Friday, February 28, 2014

Three Years Later

As luck would have it, I'm still under the weather. This particular sinus infection has been a beast and it doesn't seem to want to go away. I'm hoping there are antibiotics still lingering around in my system fighting off the germs but I'm beginning to have my doubts. Actually, today I woke up feeling a little bit better but am still not at even 85%. I wouldn't be surprised if I end up back at the clinic this weekend. 

Some of you who have been reading this blog for a few years may recall my trip to France in 2011 and how one of the guys in my group, Bernie, saved the day with some stomach medicine. Later on during that trip, Bernie saved the day again by hooking me up with some nasal spray because I ended up with a sinus infection while I was in France too - apparently my sinuses hate me. So, for the past two and a half years, I've carried in my purse the nasal spray that Bernie gave me and used it for every sinus infection and period of nasal congestion during that time. Sadly, the time has come where that nasal spray is now empty. It served me well these past two and a half years and I thought of Bernie and his wife Catherine each time I used it. So, once again a big thanks to Bernie for helping me out when I was in a pinch. Who knew he would, in theory, be helping me out for two more years after he first gave me the nasal spray. 

In other news, February is coming to a close and our trip to Hawaii is only three weeks away. That doesn't even seem possible. Next thing you know we will once again be donning the Christmas trees and trimming the halls with boughs of holly. Times flies when you're having fun I guess. 

I'm sure I could ramble on and on about nothing of great importance, but I'll spare you the boring details and stop here for now. I realize the blogging this year hasn't been my most stellar effort, but in my defense, not a lot has been going on and it's not easy to write about the boring day-to-day activities. Thankfully, March is shaping up to be a more eventful month and as the weather warms I'm confident my schedule will pick up as well which means there's sure to be better posts in the near future. Until then, I hope everyone has a great weekend. Stay warm and stay safe!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Washing Machine Woes

Well, it's been an extremely busy couple of days at work and even my lunch time has been consumed with answering emails and scheduling meetings. I rarely get on the computer at home, which I think I've mentioned so I've finally, I've found a few minutes to write. 

This past Friday night, I was watching TV, playing Candy Crush, being used as a pillow by The Pip and doing laundry when I thought I heard what sounded like water tricking down and running into the floor. I muted the TV, listened a little more carefully and after a minute or so, got up to check the washer and sure enough, water was beginning to spread the length of the laundry room. I cut the machine off and discovered that apparently something had happened such that the water wasn't shutting off when it should have and now water was pouring out the back of the washing machine. I had previously had some issues with the washer a few years back and knew I had the repairman's number in my phone. I remembered his name was kind of unique and so I spent a few minutes going through my contact list looking for his name. I found it under Washer Repairman. Sometimes I'm too logical for my own good. It was 9:00 at night so I decided it was too late to call and thought it would be best to call the next morning around 9:00 a.m. so as not to call too early. 

I called the next morning and (I'm assuming) Mr. P's wife answered the phone and said he could come between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. and I said that would be just fine. Well, about 1:30 p.m., he still had not shown up but I figured he might be running late. Finally, at 2:00 p.m. I decided I had better give him a call. He was apparently installing a dishwasher and it was taking a lot longer than he expected. I asked him to please call me before coming. Number one I wanted to make sure I was awake (I was ready to nap) and number two, I wanted to put The Pip up. Bless her heart, I had put her up at noon expecting Mr. P to be there soon after and she stayed in the crate until I called him and found out he was running way behind. 

Finally about 3:30 p.m., Mr. P and his assistant showed up and within five minutes and $80 later, I was back in the laundry business. It would seem that something just needed to be tightened and it was probably something I could have done myself. Y'all, blue collar is the way to go these days. Some of these young guys and gals trying to figure out what to do with their lives should just go learn a trade and be done with it because we will always be in need of repair persons and since there aren't too many repair persons in the world today, you ca probably make bank doing it. I mean, Mr. P. made $80 in less than five minutes! At that rate, it's $960 an hour!

I washed three loads of clothes between Saturday night and Sunday morning with no problem. On Sunday morning, I put the sheets from my bed in the wash before leaving for church and when I got home, I was going to transfer them to the dryer. I opened the washer only to discover that the sheets had not spun out. I figured the machine had gotten off balance and long story short, the spinner was apparently now not working. So, I called Mr. P. again and he said he would come to the house when I got off work on Monday. I ended up hanging the sheets on the line to get most of the water out and then drying them the rest of the way. 

