Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: The Year in Review

Wow! What a year this has been! For the first time, I have experienced what it was truly like to live away from home on my own. I have experienced the ups and downs of dating again. I started counseling to dealing with issues left by my divorce. I fell in love, got my heartbroken, and I am still recovering. Through it all, I survived. I came out on the other side better, finally feeling comfortable in my own skin, realizing that I will be OK. I have learned a lot about myself in the last year and what I want out of life. And I must say that I am optimistic about what the future holds. So to recap this year, I decided that I will answer this quiz a few of my friends posted as a good way to look back.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Got a tattoo, lived alone away from my family, started counseling

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t remember making any resolutions last year so I guess I didn’t keep them if I did. However, I do plan on making some this year and I will post them to remember them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, Jennifer L., Jennifer C., Amanda, Leana, and Ronda…I think that is it

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Unfortunately, my Memommie

5. What countries did you visit?

Does the Texas Hill Country count?

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

A boyfriend who treats me decently and more money

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

February 27th - the day I closed on my house in Killeen

April 29th – the day I closed on my house in Round Rock

November 1st - the day Memommie died

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Buying a house on my own

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not following through with the classes for my CPA

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had a really bad bout of food poisoning in March

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My house and my car

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Maverick…he calmed down a lot moving into the house

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The guys I dated specifically Wally

14. Where did most of your money go?

Furniture for my new house

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Moving into my house

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Much happier since I no longer have the stress of my marriage to worry about
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter unfortunately but working on that for next year
c) richer or poorer? Poorer thanks to buying a new house and new car

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent more time exploring this fabulous city I live in

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Sitting at home alone

20. How did you spend Christmas?

In Mobile with my family

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

Yes, I really do believe that I do and it has taken the better part of the year to recover from it

22. What was your favorite TV program?

So many…how to choose just one…The Office, Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

There may be a few people who I dislike but I wouldn’t say that I hate anyone.

24. What was the best book you read?

Marley and Me…can’t wait to see the movie…I think I know a dog like that

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Several…I think I was living in the musical dark ages…Avril Lavigne, Pink, Joshua Radin

26. What did you want and get?

My house, my car, my life back

27. What did you want and not get?

A raise!

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Definitely a tie between Mamma Mia and Sex and the City

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 31 by celebrating with happy hour at Sam's Boat with co-workers and sushi at Tomo with friends.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Someone special to spend it with

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Professional casual

32. What kept you sane?

My friends and Maverick

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I didn’t really get wrapped up in celebrity this year

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I guess the election even though I don't really follow politics much.

35. Who did you miss?

My family

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Angela

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

That I can date someone without losing myself in the process. That it's not only OK for me to focus on myself but it is important to keep myself first. And that I don’t need to lean on anyone.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“It’s a brand new day. The sun is shining. It’s a brand new day. For the first time in such a long, long time I know I’ll be OK.”

To close here is my horoscope from today. I don't think anything could be more perfect or say it any better.
"Attend to unfinished chores early in the day so you can fully enjoy the pleasures of ushering in 2009 without worrying about what you should have done. Even if you plan a quiet evening at home, give yourself the space to dream about the changes that you'd like to see over the next year. There's no reason to hold back your vision; you can travel anywhere you wish in your mind."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December

So I have been trying to figure where this month disappeared to. I know I have been busy and I remember Christmas happening about a week ago but seriously...2009 in less than 48 hours?!? Life has basically been non-stop for me since Thanksgiving. Stephanie and I hit the ground running at the beginning of the month wrapping up the decorations and plans for the office Holiday Party. I am happy to say that the event was a huge success but it took the better part of the two weeks leading up to the event for us to make it perfect. We did take a break on Pearl Harbor Day to attend the Christmas Market in Fredericksburg only to be surprised by the festivites of the Pearl Harbor Rememberance being held at the National Museum of the Pacific War. The air show from the Commenrative Air Force was amazing. I wish Daddy had been there to identify all the planes for me. The Holiday Party was the next weekend which only left me with a few days to prepare for Mom's arrival prior to the cross country drive to Mobile for Christmas. Once Mom was in town we attended Ballet Austin's The Nutcracker. I still say their's is one of the best I have ever seen. Christmas in Mobile reminded me why I can't spend more than about 3 days in Mobile at a time. I love my family but I really enjoy having my own space and my own life in Austin where I don't have to answer to anyone. It was great to be home but I was anxious to return to my home most of the time I was in Alabama. I will say this...I am much more aware of the redneck population in my hometown now. Don't get me wrong, Texas has it's fair share of rednecks, but Austin itself is much more urban. I was shocked because there are either more now that I don't live there or I just didn't notice them before. Upon returning to Austin, I was greeted by the fact that the water line to my house had busted. Fortunately it was outside so I didn't have any damage to my house but it was a pain to deal with right off the bat. Returning to work this week after a relaxing week off has been difficult. I am skipping out early this evening to see the Rockettes Christmas show. Oh...if only I was 5'7"! I am already working on my 2008 wrap up blog so that will be posted tomorrow. Until then...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Crazy Headline for the Day

Once again I was perusing my Google reader when I came across a headline that just struck me as funny. It's actually from the WKRG breaking news and it reads:
"Possible Tornado Hits Alabama"

Now, my dear readers, how do you not know if it was a tornado? I personally have never been in a tornado so I don't know what it is like to experience one but I have been through my fair share of hurricanes. Believe me, you can't miss those suckers so I would imagine the same would be true for a tornado. Thoughts?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Why do I Torture Myself So?

I think I have covered the majority of the dating sites out there. At some point in the last year, I have been on Match, Chemistry, Yahoo Personals, eHarmony, OKCupid, and ChristianMingle. I have met a few guys, some that lasted longer than others, but on a whole I haven't had much luck. I canceled my eHarmony account after I met Wally and, at the time, that was the only site I was on. When things started to go south with him, I re-upped my account for another month. Now that month is over and I still have no decent prospects from that site. So I canceled it again for about the 4th time. I actually thought that I would take some time away from the dating sites. So what do I do...I get bored and I setup my Yahoo Personals account again. Why? I can't give you a really good answer. I like the attention. I mean who can beat 122 profile views in less than 7 days? However, I am not impressed with the guys I am meeting on there. I don't understand these men who think being pushy is the way to go. If I tell you that I would like to chat some before I agree to meet you, then don't ask me to meet you for dinner 10 times in the conversation. When I am comfortable enough to meet you, then I will tell you. Also, don't assume that you know me well enough to try to suggest how I should live my life after one conversation. So I am constantly asking myself, especially since I am not overly anxious to meet someone new, why I continue to torture myself by trolling around these dating sites. I don't think I will ever know.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Song Remains the Same

Even though I have had my fill of family recently and they have the tendency to drive me crazy, I was feeling a tad meloncholy on Friday after Momma, Daddy, and Carol left. Some how when I am in these moods, music always speaks to me. It touches something inside me and relates in a way nothing else can. The right song at the right moment can totally lift my spirits. This was definitely the case on Friday. I had three songs come up that fit the bill and fixed my mood.

