My thoughts are all over the place and I guess I should be glad that the brick wall I hit happened today instead of Monday. So much to do and deal with but it seems like I never have enough time to get everything done.

I talked to the Queen today and she helped me out a lot. Just throwing every little thought out there sometimes help. I am beyond tired and I guess I am not getting the sleep I need. Figures. As we were talking and planning all I could think of was how much I needed this time away.

I am leaving for Nashville tomorrow and it is with mixed emotions. I want to go, hell I need to go. I have a charity event that I am still planning for my former office and need some face time with others to discuss and organize. I need to see my friends which I consider an extended family. And there is that little meeting with my crush that I am getting excited about.

But, Granny is not doing well. She had a horrible night. They have upped the meds to keep her calm and help her breathe. She is sleeping most of the time. And while this sounds horrible, I don’t think I could handle being there when she does pass. I feel like a heel, a selfish one at that, for leaving town when things aren’t looking great. I know that I am only two hours away if something does happen but still, the guilt that I feel is draining. It isn’t from my family but it is from me.

I am really good at making myself feel guilty. My dad didn’t get to raise his son, so I feel like I have been his only shot at parenting a child to adulthood. My sister. . . well, she moved out as soon as she turned 18 and from what has been told to me, was a bit of a wild child when she did live with us. So then there is me, the one that needs to behave, to be good, to make sacrifices and understand that I while I am not perfect, I don’t want to disappoint. And all of this is in my head. They never really expressed these thoughts or concerns. I even knew that as I grew older that I would be the one to take care of them in their old age. Of course, if dad doesn’t behave I can always throw him into Moccasin Bend here in town.

I know that mom’s main concern is I get to Nashville and have to turn right back around. Dad, in true form, just says, go, we will update you and let you know if you need to come back early.

And I think the most overwhelming thought is that I am being selfish. I could put this off until another weekend but I need this. While the beach was relaxing I need to recharge with my crew, those crazy people who love me. And as Sonia says, I better be thankful for that! Yes Sonia, I am. And I laugh to myself when I hear your voice in my head. And it is usually at a time when I need it most.

So now I am off to pack. I have some madras that needs to come with me, it really bugs Stacey’s husband and as any true sister can be, it is my duty to bug him.

Silly Things Your Parents Are Scared Of

Yep, I am going there and will get an ear full more than likely. Having a parent find your blog is kind of weird. I want to be able to post without editing my posts to death. In this vain, well, mom, just turn a deaf ear please. Sometimes your kids will say things that will make you cringe. And you know what? If I ever have kids I know I will get payback.

Let’s start with my dad. Now my dad is the man who probably ruined it for any man out there to try to come into my life. This is the man that kept me when I was sick since his work schedule was easiest to deal with. He also got stuck taking me to the orthodontist for my appointments. He always encouraged me to be my own person and that I should only rely upon myself. He also got me anything I wanted until things got a bit too expensive. Apparently, me doing anything with him or my Popa could cause dread, worry and some anger in terms of mom and Granny.

He was a military brat and swears he is a Texan. Okay dad, whatever you say, I am just saying that on my birth certificate, where it says father’s birth city it states very clearly Bronx, NY. Hell yes! His father was, well, one of those tough and tumble kinds of guys. Apparently his way of teaching his kids to swim was to throw them in the water and say swim. Or at least that is how I remember the story being told.

Dad can swim, he can doggy paddle and for all intents and purposes, that is swimming. As long as you are floating and not sinking, you can swim. Unfortunately, the man is terrified of deep water. He used to be willing to go into a pool, the shallow end of course, as long as the rope dividing the shallow from the deep was there. The ocean? He went in (according to mom) until it hit his ankles. So brave that man.

He is terrified of flying and has only flown a handful of times. I still don’t get it but he refuses. At this point, I am willing to shoot him with a dart gun full of Xanax to get him on a plane. At this point, I think he even hates going to the airport because what if someone grabs him and throws him on a plane? Not likely but still, his fears are funny.

