Friday, September 29, 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Plethora of Different Thoughts

First of all, I have to say that I think cleats could possibly be my best investment of the summer. Yes, that's right, cleats. Not my best ever hold it all up and in strapless bra, not my way cute kitten-heeled sandals, not that great summer cocktail dress, and not the perfect, must have new handbag, but little boys soccer cleats. They are amazing for my lawn mowing endeavors. Since the purchase I've yet to fall on my bum when mowing the slope in our yard. It's great!

My husband has built a fancy new little cabinet for our office. I'm very impressed with it. The top will have our scanner and printer on it, and when you open the doors there is a shelf for office supplies and a pull out filing drawer. Impressive, huh?

I'm very excited about the roadtrip to Memphis this weekend with the Y's to see the S's. We have quite a full itinerary of tailgating, ballgaming, shopping, and enjoying the Memphis nightlife. Plus I love these people! Mrs. S and Mrs. Y are a couple of the best friends a girl could have. The only thing that could make this better would be if Mrs. G and Mrs. M could be there. However, I get to see Mrs. M the following weekend.

Tonight I've been invited to a festive girly little party! I'm very excited about spending a couple of hours with the ladies. These gatherings always prove to be a fabulous time. I'm excited for when my turn rolls around.

I'm absolutely loving the lovely weather God is giving us lately. Even though it poured rain this afternoon, it was a lovely afternoon for a duck. Otherwise the perfect temperatures have been amazing for spending time outdoors before the cold weather sets in.

I'm very much enjoying my hair being long. It's be so easy to work with and always manages to look nice. I hope I continue to like it for at least 4 or 5 more inches. My goal is to do Locks of Love again.

Lastly, I've decided I need a magic wand. Apparently people at work think I can make cars out of pumpkins.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Stamp My Passport, I Survived

That's right, I survived another trip to northern East Tennessee. I went to see my precious little brother play football last night. I'm so happy that I'm able to attend his games. I love that I live close by and can be there to support him.

Unfortunately, he didn't make a touchdown last night. But that's ok because no one else on his team did either! However they did play really well. Little brother got a lot of play time and I'm very proud of him.

He's so tiny, and although he's tall and I know that he has a lot of muscle and is super strong, I just want to scream when I see those chubby kids coming after him.


Besides the game, there was plenty of other entertainment out for the evening. All of the fine folk with no class and all redneck were out in full force. A few walked back and forth at the front of the railing of the bleachers. This is obvious because sitting down 2 feet back would hinder the referee from hearing their idiotic rants. It was great hearing them yell and coach the kids from afar. I'd love to see their football credentials.

However some are too lazy to stand up and just prefer to yell from their seats. Do you know that I heard obscenities yelled out at a middle school football game last night? Yes, I did. Isn't that sad? First of all I don't think such language should be used period, much less for any game or sporting event. But especially not for middle school kids.

So here we have handfuls of ignorant idiots making fools of themselves yelling at the referrees with such remarks as "throw this game, you've thrown the last four." Hmmm, let's talk about that. Of course the referrees are out to get one team. Perhaps the coaches should quit putting emphasis on a few key players and teach teamwork. Last year the coaches only cared about one kid who could run super fast if you'd just get him the ball.

So here we have this team of middle school boys who love the game and played their best yet are feeling about as low as gas prices in 1996. What ever happened to good sportsmanship? Perhaps we should teach these kids to keep their heads up and work harder for the next game. Teach them teamwork, teach them strategy, teach them the value of knowing that the worked hard and did their very best.

It was very sad. This team had so much to be proud of, yet I didn't hear any of the insane parents telling them that. They played a great game and had a very strong defense. The score was only 7-0, they worked really hard! As my husband said, you tend to be loyal to your highest education...perhaps why these guys are acting like idiots over middle school football rather than giving their children positive feedback and teaching them hardwork and dedication.

My favorite moment of last night: one of the players was undoubtedly acting in a way his mother didn't see fit. Unfortunately I didn't see what it was. What I did see was her marching down to the field, calling his name in that "motherly" tone, snapping her fingers and telling him "that is not what you're out there for!" It totally made my day. It's nice to know that some parents still value raising their children to know right from wrong.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tuesday Top Ten

Top Ten Things I Love About Autumn

  1. The beautiful mountain colors
  2. The cool, crisp air
  3. Wearing sweaters
  4. Apples-caramel apples and apple cider
  5. Football (hey-I live in TN!)
  6. Building fires
  7. My birthday
  8. Thanksgiving
  9. Road trips
  10. Grass cutting season is nearly over
  11. Soup! (ok so that's eleven, but it's a good one!)

In Christ Alone

IN CHRIST ALONE my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! - who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Wedding Affair

Two of my good friends JR and Lindsey were married on Saturday in a beautiful ceremony despite the last minute changes.

Of all times to have a torrential downpour with no end in sight, it was Saturday when they'd planned their outdoor wedding. The last minute changes put the ceremony in a gorgeous nearby church. The bridesmaids were so sweet and split up the guest list and began making phone calls to relay the new information to guests. The bride and groom were so over the moon on their wedding day that nothing could ruin it for them.

The ceremony was gorgeous and very reflective of the two of them. Lindsey looked absolutely beautiful in her dress, and they were very sweet as they prayed together. They have such a special story of being high school sweethearts and making it through the trials of growing up and going through college. They also had great music selections. I loved when they walked out to "Better Together."

The reception, however, was still outdoors. There was a huge tent set up and it was large enough for all of the guests. Unfortunately it had rained so much that even the covered ground was saturated and slightly muddy. The bride had about 4-6 inches of mud up the bottom of her dress. But she had the best attitude of "oh well, you only wear it once!" No amount of rain could ruin their day. Everyone had a great time of dinner and dancing.

I knew everything would go off without a hitch considering they had the best wedding coordinator ever (same as me), SEC! That girl is amazing and can do anything!

