Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Defining Character- Thoughtfulness and Giving Update

The month is almost over, so I thought I would give you an update on how the Thoughtfulness and Giving thing went. I did something special for almost everyone on my list. They weren't all as meaningful as I might have wanted (baked goods are always thoughtful right?) I even sent the gift (along with a letter) to the Ex. I heard through a friend that still works with him that he got it and wasn't too weirded out by it. He didn't call and thank me or anything, but that's ok. Overall I did pretty darn good and I am pleased with myself.

I also managed to figure out a way to work in "giving" with my family's Christmas presents. In addition to some doggie treats, my mom's dog also received a donation to puppiesbehindbars.com in her name. In addition to a passport cover and other gifts, my uncle got a water bottle and a donation to charitywater.org in his name. For my mom, in addition to her cashmere sweater and other gifts, I got her the Willow Tree Angel of Health and donated 2 chickens in her name through worldvision.org and two insecticide-treated mosquito nets through malarianomore.org.

I plan to continue this throughout the new year. I am going to start giving at church more (I just cannot tithe 10% right now...still living paycheck to paycheck for this twenty-something!). When I give gifts, I am going to take the time to really think about what would make a difference to that person instead of getting something generic. I'm also going to try to write more thank you notes to take the time to recognize when someone has done something special for me. It really does make you feel good when you slow down and focus on thoughtfulness in your giving. Try it!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

All By Myself

I marked something else off my list today. I went to see Marley and Me at the theater...alone! I don't know why I thought this was such a big deal. Did I feel uncomfortable walking into the theater by myself? Yes. Would it have been better to go to the movies with someone? A friend or perhaps a boy? Probably. Would it have been better to stay home in my pajamas all day? No.

It was a movie I really wanted to see. I knew I was going to cry because I had read the book and I know how it ends. And I am NOT a public crier. So I was glad to be by myself. I was boo-hooing at various parts throughout the movie, but didn't have to feel self-conscious because there was no one I knew there. The movie was pretty good, but the book was WAY better (by the way, the book is almost always way better than the movie.) Really, going by myself was no big deal once I stopped worrying about other people judging me and feeling uncomfortable being alone.

It motivated me to come home and take my dog to the dog park. Alone. Well, me and him, but still. It was great. I got out the house and had an active full day because I wasn't waiting around on other people to hang out with.

I hate that being alone makes people (including me) feel uncomfortable. I think a lot of it is imposed upon us by society. One is the loneliest number and all that crap. But you know what, I am going to try to embrace it more. I think that's what this exercise was all about. I am going to get more comfortable being by myself. It's ok. I don't need to feel any "less than" because there is not someone by my side. Next time I find myself wanting to do something and having no one to do it with, I am just going to push away that uneasiness and do it. Because it is ok to be a party of one sometimes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Love and Loss

I apologize for this post in advance. I don't know why I am writing this on my blog as opposed to some journal I can hide deep in my dresser drawer. Maybe it is because maybe someone out there has been through something similar and can feel better knowing that someone else feels this way too. Maybe it is because it is such a big part of who I am, how can I hide it.

I am thinking about Josh tonight. Josh was the first and probably only guy I have ever loved. He was killed in a car wreck over 11 years ago. I have a framed picture of him in my bedroom to this day. I also have a scrapbook of all the newspaper articles about his death. There are 3 articles and his obituary. That is how much of an impression he made on people. The articles are not so much about his death, but of the person he was. Almost all of the articles talk about how he was unanimously elected by his teammates as captain of the soccer team. I remember the day he told me he was elected captain. He told me how he couldn't believe it because he was just a junior. He was so humble. The articles talk about how he was liked by everyone, about his passion for soccer, and how he was always poised and positive. He was the best person I have ever known. I was blessed to have the opportunity to love him.

I also have pictures of him, of us. I have postcards he sent me from his trip out west telling me about his adventures and how much he missed and loved me. I have the most beautiful poem he wrote me telling me I had everything he would ever need or want and calling me his "Juliet". I have all the cards I gave him that I found in his room after his death telling him how much I loved him and to have fun at soccer camp and on his trip out west. I look at this book sometimes when I want to remember.

His death was the defining moment of my life. I think the reason his death has affected me more than anything, including my dad's death, is because I feel like my future died with him. Even though I have lived the last 11 years without him, it doesn't feel like I have. The first 4 years were the worst. I was practically asleep. Just going through the motions of life. I still feel like that sometimes now.

I don't know why I am still here sometimes. I keep telling myself that God must have some big plan for me. I'm not sad, just frustrated. Frustrated by the things in life we can not change. Frustrated with not knowing what the future holds. Frustrated with not knowing why I am here.

I often wonder if I would feel this way without this defining moment in my life that I keep coming back to. I am an optimist and usually just roll with life's punches. I am the one who always tells my friends "just let it go" when some little bump comes along. But right now I feel kind of like a hypocrite realizing that is easier said than done sometimes.

I don't feel this way all the time. Most of the time I don't think about it. Just live life and don't think about the past or the future too much. But I get reminded of it every once in a while and tonight was one of those nights.

Tomorrow will be a new day and I will go back to enjoying the rest of my Christmas vacation like I have for the last week (WOO HOO! The break from work was much needed.) And I am especially looking forward to the new year and getting to have more adventures marking things off my list. Because that is what gets me through life, little adventures shared with people I love. From the big ones- like on my list- to small ones like oohing and ahhing with my friends over a house covered in flashing lights choreographed to Christmas music or laughing at getting my butt kicked playing Wii for the first time. Little happy moments like those make the big sad moments that much more bearable.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tag- you’re it!

Oh yes, the bloggy world has games too and I am so excited because I have been tagged by the lovely Cyndi over at Just an Everyday Bitch. The assignment is to name 6 things that make me happy. Just thinking about these has made my day a little more happy:

1. Traveling/Vacations

I love traveling! I love packing up my suitcase. I love travel sized toiletries. I love all the planning. I love seeing new places and having new experiences. I love breaking the everyday routine. Every year my friends try to plan one big vacation so that we can have something to look forward to all year. I don't know if we will be able to do that this year with the economy in a tailspin and our jobs possibly at risk, but at least I have the small ski trip to look forward too and I am sure there will be lots of weekend beach get-aways this summer!

2. Carolina Hurricanes Games (live- not on TV)

I love live sporting events in general. The excitement, the tailgating, the suspense, the camaraderie all make for a great fun. But something about the Canes games are just wonderful. I became a Caniac the year they won the Stanley Cup- I even got to see game 7 live! Unforgettable! I named my dog after my favorite player- Cam Ward. I used to get free tickets through my work and my ex-boyfriend used to take me a lot, but this season I have no free tickets and no one to go with. Which makes me sad, but hopefully I will have a chance to go to one again soon.

3. Lakes

My dream in life is to one day own a house on Lake James in Morganton. I love that lake. But really I love all lakes. I love being on the water. I love the nature that surrounds lakes. I love the peacefulness and fun that can be found at the lake. I even love little Lake Lynn (the small city lake I jog around in the summer). Being at the lake just makes me happy.

4. Cam

This dog brings me more joy than I can put into words. He is my best friend and constant companion. I love the crap out of him!

5. A good book

I love to read. I love escaping into other people's worlds and using my imagination to envision what is written on the page.

6. God

I feel kind of cheesy saying this- like a rapper thanking God for his Grammy during his acceptance speech, but God does make me happy. When I stop to think about how much God loves me, to offer me salvation through the death of Jesus, it is overwhelming. I don't have to worry about saving myself because the price has already been paid. Everything I can't comprehend about life is going to work out just fine because of God. When I put all my trust in Him, it's hard to be sad.

