It’s a Spin-Off!

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I went and started another blog. I’ve said I didn’t want to turn this blog into a weight loss blog, but I found I’ve been talking about this whole health change a lot. I still plan on posting other life stuff here; however, the new site will be where I chronicle the woes and wins of my weight loss with the same sarcasm you’ve come to know and (hopefully) love — and probably the occasional whining.

So if you follow this blog on WordPress, I hope you’ll come follow the new one as well.

Saturdays with Nanny

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Saturday’s discussions about where to dine for lunch inevitably turns to the lack of places to eat in Pickens and then to the restaurants that are coming soon, namely Zaxby’s — which, due to my grandmother’s trouble pronouncing her Xs, turns into Zappy’s.

Me: The article I saw in the paper says it’s going to look like a red barn on the outside.

Mom: I think the one in Myrtle Beach is like that.

Nanny: Well, from what I can tell about the picture, I don’t know if I’ll be able to find the front door.

Mom: I think we can help you with that, Momma. We’ll go with you the first time.

A Farewell to the First-Born Fur Baby

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So I got up here. Now how do I get down?

So I got up here. Now how do I get down?

She was born on Christmas Day 2000, one of six puppies from Momma Dog’s second litter. When the first litter was born six months earlier, The Husband and I lived in an apartment that didn’t allow pets, so we told his youngest brother (main caretaker of the dogs) that if she had another litter and we were somewhere where we could have a dog, we would take one. By that Christmas, we were renting a house from a friend who let us have pets, so we had to live up to our agreement.

Five weeks after she gave birth to the puppies, Momma Dog (a collie mix) had had enough of nursing. Appalling behavior for humans, but perfectly acceptable for dogs — go figure. It was time for me and The Husband to go pick out our puppy. We drove over on a Saturday afternoon and walked up to the outdoor pen where The Husband’s grandfather, Papa, had built for the pups. I knelt down in front of the little bundles of fur that clamored for my attention, but before I could get to any of them, a fawn-colored bounded over all of them and started licking my hand. Later I would learn that I had picked the alpha female.

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I’m in Your Head, Effing Up Your OCD

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I promise, 99% of the time I’m not a mean person. Even when a scenario presents itself where I would be perfectly justified to be mean, I’m not.

But yesterday, I saw an opportunity so tempting — more delicious than the loaves of freshly baked French bread I’ve denied myself — I couldn’t resist.

In our break room at work, someone created a lovely vertical line of of thumbtacks and arranged them so that all the colors were grouped together on the bulletin board. As I stood at the water cooler filling my glass, I wondered, “If I were to take that green thumbtack and randomly stick it somewhere else on the board, how long would it take for someone to put it back in line?”

The question got the best of me, so I moved the thumbtack. Later that afternoon when I returned to the water cooler, the thumbtack was back in its spot in vertical line.

So I moved it again.

I know. I’m horrible. But I’m not the only one. This morning, someone had moved the other two green thumbtacks and lined them up with the one I moved.

I’m examining all my coworkers for facial ticks that might indicate the new thumbtack arrangement has given them fits.

Five Things for Friday: Miscellaneous Observations from Alumnae Weekend 2014

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I did the sappy, reflective post on my Columbia College Alumnae Weekend 2014 experience, but I had these tidbits I wanted to share yet didn’t have a great place to put them.

1 — In college when I made the drive to the Upstate on Friday afternoons, I-26 East had barely any traffic, and there were times of the day when Malfunction Junction (intersection of I-26 and I-20) was desolate. Holy. Cow. Not anymore.

2 — How old is Joe Pinner? I mean, seriously. Friday afternoon I’m in the hotel room getting ready for Friday night’s dinner, with the news on the background, and I hear, “And WIS’s Joe Pinner is out at [Don't remember the name] Festival this weekend…” I was like, Really? Wasn’t he at retirement age twenty years ago? I posted on FB that I must be in Columbia because Joe Pinner was on TV, and someone commented, “He’s still alive?”

3 — Apparently, our class is the red-headed step children of alums because we got shuffled over to the side of the dining hall at one long, solitary table while the rest of the classes were neatly lined diagonally in a V shape in front of the stage. Whasup with that C2?