Monday afternoon, I had to call Mr. P. to remind him he was supposed to stop by - he had forgotten, but he only lives a couple of streets over so it doesn't take him long to drive two blocks. This time, he spent about 10 minutes at the house and once again got the machine in working condition. He didn't charge me anything though and told me we would just consider it part of the Saturday repair. 

So, my washing machine woes have come to an end, at least for now. I'm hoping I won't have any more issues for a while and that I'll be washing clothes with this washer for a few more years. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mission Impossible

So, I'm sick with yet another sinus and ear infection. Only instead of getting one every month, I'm only getting one every three months so that's a huge improvement. I don't even understand how something as small as a sinus infection can make you feel so terrible, but it does and I'm ready for my medicine to kick in. This brings us to today's topic of doctors and healthcare. 

The summer after I moved back to Huntsville in 2003, I was struck with a bizarre virus which kept me in a fever and diagnosed haze for two weeks. I had to go to a doctor and so I went to the doctor my parents were using, Dr. S; and no, he never figured out what was wrong with me, but clearly I'm still alive. Dr. S. was a no-nonsense and no-frills kind of doctor. His waiting room and exam rooms were bland and boring. He was a small man who grew a large woolly beard in the winter and he wasn't one for small talk. He got to the point, wrote you a prescription, gave you samples if he had some and sent you on your way. The thing I loved most about Dr. S was that when you had a sinus infection, he would write you a prescription that included a refill so he wouldn't have to fool with you two months later when you were back with the same symptoms. Actually, I don't know why he gave a refill on his anti-biotics, but it helped our family out on several occasions.

A few years ago (maybe five, maybe eight, I lose track of time), Dr. S. decided to close his practice and move away to Tennessee (I think it was Tennessee). It was a sad day because once you get comfortable with someone, it's hard to go to someone else. I had no idea what doctor I would choose. I had occasionally been to a Dr. R/I/R (she was married and divorced a lot, but she was in Madison (too long of a drive) and not my favorite person in the world so I wasn't keen on going to her. My parents decided on Dr. M who was the same doctor for my grandparents and who I always have associated with my grandmother's dying days and eventually when I really needed a doctor, I ended up going to Dr. M as well because who else would I choose and how would I go about choosing them? It's not like you can interview doctors. 

So, I've been going to Dr. M for a few years now and overall I would say he's a good doctor. He gets the job done and has never mistreated or misdiagnosed me. He is awfully hard to understand because he is from India; but, overall, he's a nice man. The problem I had with him was that since my grandfather went there and also my parents, he was always telling me who had been in to the office (maybe even the same day as me). Sometimes he would tell my family members that I had been in and they would call and ask what kind of sickness I had as if they had a crystal ball and knew I was sick when really it was just Dr. M. blabbing his mouth. Um, what about doctor/patient confidentiality Dr. M? 

The last few times I've been sick, I've just gone to the local QuickCare Clinic at Propst. I've always had good luck there in that there has never been a long wait and I really like the nurse practitioner who shares my love of Birkenstocks. Plus, it's a lot easier to go there after work or on the weekend rather than take time off from work during the week to go see Dr. M.  Also, Dr. M wants you to come in every three months to get your prescriptions refilled and that might be great if I was 80 years old, but I'm 37 and don;t feel the need to see you every three months for no reason at all. Ain't nobody got time for that! 

A year or so ago, my parents left Dr. M for reasons we won't get into here on the blog and that just left me and my granddad going there. Still, Dr. M. was blabbing his mouth about my granddad's appointments and I'm sure telling my granddad about my appointments and it always got under my skin. The final straw was back last fall when I went in for a physical which was to my surprise not a physical at all, but just another "let me refill your prescription" appointment. When Dr. M. walked in, he asked me about something going on with my family that was completely untrue and to be honest made me want to jump up from the table and punch someone and no doubt caused my blood pressure to rise while he was taking my blood pressure. It probably goes without saying, I haven't been back. I've just been going to the QuickCare ever since.