A few of my favorite touches were, of course, the ones that were mine. I was so happy to be able to help someone with their wedding because I had so much help with mine. Lindsey used my shepherd's hooks and pomanders and had white Christmas lights streaming from them. It was very pretty. I also liked the way the bride and groom honored their ushers and ceremony attendants by having them walk in pre-ceremony. The reverend's anecdote of seeing their love blossom from on-again, off-again, to back on-again was rather entertaining. When the bridal party was announced at the reception, they all did a different little dance, which was very cute, and very entertaining. Oh, and their was a double layer chocolate groom's cake. Yum.

It was so nice to see and catch up with many old friends from camp and college, especially MWBEIII. I absolutely love weddings! I'm thrilled I was able to be there. Witnessing your friends finding love and committing themeselves to one another in a ceremony before God, family, and friends is absolutely amazing. It is such an important and special part of someones life and such an honor for everyone involved. I love it being in and going to weddings.

Lindsey and JR are such sweet, caring, genuine people and I'm so happy to have them as my friends. I wish them many blessings as they begin their life together.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Yes, that would be my fabulous husband into GRAD SCHOOL! He heard back today and I couldn't be more happy or excited for him. Thankfully, once everything was turned in, it was a short wait of less than a day. Of course, who wouldn't want him? Yes, my hubby is going to have an MBA. That is so super exciting.

Now this definitely means we need to finish our (ok, my) project list before the holiday season rolls in because he will be starting school in January. We will be rather busy with visiting our families during Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as hosting a few Christmas parties so it will be nice to have it all completed.

I'm so excited! My husband is getting his MBA! We are going to be such a scholarly little couple.

So Sweet!

During the past week I've helped out two friends with with a couple of things just because I had the resources and I like to help people when I can, especially my friends. Well, in return they both gave me very generous gift cards as appreciation. How sweet is that? Totally not necessary and I definitely wasn't expecting it, but nonetheless it made my day to receive the sweet and thoughtful surprises. It's so nice to have sweet people in your life.

A New Baby

(No, no, no! Not my baby! Silly people!)

Last night J and I visited some great friends, the C family. Their new baby Riley is an absolute doll. He let me hold him and snuggle him for more than two hours. With his big brother (Ethan, 1), and big sister (Abbey, 4), he get plenty of love and snuggles. They are so darling together. They pet him so cute and Ethan likes to get right in his face to see him. He calls him "brudder" and it's darling. I'm so happy that they have finally been able to bring their little bundle of joy home from the hospital. He had a few complications at birth that kept him in the NICU with a few scary moments. Thankfully, he is doing very well and was able to go home. What a blessed little boy with such a wonderful family.

It was fun to visit and catch up with the C's. I never new that J and Brian had so much in common. Amy loves to sew, scrapbook, and be creative like me, so we have much in common as well. I loved hearing all of her fun ideas for decorating the kids rooms as well as the rest of their home. Their new house is so amazing in the cutest little neighborhood with a park just down the street. J and I fall in love with that area everytime we are there. While I don't think I could live in AC, we still have hopes of a cute little cottage on the lake. We know tons of friends in the AC area so it would be very fun to have a little place out there for the weekends on the lake and to sit by a fire in the winter.

Also on our journey last night was a stop by a favorite little AC deli. I got much entertainment out of the sign that read "We use cholesterol free oil" above the grill of the greasy burgers, dogs, and fries. Only in AC my friend!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Where's my passport?

I've always said people need a passport to visit my hometown M'burg or my school town R'ville. However, I think even I need one. I'm not sure why, but I'm continually shocked by the special breed of individuals and their actions. Most of them have nothing more to do than be loud, obnoxious, idiots who enjoy making total fools of themselves. It is, however, quite entertaining.


I could not be more proud of my little brother! I'm so happy I was able to attend his game last night and see his touchdown! He was a high scorer in the game making half of the points! Ok, so there were only two touchdowns....but, ONE OF THEM WAS MY LITTLE BROTHER!!

I'm so fortunate to be able to live close enough to him to make evening trips to see his games. I love the little moments like that. He loves playing football and that makes me happy that he has something and somewhere to devote his time and energy. I adore my little brother, he's the best!

I'm such a proud big sister!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday Top Ten

Desserts, in no particular order.

  1. Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing. Preferably made with real carrots and including nuts and raisins.
  2. Cheesecake. NY, with fruit, with sauce, with peanut butter, while standing on my head, just anyway I can get it. YUM!
  3. Brownies, the undisclosed fifth food group. Plain, gooey, double fudge, with nuts, turtle (J's groom's cake!) with peanut butter, straight out of the pan, I'm not picky!
  4. Rum Cake
  5. German Chocolate Cake that I make for J's birthdays. Two layers with milk chocolate frosting in the middle and covered with extra pecan coconut icing. Yum-O!
  6. Oatmeal raisin Cookies
  7. Seven Layer Bars. A heavenly little candy made by my grandmother that had seven layers of goodness in it. I hope I find her recipe one day. Delicious!
  8. Great Grandmother's Chocolate Fudge. Enough said, unless you add peanut butter.
  9. Vanilla Frozen Yogurt. On a cone, in a dish, with strawberry sauce, on bananas topped with lots of yummy stuff. Hey--straight out of the carton is great too.
  10. Grammy's Pumpkin Rolls. The really good completely homemade kind that are a total pain to whip up but for the love of all that is good are they fantastic!

Ok, so this is a top ten list but how can I forget to add pecan pie; J's grandmother's chocolate chip cake; baked apple pie; Reese's Cups, and anything with peanut butter in general!; mint chocolate chip ice cream cake; chocolate chip cookies; white chocolate chunk macadamian nut cookies; peanut brittle; lemon squares; lemon cookies; chocolate, chocolate chocolate chip cake.....

This coming from a girl who could live on green beans and desserts.

The Trauma

All of this, and I still have to pay $200? I knew there would be a fee for putting up with me!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Just Go! Of course he's going to chase you!

My favorite comment made during the game when UT scored the second touchdown and the instant replay showed that he looked back about 5 times.

Sadly, the Vols fell short a point to the Gators. I really had high hopes that we'd pull it through. Although I even made the comment in the first half, "enjoy this score while you can!". Perhaps we'd pull through a victory if our defense had shown up for the game. Geesh!

