Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 21 - Another Lazy Sunday

My dad and I shared a pot of coffee this morning while Chad was hunting and mom was curling her hair. We talked about my job and going skiing for Christmas, then they left about 9. I cleaned the house, and by the time I was finished, Chad was home from the duck blind. He requested two PB&J sandwiches and chips, so I made him lunch then he let me hold the remote while he dozed off. He and Tom left for the blind again at 2:30 PM, and it was just me and G. We watched movies on TV and folded laundry, emptied the dishwasher and took out the trash. Before we knew it, Chad was home again. After dinner, we curled up in the bed and watched a movie... he eating Goobers, me eating Raisinettes... Gerty begging the whole time. We're going to bed now... tomorrow's February!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 20 - Freezing Saturday

We slept until about 9:30, my parents arrived at 10 and we were at The Grill by 11. For those of you Anti-MSU people, The Central Station Grill (formerly known as the Cotton District Grill) is one of the amazing restaurants formed by the Eat With Us group, founded in Starkville. The Eat With Us folks are the same people that bring you Bulldog Deli, Park Heights, Harvey's and Sweet Peppers. I think I just heard some of you guys perk up. Yes, Sweet Peppers was founded in Starkville. Well, actually in Columbus (about 15 minutes outside of Starkville), but the concept of Sweet Peppers was formed from Bulldog Deli. Same exact menu, same exact logo, same exact company. And there you have it, your daily lesson in history. Needless to say, I love this franchise. I could eat The Deli, Peppers or The Grill any day of the week. ANYWAY, we ate at The Grill with my folks then went to The Hump to watch The Bulldogs beat LSU (sweet victory).

After that, we went home and the boys watched more ball while the gals took naps. We woke up around 6 and headed to UMI for sushi/hibatchi. It was a 30 minute wait for hibatchi, so we just sat at a regular table. (I don't want to see the show that bad, you know?) I had a volcano roll and spring rolls and everyone else had steak and shrimp hibatchi. Let me just preface this by saying that I usually don't like steak from Chinese/Japanese restaurants because it's usually thin and stringy and tough... Not this steak. It was plump and juicy and tender. It was phenomenal! We had a great meal and then watched more of the Winter X-Games. I was so excited Gretchen won over that woMAN Kelly Clark. She needs to be in the men's category... I'm just saying.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 19 - TGIF

Today was a long day, but the going away party was fun. My chicken salad was a massive hit, as usual. Chad and I had Oby's for dinner. We split a shrimp po-boy (hold the mayo -- he hates mayo, i love it. guess who wins?) and an order of chili cheese fries, which we only ate about a third of. After dinner we watched the Winter X-Games, which got me extremely excited about the upcoming Winter Olympics. Oh, how I love the Olympics. I'm about to go to bed now. My parents are coming tomorrow, and I haven't even thought about cleaning the house. I love weekends.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 18 - Chad Cooks Dinner... Again

Today was a pretty good day... One of the workers in the Dean's Office is leaving tomorrow (She just had a baby and opted for stay-at-home mommyhood instead of punching a clock. Does anyone blame her?) So to help send her off, we are all bringing food for her last day. That's what we do in Mississippi. I dreaded going to the grocery store after work, not only because I'm tired, but because I imagine the traffic would be horrendous at the Piggly Wiggly at 5 pm. So I was more than pleasantly surprised when Chad offered to go for me. He texted me about 12:30 and asked what I needed from the store. I know. He's sweet.

Work has been pretty slow this week, and since I hardly ever take a lunch break, my co-worker (who is also my neighbor and a good friend of mine) offered to lock up while I left early. I know. I owe her. I was home by 4, groceries waiting for me. I immediately starting toasting pecans and chopping grapes for my fabulous chicken salad. I was finished making the salad by 5 (it's quite a process), and about that time Chad was throwing the burgers on the grill. Can I just say that I am LOVING him being home? I said as much after dinner to which he replied, "Don't get used to it." It's only 6:30, and we have eaten, the dishes are in the washer, I'm about to give Gerty a bath and get one myself, then I'll be hitting the hay early. I'm always in bed by 8:30, mind you, but tonight I'm thinking 7:30. In case you were wondering, I also crochet.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 17 - Rendezvous Night

Chad took "vacation" this week. He was told that if he didn't use up his vacation days by April he would lose them. So he decided to use his days to stay home, hunt, laze around, etc. I got home from work this evening and he had a glass of wine waiting for me. And I thought, "Does it get much better than this? I think not..." And then it did.... he made Rendezvous ribs (you know, the dry rub kind), baked beans and cole slaw for dinner. Check it out.

