Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Art, Apartments and Action!
 I am starting my morning off right - with a cup of coffee and a little blogging. Ahhh.. *insert sigh of relief*

This week is a pretty important week for me, personally. This weekend I will finally be in a spot to start applying for apartments. This is going to be a big hurdle to cross, considering credit and lease issues from the eight months unemployed. However, I was never late with a payment (rent) and what happened was a result of my little economic crisis. God willing, it will all work out.

And it truly can. And it will. Somewhere out there is my future humble abode, and I am looking forward to settling back down. That's exciting! Basically I am hoping for the best, and totally prepared for the worst. You know, worst case scenario, I'm out a few hundred on app fees. BUT - I am planning on going through this slowly, and making sure I find something I truly like, versus just moving to be moved.

Did you guys have a great night last night? It's sort of odd for me now, most of the shows I followed had their season finales last week. For instance, Sunday nights I watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey (thank goodness, they just started back.) I love the Gorga's and the Wakile's. That Theresa is a handful, isn't she? NOT a fan of her. The sad part is - this is their life, and we get a front seat to them making spectacles of themselves.

Also on Sunday nights I used to watch Mob Wives, however, their final reunion show was this past Sunday. HUGE fan of this show. I love to watch Drita, Renee, Carla and as you all know - BIG ANG. Not a fan of Karen and Ramona. That show is soooo interesting. These chicks remind me a little of some of the type of girls I grew up with- tough as nails.

Monday & Tuesday nights used to consist of Dancing With the Stars. I am a HUGE Maksim fan. (Again, something I have written about.) New to my eye is Tristan. Hello?! BTW - I was hoping Maria would win, however, I am sooo glad Donald did and not the prima donna.

Wednesday and Thursday nights were American Idol and Survivor. I'm okay with Phillip Phillips winning, would have preferred Joshua Ledet - who people.. let me tell you.. had a voice like no one's business! Survivor - no real fave popped out for me. The girl who won was okay, and I am glad she did, though any of the three in the end were good with me.

Now my week is completely open. I've picked up a book I started a month or so ago and was sooo caught up in it last night, I did not fall asleep until sometime around 3ish. I may have mentioned, but Greg Iles is one of my absolute favorite authors. He just captivates you from the very beginning. I am reading The Quiet Game by him and I simply cannot put it down. :-)

This weekend is about to really kick off. If you live in middle Georgia - there are a few picks I have chosen to check out and I encourage you to do the same.  For one, I am actually entering a photo in an art exhibit! Seriously! It's one of the pics I took in New Orleans. I have always loved this photo and decided to showcase it at:

Another event I am looking forward to is First Friday Fest in Downtown Macon. After a meeting, I plan to run down to Rosa Parks (Park) for the grand opening of the park expansion. Throughout the evening, the Macon Jazz Messengers will be performing and Michael’s on Mulberry will be selling food and drink.  After a little stop by there, I will head over to the Macon Art's Alliance Gallery. Saturday I plan to attend the Daylily Festival in Jones County. In what is known as the "Pecan Orchard" next to Gray Elementary, over 100 craftsmen and exhibitors will be set up, tons of food options, a Teddy Bear parade at 10am, a car show, kids activities, petting zoo - the works! (Also - my sister is the head of this event!)

Another busy weekend, hopefully with no emergencies. What's on your plate this weekend?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Just when you think you have it all together, life just sort of throws a few challenges your way. Remember those curve balls I was talking about? My eye-hand coordination is getting better and better and I have coming out swinging!

Dad is up and moving today. He spent most of the morning in the garden with my niece. That's a great sign, considering he was on death's bed this past weekend. However, I am sure the doctor would prefer for him to stay inside and relax, at least a calm stroll through the woods could not hurt him, right? The Thurston's are a resilient bunch, tough as nails.

Today has been a bizarrio type of day. I had a wonderful meeting this morning with the peeps from Riverside Cemetery. No.. no.. I am not plotting my Father's demise, rather I am working with that group to come up with some historically significant stories for the youth at the museum I work at. Fascinating information, and tons of cool ideas. The activities include everything from historical character portrayals, scavenger hunts, a really cool fort, all of the way to funerary art and creative writing exercises- like writing your own epitaph. Great stuff!

Did I mention they brought me iced coffee? Death is such a seductress, isn't she? ;-)

THEN after the MOST BIZARRIO lunch - OMG... sooo.. I know of no other way to describe this other than JUST describe it. As I am sitting with my co-worker at Krystal, eating my cheese fries - I kept hearing this click, click sound. This woman sitting me behind me was taking photos with her cell phone. I turned around, just to see what she was "seeing," since I am such a fanatic at capturing "moments," when I discovered she was taking a picture of her feet... or the floor. So, I turn around. However, my eyes work like a little camera themselves and I notice just about everything. She had on a sweat shirt (it's 90 something degrees around here) and she had a plastic bag with her, like a grocery bag. No food, no drink - but sitting at the Krystal table. I just thought, "okay- maybe she is waiting for someone and proud of her pedicure" or something like that.

Then I hear, "Click, Click, Click" and turned around and she is randomly taking pictures of the table, really, REALLY close up, and then of everyone around us, and then out the window.. all I hear is CLICK, CLICK, CLICK...

My co-worker and I decided she might be one of the street people (we are near the Spring Street bridge, near a bus station. Tons of people live under the bridge by the river in a tent city of sorts.)

