Sunday, February 28, 2010

Collector of Collections

I have mentioned in a previous post that i collect quotes (among other things). These quotes have come to me through many different times in my life. They often reflect my mood at the moment or speak to me about something on a deeper level.

Perhaps my fascination with quotes is that, someday, I, too, hope to say something witty or wonderful or deep enough for people to say over & over again...

So enamored with quotes I am that I painted them on the living room wall of the first house I owned. I loved it! It was something that was truly me and though they were a ridiculous pain to paint over when I sold the house, I would do it again!

Don't tell Cop'er, but I have been eyeballing some walls in our house...

Here are a few of my most recent finds:
  • Surrender isn't about giving up. It's about letting go.
  • If you want to be understood... listen. ~Babel
  • The decisions you make are important... but not that important.
  • Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you'll ever regret. ~Laurence J. Peter
  • Behind every argument is someone's ignorance. ~Louis Brandeis
  • If you believe in eternity, life is irrelevant. ~from "House"
  • Creativity is a drug I cannot live without. ~ Cecil B. DeMille
  • Dance is the hidden language of the soul. ~Martha Graham

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cast of Characters

It's come to my attention that I am introducing more & more "characters" to my blogs & maybe it's time to do a little synopsis of these people & where they fit into the Grayzeee Life.

Cop'er = my husband, Aaron. We met on & were married 4 yrs again. He's 'from' Missouri, though he's lived in many places since his dad was in the military. Cop'er is... a cop. He's also got a great retirement & pension! Hmm. Is that info only important to the woman who will be retiring with him???

Sister Fantanimal = my sister, Candice. She's the 'forgotten/overlooked/stepped over/pushed aside' (did i forget any of the words you told me to use?) middle sister. MEN - She's single!!! Sister F is an animal lover. I'd like to say 'dog lover', but I'm just not sure it matters what kind of animal it is! Her house is a menagerie with animals coming & going.

Sister KidEduc8r = my sister, Heather. She's the 'parents' favorite/baby/always got her way' (Sister F - did forget any of the words you told me to use for her?) youngest sister. (Yes, you guessed it - no boys in this family. Defective sperm?) KidEduc8r is a teacher of America's future. You know the kind - looking for snow days & school holidays. She's mommy to Ry-Guy & Caidelcake with another on the way.

Mi Madre = pretty obvious that this is my mother, mom, mama, Ellen. She's... hmmm... well, she's RETIRED! That's right. She now keeps a pretty mean house, cooks a wicked dinner & watches my nephews in her massive amount of free time. Sometimes she's just too tired to do all though, especially after a long battle with her computer!

Mi Padre = this is my pops, pox. dad, Ted. He's a pharma-father. We like that & enjoy having our own personal pharmacist 'on staff' at home. He's a collector of things too - coins, baseball cards, a few Civil War odds & ends (well, what did you expect - we live in VA!). Mi Padre also gave me a love for thunderstorms (something Mi Madre curses every summer)!

FlyRunner = my cousin, Angel. FlyRunner is a swimmer (from VT [scholarship] days) and mommy to Austin & Carter; wife to Collins (look for their character names in a future posting). She's a writer and photographer too - perhaps this runs on Mi Madre's side!? She is also a wonderful friend, soft-spoken and ballsy.

AriCaVA = you met her here. She's Betsy, the BFF, the big cheese, my 'go to' person. We met at Circuit City in 1994. After her west coast adventures, I am THRILLED that she calls VA home again. She's a landscape architect by trade, but I believe she likes "partner in crime to her BFF" as a better title. AriCaVa is mommy to Jelly and Otoño Poco; mistress wife to Mr. AriCaVA, who I have decided to introduce by another name later in this episode.

Cattails = I mentioned her lack of surprise about me in this post. She's Ashley, my lunch buddy, bridesmaid, DD, Saturday afternoon playdate. I met Cattails through Sister F. They were friends; now we are friends. Big ole happy family. She's a number cruncher and works for the state. (Possibly a State of Confusion?). She's wifey to DragonSlayer & mommy to Sweet Pea and soon-to-be Little Pea.

Ry-guy = my oldest nephew, Rylan. He loves to call Cop'er, "Snickelfritz" and play in our 'pirate ship' (swingset outside). He's a smart cookie, is in his first year of 'big kid school', loves drawing and is very sweet. Ry-guy is into being best buds with Cop'er and stirring up trouble when the 2 are together. I have to admit, Cop'er is VERY impressionable!

Caidelcake = my younger nephew, Caiden. He's 'the man' - much more rough & tumble than Ry-guy was, but loves him some fruits & veggies! He could put most adults to shame! Caidelcake loves being involved in anything Ry-guy is into and makes faces that will keep you laughing for hours. He also has a great sad face -- pretty convincing when he needs it! I totally fall for it!

Jelly = my honorary nephew, Jeffery (who I call Jeff), Since our first meeting when he was a mere 2 months old, we've been compadres. I'm Aunt Amie to him - even if he won't let ME read bedtime stories. We always have a great time eating pancakes & checking out everything in Michaels! 

