Category Archives: random

catching up: 2014 shenanigans

HELLO!  since I have been away a lot has happened (ok nothing too exciting, but I live in a town with no target, so I mean go with me on this).  since my computer died, I have finally replaced it and with that came trying to get all of my photos organized.  I didn’t realize how bad it was…but it was bad.  so now I am finally ready to start posting again.  now let me warn you that the next few post might bore you to tears.  I have done several posts that are just a quick catch up but there are certain events (like Christmas and vacation) that will have their own post.  here is the first of a lot to come in the next few days.  welcome to the end of 2014!

posted in random order.

may race in charlotte: sky and hanging out

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cj learning to play andy’s new harmonica (and ellen completely mortified)

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we also took a day off in may 2014 and went to the knoxville zoo.  we have so much fun when we go.  we didn’t know that we were going on the school day so we were there with a billion elementary school kids.  but the exciting thing we did was feed the giraffes!  (also we got locked in the gift shop because a kid went missing – the eventually let us leave, so we assume they found him).

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we were lucky to that we were able to go to the band perry concert.

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we also got to see 38 special and go back stage to meet the band (we got autographs and picks).

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a building was dedicated in ann’s name at the fair ground.  the expo building (her home away from home).

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work photos.  I found these amazing stress guys that when squeezed their eyes popped out a little.  well it didn’t take long before they were loved a little too hard and they both popped.  we used super glue and paperclips to “fix” them.  mine has since lost its hair and is full of holes…bethany’s is semi ok.

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 also last year bethany asked me to join her on a wonderful adventure, and I was stupid enough to go along with her.  we joined a crossfit beginners class.  it was torture.  I cried.  she missed the hardest night so she didn’t cry.  we dropped out.

august bristol trip.  if you get out of bed someone takes your pillow.  otis doing the “captain morgan” but his knee was sprained.

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we went to the October race in charlotte. Otis has his bed but sometimes we turn around and he is on our luggage.  he also tries to get in the front seat so I see his sweet face the entire time.

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 there is a concrete bunny at the house.  I came home one day and noticed it had been decorated by my dad.  dad and andy were taking bets to see if I noticed it.  yes I did.

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we had snow and it was cold.  for a while I was living with a wooly mountain man.

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a stray kitten showed up.  I thought we would end up with it because I felt bad.  but we found it a good home.

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we went to a yard sale and saw a dog come up and we both said that looks like rufas!  about that time we heard the people talking about that dog came to visit again.  I asked if it was theirs and they said no.  I asked if it lived on a specific street and they said yes.  I told them it was my cousins dog so we took him home.  bought a rug because he was muddy.  we wrapped him up bought a dvd and away we went.  he loved his ride.

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went to ghs homecoming.

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I woke up one morning and went to work and in the yard not far from my car was a raccoon.  he was cute but it was day light so I made noise and scared him off except he didn’t run away from me, he just kind of moved like a slug away from me.  the next day I get a text from andy with a photo of this little guy asking if we can keep it.  the same raccoon sitting outside in the middle of the day.  now I know that doesn’t automatically say that he is rabid (I did research) but he was sick. I asked andy if he called animal control and he said no why?!  so I made him call and no one came.  so I called my cousin and asked him about this raccoon.  I asked if he thought he was sick.  I described his behavior and he said yes he thought it was sick.  so we had our first encounter with a sick wild animal.

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 I will admit I am a little scared of cats (depending on the cat – very scared terrified).  I am not scared of my mom’s cats but they can be a handful.  on one visit I woke up with ashes in my hair and UT taking a bath on my suitcase.

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Otis helped with some sewing projects.  he seemed mostly bored but happy to have a soft place to lay.