Mmmm. He had a Pacifico, which is now his favorite beer since we went to Mexico for our honeymoon... he made sure it was in the finished photo. We feasted and then watched the presidential address. Well, I only made it through about 45 minutes, but we won't tell anybody. It was a great night.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 16 - Boring Day

Today was so boring... I think it's because I have been so swamped at work since we got back from the break that when I actually had time to eat lunch today, I didn't know what to do with myself. The last "chunk" of the day (That's what my good friend Raz calls the 2-5 o'clock portion of the work day... I hate the word chunk, but she makes it sound cute) was unbelievably slow. Once quitting time finally came around, I went home and cooked pork chops and cabbage to have with our leftover mashed potatoes. PS. I love, love, love cabbage. I cooked the whole head and we only have 1 serving left. Chad wasn't hungry, so I ate by myself, then watched TV by myself while he sat in the guest room and played video games. I was just about to drift off around 9 when I heard him warming up his dinner plate, so then he ate by himself and watched TV by himself until he fell asleep. Ah, the married life.

On a side note, we finally got a girl GA, and I could not be more thrilled. Mary Kate and I had lunch together today and talked about how desperately we want to see "Dear John" and "Valentine's Day." We also discussed how neither my husband nor her boyfriend would want to see them, so we are going to go together. Yay!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 15 - Inglourious Basterds

So Chad and I watched "Inglourious Basterds" tonight. The movie was fantastic, but no matter how I tried, I just could NOT get past Brad Pitt's accent. (On a completely unrelated note, let me just state that I am not a fan of Brad Pitt. I find him neither attractive or talented... and I ask you, what kind of man leaves Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie? An imbecile, that's who). Anyway, about this terrible accent.... He completely butchers it. He's supposed to be this redneck Nazi-hunter from the Tennessee foothills, so I get why he would try to lay on the Southern accent pretty thick... but this was just embarrassing. I mean, look at the way he shoves his bottom lip out (for the entire movie, by the way). When I see people do that while trying to imitate a Southerner, it infuriates me. It reminds me of Billy Bob Thornton in "Sling Blade." Was Brad Pitt going for "Retarded Southerner" in this film? I'm not sure. Anyway, I couldn't get over the accent, but his dialogue was so stinking funny that I kind of looked past it. I'd say this was definitely Tarantino's best film. As the Jew-Hunter would say, "THAT'S A BINGO!"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 14 - Lazy Sunday with my Honey

We slept until about 9:30 today (and when I say we, I really just mean me). Chad requested my dad's homemade buttermilk pancakes, so we opted to have pancakes at 10 a.m. and skip lunch. I even remembered to take pictures after I whipped up the sinful little devils! Behold.

My dad doesn't cook all that many dishes so when he turns out something other than meat, you know it's going to be good.

This recipe has been in my dad's family for a long time, and if I told you how to make them, I'd have to kill you.

We stayed in our pajamas all day and did absolutely nothing. What a fabulous weekend.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 13 - PW Dinner

I slept until 9:30 then lazed around until 11, when I went to the grocery store. After unloading the groceries, my good friend Amber and her mother Sandy picked me up to go to a bridal show in Columbus (she's getting married, you see). The bridal show was kind of cheesy, but Amber won a $25 gift certificate to this super cute store where she bought a rustic-looking, destroyed, blueish-green "Jesus Fish" (you know, the really simple looking fish you see on the back of cars). We got home around 4, and I immediately started cooking a homecooked meal for Chad: chicken fried steak with white gravy, cream cheese mashed potatoes (o.m.g.), squash and zucchini and a chocolate sheet cake -- recipes courtesy of The Pioneer Woman, aka my hero. I am sorry to report that I did not take photos, but believe me when I tell you it was divine. Here are some photos I snagged from PW's website (I couldn't find the chicken fried steak).

The chocolate sheet cake. Here's the recipe.

I know what you're thinking. It's just mashed potatoes. How good could they be? Friends, trust me when I tell you. These potatoes are even better than my regular mashed potatoes... and I never thought I'd find any recipe I liked better than the one Chad and I came up with. Print this recipe off The Pioneer Woman's website TODAY. Do what I say. And by the way, if you don't have PW's cookbook, order it today.