As a result of all of this, I've been on a mission to find a decent doctor and have been told by various people how great Dr. So and So is only to find out Dr. So and So isn't taking new patients. On Thursday, I called I don't know how may doctors, none of whom were taking new patients and one who was - in April! My friend Meri told me about her doctor, Dr. W and he was the last one I called. His receptionist was also the nicest of the all receptionists I spoke with. Dr. W didn't have any appointments for new patients for a couple of weeks. The receptionist explained that I would be able to get in the same day if I was an established patient. So, I went ahead and made an appointment for late April (after my dentist appointment on the same day) to meet Dr. W and see what he's all about. Based on what Meri's told me about him, I think I'm going to like him and if I like him, then I'm going to refer my parents to him because they don't like the doctor they are using now either. With any luck, we will all like Dr. W. and he will become our new doctor and maybe, just maybe he won't tell our other family members our business. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The 1,000th Post

Not only did I hit the milestone of keeping up this blog for five years, but this, ladies and gentlemen is my 1,000th post. How crazy is that? I should host a giveaway of some sort but with all the people I know getting married and having babies, there are no funds left over for a giveaway at this time. Sorry, folks. I also wish I had something really fantastic about for this 1,000th post, but, alas, I don't. Life hasn't been that exciting lately; and so, I'll just ramble, which really isn't much different than any other day.

I mentioned yesterday that we have warmer weather. In fact, it's warmer than the average high. I've even turned off the HVAC unit - no heat, no air - and should be able to go for the next few days without using it which will hopefully save me a few dollars on the utility bill. We have apparently reached the time of year when it's hard to decide what to wear and most of the time it ends up being layers of some sort because it's cooler in the mornings than the afternoons and who wants to wear their heavy coat when it's 60 degrees outside?

Along with the change in weather, it would seem that some demon form of pollen has also been released. I feel like everyone I work with is sick in some shape, form or fashion. Everyone seems to be coughing or sneezing and I've apparently joined them because I woke up with a sore throat on Wednesday morning thanks to copious amounts of sinus drainage. I'm thrilled, as you can imagine. I'll try to steer clear of the doctor with all manner of medication and home remedies, but I'm sure a co-pay is in my near future. 

There has also been an increase in the amount of daylight we are receiving which has been a nice blessing since for the past few months I arrive at work and leave work when it's dark outside. It always amazes me how quickly the daylight starts pouring in after the Winter Solstice and I must say it's nice to not feel like a vampire and maybe even grab a small dose of Vitamin D every now and then. 

We had our second women's Bible study this week. I previously mentioned that we had decided on a study by Kelly Minter which dives into the book of Ruth. This week was the first week we studied from the book and we made it all the way through three verses. None of us are upset about this. We've decided that if it takes us a year to study Ruth, then so be it. We study and discus for an hour and then spend 30 minutes or so on prayer requests and praying for those requests. I think the format is really going to work well and I'm hoping the study will be successful and that everyone will keep coming. It's a good group of girls (well, women - even at 37 I still have a hard time thinking of myself as a woman) and I'm looking forward to spending more time with them and getting to know them all better. 

I suppose that's all the rambling I have for this, the 1,000th post. A big thanks to all of you who come back day after day to read what's going on in my corner of the world! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

All Thawed Out

Things are back to normal around this part of the country; and by normal I mean we don't have any snow. In fact, the temperature this week is forecasted to be in the 60s and maybe even 70s. I guess the saying is true - if you don't like the weather stick around for 24 hours - or however that goes. I'm thankful that my dear ole HVAC unit is getting a break this week, but I love the cold weather so I can't really say I'm sad that the snow and low temps are gone. Soon, though, it will be time to break out the sandals and admittedly, I do love wearing sandals. So, all is not lost. 

We've got a month to go until we leave for our Hawaiian vacation. This will be the first time I've ever been on a cruise ship and I really hope I like it. I started thinking about showers on the ship recently. Where does the water come from? Does it come from the sea and then is it filtered before it comes through the showerhead? What about the heat of the water? Does the boat have a lot of hot water heaters so that no one is ever without hot water because a cold shower does not even remotely sound appealing. What about the toilets? When you flush does it go to sea? What about the toilet paper? These are all questions for which I would like an answer. I guess I've just really become interested in the plumbing of the ship. So, if you know anything, please share. Maybe there is a tour on the ship I can take that will answer all of these questions. I'm just very curious about all of this.