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I hope to have Christmas posts up soon as well.

yay for catching up and getting organized!

part 1 of 4: the inconsolable soul – in the beginning

leaning against the cold wall with the taste of bile lingering in my nose and throat, my knees bent with my toes touching the base of the cold porcelain toilet, i knew i had to stop sobbing.  i was beyond the being sick phase and was dry heaving because there was nothing left to come out.  my cheeks were soaked from the shed tears and my head was starting to pound.  i gasped in some deep breaths and closed my eyes trying to pace my breathing – in (pause) and out, in (pause) and out,  swallow down the bile, repeat.  what got me in the floor of the bathroom in the house that i was raised in?  why was i here?  an inconsolable soul.

i offered my husband, a man that i love so incredibly much – an out.  i knew that i could never be the wife that he deserved/needed and with that realization came my deal to him – leave now with no questions asked.

rewind to 10 months earlier

10 months earlier, on a saturday in may (2010), i found myself in the ER.  i was at the church in Monroe getting things set up for the silent auction dinner (while andy was still at school) and i had a massive cramp that took my breath away and knocked me to my knees.  i was able to catch my breath and get up, but the cramp turned into more with each one getting more intense.  each month i get cramps (like most women) but i know my body and i knew that i have never ever in my life experienced pain like this.  it wasn’t much longer that i realized that i was bleeding uncontrollably.  i sucked it up and got through the set up until andy showed up and i eased away and called my doctor.  she said go to the ER.  i went and was told that i had a cyst rupture.  this was causing the cramps that took me to my knees (literally) several times and the bleeding and the clots.  i asked what that meant.  the ER doctor shrugged and told me to follow-up with my regular OB/GYN doctor.  i left the ER with less money, less pain, a cool paper bracelet, a million questions, and a level of fear and uncertainty that i hoped to never experience again.

i made an appointment with my regular doctor and told her what happened and she started doing tests.  she ordered labs and an ultra sound (this would be a good time to note that i was unaware of the different types of ultra sounds).   i went in the room and assumed that it would be the one that was “lift your shirt and put cold jelly on your belly.”  it wasn’t.  it was very uncomfortable – especially since i wasn’t expecting that kind and since i am a little modest to begin with.  if you want to know the details, google the different types of US to look at ovaries (hint – it is a little invasive).

this would be a good time to note that we weren’t “trying” to get pregnant, but we also weren’t “trying to not” get pregnant (i will admit i was very hopeful each month and would have been delighted).  after all the tests, my doctor asked a ton of questions and i told her this. she shifted her eyes down and i could tell she was buying time.  she said, “well alison, i don’t really know what to tell you.  it looks like something is wrong with your ovaries – they aren’t acting like they should.  it could be nothing but then again, i don’t know.”

she gave me 3 months worth of medicines to try and i took them.  nothing happened.  i went back and she told me that she didn’t think there was anything else she could do to help me so she set me up with a specialist.

 by this point in time we were given a shaky idea of what was wrong with my ovaries but nothing real solid.  we researched everything that we could to educate ourselves about our upcoming specialist appt.  we had no idea who we were seeing out of the group and didn’t know what was going to happen when we went, but i filled out 8 pages of new patient paperwork and we went to the appt.

we met our “specialist.” we will call him dr. w (for wildman).  when he walked into the exam room he looked like a cross between a sociopath and mad scientist with crazy hair  or someone who arrived each day at work via jumping out of a plane.  he walked in and i was tempted to walk out.  i thought it was a joke until he opened his mouth and something about his voice and his words calmed me.  it wasn’t that he was saying overly positive things – but that he was talking to me and answering the questions i had before i even asked them.  he was giving it to me straight and there wasn’t an ounce of sugar-coating anything.  he told us his initial thoughts and said that even though it looked like my doctor was doing a fine job he wanted to run his own test.  he told me i would have to come back and have my blood work done, but he wanted to go on and do an US.  he did it and this time at least i knew what to expect.  he made notes and told us (because he wanted to make sure exactly who’s infertility we were dealing with) when to come back for labs and said to follow-up afterwards.

a few days later i had to be at the office at 7am.  (i was instructed to drink as much water as i could because of all of the blood they would need).  when we got there we had to wait in line and my legs were crossed because i already had consumed almost 64 ounces of water.  i signed in and quickly learned that the lab was first come first served.  andy was called for his lab work and i was left sitting in a room wondering how much longer before i could pee.  after several people went, i was called.  i climbed into the vinyl chair and lowered the bar across my lap and rolled up my sleeves.  the lab tech came over and confirmed my name and date of birth.  she looked at my order and said “ok, let’s do this.”  i nodded.  she reached over and started pulling vials that she needed to fill.  she turned and asked if i had been drinking water this morning and i told her yes.  she smiled and said “good, because we have 16 vials to fill.”  i wanted to cry.  she sat down on a rolling stool and asked me which arm i wanted her to try first.  i looked at her and smiled and she laughed.  “you have hard veins don’t you?”  i nodded.  she laughed again and said, “well, here we go.”  in only the second time in my entire life, she stuck me once and got blood!  she filled the first vial and then the second and on and on until she had 16 vials full of bright red blood.  after i signed all of the labels i watched her put the stickers on all of my vials and went back into the waiting room and andy was waiting on me.

