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Monday, November 29, 2010

A Good Cry

I have puffy eyes and a headache from crying too much last night.
Over a movie. 

Or, at least that was what started it. 

I think I just needed a good cry.  I used to cry much more easily than I do now.  I've toughened up over the last few years and the tears just don't come as easily and so when they do come, they come in a torrent. 

My husband was in a drugged sleep due to the evil bursitis in his shoulder so I was free to weep without him thinking I was crazy, or hormonal, or both.

I'm normally not a big movie person but the movie was 'November Christmas', a sappy Hallmark holiday movie.  The main reason for wanting to watch was Sam Elliott.  I love that guy.  He's older now but still oh, so handsome, and there is something about the way he talks and his expressions.  What can I say?  It's just admiration from afar.  It also starred John Corbett (Aiden from Sex amd the City), which didn't hurt.

The story was sweet but predictable, but obviously tear jerking enough to get me started.  Hallmark also had a bevy of their sentimental commercials that added to the flow.

By the time the movie was over my pillowcase was wet and my nose was stopped up, hence the puffy eyes and headache today.

So, it's Monday.  Onward and upward, ya'll.

I was lazy this weekend and the Christmas decorations were not pulled out.  This is at least a three-day project.  I may just have to start today after work.  How was your weekend?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thinking of you, Gramma

Today would have been my precious Gramma's 95th birthday.  She passed away when I was on my extended honeymoon in 2002.  My husband and I were married in Aruba and a week after we returned, we left again on a business trip that took us to Atlantic City, NJ.  We were in a cab on our way to dinner when the phone rang with the news.  Shocked at the timing but not shocked that she had left us.  She hadn't wanted to be here for the past nine years since Papa died and prayed for the Lord to take her home daily.  It was a mixture of incredible sadness but relief for her.

My Gramma called me 'princess' all of my life.  Whenever I felt like no one else cared, I could always turn to her and know that she would be there for me.  She is my example of unconditional love.  No matter what I did, how selfish I was, or what I might have said that came out the wrong way, she loved me anyway.

We moved from California to Georgia in 1974, leaving Gramma and Papa behind.  By 1978, they had purchased a house in Georgia to be with us.  After a few years of subdued unhappiness over the climate, they decided to move back.  It wasn't until my Papa became sick and my Gramma needed help that they returned to Georgia in 1989.  My mom was their caregiver for many years. 

My Gramma was a prayer warrior.  She started her days praying for all of us.  When she was sick and thought she might die, her only worry was 'who will pray for my family when I am gone?'  In my younger days, like most people I did a lot of things that probably should have hurt or even killed me, and I believe her prayers of protection had a lot to do with the outcome.

A lot of my happiest childhood memories involve Gramma's house in CA.  Miracle Whip and wheat bread make me smile.  She knew I loved pickles and would always have a jar in the fridge.  She wouldn't let us drink soda alone but would always add lemon lime soda to juice to make it fizzy.  She would walk us down the street to the school to let us play on the playground.  She always had parakeets that could talk.  We would play Candyland and chinese checkers.  She had a dutch door in her kitchen.  She had a cumquat tree in her backyard and we would eat them straight from the tree.  I don't think I've had a cumquat since.  It probably wouldn't taste the same either.  And most importantly, she loved Jesus NO MATTER WHAT and taught us what it means to truly have faith.

Love you, Gramma.  I know you are better where you are but you are still so missed here.  See you again one day. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

I love Kohl's, but not on Black Friday

I would be lying if I said I didn't like to shop.  I love it - it is therapy sometimes for me, but I have to be in the right mood.  And I've never been in the right mood when it comes to Black Friday.  #1 - I hate crowds.  #2 - I've never wanted something bad enough to stand in line, in the rain, with the prospect of being trampled, for.

A few years ago when my stepdaughter was getting ready to go to college, my husband braved the freezing cold that just happened to have descended upon us in order to get her a laptop computer.  Back then, it was more difficult to get a deal than it is now so it was worth it to him.  I think he left the house about 5 a.m. and returned about 7 a.m. successful, so it was worth the trouble, but he did say "never again!"

