Thursday, October 31, 2013

Perfecting the Perfectionist

My name is Nicole, and I tend to put too much pressure on myself.


I said it.

I want everything to be perfect. 

But I'm too tired to do anything about it.

Except at work.

I'm obsessive and highly competitive at work. I like to pretend I am not - but I am. 
This is a good thing for my supervisors and a bad thing for my significant other. Hell, it's bad for my closest friends, because somewhere within me there is this incredible desire to achieve on such a high level, that it totally blows my mind when I am friends with people who strive for mediocre. I used to set these high expectations, not just for myself, but for everyone I allowed in my life. Luckily, I sort of broke free of that bad habit.

Now that I am back home and moving at a MUCH slower pace, I can breathe a little and just be.

My question is - am I the only one?

Read this:

Raise your hand if you suffer from this?

Uh... I do.

I want to break this pattern... and I will tell you why. I think the main reason so many of us remain hypercritical and as if life is one great big game that we have to win is out of our fear that if we were to behave more calmly or peaceful, we might stop achieving our goals and seem lazy and apathetic...

It all goes back to the glorification of being busy.

I just hate that.

Now I push - push - push in my professional life, but I always make time for me. I do think I do a pretty good job of achieving a healthy work/life balance, but I do have a ball in my court on that one - no kids. But even if I had kids, I know that it is incredibly important to be able to show your children that as an adult, it is important to be well rounded. I often worry that many of my friends and family members lose themselves in the "parent" role and sort of blend into this non-descript identity. 

But when it comes to work - all bets are off. 

Recently, I came to realize that fearful, frantic thinking (the go-go-go mentality) takes an enormous amount of energy and drains the creativity and motivation from me. I find that I freeze up, with the inability to see things from a fresh perspective - and what good does that do anyone?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Waiting On The Call

It's not hard for those of us old enough to remember rotary phones, to remember what it was like to "wait" for that phone call. I have been fortunate enough to live through a time period when we did not even have voicemail.. or as we liked to say back in the day - an answering machine.

When I was a kid, for the most part, we only had one phone, and typically it was on the wall in the kitchen. There was absolutely zero privacy when trying to have a conversation. I still remember my very first "boyfriend" calling me at home. I was probably 12 or so, and I remember my sister was sitting at the bar in the kitchen, watching mom cook and dad was filling our cups with ice. Joey had called and he asked (like they did back in the day,) if I would "go" with him. Of course, I said yes by the phone and of course, because we were 12, he said, "I love you," before he got off the phone. I remember standing there in the kitchen mortified for several reasons. For one, I came from a family that did not use the "L" word, and two.. there was no way in hell I would say it OVER the phone to HIM.

That was the last time I talked to Joey.
I guess technically, he and I are still an item. lol

One of the most memorable and precious calls I ever had was the last conversation I had with my great grandmother, who I referred to lovingly as Granny. She was dying, and was very unresponsive to most people. I got on the phone... said a few things, and ended with, "Granny, I love you." Out of no where, that woman said as clearly as I am typing this to you tonight, "I love you too." THAT is a call I will never forget.

I remember the other type of call I dreaded more than any call - the one where the doctor told me over the phone that I had cancerous cells on my cervix. They never come out and say you have cancer. They say something like they got the results came back, and that you have carcinoma in situ. I handled that call very well. I listened and asked what I was supposed to do, and the doc arranged my first of many procedures to wipe out the monsterous cells. I hung up that phone, sat there a moment and suddenly my brain kicked in - carcinoma.. carcinoma.. oh shit...

I remember waiting for the right hour to approach to call the absolute love of my life in Egypt. An eight hour time difference made all the difference in the perfect good morning and the perfect goodnight. We built an entire relationship based on the words that were shared through that phone.

We also ended a relationship on one.

From bill collectors to family members calling to report a loved one's death - the phone can represent some of life's greatest battles.

On the other hand, whispered words of love, even a shared prayer, or an answer to a question can send waves of relief through the airwaves.

I think of the calls I made tonight: One to someone who adores me, another to someone I once adored, and yet another to the person who gave birth to me.. and even one to a friend that is celebrating one of life's milestones... I am able to reflect on how fortunate we are to be able to communicate with one another. That the phone, as annoying and even as expensive as it can be, is the tool that links our hearts and our lives to one another.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Spookacular Memories

Funny how Halloween used to be my absolute favorite holiday.

When I was a "Parker," we were notorious for throwing these incredible Halloween parties. The house would be decorated from room to room - black lights, strobe lights, ghoulish glowing punch and the like was our M.O.