The first song wasn't so much the song as the title. A song called "Still Haunted". I have never heard it. I don't know who it is by but the title said everything. In so many ways I am still haunted. Haunted by the memories of J. We met this time last year and my mind is constantly flooded with memories of our time together. There isn't a longing associated with these memories anymore. More a nostalgia. A thought to how much things have changed for me in the past year. I am also haunted by thoughts of Wally. I want answers from him. I want to know why he disappeared. I don't think I could have done anything differently with him. He wasn't ready and I know that wasn't my fault. Still it bothers me when others try to place the blame on me because I must have done or said something wrong. I know I will never get the answers I want from him but that doesn't change the fact that I want them.

The second song was "Brand New Day" by Joshua Radin. I love him and I totally love this song. There is a line in the song that says, "It's a brand new day. For the first time in such a long, long time, I know I'll be OK." That line couldn't have said it any better. I realized in my session with Dena on Tuesday that I am really to this point now. I'm OK with everything. I'm OK with being single. I'm OK with being divorced. I have a pretty good life. I can't complain. I am happier than I was when I was married. I am happy with just being me and doing things for me. It's a great feeling. Dena described me as being comfortable in my own skin and said it was great to see me that and that is exactly how I feel.

In order to shake my melancoly, I decided to fight the Black Friday crowds and run some errands. I ended up at the Domain, a high end shopping center near my office, just to walk around and be out of the house. And there it was, wafting through the air, "The Waltz of the Flowers" from the Nutcracker. That did it right there. My spirits lifted and the Christmas mood hit. I couldn't wait to get home and get the decorations out. I have tickets to see the Nutcracker in a few weeks and I can't wait. Last year I couldn't get in the Christmas mood. I guess it was the idea of being alone again and facing the holidays alone. This year I am excited about all the Christmas events I can and will attend. I love this time of year. I love the atmosphere in the air and the feeling that all is right with the world.

So there I stand...optimistic about what is to come and no longer sad about what has gone. It's a good place to be. I feel confident about what the new year holds for me. I just can't wait for it to unfold.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Meme

Tagged by Ra

The rules? Answer the following questions in one word and then pass it on to seven others.

Where is your cell phone? kitchen
Where is your significant other? nonexistent
Your hair color? brown
Your mother? kind
Your father? quiet
Your favorite thing? Maverick
Your dream last night? work
Your dream/goal? accomplished
The room you’re in? office
Your hobby? scrapbooking
Your fear? death
Where do you want to be in 6 years? remarried
Where were you last night? play
What you’re not? skinny
One of your wish-list items? money
Where you grew up? mobile
Last thing you did? print
What are you wearing? grubbies
Your TV? HD
Your pet? loud
Your computer? Dell

Your mood? determined
Missing someone? always
Your car? 4Runner
Something you’re not wearing? contacts
Favorite store? Ikea
Your summer? hot
Love someone? hopefully
Your favorite color? purple
When is the last time you laughed? yesterday
Last time you cried? weeks

Tag your it: Gina, Hope, Grayson

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Series of Unfortunate Events

I have been writing this blog in my head since last night. This blog came from a series of events that while not at all related have made for an interesting 24-hour period for me. It started with posts from two of my fellow divorce club bloggers about how to handling their exes moving on. In their cases, they were referring to their ex-husbands. For me, I am fortunate that while the thought of Shawn getting married again seems weird, it doesn't bother me. My thought is more power to the poor soul who ends up with him. I know what life with him was like and I don't wish that on my worst enemy. I know he is dating someone in his hometown which I think is great since she is probably more what he was looking for in the first place. What I do have to deal with is the guys I have dated post divorce moving on which brings up event #2 that also happened last night. I came across a picture of J and his new girlfriend at a party. While James wasted no time finding someone else to date within a month of us breaking up, J was a different story. When he said he needed time to himself, he wasn't lying. However he has been dating his current girlfriend since at least June. (Isn't it amazing what you can find on the internet these days.) I can't decide if I should be insulted or laugh when I see the pictures of the two of them together. While this may sound conceited, I feel (and my friends have said) that I am far more attractive than the girls that both James and J have replaced me with. While I wish them both happiness (well, maybe not totally if we are honest here), I wonder what I am doing wrong given that I have not been able to have a successful relationship since my divorce. I don't think I am asking to much in what I want from a man but apparently it comes across that way. I didn't realize that wanting someone to call me and show me attention was asking too much.

Event #3 happened this afternoon after I had my laser hair removal treatment. The clinic (if you call it that) is located next to my favorite sushi restaurant so I decided to head there for dinner after my appointment. Well, I finished my appointment shortly after 5 and Tomo didn't open until 5:30 so I needed to find a way to kill some time. Remembering that there was a Walgreen's nearby, I headed there to stroll around and pick up a few random items (chocolate included). You know how when you stop looking for something or expecting to see it that's exactly when you do. Well, I had one of those moments today. J used to look for Dell gift cards every time we went to the store because his team at work had been responsible for developing the product and we could never seem to find them. That got me in the habit of looking for them when I was shopping with the hope that I would come across one so I could take a picture of it and send it to him. I don't really know when I stopped looking for them but the thought hadn't crossed my mind in a while. After a conversation today with my brother about Christmas and birthday presents for my family, I decided to check out the gift card mall at Walgreen's to see if they had any of the ones we were looking for. And there it was...the Dell gift card. I couldn't help but smile. A year later and there are still reminders of him all around me. I didn't take a picture of it because I knew he wouldn't care but the fact that I finally found one and have that information in my head made it all the better.

So I headed back to Tomo a little forlorn and indulged myself in two fabulous sushi rolls while sitting at the bar. It's always nice to sit at the bar there because the chefs are there to talk to you when you are busy. I can't figure out of the chef who made my rolls was flirting with me or not but he didn't seem to want me to leave when I was heading out the door. Of course the three glasses of wine I consumed made me a tad flirty as well. I just wasn't wanting to go home to my empty house tonight. Another night alone didn't sound appealing to me at all. So it was nice to have someone to talk to. Of course the question came up when I said no one was waiting for me at home..."What, is your husband not home?" It still seems strange to think that I don't have a husband anymore. It's a good thing I know it's for the best.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Computer Ramblings

I bought a new desktop a few weeks ago and I finally got around to setting it up this weekend. I forgot how much easier it could be to type on a regular keyboard rather than my laptop. I have also been undertaking the huge task of organizing my office. The office has been the catch all room since I moved. Some of the boxes in here are ones I packed when Shawn moved out to separate our stuff so I hadn't seen their contents in more than a year. I came across a Valentine's card from Nanny that was probably one of the last cards she sent me before she died two and a half years ago. It's amazing how something so simple can make you hurt so much. I guess Memommie's death still has me kind of tender in the heart. There are still a few boxes that need to be sorted and reorganized but I made a lot of progress. I think Maverick is enjoying me hanging out in his room with him. He lays at my feet while I work on the computer. Truth be told I probably like his company more than he likes mine. Still nothing from the Rocker Jerk (Wally's new nickname) not that I expected to hear anything from him. I do wish eHarmony and the other dating websites would let you post comments on people's profiles when you have a bad experience like this. That way you can warn others to avoid someone so they can't pull the same stunt with another person. I wonder what sort of comments he would have had already if that was a feature they allowed.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What a Difference a Week Makes

