Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mustering the best villain voice: MY PLANS - FOILED AGAIN!

Biking plans foiled again. Why? Well let's dissect:

Three times today, we had power surges. One time, we were without power for thirty minutes. Nice. The weather decided to foil my biking plans again.

Bobbie and I have since revamped our biking plans. I'm getting my hair did (purpose) on Saturday. It kinda makes no sense to go get my hair done and re-dyed then go biking? I don't think so. Instead, I'm getting my hair done on Saturday, and on Sunday, Bobbie and I are opting to bike The Greenway instead of the Silver Comet since my dad will be in town. I refuse to miss riding AT LEAST once a week.

It's funny talking to Shane about bikes. Passing on information I only learned in the past two months or so. He and Kim are coming biking on the SCT next weekend, and we will probably tackle the same Mableton to Hiram stretch as before (the 21 miler). This time, we're all packing for a picnic - no permanently borrowing PB&Js and Granola :) Shane swears that he and Kim can "definitely" do 21 miles. My mom informed him, "you do realize where she biked the 21 miles there were actual hills, right?"

It should be interesting. Bobbie and I will take pictures on Sunday :)

Stolen from Matt.


Dis-orienteering in my bedroom.

I got off the phone last night with a very pissy phone, signed onto the network, and sent an e-mail. I didn't stay up after that, I went to bed.

Sometime around 4:45 am, I got up to get a glass of water, and I realized two things: 1) I have a pain in my neck so who knows how I was sleeping to cause that 2) It was so dark, and I was so tired, I had no idea how to get out of my room - lol.

I walked TOWARDS the door and stood there fumbling my hand over the wall looking for the doorknob. I grabbed the step ladder that was resting against my wall, and I was like, "what the heck is that?" I stood there, eyes closed behind my door just "staring" at the wall trying to wake myself up more (and I hadn't even had a Benadryll!) It took me a good 2-3 minutes to get out of my room.

I got some water, and I went back to bed, looked at the time on my phone, "4:45am," and I smiled and went back to sleep :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Because I am that much of a dork.

My new dart flights :)

It's official.

That's right - "Hot Gamer Girl Moderator." I was told I could lay the smackdown on whomever I seemed fit no questions asked.

Biking Plans.

Thursday, July 31st: The Greenway (tentative due to weather)

Saturday, August 2nd: Next leg of Silver Comet Trail with Bobbie in the afternoon.

One of the below branches:
Hiram to Dallas (mile marker 14.7 to 19.4 = 9.4 mi round trip)
Hiram to Tara Drummond (mile marker 14.7 to 20.3 = 11.2 mi round trip)
Hiram to Rambo Road (mile marker 14.7 to 22.2 = 15 mi round trip)
Then, we will have completed Paulding county and moving onto Polk! :)

Sometime the following week: The Greenway again

Saturday, August 9th: Silver Comet Trail with Shane, Kim, and Bobbie (?) starting from Silver Comet Depot in Mableton to possibly JUST Carter Road (for now) since it will be Shane and Kim's first bike ride (appx. 9 mile round trip)

This Fall, I am hoping that "Jugs" will come biking with me with Ben in tow. It'll be cooler for Ben then (Ben would be her son - lol).

I find new Greenways daily when people ask, "have you been here?" so these plans will probably include more biking.

Bathroom Adventures.

I know that there is one person that read that title whose face is white and is saying, "NO, JACK!" But, you would be mistaken if you thought I was going to discuss bodily functions in-depth.

Our building.

Our building used to be a warehouse. It was gutted and completely redone with new offices, a new warehouse set-up, etc. Some of us have raised eyebrows about various "hills" in the foundation, etc.

Last week, our corporate office's secretary said, "I wonder why this water is standing?" I said, "I wondered the same thing." Lo and behold, we had a leak in one of our pipes....flush against the building, about 2 feet underground. We hire Billy Bob and Bubba to come fix the pipes. Billy Bob (not his real name) brings his "boy" with him (because here...it's not "son." It's "boy.")

First, they turn off our water and don't tell us. Great. No water. No bathrooms. If one of the warehouse boys gets chemicals in their eyes they need to flush - SOL. The next morning, we were told, "the water would be on shortly," but it wasn't. So we had to start making the trek to the building behind us to use the restroom. Let's think about this...walk into corporate, through their back door, through a fence, up a hill, across a parking lot, in the front door, to go to the bathroom.

The water was then turned back on later that day - Hallelujah!

Yesterday afternoon, I go to wash my hands, and it's a trickle. "SHIT! They turned the water off!" They, again, didn't tell us. Luckily, it was 4:30pm or so, and I just went and told my boss, "we have no water again."

So here we are, the following day, having to not only make the bathroom trek, but through wet grass. Knowing how graceful I am...I am sure I will bust my ass at least once today.
Credit: Candace Cubera

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gearing up.

Gearing up for the entire Greenway in Alpharetta and Roswell with Bobbie on Thursday :) I am sure we will have more pictures to post, too :)

Greenway stats:

12.3 miles round trip
12 ft. wide cement path

We, however, are starting from the Haynes Bridge Road entry point, so it'll be a mile or two shorter. After tackling the hills this past weekend, no fear for the Greenway.

Before and After, again

Here's me in January of this year at my Pop's memorial service held at Engine Company 3 in Warwick, NY (my dad's old department):

I pretty much look like a round, green Christmas ornament, don't I? Yeah and with three chins or more.
Here is me in May right before my cousin's wedding...note the lack of multiple chins...



And here is me at the beginning of June after drinking a glass of V8 juice a day, cutting down on junk foods, etc. (see below - I still partake), and biking every Sunday:

And yet, I still have lost more weight and can, successfully bike at least 18 miles before my knees are on fire.

Some things I've done:

1) Realized I was not only not happy, but I wasn't healthy. By being not healthy, I wasn't happy.

2) I couldn't do half of the things I wanted.

3) I cut back on horrible food choices, fast food, and "cokes."

4) I started drinking a glass of V8 juice a day.

5) Snacks turned to pretzels instead of potato chips.

6) I started biking every Sunday (starting in May I guess it was)

7) Just because the food tastes good doesn't mean you have to be a glutton.

8) Food does not equal comfort.

9) Don't necessary set "number" goals, set other goals. Ex: "I will feel better" or "I will bike x miles."

10) You can't be healthy-happy if you're not mentally-happy. Lose weight, be happy, be a mentor.





Random Blogger Edits.

If there's ever anything missing from my standard page, it's a random Blogger edit: not my doing.

Just because it's cute, and I'm bored


Photo by Jennifer Lee Tracy of Georgia, USA

I have no idea how to play ;)

These were three throws in a row. These darts were not just placed on the board for a picture. In case you can't tell, all three are bullseyes with one being a "double bull" (red).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Riverside Drive

I had to deliver a phone to a friend of mine who teaches at a school off Heardy Ferry Road. I missed my turn and ended up driving down Riverside Drive from 285 towards Johnson Ferry. Never before have I seen such beautiful homes. Okay, so they were huge, but this one was my favorite:
It looked like either an old European manor, or a New England stone estate from The Witches of Eastwick, but it was gorgeous. It even had a HUGE yard (for big dogs, of course). I was in love. The best part would be if it had a garden or a vineyard in the back.

One of my favorite songs...

One of my favorite songs, I just wish some people would realize it as truth:

Moving On - Rascal Flatts

I've dealt with my ghosts and I've faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself

I've been burdened with blame,
trapped in the past for too long
I'm movin' on

I've lived in this place and I know all the faces
Each one is different but they're always the same
They mean me no harm but it's time that I face it
They'll never allow me to change

But I never dreamed home would end up where I don't belong
I'm movin' on
I'm movin' on
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me
And I know there's no guarantees, but I'm not alone
There comes a time in everyone's life
When all you can see are the years passing by
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone

I sold what I could and packed what I couldn't
Stopped to fill up on my way out of town
I've loved like I should but lived like I shouldn't
I had to lose everything to find out
Maybe forgiveness will find me somewhere down this road
I'm movin' on
I'm movin' on
I'm movin' on

"Don't think I'm weird, but..."

"Don't think I'm weird, but you have the most gorgeous eyes I have ever seen. Just thought you should know," was what I just received in the checkout line at Publix. :) Made my day.

Creepy guys on the Silver Comet Trail.