The last one that I can think of right now should really be the one that everyone laughs at because it is stupid. Nonny, his grandmother, had said at one point that eating cranberry sauce would cause cancer. I have only seen him eat it once and it was because it was all tricked out and he didn’t realize it until it was all gone and I said something to him about it. The Thanksgiving joke is to pass him the cranberry sauce and see him shake his head wildly, saying no thanks. I guess dad didn’t get the memo that there are about a million things that can cause cancer.

My mom’s fears are really quite simple and while I try to push her to fight against it, well, it doesn’t really work. She is scared of the interstate. I think she was always on edge about it but when my uncle was killed after a wreck on the interstate, well, back roads are a must. And my friends wonder why she and dad didn’t visit me often when I lived in Nashville. She hates the larger cities and the traffic and well, the easiest way to get there is by interstate. Oh, and she will not let dad drive! Dad likes to look at the stuff on the sides of the roads. I can remember many a trip to the mountains with mom yelling his name telling him to pay attention to the road.

My fears? Well, I don’t really have any. I used to love to go across the swinging bridge at Rock City, I can’t anymore. Something about hitting my 30s kind of messed with my head. I had my one, it was my fault wreck within three weeks of living in Chattanooga. That has not stopped me from driving on the interstate. My only concern is for those who are incapable of driving around here. At least in Nashville, everyone can drive, at least to a certain extent.

The things that have stopped me from being way too adventurous fall into the common sense category (no, I will not jump out of an airplane if it is working just fine, thank you very much). I also have inherited my granny’s faulty electrical wiring of my heart and my dad’s (and his dad’s too) panic attacks. The electrical wiring thing I don’t really understand but that is why my heart likes to flutter from time to time. It is a weird feeling. The panic attacks almost caused me to come up with irrational fears. The first week after being diagnosed (correctly) I panicked each and every time I had to go home and get ready for the evening. I had been living on my own for forever and all of the sudden I was scared to be there.  Thankfully I had friends that took me in that week and another friend who stayed over a night or two. I also woke my dad with middle of the night phone calls freaking out so he could help me talk myself down.

Once I got those panic attacks under control I realized that being scared of stuff was kind of pointless. Of course, being medicated daily also helps with this. Sure, I am scared of putting myself out there but that is more about failure than anything else. I have my ways of controlling them should they come up and if all else fails, I have medication that I can take.

But being scared to drive or fly somewhere or to walk out into the ocean or even going to NYC by myself? No worries whatsoever. It is kind of nice but some people look at me strange, including my parents. While I do not have a death wish, I am not scared of death. I know that God will watch over me and that if I do mess up and get scared, I call on my angel, like I have done ever since I was really small.

But I still have to wonder about my dad’s fear of cranberry sauce, really? Nonny was kind of a nut, I wouldn’t take what she said as the gospel truth. Oh well, he is stuck in his ways. Just like mom likes to find every freaking back road. . . I play games on my phone if I ride with them anywhere. It passes the time and I don’t notice what she is doing.

Another Confession

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know my track record with men. It blows. I pick the wrong ones every single time, but each time, it does get a little better. Baby steps people. I had a crush last fall/winter that worked in my building. He is terribly shy but from time to time we would both be outside. One of those times I was in my Halloween getup. . .

I actually kind of like the outfit because it fits my personality to a T. And before you think naughty thoughts, I was Mary Katherine Gallagher, the klutzy, goofy character on SNL.

Well, after much prodding and basically shaming me since I was almost to full stalker alert trying to figure out who my crush was, etc., I emailed him. Look, two shy people aren’t going to do well chatting it up when it comes to seeing if both are single and interested.

I asked him out for a drink but he while he said he would like to, he had a girlfriend. It took a few hours for my coworkers to convince me to crawl back out from underneath my desk. We traded emails a few times that day and the next but in one of his emails he said he dug the outfit from Halloween. He had happened to see me do my “Super Star” pose and was smiling.

Other women might woo their men with their sexiness, me? I reel them in with my goofiness. So I chalked it up to at least I tried and then I had to move. . .

