Rest in Peace Aloysius

For my precious little daschund:
Mobile was a lonely city before I found you. You were the friendliest pup in the litter with a little red nose and a dark stripe down your back. I took you home and you slept curled up next to me every night for the next 7 years.
I'll forever remember your love of playing ball and how much you loved to dig. You would fetch for hours on end and always bring the ball back and drop it at my feet just the way I taught you. My favorite memory is of our trips to the beach where people walking by would laugh when all they saw was your little tail sticking straight up out of a monsterous hole in the sand.
And I'll never be able to look at chunks of rocks the same. I'm not sure what your affinity to playing with rocks was, but it's funny and I'll love you for it forever.
I'm going to miss you little man! Run free in heaven Ally D....love you, see you.


In LOVE- the new man in my life

UPDATE: He has a name! Tyler Preston

The title says it all! I'm sooo head over heels in love right now. And I don't expect it to go away any time soon. I have a brand new man in my life and boy is he adorable.

Take a look!

This is my friend Amy's brand new baby boy! I don't think Scott will be too jealous, however, he going to be nervous about me catching the "fever".

Anyway, Fred...that's the name I've given him since Amy and her husband haven't decided yet...was born at 10:50pm last night. He weighs 7lbs 6oz and is 19 in long. He has a headful of hair and blue eyes...even though Amy says all babies have blue eyes for the first couple of days.

I'm super-psyched because Amy only lives 2 minutes from my house so I can see the little booger any time I want...unless Amy bans me for calling him "Fred". I see all kinds of possibilities for this little guys future...I cannot wait to see him grow up!

Amy's already talking about him needing a girlfriend and she says that's my job. I'm not so sure, maybe I need to change a few diapers before all of that madness takes place....but I am feeling a little tickle in my throat, maybe the "fever" has already set in!!!


For Olivia

So my bestie Lu, from Avery Tales asked her followers to write a post about a person who has changed their life in memory and honor of her beloved Olivia. I am more than happy to oblige! The problem is, I don't know of any one person who has "changed" my life, but I know of several who have made it sweeter, happier, more laughter-filled, comfortable and many more things just by being in it. So, in memory of sweet Olivia, my blog is about her wonderful mommy, Lu and how much she means to my life.

Lu and I have been friends since first grade. We danced together, went to daycare together, were in the same class sometimes. The great part about our friendship is that even though since graduating high school we've not lived in the same town, we can still call each other whenever and know the other is going to listen, help, laugh with or cry with....whatever is required. It brings tears to my eyes knowing I've been blessed with a friend like that. I'm a lucky girl!!

I can honestly say that Lu is the one non-family person who knows me better than anyone. She knows that I'm a lot of talk and really hate confrontation (unless I'm blowing up at the Dance Team sponsor). She also knows that no matter how frustrated I get, I'm a parent pleaser....and I know she is too. I have been there for some of her happiest times even if it's via phone and she's shared mine as well. And I've shared some of her darkest hours in person and spirit as she has ventured into mine as well. She's the one friend I know I can count on for a prayer, a kind word, a good story, anything to keep me sane. I also know she's going to "get" me. She understands my sense of humor and my beliefs and my idiosyncracies, just as I know hers.

Anyway, I am a better friend, woman, daughter because of Lu with her listening ear and open heart. And even though we're miles away and only see each other a handful of times throughout the year, I know we share a friendship that will last 'til we're old and gray. We'll be sitting beside a tropical pool with margaritas. We'll still laugh and cry and remember the defining times in our friendship all the while giggling about the cabana boys in their cute little swim trunks.

By the way, I just realized that Lu and I have been friends since first grade meaning that we've been a part of the other's life almost 25 years...that's longer than a Hollywood marriage by at least 5 times. Love you, Lu!


Animal induced stress!

I cannot commit.

Obviously, I can't commit to my blog. It's been 2 months since my last post. I really haven't had a lot to write (whine) about in that length of time that I thought anyone would be interested in.

Work's fine; the boys are fine; family is fine (other than my bro spending all of my money for me, but that's another blog) and I'm fine.

Animals were fine....until the beginning of April.

To start things off, my boxer, Cookie, has always had a spot on her leg that looked a little funny. I always thought it was scar tissue because it never grew or shrank, it just stayed the same. About a year and a half ago, the vet told me it wasn't scar tissue, it was a tumor or growth. She didn't think it had to be removed, but that I should watch it.

