Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Want What She's Got

Several days ago Julie mentioned Susan Boyle on her blog. I had written this post in early April and for whatever reason, I had never posted it. Thought I might share it today.

Yep! It's that time again. Time to pull out the ol' swimsuit and wrangle myself into it. I have only one word for this...U-G-L-Y! Pasty white, excessive flesh being wrestled into submission...ugly. Losing the battle to cover abundant wads of dimpled skin with a few strips of cloth...also ugly. Leaves me wishing like heck I had passed on all that cake. And I am now on a mission to find the perfect streak-free sunless tanning product 'cause we all know tanned fat is waaayyy better than un-tanned fat! DUH! Dear, oh dear, it's that time of year!!!

Last year I was lucky enough to skip swimsuit season! Don't know how I did it, but it was quite nice. However, that mini vacation from this hellish ordeal has left me in a much worse state than before. Donning the bikini usually serves as a wake up call. A slap in the face, or a kick in the enlarged fanny, telling me to sew my mouth shut for a few weeks and shed my winter pudge. Without that little warning bell last year, I am now burdened with the task of dumping the results of 2 years of excessive eating. It's either that or I need to go in search of a flattering muu-muu! All of this has left me with a recent bout of crabbiness...swimsuits make most women crabby, don't ya think? But this little battle of the bulge vs. bikini bliss lead to a revelation. Another notch on my lovin'-myself belt. Have you ever noticed how some people carry themselves with confidence? No matter their physical state of being, they are just freakin' confident. No worries, no fears of what others think. They are just happy!

Of course, this caused me to stop and really think about the differences in me and those other folk. A perfect example of "the other folk" would be Susan Boyle. Right now, most all the world knows of Susan Boyle. For those of you who have been hiding under a rock lately and missed it, she is the break out celebrity with the phenominal voice on Britian's Got Talent.

Not your typical celebrity, Susan is what most would describe as homely. Not a beauty in the traditional sense. But this girl has got it goin' on! When I first watched her audition, I was taken aback by her confidence. She had a swagger. A fierceness within her. An unspoken voice that is stronger than even her amazing singing talent that screams...I LOVE MYSELF! No matter the snickers from the audience, no matter the patronizing glares and comments from the judges, she knew she was special. And oh was she special! That beauty of a soul opened her mouth and out came the voice of an angel!

Chills ran down my spine and I was in awe. As was each and every person who heard her! After she completed her song, to a standing ovation, she waved a thank you and turned to leave the stage. She didn't wait for the judging. And while I'm sure that was just a mistake...a bit of nerves...I found it to be utterly symbolic. She did not need the judges' comments or approval. She KNEW she had done well. She had accomplished her mission of wowing the crowd and she needed nothing else. What an incredible thing to witness!

So how does this tie into my recent woeful swimsuit episode? For all the worrying and fretting over how I look in my swimsuit, why on earth should I really care? Is it really all that important that I need approving glances from others? I am certain Susan Boyle has her demons. We all do. It is part of being human. But she has found that inner peace that, at least to the rest of the world, keeps the demons in their tiny little cage. And all that shows is the beauty of her strength of self. Her ability to focus on her strong points and forget the rest. Today I want to be like Susan Boyle. I want to hold my head high and walk with an air of inner peace. And when the time comes, I want to be able to wear my bikini and be glad of the fact that I have wonderful friends and family with which to share the sunshine. And to heck with the rest of it!

To see a vidoe of Susan's performance, click HERE.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Howard Hilton Getaway In Pictures

Thought I would share a few photos from this weekend.

The Howard Hilton (My version of roughing it):

The view from my penthouse suite:

The Village In Gatlinburg:

Keith's favorite Hot Spots:

Favorite early morning stop (or any time of day for that matter). The Pancake Pantry...right next door to the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen:

Favorite place to shop. The Harley Shop:

One of my favorite stops. The coffe shop:

A new discovery:

This might look innocent enough, but it is lethal to a diet!

And finally...I really scored! Take a look at these:

And my MOST favorite:

Shhhh! Don't tell Keith, but I think I came out waaayyyy ahead. He traded the handbags for an extra donut!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hello Again!

Wow! This "being without the internet" way of life is NOT the life for! My oh my how I've missed you guys! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. I had a great time with My Man...otherwise known as known as The-Reason-For-All-My-Dietary-Problems! lol! Keith has yet to be convinced of the benefits of the 30 day wellness challenge and he did his best to convince me life is way more fun "his way". Bacon biscuits for breakfast, donuts and ice cream for lunch, hamburgers and fries for dinner with sugar laden snacks in between...sounds like fun...NOT!!! Look up sugar addict in the dictionary and the only thing you will find is a picture of My Man's handsome mug. Despite his urging, I stood strong the first day. Day two, Harriet the Hormone Hellion paid me a visit and I must confess, I succumbed to her wily ways. Every time she pays me a visit my world gets turned upside down. What is it about that monthly moment that takes hold of you and turns you into something you have no desire or inclination to be? It is THE ultimate out of body experience. Cravings and mood swings become larger than life. You sit back and helplessly watch as your will power cowers to the raging beast that is stirred to action. Anything and everything is fodder for your insatiable hunger. Over the years I've attempted to give Harriet the ol' heave ho but she is a stubborn ol' cuss. She barges in, firmly plants herself for a few days and then she's off to harass another poor unsuspecting soul, leaving me with a marred complexion and a 5 pound weight gain. I spend the remaining 23 days of a 28 day cycle un-doing the damage she's done...just in time for her to visit again. A vicious cycle. A vicious, vicious cycle. But such is the life of being female. ***sigh***