As you can tell below, Bobbie and I biked the Comet on Sunday. When I used to bike with the two guys, it was kind of like a spread-out pack. As Bobbie and I were biking yesterday, there seemed to be an influx of creepy guys that saw two girls biking together. It'd start with a very-70s-swinger-wannabe-voice of "Hell-ooooo" to me with a smile and a nod, and then "Cutie" as they passed Bobbie behind me. We thought, for sure, that he was going to turn around and come back...we pedalled harder. There were some other fairly creepy guys as well on the trail eyeing us up and down.

Further down the trail, we briefly chatted with a 60-something year old guy who could be a character on "In the Heat of the Night," "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" or some other Southern literature classic piece of literature or movie where the genteel way of saying hello is, "I'm passin' on y'all ladies' left. How are y'all doin'? My! What a beautiful day on the trail, isn't it?" We both giggled at this guy just enjoying his Sunday ride. When we passed him as he had turned around, he smiled and nodded. He wasn't creepy.

Something else we noticed were the guys donned in their biking attire huffing and puffing, but still able to eek out a breathy "hey" or "hi" or "hello," but, more or less, it was just a head nod and a smile at us as they zipped past. I also noticed that if you're two girls alone stopped on the side taking a break or drinking water, you get more looks as if to wonder if we were okay.

This one line of bikers came past us on our return to Old Lost Mountain, and we had merely stopped for water. The line went like this, hard core woman in front, three guys in a line behind her. The second guy looked over at us as they approached, pointed at us and said, "are you okay?" The hard-core woman in front, thinking, OBVIOUSLY, the guy was talking to her said, "yes, it's just Old Lost Mountain." I had a mouthful of water so I just gave him the trademark Scuba symbol of "OK" and nodded. He smiled and nodded back as they continued to bike past us.

I will try to take some more pictures next time we ride of the trail itself like Bobbie did. There was one semi-tropical portion that I told her, "I'm kinda waiting for T-Rex to come crashing through the trees."
Across the top of my gmail account:

Mother Teresa - "It is a kingly act to assist the fallen."

Day 2 from biking....

Let's put this into perspective:

1) My knees were on fire and are sore today.
2) I was in bed and asleep by 9pm.
3) I got some sun...which is okay.
4) Nothing else is sore or hurts on my body - woo hoo!
5) I have the bragging rights of 21+ miles (4.2 mile marker from the Depot where we left off to 14.6 mile marker = 10.4 miles(x2) + 0.5 miles around Carter Road prior to Depot = 21.3 miles)
6) Several offers from others (including my brother) to come biking with me next time when we go.
7) A new-found addiction to Crustables.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pop and Nan

In New York, for veterans that pass away, the VFW makes plaques and insignias and places them on their graves. For Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, volunteers put flags on the graves.

My knees are on fire, but it's worth it.

Silver Comet Trail: Floyd Road to Hiram.

Bobbie (now known as Bobbie Blue Shirt) and I made plans late last night to bike the Silver Comet Trail starting from Carter Road and biking to Hiram, Georgia. I met Bobbie at the end of East-West connector. After a stop at Burger King for one last restroom break, and scoring two crowns, we headed down to Carter Road. We got our bikes unloaded and put together. I hopped on my bike. Bobbie hopped on hers, and her brakes were tight. After trying to figure out what was wrong, we made the decision to disassemble our bikes, load them up, and drive down East-West Connector to Silver Comet Depot off Floyd Road.

^ Zack "Paisley," our savior. ^


We LOVE the Silver Comet Depot. There is a great guy there that helped us out. We will call him Zack Paisley. His real name is Zack, but as he was putting finishing touches on Bobbie's bike, he said, "awww so cute with these little flower things. I can't say anything, I have a bike that has paisley on it." We laughed. Next was my bike. He helped re-engage my brakes and redid my bike computer for me as we talked. He had moved down from Chicago and said to Bobbie and I, "Are you guys local? Cause you're smartasses." (Us? no) Bobbie took a picture of him for our Facebook. He fixed our bikes, and off we went. I jokingly told Bobbie "he's my new boyfriend, he just doesn't know it yet." (Kind of like yay for saving my bike!)

We conquered two HUGE hills that made us cringe, and we were talked to by a variety of people. At the 12.8 mile marker we were going to turn around, but lo and behold, Bobby and Keith were on the trail at 14.6 and offered us PBJ and granola :) Singing "Peanut Butter Jelly time" we rode up, Bobbie ringing her bike bell, and we relaxed for awhile before turning around.

The last two miles of the trail, I thought my knees were going to explode. I almost forgot the best part. During those last two miles, my cousin continuously called me. My ringtone is the theme from The A-Team. So anytime someone passed by us, my phone would still be ringing, as loud as it could....the trademark "A-Team" song. Bobbie said it was our theme song. 21 miles later we were cheering riding into the parking area.



I got some sun...even with sunscreen :)





Post-biking on my way home.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The "I Quit" Sailor.

Reference: http://iamnormalyourenot.com/2008/06/i-quit.html







To make you laugh.

Those of you that know me, this will make you laugh. A friend of mine that came over last night (and ended up watching part of Saw, Labyrinth, and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels while drinking beer and scavenging the fridge) said to me (clearly, intoxicated or at least feeling mighty fine), "hey - you have cute feet! I forgot what cute little feet you have!"

If you know me in "real life," yes, I thought you all would get a kick out of that.

Accomplishment.

Bobbie and I decided to bike the Silvet Comet Trail. She said, "when I take the front tire off my bike, I can fit it in my car." I told her I bet mine would fit, too. Good ole YouTube showed me what I needed to do. With some struggling to disengage the brakes, I was able to remove my front tire which DOES make my bike fit in my car.

I was so thrilled at my mini-accomplishment!

See you at 11, Bobbie :)

My last tidbit of relationship advice: Letting Go.

I've talked about "letting go" before (http://iamnormalyourenot.com/2008/06/100-blog-topics-i-hope-you-write-83.html); however, it has a whole new meaning now. I thought I would expand. I doubt myself that I could possibly give relationship advice. I'm not giving relationship advice, I'm pointing out the obvious in hopes of helping others.

You go to sleep, you lie in bed, you hear their voice, and in your thoughts, you remember things like the way they laughed, the way they had to have some body part touching yours just to know you are there with them. But when you wake up, they're not there. The pain is there, and it runs so deep, you wonder if you will ever be able to move on. Losing someone you care for, no matter what the circumstances, doesn't get any easier as you get older. You feel as though no one could ever take their place, and for awhile, you don't see anyone as themselves, you only see them as "not" that person you lost in your life. Don't feel like a failure because it's taking awhile to get over that person, but it's healthy to realize and necessary to accept that the relationship is over. You need to take steps to heal yourself and your heart. "Moving on" and "letting go" is not easy when you've invested so much.

1. Acknowledge your feelings. Allow yourself time to cry, grieve, but don't get so wrapped up in crying and grieving and overthinking things that you fall into a black hole of despair. Everyone falls into that black hole, but only you, not someone else can pull you back out. When you find yourself crying and upset for a long period of time, STOP. Redirect to a more positive venture. No, it's not easy, but it's worth it. Call a friend, read a book, go for a walk.

2. Release. Talk to a trusted friend. Don't keep things bottled up no matter how much you think it will hurt to let it all go. The more you keep bottled up, the more toxic it becomes. The more your brain starts overthinking things, and the closer you'll get to never getting out of the black hole.

3. Don't Remove yourself from friends. Keep in contact with friends. Don't immerse yourself in work or something of the sort. You can't effectively work with stress and pain weighing so heavily in your life. Let your friends be your support system. Nothing will get accomplished if you remove yourself from living and, instead, fool yourself with forcing yourself to forget.

4. Who are You? This is the time to embrace your good qualities. Think about the things you love: sports, hobbies, the people who love you, your friends, your family. Things that make you smile though not necessarily things that will always remind you of the person you lost. Don't allow this loss to steal YOU. Give yourself some me time. By me time I mean time alone. Time to do things for YOU.

5. Take care of yourself. If you're overly upset, chances are eating and sleeping are not only NOT priorities but are, more or less, non existent. Not eating and/or not sleeping can lead to more problems. It will only wear you down. Combine that with stress, and you won't be able to tackle what you need to. Talk to someone for guidance or to vent: friend, family, pastor, even an anonymous crisis center.

6. DO NOT. Do not get involved in a new relationship until you have healed completely. Do not think you are healed completely and then jump into a relationship. It isn't a quick fix, and it leads to heartache. Until you can think about the person you lost and say, "No" to that person or thoughts about that person, you're not healed. If you find yourself even remotely thinking about that person and "what ifs" or getting upset about "memories" that have resurfaced, you are NOT healed. You are only completely healed when someone mentions their name, or you think of something, and don't feel a pull in your heart. If that person should contact you and says things you always wanted to hear, and you feel no pain in your heart, and you aren't thinking of them and can say, "You know what? please stop" you're healed. Only when you heal yourself can you love someone else.

