give you just one: YOU make a difference. I make a difference. Spend your day today appreciating the opportunity you have been given, the way that you are uniquely gifted to make a difference to someone. And I pray that in some way, I make a difference for you.

Love and hugs.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

things I don't understand...

I'm in a pondering kind of mood today... although I consider myself reasonably intelligent, there are a lot of things I just don't understand...

Like... high heels. Why would anyone torture themselves in that way? My feet hurt just looking at them. The last time I wore them was at Cody's wedding and I took them off not long after the reception started and put on flip flops. That's how we ended up with this picture:

as I took off my spanx pantyhose in the backseat of Purple Michael's vehicle after he walked out to my car to get my comfy shoes and stopped by his own car for ... um... something. My tiny little daughter-in-law wears Kim Kardashian kind of high heels... you know, the ridiculously high ones. She's under 5 feet so she needs a little boost. I'm 5'2 so I'm plenty tall enough... and even if I'm not... too bad.

I don't understand tailgating. Not the kind where you have a massive cookout before a football game. I understand that... anything having to do with a huge picnic, I understand. I don't understand the kind of tailgating where someone is so close to the back of your car that they're about to be sitting in your backseat. I don't speed up for tailgaters. I usually find myself gradually slowing down... they make me nervous because I know all I need is one good fender bender and my back pain will go from agonizing to crippling. No joke.

I don't understand how people can hate Tim Tebow. Whether or not he's the Greatest College Football Player of all time... it's beyond my scope of sports history comprehension to judge... whether or not you buy into his Evangelical Christianity... he's just an all around good guy. He doesn't hate the haters back and that's enough in my book to make him above the crowd... just being above the fray.

And since we're talking about college football ... I don't understand college cheerleaders. They are like ventriloquists... a firm toothy grin in place while they're saying, "Go Green Hornets" (or whatever team they're supporting) without moving their lips. It's creepy. 

I don't understand my metabolism. Yeah, I admit there was a Little Debbie period while we were back in the old nest... but for the most part... I'm not really consuming THAT MANY more calories than I did back in my Weight Watchers heyday last year. I was losing about five pounds a month then... and now... I'm gaining about that much with maybe, at most, an extra couple of hundred calories a day. It's frustrating. I know I'm on some medications that cause weight gain but geez. It's just not fair! I packed away a whole box of clothes yesterday that I could easily wear three months ago. 

I don't understand how I can have 500 channels on my satellite and yet on Sunday morning I'm reduced to choosing between watching reruns of the Nanny or infomercials. I can't decide if I want to watch "Flat, Sexy Abs" or "Hip Hop Abs". 

I don't understand how my kid can sleep until noon or 1pm. I'd get bedsores if I stayed in bed that long. 
I don't understand activities that involve balance like surfing or ice skating. 
I don't understand how my eyebrows can grow like kudzu but my eyelashes don't. 
I don't understand why my cat is a ferocious hunter when it comes to chasing a moth but if I crinkle a plastic bag he freaks out.
I don't understand how Juan the teller is always at whatever branch of my bank I visit, whether it's Cornelia or Clarkesville. 
I don't understand how abortion can be legal but if a mom kills her child after birth it's a crime. It's a baby either way.
I don't understand why pumpkin spice lattes are so addictive.
I don't understand what love means in tennis and I don't care.
I don't understand why they can't make my back stop hurting.
I don't understand how some people can be born into wealth and others born into abject poverty.
I don't understand why bad things happen to good people. 
I don't understand how if only the good die young, how it doesn't mean that all old people are bad.
I don't understand how to grow things in the dirt, although by birthright as a southern woman, I should. 

There's a lot more but it's time to harvest my blackberries on Cityville. I know most of you don't understand why that matters to me but it does.

Hope you have a Super Sunday. Love and hugs, y'all. 



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blogging the Alphabet... brought to you by the letter A

I've decided to start blogging by the alphabet. Not every post, of course. You'll still have your Reasons to Love Monday, Newsday Tuesday, Whiny Wednesday, Thankful Thursday and Foto-Finish Friday. I'm a creature of habit, you know. Mostly bad habits like biting my fingernails and such... but habits, nonetheless. 


