April 29, 2011

the day after...

First let me say that Myself and Mike are alive, well and doing just fine after the storms. Thank you all for checking in I really appreciate it!!! oxox


Dorothy's Lessons:
Tornado. When most people hear that word they automatically start to think of one of the most beloved children's stories of all time, The Wizard of Oz. The story of a little girl who is swept up by a tornado, in her home and dropped abruptly but safely to a mystical Munchkin Village in the land of Oz. In Dorothy's tale she doesn't have a bump or scratch on her, the only casualty in this story is the Wicked Witch of the East who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when D's home dropped from the sky. I'll be honest I'm surprised she was the only one killed, that house was rather large and those Munchkin villagers were rather small. It seems like this story tells children that if you are a good "witch" or good person, you won't get smooshed with a house in a tornado, that only happens to bad people/witches. Well friends, we all know as adults that this lesson isn't true.

As I sit here typing this to you in a word document to save for later, since I am without internet, I have learned to rethink the way things disappoint me. Today, the day after horrible storms and tornadoes ripped through Alabama and surrounding states. Every time I feel side tracked today because I couldn't email a proof to a customer, I reminded myself that someone out there can't find their loved one or worse have discovered that their loved one is no longer with us on this Earth. Every time I feel annoyed because my text message won't go through, or a call from my cell won't connect, I realize that there are people that have no home to rest their head and have lost their cell phones and everything they have ever held dear to their hearts.

I thought of these people while I took my warm shower this morning. Instead of mindlessly going through the motions, I took the time to be thankful for the warm water on my skin, the soap in my hands and roof over my head. Instead of rushing, I took my time and tried my best to count the blessings I had in my life at that very moment. I have a tooth brush, safe in it's holder and plenty of contact solution so I might be able to see, and a case to store these contacts in before I go to bed each night. I have clothing, I have deodorant and more importantly I have my life just as it was 24 hours ago.

Last night, once we finally gained back a single channel on our television and our cable, we watched the news before heading to bed to rest our heads on our warm pillows. They showed the devastation that spread far and wide through Alabama and my jaw hit the ground. I had no idea how bad it had gotten in other areas while at work all day yesterday. Tears filled my eyes. I can't being to imagine what these families are going through. Items can be replaced, I know this but I can't imagine a tornado crashing into my home and taking everything I ever worked so hard to attain whisked away in a split second. Even worse than that, I can't imagine a tornado ripping through my home and taking people from me that I spent my life creating a bond with. Its defeating and a helpless feeling even for me, and I have lost nothing personally.

Story after story is being shared today around this state and surrounding states effected by these storms. It's enough to forever break your heart. Stories I'm hearing are that of what horror movies are made, and sad extremely dramatic movies. This doesn't happen in real life... but yesterday it did. You only see half of the truth of how bad things are for most of these communities on the news. I think it's the media's way of protecting us. The reality is harsh from what I have heard, devastating and harsh.

The storm kept rolling today [yesterday] and reports through text messages from my friends back home in Maryland started to roll in. Some were in the basement, some were at work but all received the same message from me... "I am ok. Be safe and listen to all warnings! Take nothing for granted these storms mean business." I am still waiting to hear how things went up there as I type this. As I said I am off the grid right now with only a basic cell phone and 1-3 cable channels as my guides to the outside world. I don't even have a smart phone so the internet is not there for me.

Last night I received text messages via twitter from friends making sure I was ok and I want to say thank you for that! My friends back home all texted me upon finding out what was going on and it warmed my heart to know that people care from far and wide even if we have never met before in person. My father couldn't get through to me, and I couldn't get a call out to him - thankfully through the wonders of technology we finally sent texts back and forth and I could calm him and let him know I was safe, we were safe and that the most damage my home had was a fallen branch off our Bradford Pear tree that fell into the street. No damage, nothing lost. I am one of the lucky few and I am forever grateful.