This time last week I was packing to head home for the second time in as many weeks for Memommie's funeral. I had spent the better portion of the day with Wally and I was waiting for him to finish uploading his footage from the night before so he could come over for a while. I now know that was all a lie. Some time over the course of the weekend he deleted me from his Facebook friends list and blocked me on AOL Instant Messenger. Why, you might ask? Wouldn't I love to know. However, I don't because I haven't heard anything from him since he dropped me off at my car last Saturday night. No returned phone calls, no explanation of why he choose to end our relationship. I realized all this while I was getting ready to go to my grandmother's wake. As if I wasn't dealing with an emotional time already, add being blown off by the guy you were supposedly dating. I have run the gammit of emotions since Monday. First, hurt closely followed by confusion. I am now on to anger. I cannot believe that a 35 year old man would be so immature. That he wouldn't have the courage to tell me the truth. While the truth might upset me at first, I can handle it and I will get over it much easier if you at least have the consideration and respect to do that for me. This by far tops the list of the terrible things guys have done to me. Yes, it replaces the guy who broke up with me the night before my birthday. I realize that he was not a man I could really see myself spending eternity with but it doesn't disappoint me any less. It is never easy to be rejected for any reason. It is even harder when you don't know what that reason is. I have decided that I am going to go back to focusing on me and not worry about men for a while. I was better off when I was doing that before I met Wally. I will definitely be better off doing it again now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Memommie

I had barely gotten my suitcase unpacked from my business trip to Alabama last week when I got the call from my mom that we had been expecting for years. My grandmother, Memommie, had passed away. Memommie had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for more than 20 years. She had been having a hard time the last couple of weeks and the time had finally come for her to go home. After processing the information, I started making the necessary preparations to head back home. Clay, my brother, and I boarded a plane back to Mobile Sunday afternoon. The next three days were a blur of visiting my aunt who was my grandmother's caretaker, attending the wake and funeral, and a constant stream of friends and neighbors calling and bringing by food. When my plane finally touched down in Austin this afternoon, I was completely exhausted. I never expected Memommie's death would be so hard. I felt like I had processed losing her years ago after watching her mind and body deteriorate . However, it felt like I was losing her all over again. I will say that the funeral was a fitting tribute to her life including both laughter and tears as my uncle gave a beautiful eulogy to the life of his mother. I was reminded once again how lucky I was to have both Memommie and Nanny in my life. My two grandmothers were both wonderful examples of strength and facing life through adversity. I was truly blessed to have them in my life.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Some Things Never Change

Here I am sitting at the kitchen table in the spot that was once Vincent's seat until he moved out for college,the seat that I took it over in his absence only to relinquish it when her would return, waiting for the water to boil so I can fix a cup of hot tea for myself and my mom and I realize that some things never change. The strawberries are still on the wall paper and the wood paneling still covers a portion of the breakfast nook and all of the den. I know where to find the mugs and tea bags without asking. This is my home and that idea feels great. This house that I grew up in, with the exception of a few furniture purchases and some appliance upgrades, looks exactly the same as the day I came home from the Mobile Infirmary 31 years ago. Last year when I was going through the early stages of my divorce, being here was comforting, an unchanged island among the ocean of change going on around me. It was sitting at this table that I found the job I currently have online and decided to apply for it. And that was the catalyst for all the change that has taken place in my life in the last year. As I pour the water into my cup, I think about my house in Texas and everything I have there and I wish I had one of my mugs because they are bigger and I am thankful that some things do change.

I was excited when my boss presented the idea of traveling to Alabama for training and for me to head out a few days early to see Mom and Dad. I hadn't been home since my Mardi Gras ball in January and even then I had J with me so I didn't get to spend a lot time with my family. Mom and I started making plans of the places we could and visit while I was here. All spots that I love and haven't been able to visit much since moving to Texas. And then a thought hit me...the church. Momma and Daddy wanted me to go to church with them. Now that shouldn't be a big deal. After all I attend church regularly in Austin. But this church was different. This was the church I grew up in, the church I was married in, the church I hadn't stepped foot in in more than 3 years. The idea filled me with a dread that I couldn't explain. So I addressed it with one of my buddies at work (Sandeep, my male-speak translator, and that is another post for another time) and he instantly understood my concern. There would be people there who had been at my wedding or knew I had been married who hadn't seen me since the divorce. The last thing I want a year later is people feeling sorry for me for something that I have put behind and moved on from. My life is different and better now. I don't want anyone apologizing to me for what I view as a good thing.

Now the last year hasn't been all good. I have had some hard times and some lonely moments. I have had days where I felt like being divorced was the worst thing in the world. In two weeks, I get to deal with two days that could really get to me. One is the first anniversary of my divorce being finalized. Two days later I get to celebrate what would have been my 5th anniversary. I have decided to live it up in high style. I am going to sell my engagement ring that day. I don't want it anymore and the money will be beneficial to me. So I think it is a fitting way to celebrate. A way to close the door of the last year and truly move forward to the excitement of my new life. While I am glad that some things never change, I am truly grateful that some things do.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Facebook

So I changed my relationship status on Facebook this week after my conversation with eHarmony guy and let me tell you that has been the source of much discussion. Apparently a relationship status change is something that many people take notice to. I had 5 people comment on my page about the change as well as an email on the same subject that stemmed from a conversation among my church group. Let's not mention the calls from family members (along with lectures) about said change. I mean...really...is it necessary (the lectures that is)? Maybe I shouldn't have made the change yet. After all, Wally (OK...there I said it) hasn't confirmed the relationship yet*. Not quite sure why that is other than he just may be a little weird about it at this point because boys can be like that. I will admit to being curious when I have noticed changes on other people's pages so I can understand the fastination. However, I am beginning to realize more and more that we are all just bored and Facebook is a good way to fill that time.

*I have been told that I need to clarify this post a bit. When I said he hadn't confirmed the relationship, I meant on FaceBook. There is a place on your page to list if you are married or dating another FaceBook member. If you submit that information with the person's name attached they send a confirmation request to the other person before they will post their name on your page. So when I said he hadn't confirmed it, that is what I meant. In conversations we had, he had confirmed the relationship between the two of us.