I just saw some alphabet blogging on other blog sites and it inspired me to be a little more introspective. I think these kind of blog posts are mostly for myself, a sort of self examination... but I usually find that the deeper I dig into my own psyche, the closer others feel to me. There are some of you who know me better than I know myself... and I hope you'll participate. That's my first word under my first letter...

Audience. I love having an audience because I love...
Attention. Not negative attention like... from bill collectors and angry clients... but from people who say that I 
Articulate what they are unable to say themselves. I think that's part of my 
Awareness of myself but also, it truly comes from spending a lot of time 
Alone. I entertain myself a lot and it's a good thing that I find myself
Amusing or this could be a really boring life, this whole crazy cat lady thing I've got going. It's part
Apathy... not really caring about having a significant other and part
Appreciation for the 
Amazing ways that God works in my life BECAUSE of my singleness. It's simply
Awesome how He 
Always provides for me. When I think I've exhausted my resources of time, energy, money, my 
Abba Father comes through for me. It may not seem real to some of you, this God thing I am
Attached to... but I am not
Ashamed of being a Christian, I can't 
Apologize for clinging to Him and believing that there is a force that works 
All things together for my good. There's no other way for me to explain it. 

Time to wake my sleeping teen and head into civilization for a shoe shopping expedition. Wish us luck.
If you have a suggestion for an "A" word that describes me, I'd like to hear (see) it. Be kind. I want to 
AVOID conflict.

Love and hugs, y'all. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Foto Finish Friday


It's Friday! I woke up shortly before 4am with Trouble - the cat formerly known as Lexilishus - curled up beside me... he had his furry little head on the pillow beside me and was sleeping on his back. It was ridiculously cute! I wish I had pillow cam so I could show you...

How cute are my girls? Sarabeth is dressed for her first day of school... Jamie is showing her cheerleading trophy. They are 8 and 6 now... time is flying so fast!

My throat is still bothering me but my self-diagnosis has changed from strep to sinus infection... based on the killer sinus headache I had all day yesterday and the junk in my throat. I lost my voice a little yesterday but kept the hot tea flowing and that kept me in the game all day.

I left the office and was driving toward the consignment sale and realized I had no idea what I wanted to shop for, no idea of my current measurements (that's how I thrift store shop - I take a tape measure and measure the clothing to make sure it will fit me) no cash and no real desire to do anything other than go home. So far I've made $2 from the sale.... I can keep track online of my inventory which is REALLY COOL!

Austin was sound asleep when I got home. He's sort of draggin' this week too, bless his heart, but he's made it all week at school, minus the last few minutes due to his wardrobe malfunction on Tuesday.

Now that I have cleared out those 67 items of clothing I am ready to get my closet organized this weekend. I'll let you know if it actually happens... but I'm inspired, at least.  We also have some major house cleaning to do because we have really let the kitchen go this week. The living room barely gets used so it's easy to clean. I ignore Austin's bathroom and keep mine clean so there's not much to do there... and Austin's room... I'm in denial this week. Can't face the truth there.

Yesterday at work was exhausting... the big part of my work had not been done because it's in a different place on the computer than what it used to be and my back up didn't know to look there ...  so it took me all day to catch that up, plus emails, plus new stuff coming in that needed my attention. That's what left me hoarse... but I had a great conversation with an 84 year old lady who lived most of her life in Atlanta and remembers the grand old days of Atlanta when ladies would dress up, including hats and gloves and go to the tearoom in the Riches store downtown. She remembered Dr. Newton who used to live next door to my great-grandmother - used to listen to his sermons on the radio. She was delighted to be able to talk to someone who knew of and actually cared about Atlanta history. It was a treat for me as well... old people are our living history books.


Anyways... in 12 short hours, Lord willing, I'll slide down the dinosaur's back and toot the "yabba dabba dooo" horn. Everybody's working for the weekend... at least in this house...

Happy Friday, y'all! Love and hugs!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thankful to be me...

Four thirty in the morning and I'm chasing so many rabbits in my mind that I don't have a clue how this blog will come out today. Of course... that's how I write every entry... I just start with what's on my mind or in my heart and follow it through.

The sore throat kept me home from work yesterday. My fever broke in the morning and I slept HARD for a few hours. I spent the day feeling completely drained and weak as a newborn colt but this little illness, as with all things, work together for good for me because I love the Lord and am called according to His purpose. (Heather version of Romans 8:28)

My body was giving out and I needed a break. I knew I was coming up against a brick wall. I felt myself hitting that wall Tuesday when I had to go get Austin from school... and instead of banging my head against the wall...I  rested.

