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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

But Maaaahhhmmm

My mother lives some several thousand miles away. I would google map it, but I bet it can't give me directions to The Gambia. She's far away, working to maintain US relations with the tiny African country. Go mom. Love her bunches and am prouder than I can describe.

But she has a few little things that she do that leave me dumbfounded. Last night I was shopping at amazon.com, loaded up my shopping cart and hit "Purchase" ... expecting questions about billing to pop up ... not so much. About 2:30 a.m., I get an email from mom, "Did you order from Amazon..."

Apparently she was still signed in on my computer. Opps. She said the purchase could be a gift for all I've done for her lately... refinancing her house, running errands, plumbers, etc. I do do a lot, but she changed my diapers, so who can say no?
I love my mom deeper than anyone else in the whole world. More than myself and the boys. It's nights like this when I miss her the most and wish I could just pick up the phone and call. But I can't. We can't text in her new country either. I want to just pour out all my worries and have her tell me what to do to make it better. (She isn't one for sympathy. She'd rather make you a plan than make you feel at ease.)

It's funny. As kids, you think of your parents as super heroes. As you grow up, you realize they're just simple people who try their best. You love them deeper and forgive them quicker. You miss them more than you ever thought possible. In turn, I say a prayer, thanking God for keeping her safe and of course, for keeping her logged in.

One of Them Days

I was so excited to have lunch with Amy today - if you don't know Mrs. Dilocker, you should. She's a breath of fresh air! For some reason she thinks I'm the bee's knees, too. She calls me a local celebrity and I secretly love it while publicly poo-pooing it. But as we're paying our bill today, the cashier goes to me, "Do you write a column?"

And so the conversation goes - her gushing over my fabulousness and me rushing to get her to fan me on Facebook. Okay, the first part isn't true, but my actions were. I wrote it all out on the back of a receipt and can't wait to see if she fans me. :)

Then I had to go to the post office to mail my mom her box of goods. I do this about every two months - for eight years now. The post office guy knows me because of this. I hand over the box and ask for a book of Simpson stamps. Love me some Simpsons. And he goes, "So, what do you think ..." and my mind starts to race - ohhh! Let's talk Family Guy and their Emmy nomination...or how The Simpsons are still on air and have been for more than half of my life. I love that Lisa - so profound... Mr. Postman continues, " about those taxi drivers that really do want to blow up our country." I look at him, tilt my head and say, "I have no idea what you're talking about ..."

As the words fall out of my mouth, I realize it's been a good few weeks since I've watched the news. Why? 1. The roof. 2. The job. 3. I am seriously addicted to Farmville - and I mean seriously. 4. Louisville vacation 5. Rash-09 6. Dogs with dental issues. 7. I'd given up drinking for a few weeks, which lasted until Wednesday of last week and Farmville on Vodka is so much cooler.

At one point in my life I would have been ashamed of this little fact.

But then I said to the guy across the counter, "I have a caved in roof and a dog with dental stuff. I can't take on any more stress." I resisted the urge to lift my shirt and show him my rash.

I hoard emotions and stress the way crazy people hoard food and cats. I take them, fold them up and place them in a container in my heart. I do this action repeatedly until my inner being absolutely bursts and I have crying fits. This happened last week.

Life inside seems to take priority over what is going on elsewhere in the world. I am at peace with that. I no longer worry myself with stock rates, weather patterns, murders, etc. I simply can't. I can manage the roof, Poncho's teeth, and my frustrations. Beyond that I fall apart. I'm no longer good at hoarding, saving emotions for a rainy day.

While the two cures for this are running and crying, I'd like to start approaching life with a prevention mentality. Unfortunately, I'm also a procrastinator.

So I guess I'll get around to preventing the outbreaks, but not until the time comes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Hefty Dog and Cheese

Yep - another Dog Blog
Jake was put on a diet in the spring - told to lose 5 pounds. At 27 pounds that was a tough mandate. But if we could get him to 22, it'd be better for his heart. And BONUS, he and Poncho would be in the same "weight range" for their monthly medications.

At his appointment today, he weighed 21.7 pounds. My little chunk is now svelte. He reports that his self-esteem, which has always been a touch low, has peaked and that he enjoys playing basketball the other neighborhood dogs. His ear is still crazy.

I nod in acceptance of his delusions. Poncho, on the other hand, weighs in at 14 pounds and has never had an esteem issue. He has more confidence in his soul than most teenage girls.

