Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog Updates!

Hello there, my super happy Destination Unknown blog readers!

(How is that for a change from my usual venting posts and greetings?) ;-)

I have some great news! I am requesting friends (and that includes YOU) to contribute to the blog for the next couple of weeks. We've done this in the past, and with great results. Basically, you send me a blog post- and the best part is, you can write about ANYTHING you want! You attach a photo or two, send me a title and the rest is magic!

Now why am I doing this?

I need to sort some things out at home. With myself. With my time. I'm working on a fitness schedule, a ballroom dance class, rearranging my furniture and making updates, as well as I plan on doing a few excursions with the photography group on the weekends (hiking and picture taking,) as well as signing up for a cooking class. My plate is full! 

It all goes back to my theme word of the year - LIVE. I'm living, and by living, I will become even more inspired to share with you what I have learned this year so far. But I have to get from behind this screen to do it.

Also, I am deep in event season at work (my most favorite, yet stressful time.) Our largest festival is coming up and I have to get on top of what I need to do to pull it off. That requires a lot of extra hours and meetings, and with your help, I can keep my blog going strong.

If you are a fellow blogger, and would like to write something, I would be more than happy to link to your blog and do a little cross promoting. Perhaps you'll pick up a few more followers!

We get crazy results with the amount of people who stop by here. You just never know!

Rest assure, all is well in my world. I have so much good coming up I just need to sort it all out. I need a little time, and if the mood strikes and I feel inspired, I'm going to share. 

Also, I love introducing you to my friends and fellow writers. 

Now, if you are interested - simplly shoot me a post to: snicoleabdou@gmail.com. I'll take it from there. Include a bio of sorts if you like!

Everyone is welcomed to share their personal story. If you prefer to write anonymously, that's fine also!

Muah! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I Feel Lucky

I'm still processing.

Processing all of the good.

My birthday was hands down a reminder how much I might actually matter to some people.

Weird to see that sentence from someone?

I know... I know.

The truth is, we all have things we think, never mind how irrational they may be. 

It sort of hit me over the past couple of days how special the friendships I have made over the years are to me.

On a few occasions, one of my friends on the trip said, "Nicole, I can't believe how many of your friends you were able to get to come on this trip. My friend, this speaks volumes." I sort of laughed it off, and just made a little joke about how easy it is to get people to travel when you are going somewhere like Savannah, but then again... it was an expensive trip for most of us.

Then at another time, one of my friends said, "This says so much about you as a person, Nicole. Look around you." 

I did.

I saw family that drove 11 hours or so down from Ohio. I saw one of my oldest friends pull out her credit card and stopped me from paying for my room,  just to take that extra burden off of me so that I could just relax and have fun. I saw friend after friend pull out incredibly thoughtful presents.. and how each one were like, "So what do YOU want to do next?"

I got home.. and saw a surprise bag of goodies waiting on me from my sister. Then, of all things, the egyptian calls me this morning and says, "Nicole, in about three weeks, you will be receiving a delivery - it's a new bed and mattress set."

Yeah.. I was floored.

I asked why? 

He said, "Because it's your birthday... and for other stuff."

Tonight, as I left a meeting to meet an old friend for dinner it hit me.. maybe I am lovable. Maybe my friendship is not just a superficial acquaintance for some. Maybe people do view me as kind. Maybe... I mean more to others than I originally thought.

The truth is.. though you see me surrounded by people most of the time, I always feel incredibly alone. I always have. It's just how I see my life.

But maybe... 

Just maybe...

My perception is a little off.

I actually feel really lucky to have this life. Thanks be to God. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

THIS is 41

We left early Saturday morning for Savannah. Lynn and I in the car here! I was BEAT - I had an event the night before and got maybe 5 hours sleep.

These pics are out of order.. But... this was Saturday night at my bday dinner at Kevin Barry's. These are my friends - Telisa and Franodo. Telisa was teasing him relentlessly all night. lol

These are my friends Robby & Fawn. They were also celebrating their anniversary!! Behind them, photobombing, is my cousin Bryan. This was at dinner at Kevin Barry's!

One of the first things we did... well.. was drink entirely too much before noon. Here we all are at Wet Willie's. You see my cousin Bryan, Tonya, and Telisa

We caravan down to Savannah... and stopped in Dublin at Burger King. Tonya and I trying to wake up..