Now that I've TOTALLY digressed to the point of being POINTless, How ARE You GUYS? I'm almost giddy with anticipation of what I will find when I finish this post and finally get to visit you all! I'm hoping to hear stories of family time, BBQ's, outdoor adventures and maybe even a little craftiness. Most importantly, I'm sure to find words of tribute for the real reason we celebrate Memorial Day. One very touching, bring tears to your eyes, such tribute can be found on Stephanie Howell's blog. I'm sure most of you follow her blog, but just in case you missed it, I want to include the link HERE. Her story, her life, opens my eyes to what sacrifices are paid on a daily basis for the freedom I so often take for granted. This one will surely touch your heart.

Now for a few shout outs. Over the last couple of weeks I have received some "happy" mail. The first package I received was a total surprise from a super special friend, Amy. Have you ever happened upon those people who are just giving, caring, loving people and you know it the minute you meet them? Well, Amy is one of those people. She is always sharing her special finds with her blog friends, spreading love and sunshine with each gift. This is the contents of my envelope of happiness.

While the gift is thoughtful enough in and of itself, Amy personalized the gift even further. Notice the wish token in the photo? This is what Amy wrote about it in an email to me:

"I bought the wish token that said you are not alone because you often spoke of that in your posts.....Then read your blog post about your kids coming home and filling up the house again. Funny how things work out.....
The reason I got that actually has nothing to do with your children.... Even in our darkest hour when we feel like everything is so crazy and we feel so alone in the daily grind.....God is always there. To lift us up when we are down....You are never alone."

These words were a gift beyond measure. A reminder of how blessed I am to never be alone. What a wonderfully comforting thought. Take the time to visit Ms. Amy. You are sure to find her posts uplifting and inspirational. And her photography skills are INCREDIBLE! I soooo want to be her when I grow up.

As if that was not enough, I received more happy mail today. Mandy sent these fabulous treasures.

I'm not sure how I met Mandy. I found her? She found me? Either way, I'm so glad we met! Mandy has two blogs. One where she shares her day to day happenings as well as her fabulous crafty creations and the other focuses on the story of her son, Mav. This site, Mad4Mav, is an incredible tale of a heroic little boy and his mom. It is a documentary of the life of an autistic child and the trials and triumphs he and his mom go through. Please take some time to stop in, read their story and leave a comment of support. I know how much Mandy will appreciate it.

I have one more thing to share. Last week I also received this award from Joanie.

While I am more than honored to have received this award, I am actually more humbled by it. You see, Joanie is the type of person that inspires me. So I guess it would be far more fitting that the gifting of this award be in the reverse. In a recent post, Joanie describes herself as a "Personal Assistant" to Shayla. Shayla has a rare fatal disease called Mytocondrial and seizure disorder and Joanie's love for Shayla radiates in the pictures of them together. I am in awe of her! Not to mention she is oh so talented in the scrapping arena AND she is totally "full of bolognie"...the title of her blog. Pay her a will certainly put a smile on your face.

The rules of Joanie's award state that I must pass this to 6 other bloggers. Gosh, how I hate to narrow things down to only a select few. But this time I will play by the rules. Here are my 6:

1. Amy M..
2. Mandy
3. "Tornado" Terri
4. Kelli
5. Ellen
6. Lucy

That's it for tonight. I will be back in a couple of days to post some pics from this weekend. G'night.

P.S. I forgot to thank you for all the awesome links. I can't wait to check out all the kit clubs and challenge blogs! I knew you guys wouldn't steer me wrong! ***HUGS***

Friday, May 22, 2009

Beyond Frustrated!!!

Arghhh! I'm getting ready to do battle with Internet Explorer! Of course, it would help if I actually knew something about it. It's hard to create a plan of attack when you don't know the first thing about your enemy. Right now it is IE - - zero! Seems IE doesn't want to let me play. And that makes me very unhappy. All work and no play makes Lisa one grumpy girl! The aggravating little browser is refusing to open my favorite blogs. It "aborts the operation" quote! I've been trying to catch up on the happenings in your worlds and IE is not cooperating. Just wanted you to know I am reading your posts via google reader but cannot comment. If there is a way to comment, would someone please tell me how. Either way, just know I am visiting but not saying a thing...and you KNOW how hard that must be for me! lol! Hopefully the problem will be corrected soon.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday weekend. I'm spending the weekend and extra day off at the "Howard Hilton" in the Great Smoky Mountains with my man. OK, so it is really just a camper in Gatlinburg, but it is a mighty nice little "retreat" even if I do say so myself! lol! I'll be back Monday with pictures...I hope. IE has even been booting me off my own blog. Here's to a wonderful weekend with those we love. And to a holiday to pay tribute to the mighty men and women whose sacrifices allow us the freedom to celebrate as we choose!


