Winter Weather in the South

It’s been snowing off and on all day here in the metro Atlanta area. Most people will say that Southerners just do not know how to deal with snow, including some of us from the South. I won’t necessarily disagree with that. However, I’ve heard many people from other parts of the country make fun of us for basically shutting down when the first couple of flurries fall. I will admit that I can see on the surface why you would feel like we must just be incompetent when it comes to winter weather. I mean, all one has to do is look back at “Snowmaggedon 2014” and they would be scratching their heads at the craziness of so many people stranded on the highways and places no where near home.

Let me see if I can help clarify some things. First of all, lots of snow or ice is a pretty rare thing here in the South and when you crunch the numbers, it’s just maybe a weekend or two out of the season. (Funny but it does seem to be mostly on the weekends. Huh.) So they don’t really sell snow tires or chains here in the south. Nobody stocks them because it’s just not a big seller or cost effective. And for the same reason, there aren’t a lot of trucks owned by the DOT for clearing roadways here like there are in other areas. If we just got snow, that would be one thing, but it’s much harder for trucks and equipment to clear ice.

Also, apparently, winter weather here and how bad it’s going to be, is difficult to predict with accuracy. When you’ve had such warm days and the ground isn’t cold enough for a general dusting to stick then most of the time, we just don’t worry about it. What happens though is that we get snow flakes or sleet or freezing rain and then the roads get really wet and then the temperature drops faster than people were prepared for. So freezing water on the roads becomes ice. NO ONE can drive on ice! I’ve seen plenty of video footage of other areas of the country that are supposedly better equipped and routinely have snow and ice where motorists are crashing their cars and sliding all over the place, having to abandon them on the roads…so don’t tell me that only happens in the South. Ice is also a problem because of the power lines and trees. They freeze and then start dropping and we have crazy power outages.

And if you’re going to have such hazardous conditions that most people aren’t equipped for or are stumbling around in the dark because of power outages or trying to avoid downed trees and roadways…it just makes sense to close up house and hibernate for a few days. It’s nice!! It’s a cool rarity for us to slow down and maybe even have to spend time with family. I personally love when things are closed and I can sleep a little later. It’s quiet and I can put a puzzle together or read by the fire. When it sucks is when you get stuck at work, especially working in the medical field if you work in the main hospital somewhere. They can’t shut down. So you either have to stay at work, sometimes for a couple of days, or you have to brave the roads and go in anyways. Then you’re hoping that some of the patients that probably shouldn’t be driving under the best of conditions stay home altogether. lol

Those are my two cents worth anyways. Stay warm this winter! If you’re in another part of the world, reading this and it’s summer, well enjoy that and thanks for reading!!


Tips for the Holiday Season

As we grow closer to the end of 2017, the holiday season is yet again upon us. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Year’s…and who knows what else, will fly by lightning quick and soon you’ll be wondering what happened to your days. Do you look forward to this time of year? Or do you dread it? Are you someone who doesn’t celebrate any of them or possibly all of them? One?

If you dread this time of year, you aren’t alone. Shopping areas are super crowded and busy, especially the times that most people are off: evenings and weekends. Everyone seems to have a bad attitude or in a hurry or both. A ridiculous amount of foods, both healthy and mostly not, seem to be everywhere. Family arguments and issues seem to be front and center, causing friction and headaches. Schedules are jam-packed with parties, dinners, last minute deadlines, and other various activities. To do lists are long and days are short. Weather is unpredictable and tension is high. Charitable organizations are laying guilt trips on you at every turn to help those less fortunate than you. Thieves are out in droves, breaking into cars, churches and stealing packages off porches. Depression seems to be rampant this time of year too. Any of this sound familiar?

I’m not trying to be a “Scrooge” by bringing all this up. I’m hoping to help with some tips for how to survive the holiday season, whether you are immersed in it or trying to avoid it like the plague. I’ve tried to divide it by categories below. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like some friendly, non-expert advice on during this holiday season. 🙂