i went to work and kept my sleeves rolled down because a huge bruise was forming on my arm and i didn’t want to answer questions about it.  we went back to see dr. w a week later and went into his office (which i remember as being mostly organized, which seemed odd to me because of his hair).  even in our second meeting, it was like the first time we met him and made me think a little bit of jim carrey in ace ventura  when he drives with his head out the window – it made me smirk a little but then the reality of why were there came crashing down and the smirk faded away.  we sat in chairs and prepared ourselves for the results.

this is what we learned.  andy was perfect in every way.  all of his labs and test came back better than what dr. w could have hoped.

me on the other hand – it wasn’t good.  he stated that he thought the issue was with me and my ovaries.  he hesitated, but tossed out possibly pco.  he said he wanted to do one more test before we decided what to do.  he wanted me to have a hysterosalpingogram  (x-ray to see if my fallopian tubes were open).  he said once we had that answer, he would have a game plan for us (if it goes good, he tells us what he thinks we should do, and if it is bad, he gives us a few other options).

i showed up for that appointment at 8am and was humiliated.  the facility where i had to have this x-ray done is the same place people go for a million other tests, as well as radiation and other types of specialized treatments.  to look at the fallopian tubes, you have to go through the uterus.  when they called me back, the nurse escorted me to a door right next to 15 chairs in a waiting room (like a fitting room in a department store).  she reached in a built-in drawer in the closet, handed me a paper gown that opened in the back, told me to undress from the waist down and put the gown on then come on out to the waiting room (luckily she gave me a second gown to put on like a robe to cover my exposed back side).  i was mortified.  the waiting room wasn’t secluded at all.  there was a hallway (that might as well had been a highway full of people) right next to it.  i turned bright red, did what she said, took my plastic bag with over half of my clothes in it and found a seat.  it wasn’t long before i was joined by an elderly man wearing a similar gown and carrying a similar bag.  not long after he sat down, another woman sat down.  none of us would make eye contact.  it was humiliating to sit there and have all these people walk by staring.

they called my name and escorted me down the hall (i was so very grateful for the second gown at this point).  the nurse walked me into the room through a special door and pointed to another door. she told me to empty my bladder.  i did and she told me to sit down in the chair, and i did.  the room had a huge machine in the middle with computers all around.  there was another nurse standing behind a glass wall with more computers and more gadgets.  i didn’t see dr. w and i was a little nervous.  the nurse that had me sit down came over to talk to me.  she asked if i knew what was going to happen and i told her what i knew.  she verified that i was correct and added some details that i didn’t know.  she paused and asked if i had any questions and i did.  “i read online it hurts…is it going to hurt?”  she laughed and said “well, it will either be fine, with no pain or you will be in excruciating pain – that is what i see most.”  silently i am thinking “great, that wasn’t really reassuring.”  she leads me to the table and i climb up.  dr. w walks in.  there is something about his wild hair and sociopath killer look that is so familiar and surprisingly calming to me – i still haven’t figured that out yet.