P.S. I am on a mission and I need your help. I'm currently looking for a new kit club and some wonderful challenge sites. If you have a fav, would you mind sharing your reasons it is your numero uno? Thanks in advance!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

An Update and A Couple of Awards!

(Warning: This is a super long post! Sorry, but I had much to say! lol!)

The wellness challenge is under way! I've been so excited about this undertaking. And I've been trying to do it right, know what I mean? Taking stock of where I am and what I need to do to get where I want to be. I've even worked at discovering why I do some of the crazy things I do to myself. Over the weekend, I even "tried on" some of my new strategies...took them for a test drive. And it felt good. Monday morning, I was ready to kick some wellness butt!

But I'm having to work way harder than I anticipated. Isn't that how it usually goes? My workout partner was called out of town for work all week. There went my early morning get-my-butt-out-of-bed-because-someone-is-gonna-be-knocking-at-my-door wake up call. I'm having to dig a little deeper...OK, ALOT roll out of bed each morning. And you should hear the conversations I'm having with myself at that early hour.

"Get your lazy butt out of the bed!

Just five more minutes.

Get up now. You know you will regret it if you don't.

Just five more minutes.

Get up now!

I can always work out tonight.

No you won't. GET UP NOW!!!!!!

Get the idea? So far, I'm one for two. I worked out really hard yesterday...REALLY hard! And I was feeling good. Then today...I didn't make my play date with the treadmill. But I do have a really good reason for flaking out on him. I had to be at work extremely early today.

Which brings me to struggle number 2. Work has been ridiculously busy. We have been in the middle of a massive unexpected audit and it all falls on me. Guess that's what I get for the right to wear the title of "Accounting Manager". lol! Geez, I'm not even an accountant! I do have way more responsibility than a bookkeeper and even do alot of accounting work, but the title is a bit over the top! But hey, it sounds good when you get that occasional, "So what do you do for a living?" lol! The reason all this mumbo-jumbo about work is important is that with all my preliminary prep work, I've discovered I am a "stress" eater. Yeppers, I eat when I'm nervous and stressed. Of course, that is not the only time I eat...if so, I probably wouldn't have a problem. But it is the trigger for my mindless overeating of totally nutrient deficient grub. I go looking for comfort in a bag of chips, cookies, etc. So the never empty community candy dish on Cathy's desk and the vending machine have been calling my name on a regular basis.

The third tripper upper...having my babies home. Now that is something to confess to, huh? And yes, I guess I did just say/type that out loud. The problem is chaos has claimed my home, my sanctuary, my place where I recharge. We are all going in different directions, starting new jobs (Taylor), returning to old jobs (Keri), and trying to decide if we want to keep our jobs (me...just kidding). The fridge is empty and the pantry is not far from it. I guess I don't need to further explain why this is a problem.

BUT! And it is a big BUT! I feel good about where I'm at. No, I have not been perfect and circumstances have certainly not been ideal. BUT, it is OK. Because this is life. This is what it is all about. Learning to roll with it and do what I need to do. So I missed one workout, but I've only missed a handful of workouts in the past 7 months. And none of those misses caused me to lose my focus. They were for good reasons and I have to allow for that. And my diet hasn't even taken that big a hit. I've learned to love McD's salads. If you've gotta go for fast food, make it the best food you can. I've learned to give the vending machine the brush off and I'm taking baby carrots and raspberry vinaigrette dressing for a snack. YUM! My daughter introduced me to Clif bars. Great for a quick breakfast on the go. I've even befriended the candy dish. Made nice. I've realized a couple of mini tootsie rolls and I'm a happy girl. Not perfect, but I was never striving for perfect anyway.

I guess my point is, despite the setbacks and the struggles, I'm making it. And the whole point was to focus on what I'm doing to move forward in a positive way. I could dwell on the slip ups and wallow in what I can't do right cook nutritious dinners...but I choose not to. It is a choice. My choice. For now, it is the choice that works for me.

Now I must share two wonderful awards I received from Melissa. Please take the time to stop by and tell her hello. She is a genuine sweetheart with amazing scrapping talent. I only discovered her blog recently, but I feel like we have become fast friends. The first award is the Lemonade Stand Award. Here are the rules of this award:

Comment on this blog.
Cut and paste the award logo and use it in your own blog.
Nominate 5 to 10 blogs you feel show great attitude and gratitude.
Link to your nominees within your blog post.
Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received the award.
Link back to the person who gave you the award to show your appreciation.

The second award she passed on is the Friendship Award. I have to admit, I felt very honored to get this one. I love what it stands for.

