Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: My Big Bottom Blessing

~~ This Giveaway is Now Closed ~~

How about a giveaway to end the week? Sounds like a good idea to me. Today I have another book review and giveaway for you thanks to the good folks at Worthy Publishing. This time the book isn't necessarily geared towards moms although they aren't excluded either because I think every woman I know has dealt with the issue this book's topic addresses.

The name of the book is My Big Bottom Blessing and it is written by Teasi (Pronounced Tea-See) Cannon. Have you guessed what the subject of the book is yet? If not, then let me fill you in. In this book Mrs. Cannon discusses her struggle with weight gain and weight loss and being generally unhappy with her looks and how she overcame her feeling of low self-worth and began to love herself from the inside out. Sounds like something you might be interested in? I hope so because this book was a really good read and I found it to be very relatable.

I don't know about you, but personally I hate the emphasis the magazines, etc. of today's society place on being thin and beautiful. To me beauty is more than skin deep and a person can be beautiful at any size. (Side note: this is one of the reasons I love buying Dove products because they are supporters of being beautiful no matter what size you are.) Now, I would be lying if I told you I was never self-conscious about my weight because I am. I may believe with all my heart that beauty can come in all shapes and sizes but that doesn't mean I don't have days where I nit-pick myself about not being a size smaller than I currently am.

Mrs. Cannon has struggled with weight issues throughout her life and so she knows what it's like to feel guilty about eating another chocolate chip cookie or giving up on a diet or skipping a work out because you don't feel like going. She also knows what it's like to hate what you see in the mirror and to not feel good about yourself because of what is looking back at you - saggy belly, large thighs, a lazy eye, whatever it is that you may see and not like.

In the book, Mrs. Cannon describes her struggle with these low self-esteem demons, if you will, and tells of her journey on how she overcame them. She describes times throughout her life when she wasn't so nice to herself because she had an intense need to feel loved and waned. She writes about being a single mom and the struggles that came with that part of her life. She also tells us how she met her husband, the man of her dreams and how she was self-conscious about the way she looked when they became intimate on their wedding night. Mrs. Cannon goes on to tell of the years-long battles she had with these self esteem issues and eventually how she was able to overcome those issues through the love of our Heavenly Father.

Mrs. Cannon's husband took her to a seminar which was the beginning of the change in her life. Now, obviously, I'm not (nor is she) saying you have to run out to a seminar to grab up some high self-esteem; but, i her journey, that's where it all started. Who knows, maybe your journey will start with her book. As she began to open her heart to God and realize that He had already given her a wealth of gifts, she discovered how to use those gifts and in turn changed the way she saw herself and felt about herself.

The book provides insightful and intimate detail into the struggles Mrs. Cannon dealt with and how she ended up conquering her demons. After each chapter there are a series of questions for the reader to answer that relate to the subject matter that was just covered. She then provides another thought and a series of scripture to reflect on before moving on to the next topic.

As mentioned, I found this book to be relatable on so many levels. Although I don't necessarily struggle with low self-esteem, I am self-conscious about my weight from time to time and could easily put myself in the author's shoes. While every experience she writes about was not something I could relate to, I was still able to see the authors struggles and be sympathetic and at times even come up with other scenarios that were similar.

If you have ever struggles with your weight or self-esteem then I think this book would be a good read for you. If you are interested in winning a copy of the book, My Big Bottom Blessing, then just leave a comment at the bottom of this post and you will be entered to win. The contest will remain open until Friday, June 08 at 9:00 p.m. Central time. A winner will be announced Saturday, June 09. Thanks for reading and good luck!

If you would like to read a sample chapter from the book click here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Greene Street Market

Have you heard of the Greene Street Market? It was started last year by the Church of the Nativity Episcopal and takes place May thru October on Thursday afternoons from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. in the vacant lot across the street from the church. (Whew, that was a long sentence.) My next-door neighbor mentioned it to me last year while it taking place, but for whatever reason, I never took the time to check it out. I had seen a few signs up around downtown advertising the return of the Greene Street Market (it is, after all, May) and last Thursday, I made my first stop by the Greene Street Market.

I didn't think I had a lot of time to peruse because my plans were to go home and mow the lawn (I didn't know my dad had already completed that task); not to mention the fact that it was day one of the Memorial Day weekend heat wave and I wasn't much up on sweating in my work clothes. Those would be my dressy work clothes, not my working in the yard work clothes - just to clarify. I arrived downtown around 5:00 and was surprised by how many cars were parked close to the market. I honestly didn't know what kind of crowd to expect and was surprised to see so many people milling about. I found a spot a block or so away and hauled it up the hill to the market. I was actually kind of overwhelmed by the number of people and all the various items being displayed. I think the vast amount of people made perusing kind of difficult; plus I was kind of in a hurry because I thought I had to mow the lawn. I had some vegetables on m weekly grocery list and wanted to go ahead and purchase those. I think it's important to support local farmers and would rather spend my money locally when I can and so I picked up some squash and zucchini which was on my list.

I walked around a little more and looked at some of the booths. I had read online that Fred Bread had a booth and I wanted to find that booth to pick up some jalapeno bread or some other fun kind, but, alas, I could not find their booth. I probably walked right by it. There were a lot of stands selling vegetables and fruits and quite a few selling fresh eggs and meat as well, including beef, chicken and lamb. There were also vendors selling flowers, canned foods and frozen drinks and popsicles which looked exceptionally refreshing on that hot afternoon. There were also booths that were selling home-baked goods and it made me think that Erika and I should set up a booth and sell some of our delicious treats. Finally, there were booths with sandwiches and other hot foods which smelled so good it made my stomach growl. I didn't get anything though since I thought all that yard mowing was ahead of me.

As for entertainment, there was live music in the form of some fiddling folks and I wouldn't be surprised if a few people ended up dancing a jog after the sun went down. for the 10 or 15 minutes I was there, I really enjoyed my time at the Greene Street Market. I hope to go back many more times and even partake of some of that good smelling food. The next time I go I plan to go around 7:00 or so because hopefully by then the sun will have gone down some and it won't be as hot (that's wishful thinking on my part).

If you're looking for something fun to do on a Thursday night, stop by the Greene Street Market and see what the local farmers and other vendors have for sale. You may find a hidden treasure or two.

Here's a link to the official web site if you want to take a closer look.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back to the Grind

It was back to the grind today for me and many of you as well I would assume. It's always hard to go back to work after a three-day weekend. I really did not want to get up this morning, but I did and made it through the day just fine. We'll have another holiday before you know it as July 4 is just around the corner. The bad thing about that holiday is it is on a Wednesday - so work two days, have a day off and work two more. That's kind of weird. I always say if you can make it to May then you're down the home stretch because beginning in May you have at least one holiday every other month for the rest of the year.

So, the weekend was not very busy for me, which was nice and also strange as it seems most every weekend recently has been too busy. Thanks to my dad doing all the yard work last week, there was nothing to do around the house other than the normal house cleaning chores which didn't take up too much time.
Friday night I went to my parents' house for dinner. My mom got my dad a wok for his birthday and he has been cooking up a storm with that piece of kitchen equipment so he prepared a beef dish for us that was really quite good. I need to get some wok tips from him because I've had a wok for years and have used it maybe one time. After dinner I tried to hook up their wireless printer but sadly it was not a success. Their computer has some issues and after a call to Cannon customer service it was discovered that the computer would have to be repaired before the printer could be hooked up. My dad and I then did some perusing on and then The Tide and I loaded up and went on home.