Love is a Choice: From Morgenstern's Blog....

"Love is a Choice."
By: Morgenstern (You can find her blog in the blog listings on the right)

Robert and I were asked to attend an Engaged Encounter weekend as part of the criteria to be married in the Catholic Church. Why the Catholic Church? Because your resident bride-in-training is a Roman Catholic, and she desires to receive one of her final sacraments (that of matrimony). Robert, although not Catholic, was not difficult to persuade. He understands the importance of my religion and its place in our day. He's supportive and always has been.

Before I go on with the true thesis statement of my blog, I'll briefly explain what Engaged Encounter is to those who may not be familiar with it. This is a pre-marriage counseling program that helps give engaged couples a concentrated, focused, directed opportunity to explore topics that may have been avoided. There were over 25 couples at our weekend, and in addition to those couples, there were three married couples and a priest. The three married couples were at different places: the youngest couple was married last October, the middle couple was married for 30 years, and the oldest couple was married for 40 years. The youngest couple did not lead any meetings, but those were instead handled by the older couples. Obviously, being married and committed to a single person for a number of decades imbues one with a level of ethos. They met with us several hours a day (one hour per meeting topic), and between meetings, the couples were asked to write journal responses to their fiancé(e) about the topic. The couples then met privately with each other and discussed their responses.

One of the topics, and this is my thesis statement, is that love is a choice. Love is a choice.

Love is a CHOICE.

Love does not happen to you. Love does not smack you across the face and just come over you one day. All the songs say so, but they're wrong. It isn't as easy as "wham! bam!" like Nat King Cole would have us believe.

Lust, immediate sexual attraction, infatuation...those are easy as "wham! bam!"...but LOVE. Love is a choice.

Now, to be clear, both parties are responsible for making the choice to love every single day. The minute one person chooses not to love or be loving is the minute that trust is violated. It is not enough for one person to choose to love while the other has eschewed that choice for another one.There have been times, and really only a couple because Robert and I have only been together for a year and a half, when I have had to sit down and make a very VERY conscious choice to love him anyway. It goes like this: rather than ever saying "I love you, but..." the phrase should be instead "...., but I love you." See the difference? The former phrase negates itself with the use of "but." The latter phrase makes the choice. I am choosing to love you despite any potential obstacle. I choose to love you above anything else. Above EVERYTHING else. I love you instead.

I'll repeat one thing: both parties are responsible for making the choice to love every single day. The relationship requires reevaluation when one party feels incapable of making that choice. One person cannot save a relationship. It's too much. You can't love enough for two people. It's just impossible and unfair.At the end of the day, both partners in the relationship have to ask themselves two questions: 1. am I making the choice to love my partner every day? 2. do I feel my partner is making the choice to love me every day?

Big Pie and Cupcakes.

It's 1:00pm on Saturday afternoon, and I haven't even gotten out of bed yet. I went to bed sometime a little after 6am which I haven't done in awhile. I noticed that Jennifer had called, and she and Josh and the girls were headed (driving) down to Disney World. I had told her yesterday to not fret, but that the drive down to Disney was pretty boring. I relayed Lesley's and my trip story down to Disney (i.e. staying just outside Ocala when we just couldn't drive anymore). I called, and, sure enough she says, "Hey, Shelby.....how long do we stay on 75 before we hit I-4?" I thought, and asked where she was, "just around Gainesville."
"Oh, so you haven't been through Ocala yet?" (I use that as a marker as Ocala is the land of thoroughbred farms.
"No."
"You haven't missed your turn yet."

Lesley and I drove to Disney last November, and it was the most boring drive...ever. We said next time we went to Disney World, we would be flying - lol.

So what are my plans today? I have no idea. I will probably clean the house and do laundry and all of those other domesticities. I wanted to go biking, but I'm not really in the mood or want to go biking now.

I still don't know what the generating schedule is for Buford Dam so kayaking is even up in the air at this point this weekend. I had considered doing some photo-painting, but eh - not really. I might go and get a plastic pallet and some heavy watercolor paper and paint some watercolors later, but the last time I painted had good memories lost.

Ugh - I'm starting to sound like a Shakespearean Tragedy as told by an Emo brat.

Even though everything else is f'ed up..........there's always Big Pie and cupcakes :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

May I present....



The newest addition to the Hot Gamer Girls Forum's Moderator team: ME! That's right. The creator and lead of the website invited yours truly to be the only female moderator for the forums :)

I get to seek and destroy crappy people and spam postings, etc. That makes three of us moderators now: the two creators of the website and organization and me.

Yes, I really am that much of a nerd to be stoked about this, but it's all good :)
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next. Amen.

Travel Plans.

Mentioned it last night, but this is how my travel plans are shaping up the rest of the year. The goal is to visit someplace every month:

1. Kansas City, MO USA - see Leon and Elaine (Aug)
2. Somewhere with Morgenstern (beginning of Sept)
3. Hudson River Valley, NY USA (mid-late Sept)
4. British Columbia, Canada (October)
5. Oregon, USA (November)
6. Costa Rica, South America (December)

I was also reminded that next year, my travel schedule looks like this:

1. Ireland at some point
2. Auburn, AL/Opelika, AL USA - May
3. Jamaica - September
4. Kenai Peninsula, AK USA

Sales and Relationships: Irony

Funny that I looked at my library in my office at work and found a sales book. The funny part is how it can apply to life or coping or whatever you want to call a "funk." The following items are pulled straight from Jeffrey Gittomer's Little Red Book of Sales Answers with no alterations whatsoever:

1. Personal Improvement That Leads to Personal Growth
2. Prospecting for Golden Leads
3. How to Win the Battle and the War
4. One Brick at a Time
5. Building the Friendship. Building the Relationship.
6. The Final AHA!

"I wish I would have said..."

Ever said that? Sure you have. Everybody has. Now it's game time. "I wish I would have said..." has no place in the world of sales, other than in the mouths of sales losers.

Next chapters:
"How do I become the successful person I dream about, and deserve to be?"
"Scream then - I DID IT!"
"How do I do my best every day?"
"You have a choice!"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It has been decided.

I'm going to take my DSLR and start taking random weekend trips to places in the U.S. and Canada.

My first stop is Kansas City, MO to see my non-blood bro, Leon, and his girlfriend (of the past several years) Elaine.

After will probably be Eugene, OR. How convenient: around college football season.

Friends.

In case some of you didn't notice, I tend to have a great group of friends. I don't even consider them friends. I consider them second family. I even gained some family members over the past few weeks.

PoolBoy and I had originally made plans tonight as a small group, but, heh, obviously, that's not happening. I met he and Valerie at Taco Mac in Woodstock (our "haunt.") Peroni was the beer of the month. Peroni. Let me explain Peroni. Peroni is a light Italian beer. It tastes like Coors Light....mixed with Bud Light.........with some added seltzer water......mmmmmmmmmmmm.

It was Beer of the Month. I wanted a free glass (they were out...as always). After some buffalo wings and queso, and the threat of salmonella from the jalapeno (I was the court food tester and ate the jalapeno), it was a great time.

We talked about things (surface of things), and then we talked about old stories from college, kayaking on Sunday with Bobbie, Val ended up knowing Bobbie from High School, we talked about Token, and just randomness. It was good to be out and about, and, for those of you concerned about my violent drop in iron due to not eating well, I ATE :) (And I drank beer and cider).

I'm semi-looking forward to this weekend. It won't be as hard as awhile ago. I'm not really looking forward to tomorrow evening. Saturday I've been invited by an Irish friend (who is also a Glasgow Celtic fan) for some drinks at one of the "Irish-approved pubs" in the area, and, on Sunday, Bobbie (girl) and I are having a "RAR! North Georgia girls kick ass! Kayaking Excursion" down the Hooch (depending on the generating schedule at Buford Dam). See us Hydroelectric Power nerds (*cough* me *cough*) check stuff like that before risking our lives on the river. Actually, I didn't think about that until Morgenstern's grandfather said, "Now you girls be sure to check that river's water release schedule before kayaking on that river."

So...thank you, Henry :)

Anyways, I just thought I would say that I love my friends, and you guys should expect some pictures of what happens when two Glasgow Celtic fans get together AND kayaking with Bobbie.

And some words...

From a wonderful Great Dane breeder here in Georgia I've been talking to:








































"We've since matured from cat fights and slapping."

That's a comment I left for a friend of mine, but I don't know how many of you know this or not.
Once upon a time....




