Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dear Taylor,

Today is your 22nd birthday. How did this ever happen? I so vividly remember you as my sweet little mischievous, darling boy. And now? Now you have become the most wonderful, kind, caring, sensitive, ambitious and talented man! Whatever you wish to accomplish, you do. You have no fear of failure. You tackle challenges head on and treat stumbles as learning experiences. From a very young age you showed a maturity well beyond your years and it has served you well. I have yet to speak with anyone who spends time with you that doesn't take the time to tell me what a wonderful person you are. You are giving and loving yet strong and determined. You have been my rock so many times by your presence and strength of character. I look at where you are going and the plans you have and my heart swells with pride. You have great things in store for you. And I know should dark days come, you have the skills and the drive to move through them and come out a better man. I wish for you only the most wonderful of everything. My dear, dear strong son...I love you more than words can say. Happy, happy birthday!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Time For A Few Shout-Outs & Will Somebody Please Come Pick Me Up Off The Floor

(edited: Please read the earth shaking news at the bottom. Wellllll, at least it's rockin' my world! )

How on earth did things get so out of control?!?!? I swear I was on top of my blog posts, my blog reading, my photography class, work...everything. Then BOOM! I go on a week-long vacation and 2 long weekend get-aways and I'm sinking. No. Make that drowning! Why is it that when things are good it is ALL good but when things are crazy ain't nothin' goin' your way? When I pull out the country slang, folks, times are tough! Please don't think I am complaining, I'm just setting the scene for this post. I guess I'm presenting my excuses right out of the gate as to why this post is way over due.

In the past 2 weeks, I have received several awards and tags. And wouldn't you know, I'm behind in posting them. So I figured why not wrap them all up into one super special post where I can send out some love to the ladies who sent them my way.

First up is an award from a very special new blog friend, Jay. I only started visiting Jay recently but I'm so glad we found each other. She is such a creative scrapper with an artistic edge. Her projects are pure eye candy. Be sure and check out her blog to see her lovely creations.

A few days later, I received this book tag from Christy and Vicki. I came across Christy's blog just as she was heading off on a cruise. We exchanged a few emails about the ports of call and I feel like I've made a new best friend! This sweetheart recently announced she is expecting her first child! She is also a teacher and is in the process of making some adorable little projects for her classroom. Vicki is also a new friend. Her blog is such a treat and her scrapping style is AMAZING! She blows me away with her designs.

So this is what I'm suppose to do:

1. Collect the book that you have most handy
2. Turn to page 161
3. Find the 5th complete sentence
4. Cite the sentence on your blog
5. Pass it on to 5 other victims (Oops! bloggers)

So now you guys get to see what a true nerd I am. Please note that No. 1 said "Collect the book you have most handy"...emphasis on "most handy". Uhhhhh, that would be The Essentials of Finance and Accounting. Yeah, you read that right. *sigh* I think I need a life. *double sigh* So just go ahead and close your eyes, jump ahead or do whatever you need to do because the sentence I'm getting ready to type will be the most boring thing you've ever read. Here goes:

"If the annual cash inflows are different, the method described here will work, but since the formula will include each cash flow amount multiplied by the present value factor for that amount, more trial and error will be required."

Can you believe I actually read this stuff????

This next award is extra special. It is a Friend Award and over the course of several days, I received it from several special ladies. Jocelyn, Julie, Jessi W. & Lisa S. all passed this one along to me.

Of course, so many of you know my wonderful gal pals Jocelyn, Julie and Lisa. Jocelyn has been a blog friend from the very beginning. We talk on the phone often and she is a truly wonderful scrapper. The fabulous Lisa S. has also been a friend from early on. If you are looking for some amazing eye candy just hop on over to her blog! And Julie, well, I call Julie SUPERWOMAN! This lady has more irons in the fire than anyone I know AND she continually cranks out gorgeous LO after gorgeous LO! One of these days I am going to twist her arm and make her share her secret for "doing it all". Now I can't forget Jessi. I only found Jessi a few days ago but I am so very glad I did. I am having the most fun getting to know her and again, her scrapping talent is phenomenal!

The last shout out goes to Christine. She tagged me with this:

Before I get into the details of the tag, I have to say that Christine is a pure delight. I have been reading her blog for awhile now and I just adore her. I recommend you stop by and see what she is up to. You will be greeted with heartwarming posts and some fabulous inspiration.

So this tag requires that I post 10 honest facts about myself...little known facts that most of you wouldn't know. I did this several weeks ago, but it was so much fun I thought I would try to come up with 10 more. Here goes...