This morning I walked in a haze, hearing the reports on the radio, seeing footage of the tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa, AL. I've been there, I've seen where the damage hit, I've rooted for my favorite college team in that town - but my worries weren't with the buildings, it was with the people of the community. Tuscaloosa, AL, Cullman, AL, Arab, AL and Phil Campbell, AL are all close to where I live, most are a 20 minute drive to 2 hours in driving distance. The great state of Alabama is a large and expansive state and as of a few moments ago our death toll was up to 141 people. To me 1 person is too much. We have warning systems for this type of occurance - sirens, television, radio, even weather radios [reminder: purchase one ASAP!]. Usually if you have access to the radio or television or are within earshot of the sirens you know when trouble is coming sometimes up to 15-30 minutes in advance. We are constantly told to seek shelter. I will say that most people do listen, others may not but the bottom line is these storms were massive and some people found shelter as best they could in their homes and sadly, I don't know if most of our homes are as safe as we think. As I looked at the rubble on TV I realized how many of these homes were reduced to dust. Brick homes, homes you thought were sturdy, and if it hadn't been for a basement for these people they wouldn't be with us today. Many others were not as luck, living in trailers or homes without basements. These storms were intense and the tornadoes they produced were incredibly strong.

As an East Coaster - these storms freak me right the hell out. I've been here in Alabama for almost 6 years now and I still get shook up when I hear the sirens go off. I still get worried when the Emergency Broadcast System breaks in while we are watching television. Most nights it's for strong weather others it's for flooding but once you hear the siren go off you know it's a warning that tornadoes may touch down. Its a sick feeling to watch the clouds swirl and not know when it's going to drop. To be honest it's rare that I will even watch the skies. I'm always the first to yell "DO I NEED TO GRAB ANGUS AND JUNE? DO WE NEED TO GET IN THE BATHROOM NOW?!" Mike was born and raised in this area, he's used to this so he's a bit more calm. Myself I'm calm with most things, tornadoes I am not. Give me a hurricane any day, they give me warning to get out of dodge and batten down the hatches if I need to. Tornadoes sneak up and attack with little or no warning.

Yesterday during the storms a wall cloud formed downtown right close to our local University. This is the second time that this has happened since I moved here. The first time was my first year here. A dark, ominous cloud that you watch for rotation, spinning and dropping. While in the office where I work, with no windows we sat designing away when my co-worker said to me "Whoa... did you feel that?" I nodded yes. Not only did it sound like the wind shifted outside but, our ears had popped, and the pressure in the air completely changed in a split second. It was like when you ride in a plane and the air pressure changes, only maybe not as intense from where I was at that moment, but still, like nothing I've felt on the ground before. As we looked outside the front door the sky was pitch black, it was that wall cloud I just mentioned, hovering over us. I've never felt the pressure shift before while living here, to say I was worried is a huge understatement. Thankfully nothing happened here in town. Strong winds, gusts of rain [I thought of Forrest Gump with a bit of 'Stinging Rain'] and property damage due to all the wind and rain hit my town and surrounding communities.

Lots of neighbors reported no power, our power only flickered. Other people reported loss of cable, internet, phone lines - we experienced this. But like I said I don't feel right complaining. What do I have to complain about really in the grand scheme of things. I have my home, my health, my boyfriend, my pets my family, my friends and loved ones and in the end the things I love are just things, not people and not what is important.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all effected in these storms. I can't begin to imagine all you are going through but I can send my condolences, my love and my prayers to you. I hope in the next coming days that more and more support groups will come forward and organizations to help restore order to these places that were so badly hit. I also hope I will be able to help out with clean up, etc. See the end of this blog for information on how you can help.

My lesson in all this is that in a way Dorothy is right, there truly is No Place Like Home. Home is where your heart is, not where you hang your hat or where you park your car. Home is where you raise your family, and find your refuge. Home isn't a thing, it's a feeling - your roof and the structure is a house and while it keeps you safe and warm, it doesn't define you, it simply protects you. I know it's easy for me to say all this, since I have lost nothing. I hope that even though Dorothy never taught us tornado safety that we can take that message with us, and all of those effected can remember that we will rebuild and make our lives better, and stronger than they ever were before. I know it's easy for me to say this, with my warm bed, my house and my belongings all close to me, but I promise you I never take these items for granted. I want to help and I hope to do my part for everyone that I can because frankly, I feel guilty in some ways that I am OK after this horrible disaster. And the only way I can describe it is that my heart aches.