I had an older brother (still do) who took martial arts. I wanted to try something new so back in High School, I started taking martial arts. Yep, that's me on the right - full split (still can) with a 2nd and 3rd place trophy in my first National Tournament.

I found a sport niche that I was actually good at. I started training at least five times a week, and, in the summer, sometimes twice a day. I worked my way on through the ranks, quickly, showing finesse, speed, control, and establishing myself as a follower of the tenets:


Courtesy


Integrity


Perseverance


Self-Control


Indomitable Spirit

I went to many camps - winter camps, etc. and several Regional and National Tournaments. By the time I had reached green belt, (Fourth belt), I was a fighting force to be reckoned with. My first tournament in which I actually sparred (fought), I won two first place trophies. By the time I was brown belt (green, purple, blue, brown), I had made myself #1 in the Nation in sparring (fighting) having never lost a match or a tournament in fighting in all of those belts (appx. 8 months):



Ocean Springs, Regional Tournament, 2nd place forms, 1st place sparring

While I was studying one martial art formally, I picked up some others: Akido, Judo, Jiujitsu, and Muay Thai (traditional). When I stopped formally taking martial arts when I was 20, I was still listed as #1 Woman in the Nation in sparring having creamed my opponents through the ranks and never losing a match.

When I attended North Georgia, I began voluntarily teaching martial arts in the evenings on the drill field as well as self-defense. I signed on to teach basic self-defense/easy to remember self-defense at two private womens' shelters while also acting as a mentor there. I continued that until about 2003 or so.

In 2006, I met Roxy "Balboa," a female MMA fighter on the west coast. She was a trainer at Legends, an MMA center owned by Randy Couture. Roxy was dating Toby, another MMA fighter on the west coast. Now when I say they are MMA fighters, I don't mean casually. They compete up and down the west coast professionally.

I decided I wanted to pick up MMA last year. I contacted a local gym professing knowledge of "MMA." When I called them, I was laughed at and told they don't teach MMA to girls. I called Roxy. Roxy called the gym. Whatever she said, I had an apology phone call and in invite to come train. I declined.

For the past several months, I have been debating whether to get back into martial arts, and, more importantly, MMA. I have the speed, and I have the knock out power (long story). I have just had some walls pop up that prevented it, but I think I've made up my mind. I'm going to pick up MMA and martial arts again.

You have been warned.

Funny Quote.

One of my "refined" clients referring to bodily functions:

"Well...beer and coffee...same thing. You cain't buy 'em, you just rent 'em."

Death of the Unicorn.


There are a variety of cycles in life: the life cycle, the seasons, etc. The word "cycle," itself means any complete round or series of occurrences that repeats or is repeated.

Most of you already know what I'm about to address anyways. You've listened to me break down, bawling on the phone, gasping for air, and utterly confused.

I chose the above tapestry picture as I thought it was ironic, and it was sitting in my e-mail this morning from a friend of mine.

I was told I was a "unicorn:" someone who is not supposed to exist except in a person's fantasy or imagination, aka "the perfect girl." (That statement is important - "the perfect girl.") So here I am a unicorn, the perfect girl. Someone who is intelligent and sexy and humorous and positive and has a variety of interests always a story to tell to make others feel good, non-argumentative, non-combative, loyal and faithful to a fault. Carefully guarding my heart, semi-building a wall around it to prevent it from being taken and stomped again. Cautious but willing to trust and love again. I am a unicorn.

Enter scene: The man. The man that the unicorn opened itself up to. The man that knows things that no one else knows. I was cautious. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. After a couple of weeks and months, that other shoe wasn't dropping, and I was happy. I opened the gate to the wall around my heart, and I let him in. I wrote in my journal, "and for once in my life I have no fear of him breaking it [my heart]." We'll say that he's the person on the right in the tapestry. The one the unicorn is comfortable with, the one the unicorn trusts won't hurt it or let anything harm it.

Enter scene: "It." I still don't know what "It" is, and that's half the reason why "It" bothers me. We'll say "It" is the person on the left. The one spearing the unicorn. The "It" hovers over like a dark cloud. I think part of the "It" is doubt, lack of confidence, unsurety, denial, and false hope. "It" has always been in a cycle. "It," as I learned last night, has always been there for "The man" from the get go of the unicorn and The man being together, unbeknownest to me.

When "It" enters the scene, "the man" changes. The man woos the unicorn. The man takes care of it and promises the unicorn that nothing will happen to it. That "the man" won't leave the unicorn unless the unicorn tells him to go. The man makes empty promises and compliments to the unicorn that the unicorn is a blessing, a breath of fresh air, and someone that he is grateful to have in his life. The man tells the unicorn he loves the unicorn, and all the while "It" hovers over and grins an evil grin overhead knowing that The man really doesn't mean these things because, if he did, "It" would be nowhere in sight.

In one fell swoop, the unicorn is coddled and reassured that things are okay, within hours, the unicorn is dead. The unicorn is the victim of The man and "It." The unicorn is given the age-old statement, reworded, of "it's not you, it's me," but it's not The man that has died. The man still lives. It's the unicorn that is dead. The man goes on living, and the cycle starts again because The man will never remove himself from "It," and The man has no want to remove himself from "It." Somewhere down the line, there will be more and more unicorns that crosses his path. The cycle will continue, and each time, a unicorn will die until there are no more unicorns, and unicorns really will just be a figure of someone's imagination.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dental Floss.

Don't you hate it when you need dental floss, and you don't have it? No toothpicks around - nothing, and here I am: my tongue running across the back of my tooth. I can feel something caught between two teeth. Oh dear Lord, I hope it's not something green and gnarly. Maybe it'll work itself out on its own? I attempt to force air between my two teeth and wind up making an embarrassing sound like chewbacca's mating call or something. You want to talk about bothersome: the lack of dental floss in an opportune moment.

Toxicity (LONG)

Irony is the fact that this is the fourth time I have heard the mention of "toxic." This past weekend, I received a phone call from an ex. Let me rephrase that, after he called 8 times in a row, and I didn't answer, I thought he might seriously be in trouble (car accident, etc.). Alas, that was not the case, and I told him he was toxic. This is in no relation to Britney Spears' song, "Toxic."

I think we can all benefit from this no matter what relationships: teachers, students, coworkers, friends, significant others. Considering this was written by a psychiatrist with a PhD, it's valid:

Toxic: Bad Relationships, What to Do About Them
By: Pamela Brewer, PhD

Most of us can come up with a mile-long list of people who've made us miserable, some time or the other - teachers, classmates, brothers, sisters, parents, friends, colleagues... while you were allowing them to make you feel angry, confused and irritated, unknown to you, they were seriously damaging your health. In other words, they were toxic.

(My $0.02 (herein referred to as "02" if used again) - we never see an interpersonal relationship AS being toxic until it's too late, or until we release ourselves from the toxic relationship, have time to recover and reflect)

Here we go again. Another 2 a.m. phone call, with my best friend pouring her heart out about the latest disaster in her life. Love her as I do, 2 a.m. isn't my best time - especially when I've got an early start and a skin that needs at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

(02: I don't mind when my friends call me in the middle of the night with such phone calls. Once it becomes habitual, then there is another issue going other than just another break up that should be addressed)

Still, have you ever tried saying no to a friend in need? Exactly. So you end up spending an hour saying yes and no in all the right places, then get a headache and take refuge in a peanut butter sandwich. According to psychologist, Dr. Lillian Glass, author of Toxic People the headaches/peanut butter sandwiches are proof that we're under fire from a toxic person - in other words, "anyone who manages to drag you down, make you feel angry, worn out, deflated, belittled or confused."

(02: People often say "he/she has so much drama" as a word to replace a person who is toxic.)

But what makes a toxic person tick? "They're people whose feelings of insecurity and inadequacy make them jealous, envious and/or uncaring, so they end up sabotaging your projects, your relationships, your happiness-even your car journey!" explains Dr Glass.

It could be the temperamental boss who's never satisfied, the friend who knows where you're going wrong (and revels in telling you), or the critical parent who can't stop treating you like a naughty ten-year-old.

But whatever your own personal definition of a toxic person, one thing is certain - putting up with a toxic relationship can seriously damage your health. "Migraines, eye-twitches, skin rashes and eating disorders often have their roots in toxic relationship that have gone on for too long," explains Dr. Glass.

Listing the people and types of behavior that get to you is Dr. Glass's first step to detoxing your relationships - and your life. (And, believe it or not, that's the easy bit!) But the good news is there are ways of responding that can stop you being the victim of toxic behavior.