1. My brain requires all things to be even...I need balance. Like when I'm working out, I do things in equal numbers. If I start an exercise on the left side,the next set must start on the right and all reps must be the same. When eating, if I chew on one side, I must also give equal time to the other side. You would think it would make me crazy trying to keep things even, but it really keeps me sane.

2. I am extremely patient but when the patience is gone you had better look out. I hate to admit it, but I have a temper.

3. I can forgive most anything. I have a high level of tolerance and try to understand the motivation behind the action.

4. Due to alcoholism in my mother's family, I refrained from drinking until I was in my very late 20's. Growing up in a Southern Baptist church I was taught that drinking was of the devil and of course I wanted no part of that. The first drink I had left me seriously tipsy...and I was with my mother at the time. LOL!

5. Speaking of drinking, I am a teaspoon drinker...or as some would say...a cheap drunk to this day. Doesn't really matter because I very rarely drink.

6. In honor of summer, I will share that while I have medium to fair skin, I hardly ever burn. I can sit in the sun for hours with a low SPF and not get a thing. Keith is very dark skinned but will burn in half the time with the same amount of protection. Strange????

7. At the age of 5, I was diagnosed with a fatal disease. It is now known that the childhood form of the illness is not as often fatal as the adult form. I am fortunate enough to also only suffer mild side effects from the disease.

8. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer. I have a wonderfully moving story to share about this but I will save it for another day.

9. I competed in a beauty pageant when I was 18. I nailed the interview, did OK in the swimsuit portion, LOVED my evening gown and I had a jaw-dropping piano piece for my talent. All was going well until I went to perform my piano solo...and totally drew a blank!!! So....I just made something up. Talk about pulling something out of thin air! Didn't even remotely come close to the original piece but it did fool a few folks! Ha!

10. I've always dreamed of living in New York City. Of course I would want a glamorous life style to go along with that dream. I grew up a country girl and I still have a love of all things country running through my veins but I could so be a city girl as well. I would probably have to lose my southern accent though. I have a feeling I would never fit in otherwise. LOL!

So here comes the impossible part. I am suppose to pass each of these to several different bloggers and friends. Can anyone tell me just how I'm suppose to pick and choose??? My answer is that anyone who leaves a comment on this post can claim any of the above awards and tags. I would love for you all to have these and I can't wait to read your honest facts!

Here's hoping you have a wonderful Wednesday!

Hugs & Love,

Guess what???? I just found out I made the DT at Serendipity Scrapbooks!!!! I am shocked...thrilled...and ready to pass out! Catch me or scrape me off the floor...either will do! WooHoo!!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh No She Didn't

Monday. Monday. How quickly you come to greet me. *sigh* I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. My weekend was spent in Atlanta sharing some fun time with my guy. After work on Friday, I raced home, finished packing and headed out on my 3 hour drive, stopping once for a LARGE cup of coffee. Keith had plans for a late night movie date. A sure sign I'm getting old...I feared I wouldn't be able to stay awake through the movie. Hence the super-duper dose of caffeine. Turns out, I really didn't need it. We saw "The Ugly Truth" and it was hysterical!!! Rather crude and crass but funny nonetheless.

Saturday we started off with a 4 mile walk, a quick lunch at Atlanta Bread Company and an afternoon/early evening on the lake...a very nice day. Yesterday we were back in "parent" mode. Keith's daughter, Morgan, turned 11 last Thursday and Sunday we celebrated with a skating party with her friends. You know the drill...Sunday morning was all about picking up the cake, corralling all the supplies for the party and then playing "hostess with the mostest" all afternoon. It was a great party and tons of fun! I was so impress with how mature, kind and genuinely appreciative Morgan was with her guests. She is becoming a gorgeous young lady with a beautiful heart. And of course, her daddy was beaming with pride the entire time...when he wasn't wiping sweat from his brow from assisting the kiddos who couldn't skate. What is it about watching your guy with children that makes you fall in love with him all over again? Don't know what it is, but that's what happened...I fell and fell hard! :)

In honor of Morgan's birthday, I thought I would share a little funny that happened a few years ago when I first met Keith. He was not yet a full-time dad and Morgan spent every other weekend with him. Morgan was only 8 at the time. She is such a cutie, but also ever the sly one. Keith is a salesman and I believe she has learned a thing or two from him about working a situation. So....