Cut to Friday before last. I get home from my Mom's house after work, after a crawfish boil, after helping her set up for my friend's baby shower and let the dogs outside for awhile before we all go to bed, because it's about 10:30pm. I remembered I had to make pasta salad for the aforementioned shower, so I start that process. As I'm chopping and cooking, I notice that the boxer is incessantly licking herself on the floor next to me. It's driving me nuts...yes, it had been one of those days. So I tell her to stop and she does for, oh maybe 5 seconds. So finally, I look at her and realize that she's licking her leg and all of the fur around that spot is bloody. I freak!

I grab the dog and take her to the bathroom (bathroom light is always better, as is blood on linoleum). I look at her leg and the spot has gone from the size of a pencil eraser, to the size of almost a golf ball. It's swollen and red and bloody and just generally nasty. So, being that it's 11pm on a Friday night and my pasta is about to overcook, I peroxide it, put some benadryl cream on it (with a Q-tip, not my finger...Ewww!) finish my cooking and go to sleep.

First thing Saturday, I call the vet's office and they tell me that the vet won't be in 'til Monday and I can bring her in Monday afternoon. There's nothing they can do for her then. So Monday, I take the oozing boxer in, the vet (a new one) looks at the "growth" and tells me it's a "sebaceous cyst" and it may or may not be cancerous...they have to remove it and send it out for testing. So Cookie gets all of her shots done, her blood work done and some antibiotics and antihistamines (to the tune of almost $300). They schedule surgery for Thursday.

She goes in and comes out Thursday fine (I'm broke, but never mind my checking account's well-being) Everything is going well for Cookie...she's got some stitches but it doesn't seem to be bothering her at all. However, apparently it was really bugging my Dachshund, Al, that she was getting all of the attention, because yesterday afternoon (yes, Easter Sunday) he decided to rip one of his claws out of his front paws and was bleeding out on my back patio when I finally realized I hadn't seen or heard him for a good 15 minutes. Again, blood=freak out. I grab the dog, page the vet's office, jump in my car and head.....where? Where the hell am I going with this poor little bleeding wiener dog? Aha! My dad, our family's version of the Dog Whisperer, is at my brother's house. I call Dad and tell him what's going on...he says he'll take a look at it but he's "not a vet". Really? Thank you, Captain Obvious. Can't a girl just need her dad?

I get to my bro's house and the whole fam's there...I was going to be there a couple hours later sans dog, but whatever. We clean it, look at it and decide there's nothing the vet can do. My sis-in-law calls her friend who's a vet-tech....apparently she should be my friend too...and the girl confirms that we should just clean it and wrap it and keep him off of it.

When I got home last night and sat down to watch TV. Both of the dogs wanted up on the couch, of course and since they're both "hurt" I have to pick them up for that to happen. I started crying. I took stock and all I have to show for myself right now is 2 gimpy dogs and a cat that plays with makeup sponges. Super!


What I've done...or not done.

I was tagged by Lurenda to play this fun little game.
Here's the Rule, bold the things you've done & post on your blog!
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disney World
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables-yum Roma tomatoes
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run--backyard baseball counts, right??
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma-I tried, but I passed out when they pricked my finger
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check--Ugggh!
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year's Eve-no but i did kiss a stranger at a Christmas party....too much tequila
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

I've been a slacker on my posts lately. I'll try to catch back up this week. I'm not tagging anyone, because all of my peeps have previously been tagged.


Shut the hell up and find the hotel!!