In other exciting weekend news we had a great time grilling with friends early in the afternoon before heading downtown to tailgate and ultimately watching the game on the sofa at a friend's house. However, I stayed up way (way!) too late. I don't remember the last time I saw 3am. The M Bed and Breakfast had guests again! I love having friends over.

I slept in a little on Sunday morning but was up in time for my hubby and I to attend late service at church. A friend came over for lunch and then J and I went for a long bike ride on a fun little trail that afternoon. My rear is still a little sore from all of that time on the seat.

Can I tell you how much I love my bike? It's an amazing 12 years old. My grandparents bought it for me when I was in the 7th grade (oh the math on that one!) It has a few quirks, but still works great. My hubby (among other things) is a biking extraordinaire so he was able to jazz it right up. We replaced the brake and gear cables, handlebar grips, and tires. (However the same tires lasted for 12 years, sweet, huh?) All I need now is a cute little basket, some streamers, and a little bell (ding, ding!). How cute would I be? This bike has logged quite a bit of miles. I lived in a great neighborhood for bike riding and would go almost everyday after school. I'd take the two little girls that I babysat (they are now a senior in high school and in college) and then put my little brother on the Cookie Monster bike seat. What a work out! That kid was a pork chop when he was little. Finally he outgrew the seat which forced him to hop on his own bike to ride with me. (A good thing after all since he was four years old! Am I a good big sis or what?) So we'd take leisure rides around the neighborhood, pick flowers and deliver them to Mrs. C, a very lovely elderly lady in our church who lived a couple of streets over, and also ride to church in the summer time since it was at the entrance to our neighborhood. Good times!

To top off the weekend, last night we moved a dresser up to the master and switched around a few things in our house. I need about a million rooms so that I can carry out all of my decorating ideas. I love it. I think I totally missed my calling as an Interior Decorator.

And now it's Monday already...already??

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Gator Bus

This afternoon while eating lunch (outside enjoying this lovely weather!), I saw a large and colorful object approaching. It was a school bus. A school bus painted Gator Orange (which is VERY different from Vol Orange!) with a very large blue GATORS logo on the side with a stop sign that read "Gator Xing".

Yes, this weekend is the UT vs. UF game. I can only hope that last weeks game embarrassed the team enough to put their ego aside and work hard against Florida. I'm SO excited for tailgating and the viewing party Saturday night.

I love UT football weekends. I love how everyone wears orange on Fridays. You should see my office--it's a sea of orange. Saturday will be all orange and (especially if victorious) loyal fans will continue to wear orange on Sunday.

Tennessee weekends in the fall are the absolute best!

Knox Heritage

Earlier this week I had a community course for the JL at ETHS. This particular placement is known as "Knox Heritage." Although I hated history classes in college like Western Civ where I had to memorize a million people who were only distinguished by being the XXVII or XXVIII and so on, and even worse was the gazillion dates that went along with "Important Person XXVII" and his son "Important Person XXVIII" I actually love history and heritage. I know that European History and Western Civ is important, but what I enjoy is American History and State and Local History. When I was in fourth grade I absolutely loved WV History. In seventh I was able to take TN History and really enjoyed that. In high school I took collegiate level history courses towards my college credits. I think it's a travesty that TN history is only offered as a small segment of a larger history class one year during school. At the very least it should be a full semester high school course taken at anytime during the four years. I would so love to teach TN History.

Learning more about the Knox Heritage Placement and the ETHS was very nice. There is an exhibit that was closed off that evening that I plan on going back to see. I also want to see the exhibit I browsed through but it was rather crowded and I couldn't seem to quit chatting and meet new people. (Imagine that!) During our first JL general membership meeting we had a local woman who was pivotal in establishing the Women's Suffrage Statue on Market Square come speak about the Suffrage Movement and Tennessee's role during that. I'm sure the exhibit is phenomenal. I was quite embarrassed of how little I knew about the whole thing.

We also viewed the archives. My friend Mrs. F was in love with all of the old maps up there. They were rather neat. It's fun to see how TN has changed. I was enamored with how you can dig around and find out your heritage and ancestors. That, I think, is so neat and could be a great hobby. My friend also said her Nanny is very into heritage and genealogy and has created quite a legacy for her. She even traced ancestors back to cemeteries and bought headstones for those who didn't have them. How neat is that?

I'm quite jealous that she has all of this information. I do have quite a family tree history that was passed down to me from an Aunt, but it would be hard for me to elaborate too much on that. First of all, I couldn't find anything in TN since all of my family is in WV. However, my great grandfather was Black Irish, meaning he was the first of his family here. My Pappy (yes the one I adore so much!) is the first American born generation in my family, making me the third. That in itself rather neat.

I'd like to delve a little deeper into the information I have and see what more I'd like to find and piece together. Since J and I will begin our European vacation in Ireland maybe I could learn more about my family and visit the places they lived. I'd like to do the same for England.

So back to the JL placements, I really like this one. Since I love TN I'd love to learn more about Knox Heritage. I had originally thought that my favorite placement would be the Exploratory Gallery at KNOX since I worked there and really like that place. However, I think I could be happy with either. Especially since I know I'll be able to move on to a different one the following year.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Little Girly Party

Last night after a delicious dinner with my husband I went to a friends house for a girly little get together. It was so fabulous to spend a couple of hours refreshing myself and mingling with other ladies, seeing old faces, and meeting new ones. And on top of it, there were fabulous desserts--my favorite being the lemony, pineappley cake. I've got to get that recipe!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Entertaining (Embarrassing) Visit to the Dentist

Yesterday I had a dental appointment to get a filling redone. I've had this particular filling since the third grade. The tooth next to it had a small cavity as well. Not bad considering I hadn't been to the dentist since the pediatric dentist kicked me out. I was 18, you do the math!

I know getting a filling is no big deal. Really, I do. But I have white coat anxiety. I get so nervous over going to the doctor if it involves needles and pain. I don't mind having my teeth cleaned, love it in fact. (I don't, however, love any other doctor's appointments even if they are check-ups. Poking and prodding my body does not top my list of fun!) But knowing there were needles and drill was horrible. The only thing that could have made this worse would be cat posters, bird mobiles, and a tank of snakes on display.