A couple of weeks ago Amy texted me all excited, seems my long forgotten crush is now single. After more prodding from Stacey and the reality of the chances of having to come face to face with him and turn bright red should he reject me again, I finally emailed him.

And while we talked a lot about golf, I kind of joked about going for a drink when I was in town but knew that he was taken, so oh well (can’t act that needy and ready to pounce). He said that he and the girlfriend had broken up two months ago. And yes, he would like to go and have a drink with me. I was very nice, stating that I was sorry that things had ended, because, well, that is what I do. He emails me back with an Aww, you’re sorry? I thought you wanted to go and have a drink with me.

Busted. So I guess now I have to figure out when and where and email him. This makes me all kinds of nervous. It is that whole, we need to get to know each other first before we really dive in kind of thing. I thought to break the ice I could just wear my outfit but somehow, I think that I would look a bit out of place in a bar with that outfit on.

At least my hair is growing back out, I can keep it in my face to hide my nervousness. That’s my thing, I can’t help it. I can even hear my mom telling me to push it out of my face.

Oh and mom, since you now know about this blog, ignore this one, okay? For me? Because there is nothing worse than having an epic fail and then having to answer to your mom, even when you are 36 years old.

I am hoping that the Queen has some thoughts on this or even my Nashville friends. I am going to be a bundle of nerves. And as I emailed Stacey, things would be much easier if I just took him to their place, let them do the once over and then tell me whether to make an effort or not. Seems her hubby has better radar than either of us.

And if he owns jhorts? I am out of there. I don’t care that I have crushed on him this long, I can’t deal with that.

This Summer Blows

I hate the heat and humidity. I recall thinking last summer that it was too good to be true. It was hot but it wasn’t unbearably hot. Then I kept thinking, well, it is only June, July is worse. . . then July came and went with only a few days where I was miserable. Then I thought, well, August is going to hit us hard. . . and it didn’t.

It was such a nice, mild summer. One where the pool didn’t feel like bath water and staying all day by the pool reading was a reality. I could even get up in the morning on the weekends and take a nice, brisk walk and not feel like I was melting.

Then we had a harsh winter. Of course I missed out on a lot of the snow since I moved. And while my friends were all telling me I was so lucky not to have to deal with the mess, I hated missing it. It is one thing for it to be cold here but when it snows, it makes it all worth it.

This summer is disgustingly hot. The kind that takes your breath away, you feel sticky within two seconds of stepping outside and forget staying by the pool all day. I can’t hang. Nope, I am only out for a couple of hours, in which time I can’t focus and the pool has turned into nasty warm bath water. So much for enjoying the pool.

I got a decent base of a tan (for me anyway) while at the beach. I had planned on spending some time by the pool this weekend to keep the color. Instead, I spent yesterday at my Granny’s. Napping with her, talking to her and eating. I should have gone there today to spend more time with her but last night I had a headache from hell that continued through the morning.

I napped and then called dad to see if they were going to Granny’s. They were and I told him about my head. He said to stay put. So another nap, an attempt to go sit at the pool that lasted all of an hour and back in to nap some more. I finally cooked dinner and took another nap while throwing clothes in the wash and running the dishwasher.

And in true Amy fashion, clean clothes are littered throughout my room and dryer. I will get around to putting them up at some point. I even noticed that Wookie’s hair is in clumps throughout my apartment. But the heat is creating laziness so running the vacuum will not happen. As for the clean dishes in the dishwasher. . . I am guessing that will get emptied by Wednesday.

Oh well, not like anyone who knows me would be surprised to see the mess in my apartment. I like to think of it as endearing. As for me, I am a sweaty, stinky mess. So I will hop in the shower for an extra cold shower before bed. I am hoping this helps me sleep. I could freeze out anyone who dares to enter my apartment. Wookie doesn’t mind though. If it gets too cold for him, he just climbs under a blanket.

The Beach and Saying Goodbye

Traveling with my mom wasn’t all that bad, but I will have to say, if there is one thing she can do, it is pee. All the time! We took many potty breaks in the airport but finally got to our destination.