Now for the 6 people I tag (friends and the blogs I most enjoy!):

Carrie at The Domestic District

Magda at Thunderstorms Highly Likely

Jane at The Diary of Jane

Ashley D at Turquoise Ribbons

Hollie at All Things in Moddy

Heather at Colormehazel

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Defining Character: Thoughtfulness & Giving

Since this is the Christmas season I thought a good character trait to develop would be Thoughtfulness and Giving (because who doesn’t want to be known as thoughtful and giving?) But I have to admit this has been hard. It’s hard because it takes time and money- two precious commodities in this economy and during this time of year. It’s also hard because there are so many people I want to do something for and I don’t want to leave anyone out.

I started with making a list of people who really influenced my life over the last few years. I tried to limit it to no more than 25. Then I picked the people from that list who I probably wouldn’t have normally done something for at Christmastime. These people were the people who would probably be shocked to get something from me and I feel really awkward about sending something to. I started with an easy one. I sent a gift basket to the marketing team at my old job. They were a great team and I miss them a lot. They were appreciative to get the basket and I am going to try to go have lunch with them next week.

Now for a really weird one: I got a present for my ex-boyfriend. He really did have a big impact in my life and our relationship ended really weird (He just stopped talking to me when we were in this weird “friends” stage). I got him a funny t-shirt and I wrote a little letter about how I wanted to show him some appreciation for the impact he had on my life. I am sending it today and I am little scared about how that one will be received.

And that is as far as I have gotten with the Thoughtfulness part. I have lots of ideas for the other people on my list, but I have no time because I want it to be something really thoughtful because these are the people I see on a regular basis and something ordinary like a picture frame or candle just isn’t right. Also, I don’t want to leave anyone out, but I don’t want to give something just out of obligation. Like at work, I don’t want to give something to some people because they haven’t made an impact on my life really (at least not in a good way), but there are other people I would like to give something to, but then I would feel bad if someone found out and felt left out.

Now for the Giving part: giving gifts to the people in my life fits in to this category also, but I want to do something for people who are less fortunate and really need it. I got a Glamour magazine and it had a list of 31 ways to give this season. I went through the list and tried to pick out 10 things that I could do. For example:

Give up bottled water for a week; donate the savings to charitywater.org, where $20 can give one person drinking water for 20 years!

At inspiredgifts.unicefusa.org, $35 buys a bike to get a health worker to remote areas.

Each dollar donated to roomtoread.org promotes child literacy in the developing world.

At malarianomore.org, $10 will buy one insecticide-treated mosquito net—enough to protect at least one child from malaria for up to five years.

Give $25 to puppiesbehindbars.com and help an inmate train a puppy to be a service dog.

If you want to see the whole list from Glamour click here

Then I thought about just donating $5 for every charity that asked this month. But this economy is making me nervous about money. I heard a rumor at my workplace that layoffs could be coming and I don’t want to be giving away all my money only to be left unemployed next year. Plus, if I am applying to grad school in the coming month, I need to set aside at least $500 for that.

So far all I have done for the Giving aspect of this is to donate $100 to my church’s Christmas Missions Offering. This is the biggest gift I will give to anyone this year, so I feel good about it, but I can't help but want to do more.

I have less than half a month to work on this one some more, but it is hard. Maybe I should focus my time more on things like “Thank You” cards and donating my time or stuff, something that doesn't require much money. Either way at least it has me thinking and will hopefully make me more conscientious of these areas in the future.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Design

My blog got a make-over! I was so frustrated these last few months about my blog looking so blah. So for part of my Christmas present to myself I decided to pay for a little re-design. The wonderful Shauna came up with this awesome design based on my love for pink and longing for something cute, clean, and fun. She even made a matching one for my Bookshelf Blog, loaded them for me and fixed my menu bar buttons! She is great and I would highly recommend her if you are looking for a blog make-over. Check her out here:

What do you think of the new look?

Also, go check out the new header on my Bookshelf Blog and my review of Candace Bushnell's One Fifth Avenue.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My First 5K

I had been freaking out over this 5K for the last month or so (starting about the time I realized how far off my training program I’d fallen.) Well, it was definitely an experience. I actually completed my first 5K, The Jingle Bell Run, in Raleigh last Saturday. I was going to wait for a picture to post with this, but pictures are overrated and I’m impatient.

I had a really bad night the night before the race. I woke up not wanting to go at all. I mean AT ALL. I was in a funk and I knew I was going to suck and I just felt drained. But I had friends that were running in this just because I convinced them to. One even tried to back out the night before and I wouldn’t let her. So I knew I had to go.

The race was in downtown Raleigh and it was chilly out. My friend B had made us these funky scarves for the race. Everyone was in envy of them and kept commenting on them. I wore the dorkiest blue headband to keep my ears warm, gloves, a long-sleeved t-shirt and my typical black pants. I was cold at first, but it warmed up quickly and during the race I was downright HOT. I had to tie the scarf around my waist, take my gloves off, and push up my sleeves to keep from burning up.

It was a very festive atmosphere. Everyone tied jingle bells to their shoelaces. Some people were dressed up in funky Christmas attire. Some people wore reindeer antlers or santa hats. One guy was in a full out santa costume. (He was annoying before the race, but actually motivated me during the race). There were also intimidating people in hard core running gear. I tried to ignore them in their shorts and sleeveless shirts in 40 degree weather. Were they crazy??

When we lined up for the race I was starting to freak out. I HATE crowds and this was a crowd. On top of that I was getting ready to run 3.1 miles. What the heck was I thinking!?! I turned on my I-pod and tried to disappear into my own little world. We were right in the middle of the pack so when the gun went off I tried to ignore what was going on around me and just keep my pace. (Although it was hard to ignore the guy that ran by juggling bowling pins. Yeah, running and juggling the whole way. Show off.)

It was a long run, but flat for the most part. I had to take quite a few walking breaks. But when I was about at the 2 mile mark I ended up near this family that inspired me. The dad was pushing a stroller and he had his two girls, about 6 and 10, running with him. The younger one was feeling it like I was. She kept whining “Daaaadddd, I can’t.” He would stay positive and slow down to walk with her for just a bit, but then say “Ok, we are in the home stretch, you can do it, let’s go.” The older sister would turn around and say “Come on Ella!” encouragingly and the younger one would start running again. For some reason this inspired me. I imagined they were encouraging me too in my head.

My final time was 37:21- under the 40 min mark I was going for. But I did not feel like a success that day. I had come in last out of all my friends. I didn’t feel good about my performance and I just wanted to go home and sulk.

Five days later I feel ok about it. I’m glad I did it. I will do another one and I will beat my time. Heck, I will probably even do this race again because it was very festive and fun. I will just be better prepared physically for the race and I’ll do something light but fun the night before so I am in a good mood on the day of the race. Because it’s just as much mental as it is physical.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Polite Practitioners

Lots and lots of list activity this weekend! I bet you all are wondering how my 5K went. I did it and I promise to do a whole post on it, but I am waiting for a picture to post with it, because it just wouldn't be complete without it. I of course didn't take a picture because I hate pictures (because I'm not happy with the way I look right now) so I didn't bring my camera. But the ever prepared Brooklyn did, so as soon as she sends them to me I promise to tell you all about it.

On Friday I had a doctors appointment. I have been having problems with insomnia lately. And before I found the Melatonin supplements (which aren't working anymore) I called to make an appointment at Duke Medicine at Brier Creek because I had heard such good things about it from a couple friends. I was lucky that they were accepting new patients and I only had to wait a month to get in to see the doctor.

I had high expectations from this place because of all I had heard. Let me tell you, they did not disappoint. The doctor really listened to my problems and gave her recommendation and an optional plan and let me decide. She asked lots of questions and made a follow up appointment for next month to see how it is going.

But the biggest factor in my experience was the politeness of the whole staff. From the receptionist to the nurse to the check out man, everyone was so polite and nice. I had to wait in a line to check out and when it was finally my turn the guy apologized and thanked me for being so patient. He explained they had 3 people out and a doctor on maternity leave. He worked with me to get an appointment in the late afternoon so that I wouldn't have to miss so much work and he explained how my Duke medical ID worked and how to access my info online. He thanked me and welcomed me to their practice.