So I get to the dentist about 10 minutes early. I'm already thinking about the needle and the drill. The magazines in the waiting room were old and I'd read the People, but nonetheless looked at it again. About 25 minutes after my scheduled appointment I went to ask that my appointment was indeed the time I arrived and informed the receptionist that making me wait only adds to the anxiety. Finally, half hour after my scheduled appointment I'm taken back.

Dr. P comes in and exchanges pleasantries. I inform him I'm nervous and that I'm not a good a good patient. His smarty pants comment is "Well only you can change that." To which I promptly retorted "If you have a miracle therapy, please inform me! My doctor anxiety makes me miserable too!" He had no clue what he was in for.

He numbs my mouth with the liquid stuff and I begin feeling hot all over. I tense up. I try to breathe and tell myself to relax, to no avail. He tells me I'll be surprised by how little it hurts or how little I can feel it. I want to scratch his eyes out.

Here comes the needle. I tense. I tighten. I wince. I act like a baby! Then here it comes, needle number two. For the love of everything good would you quit wiggling my cheek as you shimmy that needle all in my little mouth!?

It will take about 10 minutes for the numbing to take affect and he leaves. I start crying. I'm such a wimp! I'm a you-know-how-old woman and I cry at the dentist. I'm not sobbing boo-hooing, but I have alligator tears welling up in my eyes. I told you I was a wimp.

I had forgotten my MP3 player but after my little numbing fiasco Dr. P offered the radio walkman he keeps on hand. At first I thought I'd be ok, but quickly realized I was joking myself and asked the nurse if I could use it.

About 10 minutes later Dr. P returns and pokes around in my mouth asking if I can feel it. I tell him it's numb but I can still feel the pressure, the sensitivity, and although it doesn't hurt when I chew on my tongue, I can feel that I'm chewing on my tongue. He decides I'm numb and ready to begin procedure. He gets the drill and comes at my mouth.

I hit the ceiling.

Dr. P decides that perhaps I haven't been numbed enough and proceeds to put injection number three in my gum. Then decides the back tooth is obviously ready so he'll work on it. Round two with the drill.

I hit the ceiling.

Frustrated Dr. P gives me a fourth numbing injection. I'm so tense and tight that I got a full body work out with emphasis to the abs and glutes from all of my muscle squeezing. Finally Dr. P asks if I've ever been given nitrous oxide to help with numbing and tension.

"Actually I've gotten it every other time I've been to the dentist."

Dr. P has a very understanding look as if to say "And now I know why!"

He hooks me up to a little laughing gas and immediately I start to feel better. I then begin chatting with the nurse that my pediatric dentist had pretty pink bubble gum scented noses for the laughing gas. I don't really like bubble gum and I have TMJ so I can't chew it but I love the color pink. My pediatric dentist also had marshmallow fluoride treatments that were the bomb. I loved those things. But I hate grape. Not the fruit but the artificial flavor. Beyond that point I don't quite remember what I said to her.

I do remember the drill coming back and being super nervous and anxious about it, yet my body was too relaxed to tense up. I still managed to tense the insides for a little extra ab and glute work out. Look out J-Lo, my bum is hard as a rock.

I normally keep my eyes shut during the dentist because I don't like the light in my eyes and would rather not see what's going in my mouth. The nitrous oxide continues to work and I feel so extremely heavy, like there are lead weights holding down every part of my body.

I know this sounds utterly ridiculous, but I had a total out of body experience. I've been put to sleep before and had laughing gas and this has never happened. But today, well, I was special.

The room was spinning so fast. I felt like I was in the teacups at Disney World and they had morphed to a high speed. Then I thought of all sorts of other amusement park rides and roller coasters that would make me feel that way if they were to go on super high. The scrambler, tilt-a-whirl, ferris wheel, and random roller coasters with lots of loops, like the Georgia Cyclone, all came to mind. I felt light headed and knew that if I just opened my eyes it would all go away, but I couldn't.

Then I started wondering if this is what it's like when people die. Do you just spin around in sublime darkness with random thoughts and not knowing whats going on and not being able to control anything? I started thinking of all of my family and friends. Not because I thought I was dying, but because I wondered if that's what people do when they die. I knew exactly what was going on, but at the same time was in another world.

The next thing I remember was, I think, me snoring and waking myself up! Yes, that's right. I fell asleep at the dentist and woke myself up snoring. Now I'm not a snorer mind you, but when you fall asleep with your mouth gaping open it's bound to happen. So I shuffle a bit to hide the fact I was snoring, as if it weren't obvious. I relax and drift back for a minute and then begin waking up feeling wonderful. When Dr. P put me on the oxygen it was euphoric! I should get a jolt of oxygen every morning.

So the whole process is over. I have raccoon eyes that makes it appear as if I've been beaten while in the chair, I'm numb from my forehead to my knees from the more than normal numbing injections I've received, and slightly embarrassed that I cannot be a big girl at the dentist.

Everything is fine now, just slightly sore from the multiple injections. I'd just like to say that for not being to the dentist for, um, a long (long) time, one little cavity isn't so bad. I'm off to brush and floss now as to not have to repeat the horrible experience above ever again.

Catching Up

I wasn't able to give my usual weekend update yesterday, so here it is.

J and I (and by that I mean mostly J) spent a great deal of time on our potting shed. Refer to previous post for the details.

The M Bed and Breakfast was open and it was nice to catch up with friends. It was actually more of the Bed and Breakfast and Lunch! It was fabulous.

I got a new bike helmet and had to get a youth size to fit my small head. If only the rest of me were proportional to that! J and I also did a little other shopping Friday night--I love shopping!

I'm rather disturbed by the lack of defense for the Vols. Air Force? 31-30? Really? Hopefully this will have them pick up the pace for the Florida game. Although I have to admit that my sights aren't set very high. I won't be attending the Florida game, just tailgating with friends on Saturday. However the next weekend J and I will be going to Memphis on a little roadtrip with the Y's to see the S's. He made a great point: by the time we get there, tickets could be really cheap.

WANTED: a defense team that knows how to run, tackle, break legs, and play like they're in the SEC.

