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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

wish i had allergies

i broke out of prison left the house today for a little lunch rendezvous with chella, a college girl who leads our sophomore girls small group with me. it was a much needed break to a rather busy week. the sun is shining today, the birds are chirping and the flowers and trees are busting out everywhere, which means everything in this town has a nice thick coating of pollen. seriously, when it rains, there are rivers of yellow coursing down my driveway.
after lunch at pei wei (need i mention it again, but i am obsessed with that place!) we headed over to victoria secret to redeem some coupon chella got from them for free panties. i'm not much of a vs shopper, but since she had two coupons and wanted the undies, i thought what the heck. i figured i could scare away any hovering staff members by asking where i could find the thongs. (chella gagged up part of her lunch over that threat.)
undie mission accomplished, now off to menchies, my second favorite obsession.
if you've never, or don't have one near you, menchies is a fun place with about 8 different self-serve frozen yogurt machines on the wall. a cornucopia of flavors. i taste-tested cake batter (mmm), no sugar added vanilla (surprisingly good), mango tango sorbet, peach tart and lemon razzleberry (or something along those lines). after all the tastes, i almost didn't need to get a real one, but the sign discourages simply tasting without buying (kill joys). after filling your cup with the desired flavor(s), head on over to the topping extravaganza…you imagine it, it's there…all for the taking. you could put every single topping on your yogurt and make your own concoction (although every single one sounds a bit overkill… i'm just sayin'). there's even crushed up thin mints. (i may have to come here often, as i tried, but was not successful, in finding any thin mints this year) off to the checkout where one pays by the ounce. be careful, because big eyes and grumbling tummies have a way of making the scale go crazy and there's nothing like sticker shock to ruin an appetite.
chella and i stepped outside to "get our fro yo on," as they say at menchies (or at least that's what they were saying on their fb page), and grabbed a seat on the patio. we were chatting and fro-yo-ing away when both of us looked at each other, grimaced and wondered who had rolled a rotting dumpster next to us. we looked around. seriously… is there someone with decaying catfish in the back of their minivan?
then the wind shifted and all was well.
then another waft assaulted our nostrils. gah! is that rotting shrimp?
and then it hit me.
bradford pears.
all around the parking lot. pretty to look at. but. oh. so. stanky. when. flowering.
when i meet God someday, along with asking what the deal is with bra straps that won't stay up will be what the heck is with the rotting fish smell of flowering bradford pears??
sorta makes me wish i had allergies. because with all the pollen in these here parts, i would be stuffed up for at least a month of sundays. about long enough for those dang trees' buds to wither up and die.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

it all began at the world's fair

did you know that the ice cream cone came in to being during a world's fair? yep. it did. it wasn't invented at the 1904 st. louis world's fair, but did become popular there, and really there is quite the controversy surrounding just who invented it. but the idea of a portable, completely edible treat caught the fair by storm, and the rest, they say, is history.
in 1982, the world came to knoxville, tennessee for a world's fair, formerly known as the knoxville international energy exposition (thankfully, it was called the 1982 world's fair, because, frankly, it sounds like an international nerd convention). it's interesting to note that the whole idea about having this type of a fair came from spokane, washington, where there was a world's fair in 1974. interesting because one of the most popular food items to come out of that fair was dreamed up by a couple from spokane.
they brought their little concept to the 82 fair, and what followed, was the sort of thing people only dream about.

initially called a petroleum belly (remember, the theme of the fair was energy), then shortened to petro belly, then just to petro, it consisted of a small frito bag, turned on its side, the top of the bag snipped off, then filled with delicious chili.

topped with grated cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped green onions and a dollop of sour cream, the petro garnered so much attention that folks lined up in massive lines to sample the treat, and petro's chili & chips was born.
petro's made a follow-up apprearance at the 1984 expo in new orleans to a similar response. people went crazy for the simple treat. and this is where the hubs and his brother come into the story. both guys, along with their parents had a venue at the 82 world's fair, and after their success there, came to new orleans to ride the wave of another lucrative fair. it was there they met up with the couple from spokane, and were surprised to learn that petro's hadn't been developed at all between fairs. it was then the wheels in their brains began to turn and they began to put in motion their quest to see petro's become a national brand (since mr. and mrs. spokane seemed disinterested in making that happen). 
soon after the end of the world's fair in new orleans, the hubs and his brother acquired the rights to develop petro's east of the mississippi and quickly went about putting the pieces into place. they secured a location, began developing their own logo'd bags in which to serve the petro, and developed the look and branding for the restaurant, which opened up on friday the 13th of sepetember 1985 in the new food court at west town mall in knoxville. people who had grown to love petro's at the fair were thrilled to have their coveted treat available anytime, and petro's enjoyed wild success their first two years in business.
the second petro's opened up in 1987 on the other side of town, and it was with this expansion that the brothers decided that the awkward bag/pouch had to go, and the petro began to be served in a barrel.
over the years, expansion has been hit and miss. economic downturns of the early 90s slowed the growth and the brothers were cautious about growing too quickly. after almost a decade of striving to break into the university of tennessee athletic market (the first name brand chain to do so), opened up a venue at neyland stadium in the early  2000s, followed by additional venues at the stadium and also at the tompson-boling basketball arena.