My sister though, she reminds me of the woman in the Target commercials this year.  She makes her list, stretches, and prepares herself for battle every year.  She and I are polar opposites in personality so I suppose that it explains it.  She is loud and doesn't let anyone run over her, so I can just imagine what she is like in those stores, and she has scored some great deals in the past.  I just pray every year that I won't see her face later on the evening news.

When I asked my husband what he was going to do today, he said "a little online shopping".  Sounds good to me. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day

I'm always up early, even on a holiday, mainly because I have two needy creatures of habit who want to eat at the same time every day.  But, I would likely get up early anyway especially on Thanksgiving because as I grew up, it was just the thing to do.

I always remember my mom getting up around 4 a.m. to put the turkey in the oven.  I was always so excited and could never go back to sleep.  I loved the smell of it baking, and then the preparation of all the trimmings.  Even though no one else would eat it, my mom would always stuff the turkey for me because I wanted the stuffing instead of the dressing in a pan (um, it's the other way around now but she still thinks I want the stuffing).  And even though I would never eat it otherwise, I could down a whole bowl of homemade pimento cheese stuffed into celery.  As the bowl was being placed on the table, my sister and I would poke the tips of our fingers into the black olives and then eat them off.  They just tasted better that way.  And last but not least, all of us kids would fight over who was going to snap the wishbone.

And then, with everyone I loved around the table, we would give thanks and enjoy our meal and then a sleepy afternoon together with football blaring in the background. 

Wishing you a day filled with memories and love.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Right where He wants me

As a medical transciptionist I sit here for many hours each day transcribing everything from infant chest x-rays to mammograms to CT scans, but some days it can be quite monotonous.  I have always enjoyed a challenge and some days I wonder if I am not doing enough with my life.

And then, a special case comes up that catches my attention.  She's two years younger than me and this hits home...I know where she likely is in her life.  She's already fought breast cancer 16 years ago at the age of 30 and now she's being scanned for pain in her abdomen.  Could it be a recurrence after all these years?

The doctor notes enlarged lymph nodes and a nodule that is suspicious.  Immediately I stop and pray for this woman because she was being told that day that she likely, again, has cancer. 

"Please, Lord, comfort her and let her know that You are there". 

It is times like this that I know I am in the right place.

I believe that God places us in situations where we can best do His work.  With me being somewhat introverted, I've never been one to witness my beliefs outloud too much.  My silent prayers may be the only prayers some of these people receive and I believe this is one of the reasons I am here right now in my life. 

Not only can this affect these strangers, but it affects me.  It strengthens me.  It helps me to know that He is still there, especially now during this time when I am struggling with my own faith.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day One

My attempt to become more consistent started today.  Eat healthy?  Check.  Exercise?  Cardio and strength training with hand weights.  I've never been much on exercise but I've got to figure out a program that I can stick to.  Maybe Santa will bring a Wii Fit?  I sit all day working and am starting to feel the spread.

Speaking of work, since I'm finally learning how to navigate around this blog, I'll insert a picture of what it looks like most days when I am trying to work:
That's Mason on my lap, and Maddy sleeping in the middle of my desk.  A bit needy, wouldn't you say?

Daily blog.  Check!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Change is good

I SHOULD be a great blogger because I most always have something to say. I am going to make a genuine effort to post at least one thing a day going forward. Let's call it an exercise in consistency. I've tried to update my profile as best I can to accurately describe myself and my life should anyone be interested in reading! Now if I can just figure out how to insert pictures...

Our days are getting easier. Our business has been closed for a month and we are starting to feel the relief that comes with less stress and responsibility. Even though the process is not complete (we still have our lease and the landlord to settle with), I believe we've been blessed with a sense of peace for the time being.

One of the uncertainties lately in our lives is whether or not we will be moving to another state. My husband's employer is located about three hours from where we currently live and the possibility of moving to that area has become real now that my husband's children are grown. (He moved to this area nine years ago to be with his children when his former wife moved them away after their divorce). I would love the adventure of living in a new place if this is where we are meant to be. The ties we have to this area are my family, including my aging parents who are now within an hour's drive, our church, as well as the possibility that I hope to be a 'glamma' one day and always thought I would be close by for my daughter. As it is now, we don't see each other very often with just an hour or so between us because of our busy lives. Is it possible that if we were farther away that our visits could be more meaningful and quality filled?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Reprieve

We arrived back home yesterday from a nice break in our routine. We knew ahead of time with the closing of the business that we were going to need a few days away to rest our weary souls. With the help of Westin points (yay for being rewarded for spending money) we were able to get four free nights in two very nice hotels, one in Nashville, TN and one in Asheville, NC. Our rhyming vacay.