Before and After

The Potting Shed is complete! Finally--it has been a long and grueling process but it looks oh so cute in our back yard now. It was one of those things that is a great idea, a horrible process, and but a fabulous outcome! I can't complain too much, J did 75% of it on his own.

The only thing left to do is plant flower in the boxes (tulips with pansies around them, a spike in the middle, and ivy on the sides--I think!), and make the little sign I want for the door, or over the door, that says "Potting Shed." By the way--my amazing husband made those awesome cedar flower boxes!

I just love it! It looks like a little dollhouse. Which should be great for the resale of our house to market it as a playhouse.



Monday, September 11, 2006

Where Were You?

On September 11, 2001 I was a sophomore in college. I lived in an on campus apartment, was super involved in campus activities, and had wonderful friends. I worked as a nanny and also was a gymnastics instructor, mostly for camps. I had a pretty normal life of a college student.

Except for that morning, everything changed. I'd woken up, taken a shower and was having my cheerios with Katie Couric. I always watched The Today Show in the mornings. I'd went to brush my teeth but in the small apartment could still hear everything. I heard the first report of breaking news and remember thinking how horrible it was that a plane had crashed and assumed it was a malfunction like most other crashes. I went to the living room to hear what was going on and saw the second plane hit. I remember being in shock and not sure it could be real. I was stuck in front of the TV and hurried to get ready and make it to class. I remember talking with a couple of friends about it on the way and they didn't know what was going on.

A few people in my early morning Advertising class were aware, but the professor wasn't. At that point I only vaguely heard that it was a terrorist attack and still didn't fully understand the damage and the severity of the situation.

After class my friends and I went to the UC and there were masses of students glued to the few televisions down the hallways. We just stood there shell shocked. I watched the coverage and heard the reports, but I still didn't quite comprehend it all. I don't remember much about the rest of the day. I don't think my other class was cancelled, and I think I went to work for a couple of hours that afternoon.

I continued to tune into the news and cried once it started sinking in. I wasn't directly affected by losing someone, but I remember how sad and painful the situation was. I also remember my (somewhat) morbid sense of humor. I tend to make a joke about something no matter how bad the situation. I was talking with friends and remember saying that once the draft was reinstated that my large university would become an all girls school and I'd never get my MRS. Yes, I know it's a horrible joke but I tend to always make lite of a situation. (You think that's bad? You should have been around me during and after the death of my dad. Talk about a morbid and dysfunctional sense of humor!?) Nonetheless, that's how I deal with situations.

I remember how hard I prayed all day. I prayed for the people who were in the planes, in the World Trade Center, and in the Pentagon. I prayed for their families. I prayed for those in the community and those who had witnessed these incidents. I prayed for the rescue workers, the policemen, the firefighters, the paramedics, the volunteers. I also prayed for President Bush. I cannot imagine being in his position during such a time.

I remember feeling scared and unstable for awhile after. It was frightening to have this large scale terrorist attack so close to home. I've never known what it was like to have another countries military presence near me. Although I lived through the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) and was old enough to remember and comprehend, it was so far away. I wrote letters to soldiers and remember one in particular who was a friend of my mother's. It really didn't scare me much. I was constantly reassured that the war was far away and wouldn't come to my house.

And then this happened.

Although I live in a mid-sized city, I still felt like we'd be last on a terrorist list. Of course, if they had planned large scale missions, would any city be left untouched? The days, weeks, and months following September 11 were heart wrenching and frightening. Although it was five years ago, there are constant reminders. The events following September 11th and events that America, as well as the Middle East, are still facing make it hard to forget. Truthfully, I'm still a little afraid when I think about it.

I still pray for all of the families who were affected by this tragic event, and mostly for our President. Regardless of political affiliation and opinions of President Bush, he's still the President and deserves the utmost respect for his job.

2,996 Project

Mrs. M Remembers
Claude D. Richards, 46
Detective/Bomb Squad NYPD
World Trade Center
Claude D. Richards, better known as Dan (or Danny to his family), was a Detective for the NYPD, a brother of the Fraternal Order of Police, and also served in the U.S. Army where he was an Airborne Ranger and member of the Presidential Honor Guard. He was assigned to the Bomb Squad in 1991. He was promoted to Second Detective in 2000.
Dan was a graduate of New York University. He assisted efforts at the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. He volunteered for the International Police Task Force disarming land mines in Bosnia for a year. He was the Bomb Squad's Intelligence Coordinator.
Dan was said to be fearless, meticulous and disciplined. He spent off-duty hours working, planning, and working out. Dan's brother Jim said he "always wanted to charge up to the front just to prove himself."
Dan was a very giving, generous, and kind-hearted man. His devotion and work ethic didn't leave him time for relationships, but his brother says "He was so devoted to his work I don't think he had a problem with it.
Claude was a very special man and family member and greatly admired. His niece recalls many fond memories of visiting him while with her grandparents and also visiting him in New York when he opened her up to the arts. She recalls his thoughtfulness in getting the best seats and buying her a souvenir program. She says he was always "proud to be an American" and that she felt "NYC was lucky to have him as one of their own" when he joined the NYPD.
Dan was always deemed as a very friendly and charismatic man. His thoughtfulness and desire to help others are just some of his many great attributes. He was liked by everyone who met him and everyone who knew him. More than once I've seen that he has been called a Hero.
Detective Claude D. Richards was a wonderful man who left footprints upon the hearts of everyone who was lucky enough to have known him.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A New Laundry Rule, House Cleaning Habits

You know you are old and boring when you post about laundry and cleaning....more than once!

You may remember how picky J is about his laundry. Well last night I implemented the his and hers laundry rule. He does his, and I do mine. I understand that time is precious so being meticulous about laundering clothes is better than having them unpresentable for wearing when the time comes. And let me tell you--we do not iron! I also realize that J and I have to dress up everyday for work so it's important that our dress clothes look nice. But still, I'm over the fuss with his laundry. Now, we have the pretty pink hamper for my clothes, and the blue hamper for his clothes. It feels good already to know that my laundry time is definitely cut in half. I'd also like to note that when we have children that I'll teach them how to do laundry to avoid extreme ridicule from peers and future spouses.