You have to balance optimism and determination with reality. The reality is that I have a few medical conditions that restrict my energy level and ability to push through.

I look at status updates on facebook from people like my friend Barbie who works a half dozen jobs, keeps her housework done, is a social butterfly and works with breast cancer awareness groups because she is a breast cancer survivor. She is a ball of energy. She is like... an alternative energy source... Barbie power!

Or like the note my friend Sarah posted on Facebook talking about "I don't know how she does it"... and how Sarah does it as a full time working single mom of five. FIVE! I really DON'T know how she does it. But as she says, she does it because she doesn't have a choice, she's the mom!

Nor do I know how I did it when it was just me and three. Kate Plus 8 was entertaining to watch but she had helpers. Me plus 3 had helpers too... my mom was my co-pilot, for sure... whatever I couldn't do, Mawmaw did. Whatever Mawmaw couldn't do, there was a gay man nearby who could step in. It was a logistical nightmare at times but we figured it out. But then, I didn't have those crazy brick walls that I run into now... fibromyalgia, chronic back pain, osteoarthritis, COPD, and so on and so forth.

So today, having rested most of yesterday, I don't feel great but I am able to go forth and conquer. I'm taking two things off my to-do list - the doctors appointment at 1:30 (because I don't want to miss any more hours off of this paycheck) and the sleep study at 9pm. Quite honestly... I don't have the energy to do a sleep study, which sounds a little contradictory... but I know that I will not sleep right and will be tired and being sick on top of being me has left me with an even lower energy reserve and I still have Friday to get through this week plus a nearly one hour drive there and back. Not doable this week.

PLUS... I didn't plan ahead well enough to line someone up to be responsible for making sure Austin gets to school.

I settled the DISH issue yesterday on my day off. They're paid and happy. They're out of my internet bundle so I'm happy. I delivered the clothes to the Super Consignment Sale and although I don't stand to earn a fortune for selling the stuff I can't fit into anymore... I'm at least going to make a few bucks from it PLUS those sixty seven items of clothing are no longer crowding my space. The preview sale is tonight and only people who have items in the sale and those who are working at the sale are invited to the preview. I'm hoping I can find a low bookshelf for the cat perch/storage space and a shelf for my teacups and teapots... and a few items of clothing for me and Auggie.

Other than that one extra curricular activity, I'll go to work and hopefully not face too much wrath for not being able to go yesterday. I'll catch up and work as hard as I can and give it my best shot and thank the Lord for everything He allows me to find the strength to do... and trust Him to fill in the blanks for what I can't do.

This thankful Thursday I'm grateful that He fills in the blanks for me. I'm grateful for everything I can do... and I'm grateful for everything I can't do. I'm grateful for the peace I find when I hit those brick walls. I don't get discouraged or frustrated. It is what it is. Anything I can't do... I wasn't appointed to do that day or in that time. I'm content with the fact that my floor needs vacuuming. I'm resolved to accept my best as good enough. I'm at peace...

Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

whiny wednesday

SOooo... Austin sends me a text around 2pm yesterday letting me know his flipflop had broken and they were making him go home since he was basically walking around barefoot.

Now... I would argue that he's basically barefoot even with the flipflops but ... whatever. I figure if he's there - even if it's in flipflops and pj pants - here's there.

To keep him out of trouble and prevent him from having to walk our rough gravel road home from the bus stop barefoot, I left work to go get him.

At 2:30 he sent me a text saying, "they won't let you check me out past 2:40" I still had a little ways to go. I texted back and said, "we'll just see about that...."

I got to the school at 2:35 but because of early release traffic, it took until 2:41 for me to get to the attendance office. Some amazon sized girl and her mother were blocking the window so the office staff couldn't see me at first... I waved my arms... and the secretary (or whoever) came to the window. I told her my child needed to be picked up because his shoe was broken.