The Week in Review

The week started out on a positive note since I finally heard from eHarmony guy on Sunday (yes, he has a name...we will get to that later) who was heading out of town for a week of camping and fishing. Sadly that was going to mean he wouldn't be back until after I left for Alabama so it would be more than a week before we could hang out again. However, due to a change in plans, he was back in town on Monday and called to setup a date for later in the week. Originally scheduled for Wednesday, our date was moved to Tuesday and might I say it was quite successful. We had a great time just talking and hanging out and all the weirdness (thanks to the ex-wife) of the previous couple of weeks seemed to have disappeared. We did establish ourselves as a couple but I am still realizing that this is a relationship I will have to handle differently from others in the past. I am still not 100% certain of the boundaries and how much is too much yet. I am constantly having to take a step back to gain perspective and remind myself that this is still really new. Dena is impressed that I recognize the need to do this and believes it shows great improvement on my part. It doesn't mean that my brain doesn't go crazy with all the nutty thoughts I have when I don't get a phone call. It just means I am getting better at handling all that. I also have to remember that his work schedule is very different from mine. He is a film maker so he doesn't have a set schedule just one that ebbs and flows as jobs come up. So he might be busy for a week working on a project and then nothing for a couple of weeks. That is very different than my typical office setting job. The week progressed with me suffering from a severe lack of sleep thanks to Maverick who has discovered a hiding place in my backyard and will refuse to come in when called for bedtime. That has meant two nights in a row of puppy freedom till well past midnight and me getting up in the middle of the night to let him back in the house. After being in a particularly sour mood at work yesterday, I decided that the best thing for me was to hit the bed early in order to be in a better mood in Friday. Well, this worked like a charm except for the fact that I was wide awake by 5:30 this morning. That being the case I decided to take advantage of the early morning and accomplish some tasks before work. I had spotted an early voting location around the corner from my house yesterday when I was on my way to get gas ($45 to fill my SUV!) so I arrived there shortly after 7 AM to cast my ballot for the election. A quick stop to grab some breakfast and I made it into the office by 8 this morning. This is unheard of for me since I am normally not out of bed until 8. This evening I get to pack my bags to prepare for my trip to Alabama tomorrow. I am quite excited that I will get to watch Alabama beat Tennessee sitting in the comfort of my parents' living room in Mobile. Then I head north to Huntsville for training and some quality time with a couple of my friends there. I must say that this trip couldn't come at a better time since I have needed an escape from Texas for a couple of months now. It will be great to get a break before the craziness of the holidays sets in. I guess that's all for now. I am sure I will have more to report once I return to Texas.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Confused

Well, I will admit that I have been putting off writing anything because I keep hoping that things will change and I will have good news to report. However, that has not been the case. It has been a week since the last time I saw eHarmony guy and a week since he has called me. We have chatted online a couple of times this week with him initiating the conversation but that has been it with no mention of seeing each other again. I am so confused. I don't know if I am getting the big blow off or if he is just taking his time right now. We started off pretty hot and heavy the first week we were dating but things have definitely tapered off since then. I know he had to deal with his ex last week and that is enough to put anyone in a mood for a while but how long? I really like this guy and I don't want to do anything mess up our chances so I am taking the advice of all of my friends and letting him come to me. It's been hard to not initiate contact as that is my typical modus operandi. But I don't want to push and risk pushing him further away. The last phone conversation we had was me asking him what has going on with us. His response was that he enjoyed hanging out with me and had no desire to date anyone else. But that he was new at this whole dating again thing so for me just to relax and have fun. I am not sure what to make of that since we haven't hung out since that conversation. So now I am trying to sit back and relax and make myself available without being too available and see what happens. This is so incredibly hard for me as my inner dialogue is going nuts speculating what is going on. I will keep you posted and hopefully I will have good news to report soon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Things That I Love

I was listening to my favorite radio show this morning and some of the members of the show were giving lists of things they love. Since I haven't had much to blog about recently (yes, I know I owe an update on the new man.), I figured this would be a good way for me to get in the mood again. So here it goes...just a few things Julie loves (in no particular order)!

1. Maverick - He may be bad at times but he sure does love me.
2. Pedicures - Nothing is better than the foot massage associated with a good pedicure
3. Massages - I would take a good rub down any day.
4. Japenese Lasagna from Tomo Sushi - This is by far my favorite. Think I might have to get some tonight since Happy Hour is next door.
5. Chicken Minis from Chick Fil A - It is so good that I don't live in my apartment anymore since I would stop at least once a week on my way to work.
6. Breakfast Tacos from Rudy's BBQ - Yet another place I used to stop on my way to work.
7. Good Wine - I am still improving my palette so I love opportunities to try new wines.
8. Lysol Wipes - They make cleaning so much easier.
9. Woolite Plus Oxygen Pet Stain & Odor Remover - The best stuff ever if you have a pet in the house.
10. iPod/iPhone - I love having all my favorite tunes at my fingertips and my iPhone keeps my life in check.
11. Alabama Football - I know you guys were all wondering how long it was going to take me to get this on the list.
12. Christmas - There is just something about the atmosphere in the air that time of year.
13. Chapstick 100% Naturals Lip Butter - The best lip balm ever.
14. Aveda Hand Relief Lotion - Smells good and is creamy enough without being greasy.
15. Foosackly's Chicken Fingers, Fries & Ranch Dressing - One of the many places in Mobile that I miss terribly living in Austin.
16. Sephora and Ulta - I love makeup so any place that combines 100s of brands in one location makes me happy.
17. Ikea - Love this store and I now live 10 minutes from it. So bad!

I know there is more so I am sure I will have to update this list. But that is what I can think of right now. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Checking In

I know it has been a couple of weeks since I wrote anything and that is mostly because I haven't had a lot to tell. I do have a couple of updates to pass on. First, I have missed my training for the last couple of weeks. The first week was due to the threat of a little storm known as Ike. The next week was for a trip to Six Flags in San Antonio. This week is was the case lot sale in Killeen. I know...I know. I am supposed to be dedicated to the program. Well, I have bad news to report. I don't think I am going to be able to complete the half marathon. I have started having problems with one of my toes. I am thinking that I injured it when I was dancing and it never healed properly. Now it hurts and I am heading to the doctor to determine what is wrong. I had noticed it before but I think all the training time on my feet made it worse. My second update is that I have dipped my toe back into the dating pool and it has been successful. I think I might actually have an eHarmony success story on my hands. Last night was the best first date I have had since I started dating again post-divorce. I would have to say it was even better than when I first met J. We talked for 6 hours, closing down one restuarant before moving to the bar next door. Even at that point neither one of us were ready to go home except it was 12:30 and I had to get some sleep before work today. We chatted off and on throughout the day today and we have another date scheduled for tomorrow night. I am very giddy, like a 13 year old girl with her first crush. I hope this goes well and I will definitely keep you guys posted on how this progresses.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Training Update

I finished my third training session with RR Fit today and I figured this would be a good time to update everyone on my progress. Last week I decided to drop down to the half marathon group mostly because I can't imagine myself ever wanting to walk 26 miles nor do I want to spend the better part of a day trying to do it. So last week's training was 1.5 miles while we increased to 2 miles this week. I am quite pleased with my results today. I managed to keep it at a 14-minute mile pace and finished the two miles in 28.07 minutes. At that rate I will be able to finish the half-marathon in a little over 3 hours. What I need to work on now is my timed walks during the week. I haven't been able to get myself out of bed in the mornings for various reasons and I am just going to have to start forcing myself to get up. I realize that the training on the weekends will never get me anywhere if I don't supplement with additional time spent walking. The good news is that I will be plenty ready to complete the LiveSTRONG Challenge in a month and a half.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Insight