In other ramblings, there was a topic brought up at work this week. A lady made a reference to "How do you get men to get out of the chair and away from the TV to do anything (cleaning)?" I looked at her like she had three heads! Maybe she and her husband are just old and in a rut, but at my house we do not have the "little housewife does the cleaning" mentality. Oh no, no, no, no! J and I both know that indoor chores are not just mine, and outdoor chores are not just his (well, mostly they are just his, but not totally!). I'm very meticulous and picky about cleaning and I do so love it, but J does his fair share of helping. He doesn't jump up and decide he wants to scrub the house from top to bottom as I do, but if I tell him it's time to clean then we split up what needs to be done and do it. He does quite well with a mop and a broom! He can also cook! Likewise, I can mow the grass, blow the driveway and sidewalk, and other outdoor chores.

Am I the only one with such a good husband? How can anyone stand a man that sits in his recliner with a beer and the remote? Even if we aren't up and cleaning the house, J is not a lazy bum who comes in from work and does the above. Even if we're taking it easy for the evening, it is no where near alpha-male and bum-like.

I suppose that is just how roles change over the decades, or how such strong will women like myself wear the pants. (Ha Ha! Joking honey!) I know that neither Mrs. S or I would ever stand a useless man/husband. Am I right? YA YA!

September Weather

I'm loving the weather that September has brought with it. The humidity and mugginess has subsided and it feel absolutely lovely outside. I no longer walk outdoors and melt. It's been great to enjoy the evenings being outside, as well as leaving for work in the morning without my hair automatically sticking to my head from the burst of thick, muggy air.

I'm sure we still have "Indian Summer" or "Dog Days" to look forward to before the fall weather is really on it's way. For now, I'm enjoying this nice transition and hope it's consistent before it gets too cold.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

JL vs. GSS

I'm constantly comparing the JL to my college sorority, GSS. They are largely the same, yet have a few vast differences. (Plus I love making lists!)

1. Mission Statement

  • JL: committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action of leadership and trained volunteers.
  • GSS: promoting a lifelong commitment to service and diversity, in an environment of unity and equality, while creating opportunities for growth.

2. Purpose

  • JL: The purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
  • GSS: There isn't a defined purpose, but the mission statement sums it up. However GSS also disclaims they are not entirely about service but also promotes a wide array of social events, which strengthen the bonds of friendship.

3. Vision

  • JL: To significantly improve the quality of life in our community by focusing our resources on critical needs of children and families, providing a legacy of trained volunteers, and building community partnerships to inspire shared solutions.
  • GSS: No clear defined statement.

4. Position Statements

  • JL: There are positions statements on the arts, children and families, education, elderly, environment, historical preservation, and teenage pregnancy.
  • GSS: There are no position statements. Everything is summed up under the one mission statement. GSS does a variety of activities and community service in whatever is needed or asked of the organization.

5. Members

  • JL: Young women who are at least 24 years old and fulfill all membership criteria and requirements. After just a few events I feel that some of these ladies are part of the JL because of "what it is" and not so much "what it does." I certainly hope I'm wrong.
  • GSS: A group of college girls who want the sorority life, but also have a love and passion for being a productive part of their community through volunteering. Mix that with some killer parties and social events. Although we all loved the social side, I do think that nearly all the girls absolutely loved the service side, too.

6. Training and Retreats

  • JL: The JL offers extensive and thorough training for it's many fundraiser, events, and placements. The retreats are very well planned and throughout with organized sign in sheets, name tags, agendas, and events. A lot is achieved in a small amount of time.
  • GSS: GSS didn't really host training sessions, but gave a great deal of information at meetings. I suppose the projects themselves were somewhat "on-the-job" training. We never sent pledges (excuse me, "members-in-training") on projects alone so there was always an active member to take control of situations. Retreats were amazing and fun, but never quite so organized and planned as what I've noted in the JL.

7. Activities

  • JL: The JL has several large scale activities in place that are repeated year after year. They are very well planned and organized. They are also very prominent in the community and greatly supported which makes them very successful.
  • GSS: GSS had several great ideas, but often didn't come to fruition quite as planned. The problem was the chair of a certain activity often didn't have a great deal of planning, organizing, or leadership skills and the committees chosen didn't either. I think the biggest issue was leadership. There were some fabulous ideas and events that didn't go quite as planned. However, instead of learning the mistakes and making the following year better, the event was not rescheduled. I think having a good solid event that was repetitive could have really helped the fundraising efforts.

8. Organization

  • JL: Uncanny! I love the organization! From the meeting agendas with appendices to the very informative Membership Directory and Yearbook with everything you need to know. Information includes mission, position statements, officers and committees, fundraising events, a calendar, pictures, and complete info about each member. If you can't get the info you need from the Membership Directory and Yearbook, it will tell you who to contact to get it.
  • GSS: Well, not so much! Attendance records were make-shift at most meetings. Agendas were just suggestive. Information was available but never seemed to be clear, even to those who were giving it. The biggest issue for most projects was lack of organization and respect of leadership.

9. Socials

  • JL: Not so much league sponsored and official as GSS events. There are a few planned social events but others aren't official and often appeal to the smaller groups within. The league is much larger than GSS with it's nearly thousand active members.
  • GSS: Woohoo! Now you're talking! At least one per month. Either a sisterhood social, a mixer with a fraternity, a date party, or a formal. No matter what it was it was always a good time.

10. Projects

  • JL: The JL has four major fundraising projects that are very successful and repeated each year, as well as one ongoing campaign. Also their are several "placements" in the league. Every member is assigned a placement and that is your project for the year.
  • GSS: There were more numerous projects in GSS. While we had a handful of staples that were regularly scheduled and repeated, we also took on a project from nearly anyone who asked and needed help as long as we had members to sign up. It was nice because there was a project for all interests and schedules.

11. Leadership

  • JL: A very well established leadership hierarchy of officers, board, and council members. I suppose I don't yet know enough to give my opinion of it, but thus far everyone does their respective position very well and operations flow smoothly.
  • GSS: An executive committee of officers. Often times I felt that officers were their for the name and not the position, which was a great disservice to our organization. The entire committee rarely seemed to work together or support other officers efforts, which again, hindered the entire group.