To all my blog buddies in Alabama and surrounding states, I hope you are OK. If you have information about support and donations etc. Please contact me so I can post this in a future blog for all to see and do their part if they so wish.

Thank you for listening!

WAYS YOU DONATE TO HELP DISASTER VICTIMS IN ALABAMA:

Online: Go to www.alredcross.org and click on the "donate now" link on the homepage

Call: 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and you will be prompted to a menu that includes financial donations

Text: "Red Cross" to 90999. A response will include two options for donations, either to Japan or for Disasters: domestic and spring storms.

You can also get in touch with the various chapters of the American Red Cross in Alabama by following the links below:

Northern Alabama http://www.redcrossrelief.org/

Mid-Alabama (Birmingham)
http://www.alredcross.org/general.asp?SN=8618&OP=8619&IDCapitulo=DRGYJ0Q5XZ

Central Alabama (Montgomery) http://www.montgomeryarc.org/

Southern Alabama http://www.redcrossalcoast.org/

UPDATES:
Lost and Found Pets in the Alabama Area:
http://altornadoanimals.wordpress.com/
[I am so thankful that this has been set up!!]



*** In totally unrelated news I am overly excited about the Royal Wedding and the NFL Draft! I DVRed the wedding this morning AND worked out before work so I would be able to go home and watch the footage as soon as I walked in the door. Maybe I should get some champagne for the occasion? AND I am so over the moon for My Alabama Players 4 picked up in the first round of the Draft. I just have to wait to see where our Quarterback McElroy heads to. Congrats to my Roll Tide Boys! Please note Steeler Fans I'm not switching teams but I would be lying if I didn't admit to wanting to purchase a Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons jersey and a Mark Ingram, New Orleans' Saints jersey! WOOP! You bet your ass I'll find a way to make it to a few Saints Games this year if I can! I had planned to write an entire post about both of these and may still later but right now the state of Alabama is more important to me than everything else happening in the world. Even though Kate Middleton looked absolutely amazing in her dress, and didn't her man look like a total Prince Charming?!?! I like to pretend that I'm a distant relative of the royal family, my lineage is from Wales of course. And for the record, Kate's sister, Piper... has my all time favorite girls name! I adore it! Cheers to the royals!
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April 22, 2011

fixation friday: frozen beverages


Today's Fixation Friday is going to be short and sweet. A few weeks ago Mike and I took our first Kayak run of the season. It was a warm and comfortable day on the creek and I'm glad I planned my beverages accordingly. The night before we stopped at Wally World to get our groceries and drinks for the weekend. Mike opted for his bargain favorite Natural Light and I snatched up my tried and true favorite beer, Mich Ultra. We started getting closer to the counter when I remembered that I wanted to try some of  Dailys Ready To Drink Pouch Frozen Drinks!
via google
I quickly placed my case of beer down in a display that was clearly for soda and not for beer. I do this a lot. If you ever come to our local Walmart and find say, some pajama bottoms in the frozen food section, chances are I changed my mind and left them there and bought some hot pockets instead. Rude, yes, but it's me and I live up to my mistakes so there you go. After stashing the beer in the wrong section I started to browse the rack of Pre-made drink pouches by the checkout. There were so many flavors I didn't know where to start so I got one of each, and maybe two of the Lemonade flavor. Mike decided he'd get one as well.

Once home I read the directions on the back, freeze for 8 hours and then enjoy! Easy enough. I tossed all the pouches into the freezer and waited until morning. 

We loaded up the kayaks... and by We I mean Mike and his man power loaded up the jeep with the kayaks, paddles, life vests and other odds n' ends and I did my Saturday workout, showered and got ready for the creek. Make-up is optional, but I chose to wear a little bit. I'm a girl with dark circles under here eyes after all. After my primping I packed my cooler with the frozen pouches that were almost solid ice blocks at that point.  We waited for Mike's little bro P and then headed out to pick up his kayak and some ice for our coolers. I tell you all this because before getting these puppies on ice, they stayed fairly solid for a good 30 minutes without melting. Good to know if your cooler runs warm!