We left early Saturday morning on our adventure and first stopped in Chattanooga at Ruby Falls, a natural wonder. I've been twice in the past but my husband had never been. Afterwards, we toured around Chattanooga in the breezy fall weather, just enjoying the new sites. We then made our way up to Nashville to our downtown hotel. We were able to walk to dinner and then to the Ryman Auditorium, the original Grand Ole Opry, for a concert of various country acts including Montgomery Gentry. Of interest, on our way out a couple of hours later, I was tapped on the shoulder by Eddie Montgomery (of Montgomery Gentry) as he made his way out the door. I'm not a huge country music fan so briefly didn't recognize him until his adoring fans mobbed him as he boarded his bus. My husband laughed at me for not pulling out my camera. Oh well! We also saw Robin Meade, the host of Morning Express on Headline News. She is gorgeous! She also sings beautifully, and debuted her song "Welcome Home" for all the veterans.

It wasn't overly publicized in the media so I briefly forgot that a large part of Nashville was flooded last spring. We happened to be there on the six month anniversary of the flood, and the Opryland complex that is 10 miles outside of downtown is still being renovated. We drove around the area, which included outlet stores (including Off Broadway shoes) that was flooded out and is still not open (horror - all those wasted shoes!). As we made our way around the complex, we noticed there were a few people milling about the actual Grand Ole Opry building, which surprisingly had re-opened in Sept. We weren't able to go inside the auditorium but were able to get pictures around the building and then shop in the fabulous gift shop. We also let our hair down a little on music row, enjoying the 50th anniversary of Tootsie's bar where a lot of country stars got their start. It was so much fun!

We left Nashville on Monday and headed to Asheville, NC. Asheville is a funky, laid back little town filled with shops, clubs, art studios, and great food, and oh yeah, the largest home in the U.S., Biltmore Estate. A couple of the more interesting things we tried were fried pickles (thanks Ashley) and sweetbreads (veal thymus, of all things?) Hmmmm....the jury is out on the latter. The Biltmore Estate itself is worth the trip, and the weather was beautiful!

In the category of 'you just never know what you'll see on the side of the road', on the way home yesterday, we found this little place just below Clayton, GA called Goats on the Roof. It's a country store where they actually have goats living on the roofs of the three buildings, with bridges and ramps connecting all the spaces. They even have grass growing on the roof for the goats to eat! If I can figure out how to post pics here, I will do. Too cute!

So, we are back to the grind this morning. My work has been slow, thus the chance to write all of this. It was nice to put all the stresses of daily life on hold for a few days and it gave us a chance to think about where our lives will go next, and I see a move in our (near?) future. More to follow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's a process

So, it's been almost two weeks since we closed our business. Shutting it down has been complicated since we had contracts with our clients, some of which rightfully deserve partial refunds (some have already been issued and we are working on the rest). There are some other clients, however, that are outside of the terms of their contract and do not have a refund rightfully coming but still think they are owed money.

I have tried to stop and think about what if it were ME on the other side of this? How rational would I be about MY money? My empathy for people would definitely run me directly into personal bankruptcy so I've had to approach this strictly from a legal standpoint. Unfortunately I cannot reimburse them for future time they would have had coming to them if we had been able to remain open, so only if contractually we owe them a partial refund will they be getting one.

In the past few days, there have been two clients so far who have processed a chargeback to their credit card for what they THINK is owed to them. Amazingly enough, the credit card companies will just take a consumers word for it and charge money back to a merchant, and then send the merchant a notice asking for an explanation to determine if the money is owed back or not. This puts us in a situation where we are without the money in our account that is actually owed to someone else, which is unfair.

I have really tried to remain calm throughout this whole process but sometimes it is hard. Doing the right thing doesn't always mean things will go smoothly...but it does mean that at least, for the most part, I can sleep soundly at night.