It's sad to think I did not even bother to look for a costume this year.

Is it because I don't have that spooky spirit, or is it because I am just at that age?

The truth is, if I had been invited to some phenomenal party, I would have been all over it. But as it was back in the day, very few people I know throw them, which is probably why I took it upon myself to invest and invite.

Some of my more favorite costumes involved fangs. Oh, how I loved dressing as a vampire, devil, gyspy... you name it!

What do you plan to dress as for Halloween? Better yet, how do you plan to celebrate? Do you do a Harvest festival? Do your kids go Trick or Treating? What are some of your best memories?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Musings

I was looking at my dining room chairs last night.
The beautiful "newish" dining room chairs my ex bought us back in January. 

They are cream, leather, and very modern. He spent about $250 a chair... maybe a little less.

Back in April, I adopted my boys (two furry bundles of joy.) These little devils proceeded to climb the back of the leather chairs and basically turn a beautiful dining experience into Braille.

Needless to say, I sort of freaked out when it first happened. 
Now.. I simply accept it. 
Plus I just want to toss the chairs.
AND the table.

That table.

I bought in back in 2002, for a life I once had. A large ranch style house in North Macon, two kids (foreign exchange students,) two dogs, a fenced in back yard with an immaculate garden, and a husband. I went to church every Sunday, bible study on Wednesday, and had dinner parties. That life.. and that husband is no longer.

When I moved to Birmingham and remarried, my new husband reminded me all of the time of how much he hated that dining room table. It was large and honestly meant for a family. I think he hated what it represented or what it meant. It meant we would have to sit across from each other and talk.

You see, I bought that dining room table when I married my first husband to recreate something I experienced as a child - Dinner with family. 

As children, we always sat down with my family for dinner. We sat and we shared our day. I have no idea if my parents actually listened or if they were even slightly entertained by our stories of the day... but we were all there. We sat down for dinner and we talked. Granted, that may be the only civilized conversation we had all day, but it is what we did, and I actually looked forward to it.

So when I got married, I wanted that - dinner, and family, and conversation. It represented something I loved and something I felt was important. No matter how "cool" I was or old I got, I always found myself opening up about my friends and situations at school with my entire family at the dinner table. I thought... maybe... it would build a strong foundation for my "family."

So the first one did not work out. Then the second one did not value that level of communication. Now I am left with remnants of a life I tried to create. 

With each tear from the cat's claws.. I sort of have given up on that life. What's more important, I accept that my reality is not always what we dream of. 

I think I am going to toss those chairs, sell the table and china cabinet (which is in storage,) and move on. Move on mentally... and simply hold onto what was, and realize what "could have been" is just not in the cards for me. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Things I Learned This Week

1. Letting go of things/people/situations that do not allow you to grow is the number one lesson in life.

2. It always starts with a sneeze. Then turns into a sniffle. Followed by a hacking cough. And that's just the symptoms my cat had. Yes, we both are sick.

3. There are three overlooked causes of anxiety: Unresolved relationships, guilt, and unexpressed desires. I think herein lies a lot of my anxiety.

4. You would think, with the amount of vitamin C I ingest, I would never get sick. lol

5. I am trying to be gentle with someone who has opened up their heart to me. They intentions seem very real.. and though I am not there, I refuse to do to them, what others may have done to me. I've come a long way with this one.

6. Got a call yesterday from the Ladie's Auxillary at church. Looks like I will get back involved. I guess God has given me enough "alone time" to figure things out. Sometimes... the simple reaching out of a fellow church member, inviting you back into the fold, can make all of the difference.

7. I feel completely blessed. I have learned that my crisis, my heart ache, my pain, all of it has brought me to a place of contentment. Who knew I could heal so quickly? Who knew that in the end.. it would be okay. I tried trusting.. and patience.. and I refused to close myself off completely. I think it paid off.

8. My Pandora station - Acoustic New Age - is a wonderful piece of music therapy.

9. Back on the healthy wagon. LOL... We'll see...

10. Finally... I'm okay. I've been waiting to say that for a while now. I am sitting here, and I feel it. It's all good. :-)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn Brings Good Stuff

It happened. 

I woke up and there was an unmistakable chill in the air. 

It's here - Autumn.

I have survived September, trudged my way through the heat of Summer, and have endured most of what this year felt like throwing at me.

And now it's time for the good stuff.