On another note ... enjoyed the weekend in Louisville with my Ohio friends: Amy, Angela, and Helka. It's amazing how with some friends you can be apart for years and it doesn't matter. That's how it is with these girls. They're funny and accepting. Who could ask for anything more? I do hate that they live so far away, but love that we've found a cool city in the middle to explore and reconnect.

And on yet another note - I'm changing my job around. Realizing how much I missed the public relations/marketing side and that Leadership was consuming me, we've shifted me back to just doing Focus, Connect, public relations, curriculum, and our graduate program (Impact). I am very excited about this! It means fewer 16 hour days (only one a month as opposed to two-three), and more time for me to be creative with what my heart is called to do - tell our story. I'll miss the class I started, but will be very glad to be back doing what I love the most. Was even reminded of it when in L'ville this weekend when we stumbled upon a horse with lots of inspiring words .... and one of them was:
We have Class 10's opening retreat this week - and I can't wait. At opening retreat they arrive as a gaggle of strangers and leave a bonded group. For those of you familiar with Connect - we're doing something new this class: SimSoc at opening retreat. PHEW. I can't wait to see how it goes. But I firmly believe this will shift their Connect experience as a whole.

I hope everyone out there who has gotten to this far into this rambling blog has a wonderful week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One More Thing

Dear Jay Leno,

I love you. Who else could ask Kanye (sp?) how his mom would feel about that - and literally shame in to humiliation him so politely.

You go Jay.

Just like you did with Hugh Grant, "What in the hell were you thinking?"

Biggest Loser

Okay - Season 8 here we go.

In the first hour I've cried and yelled more than I have at anything in the last few months. The stories break my heart. The excuses infuriate me.

They had to finish a mile (run or walk). The first person crossed in about 14:27. On a good day, I can clock an 8:40 mile. Because I choose it. I can do three miles in about 28 minutes on the road and 26 on the treadmill. I push and exhaust myself. Because I want to. I want it more than anything in the world - to run fast as my body will allow. But it's not just running, it's more. Exercise is an aggression reliever. It's a way of life.

After watching the trainers, I have to just pause and thank Tyrone for:
1. Never making me yell out my weight when I was at my "humiliation point of wanting to quit" - especially during the ball toss thing when snot pours out of my nose.
2. Just not yelling at me in general, but instead just looking with disappointment when I want to quit ... esp. that starfish abs situation.
3. Making me keep on keeping on. After a two-month break, we were on our second or third workout and he goes, "What's your motivation?" I had to think ... "being in good enough shape to survive a Tyrone workout."

I also love me some Tony Horton of P90X fame - I did legs/back yesterday and can't sit properly today. I love pushing my body to the edge and then pushing it further. It gives me a sense that I can do anything - things greater than myself.

Bring it.

And seriously - can any piece of food give you that? Nope... But an adequate amount of vodka can! :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

99 Columns ...

Tonight I'm organizing my columns ... six years of my life written in 600-700 word segments.

As part of the Book Dreams prep, I'm sorting them into three categories: Just Life, Personal Growth (need a new title .... ohhh Pearls of Wisdom), and Relationships.

I counted them up and can't believe the little gift God gave me ... the coincidence of 99 columns at the same time I'm embarking on this mission. In all honesty, there are about four that won't make it into the book because they're about Connect or such ... so I have 99 columns ready for editing, revising, adoration, and publication.

I just love that my 100th column will signal a new start in my life ... which is EXACTLY what my last column alluded to at the end. Of course I had no flippin' clue what was ahead when I wrote it.

Here's my last column, in case you missed it... AND I KNOW THE SECOND WORD HAS A TYPO ! :)

http://www.valleyplanet.com/article.php?id=2675

In all my life, I don't remember being this excited about anything - not a number on the scale; becoming an aunt; marathons of The Office or CSI; crossing finish lines; the Vern Yip Incident; my period arriving when I wasn't so sure if it would.

Thank you all for reading, spreading the word, and laughing along with me on this journey! Can't wait to see where we go from here.