Bizarrio. THEN I look behind my co-worker and what do I see? A full-blooded pimp. Chains, gold, bizarrio outfit and chatting it up with young, scantily clad ladies. It was pretty obvious.

I got back from lunch and our Curator was cleaning out an old storage unit. He said to me, "Hey - want any of this old stuff?" I took a look at some of the items he had, these beautiful carved Asian pieces, made out of something white. He looked at me and said, "Yeah, it's ivory." I sort of sucked in my air and said, "WHHHAAAT?" LOL Needless to say, I grabbed a few pieces. ;-)

I also was given the opportunity to go through boxes and boxes of old cookbooks from a dear old supporter of the museum, who has long since passed. Her name was Ola Mae Ford, and I saw the most amazing collection of old cookbooks - from 1943 and on. I grabbed a few that were just so nostalgic. She apparently was a home economics teacher for years and years. I grabbed some old 1950's appetizer cookbooks (with the most amazing retro photographs) and a few other treasures. I promise to take a picture of my goodies soon enough.

I am also the proud new owner of a wooden carved "goddess of peace." Possible West African - not sure. I decided it was best to leave it in my office, not knowing what type of energy and what this little figure represents. Our Curator said, "There is no telling." With that, I'll keep the little lady here.

That's just through lunch... where else will the day lead, I am almost too afraid to ask.

Who am I kidding? I love it!

What's the most "bizarrio" thing that has happened to you today?

Monday, May 28, 2012

He paved the way
If you have ever had a serious conversation with me, you know I will at some point say, "There is a reason or everything." We oftentimes can't see it while we are going through it, but eventually it all makes sense. Sort of like what is happening as we speak.

My Dad got sick. If you don't know about my dad, you should really read THIS, it sort of describes the type of man he really is. These past 7 months or so were not as easy with him, for the first time he was in the same house with me, as an adult. I watched him overeat (though he is not a big man,) and slowly kill himself. I watched his mood change and I even heard things come out of his mouth I never thought I would ever hear. Why? Diabetes. The mood swings, the temper tantrums, the sickness and lethargy - all because of the food he was putting into his mouth.

Thank God (literally) that I am bossy. I am the one who talked him into getting into my car and going to the emergency room. He is safe and stable now, however I pray he actually listens to the doctors this time. Thank you for your comments, for your prayers, and emails. You are the best blog followers a girl could have.

God put me here for a reason. In this house, at this time. He paved the way for all of this. I know we have all heard or even said, "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger," but people, it's true. What used to happen in the past - my shoulder's would tighten, my breath would quicken, my pulse would race - now I am able to hold the stressors on my shoulders, I can slow my breathing, and I am much calmer. Why? HE made me stronger. He paved the way...

I often talk about my journey on here, it's even the inspiration for this blog. But what you must know and I must remember, my journey is nothing more than a gift God has provided for me. It's my story, mine alone. I can't spend an ounce of precious time worrying or freaking out.

I may have honestly found my balance. At 39, this may be what I was waiting for.

On a lighter note - I want to welcome our three new followers! You guys popped out of nowhere and I am so happy to have you here.

I have so many topics stored up and I am ready to get my routine back. Life has thrown me a few curve balls - but instead of ducking them and swirling out of the way, I have honed my skills. I have caught them and boy, oh boy, watch out world- I have a mean swing.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


No glittery title here - no cute choice in words.
I've been up for over 24 hours.
My dad is really, REALLY sick.

Spent the last 12 of those 24 hours in the E.R. I drove, Dad road shotgun, Mom and the egyptian in the back.

He was vomiting all night and complaining of pressure and burning in his chest.

ER found his blood sugar level at 760, a high white blood cell count, high potassium and sodium. His heart rate was through the roof.

He was admitted less than an hour ago, he is in his room, sedated by morphine and hooked up to an insulin IV drip. The last conversation we had was about if they do a heart cath, it will be Monday.

I am still trying to digest everything.

It's like his body is shutting down.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Honeymoon Phase

I am a bit of a romantic. I love lace and pearls. My heart flutters just a little bit during super sappy movies. I crave holidays, just so I can shower the one I love with gifts and affection. But in true Aquarius fashion, outside of writing about it and actually sharing it with my significant other, I don't show a heck of a lot of emotion to anyone else. I am more "private" in person. Funny, isn't it? I share my entire life with you right here - but when you meet me in person, I am walled off emotionally (for the most part.)

Thank God for writing. ;-)

Today I was scanning my FB feed (oh how it has inspired so many posts here..) I suppose it is the modern day "people watching," without actually coming into physical contact with "people."

As I was scanning, I noticed one of my former interns is getting married this weekend. I read her engagement story online, I scanned her pictures, and all I could think was, "Wow, what a beautiful love story. What a blessing!" Then I realized I felt slight pangs of envy.
Then I immediately felt guilty about it. Because, believe it or not, I once felt the same way about my situation.

I fell hard and fast for my love. Things were beyond phenomenal - I experienced true joy. Time and life has tried to chip away at what was once so sacred and the single most important aspect of my life. I think I am a little more resilient than my counter part, and I am patiently waiting for that all consuming love to sweep in and take me away, again.

When I see loving, committed couples - I stop and sort of sigh. I know what it takes to make things great, but you can't do it by yourself. I saw the quote above and it reminded me of my time in Egypt, or even those first couple of months in Birmingham. I have felt this way, and I can feel this way again. All it takes are a few simple words, or a slight brush of the hand - or anything really that shows an ounce of kindness. That's how real love works. No matter what is going on, no matter how bad things can get - you can forgive and melt with one small gesture of kindness.