Otoño Poco = my honorary niece, Katie. Katie & I are still feeling each other out. She's new to my world, so I understand it takes a little getting used to. I also know sometimes you just have to let it all out - just scream until it's out! You gotta be heard! I think she's starting to like me though. Just this past weekend I got a SMILE & A CRY out of her! Talk about progress!

Sweet Pea = Cattails' daughter, Sarah, who is 5. She's a character! I have this recent memory of her walking right into my house for a pool party. She just opened the door, walked in ahead of her parents & said 'hi Amie'... then walked right past me to where the action was. I was amazed by her seemingly fearless side! She's a talker & a questioner & I think someone is going to have their hands full when she gets older! Time to lock her into the bedroom!

DragonSlayer = Cattails' hubby, Kev... or as I like to call him Kevey and my 2nd husband. Since he was with Cattails before I got to know her, he came with that package. It's a good thing I think he's pretty cool! He's currently best known as director of "daddy daycare", but he also does a good interpretation of mechanic, computer repairman, mover, painter, gamer, friend. He's gearing up for the arrival of Little Pea... hoping for a repeat performance of pink.

DuJour = AriCaVa's hubby, Josh. DuJour is a chef! Calm your tastebuds down! He's taken! Well, I suspect for the right price he could be yours! Wait. I mean, for catering, cheffing, those food things. Not the other thing you were thinking about! He's quietly witty & one of the (if not THE) biggest Star Wars lovers I have ever met! DuJour is also outdoorsy &, from what I hear, might just be someone's Prince Charming.

Until our next casting call...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Tale of O

My Lil Guy is quite adventurous. He likes to check out the grand world around him. He sniffs & runs & barks & chases his siblings all around the spacious (to his small size) backyard.
He also likes to go on car rides. When he hears the keys being moved, people gathering things to leave the house, he's right there at the door BEGGING to go out. I mean, BEGGING as if it's his lifeline & he must leave through that door -- to the other world only found by exiting via the 'big people hole'. We don't fall for that cute, furry little face; we know he's just trying to get his way.

With the snow covering the ground (& him), he wasn't as inclined to go out & about -- through either front or back door. One day we happened to be outside digging the driveway out from under its white blanket and we let Lil Guy out with us. After all, he couldn't get too far. He had a ball boucing in the footprints we'd made; hopping through the snow mounds like a teeny little gazette - everso graceful with the flakes of snow sticking to his nose.

After a while he tired of the constraints the snow was causing on his adventurous nature and wanted to go inside. Or was it b/c we were tired of making sure he didn't make a quick dash into the neighbor's yard???

A few days later I was going to get something out of my car & he was waiting by the door. Well, i guess I wasn't fast enough --- he slipped right by & out the door. No problem, I thought. There's still snow everywhere out there! It's freezing! And it's dark too! Where's would he really go?

Well... perhaps I should have asked "where wouldn't he go?"!!! As I slowly made my way down the slick steps, he'd made his way down the street! I walked down the driveway, calling his name. He was nowhere to be found. It became apparent that he wasn't going to come to me with a simple calling of the name.

I came to a crossroads.

No, he wasn't there waiting for me.

Crossroads = do I go in & get a flashlight or try to find him in the dark?

Hmph. Neither.

I'll call Cop'er. So what if he wasn't there & 10 miles from the house working an off-duty job. I pull out my cell & call him up... "O RAN AWAY & I CAN'T FIND HIM!!!!!!!!!!"

Cop'er: What? Are you serious?
Me: YES!!!!!
Cop'er: Why did you let him out?
Cop'er: Well, just call his name.
Cop'er: What do you want me to do about it?
Cop'er: You shouldn't have let him out...

Me: [click] *thinking -- I don't have time for the blame game--my pup is lost in the big city!*

Back at the crossroads (still no pup). Flashlight or walking through the dark, snowy streets of my 'hood. Ok, I'm going in for the flashlight. Maybe a coat too. Possibly some gloves & a scarf (I said it was cold!).

Back out with the flashlight... down the driveway. Uh oh. Another crossroads - go left, go right. Think like the Lil Guy. Which way would he go?

I picked right. Walking down the street with my flashlight, which, by the way, isn't lighting much!

"COME 'ERE, O!!!!"

Nothing. No little tags jingling. No sounds of small paws digging out of the snow (I had visions of him falling into one of those deep piles of snow on the side of the road. He might have frozen instantly!).

Ok. I can't find him. My mind starts wondering what to do next. Calm down. Just go inside & find a good picture of him & we'll make some 'Lost Lil Guy' flyers and post them up around the neighborhood.

I wonder how much Cop'er would let me put for the reward. How much is our 'child's' return worth to him?

Perhaps I should say 'how much is your wife's happiness worth to you?'... I think that's a more effective (& realistic!) way to word it!

Then I start to really think about it and come to the conclusion that no one is going to find that cutey pie & give him back willingly. I might have to get Cop'er to bring the law down on them!