The Friends award is described as follows:

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to five bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

This is the first time I've ever done this. I usually follow rules to the letter. But this time, I have to break a few rules. These awards symbolize something special, especially the Friendship Award. I can't bring myself to narrow it down to 5-10 bloggers. You guys are all so, so special to me. I feel a connection to each and every one of you. So if you will please forgive me breaking the rules, I would love to pass these awards on to anyone who leaves a comment on this post. Snag the award for your blog and forward it as you see fit. I love you guys! You are all WONDERFUL!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My People

A couple of weeks ago, Keith and I made a day trip to Pigeon Forge, TN for a car show. What kind of car show? I dunno! Cars aren't my thing. Ironically, I work at a super-high-end auto restoration shop. A shop where men spend as much as 10 times more on restoring one vehicle than I earn in an entire year. Yeah, that kind of "super-high-end". Keith, being the car buff that he is, drools every time he steps foot in the shop. I joke that he first decided he loved me when he discovered where I! Don't think that's necessarily true, but it sure didn't hurt. Back to my story. Pigeon Forge is only a reasonable 1-1/2 hours from my house, making it a perfect Saturday adventure. We loaded the car with snacks and two 10-year-old little girls and took off. After meandering through the mountains of Tennessee, battling major traffic and fighting for a parking space we did what we came to do...look at cars! Cars like this...

And this...

And trucks like this...

It's pretty easy to see why this was a guy's real-life, cars and more cars.

However, I burned out after the first, oh say, 30 minutes. After that it all became a blur. Each car looked the same, well, except some were different colors. So I did what any good wanna-be photographer would do and I turned the camera on the people.

What I saw through my lens that day was entertaining as well as enlightening. To fully appreciate this statement, you must first understand the term "red-neck". You see, Tennessee is a mecca for the stereotypical red-neck. And the car show only serves as a beacon for red-necks far and wide to gather and drool...literally...over these beautimus hunks of metal.
If only I could capture the sounds of that day. Statements like, "D'ya git a load a that thar truck bed? Itz a nice un." (Spelled phonetically for your benefit!) "She-it, tha' uns a good 'un! Purty now ain't it!" "Ooo-eee! Ain't tha' a nice 'un!" "I'd shor' like t'uh git my hands on that 'un!" "How much d'ya think that 'un cost?" "Shor' nuf it'd be a pruty penny!" These phrases reverberated through the air over and over, mingled with the sound of tobacco juice being splattered on the pavement.
Of course, being the country girl that I am, this was nothing new to me. These are my people, people! And a lovely lot they are. While many a joke has been cracked at their expense, nowhere else on earth will you find more genuine, loving folks. They will welcome you with open arms and give you the shirt off their back. That is, if they happen to be wearing one. lol!

When I first began snapping photos, I was doing so with a bit of unintentional maliciousness. Honestly, I was snapping photos for a blog post entitled "Crimes of Fashion...What Not To Wear!"...a funny recounting of a multitude of fashion mishaps. But the sensitive, loyal-to-my-people side of me couldn't quite bring myself to poke fun. Laughter is just not medicine-for-the-soul when it comes at the expense of others. It's way too bitter going down.

The more I clicked away, the more guilty I felt. And then a thought entered my mind. I have a "friend" (quotations used for emphasis that this person wasn't really a friend) that always made a single snide comment about the people living in this area. She constantly asked this question, thinking someone would really answer. Her question was this:"Where are all the pretty people?" She would always ask this with an annoying air of arrogance. Those 6 words were vile to me. My blood would boil and my temper would flare each time she uttered them. But I always bit my tongue. I never said a word. I knew nothing I could say would get through to her. She was literally unable to see inner beauty.

As I mulled this over, I began to visualize a different blog post. The images I wanted to share were those that showed the enormous amount of beauty I witness on a daily basis. The beauty of people who are happy with the simple things. People who are joyous over being with those they love. Simple people, living simple lives, knowing the secret to having it all.

I present to you the pretty people.

The original post included a slide show of these beautiful people. However, the host site no longer exists. I will update with the images soon.

P.S. I had many a laugh that day. Everyone was so open to having their photo taken. But one couple tipped my giggle box. After posing for my photo, the husband turned to his wife and said, "Now I wunder which paper we're gonna be in! We jus' might be famous, huh?"

I thanked them for the photo, smiled a heart-felt smile, then walked away before I chuckled out loud! :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Then...Now...And A New Beginning


I have lots to share today. To start things off, I want to share the layouts I completed for a few online challenges. So many of you have inspired me with your submissions to these challenge blogs. Scrapping the Music. One Little Word. Ad This. So Sketchy. These are a few that keep leaping out from your blog posts. Lately, a few have really spoken to me, Scrapping the Music in particular. I've visited the site often and printed the lyrics for my inspiration files to be used at a later date. But this past week's song lyrics to "Secret Valentine" grabbed me. I knew immediately what I wanted to create.