Many say that I am always trying to hold onto the fairytale, the honeymoon phase. I say, "Why not?" No one said you had to grow cold, or bored, or disillusioned. I think too many people think simply being committed is good enough. Not me - I want passion, I want communication, I want adventure. Perhaps I am being silly and perhaps I am bit of a dreamer.

To be honest, I won't settle for less.

What are you not willing to compromise on?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thank you, Old Nicole

One of the coolest things happened yesterday as I drove home. I had the windows down, the sun roof open, the music blaring, my shades on and my hair blowing in the breeze. The trees covering the road would sometimes allow for a cool breeze to come through and give me the chills, and just as quickly as the breeze would brush through, a stream of sunshine sent rays of warmth across my skin. I was alive. I was mindful. I was happy.

I felt such a huge rush of joy and gratefulness. All I could think about is what a truly remarkable opportunity God has given me. My life is by no means boring, and a lot of that is because I am constantly seeking new opportunities to be inspired. It's my passion.

I am so happy that life has dealt me the blows it has, and the triumphs as well. I am proud of my accomplishments, and no matter what anyone says, or how someone says it - I know what I went through to make the few excellent things happen. I know. God knows. That should be enough.

I felt such a sense of potential balance yesterday. I felt toxin free. It was a glorious drive, a rare moment when I am not just teeming with anxiety. Whether it is rational or irrational, my body produces so much adrenaline all the time that it is next to impossible to just relax. But I did, and I did it well.

I saw the quote above this morning- "Do something your future self will thank you for later," and it reminded me of all of the properly calculated chances I have taken in life. Even the crazy ones. I chose to expose myself, to try something new, to taste something different, to challenge my thought process - and I am better for it today. I am not perfect, I am still only human, but I have an open mind (though, I have to remind myself to keep it open,) and I have an open heart - something I never thought was possible.

I find it ironic that as soon as I find a little peace in my life, the negative nellys start knocking at my door. I am working hard to keep the Eeyore's in my life at bay. I keep saying over and over - 'You can't control what they do. You can only control your reaction.' I have to let that part of my personality go. It does no good.

What are you thankful for these days? That little something you did in the past, that has made all the difference now.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Feeling Nerdy

I am not certain how I was able to convince myself, but some how over the years I decided I was not nerdy.

Now if you know me, and know me really well - you have to laugh.

Because I can be a little awkward at times. I am secretly an introvert, though I over compensate with this great big, bubbly personality. I would much rather spend a Friday night curled up in bed with a good book and pjs.

But some where down the line I changed - I convinced myself, and to some degree, others, that I was this social butterfly.

Deeply shy and probably more sensitive than not, I somehow invoked all of those years of theater classes and forced myself to be more outgoing and confident.

I got to thinking the other day about my true self. I figure, I must be my "true self" when I am centered and balanced. When I reflect on my feelings during this time, I see and feel very compassionate, more contemplative, and more open to others. However, most of the time, I am walled off, "full of life" and very out-spoken.

What in the HELL happened?

I'm not saying one way is better than the other, not at all. I think a good balance between the two would be a powerful combination. I think one of the many paths I will take in this life will be that challenge to find that balance. I need to take what I have learned and fuse it with what is innately- me.

When I meet someone new, one of two things happen - I either gravitate toward them or I am repelled. I sort of joked a long time ago (though I am not sure how much of it was really a joke,) that when I meet you, I usually know with a few minutes whether or not we will click. It's odd. I don't know if it is chemical or astrological or what - but it is usually glaringly obvious, at least to me.

However, there have been a few times I was mistaken, and I was happy about it. I will share a "high school" story with you, and I know this person reads this, so she might get a kick out of it. When I was in the 11th grade, I had a Biology class with some underclassman. I don't know why I was taking Biology int he 11th - perhaps something was off kilter with my classes - anyway, in walks this beautiful girl by the name of Laura. I thought to myself, "No way will I ever be her friend." We ran in different circles, at the time, and I was one year older. I guess you could say there was an air of  social "threat" to me when she walked in. Don't ask where all of this comes from, we were all very cliquish in high school. Perhaps the nerd in me thought she would not like me, or perhaps I would become an outcast.

All of this may sound silly to people who know me, but you have to remember- this is the mind of a 16 year old. Needless to say, at some point, the ice broke and wouldn't you just know it, Laura became one of best friends in high school. So much so that we joined forces and started this waaay cliquish sorority for girls. We were obsessed with make up and clothes and boys and parties... and it all sort of fell into place. What I find soooo ironic about all of this, just 4 years prior, I was that quiet, semi-nerdy kid. Theater geek - ballet dancer. Book reader - no boyfriend girl. I did not an older sister to show me the way, nor was did I have the "popular" cousin next door to break me into certain groups. Everything I did as a kid - I did it on my own.

In elementary school, I was the typical straight A student. I was a Girl Scout, I took ballet classes, and I played with my dolls - usually by myself. My sister was a lot younger than me, and my only other "real friend" was my neighbor, Dee, who more or less was a lot like me.

By middle school, I was this scrawny kid just trying to make new friends in a new neighborhood, with kids who were waaaay more into "older kid" things than I was prepared for. Suddenly I am being picked on and all the while - I am just trying to find a little peace. You know - a little nerdy.

