Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Like sands through the hourglass..."


Thanks to Katie and Dawn's interest in my [boring] life, I've decided to finally blog again. I guess "boring" would be an insult, since life has been pretty fantastic and busy lately. 
I've never been good at multi-tasking, so my blog kind of got hidden away in all of the clutter of my life. I thought about joking with you and photoshopping a wedding photo or a pregnancy photo but alas, I'm no good at Photoshop(a true pity). No, nothing that drastic or big happened, but I do have some changes to share. Let's see....where to begin...

I think one of the things about blogging is that you never know how open you want to be or how much you really want to share. Should you bend the truth in your favor? Or should you be candid and honest? I decided to go with the latter since life isn't always organized and it doesn't always flow easily. Sometimes things are bumpy and you just have to "wing it". Sometimes I have no plan. Sometimes it's like I'm playing a LIFE board game and I'm just choosing one path after the next. I'm unsure during the adventure but when I finish the game, I feel like I made all the right choices and I ended up where I was meant to. 

I guess the biggest change in my life has been my job change. 
You might remember at the end of February when I posted about my new relationship with Dustin. I explained how Dustin and I met when we started working together when we were 19(2009) at a local pet store. Well I left out some details that didn't seem important at the time or didn't seem like they were needed to tell our story. Now it seems kind of hard to explain my life without filling you in. Well when I was 19 and I started that job, I was going to college and living in a dorm. Eventually I quit college so I had to find somewhere else to live since I wasn't ready to move back to my hometown. I moved in with a random girl I worked with for about a month until I was ready to find something else. (I helped with bills; I'm no moocher). 
Then I moved in with my childhood best friend Courtney and her boyfriend since she had moved to the same town to attend college.
This was around the summer of 2009 and my friendship with Dustin had already begun. We all started hanging out away from work and he would even come hang out with me, Courtney, and her boyfriend. Do you already know where this story is going? Well eventually I decided to stop imposing on Courtney and I moved in with Dustin. He was living alone in an apartment and we were both young broke kids and I said we could split all the bills in half and save more money. So we shared his small crappy apartment for about a year(another guy that was his friend lived with us for a few months too for awhile) and in that time I came to own two cats. We were crowded and I saw a fairly big house for rent down the street and I suggested we move there. Within two days, we were moved in and we've been here ever since. Our house is very old but we have a huge fenced in backyard and plenty of room for our now 3 cats and 2 dogs. I know by adding this (huge) detail, you're thinking, "Wait, so you've been living together since 2009 but you've only been dating since February??" YES. I know this is hard to understand and I get asked about it a lot. It worked for us, although I know it sounds like some weird 90's sitcom. 

(Sneak peek from March's vacation photos!)

Anyways, everyone at work knew we lived together as friends and all was good. Over the years, Dustin got promoted to a manager position and when we officially came out as a couple at work, we knew one of us would have to leave(This was in early March). It's against company policy to date someone in management and it was okay because we were both ready for a change anyways. We had been there for 4 years and we both wanted something new. I decided I would be the one to leave. I knew I didn't want to go to another retail job, but I didn't know what I wanted to do yet. Dustin had been planning to become an electrician and was going to wait until the Fall to start classes so I knew he would be right behind me after I left anyways. I had approximately 30 days to find a new job and I knew for the first 7 that Dustin and I would be taking a vacation to the Tennessee mountains(which I'll share all the photos from soon). I decided to enjoy the trip and not stress about losing that time to apply for jobs or find something new. When I got back to work my manager told me about how his wife worked for a bank and that there was a position open for a personal banker. I wasn't passionate about banking(obviously), but I couldn't deny that the hours and pay were exactly what I wanted. I applied and went through a huge process of drug testing, credit checking, fingerprinting, and a math and comprehension test when I was finally hired on and my first day would be May 13th. I was so relieved that this job just slid into my lap like that. I found out I beat out another girl they had interviewed and I felt proud of myself(and a little sorry for the other girl). I was ready for a change but slightly sad to leave my coworkers that I had worked with for so long--mainly Dustin. Everyone was great though between giving me two movie tickets, getting me a cake, and a choked up good-bye from my boss. I heard so many sweet things from him that really gave me confidence in my work ethic. He told me about how he had met his wife working together and he loved seeing Dustin and I grow from friends into more. He told me to send him an invite to the wedding(as did most of our other coworkers) among many other personal things that I'll cherish for a long time. He was the longest boss I had ever worked for and the one I could joke with the most. He had become like a father to me. As everyone prepared to say good-bye to me, Dustin went to talk to the electrician people about the process of him getting into an apprenticeship. They told him that if he did all of the paperwork etc that he could start with a company in 2 weeks. We talked about it and knew the timing was meant to be. We both started our new jobs on May 13th. It was a really good feeling knowing that we started our job together on the same day in January of 2009 and we would be leaving together on the same day too. It just felt right. 