our partnership with UT has been a great relationship and just this fall we expanded into their university center in the rocky top cafe.
early this year, petro's partnered up with the pool's restaurant group in atlanta, ga, which will give us the expertice and financial backing to really begin to move forward. we're excited about the merger, as one of our partners is seth salzman, the co-founder of moe's. just after the partnership was announced, we sold our first two franchises and will be opening in crossville and cookville, tn in the next several weeks.
i've done the marketing and creative work since day one, although i worked in design for other companies like whittle communications until petro's could afford to hire me. we're excited about this new venture and just hope that the economic struggles of the past few years is about to be behind us and can look forward to a bright future.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

little history lesson

okay, i've eluded to it too many times lately…
just what, exactly, is our business and what gives with what's been going on lately?

okay, in the spirit of full disclosure and marketing and whatnot, here goes…

it all began for me, on a weird saturday night in july of 1985. i finished work at an upscale restaurant where i waited tables as a means to put myself through school (that is a whole 'nuther story, i'm afraid), and headed down to the downtown dance club where i met my then boyfriend. he ended up leaving with another girl. at this point in the evening, i'm thinking the relationship is over {duh} so i continue dancing because going home mad was not how i wanted to end the night. i'm not sure exactly how i wanted to end the night, but at the time, i was in the mood to continue to have fun. so after the dance club closed (seriously, what in this world made me think that it was a good idea to continue partying at 2 am?) but i did and ended up going over to a girl's house for an after party. never mind that i didn't really know this girl, nor did i know anyone at this party (good judgement isn't something in large supply after 2 am, y'think?), but i went anyways.
i'm happy to report that i didn't get into trouble that night (er, morning) and ended up meeting the love of my life.
he and his brother were in the process of building their new business. literally. it was under construction. and with nothing to really do other than periodically check on the progress, they were left to while away their time poolside. bless their hearts.
apparently this was they day they decided to roast on the wild side… i don't know if i would have ever met him, had i not noticed him veritably glowing in the dark across the room. i'm talking raging sunburn. i made some snarky comment about bobbing for french fries or something equally lame, and we began to talk. he ended up asking for my number, but i wasn't in the mood for guy-stuff, so i declined. later, i figured what the heck and relented, thinking that if he called, i would cross that bridge when i came to it.
he called two days later, we went out, had fun, went out again two days later and dated steady for the next four years and married in 1989.
so what the heck does this have to do with the business?
i married into the family business, but i was also there before we ever had our first customer. i was there for the construction. the first customer, the first expansion and much, much more.

but the story actually started about three years before we met. even though we were working at the same place the entire summer, both fell in love with the same sensation, we never knew each other or even met until three years later.

tune in tomorrow to learn more…

Saturday, March 27, 2010

strap on your seat belts! wild ride ahead!

it's been a crazy week. sorry to bail on my blog, but duty calls.
went to hotlanta on tuesday and wednesday to meet with our new business partners and hammer out some work. the guys (the hubs and the brother) had more intensive meetings with the partners, so i got some work done on my laptop while i was there. it was a pretty productive couple of days!
it rained all day thursday, but that's okay, because i still had plenty to do, even though running to the stores in the rain wasn't great… but necessary. the partners came to town in the morning for more meetings {thankfully, i was off the hook for these} and the hubs, and two of the partners left to go to middle tennessee to sell. two. franchises. {yippee, our first two franchises with the new company!!}
i had lunch with a friend. noteworthy because i don't usually get out much (the life of having a home office) nor do i take time to invest in relationships or "me" during the day. it's a luxury i haven't been willing to indulge in… i don't know, maybe out of guilt like i should be working or something. at any rate, i'm trying to make more personal investments so that i don't go crazy. {it helps the dark twistyness i've been fighting lately.}
thursday night our partners met us at one of our stores for a store-wide meeting to introduce them to our new partners and give them a whiff of our new vision.
for instance, our goal…
open up 700 (yes, that is a seven with two zeros… seven hundred) new successful franchise stores by 2010. {ohmystars, i'm hyperventilating!)
okay, we had their attention.
dan had our employees eating out of the palm of his hand. if he ever gives up the restaurant business, he could so go into public speaking.
after the meeting, the six of us went out to celebrate the sale. pretty exciting stuff!
friday, more meetings, including a lunch meeting with my business partner at pei wei. (i love that place!) planning and strategizing how i do the marketing and print brokering for our growing business.
it's fast and furious around here and the pace has been overwhelming at times. learning to work with new partners has had its struggles, but all-in-all, i think it's going to work out alright. lots of transitions and adjusting.
the road ahead looks long, but exciting. i'm just praying that we remember the small things in life, too. {and the big things, too} should be a crazy ride.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

