Friday, November 30, 2012

Thankful That It's Friday!

I am so grateful that Friday has finally rolled around. For whatever reason, the week after a holiday seems to drag on and on and on with no end in sight. So, after a seemingly long week in which I have not been in the best of moods, I am really so very happy that Friday has arrived and I can soon start enjoying the weekend.

Here are some random notes for you on this fine day:

I did, in fact, end up going to the doctor today. I took some Alka Seltzer Night Time on Thursday night at 7:15 and am not joking when I say I was asleep by 7:45 and did not wake up until the alarm clock went off Friday morning. When I woke on Friday, my throat was sore and so as soon as my doctor's office opened at 8:00 a.m. I called and made and appointment because I wanted to hit this thing head on and knock it out before it knocks me out. Thankfully, I am not contagious and I apparently am just having more sinus problems. I blame it on the weather. I know you supposedly cannot get sick from the weather, but seriously, wearing sandals on Thanksgiving and a wool coat two days later has to factor in to the sinus issues some of us Huntsvillians face. I'm convinced of it. Anyway, I am picking up an anti-biotic this afternoon and hope to be feeling much better soon. By the way, I think a sure sign that you go to the doctor way too often is when you wait with baited breath to find out what he is going to prescribe. I always try to guess in advance. Another sign you go to the doctor too much is when you get really excited about being prescribed a strong anti-biotic that you haven't had in a while. Both of these happened to me today.

Why do Funyuns never go on sale? Am I the only person who enjoys Funyuns on occasion? I wouldn't want to eat them every day, but they are good every now and then; but they are never, never on sale and they are kind of pricey for a junk food.

As someone who loves to cook, I almost hate to admit this, but I really like instant mashed potatoes. I'm sure this goes back to my sorority days when, I'm sure, they were served whenever we had mashed potatoes; but seriously, it is amazing to me how good they are. Am I alone in this love?

 Season Three of Downton Abbey starts five weeks from Sunday! Five Weeks! Oh, I can hardly wait. I mean, I don't want to rush the holiday season, but I also really want to know, will Matthew and Lady Mary get married?

My brother got his one year of sobriety coin last night. I'm super proud of that guy and pray he is able to stay clean. He is also going back to school in January to work on his Master's degree in counseling.

Tonight is the semi-finals of the football playoffs. It will be the toughest game to date as Madison Academy will be taking on Lauderdale County. LC's only loss is to MA so they will be out for revenge. I'm a little nervous about this one and also very excited and also very grateful that I'm not contagious so that I can go to the game.

Dry skin in the winter is my nemesis. I heard on the news the other night of sesame seed oil that Neutrogena makes and it is supposed to help with dry skin. I guess you put it on when you get out of the shower. I can't seem to find it but when I do I plan to give it a go and will let you know what I think about it.

Alright, I suppose this is all the rambling I will do for now. I hope everyone has a great, fun and healthy weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

If You Are Sick, Stay Home

I want to take this opportunity to get on my soapbox about people who are ill with some sort of cough due to cold/, or the flu, or bronchitis, or anything involving fever. If you have one of these types of illnesses and you work for a living, do your co-workers a favor and stay home.

I don't know why it is that America has become the country where work comes before everything in life, but for whatever reason it has and it is probably the one thing I dislike most about this great country. I think we should adapt to the European way of life where we close the doors for a month every year and deal with the work when we return from holiday - seems like a much better way of life. The same goes for sickness. I don't understand for the life of me why people come to work when they are sick - that's what sick leave is for, people!

I bring all this up because this week my supervisor is sick. On Monday she sent us an email that she had fever, etc. and that she was going to work form home and go to the doctor later that afternoon. We never heard from her again that day and then she showed up to work on Tuesday morning with a terrible cough and looking like death warmed over. I told her not to be coming in with some disease and spreading her germs around. I also asked her what the doctor said - well, she didn't go. Her fever broke mid-morning on Monday and so she decided not to go to the doctor. All I could think was "I wonder how many days I have until I am feeling terrible?" Wednesday, she came back to work and her cough was worse than it had been on Tuesday. She came to me around 11:30 that morning and asked me to take care of some things for her that afternoon because she was leaving to go to the doctor - thank you!

Wednesday afternoon she sent us all an email and said that she was sorry in advance if anyone gets sick because she is contagious! Great, just great. This, friends, is a prime example of why people should go to the doctor and then stay at home when they are sick instead of thinking they can fight it off and come into work, which will inevitably result in contaminating lots of other co-workers.

So, today is now Thursday and thankfully my supervisor stayed at home and I certainly hope she gets better soon. I, however, started feeling a little achy Wednesday afternoon and today just feel kind of blah. I am hoping against hope that I do not get whatever illness it is that my supervisor has because I have a very busy few days in my future and do not have time for illness nor do I want to be sick, in general. So, fingers crossed that I will not get full blown sick and if I do then I will be sending the bill to my supervisor.

In all seriousness, though, please stay home if you are sick. The rest of us do not want your germs. Some of us get sick enough without your help. Thanks for listening to this Public Service Announcement.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Holiday Season Is Upon Us

Greetings friends and fellow readers. Sorry for not posting anything Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. It's been a rather uneventful few days since Thanksgiving and I doubt you wanted to read yet again about my weekend of cleaning house and doing laundry and watching football. So, I just didn't post anything. I really don't have much to write about at the moment either but will go ahead and ramble on for a while so as not to keep the adoring public waiting... or something like that.

I managed to get the inside Christmas decorations put out and also pulled out and decorated the tree, which just so happened to smell a little of gasoline thanks to the fact that it is stored in the same shed as my lawn mower. I keep waiting for it to go up in flames each time I plug it in. Hopefully that will not happen. It actually no longer smells of gasoline - or maybe I'm just used to it. It could have been the Christmas tree bag that had the smell, who knows? At any rate, when I was pulling it out and putting it up, there was a hint of gasoline in the air and I just hope my house doesn't catch on fire because that would certainly not make for a Merry Christmas.

I have not yet put the outside lights up. I plan to do that on Saturday. This past Saturday when I put the tree up, etc., I had a lot of other things going on and just did not have time to deal with the outside lights. I've had time to do it in the evenings, but I'm scared of going out to the shed in the dark - yes, I did just say that. Y'all there are spiders and all kinds of other creepy crawly things out there so the outside lights will have to wait until Saturday when I can pull the storage bin out of the shed in broad daylight.

As far as Christmas shopping is concerned, I am basically done. I just have one more gift card to pick up and then it will officially be a wrap - ha, get it! I started wrapping presents last weekend and hope to finish up in the next couple of days. I had to go out and get a few more boxes because I didn't grab enough free ones from stores on Black Friday.