After dinner, we watched "The Passion of The Christ." Chad gave it to me for Christmas, and we had both seen it, but not since it came out. It was a great day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 12 - Finally Friday

Today was a 4-day work week, but I swear it felt like 8. It is FINALLY Friday, and I couldn't be happier. I had Chinese take-out for dinner (don't judge me), I watched a movie, and I am already hitting the sack. Chad will be home tomorrow, and I've been assigned the task of making "some homecooking." Other than that, I have no plans. God, I love weekends.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 11 - Lilith Fair

Okay, so the best thing that happened today was learning that they added Nashville, Tennessee to the 2010 Lilith Fair Tour. I will be at this concert or I shall surely die. I mean, check out thisLINEUP! Heart, Miranda Lambert, Norah Jones, Sara Bareilles, Sheryl Crow, Sugarland, A Fine Frenzy, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Ingrid Michaelson, Jennifer Knapp, Kesha, Kate Nash, La Roux, Missy Higgins, The Weepies.... And those are just the artists they've released so far. I'm sure there will be many more fabulous ladies to come. It's all too much for me to handle. I am literally giddy with anticipation and excitement. So, we have a location. We have our favorite artists. And I have a committed Lilith partner... Hooray for me & Carissa having the same taste in music... and for sharing a love of road trips! So, my dear husband, I would like to *sweetly* ask for Lilith Fair as my 25th birthday present. (That means tickets, hotel accommodations and money for gas, food and possibly a little shopping). And Chad Patrick, don't you dare stomp on my dream. Love you!

I mean, can't you just see me here?! It's going to be fabulous.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 10 - Turning a New Leaf

It's really warm this week.... about as warm as I like it to get all year, much less in January. The highs have been near 70 and the lows have been somewhere between 45 and 58. I guess it's the change in weather that's got me in a funk... So I made a pledge to myself. And I'm writing it HERE for all the world to see -- or just you 3 people that read this thing -- that I am turning a new leaf. (By the by, what does that saying even mean? I mean, wouldn't you just turn your current leaf? If you were getting a new leaf altogether, then why turn it as soon as you get it? It makes no sense). Regardless, I'm making some changes.

I miss being in graduate school and only having 1 or 2 classes to attend per day, plus the classes I taught, and then having the rest of the day to do whatever Annalee wanted. If I chose to lay in bed all day and watch sappy movies on TV, then so be it... but most of the time, I made good use of my free time. On a typical day, I would wake up around 6, teach from 8-10, then work out for an hour (but it wasn't a dreaded thing... it was fun. I either did an aerobics class or walked in the park with a friend), I'd have lunch with a classmate or Chad if he was in town then I would do homework (typically writing papers) for a few hours and I would finish the day by going to class in the afternoon and at night. I mean, that was a productive day, right? And what do I do now? Wake up at 5:30 or 6, at work by 7:40, work from 8-5 -- typically with no lunch break as leaving campus is a NIGHTMARE during the lunch hour -- home by 5:30, walk Gerty and feed her, fix dinner for myself, shower, maybe watch an hour of TV, asleep by 9 at the latest. I mean, WHEN do I have time for myself? I don't even have time to go to the bank for God's sake.

But I'm done with excuses. If I want to put exercise back into my life, I will simply have to make time. I'll have to wake up at 4:30 if I need to or I'll just have to push my bedtime back an hour (cringe). But you see, it's not just the time it takes to squeeze it in, it's the money. Gyms are SO expensive. I just can't make myself pay $40-$50 a month for a gym membership. That's a LOT of money per year. So, I said all that to say this... now that the weather is a bit warmer, I can walk outside... and here's the best part: IT'S FREE! I exercised for 45 minutes this evening on my Wii Fit, and I felt so great. And in my endorphin-enhanced high, I decided that I would wake up at 5 in the morning and go walking.... we'll see if that happens.... But i'm hoping it does because I'm a morning exerciser. I mean, I'm not, but when I make myself exercise I prefer to do it in the morning. It makes me feel energized for the rest of the day, and you get it out of the way. Inevitably, if I try to work out at night something will come up. A friend will ask me to go out to eat or I'll have a meeting or I'll just be so dog tired that I don't go. But there ain't NOTHING coming up at 5:00 in the morning. So there is my first pledge to myself. Exercise more. And not for any other reason but to just feel good and sleep better.