faith in action

last week the hubs and i were in florida with bama girl and her four friends for their spring break. how we got roped into the adventure was just as simple as five 18 year olds unable to score a place to stay on their own, and we were willing to "chaperone." we were thrilled to be included in such an occasion and even more thrilled that our schedules and work load allowed us the opportunity to get away.
the weather was pretty, although cold. the only place on my body that even saw sunshine were my feet… i even got a chaco tan! midway through the week, though, we had a blustery cold day, complete with big, angry clouds. the girls wanted to take pictures down on the beach and hoped they would be able to the next day, which was our last day at the beach.
i don't know about all girls, but bama girl and her friends are big on pictures on the beach. and i'm not talking bringing their cameras down to the beach and snapping pictures while they're laying out. i'm talking coming in at 3 and heading up to take showers and fix hair and makeup and wardrobe and what they'll wear on the beach.
guys are totally different.
bama girl has been doing this for years, much to the amusement of boy wonder. he and his buddies roll in just before dinner, hose off, and leave. very low maintenance.
so thursday rolls around and the day dawns beautifully sunny… but chilly. and by noon, the big black clouds had rolled in again. the hubs and i took a walk on the beach. with windbreakers, hoodies… brrrr. as in i can't feel my feet, the beach is so cold. like chip a tooth kind of teeth chattering. but we walked. and passed coeds frolicking on the beach…in bikinis. go figure. i looked up at the angry clouds and thought that either the girls would be forgoing photos because of rain, or they would be taking some pretty chilly pictures with some very ugly clouds. oh well, it is what it is.
we finished our walk and went back to our condos for showers before dinner. the girls came down to head down to the beach and would you know that the sky was crystal clear blue with no wind. what in this world??
the girls spent an hour taking pictures.
you know what the best part of my entire trip was?
the part when one of the girls thanked bama girl for praying.
not like i did that when i looked up at the sky earlier…
but bama girl did! she prayed that God would give them clear skies and good weather.
and He did.
and while i felt bad for not having the faith to ask that on behalf of the girls… my lapse gave bama girl the opportunity to own that for herself.
God is so good. all the time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

take a picture… it'll come in handy someday.

our bikes are currently at the bike doctor, seeing if they are going to be able to come off life support and come home someday. bouncing down the interstate connected to what was once our bike rack, and each other, did not bode well for our trek bikes.
i did what anyone would do, and that is take pictures of the carnage. but not until we got home, because a photo shoot on the side of the interstate isn't probably the safest of activities.
so i called the saris company to tell them of our unfortunate incident involving our two very nice trek bicycles and their not-so-nice bones 3 bike rack and the pavement on the interstate in florida.
so do you have a photograph of how the unit was attached to the car?
uhhhh, how many people photograph their bike rack with the bikes on it before leaving on a trip? (am i weird there? i mean should i feel bad for not documenting this portion of our trip?)
yeah, i know, but our claims guy is going to want that.
well, it's gonna be a little hard to recreate that since i no longer have the car (it was a rental) nor do i have the bikes (they are at the bike ER), and the bike rack no longer has the little bracket thingies that the bikes go on since they snapped off somewhere in northwestern florida.
yeah… i get where you're coming from, he says.

unfortunately in today's litigious society, nobody accepts responsibility for nuthin' without proof beyond a shadow of a doubt. and apparently we have to all document every move we make so that just in case, we might have a legal leg to stand on. makes me kinda mad.
so we wait for word from the bike doctor. get an estimate, and then fire off an email with the estimate and the evidence of the faulty rack.
the only good news i've had since we got home from our vacation is that my camera issue is the lens, which has a 5 yr. warranty. good thing it wasn't the body, because that's just a one year warranty. so off to nikon with you, dear lens. and now, if i could just get the hubster to spring for a telephoto lens, i wouldn't be without a lens for a month.
a month! it's spring, people!! i LOVE spring!
but at least it's fixable. and under warranty. and i don't need a photo of my camera that can't take pictures to prove that my camera can't take pictures.
or something like that.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

look who came out to play while i was away!?

i should have known that after three years of waiting, my orchid would bloom while i was away and after my nikon bit the dust. i've become so spoiled by being able to take nicer photos. i was so excited to see her last night when we got home. actually, she surprised me when i went over to toss our newspapers in the recycling pile. what a pleasant sight after a long (and dramatic) drive home.
the daffodils outside all popped out while we were away, despite the nasty cold and rainy weather. daffodils are hardy like that. i love that they brave the cold weather just to give us a little pick me up.
sure do love me my spring flowers. and i love how they don't all bloom at the same time. God just paces me right through the days of spring. pretty soon we'll see some bradford pears (seeing is better than smelling, just trust me on that one) and my all time favorite, the red bud (but with purple blooms… go figure).
i'm savoring each and every moment.
even though i don't have a camera that adequately captures the beauty. (sorry to grouse, but i'm just so steamed about my camera!)