I still have a ton of Christmas cards to address and cannot seem to get motivated to address them all. Hopefully I will get in the spirit in the next few days because I like to have my cards in the post the first week of December. 

Speaking of Christmas, if you are an ice cream lover, you should try the White Christmas ice cream from Publix. It is Publix brand and it is absolutely delicious. Have you ever noticed that I recommend a  lot of ice cream products and claim I don't even like ice cream that much? Truth be told I just have to be in the mood for ice cream and when I am in the mood I want something yummy and White Christmas from Publix definitely qualifies. 

For those of you looking for some free Christmas activities, I have a few things I would like to tell you about. First, the Huntsville Christmas parade is on Saturday. It starts at noon and is sure to be entertaining. Last year my dad and I went and it was the first time we had gone in many, many years. I think we are all planning to go this year and I am looking forward to it. Here is a link to the route

Next Monday, December 3, is one of my absolute favorite Christmas events - and it's free! It's the Heritage Bell Ringers Christmas program and it is amazing! The program begins at 7:00 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church on Airport Road. These folks perform Christmas songs with bells and it is so incredible! If you have your Monday night free, I strongly encourage you to attend. I would advise getting there early to get a good seat. I won't be able to make it this year because I will be at Ladies' Night Out for the church I used to attend and it is my last event as the official organizer so it would be kind of rude if I didn't show up. I am really bummed about missing this show though because it is probably my number one most favorite event of the holiday season. Please go if you have the chance. Here is a link to the Heritage Bell Ringers web site for more information.

Thursday, December 13 - Sunday, December 16 is The Living Christmas Tree at First Baptist Church. This is another one of my favorites. My friend Denny's parents are tree singers (I guess that's what they are called) and he got some tickets for me and my family to attend on December 13. These performances are also free, but you must have a ticket. Click here for information on how to get a ticket for this lovely show.

I'm sure I'll have some more Christmas information for you before the season is up. In the meantime, make plans to attend one or all of these three free events. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, November 26, 2012

My 2012 Black Friday

As is tradition, my dad and I went out shopping on Black Friday once again this year, and it was one of the most leisurely Black Fridays we have ever experienced if I do say so myself. I had mentioned last week that a lot of the stores were opening on Thursday night this year. I'm pretty sure I blamed this on Wal-Mart and sure enough I heard on the news that other retailers were also blaming Wal-Mart - apparently everyone is trying to compete with Wal-Mart. Go figure.

My dad wanted a set of sheets from Wal-Mart that were $19.00. they were part of the first Wal-Mart sale which took place at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. So, while I was at the movie, he ventured down to Wal-Mart, arriving about five minutes after 8:00 p.m. only to find that both pallets of sheets were gone. Apparently everyone was in the market for sheets this year - strange, but true.

At 10:00 my dad went back to Wal-Mart for a TV and a computer for my brother. I can write freely about this because I'm pretty darn sure my brother doesn't read my blog and if he does, well, this is what he gets for not going to my mom's closet the other night to get something out of there because I had to do it and now know I am getting some Birkenstocks for Christmas. (I'll act surprised, mother; and yes, that was the only thing I saw.) Anyway, on with the story.... There were no computers left, but my dad did manage to get one of the 32 inch TVs.

We made plans for my dad to come by and pick me up at 7:00 a.m. which was a late start for us, as we usually start at 5:00 a.m. Before my dad came by, I checked the internet for the computers from the 10:00 sale just in case my dad did not get one (I had not talked to him at this point) and according to the World Wide Web, there was still stock at the Wal-Mart on Drake. So, when my dad picked me up I told him and that's where we headed first. Sure enough, there were computers in stock and so he got one. They also had TVs and plenty of Blu-Ray players as well. My brother is going back to school via online classes in January. He's going for a Master's in counseling and needs the computer to take the classes. I think the plan is for him to pay my dad back a little each month for the computer. Either way, I'm sure my mom will be glad when he gets it because he has been using hers all the time.

After our successful trip to Wal-Mart, we headed to Belk where my dad bought some sheets - not as cheap as the ones that were on sale at Wal-Mart, but a good buy nonetheless I suppose. My dad bought himself some house shoes and I bought myself a purse, which I didn't really need but I have wanted a new one for some time and it was only $30, originally $100 so it was a good deal I guess. We next stopped by Office Depot because I needed some rewritable CDs. I had used up the last of my stock recently and had been waiting for Black Friday to buy some as they are usually always on sale. I got a spindle of 100 for $14.99, which was a good price.

Dick's Sporting Goods was the next stop on the agenda. We end up there every Black Friday. My dad got himself some golf balls and gloves and as it turns out, we had some $10 off a $50 purchase coupons from the Enjoy the City books and were able to use one of those on his purchase. We ended up going back in for some air-soft guns for some teenage boys we know who live with their grandma. The grandma doesn't have the luxury of buying the boys a lot of things for Christmas so my dad got them the air-soft guns, some face protection and also a basketball for the goal their grandma got them. They had some books on their list as well which I ordered for them when I got home that afternoon. I look forward to them opening their gifts and hope they will like them. We split the orders up at Dick's and were able to use three more $10 coupons. So, it worked out really well there.

We made a quick stop by Bed Bath and Beyond and were not impressed with any of their "sales" and then ventured over to Kohl's where I purchased a few gifts and some sheets for myself - see, everyone is apparently on the lookout for sheets. After these two stops, we called it a day and headed to Rolo's for some breakfast, only to discover they were closed. So, we went to Blue Plate instead which was my suggestion as I do enjoy their cheesy browns!

I spent the rest of the day napping and doing some cleaning and then that evening, Erika and Kendra came over to watch my TV. For the past two Fridays they have come over to watch as many episodes as possible of Downton Abbey. Since neither of them have a Blu-ray player, they have come over to my house to watch while I'm out at a football game. It has become quite an agreeable arrangement for all of us. They are coming this Friday as well as they still have quite a few episodes of season two to enjoy. So, while they were watching Downton, I went to the Madison Academy game with my dad and brother and watched them wallop Colbert County. The semi-finals are coming up this Friday and if they win, we will be headed to Auburn (of all places) for the state championship game on December 6.

That, folks, was my very busy and yet very productive Black Friday. I've got one more gift card to buy and then I will be completely finished with my Christmas shopping. I even started wrapping presents last night and am about half way finished with that process as well. If you went out on Black Friday, hope you were able to get some good deals as well!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Mine was good and busy and it’s hard to believe it’s already over and we are all now focusing on Christmas.

After working the recount last Monday and Tuesday, I went back to my “real” job on Wednesday. After work, I came home and mixed up a large pan of dressing and rolled up some apple dumplings. Seems like I did a few other things as well but I can’t remember what all it was. I took a break to attend church and then came home and did some more food prep, including mixing up two batches of bread dough for homemade rolls.

