Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Coffee & Laundry Sort of Day

Here's the problem with a snow day- for adults, it's just another opening for getting stuff done around the house.

Wait.. let me back up.

For people without kids.

Yes, today is a coffee & laundry sort of day. Sure, I'll sneak in the occassional book and even watch a movie or two - but on the other hand, there is a pile of clothes just beckoning me.

I was sick all last week and had the event. I have so much stuff to put up and throw away, I don't even know where to begin.

So I went into work yesterday morning, thinking the museum would be open, when lo and behold I did not receive the text that we are to be closed. Turned around and made it back home. Why are we closed? Well because of a few inches of snow. It's not much, but we'll take it.

It's very pretty outside right now. My cats are even excited. It made me believe that perhaps they are reincarnated because of their excitement. It was like little kids in a magical winter wonderland. I took them out on the balcony and they were literally jumping around as if this was the coolest thing ever. I have never seen anything like it. When I got back inside, they chased each other for a good solid 20 minutes, then positioned themselves in front of the windows meowing incessantly. Of course, I gave in and took them back out. Hilarious!

I hope if you are fortunate enough to have a day to sit at home and relax that you do so. Again, just a few chores for me and lots of downtime. (I'm not complaining!)

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside

 Brrr! Apparently the south is about to enter a deep freeze and experience a few inches of snow. Um... we don't salt our roads. Let's hope for the best!

Sorry I have been MIA the past couple of days. I was incredibly busy on Saturday and I took some much needed rest on Sunday and Monday.

Saturday started out with an early morning "set up" at the Macon City Auditorium for the 18th Annual All That Jazz for my museum. Set up went well. I had to run back and forth to the museum to reprint signs and table tents, but that blow was softened by my roomie buying us lunch at The Rookery. We had a fried fiesta - a platter of fried pickles, fried mushrooms, and chicken tenders. Nothing like making your sodium content go sky high before you put on a cocktail dress. ;-)

Water retention aside - we got everything done and made it back to the house in time to take naps and get ready. The evening was spectacular. The decor looked great, the food presentation was perfect, the concert was good phenomenal and the dancing was.. as they say.. "off the chain." I had a blast! 

Sunday I had a weeee bit of a hangover. (I drank 4 cranberry & vodkas and a glass of wine.) But after popping a tylenol and sleeping most of the morning away, I was good as gold. Big Guy made me bacon & biscuits and we all noshed on some good food. Later, he made ribs and pulled pork bbq for the roomie and I and we feasted again that evening. During the day I just lay my head in his lap and napped while we watched the weather channel. (It's bizarre - he loves the weather channel.)

Yesterday, I awoke to Big Guy calling and saying he wanted to come over. Again, he brought groceries and made eggs and bacon. (I could get used to this.) Later we went shopping.. AND.. I went with him to trade in his Tahoe for a new truck. He bought a silver Dodge Dakota. Later that night, we went for dinner. 

I expect the professional pics from All That Jazz to be in soon and I'll share those. But for now, here are a few pics I got from my cell phone and a friend's cell phone.
My roomie and I sitting in our seats, during the concert at All That Jazz

Pre show

two time grammy nominated Najee performing

Me - pre event.

Roomie & I pre event

My friend Scott & I

My friend Bill, and my roomie and I

Friday, January 24, 2014

Soon I'll Breathe Again..

I find myself being way more protective of my time and energy these days.

Take for instance - work. I have a HUGE event this Sunday, one where we welcome a Grammy Nominated artist and this year's NAACP's Image Award nominee, and I find myself focusing on making this the best event to date. I'm not allowing the small fires to consume me or to consume those around me. I am checking off my to-do list as if I were preparing to go into battle. This. Will. Be. Successful. 

I am also looking at my relationships. I took a moment and realized I was too caught up again - too caught up in trying to make something work with someone else, and I noticed I was not getting what I needed out of the relationship. I'm not sure where it is going, or what I am going to do, but I realize there are some red flags and I am super protective of myself. I will not be taken advantage of financially. I will not allow someone to argue with me over petty things. I'm worth more than that. Again - the protective bubble.

I also realized I am not spending enough quality time with my good friends. I made a conscience effort to check in with people I am closest too, and I realized they are all battling their own little wars. It's hard.. this life thing... but we have to keep pushing through.

I'm proud to say I made it through the week with a TERRIBLE cold. I went to work every day, got kick ass media coverage on our event, and I am pushing through for the end result!

I have also planned an amazing 41st birthday party for myself. (You know me, want to get anything done right, you've got to do it yourself.) I've invited a ton of friends down to Savannah for my birthday weekend. So far, two of my co workers are coming down, one of my friends from Birmingham, two cousins from Ohio, possibly my roomie, and there are some who say they are going but will know more in February. 

Big Guy is not sure he can get that weekend off. :-(

Blech. That's okay... making the best of it. 