oh, the carnage…

have you ever been tooling down the highway enjoying a pretty spring morning and felt a "thunk" and immediately think ohmystars what did i just run over?
well, i'm happy to report that all the squirrels and possums of florida are alive and healthy.
our bikes?
a quick glance in the rearview mirror was all it took for the hubster to realize that it was our bikes that were the casualties. we were so worried the bike rack was going to fall off the car. so worried that our trip down to florida was punctuated by numerous stops to check to make sure it was on securely, and even made a  target stop to purchase nylon rope to extra-extra secure the rack to the car.
i'm happy to also report that the rack was still securely attached to the car.
what straps looked like
no straps
who would have imagined that the straps to the rack would just spontaneously snap off? 
ummm. not me. nor the hubster.
i would have taken pictures at the scene of the carnage if
a) i could get to my little ghetto camera (since my nice nikon had decided to call it quits during our vacation) and
b) if the little ghetto camera's batteries hadn't died (new set of batteries made it 1/2 way through the little photo shoot of bama girl and her friends. grrrr…) and
c) if the hubster wouldn't have found the opportunity to take photos an inappropriate activity since we had major wreckage to contain so we could get back on the road.
(of course, the thought of insurance coverage didn't occur to us until after all was loaded back up.)
we took my bike apart and put it in the back seat, and hooked the hub's bike back up on what was left of the rack and just prayed it would hold it until we got home.
once we were back on the road, we started to laugh. i mean, what else can you do? we also thanked God that we were traveling back on a weekday instead of the weekend when everyone leaves the beach to head home. no traffic and no one behind us allowed us to avoid what could have been a very tragic outcome. and our rental car was unscathed. that too was an opportunity to return thanks!
the hubs bike
many of my bike parts are still on the roadside of florida
the only thing worse for the wear were our bikes. after 18 miles on tuesday, my a*s was not so sad to see the untimely demise of my bike, but i do enjoy getting out on my bike at times, and it will be missed.
we made it home without any other incident, and our bikes are now at the bike doctor on life support. we should get a diagnosis sometime in the next week.
after our track record with bike in destin (my bikewreck with a wobbly 12 year old) and now this. perhaps we should just stick to walking on the beach.
i kind of wish we had put up a little roadside memorial in remembrance of the great sacrifice our bikes made for our fitness.
just in case you might want to know what to avoid

Thursday, March 18, 2010

brrrr and blustery, but beachy!

good thing the hubster and i have our computers to keep us company. with the stormy skies and chilly temperatures, it's the perfect excuse to hunker down and get some work done. and since our internet connection is sketchy at best, it keeps me from surfing too much and my little ADDness can actually get some work done!
and i read a book in about a day and a half (not my daughter by barbara delinsky), too. it feels good to do some relaxing without feeling guilty that i should be doing something else.
we went trolling around looking for some free wifi that also offered up some beach atmosphere. we knew we could get wifi at  books a million, but that's not big on beach atmosphere. and panera has good access, but with the crappy weather, the place was packed out, so we couldn't score a table. and it's not very beachy either, but it did have food.
so we hopped back in the car and drove down the old beach-front road and happened on kenny d's, a beachy little spot with… free wifi!! and happy hour half price oysters on the half shell and pitchers of beer!!
we got some serious work completed, ate some seriously good oysters while washing it all down with some seriously cold beer.
mmmmm. working at the beach. a girl could get used to this!!
oh, and ghetto camera has dead batteries. for the love of pete, could i get a break?? (so you'll have to imagine the run-down atmosphere at kenny d's or the image of big ole black rain clouds over the gulf waters.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

two wheels and dangerous

yesterday dawned bright and sunny with a late-morning bike ride to seaside on the agenda. bamagirl and her friends were off to join some friends there and the thought was to entertain the girls for a little lunch with the parentals.
of course, work being the pervasive entity in our lives right now, we got a later start than we had hoped. that coupled with the fact that the hubster put the bike rack on the car upside down but did not discover his gaffe until we set to putting the bikes on the rack only to discover that the straps were not going to quite work. seriously, this stupid bike rack has been such a source of hilarity (and frustration) that i for one, am happy we brought it only because it is a constant reminder of how fallible we really are!
after a small growl (the hubster rarely resorts to colorful language. instead, he does a quick head-slap, laughs at himself and continues on. he is not of my genetic makeup because anyone in my family would have put everything on the side of the road with a sign that says “free for the taking” —most of which would be worthless because it would have been mangled into a twisted heap of metal.) we got it secured and were on our way. 
we drove about 5 miles down the road to a small school where we parked our car and hopped on our bikes and rode the 9 miles into seaside.  about the time we arrived in watercolor, a neighboring development, the bike traffic increased dramatically. the only difference between seaside and china is in china, the bike riders have experience riding bikes. i don’t know if it’s just a southern thing, but kids especially have little/no bike skills and wobble like five year olds on their first day without training wheels.
a couple of years ago we were biking to seaside and were about five miles away when we passed a family approaching from the opposite direction. all was going well until their twelve year old careened head on into my knee, sending us both flying. there i was, splayed on the side of the road, my skirt flung over my midsection, scarring any onlooker for life after the sight of my untan thighs. ohmystars. i managed to get back up on my bike and continued on into seaside where we had dinner with a nice bag of ice on my knee.
we spent a lovely afternoon with the girls, then unfortunately for by butt, were back on our bikes for the 9 mile ride back. perhaps the wind shifted while we were at lunch, because the trip back felt like 19 miles as gale force winds blasted us in the face the entire ride back. we both had jackets, thankfully, otherwise it would have been a miserably cold ride back being pummeled by the winds. we just took it a bit slower on the way back, and i’ll admit, the school zone sign near our destination was the most welcome sight of the afternoon!