(Another guy named "Dustin" left that week too so
 that's why it's plural/ he doesn't just have split personalities)
So since then, we've just been adjusting to our new schedules and having weekends off for the first time in our lives. We got so lucky because we both get off around the same time of the day and we're off on the weekends together. We've been jamming as much as we can do in that time. We go garage sailing, go to the park, the zoo, last weekend we went out of town to his family's lakehouse and went boating and fishing. It's just been amazing having this time together. We can sit and talk and reflect on our new jobs and how fast this all happened but yet how happy we are. We talk about growing up. It's not as scary or as negative as it's sometimes made up to be. We're optimistic and eager and ready, because we know we can adapt and adjust. We played the game of "LIFE" and we did good. Maybe we came in first, maybe we didn't. We do know there will be many many more games though, and we're a team and we play well together.

Of course, there have been stressful events the last few months. My grandpa got sick and they weren't sure if it was cancer. First the doctors told us he was in the final stages of stomach cancer and had only a few weeks to live, and then they changed their minds. Then they changed them again, and then back again. It's been an emotional roller coaster worrying about him. I don't think I've mentioned it in a blog post, but my grandma is the chief of our Indian tribe(the Apalachee Indians if you're curious). I plan on blogging about my family heritage in detail one day, but as you can imagine having someone so important be sick is a troubling thing. He is our leader, not to mention my grandpa. Things seem to be looking up now, but I still have been making more frequent trips home to be with my family.
(I can't handle this usually strong man looking so
 weak and sad.
 Thankful that his health is slowly improving!)

I've been dealing with my car breaking down and then getting fixed and then breaking down again. It seems like everything breaks at once doesn't it? My car, my dryer, my sink, my shower, Dustin's car, a tree going through our roof....everything. Now you might see how my boyfriend's car breaking down at the same time as mine or him getting a new job at the same time being kind of problematic. I've been doing my 3 week work training out of town and he works out of town too so we've been trying to carpool and borrow cars and make things work. So to sum it up, you know general young/broke problems where you try to stretch money and not worry as much. Things are slowly getting fixed though as they always do so that's that. The weird thing is, through all these fast-moving ups and downs, I feel more blessed than ever and my faith is getting stronger and improving. I've felt closer to God lately and I'm learning to trust him more. It's a good feeling.

I feel like I had so much to say, and now I feel like I'm forgetting tons of stuff. I could elaborate on how I'm already butting heads with a new coworker. Or how I'm trying to be less anti-social and go to dinner parties with acquaintances every week and it's hard because a lot of people's personality traits irritate me more than they probably should. I could rant some but maybe I'll save that for a "Pointless Points" post where ranting is the main topic. I have some things I want to dedicate whole posts on though so that will be something to look forward to(for me mainly). I want to talk about my heritage and talk about aging. I want to talk about how fast time moves. I have so much to say, yet I feel like I've already said too much. At least I can say that I am back. I have some thoughts I need to get out on paper(or virtual paper at least). I have ideas for posts I want to write. I have ALL OF YOUR BLOGS to catch up on. I know you guys have been busy too and I miss you. I'm slowly making a new routine and I'm ready to get back into the swing of things. 

So to sum it up: I still have vacation pics to share with you, I'll do a photo dump soon of my cell phone photos, and I have more rants and small stories to share with you. This is just the beginning. A "Life Lately" post. Another beginning to another chapter. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Don't be your worst critic.

Hello, remember me? I know I've been MIA lately, but life has been moving so fast that I've been just running along with it but I hope to be back to blogging as soon as I can. I found this video via Leigh-Ann's blog and it really touched me so I wanted to share it with you. It's an experiment done based on how people view themselves. It's interesting to see everyone point out their flaws and forget to mention the things they love about themselves. I know everyone says we all tend to be our own worst critics, but why not change that? Be your biggest fan. Be your own support system. The world can be harsh enough, you need to be kind and love yourself. This video was so uplifting for me to watch and made me want to make an effort to stop over analyzing my imperfections and start appreciating every quirk about me.
I hope you take a few minutes to watch this video and I hope it makes you feel better about yourself too. 

See you soon!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Legacy My Grandmother Left Behind.