I did learn something about myself, I am no longer the person who lives to go to the beach. This can all be based on the fact that out of all my traveling since college, it has either been for business or it has been my trips to DC or NYC. I am not the biggest fan of the heat nor am I a fan of sand in the crouch.

Our days spent there went like this, I slept in while mom took a long walk on the beach, we reserve a cabana, go for breakfast, hit the beach, where I rotate between reading, napping and swimming, mom goes in to get cleaned up, I finally get myself together, rinse off the sticky salt water and head in for a shower. Then I lay on the bad, deciding if I want another nap. I get dressed and ready, we head out to eat, then drive for a bit, get ice cream and come back to the hotel. Mom takes off to walk the beach again and I fall asleep watching tv. I did this routine for three solid days.

I ate plenty of shrimp and crab cakes, as well as a ton of ice cream. I got a bit burnt on the last day there but other than that, it was a relaxing time. Of course, I had to have toothpicks to keep my eyes open on Monday since we got in at 8:30 and I still had to go to work for the day.

I had a post written about my Granny last week but didn’t publish it. In a nutshell, Granny, who is 95, is in congestive heart failure. Her quality of life is no longer what she nor any of us would label as great. My prayer for the past week has been for her to be comfortable and to pass as peacefully as possible.

I felt like this when I lost my beloved Popa. The one who I strive to be like because he was a really neat man. I didn’t not want him in my life but the reality was at 97 six years ago, his life was no longer about quality but quantity. He left this earth the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I say he timed it quite well because he passed shortly before Thanksgiving and got to have, in my opinion, one of the best feasts with all of his brothers, sisters and parents up in heaven. The man had good timing!

Granny’s life has never been easy. She learned around the time mom was born that she had been adopted. Her bio brother showed up one day and introduced himself. According to Popa, she was never the same. She and mom are a lot alike. You know they love you but neither are the overly lovey dovey type. Some people are just like that and really, it is no big deal. Mom works on this daily, I see it. Granny, well, I tell her I love her and she always responds in kind. But I don’t think she has ever just out and out said it first.

She was in ICU last week and then released. She was able to make it at home for about three days and she was back in ICU yesterday. I am pleased that they released her today and that hospice is now taking care of her at her own home.

She could last for weeks or it could be days. I ask for those who read this to lift her up in prayer and ask for a peaceful passing. I don’t want her to suffer. Her body is tired and I know she is over being poked and prodded.

I have made my peace with her leaving this world. I love her dearly but I think that being up in heaven with Popa and her family will make her much happier than she is here. Her lungs will be whole again and she will no longer feel pain.

Some people may view my words as being cold but I feel like sending her off in comfort and peace is what she wants. I will miss her but I will see her again. And just like Popa and Liam, I can always talk to her.

Life’s A Beach?

I am heading to the beach this week. Now, most people would squeal with excitement and state that is a great vacation. Me? I like the beach, it means sleeping in, reading a book and getting some sun but I am a city girl. I spend my vacations in NYC or DC, the beach? Not so much.

I am getting excited because it is a vacation, one that will be filled with seafood, sand and books. I am heading there with my mom. She loves the beach, she doesn’t mind flying and dad, well, he doesn’t fly. Terrified of it, kind of like that cranberry salad that is passed around at Thanksgiving or the offer to take a dip in a pool. Those things scare him. I never said that my parents’ fears made any sense though. And luckily, I have managed to dodge them all.

For those who know me, you know that I am the person that spends every weekend by the pool, turning a lovely shade of lobster red while reading. In fact, my life’s goal is to own a home with a pool. I love the water and the lazy days it presents each and every weekend. But a vacation to the beach? I never thought of putting my money to the side to take off for a bit to walk in the sand, deal with the humidity or those crazy tourist spots that offer the airbrushed t-shirts.

I am the odd one of my friends, I take my vacations during the cooler months, saving all my days to travel up north, freeze my hind end off and run at break neck speed only to come back again exhausted. Being raised in the south has not given me any solace in a blazing hot night, only frizzed hair and mascara running down my face.