I have been a little slow catching up with everyone - it's been a long, busy week for me. More good posts will be coming around the corner. 

I'm sure I'll have tons of great pics from the event Saturday! I'm excited about meeting the artist. 
Hopefully, I'll be sitting pretty at the end of the night - just like the photo above. 

Until then... 

Monday, January 20, 2014

WHY? Open Letter to My Friends

I grew up in the south. The deep south. In a little town called Macon. It's right in the heart of central Georgia. We are located about an 1 or so south of Atlanta, and two hours either way to the beach or mountains. 

It's beautiful here. All of the antebellum homes, all of the pre civil war history...

We experience about 4 seasons. The leaves do turn in the fall, it gets cold in the winter, the flowers are phenomenal in the spring, and the summers are hot and sunny.

We have great southern hospitality. We smile, we welcome you, we try to show you all of the wondrous glories of our city - whether it be the delicious southern cooking, or the way the sun peeks through the cherry blossoms on a perfect Sunday morning in the spring.. it's quite charming, really.

So why did I want so badly to leave as a young adult?

Because we still have one issue that just makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. 

It's the one thing that makes certain parts of my community look like a third world country.. and the divide is creating havoc and causing our community to come up with one PR campaign after another to tell you how great we really are.

The thing is - the city is great. It's beautiful. The food is great. The music is great. There is plenty to do.

What I don't like.... what makes me ill... is the great racial divide. 

Now, if you are reading this and you live in your protective bubble, I'd like you to take a moment and hear what I am saying... 

I cannot tell you how many times people have come to me and asked why I work at the black museum. For the record, it is not the "black museum," but a fantastic institution that houses incredible works of art, contains tons of local history about notable local heroes, and celebrates the important contributions of African Americans to our southern culture (everything from music, to food.) 

I cannot tell you how many times I have invited people to something at the museum and was told, "That's just not my thing." What's not your thing? Art? Why did I see you at "so and so's" gallery opening the Friday before? Music? Food? What isn't your thing? Just say it.

I also get sick to my stomach, when people think it is okay to whisper racial slurs when surrounded by other white people. Just because my eyes are blue and my skin is fair does not mean I agree with you. Also, don't tell me that I am a traitor to my own race because I will defend other cultures and ethnicities. 

Yes, people - it still happens. (For the record, I don't laugh at racist jokes.)

Also, why do you think it is okay to ask me if I feel safe when I attend our festival? Because there are thousands of African Americans there? What is so scary about listening to music, eating good food, and buying really cool things from the vendors? Because I'm white? Huh? Explain this to me. Do you think that a cultural festival attracts thugs? Because it doesn't. 

While we're at it - stop saying "I'm not racist, because one of my best friends are black." That's insulting. 

Do you guys remember the hate mail I received just four weeks after I started working? If not - read this - it will blow your mind: HERE IS THE ORIGINAL 

For the rest of you, here is the letter I received: 

That was the first letter I received after one of my television interviews. Was this person white? was this person black? Who knows... 

The point is... why should this still be happening? Who takes responsibility for what is happening in our community? Yes, we address the issues - but what are we doing about it?

Why do we have public schools with mostly black kids, and most of the white kids attending private schools? 

Why are some people "okay black people" and others are not?

Why is it okay to say these things? Why is it acceptable to look past these things. 

Look, this post is not meant for visitors, because the truth be told - it's a great city. But we can be better. We need to take our hands and reach out and grab someone's else hand from another zip code. What I really mean is - If you live in North Macon or Downtown or InTown - try getting to know some people in East Macon, South, Macon and sections of West Macon. I actually grew up in Southwest Macon (and went to the high school by the same name,) and I have kept in touch with many of the people I knew. Majority never attended college. Many grew up in the projects. Most are just hard working people trying to make a living (both black and white.) 

What they have expressed to me is this - they don't feel like they are welcomed into the other bubbles. They also feel like it is condescending when someone from the other side crosses the border and tries to say they understand where they are coming from. Because unless you have been poor, no... no you won't. 

But it's not about understanding where someone is coming from, but being aware of why that person makes the decisions they make in order to survive. Don't judge a whole group of people on their survival techniques. Because, while you are out dropping money to look a certain way, and kissing up to people you would not typically be friends with in order to be accepted into certain circles, realize the  "other people" are doing  what they have to do to survive.. and yet.. they will be judged. 

It's MLK Day, and people are posting MLK quotes and videos of the "I have a dream speech." But just like a PR campaign, your "hope" for a better tomorrow is not action. Get out there and do something about it. 

It starts with you - You must stop your friend from using racial slurs around you. Remember when people smoked everywhere, and finally it became super uncool to smoke around people or inside? Enough people said.. enough is enough. Start there. 