I'm curious as to how much of the Olympics you all have been watching because I've been watching close to nothing and this is very surprising. I've always been a big fan of the winter Olympics. In fact, I love the winter games more than the summer games, but this year, I just cannot seem to catch the Olympic spirit. I've watched just a few segments here and there, but overall I've found the games just haven't caught my interest. The few times I have watched, it's mostly been on the weekends in the morning and then if I happen to turn on in the evening, the same thing I watched that morning is on again and so there's no point in watching. I will say, though, that it's been great for catching up on the DVR,

Speaking of the Olympics, a few years ago when I mapped out my vacation plans for the next five years, going to Sochi for the Winter Olympics was my plan for 2014 and I'm here to tell you that I've never been so grateful for a plan falling through. It seems that all the stories we've heard from people traveling to Sochi have been horror stories and I, for one, am glad that my plans changed. I think Hawaii will be a lot more enjoyable than Russia. Call me crazy. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

On Sunday She Escaped

Well, hello, there! I hope you all had a very lovely weekend. I'm sure many of you had weekend plans that included something Valentines-y. I, on the other hand did not. I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day and I'm not about to start now. I did, however, spend my Valentine's afternoon/early evening in a place I love - Publix. 

I made two grocery stops on Friday afternoon. The first was to Aldi to pick up what few items I could find there. Aldi is significantly cheaper than any other store in town and they do occasionally have things I need so I made it my first stop. After Aldi, I stopped by Publix where I had reserved a movie from RedBox and then just decided to go ahead and get the few things left on my list. As you might expect, the card and flower and candy aisles were packed with men doing their last minute Valentine's shopping. This is another thing I hate about Valentine's Day -all the menfolk seem to shop at the last minute. I feel like if you have to wait until the 11th hour to get me something, just don't bother. Seriously, I'm not keen on a last minute gift. Not only was the place packed with these last minute shoppers (causing me to have to park at the end of the lot in the rain), the shelves were also completely bare in various areas of the store. I guess this was because of the recent snow? That's the only conclusion I could come to. 

I finally made it home after dodging numerous cars on the way. I'm certain if someone could have pulled out in front of me, they did. I was cut off more than once and by the time I arrived home I was a little frazzled and thankful to be alive. Between the full moon, Valentine's Day and the rain, it was a triple threat on the roadways and I had no desire to leave the house again. I spent the rest of the evening watching TV/a movie and hanging out with The Pip

On Saturday morning I had a haircut appointment, after which I headed in to work for a few hours. Everyone came in for a little while to get caught up from our snow days last week. I stayed for about four hours which wasn't too bad. After leaving work I stopped by The Fresh Market because they had crab cakes on sale and I do love crab cakes. I picked up 3 for $6.99 to have for lunch on Sunday. Next on the agenda was returning the RedBox movie from Friday and picking up something for Saturday. I managed to make it home by 2:00 p.m. which was my goal and spent the rest of the day doing laundry, watching movies and playing Candy Crush.Seriously, why are games so addictive? 

On Sunday, I spent the morning at church and then came home to cook the aforementioned crab cakes for lunch. It was a nice day out so I opened up the back door and left it open so Pippa could run in and out and hopefully let loose a lot of her energy. At one point, I looked out the kitchen window and noticed the cat from next door was walking towards the backyard and I knew that as soon as Pippa saw the cat, she would run under the fence after it. 

Sure enough, about that time, I heard a bark and I went outside and Pippa was gone. I grabbed a box of treats, turned off the stove, grabbed a pair of shoes, the leash, a blanket to put in the car and the car keys and headed towards the front door. As soon as I stepped out the door, I saw her. She was standing by the car. So, I went out to the car, opened the door, put the blanket in, and she thankfully jumped inside and I was able to get the leash on her and get her back inside. 

I finished cooking my lunch, ate, and then attempted to take a nap. The nap didn't work out so well though because Pip wouldn't leave me alone. Sometimes she will, but not this day. 

Sunday evening after church, I headed over to Erika's and watched Downton with her and Kendra. Even though I've seen the whole season, it's still fun to watch and especially fun to see their reactions. Only one more episode this season! That, dear friends, sums up the weekend. Hope yours was good as well!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Rained In

As I mentioned the other day, it snowed on Monday night/Tuesday morning and me and about 15 other people made it in to work. My weight training class was cancelled for the night and I was anxious to get home and let Pip play in the snow. Oh, who am I kidding, I was looking forward to playing in the snow. However, much to my chagrin, all the snow was melted by the time I got home. I also wasn't feeling great, in that I felt like a cold was coming on and so I took my trusted stand-by, Alka-Seltzer cold medicine around 5:30 p.m. and was asleep about an hour later. 