I also made a hair appointment today, so my hair will be changing SOON... thank God. And so my second and third pledges comes into play: A. Try to save money, but B. don't be so frugal that you forget to take care of yourself. My fourth pledge, make new friends and try to have a monthly date with my old friends. My fifth, try new things and get out of my comfort zone. My sixth, find more than one hobby in common with my husband so we can spend more time together (currently we only share a love of camping. I'm not athletic so I can't play tennis with him, and I'm not allowed to go hunting or fishing with him... by the way, I think that's whack. I'd love to go fishing. What a great opportunity to get a tan). My seventh, rediscover my photographic talents and possibly take a refresher course. My eighth, read more. My ninth, pay my car off by December. And finally, live in the moment. And there you have it, folks. Ten things to help me be a better me in 2010.

Disclaimer: These are not New Year's resolutions. They are simply hopes for the coming year. If I succeed with all of my pledges, great. If not, no worries.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 9 - Missing My Hair

I am in a really sad mood today. I have been missing my long hair for a while now (about a year), but today I got really upset about it. The week after my wedding I chopped about 15 inches off my hair. It was liberating... It was freeing... It was... a mistake. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it for a few months.... but I have spent the last 8 months trying to grow it back. And it seems like it's only grown about 2 inches. I have taken biotin, vitamin E, prenatal vitamins.... and it's still so SHORT! But it's not just the shortness... it's the color. It's brown... and flat. I have been trying to save money lately, so I've been going about 12 weeks in between highlights instead of 6-8... and it shows.

I've decided that I don't think saving the money is worth my feeling like this. Am I being vain? I don't think so. I think a person needs to do whatever makes them feel good about themselves... I think the better you feel about yourself (physically or mentally), the better you are in general. If you look good, you feel good. And I don't feel good. I feel like I've let myself go, and that's not fair to myself or to my husband. I'm only 24. I can't have peaked yet. Just take a gander at these photos taken in 2008.

Taken at a bridal shower in Starkville. Just look at that volume!

In Nashville for my bachelorette party. That length....

At my wedding reception. Look how happy I was.... it wasn't because I just married the love of my life... it was because my hair looked so damn good.

Those curls! That color! It's too much....

And now.... it looks like THIS.

Look at that! Okay, that's it. I'm calling the salon tomorrow. And then I'll be calling again in 6-8 weeks. I'll just have to give up something else to save money. Like eating.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 8 - Lazy Monday with G

The best thing about today was doing nothing. I watched about 7 movies and never got out of my pajamas. I have to go back to work tomorrow... for the first time since last Wednesday. Is it bad that I'm not excited about it? I mean, I'm excited to see everyone and I'm glad I feel better... but I think I got a little spoiled on staying at home with Gerty all day. I'm really going to miss her.

I mean just LOOK at that baby! Is she not the most perfect 5-pound fur ball you've ever seen?! Oh well... it was good while it lasted. Here are a few more shots of Gert just for fun:

Camping in Tishomingo County.

With her gifts on her 1st Birthday. Don't you love how she's all laid back and relaxed?

In the car during a road trip to Nashville.

At lunch on my first day of my very first "big girl" job.

Curled up on the couch taking a nap.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 7 - Lady GaGa

Okay, time for a little honesty. I am slightly obsessed with the phenomenon that is Lady GaGa. She is weird and out of control, and I love her. I am not crazy about the bizarre outfits, but I am crazy about her voice. Seriously, strip away all the clothes and all of the insane pop culture statements she's trying to make and just listen to her voice. Take a listen to this performance at the 2009 AMAs (You can watch the whole thing, but around the 2:45 mark she stops dancing and gets real with an amazing piano performance). I love that she sings live, and I love that she's good live. I would die to go to one of her concerts, but since her American tour is nearly over, I suppose I'll have to settle for her new CD. Here's what the cover looks like, Chad. (I'm thinking it would be a great Valentine's Day gift, no?)

On a related note, I also desperately want to go to Lilith Fair this year. I mean just take a gander at the lineup!! A Fine Frenzy.... Ingrid... The Weepies... The list goes on and on. I don't think Atlanta is too far of a drive.... And I'm sure I could find a few friends to tag along (I'm talking to you, Raz and Carissa).