It made a world of difference from the experiences I have had at other doctor's offices where they barely look up at you and rush you around just to have you wait forever in the waiting room, exam room, ect. and then rush you out and never follow up after that.

So, I just may have found a doctor I can trust! They sure made a great first impression, so we shall see how the follow-up goes!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jingle Bell Run...jog...er....walk?

Saturday is the Jingle Bell 5K. I don't know what the heck I was thinking signing up for a 5K in the middle of winter, right in the middle of the Holidays, which everyone knows is the busiest time of the year. If I didn't have people signed up to do this with me, I would just not go. I am not ready physically or mentally for this. Here is what is probably going to happen:

I start off the race jogging with my friends and slowly lag behind until everyone is in front of me so they can't see my miserable failure. Eventually my side will start to hurt and I will start walking. As a ten year old and a grandma jog past I start cursing myself. Suddenly the cold air is getting hard for me to breathe. I start hacking up a lung. Eventually I come to a water station and decide to take a little break. The water break gives me a little renewed energy and I start jogging enthusiastically. As I am jogging I realize my little jingle bells are the only ones I hear. I try to shrug it off and realize my stomach is starting to get a little bubbly. I try to ignore the trauma my intestines are in, but am forced to walk again. I am encouraged because I hear more bells! Suddenly a big heard of people passes me going in the opposite direction. I see a water station ahead and ask the skinny little teenager working it how much further I have. She looks annoyed and says "You're not even halfway through." and rolls her eyes. I jog off just to show her I am not a lazy fatty but as soon as she is out of sight I cut down a back road and hightail it to the car. When my friends ask why they didn't see me cross the finish line I tell them I couldn't find them, so I assumed they were all at the car already. Then I'll go home and cry for the rest of the weekend.

Either that or I will just have a heart attack trying to keep up with everyone which actually might be a little less painful than option A.

Oh well, there's no getting out of it now. I will let you all know how it goes.

And if you are interested in donating or signing up to run with us here is a link to our team page:

Jingle Joggers

Even a $5 donation would help us get closer to our goal! And even though I mainly signed up for this to mark something off my list, it is a good cause and Christmas is the giving season!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just a Normal Girl- Sort of...

Today I want to say Happy Birthday Britney! I know, I know, she was a hot mess for the last few years, but she is making a comeback! Now that she got all those loser-womanizing men out of her life, got on anti-depressants (this may or may not be true, but evidence points to true) and got Daddy Spears to keep her in line, she has managed to pull herself together and get her pop-star princess career back on track!

Sunday night I watched the Britney Spears- For the Record documentary on MTV. It was really good. She was very genuine and open. I think she is a happy-go-lucky girl that lives a very different life from the rest of us and is having a hard time dealing with it. I think she has a big heart and wants more out of life, but had been burned by bad people. She is human and probably has very similar wants and desires in life as you do.

She has gone through a lot and I do think she lost her mind for a while there, but she had reason to. We all get thrown off course in life. Most of us just don’t have millions of people watching our downward spirals. Think about it, she broke up with her childhood sweetheart, started partying too much and making stupid decisions (like getting married in Vegas for like 24 hours), fell in love with a loser (don’t hate, it happens), married the loser, had 2 babies back to back with the loser, and finally went through a divorce with the loser- which sent her over the edge into “I’ve lost my mind” land.

Not only that, she has to deal with 50 or more photogs following her every move, invading her privacy, and trying to snap a pic at the exact moment she looks her worst or makes a mistake. Then that picture get plastered everywhere and millions of people start criticizing her every move. I’d loose my mind too.

She can’t take a walk on the beach. She can’t take her kids to the park or grocery store. She can’t go for a jog outside. She can’t sit on a park bench and read a book. She can’t go camping. She can’t go for a bike ride. She can’t go anywhere in public without fearing for her safety. She can’t have fun, spontaneous adventures that we all take for granted sometimes. Heck, she couldn’t do half the things I have on my 30 Before 30 List without some major coordination and security detail!

It’s like she is a prisoner in her own little world. She is lonely and sad and I can relate to that.

But she is also fierce! I mean I would kill to have her body back in her “I’m a Slave for You” days. Heck, even now, she has got her body back in shape after having 2 kids and a mental breakdown. She is creative, funny, adorable and sexy all at the same time. She loves her job and she is good at it. As cheesy as it sounds, I’m a fan. And if she can ever shake that annoying paparazzi, she is more than welcome to come hang out with me and my friends and have wild, goofy, crazy, stupid adventures with us!

Happy Birthday Brit! And I am so looking forward to hearing the rest of the songs on your new album!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

You can't win them all

This weekend I:

- finished Twilight (check out the review on my Bookshelf Blog)
- took a practice GMAT test (scored a 590, but I may or may not have been distracted by The Girls Next Door re-runs I was trying to watch while taking the test)
- finished NaBloPoMo!!! I am so excited. I love ya'll but writing everyday was not very fun and half the time I felt like my posts were a bunch of non-sense.

I am celebrating these two big achievements with a 100-calorie pack and Coke Zero and trying not to feel bad about the things I had planned to do but didn't get around to this weekend:

-Practice running outside- FAIL-didn't even run at all
-deep clean my house- FAIL-I only unloaded the dishwasher and cleaned the counters
-put up my Christmas tree- FAIL-It's still fall at my house
-see Twilight the movie- FAIL-too rainy and cold to go out today

Oh well, you can't win them all but at least I won a few!

I may take a break from posting for a few days so I can actually think of something thoughtful to say instead of boring you with my life.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Real or Fake?

I have fake, but I wish they were real. I get so jealous when I see all these people with real ones. The whole experience with real is so much better, but unfortunately I have to settle for fake.

I'm talking about Christmas greenery, perverts. The tree, the wreath, the garland...real is just so much better, but I have to settle for fake. I have a fake tree, a fake wreath, fake garland on my mantel and none of it has that glorious Christmas smell. Real is just so expensive, and messy. And when it comes to the tree it is just too much for me to handle. I would never be able to lug a big real tree in my house and position it just right in the tree stand. Plus you have to worry about watering it and the shedding. If you believe my mom it is also a huge fire hazard. So for now I settle for fake.

Normally I am able to recreate that evergreen smell with Christmas scented oil air fresheners from Glade or Air Wick, but when I looked at Target tonight they had none! They did have one called "Glistening Snow", but it smelled like soap, not a Christmas tree. I may have to settle for a Yankee Candle, but I really want to find an air freshener so I can come home every day to the smell of Christmas.

And one day when I have a big strapping husband and a car load of kids, I will splurge for the real thing!

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Contribution to the Economy

So today is Black Friday and normally I would never ever shop on this day. I hate crowds. I don't care how cheap that TV is, it's not worth it for me. However, I was bored. I called the BIFF to see what she was doing and she was watching football and movies and doing a whole bunch of nothing too. She wanted to go to Dick's Sporting Goods and I was bored so I agreed.

She ended up getting the deal of the day ($70 bucks for the same tennis shoes I had paid over $100 for just a few months ago!) I almost bought a spare pair just because it was such a great deal, but I resisted. I did do my fair share of shopping too. My best deal was an ECU sweatshirt for $15. We also hit up Ulta and Old Navy. Overall I spent almost $150 today when I meant to spend absolutely nothing.

The really sad part is only one item was a gift for someone else. Everything else was all for ME!! It was all stuff I needed (for the most part- except $10 I spent on just too good to refuse offers).

Tomorrow I am going to actually go for a long run instead of just talking about it and put up my Christmas tree! So much work, but so worth it to get into that Holiday Spirit!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I could list all the most important things that I am really really thankful for like God, my family, friends, and my furry children, but instead here are 5 somewhat obscure things I am thankful for today:

1. Cheap gas. $1.63/gallon is such a breath of fresh air compared to the ever-escalating prices we had going on over the last couple months.