*Disclaimer: I LOVE my sorority! I met my best friends through GSS and loved every minute of my involvement and still miss it greatly! But there is a big difference between professional women in an organization and a bunch of college girls with a full classload and part time jobs. GSS is still the best of what's around!

Delicious Dinner

Last night J and I went to a friends house for dinner. Yum-O it was good! Slow cooked pork roast tenderloin, artichokes baked with portobello mushrooms and Parmesan cheese on top, and my favorite--FRESH GREEN BEANS! I absolutely love green beans!

I love when people have us over for dinner.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Thoughts On The JL, From A Former Sorority Girl

This year, I've decided to be part of the JL. I received an invitation last year, but declined. It was my first year out of college and I had a lot going on in my life that I didn't feel I could join and be a successful member. However this year I was excited to jump into the JL full force and felt the time was great. I had already read all about the JL and it was largely parallel with my college sorority, so I was excited to be involved with the organization.

There were many reasons I wanted to join the JL:

  • First, the mission and purpose of the JL is to serve the community. I've been very involved with non-profit organizations and with volunteer work for most of my life. I became more involved in high school thru service and scholastic organizations as a member and later in leadership roles, including president. In college I was very active in community organizations and activities thru different organizations, but most notably, my sorority. I held many leadership roles and won a number of service awards for my volunteer hours and achievement. Being part of the JL is a way to continue to serve in my community with my peers.
  • Second, to meet other women who share my same interests. Everyone in the JL obviously has one thing in common: volunteering and service. I thought it would be a great way to meet some other ladies and make friends.
  • Third, networking. Do you realize there are more than one thousand JL members in My Town alone? Networking with ladies who are in my field and share my interests could really help me with job opportunities and career advancement.
  • Fourth, a connection if/when J and I move. Most major cities have the JL and membership transfer is relatively simple. So, if and when J and I move, I will automatically have a group I can be part of to meet other ladies in our new community.

I did my contract signing to be a provisional member in May. I had a provisional training and leadership retreat in August, and last night was the first official general membership meeting. I've been having quite a great deal of mixed feelings on the JL since the retreat. Some things that were said by a few of the officers who spoke were very rude and stereotypical.

First of all, a lady noted that being a member of the JL is the next logical step from the sorority house. She quickly followed up with "of course being in a sorority is not a requirement for membership." However, by throwing that statement out there I think she stereotyped most women in the room, and perhaps snubbed those who were not "sorority girls." I was in a sorority and loved it. It was a great experience and I met some of the best friend in the world that way. It seems that most women who are interested in the activities that organizations such as the JL have to offer are the well-rounded sorority girl types. However, that isn't the case for all and for a member in a leadership role to make that statement struck me as very unprofessional and rude.

Second, there were several comments made that stereotyped JL members as being wealthy and spoiled. Comments ranged from alluding that everyone drove a Mercedes Benz or an Escalade to being in "the West (My Town) bubble." I live in West (My Town), and that comment upset me. There are very nice neighborhoods in all parts of My Town. Yes, some areas are noted for the crime, drugs, and other such problems. However, the JL is for the entire community. Not just the desirable west end. As for the cars? Yes, there were plenty of luxury vehicles in the parking lot. There were also plenty of minivans and modest family sedans (and my little 2 door coupe!).

On the upside, the first thing mentioned that day was the mission and purpose of the JL. One of the speakers began by saying "Which JL are you here for?" Noting that if you were there for tennis, lunch, and manicures, you were in the wrong place, but that's how the majority of the community will stereotype you. This is true--the JL is perceived as being an organization of upper class women with fancy cars, designer handbags, and a country club membership. However, the things she said (noted above) rather alluded to that image, even if she said them trying to be humorous. After that she noted what this JL does and what our mission, purpose, and role in our community is. The JL is a great community organization that helps so many community groups and supports several activities. Sadly, much of what the JL does goes unseen. Not that the JL is about notoriety for it's good works, but knowledge about the group could help to alleviate the stereotypes.

So I went to the meeting last night with hesitation and caution, hoping I'd come out with a better outlook on the year ahead of me. I'm still not sure how I feel. I arrived at 6 for the social which was quite surprising. First, I realize there has to be a social time to get everyone inside and organized. There is no way several hundred ladies can get to one place at the same time and park, prepare, and sign in for a productive meeting to begin on schedule. Having the social allows the women to arrive during a time frame so that the meeting can start promptly. I really like that!

In addition, there was quite an array of appetizers and hors d'oeuvres, including wine. Wow! What a nice treat! Now I know what my dues go for, I paid all of that money in college and we never had wine at meetings!

The meeting was very well organized, but a little lengthy. I was told they ususally don't last more than an hour, but given that last night was the first, there was more business to cover. The only part was the first reading of a bylaw change. When their was a question about what the bylaw was being changed from, no one could answer it. Now that would have never happened in GSS. (We may have discussed it and changed it to the point of beating a dead horse, but we would have known the changes!).

So here I am, not sure how I feel. I've met a lot of great girls who I believe will be fun to work with. Several have mentioned their displeasure with comments made at the retreat. I'm thinking in efforts to break the ice that perhaps some words came out wrong and things could be misconstrued.

I think a lot of my concerns are mostly with the fact that I have changed so much in the last few years. I've noticed that my personality is very different. I'm not nearly as outgoing as I once was, and on the contrary am actually quite timid in some situtations. I've become much more cautious and aware and thus often have a guard up. I think the comments made curbed my excitement, but I'm moving past them as faux pas and hoping the best is yet to come.

Next Tuesday evening is the first provisional community course and I actually am quite excited about it.

The very exciting part of the meeting was a speaker who was a leader in establishing the Women's Suffrage statue in Market Square--the first of it's kind. She gave a nice history of the Suffrage Movement which was quite interesting and entertaining. I plan on visiting the statue soon and viewing the exhibit.

Twin Day Wednesday

I'm walking into work this morning and hear my named called out. I turn around to see one of the co-workers in my department, K, cackling because we are wearing nearly the same outfit. We are both sporting bright pink pants with cute, flouncy black tops, and black sandals. How funny is that?