So here I am playing procrastinator trying to avoid doing my homework for two reason. 1. I am tired and I just don't feel like it. 2. I haven't read the chapter so I am not totally sure how to do the assignment. That being said it would be my luck that my professor will decide to collect the assignment in class tomorrow. Instead I am blogging because I know that is productive in helping solve problems one and two. I did feel the need to share some thoughts I have had recently. For some reason the last few weeks have been a series of realizations for me. It's like everything that I thought was a bumfuddled mess has suddenly become clear and I understand why certain things happened they way they did. The first realization is related to dating. Basically what it comes down to is that I just don't care right now. Sure I would love to meet someone great but I realized that I am more concerned about taking care of myself and doing what I want right now. I figure that if I just focus on myself and getting things straight for me then the rest will all fall into place. So far it is working pretty well. I am happy, and I am definitely not stressing about boys. The second realization came to me about a week ago and really involved two things. I was at the church I have been visiting listening to a guest speaker who happened to be one of the theatre graduate from UM and I realized at that moment I was exactly where I was supposed to be. In Austin, at that church, listening to the messages that I need to hear to address issues that I have been having. It was like suddenly everything in my life felt right. I also realized that I have been avoiding church for many reasons but mostly because I was scared that I would repeat the mistake I made with Shawn. Since I met him in church, I think I associated church with meeting men who could potentially be bad for me. Also, I was trying so hard to do things on my own that I forgot that God is there and is not only willing but wants to help me through all this. The final realization was a big one. It came to me some time this weekend when I was watching Hurricane Gustav on the Weather Channel and praying that my family would be OK. The realization that I had was that I never looked back. It has been a year since Shawn and I separated and I will admit there was a moment shortly before the divorce was final that I tried to get him to take me back. But I don't think it was because I wanted him. It was because I didn't want to be alone and I didn't want to be divorced. Once the divorce was final and I moved to Austin, I started a new chapter in my life and I can honestly say there hasn't been a moment when I wanted that old life back. I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason even though we may not know what it is at the moment. Well, I think I now understand why J came into my life for the short period he was there. I really believe that he was a lot of the reason I never looked back. I met him so soon after moving and he was my first friend here. He helped me to see that I still have a lot to offer to someone and that I deserved more than what I got out of my marriage. Do I still hate that things end between us, yes, but I now understand it. I understand that he was only supposed to be there for a short time. That was the way it was meant to be. I understand that I am supposed to take a lesson from that relationship, move on and carry it with me. I hate how things have turned out between us. I hate that we don't talk anymore. I do miss him but I am starting to miss him more for the friendship that we could have had rather than the relationship we did have. I can only hope that one day he will know that I am grateful to him for many things. For helping me to regain confidence in myself. For helping me remember that I am a beautiful person on the inside and the outside. For challenging me to look at life and the world in a new way. But mostly for helping me to move forward and never look back because there truly is more to this life. I know there is no way I could ever share all this with him so I can only hope that by posting it here he might read it one day and know what he meant to me. The best thing about the realizations is that now that I know them, now that the knowledge is there and accepted, I can move on. I can focus on what I want to focus on and become the person I want to become. And boy am I excited about that.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Making It Happen

I mentioned a few weeks back that I had decided to sign up for the LiveStrong Challenge. I had worked out a bit of a training schedule to get myself ready to walk (or run if I so desired) the 5k at the end of October. Needless to say, after one excuse or another I hadn't gotten very far on my training and I was getting frustrated with myself because of it. While trolling around on the internet one night, I stumbled across the website for a local marathon training program. After reading the information on the site and emailing the program director, I decided that this was a program I could do. The program is called Round Rock Fit and is based on a marathon training program called USA Fit. Fortunately for me, there are different levels of training based on your pace, if you are training for the half or full marathon, or if you are a walker. I decided to join the walking group. Between my knees and my back, I wasn't sure my body would be able to handle the running and I think I will be more comfortable with the walking anyway. Based on the information provided on the website, I was prepared to attempt a 1 to 2 mile walk. Once I got there and started going (at 7:30 on a Saturday morning I might add) I found out that we would be starting with a 3 mile time trial. Now the 5k is just slightly over 3 miles so when I mentioned this to my coach, he told me not to worry because I would definitely be prepared for the challenge in October since I would be doing 3 miles my first day and would be up to much more than that by the time I actually completed the 5k. I was certain there was no way I would be able to finish 3 miles on my first time out or that if I did, I would be really hurting by the end of it. Well, I am proud to say that neither is true. Not only did I finish the 3 miles but I did it in 50 minutes which is just under a 17 minute mile pace. I personally think that is really good for someone who is just starting out. I felt really accomplished when I was done with my walk and now I am excited about the program and optimistic about what it will do for me. I don't know if I am actually going to try to do the marathon. Right now I am just focusing on getting in shape but I may change my mind closer to time for the race in February after all I will be capable of doing it by the time I finish the program. I may do it just to say that I did. We shall see.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ready or Not

I was supposed to have a date tonight. I cancelled. Why? I am not really sure. I have been on a bit of a dating hiatus recently mostly because I haven't found myself really being attracted to anyone. I know it has been more than a month since the last time I went on a date. It has partially been due to a lack of interesting prospects and partially due to my own personal issues. I have realized that I was trying too hard to find someone after Shawn and I split up and I don't think I was ready to move on yet. I think I need time to be me and get used to it just being me again. It took me some time to realize that and that has been what the last six months have really been about. It goes back to something J said to me right after we broke up and that was that I couldn't lean on him. It wasn't until I moved into my house that I realized how much I had tried to do that not only with him but during the short period of time I dated James. Since I have moved, I have had to take care of everything myself. The more I have been on my own the more I have wanted to remain on my own. However, my eHarmony inbox has exploded recently. For the first time since I joined nearly a year ago, I have found myself with several interesting prospects. So now I have to decide if I am ready to take the step that I am obviously dreading. The breakup with J was so hard on me that I think I am guarding myself because I don't want to go through that again. But I know I have to put myself out there again if I am ever going to find someone to spend my life with. So ready or not here I come...stay tuned.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Amazing Feats of Puppy Bravery

I am a well trained human in the eyes of my dog. I let him on the furniture (because he is calm when chewing on a bone on the couch next to me) and I let him sleep with me (because I like have his warm little body in the bed). One might say that Maverick is in charge in this house. Recently Mav has been in the bed with me if he is in the room with me at night rather than sleeping in his own bed on the floor. I had convinced myself that he couldn't jump up on the bed because he couldn't get the traction he needed to get the running start to make it up on the bed. Well, last night my sweet boy decided to prove me wrong. I climbed in bed last night preparing to settle in for the evening. I was going to read a bit and then lights out. Well, I decided Mav needed to sleep in his bed so I didn't help him up on to my bed. Apparently Maverick would have nothing of that. Next thing I know he had backed up a bit and was bounding up the side of the bed. Had I not be sitting there to catch him and help him the rest of the way up, he probably wouldn't have made it but not because he didn't give it his best effort. I guess it is going to be harder to break him of the habit of sleeping with me than I thought. The question is who likes it more...me or him?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Today's Crazy Headlines

My Google Reader is setup to feed me news stories from the newspaper and a news channel in both Mobile and Austin. So I tend to stumble across some rather interesting stories that make me wonder how people determine what is truly news. Also, I start to realize that there are some truly bizarre people in this world. So I give you today's crazy headlines.