The words "When guilt fills your head, brush off, rise up..." spoke to me on every level. So often guilt has played a major role in my life. And I've worked hard over the years to box it up and put it in its place. I found it only fitting that I create a page using these words. While it is no masterpiece, it is a powerful reminder to me to continue to not let guilt get in the way of what I want to accomplish.

Another challenge that had significant meaning to me was the One Little Word challenge. They are celebrating their second birthday and have chosen the word "two" this time around. Again, I immediately had an idea come to mind. To be honest here, this is a new experience for me....this instant creative vision. At first, I found it a bit scary. Kind of like living in the dark all your life and suddenly being exposed to the light. lol! Picture a caricature of me with a light bulb going off over my head and you will know what I'm talking about.

The word/number "2" conjures up images of the early days with Keith...the days when it felt like just the two of us. But very early in our relationship life threw us a curve ball and the time-for-two became a rare commodity. I had to document my feelings for those special times when it can be "Just the 2 of us".


I have been tagged! Scrapping Supergirl, Jill, tagged me recently and requested a peek at my first layout. My, oh my, was this a blast from the past! I started scrapping over 10 years ago with Creative Memories. Can anyone say stickers, stickers and more stickers? I'm not sure this is THE first page, but it certainly one of the first. It is the left hand side of a two page spread.

I wanted to include a few more early pages as I couldn't help but notice a few of the "techniques" I used. This was my first attempt at breaking free from the CM style. I remember being so proud of these pages. Look at all the stitching on this one.

Not totally away from the CM era, but starting to see the dawning of a new day. lol!

Can you believe I was doodling borders waaaaayyy before it was all the rage! lol!

I had so much fun flipping through my old albums, vowing with each turn of the page to re-scrap these photos. But you know what, I don't think I will. I am certain I will re-do a few of my most favorite ones, but I think it is so important to look back and see how I've evolved.

A New Beginning

Time to discuss my 30 day wellness challenge. It is definitely time for a new beginning. Time to let go of some baggage and create a new way of living. This is not just a diet/fitness challenge. This is a brand-new life challenge. A way of spreading "wellness" to every area of my life. While a big part will focus on the physical changes I want to make, I plan to devote time to developing a healthy spiritual and emotional life. I've spent this week reflecting and planning, making mental notes of where I am currently. I've taken stock of what comprises my day...what I eat, when I eat it...why I eat it. I've also looked at how I spend my time. What do I accomplish with my time and is it useful...beneficial. Now that I've done this, I want to spend the next few days pinpointing a few changes I can make the first week. And come Monday morning, I will begin to incorporate those changes into my everyday life.

So how about it? Anyone what to join me? I think if we all work together, we can accomplish some great things! My first challenge to you is to spend the next few days thinking about what you want to change. Then I feel it is really important to look at what you are currently doing. Ask yourself what is keeping you from making those changes. It's like those maps on the large directories in the mall. The ones that denote "You Are Here" with a star. They have to show your starting point as a reference. If we don't know where we are starting, how can we know how to get where we are going? One more thing. Be sure to be realistic in the changes you want to make. I am soooo bad about setting grandiose goals only to be sorely disappointed when I fail to meet them. This time around, I'm throwing out the impossible and grabbing onto the possible.

Lastly, this next 30 days is about making positive changes...emphasis on positive. No more dwelling on the negative. I want to focus on the good stuff!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

They're Ba-a-ack!

This weekend these two moved back home...Keri for the summer...Taylor for good. Yes, I am the very proud mother of a college graduate! Taylor completed his degree in electrical computer engineering, with honors! Can you tell my chest is puffing up with pride? Now that he's home, I just hope I can break those college hygiene habits and re-introduce him to a razor! lol!

A few months ago I wrote a post about the Pros & Cons of Solitude, a look at the early stages of empty-nest-syndrome. Everything I wrote about loneliness? Fuh gidda bout it! These two have totally and completely reclaimed the house. Craziness and chaos has followed them home! Here's a little peek into what it looks like when someone returns home after a 4 year absence.

This is just a view of Taylor's bed! He has also overtaken the floor in his room, his desk and the hallway. Not to mention the filled-to-the-brim storage unit he is borrowing from his dad! We have 2 full size refrigerators, 2 sofas, a gas grill, a lawn mower, a bar and ping-pong table (which Taylor built), a lofted bed unit, as well as tools, more computer equipment than you can imagine and general "stuff". This kid isn't exactly a pack rat, but he does have a creative and inventive mind. To utilize his talents requires "stuff".

Tay spent most of the afternoon trying to dig through the pile on his bed. Despite his valiant efforts, I think he will be sleeping on an air mattress tonight! lol!

This little chickie also moved back home this weekend. While Taylor had 4 years of accumulated belongings, 3 of which were in a house where he had room to expand, Keri only had to return with what a small dorm room would hold. You would think her's would be the lesser lot. Think again! Behold the madness that is her room.

Keri has an additional study room that adjoins her bedroom. The piles have even spilled over into it.

