Monday, December 31, 2012

Memories... light the corner of my mind..

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ~Anaïs Nin
I am thrilled with the way 2012 has shaped up.
I am happy.
I am content.
I have everything I need.
I have cut out the unnecessary.
I have plans for a fantastic future.
Good place.
New Years Resolution?
Authentic Living.
Allowing myself to seek absolute happiness.
I wish each of you a fantastic, happy, and glorious New Year's Eve!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wrapping Up The Year in NOLA

It started with two girls, sitting in a bar... we decided to head to New Orleans.
I had been six times - she had never been (though she has traveled Europe extensively.)
We opted for December 26th - 28th.

I picked my friend of 27 years up around 6amish... we drove to Mickey D's, got some fuel for the mind... and headed southwestward. Our first stop - Phoenix City, Alabama. Here we are at the gas station, fueling up and grabbing some coffee...

We finally made it down I-65 to Mobile, Alabama.. and stopped at Saucy Q's on Government Street (my old favorite place when I was working for AHA..) I indulged in some BBQ ribs, mac & cheese, corn on the cob and sweet tea...

30 minutes later...
Another hour later...
About 30 minutes later - crossing Lake Pontatrain..
We got settled in.. got ready.. and headed out

This guy claims he is a Chess Master, and for five dollars he will kick your ass...

We made friends.. well...

My friend rode a mechanical bull...

We had dinner at Bourbon Heat on.. well.. Bourbon Street... I opted for Diet Coke and chili cheese fries. Telisa went for Alligator Sausage and beer..

More locals...
The next morning, we walked up Decator Street toward Jackson Square.. looking for breakfast...

We stopped at Stanley's.. GREAT coffee..
After breakfast - I had a psychic read my cards.. then we visited St. Louis Cathedral:

My fabulous breakfast - Bacon & Cheese omelet with sweet onions...
After that, we hopped a bus to Lafitte.. bayou territory...
Here is our cutie Cajun Captain - Greg.. yep.. airboat tour of the swamp. He was super charming and had a fabulous  accent. We laughed for about two hours...(we learned a new word from our Capt - coonass. Yes, I had to look it up. ;-) )

Airboat Adventures - Lafitte, LA. AWESOME. DO IT!

These air boats go SUPER fast..

We got back to the hotel, Telisa took a nap.. I went shopping and ate at a little cafe called Fiorella's. I ordered diet coke and fried pickles..
That night we went to Pat Obrien's.. Telisa had a hurricane and a cup of gumbo..

I went for a rainstorm and coconut shrimp!
We had a blast.. wondering the streets and chatting it up with locals and tourist alike..
That night we ended up at Cafe Du Monde...
The next day we had breakfast at Johnny's Po Boy and made our way to Mobile, AL to see my dearest friends - Laura & Veda Jane...

This is the picture of a happy girl

Finally.. my glove compartment is screwed up.. so we decided to get creative  with the duct tape...
Wisdom from our play lists ....

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Things I have learned this week

This week's "Things I have learned" are dedicated to some random trial counselor from New Orleans, Louisiana. As my friend and I were leaving Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop (the oldest bar in America,) he (along with his group of 3 others) stopped us to chat. They were celebrating with his future brother-in-law (the wedding was just a day away) and decided to impart some wisdom.. before we made our way back to our room...

(PS - He repeated this at least 4 dozen times.. he was completed wasted and I was completely sober. I was laughing my head off... we tried to leave over and over but he was very insistent to share this:)

1. NEVER go north of Rampart Street. You WILL be raped and murdered.

2. NEVER go further (past) Frenchman's Street. Again... you WILL be raped and murdered.

3. NEVER go down any of the alleyways without lights or people... you WILL be raped and murdered.

4. All of those are really bad for tourism.

5. (Upon mentioning we were headed to Cafe du Monde at midnight he said:) Don't go to Cafe du Monde - too many damned tourists.

6. Instead, go to Esplanade Mall in the morning. Same damn coffee and same damn donuts.  (ha!)

7. If you need a decent steak at two in the morning, walk a few blocks to Dejavu. But be careful.. you will have to cross the "cross dresser" section, and most are prostitutes.