Close to ten years ago, my maternal grandmother passed away. My mom's family lived in Alabama and since we live in Louisiana near my father's family, we would drive to see them once every other year or so. I was never extremely close to that grandma, mainly because the distance and how often I was able to see her. My grandmother was very OCD, a clean-freak, and strict. My grandfather was the opposite. He is the sweetest, most laid-back man and I was always kind of confused by their relationship. They had obviously been married for many years and brought four children into the world so they have to love each other, right? I guess it was just odd to watch two people who seemed to be very different live together as one for so long. My grandma's passing was very sudden and unexpected and since then, we haven't gone back to Alabama but a few times to see my grandpa. I think it's hard on my Mom having to see their home the way it was when my Grandma was still around. The last time I was there was probably five years after she had died. My grandpa hadn't changed anything. The candy in the dishes was still there...five years later. Stale food was in the cupboards and her clothes still hung in the closet. The smell of her still lingered and there was still papers and bills with her name on them on the counter. Five years. It was heartbreaking to see my Grandpa unable to let go. Now that it's been another five years, the house has been emptied and sold. My grandpa is living with one of his other sons(my uncle) and his children are going through the process of dividing up their belongings. My mom spent three months living in Alabama before the house sold with him to help get everything organized. When I was a kid, my mother had this doll. She was beautiful and porcelain-faced. I wanted her badly. I asked for her and she said "when you're sixteen". When I was sixteen, I asked again. "When you're eighteen", she said. I'm now twenty-three years old and that doll is still with my mother. She says when I'm older and have a more "established" home, I can have her(we'll see about that). Well apparently she told my grandpa this story at some point because when they were going through stuff, he pulled out some of my grandma's dolls he had saved for me.

He said while the other kids were taking things, he put these aside especially for me since he remembered that I liked dolls. The first one is a Sonja Henie doll that my grandmother got when she was around five years old. Like my grandma, she never played with her. She kept her in a display case away from dust and damage. She is gorgeous and in perfect condition. My mom said even she never saw her. It's like my grandma hid her. My grandma also included a newspaper with an article about the worth of the doll. That's the thing about my grandma that I didn't know. She documented everything. I mean, EVERYTHING. I found out that she had kept newspapers from major historical events and my stupid uncle didn't think anything of it and burned them. Newspapers of when JFK was killed. Newspapers featuring Marilyn Monroe's death and things of that sort. I was livid, but I loved knowing that my grandma was smart enough to save those things. Then I found things she documented that was just plain OCD. Cute...but OCD. She had a notebook where she kept record of all of her VHS tapes. Hundreds and hundreds of tapes in alphabetical order, with reviews, and cross-referenced with actors and other movies they were in. It was crazy. She had highlighted sections, stars drawn, and things broken into categories. I remember as a kid if you didn't put a tape up in the right spot, she would get on to you. I remember if you touched something breakable, she would get on to you. I thought maybe she never really "liked" kids and maybe she never was one herself. I loved being able to go through her things with my Mom though, because I feel like I got to know the "real her". I got teary-eyed finding out just how organized she was and found myself thanking her in my head. If she wouldn't have recorded what I'm about to show you, then I would have missed out on all of the true meanings and stories of these items.
This was her jewelry box full of "costume jewelry". My aunts and uncles became jerks when it came time to divide up her belongings. My mom said they were grabbing things they knew was expensive or worth something. Fighting over their wedding china or engagement/wedding rings. It was disgusting hearing about how my Mom's siblings were acting and I can tell she was hurt by it too. The funny thing is, this was all of the stuff left for my Mom to get and I think we got the best part. 
What we got was priceless.

 This is a brooch, as you can see, that was given to my grandma from her Dad in the 50's. I imagine her pinning this to her prom dress. I imagine her keeping this as a token of how much her Dad loved her. 

 This one truly broke my heart--but in the best way. I cry every time I look at this. It says, "Dwight(my grandpa) bought this birth stone ring for my 17th B'day. Shifin? Jewelry. Payment book in my album". I asked my mom about this pretty ring and the story about it. I had no idea my grandma knew my grandpa when she was just seventeen! My mom told me that my grandparents were in love as teens and my grandma's parents didn't want them to be together. They sent her up North, to another school I think, to get her away from my grandpa. She said my grandpa drove all the way across the country for her and told them he would marry her. My grandma has the receipt showing how he had to make payments on this ring. I can feel their love. Now I know how much they loved each other and I feel so wrong for ever thinking otherwise. They were each other's first loves. My grandpa wanted no one else. 
I've realized now how timeless love really is and now I understand why it was so hard for him to let her go. I plan on writing my grandpa a letter and telling him how much it meant to me to find these things. It's hard to explain in words just how special this is to me.

This says, "1954-Sterling silver friendship ring from Rose Kolnor". Once again, I loved this. I love seeing my grandmother's handwriting on everything. I love noticing how similar it is to my Mother's. I love how well she preserved everything and I love that she dated everything. My mom told me that she had heard her talk about Rose before and how she was her childhood best friend. I wonder what her family is like? I think my Mom said she's passed away too. I wonder if her family has precious tokens to look at like this. I wonder if they knew how great of a friend she really was. 