But I am looking forward to it. It will be a change to travel with anyone, especially my mother. She has asked several times what to bring, what is allowed, etc. I then had a light bulb moment, she hasn’t flown since way before 9/11. I have traveled more often since then, mostly for work.

The highlight of the trip for me will be the flying. I love being on a big airplane, settling in, getting my book out to read, getting the IPod ready, watching the city get smaller and smaller until I hear the ding and then I settle in to listen to music, read and nap. I have also reserved a convertible for the trip, which is something I have always wanted to own. Manual transmission please, it tends to separate the boys from the men.

I plan on pigging out on crab cakes, shrimp and if I am lucky, lobster. I also plan on spending the majority of the day sprawled out reading, napping and possibly coming up with a plan to strike it rich. A girl can dream can’t she?

Now the challenge will be to get my mom back on the plane, I think she would move to a beach if she could. And I think I have a couple of friends who would join her as well.

Justifying Actions

Have you ever justified your actions to a friend? It could be as simple as why you are buying those really expensive shoes all the way to why you are ignoring the reality in order to be with someone.

I will raise my hand, I have done this numerous times. And there is one thing that should be known, don’t try to justify your actions to someone who has spent many a year justifying their own. Why? Well, I for one can say, I can see through you. I said the same things you are saying to me right now. Been there, done that and will probably do it again.

When I was in the thick of things with an ex, I would justify why I was taking him back. It could have been the night before when I was crying, saying no more. I have to get rid of him, yada, yada and even more yada. Yep, I said it all. Each time I was left with more crow to eat as this ex disappointed me again.

When I contacted him after not speaking to him for three years, I was a bit worried. I didn’t want my friends to be mad at me, I didn’t want them to raise their hands up and say “I give up!” But the reality was that this time it was different. That ex and I had finally managed to become friends. And since then, we have managed to stay friends. I love that kid. He is funny, country and bit off. He still drives me crazy but it doesn’t matter because we are different people now. We care for each other and want happiness in the other’s life. So after some hand wringing from my friends, they relaxed, laughed and realized that really, we were just friends.

I then started to think of ways to justify my feelings for the boy. He had called off and on after I moved. But then I started to hear statements from him about his life that sounded very familiar. Yep, now he was the one justifying his actions to me. I get where he is coming from and said so. No need to justify anything to me. We feel the way we feel. My hope is that those feelings he has right now go one for the long amount of time that I did the justifying dance with Bubba.

It is funny in a way, I justify why I pig out or why I don’t workout. I justify why I don’t get out there and meet people here. It is all about change or doing what is right for us. It is hard to just let go and just be. To say to others, hey, I am new here, terribly shy and would like to hang out sometime.

Or my weakness of spending money when I should be putting it back for a rainy day. I need clothes for work or if I got a new pair of workout clothes, I would workout.

I sometimes think that is my weakness, to justify my actions to others when the only person I need to answer to is the big guy upstairs. It is hard to let go of my control freak nature. And it is hard to just say, hey I could use a friend nearby. I have been so independent for so long, that relying on others seems weak. I am stubborn to a fault and would much rather prefer to keep beating my head against the wall in the hopes that a door would open rather than asking someone to open the door for me.

The truth is, the quiet time that I have on my own is nice. Sometimes those thoughts in my head get going and that can drive me crazy. But I like it, I like that my cat crawls up on me, snuggles in and just wants to sit. He doesn’t ask for much and I like it that way.

Sonia challenged me with taking this year to concentrate on me, to find something to do and not to focus on doing my 200% nurturing everyone else. I dealt with a breakup last year of my own doing, watched my best friend and her husband lose their child and then the straw that broke the camel’s back, was transferred for my job, leaving my home that I loved so much. It really is a lot to deal with and I justified focusing on everyone and everything instead of just dealing with what was in front of me.