Dinner again - here you see JJ being extremely dramatic. lol

I love this. It's everyone except Franodo/Robby/Fawn - We all met up in City Market. Jeff bought me the cutest painting.

We eventually had lunch.. and I think the servers at Bernie's wanted to kill us. Too tipsy for lunch - big group.. small place. Here is Bryan, Telisa, and my roomie - Lynn.

I went for a solitary walk on my actual birthday, which was Sunday, and took this photo. I liked it.

I was thrilled that my cousins drove 11 hours down from Ohio. It meant the world to me. Here is Teresa and Bryan!

This was at midnightish on my birthday - shots of patron. First of many.

Wet Willies - pre noon drinks with Angel and Lynn

Taking a walk down River Street.

Dinner at Kevin Barry's.

My selfie on my birthday. Sitting alone on a bench on River Street. It was nice.

Wet Willie's fun!

Dinner - Cindy & PC

I went down for an early breakfast alone on my birthday.. and the cashier asked me where I got my bag. I told her it was a birthday present to myself. She asked, "When is your birthday?" I smiled and said, "Today." FREE

Teresa, Jeff and Tonya!


Walking down River Street


Who needs birthday cake in the south? We do beignets!


Lunch at Bernie's with Teresa, Tonya and me

finally - My cousins, Telisa, PC, and Lynn!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Cupid. #superfail

Even though I am technically seeing someone (not so serious anymore..) this Valentine's Day is sort of crappy.

It's the first one post divorce. Just last year, the egyptian had walked into the living room and handed me a bottle of Chanel and said Happy Valentine's Day/Birthday. It filled me with hope.

Just two month later he would ask for a divorce.

Man.. what a year it has been.

My roomie broke up with her long time beau back in September. She immediately entered a relationship with a long time friend of hers that lives in BHAM. When she got to work she had a dozen red roses and was sent on a surprise trip of sorts to find her second gift.

I got a "Happy Valentine's Day" text from someone.

Sort of is par for the course. 

I have a big event tonight - lots of couples dancing together, sharing a nice dinner, and enjoying their relationships while supporting my museum. I'll smile. I'll laugh. I'll make nice comments about someone's dress, or make a snarky comment with a fellow "single person." 

Yeah.. 

I'm trying to get in the mind frame to enjoy tomorrow. I head out of town.. and man.. do I need it. I hope I have not over complicated everything by inviting so many different types of people.

Time will tell.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you. I hope you get something that makes you smile, and spend a little time with the ones you love.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cheer On!

Ha! Sometimes I have to remind myself to be my own cheerleader. Seem weird?

Well, it's necessary.

I work hard. I do. I know you know this because I tell you all of the time. Since it's my blog, my journal, it's what I do - I document how I feel about what's going on in my life. So if working hard is something I feel like sharing, that's exactly what I will share.

Even though I don't openly seek validation, it is nice to be recognized for your hard work. It's nice to hear "congratulations," when an event goes well, or an "I'm so proud of you," when you accomplish some task that is not always attainable by everyone.

I don't want to go into great detail at something I noticed with a certain civic organization I am a member of, but let's just say that the things I am doing are never recognized. It's true! When someone a year later does the same thing, they are publicly congratulated. It totally cracks me up.

Or let's take my birthday for an example. I had a pretty rough year, and on my last birthday, though I smiled and generally had a good time, I was super sad on the inside because my then-husband showed up at my party late, then left after hanging out for a few minutes. I kept laughing and smiling, but the truth was I was dying inside. 

I have to be happy for myself. I am excited to enjoy my life with people I enjoy spending my life with. I love celebrating people, places, events, and I think everyone should feel special. But... for me... I have to be my own cheerleader.

Guess what?

That's okay. It really is!

I write about this today to purge it. I have to purge it, so I don't strike back or have an attitude toward others. I'm volunteering tonight for a group of people that under any other circumstances, I would not be spending time with outside of perhaps something work related. These are not my people. BUT - society has it set up that for people in my line of work, it is something I have to do - so I'm doing it. 

I have to put a smile on my face and make the best of it. And I will.

With that - I will pick up my poms poms.. pull out a cheer.. and get through this day. 