Saturday morning brought with it the DirecTV man. As you may recall, when my dad did all the yard work last Thursday night he cut the line to the DirecTV. My time slot was between 8:00 and noon and the guy called about 8:45 and said he was on his way. He arrived around 9:00 and worked for about two hours. Turns out my dad only cut two of four lines and the new DirecTV system only requires one line. So, the guy, who was probably the best DirecTV guy I've ever had come to the house, upgraded my system and hooked up my main receiver to the internet which had never been done before. He really took a lot of time and got everything situated as it should be and I'm about 90% sure I won't be charged for the cal as originally thought. I pay a protection fee each month so that I don't have to pay for service calls but because the line was cut by a third party, I was going to be charged. Then, I think, since the system was upgraded, etc. I ended up without a charge. I'll obviously keep an eye out for the charge, but I'm pretty sure there's not going to be one, which is super nice!

Saturday afternoon I had a facial thanks to a gift certificate I received for Christmas 2010 - nothing like waiting as long as you can to make use of a gift. It was relaxing and lasted about an hour and a half; after which I made my weekly Publix run. Saturday evening I just watched TV and tried to keep cool. It was really warm here this weekend as you probably know. Sunday was a pretty boring day as I only left the house to go to church and didn't do anything else other than nap and watch TV - so exciting!

Monday morning was the Cotton Row Run, or Trot as slow folks like me prefer to call it. I knew I wasn't going to do ay running because of the shin splints I've been experiencing. A friend from work, Ambrey, and her husband Steve picked me up around 8:00. Steve dropped Ambrey and me off at the start and went to park the car. We met up with some of Ambrey's friends and waited for the race to get underway. I ran into my cousins and talked to them for a good 30 minutes or so. The girls had run the 10K and my cousin Benny was going to walk the 5K - a man after my own heart. The girls walked with him as well. Ambrey had plans to walk with me and when the race got started, we both started jogging, but I quickly changed to walking because my shins started hurting. I let Ambrey trot on ahead - I didn't want to cramp her style. A few times when I saw the cop car closing in I picked up the pace so as not to finish dead last. I finished in a terrible 56 minutes walking, which sadly isn't the worst time I've ever had. I think my Liz Hurley time last October was worse. It was hotter than blazes out and I had put sunscreen on my face and arms but forgot about my chest and got a little sun from my V-neck shirt and also on my back where the skin was exposed. Someone said last year's Cotton Row was hotter than this year. I can't imagine. A lot of the houses in the neighborhoods had set out sprinklers for us to run/walk through which was so refreshing! After the race, I met back up with Ambrey and her gang of friends and a little before 11:00 we left downtown and they deposited me back at my house.

When I got home, I made some coleslaw and deviled eggs (I had made a cake first thing that morning) for the cookout my parents' had that afternoon. We had burgers and hot dogs, potato salad, watermelon, etc. There was a lot of food and it was all good. After the cookout I headed home and watched the first part of The Hatfields and McCoys on History. It was really good. If you missed it, see if you can find it in your TV Guide or online because it was quite entertaining and part two is tonight (Tuesday) and part three tomorrow night (Wednesday).

So, that about sums up my weekend. I hope yours was a lot of fun as well!

 Cleaning up after dinner Friday night

 Hoping for a crumb!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day 2012

Hope you all have a nice Memorial Day and be sure to take a moment to stop and remember those who lost their lives to make our freedom possible.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Not An Ordinary Thursday

Thursday morning as I was getting ready for work, I turned on my phone which had been charging overnight and rather than the one beep alert for a message, I had two. The first was for the emails I had received overnight and the second was a text message from my dad. He asked me to leave a key for him in the usual spot so he could come by and look at the back door. Huh? I didn’t know why and it sounded kind of weird, but I text him back “OK” and left a key before I went to work.

Around 11:00 a.m. I got a call from my dad. He was at my house working on digging a trench for the pipe that drains the water from my washing machine and he cut a cable line. Now, I have about a million and a half cables going into my house, the majority of which are not even used. When I first moved in I had cable, then I got DirecTV, then I got DirecTV HD and then I got a line put in for the cable internet and needless to say, there are a lot of cables coming into this little house of mine.

My dad checked the TV (working) and the internet (also working) and so it seemed there wasn’t going to be any trouble. I asked him what inspired him to come out and dig that trench, a project I had scheduled for Fourth of July (even had an extra day scheduled off to get it done) and he said he didn’t have anything to do today and decided to come work on that. OK, sounds good to me. I told him if he wanted he could go ahead and mow the grass too. I was only joking because I had that on my own agenda for Thursday night. Since my shins are still in bad shape, I was going to take the night off from training and do a little yard work instead – exercise without the excruciating pain – I like it! So, I went on about my day and didn’t think much more of it to be honest.

After work I stopped by the Greene Street Market (more on this in a later post – I planned on writing about this tonight, but it will have to wait) and then came home only to discover that all the shrubs had been trimmed, the trench had been dug and the yard had been mowed! It was like the landscaping fairy stopped by! There was also a box on the house where all those million and half cables connected and it had been repaired! I have no idea what got into my dad, but goodness, what a nice surprise. Apparently it was all planned too because he brought his own lawn bags. I know this because his have blue ties, mine do not.

This Saturday I had planned on trimming the shrubs with the hedge trimmers I got him for Christmas; maybe he wanted to be the first to use them? Or maybe he didn’t trust me with them? Or maybe he thought I would do a bad job? I don’t know. Actually I just talked to him on the phone and he said he just wanted to do something nice for someone – how awesome is that? I have the best dad! I hardly even recognized my house! Those shrubs of mine were completely out of control and now look so nice and neat. In the back, the shrubs were practically covering up the back door and now you can go outside without being accosted by a branch of some sort.

When I got in and turned on the TV, it turns out that the line that was cut was indeed the DirecTV line. I had to call and walk through a plethora of steps to try and get the receiver operating properly and nothing worked. So, a service guy is coming out on Saturday morning between the lengthy window of 8 a.m. and noon. You’d think they could be a little more precise. Actually I’m just glad they had a slot available so soon. I have the service protection plan, but sadly, this isn’t covered since the line was cut by a third party. Oh well, it’s a small price to pay for all the work my dad did. He offered to pay it, but I said no. It’s not necessary and not really that big of a deal. If the TV season finales weren’t over, it might be a different story – just kidding. I’ve learned to not get too fired up about things like I used to. I’m not always good at it, but if I take some time to look at the big picture, this is really not a big deal, and I can just budget it into my next bill which is when it will show up.

So, that’s the story of my not so ordinary Thursday. Since I had decided to give my shins a much needed rest before I Cotton Row Run on Monday, I’m sitting at home with a whole lot of nothing to do, which is really weird. I will probably give the bathroom a good scrubbing here in a little while and will more than likely watch a movie. I also now have a Saturday with nothing major on the agenda as that was when I was going to get the shrubs trimmed. The only thing I have scheduled now is waiting on the DirecTV man and I’m getting a facial that afternoon (thanks to a gift certificate I got way back when). This holiday weekend is shaping up to be more relaxing than I thought it would be.

My house -with newly trimmed shrubs!

Another view

The new trench for my washing machine drain

Look - the box of a million and a half cables is closed!

I can walk outside without getting hit in the face with a random shrub branch

Some Day Lilies on the side of my house

A hydrangea on the side of the house

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Music Review: Jason Mraz - Love is a Four-Letter Word

I've been a fan of Jason Mraz since probably 2002 when I was first introduced to his music by my lovely friend Dave from Staten Island. How are you, anyway, Dave? Do you stop be here from time to time? Haven't heard from you in a sweet forever. Anyway, moving on, this isn't a letter to Dave, it's a music review, or something of the sort. So, Jason Mraz, I've liked his music since around 2002 when he wasn't well known and all American women weren't swooning over him. To be honest I'm not swooning over him right now. I'm not digging his long hair. His looks much lovelier with trimmed locks in my opinion. Sorry - I'm really getting off subject today.