he comes over where i am sitting on the table and takes both of my hands and asks if i am ready.  i nod.  he smiles and looks at the nurse and nods.  she comes over to him with a mask, x-ray padded vest-type-thing and x-ray thyroid guard.  the nurse is already in this get up.  i lay back and she drapes a padded vest over my chest and neck.  he walks me through the procedure: put your feet here.  this is going to be cold.  breathe. this is what i am doing now.  this is the dye i am about to inject. (about this time i notice that the nurse is right by my head and has been the entire time, but the other nurse, that was behind the glass, is now dressed like an alien with the rest of us and is helping dr. w).  the nurse asks if i am ok.  i barely nod.  dr. w asks if i am ok.  both the nurse and i nod. the nurse touches my arm as dr. w says “here it goes.  don’t forget to breathe, ok alison?”  i can actually feel the dye in me.  it is weird.  i hear the machine make noises and i see a flash of light above my head.  i try to look without moving and dr. w notices this.  he says, “go on, put your head back and look.”  i do and i see my uterus and fallopian tubes on the screen (at least that is what he tells me i am looking at).  he smiles, looks at me and says, “do you see that?  do you see mickey mouse?”  the nurse helping him takes a pointer and points out mickey’s face and ears.  i say yes.  he says “that is mickey and mickey is a good thing.  you have a happy uterus and fallopian tubes, meaning nothing is blocked.”  for the first time in the past 3 months since i was in the er, i was given good, positive news.  dr. w continues to walk me through the process and tells me when he is done.  he helps me to my feet and they send me through, back to the bathroom to finally get dressed. the nurse asks me if i am ok and if it hurt.  i tell her that, surprisingly, it didn’t, and that i am starting to cramp.  she tells me i should go home and take it easy.  i can’t because i have to go to work and act as if nothing is wrong or going on.

since everything was good, i talked to andy and told him the news.  i called shane (one of dr. w’s nurses) and told him to let dr. w know we want to proceed with the plan he laid out earlier since the x-ray was fine.  so i start some different medicines and in two months have my labs repeated (thank goodness they only took 3 vials of blood this time) and we go back to talk to dr. w in his office.  he tells us that my labs look better since i have been on the meds and he thinks we would be wonderful candidates for an IUI (intrauterine insemination).  we agree to go forward, he writes more prescriptions and tells us what to expect in the next month.  he gives us clear instructions, details and a smile.

in his smile i have a sense of hope.  hope in the form of dr. w.  hope in an IUI.  hope in andy, that his labs are perfect.  but the important thing is that, for the very first time in 5 months, i have hope.

nov. 2013

 November was a long month in many ways.

my mom and dad both have birthdays in November.  dad the 5th and mom the 18th.

mom and dad awards

(my mom was awarded nurse of the year!  ok maybe not but she should be!  she was awarded for being at the hospital for so long)

i cried my first time (maybe second time) at work (i mean really cried) because i was so angry at a mean person who wouldn’t stop yelling at me it just frustrated me to tears.  it was also a time i was reminded at how awesome it is to work with wonderful people.

one morning we got a call that my aunt ann passed away.  November 19th.  (i am going to get on a soap box for a few minutes…sorry in advance – listen to your doctors and communicate with your family).  ann was my only “real” aunt.  my mom was an only child and my dad only had the one sister.  sure i had several great aunts but she was my only real aunt.  i have so many memories of her – good and not great.  i can remember when we stayed in tn for part of the summer that sometimes we got lucky and would go to her house to eat dinner and spend the night (if my grandparents had meetings).  we would make personal pizzas from scratch and would set up our tables (ironing board with a sheet over it) and would watch movies with her.  it was something that we didn’t get to do often, but will and i enjoyed it when we got to.  i remember baking with her growing up.  i remember helping at the green house when i was little (planting and helping deliver).  i remember many conversations with her and her support.

there are some iffy memories in there too that aren’t as positive…i remember the time that i offered to help her at the green house after we moved and she snickered and laughed at me because it “wasn’t my thing” and the unending comments about city people and country people.  but in a time of mourning and death i think it is customary to try to push those out of ones mind.  looking back those things don’t change the fact that she was my aunt and i loved her and i will miss her.

the other day we were standing in the green house and it was very surreal (as death is to me) knowing that she isn’t coming back.  i looked around and part of me was mad that she didn’t take care of herself better and that she wouldn’t listen to what the doctors told her and she was so guarded with her personal life that nothing we could say would change her mind about that.  that was who she was and at her funeral that was the message that we got.  even in her stubbornness she was who she was.  in those moments of anger it made me think of her funeral and at her funeral we laughed.  we told Jamie to keep it light and real and he did.  it was the most beautiful memorial service and the perfect send off.  in the good and not great, and the anger and laughter, and expectations met and not met there was love and at the end of the day that is what i choose to cling to.