PETA Wants Freezer Body Billboard
Let me start off by giving you a little background related to this headline. There is currently a man in Mobile who is charged with murdering his wife nearly 4 years ago and stuffing her body in the freezer. The body was discovered when one of his 8 children accused him of rape and police searched the house. On top of this, the man is a preacher! Now PETA wants to use this to their advantage by promoting that "All Meat is Murder" and posting a billboard in Mobile showing a leg on a plate. Frankly, I think this is just wrong and distasteful. The whole situation gives me the creeps. I can't believe that any organization would try to use such a sad, twisted, and disturbing story to their advantage.

Parents Leave Child at Airport
The story behind this is an Israeli family with 5 children accidentally left their 3-year old in the Tel Aviv airport while in a rush to board a flight to Paris. I know that 5 kids are a lot to keep up with but I can't imagine not noticing that I don't have my child. The truly sad part is that neither the parents or the other 4 children noticed the 3-year old was missing until the airline officials notified them in the air that their child had been found. Seriously, how can you miss something like that?

Chef: Sorry for Suggesting Poison Plant in Salad
A British celebrity chef (whom I had never heard of) mixed up the names of a member of the spinach family and a poisonous plant in a recipe he included in Healthy and Organic Living. Remind me never to eat anything this chef prepares if he doesn't know his safe food from his poisonous plant. Yikes!

And for the best of today's crazy headlines:
Man Calls 911 Over Sauce-less Sub
That is right, folks. A Jacksonville, FL man was so angry that his sub at Subway was missing the spicy Italian sauce he called 911 not once but twice. The second call was made because the man believe that the police were not arriving fast enough. The (smart) Subway workers locked the man out of the store when he left to call the police. Of course it was the man who was arrested for making false 911 calls rather than the Subway employees for not making the sandwich correctly. Now...correct me if I am wrong but don't you watch them make your sandwich at Subway? So doesn't that mean the man should have noticed that the sauce was missing before receiving his sub? Just me...I must be the crazy one.

Hope you enjoyed today's crazy headlines. Stay tuned for more as the world only gets more odd as the days go by.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Puppy Patrol

No dish towel is safe in my house. If I try to hang one from the oven handle or dishwasher handle, it is on the floor in ten minutes. That is if Maverick doesn't decide to run around the house with it. As soon as it gets it in his mouth and I realize what he is up to, off he goes. Now that the boxes are out of the dining room I don't have a way to block him in so instead I have to find another location to corner him. His path goes something like this. He hops up on the love seat, across to the couch, and then hits the ottoman before diving off to land in the foyer and dash through the kitchen and around the dining room table. Somehow I just end up standing there turning in a circle until either he drops the contraband or I get him in between the couch and love seat. Tonight he got the dish towel and once he finally dropped, he ran to the couch and grabbed the remote instead (my dog loves electronics). What do I do? Grab a treat and head to the back door knowing that he will drop the remote once he reaches the door because he is more interested in going outside and getting the treat. The better question is why do I keep torturing my self and keep trying to hang the towel? I guess I keep hoping that one day Maverick will break this habit and I won't have to chase him to recover my dish towel. Guess its a good thing I only use it to dry my hands and not on the actual dishes.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Busy Bee

So I have been hard at work trying to finish putting my house in order. I know I have been in the house 3 months now. One would think I would be unpacked by now. But with all the issues I have had from furniture being on back order to lack of assistance with putting together said furniture to the closet collapse, it is not a surprise that I am still sorting and organizing. fortunately great strides have been made this week in accomplishing the near impossible task of being completely moved into my new house. I managed to get all the boxes moved from the kitchen so you can actually walk across the entire room and open all cabinets (and the dish washer and oven) without hitting anything. This also allowed me to put together the table and baker's rack which take up the open space in the front of the kitchen across from the pantry.
I also had some come install the Elfa closet system I purchased from the Container Store to replace the old closet on Friday. This has vastly improved my ability to unpack. Now I can store things in my closet without worrying about everything falling on me and I can hang my clothes up again. So I spent my day today loading down my closet with all my clothes and whatever else I have decided to store in there. It is great to have everything organized again.
Also, my coworker, Alisha, helped me put together my dresser so I now have drawer space for all my underwear and such. Needless to say, I have been busy as a beaver working to get all this stuff put up. This also got me motivated to move the boxes that were taking up space in the dining room to the rooms that they belong in. So now when I am ready to work in those rooms everything will be in there. My goal for the weekend is to finish organizing my bedroom and bathroom. I am more than half way there but I have to finish laundry at the same time. I feel like I can get it all done tomorrow. Then I will hit the guest bedroom and the office. The garage is my last beast to tackle because that involves getting rid of all the boxes and packing materials I have been throwing in there as I unpacked. Once that is done, it is garage sale time. I can't believe the amount of random crap I have accumulated. Hopefully the weather will have cooled off a bit by the time I am ready for the garage sale.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Puppy to Please

Just when I decided to write about my playful pup, he does not disappoint. Since moving into the new house, I have been allowing Maverick to sleep in the room with me. He has a bed in the corner which works out well since he can't jump up on to the my bed because it is too high. So when I put him in his room Thursday night so I could get ready for bed, you would have thought I was abusing the pup based on the noises coming from his room. Of course I let him in the room with me once I was heading to bed and, since I am the well trained human that I am, put him up on the bed so he could snuggle with me. Needless to say Mav doesn't quite understand the concept of sleeping in a bit. At 6:15 the next morning, I felt a cold wet nose on my face. Now I am one of these lucky people who has a flexible work schedule so waking up at 6:15 is not something I that I prefer to do. So I went into a full belly rub attack hoping that would calm P-dog down and he would return to dreamland for at least another hour when my alarm goes off. Unfortunately he would have nothing of it and proceeded to start walking around the bed intent to jump off. At that point I realized I would need to get up and let him out. So I slid off the bed and turned around to lift Mav back down to the floor. And there he was in the upward facing stomach position waiting for me to rub his belly. Well I decided that Mr. Dog had missed his chance for the belly rub and I took him back door for his morning rounds. At that point I headed back to bed and slept for two more hours. Hopefully soon Maverick will learn tell time soon and understand the concept of me not having to be at work until around 9.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Maverick & Me