on a sad note, my nice camera decided to take a pouter (of course, it always happens on a vacation) but i still have my little ghetto camera i brought for the heck of it. i'm glad to have a backup, but i'm steamed (and worried) about my nikon. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

beach read

i picked up a book before i left town with the hopes that i would have a minute or two to spend lounging with a good book. i haven't had much time to while away on the beach (nevermind the brisk breeze and the need to bundle up-ish) but have had time to read before turning in for the night and again in the morning.
because i'm drowning in my neediness, i thought this book might speak to my heart.
one chapter in to the book and i'm in tears, because i feel like beth moore is channeling my heart. seriously, the woman has written a book specifically for me.
i didn't realize the depth of my insecurity. i know i've been struggling with things for awhile, but it seems like it's all wrapped up in a sweet little package of insecurity.
it's really comforting to know that a rockstar like beth moore (and i know she would shudder for me to refer to her like that) struggles with feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.
so thankful for Godly women who have the presence of mind to write and record in an effort to help others.
can't wait to read more.
and to kick this bad friend to the curb.

Monday, March 15, 2010

feels like home…

despite the fact that we are in florida and both parked in our condo's office area due to the fact that we can't get wireless at our condo, the hubster and i are off for a quick little getaway at the beach. bamagirl and her four friends are off for spring break and since none of them could score a place to stay (all being 18 years old) they decided that beachin it with the parentals wouldn't be so bad… and we cook. so here we are, on the emerald coast of florida, soaking up some sunshine. and working.
can't get past it. if we don't work while we're away, we'll come home to an insurmountable amount of work when we return.
it's just the way it is right now.
hopefully things will settle down, but for now, it's sort of a breakneck pace.
we left a little later than planned yesterday and as we left the driveway, noticed the "trunk ajar" light was on. stop, notice that yes, indeed, the trunk was ajar. only problem, the bike rack and our two bikes were on top of the trunk and it took us 30 mintues to get the contraption on the car. grrrr.
so off comes the rack, we move the box that is holding the hubs rolodex (talk about old school, he drags his rolodex on vacation with him! poor thing, no time to transfer all that data!) and attempt to remount.
hassle, hassle, grunt, groan, growl, and it's back on. and the trunk is now ajar again as we had to pop it to fit one of the brackets. 
long story short, we lost about 90 minutes fighting with that thing. and after stopping at target on our way, we bought a rope and managed to secure it. at this point, i'm thinking i can ride my bike to florida faster. oh well. we arrived and unloaded the car and made a quick jog down to the beach. the sand was flying horizontal to the beach and the temperature had to be in the low 60s. there were actually people in the water. i'm thinking they must be from up north because to me, the beach felt like alaska. but it is beautiful and we're so happy to be back here. 
and even though it's a working vacation, it's just great to be here with the surf rolling in the background, the pretty blue skies and the sound of girls laughing nearby.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

first things first

heading to the beach tomorrow. destin will probably not be much warmer than tennessee, but it doesn't matter. i cannot tell you how excited i am to be gettin' out of dodge for even five days. can. not. wait.
but first things first, after all.
there's a seriously good chance that i'll rescue my feet from the bondage of socks and shoes this next week. and the thought of exposing my pale ghosty feet to the florida sunshine with skanky winterfeet sent me right on over to the local beauty college for a celebratory end-of-winter pedicure.
i like to think of it as my public service to aspiring nail technicians. without patrons like me, these nail goddesses would languish in beauty school forever without an opportunity to log some hours acquiring skills.
plus, they're cheap.
so off i went, on a rain-drenched day, bundled up in my jeans and jacket, rockin' a pair of flip flops. nevermind that i was about to chip a tooth chattering from the damp chill. but hey, small price to pay for such worthy community service, right?
kalah (that would be like kayla, only the country version) bought me back to the pedicure station. i brought my own magazine, just in case. my feet are soaking, and then it was time to get to know my nail technician. i'm sorry, but i'm practically face to face with this girl. how can i just sit there and ignore her while i page through a magazine?
bringing the right magazine helps. i brought a southern living, which i had just received in the mail. i'm not really the subscribe-to-southern-living type of girl, but i got such a good deal on the subscription, i couldn't resist. if nothing else, the recipes are amazing.
but i digress.
southern living does not spark the kind of conversation that bringing a people or us weekly would inspire. (but it's a good thing i didn't bring a TIME or newsweek, or i would have been in some deep trouble) kalah, being pretty shy and super country (not that there's anything wrong with that) was not up for a discussion on current events (she had no clue about the toyota recall, so my prius joke fell flat) so i resorted to making conversation about more accessible topics.