  1. Family – Love ’em or not, they are your relatives. Does that mean you should let them drive you bonkers? Maybe, maybe not. If you love your family and generally get along with them at other times of the year, then this should be a fun time to spend time together. If these are people that the only things you seem to have in common is some DNA and physical characteristics, then limit your interactions with them or spend time with friends instead. Pick your battles and don’t let others push your buttons! If you know Aunt Busybody drives you crazy by interrogating you about your life, limit the time you spend with her at family functions, have an “escape” plan, find snappy comebacks to her questions if you like, or if you are not comfortable with that, then just try to take deep breaths and remember that it’s only a brief period of time and this too shall pass. Try to avoid topics you know upset people and if unsure of how to answer what is being asked or said, suddenly excuse yourself to the bathroom. If you don’t  have family to spend the holidays with or maybe they are too far away or you won’t be able to see them for some other reason, figure out if this upsets or depresses you to the point that you just can’t stand it. Then try to plan a time to call or face-time or Skype or whatever with them so that you can spend some time with them. Volunteer to keep busy or maybe find some friends or coworkers who are in the same boat and maybe plan a luncheon out or dinner with them. Whatever you do, do NOT buy into the media hype that everyone except you is with their loved ones on the holiday, having the perfect food and wonderful time, singing around the piano with a roaring fire in the fireplace. It’s not true. You aren’t alone and there’s no such thing as the “perfect” holiday most of the time.
  2. Gifts and charity donations – Giving should always come from the heart, not the retail industry telling you that you have to give to someone. If you don’t want to get anyone a present and don’t want to give during the holiday season, then don’t. Give when you want to, what you want to, to whom you want to. The other side of that is not to be greedy in what you want or receive. Be gracious and thankful that someone thought of you when you are given anything, even if you don’t end up using it or keeping it. If the holiday season is only about material things for you, you will end up with a very empty life and heart. Also, one big thing: DO NOT spend more than you can afford! I’m amazed at people in the past griping at how much they spent on Christmas presents, etc, and how long it took them to pay it off! There are plenty of ways to give and to stay within your means/budget.
  3. Food and diet – Maybe you’re like me and are trying to watch your weight and this time of year, the temptation is just crazy hard to resist. For me, it’s really just being mindful and paying attention that keeps me on track. If there are tons of snacks in the break room at work, don’t go in there if you don’t have to! Keep up your water intake as it will keep you from over eating. Pay attention to if you’re actually hungry or not before pigging out on food just because it’s there. Before you pile your plate high at gatherings, choose your selections carefully. Ask yourself: Do I really like this food or am I getting it because it’s there? Am I really that hungry? Start with the veggies and proteins that are good for you and then if you just have to have some pie, have a small slice. But stop when you are full! Don’t over stuff yourself. Make a plan for how you will handle certain food situations if you know they are coming. And please don’t beat yourself up for not doing as well as you wanted or planned. You will find that unless you are eating non-stop junk for the entire month, most of the damage will be minimal. Just get up if you fall, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.
  4. Depression – If you are someone who gets depressed at this time of the year, try to figure out what about it depresses you and then try to remove or counteract the depressing elements. No one to celebrate with? Find a place to volunteer. Nursing homes would be great because there are a lot of older people who don’t have anyone to spend time with either, who are lonely or depressed and you can brighten their day just by spending a little time with them. If it’s gloomy weather, try having bright lights in your home or go on vacation to some place more tropical or sunny or whatever will work better for you. If you can’t seem to shake it, are thinking of doing something drastic, or just need to talk to someone, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Seasons change and pass, life does have its ups and downs. If you need help, you aren’t alone and there is help out there to be found. Please don’t hesitate to look for it if you need it. If you know someone who is depressed, try to be there for them. Don’t tell them to ‘just cheer up’ or berate them for being a ‘party pooper’. Offer to listen, try to provide a distraction, or offer to help them find professional help. Depression is real, sometimes it’s not ‘just a case of the blues’ and can be very serious. Try to be kind and understanding. I know it can be hard to do.
  5. Crime and attitudes – As I brought up before, there will be a lot of people out there with bad attitudes and no-good on their minds. Try to be patient with people who work in the grocery stores and retail and fellow shoppers. Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you aren’t handicapped, park a little farther away and walk a little. It will do you some good. If the lines are long, be patient or go at a time when it’s not as busy, especially if it’s a store open 24 hours. If you waited until Christmas Eve day to go to Walmart, do NOT take it out on the employees because they are exhausted and paid barely above minimum wage. I have worked two Christmas seasons in retail and I have never been so tired and so happy to have a little counter between me and everyone else in my life. If someone cuts you off or doesn’t return your greeting or smile, try to give them the benefit of the doubt that they just aren’t thinking or their mind is on something else. Maybe they had bad news given to them recently or maybe they really are just jerks. But maybe not and they may end up being a good friend one day. As for criminal activity, if you usually have packages delivered and left outside of your house, try to have them delivered somewhere you can pick them up instead. Amazon lockers, the post office, UPS stores, a trusted neighbor or relative that’s home during the day. Do not leave wrapped packages in sight in your car. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t flash a bunch of cash around. If, heaven forbid, you are held up, don’t fight for material things. They can be replaced. You can’t. If you don’t celebrate holidays and someone wishes you a “Merry Christmas” or a “Happy Holidays”, don’t be an a*hole and berate them. Just say thank you and move on. It may irk you a little but most people mean well are trying to be nice or polite.