The weather folks were predicting more snow for Wednesday so it was going to be another wait and see situation. I woke up Wednesday morning to a very light rain and listed to what the meteorologists had to say. I watch Channel 19 in the mornings, and when Ben Smith took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves, I felt certain it was about to get serious outside. I went ahead and took a shower and then listened to the news some more. After listening to the sheer paranoia of the newscasters and meteorologists, I decided I had better keep myself at home lest I get snowed in at work for the next 24 hours or more. 

I sent a text to Meri and let her know I was staying in. Meri chatted another girl we work with who also decided to stay home and I received a call from another co-worker who also decided to stay home. In short, the four of us girls, and loads of other people from what I understand, were snowed (pun intended) by the news into believing Huntsville was going to soon be a frozen tundra and so we all stayed home. 

Unfortunately, instead of of ice and snow, we received rain, and rain, and oh, did I mention it rained? I have never felt so stupid in my life. I rarely, and I mean rarely believe anything the weatherpeople say when it comes to snow and tornadoes because they love to get everyone in a tizzy and it usually amounts to nothing. So, why, I chose Wednesday to believe them, I will never know. Now, I'll be coming in for a few hours on Saturday to make up missed time for my rainy day at home. 

As it turns out, I ended up sleeping most of the day on Wednesday, and by most of the day, I mean I finally got up for more than 30 minutes around 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon. The cold medicine had a firm grip on me and my body apparently needed or wanted an enormous amount of rest. Thankfully, Pippa was rather cooperative and slept most of the time as well. I will make a lazy dog out of her yet!

Finally around 5:00 p.m. the rain became a rain/sleet mix and by 5:30 p.m. it was snowing, but not sticking. It started sticking about 30 minutes later and it piled up rather quickly. By 9:30 p.m. there were a few inches on the ground and it was still coming down. I took Pippa outside and we stopped and chatted with one of the neighbors for a few minutes. We walked out to the front as well because I wanted to see if there was a sheet of ice on the road and was glad to see that there was not. It was strangely quiet outside, which I often find to be the case when it snows at night, there's almost an eeriness about it and it seems as though you can hear the conversations of people down the street as if they were in the same yard as you. Do you all feel this way too? 

Thursday morning I woke up at my usual time and once again listened to the morning news to see how road conditions were before heading out on another snowy adventure. I took a shower, got ready, packed a lunch and then went to deal with the snow covered car. I had to let it warm up for quite a while before the sheet of ice on the windshield would break apart. While the car was warming up, I went outside with Pippa and let her off the leash to run around and enjoy the snow. She had a big time and was running all over the place and it looked like she was hopping like a rabbit at times as well. I finally managed to reign her in after about 10 minutes or so and then loaded up my things and hit the road. 

The roads were actually not terrible at all. In fact, I think they were in better condition on Thursday than they had been on Tuesday. I stopped by Maple Hill to take a photo because it was just too beautiful to pass up. It's one of my favorite spots in Huntsville anyway and it looked so gorgeous in the snow. In fact, the whole city looked so clean and beautiful covered in fresh snow. I was glad I had gotten out so early so I could enjoy all the beauty before it melted away. There were also a lot of snowmen out and about and it made me kind of melancholy that I didn't make one myself. 

I was one of the first people to arrive at work and Meri arrived about 20 minutes after I did. Throughout the day people trickled in. I suppose a lot of them had cabin fever and were ready to get out of the house after one or two days at home. Sadly, the snow will melt away by the end of the weekend and we are expected to have weather in the 60s next week. I, however, wouldn't mind another good snow before the winter passes us by, so long as it's on the weekend, that is. 

The snow was very heavy and caused this shrub to be droopy.
It's usually about as tall as the house.  

The back yard.  

Pippa getting a taste of the snow.  

The house - the snow and moon caused it to be very bright out. 
I think this might be one of my favorite photos of my house in the snow.  

My road

Pippa taking in the snow on Thursday morning.  