Woo Hoo!. ;-)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What to Do During the Stormaggen Part 2

Packed bags.. my bag
Needless to say - I'm bored out of my mind. Winter hit (God forbid,) and we are being forced to stay inside.

*breathe*

Here is.. and I am so not kidding... how my day went:

9:10am - Slept in. Woke up - fed cats. (Bathroom visit, etc.)
9:30am - Made coffee.
 

10:00ish- Brushed teeth
10:15 - Made organic bacon & egg whites with blue cheese crumbles
10:45 - Ate one of my room mates blue berry muffin
11:00 - Took a shower, just in case the electricity goes off and I can't...
11:30 - Still only rain outside.. checked on cats.. found them in my roomie's room..
They were watching The Price is Right together
 11:40 - Gave Salvatore his antibiotic for his respiratory infection. He was not very happy.
 Noon - Decided to heat up the beef stew I made a week ago
12:15 - Finally went thru my Southern Living, Vogue, and Psychology Today mags that are stacking up... with a cat at my feet:
1:30pm - Ate beef stew
1:45pm - Cleaned kitchen
2pm - Sorted my clothes
2:30pm - Watched Drinking Buddies (a movie)
3:30pm - Got bored with movie - read a few chapters of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
4:30pm - Visited a friend nearby
5:30pm - Ate Max & Cheese
6:00pm - Watched Les Miserables
7:30pm - Got bored
7:45pm - Packed clothes for trip on Saturday
8:45pm - Checked FB
9:45pm - Sat down to write this...

Seriously.

I'm about to go crazy!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

To Dream... To Believe... To Do

Finally, I am through the fog of BIG event and the allergy attack. Apparently, my trifecta of treatment worked a miracle overnight, and though I still feel the sinus pressure, this is the first day my brain is not foggy.

And it got me to thinking..

That's the problem... January holds my biggest fundraiser (money wise) and typically it's cold and I end up a little sick. I always feel like my birthday is my true "New Year." 

And it is.

Remember my word of the year? My theme for this year? It was Live. 

I think I've done that to an extent. I made a point to not sit on the sidelines at All That Jazz, and I actually danced most of the night. I took my ballroom dances and really learned how to Waltz, ChaCha, Mambo, and elements of East Coast Swing. I stood up for myself when the going got tough, and ... I lived.

Now we are moving into February and I am saying Yes again. I decided to invite a ton of friends down to Savannah to celebrate my birthday. I hope to say yes to laughing, singing, dancing, and what not. I also had a fun little text-convo with one of my closest friends yesterday about FINALLY going to Italy with her. She's been 1/2 a dozen times, and I've been saying for 21 years I would go with her. She put the pressure on last night, so.. it looks like early October there may be a trip to Europe on the horizon.

I'm saying Yes.

I've also decided to add a new activity to my calendar. Since I moving up to Semi-Advanced ballroom dance classes (yeah, baby,) I want to add another element. I was checking out the Pure Barre class. We have one of those studios here. That's nothing but straight up the stuff I used to do in Ballet when I had a kick ass body. Why not do it again? Sure, I am incredibly out of shape.. but this could be fun to do. I saw a plan to purchase 10 classes. I might start there and see how it goes. 

What is Pure Barre?





THEN... guess what it was time for? A NEW PHONE. I am thrilled with the phone I have selected... it's perfect for someone like me that LOVES taking photos. Want to see it?




What are you saying yes to these days?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Zyrtec, Zaditor, Nasanex - Oh My!

My teeth hurt.

No... actually.. my gums hurt.

No..

Wait for it..

**achoo**

My sinus cavity feels like it is crushing my teeth and pinching my gums.

There.. that's more like it.

Holy Moly am I in PAIN.

One week - Cold.
Then a few days of rest - followed by a hard core cold/allergy something or the other...

And now..

Pain.

I have enlisted the help of Nasanex, Zyrtec & Zaditor (my miracle mixture,) and really, at this point, it's hope for the best.

I actually came home from work today, grabbed a sandwich baggy and filled it with ice, and put it across the mask of my face.

Oh My Word.

Sweet relief.

How do you hold up during allergy season?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Not as big of a deal

I have exactly one week until my 41st birthday. Unlike last year, I am chillin' and don't have a care in the world.