I hope everyone is having a great weekend... I am LOVING that today is Sunday but I don't have to go to work tomorrow. Hooray for holidays! Chad left for Las Vegas this morning, so I plan on spending the rest of the day in front of the television... I'll be having a movie marathon while I design a few flyers for the 2010 Starkville Miss Hospitality Pageant.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 6 - A Typical Saturday in Starkville

Like I mentioned yesterday, my parents are in town for the weekend. I love when they come visit. This morning my dad and I enjoyed a long conversation over a pot of coffee while my mom read a book (and Chad slept). We had Little Dooey for lunch (If you've never been to Little Dooey while visiting Starkville, you are seriously missing out. Everyone from Garth Brooks to ESPN sportscasters have raved about the BBQ at the Dooey. It's also been featured on "The Best Of..." on the Food Network. It's legit). We went to a men's basketball game at The Hump this afternoon (We are now 3-0 in the SEC. Go dawgs). After the game, I took a nice little nap while Chad watched the Saints game, then we all went to dinner at one of our favorite spots: Restaurant Tyler. After feasting on hot crawfish dip and crispy fried chicken with gourmet mac and cheese, I am stuffed and exhausted (after all, I only got in one nap today... despite feeling loopy from my meds). It's 8:45 pm, and Chad and I are just about to start Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (aka Harry Potter 6)... I hope I can make it through the opening credits. Anyway, here are a few highlights from today's nail-biting game:

The final score: 72-69. GO STATE!

I was flipping through the gameday guide and found this little gem. Designed by my very own Erin Napier. I remember the day she called and asked, "Do you spell it d-o-g-s or d-a-w-g-s?" haha.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 5 - Taking Down Christmas

Well, I feel much better today. Thanks for all the concern, everyone. I am still trying to rest and take it easy as not to irritate anything. My medication makes me really drowsy, so I am constantly falling asleep (it's actually kind of nice... I think this must be what an infant does on a daily basis... have some breakfast, take a nap, have some lunch, take a nap...). Chad took my car to be detailed today. God bless that man. You can't imagine what it looked like after a trip to Disney World.

My parents are coming up for the weekend, so after my mid-afternoon nap I decided it might be time to start tidying up. I have not had time to take down my Christmas tree or decorations yet because we didn't get home from Disney until January 3, then I immediately went back to work on the 4th (despite being sick as a dog). By the time that weekend came along, I was so tired -- not to mention still very sick -- so I opted to rest instead of clean. I went back to work the next week (which was this week) and worked through Wednesday then I was out yesterday and today... So long story short, I just have not had time. I really should have taken it down before we even left for Florida, but we left on December 18 for my brother's wedding and never came back. What kind of a human being could take down their tree BEFORE Christmas? Unforgivable. Not to mention we didn't put up the tree until November 24th (the week of Thanksgiving), so we had not quite had it up a full month when we left for Florida... I felt as if I had not even gotten to turn on the tree but just a handful of times.

This Christmas was sad to me. I started off thinking it was going to be the best Christmas ever... After all, we got our tree up before Thanksgiving so my whole family was able to enjoy it during their stay for the Egg Bowl, Chad and I had been married almost a full year, my brother was marrying my best friend just days before the holiday, I had started a new job that was going to allow me to be off for 10 FULL working days (two and a half weeks) and who wouldn't be pumped about that?! (Last year, I had Christmas day and that was it... Yeah, I worked for a bunch of Scrooges). We were going to Disney World -- the happiest place on Earth, right? We were in Starkville, where every sorority house and Main Street business was decorated for the season and a huge tree stood proudly in The Junction, right in front of the football stadium, so the Christmas spirit was all around. Yep, it was going to be a great Christmas.

Here's a photo of our gorgeous tree right before Thanksgiving:

But Chad was gone constantly for work in December.... We even had to open presents a full week before Christmas. We traveled down to Laurel for the wedding and had "family Christmas" on the 20th then we started our long trip to Orlando. We ate Christmas Eve dinner at Doc's Seafood in Orange Beach and Christmas lunch at some Chinese buffet outside of Tallahassee. We spent the entire Christmas day in the car listening to talk radio. But Christmas dinner was fabulous -- we had an extremely nice dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando. But still, something wasn't right. Despite having a blast with Ashley and Will in Disney World, I returned to Bulldog Country feeling a little bummed. (It might have had something to do with the fact that I had caught the flu from one of the millions of snotty-nosed children in Florida, but regardless I felt sad). It was January 3, and it was all over. I always have a small case of the blues after the holidays are over, but this year was especially bad. I felt as though the season had just come and gone, and I had nothing to show for it.