This was a coin ring that was in the jewelry box. Sadly, my Mom didn't know any information about it and there wasn't anything with it. I'll have to leave it up to my imagination.

These are two wooden figurines that on the bottom say, "Jan. 19, 1960-From: John Whaley, Sent from Germany." My mom said he was my Grandpa's friend who was in the military and sent those back when he was stationed. Once again, I wonder what happened to him and his family. 
This was a handmade wooden pin that says "My Uncle Armond made me 1949". She was a kid at the time and this simple wooden pin meant enough for her to keep. She didn't let it get thrown around her jewelry box and broken, like I have with so many things. She was careful and safe. She knew she would value this later in life.

This is another one of those "break my heart in a good way" items. "1955 From Dwight". My grandpa gave my grandma these two porcelain figurines sitting on a bench. On the back of the bench, is "I LOVE YOU" handwritten in marker. HANDWRITTEN. 

This was a cookie jar that my Mom said was inside of their home her whole  life. On the bottom it says, "Bought for us before we got married-1955". I could tell how happy my Mom was that she got this. Every time I would touch it, she would worry I was going to drop it and break it. I love that my grandma found any way to put a note on it. I love that the tape is still stuck on there.

When I stepped into my old room and found it being used as "storage", I had no idea what true value it was storing. I had no idea that I would open those Dole banana boxes and find such special things wrapped in newspaper. I wasn't expecting to see jade rings my grandpa used to sell at his flea market booth. Seeing those brought me back to when he would take us with him. He sold knives and novelty joke items. Popper fireworks, fake dog poop, can-o-worm gags, etc. Everything I found that day brought me back to a different time and place. 
Another important and huge detail about my grandma was how much she loved owls. At one point, we counted over 250 owls in her house. I'm surprised it didn't drive my grandpa crazy(or maybe it did?). Maybe he didn't mind one bit because it was what she loved and wanted. I find myself getting annoyed at the "owl trend" that is everywhere right now. Owls are in style and everyone is collecting them. When it first started, I wanted nothing to do with it. It reminded me of my grandma and just made me have a weird feeling. People started giving my Mom owl things as gifts, I think, as a way to remind her of my grandma and make her feel "close" to her. I've now gotten used to the owl trend and don't really mind it, because it reminds me of my grandma. And now the feeling isn't "weird". It's happy. It's a great feeling and I'm glad that I got to take home some owls to add to my own house. My mom kept most of the things, especially the jewelry and breakable items because she's worried my animals might break them. I don't mind though, because I think right now it's important for her to have this stuff. I'm grateful for what I got and all of it isn't even shown in this post. On another day, I'll share the other things I got this day. 

The flower and birds were once hanging in her bathroom and I remember seeing them as a kid every time I would go in there. I love that now I see them every time I go into my bedroom. 

Until then, I wanted to share with you just some of the things I hung in my house that now remind me of that wonderful day where I really got to know my grandma. That day where I bonded with my Mom in a way I never have. The day when I found out how timeless and real love truly is. 

[click on image to make larger]

Saturday, March 2, 2013

“Home is the nicest word there is.”

Lately I've really been missing Springtime and all of the lovely things that accompany it. I miss the honeysuckles and the vibrant greenery. I miss the Easter celebrations with my family and exploring outside. I took these pictures this past April at my childhood home as my Dad, my niece, and I walked around outside. We were enjoying the comfortable weather and enjoying the scenery. Berries were growing and ripening. We would eat them straight from the tree. Caterpillars were exploring as well. The biggest thing I miss about living at home is being close to nature. My parent's house is out in the middle of the woods with no distractions or interruptions. You can walk around barefoot and talk, yell, or sing as loud as you want. You can wear ridiculous clothing and not bother with anyone seeing you. I miss the sounds of the crickets, bugs, and various animals. I miss the smell of the air. The trees, overgrown grass, flowers, everything. I miss seeing the wildflowers pop up at the most random places. I miss finding fungi of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I miss the muddy swamp water, the cypress knees, and my Dad's bamboo. I miss the random tools and junk leaning against trees. I miss the sunbeams beating down on your body and the sun peaking out from behind the trees, illuminating all of the leaves. I miss seeing things that haven't changed since I was a kid, like handmade wooden squirrel feeders nailed onto trees. Wooden planks made into a bridge to cross a ditch. Even though right now I live a few hours away in the "city", this will always be my home. This is where I made my clubhouses with my friends. This is where I developed my imagination. This is where I got my scrapes and bruises. This is where I had my sleepovers and where I made all of my memories. This is where I came from.

My dad always carries a gun when we take walks into the
 woods in case we get attacked by a gang of snakes. We never do.

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