2. Ex-boyfriends. I am thankful for all my past relationships because they all taught me something about myself and love.

3. Facebook. I love this little Internet site because it lets me keep up with what is going on with all the people in my life that I would have otherwise lost touch with.

4. Melatonin supplements. One week of taking these little pills has helped me regulate my circadian rhythms and possibly cured my insomnia.

5. Next week. I am so thankful to have the next 8 days to attempt to prepare for this 5K because I'm going to need it!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

5K Freak Out

So I've ran on the treadmill a couple times over the last week. Not as much as I should be though. I got my time down to under 40 minutes, but that is on a flat treadmill in a climate controlled gym. Running my first 5K in the middle of winter might not have been the best idea. This is how I feel when I think about running in the 5K next weekend:

Oh well, I am thankful I am at least able to run at all (even if it is as slow as molasses)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Idle Gossip

I admit, I do love celebrity gossip. I have been trying to take a break, but it is just so darn entertaining, it's hard to stay away for long.

So first of all. Heidi and Spencer got married? Seriously? WTF was she thinking? If you have ever watched The Hills, you know Spencer is the biggest douche ever! He seriously has to be one of the most selfish jerks I have ever seen. He must have her brainwashed. Watching the show lately, I was hoping she was starting to see what a big a**hole he is. But oh no. She went and married him. Without her friends and family. Just her and the jerk. I predict this one won't last. I wish she would wake up and dump his sorry butt and go make up with Lauren. She seems like a smart girl and pretty nice from the show. She just hooked up with the wrong dude. I don't know what kind of magic kool-aid he has been feeding her, but she needs to stop drinking it and get the heck out of there. She'd be much better off.

Next up another poor brainwashed celebrity. Britney Spears is coming out with a behind-the-scenes documentary on MTV this Sunday. She seems to have got herself together finally. I do feel really bad for her. She has lived under a microscope for way too long. I would probably be crazy too with all those paparazzi following me 24/7. At least her dad has done some good in her life (even if he does seem a tad controlling.)

Finally, I haven't seen Twilight yet. (The book just got really really good last night and I can't wait to finish it!) But I have seen pictures of the dazzling Edward Cullen. I admit he is pretty hot, but WTF is up with his hair? That just isn't right.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Everyone knows that life is made up of many hills and valleys. Today I was thinking back to some of my highest hills to find the common denominator and I think I've found it- Confidence.

Some of the happiest times in my life were also when I was the most self-confident.

Back in high school when I made the Varsity cheerleading team, I was so happy. But it wasn't until that second semester on the team until I reached my peak. By that time I was semi-popular. I felt good about myself. I was in the best shape of my life. And soon after that I met a guy that made me really happy. It all came crashing down eventually, but it was REALLY great while it lasted.

Right after I moved to Raleigh, I worked my butt off and lost a bunch of weight. I had a great social life and I was happy. I was confident. Soon after I met a guy and had a blissful couple months until it all started to unravel, but 2006 was really a great year!

I think I am finding a pattern. When I get happy with my body, I get confidence. When I get that confidence, I start living life more fully. Guys can sense that confidence and happiness and are attracted to it. Then it all comes crashing down and I'm left alone again and have to start all over.

I can't let myself get too scared of the guy ruining my happiness thing because I know one day I will meet a guy and that won't happen. But something I can control is getting in shape and getting my confidence back up. And when I do meet a guy I like, I am not going to allow myself to forget about me. I am going to keep up a regular workout routine (no matter how much time I may want to spend with him!) I am going to keep my confidence up so that if it does all fall apart, I won't have to start from scratch again.

For me, my confidence is tied directly to my outward appearance. I wish it wasn't that way. I wish I could be confident no matter how I look, but I can't. Where else does confidence come from? Maybe if I knew another place to look for it, I might have other options. But right now I see this as my only option. Maybe there is a reason that is #1 on my list?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pumpkin Dessert Bars

Last week I had the most heavenly dessert at a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. I am on a mission to re-create this little piece of heaven. I spent some of my weekend gathering the ingredients. The secret weapon in this dessert is Pumpkin Pecan Butter that Williams-Sanoma sells for $9 a jar, but it is totally worth it!

Here's the recipe:

1 box yellow cake mix, set aside 1 cup
1/4 cup melted butter
3 large eggs
1 jar Muirhead Pumpkin Pecan Butter
1/8 cup milk
1 Tbs. flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter- softened
1tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 pan
Reserve 1 cup of the yellow cake mix. Mix the remaining cake mix with 1/2 cup malted butter and 1 egg. Press into the bottom of the prepared sheet pan. Mix 1 jar of the Muirhead Pumpkin Pecan Butter with 2 large eggs and 1/8 cup milk. Pour over the cake mixture in the pan.

Mix the reserved cup of the cake mixture with 1 tablespoon flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix with a pastry blender until butter is pea-sized and mixture clumps together. Crumble over top of the pumpkin mixture. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden.

It seriously is heaven. Yum yum!

By the way...this is a pastry blender (I had to Google it!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Haunting of the Exes

Lately I have felt haunted. Haunted by the boys of relationships past. Some guys you date (especially for a long period of time) seem to never go away. They haunt your thoughts when you are lonely. They will pop up just when you thought they were totally gone. They'll send you a random text message or call you just when you thought they were gone forever.

I dated this one guy for five years and did the "can't completely let go of each other" thing with him for 2 more years after that. I finally moved away from him and thought it was all over, but he still pops up every once in a while. He'll randomly call me sometimes. I do not want to be with him again at all, but he did give really great hugs and I find myself craving a good long hug from him sometimes. Luckily for me he lives like 300 miles away, so I never have to see him again (unless I wanted to).

Then there is The Ex. I miss how much he spoiled me. I do not want to be with him anymore, but I miss the attention. He is the one that scares me the most because he lives in my city. Yesterday I went to the mall and I was so scared I was going to run into him and his new girlfriend. I kept praying "please, please don't let me see him" and walking as quickly as possible so I could get out of there. Luckily he does not do the random call or text thing, so unless the fates align I will probably never have to see him again.

And of course I am always going to be haunted by The Love. He was the one I will compare everyone else to. The tragedy that changed my life. But there is nothing I can do to change that and I know I will never run into him again (unless real ghosts really are real.) Oh which reminds me about my loathe for Grey Anatomy right now. The Izzy/Denny thing is so unreal...where the heck are they going with that??

Then there are lots of random "almost" relationships. Guys that I really liked and have even maybe made out with, but for some reason or another a relationship didn't happen at the time. I always wonder "what if?" about them. I find myself wanting to run into them again just to see if the spark is still there.

I hate being haunted.

It probably doesn't help that I am reading Twilight right now. I mean Edward and his "dazzling" make me wish for a vampire encounter myself.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Very Own Registry!

I worked from home today. (And it was a Snow Day! Hey, a "dusting" still counts!) In between writing some marketing copy and conference calls I managed to create my very own Christmas registry! I have done so much registry shopping over the past 10 years for weddings and babies, it's about time I got one of my own!! It is so cool! You add this little Amazon button to your browser and then whenever you are shopping online you just click it and the item you are looking at will be added to your Wish List. You can add things from ANY website! It is awesome.

Get your own button here:

Universal Wishlist Button

If you want to see what I want for Christmas, go check it out here:

My Amazon.com Wish List

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Man Voice

I have the funk. My voice? Gone. It happened so quickly I didn’t even notice. I went to the mail room yesterday to look for an envelope and when a lady in there asked me what I was looking for, I tried to say “Envelopes” and nothing came out. This was right before lunch and it was only then that I realized it was the first time I tried to actually talk to someone that day. My voice must have disappeared overnight without me realizing it. (Good thing I don’t need to use it too much!)