I was talking with my friend, Lisa, recently about middle school. I knew Lisa, though we were not close. Lisa was very popular and (this is no secret) known as a bit of a bully. She was actually one of the best friends of my arch nemesis in middle school. LOL Oh the irony. I asked Lisa what she thought of me back then and she said, "Oh - you were just Nicki. So small I could put you in my pocket." That sort of made me laugh.

By high school, something changed. I grew up, I studied the teen magazines - I had the fluffy 80s hair, I worked sooo hard on my makeup, I tried to be as fashionable as my parent's budget would allow. I went from this:

To this:

Lord Have Mercy!! THAT HAIR.

I'm the second from the left.

Not that any of it was better.. it was just different.

But let's be honest here for a minute, I will always - no matter what size I am, no matter how well groomed my hair is, or perfect my makeup or outfit is - will always be that shy little Girl Scout that took ballet.

Yep, feeling a little nerdy.

What are YOU really like?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Material Baggage

John Quincy Adams once said, "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."

I am waiting for another door to open - this one will be attached to my future abode.

Trying to schedule time to view homes/apartments, as well as budget accordingly is not an easy task. I finally let go of the reins and asked the egyptian to step up and help out with this feat. Too much territory to cover, and we do not want to put all of our eggs in one basket.

I am really starting to get the fever to REALLY get this show on the road. I walked past a furniture store yesterday around lunchtime, and I could not take my eyes off of this funky chaise. It was red and curvy and velvety. I thought to myself, "Hey... now THAT could look really cool in our new home."

I am so on board for a new start, that I am seriously considering starting from scratch, outside of a few paintings and kitchenware. I just want us to start fresh, and I want to do it together.

If you are settled in your home, you know the comfort and security of being around your "things." If you have ever lost everything, then you know what I am talking about. I have learned to release my materials items, and I appreciate smaller things now. The whole idea around simplifying has taken on a whole new meaning.

As I ponder the whole idea of letting go, I got some great advice over at The Minimalist website.

I found one section of their advice so powerful:

Lessons Learned

Of course it was difficult to let go, but I realized quite a few things about our relationship between memories and possessions during the entire experience:

1.I am not my stuff. We are more than our possessions.

2.Our memories are not under our beds. Memories are within us, not within our things.

3.An item that is sentimental for us can be an item that is useful for someone else.

4.Holding on to stuff weighs on us mentally and emotionally. Letting go is freeing.

5.You can take pictures of items you want to remember.

6.Old photographs can be scanned).

It is important to note that I don’t think that sentimental items are bad or evil or that holding on to them is wrong. I don’t. Rather, I think the perniciousness of sentimental items—and sentimentality in general—is far more subtle. If you want to get rid of an item but the only reason you are holding on to it is for sentimental reasons—if it is weighing on you—then perhaps it’s time to get rid of it, perhaps it is time to free yourself of the weight. That doesn’t mean that you need to get rid of everything though.

I think the key is right above - highlighted.

I want to get rid of so many things, but I feel guilty, because there are memories and emotion tied to those items. However, they are limiting me on finding the place I want to live, because my BIG china cabinet just has to fit. I have so many breakable items from around the world, and I like to showcase them. I used to have a larger house, I no longer live that lifestyle - and my current life and longings need to reflect the items I am carrying with me on this journey.

What's weighing you down? If you got to start all over again, like I am about to, what would you drop and what would you carry with you?

Talk about carrying your baggage. ;-)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sometimes I get a little lost. It usually takes something as routine as a cup of coffee in the early morning and a little blog time to remind me who I really am.

What I mean by that is, I get a little caught up in the day to day. I get caught up in my job, or I become obsessed with making things perfect for my husband, or being the best Auntie Cole I can be. I just sort of lose myself.

I am more aware of that these days since the passing of the "dark time." Let's just call it the "dark time" - eight months of no job, no money, and separation from the egyptian. I sort of was given an opportunity to find myself, and I did. But then things ended up getting back on track and I found myself repeating the very behaviors I promised myself I would not do again.

Here is a quick list of things I was hoping to work on:

1. Recognize the joy.
2. Do not react. Listen.
3. Slow down.
4. Meditate.
5. Practice Mindfulness.

Guess what I did instead? I got caught up in how I was allowing others to make me feel. I was reacting, instead of listening. I was going as fast as I possibly could, I stopped meditating and I was definitely just blurring through the day.

That was last week. Three weeks into the egyptian being home and 5 weeks into a new job. It took that long to fall back into old habits. But today, I am able to regroup, slow down and recharge my battery. It's okay. Just time to reinstate the good habits I had committed to.

I've had a good few days. Thursday night I went to the historic Douglass Theater. It's the place where Otis Redding got his start. There was a special "invite only" event to meet Eddie Levert. You might know who he is - With the O'Jays. He sang a few songs like "Love Train," and then did a little Q&A with the audience. Part of the event was a presentation from Arbitron about the power of Urban radio and African American spending. It was fascinating and useful for someone like myself.

Friday night I attended the exhibit opening, "A Window, A Chair and a Door," at Middle Georgia Art Association. The food was delicious, the conversation decent, and the art was amazing.

Saturday night I went to "Music Under the Stars," an outdoor concert/benefit for Gray Station Better Hometown. The "Old Soul" band was performing old Motown classics. The egyptian and I took our lawn chairs, a bag of snacks and just relaxed at the Jones County Fairgrounds. I got the biggest kick out of the egyptian - as "Proud Mary" was being sung, the female lead singer came out into the crowd and grabbed him to come on stage. She asked him his name and where he was from, THEN she asked him to dance, he all but ran off the stage. LOL It was adorable and we laughed about it for a while. Good times.