The story takes place on a hot sunny Sunday. Keith and I had settled down for a little sofa snooze, enjoying the air-conditioned escape from the heat. Morgan was outside playing. Suddenly, the bells of the ice cream truck broke through the low sounds coming from the TV and Keith's loud snore. Within seconds Morgan raced through the door begging for money to buy a frozen treat. To Keith's credit, he denied her request as she had already consumed enough sugar that day. Being the insistent 8 year old, she pouted and pleaded adding how unfair it would be for her to be without while her friend Claire was allowed to partake. Obviously, her words were a bit different and way more whiny. The verbal volley of "but Claire" and "I don't care" continued for several minutes. Finally, Keith responded by telling Morgan to either go play with Claire, without a treat, or to just go to her room. Realizing she only had one card left to play, Morgan crossed her arms, stuck out her lower lip, added a lip quiver for good measure and turned to go upstairs. And here is where Keith made his mistake. Instead of just letting her follow through with her "choice", he asked why she would want to sit in her room when her friend was outside waiting for her. Seeing this opening, Morgan, in her most hurt-filled voice, said it was better to sit all alone than have to watch someone else enjoy something she wanted so badly. Her logic being that if Claire could have one, why couldn't she. And like we've all been known to do...Keith caved. He told Morgan to grab his wallet and off she went.

Ready for the good part? I sat watching all this with a knowing grin. As soon as Morgan left, I calmly and quietly turned to Keith and said, "Hey, Handsome. You've just been played. Morgan hasn't been playing with Claire today. Remember, Claire is out of town." His response...cannot be typed on a G-rated blog. OK, so mine can sometimes be PG, but it still is beyond PG language. LOL!

Morgan quickly returned licking away at her ice cream cone with a cat-that-caught-the canary grin. Keith patiently waited for a few minutes then mustered up some calm and asked Morgan to invite Claire in to enjoy their ice cream together. Having let down her guard, the shock of being found out immediately registered on her face and her eyes became as wide as saucers. She paused and then very feebly said, "Uhhhhh, I thought that was Claire eating ice cream. But it must have been somebody else."

To this day we share a good laugh over this one. And although Morgan truly is an angel, we came to realize her salesman skills are too strong to be completely ignored...lesson learned! LOL!

I'll leave you with a LO I did last year of Morgan enjoying some ice cream.

Not only has she inherited her dad's sly way of making a sale, but she also shares his enormous sweet tooth!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!!

Hugs & Love,

News FLASH!!! Callista has a fabulous give away going on until Friday. Be sure and check it out HERE. Be sure to leave her some love and don't forget to tell her I sent ya!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Have A Crush...A Color Challenge

Just wanted to share the layout I did for the favorite color challenge at These Are A Few of My Favorite Things.

In case you can't tell, I love bright citrus orange and lime green! LOL! The funny thing is, I own NOTHING in these colors but I LOVE them! I always gravitate to anything with this color combo. It reminds me of sunshine and smiles...just makes me happy. I think I need to go shopping again to find a coffee mug, some stationery or a fun little somethin' that boasts these colors. On second thought, I need to give my credit card a little breather after this past weekend. LOL! Maybe next month.

I had a blast doodling on this page. I haven't done that in a long time. I used a Bo Bunny rub on for the border under the word CRUSH and I thought it would be fun to scribble a few accents amongst the felt flowers. I used other Bo Bunny rub-ons for my doodling inspiration.

You still have time to play along with this challenge. The deadline for submissions is the 29th. And you know you want to play because the winner of this challenge will receive a $25.00 gift certificate to!!! I have to tell you the response to this new blog has been unbelievable...both in volume as well as in creativity! Be sure to at least stop in and see the amazing work done by the DT showcasing their favorite colors and then spend some time viewing the slide show that hosts the incredible entries for the challenge. And be sure to stay tuned for the upcoming challenges. There is so much fun coming your won't be disappointed!!!

This is going to be it for me this week. I have a crazy busy weekend so I won't be back until Monday. I am slowly but surely making it to everyone's blog. If I haven't been by yet, look out cause I'm coming your way! LOL! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic(s)

Yes. Yes. I am a shopaholic. At least I must confess to being one this past week. When my mom, my daughter and I get together and an enormous outlet mall is thrown into the mix disaster can strike...well, if you describe a drastic downturn in the available credit limit of my charge card a disaster. I'm sure none of you have ever fallen prey to the fan-tab-u-lous sales at an outlet mall, now have you? My most favoritest store EVER, Banana Republic, was having a great sale on Thursday. And wouldn't you know, we just happened to stumble across their threshold on this most wonderful of days. Three and a half hours of dressing room mayhem and 5 shopping bags of loot later and we felt like we had hit the fashion lottery! The dressing room staff became our new best friends. (We will be exchanging Christmas card this year. LOL!) Of course every item we each tried on had to pass the scrutiny of the other two. Color, fit, price and where it would work wonders in our current wardrobe were all points of discussion. We actually even offered our not-so-humble opinions to other shoppers who were unlucky enough to fall victim to the three of us. We were out of control!!!