As I am plotting how to retrieve my pup from his new home, I turn the corner of the next street moving the [very wimpy] flashlight beam into the darkness that swallowed Lil Guy up.

"COME 'ERE, O!!!!"


What was that? I saw something move (yes, at this point, it could have totally been my imagination).

AHA! There he is!!!! He was actually walking up someone's driveway, sniffing along the way.

I crouch down to his level (sorta) & call him. He stops. Looks at me. Smiles (no lie). Starts running my way.

YEAH!!! Here he comes!!! Come on, boy!!!

There he goes. Right past me. What a tease.

Oh & looky there... a car coming too! Great. How are they going to see this Lil Guy amongst the huge snow piles??? I start flashing my light so they see me & the pup. The car slows. Lil Guy keeps on walking down the street like he's large & in charge. As the car turns down the street we were just on, I hear the driver yell out his window "My dog does that all the time!".

Great. Maybe that's where mine learned it! (Geez. Will this night ever end?)

Me, the dutiful mother, still following behind him with the hopes he's going to get tired & realize we are passing the house --- in the other direction now.

HiHo HiHo... still toolin' down the street, checking things out, just not slow enough to get caught.

OH!!!! FUN!!!! Another car coming TOWARD us. I'm flashing the light again. Walking in the middle of their lane. They stop. When I finally walk passed their car, they're laughing.

Nice! Hahaha to you too!

Lil Guy is still a good ways ahead of me. I don't know if I am going to be able to catch this little mongrel! Now he's walked up someone's driveway again - looking back over his shoulder to see how much distance he'd put between us.

He's at the sidewalk now... Great. What's next? Will he be going to the porch & ringing the doorbell? Sure, I'm sure they have some nice kibble & a warm bed for you!

And just when i think he's going to make another path to avoid slippery capture... he stops. Hmmmm... well, what do we have here?

A scent?
A special treat?
A bigger dog? (Though I don't think this would have stopped him)
A cat?

No... it's the end of the sidewalk. It's snow. Snow that no one had walked through. Snow that was still as high as he was tall.

Thank heavens! I nab the little devil & tell him he better not do that again. I don't know that he understood b/c as soon as we got home & closed the front door, he was there begging to go out again.

Since then I'd like to say he hasn't gotten out... he has. This time it was with Cop'er & he 'chased' (down very icy streets, but in the daylight) Lil Guy a few blocks down the road until a neighbor caught him. I think it's safe to say after that episode, Cop'er knew exactly what I felt like when I called to tell him O got out.

I watched from the window.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

5K... it's not about the money

My cousin, Angel (we'll call her "FlyRunner"), has done the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Charlotte for as long as I can remember. I have always been in awe of that probably b/c I am the farthest thing from a runner there can be. I think I might even RUN FROM RUNNING.

She signs up & straps on that race number every year and finishes at a time about 12 years ahead of what I might do. Not only does she run the race, she also raises money for it too! Talk about great multi-tasking!

Recently, after a bit of research on her part, FlyRunner discovered The Breast Cancer Research Foundation has a larger portion of its donations going to ACTUAL research. She has since suggested that all those generous donors out there send their funds to an organization that uses those donations in a way she felt would better serve the future for curing breast cancer... and she still runs the Komen race.

The race in Charlotte is usually in October. Last year, FlyRunner wasn't able to do the race for scheduling challenges, so she's making up for it by doing two races this year - the Richmond & the Charlotte races.

The Race for the Cure in Richmond is one Saturday in May. Since just about all of FlyRunner's family lives in the area (or close enough to drive), it's a great opportunity for everyone to take part in it. When I was approached with the idea to walk (yes, we are WALKING this race. FlyRunner will run the Charlotte race later in the year), I didn't hesitate. I have wanted to do something like this for a long time & this was perfect!

So started "Jean's team"... Named in memory of my aunt, FlyRunner's mother, the women (ok, mi padre too and assorted kids of male variety) in my family will be getting together to walk in her honor. I have to admit, I am really looking forward to it! I want to finish the walk/race with new inspiration within me; having been through an experience that not everyone has done; and completed for reasons that are imporantant to me and my family.

I have a while to prepare for it... Looks like it's about time to lace up those shoes & get outside!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Healthy Lifestyle Change... NOT DIET!

For those of you who don't know, I started a 'healthy lifestyle change' on January 4th. While you might think it fell into the timing of New Year's Resolution, it was not. It was merely a decision I knew I needed to make & thought it was time to do so.

A healthy lifestyle change can, to some, be thought of as a diet, but we don't use the "d" word around this house. This change doesn't have a specific amount of time tied to it, as it's something I plan to keep doing and not drop (like a loaded mass of carbs) once i get to the "golden weight."

Cop'er is also taking part of the change, but he's having a harder times with the 'rules'. For example, 100-calorie snack packs aren't really supposed to be in place of eating a healthy snack. I like to think instead of downing a big 'ole piece of chocolate cake b/c i have a hankering for chocolate that I will reach for a 100-calorie pack of chocolate cookies to ease that craving. He doesn't see it like that...