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my aunt was an organ donor at the time she passed away and i was the one that talked to the screening people at the donation organization.  i am an organ donor because i like the idea and thoughts behind it.  i will be honest i never really knew what that meant.  i never really thought about what that means for the people that are left behind.  while i understand completely the need for the questions i was asked, somewhere in the middle of the million and a half questions i thought i have no idea on some of these answers.  on my soap box i would like to tell everyone and anyone who will listen – talk to your family…make sure they know your history and wishes as detailed as possible.  after i got off the phone (an hour conversation) i was exhausted.

will came for the memorial service (actually the service was delayed 10 minutes waiting on him since his plane was delayed.  we took him to the farm and it was so funny.  the ganged up on him and tried to take the treats.  i will post pics of the farm in another post.  but here are a few with the family.

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it snowed.

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church harvest auction with guests jed and lisa.

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thanksgiving happened. it was later this year and to be honest it was bad.  it made me lose a week before Christmas and that was so bad.  we went to charlotte for thanksgiving and it was great to see family and friends.  andy was glad to see tall buildings.  we got to see cj and ellen which is always fun and an adventure.  i had another allergic reaction to thanksgiving dinner but i was prepared and had medicine on hand to stop the itching.  i think i have it narrowed down to what dish i am allergic too, but still researching that.  who knows?!  cj wanted to take pictures with my camera.  i only had a mild heart attack when she almost dropped it so from now on if she has my camera the strap has to stay around her neck (she is ok with this).  she took mostly blurry photos and picks of people’s knees but with a little help she can center people and take a good photo.

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we also went black Friday shopping.  it was great to be so close to stores…

we also got our tree from the church and brought it back to tn with us.  it was really funny watching all of the cars go back towards charlotte with trees from the mountains and we left charlotte and took our tree to the mountains.  it was very scary for me.  i had a slight freak out when we left charlotte and could envision our tree rolling off the top and taking out all the cars around us.  so i kept an eye on it.

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we made it home with no trouble.

the only other thing i can think of is that andy trashed ace of base (i love ace of base and am still slightly upset over that) but, that pretty much wraps up an exhausting November.

random little nuggets

I keep a running list of things I want to blog about….not that I can always find that list and not that I always use it…but I have a list.

this post is about some of those little nuggets that don’t really need their own post.

  1. little rock: we dodged a bullet there.  at the time it seemed like a great idea to move to Arkansas but we have been talking a lot recently about places we have been and where we thought we were headed and we both agree that we dodged a bullet by not going to little rock.  I think I can honestly say that I would have been miserable and thankfully we never loaded up the u haul and moved!
  2. computer clean up.  I have a mini laptop (so it is not meant to house a ton of pictures and videos) and my storage is running low and my computer is running slow.  (a little rhyme maybe?)  anyways…I have been in the process of “organizing” my photos so that I can easily transfer them to an external hard drive and hopefully that will solve the running slow issue and I will be able to store it in a safe place in case of mother nature or stupid mean people that could potentially break in.  on night it was late and i had been working for a few hours and went to stop for the night and DELETED all of my photos…ALL of them.  i dealt with it like any normal mature adult and started sobbing.  not the cute tears welled in my eyes threatening to spill over my eye lids but the ugly crying with snot bubbling and incoherent shrilling.  andy came to my rescue and restored them.  i decided i needed to just go to bed (andy i only work a few minutes at a time so i don’t get tired and stupid).
  3. while doing the computer clean up i found several attempts of some photos that i took of jasper on the windshield.  it made me laugh.  i remembered sitting in the kubota taking the pictures (there had to be about 15 of them).  all of them taken the same distance from jasper…all of them same lighting…all of them the same angle…all of them the same perspective…all of them the same view….each and every single one of them blurry.  i would take the picture look at it and sigh and try again.  it made me thing of the saying: insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (Einstein).  proof that maybe i am a little insane….?
  4. we got Otis a lobster costume for Halloween (and when i say we i mean that i pestered andy in the store for one and to prevent a scene he caved).  it was too small and andy refused to get a bigger size (i think it was premeditated)!  (so you can officially blame andy for a lack of AWESOME photos of Otis as a lobster).

so there you have it.  now you will be able to sleep tonight.