Those were the five big topics that I could think of to try to address. I hope I was able to be a little help to you. Most of the advice was probably things you’ve heard before but human beings seem to need reminders so I hope you will benefit from them. If this time of year is always awesome for you, then I’m happy for you and maybe you could take a few minutes to make it a little brighter for someone who maybe isn’t having such a great holiday season. Be kind to each other, y’all!


So this past Wednesday was my birthday and I’m now closer to 40 than 35. Most of the time, adding a number doesn’t mean much to me except that I know things won’t be as easy as I get even older. I will say that I will take getting older to the alternative which is…well you probably can figure that one out! lol

But I find myself reflecting on my life when my birthday rolls around. I try to take the time to figure out where I am, where I thought I would be, where I’m headed and where I would like to be headed. I do this more on my birthday than even New Year’s. Sometimes, the results aren’t pretty. Other times, they are surprising. Many years, I simply adjust course and keep going. Some birthdays have definitely been more memorable than others of course, be it mentally or emotionally. I’ll just touch on a couple and not recount my entire life for you.

I remember turning 16 and being the oldest child, used to sharing and coming from a family with not much money, I certainly didn’t expect my parents to buy or give me a car. In fact, my parents told me that when I got my license and started driving, I would be expected to drive my sisters around where they needed to go, and I had to pay for my part of the insurance. Hence, I had to get a job. So I started working at the local big retail store that has since gotten too big for its own good, in my opinion. My mother dropped me off a couple of times before my grandfather gave me my first car: his old ’87 Fleetwood Cadillac. He had gotten a new one and I drove that boat around all over the place. If you wanna get good at parking, learn on a car that big! lol

The year I turned 20 was also the year I got married and that has it’s own regrets and lessons learned. I had heard and sort of knew that was very young to get married but I thought I was so mature. Little did I realize that I hadn’t had time to really get to know myself before chaining myself to a man who was definitely not worthy of my affection and caring.

When I turned 25, I had a few minutes of panic as I thought about my decision not to have children. There are medical issues that run in my family that usually present themselves after having kids. And with my marriage as it was, I knew bringing children into it was not a good idea. But almost every woman goes through a period where she really wants them or at least thinks about it hard. I knew the best time would have been before I turned 30 to start a family if that’s what I was going to choose to do. I’m still thankful that I chose not to go that route. If I had children, I would have taken care of them and loved them with all my heart, but seeing how things turned out, I definitely made the right decision to stick to my instincts and not have them.

I was 36 when I lost my dog, my cat, my grandmother, left my husband and moved into my own apartment for the first time. This is when I truly felt I began to live. Wow. Sounds like a country song doesn’t it? lol It was a very tumultuous time in my life but I learned a lot during that time. I miss my grandmother a lot. I miss having a dog a little. I don’t miss the ex a bit. lol

So this year? This year, I’m more optimistic about life than ever. I still plan on trying to get into better shape physically. I hope to finish losing the weight I was trying to over the last year. I am trying new things and exploring options and I feel like my future is bright. I am happier than I can remember ever being and while everything isn’t perfect, I certainly can say I’m on the upswing. And yes, I’m two years from being 40. 😉

Funny, one of my favorite songs came to mind as I was reading this to edit it. Maybe if you are a Five For Fighting fan, you already know it. If you want to check it out, here ya go: 100 Years

If you’d like to share a memory from one of your birthdays, I would love to hear about it! Just message me or drop me a note here.

Updates on Relationships and Weight Loss

So I thought I would take today to simply catch you up on a couple of things. First, I will update you on my relationship(s) with my two boyfriends. If this doesn’t interest you, just drop down to the next section. So West-Coaster took another job where he is as he couldn’t find anything here near me that would pay what he wanted. That means that our “relationship” will stay long-distance and I’m not really ok with that. I can’t move there and honestly, I don’t want to. He says that his long-term goal is still to move somewhere on this side of the country but who knows when or if that will ever work out. While we will still chat, text and visit with each other, the future of our relationship has shifted significantly to the more friends zone instead of anything more.