I meticulously chose my outfit this morning because it was the items that were hanging clean in my laundry room as I walked out the door and went with the undies and shoes I'd chosen. Yes--I'm quite the fashionista, huh?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Everyone at work today is hacking, slinging not, sneezing, and complaining of ailments--go home people! I don't want your funk! I considered leaving myself and taking a "sick prevention day."

Beyond that, I love Tuesdays that are the first day of the week. The day seemed to fly by despite how nasty and rainy it was outside (a lovely day for a duck as my Uncle D says.) I have a busy evening with my JL meeting, and my hubby is working a little late tonight. (Someone's gotta by the gas to be shipped to the west coast. Even celebrities have to put something in the tank.)

This weekend was fabulous. Although J and I were very busy it was very relaxing and enjoyable.

Friday night directly after work we went to the Smokies game with J's department at work. We had a really nice suite with a porch and catered food and "drinks" abounding. After all of that, there was a dessert cart! Yes, Jesus loves me there was a dessert cart! As much as I wanted to sample one of each, I just had a small piece of cheesecake. I really like the people he works with, as does he, so it was a very good time. I also need to note that next to us was another private party from H. County Gas. Yes, my H. County. What are the odds. I did a quick glance but didn't appear to recognize anyone.

Saturday J's parents came down for his birthday and we spent some time with the R. kids. They helped me make a delicious double layer german chocolate cake for J which is his favorite. While it was baking they also put a great among of energy into making him cards. It was precious and J loved them. It warms my heart to see how much these kids absolutely adore him. It's the sweetest thing. Saturday day afternoon (as everyone reading this should know) was the season opener for Tennessee! Being on campus made me so nostalgic! As Girl from the South said, two years out and we're already nostalgic! The mass crowds of orange, the music of the Pride of the Southland marching band, the events and tailgates, the trash from all of the above--it was nice to be on campus. I have to commend UT for the great game of ball they played (haven't seen that since I graduated!) but I'm also not getting to excited. It was Cal. Bring on a (real!) SEC team and see how they do. Florida will be the challenge. Saturday evening J's parents took us to dinner at Parkside Tavern. J's dad particularly loved it because after the big chunks of german chocolate cake we consumed, we all ordered light, thus being kind to his wallet.

Saturday morning before the big day ahead I relented and let him open his birthday gifts since it would be our only time together until Monday night. He loved his goodies which consisted of an antique map of the Smoky Mountains (circa 1949), a stainless steel coffee mug with leather sleeve, a garden hose hideaway (yes, we're old and boring!), a grill cover for his new grill, a french fry cutter (we will no longer be in divorce court over how to cut french fries....unless I don't use the cutter), and his favorite, a green resin duck. Don't ask! Just don't ask!

Sunday morning I was up bright and early to reclaim the R kids for the remainder of the weekend while their parents went to NYC. I only hope that when I have children that I find a nanny to love my kids as much as I love those kids. I'm all grown up, married, and have a big girl job and still absolutely love watching those kids. Yeah, I still get paid, but I don't have to do it. I do it because they're just so absolutely adorable, I love their parents, and since I've taken care of them since the oldest was about 9 months old, I'm rather attached. We had a great weekend with them, although I think J's timeline for kids was pushed back a few years. He's never had them for so long before.

Sunday morning we also had brunch with some friends. Mr. and Mrs. S were in town from Memphis for the game so they along with Mr. and Mrs. Y joined us for a little visit over brunch at our house. I love those people. I'm not sure what I'd do without such wonderful friends, but I'm incredibly blessed to have them in abundance. I look forward to Mr. and Mrs. S returning for the FL game and the for Mr. and Mrs. Y and J and I to go to Memphis the last weekend of this month for the UT vs. Memphis game. I'm very excited for that little road trip. So back to the kids, we had a great day playing with them on the playground and the newly installed zipline (I'll have to see if J's camera phone pics are good enough to put on here) before taking them on a run down the boulevard that evening to ensure they'd be ready for bed with no fuss. Thankfully it worked. Afterwards I enjoyed a long, hot, steamy shower in the master bath that has three shower heads. Yes, three! It's wonderful. My back and tummy stay warm the entire time instead of taking turns being cold depending on which way I turn. There is also a jacuzzi tub with jets, and removable spray nozzle, and a waterfall faucet. However, I didn't indulge in that this trip.

Sunday was also J's birthday, although I caved and let him open his gifts early!

Monday morning we actually were able to sleep in until 7am when P woke up. Half hour later MO woke up and thus went our day. We had breakfast and got ready for a trip to the playground. Just as I buckled the kids in the jogger and left the garage, it began to rain. It was just a mist, but the sky showed promising signs of breaking. I let the kids ride bikes and cars on the driveway (in hopes to get out some of the days energy!) in the mist and sprinkling rain and I think that could have been the highlight of the weekend, playing in the rain. Monday evening when M.O. and P.'s grandparents came to get them for the night I finally came home to clean up from brunch and to work on my cushions for the den. I'm halfway finished! Now don't get excited, the first half is the easiest. I've got everything cut and pinned and ready to go. However I'm pondering a dilemma with the cording. J fixed a fabulous london broil steak on the grill that was amazing. Yum-O I love a hubby that cooks!

So, that was our busy but nice weekend. Even though I was constantly on the go, I actually felt relaxed and replenished.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Get Ready!

I'm excited for a long weekend ahead. Although J and I are going to be busy, I feel that it's going to be relaxing just to have the extra day. On our agenda are: ballgame, dinner with J's parents for his birthday, and keeping the R kids for the remainder of the weekend. That in itself should be an adventure. But above all, J's birthday is Sunday and I'm so excited because I love giving presents!

I hope I've managed to keep his gifts a surprise. I (who loves surprise) and he (he just wants his gifts as soon as you buy them) are always at constant odds on gift giving times. I don't like to do things early, but I may give him the gifts a day early since the weekend will be crazy busy.

I'm also hoping to squeeze in time to work on the sofa cushions for the den. Mrs. S is bringing the pottery barn pillow inserts tonight! Gotta love friends with swank discounts!

Have a great (long!) relaxing weekend.