So, today I had meeting in Tallahassee and then drove down to Tampa. My lovely co-worker had booked my room at the Hilton Garden Inn Tampa Airport. Nice!
Well, as I'm leaving Tallahassee, I set my lovely British dashboard lady for the address on the confirmation email. She doesn't recognize it, so I spell it 5 different ways...she still doesn't recognize it. So I look at a map and find the cross street. I punch that into Ms. Garmin's face and finally get some assistance. As I'm flying down 98, smiling smugly and thinking, "I grew up in a relatively big city, finding a stinkin' Hilton Garden Inn close to the airport should be no problem", little did I know the HOT MESS that awaited me.
Part of the issue is began somewhere after Homasassa Springs which I once visited as a kid on a family vacation....anyway, after Homasassa Springs, I had to get on 589 which is Suncoast Pkway. My Google map (better safe than sorry I always say) told me that it was a "partial" toll road. I had my $10 bill and was ready to go. So I pull up to the first toll booth and pay my dollar, $1 that's it. GREAT! This is cake and the road is so nicely paved...those were my pleasant thoughts....until 10 miles later I see a sign for the next toll plaza. Hmmm, where's the you-already-paid-10-miles-ago-so-go-on-through lane??? Yeah, there isn't one, so I paid another dollar. Now as a girl from a state that doesn't put much into the infastructure, I had an issue with the $6.75 I had to pay to drive 50 miles on a road, on top of all $20 in Lotto tickets I bought. I mean, don't I get a free pass or something for helping out Florida's children...isn't that what lottery goes for...I don't know, I'm an Alabama kid, with a public education, so I'm not really sure.
50 miles down, $6.75 poorer (oh, and no receipts from the toll booths, so no company reimbursement) and I'm in Tampa. Well, there is road construction and the exit Ms. Garmin insists I get off on, is closed. Where's my $6.75 going anyway??? I pass the closed exit because I'm pretty sure no cop is going to be as intimidated by my British dash-devil as I am and wait for GG (that's short for Genius Garmin) to tell me where to turn. For the next five minutes as I'm driving down I-275, GG is simply saying "Recalculating" over and over again. By this time, I'm doing about 10 miles per hour swerving from left lane to right lane because GG is telling me "Turn Right" "Recalculating" "Turn left in .2 miles".
Finally, I find an exit with a street name I recognize from my trusty Google map. GG recalculates and I decide I'll give her another chance. WRONG move! Picture this: Scared little tear streaked white girl in her rental car in traffic yelling at the piece of technology on her dash driving through an area of town I can only equate to the Ensley area of Birmingham. Yeah, most entertaining to everyone around me.
So after almost chucking GG out the damn window, I call the hotel...I know, I know...should've done this along time ago, but I didn't know where the hell I was and I knew that would be the first question they asked. I get to a street I've been down oh, I don't know, 12 times in 15 minutes and call the hotel. The guy, WES-Savior-of-my-entire-trip, answers and asks me where I am (told ya so!). I tell him and he says, "Oh, just take a left at the light from the street your on and you'll see us on your right." I thank him, hang up, make my left at the light and Ms. Garmin, now known as Beezlebub, is "Recalculating". I decided to check in and just call it a night. Dash-devil doesn't deserve a night on the town and frankly, I don't think my nerves can handle it!


Traveling this week...

I'm taking a whirlwind tour of Florida...and not the good parts like South Beach or Key West. Today I stopped in Pensacola before heading to Tallahassee. There are several great things about traveling for work though...

#1. Rental car with GPS...this was a new experience. I've never had a rental car before and then I rented a Garmin too. I love Ms. Garmin, my British navigating Nanny. She hasn't gotten me lost yet. Even with road work, she pleasantly says "Recalculating Route" in that nice British accent...very efficient and official sounding. This lady definitely knows where she's going!

#2. HOTELS!!!! This should probably go first on the list, but I don't feel like copy/pasting tonight. I big squishy heart hotels! I love walking into a clean room (don't at home so much) and turning on every light and the tv. I love hotel beds...I know, that's a little weird. I love the glamour of hotels. Of course, it is a Monday night and I am in Tallahassee, so glamour may be a little over the top, but you get the idea. I COULD be doing something really cool!

#3. Hours of actual work. Now this particular trip entails me visiting P'cola, Tallahassee, Tampa/Lakeland and Jacksonville and being home on Thursday night. I have about 3 meetings per day all lasting between 30 minutes and an hour then I'm driving. So that's what, 3 to 4 hours of work and then 4 hours of listening to XM radio (another cool rental car perk) and eating convenience store junk...Yay me!!

#4. Cozy little restaurants. I like to fancy myself the female version of Guy Fieri. I am in love with Diners Drive Ins and Dives on Food Network so when I go to a new city, I like to try the local cuisine. Tonight I had Chez Pierre...a French restaurant with a Southern twist. It was pretty great, especially the tiramisu (yes i know that's actually Italian). I like to research places and then go to dinner all by myself. Most people don't like to eat out by themselves, but there is something pretty awesome about enjoying a meal alone....it's like your own little secret.

Anyway, that's my travel happies! What do you like about traveling, work or play? Know of any good restaurants in Tampa or Jacksonville that I should try?