She said, "it's two minutes past the check out deadline".
I said, "Well. I'm here. He can't ride the bus barefoot. He can't walk home from the bus stop barefoot. What do you suggest we do?"
She said, "you can wait until his normal dismissal time" (I have no idea what his normal dismissal time is... but I am fairly certain we were at least a half hour away from it).
I said, "Do you really think that is our best option?"
Through clenched teeth she said, "what's your child's last name?"
I told her.
She called him to the office.
We went home.
I mean... it would have been different if I had planned a doctors appointment at that time and just expected them to work with my schedule.
It would have been different if they hadn't told him to call someone to get him.
It would have been different if I hadn't gotten there RIGHT AT the cut off and if not for amazon girl and her mother, they would have been able to see me.
Heck, I could argue that their new check out window discriminates against parents who are under 5'8.

It was a little after three by the time I got him home and settled. I planned to go back to the office but had a really bad case of the "don't want to's"... and to be honest... I felt like I had hit a brick wall. I thought it was the stress of dealing with the Gargoyle at the Gate... and then I thought it was the stress of the mad dash. And then I thought it was because my back was so jacked up.

BUT then... I was up all night tossing and turning with fever... I thought maybe it was hot flashes and I was just being "blessed" with that stage of life... but then I woke up with a painful sore throat and realized... nope, I'm sick. Feels like strep. And now I'm faced with the darned if you do/darned if you don't decision about going to work. If I wasn't running a fever I'd write it off as one of those fall allergy things. If I wasn't running a fever and having chills I would put on my big girl panties and deal with it. Mercy... I have toughed out many many work days this year. I've also been sent home before when I was potentially contagious and I feel that odds are very good that I'm contagious. Glands swollen too.

I don't know. I have been on a roll at work. I hate to miss.

Whiny Wednesday anyone?

I've got a big old mug full of whine and there's plenty to go around.

Have I told you the story about Dish Network yet? When we moved over the summer I thought we were not going to need Windstream (our phone/internet and satellite provider) since I was told that internet was available (naive me, I didn't realize that it was available through hijacking, which I wouldn't do). So initially I got DISH (the satellite provider) started here separately. THEN... a few scant days later when I realized I would, in fact, need an internet provider, I called and arranged for the bundled services again with the phone, internet and satellite all together. Then I started getting double billed for the service independently and also as a bundled service. I called last month and re-explained the situation... had a little run in with a cheeky girl who told me I had agreed to a two year contract with DISH and Windstream and would have to pay the double bill for two years. I begged to differ... got a supervisor... got it straightened out and then... got another bill from DISH. Um. No. So yesterday I went through the whole deal again and once again they were very sorry about the confusion and would get it straightened out but FOR NOW, they said, I needed to pay both bills. For the same service. And they would refund me. So I said, "let me get this straight... I'm supposed to give you an interest free loan and trust you to get something corrected that in two months you haven't been able to sort out?"

Sometimes I think you just have to mirror back to people the logic - or lack thereof - that they're presenting to you. I know that in customer service (because I'm in customer service) there are certain word tracks and guidelines to follow. I also know that the reason there are humans answering those phones instead of a computerized voice is so that we (the humans) can interject logic and rationalization to the situation.

I managed to get the clothes tagged for the consignment sale. Austin and I deliver those today. I can attend the preview sale tomorrow night and plan to try to find some things that Austin and I may need for the winter. I'm also supposed to do a sleep study tomorrow night and I can tell you that it's not looking likely. Have to call them today to cancel.

Time to wake my sleeping boy so that he can roll out of bed in whatever he slept in and go to school. I've lost track of days but we seem to be on track for graduation. He currently has a solid B average.

Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday! love and hugs!




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Newsday Tuesday... Picking the right man for the job...


If you think about it... picking a President is like picking a husband...
You want a man who is strong, intelligent, brave...
You want a man who presents himself well, knows how to dress to impress.
You want a man who is sober and serious.. but congenial and charming.
You want a man who can take a few hits and still keep going.
You want a man who knows who he is and is not swayed by public opinion.
You want a man who will take your opinion seriously.
You want a man who is above reproach, without skeletons in his closet.
You want a man who is even tempered.
You want a man who trust the Lord and realizes that God is someone you talk to every day, not just in times of crisis. You want a man who lives his faith so that it is evident to all.
You want a man who works hard, is wise with his finances, who doesn't accumulate a lot of debt.
You want a man who stands strong on his principles... who doesn't blame others for his mistakes... who takes ownership of a problem in order to correct it.