Gotta an itch for something to eat mid-morning? 100-calorie pack.

Need something to tide you over before dinner? 100-calorie pack.

Have a sweet tooth at midnight? 100-calorie pack.

I do give him props for eating more fruits! (We are still working on more veggies).

i mentioned in an earlier post that I haven't have fast food or soft drinks for almost 7 wks. I don't really miss the Coke or Sprite much - I'm an iced tea drinker - but i sure am wanting McDonald's french fries! Cop'er gives me the standard advice, "if you want them, go order a small size & get it out of your system. Depriving yourself doesn't help."

I don't think this is a good idea... I think it's only going to wake a sleeping giant --- a McDonald's french fry eating giant! Once it's turned loose, I'm not sure it can be contained.

Hmmm... How do I tell my family we can't go to McD's for the annual Christmas Eve dinner???

I'm drinking more water, making better choices for meals & trying not to overdo it. If i have something "bad" for lunch, I go completely "good" for dinner. It's all about balance, right? & I should be good at that since I'm a Libra!

Speaking of "scales"... yeah... that thing! Yes, I've been on them. Completely. I've lost 7lbs, so that's about 1 lb a week. Not too shabby! "They" say you need to lose it slowly if you have any hope of keeping it off. Still... that's a number on my doctors & myself know! (I did see Cop'er trying to sneak up on me the other day to peek over my shoulder. Luckily I have eyes in the back of my head [& he wasn't very stealth], so the secret remains).

Here's to another week of making better choices and fighting the fries for dominance in the world!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What's the Deal?

So what's the deal?
I can't, for the life of me, understand the phrase "pee my pants"...

Let's think about it. How exactly do you PEE your PANTS? Aren't you really PEEING in your pants? I guess it's a verb now... poop my pants; dirty my pants; iron my pants?

I still don't get it. I just can't bring myself to say those words... in that context. It's not right. It's a crime against grammar! & I will not sin against those laws!

What's the deal with "making love"? That was a family favorite at my house growing up. Sister Fantanimal LOVES when we say it. And when i say "loves" i mean she throws up in her mouth a little bit. Then mi madre chimes in with "You can't MAKE love" like it's something created in a science lab.

I think she might be wrong. After all, there are MILLIONS of romance novels that use "making love" to describe the hot, lustful waves of passion two overtly sexual people engage in as they get tangled in the sticky, steamy ritual on one forbidden night after eyeing each other longingly from across a crowded room as their current lovers hold them tight in a possessive embrace...

...huh [clearing the glassy eyed look away]... what was I saying?

Oh yeah... i just don't get it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Another List... Type A gone crazy

I know Cattails wouldn't have been surprised if I'd written that I like to make lists... or that I am a Type A personality. But thinking about lists made me want to do another one! I know, these are only fun for me! Skip ahead, if you must!

Songs I know all the words to - you might be surprised
  1. Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio
  2. Take Me Home, Country Road - John Denver
  3. Love on the Rocks - Neil Diamond
  4. Runaround Sue - Dion
  5. All I Need - Motley Crue
  6. Lose Yourself - Eminem
  7. All the songs in the "Miss Saigon" musical soundtrack
  8. Get Stoned - Hinder
  9. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley's version
  10. Heartless - Kris Allen's version (YUM!)
Songs I know all the Words to - You will totally NOT be surprised!
  1. Anything by Chicago (it was pointless to try & narrow it down)
  2. My Immortal - Evanescence
  3. Livin' La Vida Loca - Ricky Martin
  4. Mandy - Barry Manilow
  5. Anything by Josh Groban (even more pointless than trying to narrow down Chicago songs!)
  6. Fame - Ireme Cara
  7. What Goes Around - Justin Timberlake
  8. Walk Away Renee - Left Banke
  9. Amie - Pure Prairie League (yes, they really spell it like that!)
  10. This Woman's Work - Kate Bush or Maxwell (I like both versions)
10 Movies I have seen more than 5 times
  1. Titanic
  2. Top Gun
  3. Troy
  4. Man on Fire
  5. Jerry Maguire
  6. Legend of the Falls
  7. National Treasure
  8. The Cutting Edge
  9. Beauty & the Beast / The Little Mermaid
  10. A Walk to Remember

10 Movies I have never seen (& many of you will think I need to!)
  1. Casablanca
  2. Miracle on 34th Street
  3. A Christmas Story
  4. Pulp Fiction
  5. A Clockwork Orange
  6. Gone with the Wind
  7. An Affair to Remember
  8. The Big Easy
  9. Wuthering Heights
  10. Citizen Kane
Ok, enough of the lists for today. I think I might have oozed all of the Type A out of me for the moment.

Addendum to 100 Things about Me

A good friend, we'll call her Cattails, told me today that my list of 100 things didn't tell her anything new about me! How??? Out of 100 things there was nothing new??? No surprises???