You would think that would be enough to satisfy any shopaholic. But it got even better. Our new dressing room staff friends informed us that on Friday additional mark-downs would occur. Every single item in the store would be on sale. Every. Single. Item. We kept trying to figure out the best way to stash our selections until Friday and again one of our new-found friends offered up a wonderful bit of information. All we had to do would be return to the store on Friday with our receipts and they would do a price adjustment. So Friday became another shopping day. After they told me I saved an additional triple-digit sum, I was more than glad we went back. Several of the items I had purchased were original price but had been marked down 40% on Friday! Woo and double hoo!

In addition to our shopping marathon, we spent our time laughing until our sides ached, eating somewhat healthy food, getting our exercise in by walking around the campground and resting from said exercise by taking naps throughout the day. One of my most memorable moments was the 30-minute drive back to the camper after our shopping trips. Keri cranked up her i-pod and we sang our hearts out. Something about music leaves my heart feeling all warm and fuzzy. Sharing it with 2 of my most favorite people....ahhhhh! Good times. Good times.

I must also share one other memorable, scare-the-socks-off-of-me moment. It was rather late Thursday night when we returned from shopping but we were determined to get in a good walk that day so we headed out with a flashlight with not a care in the world. As we passed the pool area, Keri slowed down and walked toward a stick on the ground. She rather excitedly informed us it was a snake to which we said "No Way!" and she quickly responded "Yes Way!!!" With all the children that run around the park, I didn't want to take any chances by leaving the snake but I had nothing with which to kill it. The fact that I was a total chicken and wouldn't get close enough to kill it anyway is beside the point. Leaving Mom and Keri to stand guard from a safe distance I ran down to the pool where there were 2 families still hanging out. This is where I have to jump on my soap box and ask the question, "Is chivalry dead?" Neither of the 2 men was willing to help despite my very convincing argument that we needed to kill the snake to protect the children. I secretly hoped they couldn't sleep well that night but something tells me they slept like logs. (stepping off my soap box now)

Knowing several copperheads had been killed in the park in the past, I wasn't eager to frighten Mom or Keri any more than they already were. Still not sure of what to do, I spotted a few more people in the laundromat. Here is where the white knight steps in to save the damsel in distress. I approached these guys and asked who wanted to be a hero. We had a snake to kill. A young, rather muscular young man jumped at the chance. Grabbing a rock as his weapon he became our rescuer. Several attempts to kill the snake with the rock and all we had was a very threatened and ready to strike serpent. To the young man's credit, it is terribly difficult to strike a moving target with a rock. Not to be defeated, he replaced his rock with a he could barely lift above his head. Nervously watching him get too-close-for-comfort, he hefted the boulder above his head and dropped it, totally obliterating the slimy poisonous varmint. It was in fact a copperhead. The security guard arrived on the scene as the slaying occurred and confirmed the type of snake. She (we have female security guards) had seen it earlier and avoided it for fear of getting struck???? Not sure I understand the logic in leaving an angry snake unattended but that's what she had done. No worries, Mr. White Knight stepped up to the plate and proved that chivalry isn't a total thing of the past.

So how about you? What has everyone been up to? I am so very behind in my blog reading but I plan to work on making some major head way in getting caught up this week. Internet service was very sporadic this time at the campground. I made it to 3 or 4 blogs, getting kicked off repeatedly with each visit. Now I'm home and I'm ready to log some blog hours! Can't wait to see what has been going on.

Before I go, I thought I would share one of my layouts I did for the design team call.

This is the layout I submitted about me. I know I had promised to share which team I am trying out for so here goes...Serendipity Scrapbooks!!! Several of my blog friends are members there and by following their blogs I have come to realize many of the wonderful benefits of this site. Lots of challenges and contests, the gallery is teeming with inspiration and I am extremely impressed with the products offered in the store. And the kits are amazing. I mentioned in my last post that making the team is my ultimate goal, but taking that first step and just trying for the team was my greatest accomplishment. Make the team or not, I know that I've found a wonderful place to hang out and play.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week and remember I will be stopping by to say hello. And if you feel the urge, please leave me a little comment letting me know what you've been up to in my absence. I love hearing from you all!

Hugs & Love,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Forward Progress Prompt 8 and An "Oh My!!!!"