I did get a phone call from my BIFF last night (she read my blog and took pity). By that time, I had figured out that if I dropped to my lowest octave it was possible to speak. BIFF got me meet Man Voice. It is so embarrassing. I seriously sound like a dude.

So between having a “nobody-loves-me-why-won’t-anyone-talk-to-me” day yesterday and losing my voice today, I think God is trying to tell me something.

It could be that I need to be like a monk and listen to my “inner voice”

Or it could be because I have had the urge to call The Ex for the last couple weeks and this is God’s way of saying “Ha! Go ahead and call him now with your Man Voice. Bet he’ll love that!”

(Seriously I know I do not need to call him. We probably definitely aren’t meant to be. He was just so nice to me and I’m so lonely. I miss the attention. Or maybe we were meant to be and I am just too picky. I was so mean to him. Maybe he was right and I was just so wrong. I don’t know. These are the types of tricks my mind has been playing on me lately! I heard he has a new girlfriend and probably wouldn’t want me back anyway, so this is a blessing.)

Either way, I am now actually trying NOT to talk until Man Voice is gone. Crazy how things work in life huh?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Not so Likeable?

Today over at 20 Something Bloggers they are doing their big Blog Swap. Someone else would guest post here and I would do a guest post on their blog. I was pumped. I mean I am trying my best to immerse myself in this little bloggy world and the Blog Swap sounded awesome to me! But you’ll notice- No Blog Swap for me today. My partner never responded to my email. And I never got assigned a new partner. Whatever.

That is the story of my life lately. I don’t know what is going on, but I have never felt so alone. I am starting to get insecure. Do people just not like me? I have always thought I was pretty likeable. But now I am not so sure.

Last week in Bible Study our leader told each of us to call another random person in the group and ask for their prayer request for that week. I never got a call.

Lately no one calls me unless I call them. I spend 9 hours in a cubicle barely talking to anyone because my office is so darn quiet. It is like against the rules to talk around here. I go home and no one calls. I try to call friends sometimes, but 9 times out of 10, no one answers and I don’t do voicemail. If I leave you a voicemail, I am either desperate or it is an emergency. I’m a pretty quiet person in general, but this is killing me.

I have no idea why I am going through this or what I am supposed to learn from it, but it SUCKS.

To take my mind off of the quiet and loneliness, I have challenged myself to run (ahem, jog…or maybe even just walk) 3.1 miles everyday between now and December 6 (the day of my 5K). I went to the gym last night and planned to jog the whole time on the treadmill. (Remember I haven’t jogged in 2-3 weeks!) Well, I got a shooting pain in my side. So I slowed down to a walk until it went away. Then I would jog again until it came back. And repeat. It took me 42:30 to finish 3.1 miles. (I actually thought it would be worse!) My goal is to have a time in the 30-40 min. range on race day. (It’s my first one, so cut me some slack!) And since jogging outside is a lot harder than on a treadmill, I am going to have to really improve on that time over the next 2-3 weeks!

Who needs companionship or talking when there is so much running to be done anyway?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stop the Big Bad Marketing Machine

I just got a telemarketing call at work. It was a recorded message from some “dinner at home” delivery place. They might have a good product, but I will never know because I hung up on that stupid recorded voice, disgusted. And if I could remember their name I would make a mental note never to use their services just because of that call.

I also got spammed today. By my church! They sent me an email letting me know that it was time to join the Summit and get baptized. What?!? After almost a year of contemplating this very thing, I already took that step- LAST MONTH. And they didn’t even notice? They are lucky that I already love the Summit because it really is a great church, but unfortunately they have fallen prey to bad marketing tactics too. And that makes me sad.

I have worked in marketing for almost 6 years now and these types of things make me embarrassed to call myself a marketer.

When it boils down to it marketing is communication. To effectively communicate with someone you have to get to know them. Most marketers don’t care about you; they just want you to care about them. Their bad marketing tactics have poisoned many of my communication tools over the last couple years.

First was direct mail. When I go to my mailbox, I stand right by the recycle bin and throw out anything that looks like unsolicited communication before I even walk in the house. I hate checking my mail for this very reason. For me snail mail is becoming obsolete and I have feeling marketers had something to do with that.

Then it was telemarketing. When I used to have a home phone, I could tell when I was about to receive an unsolicited message. There would be a pause and a click before some recorded message started or some telemarketer picked up the phone because he was next in the queue. Now I have only a cell phone and can count on one hand the number of times this has happened in the past 3 years. And it was always a company I had used before and had given my number to, so it wasn’t that bad. But for me, the home phone is now obsolete and marketers are partly to blame.

(You know what else is obsolete for me? Phone books. I had one sitting in front of my door yesterday and just looking at it made me mad. It was as thick as 5 laptops stacked on top of each other. Where in the heck would I put that? I knew I would never use it, so it went right in the recycle bin too.)

Next up were commercials. My favorite TV programs were interrupted by messages from the highest bidder. I found my way around that one too with DVR. I hate watching live TV now. I can cut 15 minutes out of each hour long TV show with my DVR by fast-forwarding through commercials.

And now we have SPAM. David Meerman Scott (a marketing strategist whose blog I read) was talking about job seeking yesterday and had this quote about spam: “Spam is email that is sent, unsolicited, to a large number of people in substantially the same format.” I get hundreds of spam messages everyday. I try to keep it under control with junk folders and unsubscribe features, but I have already begun using this form of communication less and less due to those pesky marketers.

Why are marketers ruining all these perfectly useful tools? It’s because once in a blue moon, it works. All they need now-a-days is for one or two suckers out of thousands to respond to their offer, and that validates that someone out there hears them. So they keep doing it. It drives me mad.

But consumers are smart. Eventually if a communication tool is being abused, someone will find a way around it.

So what does work? Word of mouth is and will always be the best and most reliable way to tell people about your products. But it’s slow and it is hard to measure. So marketers don’t like that.

But the other ways do work sometimes. I sat here and tried to think what types of marketing messages are working on me lately. I must admit commercials do still work sometimes when I see them. (Like the new Blackberry Storm commercial and the “I’m a PC” commercial.) Email does too, if it is not too frequent and it is something worth opening like a great coupon or targeted message. Loyalty programs and “clubs” work too. I like to earn points and get special “members-only” offers. I like being rewarded for being a loyal customer. Other than that, it is sticking to my “old-faithful” stores and brands. Also just shopping helps me discover new products that appeal to me (whether online or in person). And usually it will be because the product, packaging, or display is visually pleasing to me.

I don’t know how to stop this big, bad marketing machine, but I have to believe that there is a better way to get a message out there. My one ray of hope is this Web 2.0 Social Marketing wave. But I am afraid that this tool will also start to be abused. I really want to turn this big bad marketing machine around and I think a lot of people in my generation do too. That is why I am in marketing. That is my mission.

I am also finding myself more and more interested in design and product development. It effects marketing. Sometimes design can make all the difference. Things that are visually stimulating or entertaining will break through all that marketing noise. And you have to have a good product to have effective marketing or else consumers will figure it out really quickly and you won't last.

I want the company I work for and the products or services we sell to be remarkable. I want our advertising to be interesting and buzz-worthy. Because I still believe in quality over quantity. And if you really work hard and as a team, why can’t you have both?

So help me out…what kind of marketing works for you? How do you find out about new products?

OMG- Right after I posted this I noticed a new comment on one of my old posts and it was my first freaking spam comment that started "Dear Blog Owner..." and requested that I link to her site- it was some shopping site! ARHG! I must be cursed today!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Defining Character: Independence

The Defining Character Series continues today with one of my most long-standing qualities- Independence. However... sometimes I’ve got it, sometimes I don’t.