Working It From Home

I stepped off the elevator an onto the third floor. I felt the heat immediately then remembered the email from Friday: the air conditioner was out ... and would be until mid-Monday.
Now those of you who don't live in the South may wonder why in the world we'd run the AC in mid-September. Because it's fucking hot. That's why. It's hot until October. Then fall slaps you like a bitch and it's long-sleeves and jeans until March. Yep - screw you cold season. SKA-REW YOU.
Dressed in a cotton shirt and thick pants, I gasped, "Oh hell no." It was like a sauna.
I called my boss to remind her about the situation and then told her I'd be packing up my things and working at home. I carry all my files on my laptop - so this is easy. I'd hate to think what people in the olden days did. You know, the olden days before the Internet. They'd probably sit and sweat. Not me. I may not mind lugging coolers, herding cats, collecting recycling, etc. on program days - but you can bet your sweet ass I'm not about to sit in my office and sweat.
So after an hour of prepping, I headed home. God bless the dogs and their short term memories. It was as if I'd been gone a full day. Poncho hopped. Jake danced. Ingrid ran in circles. We've got Ingrid for a few days while her mom is off training.

Let me share a story about Jake Ryan. He's the first born, prodigal son. On Wednesday, when I picked Ingrid up, he sat with his back to her, looking over his shoulder, glaring at her and glancing at me to make sure I saw the look. For about six months, Jake Ryan was an only child and very spoiled ... Ingrid came to her mom in February(?); they were introduced a few weeks later and then Poncho came home to me in July. He's yet to forgive me. Did I mention that was 2007? He's a bit of a bitch. But I love him.

My home office is super - really relaxed dress code, music as loud as I want it, snacks, exercise breaks, and it's always bring your dog to work day.
The only problem is that I don't have wireless Internet. So ... I have to pull the cable out of my desk top's tower and put it in the laptop ... and then I work on the floor.
This is what it looks like - the boys decided they wanted to help today:
Well... as you can see from Jake Ryan's face (screwy standing up ear) he wasn't really interested in helping. I think he wanted to surf the Internet for ways to be passive aggressive to house guests.
I've actually been quite productive this morning - getting ready for our economic base day, fielding phone calls from caterers, and such.


I am also thrilled to report that the temporary fix in the roof seems to be working.
If I look up, this is what I see:


This is from the rain ... in person it's a little Georgia O'Keeffe. Hence my desire to get it cleaned up. Hopefully the insurance company will be out this week and the roofers can get it all fixed next week before the cold snap - aka October comes.

Until then, I'll keep doing the anti-rain dance and enjoy my dry, cool, home office...where the co-workers have four legs and prefer to pee outside.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Frantic Frog 09


This morning, Team Body Glide put forth a magnificent effort at the Frantic Frog Triathlon, finishing fourth!
Cheryl, in the pink, biked; Brandi, in the middle swam; and I ran. The weather was lovely to start - overcast and about 66 degrees. Jake and Poncho came to cheer - but stayed in the car when momma went for her run.
Next year, we're going to train and kick butt!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years?

Three years ago I wrote this column: http://www.valleyplanet.com/article.php?id=1367

It still rings true. Amazing how some things never change. :(

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Magic Shrinking Pill

I signed up for Match.com back in early summer. It has been anything but successful. It's been a humorous, humbling, and eye-opening. But today it was just damn puzzling.


I'd been emailing a guy who vanished about a week ago. This morning I get an email that says: The only reason I haven't contacted you is because our height is so close. However, it won't bother me if it doesn't you. :) Do I sound pitiful enough??? :)


Really? I grab the tape measure - 70 inches in bare feet. That's 5' 10", which is what I stated on my profile, as did he.

I really want to reply to him, but don't how to say what needs to be said or what to say. My body is my biggest insecurity and height can't be changed. I can do side bends and sit ups ... (name the tune!)

So this leads me to my points:

1. What?
2. Huh?
3. Really?
4. You're picking one of the things I can't change (nor ever had any control over) and are telling me that it is what's holding you back from meeting me.
5. Yes, you do sound pitiful enough.

I've wrestled with this all day (between the leaking roof, a fashion show, and work), and I'm more WTF now than I was when I first read it.

In life, a long list of what we can not change exists: family, values, family values, height, eye color (hush Jenny, I'm making a point), birth order, sense of humor, handedness, political affiliation, and height.

If you're the kind of guy who is going to let what I am (tall) cause hesitation in meeting me, I can pretty much promise you that you are not the kind of guy who can date me. Because on my list of what I can't change is my drive, ambition, independence, and sass. Each of those enter the room with me, even when I'm in flats.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Strawberries with Syrup

Yesterday morning I was slicing strawberries for breakfast when I realized I wanted more than just fruit. But what? Pancakes ... yum. Pancakes. I pulled the mix out of the cupboard. Even though it had long expired I went on with my mission: pancakes with fresh fruit and some maple syrup. Yum.