Why?

Because I passed that benchmark number. I won't sweat again until 49/50... God willing.

It's sort of a non-special birthday. 39 (huge) and 40.. well.. 40 is.. well.. 40. But 41.. fuggedaboutit.

I had debated about what I should do. Birthday party? Dinner with friends? Travel somewhere?

Wait... wait...

Why not do it ALL at once.

And that's EXACTLY what I plan to do. I invited 20 or so of my nearest and dearest and we are taking off for Savannah next weekend. Some are arrive a day or so early, but I, due to ANOTHER event this coming Friday night, am stuck with arriving on Saturday. I plan to piddle around the city's squares, shop till I drop, eat amazing food, and drink until my liver cries uncle.

It's going to be FABULOUS. PLUS.. I have 12 of some of the most fantastic people meeting me down there!

So instead of worrying over whether I have enough bubbly for my guests, I'm going to let the restaurants worry about that. Instead of wondering if anyone is going to need a ride home - we will be within stumbling distance of our hotel rooms. Instead of worrying about what to do - we are going to do it all!

I'm excited! Even to be turning something as boring as 41!


Friday, February 7, 2014

But The Heart Remembers

First of all, I don't think the heart remembers anything, but we like to use the "heart" as the love symbol.. the emotion symbol... so with that, the title is a bit off for me.

But my brain, the emotional side, yeah it remembers.

It is incredible how we are conditioned to just "forget about," "move on," and "this too will pass," our way through our days. We are to operate like nothing ever happened, as if those moments were not what was "supposed to happen." That maybe.. just maybe... what IS real and legitimate and tangible is what is right in front of you.

I don't buy it.

Today, as I was watching the morning news, I caught the blurb about it being National Red Wear Day, a cause initiated by the American Heart Association. A nonprofit that was so near and dear to my heart (yes.. I said heart.) Well, at least it was.. up until I was let go after years of exhaustive service. Once that happened, I did not ever want to look at the color red, a heart, or hear about cardiovascular disease ever again. 

Then last night, as I was talking on the phone to my ex, (yes we still talk, and believe it or not, are better friends than we were husband and wife,) I wanted so bad to shut down and pretend that everything we went through never happened - that I could keep up this charade of being "okay" with the divorce and all that goes with that.

Man.. I am really, really good at pretending nothing is wrong. 

I can laugh it off or even brush something off like it is just a part of my story or past experience. 

But why?

Why is that socially required? Note I did not say, socially acceptable. 

The truth it - I was hurt like hell when I lost my job. I worked extremely hard for that company and then entered a nine month black hole called unemployment, was uprooted from my life, and nearly lost everything. It also hurt like hell when my husband, the absolute EPIC love of my life chose to not only walk away, but choose another. I've done remarkably well, and I have laughed and I have made everyone else feel comfortable around me concerning my incredible loss.

But the truth is... I remember every detail of everything with all of it. Why should I pretend these events did not happen? Why do we toss old photos of things we did with people who are no longer in our lives? Why does society deem it appropriate to pretend those people or events are never to spoken of again. I think we do ourselves a terrible disservice in the "pretending."

Don't get me wrong, I think we should all move on. I have moved on. I am gainfully employed and can see that everything turned out the way it should. Even as far as the ex in my life - I'm better off, I know this. But I refuse to continue to pretend these things never happened.

So last night, I confessed to my ex that it had been extremely difficult to transition to the "just friends" category, when I had lost so much, and publicly. I fell hard and I lost hard. I did confess that I had moved on, I was no longer sad, and that I truly hoped the best for him. I had moved past forgiving him, and was on the other side of healing my heart.

This morning, I swallowed my pride and posted some Go Red For Women pictures on my Facebook page. These were moments I was extremely proud of, and regardless of whether or not it was good enough for that organization, I feel passionately about heart health and I shared those memories - publicly. 

We don't forget the things that happen to us. They are what make us who we are. I have forgiven. I have swallowed my pride. I have healed. 

Now.. I can move on. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

and... All That Jazz...

I finally got more photos from the 18th Annual All That Jazz to share.
That's the event that contributed to my weakened immune system (still hacking and sneezing..)

Stress will do that to you. (But man... can I throw a good party or what?) lol

Here is why:



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