Maple Hill -so pretty! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Book Review: The Jesus Bible (NIV)

I had grand intentions of posting today's book review last week, but you know what they say about good (or in this case grand) intentions. So, I'm finally getting around to posting this week and I hope you'll take a few minutes to read about this post. The review is for The Jesus Bible (NIV) and yes, it's another Bible review and no, I'm not actually reviewing the Bible. I think we can all agree that the Bible is full of good stuff. I am reviewing the supplemental materials and the kind of Bible that The Jesus Bible is. 

The Jesus Bible's "catchphrase" if you will is "Discover Jesus in Every Book of the Bible" and this is what caught my eye. At Mayfair this year, the ministers are teaching about Jesus every week from the pulpit. This may not sound all that unusual since it is, after all, worship service, but in a way it is unusual because we are really digging into the live of Jesus and studying more deeply about the man he was. Each week the ministers focus on one aspect of Jesus' life or a name he was referred to and elaborate on it and so I felt like this Bible would be a great way to supplement our year-long study. 

This Bible is actually geared towards kids ages 9-12, but let me tell you, I think it's also great for adults, especially those who may have just recently come to Christ.There are many tables and charts throughout the book that detail the timeline of Jesus, the genealogy of Jesus,  the parables of Jesus, etc. All of these tables provide valuable and important information for children and adults alike and are an easy to use and read resource. 

Each book of the Bible has an introductory page which summarizes a variety of information such as where you can find Jesus in the book, who wrote the book, for whom the book was written and what time in which the book was written. 

Throughout the pages you can often find highlighted areas which say "Hints of the Savior" and will reference where prophecies are fulfilled in the New Testament.

There are also sections throughout that say "Live Like Jesus" which will take one verse and make a practical application to today based on something Jesus said or did. 

There are so many wonderful aspects about this Bible. The Jesus Bible is probably one of the best Bibles I have seen for providing a lot of useful and helpful information for tying the Old Testament to the New Testament and helping the reader see Jesus throughout every page and not just the words of Christ in red in the New Testament. 

If you are looking for a Bible for a pre-teen or even a new Christian, I think this one would be so helpful in regards to studying and learning more about how Jesus can be seen throughout the Bible and also how he works in our lives today. The Jesus Bible is available from Amazon and and other booksellers nationwide. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snowpocalypse 2014

It snowed Monday night/Tuesday morning. I mentioned it briefly in yesterday's post , but today I'm going to actually tell you about it because that's the kind of person I am. The weather people were forecasting copious amounts of snow; but being the skeptic that I am I wasn't buying it. Sunday night the weatherman had downgraded the possibility of snow and by the time I woke up Monday morning they were saying that there was probably going to be a whole lot of nothing. So, I went to bed Monday night thinking there would be no snow on the ground come Tuesday. 

I woke up around 2:00 a.m. for a bathroom break (just being honest here) and peaked out the bathroom window and didn't think I saw anything; however when my alarm went off three hours later and I turned on the news, I was shocked to discover that there was snow and it was still coming down. I took Pippa outside, as is our routine and then tried to check Twitter to see if there was any news of road conditions, but I couldn't get my feed to refresh and eventually discovered that my internet service at home wasn't working properly. So, I tried to call the ISP, but then my phone started roaming and I couldn't get a good signal. In other words, the snow had put quite a damper on all forms of communication. 

Since I couldn't get online or use my phone I made the decision to just brave the roads and go on in to work. So, I showered and got ready to go, making the executive decision to wear jeans rather than attempt putting on any dress clothes. I took Pip outside again before leaving and this time she ran around like a crazy dog and it was such fun to watch. I wanted to stay home and play with her; but, alas, I need a paycheck more than fun time with the dog. So, I brought her back in and then headed out the door. 

The Parkway was closed so I had to take Andrew Jackson/California/Whitesburg until I got to the portion of the Parkway that was without ramps. I drove about 20 miles per hour the whole way in. The roads weren't terrible, but they also were not great. You could definitely tell that the plows and salt trucks had no been out and it was hard to tell one lane from the other. Thankfully, everyone drove at a snail's pace with the exception of a few fools from Jackson and Marshall counties. It's these people and the ones who take pictures while driving that cause the accidents on days like this. I didn't see any accidents myself really, but there was one car who somehow had slipped on the ice or lost traction and was in a horizontal position on one of the hills on California Street. This particular section of road is often icy so I wasn't too surprised. I managed to make it around the car with no problems. Hopefully the car was able to correct itself and get going before someone plowed into the side of it. 