Just deciding to do something about the toxic people in your life is a big step in itself. You might know you should detox from your friend/partner/boss, but it's not always that easy to do it. Okay you can find other friends, partners and jobs, but you can't, for instance, go out and choose a new mother.

"You have to weigh up the toxic person's behavior, your reaction to it and what's stake," says Clare Hershman, a counsellor who specialises in addictions. "If they're paying you Pound 20,000 a year, you may decide, 'Okay, I'll take the money and stand on my head if they want me to, but I'm not going to let my emotions into this drama.'" And there's the crunch. While toxic people can make our lives unbearable, we're the only ones who can do something about it.

TOXIC FRIENDS

You think they care for you, but their behavior says otherwise.

You share so much with a "mate" that it's sometimes hard to see that they're actually doing you harm. Over the years I've gradually realised I can't solve my friends' problems, until they want to - and, believe me, some of them don't want to - nor do they want to hear about mine.

Deena, 28, and Kate, 28, have been friends for 15 years, but Deena feels she's always given more time to Kate than vice versa, "Kate always finds a story to top mine and switches the conversation back to herself," she complains. "I end up feeling sidelined."

According to Dr. Glass, "Kate's a perfect example of the very self-absorbed person with a fragile ego. She's insecure and needs lots of reassurance and soothing words to build up her self-esteem." But she clearly isn't quite so sensitive when it comes to everyone else's feeling. Recognise the type?

Her selfishness probably isn't intentional, but you still need to confront her. Say something like, "I sometimes get the feeling you're not really listening to me - and it's upsetting." Be direct and honest, without tears or tantrums.

In fact, friendships are a good training ground for sorting out toxic people, because if they're any kind of friend, they really do want what's best for you. Then again, if you've weighed up the pros and cons and think, "Well, she can be a prime woman, but she does know how to get into the best clubs," rely on her for that, but nothing more. And if you really can't stand any more 2 am calls, buy some ear plugs and let your answering machine do more night shifts. This same process can be applied to persons in your past: past relationships, past friends, etc.

TOXIC EX PARTNERS

The most stressful baggage in your life.

No one needs telling that along with all the love, fun and exploration in a relationship, a whole load of other (less pleasant) issues are usually waiting in the wings. As most of us have discovered, at some point or another, even the most wonderful partner can have a toxic side that often goes unnoticed on our parts.

Most of us have encountered uncommunicative partners who keep their feelings under lock and key, and keep you utterly confused. No one's saying you have to keep on bashing your head against a brick wall, but sometimes explosive showdowns are just the bombshell this kind of person needs.

"Ultimately, you can only change yourself, not someone else," confirms counselor, Mary Godden. It's up to you to decide how much of pushing around you will or will not take.

-------------------
Dr. Brewer's 02:

Dr. Brewer: There are many reasons why we choose toxic relationships. We may have grown up in a toxic household, we may have been taught that we are not deserving of happiness, or we may have learned to take responsibility for others. One of the most important things to remember about being in a toxic relationship, is that you do have choices and you can get out!

A toxic relationship is one in which you are chronically tired, upset, angry, confused, or frightened. A relationship in which you do not have the "right" to express yourself. In short, a relationship that is abusive in any way, may be a toxic relationship.

We stay in relationships because we do not understand that we have rights and options or that it feels "comfortable" to us. Low self-esteem can be a factor in remaining, as well as depression, fear of being alone, or that you believe the person genuinely cares and can change at some point. Sometimes, people stay because the toxic relationship so much mirrors their lives as children, that they truly may not have a sense that it is a toxic relationship and that life can be better.

Q&A session:

Question: We have separated several times. We then come back saying things will change, and things don't.

Dr. Brewer: Don't kid yourself, you describe the typical cycle of a toxic relationship:

* a blow up
* then the honeymoon period in which things are agreed upon to change
* and then it doesn't change and things begin to escalate
* and then the explosion again
* and then the honeymoon period

Question: How are depression and self-esteem factors in toxic relationships? Does that mean that the person does not have a clear sense of their own boundaries and a fear of being out of control of their lives, or out of control of other people?

Dr. Brewer: When you are feeling depressed or stressed, it is hard to have clarity about your life and what is reasonable, appropriate, or respectful. Depression and stress sap emotional and physical strength, both of which are critical in relationships. Low self-esteem tells one that they do not have rights or options, which is again, an energy drainer. And yes, depression and stress can inhibit your sense of your own boundaries and your need and right to set boundaries with others.

My Steel City Experience.

I returned in semi-one piece from Pittsburgh. I only went up overnight for a class regarding the EU's REACH certifications. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

1. Yay for my coworker saying, "I think you should take the Tom Tom with you."
2. Boo to Chevy Cobalts.
3. Boo to PennDot for posting "Blvd of the Allies DETOUR" and then not posting any additional detour signs.
4. Yay to have a freezing cold hotel room.
5. Boo for having a hotel in the ghetto, four locks on the door, and not sleeping.
6. Yay for having the Tom Tom again and for Pepsi products.
7. Boo for rain in Pittsburgh.


I went to the class, got some basic information, and I left. I got the airport, and I asked to be put on standby for an earlier flight. The flight was overbooked; it was impossible. So I sat in a zoned-out state with my cell phone in hand, backpack on my back staring into the distance when, at 5:45 (20 min after the earlier flight was supposed to take off), the gate guy came up to me and asked, "do you still want the earlier flight?" I said, "yes." He winked and said, "I can do that for you."

Now, my lovely ladies talked to me yesterday, and I am sure you can gather I was probably looking like a pitiful beast and not really caring that I looked that way. The gate guy argued with the other because the other said, "we can't do that - the flight is already closed." My gate guy said, "we'll make her a plus one. She was very sweet, and she needs to get home on THIS flight." He chatted with me about a Shelby being his dream car, and he didn't have an AC Cobra, but he had a Mustang cobra...but not a Shelby. He joked about, "well if you get a Shelby one day with the word 'SHELBY' on it, it really will be yours." So I jogged down to the plane and scared the crap out of the flight attendants, boarded, and sat at the gate for 30 minutes.

We took off, I headed home, and the person next to me, a music professor, noticed I was quiet, and he asked, "are you okay?" I told him, "yes," and he offered me a Riesen candy that I declined. I fell asleep on the plane and woke up not long afterwards (maybe 45 minutes) to "we're making our intial decent into Greensboro." I freaked out thinking I had slept through deplaning in Atlanta.

The Professor saw and said, "no no, don't worry. There's bad weather in Atlanta. We need fuel and are landing in Greensboro."

Needless to say, it was an "adventurous" flight home.

I am SO glad to be back in Georgia, and I am SO glad that someone else is, too :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

I bid adieu...

I am leaving for Pittsburgh in thirty minutes or so. I thought I would bid you all adieu, and I will post some on Wednesday when I return. Like I said, since I'm only going up there for a day, there's no sense in the hassle of bringing my laptop.

You can catch random updates (if there are any) on my twitter to the right.

Have a good afternoon and Tuesday.

My possessed cell phone.

I do believe my cell phone is possessed. Sure, I text message. It's how I communicate with friends and family while at work or during "quiet time." What I find funny is that I use predictive text. It makes it so I can text one-handed, not even looking at my phone. Sometimes...that doesn't work out so well:

"The guy I am eating has a big dog."

Storm replied with "OH...DATING!" I had to look back at what I sent.

It's funny that my predictive text "predicts" words that I have never spelled out on my phone. Some of the more common ones: "*ucking," "snog," and "puffin." So my typing goes something like this (words in brackets are words that pop up before I type the word before them):

I [puffin] think [puffin] that [puffin] sleep [puffin] deprivation [puffin] sucks.

An annoying blog song (aka boredom)

I will write a blog for you
If you will write a blog for me
We will write our blogs to friends
But they will be read by our enemy.

Our blogs are usually simple
And our blogs are usually long
But everyone that reads our blogs
Will remember them like an annoying song.

So here is my annoying song
I hope you won't have a fit
But if my blog should make you cringe
Well it's your choice not to read it :)

Random Monday morning update.

My cell phone is revolting against being able to do mobile blogging so any random updates I have I guess will be done through twitter (aka look to the right, the random updates that I date and timestamp?) I'm not bringing my laptop with me; there's no need to do so. I fly out at 6:30 or something today, and I don't land in Pittsburgh until 8:30pm. Then I will get my rental car and be on my way to downtown Pittsburgh, aka my hotel.

The good news is since I'm only staying one night, I'm not checking any baggage so it'll be on the plane, fly, off the plane, repeat on my return trip. I come back on Tuesday evening. I land in Atlanta at 8:40pm. I'll get off the plane and head right to my car.