I had to make a quick trip to Oklahoma City this week for work. Normally when I am traveling I make observations about my fellow travelers and comment on any mishaps that might befall me along the way. However, I miraculously had no mishaps and my fellow travelers didn't provide me with any new material to comment on. This trip did afford me the opportunity to catch up on some reading. You see I tend to do my best reading on airplanes. I joined a book club a few weeks ago and my first reading assignment was Marley and Me by John Grogan. Now I had heard a little about this book but never really thought to read it. But with the movie coming out, the book has regained popularity. Being a proud dog owner and lover, I realized that this was a must read. So I spent my flights to and from OKC devouring this book. I must say that I laughed out loud many times as I read Marley's antics and related them to tales of my own beloved pup. I am sure my row mates were confused by my tears as I read the last few chapters telling of Marley's golden years and death. After reading this book, I realized that I had not done a very good job of relating Maverick stories to my faithful followers. After all, my selected alias on Blogger is MavsMom so it would be logical for me to recount stories of my rambunctious beagle. I had a co worker in Killeen who loved hearing tales of Maverick and his daily craziness. I did realize that I need to record his tales so that they may never be forgotten. So soon I will be regaling you with Maverick stories to make sure my pup lives forever in the minds of those who love him (or at least for me!) So be prepared to laugh at the moments that fill my dull life and bring me a bit of joy.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

LiveStrong Challenge

A couple of months ago I stumbled across the website for the LiveStrong Challenge. I decided I wanted to participate for multiple reasons. First, I have felt a strong need to volunteer or do something to give back. The Lance Armstrong Foundation is doing a lot for cancer research. I don't believe there is anyone in this country who hasn't been effected by cancer in some way, shape or form. Just in the last year, I had a friend from college pass away from breast cancer at the age of 29. Also, Maverick and I are in serious need of some physical activity. I figure that having a goal to be able to walk (or run) a 5K by October 25th is a good place to start. I used to walk about 3 miles a day in college. I just got out of the habit and now I am having to build myself back up again. The heat doesn't help but I am trying to find times when the heat isn't so bad (either early morning or late evening). Mav and I are starting out by tackling laps around the block. Once around the block is about half a mile. So we are trying to start out with one trip around this week and work ourselves up from there. I plan on keeping everyone updated on our progress (building up to the 5k and hopefully losing some weight in the process) as well as my progress toward my fundraising goal for the foundation. If you would like to help out, you can click on the link to the right of my page or go to http://austin08.livestrong.org/bamagirljj. Oh and just so you know...we started our laps tonight and Maverick is currently racked out on the couch. I think I wore him out!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oh...The Things People Say

Last night my sister-in-law, Jenny, and I went to see Martina McBride at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Selma, TX (right outside of San Antonio). The drive from her house in South Austin (Kyle to be exact) only took us about an hour so we arrived with about 45 minutes to spare before the gates opened. We wanted to get there a little on the early side because we had general admission lawn tickets and we wanted to make sure we got a good spot on the lawn so we could see the concert well. While we were waiting in the heat (a concert in July in Texas...what was I thinking!), we were informed that they were closing the lawn for this concert and would be upgrading us to actual seats. This was a nice surprise because it meant we would actually be covered and not have the sun beating down on us. However, if we had known this ahead of time we could have waited another hour to drive down and still would have gotten the seats we were given. The concert itself was great. It just made for a late evening with me having to get up and go to work today.

If Jenny and I would have waited to drive down, we would have missed one of the best lines of the evening. While waiting in line and commenting on the attair of many of our fellow concert goers (ranging from spike heels and sundresses to full cowboy getup complete with boots and hats), we overheard a mother tell a daughter that, "If I had known this was an outdoor concert, I would have dressed differently." Now...the last time I checked all amphitheaters are technically outdoors. Just to make sure I went to Wikipedia to get a definition of amphitheater and this is what it gave me, "An amphitheatre (alternatively amphitheater) is an open-air venue for spectator sports, concerts, rallies, or theatrical performances." Wouldn't the phrase "open-air venue" say outdoors to you? Not to mention you can go to the website for the Verizon Center and see a layout of the amphitheatre. I swear I am frequently amazed at people and the things they say.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why I Hate Dating

I was not a fan of dating before I got married so you can imagine that I am even less of a fan of dating now that I have divorced to add to my status. I never had much luck in the relationship world and being that I am still new to the Austin area, I have found it hard to meet people. So I have been trying the world of online dating via such websites as Match.com, Yahoo Personals, and eHarmony. Granted while I have had some luck in the form of J and James, the majority of my matches have been misses and it has been months since I have had a real connection with any of the guys I have been matched with. I received an email last week that is a prime example of why I hate dating again. Here is that email, word for word, with only personal information removed:

your cute and you sound like a very sweet girl, but please dont take me to a musical, lol . im rob, i work graveyard so i dont wake up till like 3 or 4 in the evenings. and i try to be in bed before the sun rises. hit me up sometime, you can do it here or on my yahoo, the screen name is more political than it sounds , lol. or you could just do it the easy way and call . although i think i do a great job typing, i do this great job with one finger, so i better at least get a friggin hello cause this chit is taking me for ever to type, lol. dont worry , im not one of the weird obsessive guys, i promise i wont be peepin through your windows in the middle of the night, lol. i dont have the time or gas money, lol , im playing ofcorse. at the least we may turn out to at least be friends, later i gotta go to work, you can still call while im working

OK...so now that you are laughing so hard you are crying, I will continue. I really copied and pasted this from the original email. First off, if you can't spell, use capitalization or proper punctuation, don't write me. Second off, if the one thing I mention in my profile that I love is something you hate, don't write me. Third, if you are over the age of 14, please don't use abbreviations such as lol, u, 4, or r. I am not a teenager and this line of conversation does not interest me.

Now let me tell you about Rob. His screen name is Robsnsodeep (lovely!) and his profile picture was him shirtless (no thanks!) Nothing turns me off more than someone whose primary profile picture is them shirtless. I think this is very conceited not to mention the fact that normally the men who choose these pictures have nothing to show off. Rob, however, was showing off the two tattoos right below his collarbones. Being someone with ink, I don't think there is anything wrong with that but I don't necessarily think it is something that should be presented up front. I would not be showing my back tattoo to a man on the first date. And please let's not get started on the grammar.

So if you have any questions as to why I hate dating then please post them here. Otherwise, I do believe this is enough reason for you. While there may be many fish in the sea, the pool has been contaminated and those that remain have serious issues.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Birthday Reflections

I intended to write this post on Friday on my actual birthday. I spent a lot of time in the weeks leading up to my birthday thinking about the last year and everything that has happened. Birthdays are really a good time to pause and reflect on life. I am still amazed at everything that has happened and how much my life and I have changed over the last year. So I decided to do a quick rundown of the last year.