She gave me that nudge to deal with everything instead of finding something else to do. I justified my actions for talking to the boy when really I needn’t do so. I know that my friends are going to love me no matter what. So besides doing a little craft project that will keep me busy, I am also challenging myself not to justify my actions. To live in the moment and just be.

I Have a Confession

The joke that a dear friend started several years ago about my ability to switch teams that I cheer for was determined by who I was dating at the time is somewhat true. Now I am a fairly independent minded female. I was that kid who asked questions, thought about the differences and tended to march to a different drummer.

Who else would take German in high school only because fewer people took it? That would be me. There are times that I do wish that I had taken up French but hey, I have always liked being the goofy, different kid. While in school, all my friends from church balked at going to church camp as we got older. Me? I went, made friends and ended up on the Youth Council. It was were I could make my mark, be my own person and not have to sit in the shadows of the popular kids at church.

I became a fan of the University of Georgia because a. it wasn’t Tennessee b. there was no orange to be seen c. my love of all things Lewis Grizzard. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to go to UGA but seeing as how I wasn’t the brightest nor did I have a trust fund that could send me there, I settled on community college and then MTSU. Yet another step off the beaten path since everyone I knew was going to UTK or UTC. Again, not a fan of Tennessee nor of the color orange, so I continued to be a Raider and settled in middle Tennessee, where I found some of the greatest friends I could have ever hoped for.

Sonia was one of those friends. She was loud, crazy, said things to get a reaction and I think I spent most of my time laughing while shaking my head hearing everything that came out of her mouth. She has ended up being one of those friends that can cut to the chase and tell me how things are and that I need to get my head out of my butt.

She is also the person who came up with the whole, “Let’s make fun of Amy for liking this or that team because of her boyfriend.” Yes Sonia, I will admit that George and the boy had some impact on the teams I cheer for but I have formulated my reasonings for liking those teams as well.

George and I were together for two and a half year, he comes from a long line of Steeler fans. At first I still cheered for the Titans but by the second football season I was hooked. A great team, a great history, a coach who took no bull and a family who still owned and ran the team. Now my future husband, Ben Rothlisberger, needs a swift kick to the butt, I will not deny that, nor will I deny that they have found a few trouble makers throughout their history but I love that team. I will wear my black and yellow til the day I die. Kind of ironic since those two colors are my former rival high school colors but I digress.

I cheer for them proudly and argue with my father about giving credit to a good team, one that has made it known that thugs need not apply. I have waved my Terrible Towel at LP Stadium and even in the suite that my employer owns.

But this whole college thing has kind of been a struggle for me. I love my Dawgs, I do. But I have never been to a game, never been to Athens, GA to visit the school. I have been on Vanderbilt’s campus more times than I can count including games. But I have this thing for Vandy, any good natured SEC fan should pull for them. They need all the help they can get.

This is where the boy, whom I haven’t written about in forever, comes into the picture. I think it is fair to say that given a choice, he would stay in college forever. He is obsessed with Ole Miss. Hoddy Toddy Ya’ll! Yep, the boy probably still feels like he is back in Oxford, at the frat house, talking about the good ole days. He took me to The Grove twice. And I would go back in an instant. I was born and raised in the South but apparently fit in better with those “Yankees” as my father likes to call them. This was the one place where small town living didn’t give me hives.

The school is rich with history, some good, some bad. But I fell in love on a warm day down at The Grove. It wasn’t about the boy though. It was about tailgating, football and drinking at 10AM on a Saturday morning. I loved it. I loved the energy in the stadium. I soon collected Ole Miss gear and the boy suggested I get an Ole Miss tag, something that I haven’t done yet.

The boy is gone but my love of Ole Miss carries on. It is about tradition, remembering history and people watching while drinking a Jack and Diet on a crisp, fall day. So if you hear Dixie, stand, pull your cap to your chest and think of that beautiful campus.

And for my friends, sorry! I confess that I just can’t break up with Ole Miss. I tried, really I did but I just can’t walk away from it. And Sonia, I owe you a drink next time I am in Nashville. And you can razz me once again for cheering for a team that I originally did not cheer for and I will not try to justify it!