It's Sunday, and I promised my niece I would take her to the park. I bought her a soft/water proof baseball bat and ball. She wants to take that, the Frisbee and the soccer ball to the park and for us to  play most of the afternoon. I am grabbing my dad and the egyptian to join us, and good times are in store!

To wrap things up - you'll notice I titled this post "Namaste." It means - "The light in me, recognizes the light in you." That's what I need to remember. Keep it foremost in my mind.

Radiate light. :-)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Don't Pin it - Do it.

I'll credit this pic down at the end of the post. Yes, Out of spite.

Vent du jour.

I randomly check my comment section. Not all the time, but eventually I do get around to it. The reason for the delay is, no matter how good my intentions were with my post, and no matter if it was just a quick document of my feelings for the day- someone, somewhere, is going to take it the wrong way. Or think that I am talking about them. I learned a LONG time ago, just glance at the comments from time to time and move on.

Sometimes - I even get hate mail. Oh yeah. About some of the most RANDOM things you could ever imagine. More so than not, the comments and the emails are very positive and compassionate. But every once in a while, a negative nelly will rear its ugly head.

Today was one of those days.

Let's see if I can set this up:

A while back, in order to get away from "venting" posts (like this one,) or overly personal posts, I would do a "Things I learned this week" or a "You'll thank me later" post. To cover my legal basis, I have a disclosure tab at the top. As a journalism major, and someone who aced journalism law, I know I have covered my bases.

In the past, before my blog got a little more popular, none of the things I wrote or posted ever seemed to make a difference. Then, as more people became interested in my dribble, I opened myself up to a whole new outlet to be criticized. I promise you, it's not a big deal - BUT.. let's be honest, it can be a little annoying.

Today I happened to read the comments. The anonymous comments, which are usually nothing more than crazy Russian coding with links to naked people. I delete that folder from time to time, but somehow, some way - Blogger can detect if someone actually typed the comment and will allow it on the post. That's perfectly fine, though I know many of you deter anony comments, and honestly I should, but I allowed them - because I was like - 'Who cares.'

Now, just to keep the "zen" and "woo-saa" in my life, I might need to re-enstate those little deterrence's.

In other words - Use a name. Don't come in here with an anony and leave a comment. Especially if it is something that criticizes the effort of the post.

Second - I try to source everything I post. Granted, my first "You'll Thank Me Later" was written right before every Tom, Dick and Harry joined Pinterest. I simply shared some of the photos I found, and thought it would be fun to say .. "Hey - I did some research - look what I found." You'll notice at the bottom of the post, I invite people to check out my 'Cool Ideas' board on Pinterest, and there people can search for the original source. Though let's be honest, a "craft" idea may not be the original source that you find on something as fun and silly as Pinterest.

What has happened is that so many people are using it to market their stuff. Heck, I use it for work AND to invite people to my page from time to time. Ever since Mashable put it out there that Pinterest was a powerful marketing tool, possibly bypassing Google - suddenly every business ran out and created a Pinterest board.

Man.. how I missed the old days.

When I saw Snoop Dogg had a page (or make that, his publicity team has one,) or a bank has created one - I just began to roll my eyes.

What started out as a great way to see pretty pictures, organize your favorite stuff, and dream of destinations far away - has become a place where crazy marketers are tracking and sourcing and screaming "That's my idea."


You know folks... at the end of the day - "Who cares."

I seriously doubt I will try half of the ideas I found. But a few are certainly helpful for organizing. There are a handful of recipes I am dying to cook, and yes - those "travel spots" and fabulous "outfits" are just a "Wish List" I will probably never see or have - but I liked it for dreaming.. and inspiring.. and wishing.. and hoping...

Now it's all just - dirty. That's the best way to describe it - dirty.

It's been tainted by greed. Corrupted by ego.

I'm sort of turned off.

I'll continue the "You'll Thank Me Later posts" - but not so frequently. Maybe, to keep the rabid people away, I will not post a pic, but describe what I have seen. In my own words.


Perhaps I should copyright my brain. ;-)

PS - The pic above. I found it on google images. Type in Pinterest Geeks and see what pops up. It's the 4th image. From a stitching company. I found two other companies claiming. I'll let you decide who is the rightful owner.

Also - when you find it - please identify yourself as something other than anonymous. ;-)

Disclaimer - Unless you are actually the anony- I'm not talking about you, so simmer down. ;-)

Love you guys! Have an EXCELLENT weekend.

Woooo saaaaa

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Drug of Choice

As I sit at my desk - eyes blurry, head a little foggy and motor skills a little off balance...

I can only think of one thing.


How the hell do people live without this fine nectar of the gods?


Without my sweet java juice, I am like a savage beast - ready to attack, scratch and claw the eyes out of each person who comes my way.

But set a warm cup of joe before me - suddenly you will see my eyes light up and my demeanor change.

Today's post is nothing more than a vent. A need. A desire.

I left my home without having my first cup of coffee.

I am cursed. Cursed for at least...


What is that?

Someone is brewing a pot.


Wasted post.

PS - Need blog post/subject ideas. Throw me some ideas in the comment section, and I'll do it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why I love Macon

I can spot a true Maconite a mile away. I can usually tell if that person ever moved away and came back, versus the die-hards who never left. I can tell if you went to public school or private school, and after a few minutes of conversation, I can usually tell what side of town you are from.