These pictures are only a small glimpse of the clutter. And for a highly anal, gotta-have-order, person like me....let's just say I have overworked my talk-myself-through-the-panic-state skills. Hopefully, we will find a place for all this because I live by the everything-in-its-place motto. But if we don't, you won't really hear me complaining because it is so good to have them home!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day and A Commitment to Wellness

This is my wonderfully crazy, giving, supportive, beautiful mother. This morning we had a great time over brunch at a little eclectic Greek restaurant called Stoney Knob. My kiddos were there as well as a very good friend and her daughter. The food was fantastic and as is usually the case when we get together, the laughter was plentiful! Here are pics of me and each of my babes.

Not the best photos, but they serve the purpose of documenting this special day! I especially love that I captured Taylor's forgotten shaving skills. His point of view, "no one at school cares what I look like so why should I". While I applaud the concept of not seeking the approval of others, I really do draw the line at being totally unkempt. lol!

The rest of the day was spent running errands, a convertible ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway with Keith and dinner with my friend, Karen. How about you guys? How was your weekend? Do anything fun? Please do tell.

On a scrappy note, I have completed 3 additional layouts...almost. *sigh* I wanted so desperately to participate in three on-line challenges. I worked hard Friday night on each of them but I just ran out of time. Although I didn't meet the challenge deadlines, I still plan to finish the layouts this week. The good news is I sacrificed scrapping time to be with my children. They were home Friday night and given the choice of scrapping memories or making memories...well, I think you all know how that one turns out.

Before I sign off, I want to share a 30-day wellness challenge I'm taking. I need to post it here as a way of being accountable. For all my groaning and moaning over the weight I've gained, I've decided to spend 30 days working to make a better me. Partly for the weight loss, but mostly for the improved health. I want to document my journey over the next 30 days and see where it goes. I'll begin later in the week with a post about what I hope to accomplish and how I plan to get there. I'll be relying on all of you for encouragement and an occasional kick in the pants...I'm sure I'm gonna need it!

I must go to bed pillow is lonely! Hope your Monday is GoodDay! Night-night!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Me Through The Eyes Of The World

(Just a little something to think about over the weekend.)

Ever wonder how the world truly sees you? We are all guilty of skewing the view when it comes to assessing ourselves. Some things we blow WAY out of proportion and other things we underestimate. As women, I think it is innate behavior to be critical of ourselves. This process of learning-to-love-myself that I have chosen to go through has me thinking about such things. Has me diggin' deep to find out why I choose to go down the road of self-loathing when the path to self-acceptance is a much more pleasant journey. Am I really as bad as I make myself out to be? Is all the self-criticism warranted? Lately I have been met with comments, statements or questions regarding this subject. And it got me to wonderin' just what I look like from the other side. Do others see what I see? Do they really see that wad of jiggly bits plastered on my hips? Are they aware of the unruly rat's nest atop my head on any given humid day? Do they place as much importance as I do on the mound of muffin top spilling over my jeans? Are my wrinkles a nuisance to them or do they actual view them as something more pleasant? Like maybe signs of a very happy life...remnants of miles and miles of smiles? Of course, we've all been privy to the cursory compliment. That one issued as a obligatory response to some comment made by know, the compliments we are sometimes fishing for without ever realizing we are that desperate to hear. But I'm beginning to think, despite those token compliments, we are not what we think we are when looking through the eyes of others. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

Today I have a little challenge for you. Whoever you come in contact with, take a second to really look at them, recognizing the wonderful things you see but may take for granted. Now here's the challenging part. Take the time to apply that same concept to yourself. Take one thing that bugs know we all have at least one thing. Me, maybe I have more than most, but that is another story. Even the most self-assured person has at least one thing that is the bane of their existence. Now, reframe your thinking. Think of it in terms of how someone else would most likely see it. Instead of "fat, jiggly bits", maybe I could stretch it to "wonderful, womanly curves". Rather than "lady with a hot temper", I could become "passionate and deep thinking". Get the idea? Then smile. Add to your laugh lines. Cause life is too short to always be critical of ourselves. We need to put on those rose colored glasses from time to time when we look in the mirror. Take time today to give yourself some love...I DARE YA!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Weekend Recap on Wednesday

Since falling in love with this wonderful hobby we call scrapbooking, I have never had the chance to devote an entire weekend to celebrating National Scrapbook Day. Well, this year I did...sort of. My dearest friend Pam and I scrapped Thursday night, Friday night and the bigger part of Saturday. Of course Thursday and Friday were usual work days. Couldn't exactly call in sick with the crafting bug. Don't think my boss would've bought it. But don't think I didn't consider it! lol! Pam fixed an incredible carb-heavy meal on Thursday to belatedly celebrate my birthday. Yummy mashed potatoes, rice, biscuits...see why I can never, ever lose weight? lol! Then we played! Friday was more of the same, minus the food. To celebrate NSD, we drove to our LSS (45 minute hike, one way) to participate in the BIG sale. After dining on a delicious shrimp and spinach salad for lunch, we settled in at my house for more scrapping time. Add to the mix a super cute Lifetime movie and pizza and it equalled a super duper weekend!