8. If you want a good beer - D.B.A. over 100 different brands on tap.

9. Always stay on Bourbon Street. You will be safe there. AND you won't be raped and murdered.

10. The whole vampire bit is crap.

11. But raping and murdering is real.

12. Lafayette is the best for good Cajun food.

13. Always go into a place (in Lafayette) that looks scary.

14. Plus - if the waitress has no teeth, then you know you are in the right place.

15. He was quite impressed we took a swamp tour in Lafitte. He said that's the good stuff.

There were a few other morsels he kept spilling and asking me to repeat to him, until .. and yes.. I have it memorized.

Needless to say, we walked to Cafe du Monde, had some cafe au lait (decaf) and beignets.

Life IS good.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Mornin ~ Bliss

My tree
As I sit in front of the glow of my Christmas tree, eating my morning hash browns and listening to the hum of the washing machine, I am reminded of how very blessed I am.

I chose to seek happiness and peace of mind this holiday season and it has payed off in ways I never could have imagined.

That leads me to the word of the year. This is something my dear friend, Leanne, at From Chaos Comes Happiness, encourages each year.  It's a wonderful idea, and it honestly helps me to stay focused. In 2012, my word was Momentum. Looking back over that plan and the stories that followed, I am able to see how I kept loyal to the theme of the year and it has made all the difference.

Going back to my sheer bliss this Christmas season, my word for 2013 is:
 noun \ˈha-pē-nəs\
1.obsolete: good fortune : prosperity
2.a: a state of well-being and contentment : joy
b: a pleasurable or satisfying experience
3.: felicity, aptness
I've held this theory, that when you are dreaming, your mind reveals your inner personality - the authentic you. People tell me all the time that I laugh in my sleep. I know for a fact that I have really "good dreams." I also believe that when you are intoxicated, your personality is amplified, and it just so happens that I am probably one of the happiest drunks you would ever meet. (However, I don't drink anymore.) ;-)
I used to be happy. I think I still am, if not a little cynical - though I believe that is just my dry wit and humor, and it is oftentimes confused with orneriness. (If that is even a word.)
In 2013, I choose Happiness. My hope is to document my quest. I don't want suggestions. I am not looking for advice. I am living my life on my terms.
That goes for this blog, also. While I receive very kind and heartfelt comments and emails from many of you, there are a select few who, for whatever reason, believe they know me or understand me, without ever having met me or seen my life. What I write here are typically vents after an incident or elations after a success. I get some not-so-nice, but well-meaning comments and emails. (Take for instance yesterday's post and the second comment from some "faceless" person.) That was completely uncalled for, and could very well be someone I know.  I even had to block several friends from the FB fanpage from commenting, because there were entirely too combative, and I am not looking for a debate.
With that being said, I think I need to take control of my blog again. I think we bloggers get a little addicted to the comments and the number of views we receive. What I have decided to do is delete my FB fanpage. I decided to also delete the page views from my page. I now have comment moderation, though I might disable comments all together, or only allow members to comment (which I can select by adding their email address.) The decision is entirely up to me. But keeping the negative at bay is extremely important.
One thing I have always thought was incredible about famous people, was that many of them have people that protect them from bad press. That's right! I remember once, John Travolta was chatting with Oprah Winfrey and she asked how did he deal with the negative press, and he responded that he had people who handled that and he refused to read the comments or the critics review. He basically implied that it sort of dampens the spirit and can make you second guess yourself.
He's absolutely right.
As someone who works in PR & Marketing, if I were the publicist of this blog (which technically, I am,) and I were protecting someone else, I would moderate their comments and access to criticism from the outside. So.. since I don't have a third party, and this is simply my online journal, that I hope to go back and read one day.. many.. many years from now, I think I need a filter of sorts.
And THAT, my friends, will help me seek happiness. At least in this arena.
I LOVE my blog. I love that for almost four years, I have documented the ups and downs of my life. I love the friends I have made, and I love how far I have come. It's amazing. It truly is. It surpassed my wildest dreams, and for that I am forever grateful.
That is why, this Christmas morning, I leave you with a wonderful quote:
If you want to be happy, be. ~Leo Tolstoy

Monday, December 24, 2012

A message to the Bah Humbugs out there:

This message is to all of the bah humbugs out there-

Just stop. Seriously.

Look around you, what do you have to complain about? Do you have shelter? Do you have clothes? Do you have food? Then you have enough.

Trust me.

Last Christmas was an absolute bust for me. I was living on a couch,  jobless, no official home to speak of, stuff in storage, husband in another state....

Give me this one day.