I always said there were two different breeds in Macon - The Arts crowd and the Non-Arts crowd. Honestly, there is nothing else in between. It's always been that way.

When I lived in Birmingham, I often would listen to people bash their hometown. Usually, when you live in a major metro, majority of the people are from "somewhere else." Most were from tiny little towns in faraway places. Places you would typically never hear of. When I mentioned that I was from Georgia, often time people would say to me, "Oh, Birmingham must be so different from Atlanta." I would smile and reply, "Why yes, I am sure it is." Then I would wink and say I am from Macon, Georgia. Honestly, most of the people had never heard of Macon. The first question they would then ask was,

 "How many people live there?"
 I would reply and then they would follow up with, "I bet it was so boring there."

I would suddenly sit up a little straighter, and give that "southern smirk," you know the one, a sort of "I'm about to school you - but I want to mind my manners" look. I would then go on to talk about the arts in Macon. That's the first thing I would go into. Next, I would talk about the architecture. Finally I would describe the Cherry Blossoms in spring. People would just look at me skeptically, however, whenever I got the chance, I would bring them home with me and give them a little twirl about town.

Now that I am back, and I have accepted the fact that I am not moving to NYC or LA anytime in the near future, I am trying to embrace the city I fled. I am looking at the houses in a different way, embracing the quirky "haughtiness" of our residents (something that comes from an extreme pride in our city,) as well as filling up my calendar quite quickly with events. Talk about jumping right back into that old "arts" life - once I committed to making it "home" again, everything just took off.

But that's Macon. We act as if we are the most cosmopolitan city in Georgia, yet we are disguised as a quaint antebellum town. I can spend my Saturday morning visiting a Civil War re-enactment and my evening at the symphony. I could attend a cocktail party on Friday night and find myself at a jazz brunch on Sunday afternoon. I could hike the Ocmulgee Indian Mounds one afternoon, and go water skiing on Lake Tobo the next. Want something bigger? Atlanta is less than 2 hours away. Need the ocean? About 2 1/2 hours away. Want the mountains? Same thing. Macon, honestly, is a good place to call home.

The inspiration behind this post today comes from visiting the site I Love Macon. Sure, it's a little public relations campaign to get people to travel here, but honestly, I see it as something bigger. I see it as a way to remind me why I am choosing to stay here, for now. As I was reading the "pledge" comments readers were leaving, it sort of made me sit up a little straighter, get that sense of pride I sort of smirked at upon my return.

At the end of the day - No, we do not have the sky scrapers. But any given afternoon in downtown Macon, you will find tons of people walking the streets, just like any bigger city. If I want live music, my goodness - this is what we call 'the song and soul of the south.' If I want to see fine art, we are surrounded by amazing museums and galleries. Live theater? Always a show going on. Just enough to keep me interested, yet not so much to overwhelm or break the bank.

I am trying to keep my mind and my eyes open. I am trying to embrace the art, history and culture of the city. I want to be a good ambassador for those of you reading this blog. So many of you travel, and soooo many of you stop by each week. Have you EVER considered putting Macon on your to-do list? I bet you haven't. There are beautiful B&Bs, comfortable hotels, and great dining. There is enough to keep you busy for a weekend, at least. Plus, we are so close to all of those places you might be interested in seeing (Savannah, The Golden Isles, the mountains, Atlanta.) If you are interested, check out the Macon Bibb-County CVB website.

I actually do love my city. We sort of have that love/hate relationship. I think she is beautiful and has a lot to offer, but as with all over-achievers, I thought I wanted more. I am not settling by no means. I am just rekindling an old love affair. ;-)

Here are a few great videos by local performers that I thought painted a really good picture. One more website I would recommend - Gateway Macon.  Also - you know I can not leave without giving a shout out to my "second home" - The Tubman African American Museum. We are the largest museum in the southeast dedicated to art, history and culture of African Americans.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Moms, Cars and Life in between

Happy Mother's Day to each and every one of you that happen to be a mother, have a mother, or are expecting to become a mother. (That includes moms of pets, also!) I hope each of you get spoiled by your husbands or partners, and if you happen to be a single mother - then take a few minutes for you.

As for my mom, I plan to surprise her with some home-baked cinnamon rolls when she wakes up (which is usually around noon.) She loves sweets, and with my tight budget, this will have to do!

Life is full of surprises, isn't it? I went from feeling like nothing was ever going to work out again, to dusting off the old vocal cords and putting them to good use this week. If you did not already know, or are new to my blog, I love public speaking. I really do! I prefer it to one on one - don't ask me why, I'm just wired that way. On Wednesday, I was invited to speak to four classes for four hours about my career and journey I have taken. It was for Career Day at Miller Middle Magnet School in Macon, Georgia. It was very cathartic for me. I was able to trace the steps I took, and I even mentioned (only in a very few sentences) my experience with unemployment. I explained to these kids that I understood money is a BIG motivator for so many of them, especially after I asked a few what they wanted to be when they grew up. You can imagine - doctors, lawyers, professional basket ball players, etc. When I asked them if they knew what a person in Public Relations did, they had never heard of one. By the time I finished, I had about 4 kids interested in my field - out of about 150, that's not so bad. I shared with them one thing I have learned throughout my entire 39 years - "If you don't enjoy getting up in the morning, and going to your work - Then you are will not enjoy your life." I explained that I have made money and I have lived with very little. It never changed how I felt. What is a wonderful blessing is when you love what you do, and you get to do what you do best -  you can't put a price tag on that.