It's already Wednesday, which is really my Friday! Confused? After work today, I'm heading back to the Howard Hilton with my dd, Keri, and my mom, trying to get in some quality girl time before Keri heads back to Georgia in a few weeks. Keri has always loved our little home away from home so we decided to spend our time there. Sure wish the Howard Hilton had a rewards system. I would have racked up a considerable sum this year! LOL! This is the most time I've spent there in years and I'm lovin' it. Bad news is the lack of internet service! Grrrrr! I'm gonna have to talk to the powers that be about that!

Soooo, you just have to check out Forward Progress today! Prompt #8 is going up and it is a really good one! This time we were asked to take stock of where we are now. Here is what I came up with.

I had this quote (author unknown) in one of my inspiration journals and it struck a chord with me. Heal the Past. Live the Present. Dream the Future.

I had given so much thought to where I'm at, exploring every aspect of my life. You know, goals, dreams, etc. I thought about big things and little things. But I kept coming back to this quote. The more I thought about it the more I realized this really is my "Now".

Once I decided to go with this, the journaling came quickly. It reads, " This is my today. Working to be more than a product of my Past in order to be the best I can be in the Future. But fully living in the Present."

I'm hoping you all will pay us a visit and see what the other team members have done with this prompt. I have been a follower of this blog for quite some time now and it is one of those things I "feel". It speaks to me. KWIM? I love how it makes me think. Makes me take a closer look at myself and see what I can do to become a better me. I would love to see each of you play along with us by submitting a layout. But if time is running from you much like it is for me these days, please try to "play" along in thought. I know many have expressed that this is "so deep" that it is hard to put your feelings out there for all the world to see. No worries. Just leave us a comment letting us know you are thinking about the current prompt. And if you are comfortable bearing your soul...then we want nothing more than to lend an ear!

I think, as women, the biggest disservice we do to ourselves is ignore where we are and who we are. We often get lost in the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day activities. Take it from the girl who's world has been turned upside down by divorce and children growing up and fleeing the nest. The day eventually comes in everyone's life when you are left wondering who you are and what are you gonna do with yourself. It is a powerful and liberating experience to finally discover yourself and Forward Progress is about trying to help you reach that nirvana!

Now for an "Oh My"! Actually, make that an "OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Yesterday morning I received an email from Julie. It was a very interesting email! She asked me to join her and her fellow team mates at "These Are A Few of My Favorite Things" challenge blog! This is a new challenge blog that Julie has created and I think it is going to be Fab-U-Lous! Their first prompt goes up today and you just know you want to go see what they have for you! I won't be an official member until August 15th, but Julie gave me permission to share the news now. Good thing too. I'm usually very good at keeping secrets, but this was gonna be a tough one!!!

I plan to have one more post this week with my LO's for the DT. That is if the wireless service at the campground cooperates. If not, I will see you guys first thing Monday morning. Have a wonderful, wonderful Wednesday!

{hugs & love}

Sunday, July 12, 2009

So Much To Share.....BUT....

Hey gals! This has been one exciting week/weekend. I have been cuh-razy busy and there is so much to share!!! But some of it is going to have to wait. At least for a few days. I will give you a few hints to tide you over. Of course, it ALL has to do with the scrapping world.

First up, remember I mentioned a few posts back that I was working on some projects for a DT call? Well, the good news is....I finished my projects! I have absolutely NO idea if I will make it and I won't know for a few more weeks. The exciting part is that I did it!!! I have always wanted to try for a team, but in the past, I never felt I had enough time to give it my all. I am a real stickler for only committing when I think I can do my best. Another reason I have never answered a call...fear! Plain and simple. We all fear rejection, but this goes even further for me. I know we all pour our heart and soul into our pages and for me, submitting my layouts to actually be judged felt like I was being judged. Sounds silly, but it was my reality. Not anymore. This new "lovin' myself" way of life is actually quite nice. It has freed me from this least where scrapping is concerned. I'll let you know about the other areas of my life another time! LOL!

Below is a sneak peek of one of my submissions. I will post the others later in the week after they have been loaded in the gallery. AND I will give you all the reasons I think this will be a most wonderful place to hang my hat. I promise I will also divulge the name of the site in case any of you want to participate in the call. It runs until the 26th so there is still plenty of time. Why the secrecy? I think I must be more superstitious than I ever knew. I'm afraid to say too much until I see my projects in the gallery...I'm afraid I might jinx them! LOL! Here is the sneak peek I mentioned.