hitchhiker

this morning i woke up and drug myself out of bed and drove myself to work (on most days we carpool but andy didn’t have to be up as early and got to sleep in).  i left the house a little early and decided to treat myself to a coffee before i got to work – so i drove to starbucks…oh wait we don’t have one of those.  so instead i went to weigles.  as i was backing out of the driveway, i picked up a hitchhiker.  he was quiet not saying a word, but we had a good time riding to the gas station where i thought he would leave me.  i pulled into the parking spot and i said my goodbyes and thought it a tad rude that he didn’t even thank me for the ride or offer me a few dollars in gas money.  but nonetheless i was glad to help out so i went inside and when i came out he was still waiting on me.  i told him i had to go to work and he was more than welcome to ride with me to my building and could go from there.  he didn’t really say much and made no attempt to stay at the gas station so i drove across the street and into my parking space at work and all he did was stare at me.  it was slightly creepy that i had this hitchhiker on my car and he went and got coffee with me and rode with me to work.  I really expected him to fly off at some point in time!

arriving at gas station

arriving at gas station

leaving the gas station

leaving the gas station

at work

at work

i am curious to see if he is still on my car when i leave work this afternoon and evening.  i don’t know why but it struck me as funny – what if this is like pinocchio and this little grasshopper or cricket is my conscience?  what would its name be?  i was kind of thinking jasper – would that be his name?  if he was my conscience why didn’t he tell me anything this morning?  am i doing an ok job and he was just checking up on me?

I don’t think I will ever know because when I got out of work he was gone.  just up and left me.  if jasper was my conscience I think I will be asking for another one because I don’t think that he helped me at all.

the country: a beautiful thing

growing up we took a lot of family vacations.  i say a lot but i have no idea how many we really took because when you are younger things seem more often.  i know that we travelled all over and i am amazed at some of the places my parents have told me i have been but i don’t really remember.  some of the memories i have of those vacations are of me and will running through museums trying to get through them as quickly as we could so we could move on.  i remember waiting on my parents (who according to my younger self) were the slowest people in the world.  it was a race to get back to the hotel/camp ground to go swimming in the pool.  ah the joys of family vacations as a child.  when we loaded up for vacations as teenagers it was more of the same, but instead of running to the end, it was more avoid and hide from my parents (who according to my teenager self) were the most embarrassing humans alive.  it was a slow form of torture.  looking back i realize that it was actually (dare i say) fun.  now looking back it makes me a little sad.  not only because of the carefree vacations but because i missed out on a lot of things because i was too hurried to really look at the things in the museum or appreciate the sites.  i was too busy making fun of things that we had to do to really absorb it and the history.  as a teenager i was so annoyed that i wasn’t with my friends that i missed out on a lot of great experiences.  i might have been physically there and going through motions but i didn’t really “get” it – whatever “it” was.  this is true for our trip to washington dc, the nasa space center in fl, countless museums across the south, the cherokee reenactments etc. 

that rambling leads me to this:

i grew up in the city, yes i spent time in the country visiting family on some weekends and in the summer but let’s face it…i’m a city girl.  there are times i pretend that i am a country girl…like when we go feed the animals and i move a branch out of the tractor path and act like the world stood still until those tasks were accomplished.  i pretend that i know what i am doing when i grab the horse’s halter to put fly medicine on her face – but in reality i am thinking “please don’t pull me through the fence.”   i pretend that i trust pancake when i think he is really plotting against me (especially when he flattens his ears).  i pretend that pancake has come a great ways and it is all because i am a self-proclaimed donkey whisperer.  i pretend that if it wasn’t for me and andy, argyle would be so skittish around humans that he would be considered for the rodeo.  i pretend that when argyle goes to his new home (whenever that might be) that i won’t miss him because he is just a horse when i actually think that i love him and there is a great possibility that i will cry when i drive up and he isn’t standing in the field with his lanky legs running to the fence to greet us.  

i pretend that i have always enjoyed doing these things…but i haven’t.  i can remember when i was growing up and was “forced” to come to tn with my family.  it was a time when i was starting to really have a social life outside of neighbors and family friends but wasn’t old enough to stay at home so my parents did the responsible thing and took me with them.  i drug my feet the entire time.  i longed to be with my friends in the city and hated that i was missing all of the latest things.  i was worried that my best friends would replace me in the 72 hours that i was out of their sight.  i missed the beauty in feeding animals with my grandmother.  i missed the knowledge in riding around town with my grandfather making deliveries and picking up boxes.  i missed the freedom in running through a tobacco field looking for tobacco worms.  i missed the experience of riding on the tractor around the farm.  i missed the familiarity of walking through the barn yard with the cows.  i missed the understanding of why we picked and shelled beans and cut up apples.  i will take a moment to make it clear that i did all of those things and for the most part i plastered a smile on my face but it isn’t until now – years later – that i fully grasp what i was missing out on by not truly living in the moment.  i didn’t take advantage of the situations and now that we are living here there are things i wish i could do again and wish that andy could experience because they really were life changing things – if i had only let them be.  no one in my family grows tobacco anymore and when we pass a field i am reminded of running through the rows and looking for worms.  it makes me sad that andy may never see one and get to step on it.  we won’t be able to walk into a barn and smell the dried tobacco.  i missed out – i took for granted those experiences because i wanted to be somewhere else.