Don't be afraid of going to other parts of town. I assure you, no one is paying attention to you. Patron the shops in south Macon just as much as you would the ones in north Macon.

Attend a few cultural events that are not what your social circle would consider "socially acceptable" or something you need to be seen at. You will open yourself up to a whole new world and it is a glorious, fun and colorful world.

I have to go to a ton of things that support African Americans and businesses because it's my job. What I have gained is more than I can ever express in a blog post. I have made lasting friendships, I have learned about a deep painful past - talked to people who fought in World War II then came back and we treated like animals. I've met people who were terrorized during the 50s, 60s and early 70s. I have dined with some of the most remarkable, educated, African Americans in town. I have learned little nuances about why this or why that... things you only learn about another culture when they feel they can trust you and open up to you.

I guess this January morning, I'm just frustrated at the pomp and circumstance this day gets, yet the issues continue. It takes more than a march. It takes more than a few volunteer hours. It's how you live your life.

When I die, at least I will die knowing I honestly tried to bridge the cultural gap. It's not easy, God knows it's not.. but I have a clear conscience about the decisions I make, the jokes I allow to be said around me, and the type of people I let into my life.

It may not be popular around these parts to shine a light on what is negative - but silence to me, is doing the town I love so much a huge injustice. It's starts with us. It will end when we start making some changes. 

“Until the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned…
Everything is war. Me say war.
 That until there’re no longer 1st class and 2nd class citizens of any nation…
Until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes, me say war. That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race me say war!”

― Bob Marley

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hummadah.. Hummadah.. Hummadah (God Bless Music)

Is it February yet? 

Guess who is busier than the busiest bee?

Yeah.. don't bother answering that one.

I'm in the middle of not only fundraising for our biggest fundraiser (financially) of the year, but I am also single-handedly responsible for marketing it.


We announced the relaunch of the construction on our museum - the largest African American museum in the nation. 


I'm rebuilding our website... 

I'm planning a big combined Rotary meeting (with all of the local clubs,) where the Mayor comes and talks about the community. (But it's been a bit of a scheduling nightmare.. )


I'm good.. just a little loopy.

What I thought I would share are the top songs I have been playing over and over on my phone. Most put me in a good mood.

Need some musical inspiration?


Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I saw this picture and knew immediately what it meant. 

I sat there staring at it, and it hit me, I am free- again. 

I sort of feel like my old self and it's nice. It's been a long, long, loooong time. 

It's also good to feel confident in who you are and your capabilities. 

I have enough life experience to understand what is truly important and what is not. 

I'm educated. I've been married. (Twice.) I have lived on my own since I was 18. I've lost people close to me. I've lost a job. Hell, I lost everything. Then I rebuilt my life. I've traveled. I've read many great novels. I have hobbies. I know what I believe in "faith" wise. Yeah... I'm good.

With that being said, I think I have finally found a new chapter. I have been doing some serious soul searching for the past few months. I feel like there has to be more to what I am doing. Since joining the Peace Corps right now is not in the cards, though it lights my soul on fire every time I think about it, I think I have found a program that will work for me. 

I found a Masters of Cultural Sustainability at Goucher College.  Get this: It's mostly online! 
Some of the classes are right up my ally with subjects like:
- Introduction to Cultural Documentation
- Ethnographic Methologies
- Environment, Culture, and Community
- Arts of Social Change
- Organizing Communities-  Advocacy, Activism, and Social Justice
- Oral History

Then there is a whole segment of Non Profit Management. 


It exists. 

Incredible stroke of luck finding this. 

So what is Cultural Sustainability?
Then ... what type of projects does someone do?

That's kind of a good example. :-) OR.. There is another example... I'm super excited!
This is perfect for me.

Now to figure out how  finance this little wish. ;-)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Living In The Now

“What day is it?"
It's today," squeaked Piglet. "My favorite day," said Pooh.” ― A.A. Milne

It's Monday morning, and the first question I am typically asked at work is, "Did you have a good weekend?"

We all ask this question of each other. After the - "Oh Yes!" Or the.. "Girl... You won't believe what happened," stories erupt.

We all become a storyteller on Monday morning.

I watch all week as we slave away at whatever it is that we do for a living, and then we anxiously await that final hour at work before we toss our stress aside and scurry for the door. It's as if we were just released from prison and are in need of a weekend away.

There is a lot of pressure to soak up every ounce of good in those 48+ hours. We try to see as many friends as possible, or visit with family, or shop, or eat out.. or we do the exact opposite, we attempt to do absolutely nothing.

As far as weekend go, I believe I had a successful one. I had equal parts good times mixed with relaxation. Friday night, my boyfriend and I went to a local bar across the street from our homes called, "The Dawg House." We went to watch a good high school friend of mine, Keith Patterson, perform. Big Guy was thrilled to find a bar so close to our homes that had so many pool tables. He played a few rounds with some people and we made some new acquaintances. He even joined a billiard league, which will be a great way for him to meet some new people. (He's from Tallahassee, and has only lived around here 6 months.) Later, we ran into two friends of mine and enjoyed a few laughs.