So, Jason (yes, we are on a first name basis) released a new album a few weeks ago and I've got to say, I think it is my favorite of his and it much better than the last album, which I also liked. This album has a bit of a different sound that you may be used to hearing from Mr. Mraz and is a lot different that his first albums, but I think we can chalk that up to his maturing and becoming and older and wiser and more soulful person. (I'm just assuming, don't we all get that way with age, or at least we should). I bought the bonus album off of iTunes which has 17 tracks (I think), which includes a few bonus tracks which are some of my favorite of the album. After you listen to it a couple of times, you will want to sing along with each track, well, I do anyway; but, I really like to sing. If you listen to the radio, you've probably heard the single, "I Won't Give Up", it was also sung on Glee last week. It's a really great song with nice lyrics and a very moving video if you happen to see it. It came with my iTunes download. Do they even show videos anymore? I don't watch the video channels like I did when I was younger.

I really like each song on the album and have listen to it probably 15 times or more since I downloaded it. I think it has become my favorite Mraz album as I love every song and on previous albums, there are a few songs I wouldn't mind skipping over. The bonus tracks as mentioned, are great. A couple of them are from live shows and I kid you not, I laughed out loud at work at some of the things he said on stage. Clearly, Mr. Mraz has a great sense of humor if he's anything like the live cuts on the bonus tracks. Listening to it made me want to find a show close by and go see it. Sadly, Jackie and I have already spent our concert budget for the year on other tickets (look out September 2012, we're coming for you!)

If you like pop rock, then you will probably like this album. I think it's one of the better albums that has come out recently and have no doubt it will stay on steady rotation on my music playlist.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Movie Experience and Review: The Avengers

First of all, let me apologize for the crazy font situation around here. You may not even notice it, but it's driving me crazy and sometimes, no matter how many times I edit, I cannot make the font what it is supposed to be. If you happen to check the blog around the time I'm posting you may get three different fonts in the same post. It's crazy time around here! Thank you for letting me get that off my chest; now, on to the movie experience and review.

As mentioned yesterday, I finally had an opportunity to go and see The Avengers on Friday night. I had wanted to see it since it first came out, but time would not allow. I went to the 7:30 p.m. showing at Rave and arrived at the theater about 7:00 or maybe a few minutes later. I bought my ticket, made my way to the concession stand, procured a medium popcorn (which sounds super good right now), made a pit stop and quickly found a seat. Despite how early I was, the theater was quickly filling up, which was kind of surprising considering the movie had been out for two weeks. I sat in one of the side rows of four hoping against hope that no one would sit beside me.

About 7:20 I realized that if I didn't slow down on the popcorn there wouldn't be any left for the actual movie or even the preview and so I sat the bag down and used every ounce of self-control to not continue munching. With just one or two minutes to spare, a high school couple walked up the aisle and asked if anyone was sitting beside me; sadly, the answer was no and so the two love birds plopped down beside the old single lady. Thankfully, they did not make out during the movie. Other than this one occurrence, there really isn't much more to relay to you regarding the experience. For the first time in a long time there was no one coughing or hacking or hitting me with a scarf. It was like a modern movie miracle or something of the sort.

As for the movie, it was quite good. It lived up to its very hyped expectations. Everyone I know who has seen it loved it; in fact, some people I know have seen it twice. I don't know if I would see it again at the theater, but, that's only because it takes a very special movie for me to see more than one time on the big screen (think Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and most recently The Hunger Games). I would watch it again at home, probably even more than once.

The movie was packed with action from the very beginning. I can't say that my heart ever raced, but there were some very exciting scenes. Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Ironman was great as always. I love his sarcastic and dry sense of humor and it is abundant in this movie. In fact, humor in general is quite abundant throughout the movie. I laughed loudly many times, probably embarrassing the couple next to me. Of course, the plot isn't totally realistic considering I doubt seriously some evil guy from a far away world is going to some to earth and threaten civilization; but, on the flip side, it wasn't cheesy or stupid either. It was actually something that could be followed by young and old alike.

I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone looking for a cinema retreat this holiday weekend. There were people of all ages in the showing I went to - kids, teenagers, adults - and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Strangely enough I don't know of any summer blockbusters opening this holiday weekend so this one might be your best bet anyway. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I Had a Case of The Mondays

I have probably used that title before or something close to it, but that's how it goes when you've been blogging for over three years and you really love a line from a movie. Sunday night I thought about blogging multiple times, obviously, thought about is the key phrase as I didn't post anything. That's how it goes sometimes; I guess you could say my case of the Mondays started on Sunday night when I couldn't get motivated to write anything.

As mentioned last Friday, I took the weekend off from working out (and lawn mowing for that matter) and rested my sore shins instead. So, Friday night I finally had an opportunity to go see The Avengers. I had anxiously been anticipating its release and had been busy with other things the past two weekends and did not have a spare moment to go see it until this past weekend. It did not disappoint. It was just as good as everyone said it was and I enjoyed it immensely. A movie review will be up later this week. 

On Saturday, my dad came over early morning to repair the storm door at the back of my house. I mentioned a while back that I thought I might have to have it replaced; but, fortunately, my dad was able to replace the door handle instead. The best part is it actually works! My dad isn't the best at repairing things, even he will admit this and he was also quite impressed with his door repair abilities. I believe his exact words were, "It works! And it locks too!" It was a pretty exciting moment. Saturday afternoon I got a haircut (nothing drastic, just a good trimming) and then made a stop by Publix and Dick's Sporting Goods. I had to pick up some athletic tape at Dick's which I plan to use tonight on my shins (yes, they are still hurting!). Saturday evening I went over to my friends' Blake and Honey's house and had dinner with them and their two kiddos. We were entertained by dancing and hilarious comments from the kids. Where do kids come up with this stuff? Dinner was meatloaf, lima beans, corn, and broccoli casserole, all of which was quite good. I know most people aren't big fans of the meatloaf, but I do enjoy it! 

Sunday was the same routine as always, church, nap and church again. Sunday night, however, I was in for an unplanned and unexpected treat. Jackie had sent a text while I was napping that her nieces were in town. They had gone out to Bridge Street Sunday afternoon and wanted me to come along but because of my extreme napping abilities I wasn't able to join them, but we met up for dinner after church that evening.  We ate at Sam and Greg's which is one of my favorite spots. My lovely cousin Alexandra was working that night too so not only did I get to see Jackie's nieces (and Jackie and the kids), but my cousin too. Jackie had ordered a large pepperoni and a small cheese and then we decided it might not be enough so I went in and ordered a medium sausage. Then they messed up the pepperoni and made a large cheese but gave it to us anyway. So, we ended up with way more pizza than we needed, but we all got to take some home. It was so good to see the girls - they both live in Illinois and so we don't get to see them very often. I was glad for the opportunity to spend some time with them.

All of this brings us to Monday, which is today (as I'm writing). I haven't felt so swell today and am not sure why. The pain in my shins has been pretty intense today and also my knees are hurting, I'm assuming thanks to the rain that came in as I have arthritis in my knees and they always are achy when a front moves through. To top things off, my stomach was achy all day. Basically it's just one of those days where I would like to have been at home doing nothing in particular, especially considering it was a really slow work day and I'm sure I wouldn't have missed out on much by not being there. I stuck it out though because I'm a trooper or something like that.