i have been thinking a lot about all of this in the past year and have come to the conclusion that if i would have moved to tn earlier in my life (or if i was born and raised here) i would not be as appreciative as i am today to be doing the things i am doing.  if i lived here when i was in high school i would have applied to college and moved far away because i wouldn’t have appreciated the experiences that this little town has to offer.  i would have been the first of my class to skip town and get on with my life.  i would fled and never looked back and honestly would have never realized what i was walking away from. 

it took moving to the country to realize how much i took for granted and still take for granted.  i feel like i am more aware now (as compared to when i was younger).  i see the outline of the mountains in the morning sun and notice the way the sun highlights the ridges.  i see the clouds casting shadows in the valleys.  i laugh when argyle leans into me to be rubbed like a big dog.  i practice tough love when i take the feed buckets away from jack and pancake.  i practice tolerance when the horses try to steal each others sweet feed.  i sit in awe listening to the creek at night in the cool mountain breeze.  i enjoy riding around the farm looking for baby cows and wild turkeys.  i do all of these things now with a true appreciation and it isn’t because i am a farmer or a country girl, but because i don’t want these experiences to pass me by again. 

living here in the country with a second chance: it’s a beautiful thing.

rambling thoughts: clouds storms and long drives

a smell, sight, touch, or sound can take me down memory lane in a heart beat.  or hearing a phrase that makes me think of things from the past can take me back.  sometimes it is a time of year that sends me tumbling off the trail with former memories.  these certain things put me on a path of wild and random (sometimes incoherent) thinking and i play the what was and what is and what if and what’s to come game.  sometimes my brain feels like a little hamster running on the wheel you think and think but really it gets you no where except stuck in a loop scared to get off and wondering how long have i been at this….

this time of year i think a lot about leslie (i think about her all the time as it is but as we get closer to the heart of summer i find my self thinking more and more about her).  i remember the trips we took and the things we bought.  i remember the last encounters that we had and the conversations that we had and the profound effect that she had on my life and how much impact her family has made still in my life.  something about this time of year makes me miss her more.

i think more and more about old friends and about relationships i have had and the adventures that we have been on.  some thoughts and memories make me incredibly sad and others made me laugh out loud.  i think about all the summers spent playing with will and vicky outside until after dark and our “bat club.”  i think about all the summer camps that i spent with katie and the youth group and making sure that katie and i shared a room and coordinated our outfits and packing list and that when we weren’t at camp we still had to be together.  i think about summer crushes (one that turned into love and marriage).  i think about all of the things i thought i would have done and wished i did and actually did.  i think of the person that i hoped to be and the one that i actually am.    i think….

the other day andy was at a meeting so i decided i would go feed pancake alone since it would be too late when andy got home.  it had been raining (i think we got 3 inches in about an hour – water was rising and roads were flooded).  i loaded the dog up and off we went to feed pancake.  for once i wasn’t punching a clock.  so i drove.  i only know 3 or so ways to get to the farm and as i was driving i kept getting derailed.  i would go as far as i could and have to turn around because of flooding in the roads.  i went all the ways i could to get to pancake but i couldn’t get to him – so i just drove.  it made me think of a time (when i could fill my tank up with gas, take seven dollars into the gas station and walk away with change) when i would just drive around to clear my head.  i used to drive to process thoughts and clear my head a lot.  i blame my dad for that.  (sorry dad).  driving to the farm already made me think of dad and driving around made me think of the times that he would come ask if i wanted to go to dairy queen for a blizzard.  i would think: ice cream?  sure!  we would go and instead of going the direct route we would drive down towards albemarle – typically turning around at the same gas station.  some times we would go just to go…i don’t know the real reason we were driving just that ice cream was involved.  other times we would go because i did something wrong (that was never stated but i knew) – we would get past the point where i could jump out of the car and walk home and dad would talk.  or if he wanted to have my attention to mull something over he would say what he wanted to say and we would ride in quiet processing everything.  once we got to the gas station we would turn around and go get blizzards and everything was forgiven and forgotten and processed.  i thought ice cream healed all…but the older i get the more i think that it was the drive that healed.