me: wow, these photos of charleston are so pretty. we went there years ago to visit my husband's sister. where is the farthest away you've been? (i was seriously worried that the distance from her home to the salon was going to be her answer)
k: i've been to mexico twice.
me: wow. (i say that alot) and this sparked enough material to get me through the soak.
me: if money was no object, where would you like to travel to?
k: ummmm. hawaii, i think. yeah. that would be fun, right? (like she needs my permission or something)
me: ooooh. hawaii. i've always wanted to go there! we're hoping to do that for our 25th anniversary.
k: (blank stare) uhhhh. cool. (i could tell she was all like why waste a great place like hawaii on two old people, but whatever)
having scarred her dream of going to hawaii, the topic dropped like the towel under my feet into the basin of water
k: dang. i do that all the time. (wring) that's why i bring me a whole stack.
me: good thinking! (flipping through the magazine… now i'm in the state destination advertising section) have you ever been to memphis?
k: uhhhhh. i don't think so…
me: dude. 6 hours in a car, i think you'd remember going there. that's one heckuva long drive.
k: haha. yeah. ummm. no. never been. (pause, fish a drenched corner of the towel out of the basin) you know, i'm kinda scared to fly… about how long do you think it would take to drive to hawaii?
me: (now it's my turn for the awkward blank stare) ummmmm. i don't think you can drive there. it's pretty far out there. too far for a bridge… (seriously? did she just ask if you can drive to hawaii??) i pretty much think you have to fly or maybe you could take a cruise ship or something.
k: oh. yeah. right. (ponder)

thankfully, two other girls showed up to get pedicures and kalah was able to do just concentrate on the french pedicure. and a good thing, too. i think she used about a half of a bottle of polish remover cleaning up the errant white strokes. i'm pretty much thinking at this point i'll be lucky to get my pedicure finished before i leave for the beach.
would that my feet would look this good, or my pedicure, but i was happy to just get it finished!
i finally escaped, and for the most part, she did an okay job. i've done a better job on myself, but having someone else getting rid of the winter skank was worth it. and my toes are so far away from my face that from this vantage point, they look pretty dang good. and remember, the public service of helping a beauty school student get one more step closer to graduation is what it's really all about.
now only if the weather would turn so i could get these piggies outta prison. for good.

Friday, March 12, 2010

i love to…

my counselor gave me homework to do between sessions.
make a list of 20 things you love to do.
can i use ones over only say them differently?
uhhh. okay.
wow. is it possible that i'm so parched i can't even conjure up stuff i love to do?


but after thinking about it, and just plain ole sitting down to make a list, i came up with twenty things. and it wasn't as hard as i thought it would be. except i have this nagging feeling that i've left out important stuff. or that someone's list is more thoughtful or creative than mine. it's this constant fear of measuring up. what the heck is that all about??

so i'm going to boldly go where i have not gone before…
it's my list. mine. and whatever it is, it's alright!

big breath. here goes… (and in no particular order)

i love to…
1) spend time with God (and while i'm being honest, He is not always at the top of my list, nor do i always carve out time in my day for Him) and bible study
2) spend time with the hubs, kids and family
3) spend time with friends
4) minister to my high school friends
5) laugh
6) encourage
7) make others smile/laugh
8) write/blog
9) read
10) make jewelry
11) explore photography/increase skills
12) play/create with paper
13) cook
14) knit
15) work with textiles/sew
16) travel
17) learn about other cultures
18) communicate/connect/stay in touch with friends
19) get massages/relax
20) walk/play with my dogs

so actually, there's alot of stuff i like to do. you'll notice exercise is not on there. and eating should be on the list…

there's lots of stuff here that i like, really. maybe not LOVE. and stuff that should have made the list, but since i'm not lovin em, they'll stay in my mind…
…so… what would make your list?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

a little GPS action

i've been wandering in the desert for some time, now. i was wandering there and didn't even realize it. like many people, i had perfected the art of acting, without really knowing that i was on stage.

i'm a christian. i have Jesus. he is my joy, my all in all. he is my everything. i am the bride of Christ and he satisfies me.
therefore, i am not needy. i have no disappointments. life is good…
i'm a Christian. i'm supposed to have it all together. if i show vulnerability, i'm not a picture of what it looks like to be his child.
i have Jesus and a Bible. what the heck else should i need?

and this, my friends, is the struggle.

does that make me a sham? a poser? a failure at "being Christian?"

i think it makes me human.

now don't get me wrong. it's not like i've got this thing figured out. not by a longshot. it's messy and confusing and my puzzle pieces have been strewn from the box into a haphazard pile across the floor. as inclined i am to stiff-arm anyone from helping to clean up my mess (because i'm strong… i'm a survivor… i can handle it, thanyouverymuch), i've at least surrendered to the idea that i cannot do this on my own.

those who know me are sending up victory cries over that small step.

my counselor gave me a verse as she listened to the beginning of my story. she patted my hand as i reached for a tissue (about 1.8 seconds into it) and waited for me to pause…

girl, you are in the desert. (uhhh, y'think?)

two months ago, i would not have agreed, but i was already there and didn't even know it.