So you don't believe in Santa. Fine. You're an adult. We get it. The jolly guy with the beard and red suit was created by.... *insert jeopardy music here* Coca Cola. That's right.

But there was a Saint Nicholas. He was a fourth century Greek bishop of Myra. There are a lot of legends surrounding him, so feel free to check them out HERE. In a nutshell - he was a giver. As I am trying to be this holiday season. I have given to several charities: St. Jude's, Diabetes Association, Tubman Museum, Salvation Army and Loaves & Fishes. I hope you will do the same. That should make you feel a little better....

So you don't believe in Jesus. That's between you and God. Oh wait.. you don't believe in God. That I can't help you with - but the Jesus bit...YES - he did exist, whether you believe he is the Son of God or not.  He is a historical figure, not a mythological figure. The Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhist, the Hindu - they all recognize he was a real man. So pardon us for celebrating his birth. You don't have to celebrate - but don't rain on my parade. I would never poo poo you celebrating the birthday of your Father. So, don't do the same for me.

So you are sick of Christmas music. Fine. Change the station. But when I listen to it, it puts me in a better mood - let me have it. Keep your rants to yourself. As for my Christmas lights and tree, yes.. I know they are pagan based. But I also know why we adopted these traditions. Do you? Plus there are tons of traditions all across the world. Don't know them? Check them out HERE.

Regardless of what you believe or feel - don't hover with your dark cloud. This is a very important night for Christians. A night that heals so many hearts. We are excited to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. You don't have to agree, but you need to respect. As I respect you.. all year long... shouting how you are an Atheist or Agnostic or whatever. I don't comment, I don't say a word. Just keep the bah humbug out of my day. Two days people - that's all I am saying.

As for those who believe, but their spirit is completely broken- Listen... I get it. Don't concentrate on the material things, try so hard to see the big picture. Try to feel the calm that descends on the night.. as families snuggle in together. Help those less fortunate- and you will find the peace you are seeking. Imagine life without the few comforts you have now.. and perhaps THEN you will find the Christmas Spirit.

I know I did.

Felix Dies Natalis (Merry Christmas)

Today is a super special day in my home, not only do we gather together, but we basically do most of our celebrating on this very day. When I was small, we would have dinner then go to church, followed by a quick stop by my Grandparent's home to open presents from them. It was a little extra special because today is my Great-Grandmother's birthday. She would have been 111 today. She, as well as the presents, were always what was so special about Christmas.

I plan to head to my parents house around lunch time (they live about 30 minutes away,) and our plan is to open presents and eat around 4pm. My hope is to come back to Macon and make it to mass on time. The egyptian has to work today and plans to fly out around 2pm or so for NJ.

Christmas Day my family plans to come over for snacks and for Autumn to open her stocking from me. Then I have to pack for my trip to New Orleans.

I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. My blogging will be on pause during my trip, so I hope you make a point to stop back by on Saturday.

I will leave you with this:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I'm in a good place

We are just two days away from one of my favorite times of the year. My goodness, December has swept by so fast, and I am happy to report - on a super high note!

I made a point to shop local this holiday season. I treated my family to some amazing cupcakes from a local downtown bakery.

I have the best attitude about the cold I have. I'm soldiering through it like a champ!

The stockings are hung by the.. uh.. light switch with care..

Decor DONE

The week is planned!

So excited about 2013!

Was tickled and super surprised by my gift from my dear friend, Leanne, From Chaos Comes Happiness.

I bought myself a beautiful piece of pottery from the Macon Arts Gallery - a "cup" from Eric Strange

Finally got my tag and license

Finding time to blog again...

All of the gifts are wrapped and ready to go..

I bought myself these beautiful earrings from Karen Shockley at my mom's Gallery - Middle Georgia Art Association's Gallery

I have been experiementing with making french bread with herbs.. and eating lots of goat cheese!

Still enjoying my Kcups

I bought a beautiful stained glass piece from my friend Alistair Quin with Quinnsgate Stained Glass. He's a local artist.

I'm attempting to sleep late.

And I'm soooo excited to see this little freckle faced devil enjoy Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Things I have learned this week...

1. Christmas miracles do exist. The egyptian paid off a ton of debt for us. I am surprised and equally thrilled.

2. Did you know?? Pennies before 1982 were made of copper? Me either. I learned that last night at dinner. People actually collect them AND they are worth something. Cool.