when i realized i couldn’t get to pancake because all my options were gone i headed home.  as i was driving home i saw lightning and black skies and i was headed right for it.  i was driving into the storm.  i couldn’t help but think that life was completely like that having to “drive into the storm to go home”.  i couldn’t help but think of the times that i have known about a storm and could see it from the distance and driven straight into it.  confrontations with friends that i knew had the potential to turn out horribly but they had to happen.  conflict with different people at different jobs.  fights with andy or my parents or brother.  situations that the skies were so black and hopeless but i had no choice because i had to get through them to get home and to a resolution.  when we have no choice and we see the lightning and hear the thunder and know that things are going to get messy we have to drive on and we do…we go through the storms and end up at home – sometimes a little battered and bruised and sometimes our homes aren’t as stable or sturdy as they were…but our foundation is strong and we make it.

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when i got home.  i had battled rising waters and thunder and a spectacular display of lightning and a spastic dog.  i dealt with my failure that pancake wasn’t getting treats from me before bed.  i struggled with wrapping up my disjointed racing thoughts about driving and storms, hopes and dreams and failures, memories and life in general.  physically i was exhausted from a long day and mentally from processing so many thoughts and memories in such a short time.  i pulled the shivering dog out of the car and unlocked the door.  before i stepped over the threshold i looked at the sky.  the blackness was breaking up and the clouds were moving on except for one…

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i laughed and thought how fitting that i drove straight into dark weather and made it home through the storm and waiting for me was a cloud with a silver lining…

(some of us are just going through figurative storms but remember those who are dealing with literal storms in moore, ok)

and the rains came

i woke up this morning and automatically wanted to go back to bed.  the room was cold and i was snuggled down with otis next to me with andy yelling at me to get up.  i drug myself out of bed to a cloudy, gloomy monday.  (i planned to get a few pictures of the sky around lunch since it was really cool looking, but my phone couldn’t capture it and i didn’t have my digital in my purse). 

i sat at my desk and glanced at the window watching the rain pour down.  there is something that moves me about rain.  with the crashing rain drops comes a rollercoaster of emotions.  a lot of times rain makes me sleepy and makes me wish i was wrapped up in a quilt.  sometimes rain makes me want to weep.  i imagine that God is up there weeping for some reason (usually at what is hidden deep in my soul) and so it makes me want to weep…knowing that God is crying for and with me.  it reminds me of events and milestones that have passed in my life with a gloomy, rainy day.  days when i have found out that people i love have passed away, times when childhood friendships were restored on front porches, fun dates with andy, getting caught walking with otis, mending broken hearts at montreat, seeing the beauty of God in his creation.  after the urge to weep comes the sense of peace and hope.  it reminds me of montreat and all the bittersweet memories that come with that territory.  it reminds me of a childhood spent playing in the woods, and in forts and creeks, it reminds me of waking my brother up to make a big bed out of our blankets and pillows in the hall and sleeping away from windows (in case of tornadoes – long story).  it reminds me of summers in TN playing in the rain and sleeping with the windows open with the patter of rain on the roof.  i remember running through the house in the spring to shut windows during freak storms so that it didn’t blow in.  i remember when times were simpler.

me and will playing in the rain

there are days that i sit at my desk and i want to run outside and dance in the rain like i did before.  i want to run back to those memories and be comforted by the soft, cold raindrops that fall from the heavens.  i want to escape the stresses of life today and trade them for the happy memories that come with rain, but i know that with the happy memories comes some sad ones as well.  i also know that each day it rains more memories (happy and sad) will be made and my rollercoaster will continue…

welcome to the chaos

welcome to our lives…

come back to learn about the chaos that surrounds us.   from crazy families and events, to a sweet beagle that has emotional problems, to special people in our lives, to our everyday life and other things that creep into our hectic world. 

let the chaos begin…