I whipped up the batch and it looked normal. I poured a scoopful on the hot pan and it oozed in every direction. "This doesn't look right," I said. I pulled out the spatula and tried to morph the mixture into a circle. Instead it looked like a tipped out trapezoid. "Beginners bad luck" I said as I tossed it into the trash. The second, third and fourth followed the same pattern. "Crap."

Visions of brunch at my aunt's house danced through my head. "How does Bob do this?" I continued to try. And they either ended up grainy, spread, or burnt. I thought maybe, just maybe the final one (# 7) would work. Wrong. By this time I was famished. Did I mention I had walked the dogs and did P90X cardio? My visions of a beautiful breakfast were quickly fading as my blood sugar plummeted.

In the end I settled for just strawberries with syrup, and realized there are two things I can't make on my own: pancakes and a baby.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Things We Can Change

Feeling a little bit like a diva this week, I started to get full of myself and made a mental list of things I'd demand if I really were important.


1. At Starbucks, I'd demand that the sugar dispenser actually poured more than five grams at once. I love sugar in my coffee ... but the sugar dispensers are ALWAYS clogged. The other day I decided to be proactive and just unscrewed the top...Classic Allison moment coming ... as I was lightly pouring the sugar, a block of it, about the size of a golf ball, fell into the dark abyss.


2. Someone else would pick up my dogs' shit. I love them, but it gags me. I also love Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs), and was thrilled to see a special on TV this morning with him ... but it was the Crap Special. I gagged and turned it off. The sight of that georgous man with his hand up a cow's ass with so emasculating. I couldn't watch.


3. The dogs wouldn't track in cut grass. Or eat it. The former causes me to sweep two-three times a day. The latter causes them to puke. I hate cleaning. Wet or dry.


4. There would be a television station that showed Seinfeld, 30 Rock, The Office, Family Guy and the Simpons non-stop. And it'd be great if Mike Rowe was on this station too - just without his hand up bovine ass.


5. Traditional work-place dress codes would be relaxed. I'm not saying tube tops and Daisy Duke's for all. But my calves can only handle two-three days of high heels.


6. Shit would just get done. I don't mean the bodily function kind. But just the nagging crap we all have to do ... sort mail, pay bills, pleasing others. I mean this day-to-day adult life stuff is seriously cutting into my leisure time.


7. Match.com would stop sending me matches who look like this:



Really? Up the nose shot? Anyone else concerned with the smallness of his nostrils?



8. Every weekend would be three days.

TLC on Sunday Nights

Last night, as I was forcing myself to stay awake to watch Mad Men, I kept flipping over to TLC. While TLC is usually a great mental vacation, on Sunday nights it's ... uhm ... how do I say this politely? On Sunday nights, TLC is a horrific reminder of the following things:

1. We are a fat nation
2. I'm not as fat as I think I am
3. Self-control is a novelty item
4. Visit Texas if you want to feel thin

Last night's shows were: The Half-Ton Mom, The 500-pound Virgin, The 1,000-pound Dad ... Part of me is sympathetic to these people. But another part (and much larger) understands that we make the choices that lead us to the lives we have. To get one guy out of the house, they had to cut a hole in the wall of his home, then they transported him on one of those carts you use to Home Depot for lumber. Oh the HUMANITY!

Rather than flipping back and forth, I got on the floor and did some abs. Then, in complete contradiction to my horror, I decided the dogs needed new food and I'd pick up some chocolate while at Kroger.

At 8:20 p.m., I ran to the car (with the TV remote control in hand -?), and was off to Kroger. I strolled through the cookie isle, loaded FOUR PACKS of Pepperidge Farm cookies into my cart. They were on sale - 2 for $4. I deserved a cookie after a 6.5 mile day. Right? right.

Grabbed the dog food and headed to the check out. God put the person in line before me on purpose. Bless her heart, but she was well on her way to her own TLC special.

Before the cashier began to scan my goods, I told her, "I've had second thoughts on the cookies."

"All of them?"

"Yes, I think my craving passed." I rambled on some more excuses, PMS, no self-control...

"I'm proud of you," she said. "If I buy that kind of stuff I eat it all at one sitting. So good for you."