One week now, post "move in" with my roomie. Lynn is doing well and settling in nicely. It is such a blessing to have one of my best friends just a few yards away. Such a tremendous blessing. I think I forgot how important it was to have those good girl friends nearby. I forgot how much I loved my friends in Birmingham. It sort of solidified what I know in my heart to be the truth- our good memories of a place are not so much about the place, but more so about the people there.

I am happy to report I had a wonderful date last night with someone. He and I dated a little a few months ago, but I chose to sort of back off. We had a wonderful dinner and evening. He seems to really be interested in me, however, I am a little gun shy. When I say interested, I mean he was talking dating exclusively and I just don't think I can do it. 

I just can't. 

Soooo... with that being said, it's nice to at least feel appreciated. Don't we all like that from time to time?

As for activities - wow oh wow - so much going on these days in Macon. There is the big Thriller parade coming up for Halloween. The Music Ambassador program has Speech from Arrested Development performing at a house party in downtown. I saw an off Broadway tribute to ABBA last weekend, and even went to an Oktoberfest festival downtown.

So. Much. To. Do.

I'm looking forward to the leaves finally changing, and the air getting even a little crisper. I want to smell the dead leaves and pumpkin spices. I want to eat a caramel apple and wander down a wooded path. I want to sit by a bon fire and roast some marshmallows.

Autumn is here. So much good stuff. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What Oprah Had To Say About Men

***I Had to share this. Just came across this.. and man oh man... good advice.***


If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away.
If he doesn't want you, nothing can make him stay. Stop making excuses for a man and his behavior. Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.

Stop trying to change yourself for a relationship that's not meant to be. Slower is better. Never live your life for a man before you find what makes you truly happy. If a relationship ends because the man was not treating you as you deserve then heck no, you can't "be friends". A friend wouldn't mistreat a friend.

Don't settle. If you feel like he is stringing you along, then he probably is. Don't stay because you think "it will get better." You'll be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not better. The only person you can control in a relationship is you. Avoid men who have a bunch of children by a bunch of different women. He didn't marry them when he got them pregnant, why would he treat you any differently? Always have your own set of friends separate from his. Maintain boundaries in how a guy treats you. If something bothers you, speak up. Never let a man know everything. He will use it against you later.

You cannot change a man's behavior. Change comes from within. Don't EVER make him feel he is more important than you are. Even if he has has more education or in a better job. Do not make him into a quasi-god. He is a man, nothing more nothing less.

Never let a man define who you are. Never borrow someone else's man. If he cheated with you, he'll cheat on you. A man will only treat you the way you ALLOW him to treat you. All men are NOT dogs.

You should not be the one doing all the bending... Compromise is two way street. You need time to heal between relationships. There is nothing cute about baggage... Deal with your issues before pursuing a new
relationship. You should never look for someone to COMPLETE you. A relationship consists of two WHOLE
individuals. Look for someone complimentary...
not supplementary.

Dating is fun... Even if he doesn't turn out to be Mr. Right. Make him miss you sometimes... When a man always know where you are, and you're always readily available to him ~ he takes it for granted. Never move into his mother's house. Never co-sign for a man. Don't fully commit to a man who doesn't give you everything that you need. Keep him in your radar but get to know others.

Scared of being alone is what makes a lot of women stay in relationships that are abusive or hurtful: Dr. Phil says... You should know that: You're the best thing that could ever happen to anyone and if a man mistreats you, he'll miss out on a good thing. If he was attracted to you in the 1st place, just know that he's not the only one. They're all watching you, so you have a lot of choices. Make the right one. Ladies take care of your own hearts..

Things I Have Learned This Week

Let's do this... shall we?

1.Friendship. Hands down the single most important relationship I can have. It has taken me YEARS to realize this. Husbands have come and gone. Family members have their own worries. But friends, the true... unconditional ones, are what has kept me afloat all of these years. They are the family we choose.

2. Lime. You guys know I am addicted to lime. Lime anything, really. I recently found out that they they prevent scurvy. (God forbid.) Excellent for the skin. Do wonders for digestion. Relieve constipation. Maintains a healthy blood sugar level. Treat peptic ulcers. Work well with respiratory  issues. Decrease uric acid (something that aggravates arthritis. And so many other things. I love my limes.

3. I'm on culture overload this weekend. I tend to stay super busy one weekend, and take the next weekend off. This is an ON weekend. I am looking forward to rest.

4. My writing. Oh how I long for the old days of blogging. I'm going back there. I need it. Like I need oxygen.

5. I need to be kinder to myself. I need to use more positive self talk. I need to pamper myself. I need to invest in me. I'm getting better. I really am.