I stopped to fill up the tank with gas as I got closer to work. I had about half a tank, but wanted to have a full tank in case the conditions on the way home were not good and I ended up being stuck somewhere. I finally made it to work about 7:20, having left home around 6:30-6:40, so it definitely took longer than normal to drive the 12 miles to work. 

Once I arrived at work, it was like a ghost town, as very few people came in. A lot of people who work where I do come from outlying areas such as Guntersville, Boaz, Albertville, Arba, etc. and those areas received much more snow that Huntsville. There was a report of six inches from a co-worker in Guntersville, 3-4 inches in the Arab area, and five inches in Eva. All of the people who came in were residents of Huntsville and therefore didn't have too long of a drive. There were maybe 15 people in the office when there are usually 50-60 of us. Meri made it in as well and not long after she arrived we walked down to the cafeteria to get her something for breakfast only to discover that the cafeteria was closed due to weather. I hope people had money for the vending machine or brought their lunch. I keep a supply of snacks at my desk and offered them up to anyone who needed a snack or something to eat, but only one person took me up on it.  To say it was a quiet day at the office was a bit of an understatement. It was very quiet, but it made for a productive day and a relaxing day at that, which is rather unusual at work these days. 

Another round of snow and ice is expected Wednesday night and it is predicted to be worse than what we got last night. They said this morning maybe 3-5 inches. So, who knows if I'll make it to work after that wave; only time will tell I guess. In the meantime, I just hope I make it home before dark so I can let Pip run around and enjoy some of the snow because it is, in fact, rather entertaining. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Send Kindness Into The World

It snowed last night, well, maybe it was this morning, I'm not really sure. I looked out my window around 2:00 a.m. and didn't see any snow, or at least I don't think I did. It was, after all, dark and I was half asleep. At any rate, it's snowy outside and it's still coming down, but I managed to make it in to work which means I'm either dedicated or crazy. The jury is still out. 

I wanted to write this next bit yesterday and have it posted for today, but I'm a big procrastinator/slacker as of late and I didn't get it done. It was a year ago today that we found out Jackie's brother had passed away. It's so hard to believe that a year has passed. To say it was a challenging year is putting it mildly. Kenny is missed every day by his family and by his friends. We were all blessed to have known him and we will always hold him in our hearts. 

Last year after I returned from Kenny's funeral, I shared with you something the preacher had mentioned during the funeral which was to perform a random act of kindness in the name of Kenny and I asked each of you to do this as well. It would have been something Kenny would have loved. 

So, this year, on the one year anniversary of that tragic news, I would like to challenge you to another random act of kindness. It can be as simple as paying for the person in line behind you at Starbucks, or sending dessert over to a table at a restaurant, or maybe buying someone a tank of gas, or delivering food or clothing to the homeless. Heck, right now you could even shovel someone's sidewalk or sweep the snow off their car. Just get out there and do something kind for someone who isn't expecting it. Then, I would like you to come back here and leave a comment on this post and let us know what you did. I think it would be great for Jackie and her family to read about the kindness you all sent out into the world in the name of Kenny.

So, get out there and do something good, I promise it will make you feel better than the person who receives the unexpected gift!  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Church Stuff: It's What I've Been Doing

I've been a terrible blogger this week, I know, I know. Things have been extremely busy at work and when I get home at night I haven't even been turning on the computer, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. So, blogging hasn't really taken a front row seat this week and I do apologize. 

Last Sunday was the Super Bowl (I'm sure you probably already knew that), and we had a Super Bowl party at church. We started with an earlier service at 4:00 p.m. followed by the Super Bowl on a giant wall in the gym and, of course, a large amount of snack foods. The worship service was great, as expected, but admittedly, it was a little bizarre seeing images of football players and stadiums alongside the words we were singing. I brought Buffalo Chicken Dip to the soiree and apparently a lot of other people had the same idea because there were at least four. Most all of the food was yummy and the fellowship with friends was even better. I left before halftime because I wanted to get home and watch Downton Abbey.

Monday night I hosted some girls from my Bible class to kick off our women's Bible study group. We had tossed around the idea of getting this started so that we could get to know each other better and also dive deeper into the Bible. I made white chicken chili and some of the other girls brought toppings, chips, desserts and drinks. There were eight of us in total and a wide range of ages and backgrounds which is sure to make for an interesting time together. We decided to do the Kelly Minter study on Ruth and we are hoping our books will be in soon before we meet again on February 17.