It took me a bit to get over that and to be open with you, I admit to feeling like I was just not enough to him for him to keep looking or accept a lower salary. Now he works a job that has him working 60+ hours a week and with the time difference, we barely text during the week anymore. We want different things out of life and have different priorities and that’s fine. He wants to make a good amount so that he can save to possibly be able to retire significantly early. I want to enjoy life while being content with having what I need and saving at a reasonable rate for the future. If that means retiring at 65, then I’m ok with that. He wants kids and I’ve decided that children aren’t for me. I love kids but I really don’t want any of my own. Many times, it’s not about one person being right or wrong in a relationship. Sometimes it’s just that you are both too different or want too different a life for things to work out.

However, things with “Native” are so awesome that I can’t tell you in words. I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with him and we can talk about anything and everything. We’re in the same line of work and while that has never been something I looked for in a relationship, it’s awesome to be able to ‘talk shop’ at the end of the day. (Don’t worry! HIPPA/privacy stays completely in tact! lol) He’s got a great heart and he treats me like a queen. I don’t think I could possibly be happier. Our future looks bright and we’re talking about serious commitment in the future being a possibility.

As for my weight loss program/routine, I admit that I seem to have stalled. It was supposed to be temporary but I haven’t been able to get motivated to try as hard again. I have not gained anything back so that is a relief. But I also haven’t lost any more.

I have a plan, however, to start with adding more exercise into my routine. This weekend is the time change where we fall back an hour and I plan on using this to get my butt out of bed earlier (as it will feel like the same time) and walk either outside or on the treadmill for half an hour Monday thru Thursday. I’m not sure about Friday as I have to get up earlier for a different work shift anyways. I hope this will get me pumped about working on my eating habits again and going back to being a bit more strict. If not, at least I will get in better physical shape.

So there you have it! An update on what’s happening with my relationships with the men in my life and also with food! lol On a side note, my birthday is next Wednesday. I plan on trying to do at least a short post on how it went. Don’t have anything exciting planned but who knows! 😀

Thinking Seriously of Trying Something New

As I have shared in previous posts, including the introductory post, I work in the medical field. I have for the past 13 years. I really love my job but after so long, it’s not quite as…fresh as it used to be. So I’ve been talking to a career counselor and thinking about my life and where I want to see myself going in the next 5, 10, 15…even 30 years.

One of the ideas I’m exploring is more of a hobby idea and possibly secondary income instead of a total change of careers. I have never had a fear of speaking up in front of a group. I inherited that from my father…good, bad or ugly. I’m thinking of trying out stand-up comedy. I love to make people laugh and I’m usually pretty good at it without trying too hard. I would love to try it for real and see how it goes.

I’ve heard for years that the fear of public speaking is the number one fear of most people. While I can see being a bit intimated by it, and I certainly don’t want to embarrass the hell out of myself or fall flat on my face, but I find that most people will be at least polite if the setting is right and you don’t truly insult them. And I can take just about anything if it’s only temporary.

I taught students part time for my medical job for a few years and while they had to pay attention, I tried to keep it lively and entertaining as well and quite a few thought I could be quite funny! Either that or they just wanted to butter me up to get a better grade. I choose to believe the former. 😀 And so the idea of doing stand-up comedy has floated in and out of my brain for a few years and used to be my joke that if I wasn’t teaching then I would have to try that.

So why wouldn’t I want to try to make this my career? Well, I’m personally not super keen on traveling all over the country trying to ‘make the big leagues’. I would be happy performing at local establishments or maybe having a regular booking a couple of places or something like that. Besides, being from the South…I’m not entirely sure my jokes and sense of humor would carry over to all parts of the country or world. Not being a regular traveler, I honestly have no idea.

To try to really take it seriously (pun intended), I plan on going to several open mic nights at different places and checking it out. I certainly have pretty good ideas about material to write but I want to see the types of places, the length of time allowed most places, the other people courageous enough to be out there trying this, and really hone my own style. Then I will write down my outline, or as I call it “my flow of ideas”, and practice, practice, PRACTICE!

Will I be nervous? Oh, you’d better believe it! But I don’t want fear to stop me from living! I want to put myself out there and take chances. Not the kind that are likely to kill you but definitely trying things that are outside of my normal comfort zone. That’s what life should be about! Living!

So what about you? Is there something out there that you’ve always wanted to try? Something that maybe you would love to put yourself out there for? Even if it’s only one time? I would love to hear about it! Maybe we could encourage each other!