Once at the drop off point we got our gear ready for a float. I waited to be down the creek a ways before trying one of my frozen beverages. I think I went with the Peach first - it was amazing!!! I believe these are mostly just frozen wine coolers, no more alcohol content then say a beer and probably a shizz ton of calories so I'd watch drinking these if you're on a mission to lose weight, which I am. I don't plan on purchasing these very often.  That being said I like to call them ADULT CAPRI SUNS! You open it just a slit, slide a long straw in and it's like grade school with a kick!

My favorite flavors are a toss up between Peach and this gem.... LEMONADE!!! Yes I sipped Lemonade while riding in Lemon, my kayak.
via google

If you're looking for a quick and easy, as well as refreshing drink for the spring and summer nights, look no further. It's not a premium mixed drink but it's cheap, fun and tasty!!!

I hope you all have a great weekend! I am planning a kayak float again this weekend but I will probably stick to sipping on some water and beer!

HAPPY WEEKEND!

*I haven't been compensated to talk fluffy things about this product I just thought I would spread the love with all of you!!!
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April 20, 2011

happy 420 day... duuuuudddeeee

I've been so busy lately my brain feels like mush. It's like I'm high, living in a cloud of reefer smoke without any of the benefits. While I can't claim to be any type of weed professional, because I really can't. I will say I've had a smoke a time or two and this hazy brain feeling is a lot of what I experienced without any of the giggles or munchies.

Since my brain is so fried from work and running at full speed in general these days I thought I'd take the lazy stoner way out of this and repost one of my favorite previous Tickled Tuesday posts.

So sit back, light one up, if you so choose and sit back and ready about my all time favorite Stoner Characters. Oh and Happy 420 Day to those of you who smoke a Jay or two on a day like today!

I'd like to add one to the list of fictional stoner characters here today... The cast of That 70's Show! I loved this show and was sad to see it end! If you're having a bad day, just head to Foreman's basement!

via google

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April 16, 2011

nerd alert: comedian love

At the risk of looking psycho or a total nerd I had to post this, because frankly it rocked my world.
GIRL CRUSH meets BOY CRUSH meets COMEDIAN CRUSH!
via my twitter stream

Sarah and Josh - thanks for rocking my world!

If you aren't a fan of Chelsea Lately this will make NO sense to you but, for those of you who are like me, avid watchers and followers, it's ok to be just a little jealous. Surferwife and Hotpants not included they both have seen the glory that is twitter convos with the Lately crowd!

Sarah and Josh are two of my favorite round table peeps - so thanks for noticing me you two!

P.S. Sarah Thanks for the tweets x2! #gangbang

P.P.S. If I can get a tweet from @helloross aka Ross Matthews,
I will have made my triangle of Cheslea Comedian Tweets complete!
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April 15, 2011

fixation friday: buffy

Another full week has come and gone. Where does the time go? I feel like I just did a fixation friday post two days ago and I'm at the same point again.

Today's fixation seems rather fitting. One of the only TV shows that I ever was fully obsessed with was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I say it's fitting because today is actually Sarah Michelle Gellar's birthday! So Happy Birthday SMG!

SMG and her Hubby Freddie P • via google
My fixation with the Buffy franchise started all the way back with the original movie. Please tell me you remember this, if you don't I'll feel slightly old and like even more of a dork for mentioning it AND owning it on DVD [and VHS].
via google
Incase you are just "too young" or lived under a rock this movie was an epic tale of the chosen one. Into each generation a Slayer is born. Buffy, played by Kristy Swanson and Puck, aka the school Bad boy was played by Luke Perry take on the vampires that are taking over her town. Oddly that seems like the only role that Luke has ever been able to play with his beady eyes. There are also tons of great cameos by actors such as Paul Reubens [aka Pee Wee Herman], who places the head vampire's right hand man. As well as Donald Sutherland who place Buffy's watcher. This film is Valley Girl Kitch meets Campy Horror Classics and I have to say it's on my list of favorite guilty pleasure movies.