After work Monday I went to D1 and spent the next hour being tortured. Y’all, I cannot even explain how badly my shins were hurting when it was over. I was close to tears – and I taped my legs! When I got home, the power was out and so I used all the hot water in the hot water heater to soak for a while. Just as I got out of the bath, the power came back on and I was able to eat some dinner and then ice down my legs for the next hour. It’s now 9:00 and as soon as I post this, I’m going to bed. I lead such an adventurous life!

Hope you all had a great weekend! I don’t know about you, but I for one am looking forward to this next weekend when those of us who work get a holiday. Thrilled – seriously, I am thrilled about a day off! Have a good Tuesday!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

And The Winner Is

Congrats to Candy, winner of the MOMumental book giveaway. I know where to find you so I’ll bring it to you soon. Thanks to all who entered! Another book giveaway is coming soon! Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Third Night Didn't Go So Well

I really don't think there's much worse than having a crick in your neck. Well, I guess in reality there are a lot of worse things than that, but man is it annoying. I had a crick in my neck all day Thursday and applied BioFreeze multiple times to my neck and upper back to no avail. I finally broke down and called the chiropractor because it seemed to get worse throughout the day rather than better and I wanted to see if he could work out the kink so to speak before I had to endure another grueling hour at D1. He was able to locate the source of the problem, popped it and I’m not ashamed to admit I may have let out a little scream. It still hurt, but not as bad as it was hurting before.

Wednesday was my off day from training and I was really thankful for the break. I still had a lot of soreness on Thursday, but not as much as Wednesday, which was a blessing. My shins, however, were apparently hurting more than I realized because when I got to D1 on Thursday night, I could barely walk or run the pain was so intense. I had to sit out most of the running and the leg drills because there was no way I could have made it through. It felt like needles shooting up my legs.

When we moved to the weight room and worked on arms, I did all of that work because I wanted to accomplish something while I was there. When I got home, it was another Epsom salt bath to pull out some of the soreness and then I wrapped my shins and my neck in ice in an effort to help alleviate the pain. The guy who was saying “looking good out there” was back on Thursday. He asked me something and for the life of me I cannot remember what. All I remember was saying that my legs were killing me.

I’ve sadly decided to take Friday and Saturday off from working out. Sunday is my normal day off so I will have three days of rest before I start a new week. I had planned on going back Friday and Saturday but at this point, I think my shins could use the rest and hopefully with any luck I will be ready to give it 100% on Monday.

That's about it as far as updates are concerned. Don't forget, you have only a few hours left to enter the book giveaway that's going on this week. Just leave a comment on this post. A winner will be announced Saturday morning and with only four entrants so far, your chances are looking pretty good. I hope to have another review and giveaway up soon. If not next week then the week after; so stay tuned for that.

I certainly hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Apprently I Look Like A Football Player

Y'all, I am so upset! I had written a really long and glorious post about my second day at D1 and ghetto mail deleted it. We use Gmail rather than Outlook at work because it's cheaper and our company is all about the cheap. I refer to it as ghetto mail because it is in fact, ghetto. So, now, I have to try and replicate what was a super long post that I had been writing periodically throughout the day. I can't even remember how I had started it; so, instead, I will start how I was ending it because that's where my train of thought was when ghetto mail deleted my post.

Moving on, Kimberly asked in one of her comments, "What does D1 stand for?" I don't really know the answer, but I think Division One, as in NCAA Division One; a lot of Pro and collegiate athletes train at D1 facilities. D1 is, after all, the place for the athlete - please don't laugh when you think of me going somewhere that is the place for the athlete. OK, just kidding you can laugh because I do. The #1 rule is "Athletes Only" which makes me laugh every time I look at it. The facility in Huntsville is owned by Philip Rivers and Condredge Holloway.

Tuesday I was a little sore, but not too bad, which is exactly what I told the trainer when she asked me on Tuesday night. Then she said we were going to work on legs and I wanted to flee the premises, but alas, I stuck around for some hard work.

I walked around the field before class got started just to loosen up my legs since they were a little sore, from the running on Monday I guess, and passed by a group of maybe four kids practicing football drills with one of the instructors. I was wearing a NY Giants T-shirt and a bandana around my head. You may know that my signature piece of clothing for working out is the bandana. This one kid who had been talking each time I passed looks at me and say, "Hey, do you play football?" I said, "Me?” and probably had a look of bewilderment on my face. He shakes his head yes and I said, “No, why?" To which he replies, “Well you have that thing on your head," and he rubs his head indicating a bandana. I said, "Oh, well, I wear this to keep the sweat off of my face, you know what I mean?" and gave him a little pat on the back. He said, "Yeah, I know what you mean." and that the extent of our conversation. I mean I know I’m as slow as an offensive lineman but do I look like one too?

The class got started soon after my conversation with the boy, We started off with two laps of jogging around the field, then around the field again extending one leg in the air after each step, then walking backwards and going down on hands with one leg extended in the air backwards (this is probably a terrible description) and then jogging again. I’m pretty sure I may have missed the last lap of jogging because I was so slow with the other laps. My dad has always said Parkers are slow and that has never been more evident that this week!

We did circuit training Tuesday night, rotating between dips with the large round weights, jump rope, squats with dumbbells and ab work with the weight balls. Then after that we went outside and ran sprints against a partner - I partnered up with some older women because everyone else was faster than me. Then we headed back inside for another round at the stations and then back outside for more sprints, lunges, and running sideways, which I like to call galloping, then back inside for a final run through the stations. It was a lot of work, but the hour went by quickly. Unlike Monday night, I did not feel like I could go for another 30 minutes. In fact, the trainer asked me a couple of times if I was okay. I’m hoping this was because my face is known to get scarlet red when I get hot/workout, etc.  rather than I looked like I was going to kill over. I was thankful that the hour was up and that I could go home and soak in a hot bath of Epsom salts, after which I laid on the couch in a fetal position for the rest of the evening. I was also concerned I might have shin splints on Wednesday as my shins were smarting and I am prone to getting them when I run. Thankfully the shin split fairly passed me over this time around.

I’m also sad to say, that my cheering section was absent on Tuesday night – no man on the sideline saying, “looking good out there.” Maybe he will be back on Thursday.

I was pretty stiff Wednesday morning when I got up, but not as stiff as I was, for example, when I worked out with the personal trainer at Riviera when I first joined there. That guy put me through some brutal weights and way too heavy if you ask me. I’m not going to kill myself the first week or so and I used only small weights (10 pound for the dips and five pound dumbbells for the squats). When I took a hot shower, it helped loosen up my muscles, but the longer I sat at my computer, the stiffer I got throughout the day.

I took Wednesday night off thanks to church services; but will be back at it again on Thursday evening. As torturous and grueling as these workouts are for a gal like me, I have really enjoyed it and after the month is up, if I can afford it, I will probably keep going. I don’t know how much the regular membership is; the Groupon said it was $180 a month (that was the value I should say) but I have a hard time believing that is the regular monthly price. If it is, then there are some really rich folks going there and I need to see about persuading one of the dudes to marry me! I also discovered last night there is a girl that works where I do that is in the class and I’m not being mean, but I really don’t foresee her salary being able to afford $180 a month. So, I’m anxious to find out what the real price is and am keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to afford it because I have a feeling this training is really going to do me some good and I would like to keep it up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Pause In Regularly Scheduled Blogging

I completed day two at D1 and am pooped! I will fill you in on all the gory details tomorrow becuase tomorrow the soreness will set in and I'll be able to truly express the pain I feel. In the meantime, enjoy this picture of me and my mom from my dad's 60th birthday soiree. It makes me laugh!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Survived Day One

Monday night I started my month of training at D1. I was nervous about how it would go, but was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out.