Saturday morning, I slept in and read my book, "Mob Daughter," by Karen Gravano. You know I am a huge Mafia Wives fan, and her book, though not the best written, is an interesting look at what it is like to group up in that environment. Finally, after snoozing a bit, and battling a horrific storm, I made my way to Attaway Cottage and had my lifelong friend, Dana, (who happens to be my hairdresser,) cut and color away. :-) I think we may have made a slight mistake. Normally, I get my eyebrows waxed after I get my hair colored, this time, the other girl in the place went ahead and did my eyebrows. THEN we ended up coloring my hair, which we always color the eyebrows also (since, yes, we even get gray there.) Can we say, "Feel the burn?" That was some sensitive skin that had just lost a layer to be putting chemicals on. I survived it, but it wasn't easy.

Later I met Big Guy and we headed to my favorite hole in the wall - Polly's La Mesa. He had never eaten there, and it is my absolute FAVORITE Tex Mex spot. If you live in Central Georgia and have never tasted the awesome cheesy goodness of Polly's on Pio Nono Ave.. then I have to insist you go there - NOW.

After lunch we did a bit of shopping. I got new accessories for my dress for "All That Jazz", our biggest fundraiser with the museum. It's in less than two weeks and I have to admit, I'm recycling a dress from 2009. It's okay.. it's only been worn once. ;-)

That night we headed over to my friend, Tonya's house to celebrate her 35th birthday. We had a great time chowing down on wings and drinking margaritas. She had a board game theme, and about 12 of us played "Apples to Apples" and "Taboo." Tons of laughs and good times. I really enjoyed myself.

Sunday, Big Guy and I made a huge southern breakfast, and he laid around as I read my book in bed. Finally we headed to Warner Robins. Before we got there, we stopped by this Flea Market and wandered around. I am not one to think Pit bulls are cute, but there was an adorable gray puppy with blue eyes and I loved on him for a few. After milling about, we popped on over to my friends, Telisa & Daniele's house for grilled steaks and laughs.

At the end of it all - it was a good weekend. We dined, we shopped, we laughed, we visited, and we rested.

Now it's time to head out and push through until the next weekend.

What were some of the highlights of your weekend? Go ahead... be a storyteller.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

What Would You Say To Your Ten Year Old Self?

When I was 10 years old, I was this skinny, quiet, straight A student that wanted to be a ballerina.

As you can see in the picture to the left, I had long straight brown hair, fair skin, and wore whatever clothes my mom would pick out for me. My favorite subject was English. I loved Duran Duran. I had a crush on a little boy named Devon. (Though he did not notice me.) I went to Union Elementary School, and my best friend (since the 1st grade) was a little blond girl in my neighborhood named Dee. 

This morning, I watched a fun little video about writing a letter to your 10-year-old self. I love this concept. I also thought I would share the video with you, and maybe it will inspire you to do the same. You don't need a blog to do it, and you really don't need to write it down. Just think about what you would say. You might be surprised!


So with that...

Dear 10 Year Old Nicole:

Actually, I should have started this out with Dear Nicki, because you are probably going to throw the letter down and say, "But my name is Nicki." The funny part about this, Nicki, is that when you are 18 you are going to insist people call you Nicole. 

The first thing I want to do is tell you that you are a beautiful person inside and out. You ARE worth something. You WILL be someone. Don't let Her make you feel any differently. I know you don't feel very pretty, and you feel invisible, but know that you will one day figure out how to navigate those social waters and it will be okay. The best part? You will exceed your expectations. So just relax..

Another thing - do not be afraid. Just a year before you began having panic attacks. That's what they are. It's nothing to be ashamed of or afraid of. Unfortunately, doctors do not know a lot about these yet, but it's okay. You will be okay. You cannot die from this. You have this thing called an adrenal gland and yours just happens to send a wave of adrenaline through your body at probably the worst possible times. Just breathe. It's okay. 

Guess what? You will fall in love one day and someone is going to love you back! It's true. You'll finally hear the words you never really heard at home, and someone is actually going to hold you tight and hug you. This.. this feeling... this is your home. I don't want to lie to you, you will have your heart broken, but it won't break you. You're going to make a ton of mistakes in relationships. Just be patient with yourself. Remember - the most important love is the one you give yourself.

You will achieve many of your goals. Don't wait for someone to recognize the hard work you have put in.. because, I'm afraid kid, it's not going to happen. Just do what is right. Do what sets your soul on fire because it is the right thing, not because you seek validation. Once you understand this, you will be okay. 