So maybe that's another reason I didn't want to take my tree down. Maybe I wanted to hold onto the holiday just a little while longer. Whatever the reason, it is January 15 and my house looks like December 15. I mean, I LOVE Christmas, so my house is usually decorated for a full 5-6 weeks, and Christmas music lasts even longer -- around 2 months -- but this tree was DEAD. I'm talking D-E-A-D. It was so sad.... so when I walked into the living room after my nap and saw the lifeless Frasier Fir, I knew it was time. So, it is with a heavy heart that I write this entry tonight. We have taken down all the decorations and stored them in the attic. There is not a trace of evidence that a tree was ever in the living room (except for the hovering smell of sap). Christmas is over, and just like every other year, I am already looking forward to next year. Is anyone else having the Boo-Hoo-Christmas-is-over-I'm-so-sad-I-can't-wait-until-next-year blues?


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 4 - Taking a Sick Day

I hate missing work.... Well, that's not exactly true. I hate using my time off. I feel like one day something amazing is going to come along, and I'm going to be so glad I have all those days saved up! But when I woke up this morning, I knew that going to work was not an option. I rolled out of bed (literally... because when I tried to sit up, the sharp pain came stabbing into me like a knife) and hobbled to the bathroom. I carefully read the directions on my pain medication (the one my doctor prescribed for the pleurisy (aka inflammation). Take with food.Well, after feeling nauseated for the better part of yesterday, I knew I had to take that warning seriously. I slowly worked my way toward the kitchen and discovered we were out of cinnamon rolls (the homemade ones I made on Saturday), so I settled for frozen waffles. They're quick. They're easy. And I need pain relief NOW. I pulled the box out of the freezer and removed 2 waffles. As I bent down to get the toaster out of the bottom cabinet, I felt a sharp pain slice through me like a newly sharpened razor blade. I winced at the pain and let out a small whimper (as not to wake Chad). Okay. Decision time. I can't make breakfast, and I can't take my medication until I eat. Oh dear. I'm in a pickle.

I stumbled back to the bedroom and as I worked my way back into bed, the pain became agonizing and I began to cry. Chad, who can usually sleep through a tornado, jumped up in alarm at the sound of my tears. He toasted my waffles and brought me orange juice. I scarfed down the breakfast, took my antibiotic and pain pill and went back to sleep. I am feeling a bit better now, but I am still in severe pain. (And I am still craving a cinnamon roll). So, I would like to share with you the photos I made of my homemade cinnamon rolls this weekend. Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 3 - Sick and Tired

After doping up on cough syrup and turning down the covers at just 7:15 last night, I felt pretty rested this morning. Even though I tossed and turned for the better part of the night, the cough medicine definitely relieved my sore throat and helped relax me so I could at least find some sort of peace. I slept (well, "rested" is probably a better word) until 5:30 this morning when my alarm woke me up. I got up feeling a bit hazy but shook it off as I hopped in the shower. I'll feel better after I am clean, I thought. But even after a 20 minute shower, I still felt dizzy and weak.

As I dried off outside the shower door, I felt the overwhelming desire to sit down... and quickly. I sat on a tiny bench we keep in our bathroom in hopes that I would regain some strength and balance. After a few minutes of catching my breath, I stood up and immediately got that "My-head-is-spinning-and-I'm-having-insane-hot-flashes-and-I'm-about-to-pass-out" feeling. I headed straight outside. It's 20 degrees outside. Surely I can cool down out there. My skin covered only by a short, strapless towel wrap, I grabbed Gerty (I'm already going outside... why not kill two birds and take her out for her morning walk?), and sprinted toward the back door. "Go tee tee," I instructed her as I plopped down on the ground. My bare legs hit the cold pebble porch, and I felt instant relief. After sitting outside for about 5 minutes, I decided it might not be good for my cough/cold to be out in the below-freezing weather.

I made a pit stop in the kitchen and then returned to the bathroom... After downing a breakfast bar, I took my antibiotic with a huge swig of orange juice (no pulp, of course). Okay. I've cooled off. I've had breakfast. I'll feel better soon. I blew my hair dry, put on a few coats of mascara and threw on some clothes... and then I realized I didn't have to leave for work for about 35 more minutes. Chad and Gerty were still snuggled up together, so I threw myself onto my side of the bed and let out a big sigh. My head was still spinning and my stomach was now growling in response to the antibiotic.... I felt nauseated. Great. I rested for the full 30 minutes and then headed to work, despite my gut instinct that I needed to stay home. I got to work and felt more weak, more loopy and more nauseated than I had just 10 minutes before.