3. Apparently every time I relax, I get sick. Woke up with a cold or allergy drainage or something. Glad it happened now - and NOT before my trip.

4. Knowing that your car is A-Ok and having 4 new tires makes me a little fearless on the road.. and in a zippy car, that's never a good thing.

5. I can't see to drive at night. Shh... don't tell anyone. I can see the road and I see the lights, I just can't see the white or yellow lines. Seriously. What's up with that?

6. I had a dream about an ex-boyfriend from high school last night. It was very odd. I never think of this person (this is early high school - like 9th grade..) Weird.

7. I HAVE THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT. Can you believe it? It's true. I chose happiness and it worked.

8. I bought my first pair of boots in a really long time. I forgot how comfortable they are.

9. Speaking of buying stuff - I bought my first raincoat since childhood. And it's HOT PINK.

10. It's next to impossible to find a simple v-neck tshirt that will cover my chest properly. I am a 38 G. No kidding. It's a curse, I tell you. Maybe surgery some day.

That's all I have for today. I do have to work for 6 hours (though we are all technically on break...) and I have a cold AND I have company coming over tonight. I have a lot to do... and my brain is foggy.

Forgive me!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tis the Season

My living room
Did you hear that? That "shhhhh" sound? That was me, letting out a very loud - EXHALE.

The Christmas Vacation is very quickly commencing.

I had one last hard core meeting this morning, we were dealing with the sales and promotion of one of our biggest fundraisers of the year - All That Jazz. It's a really swank event- black tie, heavy h'orderves, cocktails, dessert bar, etc. Two major headliners will be performing, "Phil Perry" and "Pieces of a Dream."

If you are a jazz fan, it's a definite must see.
The tickets are $40 for balcony seating and that price only includes the actual concert. The tickets that are $125 a piece are for the floor, and that includes the dinner, cocktails, dancing and even an after party with AJ the DJ.

Wait.. let me just share the actual poster with you:

Again, you are all invited! ;-)

This afternoon I need to run some of the promotional posters out to the downtown business establishments. After that - I'll rush over to pick up my car (yes - oil change, 4 new ties, new tag, new license.. I'm some what road ready now!) There is a board meeting and holiday reception this afternoon, which will be a nice break. TOMORROW - Staff holiday party and we are free at noon!!!! YAY!

Then.. it's all good times and good stuff.

Life is going well right now - Home is peaceful, work is peaceful, finances are peaceful - God has truly blessed me and 2012 - you get a A in my book. ;-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Ugly Monster

Unfortunately, it seems to have returned.

My panic attacks. Not the little annoying anxiety/nervous stuff - no, instead I have full blown panic attacks.

And it's debilitating.

My anxiety - for whatever reason - is on super overload high. EVERYTHING sets me off. I am easily annoyed and all I want to do is stay home.

But I can't.

I have to go to work, I have to project some sort of normalcy with a social life, I have to function. People like me don't have the option to stay home and just be..


a little crazy.

If you don't understand Panic Disorder, know this - it's terrible. It starts simple enough: You feel like you can't breathe. Sometimes your heart races. You feel numbness in your face. Your thoughts race. You can't be still. You just want to hide and stop doing whatever it is you are doing.

The worst part - there is absolutely NOTHING you can say or do to stop them. They just have to run their course.

Of course, the main issue with panic attacks is the fear that they will happen again. That's the biggest elephant in the room. By having the fear of the fear, you end up creating a "panic" situation. No - I don't act crazy, or cry, or scream or draw attention to myself. I simply try to take deep breaths, I try to focus, I try to remove myself from the situation.

Today was not a good day to stand in line to get my Driver's Licence, and honestly - maybe the pressure and stress of these formalities add to the anxiety.

Who knows?

All I know is I NEED this Christmas break to work on more positive thoughts. I NEED to relax. I NEED some fun and laughter. I NEED to get a hold of myself and control my anxious thoughts.

Sooooo much going on, the sensory overload is not helping.

DO you suffer from panic disorder? Do you know someone who does? Panic Disorder is NOT the same as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, nor is it the same as someone who has a random panic attack.

I suppose all of this is so fresh since it just happened less than 45 minutes ago. I am trying to relax and get a handle on my emotions.

Though.. not a single person can tell.