In the next 30 years, you will be grow to be very independent, you will get to travel across the world, you will achieve some pretty cool things professionally and personally, and most importantly - you will continue to dance. You will one day stop.. and there will be regret there, but don't lose hope. You will be back doing what came so naturally, and well.. time will tell.

I love you, kiddo. You ARE a good person inside and out. You are going to have to trust that everything will be okay, and you will find yourself. 


40 year old Nicole  

Friday, January 10, 2014

The A-B-C's of Me

Lack of Imagination - ABC's of Me

I am not feeling very creative today. Plus, anything I say could be used against me in a court of law.

So I am resorting to the worst type of blog post - a survey.


The Letter A

Are you available? Not in a romantic way, unless - of course - you are Ian Somerholder, Jude Law, or JFK Jr.-come-back-to-life.

What is your age? 40. Not even one I can reverse.

What annoys you? Self Important Self Promoters.

The Letter B

Do you live in a big house? No - but a nice sized two bedroom flat.

When is your birthday? February 16th. There are still plenty of shopping days left. I want an all expenses paid trip to Paris. Please and thank you.

Who is your best friend? My Keurig.

The Letter C

What's your favorite candy? Dark Chocolate with little flecks of caramel.

Who's your crush? The man in the apartment complex behind me.

When was the last time you cried? A few months ago.

The Letter D

Do you daydream? Not anymore. :-( Sounds like something I need to work on.

What's your favorite kind of dog? Nanook - aka, my late/wonderful Siberian Husky

What day of the week is it? Friday.

The Letter E

How do you like your eggs? Scrambled with cheese

Have you ever been in the emergency room? Yes - broken wrists, broken thumbs, and meningitis (three times.)

What's the easiest thing ever to do? Offer me coffee. You get a guranteed yes!

The Letter F

Have you ever flown in a plane? Many, Many, Many times.

Do you use fly swatters? Nope. I do not live in such a place where I would have fly swarming my home.

Have you ever used a foghorn? Hell No.

The Letter G

Do you chew gum? Recently I did take up chewing. I hope this urge will pass.

Are you a giver or a taker? Lately, a giver.

Do you like gummy candies? Just those round peach things.

The Letter H

How are you? M-o-o-d-y

What color is your hair? In need of color.

The Letter I

What's your favorite ice cream? Sea Salt Caramel Gelato.

Have you ever ice skated? No.

Do you play an instrument? No

The Letter J

What's your favorite jelly bean brand? Jelly Belly

Do you wear jewelry? Yes

The Letter K

Who do you want to kill? Yes. Would I? No.

Do you want kids? No

Where did you go for kindergarten? Macon, GA

The Letter L

Are you laid back? Sort of

Do you lie? sometimes. Only when it is necessary - but i am a horrible liar.

The Letter M

Whats your favorite movie? Under The Tuscan Sun

Do you still watch Disney movies? No

Do you like mangos? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

The Letter N

Do you have a nickname? Yes

What is your real name? Nicole

Whats your favorite number? 5

Do you prefer night over day? equally are appreciated

The Letter O

What's your one wish? More travel.

Are you an only child? No

The Letter P

What one fear are you most paranoid about? Death

What are your pet peeves? Too many to list.

What's a personality trait you look for in people? Kindness

The Letter Q

What's your favorite quote? Today? F- Off. But in general - Life is a journey, not a destination

Are you quick to judge people? I'd like to say no. But let's be honest for a minute...

The Letter R

Do you think you're always right? Usually

Are you one to cry? Lately, no.

The Letter S

Do you prefer sun or rain? Depends on my mood and whether I have stuff to do. If I am home.. rain. If I am out and about - sun.

Do you like snow? I'm indifferent.

What's your favorite season? Autumn & Spring

The Letter T

What time is it? 8:27am

What time did you wake up? 7:00am

When was the last time you slept in a tent? About 2 years ago

The Letter U

Are you wearing underwear? Yes

Underwear or boxers? Undies

The Letter V

What's the worst veggie? Beets

Where do you want to go on vacation? Santorini

The Letter W

What's your worst habit? Interrupting people

Where do you live? Macon, GA

What's your worst fear? I have already answered this one

The Letter X

Have you ever had an x-ray? yes

Have you seen the x-games? only on t v

Do you own a xylophone? not since i was little

The Letter Y

Do you like the color yellow? more and more

What's one thing you yearn for? peace

The Letter Z

Whats your zodiac sign? Aquarius

Do you believe in the zodiac? it's pretty spot on most of the times

Favorite zoo animal? tigers.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

You Can't Wish It Away

If you and I sat down across from one another, and we were having a little chat (fueled by coffee, I'm sure,) I am positive we would some how end up on the subject of our wants, our needs, even our life long dreams. 

Because that's what we as humans do.

We yearn. We hope. We pray.

I have spent years idolyzing the idea of dreams. I want so badly to create these goals and one by one check them off my to-do list. I typically get around to everything, however, I wonder if I am selling myself short.