The class started at 6:00 and I arrived right at 6:00, maybe a couple of minutes after. I didn’t properly judge the traffic at that time of day and as a result, was running behind schedule. I signed the waiver form, which I didn’t even read, but it probably said something along the lines of I can’t sue them if I injure myself. Oddly enough, they didn’t even ask for an emergency contact.

I met up with the others on the field and since I was a little late, I had to jog around the field and then walk around the field to warm up; then I joined the others in sprints up and down the field. Then we did crunches and more sprints and running backwards and running with our knees up high – lots and lots of running. Then we switched out with another group who came on the field for running while we worked out with free weights. Now, I am not really good at working with free weights. I don’t really know how to properly use them and felt like a dope copying the others; but I guess I did okay. There was no one to show us what to do. The instructor was on the field with the other group and so we were left to our own devices. Speaking of the other group, a guy from church was also there. He has been going since July and said he really likes it.

After a while, we switched again and went back on the field for more sprinting, more crunches, and did I mention more running. After a while we switched up again and then at the end of class met up for more running, more crunches and some pushups to boot. Most of the others also used a night stick to beat on a bag for one minute at a time but as a newcomer, I wasn’t able to do that – maybe another time because I’m pretty sure I could let out some aggression on that bag!

The hour went by quickly. I guess being used to hour-long spin classes helped because it seemed like we were finished in no time and although I was tired and sweaty, I feel like I could have gone on for another 30 minutes or so.

Throughout the hour, I would periodically go drink from my water bottle which was sitting on a ledge. There was a man standing there and whenever I stopped to get a drink he would say, “looking good out there” or “good job.” Looking back on it, it cracks me up. At the end of class he asked if I got a good workout. I guess he was my own personal cheering section. Maybe he wanted to see the chunky girl succeed.

Afterwards, I came home, had some dinner, took some Aleve, drank a bunch of water and soaked in a bath of Epsom Salts, all in an effort to minimize tomorrow’s achiness. I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out.

It definitely wasn’t as bad as I anticipated it being. I might have been the slowest person out there, but at least I didn’t pass out or puke – although the thought crossed my mind a time or two. I’m heading back for more torture Tuesday night. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Garrison Keillor Isn't Dead

So, thanks, Mary, for clearing that up. You know, I actually meant to look that up before I posted it but then I failed myself and posted that he was dead. Sorry, Mr. Keillor, for announcing your premature demise. Glad to know you are still around and if you make it to the show in Huntsville (Do you travel with the show that bares your name?) then maybe we can get together for a spot of tea or something - and, yes, I realize he isn't British either. Glad we cleared that up.

I didn't post on Sunday night and I have no good excuse as to why that is. I guess I got caught up in watching the season finale of Survivor and the series finale of Desperate Housewives and the next thing I knew it was 10:30, I had not written anything and wasn't about to delay my bedtime any longer to write a post. Did anyone else watch the series finale of Desperate Housewives? It was okay I guess. They didn't leave any open ends on the existing characters but chose instead to wrap it all up nice and neat which is good for those of us that like endings to actually have an ending but at the same time I found it to be a little too neat for a show that was often so messy. I guess when I really think about it, I never care for the way a series I like ends; probably because I hate to see it go.  Speaking of series that cancelled, tis the season when networks pass out the pink slips and some shows that were not renewed that I liked were A Gifted Man and Harry's Law. I think most of the other shows I watch were renewed, including Smash, which was a shocker because although it started out great, it has kind of tanked and I am surprised NBC renewed it for another season. Apparently network execs and I do not have the same opinion about what shows should stick around and which ones should go.

I had a pretty good weekend and it was a lot more low-key than the past ones have been. I was busy but actually had some down time as well which was a blessing. Friday after work, I mowed the lawn and it was the perfect time to do it because it wasn't terribly hot and it rained most of the remainder of the weekend. Jackie came over Friday night and we just sat around and chatted because believe it or not, it has been since before my vacation that we have had a moment to sit around and chat about what's going on in our lives. Clearly we have both been busy. On Saturday, I did the usual house cleaning and also went to the funeral of a friend's father. After the funeral I made my weekly trip to Publix and then back home to finish up some cleaning and do some Bible studying for the class I taught on Sunday.

Sunday, of course, was Mother's Day. I cooked lunch for my mom, dad and grandparents. Mother picked out the menu of chicken casserole, corn, fried okra and apple dumplings. It all turned out well. After lunch, since I was in the area, I made a run by Mr. Donut and then by Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of things that my Publix doesn't carry. I had The Tide with me and we stopped by PetSmart so she could have her nails trimmed. She was on good behavior yesterday, but mostly I just think she is getting old and tired and that makes me sad.

I made it home right at 3:00 and laid down on the couch to nap for an hour before returning to church; only after I turned off the alarm on my phone, I didn't get up like I should have and instead fell back asleep and didn't wake up until after church had started. Hopefully the good Lord will overlook that absence. Sometimes a girl just needs some rest. The remainder of the evening was spent watching TV and being lazy. Today I start my workouts at D1 which means my fingers may not have the strength they need to type, but I will do my best to recap what is sure to be an interesting afternoon.

Hope all of you moms out there had a good Mother's Day. Don't forget to enterto win the book I'm giving away this week. The giveaway is open through Friday. Have a good week!

Friday, May 11, 2012

MOMumental: A Book Review and Giveaway

~~ This Giveaway Is Now Closed ~~

Recently I was blessed to become a member of a Thomas Nelson and Worthy Publishing group of book reviewers and today, have the first of those book reviews for your reading pleasure. The name of the book is MOMunmental and it was written by Jennifer Grant, a mother of four and a feature writer for the Chicago Tribune.

Now, you are probably wondering why in the heck a person who is not a mother is reviewing a book geared towards mothers. Well, that's a good question. This particular book was the first book offered to this newly formed group and I was so excited to participate and host a giveaway that I honestly didn't even think about the topic until I had already agreed to have a review and giveaway here on my blog. However, it didn't turn out so bad because the book was quite delightful and even though I'm approaching the age of ancient, I do still hope and pray to one day be a mother and I think this book was a wonderful and honest insight into how you can plan and picture yourself with a perfect neatly pressed and jovial family, but in reality that's not ever how it turns out and that's not necessarily a bad thing as my dad would say.

Grant opens up with an introduction that provides insight into her childhood of being a latchkey kid of divorced parents. She then goes on to give a brief description of the idea she formed of the perfect family and how she wanted her family to be once she had one of her own. Obviously, things didn't really turn out as she had planned, but in my opinion, and I'm sure she would agree, her family dynamic turned out quite well. Thanks to the very insightful observation of one of her young sons, she came to the realization that what matters is what you do most of the time, not just every now and then that really matters. In other words, lead by example; isn't that a philosophy that we hear in church all the time anyway? So, why not apply it to parenting as well?

Grant tells personal stories from her own family as well as stories about the families of her friends and family members to convey the message that yes, as a parent, you will screw up from time to time, but in the long run it's not going to ruin your kids. It's doubtful your child will need years of therapy because you stepped on one of their toys and broke it - no matter how guilty you may feel about the situation. I found this very real look into the lives of parents to be refreshing and not some bottled up version of parenting that is forced down the throats of so many parents in this day and age of striving for perfection. I know I didn't grow up in a perfect family and I'm sure you didn't either and you know what, I turned out okay (please don't comment if you disagree! HA!).