Sounds like the most thrilling next two days ever, right? I have a firm belief that this seminar, these new rules, won't even apply to us.

I brought Ishmael with me (a book), but I'm thinking I should have brought another, too. I hope everyone has a good day.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Secret Society.

Okay, well we're really not a secret society, but all of us have been called a rarity at one time. Four intelligent women meeting for lunch. We all went to North Georgia together, and that's where we all met - slaving away as English majors in a sea of books and papers, and we loved every minute of it.

It was good to see Bobbie (girl) again, and I saw Jennifer yesterday, but it's always a pleasure. Laura came, too, whom I hadn't seen probably since around when Tobey passed away last year. We discussed everything from professors to "remember that time when" and "what happened to so-and-so?"

We discussed Morgenstern's surprise over Labor Day weekend *insert evil grin here* that no, I won't post here because she reads this. It was a wonderful afternoon. We're sending "must have a boy" vibes over to Jennifer who is pregnant with her third child (her two other children are beautiful smartass girls - they're great!). Boy or girl, I am sure that it will be just as sarcastic and intelligent as her daughters :)

We have plenty of pictures from this weekend that I will post on my Facebook shortly (or, rather, as soon as I get them).

We ended the afternoon with Laura and I stopping in at Once and Again books in Roswell (the used bookstore from the previous post). $62 later...I got the following (remember, I'm rebuilding my library):

Winesburg, Ohio - Sherwood Andersoon (softcover)
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle (softcover)
The City of Falling Angels - John Berendt (softcover)
A book for Keith - (hardcover)
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time - Dava Sobel (softcover)
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt (softcover)
All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque (softcover)
Angels & Demons - Dan Brown (hardcover)
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (hardcover)
The Cider House Rules - John Irving (hardcover)
Another book for Keith - (softcover)

I truly am addicted to that store. It's a bibliophile's pocket book's worst nightmare!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Guess what Jack's doing tonight?


Les artistes.

Our tiles that we painted:

Thank You.

It's about 9:35 EST, and I just got back from the BBQ. I met some people that I had heard about, and I met Robert's family. I also met some of Morgenstern and Robert's mutual friends that I had heard about as well. Morgenstern's mom and dad prepared a feast, and there were MORE than enough desserts:



Foreground to background:





Light chocolate cake, chocolate chip poundcake, strawberry cake, carrot cake, specialty cake (Congrats Amanda and Robert), red velvet cake, anaddictive Andes mint cake, regular pound cake, and on the other table a pink lemonade cake, and brownies.

All in all the BBQ was great. I saw people I hadn't seen in awhile (a couple of years), and we had a great time hearing stories about each other we hadn't heard before.

I saw Morgenstern's grandparents again (on her dad's side : Frances and Henry), and I ached a little for my maternal grandparents that passed away.

Funny thing is Morgenstern and I were talking about randomness on my drive over there including Warhammer, WoW, and Robert jumped right into conversing with me when I got there about Portal and Bioshock. Morgenstern popped in with her Halo story (see below), and it made me smile.

Morgenstern's Halo story:

Morgenstern is NOT a Halo person :) She came to the cabin one day when we were back in college, and I said, "let's play Halo." First, her controls weren't inverted (as I like them), and so she was looking up and down oppositely. Then, she was looking out towards my blue arrow to catch up with me...and walked off a cliff. After her doing that a couple of times, I realized this wasn't going to work, and we reverted to, "I wonder if I can shoot and kill you AS you fall off the cliff." Turns out.....she would walk, I would stand at the edge. Yes, you can be shot and killed....as you're falling....and dying off a cliff. Go figure.

Morgenstern, Robert, Morgenstern's sister and her boyfriend all headed to see Dark Knight, and I headed back home.

Friday, July 18, 2008

May the angels guide you home: Jo Stafford

Most well-known for singing "I'll be seeing you" and "I'll walk alone," Jo Stafford sang with Tommy Dorsey's band for several years. She sold more than 25 million albums. However, this honey-voiced songbird passed away Wednesday, July 16th at the ripe age of 90.

During WWII, she received the nickname of "GI JO" from the servicemen whose hearts she won with sentimental ballads. Stafford's last recording was in 1970, but many of her songs are still used in movie soundtracks to this day.

Another classic beauty laid to rest.



November 12, 1917 - July 16, 2008

Lyrics from one of her songs, "No Other Love:"

No Other Love can warm my heart

Now that I've known the comfort of your arms

No other love.

Oh the sweet contentment that I find with you

Every TimeEvery Time.

No other lips could want you more

For I was born to glory in your kiss.

Forever yours.

I was blessed with love to love you

Til the stars burn out above you

Til the moon is but a silver shell

No other love,

Let no other love

Know the wonder of your spell.

Big Weekend :)

I have a fun-filled weekend going on this weekend. So what has me excited this weekend, well let me tell you:

Tomorrow, I get to wake up bright and early and head to the DMV (yes, there is one that is open on Saturdays by me!) to get a replacement license for the one I can't find. I need it asap for my flight on Monday.

THEN, I will stop over at Naked Clay Studio and pick up the two tiles we painted the previous weekend :)

THEN, I head northbound to Gwinnett county to Amanda's parents' house for a BBQ. Amanda and Robert will be up from Auburn, and I will also see some friends from North Georgia I hadn't seen in awhile.

Saturday night, I'll hang around and help Amanda's mom clean up after the BBQ and then head home. I don't have anything planned on Saturday night except chilling. My laundry is done, and the house is clean so there's not a lot for me to do.

On Sunday, I meet the girls over off Pleasant Hill for some Vietnamese food. I will also see someone I haven't seen in awhile from college.

AFTER lunch, depending on the weather, myself and whatever of the girls (minus Jen 'cause she's el preggo :) ) wants to will go whitewater kayaking on Sunday afternoon. I am sure those pictures will be rockin'. Depending on who goes will depend on what Class we kayak :) Rockin'!

Sunday after lunch and after being the HYDROPHILE that I am, I also don't have anything planned but to chill-ax and wait until I get the trademark "touch down" text :)

That will be a pretty good weekend. Then I flight out on Monday afternoon to Pittsburgh (in the supposed rain), and I land in Pittsburgh (in the supposed rain) around 9pm, pick up my rental car, and drive to downtown Pittsburgh (in the supposed rain) which is about a 35-minute drive from the airport. Tuesday morning, I drive (in the supposed rain) from the hotel to my seminar facility (for EU's new chemical registration and CE program, "REACH"), and then, in the late afternoon, drive (in the supposed rain) from the training facility (a 35-minute without traffic drive) to the airport, turn in my rental car. I land back in Atlanta around 8:30 p.m. or so. Hopefully, I'll have the same luck I had when I came back from NY, step off the plane, walk through the terminal, go to baggage claim, pick up my bag that was already circling, and drive.

Things are spiffy :)

Etiquette and Basic Manners

As some of you know, I went to a compliance seminar for corporate export shipping (sounds fun, doesn't it?) One thing I noticed is that everyone, for the most part, had a high amount of etiquette and basic manners:

* Not speaking when the instructors were speaking
* Table manners - chewing with mouth closed, not talking and chewing, napkins in lap, proper use of utensils, etc.
* Proper posture

You get the idea.

There were some things that bothered me about others. There was a woman I met from Mississippi who sat next to me. She and I would eye each other when we found something annoying:

* Instructor is teaching, and a man yawns. He doesn't just yawn, he feels the need to make noises as he does so "ahhh...ah...ah" (I know you know the sound). How rude. The instructor looked at him.
* Cell phones going off during class.
* Persons talking to one another (loudly) while the instructors spoke
* Piling food up on their plates during our "free" food times: snacks and meals

What the heck? I thought it was basic courtesy if you're going to yawn, cover your mouth, and do it silently. Turn your cell phone on vibrate - take a call OUT of the room. Don't speak while someone else is speaking. The food is "free." Go back for seconds. Leave round one for all.

This is a corporate upper eschelon-level seminar. There are people here that are compliance officers for Aerospace Corporations, etc.

I'm no priss nor am I prim and proper, but c'mon. I was taught formal etiquette when I was in what? 9th grade? *shakes head*

People no longer shock me.

Arg. Annoyance.

Similar to people sticking their nose in your business, only hearing half a story or none of it at all, and making false judgments, something else annoys me just as much. When you leave for a day or two from work, and you come back, and someone has decided to rearrange and reformat things on your PC (no, not as in I had the icons on my desktop in some funky shape).