6. Shopping remains my favorite hobby. Apparently I'm into orange this season. Make that burnt orange/pumpkin.

7. I've never made a sweet potato pie. I think I need to add it to my 'Fall' bucket list.

8. It's official. I have some serious trust issues. Turns out - for good reason. My issue is, you seriously can't trust anyone. My suspicions are not going unfounded.

9. My heart is completely sealed back up. I need to go into protective mode.

10. Finally, my faith is slowly being restored. I go through phases. God is drawing me closer, and for that I am forever grateful.

Friday, October 18, 2013

In a blink of the eye

I woke up and realized... life is completely different this week from last week. Last month to this month. Last year to this year.

Not to sit and ponder my purpose too long, but I do find it fascinating how one day things seem to make perfect sense and all is going your way... then to blink and everything changes.



Just a few days ago, a friend of mine asked, "How are things?"
I responded, "Transitional. Always transitional."

I think that's the point. At least it is in my world.
Nothing ever seems to slow down, or become routine, or attach to me.

Maybe that's my purpose - to go on this journey, learning - sharing - understanding. Maybe some of us aren't meant to have roots. Maybe some of us need to just remain free spirits... enjoying the journey.. with no certain destination ahead.

Maybe.. just maybe... if I can accept that, I'll be okay.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Don't worry folks, everything is fine.

If you read the last post, you may have wondered. No, no.. I am fine. I was just thinking about the type of things we hear our entire lives, sort of like "programming," and unfortunately, we fall for the self-talk. Thank goodness I don't believe that stuff.

Imagine if I did?

Back to my life..

It seems like the last six months my blog posts have been scattered and less informative. I sort of quit baring my soul.. basically... since when I got my job I was told not to. It's hard to write half truths, not to mention the amount of people reading my posts. Sheesh.. kinda scary to think which one of you are in my everyday life and I don't realize that you are reading my words. It's a little weird for me, you know?

Here's where I am now - Working hard. Very, very hard. There is so much I need to do at work, and that I have to do.. that I am staying extremely busy. That's a good thing, and it is something I enjoy.

As for home, my new room mate moved in this past Saturday, and everything is going well. She came in super motivated to start a new life.. and slowly.. the reality is starting to hit her. I'm not sure what that will mean for her. (As in long term in our community or not.) The best I can do is provide her a safe haven until she figures it all out.

As for my personal life? Screeching halt.

I am spending tons of time with the guy that I mentioned before. Just about every day - but it feels completely like a friendship now. Yeah. Friend zone. I don't know who took it there first - but that's where we are. Plus, he's so incredibly difficult to read or even possibly begin to understand.. very wishy washy.. changing his mind all of the time, plans are always changing, and lord have mercy.. does he have a lot of "female" friends. Not sure if I would have even been up for the task.

In other words..
I think it is best if I back away slowly. I'm already sort of in the friend zone... so he probably will not even notice.

Of course, I adored him.  Just... something is off. It's not me.. I swear! ;-) lol

Okay Okay..

So I am back to reclaiming me.

I think that's the best relationship I can have right now. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Someone Once Told Me...

Someone once told me... you have a strong personality.
It will take a special kind of man to be able to live with you.

Someone once told me... you tend to say too much.
You don't have to repeat every little thought that pops into your head.

Someone once told me... you tend to get a little bossy.
You don't have to always be so mouthy

Someone once told me... it's such a shame I am overweight.
Since.. of course.. they thought I had a pretty face.

Someone once told me... I will never amount to anything.
That by having friends with a shady past or home life, it would affect how I live mine.

Someone once told me... I make a terrible wife.
Since I don't come straight home and clean immediately, have dinner ready, and then just remain quiet. Even after I worked all day.

Someone once told me... it's best to not rock the boat.
People don't really want to hear the truth.

Someone once told me.. they did not understand why I wrote a blog about my life.
Though they thought I was a "nice enough person"... I'm simply not that interesting.

Someone once told me... if you don't play the game.. you will never succeed in this town.

Someone once told me... I talk entirely too fast.

Someone once told me... It's annoying how you post so many pics of your cats, or check in, or share those quotes.

Someone once told me... I come across as condescending..
When really all I am doing is speaking with confidence. Something a man can do, and be praised for.

Someone once told me... You are way too opinionated.
People would prefer you to not say anything.

Someone once told me... they were so sorry I could never truly feel like a woman.. because I would never give birth to a child.