July - my 30th birthday; Shawn was at NTC for the big day but took me to Fredericksburg to celebrate
August - trip to Hawaii; Shawn moved out; Shawn filed for divorce
September - went home for Labor Day; found job listing on Monster for job in Austin; applied for job in Austin; interviewed for job in Austin; offered job in Austin
October - started working in Austin; listed Killeen house; secured apartment in Austin; Shawn moved back to Alabama
November - divorce finalized; moved into apartment in Austin; Mom and Dad came for Thanksgiving; met J
December - dating J; his divorce finalized; his mom has stroke and he leaves for Christmas; I head home for Christmas; we drive back to TX together
January - New Year's at J's; Mav to Doggy Boot Camp; J and I head to Mobile for La Luna ball; J goes to visit mom in hospital; offer on Killeen house
February - Mav returns from boot camp; J and I begin the process of breaking up; Valentine's alone; Break up completes;find house in Round Rock; close on Killeen house; bought an iPhone
March - food poisoning; meet James; busied myself preparing for new house; bought a Wii; Easter came early; college friend, Jessica, passed from breast cancer
April - discovered a love for yoga; got a tattoo; James and I broke up; started seeing Dena; went to see Jimmy Buffett in Dallas; closed on new house; Brandon died
May - moved out of apartment in Austin into house in Round Rock; went to New York with Mom, Jenny and Shannon; bailed on Boot Camp; bought a new car (4Runner); went to Crawfish Festival in Fredericksburg alone over Memorial Day weekend; Sex and the City movie
June - still getting settled in new house; met with advisor about going back to school; headed to Alabama for Grand Assembly

While I know this list doesn't really do justice to everything that has happened since I turned 30, I can easily say based off of this list that 31 is looking good already. I am optimistic about what the future holds for me. I am in a great place in my life right now. I am living each day for no one but myself. I am doing things that I enjoy and I don't have to answer to anyone about it. I do hope that I will have someone special to share my life with in the near future. However, I am not an incomplete person because I am alone. I also know that I don't want to settle for less than what is the best for me. Stay tuned as I update you as life unfolds around me.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Party of One

I started out this morning being a little lazy because it was Saturday and I could. However, I knew I had some shopping I wanted to do so I finally got myself motivated to get clean and head out the door. I decided to head to Cracker Barrel first since it was on my way to Ikea and I was craving some home cookin' after watch Down Home with the Neely's this morning on the Food Network. Being that Cracker Barrel is Cracker Barrel and it was lunch time, it was a surprise that the place was packed and I had to wait 10 minutes just to get a table for one. Shortly after I arrived an older lady came in also requesting a table for one. I thought nothing of it and when my name was called I headed to the hostess stand and reminded the lady that it was just me and I didn't need two sets of silverware. Well, the older lady had requested a chair to sit in while waiting and was perched up near the hostess stand. When she realized I was a party of one, she proceeded to ask if she might join me so that we didn't tie up two tables. Well, what was I supposed to do, say No!?! So Gertie, the older lady, scooted her walker across the restaurant and accompanied me through what I had hoped would be a quick and peaceful meal. I don't believe she ever asked for my name the entire time we were sitting there but she was sure to let everyone know that asked that we weren't together but just sharing a table. Gertie also filled me in all the sad details of her life from her divorce when her children were young because her husband had other women to her daughter being killed when she was my age in 1977 (very sad) to her son not taking care of her in her old age (88) and his wife not knowing she was his 4th. All the while she was bitter and snappy to the waitress who I am sure felt sorry for me for being stuck sitting with this woman. And people wonder why I hate going to restaurants alone. Stuff like this always happens to me. If I sit at the bar, I get hit on by random guys. If I try to eat at a nice family establishment, some crazy old lady asks to sit with me. I am seriously rethinking ever eating alone in public again. Dine on Demand seems better and better everyday even if I have to pay a delivery fee.

Once my meal was over, I headed to Ikea to purchase a few more items for the new house. While I was there, they announced that they were having a contest to give away tickets to a screening of Mamma Mia. All you had to do was sing one of the songs from the show. Well, I love Mamma Mia and I am definitely going to see it when it comes out in two weeks. So I figured, "What the heck!" and decided to try my hand at Dancing Queen. Most of you know that I am not a singer so I am sure I tortured the poor people sitting in the cafe who had to listen to my performance. It was fun and I got to pass to the screening out of it. However, the screening is the same night as the Martina McBride concert Jenny and I are going to in San Antonio so I embarrassed myself for nothing. Now I need to find someone who would like the passes so they don't go to waste.

After buying out the entire stock of purple flowers from the home decor department at Ikea, I headed to Hobby Lobby in search of some more wrought iron pieces for my living room. I have been trying to find some sconces or something else small to hang on my fireplace and balance out the piece I already have hanging. I didn't have much luck in that department even though I found a sconce I really like. The problem the sconce is it is black and I could only find one at my local store. So I need to see how it will look with my existing piece before I try to search the two stores in NW Austin for a matching sconce. I did however find a beautiful wrought iron mirror to hang above the console table that leads into my hallway. The clerk sold it to me for half off although I didn't recall seeing any signs saying it should be on sale. I won't complain though because it saved me $45 in the process. I did have one funny moment while in Hobby Lobby. I happened to overhear two men debating which candle to purchase to cover the smell of stinky children coming in from the outdoors all sweaty from the summer heat. The two were trying to decide between Sugar Cookie and Butterscotch and the conversation went a little something like this:

Man 1: "Hell yeah! Sugar Cookie is the bomb. You should get that one."
Man 2: "I kind of like Butterscotch. I think the smell is better."
Man 1: "Well, Sugar Cookie isn't as heavy."

Now a conversation about candle scents between two women wouldn't be out of the ordinary but between two straight married men was hilarious. After laughing at them for a few minutes, I finally stepped in and offered my expert opinion which was two fold. First I said they should just buy both candles since they were 50% off and you would be getting two for the price of one. Second I said to go with Butterscotch since it was stronger yet not overpowering and would likely cover the sweaty kid smell better. At that point, they both agreed they needed to get the wives involved in the decision. That led to the question of who put the men in charge of picking out the candle in the first place?

I rounded out my shopping trip with a stop at Lowe's. I have been needing to purchase a garbage can for taking out the trash on a twice a week basis. I hadn't been too concerned about having one up to this point because I have just been carrying trash bags out to the curb that were mostly filled with packing materials from the move. However, since my trash days are Tuesday and Friday, I didn't have my second trash big up this week and I have accumulated more than my fair share of trash in my kitchen can. I decided that it was time to purchase the garbage can so I could at least empty the kitchen and bathroom cans before Tuesday since they were to capacity. You know...purchasing a garbage can is not something you really think about needing to do when you move into a new house. I was particularly spoiled in Killeen since the city provided the 96 gallon garbage cans for trash collection once a week. So I proceeded to wander aimlessly through Lowe's because I had no idea where one might find a garbage can and obviously no one asked me if I needed any assistance although I am sure I had an extremely confused look on my face. I was after all in a hardware store and I don't tend to spend a lot of time in them. Just as I was about to ask someone to point me in the right direction I spotted the sign that said trash cans. I was in the right spot. Moreover, I not only found one with wheels like I wanted but it is also purple. How awesome is that! Only I would be excited about a purple garbage can. Once all my shopping was complete, I headed home to get some love from my puppy and eat dinner ALONE in the peace and quiet of my own house.