Thursday morning I got up early and made some coleslaw and a pie and 24 mini pumpkin cheesecakes. I broke off the bread dough and made rolls. I finished cooking the black-eyed peas and baked the dressing and rolls and around 1:00 my brother and granddad came by to help me load everything up and take it over to my parents’ house.

I arrived at my parents’ house around 1:30 and was surprised to find that everyone was already there seeing as how we were scheduled to start at 2:00 and my family is usually never on time. As it turns out my mom told everyone we were eating at 1:30 –well, everyone but me; when she and I had talked previously we had decided on 2:00. I made everyone wait until 2:00 to start eating – we were still waiting on a few others to arrive who I told 2:00. Eventually we were all there and we got started on a delicious meal.

That evening I broke one of my life long rules of not going to the movies on a holiday and went to see Breaking Dawn Part Two with my cousin Ashley and her husband Andy. The movie was pretty good and perhaps I will post a review later this week.

After the movie I went home and enjoyed a little down time before going to bed to get some rest before heading out on Black Friday. It was one of the best Thanksgivings we have had in a long time – nice and relaxing and tension-free, just the way it should be. Hope yours was just as nice!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012!

Well, here we are at Thanksgiving - didn't we just celebrate this holiday? I'll tell you, it sure doesn't feel like Thanksgiving, especially with these 70 degree days. Despite the warm temps, which some of you probably are thankful to have, we have a lot to be thankful for this year - jobs, homes, families, friends, the list could go on. Wherever you are in these great United States, I hope you are with family and friends and that you too have a lot for which to be thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving from me and The Tide!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Recount is Complete

Well, the recount is over and I've got to say, it was an interesting experience. It wasn't necessarily the most exciting thing I've ever done in my life, but I’m glad I did it.

The recount took place at the Whitesburg Baptist Church Outreach Center. We had to be there Monday morning at 7:00 a.m. so I didn't have to get up any earlier than I normally do since 7:00 a.m. is my normal work day start time. I arrived a few minutes before 7:00 and as I was walking in, my dad pulled up. So, I waited on him and we went in together and got signed in.

After a few instructions, we were sworn in and divided into groups. There were 15 tables and four people per table. I was at table number four and my dad was at table number five so we were able to keep tabs on each other throughout the day. My group consisted of two retired Air Force guys, Glenn and Nick and one retired school teacher, Ina. Ina was very soft spoken and didn't say too much, Glenn never shut up and Nick talked whenever there was a pause in Glenn’s talking. It actually turned out to be a really good group. We worked quite efficiently together and without any discourse which was good.

Each table was given a set number of precincts, totaling about 8,000 ballots each. We counted one precinct at a time, opening boxes and running each ballot through the machine. If a ballot was rejected, we looked to see if there was either a straight party vote or a vote in the probate judge’s category. If there was one or the other, we ran it through again and if the ballot was again rejected then it went into a pile. If there was not a vote in either of those categories then it was considered a no-vote and was placed in a separate pile. One all ballots from the precinct were ran through the machine, totals were printed, everything was signed off, the numbers were added to the spreadsheet tallying all the votes, the boxes were re-sealed and the machines were zeroed out to begin work on the next precinct. By the way, in case you were wondering, here in Madison County, ballots are kept for 22 months before being discarded.

We had a lunch break from 11-1 and my dad and I went by my house to let The Tide out and then grabbed a bite to eat before heading back. The afternoon session began at 1:00 p.m. and around 6:30 those that were closing out a precinct were able to leave and those of us in the middle of counting a precinct worked until 7:00 p.m. which was our official closing time. The number on the machine was written down and the machines were turned off for the night. Sheriff's deputies guarded the machines and facility overnight.

We returned at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning and after being sworn in again, the machines were turned on and we made sure the number that came up on the machine was the same as it had been when we left the night before. Then we began running the remainder of the ballots through. When we were done and everything was signed off, we were free to leave as there were no more precincts to be counted. I finished up before my dad and so I waited around for him to finish.

When all was said and done, Tommy Ragland won by 197 votes – the total was 120 in the general election so the lead was increased in the recount. That was due to provisional ballots and absentee ballots and also a few ballots that were voted with an ink pen or some other crazy situation like that.

I was glad we were finished early on Tuesday as it gave me time to get some rest and also get some Thanksgiving cooking started. Let me tell you, I was exhausted after that first day of work. I would have never guessed that putting thousands of ballots in a voting machine would be so draining, but I was really dragging towards the end of the day and so was everyone else. I went to bed at 9:00 on Monday night and slept the whole night.

I’m so glad I participated in the recount. It was an interesting process and it truly was an example of proof that every vote does in fact count. I’m glad that Tommy won. I mentioned here before that he is a long time friend of my parents’ and he is a really good person; so, I’m glad he’ll be keeping that office for four more years.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Can Rest When I Die

Well, here we are at the beginning of Thanksgiving week - didn't we just start this year? I feel like I say this every week, but man, time sure does pass quickly. I had grandeur plans of a somewhat relaxing week with a little cooking in each of the evenings. Well, that plan has been tossed by the wayside people and I'm about to tell you why.

Last Thursday I received a call asking me if I would be willing to help with the vote recount in Madison County. Those of you who live here are probably aware that the race for probate judge was decided by about 120 votes. Incumbent Tommy Ragland is currently the unofficial winner, but due to the slim margin of victory a recount has been called. I have no doubt the results will turn out the same as the machines we use are very reliable, but it is the other candidate's right and she is exercising it.

The recount will take place on Monday and Tuesday from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and it is my understanding that we will have a break from 11:00 a.m until 1:00 p.m. each day, I would assume for lunch. I really don't know why the break is so long considering I was also told to bring a lunch. When someone tells me to bring a lunch, I just assume there's no leaving the building; so, I'm not really sure what's going to take place. I do know that we will have 20 machines and will have to feed into the machines one by one the almost 156,000 ballots that were cast on November 6. The machines will be programmed to only read the results for the probate judge slot. Those that work will receive their normal election day's wages which is why I agreed because I can certainly use the extra money this time of year.

My dad was also asked to participate. He is trying to work out some arrangements for transportation for my mom and granddad on Tuesday as they both have doctor's appointments in Nashville. If he is able to find someone to drive them the he plans to work as well. It should definitely be an interesting couple of days. I am anxious to see how it goes and how many people will be helping, etc. This is, obviously, my first time helping with a recount and I am extremely excited about it. I love seeing American democracy in action.