Throughout the book, Grant demonstrates what it's like to be an imperfect, yet a good parent and isn't that what we all want anyway - to be a good parent or to have good parents. There is so much pressure on people to live a life of perfection these days and I think this messy approach to child rearing and realistic look at family life is what made this book so relatable. This book is like a breath of fresh air in showing people that you don't have to be a Stepford Wife in order to have a well-balanced, healthy and happy family. I found the book to be quite enjoyable and laughed out loud and some of the stories that Grant told. I could easily relate to a lot of the stories as many of them could have taken place in my own childhood home.
If you would like to read a sample of the book click here. The book is available at all major retailers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Thanks to the lovely people at Worthy Publishing, I not only received a copy for myself, but also a copy to give away to one lucky reader! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post between now and Friday, May 18th at 9:00 p.m. Central Time. I will choose a winner using Random.Org and will announce the winner after the comments are closed.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Today We Were Appreciated

Yesterday at work we received an email that said in appreciation for our employees, popcorn would be available in the cafeteria on Thursday and Friday between 1:00 - 3:00. I told everyone that the popcorn must be expiring and they need to get rid of it because why else would they be giving us popcorn? We've never been appreciated before?

At any rate, about 1:30 I headed down to the cafeteria with a couple of other people to get my popcorn, because I wanted to feel appreciated. When we got there, the popcorn was about to be gone and a new batch needed to be popped and so the cafeteria manager came out and put some kernels in the popper and we stood waiting on it. A line formed behind us (I was the first in line) and I quickly felt like everyone was staring at me and blaming me for the lack of popcorn. They weren't, but being at the front of the line, it sure felt that way and then some of the guys starting asking me why there wasn't any popcorn. It actually became quite humorous because there were about 20 of us standing there staring at the popcorn machine. Think of all the money that was wasted in the 10 minutes or so we stood there waiting for a salty snack. Oh well, at least we were appreciated.

In other work related news, we found out today that instead of paper check stubs, we will now be receiving the electronically, which I think is great. I heard one person complain about it but she doesn't have internet at home, however she does have internet at work so I really don't know what the big deal is. I always end up with a drawer full of pay stubs and about once a year or so I will clean them out, but now I don't even have to worry with that because they will all be stored electronically and if I ever happen to need a copy (like to get a car loan for example) then all I have to do is pull them up online rather than dig through a drawer - sounds good to me!

This week the Broadway Theater League (BTL) announced the line-up for the 2012-13 season - I was not impressed. In fact, I might go so far as to say I was really disappointed. Look, I know Les Mis can't come every year (and that's a shame) but there have got to be some better traveling shows than the line-up they have come up with for this next season. Here's the line-up:

West Side Story - ok, it's a classic, and supposedly the most requested show in the 1012 survey, but it's been here at least twice before and it's not one that I would go see every time it comes to town.
Blue Man Group - this is the only show on the list that I might go see. I have wanted to see these guys perform for a while. I have heard it is a great show and I almost suggested we all go see it at Universal when we were there last month, but didn't want to pay for the ticket. So, I might go see this one, but in all honesty, this is not a Broadway show in my mind.
Spamalot - um, this one was just here four years ago and maybe even two or three years before that. I know I've seen it twice and don't care to see it again. I really don't even think it's that funny.
Chicago - I actually like Chicago a lot, so this one could be a possibility as well, Ill have to see what my cash flow is like when ticket buying time comes around
The Addams Family - This one is probably geared towards children and I had no idea there was an Addams Family musical so it might be worth checking out, but chances are, I won't.

They have a line-up of special shows this year too:

Jack Hanna's Into The Wild Live - Um, no thanks!
Elvis Lives - Not a big Elvis fan, although I did go to Graceland on my birthday one year
Garrison Keillor - this one might be okay, especially considering Mr. Keillor is dead and I'm wondering how he might make an appearance.

So, yeah, I'm disappointed. Why can't they bring in Wicked, or Mary Poppins or The Lion King, or Phantom or Les Mis? Please, I beg of you, a good show that hasn't been here before. Thanks for your understanding!

Reminder - come back this weekend and next week to read a book review and enter a giveaway contest - just in time for Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Forgot to Mention

So yesterday in my detailed post about all of the problems my dear car Blue is having I completely forgot to mention that the heater doesn't work. As I was driving in to work this morning, it was raining and there was a chill in the air and I wanted a little heat in the car because I was wearing a skirt and my legs were cold. As I turned it on and it spurted out cold air, I remembered that the heat doesn't work unless you are driving about 80 miles per hour (no joke). A few weeks ago when we had that dogwood or blackberry winter, otherwise known as a cold spell, I had to cover up with a blanket on my way in to work. I've had this same problem with my heater every year for the past four, maybe five winters and I always pay some random amount of money to have the repair man fix it up. This past winter, as you probably recall, was anything but cold and so there was never a dire need in having it repaired, but I sure miss having it on cool rainy mornings. At least it's not the AC that doesn't work, like in my friend Honey's car. If it was the AC, no doubt, I would break down and have it repaired ASAP. I only like to sweat at the gym or when working in the yard; other than that, no thanks and certainly not when I'm driving down the road. Honey, however, has children so she obviously, and rightly so, prioritizes the needs of her children over having the AC in her car repaired. If I had a lot of extra cash lying around I would hook her up with an AC repair, but sadly, I do not have extra cash lying around or swimming around or just around for that matter.

Moving on...

I've recently discovered or come up with, however you want to look at it a great way to cook chicken. Probably everyone already knows that chicken tastes good this way and I'm probably the last one to discover it, but anyway, I'll share it with you here. So, I've eaten Mexican something or another basically every day since Friday. I think I'm finally burnt out, but probably not for long because Mexican food is a real joy I tell ya. Anyway, on Sunday, I had laid out a chicken breast with no real idea of how I wanted to cook it for dinner. I ended up squeezing a lime into the bag the chicken breast was in and then hammered it out thin and cooked it in butter and lime juice with some salt and pepper. It became a golden brown and was probably the best chicken I have ever cooked. I subsequently ended up cooking it the same way on both Monday and Tuesday nights and my stomach is growling as I type this just thinking of the deliciousness. I cooked it on medium heat if you were wondering and I wrapped it in a soft tortilla with guacamole and cheese dip. It tasted very similar to a fajita. I thought it was really good, obviously since I had it three nights in a row!

Not that anyone cares, but the Philadelphia Flyers are out of the Stanley Cup playoffs which caused me for the 35th year in a row to be a little heartbroken. OK, maybe not 35 years because I doubt I cared when I was only a few months old, but still, heartbroken nonetheless. Maybe one day before I die they will win the Cup, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

I'm sure many of you play Words with Friends, it's addictive and fun and I love to play myself, but I was recently introduced to Scramble, which is another word game by Zynga and sweet heavens, I love it even more. I've played about 30 games with my three friends who play and lost every game but one and I still love it! I get a little better each time I play. If you like Words, you will probably like Scramble as well. Give it a try!

Continuing on with completely unrelated subjects, one of my customer's went to the same school as I did growing up. He was five years older than me and I had no idea who he was then and if I saw him on the street now I probably wouldn't recognize him as I have never met him in person. Last week, I brought in the yearbook from 1990 and we looked him up. Then we read his senior saying which was, and I quote, "It ain't nothing but a thang." We had a good laugh about that and now every time we respond to one of his emails, we always want to type, "It ain't nothing but a thang." Obviously we don't but we now say that at least once a day when referring to our customer, who has no idea we looked up him up in his senior yearbook and if we did respond with that line, would probably think we had lost our minds and have no clue as to what we were talking about. It makes for a good laugh, though.