Someone once told me... that I needed to take a good look at myself, since I have lost two husbands.
Not taking into consideration one was an adulterer, and the other was abusive.

Instead... I would like to say:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Things I Have Learned This Week

Here we go..,

1. Setting boundaries for yourself with friends, family, coworkers, community connections, and significant others is crucial to your state of happiness.

2. I've never had a problem saying no. I'm trying to learn how to say yes.

3. I'm helping my friend Kelly write a blog. I created it for him. It's fascinating. Turns out.. he's a really good writer. He's living with something that would scare most people. MS - but according to his doctors, his condition is where he will more than likely stay. (Means he walks as if his knee or ankle is hurt.) Please follow his blog. There are two ways:
The actual page: The Lame Changer or like his Fan Page. He will share some of his recipes (I DID mention his is a super amazing chef that was trained down in New Orleans? Oh.. I didn't? Yeah. ) He will also share some of his music... he is a musician. Mostly it's about living with a disease and using humor to get through it. The first few posts are heavy.. but like I told him... getting a diagnosis that you have an auto immune disease/neurological disorder is never funny.

4. My roommate moves in today!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I'm procrastinating with a blog post. Yes, she will be here in less than 4 hours. Yes I need to vacuum and finish the laundry...

5. New dresses and new heels make me feel like a million bucks.

6. Hair is growing out.. I hate that in between stage. It's looking blah.

7. I wish there was a hair color that would last more than 6 weeks.

8. I need a manicure. I'm tired of doing my own nails. But I'm scared of salons and the fungus that may be living there. (Yes.. I'm a germ-a-phobe.)

9. Back to the gym. Back to the gym. Back to the gym. (Yeah.. I'm trying to convince myself.)

10. Finally... I've made peace with so many of my past mistakes. It's such a wonderful feeling. I'm trying to treat myself good. I'm trying to live in the moment. I'm trying.. lord knows I am.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Where Have I Been?

Where have I been?

Good question.

I've been BUSY.

Let's recap in photos..
Let's go back about two weeks... Girl's night out at TWANG in Macon. Click on the link to see the menu!

Me, Cate, JJ, & Georgia (same girls I went to Hilton Head with) - Relaxing at the Bar at Twang!

Regina and I at Twang

JJ & I at Twang!

After cocktails.. we headed to the loft area for dinner! A table full of thespians!

A Twang Tea - Southern Comfort - Peach Schnapps - Sweet Tea. Can we get anymore southern?

Spent some time with Auttie Blossom at Krispy Kreme (another southern institution)

Spent some time at Capricorn Records? Not familiar? It's located in Downtown Macon. Click on the link - it just might blow your mind. ;-)

Salvatore did not want to let me go to work..

Invited my friend and fellow writer, Molly, to Rotary with me.

Hung out with Director of Fine Art at MAA (Heatherly) and Executive Dir of the 567, Melissa. Just artsy chicks having a little fun at a Pop Up Gallery. Bravo's "Gallery Girls" got nothing on us. ;-)

Had dinner a beer with my friend Cate at The Rookery

Spent a little time at Grant's Lounge. Who performed on this stage? Ready to get your mind blown? Click on the link. yep... that's in my hometown too. ;-) People don't believe us.. but Macon is the HOME of southern rock. Seriously. The sound was invented here.. and on this stage. ;-) CLICK ON THE LINK.

More friends of mine at the Pop Up Gallery Preview Party

I made time for chocolate cake

Spent a little time in the dressing room of Theater Macon.. That's me being silly in the back on the right..

Hung out with my friends at MAA

Want to know what Soul Food/Southern Cooking is? Welcome to H&H in Macon.

Rushed Zen Kitty to the vet. Allergies.. bless his heart

Spent some time at Theater Macon... backstage..

Hanging out with my friend, Chris, at the Pop Up Gallery

Watched my mom and her friends do a "painting in the round"

Tucked Zen kitty in.. he was not feeling well...

The founder of my museum and his wife on the left, and my boss and his wife on the right

Some of mom's friends at the gallery

Me, Susie and Kathy at the CVB

Scott and I hanging out at the Pop Up Gallery

Maybe you don't understand the importance of this restaurant? Click on this LINK - H&H Even Oprah was raving about this restaurant when she visited Macon.

My interior design friend, Betsy, and I hung out a little at the Pop Up Gallery Preview Party

Leadership Macon at Grant's Lounge

The famous Mama Louise at H&H

Bill and I hanging out at Grant's Lounge

Finally.. REAL soul food... at H&H

What have YOU been up to?


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