However, this does significantly cut into my prep and cooking time for Thanksgiving dinner. I've got a plan of action for when I'm cooking what and if I can stick to it then everything should turn out just fine -stress free and perfectly timed - just the way I like it. There's no rest for the weary and as the old saying goes, I can rest when I die!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Little of This and A Little of That

Y'all, I feel like this week has sucker-punched me on more than one occasion. I seriously need a mulligan. I will be glad to kiss this one goodbye. Today, Thursday, is the first day this week that I actually have felt like I accomplished anything. Monday I started the day off running behind and left my breakfast at home which just set the pace for a weird day. Tuesday was when my co-worker passed away and so that day was shot. Wednesday was a little better as far as work was concerned, but then Wednesday night I left my Bible and my phone at church. Thankfully someone turned them in and at lunch on Thursday I was able to go and pick them up from the church receptionist. I also managed to purchase stamps for my Christmas cards and buy some lunch  - all three in under 40 minutes. Finally, the tide had turned in my favor.

Anyway, I had a few things I wanted to blab about here at the end of the week. So, here we go...
Why is it that everyone seems to hate jury duty and try every way in the world to get out of it? I really do not understand this. My boss has been summoned for jury duty the week of November 26 and she said she was going to try every way possible to get out of it. When I asked her why, she said because it's boring. Is that how everyone feels because I don't. I have only been summoned for jury duty one time and I found it to be extremely interesting. I wish they would call my name again sometime because I find it fascinating to watch the legal system at work. Maybe it's the kid in me who wanted to be a lawyer that allows me to find jury duty fun and interesting. For the life of me, though, I cannot figure out why people hate it so much. You get out of work for a week for crying out loud, what's better than that?

Do women not wear slips anymore because they are certainly hard to find in stores. I have been wearing the same full dress slip since I was 16. I realize you all find this hard to believe because I find it hard to believe, but I assure you, it is true. Maybe the slip stretched out as I stretched out. It does have a large tear in the side of it and is extremely tight these days, but it is in fact the very same slip I have had since I was 16 years old. I know this because my grandmother Betty bought it for me on one of our shopping trips and at the time she bought it I thought it looked like something an old woman would wear and it must have been pretty loose on me as well. Now I think it is really pretty and I wish that it still fit because I really don't want to throw it out. I think it is the only item I have left from any of my shopping trips with my grandmother.

I've known for a while now that I needed to get a new slip and so one day a few weeks ago I decided to stop in to Wal-Mart and look for one. I have bought some half slips from Wal-Mart before and the last few times I had been in a department store lingerie department, I didn't see any slips. Well, much to my chagrin, Wal-Mart no longer carries slips. I couldn't find any and so I asked a lady that worked in the department and she said that Wal-Mart no longer carries them. I must have had a look of complete confusion on my face. She said that all the people who grew up wearing slip come in looking for them, but Wal-Mart doesn't have them. This really threw me for a loop. I guess girls today don't grow up wearing slips and apparently older women are no longer in need of a new one. I did find quite a few on Amazon - Amazon always comes to my rescue - and ordered a new one which has since come in. It is not as lovely as the one my grandmother bought me, but it will do.

One final note, I wanted to let you all know that my lovely cousin Alexandra is starting a photography company. The name of it is Sweet Indigo Photography and she charges just $25 for a one hour session. She took photos of me and The Tide last Sunday and they turned out so wonderful I think. If you haven't had your Christmas card photos taken yet and are looking for someone who takes great photos at a reasonable price, please contact her. Here is a link to her new web site. You can find a few photos of me and The Tide on there in the portrait section.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Black Friday Sales

I'd like to chat with you for a bit about Black Friday sales. Yes, that's right, Black Friday sales. As I'm sure you are probably aware, Thanksgiving is one week away, which means, Black Friday is also one week away; and my question is should we even call it Black Friday anymore? Shouldn't we just call it Black Thursday?

For many years now, my dad and I have braved the manic filled streets and stores of Huntsville to take advantage of the Black Friday specials. I really don't even know when this little tradition of ours started but for some reason I think it was either when I was in college, but more likely after I had moved away to New York. My guess is my dad probably wanted some time with his oldest child while he could get it. At any rate, the tradition was started and ever since we headed out on that cold Friday morning all those years ago, we have never missed an opportunity to elbow other shoppers and fight for the last electric blanket.

For the past few years, stores have been opening earlier and earlier which has been both puzzling and at times frustrating; because maybe I want a $5 gift card for showing up and your front door and waiting in the cold but maybe I also want to get more than one hour of sleep so I don't slit the throat of the shopper next to me. Years ago, the earliest stores were opened was 6:00 a.m. and then some genius (I say that sarcastically) decided that 5:00 a.m. would be better. Then, the next thing you know, stores are opening at 4:00 a.m. and then 3:00 a.m. and lo and behold, 2:00 a.m. Really, 2:00 a.m.?

Then, of course, you've got Wal-Mart who only closes their stores one day a year (Christmas Day) because heaven forbid they miss out on one hour's worth of profits. Wal-Mart, I believe it was last year, or maybe the year before that, decided to have Black Friday specials starting at 11:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving or maybe it was midnight. I can't remember, but either way I found it to be ridiculous. I blame Wal-Mart for this new trend in "Black Friday" start times because this year, not only is Wal-Mart having a "Black Friday" sale starting 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night (8 p.m., people!), but Target is opening at midnight and so are the two malls in Huntsville. That's right folks, the one place I could count on for a 5:00 a.m. start time has decided to open at midnight!

I can't really say I'm surprised by this. Let's face it, Americans are greedy and want their deals faster and quicker and better than the year before and every store in town is trying to get the advantage over the store next door. Not to mention the fact that most people probably don't like to spend time with their families and are more than likely looking for any excuse to gobble down the turkey and trot on out the door. What better excuse than - I've got to nap before I head out for Black Thursday night?

I have no idea what my dad and I will do this year. We may just head out at our normal time of 5:00 a.m. or he may decide he wants to brave the midnight crowds; either way, I'm sure I'll be recounting the tale right here on ye olde blog. I've got to say though, all these midnight and 10:00 p.m. and now 8:00 p.m. openings sure make me miss the good old days where all the stores seemed to open within an hour or so of each other and we ran from one store to the next to get the best door prizes.

What about you? Will you be Black Friday or Black Thursday shopping this year?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's Recap Time - Yes, Again

Well, I think I've made it through the past few busy weeks without losing my sanity, which is always a good thing. Of course, now comes the rush of Thanksgiving and Christmas and my word, doesn't it roll around quicker and quicker each year? I don't really have anything specific to talk about today, no one event if you will so I'll just do a quick recap of the past few days and leave it at that for now.

On the Wednesday after the election, I went to the gym and the chiropractor and then went to collect The Tide from my parents' house. I spent the rest of the day catching up on the DVR and managed a shower before heading to church that evening. Last Wednesdays' praise and prayer service was exactly what my soul needed. It was emotional and healing and was the perfect dose of medicine after Tuesday's election. It was hard to go back to work on Thursday after two days off, but the last two days of the week went by quickly and it was soon the weekend.