It's exactly what I feared... i. am. an. open. book. No surprises. No skeletons in the closet. Nothing to make jaws drop. How boring can I be?

Ok, Cattails, I'm going to try for something that you didn't know... I don't care that we have been friends for more years than I can remember! I WILL TELL YOU SOMETHING NEW!
  1. (101) I think taking showers are a total waste of time... baths too... but, that doesn't mean I don't take them. I see them as a necessary evil.
  2. (102) I like rap music... ok, not all rap, but i don't mind it if i can understand what they are saying!
  3. (103) I don't own an iPod. I own a Zune.
  4. (104) I have SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. I need lots of light (& chocolate) during the cold grey winter months!
  5. (105) I would like to fill my house with photographs I have taken - larger than life photos.
  6. (106) I don't like coconut, cherries or eating oranges. (I also don't like OJ with pulp - reminds me of drinking hair!)
  7. (107) I collect quotes.
  8. (108) I won't let Cop'er use the 'good towels' for showers. Now that I think about it, I can't recall letting him use the good towels ever. He's very dirty!
  9. (109) I would like to learn how to do stained glass creations... but I don't have much interest in pottery.
  10. (110) I only do easy/medium sudoku puzzles. The hard ones take too long & get too messy. I might like a challenge, but not that one!
  11. (111) I have been collecting Disney ornaments for longer than I have known Cattails! I have a Christmas tree with nothing but Disney on it!
  12. (112) I know how to crochet and cross-stitch, but I haven't mastered the sewing machine (& I do own one!)
  13. (113) I have worn contacts since I was in 8th grade. I hate glasses, but enjoy the new ones I just got because they make me look cute & smart. (It doesn't matter that those are things I said about myself!)
  14. (114) I have read the whole Twilight series & know it's not about vampires as much as it's a love story... & who doesn't enjoy a love story??? hmmm... maybe I should ask Sister Fantanimal!!
  15. (115) My ears make too much earwax. It's been that way since I was a kid.
  16. (116) Even though I have many purses, I have yet to find "the perfect purse"... Hence the reason I have many purses.
  17. (117) If I were to let my hair grown into its natural color, I fear I would age 30 years. (Thanks, Mom. I'm sure that was your side of the family blessing me with the early grays!)
  18. (118) I prefer to spell 'gray' with an 'e' rather than an 'a'... as in grey. Unfortunately that's not going to work with my last name, Grayson.
  19. (119) I only wear 2 colors of socks - Black & white - unless it's a holiday. I have socks for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's and St Patty's Day.
  20. (120) I use colored staples, colored paper clips and colored binder clips at work. No one else does.
Well, Cattails, that's all i have right now. I hope at least ONE thing was something new for you! If not, I'm going to have to suggest we not spend anymore time together until I can acquire something new & exciting to talk about!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