"he leads her into the desert so he can speak tenderly to her heart…" hosea 2:14

i'm in the desert.

up until this point, i didn't even realize i was thirsty. or hot. or exhausted. or paralyzed by the notion of being in a wilderness with no provisions and the hopelessness that that can inspire.

it's not like i was ready to slit my wrists or jump off a bridge… it was much more subtle than that. this desert wandering that i was doing was so shrouded in busyness, that i didn't even realize that i had wandered off the path and was on my way to a barren wasteland of brokenness.

i'm sorry. was that overly dramatic?

all this to say is i've made the first step. i not only recognized that i'm broken (but in a good way) and that i am unable to put myself back together on my own, but that i've been brought to the desert for a purpose…

He wants to speak tenderly to my heart (and he's already doing that). he's leading me through this wilderness straight through to the promised land. i'm going from the shouldda/oughttas to i want to, because this is God's will for me.

there's more… so much more.

for now, i'm resting right here under this palm tree to let this little bit soak in.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

in the desert

…I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. (hosea 2:14)

i'm listening.

and excited about my journey to the promised land. 

my brain is fried. 


more later.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

in exactly a week, daylight savings begins. forget that dumb groundhog in pennsylvania. spring really breaks forth on the first day of daylight savings time, which was extended in 2005 by president bush. not all states recognize DST, namely Arizona, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. and portions of indiana don't change. so half the year they're on eastern time and half on central time. i'm confused already. i know i'm going to mourn the loss on an hour of sleep next week, but it will all be worth it when i'm still basking in the sun at 7pm. 
the mornings will be darker, and i'm thinking that a little extra nighttime (i know we really don't really have more actual nighttime) will help me sleep in the morning. there have been several really early mornings lately—i'm going to blame it on the sun and the birds and not the mountain of work i have looming overhead… i need me some sleep!!
as much as i wanted to sit and relax and enjoy the sabbath (such an important thing that God made a commandment about it) but there is just too much going on right now to have the luxury to sit and be. with our crazy work schedules, we just have to grab opportunities when they arise, and spring only lasts so long… so we took advantage of a great day and prepared our yard for spring. pruned, raked, trimmed, repotted, cleared, fertilized… 
felt sooo good to be outside. 
i love spring and the whole notion of rebirth and renewal. it's happening before our very eyes!

sunny saturday

basketball game.
shopping at target.
chick fil-a.
shoe shopping. 
fetch with the dogs.
baby shower.
watched the vols beat mississippi state.
dinner at home.
tiny bit of work.

mmmmm. love me my weekends. sabbath? here i come!
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Friday, March 5, 2010

sun? is that really you? and who's that with you? spring?? WELCOME!!

i almost didn't know what that huge yellow thing was in the sky yesterday… but it's back today, and i think we may have a little string of spring-ish weather. and look who came out to play!! 
it's my first glimmer that we're not going to be cold and gray forever.

as if there was any doubt…
seriously, it amazes me how much my attitude brightens up with a little sunshine action. i admit to succumbing to the evil influences of seasonal affective disorder, or as it is more "fondly" known… S.A.D. not that i'm using that excuse to be dark and twisty. (lord knows i have plenty other contributers to that issue.) i'm just sayin, a little sun and longer days makes this raggedy woman happier. 
so welcome, ye spring! set for awhile and let's get to know one another, shall we?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

meanwhile… back at the orchid

when last we visited my budding beauty, it was just beginning to show signs of greatness. i have no idea how long it takes to birth a bloom. i've waited two years, so good golly, i can wait a bit more!
i took a little snapshot of her (her, right?) on the 25th, and then followed up today because we have sunshine for the first time in ten days, and i was so giddy, and i think so was she. or at least she should be. i think i saw her craning her bloom to face the window better.
like an expectant mother, i check on her often. it's been so long since she's produced, i don't even remember what color she is.

another thing that sort of snuck up on me is daylight.
it's currently almost 6 pm and we still have sunlight (having any sunlight around here is noteworthy, actually) and it will not go down for probably another 30 minutes or so. the shadows are long on the driveway, but the days are getting longer. the sun is just languishing in this crispy (okay, frikkin cold, but whatever) spring air. 
it won't be long now…
sunshine. just exactly what this tired soul has yearned for…
mmmmm hmmmmmm. yes, ma'am.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

the office. only this office ain't so funny.

for me, i can look inside and see the flaws.
oftentimes, i just choose not to look.
not because i'm not interested in being a better person. it's not like i'm the kind of person who says, "well, that's the way i am. get over it. take me as i am." it's ridiculous to think that i'm perfect.
if i lived each day focused on my shortcomings, i'm afraid i wouldn't be able to emerge from the safety of my own bed.
usually i can manage this little dance between self-reflection and living.
but not so much, lately.