I'm really at a loss for additional words or topics right now - scary, huh? Come back tomorrow for another post about, well, who knows what. Then, stop by on Friday for what I hope to be a book review and a giveaway! Oh yeah! I have a little more reading to do on this particular book, but I've already started the review and with any luck it will be finished and posted on Friday evening. For those of you who read during the day, do not fear because the giveaway will be open for a week. I want to give everyone who wants to enter the chance to do just that. OK, that's it for today.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blue Continues to Have Issues

As mentioned yesterday, I don't have much on the agenda right now and so it's any man's guess as to what kind of material will be here over the next little while. All I can promise is that I'll keep it clean and try to write at least something.

I was thinking last night about what I could write about since life has slowed down a wee bit and decided that one thing I could do was update you on my car, Blue. Poor Blue, that's really all you can say. My aunt rode with me a couple of weeks ago when we went to see Michael, Jr. at Grissom and asked me if my car would run without duct tape. I'm pretty sure the answer to that is no. Thankfully, I'm not easily embarrassed.

The latest list of Blue's ailments is a long one. First of all, she needs a good washing, which I would do if I had someone to sit in the backseat and hold up the window for me. It's times like these when a girl really needs her incarcerated brother to be living on the outside. Yes, Blue is having window problems again. I don't know if the Gran Prix model of car is prone to window problems or what, but this is the third of my four windows to have an issue staying up. The first time it was the back window on the passenger side and it was repaired such that it can no longer be rolled down. The second, as you may be aware was the front passenger window, which I had repaired to the tune of $125 back during the winter. Now, it's the back driver's side window that won't stay up and is only being held up by the strength of clear duct tape. So, at some point (or not) when I have an extra $125 lying around (probably won't be any time soon) I'll have it repaired. I would have this one done like the other back window where it just won't roll down any more, but The Tide rides in the backseat when I have to cart her some place or the other and I'm quite sure she would appreciate it if she had some fresh air. Dogs, after all, like to use their turbo noses when riding down the highway. Plus, and I'm probably the only weirdo that ever thinks of this, but what if my car was to run off a bridge and was submerged under water, I mean I would at least like the option of being able to roll down the window before the car plunges into the depth of the river or creek or whatever. Can I get an Amen?

Next, the windshield wiper on the passenger side doesn't work. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before. Thank the good Lord, the one on the driver's side does work, otherwise I would be up a creek. This problem can be temporarily corrected with a number 13 socket wrench which I do not have, but perhaps should consider procuring. Permanently, I would imagine it takes more than a #13 socket wrench, but I fear the price tag and therefore just carry on without the passenger side wiper.

The last time I had my oil changed, I was told my serpentine belt needed to be replaced to the tune of $99 (plus who knows how much tax and labor which is most likely not included in that $99 price tag). I'm always leery when the oil change place tells me I need something replaced because I know they are trying to drum up more business and make some money; but, at the same time, each time I get into the car to go somewhere, there is the thought in the back of my mind that I will end up stranded on the side of the road thanks to my not having replaced that serpentine belt. Thankfully I have roadside assistance through my insurance company and with any luck, I wouldn't be stranded for too long.

I know I've mentioned this before, but my gear shift is also duct taped and I wouldn't be going anywhere but a parking space if it wasn't. That's really all I have to say about that. Finally, I don't know if I've mentioned this one before or not, but because the key release is somehow stuck, I have to stick and ink pen in the steering wheel shaft to retrieve the keys from the ignition. Not just any ink pen, but specifically a BIC ink pen. Needless to say, I have two or three on hand at all times. This has been going on for a couple of years or more now and just comes as second nature when I turn the car off.

I think those are all the issues for now. I'm sure something else will come up soon, it never ceases to amaze me how many issues a car can have yet still drive rather well. I'm thankful to have Blue and really thankful to not have a car payment.Maybe one day I will break down and buy something newer, but today, is not that day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sometimes I Just Ramble

I really don't have that much to chat about today; so, this post will basically just be a random rambling of thoughts as they come to me. It's been a while since that has happened, so I guess I'm due, or something like that. Sadly, after what has been one of the busiest springs ever, I have nothing on the calendar for the immediate future which means I will be grasping at straws for something to write about. How lucky for all of you who stop by here on a somewhat frequent basis.

I really should have mowed the lawn this past weekend, but just couldn't muster up the energy or willpower to do it. Then, it rained heavily twice on Sunday which means in a matter of about 40 seconds it will look like a jungle in my backyard. So, I will more than likely be plagued with having to mow twice this week or twice in one day depending on what day I manage to get around to mowing. I'm thrilled beyond words.

I should be getting a new storm door for my back door some time soon. A nice man from church is going to put it up for me since I don't have a clue how to do that myself, nor does my dad. My granddad wanted to come out and measure for me, so once he does that I should be able to purchase a new door and have it put up. The current door has been broken on more than one occasion and currently has no latch whatsoever, so I would really like to have a door that keeps my main door from being beat up on by the elements. I shall keep you posted on how long this takes.

No doubt there are sure to be some interesting and perhaps hilarious posts coming up on me working out. Beginning next Monday (I think), I will begin one month of training at D1 Sports. I have wanted to get some personal training for a while now because my regular spin class isn't helping with any weight loss. I'm in good shape according to my recent fitness assessment, but would like to tone up my arms and core and continue work on my legs. Personal training, as you probably know is expensive and not really in the budget for me right now. Groupon has an offer right now (until May 9) for one month unlimited training classes at D1. It can be used for Boot Camp or the Total Fit Classes. The price was $55 and I called D1 to make sure I could go to as many classes as I could manage in the one month time period and they said yes so I went ahead and bought it. I just hope I make good use of it. Since the Total Fit sessions are in the evening, that's when I plan to go. I hope to get started on Monday and probably won't be able to walk on Tuesday. Please go ahead and start praying for me now. I need all the help I can get.

Speaking of working out, I went to the gym after work on Monday only to discover that I left my gym bag at home. I was wearing a long skirt and shirt so there was no chance whatsoever of working out in those clothes. I didn’t have enough time to make it home and back to the gym before spin class started so I ended up sitting on my derriere instead. Perhaps it was much needed rest in anticipation of next week’s start at D1

Other than these few things, not much else is going on. I'm having the girls over Thursday night and this weekend I'm cooking a Mother's Day lunch for my mom and grandmother. Hopefully something exciting will happen at some point this week or you may not come back because the posts are so boring. Actually, I'm reading a book now that is really good and I've been given a couple of books to review and host a giveaway so look for that to come soon as well - in other words I need to kick up my reading so I can get those ready for you.

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I’m A Sucker for Samples

After work on Friday I stopped by Sam’s Club, which is really unusual for me. I have a membership but very rarely go. I went for a specific item which I ended up not getting because the price was a lot higher than it was the last time I bought it. At any rate, while I was there, I decided to walk around and see if there was anything else that struck my fancy. There were a few different sample stations set up, one of which was beef fajita strips with cheese dip and guacamole. It was so good and I ended up buying the cheese dip and beef strips.

After my trip to trip to Sam’s, I made my weekly stop to Publix and they were also demonstrating samples… of Mexican foods. I guess everyone had Cinco de Mayo fever this weekend. One thing they had at Publix was fish tacos which were really good. I grabbed the recipe card for those. In the produce section they had made some guacamole and I ended up buying the stuff for that and made it on Sunday. It turned out really good.

Friday night, I attempted to make the beef fajitas like they had demonstrated at Sam’s, but they did not turn out all that great. I don’t know why, but it always seems like the samples taste so much better than the food you buy and bring home. Does anyone else have that same issue? After eating dinner, I laid down on the couch to watch some TV and promptly fell asleep and basically slept the rest of the night, only getting up to move from the couch to the bed.