That's why I chose the word "Live" as my theme word for the year. I just want to "go with the flow." I have to tell you, it's been working for me the last couple of years. 

I have watched two people I am incredibly close to go through some tough times recently. I was finally able to construct a fairly healthy bubble to keep too much of their residual negativity at bay. But what I noticed both are doing is living in the future. I see them trying to control the outcome of things that may or may not be within their control. I told one of them, just this morning, that the only thing you can do is release the fear, turn it over to a higher power, and live your life. Honestly, that's all you can do.

We can wish, and hope, and believe everything will work out, and typically it does in one form or another. If your basic needs are being met, then it worked out. But that's not always the optimal case. Some how, I have been able to condition myself to just let it go - something just three years ago would have seemed impossible.

When I was thrown a massive crisis, I did a few things that sort of helped me keep it together.

When losing a job: Treat looking for a job, as your job. Schedule time to research and apply. Also devote a few hours to volunteering. Keep your resume active. 

When faced with financial difficulty: Remember that it's simple math. Cover your basic needs and build up the rest. I was told many years ago that you should always have three months worth of your salary in your bank savings account. Try to build back up to this. 

When faced with a crisis: Take it one day at a time. It's sounds cliche, but it is true. Make a list of everything YOU can do. Decide what you will do that day. Then do it. Let it go and move on. You've done everything you can. Don't dwell, don't worry - it's out of your hands. What will be, will be.

Finally, always find a way to decompress. Make sure you talk to a trusted friend. Find ways to laugh. Sit still and quiet for a few minutes. Pray. And if you must, cry your eyes out. 

For those of you dealing with something painful right now, I hope you know that this too shall pass. It really will. Life is not easy, however, it does not have to be a cess-pool of toxic drama either. Pause. Reflect. Breath.. and don't wish it all away. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

If you could do it again

My favorite word as a kid was "dream." I loved the idea that "if you can dream it... you can do it."  I blame my mother for this starry/wanderlust sort of upbringing. As kids, we were always encouraged to decide on our own what we wanted to do with our lives.. then do it. I was never told that I had to go to college; but I did.

Why? Because I decided I wanted to be a journalist. I was probably 12 when I made this decision. I was a theater kid, (not the weird/gothy/emoish theater kid, but a theater kid all the same.) I was smart enough to realize that if I wanted to make my dreams come true, I needed a solid plan. I loved writing book reports and I loved researching just about anything that struck my fancy. 

As I was watching the news one day, I saw Tina Hicks deliver the news. I knew at 12 that this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to read, write, and tell people what they needed to know. To me, it was a lot like performing, but even better! The next year, I remember walking through the grocery store and I found a book on getting a job in Broadcast Journalism. I showed my mom and she purchased it for me. I read it cover to cover and made a plan.

Later I studied Broadcast journalism in college - never once changing my major. I worked for my school's newspaper, I was a radio DJ for two years, and I worked as the executive producer for our college television station, (by then I knew I wanted to control the newscast versus be a puppet.) I graduated on a Saturday, started an internship on a Monday, finished that internship on a Friday three months later, and started a job as a television news producer the following Monday. We were the #1 CBS affiliate in the nation. One of the programs I produced won a Gabby Award and I won an Associated Press award for Best Public Affairs Reporting. It was fun. It was exciting. 

Then I transitioned into Public Relations/Media Relations/Promotions. I've been there ever since. 

But if I could do it again, or if I had the chance to change some things up, just what would interest me?

1. I LOVE photography. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know half of what my camera does. But I like taking pictures, and sometimes those pictures look really, really good. If I could have, I would have applied to SCAD and entered a photography Masters and became a travel photographer.

2. I am fascinated by psychology. I often think I should have become a therapist. I even subscribe to psychology today. The human mind is absolutely fascinating.

3. Became a litigator. If there is one thing I can do, I can argue. ;-) I love debate. I have this uncanny ability to think very quickly and take anything anyone says and throw it back in a way that sort of wins the debate. Would have been sport for me. Law school is just too tedious and expensive.

4. Peace Corps. I was just a week or so away from sending in my formal application when I got the job I have now. I figure this is still something on the horizon. If I find myself without a job or in need of a transition - this is the next move for sure.

If you could do it all over, what would you do?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Respond To The Call

“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don't know it, all of that doesn't even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It's not like you have forever, so don't waste any of your seconds, don't throw even one of your moments away.”
C. JoyBell C.

I don't actually think people see light and rainbows when they look at me, but what I want to convey tonight is that so often, we spend too much time worrying, planning, second guessing, and not enough time just living and trying our best to be happy.

Today.. I decided to live. 