our family business has been struggling for several years. we've been in business since 1985, and overall, it's supported three families pretty well. not great, but not too badly. we have what we need, without too many frills. we've focused these past 20 years on balancing work and family, and have chosen to be family-centered rather than ruthlessly reaching for that brass ring while leaving our family fractured and weak.
because of those choices, we have two children who first and foremost, love Jesus. they're both thriving in college, experiencing their first tastes of dating and deep relationship building, serving others on their campuses and engaging intentionally. they too, are far from perfect, but our goal through their growing up years was to be available and plugged into their world, and it seems like this was a wise time investment for us.
it's not that having a focus on child-rearing and investing in our community kept us from growing our business—the economy and the inability to internally finance our company's growth really stymied our expansion efforts.
hindsight being 20/20 as they say, there are a million things we would have done differently (like have a board of directors), but today, as we remain standing in one of the most devastating economies in recent history, we can only be thankful to still be in business.
in january, we merged with a company that brings a huge amount of expertise in franchising and expansion. they have some pretty lofty goals (700 stores by 2020—gulp) and to say they are grabbing us by the hair and swinging us on to the fast track is an understatement.
to go from a family-owned, make-your-own-decisions kind of company to a completely new/different corporate structure has been, well, overwhelming. i went from part-time to over-time instantly. (thank goodness my nest is empty)
our corporate office merged into theirs, and so that all moved to atlanta, and the hubster moved his operation into our downstairs bedroom, now his office, or as i call it, the mancave. so now we both work at home.
but we don't see each other. he works non-stop (or is on the phone non-stop) and i am working much longer hours, and when we're not both working, we are eating meals together and talking about work. at breakfast. everywhere. i can't escape it. this is my new world.
in defense of the hubs, there have been YEARS of pressure on his shoulders. the weight of every associate of our company and all the financial pressures have weighed on him, interrupting his sleep, invading his thoughts, ruling his life. understandably, he is giddy with delight at our new venture and possibilites.
the problem is… i don't really share that delight. i'm holding back. i'm cautious. i'm wary of the new partners. i'm jealous of this new venture and how it's robbing me of the life i used to have. i'm incapable of looking to the future and seeing that this could be really positive for us. there's a ton more of "i'm…" but this is getting long, and today's therapy session is coming to a close.

i've an appointment with my counselor next week, and hopefully can begin a process of gluing my broken self back together. i could do it myself, but i think it would be better if i had a little help.
so thanks for journeying with me on this little messy ride.
if only our office was as great as this one… alas, not right now.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

a little recess never hurt anyone

i may be all dark and twisty, but that doesn't mean i've forgotten how to laugh (or throw things at the tv). hang out here, check out a post it or two, then head over to supah's to see what's on everyone else's minds notes.
i invite you to play along. think of it as sticky therapy. it's a good way to spend a tuesday morning. stressed about making your own stickies? relax! if i can do it anyone can. go here and follow the directions. it's that simple.
thanks for all your loving support. i'm not only lovingly encouraged by my blog-friends, but i have wise, wise Christian counsel. and i'm takin it one day at a time. well, really, one step at a time.
but enough of that. let's just let a little sticky-steam off, shall we?
believe me when i tell you i exercised great restraint on these notes. but unlike maybe many of you who held out hope that jake had a brain anywhere else than between his legs, i follow realitysteve, and pretty much it's the only reason why i watch TB. the show annoys the &^%#$ out of me, but reading realitysteve the next day makes it all worthwhile. he is one of the snarkiest, funniest writers out there. he called the sausage eons ago. i was ready for it. but it didn't make it any easier to see tenley get hurt. seriously, that girl should be throwing herself a "dodged a bullet" party. she ended up on the right side of that equation, for sure.
so that's all for today. now it's back to work… the land of angst. gah. oh well, this little recess break was much needed!

Monday, March 1, 2010

first step

step one toward healing is a pretty big step, i would say.

just stopping and taking some time to look inside and get out of auto-pilot is a huge step. 

refusing to slap a happy bandaid over it while cheerfully exclaiming, "i'm good. fine, really. it's all good." 

like if i keep repeating this enough times, maybe i'll begin to believe it.

denial is a funny thing. i've had a pretty good time there. my main activity has been stuffing emotions down so that i don't have to really feel. 

i've come to the realization that stuffing is not healthy. it resulted in a huge emotional vomit, which is not such a bad thing. 

but i'm still covered in vomit.  and unlike the times i really do, physically, get sick, now that i've gotten that all out of my system,  i don't feel "all better." 

nor do i want to. i'm not ready. 

i need to deal with this and clean it up and get healthy.

my mind is like a shattered piece of pottery. there are so many pieces and i know where they go, and i am aware of all of the issues… i know every last one. but it's like i can't figure out how to put it all back together. i have all the materials. i have the skills. but i need to take this rebuilding thing slow…

step one.

i'm broken. (it's the admission part that is a huge step for me)

i don't know how to reassemble.

but that is a-okay, because i have a loving, awesome Father that knows exactly where each piece goes, and we're going to work together to make me whole.

i've got time.