I even stressed the importance of getting an education. With there being such a high drop out rate with High School seniors in Bibb County, I explained how with this economy, it is very difficult to find a job - especially if you do not have the qualifications. You are going up against, well to be honest, about a month ago - people like me, with experience and qualifications. I explained that you do not have to go to college, but learn a trade, join the military - find a way to learn something and become really good at it. I hope I got through to a few of them.

Another opportunity I was given was to emcee last night's Miss Day Lily Pageant. Interesting, to say the least. I got to see first hand what a pageant mom looks like. WOW. As far as my part went, it went well. I had fun with it, I made a few jokes, got a few laughs, was able to keep the crowd tickled as one little girl went running off stage. I'm glad I got to do it.

For you art lovers, guess who I got to meet last week? You'll never guess! Rocco Landesman, the National Endowment for the Arts Chairman came by our museum. No, seriously - the big guy from Washington, D.C.

Front Left to Right- Rudy Mendez (artist), Pilar Wilder (dancer,) Jim Coleman (Macon Arts,) and Rocco with the NEA at the Tubman Museum

Rocco enjoying a presentation from our Dir Of Edu, Anita Ponder - while 13WMAZ was taping the visit
Just yesterday, I spent my morning checking out the Second Saturday Festivities with Gray Station Better Hometown. My sister, who is the Executive Director, moved the event to a different area, and I think it flowed so much better. No more worrying as to whether or not the shop owners would ask her to re-open a road, AND it was centrally located in front of Gray Hwy.

Below you will find a few pics from the event. I think the turn out was great, and the vendors did a marvelous job.

My sister with her information booth

Sooo.. I'm thinking I could see myself in this car

Day Lily

I made a friend!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Going With the Flow/Things I learned This Week

"Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die." ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

I figured out what my problem is. Unfortunately, there is really nothing I can do about it, but accept it and control how I react to the issue, or cut it out.
Both actions do absolutely nothing to change the other party. *sigh*
I tried, right?
Springtime lasted about two weeks in Central Georgia. We went from a mild winter (if you can call it that,) to beautiful, sunny skies and cool breezes - to BAMM! hot, humid days, yet we still have sunny skies, just no breeze... and it's only MAY.
I need to plan plan plan for the summer time. Summer will involve a new home, a few more events at work, and hopefully a jaunt down to Savannah for a weekend get-a-way, or maybe down to the Golden Isles (St. Simons, Jekyll Island, etc.) Either way, it's time to plan what this summer is going to look like. I am hopeful and I am ready for all of the new chapters and transitions.
It's been a while since I did a "Things I learned this week" and I think it is about time I cranked one out again!
Things Nicole Has Learned This Week:
1. All you can do is try. If the other person is not willing to even show an ounce of love, then stop killing yourself trying to make it work.
2. Re awaking your spirit is a powerful force. It translates into clarity and a happy life in areas you are meant to succeed.
3. 6-year-olds have more energy than a crack head. Plus, they tend to like to wake up sleeping dragons by taking a bell, placing it in a bucket, and rolling it around and around. Making sure you WAKE up before the sun rises.
4. Money is no longer a motivator for me. Once I gave that up, I felt such a freedom.
5.  God has a sense of humor - I was asked to emcee a local pageant. Tonight. LOL. Yeah - was very anti-pageant as a youngster.
6. Speaking of God, I get to Macon each morning, with plenty of time left to attend Mass. My home church is just blocks from my job. What is stopping me?
7. I miss my peeps in Birmingham. They need to come visit me soon.
8. I love the new peeps, and resurrected old peeps I have encountered since I entered the workforce.
9. Cats are the single coolest creatures on earth.
10. Finally - I'm gravitating toward green. Not Kelly green or Forest green - more of a sage green. Who knows... ;-)

Friday, May 11, 2012

I'm Listening

I realize it has been a while since I have really written anything of substance. It's simply not good for the soul, or specifically, my soul.

My schedule is a little crazy, my routine is totally off kilter, and I am trying so hard to keep it all together.

All is going well on the work front. I am experiencing pure joy. That is something I cannot put a price tag on. It makes everything I have gone through completely worth while. I knew it the moment I set foot through those doors for my first interview. I love being surrounded by art, history and culture. I love that there is an element of human rights mixed into the mission. I love that I get to meet incredibly interesting people every day. When I need a break, I step out of my office and into a gallery - full of beautiful pieces, that not only please the eye- but open the mind.

Not all is normal on the home front. We are heading into week two of re-adjustment with my egyptian. I know what he is going through, because I have been there. It's not easy finding your place where there is chaos. When I say chaos, I mean -lots of people, a rambunctious 6-year-old, and basically no privacy. He's stepped into my territory, which means that he is surrounded by my family and friends. He's got to re-establish himself, and I know that is not easy. This is not exactly the most diversified city, and I know he feels more comfortable around people from the Middle East. Thus, only time will tell if he can see this as home.

I am also finding it next to impossible to find time to write. Well, let me take that back, I find the time - just not the space. I actually came into work early, just to get a moment to jot these thoughts down. When I do get home, which is usually after everyone has started dinner, my dad runs straight to the computer. Remember, they don't have wireless - so my little buddy, my laptop, only gets used for useless, mind numbing games.

We are still on the prowl for a new home. We are still waiting for his items to get shipped back from Los Angeles. I am still trying to catch up on bills. I realize it will take a few paychecks to undo what 8 months unemployed sowed.