In most situations I am very independent. This started from a very young age. In fact when I was just a baby my parents decided to pimp me out for medical testing (we did live in Research Triangle Park). Before you go saying “So, that’s what’s wrong with her…” I will let you know there were no drugs (that I know of) involved. It was more like “how many times do we have to coax this baby to push this button before she starts doing it on her own” type tests. My mom took me to these because when I was something like 6 months old, my dad asked when I was going to get a job. I think this subconsciously told me I better learn how to take care of myself.

My mother also frequently tells me stories of our trip to Disney World when I was like 6. On this trip I figured out how to smuggle in a can of Coke to the park. I wiggled my way to a curbside seat for the parade and left my parents in the back of the crowd. I also attempted to cross 3 or 4 countries at Epcot and told my parents to hold my spot for prime viewing of the fireworks show. (My mom can’t remember if she actually let me go by myself.)

Now that I am all grown up I own my own house and manage to take care of it. Although there have been some crazy adventures with that one. I take care of my own car (to the best of my ability). Basically if anything goes wrong in my life, I have to figure out how to fix it. I can’t go calling daddy to come fix it. I manage to figure a way most of the time. Sure there are things that probably need fixing, but aren’t essential so I ignore them for a while. And of course I get advice and help from friends occasionally. And my mom has bailed me out on a rare occasion...but overall I am pretty darn capable of taking care of myself.

Lately though I have recognized a few areas where my independence needs some work:

1. Unknown social situations: Basically I need someone I know to be at any new activities I do. I have a hard time going to something new without have a friend go through it with me. For example, I really want to go to my church’s “Young Professionals” events (to meet a boy mainly…I know that is so, so bad). But I have no one to go with me and the thought of going alone makes me want to curl up in a little ball under a rock and hide. But maybe I need to challenge myself. I mean if I were truly independent would I think twice about going by myself?

2. You already know this one because it is on the list- Paying my Own Bills: There are 2 bills my mom still pays- my gas and my car insurance. Mainly because my car insurance bill came the month I graduated college and when she tried to hand it over to me, I convinced her I couldn’t pay it and needed to focus on finding a job. The gas thing is because that was the one allowable item I could charge to my parent’s credit card back when I first got it 10 years ago and I just never stopped. I have set a goal of taking these over at the beginning of the new year (or whenever it is time to renew my car insurance). But I really do need to budget a little better because I am practically living paycheck-to-paycheck as it is.

But I am not one of those crazy people who won’t let anyone else take care of them. Who doesn’t like to be taken care of every now and then? But I do like knowing that I am capable of doing it on my own. Because when it comes down to it who do you have to depend on but yourself?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Human Touch

I have claustrophobia sometimes. I freak out when I am in large crowds or confined spaces with other people. Today in church I was claustrophobic. The man sitting next to me was sitting really close and I felt like I had no personal space. Then he started brushing against me when we stood up, or bumping into me as we sang. Every time he unintentionally touched me, my freak-out level rose. I managed to make it through the service without running out of there like a crazy person. But I can never understand why this happens to me. I mean he wasn't any closer to me than anyone else was to the other people sitting in there. Why was I freaking out? So I spent a lot of the afternoon trying to figure out why this stuff bothers me so much and how powerful the human touch is.

In everyday life I'm not a very touchy-feely type of person. At least to most people. But any of my ex-boyfriends will tell you I love to cuddle and would always be holding on to their arm or lying my head on their shoulder. On the other hand, my friends will tell you I am not a huger. I guess it is part of my defense mechanism because I don't want to let people too close. My boyfriend at the time could always fill my need for human contact. I trusted them and knew that they cared about me so it was ok to be physically close to them. Plus it is a whole lot easier in romantic relationships to outwardly show your affection. So I didn't really need to have any other physical human contact.

But I haven't had a boyfriend (or even a date) in a very long time. So I have had little to no human contact in months. Yet I still freak out when people touch me which makes no sense to me because a good long hug would be really nice right now. I don't understand my claustrophobia, but it is definitely there. However I can't wait to have someone to be close to again because no physical human contact what-so-ever is not a good place to be either.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What I want

Christmas always brings great commercials to make you want things you will never get. I saw this commercial last night and wanted to DIE. Seriously, it is so freaking romantic I was squeeeeeling.

If someone ever asks me to marry them I will be very thankful just to be asked, but if they did it like this (or something similarly romantic) I might pass out from joy!

Also, why do diamond commercials have such great sound tracks? I actually used to own a "Diamond is Forever" CD because I loved the music on the commercial so much, my mom went out and found that for me. Yeah, that was before Itunes.

I am also a sucker for the Lexus Christmas commercials. Every time one comes on I tell my mom that is what I want. I don't dream of sugarplum fairies. I dream of Lexus SUV's with a big red bow sitting in my driveway.

All Written Out

I don't know what to write about today. It am only half-way through NaBloPoMo and I am already at a loss for words.

Today I sat down to work on my essays for my MBA application and I only got out one measly paragraph. There are 4 required essays and 2 optional essays and with writing every day on here and life still spinning at full force it is going to be hard to get this MBA application in order.

So today I am going to share with you some random thoughts:

- The initials for July-November (which is how long I have kept this blog) spell JASON...odd huh?

- I used to wonder if each tree turned a specific color each fall or if they all went through a cycle. I think they all go through a cycle (yellow-orange-red-brown) because I have seen a few trees with multiple colors this month.

- Is it settling to give up on a fairy-tale romance and marry a guy who is "good enough", accepting them for who they are, or is it settling to stay single and hold on to your idea of "movie love"? (this thought was spurred from a discussion I found on Single Solitary Things, from a guest post on Rocks in my Dryer, which I found through a comment on my blog from Nichole at esmon, which made me discover her blog. The big bad blogging world is so interconnected and you can find some great stuff out there! I love it!)

- If someone could figure out how to bottle and sell "motivation", they would make a killing! Why is it so hard to get going some days?

- I wish I could email commenters on my blog because I have no idea if they ever will come back to read it if I comment back to them. How do you handle comments on your blog?

That's all I've got today. Have a great weekend!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Meme- 150 Things

I was catching up with my Google reader today (it is seriously out of control from being ignored for 3 days). Anyway I saw this list on a post from DMB Does Not Stand For Dave Matthews Band! and since it is a lazy rainy Friday and I am tired (and you know I love lists!), I am using this for inspiration today. I have no idea what a Meme is. It is just some fancy word used in the blogging world I guess. Can someone tell me what it means because seriously I am too lazy to go look it up?

Oh and instrustions in case you are having a lazy rainy tired day too and want to steal this: Bold what you have done and add comments for some flair and funniness!

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with dolphins (checked off the list this summer!)
03. Climbed a mountain (Linville Gorge- we asked for the hardest trail and I bout died)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said "I love you" and meant it (yep...thats all I have to say)
09. Hugged a tree (I will never live that down)
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise (those are always either the best or worst nights)
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (Stanley Cup Game 7 2006- Go Canes!!)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars (Does camping count?)
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower (I love seeing shooting starts!)
23. Gotten drunk on champagne (many times!)
24. Given more than you can afford to charity (it has made me cry before)
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope (thanks to Mike!)
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (a funeral- seriously, I tried to pretend I was crying)
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can (sometimes you just have to)
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster (Love rollercoasters!)
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn't care who was looking (this is what happens when drinking too much)
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment (it happens a lot...something just always comes along to mess up that moment)
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk (they would do it for me too)
42. Had amazing friends (Still do!)
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales (I saw one on the cruise- and at Sea World, but thats not as amazing as in the wild!)
45. Stolen a sign (this was a hobby in high school- I think I still have a "Vegetable" sign from Lowes Foods)
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip (many times- love road trips!)
48. Gone rock climbing (and had to eat veggie hot dogs on one trip- yuck!)
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach (and met some hot Canadians)
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love (still heartbroken)
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke (once in a lifetime deal there)
59. Lounged around in bed all day (Wish I was there now as a matter of fact)
60. Played touch football (It's better than tackle!)
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud (I have been covered from head-to-toe in mud...it's actually kind of fun)
64. Played in the rain (sometimes you just have to give in and let go)
65. Gone to a drive-in theatre
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch (but the package kind are easier)
78. Won first prize in a costume contest (I'm good at Halloween)
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo (I forget about that sometimes, but I guess it's never going away)
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on a television news program as an "expert"
83. Gotten flowers for no reason (on my car winshielf with a note "Hope today is your lucky day" because I had read him my horoscope the night before. How sweet is that?)
84. Performed on stage (I took dance, piano, gymnastics, band, cheerleading, and have even recited poetry on stage- but nothing since I entered the real world)
85. Been to Las Vegas (going back again next year!!)
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date (what do you consider "date"?)
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house (good thing I didn't go with the ARM!)
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents (Dad)
93. Been on a cruise ship (experienced cruiser here!)
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold (I think I have- you'd have to ask my friends though)
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over (kind of when I moved to Raleigh)
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge not the entire bridge.
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking with the windows open
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray (I ain't going to lie, I was scared!)
110. Broken someone's heart (they got over it and in return kicked mine around a little)