I got up fairly early, and man oh man it was cold down here. (Yes, 39 degrees is cold to us.) I cooked a wonderful breakfast for Big Guy and Lynn, we had nitrate-free organic bacon and reduced fat butter milk biscuits with country gravy. A few cups of coffee and a few mewing kitties later, and everyone is content. After B.G. went home, I relaxed and finally finished Mockingjay (which.. btw.. if you have not read the Hunger Games trilogy, I would actually recommend it!)

 Finally, I met B.G. at his apartment and we went across town to one of our favorite terrible places to eat- A Chinese Buffet. (They are just terrible, aren't they?) But regardless, we love this place. I actually tried a frog leg. Sure... probably not the best place to try one, but hey, a frog is a frog.. and well.. it does taste like chicken, but.. there was something strange about it. I'm not sure if it was psychological or what. But I tried it. Let me say that again... make sure you understand something.. I'm not big on trying a whole lot of new foods. But I did.. and well.. though I may have spit it out after chewing for a few minutes, the point is, I did try it.

Then we had to make a decision - go bowling. (Which could have been fun. He was ranked sixth in the state of Florida for his youth bowling league.. who knew? ;-) ) or go hiking. Luckily, the weather was a nice 52 degrees and cloudy, so we opted for hiking and exploring. We drove 30 miles north and started out in Butts County (what terrible name for a county,) and hit Dauset Trails in Jackson, Georgia. 

Dauset Trails is primarily an outdoor center devoted to rehabilitating wildlife. There are miles of trails and so much to see! Luckily, I had been there numerous times throughout the years, so I acted as our little tour guide. This was B.G.'s first trip, so I tried to make it as fun as possible. We started out with the Wonder Room. This room has alligators, turtles, snakes, and all sorts of creepy crawly things native to Georgia. Apparently Big Guy is a little unnerved by snakes. I got a good kick out of that one. 

Next we walked through the animal trail. This trail winds about 1/2 a mile through the woods around a small lake. We saw everything from Coyote, otters, beaver, owls, hawks, a Bald Eagle, deer, bison, turkeys, black bears, bob cat, and a cougar. All native to Georgia. My favorite was watching the deer so close up and hanging out with the cougar. He paced back and forth, and finally decided to stop right in front of me. When Big Guy walked off, he decided to start purring. It was pure magic, I tell you! 

Next we took off to the farm. It is a a 19th century style working farm where you can see goats, pigs, cows, a mule, donkey and lots of chickens. Also featured at the farm is a blacksmith shop, cane syrup mill and cooking areas, country store, chicken coop, tenant house, and a smoke house.

We had an absolute blast. (Did I mention... it's free?)

After our 1 1/2 at Dauset Trails, we drove about 6 more miles up to High Falls State Park.  After putting $5 into the honorary system "pay and park" at the site, we took off to enjoy the park. High Falls State Park is named for the tumbling cascades on the Towaliga River. Basically we got to hike along the river’s edge and through the hilly forest to the remains of a hydroelectric power plant foundation.  In the early 1800s, this area was a prosperous industrial town with several stores, a grist mill, cotton gin, blacksmith shop, shoe factory and hotel. High Falls fell from prosperity in the 1880s when a major railroad bypassed it.

After enjoying the swooshing water falls, we climbed back into the car and headed straight to Starbucks. We both needed a little "warm up," since 50 degrees for a few hours was a little cold for us. ;-)

I laugh about the cold, but the truth is, it is supposed to drop signifigantly tonight. Even for us! While the rest of America is bunkering down during a blizzard, we will have freezing rain.. something we are certain not used to.

Tonight there is supposed to be a low of 32, and only warming up to 35 tomorrow. Then tomorrow night, we are actually expecting 15 degrees. That's crazy cold for this part of the states.

Don't laugh at us.. it's cold for us! Our homes aren't exactly winterized, you know?

I'll leave you now with just a few shots from my mini adventure today! I have a super busy work week, and a fun filled weekend planned for next week. Stay warm my northern friends, and I hope to share more adventures with you soon!

If you would like to learn more about fun and inexpensive ways to travel and explore Georgia visit Explore Georgia.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Things I Learned This Week

It is officially a cold winter's day here in Macon, Georgia. I see no good reason to get out of my fleece pjs and leave the house. I got three new magazines in the mail last night, and a nice cup of coffee... plus, I'm almost finished with the final book in the Hunger Games Trilogy.. I think I have a plan!

With that being said, let's take a look back at the things I learned this week:

 1. New year, new beginning. Honestly, it just felt like another day.

2. That it feels good to be able to help someone else out financially. I am finally in a place where I can help a friend again.. and it was nice. I've been where this person has been, and I am so glad I was able to pay it forward.

3. It's sort of my thing this year.. doing for others when I would rather do for myself. Take Christmas for instance, my mom gave me a little money as a gift, I actually put that money in the offering plate at church at Mass. It felt right.