Then, out of nowhere, I get a sharp, stabbing pain in my right lung on the upper right side of my rib cage (think directly below your right boob -- on that very first rib). Is it just my bra cutting into me? Negative. Did I pull a muscle from all the coughing? Hmmm. Possible. Could I have an infection? More possible. Or maybe it's just really irritated from being sick for 2 weeks. Either way, it'll pass, I thought. That was at 9:00 a.m. By 2:15 p.m., the pain was unbearable. With every deep breath, cough or slight movement, I was in agony. What IS this? After seeking advice from several friends and colleagues, I finally broke down (again) and went to the doctor. My second visit within 22 hours. I cried the whole way. With every step I took, the pain grew worse. By the time I reached the health center, mascara was running down my face and snot was frozen to the tip of my nose. As I dried my tears, I explained my situation to the appointments clerk, and she forced me onto the list. I saw the doctor rather quickly and he insisted on taking x-rays. "It's probably just an infection (just!) or severe inflammation.... but it's possible that you could have pneumonia." Awesome.

When I got to the x-ray room, there were 7 other girls waiting. I found a spot at the end of the line and set up camp. I rested my head on the sterile white wall behind me, and before I knew it, I was fast asleep. "Patrick!" the nurse yelled nearly 35 minutes later. After viewing the x-rays, the doctor decided that it was, in fact, severe inflammation of the lung. "Your right lung is just very irritated from all the coughing. If you could just try not to cough or breathe very deeply...." You got it, doc. I mean, why didn't I think of that before? NOT coughing... what a concept! He gave me a shot in the "hip" (don't you love that? i mean, it could not be more obvious that you just stuck me in the center of my left cheek but i'll play your games) and an anti-inflammatory. I got home from work and Chad wanted to go out to eat. We just returned from dinner, and I'm about to start the vicious cycle over again. Lots of cough syrup. Maybe a little NyQuil. Antibiotic. Sleep for 10 hours. Do it all over again. Let's hope I get better soon because I can't go on like this much longer. I am sick, and I am tired... but mostly, I am sick and tired of BEING sick and tired.

Here's to having a good night's sleep!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 2 - Be The Change You Want to See

After being sick for nearly two weeks and being miserably busy at work since we started the spring semester (not to mention waking up at 4:15 yesterday morning to bake cinnamon rolls for my precious hubby), I am dog tired. I have spent the last three and a half years PRIDING myself on not having been sick since October 2006. "Hmmm... You have the stomach virus? That's too bad... I haven't been sick in over 3 years," I would gloat. And then it happened. Right smack dab in the middle of our glorious 8-day Christmas/New Year's vacation to Disney World, it hit me. When I went to bed with a dizzying headache on December 30, I knew something wasn't quite right. I woke up on the eve of the new year and knew right then that my sickness-free years were over. Lord, take me now, I thought to myself. I can't bear another minute of this.

And here I am, 12 days later, still not being able to bear another minute of it. The headache, runny nose, congestion, weakness, muscle aches and mucus is all pretty much gone now; however, a hacking cough that just won't quit has left me with a horsey voice (not the sexy kind) and a raw throat. The constant coughing keeps me up at night, so I haven't had a decent night's sleep in over a week. And apparently neither has Chad. "Honey," he said politely at first, "Why don't you go to the doctor first thing this morning?" His voice was soft and sweet, as if he genuinely cared. "I don't want to," I whispered in my barely audible wheeze. "It costs money, and I already know what they're going to say. They're going to give me a Z-Pack and some cough suppressant... I'm already taking Sudafed and NyQuil for cough. That'll do." I thought I had a valid argument, especially with the whole saving money thing. "Well, I think you really need to," he said -- a bit more forceful this time. "This is ridiculous." And then it occurred to me. This is not about him wanting me to feel better. This is about him being tired of my annoying cough and wanting to be able to sleep through the night. Well... who can argue with that? I felt bad for him. After all, I have not been sick since Chad and I started DATING. (Yes, it's been that long since I was last sick. I'm talking I haven't even had so much as the sniffles). So he had not yet experienced me being sick before and my constant need for pampering and compassion.