100 Things about Me (that you did or didn't know)

  1. I’m the oldest of 3 girls.
  2. My parents are still married—celebrating 40 years this year!
  3. I’m 2.5 years away from the big 4-0 myself! But… in birthday years.
  4. I’m married to a cop.
  5. I have 3 dogs (I usually only claim one of them & the others in the generic “our” sense).
  6. I have 2 cats—all are completely mine!
  7. I love the autumn; ‘tis my favorite season! I was born in the fall!
  8. I’m a Libra—highlights of that sign are charming, balanced (emotionally and mentally), artistic, romantic. Sounds just like me!
  9. I’ve lived in the Mechanicsville/Richmond area all my life.
  10. I’m a graduate of VCU with a degree in Communication Arts & Design; minor in photography.
  11. I was a commuter student.
  12. I like getting flowers, but not roses. They are so ‘everyday’.
  13. I think a hammock is a great place to waste time and take a nap.
  14. I have a pool at my house and I like it, but I wish the water stayed warmer longer.
  15. I have a job that I really like.
  16. I love all things Scottish and Celtic.
  17. I have been to Scotland, Spain and many places in the Caribbean.
  18. I love to travel, even for work.
  19. I love cruising, but even I sometimes want a land vacation.
  20. I finally saw a Broadway play last year—The Lion King. It was magical!
  21. I have 2 nephews on my side of the family & 2 nieces, 1 nephew on Cop’er’s side.
  22. My sister, KidEduc8r, lives 1 mile from me; my parents, 4 miles.
  23. My favorite food is Mexican—chips & salsa at the top of the list.
  24. My favorite color is orange—that bright, fiery orange color that runs rampant in the middle of autumn!
  25. My pup, Lil Guy, sleeps right next to me at night with his FrogDog (toy) & I love it!
  26. I have been watching “All My Children” & “General Hospital” since I was just a flicker of life; thanks, Mom.
  27. I watched “Days of Our Lives” when I was a teenager, but couldn’t keep up.
  28. I have a Pontiac G6; I think I could very well be the reason they went out of business!
  29. I am addicted to blankets, bags, purses, pens, paper and lip gloss. Contrary to what some people think, I don’t have that many coats or shoes!
  30. I can put furniture together (by myself) & I do read the directions.
  31. I have my own craft room (also doubles for the guest room) and Cop’er has a Man Cave (I try not to step foot in there).
  32. I like big piles of money, but never did I say it was the way to making one happy.
  33. I enjoy a walk to the mailbox to find something other than bills. A card & letter are wonderful surprises!
  34. I don’t like how the dryer shrinks things… especially my sweatpants!
  35. I love photography and wish I was a landscape photographer for National Geographic.
  36. I also wish I could live off my writing skills.
  37. I like grammar rules.
  38. I miss having a fire in the fireplace, but hear it’s not good for those with allergies.
  39. I have allergies.
  40. I get allergy shots 2x a month.
  41. Our dog, Jake, snores; so does Roxy, my cat.
  42. I have headaches frequently & they think it’s from the changes in the barometric pressure.
  43. I have dated a police officer; doctor; lawyer; men from the Navy and the Army; graphic designers…
  44. I met Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”, “Felicity”) at a tradeshow in Chicago last year. I got my picture taken with him.
  45. I ‘stalked’ the cast of “Dawson’s Creek,” with my camera, when they were in town for a shoot at the University of Richmond many years ago.
  46. I love a good chick flick, but also like mysteries and dramas; however, I am very picky about my comedy.
  47. I can make jewelry… I like to give it away.
  48. My favorite authors are Nora Roberts & Patricia Cornwell (she writes about things in VA & I think it’s cool to read about things I know).
  49. I like frogs and have a collection of them in my house.
  50. I also have birdhouses in my kitchen.
  51. My favorite candle scents are citrus varieties and cinnamon.
  52. I don’t have a favorite book.
  53. My favorite movies are Titanic, Beauty & the Beast, Man on Fire, National Treasure (1 & 2).
  54. This blog has been ‘alive’ since 2007.
  55. I love to write. I have kept a journal since I was a freshman in college (if you are doing the math, that’s 20 yrs).
  56. I’m not a computer genius, but I can find my way around one.
  57. My desk at work is very organized; my house is not except for the closets & cabinets.
  58. I like it when women are strong role models – especially when up against men.
  59. I think it’s ok if a woman just isn’t meant to be a stay-at-home-mother.
  60. I voted for Obama and I’m not ashamed of it. I still think the guy needs a chance to make things happen. If I have to, I will re-evaluate in 4 years. All I know—it’s not as bad as a Bush!
  61. I used to like watching the Olympics. I can’t get into it now.
  62. My favorite shows on TV are: House, Bones, American Idol, Paranormal State.
  63. I love all things paranormal: ghosts, spirits, hauntings, etc.
  64. I have been to quite a few NASCAR races. They are actually quite fun.
  65. I’ve been to Loch Ness, Scotland. I didn’t see the monster.
  66. I have been to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
  67. I wished I was an exercise junkie, but I’m not.
  68. My given name was originally spelled with a ‘y’; it’s now spelled with ‘ie’ & it’s a legal change.
  69. My dad is a pharmacist and my mom is a ‘retired’ nurse. Together they make a doctor!
  70. I love sunsets, sunrises (though I don’t see many of them), and long walks on the beach.
  71. I also like short walks on the beach.
  72. I just like anything about the beach.
  73. I had a convertible for a while (someone wrecked it for me) and I loved it! And I miss it!
  74. I’ve fallen off a horse (don’t ask Cop’er to repeat that story).
  75. I have a collection of over 250 DVDs.
  76. I only wear silver and silver-toned jewelry.
  77. I like shirt with collars or v-necks the best.
  78. I hate when my socks won’t stay in place and I have to fidget with them all day.
  79. I think cat and dog hair is just another thing to wear.
  80. Sharpie markers with the fine tip rock!
  81. We have a Florida/Sun room in our house & it’s completely opposite of Florida temperatures in the winter. I think is should change to the Alaska room then.
  82. My favorite color to wear is aqua/teal/blue.
  83. I’m a night person; hate mornings.
  84. I like to save my change, count it and roll it into big money!
  85. I think naps are wonderful ways to waste time.
  86. Text messaging is a great invention.
  87. I used to use Macs, now it’s PC all the time.
  88. I have a Wii, but it’s not as much fun as one-player.
  89. I haven’t had a soda in 6+ weeks.
  90. I haven’t had (the bad kind of) fast food in 6+ weeks.
  91. I wish I had a week off to catch up on my leisure reading.
  92. I like “So You Think You Can Dance”… I wish I was a dancer.
  93. I love my new camera. I wish I was able to experiment in farway places with it.
  94. I like to get dressed up with fancy clothes and makeup… once in a while.
  95. I enjoy hosting parties but not the clean up or prep work.
  96. I think the invention of the DVR has totally changed the way I watch TV.
  97. I like to support breast cancer and wear the pink ribbon. I know there are other cancers, but this one is the closest to my heart & my family.
  98. I would like to see Josh Groban in concert several times a year.
  99. I love summer thunderstorms.
  100. I want to see all of the states in the US before I die.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tricks of the Trade

As part of the ongoing completion of the New Year's Resolution, I am trying to learn new Photoshop tricks. I'm hoping to take my photos to a 'new level'. I watched a few tutorials online, but I am not all that sure of how this newly acquired knowledge is going to be put to use. I have tried out a few things... here are the results:

Not too shabby for a few 'tricks'...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Autumn, My Love

  • I was born in autumn...
  • I got married in autumn...
  • My favoriate color can be found front & center in autumn...
  • I was accepted into a juried art show in college with a photo series of autumn shots...
  • My favorite weather can be found in autumn...
Here's what autumn looks like to me...