111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone (my pinky toe- it counts! It was snapped in half!)
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears (I had an eyebrow ring for a while)
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse (I was a pro when I was little!)
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period (probably, but who is counting at that point?)
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi (just had some yesterday)
128. Had your picture in the newspaper (I've even made front page twice!)
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach (with my foot! those suckers still don't die)
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes (and fried pickels- that's the way we roll in the South)

134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey (dang Humanities- I hated that class!)
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read (I've started reading the "classics I missed in school- some aren't that bad)
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions (so far- who needs reuinions when you have facebook?)
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair (many times now)
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life by not hitting them with my car

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Night Flying

I just got home from Orlando. The trade show was having a party tonight at Universal Studios, but I had already booked my flight when I found out about that (nice huh?). Oh well, the attendance at this one was way low and I was tired of running into the same people over and over anyway. As much as I love traveling, it really does wear you out. But I had a great flight home. Flying at night is amazing. I was glued to my window watching all the lights until we were above the clouds. Being above the clouds with the moonlight shining on them was so beautiful. It looked like a big, fluffy, soft, mountainous wonderland. We even went through a storm at one point and it was cool seeing lightning from that vantage point. The next time you fly at night, grab a window seat and enjoy the view.

I am deliriously tired now, so I'll let these pics from the hotel do the talking for me:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh Alcohol, you funny little friend...

I am embarrassed this morning. And hung-over. And quite possibly still drunk. I'm not quite sure how that happened. I remember lots of little red drink tickets. I remember a couple rounds of shots. I remember not eating dinner because the show floor was open until 8 pm. But I did snack on free appetizers in there. And from my calculations I only had 3 Blue Moons and 3 shots. No, no, no, it's not that bad. They were girly shots like buttery nipple and chocolate cake (yum). Ok, yeah. It's still bad. But I guess I just can't drink like I used to in college. I'm getting old.

I didn't pay for anything last night because there are no receipts in my purse. But I did smoke A WHOLE PACK of cigarettes because there is an empty pack in my purse. My stomach hurts and even though I am hungry, I can't imagine keeping anything down right now. I think I went to bed somewhere around 3 am. And I remember ending the night talking politics and religion with some old, married guy.

Seriously. Why do I do this? This is a work function. I should not let the temptations of free drinks lure me into their traps. I can't imagine what I said or did last night in front of these people. I just know walking down there and working the show floor is going to suck today!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Working Vacation

I am in Orlando today. It is nice and warm and sunny and so much better than the cold rainy weather we were supposed to have in NC this week. I am here for the CIPTUG (Cisco User's Group) trade show. The hotel we are staying at is amazing. It is called the Gaylord Palms. It is like a city unto itself. It has multiple pools, a whole little village with shops and restaurants, and even a putt-putt course. It kind of feels like Vegas without the smoke and slot machine craziness! They have a lake with a boat in the middle that features a Key West themed restaurant. They have a castle and they even have alligators somewhere around here I hear! It is really, really amazing!

They are advertising right now for this big event they have called "ICE". It is "an incredible winter wonderland hand carved from nearly TWO MILLION pounds of ICE!" This event is chilled to a frosty 9 degrees! They give you winter parkas when you enter the event. The theme is Santa's Arctic Blast. They even have a Hidden Holiday Gnome Hunt! The brochure features Santa sliding down a big slide made completely of ICE! It looks AWESOME! But sadly it doesn't start until November 17th.

I will be here until Thursday night, so expect my posts to be short and sweet for the next few days. I did see they had a spa and fitness center downstairs, so maybe I can get back on my 5K training while I am here. In fact as motivation I think I am going to challenge myself to run at least 5 miles over the next 2 days and if I meet that goal I will reward myself with a pedicure!

Monday, November 10, 2008

How Rude!*

Isn't it amazing how 1 or 2 rude people can totally ruin your day? You are going along all happy-go-lucky and everything seems fine when BAM!* Some rude lady ruins your whole mood and puts you in a tailspin for the rest of the day. I bet it would take 10-20 nice things to un-do the effects of one rude experience.

I was doing fine today. Things were working out. I found out my flight doesn't leave until 8:55 am tomorrow which will give me time to drop off Cam at doggie daycare at 7:30 when they open. (I thought my flight was at 8 am and was freaking out what to do with Cam).

Then I called this doctor's office in Brier Creek prepared to wait months for an appointment (I've had multiple friends recommend this place), but I got one for the first week in December! (I'm trying to make steps toward #16- find a Dr. I can trust). There were no major fires or drama at work. I was in a pretty good mood.

But then I went to lunch. I took my notebook in with me to Firehouse Subs because there is always a wait for my sandwich there. After I ordered I got my drink and sat at a table and opened my notebook to do some work. Then this little foreign lady yells "Susan". I start gathering up my stuff and look up at the counter where she hasn't even put my sandwich yet and no less then 3.2 seconds later (a little louder this time) "Susan". I am right in front of the counter and say "I'm right here" and as I pick up my notebook everything falls out. Papers everywhere. And as I bend down to pick them up I hear again (more mean and louder than ever) "Susan!" I want to die. I stand up quickly (papers still in the floor) and grab my sandwich. I bend down and quickly pick up the other papers and turn to leave when a different mean Firehouse Subs lady says very loudly "Is there a Susan in here?" I turn around and she is holding a bill that must have fallen out of my notebook in her hand. I try to smile as I take it from her, but my mood is completely shot now. All of this happened in less then 3 minutes, but it felt like eternity. I was like the dorky kid in the lunchroom that dropped my tray and stood there stupidly while everyone laughed and the mean lunch lady screamed my name over and over to make sure everyone knew who I was. And now I just want to go home.

*Re-reading this post when I was done writing made me feel like I was in an episode of Full House guest starring Emril.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Thoughts on God's Words

Blogging everyday is not as easy as it sounds. Some days I just can't think of what I want to say. Since today is Sunday I thought today I'd devote my post to God's word. For my Bible study we have to memorize a new verse each week. It has been six weeks so far. Here are the six verses I have chosen and a little background as to why they stood out to me.

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."
-Proverbs 16:9

I chose this one because sometimes it is hard to understand why things happen the way they do. I wanted to remind myself that the Lord determines my steps in life. He knows what is in my heart and He makes a way for me.

"And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him, who died for them, and was raised again."
-2 Corinthians 5:15

I chose this one to remind myself that I no longer live for myself- my wants and desires- but for Him because He died for me to save me from my sins. Which is more than I could ever ask for because there is no way I could have ever saved myself. Not sinning ever again in my life? That would be impossible. I am so thankful He paid the price for me and living for Him is my Thank You to Him.

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall."
-Psalm 55:22

I am a worrier. I have anxiety like nobody's business. This one was to remind me that I have somewhere to place those worries.