Simple enough, right? Except... I'm still single and we sure don't have a man of that type of character in the White House now... nor do I see a worthy candidate out there. Yet.

That's the political side of NewsDay Tuesday.

Closer to home... I fell asleep sitting in my recliner last night at ... I can't tell you what time. My dinner was beside me... I really crashed and burned. Didn't take ambien. Just sat down and was so exhausted I fell asleep. I got up around 1am and moved to the bed. Slept until 4 something. Still feeling icky/draggy/wiped out. Got a cough that's settling deeper into my lungs.

So there's not much happening in Heatherland... work/sleep/work/sleep.

Hope you all have a great Tuesday! Love and hugs!

Monday, September 12, 2011

two windows... no waiting...
I promise, it may not seem like it but there are always reasons to love Monday. I'm talking to myself... but maybe you need a pep talk too today... I've got to turn a few negatives into positives so bear with me (and pray for me)... have to look beyond what is seen and believe in that which we can't see... so here goes...

1. Even though I'm really stuffed up and feeling a major sinus infection brewing... I'm gonna LOVE Monday because I'll be too busy to worry about it.
What are you lookin' at?
 2. EVEN THOUGH.... the dish is full of unwashed dishes... I'm gonna LOVE MONDAY because I believe that either Austin is going to surprise me and take care of it or I'm going to have a power surge and find the energy to deal with them.

3. EVEN THOUGH... I have to take my clothes to the www.superconsignmentsale.com on Wednesday and have 67 items still not tagged... I'm gonna LOVE MONDAY because I know that I'm gonna make progress on getting those clothes ready to go. And because the people who hold this sale are so completely, incredibly organized, by this time next week I'm going to know how much I made AND I'm gonna have some new stuff because I get to go to the Sellers preview sale on Thursday night.

4. EVEN THOUGH... my spine is feeling compressed and every step is agony... I'm gonna LOVE MONDAY because I'm planning on being so busy and so focused on my job AND ON SELLING LIFE insurance that I'm not even going to notice the pain.

5. I'm gonna LOVE MONDAY because we finally have a replacement for Holly. She isn't trained on our systems yet but I'm trusting that she's going to be a fast learner and make a huge impact on our agency.

6. EVEN THOUGH I see a grammatical error on the photo of the rogue tomato damage, I'm gonna LOVE MONDAY because I'm not a perfectionist and don't have to be here on my blog.

7. I'm gonna LOVE MONDAY this week because last week the threat of another major attack was looming in the air for the 9-11 anniversary and it didn't happen. I believe our country is much better protected than it was ten years ago... but still a long way from what we need to be.

8. I'm gonna LOVE MONDAY because it won't be that long before I'm back in my cozy little nest, loving the view out my windows... just like my kitties do.

9. I'm gonna LOVE MONDAY today because Austin is retaking the math portion of the graduation test and he HAS to pass it to be able to graduate. He is confident he can do it... and I'm praying that he has a clear mind and wisdom to do what has to be done. I LOVE MONDAY because he is so close to being finished with high school.

10. I'm gonna LOVE MONDAY this week because I *JUST KNOW* that you guys are going to leave me comments (hint, hint) letting me know why you LOVE MONDAY and I'll be able to check my blog during the day and be encouraged by your RTLM (reasons to love Monday).

Have a great Monday and a great week, y'all!



Sunday, September 11, 2011

One nation under God, indivisible...

While watching the news at lunch yesterday Austin said to me, "It was ten years ago... why don't people just get over it?"


And I tried to explain to him... but words failed me... He was seven years old. He couldn't remember the innocence that was stolen from us as a nation that day... he can't remember a time when you could walk all the way to the gate at the airport to wish someone goodbye or greet them when they get off the plane. He can't remember the fear that gripped our hearts as we watched that day wondering who was next. He has really only known a post 9-11 world.

I worked near the Atlanta Airport at that time doing Customs Clearances and Freight Forwarding. We knew the attacks were being made with airplanes. We had no idea how many more planes would be hijacked or where they would hit. Atlanta is a major city... (Just ask General Sherman)... and the Atlanta airport is a major airport. we didn't know what could be coming next. We heard about the first plane hitting and turned on the tv in the office to watch the news just out of curiosity. Like so many other people we saw the second plane hit. My boss turned to me and said, "Go get your babies". And I did. I checked them out of school and took them home and we stayed in our safe little nest for the rest of the day.