So, finally, after putting up a pretty darn good fight, I went to the doctor today. They gave me a Z-Pack and some cough medicine. They said the antibiotic should get rid of some of the bacteria and clean out the last bit of congestion, and the cough medicine would soothe my throat and help me sleep. We'll see about that, I thought. I headed back to work after my appointment feeling pretty good but the feeling was immediately squashed by the line of people standing in the office when I returned. From 3:15 to 4:45 I barely sat down... and all the while, of course, never heard any type of gratitude or appreciation. And then, at nearly 5:00 (aka quitting time), a student who had been waiting in line nearly 30 minutes finally approached my desk. I noticed him from earlier in the day. "I've been waiting here a long time," he said. "I know, and I am so sorry. We have been so busy, and I apologize for -- " He cut me off. "I've been waiting here a long time to tell you thank you for all your help today," he said. "Oh. I, uh, it's no problem at all," I managed. But what I was really thinking was SERIOUSLY?! "I know you probably don't get a whole lot of people to come back and show you how much they appreciate what you do, but you went out of your way to help me today, and I just wanted to tell say thank you."

And there you have it. What had been a long and tiresome day, accompanied with a cold that I just can't seem to kick and severe lack of sleep, was changed in an instant... by a complete stranger, no less. I was dumbfounded. This person just changed my day and incidentally my life. Mahatma Gandhi once said "Be the change you want to see in the world." Well, I'm pretty sure this student was not channeling Gandhi when he acted this afternoon, but his random act of kindness made me want to be a better person. So I challenge you to do one random act of kindness each day -- whether it be your spouse, a friend, a colleague, a teacher, a classmate or a homeless person on the street. BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 1 - Life is Good Today

Yesterday, on January 10, 2010, Chad and I celebrated one year of marriage... And it got me to thinking... About a lot of things. Thoughts whirled around my head like a tricycle in a cyclone. I have two degrees (both of which are seemingly useless, as I completed my master's degree a year and a half ago and have yet to find a job in public relations... but I digress); I have been in the working world for nearly two years; I have bought my very own car and nearly have it paid off (well, I will have it paid off by the close of 2010... that's pretty good, I think); I have been married one year; and I love my job and hope to stay at Mississippi State until I retire. All of this, I thought, and I am just 24 years old.

Chad took me out to eat last night, and we were in bed by 9. I was good and asleep by 10, and I was out cold when I heard, "Honey, do you want to get up and warm up those cinnamon rolls for me and Tom before we go hunting this morning? Or do you want to sleep?" Um..... is this a trick question? I opened one eye and glared at the clock. 4:15. AM. "No, no. I'm up," I managed. I stumbled to the kitchen and as my bare feet hit the ice cold floor, I shuttered. I slid the homemade cinnamon rolls (which had taken 6 hours to make the previous day) into the oven, and I surprised myself when at that exact moment I wondered how my life could get any better. I was not only awake, but baking, 2 hours before I was to even wake up, and I found myself happy. Fulfilled.

By the time the rolls came out of the oven, I was wide awake and brushing my teeth. But when Chad left at 10 minutes until 5, and I had 3 full hours before I had to be at work, I figured I should probably go back to bed.... but I couldn't. With my head on the pillow and Gerty nestled up as close to me as she could get, the thoughts came flooding back... except this time they were in the form of questions. I wonder what 2010 holds for us? I wonder when Chad will find a job that allows him to be home more? I wonder if he wants to be home more? I wonder if I'll ever get to teach PR at MSU like I've always wanted to? I wonder if God will bless us with children one day? I wonder if my parents want grandchildren? I wonder if I'll even be a good parent? I wonder how many of my girlfriends are going to get married this year? I wonder if Gerty knows what I'm doing when I kiss her? I wonder where we'll live when we buy a house? I wonder when the economy is going to get better? I wonder if Chad knows how desperately in love with him I am. And then just like that, I was asleep.

I woke up to the sound of my alarm at 6:30. I immediately remembered all the thoughts that had come to me before. I wonder... I thought again. Then, as if God was trying to tell me something, lyrics from the Zac Brown Band song "Toes" came to me: Life is good today. Hmmm. How do you like that? Why am I wasting time worrying about what will happen in the future? Focusing all my energy on the future makes what is happening right now seem less important... And it should be the other way around. I should be excited for what today will bring me. Life is good TODAY. Right now. In this very moment. So, I chose that lyric as the title of my blog. To remind me every day that life could not get any better than as it is right now. So, here's to 2010 and what it will bring but most importantly, here's to today.



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