Other late breaking news...I am going to be the Guest DT at Butterfly Crafts in August! My name was chosen randomly for this spot and I cannot wait! My LO will be going up on the first. Be sure to stop by and leave me a tiny little show of support. I promise it is OK to lie...I am not above the token lie to help boost my self confidence! LOL! Of course, they have a wonderful DT and you will not be disappointed with your visit.

And you just have to stop in at Forward Progress! There are some changes in the works that I think are totally awesome! We are gearing up for some wonderful new challenges, more posts to get you thinking toward forward progress and we are adding guest designers to our team! We will be announcing our first 2 Guest DT members very soon. Be sure to check in often to see if you know who they might be. Also, we will be looking for future guest artists so be sure to let us know if you are interested.

Finally, I have several awards to mention. I have been such a bad, bad person. These awards were given to me over the past several weeks and I have yet to post them. I hadn't forgotten. It just seems summer vacation has turned my schedule upside down and I can't seem to right it. I received this award from Karen at Time Crafted.

It is for an "attitude of gratitude". I told Karen it is perfectly OK to take this back as I have not been showing an "attitude of gratitude". I haven't even acknowledged her kindness. (So sorry Karen.) I have to add that I just love this girl! I have only been visiting her blog in recent weeks but she has the most fun, creative spirit.

Peggy, Treasured Memories, gave me 2 awards.

Of course you all know how much I love Peggy. She is my super artsy pal from Belgium. The next award was given by two special ladies, Lexie and Michelle. Bloggers and scrappers that are a real treat to know.

And finally, this award is from Mommyscraps at According to Jane Austen. I always have such a great time when I visit...lots of fun and some scrapping eye candy to boot!

These last two require that I post random, "honest" facts about myself. I believe one asked for 10 and the other 7. I will give it a go and see how far I get.

1. I am an over-achiever. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from college in 3 years. I did this by taking as many as 24 hours a semester and I worked while doing this. Of course, these over-achieving ways have long since been thrown out the window. LOL!

2. I got my first job at the age of 11. I played piano for a voice instructor's students. This was what we call "learning the hard way". I was a decent piano player, but you learn just how good you are when you are handed a piece of music and you are expected to follow the singer, even when said singer doesn't follow the music!

3. I run and jump in bed every night...I'm still afraid of what might be lurking underneath. AND i still sleep with a stuffed animal.

4. I need order of some kind in my life. If my life is in order "internally", then my external world can be a little less orderly and vice versa.

5. I can't remember numbers to save my life, but I work in the accounting field. ?????

6. Multi-tasking used to be my middle name. Now....not so much. I do better if I give projects my undivided attention.

7. I work best under pressure. Good thing, because I can sometimes be a procrastinator.

8. I would love to sport a 6-pack just once in my life.

9. With regard to No. 8, will probably never happen because I can't let go of my love for all things chocolate.

10. Finally, I am "honestly" very happy to be me. Flaws and all!!!

I want to send my most heartfelt thanks to you ladies for these wonderful awards. It is always such an honor to be thought of. I want to pass these on to anyone who comments today. And I WILL be watching to see who posts those "honest" facts!!!

Catch ya later!

P.S. I am working hard at catching up on all my blog reading. I know I've missed so many of your posts. And I go out of town again this week. After that, things should slow down a little and I should get back on track. I really do miss reading about what is going on in your worlds! {hugs}

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How We Came to Know Mona

After introducing you to our dear friend Mona..."The Other Woman"...aka Keith's GPS, I thought I might share how she came to be part of our lives. As with most things in my world, it involves a little story...

As long as I have known Keith, he has wanted a Garmin GPS system but would never pull the trigger as the one he wanted was, in his words, overpriced. To his delight, this past Thanksgiving, they went on sale...and it was a really goooooood sale. The only drawback, the offer was good only while supplies lasted and of course they would be the spotlighted item for the Day After Thanksgiving sale.

Anyone who really knows me is well aware that I HATE shopping on this day. I will not venture toward a mall if my life depended on it. And you can TOTALLY rule out a trip to Wally World. I cringe at the thought of darkening their doors on a regular day, much less this Day. From. Shopping. Hell! But I couldn't resist the idea of granting one of my man's wishes. So as everyone was going to sleep on Thanksgiving night, I claimed to suffer from insomnia and stayed up to "watch TV" so I could sleep on the couch and sneak out for some early shopping. After everyone was asleep, I proceeded to set my phone alarm for 4-freakin'-a.m. and the stage was set for operation "Surprise My Guy".

If you have yet to brave the throngs of morons (me included) who attempt to even enter the parking lot of Walmart on this day, I offer one word of warning....DON'T!