Rethinking/Revamping the Blog

I started writing this blog in an attempt to organize my life into writing. I got discouraged because I didn’t hear from many people, and I haven’t really had a huge direction of where to go with this blog. I admit that I thought about giving it up. However, a…mentor or coach, for lack of better labels, encouraged me to rethink this blog. Even if no one else reads it, I do want some to know that it’s out there. I want people to see that I’m a flawed human being like everyone else. And maybe, someday, others won’t be scared to come out and share with me.

That said, I do plan on having more purpose to this blog. I want to share my struggles with everyday life, my own insecurities and dealing with the (in the words of the band “Stealers Wheel”) “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right” in this world around me. Because I want to inspire more connection with people. Maybe the entries I write won’t appeal to you. That’s okay. Maybe we can find some common ground, even if it’s a funny joke or story. Maybe it’s just that we both like ice cream! Either way, I want to connect with you people out there and I figure (yes, that’s a Southernism as far as I can tell) that I have to start with being vulnerable and out there myself. Give a little to earn a little right?

So I will be around. I will be writing at least, hopefully, once a week. I would love to hear that you are out there reading it too. Tell me what you want to read about or maybe you have a question or just want a sounding board about a topic. Maybe you need a Southern interpretation or opinion or just a different perspective. I’m here. Dang. Now I feel like Frasier Crane. “I’m listening.” lol

Have a great night everyone!

Elevator Etiquette (for laughs)

So this particular entry is really just for laughs and doesn’t really fit my usual categories but maybe you agree with me. Does it seem to you that lately nobody knows what good manners are anymore? And then there are those who don’t seem to know how basic things like elevators work. This is something I must take for granted. It seems simple enough: elevators are boxes on cables inside buildings that you get into to go up or down instead of taking the stairs. Well, I have a few gripes about how people don’t seem to get more basic manners or maybe just exactly how elevators work, but instead of being angry and ranting, I decided to simply list a few things to keep in mind. Maybe you know someone who should read this and forward it to them. 🙂

  1. Pushing the button to call the elevator once is enough. If I’m standing there waiting for the elevator and the button is lit up, there is no need for you to step in front of me and stab at the button ten more times. The elevator moves at one pace and it’s coming. Just relax! lol
  2. Hold the door for people! If you are on the elevator or the first one on and there is a group of people filing on or maybe they’re just a little slow, don’t let the damn doors close on the people. Find the “Door Open” button and hold it or trigger the sensor to keep the door from closing if at all possible. There’s no reason to watch an older person with a walker struggling to get onto the elevator and then get thrown off balance by the closing doors.
  3. If you’re by the only set of buttons, you are the designated operator. What does this mean? Well as people get on and you are crowding the buttons, ask them what floor they need and then push the button for them. Conversely, you can always get outta the way! lol The other side of that is, if you get on and I ask what floor and I’m pushing buttons, there’s no need to shove me out of the way to push the one you want. I promise I’ll push it if I asked. That said…
  4. Know where you want to go! I work in the medical field so people are always getting on the elevator for various floors that hold multiple suites and doctors’ offices and other businesses. No, I’m sorry that I don’t have the huge building’s directory memorized or have never even heard your doctor’s name. You need to know what floor you’re going to before getting on the elevator and don’t get mad at me when I don’t know where you need to go. lol I know my area and a couple of others. That’s it.
  5. No need to be rude or ignore people. I get it that maybe you’re tired or cross or just don’t feel like a long conversation. It’s a short trip in an elevator and I’ve felt that way on many days. But it makes my day when someone just smiles and says something like “hello” or “have a good day”. It takes so little effort and can make someone feel a little lighter. However, I also know that sometimes we can have things on our mind and not be paying attention. So I try to let little snubs go as I realize they might not be intentional. Or hell, maybe they don’t speak English and, as that’s the only language I know, they just didn’t understand me. But also…it is a short trip so don’t start a conversation that won’t finish when you or I need to go. lol
  6. Don’t crowd the door so people can’t get on or off. If I’m waiting for the elevator to open onto my floor and there’s a huge group around the door, it’s very hard for me to get off. Typically it’s better to let those on to get off before trying to stampede onto the elevator and run them over.

That’s it. Six short rules to try to keep in mind when you’re getting on or off an elevator. Not too difficult when you think about it. It’s just things that maybe people have forgotten. Do you have anything to add? I’d love to hear from you.