"...Not only so, but we also rejoice in our suffering because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character- hope."
Romans 5:3-4

This passage was to remind me that all the bad things I may go through in life are not needless. Everything I go through can help me develop to be the best person I can be.

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
-Matthew 7:1

This last one was because lately I have been catching myself judging people sometimes. Maybe I don't agree with their actions or maybe they have a personality trait that gets on my nerves or maybe they are wearing something crazy. This verse reminds me of my biggest fear: people judging me. I'm sure it happens, it makes me self-conscious and probably doesn't help my self-esteem. I'm probably so aware of it because I do it. But maybe I shouldn't judge, but appreciate. Appreciate that everyone is on their own individual journey in life and they my not think or act or look exactly the way I want them to, but that is ok because it is their journey, not mine. Then maybe I won't be so aware or care about people judging me.

(The continuation of that verse which I am memorizing this week is: "For the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." -Matthew 7:2)

So that is where my thoughts have been lately. But I need to get some more focus on not just my thoughts, but my activities if I am going to accomplish this list. Since I have decided I am going to apply for grad school, I need to get my application in order, take the GMAT, get into to UNC's MBA program, rock those courses and learn a lot so I can get the job that will make me happy. As for the 5K, I haven't ran in 2 weeks. So right now I think it is time to turn some of my thoughts into ACTION!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It's a Football Tradition

So I think I am going to just make it in time for my post of the day. My clock says 11:58 p.m. so I am counting this for keeping up with my NaBloPoMo goal.

I left my house at 7:50 am and literally just got home. It has been a LONG day. I've been in Greenville all day for the ECU Homecoming game against Marshall. It's not always easy being a Pirate. We started out the day driving through lots of rain and spent the first 2 hours tailgating in the rain. We had a homeless man crash our tailgate (well, not really crash, just observing from a close proximity). We ended up giving him all our left overs and it left me wondering about him all day. Was he homeless? Why? Did he have a job? Has he tried to get a job? Oh well, I'll never know now, but we gave him a crap load of food, so I guess today was a pretty good day for him.

It was a nail-biter of a game that went into overtime, but we pulled out a win in the end (19-16). But the thing I really love about ECU football games are all the traditions. Tailgating before the game. Yelling "Purple", "Gold" across the field. The team coming out to Purple Haze (I LOVE LOVE that part). When the announcer says "First Down" yelling "Pirates...AAARRRGGGGG!" The "No Qaurter" 4th Quarter. The cannon being shot every time we score (even though it almost always gives me a heart attack). But really all the traditions are what make ECU football games so fun.

I was talking to a friend who went down to Florida for the big game last weekend. We have another friend who is a HUGE Gator fan. I always think "It's great. to be. a Florida Gator!" when I think of him. Anyway, they went down for this big game and apparently they have a lot of cool traditions too like "Gator Bait" and some kind a song they sing and sway to before the fourth quarter. I'd like to go to a Gator game just to see that stuff!

So what kind of traditions does your school have?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Surviving Shopping

Tonight I had to make a trip to the mall. I don't do this often. The mall intimidates me. Finding parking within a 5 mile radius of the building, walking miles between stores, thwarting stroller attacks, navigating a path in a sea of slow walkers, unpredictable kids, mass packs of angsty teens, snobby skinny bitches, couples galore, and even thugs and hookers makes my blood pressure rise to dangerous levels.

Also, for those of you not from around here, a couple months ago there was a RIOT or mass fight of more than 300 teens at one of our local malls. Seriously. Can you image over 300 thuggy teens fighting in the middle of the mall? (and from I heard it was some sort of moving mob, therefore was not contained to one area!) The thought of that scares the crap out of me and makes me want to avoid the mall at all costs.

But I HAD to make this trek to obtain some jeans to wear to the ECU Homecoming game tomorrow. I'm not even going to tell you what happened to my favorite-only-pair-I-wear jeans today because it is just too embarrassing and sad to relive through words.

First just let me tell you, finding jeans (or any pants) that I can wear "right off the rack" is almost impossible. I HAVE to have short or ankle length and sometimes those are too long too. Then there are all the other normal "fit" issues to deal with.

I started out a J Crew. Even thought I didn't have any success in the jeans department, I saw these awesome pirate rain boots that were worthy of at least a cell phone pic but not a purchase. (yet)

Then I headed to the Gap. I got distracted by a pink pea coat when I walked in, but forced myself to re-focus. After about 30 minutes of sorting through jeans, I finally found my size in a short length. At this point I didn't even care about the style or color. As I stood in the fitting room analyzing them in the awful lighting, I almost gave in to buying an awful pair of jeans for $60 just because I wanted this search to be over. But walking up to the register with the blah jeans, I just couldn't do it. Not worth it.

I had to follow behind a really really slow guy with a stroller and 2 kids (because there was just no way to get around them) all the way to Express. I spent at least 45 mintues scouring through piles and piles of unorganized jeans to turn up empty handed.

I was about to head back to my car and drive over to Old Navy, when I decided to check out The Limited. I get great work pants from there sometimes, but I didn't even know if they carried jeans. Long story short is they do. And in short sizes. I got a great pair of $80 jeans for $40! SUCCESS!

As I was walking back to my car I passed a new store I had never seen that was all kinds of colligate gear craziness. And I spied purple! Since I was going to the game tomorrow I decided to pop in and check it out. Of course it was overwhelmingly blue (Carolina and Duke) and red (State), but there was some cute ECU stuff. I found one PIRATES shirt so cute I got it in 2 colors (2/$20!) AND since I decided I really am going to apply to grad school (woohoo!) I picked up a shirt for my future alma mater (fingers crossed!) for $6! Here's the goodies (minus the jeans- they have to be on to be appreciated)

What do you think?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is a guest post from my dog Cam (AKA- Schnookums or Schnookie). Cam doesn't make many appearances on my blog, but that is not because he isn't a huge part of my life. It is because he is too fast to keep up with! But today is his BIRTHDAY, so I am giving him my translating and typing skills for the day so he can talk to all of you!

Today is my birthday! I am 2 years old today. (That translates to something like 14 in dog years.) I only know this because my mom keeps saying things like "It's your Birthday!" and "Happy Birthday CAM!!!!!", which was fun at first, but is starting to get annoying. I get all excited and then nothing really happens.

It feels like yesterday I was just a little puppy. (Probably because I still act like one.) I was so cute (still am!) Just a big fluff ball. So tiny. I used to bunny hop up the stairs every night to bed. (I also used to poop in the crate every day and shred mounds of toilet paper when no one was looking!)

I don't know if you can tell from my pictures, but I'm a boarder collie and pretty high strung. When my mom gets home from work, she has to entertain me (usually with the b-a-l-l or a w-a-l-k. Yes, I have learned how to spell now.) I am persistent. I will let you know what I want and I won't give up until I am satisfied. I will be all up in your grill and impossible to ignore. I'm obsessive. I love to do laps around the house which makes it impossible to hear the TV. I love to play chase with Bailey (my kitty brother) and make you think I am on the verge of accidentally killing him so you will get up to investigate. I have many tricks to keep the attention on me.

But today I need more than just mom's attention. I made her give me her blog post today so I can get some attention from all of you! I hear it is rude to ask for gifts for my birthday, so just imagine me sitting in front of you with an intense but adorable stare. I am telepathically sending you the following message: "ball, treats, ball, bone, ball, walk, ball, doggy daycare, ball, ball, ball." You know what to do.

Also, I know a lot of English- car ride, doggy daycare, ball, dog park, walk, go potty, monkey (long story), get on the bed, bailey, down, bow, wait, leave it, stay, no, let's go, high five...I think you get the picture. I am flippin' smart! So leave me a comment for my mom to read to me! (only because I haven't perfected the art of reading YET!)

Today is all about me. It's my day. Thanks for sharing it with me!