Oh. My. GOSH! A sea of people like you've never seen before! Trying to play it smart, I went straight to the first sales associate I spotted upon entering the door and asked where I could find the deal of the day. I was directed to electronics. Duh! After a 20 minute search of the area, 5 minute search time...15minutes clawing my way through arms, legs and buggy wheels, I realized you had to stand in the check-out line for that department and they would retrieve one for you. Did I mention the line snaked through every aisle in the electronics department and continued into the automotive section? Yep, it took another 10 minutes just to find the end of the line. And it wasn't a speedy line...NOPE...we moved at the speed of ice cream melting on a frozen pond in the dead of winter.

I kept asking if anyone was trying to purchase the Garmin GPS and I found it odd that no one was. But I was determined to not lose my place in line and I continued to wait. And wait I did. Minute after horrendous minute. I just kept shuffling from one foot to the other berating myself for being such a nice, giving girlfriend. Why, oh why, couldn't I be one of those mean-ol'-bossy-won't-do-anything-for-you girlfriends? Eventually, I broke. I left the line in search of more help. Back to the front of the store I went and I'm ever so glad I did. I had been misdirected previously as the GPS systems were a "special" item and were located in the lay-away department. Oh Buggers! Another super long line!

Always wanting to make the best of any painful situation, I tried to make nice with my fellow shoppers. You know me...gotta talk...why not to total strangers? Ummmm, not such friendly people shopping in the wee morning hours. Couldn't strike up a conversation with anyone. I debated talking to myself. And I didn't really worry about being singled out. NO ONE cared enough to pay me any attention! No "How are you today?", "What price-busting deal brings you out at such an early hour?", "Are those really pajama pants you're wearing?", "Hey. Lady. I DON'T WANT TO TALK TO YOU!" Nope! Not a single word came my way. So I carried on conversations with my head...just in case someone really was watching.

When I finally got to the front of the line, the sales clerk asked what I wanted to purchase. I flashed her a big ol' smile and answered her question. Hey, she was actually talking to me. Never mind the fact she was being paid to do so. She then asked me how many I would like. I started to answer only one and then I paused to think. If I was going to go to so much trouble to get this baby, maybe I should get more than one. Could make great gifts, I might actually want one...who knew. So I answered "I'll take 3 please." I paid. And then I left.

I was gone a total of 3 and half hours for what should have been, under normal conditions, a 30 minute shopping trip. I let myself ever-so-quietly back in the house and..........waited. Keith is one really late sleeper. And I was one super excited chickie. I could not WAIT for him to get up and discover what I had done for him. So I turned on the TV and fought the urge to wake him up.

After several episodes of mindless TiVo'ed shows later, Keith finally came down and discovered his surprise. Of course he loved it and I was quickly named girlfriend of the year! Little did I know the monster I had created.

Every...single...time we climbed in the car, Keith had to turn on his new toy. Even a trip to the corner convenience store had to be mapped out. I was hearing the "little lady in the box" in my sleep. I quickly dubbed her "The Other Woman". No talking in the car for fear we would miss a turn. Never mind the fact Keith drove these roads on a daily basis. He loved her so much...he named her Mona.

But the honeymoon is over. Keith no longer totally trusts her. Even before the Dairy Queen debacle, Keith returned to his former belief that a female could never have a better sense of direction that a man. Guess that's why that testosterone-laden sense of direction took us 2 hours out of our way when returning from the beach last month.

MEN!!!! Can't travel with 'em. Can't live without 'em.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Campfires, Parades and The Elusive Dip Cone

Another Monday is knocking on my door! Funny how that seems to happen all too frequently these days. I had several days off and that time went particularly quick. I truly hope everyone had a fantastic 4th! Things for me were laid back and quite relaxing at the Howard Hilton. Keith and Morgan got all involved in the holiday activities...things such as decorating Morgan's bike for the campground parade and participating in the zany pool games. Keri made an unexpected appearance to my delight so I spent much of my time trying to soak up as much of her as possible.

The campground was filled to the brim and constantly abuzz. While this is one of my most favorite times to visit, it is also my least favorite for lack of quiet. Geez! Now I know I'm getting old! Seems I am in constant search of peace and quiet! LOL! Honestly, my favorite time at the campground is late at night, during the camp imposed quiet hours when the moon is dancing through the trees and the flicker of campfires cast wonderfully eerie shadows throughout the park. Soft spoken conversations and light laughter can be heard while the distinct aroma of wood burning fills the air. Ahhhhhh! Such peace. Leaves me all warm and fuzzy inside.