Friday night was the first round of the high school football playoffs and MA won without any problems. I keep thinking I would like for the games to be more interesting but after the last two Alabama games, I'll take a blow out.

Saturday morning I went to the funeral of a man who I have known since I was a young child. Affectionately called Jimbo by those of us who grew up at the same church, he died while driving back from a trip to Alaska. His sweet wife Carolyn passed away three years ago and I can still hear her voice when I sit down and think about it. Her specialty was peach cobbler and she used to joke that the cobbler was why Jimbo married her. I was really surprised to see such a small crowd at the funeral. This was a man who touched so many lives and it was just really surprising that there weren't many people there. It got me thinking about my own funeral, as is often the case, and wondering who, if anyone, would show up to my service.

After the funeral I came home to yard work. I needed to mow the lawn one last time and had been putting it off until the majority of the leaves had fallen off the trees. So, I got the yard looking much better just in time for the rest of the leaves to fall on Sunday and Monday. It seems as though yard work is in my near future yet again. That afternoon I watched the Alabama game which took another 10 years off my life; but, Alabama was outplayed and out-coached and that was a well-deserving win by the Aggies.

Sunday after church my cousin Alexandra took some photos of me and The Tide for our Christmas card. She sent me a few of them and I have already ordered my cards. We took the photos at Maple Hill, which probably sounds creepy, but there are some beautiful spots there and a few places where you can take photos without tombstones in the background. I went back to church in the evening for another lesson on emotions by Brother Bradley. He started the series a few weeks ago and it has been so good.

On Monday after work, I took The Tide by the vet's office to get her stitches out. The vet said she was doing good and he would like for her to not use her leg as much as she is, but it's kind of hard to tell a dog, "hey, don't use your leg." She still holds it up quite a bit but uses it a lot more than I thought she would. She is restricted to the leash for the next six weeks and it is hard to keep her from running at times.

Then on Tuesday, which happens to be today, not long after arriving at work I found out that a man I work with committed suicide this morning. This man was one of the nicest and friendliest people I knew. He was always smiling and as far as work people go, he was one of my favorites. I have never been so desperate that I have felt like taking my own life and I hope I never experience that. I can't even imagine how sad, desperate, and lonely someone must feel to think there is no hope left in the world. I would like to ask that you remember this family in your prayers. I am not going to list his name on here for the privacy of the family, but I know the Lord will know who you are talking about if you say a prayer for this family.

It's the season of thankfulness and I want you all to know that I am thankful for each of you who take a few minutes out of your day to see what's going on in my world. Take an extra moment to hug those you love today because you never know if they will be around tomorrow.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Day Working The Polls

It's the moment you've all been waiting for - my recap of working at the polls on election day. I hope it lives up to your expectations because I'm not even sure I can remember every detail of the day and this is already going down as one of the longest posts of all time. 

On Tuesday (November 6) morning, I woke up around 4:30 and got my shower and got ready for the day. I had packed up my backpack the night before as well as baked some pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookies for us to snack on throughout the day. I also took a bag of Hershey's bars (left over from Halloween) and some crackers. I was out the door by 10 til six and at the precinct about two minutes later. It was a cold and rainy morning and we had to wait on someone from the church to arrive and unlock the doors.

We were inside by 6:00 and started to set up right away. I had printed out some signs that said "A thru L" and "M thru Z" as my plan was to divide the alphabet so that we could get more people through the line. I also had planned on us using two clerk's books and two voters' books and had an email from the probate judge's office stating that we could have a book at each division of the alphabet. I expected some push back from the old folks on using two books and I was correct. They once again thought that only one book at a time could be used and my email proved otherwise. For those of you who may not be familiar with these books, the clerk's book is where we print the name of the voter and the voter's book is where the voter signs on the corresponding line.

Before we got deep into the throes of setting up the voting machine and signing all the hundreds of items we needed to sign, we took our pledge. We also had a couple of poll watchers show up to observe the goings on of the precinct and they had to be sworn in as well. We got everything set up and ready for opening and a few minutes before seven a third poll watcher showed up. As the inspector started swearing her in, I informed him that she could not be sworn in as only one person from each party was allowed at a precinct, which he did not realize - the first of many rules the inspector was unaware of. The lady was kind enough to leave without any push back as she was also aware of the one person per party poll watcher rule.

We opened the polls at exactly 7:00 a.m. and began marking off names as fast as our fingers would allow. There was a rush of people when the doors opened and soon the line was backed up to get in, to get a ballot and to use a privacy booth. Our inspector had only ordered six privacy booths as he didn't think there would be many people to vote. I finally got so tired of seeing people waiting on a booth and a ballot that I stood up and announced that if they didn't need a privacy booth they were welcome to grab a folding chair from the wall and pull it up to any of the tables, and many people did just that. Finally, about 10:00 a.m. the lines started slowing down and we had a steady stream of people for the remainder of the day, but also a few lulls when there was no one or only one or two people coming in. By the end of the day, things had slowed down considerably and the last hour was very slow with maybe only 20 people coming in. If I never work another election, I will at least know it's better to come in the evening to vote.

We ordered lunch from Steak-Out and it arrived around 11:30 or so. I was finally able to take a break and eat around 1:00 p.m. For dinner, Jackie was kind enough to stop at Subway and get me a sandwich before she headed home for the evening.

Here are some things that happened throughout the day:

I ran into a situation that I never in my life thought about encountering. A young man came in to vote and per the Alabama voter's web site, our precinct was the one in which he was slated to cast his vote; however, he was not listed on our voters' lists. After several attempts to the Board of Registrars office, I was finally able to get through to someone to find out why the young man was not on our voter's list. As it turns out, the young man had recently been convicted of a crime and I was then instructed to call the supervisor of the Board of Registrar's office but I was never able to get through to her. I informed the young man of the situation and asked him if his recent conviction was a felony - his reply was yes. I then told him that persons with a felony record are no longer allowed to cast a vote. He seemed okay with the answer and left without a fight. I will never forget that guy's name or how sad it made me to tell him that he could not vote as a result of his actions.

The poll watchers are not supposed to interact with the voting public; yet, we had one watcher who sat by the voting machine and each time a ballot was marked incorrectly and the machine spit it back out, the poll watcher would stand up and start instructing the voter on what he or she needed to do. I'm here to tell you that I had to bring this to the attention of the inspector on more than one occasion and quite frankly he didn't seem to care. Clearly, he is not as much of a stickler for the rules as I am. After this happened about five or six times, it's a miracle I didn't get up and go off on the inspector. Instead, I just kept reminding him that the watcher needed to sit in silence and leave the voters alone.