But I am listening.

I am listening to my thoughts, and not letting my mind wonder. It's a little something I read about a couple of years ago that dealt more so with panic disorder than with life. But it works. I tend to worry, or let my mind say negative things to me/about me/for me. Instead of letting that negative "nelly" into my head, I simply shake it off and tell myself to just "stop." It's the same with a panic attack - It is not life threatening, the pre-conceived idea that you are in danger is irrational - just tell your mind to stop. (A little cognitive behavior therapy.) That's sort of the same thing with these negative thoughts that cause such self-doubt. I refuse to let them consume me, as you should do the same. We all have self doubt, or certain areas our self esteem is a little rocky. I say, 'don't let those thoughts in.' I think between remembering what I read years ago and reading a little more on meditation has reminded me to clear my mind of the rubble. I continue to recognize the inner war in others, as well as in myself, and I have decided to opt for peace. I want to radiate light, and every time someone does something or says something to me that threatens to open that door for darkness to enter, I take a moment and say, "I send this person light and love."

When other people are happy or things are going their way - they are in a good mood, bring good energy, and generally spread good will. That's someone who has squelched their inner wars. When times are hard/bad etc we bring the bad mood, the bad energy and it seems to be true - everything falls apart.

I went through some dark months with low self esteem, feeling useless as an unemployed person - and life was just kicking my ass all over the place. Of course it is easier to squelch that inner war, now that things have changed. But those changes started taking place a few weeks before I even started interviewing for my current job. I let go, and I let God. As my husband says, 'It's all God's will.' and I believe that. I am just here as a passenger on this journey called life.

But I will not burn out. I might go down in flames - but I will take that over giving out. Let me use those flames to radiate light.

And to listen.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Peace does not come easy

I can only woo-saaaa so long. My black cloud has returned - just moody and judgemental and grumpy and.. and..


The only thing I can control is how I react to things.

I choose happiness.

Now back to life -

I was finally able to fix the brakes on my VW Beetle. Front and back brakes, rotors also. Cost me an arm and a leg, but no more grinding. That's a positive.

I had a SUPER busy weekend. Spent Friday night strolling downtown Macon and enjoying Friday Fest. The egyptian and I stopped by several little spots where bands were performing. We got pulled in by one gospel group outside of Three Brothers Cheesecake. The music was great, but all I could think about was the fabulous cheesecake inside. LOL

Saturday morning we experienced the Old Clinton War Days. If you did not get to see the post before this one, go back and check out the pictures. Man... I have never seen so many Confederate flags in one place - EVER. Sort of freaked me out. Proud rednecks with knives and guns playing war - a war that they never got the memo has ended.

That night, the egyptian and I went to The Grand Opera House and saw the Macon Symphony Orchestra perform 'Bond & Beyond.' Basically it was musical scores from James Bond movies, Phantom of the Opera, Born on the Fourth of July, Forrest Gump and Hook. Amazing.

Since then I have been busy with work - the Macon-Bibb County CVB is celebrating National Tourism Week by offering little courses/experiences on Tourism. I made a point to attend Tourism 101 at the Bureau yesterday. I took a ton of notes and got some really great ideas.

So much to do - so little time to do it all in. I just wanted to check in, say hi, and promise to visit soon.

My question to you is, "How are YOU doing?"

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The War of Northern Aggression - Revisited

Historic Home, Old Clinton
"If we do not end war - war will end us. Everybody says that, millions of people believe it, and nobody does anything." ~H.G. Wells, Things to Come (the "film story"), Part III, adapted from his 1933 novel The Shape of Things to Come, spoken by the character John Cabal (Thanks Bill!)

If you did not get the memo, the War never ended down here. The Civil War, that is- or as many southerners like to call it - The War of Northern Aggression.

If you know me personally, you know that I used to roll my eyes at pride in the Confederate South. However - the truth is, it's a part of our history. A piece, many would prefer to sweep under the rug. You see, it is a very sensitive issue down here - but it is what it is. Half of my ancestors lived in the Southern United States. Which means my Great-Great-Great as well as Great-Great Grandparents would have experienced the Civil War from the "Rebel" perspective.

As to whether or not my family ever owned a plantation or slaves is not really known.I don't know if anyone fought in the war. To be perfectly honest, I never looked it up. I do know many were farmers in Valdosta, Georgia. I do know some might of had share croppers, but I cannot tell you that for certain.

In the South, one of the favorite past times is for people of a certain area to gather together and re-enact certain Civil War battles, on the actual land it took place. These people actually "take on" the persona of one soldier, perhaps their ancestor, and do what they think may have happened. If you ever saw the movie, Sweet Home Alabama, there was a funny scene that showed how serious reenactors are about preserving the past.

I decided to take the egyptian to the Old Clinton War Days here in Gray, Georgia. If he was going to move to the "Deep South," he needed to experience the "culture" of it all. See, when we lived in  Birmingham, we were in what is called - "Post Civil War" country. Birmingham was a "newer city." I grew up in a very historic, southern area - a place General Sherman marched right through and attempted to destroy. Yes, people are still bitter down here, because their family's family lived in the same home for generations. Their grandparent's grandparents passed stories down, as well as photos, journals, uniforms, and most importantly -the land.

Here are the pictures from yesterday.  Here is what "Historical Societies" down here seek to preserve, in memory:

My dad was selling his calligraphy there

I'm eating fried Gator Tail - true story!


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