Interesting, isn't it? ;-)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Things I have Learned This Week

1. Two documentaries feel like a nice warm blanket to my brain. Happy & The Perfect Cappuccino. HIGHLY recommend.

2. I pulled out my Wonder Woman super powers to knock out my Christmas shopping in less than 24 hours flat. Boom - take that!

3. Side note- I am really, REALLY glad I have a small family.

4. I've been invited to visit my in-laws in Alexandria, Egypt. I just don't think it is safe to travel there right now.

5. I have arranged to check one more thing off my destination wish-list! I booked an airboat swamp tour of the bayou in southern Lousiana. SOOOO freaking excited.

6. I bought a Kindle. Finally. How many times have I gone back and forth on this? I could have gotten an ipad, but honestly, I just want an ereader. Why spend more? I ordered the Kindle Paperwhite ereader for around $119.  It will arrive between the 20th - 24th. I am super excited. BUT - I need to decide what books I would like to download. Give me some suggestions in the comment section!

7. I am back on my bagel kick.

8. I plan to have dinner with a fellow writer/professor friend on the Mayan Apocalypse at a Mexican restaurant. Should be good times.

9. I have attended more holiday parties than I am comfortable with.

10. I have found the PERFECT lotion and body wash. Seriously. Gold Bond Healing body wash and St. Ive's Replenishing Mineral Therapy lotion. WOWZA

11. I am not graceful enough to use my waterpik. I even took fellow blogger, Peggy's advice - but I think the issue is, I'm short. When I lean over the sink, well.. I'm short. I'm not properly positioned over the sink. It ends up mainly down my shirt.

12. I think I have an idea for a book. Seriously. I will write it starting Christmas Eve. I'll share more later. It's a journey of sorts. OOOH.. I'm excited. I will dedicate one year to it. Want to know more? Call me!

13. I don't like surprises. Like running into my ex husband. Awkward. And I did not handle it well. I totally blew him off. Though he deserved it, it was wrong. And I know it.

14. I like pottery. I wish I knew how to make it. Maybe.....

15. I like knitted stuff. I wish I could knit. I've tried..

16. It finally hit the 50s here. I exclaim, "It finally feels like winter!" My friend, Telisa says, "Yeah, um.. in many parts of the country, this temp is considered Fall." Yep. But this is as cold as it gets.

17. I wish we had a micro roastery and coffee shop here.

18. I am in love with teal or aqua. Both shades.

19. I making dinner tonight for my family. It will be nice to invite them over and cook my food- my way. I don't think we always have to have Egyptian food. ....... What does that mean?????

20. Merry Christmas everyone! PS - XMAS is completely acceptable.

Xmas is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas. It is sometimes pronounced /ˈɛksməs/, but it, and variants such as Xtemass, originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation /ˈkrɪsməs/. The "-mas" part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass,[1] while the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as "Christ".
There is a common misconception that the word Xmas stems from a secular attempt to remove the religious tradition from Christmas by taking the "Christ" out of "Christmas".

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Awkwardness in a Smaller City/Large Town

Outside of the very obvious, the picture to the left is something you would never see me trying on. No amount of money, houses, cars, or fame could pair me with some old dude like this one. Eek.

Moving on.

Today was awkward.

Wait - let me back up a bit.

The day went well. We finished up our ATJ posters and I finalized the verbiage on a postcard for the event. The drink tickets are at the printers, and all is going quite smoothly, if I do say so myself.

After lunch, I darted over to Marshall's, Michael's and Ross to do a little Christmas shopping. Came out pretty good- just need to finalize those items for ma mere. Yep, she's the hardest to shop for.

After that, I headed to a holiday party at the CVB. Hilarious conversation with the Marketing Director (the one I interviewed with well over a year ago,) and her team. Everything from beautiful men in Brazil to peacocks that act like pit bulls. Needless to say, I was enjoying in my time when suddenly, I decided to turn around and you will never guess who walked in the door.

My ex.

Like.. my ex husband.

No shit.

I have not seen him since 2007. As in... I moved out of the house and it was Ciao.




Of course he comes up behind me and says hello. All I did was glance his way and threw up my hand, sort of dismissive, and turned my back to him and continued talking to the group I was standing with.

Did I mention it was awkward?

Then lo and behold he corners my mom and begins to chat her up for a solid 15 minutes or so. Finally he leaves and I turned around and said, "Are you kidding me?"


Did I mention - Awkward?


I really should have joined a convent.


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