The image that sticks with me the most from that day is the image of people covered in dust running from the collapsed building. They were all the same color. You couldn't tell black from white... rich from poor... they were all Americans. 

I think about the courage of the first responders who went into the burning buildings while others were running away... the courage of the people on Flight 93 who brought down their own plane rather than allow it to be used as a weapon against their fellow Americans... the people who went in to excavate the Ground Zero sight, to look for remains....the people who joined the military since then, knowing that we are at war. There may never again be a time that we are not at war. Courage, in my opinion is what defines us as Americans. 

We can't allow ourselves to get over it. We have to make sure that his generation ... and the next... remember the time when our lives were forever changed. His future changed that day, though he may not completely understand yet all the ways it changed. Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

We also can't forget the spirit that rose up in us in those days, ten years ago... the resurgence of patriotism, the pride to be an American... the revival that rose up in us spiritually, when all seems out of control in our lives, when the tallest, strongest buildings can be destroyed, when we realize our fragile mortality - then we return to our God. 

We can't forget how united we were then... how we shared a common grief that affected everyone, in all walks of life, from red states and blue states...how we realized that together we are strong. One nation, under God, indivisible... 

Watching the memorial service this morning... as President Obama read the beautiful passage from Psalms 46 that reminds us that God is our refuge and strength, an ever present hope in trouble...and I thought about how faith was notably excluded from the memorial service. We can't forget what happened to our country, we can't forget that there is an ever present evil in this world. Only God can save us. 

I hope we never get over it. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

A few truths...

First truth:  If you give a man a fish he eats for a meal. If you teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime.

Jobs that rely on the government as an employer can't be sustained. It's a bandaid at best. If you can empower small businesses - or even large corporations - to be able to grow without fear of regulations and restrictions and tax implications then you can create TAX PAYERS instead of people who are dependent on more and more government spending.

Second truth: If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, then will I hear from Heaven and heal their land.

What was the first thing people did during/after 9-11? Pray. There was a resurgence of people turning to God. Yet... here we are ten years later and we are excluding prayer from the memorial? How quickly we forget.

Third truth - for the man in front of me in line at Dollar General yesterday: While you're buying cat food and sharpie markers - two purchases I wholeheartedly support - you might think about picking up a little deodorant. I can show you where it is. And... DG also sells cough syrup that might help with that phlegmy cough that you insist on directing toward me.

Fourth truth: If you fall and cut yourself before you leave the house to go pay for your insurance, stop and take a minute to wipe the blood off of your arm and maybe put on a bandaid so that I don't have to gag and heave while I clean it off my desk. We don't have rubber gloves at the office.

Fifth truth: It's one thing to leave skid marks on a gas station restroom that can be hosed down. It's quite another to leave them in your insurance agent's bathroom. Your mama doesn't work there. Clean up behind yourself. And a courtesy spray of lysol would be appreciated. Or maybe next time you should hold it until you get home.

Sixth truth: I raise rebels. I don't mean to. I consider myself sort of a conformist. Maybe. Austin left for school yesterday dressed neatly in a golf shirt and nice jeans instead of his usual bleach stained tshirt and pajama pants. I should have known something was up. It was "dress disaster" day at school... kids were supposed to dress as crazy as they could. My child, the non-conformist, did his best to do the opposite. It's the best he's looked all year.

Seventh truth for my teenager: I own you. I own your bed, your phone, your tv, your game system. Sue owns the building and I am legally obligated to her. You have nothing. Therefore, until you have your own name on a lease or deed or mortgage somewhere, you will not have the freedom to keep your room just this side of an A&E special.

Eighth truth for me: you are not strong enough (any more) to lift a twenty pound sack of cat litter. You will pay for it for days and days afterwards. You can pretend to be fine but your spine knows the truth.

It's Friday. I'm tired. I *might be* just a tad cynical as the week has worn on. I am having horrible stomach pain from the meds that make my other joints not hurt. So it's achy hands and feet or achy belly. I'm not sure which I prefer.

We have a new staff member starting on Monday. I was so excited that D hired someone that I hugged her. I really did. Later, my co-workers told me I was too eager and was going to scare her off. Hehe.

Alllll I know is that Lord willing, I'll be back in this nest in 12 short hours. Have a great Friday y'all!