I can't say that this film started my obsession with vampire folk lore, the movie that sucked me into that was actually Lost Boys. I still love that movie and would watch it a million times today. However this Buffy movie did spur my interest for the TV show that started in 1996. Thankfully both the movie and show were conceived by Joss Whedon. I love his writing and his humor so it was a perfect fit! I was hooked the minute I saw the pilot episode. Buffy moves to a new town after destroying her old high school [movie] and is tossed into meeting new friends and starting a new life, that she hopes will be vampire free.  All is fine until she stops by the library and is met by Giles, her new watcher. From there she realizes her life won't ever be normal. Of all the people she meets in the first episode the most important are Willow, Played by Alyson Hannigan, Xander, played by Nicholas Brendon and Cordelia played by Charisma Carpenter. No surprises here my favorite character was Cordelia Chase, the mean girl. Of course I loved Buffy but come on, Cordy was someone new, bitchy and funny. "GOD, what is your major childhood trauma?"
Cordelia and Xander • via google

And that guy? Well don't get me started on him. Xander. I've had the biggest fan-girl crush on him since episode one. Forget Buffy's vampire boyfriends [Angel and Spike, below], Xander was always my favorite. Sure Spike was one hot piece and my mini crush on Seth Green was enhanced when he played Oz, the werewolf pal of the Scooby Crew. But still Xander gets all the glory. He stands by Buffy no matter what, even when he hates what's she's doing [ie Dating Vampires when she should be slaying them].
Willow and Oz • via google
Angel and Spike • via google
Love Triangle Material: The original, and in my opinion WAY cooler
 Team Jacob or Team Edward
Bottom line for me there isn't a single episode I've missed of this show and the geek in me will still quote them and watch them at great length every day. I adore SMG and anything that she gets into I try to support and watch be it television or movies. And yes if you're wondering the Celebrity Baby Stalker in me is always on the lookout for her little girl. She's adorable!!!

I love that the show lasted long enough to evolve and grow with the actors that played each part. Not only did Buffy move on to college and into an adult role in her life but her friends also grew, changed and took on different lifestyles year after year. Most of which I related to with all the changes and growth in my own life. The last episode of this show was a big one. HUGE! It opened up many doors and answered many questions as well as caused a few new questions to come up. I won't give it away incase anyone is still watching the show and hasn't gotten to the end, but let's just say I may or may not have cried like a baby when the final credits rolled, knowing it might be the last time I saw this cast in action, playing these characters together.

Rumors fly all the time about a movie. But I haven't held my breathe. I think most of these actors are happy to leave it where it left off and most refuse to do a movie unless Joss is involved and I can't blame them one bit.

Since the show has been off the air I have fun seeing all the cast members in their new shows. And often times spotting smaller supporting characters in TV shows or commercials. This show is a cult favorite and I am not surprised that I'm not alone in my obsession with it. To me this is my STAR WARS. It's the one show I obsess about like most fan boys obsess about comic books, movies or other things they are completely into. Thankfully I don't think I'm in need of "Support Group" status just yet.

Do you have a favorite tv show that you just can't get enough of, or miss terribly since it went off the air?

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!!!!
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April 08, 2011

fixation friday: C.R.E.A.M.

Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M.! 
Get the money, dollah dollah bill ya'll!"
– Wu Tang

If you are familiar with this song or even Wu Tang you know that "The Wu Tang Clan, ain't nuthin' to F#CK WITH! Similarly neither are these two ladies I'm about to introduce some of you two today. Other readers of mine know them as fellow buddies in blog power.

I for one am beside myself with all this congress budget conflict. I can't seem to put into words successfully how I'm feeling so I thought rather than ramble on here, I'd take this Fixation Friday post and introduce you to the words of two very wise women who I feel fortunate to call blog buddies. I'm sure I will come across many more posts about the condition of our National Budget and what Congress and the leaders of this nation are doing, or not doing to fix it written by other fellow blog sisters n' brothers, but for now these are the two women who's words have stopped me in my tracks and truly made my thoughts come out on the screen.