The rest of the week has been nothing short of normal. Tuesday night I was at the gym with my Women on Weights group and Wednesday night I was back at church - seems like a lot of church activity this week! This week in the class I teach on Wednesdays, we had some of the girls from the fourth and fifth grades come and teach. It was a little chaotic to say the least; but, I think it's great that Mayfair takes the time to work with young girls and help them develop the skills they need to teach when they are older, or to figure out maybe teaching isn't for them. It was interesting to see how the girls were with the children and to see how the children were with the girls "in charge".

Now, it's Thursday and I'll be back at the gym this evening and then there will only be one more day left in the work week, for which I am thankful. I hope to have a relaxing weekend coming up as I don't really have anything planned and would love to spend some time being lazy. In fact, I will probably finish up season four of Downton (but I'm still available for viewing parties, Erika!).

I've got a new Bible (well, the Bible's not new, but the kind of Bible is) to review and, fingers crossed, I hope to get it posted before the weekend. In the meantime, I hope all of you enjoy what's left of the week and that you have a really great weekend as well. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The 37th Birthday

My 37th birthday was this past Saturday, February 1 and I'm happy to report that it was a really great day and, in fact, great weekend. Friday, Meri brought in a cake to work to celebrate. The cake was shaped like a giant cupcake and was strawberry with cream cheese icing. It was very good. Later in the day, my friend Alex brought me a box from Nothing Bundt Cakes which had 12 mini bundlettes in it. I then called my mom and told her to cancel the cookie cake because I had more cake than I knew what to do with and still had one more on the way. 

After work Friday I took myself to I Love Sushi. They open for dinner at 5:00 and I had a little time to kill beforehand so I went to Target and spent more money than I ever intended to; but, they had bath sheets on clearance and I could not pass that up. If you don't know, bath sheets are giant bath towels that will actually fit all the way around your body with ease. I had been looking at various white sales for bath sheets and even on sale, I wasn't willing to spend the money so when Target had some very plush ones for less than $9, I couldn't pass it up. 

After my trip through the Target clearance aisles, I headed to I Love Sushi and dined on a delicious dinner. I then stopped by Redbox to pick up the rentals I  had reserved. When I got home I did some laundry and watched Captain Phillips (very good) and to my surprise, the Pip was actually very well behaved that evening. She must have known it was my birthday and wanted to be nice to me. 

Saturday morning I did a wee bit of cleaning and some more laundry and watched my second rental, Rush, which was also very good. I took Pippa to be weighed (42.6 pounds now) and then picked up my brother (he lives close to the vet). After dropping Pippa back off at home, Justin and I met up with our parents and our granddad and grandmother at Red Lobster. Red Lobster has been my birthday dining choice for many, many years. We enjoyed a nice dinner and conversation. After we ate, everyone came back to my house for cake (the aforementioned mini bundlettes) and I opened gifts. My parents got me Downton Abbey Season 4, a new gym bag and a book of maps from Bible times. I got an Alabama shirt from my granddad and my brother got me a Michael Buble CD. My grandmother paid for my lunch at Red Lobster. 

Everyone left a few minutes before 4:00 p.m. and I laid down on the couch for about an hour before kicking off the evening festivities. Jackie was gracious enough to host a birthday party for me. The festivities kicked off at 6:00 p.m. and we had about 15 or so of our friends from church come. Jackie cooked Crock-Pot Chicken and Erika brought a salad and fruit tea and Candy provided rolls and Kendra brought sweet tea. Jackie also commissioned Meri to make a birthday cake which was probably the cutest cake I have ever seen. I absolutely loved it and it was also very yummy. 

We spent the evening talking and laughing and eating (of course). Some people left early, others came late, all had a good time. Jackie had told everyone not to bring gifts, but some people did anyway, which was very nice. By the end of the evening, there were about eight of us left and we ended up playing a game called Boxers or Briefs which was so much fun and provided some interesting insight into the people in the room. We wrapped things up around 11:00 p.m. and I headed home about 11:30.

It was a really great day and a very fun night! I'm thankful for all the wonderful people in my life and feel blessed to be surrounded by so much love. Big thanks to all my family and friends who made birthday #37 a blast!