The inspector was nowhere to be found any time he was needed. We also us iPads to look up voter information and he doesn't know how to use it, even though he has been to class on the iPad on more than one occasion. Also, any time a phone call needed to be made to the courthouse, he was hesitant to call and either I or someone else ended up doing the calling.

You would not believe how many people show up on voting day wanting to register to vote - the deadline was October 26. You would also not believe the number of people who came in and asked, "I'm not registered, but I want to vote." You would also not believe the number of people who think they can just pop in to any precinct and cast their vote.

We had a lot of people show up at our precinct who vote at another precinct. The district lines were redrawn since the last election so most of the people had voted at our precinct in the past but clearly didn't pay attention to their new voter registration card when they received it in the mail and so they came to our precinct and we had to send them somewhere else. Most of these people voted at precincts close by so it wasn't too big of a deal. We did have to send a handful of folks across town or across the county. One lady who actually works where I do looked up online where she was supposed to vote, but came to our precinct because she just knew that's where she was supposed to vote. When we looked it up, it told us the same place that Google had told her. Why she came to our precinct I have yet to figure out.

Not long after we opened, an older gentleman in a suit and a red hat brought us a bag of hard cinnamon candy. It was super nice of him and was a big help to me because by the time he rolled in around 7:30 a.m., my throat was dry and I was tired of asking people how they were doing and that candy hit the spot and kept me going.

We had a lot of people thank us for being there to work and one man even made an announcement with his booming voice and we received some applause afterwards. That was kind of cool.
I got to see my friend Adam, age 19, vote for the first time in his life. I was at the hospital the day he was born, at his baptism and now watched him cast his first lot in the political arena. He was a late registered voter and on our supplemental list. I was so proud! Way to go Adam! There was another young girl, either 18 or 19, who came in to vote for the first time with her mom. Her mom wanted to take a photo, but there are no photos allowed in the precinct, which was sad for her, but at the same time she was very proud of and excited for her daughter which was nice to see

Towards the end of the day, a man and his daughter came in with a friend. The friend voted in our precinct and the man had given the friend a ride. The daughter tore into the bag of Hershey's I brought and soon was opening the cookies I baked and eating those as well. Then the dad followed suit. One of the other workers headed over and started straightening things up and putting things away so that they wouldn't take anything else. I ended up throwing the rest of the cookies away because, not to be judgmental but, the people didn't look very clean.

There are a lot of stinky and unclean looking people in my precinct. I held my breath on more than one occasion.

I'm sure there are many, many other stories I could tell you about - just ask me the next time I see you. It seems like I remember something new every single day. I think by the end of the day I was kind of in a daze from having been up so long and working non-stop. My hand was cramping from writing so many names and the next day my arm was sore - not even kidding.

At the end of the night, after the polls have closed and the last persons inside the precinct have voted, we open up the machine and take out the ballots and also print tape from the voting machines which provide the results from the precinct. Those ballots that have write-ins go into a separate bin than all the other ballots. The person manning the machine (I could go on for quite a while about this man) took out all the ballots and just threw them in a pile together - in other words, he did not keep the write-ins separate. Now, we have to write in each of the write in votes and turn those in to the probate judge's office. If someone votes for Mickey Mouse, or Elvis, or any other character or dead person, then we still have to count those - they go in one category as "Fictitious". The inspector and every other person there argued with me that we did not have to count those - "just throw them out" is what they said they were told at training. Now, people, if there is one thing I can say about myself it's that in a lecture, I pay attention, take good notes, ask appropriate questions and always come away with more knowledge than when I arrived. I know for a fact that we had to count those votes. I pulled out my notes from class and argued with every one of those people. I finally got out my phone to call the office and the inspector relented and called himself only to find out that I was right. So, we then had to unbox the ballots and separate the write-ins from the others. I still do not think I received all the write-ins because I heard Nick Saban and also Bacon got a vote and I did not see either one of those ballots; but, I did the best I could with what I was given and silently gloated to myself that I was right.

We left the precinct around 8:30 and I was home a few minutes later. The Tide was at my parent's house thanks to my brother's willingness to take care of her while I worked the polls. So, when I got home and changed into some PJs, I crashed on the couch and was out a few minutes after 9:00. I woke up at 12:30 just as the president was going to make a speech. I quickly turned that off and crawled into bed.
It was an exhausting day, y'all, I am not even kidding; but, I loved every minute of it. It was so exciting to see people exercising their right to vote. Our precinct voted 1378 people in the 12 hours we were open. That's an average of 114.8 people per hour! I do plan to bring some of my issues to the attention of the judge's office because I feel like the inspector should be more aware of what is going on and at least know the rules. Other than my few frustrations, it was such an enjoyable day and I cannot wait to do it again in 2014 when we have another round of elections.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Church Retreat Part Two

Saturday morning I woke up about 5:15 – what can I say, I’m a creature of habit. I went ahead and got a shower and got ready for the day which didn’t take long since I let my hair dry naturally and didn’t bring one ounce of make-up with me. I spent the rest of the morning writing and even did some reading for a change. Around 7:00, I moved to the main room to watch television. 

A few minutes later I decided to look up the web site to the lodge on my phone and give the office a call to see if anyone was there. A woman answered right away and I told her about our non-working oven. She called me back within 30 minutes and told me how to turn the oven on – miracle of miracles the light came on and I thought we had an operational oven.

Around 8:00 some of the guys that had volunteered to cook breakfast woke up and meandered into the kitchen to get started. I assisted them some but not a lot as they wanted to do it all on their own. Breakfast burritos were on the menu, which sounded and still sounds completely disgusting to me. Something about rolling breakfast up in a burrito just does not appeal to this Southerner’s senses. The guys cooked up sausage, hash browns and eggs. When the hash browns were done, we put them in a pan to put in the oven which had been on for a good 30 minutes or so and what do you know, the oven was still cold. So, while the guys finished up, I called the office again and they said they would send a maintenance man out after 9:00.

Soon most everyone was awake and breakfast was prayed over and served. I just ate my food separately because again, breakfast burritos – no thanks. When we were all finished and Doug said to clean up so we could get together for a devotional, that’s what happened. The leftover food was thrown out and the dishes washed. Then the next thing we knew Doug was frustrated that the food had been thrown out because not everyone had eaten. The two people that had not eaten were Doug’s wife Jess and another guy Chris. Hey, you snooze you lose. Seriously, who sleeps through the sounds and smells of breakfast? I didn’t even know that was possible.

So, Doug went out and got those two some breakfast from McDonald’s or somewhere and after they ate, we finally got around to having a devotional – at 10:30. It was scheduled for 9:30. I think it’s pretty apparent that there was no accurate timeline during this retreat.