I was gone 1-1/2 days from work attending a training seminar. That is appx. 15 hours. I told my coworker to log into my e-mail daily and check to see if certain persons had e-mailed. She sent a text during one of my breaks yesterday saying that our manager had logged into my computer to check the e-mails as well.

I return to my computer. The font size has decreased from about 10 pt arial to about 7 pt arial.
Comparison sake:

This is 10 pt. arial.
This is 7 pt. arial.


So, my e-mail inbox had bunched up e-mails instead of something easier to read. He increased the resolution on my desktop so that my icons were 1/2 the size, and the program names underneath were also 7 pt. Everything was changed on my computer so that I felt as if I would go insane or get a headache reading everything in 7 pt. font!

I had to readjust the resolution, the font size, the program font size, the orientation of windows, remove the automatic reading pane option from ALL of my folders in Outlook......the list goes on.

Why can't people leave things alone? I was only gone a day and a half. I think it would have been fine reading and checking my e-mails without redoing my computer!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Disturbing.

When I was a kid, an ice cream truck was an actual vehicle. It was a trademarked white truck that had a window cut into the side, a rear door, a shelf outside a window, pictures of what you wanted. It drove around with the same trademark ice cream truck music playing. I think I bought ice cream from the truck maybe twice as a child.

It's slightly disturbing, then, to see old Dodge vans that have holes cut in the side (obviously homemade) and have a chest freezer plugged into the cigarette lighter. The windows are tinted, and "ICE CREAM" is spray painted on the side.

Every time we pass one on the road, I cringe and listen closely for an AMBER alert.

Funny things I read online today:

"Laboratory mix puppy"
(I think they meant Labrador mix...unless they meant Frankenstein's puppy)

"Lizard fo adotion....mali euromastticks."
(Lizard foR adoPtion...mali UROMASTYX. Euromastticks sounds like a band name.)

"Baby cat needs to go."
(Do they mean....kitten?)

"Shit zoo free to a good home."
(Hmm....makes sense...why would you charge for such a fecal zoo?)

Because Dogs Are Better...

I got bored so I created a few.





Penguins.

I have nothing witty to chit chat about so I thought I'd choose penguin society...at random ;)

If I was a penguin, I think I'd be an Emperor Penguin.



I'm not much of a materialistic penguin so being an Adelie penguin is not my forte' (being impressed with rocks)...



...and I don't like jumping or being ostentatious so being a Rockhopper is out of the question, too.



I happen to love penguins, and I always have ever since I was a small child reading "Mr. Popper's Penguin" with "Captain Cook" :)

I think if human society was more like a penguin society, we'd be much better off and nearly Utopian. As far as personality goes, I think I'd be an Adelie penguin based solely on the fact that Adelies are really the only species of penguin that mates for life. Emperor Penguins are often portrayed as doing such (see "Happy Feet"); however, they are only monogamous for a year. They tend to change mates every year.

Facts you might not have known about penguins:

1) Yes, the female lays the egg, and the male watches it in incubation while the female goes hunting. If the female isn't back in a certain time, and the chick has already hatched, the male penguin can produce a curdlike substance to feed the chick.

2) A group of penguins is called a "rookery."

3) Penguins do not fall over if something flies over them.

4) It is illegal to own ANY species of penguin in the world.

5) Penguins can overheat in the Antarctic.

6) There are no penguins at the north pole.

7) Unlike other species, there are no given names for male and female penguins (such as "hens," etc.)


So I would be an Adelie penguin as far as relationships go, and I would be an Emperor penguin for not being materialistic or ostentatious.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A conversation with an old friend...

So because the majority of those of you that read this know me from college to present, I thought I'd give you some insight into me growing up in South Georgia:


Nilay: Yeah, nowadays when I visit [South Georgia], I don't really run into anyone anymore. And, even when I do it no big deal. I think people do change over time but some still don't and it is too bad for them. I know I have changed a lot since high school.


Me: Something funny - you said, "People do change over time.....I know I have changed a lot since high school." Someone said to me the other day that they bet I was a "cool kid" in high school. I said I got along with everyone equally.

Nilay: HA HA, I DO remember you being able to get along with a lot of different people, but I can not say you had one group. I hear people say similar things about me as well, and I have to break it to them that I was a straight up NERD in high school. Heading off to a university was my turning point but even then it was about my 3 year in school that I say was life altering.

Double Dare Meets MXC

There has been a reality show created for me. Double Dare meets MXC. Instead of kids playing and having to answer random pop culture questions, no, instead, not only is it time to make an ass out of one's self as an adult, but doing so as an American...in Japan.

It's called, "I Survived a Japanese Gameshow."

Thus far, we have Americans...dressed as babies...doing "physical challenges" that only makes them look like morons (somewhere in there is a fetish for someone). The name of the gameshow is Majide, and, for the most part, is in Japanese (obviously, it's in Japan).

Where else can you hear phrases like, "BIG BABY GO BOOM!" "SPIN DA BABIES!" "BIG BABIES ARE STILL SPINNING!" "DAT EES ONE BIG HAIRY BABY!" "ANDREW'S LAST SPURT!" "DAT BABY IS SOOPAH ASS-LETE!"


Ah....to have been selected for this show. I'd rock it hard!

"Holding Hands" - Intimacy

From Christen:

"I mean the complete, total contentment of holding the hand of one you love. Not wanting anything more from them in that moment. Being totally content... at peace... "into me see" intimacy."

Read on at http://onelife4christ.blogspot.com/.

Random Memory: Running Away.

Sometime in a child's life, especially if they have a brother or sister, they say they're going to run away. Now, nothing bad could be going on in their lives to warrant the want of running away, but it just sounds like a "cool" thing to do.

My brother and I did. I was 6 or 7. He was 7 or 8. We made a pact that we were going to run away.

We decided we would need to make spears for protection and commenced making them. Our list of runaway materials included the following:

1) The dog: a 15 lbs. miniature poodle named Ichabod Krane (don't dis my dog. He wasn't froo froo).
2) A gallon of milk (we were smart enough to realize this was good for us. Refrigeration never crossed our minds).
3)Spears
4) A roll of toilet paper.

We planned to sneak out the next night and "run away." Where did we decide? Why where every kid in the Northeast wants to run away to. The Beach? The City? No.

"Amish Country." Yes, it was our large goal to run away to Amish Country in Pennsylvania. We had been there on vacation, and apparently we wanted to run away to a culture where there were no modern conveniences, no running water, no electricity. Sounds like every kid's dream.

1am came and went the next night, and we slept through it. Eventually we outgrew our "running away" phase though were always asked what the spears were for :)

Fun times.

I answered the phone before Jugs did, and here we go......

1-800-815-6318

Transcript of phone call:

“May I speak to Don XXXXX?” (our company's OWNER)
“I’m sorry, but he’s not at this location.”
“Ohhhhh, he’s not. Well who’s the big man in charge out there?”
“May I ask what this is regarding?”
“Uh, no this is a personal matter.”
“Well if this is a personal matter, don’t you think you should know the person’s name you’re looking for?”
“Yeah, it was Don XXXXX."
"Okay, but he’s not at this location so what personal matter do you have and with whom?”
“I don’t have to answer that.”
“Uh, yes you do, sir. What’s your company name?”
“That’s none of your business……MY COMPANY – there you go – that’s my company name... 'MY COMPANY'.”
“At what company do you work, sir?”
“Ma’am you’re being VERY rude to one of your customers. Do you want to get fired?”

** HANG UP **

He calls back.
I answer: “Good Morning, XXXXXXX.”
“PUT….YOUR BOSS….ON THE PHONE NOW.”
“I will need to know who is calling and from what company.”
“MA’AM, I DON’T WANT TO KNOW HIS NAME, I WANT TO TALK TO HIM TO GET YOU FIRED!”
“Please do not call here again. Put me on your do not call list.”
“You have no idea who you’re speaking to.”
** Google search/white pages ---- “telemarketer – AT&T” **
“Uh, yeah I do. You’re calling from AT&T.”
“No I'm not, you don’t know who you’re talking to.”
“I’m reading it right here – telemarketer calling from AT&T. Please do not call here again. Put us on your DO NOT CALL LIST.”
"I'm not calling from AT&T!"
"Sir, I can hear the other telemarketers in the background."

**I hang up **

I call back the 1-800 number, and, sure enough, it was AT&T. I told the person that I received two very rude calls back to back, and I would like for our company to be placed on their DO NOT CALL list IMMEDIATELY.

Woman sighed and asked if I got a name. I said, “JOHN” which is probably fake. She said, “and what’s your company’s phone number?” So I told her. She was going to put the supervisor on the phone, but she was on the other line. Said she would put us on DO NOT CALL and would have the supervisor call.