4. I wondered if my cats would be the furry, purry, love bugs I was hoping for in the cold months - and they are! I woke up with them curled around my head, holding each other. Those are good moments.

5. Reorganizing and rearranging my office felt good. I am looking forward to the big move to our new building next year... but for now, this may work.

6. I took the time this week and had some quality conversation with a few friends I have not made time for in the past year. It felt good and all is well with those relationships.

7. I've been experiencing a few panic attacks this week, not sure why, and I'm trying to get a handle on the underlying stressors that may be causing it. Not sure...

8. My roomie and I weighed ourselves.. and... um... we both need to get back on the wagon.

9. I'm ready to clean out my closet. Get rid of clothes. Wish I knew of someone my size - I would totally mail them the clothes. :-) If you are interested - inbox me on FB- I'll tell you my size there. Especially if you are local.

10. Simplify is the word of the week. LIVE is the word of the year. I'm doing both!

Friday, January 3, 2014

To Feel Good

One practice that I picked up in 2013 is to stop complaining. Stop blaming. Stop allowing myself to "feel bad."

Ever notice how when you spend any amount of time with someone who does something you are trying so hard to break, it just sort of solidifies why you should stop?

I have some people who are close to me that are addicted to complaining. Listening to them moan and groan about their aches and pains, their financial difficulties, their relationship issues, or whatever the case may be can put a strain and a drain on any relationship. 

Of course, listening to a friend in need is very important. You have to be able to share your problems with someone who is willing to listen. But we all need to try a little harder to let go of that addictive need to constantly tell people our problems. We have to stop dwelling. We have to push forward.

I realize that when I lost my job, moved home, and my husband moved away that I was constantly talking about how bleak things looked. I know this, and I wish I could take it all back. A few of my closest friends quit even hanging out with me, especially when I needed them most, and that hurt. However, there were a few that clung to me and wanted to be there for me (however, looking back, they suddenly disappeared when things got better for me.)

It's interesting to see the different types of relationships people have with one another. One is a fair weather friend, while the other is codependent (always wanting to fix you or be your savior.) I like the friends that can weather the storm and celebrate the transitions - those are the keepers.

I am now addicted to feeling good. To thinking positive thoughts, remaining hopeful, and standing strong. I think we all need to work on fueling our minds and bodies with more good - less grumbling. 

Perhaps today we can start by not falling into that "grumble mode." Perhaps when someone grumbles to us, we simply smile and not fall into the clutches of "misery loves company." 

I hope today you find some way to stay positive!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Savor the Year

I started something new last night, I decided to capture the "good stuff." 

I originally got the idea from a pin on Pinterest.

This is where I got the idea...
 So last night, I grabbed my blue jar from Pier One and pulled a piece of paper from my Audrey Hepburn "to do" list pad and wrote down one really wonderful memory from yesterday.

Because... every day.. there is something good, right?

I challenge you to do this! Especially if you have kids. I think this would be a fantastic tradition for families. 

What you need:

1. Jar, shoebox, or other container
2. A pen
3. Post it note pad
4. Hot glue gun and items to decorate it with (optional)

What to do:

1. Each night select one good memory from the day
2. (option) Could be a ticket to an event or other memento from the day, versus writing something down.
3. Make sure to put the date on each entry
4. Fold and place in jar
5. Read on New Year's Eve 12/31/14 with your family

That easy!

I'm also participating in the 365 photos - one photo a day - and I will be posting them here and on Instagram. You can follow me at

My word of the year is LIVE. By capturing my life in moments, I will savor what I set out to do!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It Is

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering 'it will be happier'..." ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

After a night of celebration, I have spent the first day of 2014 relaxing. It has been a wonderful day, and I am happy.

Last night I invited a few friends over for "pre festivities."
My roomie and I pulled it together with a few New Year's celebratory decorations and accessories, a few nibbles, and a fun playlist.

One by one, our friends trickled in. We cracked open the wine, cranked up the tunes and turned what could have been a boring evening, waiting for the festivities downtown to begin... into a little fun and lots of laughter.

Big Guy and I

Margaret and I

Jonathon & Stacey

Jeff, Big Guy, me, and Steven

Betsy and Gary

Jeff, Margaret, and my roomie Lynn

I wish each and every one of you a super Happy New Year.. I hope your day has been as peaceful as I mine has been!

Started out with lunch at Ole Times Country Buffet with my roomie and Big Guy. We filled up on black eye peas, collard green, and other yummy veggies for good luck!

Later, we all went our separate ways (Big Guy went home to sleep, roomie to her room to sleep, and I fell asleep on the couch.) I did watch two really good movies - Freedom Writers and Lovelace. Highly recommend both.

Later, Big Guy and I took off to Wendy's for dinner (I was wanting a baked potato.) Now.. I'm just resting a little more.

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning." ~ T.S. Elliot


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