Circa 2004

I thought I would share a few of the layouts I completed but first I must issue a disclaimer. I rarely post my layouts for a couple of reasons. One, I am a bit shy (I shy?) about sharing my creations. Don't really know why, but I am. The second reason is that I have album after album of completed layouts...with no pictures. Not that I lack photos for them, I just haven't added them yet. You see, I am a backwards scrapper! (just made that up, but it sounds about right). Often the process of creating the page is done more for therapeutic reasons. A creative outlet of sorts. I will grab several kits and dive in. I usually have the photo in mind that I will eventually use, I would just rather play with the paper and the glue. Odd, but that's the way I roll. This time I was determined to be more conventional. So I grabbed a box of photos, my tools and a bag of supplies and left for Pam's. Once I got there I realized the photos were from 2004...hence "Circa 2004".

The first layout is using a recent Studio Calico kit. The pictures are of my little puppy pal, Princess. And oh how she thinks she is a princess!

For this layout, I used the same kit. The picture of this layout doesn't do it justice. No matter how many times I photographed it, I couldn't capture it any better. (You can actually click on the photo to enlarge it for a better view, but it still looks better IRL.) I used Glimmer Mist on the background. No special technique used...I've just wanted to give it a try. These wonderful little spray bottle have totally intimidated me. But after dipping my toes in the mist, so to speak, I am ready to jump in with both feet! This photo is very special to me. It was the last time my grandmother came to my house. We were celebrating Thanksgiving and she and her sister came for dinner. Very shortly after that, she went to the nursing home.

Same Studio Calico kit. Love these pictures of Keri and her dad. She has always been a "Daddy's Girl".

In case you haven't guessed by now, I am behind on using my Studio Calico kits. lol! The next layout is using a different one of their kits. I actually think it was the holiday kit. The pics are of my brother and his family. They are the nuttiest people I know! Lots of giggles and grins when they are around!

Finally, I broke the rhythm and went with a Scarlet Lime kit. Lots of cutting of patterned paper here. The flower border is actually layered pieces cut from one sheet of paper. For years, Keri was the only girl on her dad's side of the family. She was constantly tortured and then coddled by her cousins and aunts and uncles as you can tell by these photos.

I actually completed one more layout that I can't share right now. The perfectionist in me is trying like heck to fix a boo-boo I made. Sad thing is, I may just have to start over. :(

The weekend ended with a wedding on Sunday. An outdoor wedding in the rain...with no tents! From what I could see through the sea of umbrellas and what could be heard above the roaring rain, it was a beautiful ceremony! lol!

There you have weekend run down! Before I go, I want to mention a few things. First of all, please take the time to check out The Next Step challenge blog. One enormously talented blogger, Lucy Edison, has started a mixed media arts challenge blog with a few of her super crafty friends. They have posted their first challenge this week and it is AWESOME! I think you will be more than happy you dropped by. And I can't forget to mention my dear, dear blog friend, Peggy! She is presently participating in a give away challenge. Be sure to drop by and say hi. Not only will you get the chance to possibly win a few goodies, but she is a fabulous blogger with ridicously mad scrapping skills. Her layouts always blow me away! Thanks for taking the time to read this lengthy post! Hope you all have a very Happy Hump Day! XOXO

Monday, May 4, 2009

And You Call Yourself A Doctor???

(Having problems photographing layouts from the weekend. Will be back mid-week to share. In the mean time, I have a little story for you. Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! XOXO - me)

Several months ago on a typical workday morning, I experienced a very atypical and uncomfortable pain in my lower back. The pain had been present for several days, but on this particular morning, it had exacerbated to an unbearable level. I tried to ignore it in hopes it would disappear, but no such luck. I began to develop what I thought was a fever and was becoming nauseated. It became apparent I would have to go to the doctor.

Now, where I live, doctors have very few "emergency" appointments available. You can call in so congested you sound like an alien. Words are barely decipherable through the phlegm and coughing. You report a fever of 104 and the response is always the same cheery, lilting response. "The doctor can see you three weeks from Monday. Would you like me to put you down for an appointment?" And my response is most certain to always be - "Ummm, no. I will be dead by then. But thanks anyway."

This lack of medical-care-when-you-need-it has led to the overuse of our local urgent care centers. Not to be confused with the Emergency Room, these places are separate examining sites for those too sick to stay home, but not ill enough to go to the hospital. Wait time is lengthy and germs abound at these facilities. You can see why I avoid them at all costs. But this time I had no choice...I would have to go to Urgent Care. *shudder*

I left work, tediously drove with hands clenching the steering wheel in pain, checked in at the desk and waited. One very important point to note, although the word "urgent" was proudly used when naming this care site, they were in no way treating my ailment as "urgent". Despite my reported pain level of 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, they ignored me. I signed in at 1:30 and wasn't called back until 5:30. Never mind the fact the facility closed at 5:00. That only elevated my fear of sub-par medical treatment. I spent 4 horrifically long, uncomfortable hours sitting in an over-crowded, germ-infested waiting room. And each time I questioned, "How much longer", the response was, "We will be with you shortly". Yeah, right!