So what did your holiday include? Lots of family time? Picnics and parades? How about fireworks?

Of course, I just mentioned the family time, but no picnics or fireworks for us. And the only parade we saw was the mini parade of decorated golf carts and bicycles that meandered through the park.

Morgan loves participating in the parade, but she came to the conclusion that this is the last year she will do so via a bicycle. Next year, she plans to graduate to our golf cart where she can ride and toss candy to all the campers lining the park streets. I personally see this as a smart choice. Why use pedal-power when you can use battery-power???

In my title I mentioned campfires, parades and a dip cone. Are any of you fans of Dairy Queen's dip cones? Friday night as we were finishing dinner, Keri mentioned how much she could "go for a DQ butterscotch dip cone". Now you all KNOW how much of a sweet tooth Keith has, so he was all over that suggestion. Within seconds, he had Mona (his GPS) out of the car and had her calculating the distance to the nearest DQ. Fourteen miles were between us and dessert. We rapidly cleared the table and piled in the car on a quest for this...

The commute was fun. We laughed at all the crazy stories Keri shared about her summer antics., discussed her return to Georgia and had an overall nice time. As we made our way through Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge, we could already see the chairs lining the streets for the midnight parade. No matter that it is was only 8:00 pm. With only 4 hours to go, everyone and all who knew them wanted to be assured a good spot. In all the years I've been going to Gatlinburg for the 4th, I've never gone to the midnight parade. We joked about being able to see the parade this year as the traffic going back into Gatlinburg was brutal. With Keith's hang-ups about slow moving traffic, we were all happy to be moving in the opposite direction of the traffic jam.

Fourteen miles later, Mona informed us we were "Arriving At Destination". Only problem was, there was no DQ in sight. Obviously, Mona had been misinformed. No worries. She had another one stored in her memory bank...this one 11 miles further. We laughed and slightly moaned about the misinformation but continued on.

Eleven more miles and again Mona declared "Arriving At Destination". Once more...No. Dairy. Queen. We were now only a few miles from Interstate 40. We decided to give Mona one more chance. The next DQ was 15 miles Knoxville, TN! Within seconds we had decided we had come this far, why not go the literal extra mile. This time, Keri decided to be the smart one and called to verify one actually existed at this location. First call was a misdial and she connected to someone's residence. On second try, she hit pay dirt. Someone from DQ answered. BUT! In her sweetest Tennessee accent, the employee informed us that DQ had closed fifteen minutes earlier. We were now well on our way to Knoxville, TN to a DQ that was already closed. We could either laugh or cry. We decided to laugh.

We had one final choice. We could cut our losses or we could risk being burned by Mona yet again. Yep. We are gluttens for punishment, so we consulted Mona one more time. This time, we were directed to Newport, TN...the opposite direction of Knoxville. Good news about heading in this least we were pointed toward home AND we would be avoiding the Gatlinburg traffic...albeit a very round-about detour. Once again, we called to verify. The ice cream shop did in fact exist but it would close at 10:00 pm. Fortunately, the drive-thru would be open until 11:00. It was 9:25 (yes, we had been searching for ice cream for an hour and a half!). The race was on. We could most certainly go through the drive-thru, but at this point, it was all about the principle of enjoying our cones while planting our butts on the hard laminated booths inside the establishment! We aren't stubborn souls, now are we? LOL!

With 6 miles to go and 15 minutes left to get there, we thought we had made it. Then would you know, we hit a total lock-down on moving traffic. A local fair had ended and they were diverting traffic back onto the highway. Looked as if we were not going to make it after all. But the ice cream gods decided to smile down upon us and the traffic eventually began to move, When we spotted the glowing red DQ sign, we let out a whoop to be heard throughout the state of Tennessee! We pulled into the parking lot at 9:56 and we were eating ice cream by 9:59!

I'm sure you can imagine that was THE best ice cream we had ever eaten. Given we had traveled 2 hours, passed numerous Marble Slabs, multiple Baskin-Robbins and a mutlitude of McDonald's (my favorite for a quick fix), we HAD to have DQ! By the time we got back to the camper (10:45 pm), I did a quick assessment and realized we could have driven to Asheville (home) and back in the same amount of time! And I know EXACTLY where the DQ is located in Asheville. To HECK with Mona!!!

One final side note...Keri decided to make the trouble worth it. After finishing her first medium-sized cone...she went back for a second! This time she decided to save calories and only ordered a small. As I've said many times before....she is sooooooo my daughter!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wishing You...

...a very happy 4th of July! Hope it is filled with friends, family, laughter and fireworks of the most spectacular kind!