In the meantime, the maintenance man showed up and began to work on repairing the oven. He finished up while we were singing praises to the Lord and left through the back door.

After the morning devotional, most people set out to play games or go for a walk or something productive. Me – well, I settled in front of the TV and began my Saturday ritual of watching football. Lunch was cold cut sandwiches and it was also every man for himself and so around 12:30 – otherwise known as halftime of the Mississippi State game – I prepared myself a sandwich and ate it. I started dozing off during the second half of the State game and so I pulled myself out of the chair I was in and moseyed on into the bedroom for a nap. 

By the time I woke from my nap, the satellite box had been connected to a projector that Doug brought and the picture was being projected onto a white sheet that had been pinned to the wall. Things were looking up – we would not all have to crowd around a 27 inch TV to watch the Alabama game. I watched a few more games while waiting on dinner and the Alabama game to start.

Dinner was scheduled for 5:30 and kickoff for the Alabama game was set for 7:00. Dinner, however, wasn’t ready until a few minutes after 7:00. The Alabama game started on time – such a novel concept. Seriously, everything we did was probably an hour or more behind schedule which drove me bonkers because I work much better on a strict and organized schedule. It’s the one area in which I am most like my mother. Dinner was quite good – pork tenderloin, green beans, mashed potatoes and rolls. After kickoff and when the game went to commercial, I finally got up to fix myself a plate.

I sat in the back of the room because I wanted to make sure I had enough room to get up and pace, jump up and down and curse under my breath if necessary. The Alabama/LSU game has become the best game of the season in my opinion and I knew this was going to be a tough match for the Crimson Tide. Thankfully, after taking about 10 years off my life, Alabama won and kept me from cursing at the church retreat. There were many times when I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I went to bed about an hour after the game so the adrenaline could release from my poor soul.

Sunday morning, I was an early riser once again and managed to get a lot of reading in before anyone else woke up. I even packed up all my things and loaded up the car which was nice come leaving time. Breakfast on Sunday was pancakes and cheese grits along with bacon and left over pork tenderloin from Saturday’s dinner and the food was once again really good. We also had communion and a time of sharing with each other about our struggles and needs at this time in our lives. It was a really good morning.

After breakfast we cleaned up the kitchen and the rest of the lodge and then headed out. I got home about 12:15 and had time to get in a TV show before going to the Sunday afternoon prayer service at the church building.

I won’t say it was the best retreat ever, but it also wasn’t a bad time and it provided me with an opportunity to get to know the people in my class better and to make some new friends which was my main reason for going. I look forward to spending more time with these folks and getting to know them even better.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Church Retreat Part One

Before I write about my very interesting day at the polls, I have a couple of posts about the recent church retreat I attended.

So, this past weekend while my sweet baby was in the doggie hospital, I attended a church retreat. It was like a flashback to the late 1990s because other than one or two ladies retreat, which isn’t really the same, this was the first weekend retreat I had been on since my days as an undergrad in Tuscaloosa.  

The retreat was held at the Elk River Lodge between Athens and Rogersville and all the festivities were to begin on Friday evening. We were told we could arrive any time after 5:30 and that dinner would be served at 7:00. After work, I went by the house to finish throwing my things in a bag and then headed out of town. I left the house about 5:15 and arrived at the Lodge a few minutes after 6:00. For some crazy reason I assumed I would be one of the last ones to arrive. As it turns out, I was the first. Well, I guess technically the third since the coordinator and his wife was already there. Everyone else started trickling in around 7:00 or later. Clearly this is not a prompt group.

Doug, the coordinator, was trying to get the grill going to grill burgers for dinner and he had no lighter and asked me if I had one. Um, no. Apparently someone was bringing a lighter but who knew when they were going to show up. Long story short, the dinner that was supposed to be eaten at 7:00 was not served until 8:22. To say I was hungry is quite the understatement.

Before we ate we prayed to bless the food and during the prayer I felt something on my head. I thought maybe a strand of hair had come loose from my ponytail, but no – a granddaddy longlegs had somehow found a home atop my crown. I realized what it was when I knocked it from my head and saw it land on the floor. It is truly a modern day miracle that I did not scream out loud and possibly even curse during that prayer. By the grace of God I was able to hold it together and then about a few seconds later that longlegs met his demise when one of the guys stepped backwards and smooshed him.

The burgers, well, they were subpar, which was a huge disappointment considering that we were told the food was going to be amazing. I guess some folks idea of amazing and mine are on different ends of the spectrum – this is the curse of a good cook.

We then had a small devotional and played a weird game. At this point, I was exhausted and congested and in a word, miserable.  The plan was to next bake cookies in the oven, only the oven would not turn on, which had me a little concerned about how the food situation was going to be for the remainder of the weekend.

It was soon after this that I retired for the evening. Strangely enough I had a room all to myself. We were told before we arrived that some of us may have to share beds yet no one bunked in my room and there was an unused bed throughout the weekend. This was just fine by me though because I could do my own thing on my own time, which is just the way I like it.

To be continued…

Monday, November 5, 2012

Get Out And Vote!

As if you didn't already know, Tuesday, November 6 is the day we Americans go to the polls to decide on our elected leaders for the next two-four years (depending on the office). I have always loved and had a passion for voting. I think it is one of the best privileges and rights we have as Americans.

I don't know about the rest of you, but never in my voting lifetime have I felt that voting is as important as it is this year. I have had a lot of anxiety and concern over what the outcome of this election will be and how our decisions as voters will shape the face of our nation for the next few years. My prayer is that the decisions we make on November 6 will be decisions that will restore our nation to the God fearing country it once was.

Whoever your candidate and whatever your party, please get out and vote on Tuesday! Polls will be open in Alabama from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., and if you work long shifts, please note that your employer cannot prevent you from voting. You have the right to leave work at an appropriate time to in order to make it to the polls before they close. If you are in line at 7:00 p.m.,  you will not be denied your right to vote.

I'll be working at Precinct 3 in Madison County and am excited and nervous about the day. It's sure to be quite an interesting experience and you can bet I will be blogging about it soon.

Get out and vote - be responsible - be the voice of your nation - take your country back!

For those of you in Madison County, AL, click here for a sample ballot. If you are looking for more information regarding the 11 amendments to Alabama's constitution that will be on the ballot, please click here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Little Mickey's 47th Birthday

Last Thursday was Little Mickey's birthday soiree. This year we all gathered at the Mexican restaurant across from Burger King on Whitesburg. I have no idea what the name of it is; but, the food was good so there's that. Little Mickey turned 47 this year - that is really hard to believe because he is truly a kid at heart and we love him because of it!