The Trip to Becoming My BFF

When it comes to the times in my life where I have made friends that have lasted a lifetime, I'd have to say it was college & the 7 years I spent at Circuit City. Perhaps it was the time in my life where relationships with peers were the most important part of life, molding me for the future, challenging me, keeping me sane in the transitional period into adulthood.

There are many people I am still very blessed to call friends--18 years later. I can't imagine what life would be like without them! We've grown up together, gotten married, gotten divorced, been through births & deaths, jobs & unemployment...

Through those years, there has been one person in particular who has managed to cement her place in my life. Little did we know that when I started working evenings part-time at Circuit City that it would be the makings of a lifelong friendship.

At the time, Betsy (let's call her "AriCaVa'" from this point out) was given the task of showing me the ropes and the inner workings of the Advertising Production Department. It's safe to say I don't remember much about the 'working' aspect. The images that come readily to my memory were 'snack time' every night at 7pm, and then dinner time once we were both working full-time; proofreading; felt tip pens; her engagement; her wedding; crazy co-workers; me dating someone she didn't like; understanding the signs of a 'bad day'... it really goes on & on.

Then AriCaVa & Mr. AriCaVa decided to move to Arizona.

What? Do you KNOW how far that is??? It's not a day trip, for certain! Just HOW do you think we are going to stay friends when you won't even be in the same time zone???

I admit, in the beginning it took a little getting used to. She's not a big phone talker; I'm a big writer. We started with letters and emails, pictures & cards. It wasn't too hard, but not the same as being in the same city.

What about girls' night out? Who was going to see chick flicks with me? Would I have to find a new "go to" person?

At that time in my life, getting the money and time to go see AriCaVa in Phoenix just wasn't an option. I was only able to see her when she was in town visiting family--and let's just admit I usually had to be squeezed in because the trips were so frantic! Hey, not a complaint. I loved the chance to see AriCaVa when I could. It was ok though, because whenever we met up, we just fell into that familiar place in our friendship. And also, by this time we were keeping connected even better! We had moved from regular 'ole letters to actually writing in notebooks. It suited me anyway, because i just write THAT MUCH!

Over the years, there were several BIG events I was lucky enough to have AriCaVa by my side... the couple's shower Cop'er & i were thrown for our wedding, my bachelorette party, my wedding. She wasn't just HERE for my wedding, she was my Matron of Honor. Where some ladies don't make the best MOH, AriCaVa was fantastic! She was so awesome, saying the right thing, doing the right thing, being supportive. Doesn't get better than that!

I have always been so humbled that she would fly all the way back to VA to partake in the activities of my life. I know the cost to both take time off work & purchase multiple plane tickets to the east coast was more than I could ask for. I can't imagine her not having been there though.

Cop'er & I got the chance to meet up with AriCaVa on a trip we took to Las Vegas. No, we didn't meet them in Sin City, but rendezvoused in beautiful Sedona. Cop'er & I made that side trip more for me to meet up with my best friend than to see Sedona, but it turned out that I loved all aspects of that journey and was glad to have seen it with her. (If you haven't been to Sedona, I highly suggest making time to go!)

Eventually the 'shine' of Arizona wore off, AriCaVa packed it all up again & found a new residence in... California??? When you hear the words "We're thinking about moving," you HOPE the next sentence is "We've decided to move back to Virginia."

But not... further west???? (& was she going to move all my notebooks with her?).
Personally, I thought it was time for her to move back to her FRIENDS and family.

Ok, fine... move further away if you must. (Secretly hoping they don't fall in love with the far west coast)... Sure, I guess i can still do the long-distance friendship thing.

They settled in Monterey, a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean. While sounding as picturesque as it looked, it seems the weather left a little something to be desired. I believe AriCaVa referred to it as permanently foggy, cool & missing the 4 seasons of the East Coast.
Darn. Sorry to hear that. That really sucks.

It was here in Monterey that our friendship took on a new facet. AriCaVa brought Jeffrey (we'll call him 'Jelly') in the world--even if it was into the Californian world! She was a mommy!

uh... i don't know how to act around Mommies. How would that change our friendship? I have no idea what we will have in common--i don't do diapers!

Jelly was born in December and i was able to make my way to California before he turned a year old; 2 months later, in fact. What an incredible time! It was so wonderful to see AriCaVa with her firstborn, learning the ropes; me, being able to practice and patent the famous "butt pat" with Jelly.