Work.

Just an FYI - days I won't be in the office:

July 16th-17th (Wed. and Thurs.) - IATA HazMat Seminar - Marietta, GA

July 21st-22nd (Mon. and Tues.) - REACH EU Seminar - Pittsburgh, PA

Monday, July 14, 2008

Silly Photos.

"Rapid Deployment"



Natives that have never seen the outside world:

Ceramic Dog Travels the US

Kinda makes me wanna do this:

http://www.kptv.com/news/16875794/detail.html

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Where has my day gone?

I look at my clock, and it's almost quarter 'til 9. Where has my day gone? Granted, I woke up with a screaming headache and a scratchy throat (headache is a dull pain now, and my throat still hurts), and I cleaned the bathrooms, the living room, and part of the kitchen, but I thought it was 5 or 6 o'clock. I realized what time it was when I tried calling Naked Clay to see about picking up our tiles we painted next weekend since I'd be in that area anyways for the BBQ at Morgenstern's, and I got a recording.

At first I thought, "hmm....they must be busy" until I read the time on my computer. Geez....7:20! Where did my day go! I got some things accomplished, but on the other hand, I don't feel like I accomplished anything.

Tomorrow I found out whether Pittsburgh is one day, two days, or no days. I hope to have our Savannah-Australia situation remedied because it's really starting to piss me off.

I will also begin more actively searching for a rental house or apartment closer to my work, closer to 285 than where I live now. The last straw has hit the camel's back, and the camel is wavering.

That's about it for now. I will bid you all adieu, and possibly update tomorrow.

Why am I a magnet for freaks?

Really now? Why am I a magnet for freaks?

Anyone who reads this blog or knows me in person knows the level of intellect around which I tend to surround myself (I mean, geez.....look at that last sentence...it wasn't avoided in a preposition). While that may sound pompous and arrogant, I'm merely attempting to prove a point as a segway into this IM:

meandmydobie: hi
Me: hi
meandmydobie: A/S/L?
Me: All pertinent information is found on my Profile. Do I know you?
meandmydobie: No but I want to know you! ur hot!
*** Red flag # 1...."ur." ***
Me: Thanks.
meandmydobie: What city u in?
Me: Again, all pertinent information is found on my profile.
meandmydobie: I can't access your profile.
Me: Why?
meandmydobie: don't know
Me: Well if you can't access my profile, how did you find my screenname to message me?
meandmydobie: ur on my buddy list
Me: I highly doubt that. I've never spoken to you before.
Basic rundown: location - Atlanta, age - 26, marital status - long term relationship.
meandmydobie: u wanna sugardaddy?


Is this person serious? The next message stated that based on that question I know for sure I have never spoken to that person and to refrain from every contacting me in the future, remove my name from his buddy list, and I would now be blocking him.

Seriously? A sugar daddy? Anyone that knows me knows those are my two pet peeves: sugar daddies and sugar mommas. Ugh. Grow up. Get your own job.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tennessee Aquarium: March 2008

I had written this awhile ago and never posted it:

March 29, 2008 - Tennessee Aquarium - Behind the Scenes Tour

A few weekends ago, a friend and I went to Chattanooga for the weekend. While we were there, we two hydrophiles stopped in at the Tennessee Aquarium. I had been there before, but Jack, my friend, had not. Situated on the banks of the Tennessee River in the very popular downtown area, two tall glass structures tower above arched concrete slabs. During the warmer months in the Spring and Summer, a water source flows through the area just outside the aquarium to keep children occupied while parents stand in line for admission into the aquarium.

I have a season pass for the Aquarium, but I waited in line with Jack while he got his tickets using my membership discount. Even though it was a fairly busy weekend, the line moved rather quickly. The line is deceiving, however, as it is set up like an amusement park with serpentine lines inside the admission building, winding around like you’re waiting for your favorite ride.

Jack opted for a season pass, and we both opted for the behind the scenes tour of the aquarium. While we waited for our tour to begin, we went downstairs in the River Journey building to see the seahorse exhibit. There were seahorses and seadragons. We would later find out that there is a species of seadragon that has never reproduced in captivity, and very little is know about their reproductive cycle to begin with. Tails curved around plants and rock pieces keep the fragile floating “horses” anchored in one spot. After looking at the seahorses and seadragons, it’s difficult to imagine that they are actual fish rather than miniature aquatic versions of their namesake.

We went back upstairs to meet our tour group. We were two in a group of five plus the volunteer guide. Where else would our tour start than in the pumping and filtration room? We went down to the River Journey’s pumping and filtration room in which we saw every single exhibit in River Journey’s pump and filtration system. What many people may not know is fresh or saltwater, the water that is used at the aquarium is the same water that is used in the city of Chattanooga. The water is brought into the aquarium, processed, treated, warmed or cooled, salt added in some cases, and then pumped into the exhibits. Just like a giant swimming pool, the exhibits also undergo backwashing and re-filtering. The filtration tanks were similar to the ones you would find filtering the common swimming pool but on a much larger scale.

Moving up from the pumping and filtration room, we saw a variety of different rooms including the “sick bay” and research area of the aquarium. While we weren’t allowed access, we were told of a test that the aquarium is performing to try to promote the breeding in captivity of seadragons. It is understood that seadragon males and females will circle one another up a straight line near the surface. While doing so, the male is to fertilize the eggs of the female. If both the male and female reach the surface or the “stopping point” prior to the eggs being fertilized, the female will just release the eggs without being fertilized, and thus, leaving no chance of new seadragons. The test that the Tennessee Aquarium is performing is the construction of a tall water column. This column will be used to promote and to simulate the reproductive cycle of the seadragon. There are already “test subjects” waiting to try out the love column.

From there, we moved on to the “brain” of the aquariums. This was the control room for the aquariums - computers that monitor every aspect of the aquarium from the water flow to high-tech cameras that allow the users to zoom in on various rooms of the aquarium, including the quarantine room. The person in charge of the computers at that time zoomed in on a piece of paper in the room, and we could read everything that the person had written.

The most interesting part of the behind the scenes tour was discovering the different animals’ diets: the river otters got lemons added into their “meatloaves” as it prevented fleas, and one of the fish with the worst (and incorrect) reputation, the piranha, like grapes. Sea turtles will fight the sharks and others for broccoli, but all of the fish liked what looked like fishy pesto jell-o called “fish gel food.” From the kitchen area for the aquarium, we took some of the fish gel cubes and proceeded to the top of the saltwater exhibit in River Journey. There is where we got to take the fish gel cubes and feed the fish and whomever wanted them, the cubes. Where else can you go in Tennessee and feed sharks, rays, and saltwater fish? They broke the surface of the water, and I wondered what the people down below in the aquarium thought.

From the River Journeys building, we went to the Ocean Journeys building where we saw the pump and filtration room. There is where we discovered that the aquarium makes their own saltwater with raw materials instead of buying pre-made aquarium salt. The process takes about two days to make a batch of saltwater. From that area, we saw the large saltwater exhibit from high above as well. We learned that the turtle in the exhibit is target trained. They move him out of the main saltwater exhibit into his own holding area so that he doesn’t fight everyone for broccoli. The rays are hand-fed, the sharks are “hand-fed” by large fish-mounted spikes attached to a long handle, and while all of this is occurring, blasts of food are propelled through tubes into the tank as well as tossed out across the surface. It is a pretty interesting routine to feed all of the fish in Ocean Journeys.

After the Behind the Scenes tour, we were able to explore the aquarium on our own. Knowing what we now know about the aquarium made it that more interesting.

So if you have a young Jacques Cousteau, or if you always had a question about what sea turtles eat, the Behind the Scenes tour at the Tennessee Aquarium is definitely worth it.

Behind the Scenes Tour:
$15 (plus admission) for non-members
$10 for members

FREE MEALS AT CHIK FIL A

Today (7/11/08), Chik Fil A is offering free meals to anyone dressed as a cow. If you have a cow hat or cow bandana, you get a discount. Apparently, there is a van painted as a cow driving around Marietta right now with marks on the side that says, "How many free meals we've gotten at Chik Fil A Today."

FYI.

P.S. It's "cow appreciation day," and it's for ALL Chik Fil A's!

Beautiful Birds.

I randomly came across these. Who would have thought chickens and pheasants could be so beautiful?

Onagadori chicken:



Golden Pheasant:

True.

Daily Bible verse received:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

1 Timothy 6:6-10

:)

Seems like S.C. isn't the only company who has a dry erase artist running rampant!