Since I did not have to go home to let The Tide out, I worked until 5:30, ran by Target to pick up my prescriptions for my sinus issues and then went to the restaurant. I had planned to also pick up a scary mask for Little Mickey since he loves those, but Target had none. All the Halloween stuff was on clearance of course, but there were no scary masks - weird. I did manage to buy The Tide a witch costume for $3 - talk about a bargain.

Oddly enough it seems we all arrived at the restaurant at the same time. Jan was walking in as I pulled into the parking lot and then Jackie walked in right before I did. Come to think of it they probably rode together, but I don't know. We got settled into our spots at the table after greeting Little Mickey of course. This restaurant has a buffet which is what we all got. Well, everyone but Troy who ate chips and cheese dip - a kid after my own heart. The food, as mentioned, was good, and I was stuffed when all was said and done. I will also say that I thoroughly enjoyed the salsa at this place - it was very good.

Little Mickey got an Alabama shirt and some money as gifts and he was thrilled with all of them. Aunt Nina had gotten Little Mickey a cookie cake and we had that for dessert. It was also quite yummy. I, of course, was stuffed by the time the soiree was over.

As is always the case, it was such a fun night with people that I love dearly. We laughed and talked and laughed some more which always makes for a wonderful time. I look forward to doing it again next year.

Me and Troy at the Party.
I think my face looks chunky, but what can you do?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Upon Further Calculation, I Grew 1/4 An Inch

I have no doubt you all have been popping in each day this week to find out what my measurements were after Goga-ing for one month. Okay, maybe not; but, I'm going to tell you about it anyway because I know there are at least two of you who are interested in this information.

So, you may recall that on October 1 I signed up for one month of Goga. After hearing all the fabulous results women across Madison County were having at losing multiple inches I figured it was definitely something that I needed to try. I made the decision to sign up for one month and to go as often as possible because according to the lovely ladies who work there, the more you go, the better your results will be. For the four week experiment, here are my Goga-ing statistics:

Week One: October 1-6 - Went five times, saunaed four times
Week Two: October 8-13 - Went four times, saunaed twice
Week Three: October 15-20 - Went five times, saunaed four times
Week Four: October 22-27 - Went four times, saunaed three times

I was measured on Monday, October 29 to check my progress. This was exactly four weeks after first signing up. Now, I will say I had some bloating going on this particular day but I'm pretty sure I may have had the same situation on October 1. so, take that however you want. Here are the results:

Date 10/1/2012 10/29/2012
Neck 14.5 14
Bust 43 43
Upper Abs  39 39
Waist 42 42
Lower Abs 53 53.5
Hips 52 53
Left Thigh 30.75 30
Right Thigh 29.75 30
Left Arm 15.25 15
Right Arm 15 15
Total Inches 334.25 334.5
Total Gain

So, as you can imagine I was a wee bit disappointed. The funny thing is the girl who measured me told me I lost a total of one inch but then when I did the calculations to write this post, it turned out that I actually gained .25 inch - is there no justice in the world? Jackie, however, who has a much better metabolism than me (good genes) and who only went one or two times a week lost a total of seven inches. Yes, that's right folks, seven inches. Apparently my dad was right when he recently told me, "you've just got a big body like the rest of us. You'll have to live with it." Thanks for the words of encouragement.

I did go ahead and sign up for another month because even though the tape measure may not say it, I do feel like I'm looking a little better and have had quite a few people at work comment as such. Jackie said that maybe my cellulite is just melting away first. So, we'll go with that. Works for me. I also thought it was helping keep the sinus infections away but then I was hit with one of those late in the week which kind of tossed that theory out the window.

As of now, my plan is to continue through the end of the year and see how it goes. It does seem to have benefits for a lot of people who go and you can't really argue with those results. I did not go to the gym this past month because of an extremely busy schedule and hope to be able to fit that back into my afternoons along with Goga and maybe that will provide me with some better results. At any rate, at the moment, I do not have any plans to get measured again until the end of December, but that's always subject to change.

*Remember, if you decide to give it a try, don't forget to mention this blog.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

You Got Lucky, Dog!

Well, today, Thursday, was the big day at our house - it was the day of The Tide's surgery for her torn ACL. She had to be at the vet's office before 9:00 a.m. Since they open at 8:00, I decided I would drop her off when they opened so I could go on in to work. She couldn't have any food or treats after midnight which was probably quite confusing to her since she is quite accustomed to getting a treat or three in the wee hours of each morning. I got up at my normal time and we went about our morning routines (with the exception of treat and her medicine) and then we left the house a little after 7:00 a.m.

I had to stop by my parents' house before we went to the vet's office because I needed to drop off tickets for Friday's Madison Academy game to my dad and also deliver some ribs that I had bought at Star Market for him. We got to my parents' house around 7:20 only to find all the doors locked tight. So, I had to go back to the car to retrieve my keys and let myself in through the back door. the Tide and I visited with my dad for a good 20 minutes or so before heading out the door again. While we were chatting my dad was rubbing The Tide's belly and told her, "you got lucky, dog." Indeed she did. Some other owner probably would have put her down 10 years ago when she was first diagnosed with hip dysplasia.

We arrived at the vet's office a few minutes before they opened at 8:00. As is always the case, The Tide could not wait to get out of the car and go inside. I don't know if she associates the vet's office with making her feel better or what the deal is, but she absolutely loves going to the vet and will nudge me out of my seat because she is so excited to get out of the car.

I got her signed in and soon after the vet tech came to take her to the back. He told me the surgery would take place around 10:30 or 11:00 and that they would give me a call after it was over to let me know how she was doing. I gave her one last hug and sent her on her merry way. I only got a wee bit teary-eyed and did not sob like a baby as I expected I would. After the tech took her back and I got back on the road, I realized I had left my phone at home and so I had to drive back home to pick it up since they would be calling me later on to tell me how the surgery went. After I got my phone, I went to my own doctor's office because after three months of having no sinus issues, I am once again plagued with a sinus infection. I caught this one really early though so I hope to knock it out quickly and then get back on the path to good health. Despite the very busy morning, I still made it to work by 9:00, which is only two hours later than I normally show up.

I didn't hear from the vet's office until around 1:30 or so. As you can imagine, I was getting a little antsy around noon when I had not heard anything. The vet tech that took her back that morning, Wesley, was also the one to call me. He said that the surgery went well and that she was in recovery. I asked him to please update me each day if possible and also reminded them to keep her through Monday. They usually keep the animals that have this surgery for a couple of days, but I am going on a church retreat this weekend and so I wanted to make sure they could keep a good eye on her while I cam gone. Wesley said he would call me and give me updates on how she is doing, so I'll be anxious to hear from him.

Needless to say, when I got home Thursday evening the house seemed really empty without The Tide wandering about. I'll be glad when she is back home and feeling better.