Part of our table when our class was recognized at the luncheon

Part of our table when our class was recognized at the luncheon, and yes, that’s me putting my hands in the air like I just don’t care. (Photo courtesy of my former roommate Tiffany)

4 — I wore the wrong shoes for the occasion. I could have walked around campus barefoot and come out better than I did Saturday. In my defense, all my pants hang on me now (pleasant side effect of the weight loss and haven’t had a chance to have anything altered yet), and I needed to wear heels to keep the hem from dragging along the grass and pavement. The mental note has been imprinted on my brain and the soles of my feet for the 25-year reunion.

5 — I discovered that the 20-year reunion is the sweet spot where Alumnae Weekend classes are concerned. We’re old enough to blink incredulously when we hear an alum from 2009 talk to a fellow classmate about a photo that was “taken for-EV-ER ago” (Seriously? You’ve been out of school FIVE YEARS!), yet we’re still young enough that when a member from the 1964 class passes us, she looks at our name tag and says, “1994? Lord, you’re just a baby!” Bless you, you dear, dear woman.

We Sing the Praise of Her We Love

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IMG_2524There is a section of I-26 East that is my favorite stretch of highway. Right around mile marker 68, just past the rest area where my family and my dad’s sister’s family would stop and eat homemade biscuits for breakfast on the way to Myrtle Beach, the road straightens out for at least a mile, and you can see three hills. Each one is slightly higher than its predecessor, and the trees line the interstate like spectators watching a parade 18-wheelers, delivery trucks, minivans, SUVs, sedans, sports cars, and motorcycles zoom past.

I never noticed this stretch of road until I started college, and even then it took me well into my freshman, perhaps my sophomore, year — probably because those first few weeks were so traumatic for me. I knew only one person at Columbia College when I first started, and she was a year ahead of me. I was only 100 miles away, but it might has well been 1,000. Those first Sunday afternoons driving back to Columbia found me in tears — sometimes wondering if I should turn around at every exit I passed.

Second semester went more smoothly than the first, and the second year even better than the first. Eventually, I saw how that one section of I-26 seemed to roll out before me like the rug that lines a foyer — an asphalt welcome into my new reality. The view is not the same if you travel the same section from the opposite direction; it’s a one-way spectacle.

I’ve traveled that road many times over the past twenty years since graduation, and each time I feel that exhilaration of what laid ahead of me. This past weekend, my 20th college reunion, was no different. As I rounded the slight curve and passed mile marker 68, there it was, and I was traveling to see the place and people who inspired, sheltered, and educated me two decades ago.

Me & college roommate in 1992 and this past weekend

Me & college roommate in 1992 and this past weekend

Dinner Friday night with 14 other friends at Liberty Tap Room in Columbia’s Vista area lasted 3 1/2 hours. The poor waiter came to check on us no less than five times before we finally relented and ordered food. Before long I started having flashbacks to our dining hall conversations as my former roommate began discussing her stepdaughter and current boyfriend and sent all of us into fits of laughter. I went to bed with my belly hurting from laughing and my throat dry and scratchy from talking.

Friday night's dinner

Friday night’s dinner

Saturday brought more of the same, and although we had the majority of the day together, we still didn’t have enough time. Some girls I knew back then and some women I know now couldn’t understand my reasoning for going to a women’s college. There’s no guys! they say. Pffft whatever. My education experience was just fine without those who pee standing up. It had never really been my plan, but I can’t describe how perfect of a fit Columbia College was for me. I am beyond grateful for the sacrifices my parents made that allowed me to attend this school.

Recently, I came across a blog post written by a young woman in another state who will graduate from college in just a couple of weeks. In the post she talked about the friends she had made and how while falling asleep one night she noticed how their voices drifting through her window made her feel she was back at home when she was young. I remembered my own experiences .

High school was never traumatic for me, but I’ve only been to one reunion. I still like those people, but before that 20-year reunion, I felt apprehensive — like I was falling back into that high school teenager who was so unsure of herself. For college reunions, however, I go every five years. We all seem to pick up right where we left off. I am at home with these women. They are my family, and I love every one of them.

The Class of 1994 at The Columns on campus

The Class of 1994 at The Columns on campus

One friend who now lives in Atlanta had the perfect words at dinner Friday night. “Coming across I-20 this afternoon, I just had this wave come over me like I was coming home.”

I thought about my stretch of I-26, and I knew exactly how she felt. I would have a totally different life if I had turned around on one of those Sunday afternoons; I’m thankful I never did.

The "new" Old Main

The “new” Old Main

(FYI: Title is the first line of Columbia College’s alma mater.)