I'd have hugged her if it wasn't so awkward, and if she wasn't so thin. I'd have broken her if I tried.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

AHH THree-Day Weekend

Grey skies hang above this Saturday morning. I should have gotten up to run, but the sleep felt great. And let's face it - I can run when I'm dead.

I have incredibly vivid dreams. Last night it was about random dogs, Thanksgiving, and even the Dilockers made a guest appearance. My dogs were running the neighborhood, Jason and Amy were strolling with a whole posse, and a random dog appeared. I spent the majority of the dream trying to dial the phone to call its owner, but never got through.

With new phones we can't call (256) ARD-KHUB. Know what I mean? If I tried to call that # it'd really be something like *35':_!.

This dialing drama theme is quite frequent in my dreams. Think about how easy it is to place a call - and how often we do it. But in my dreams, it is impossible. I either can't find the digits on the phone, can't get the number (continually misplace it), or get distracted.

I completely believe that dreams are a way for your soul to communicate with your conscious. The natural question becomes, "what can't you get through to?" The answer quickly follows, "I un-no."

I have a steadfast understanding that no matter what happens, I have the strength and talent to manage it. Regardless of what I can get through RIGHT NOW, eventually I will. Dreams that were once brick walls became stepping stones.

Can't wait to see what challenge is next and what reserves I'll use to climb it!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Getting away with it

It's Friday. I'm tired. I love my sleeping pills, but some mornings they don't love me. This is one of those days. I'm lethargic, sluggish, and a bit devilish.

Basking in the glow of winning Finalist of Young Professional of the Year, I want to see what I can get away with at the office.

Thoughts dance through my head as I ask myself, "What would be the worst thing I could do without getting fired?"

Standing in front of my closet, the answer comes to me ...JEANS! Ohhh wouldn't that be fantastic? Denim in the house of economic development. If I could hide long enough, or just not stand, I could totally get away with it. This means no lunch out of office, no restroom breaks, no hopping up to help anyone.

Jeans! You fashion folly you! The voice of reason set in...could you really go all day without peeing? My humble attempt at rebelling was squashed.

I opted for white carpi pants that are two sizes too big; a grey patterned shirt that is too small, thus revealing just a touch of my tummy; and brown open-toed, cork-platform shoes. This outfit is awful, but acceptable.

I did forget that I'm going to lunch with my friend Ashley who is the most well put together woman I know. She loves me regardless of my crappy outfits and attempts to rebel.

I don't love my reflection at all. But the rebel inside is laughing hysterically at it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Here We Go

It's creeping up on 10 p.m. and I must get to bed. But today I emailed with a book person - thanks to Sarah Lauren. She asked if I had a blog ... uh, no. Isn't that what Facebook Notes is for? Not really. Here goes.

I have given up drinking. Just until the holidays. And when I go on vacation. Really I've just given up drinking in the state of Alabama. I made this promise to myself last Friday. I broke it on Tuesday. Four days. Yep - that's how long it lasted. Now it's day two of sober Allison.

We'll see how long this lasts.

----

On Tuesday, I had reason to drink - it was the Small Business Awards and I was up for Young Professional of the Year. Out of about 20 people, I was one of three finalists. I didn't get the ultimate title, but I am totally fine with it.

After listening to many people smile and say, "It should have been you..." I realized I was the reason it wasn't. The winner, my friend Olly, can sell ice to an eskimo. I can't sell you anything, not even breath to a dying person. "Sell yourself" was what the application screamed. I did the best I knew. I listed out my accomplishments (which are many) and challenges (which are many more). I did it quietly and poetically, just like I do most things.

I was thrilled to be a finalist. And should Olly not be able to fulfill his duties, I'll gladly step in if need be. But after a day of reflection, I see that I'm a winner in many more ways. The cards that fill my office wall tell the stories of lives touched and altered for the better. Words of encouragement and love fill my memory bank.

As I settle into my mid-30s, I realize I am who I am and I am not going to change who I am for a title, an award, a man, a position. I have passion in my heart and live every day trying to make this place a bit better.

The award is sitting in its box on my dining room table. I've yet to decide what to do with it. I'm guessing it'll sit there for some time. At work I told them I'd keep it here so no one would have to dust it or be intimidated by it (ha ha)! In reality, I'll probably just tuck it away. The real prizes come in stamped envelopes. The true reward comes in watching people grow. Neither of those need dusting.