When I was finally, finally called back, I plastered on my happy face and exuded pure sweetness. You certainly want to make friends with anyone who possesses the ability to prescribe mind altering, pain relieving drugs! Especially when you are in urgent (there's that word again) need of said medication! Smart thinking on my part, huh? My male nurse took my vitals, asked some questions and listened to my self-diagnosis of a kidney infection all while nodding in sympathetic agreement. After having me pee in a cup, he smiled and patted me on the arm as he placed me in another eternal holding cell...errrrr...I mean examination room.

This wait was not as lengthy. A female doctor entered with a female nurse and proceeded to ask a few more questions and discussed the results of my urine test. While my symptoms mimicked a kidney infection, my test came back negative. With an authoritative tone, that was not all that convincing, she explained that she needed to do a pelvic exam. WHAT??? I came up off the table, eyes popping, arms flailing about and informed her that was NOT necessary.

Not sure if anyone else feels this way, but exploration of that most sacred area is reserved for a select few. And the local yokels at the "urgent" care center had not made the list. Only my doctor of choice, one who has already been there and done that to me on other dreaded and unwelcomed occasions, would be allowed entry. Barring a serious medical emergency, you know, the kind where I would be passed out, anesthatized or in a coma, would this type of exam take place in this environment. In other words...totally without my consent. Strangely enough, my pain was no longer as severe. What had felt like a fever was brushed off as a hot flash. I was miraculously cured. But the doctor would have none of that. I don't think she believed me...*insert shrug with eye roll*.

Here is where the story takes a serious turn for the worse...yeah, it really does get worse. The doctor did the courtesy exit allowing me privacy to prepare for the upcoming violation of my secret spot. I quickly disrobed from the waist down and frantically worked to cover myself as best I could with the token paper napkin. Itchy, crinkly, icky napkin. I always fear I won't be ready when they return so I do this in a very rapid manner. Nothing like getting caught with your pants down. As I laid there berating myself for having come here, I over heard the conversation on the other side of the door.

Nurse: "We are doing a pelvic exam?"

Doctor: (agian with an authoritative tone) "Yes."

Nurse: "And do we have the instruments to do that?"

Doctor: (with less authority) "I believe we do."

Nurse: "We actually have one of those....what do you call it?"

Me: (silently shouting) "S-P-E-C-U-L-U-M!"

At this point, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and tuned them out. I began repeating the following mantra. "This too shall pass...this too shall pass...this too shall pass."

They entered. Obviously, they worked to pull themselves together in order to appear more professional. The nurse took her position at my head. The doctor, of course, took her seat between my stir-upped legs. A light was positioned over the area to be examined. I was asked to slide down...a little more...a little more...and a little more. I was hanging off the examining table for goodness' sake! Gripping the side of the table was necessary just to keep from falling in the doctor's lap! Per an additional request, I ever so slowly and reluctantly separated my clenched-together knees. Then it began. The doctor requested the thingy (aka speculum). The nurse did not have it. The doctor asked where it was. The nurse did not know. After several excruciatingly long moments of speculation, it was decided it resided in the drawer on the examining table. Right. Between. My. Spread. Eagled. Legs!!!!!!!!!

As the doctor dug around in the drawer, the light was doing a good job of baking certain unmentionables to a crisp. She finally retrieved one only to realize it was broken. I lifted up on my elbows to witness her doing her best Julia Roberts impersonation. Remember in Pretty Woman when her character is at the opera and she thinks her opera glasses are broken? She repeatedly flips them over while stating, "They're broken. Mine are broken." Dear friends, I would not lie to you. The doctor was flipping that ugly piece of metal proclaiming its inoperable state. I would have laughed out loud had it not been for the fact she was staring me straight in the....well, you know.

At least she now knew where to get another one. The nurse was asked to "warm it up" while I lay there eyes glazed over with open mouth and legs akimbo. I would tell you what happened next, but I have forever blocked it from my memory. Only the strongest electro-shock therapy could jar it to the surface. And even then, I fear the consequences of reliving this nightmare would doom me to a straight jacket. I do remember pain...lots and lots of pain. I recall coming off the table amid my own gasping and groaning to be met with the totally unnecessary question, "Oh dear, does that hurt?" H-E-double-L, yeah! That! Hurts!

Somehow, someway, I escaped. And the irony of it all...I was scheduled for my annual gyno visit the following day! I had totally forgotten. Needless to say, I was violated two days in a row. Bummer!

In the end, I was diagnosed with ovarian my regular doctor, thank you very much. A D&C was scheduled. I recuperated. Then life returned to normal. And what is the moral of this story? ANY, and I do mean ANY, pain below the belt is better left to the "private parts" professionals!