Saturday morning I had planned on going on the mayor’s bike ride, but opted instead to do my usual spin class. I did some laundry before I left for class and during the spin cycle, the drain tube came out of the wall and water went all over the floor. The good thing is that it cleaned out every piece of dust and dog hair from under the washer. Since that happened right before I needed to leave for class, I saved the clean up for afterwards.

That afternoon, I went to eat at Phil Sandoval’s. It was my first time to eat there. My friend Alex’s birthday was on Sunday and he had some friends meet up for a Cinco de Mayo/birthday celebration. They were giving out door prizes every few minutes and I happened to win one. It was a t-shirt, a necklace a coozie, a bottle opener and a bracelet. Most everything was advertising beer so I ended up throwing the majority of it out, which was no big deal because it wasn’t anything I desperately needed.

After eating, I made a quick trip by Target and decided that I really like the selection of clothing at the Target on University much better than the one in Jones Valley. I always find things at the one on University but everything is quickly picked over in Jones Valley. Saturday evening I watched some TV and finished up cleaning.

On Sunday, I had planned on trying out for a play that is taking place in the fall, but decided against it because I didn’t want to take that much time away from watching football; not to mention the fact I doubt my dad would come see me act in a play during football season. So, perhaps I will try out for something that is going to take place when it’s not football season. So, my Sunday consisted of the usual – church, napping, church and TV watching. Can I just say, as far as The Amazing Race is concerned, the final two teams that were couples were really annoying and clearly thrive off of chaos. That is not for me, folks!

Anyway, it’s another weekend in the books and it’s back to the grind tomorrow! Hope everyone has a really great week!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Perhaps Kittens Were Conceived

Today (Thursday) is my brother's birthday, which is a little bittersweet. I'm thankful he has been blessed to see another birthday, but sad that he will spend it in jail; although that's of his own making. My brother turned 32 on this birthday. That doesn't even seem possible. It sounds so weird to say that my brother is 32 when to me he will always be a kid. Weren't we just in high school yesterday?

A few days after bringing my brother home from the hospital (I think is how the story goes), my mom thought my brother had been kidnapped. She heard what she thought was a baby crying outside and looked in my brother's crib and didn't see him there. (He was there by the way - maybe she didn't turn on the light - maybe she was drunk - ha, just kidding mother!) Anyway, I can't remember all the details of the story, but the end result is that my brother was in his crib the whole time and the baby crying was actually some cats outside. I think we were always told the cats were fighting - perhaps that was to protect the innocent. So, it comes as no surprise to me that in the wee hours of May 3 (my brother's birthday) I was awoken by the sounds of cats "fighting" which sounded like a crying baby. Perhaps May is the month of mating or fighting for the feline species.

I went to bed at my normal time of 10:00 p.m. and about 12:30 The Tide woke me up because she was trying to sit up in the bed and kept scooting against me and acting strange. In my sleepiness was rather ticked that I had been brought out of a silent slumber. However, after a trip to the bathroom (too many details?) I realized that she must be having trouble with her legs and when I went back into the bedroom and turned on the lights, my suspicions were confirmed. The Tide has been having some issues with her back legs for about a year and a half now. As you may know, she had hip surgery on both of her hips and I think the older she gets the more arthritis and what not sets in. Long story short, on occasion she has "spells" (why, yes, I am from the south) where her back legs basically become paralyzed. It's quite frightening because she cannot put any eight on them as they won't hold her up and they basically clench up I guess is a good way of saying it. They shake like they are under a lot of pressure and her eyes bulge out and she looks terrified. Like I said, pretty terrifying. Anyway, I rubbed on her back legs for a while and got her into a comfortable position and the "spell" passed after a few minutes and she was back to normal. So, I finally fell back asleep thinking I wouldn't wake again until my alarm clock went off a few hours later - boy, was I wrong.

About an hour later, I was awoken once again but this time it wasn't because of The Tide, it was because of those cats who at times sounded like a crying baby. I mean, these two were so loud I'm surprised they didn't wake the whole neighborhood; who knows, maybe they did. It sounded like they were clawing each others eyes out, but I have since been told they were probably making sweet feline love, or something like that because it sure didn't sound sweet. It sounded like a cat war. Y'all, I really cannot even put into word the sounds or loudness that was this cat "fight". OH MY WORD!

The Tide would occasionally stick her head up when they got even louder, but I dared not move lest she start barking and then there would be no hope whatsoever of returning to a peaceful night of rest. I don't know how long these cats carried on, but it was a long while. I think I finally managed to doze off around 2:30 or 3:00 and then was up for work at 5:30. Needless to say I had to start the day with an iced coffee because I was dragging. I made it through most of the day okay but by the time the afternoon came around I was dragging again and was in desperate need of some sleep. There was more than one delirious moment in the afternoon hours of work. I told the girl I share a cubicle with that I had better not see any cats on the way home or I may run them over. I sure to heck hope these two don't start it up again tonight or I might go crazy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review: 11-22-63

It has been a long, long while since I have read any Stephen King books. I read a few of them in high school – my dad had some in his collection and I snatched them off the bookshelf and consumed them in a matter of days. It’s a wonder I didn’t have any nightmares! The last time I read a Stephen King book was probably high school or maybe college. I guess college because I’m pretty sure the last one I read was The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

At any rate, late last year I heard about a new book that he wrote that peaked my interest and I put it on my list of books I would like to read. It wasn’t a typical King book in that it wasn’t a horror story. The name of the book is 11-22-63 and was about a man going back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination, which as you may or may not know took place on November 22, 1963. A long time lover of Kennedy history (thanks to my late Aunt Juanita), it sounded like a book I would be interested in.

Once I got my Kindle and was in need of something to read, I looked at a sample of the book on Amazon and decided I would give it a try. Sadly, I didn’t have a lot of time to read and so it took me a long time to actually get into this book. If I had had more time to actually sit down and read, or if I had taken the time to sit down and read then I probably would have gotten more involved in the book right away. I don’t remember exactly when I started it, but by the time I went on vacation, I was only about 25% finished with the book. Thankfully, I had some spare time at night (no TV) and was able to do a lot of reading, especially on our last day in Florida when things didn’t really go according to plan. I also did some reading on the way home and by the time our vacation was over, so was my reading of this book. I got so interested in the book and couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next.

To me the book started out kind of confusing and took a chapter or two before it made any sense. That could have just been me and my slow reading though. A man named Jake is shown a way to travel back in time. Each time he goes back, the day, month and year are the same as it was the time before. The man who shows Jake the way to the past is dying and wants Jake to go back in time to save Kennedy from being assassinated to see if the world turns out to be a better place. In order to do this, he will have to stay in the past for five years which is only two minutes in current time and space – weird, I know.

The book follows Jake on his journey through the past and all the obstacles he has to overcome in order to try and save Kennedy. And you wouldn’t believe all this guy goes through. In the process, he falls in love and that is when the story gets good because you become so vested in how his relationship turns out. Will he stay in the past? Will or can he bring his new love to the present time which is the future to her? The big question of course is does he save Kennedy and if so, how does the world turn out?

The characters of the story are really well developed and you will become so interested in them that you will anxiously turn the page (or press the arrow button) to find out what happens next. Jake’s journey will take you from Maine to Florida to Louisiana to Texas, all the while developing an intricate plan to stop the assassination; but, it’s not without obstacles as the past does not want to be changed and is constantly throwing Jake a curve ball.

I found this book to be very interesting and I really enjoyed reading it once I finally had time to sit down and get involved in the reading. I didn’t fall in love with it like The Hunger Games for example, but it was a really nice read and I encourage you to give it a try. Let me know if you do.