AriCaVa is the kind of friend & mommy who doesn't make every conversation about 'what baby does'. (Have I mentioned I love that about her?) We still talked about the same things, laughed over nothing & compared how nutty our husbands were. She never made me feel like I was 'less than' or 'didn't understand' because I wasn't a mother. You really can't ask for more than that...

Wait... I lied. You can. How's about moving back to Old Virginny???

Fast forward to my next birthday ----> I received a card/package from AriCaVa, as I usually do. What was in the package was the best part! She'd sent a notebook she'd finished writing in. It was small, so i could read it in one sitting. When I got to the end, she said she knew where they were moving next. (Yes, i knew they were thinking about moving again. They just weren't digging the West Coast with all it's expensive lifestyle, crazy weather & no BFFs).

You're right. I don't know if she really SAID that, but it was definitely implied!

Anyway, I thought to myself --- YES! Finally she is going to say she's moving back to the East Coast, somewhere like Charlotte or Charleston or New York or Philly. YEAH! Those are all easy plane rides away or a day trip driving. This was going to be awesome!

Except... she didn't mention any of those cities. I reread it again. Did she...? Really? There?

Hell yeah!!! HappyHappyJoyJoy! What AriCaVa did say could be some of the sweetest words a BFF can hear: "We are moving back to Virginia." (By this time, it had been about 10 years since they picked up their life in VA). I don't know that I have ever had a better birthday surprise... Well, except that year my parents changed the spelling of my name, but that's another story.

It seemed like forever and then it seemed as quick as the blink of an eye, but finally they were on the East Coast. Though they didn't move into my neighborhood like I campaigned, I'm just fine with a drive across the river. I have never been a fan of "South Side", but I do love getting together for girls' day, dinners, lazy get-togethers, holidays, celebrations and should either of us have one, emergencies...

Here's hoping I don't hear "We're talking about moving again" anytime soon!

* There is one side note I'd like to add: When 'unloading' their belongings from the cross-country move, they found themselves with a little something extra. AriCaVa, Mr. AriCaVa and Jelly added a special shade of pink to their new home: Katie (We'll call her "Otoño Poco"). Now their family is complete.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Few Shots from Snowhell

It's no surprise to some of you that I don't like the snow. I long for days with the windows down & the wind in my hair as I drive wherever I want just because I feel like it. Obviously, that's not going to happen in recent weather we've had.

Here are a few images from Snowhell 2010.

ABOVE: Lil Guy during the 2nd snowfall. He's looking a little like a full-fledged snowdog!

An interesting view of the headlight on my car melting the snow.

The snow through the trees in our backyard

A view of our house from the front

It looks like we have our own skating rink... the pool may never be the same!

A view from the comfort of my house, looking outside during a blizzard like moment (3rd snow)

I'll leave you with this pic. I happen to love this shot of Lil Guy... He's obviously planning his next escape down the street. If he's heading to the Caribbean, I'm likely to follow!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

An Odd Sense of Deja Vu

I love to see the beautiful white blanket of snow on the ground as much as the next person… but I have to draw the line at back-to-back weekend storms that bring so much snow I have to shovel out.

Again, I can’t deny the unspeakable beauty and peace that comes over the world when it’s covered in flake after flake of little white crystals from the sky.

But back to the “enough is enough”… I have a friend who doesn’t understand what all the complaining is about. After all, Richmond isn’t located in an area that is sure to NEVER receive snowfall. And to him I say, there are several reasons I’m no likin’ the repetitive snowfall right now.

1) I DID have plans for this weekend. With the snowfall, they have been postponed. I have been looking forward to this weekend for about a month now. Couldn’t the snow have waiting till next weekend? Give me a break???

2) As you know, we have 3 small (or short, however you view it) dogs. They don’t like have their private parts chilled when they go out to potty. While the pee hut has helped with those quick trips outside, it doesn’t do anything for the dog that’s a little shy about having everyone watching while he does his business. Let’s face it, the pee hut might be a little cramped for those “private moments."

3) We’ll have to shovel out of the driveway again this weekend… you know, because we don’t have anything else to do with our Sunday. What makes it worse is knowing we have to shovel out – to go to work!!! Come on! If we are going to waste the day doing something like that, at least it could be for a better reason!

I also don’t know how many people have this experience – the more you are in the house, the more you tend to eat. Now, I have to admit that I haven’t been too bad about this personally, but I feel for those friends with kids who can’t expend their energies outside! I imagine their food bills are a little ‘off’ right now!

I have looked ahead to the forecast for the coming week… it’s not pretty. They are calling for some sort of wintery mix on Tuesday.

Another site that’s pretty popular right now in Richmond is This is a private forecasting firm that specializes in providing forecasts for business & industry concerns. He wasn’t too far off in what happened with this storm & he was right on with the 2 before this—even contradicting the TV forecasters! Currently, he’s predicting another BIG ONE for Presidents’ Day… wait for it… WEEKEND!

I’m starting to feel like I should take a winter long nap. Who said hibernating is a bad thing?