Without further rambling I present to you the posts you need to read:

400 Wake-ups'
and

and also

Fumbling Towards Normalcy's

Like I said I am at a loss for words on how to rant about this situation in a way that won't make me sound like a 4th grader with a grudge on the poopy pants that is U.S. Congress. So instead I invite you to read these posts and witness for yourselves the awesome power of emotion and determination in their words.

Thank you Ally & Shana!!

Happy Weekend to you all! And remember while you're enjoying your hard earned paycheck this week take time to think about the others that are working just as hard and are not getting a red cent for it right now, and how truly F-ed up it all is! And also please say a prayer for our troops away from home on the front lines with all this weighing in the back of their minds. Get it together Congress, your country needs you to be the bigger person!

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April 06, 2011

thank you!

Just popping in to say a quick Thank you to all of you who commented such kind words and support on my yesterday blog. I really, really appreciate all the love and support! You people rock my world!

I hope everyone is doing well! Work has been busier than usual which is great! I'd much rather be running all over than sitting and "watching ink dry".

My workouts are progressing, I just finished my first month of ChaLean Extreme and I'm feeling amazing because of it! So much so I've started to introduce a few P90X workouts back into this as sort of a hybrid program. Crazy? Yes I think I am.

I've also had time to get outdoors and go kayaking since Spring weather is finally trying to fight it's way into the South. Trust me, the object is to stay INSIDE the kayak at this point in time. The water was freezing this weekend, but the weather was perfect. Now if I could just get past all this rain we've been having or maybe score some sweet rainboots so as not to care about the puddles - I'd be in great shape! Although the rain makes for much easier rides down the creek in a kayak - less butt scooting more rowing and floating.

Spring Has Sprung!
Pretend this is a view from my sweet Lemon's cockpit!

Can you believe she's already a year old? They grow up so fast! *tear*
[Lemon is the name of my kayak incase you wondered. 
And yes she is named after Liz Lemon from 30 Rock - BLERG!]

I hope this blog post finds you well. I promise to be back soon with lots to talk about random things or even ramblings on about nothing in particular soon!

Stay Sweet Lovelies!

What are you most excited about now that Spring is, or is almost here?

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April 04, 2011

yesterday.

Yesterday, April 3, 2011. Yesterday marked the three year anniversary of your passing. I didn't cry. I thought about it, but I didn't. I think your birthday this month always hits me much harder than the day of your passing. Instead of crying, I tried to fill my day with happy thoughts and busy projects to keep me going. I realize now that's how I've spent most of the past three years, keeping busy and trying not to think too hard about the pain. I know it isn't healthy and I know it probably isn't right. You always did say I was more like my father in that respect. In the end I want to remember the good times we had, not the pain or the bad times or even the moments when you were at your weakest. To me you've always been an incredibly strong woman and I want that vision fresh in my memory at the forefront. I miss you more than I can convey in words. We eat lunch together everyday, you and I, and Mike in the dining room. When I sit at the table I inherited from you I take time to glance up into the glass secretary cabinet where I keep all things fragile, sacred and important. You sit in a special urn next to images from your wedding day and of your aunts, my "grandmothers" and my brass baby shoes. It's sad to think that is all that is left of you, but comforting to know you are close to me not just in spirit but in an actual tangible form.

It's been hard not having your near. I can't even tell you how many times I have had questions and wanted to call you, celebrated milestones or even watched shows like 'Say Yes to the Dress' and been angry at the girls fighting with their loved ones over a dress, then I realize that when that day comes for me, I won't have a loved one to fight with. Possibly only friends or Dad. Then I realize that might be a good thing - do you remember all the times I was a bitchy brat about prom dresses? In the end I'd rather have you there to bicker over the way the dress falls on my body than not have you there at all. This is the stuff that I think about, funny huh?

I miss you mom. Every single day. I want you to know that even though I laughed a lot yesterday while I floated down the creek in my kayak with friends and sipped on frozen beverages. I thought of you. I looked up in the sky every so often and thought of you.

I love you and wish I had you near but I know you are safe, free of pain or heartbreak and at peace, at last.

In loving memory of my mother, Marjorie.

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