I actually didn’t plan to make any New Year’s resolutions this year.  Yet somehow, I ended up making some anyway.  They fall into three different categories which I am calling: the body, the schedule, and the mind.


  1. Eat more fish and less beef
  2. Eat more vegetables and less carbs
  3. Visit the gym at least weekly


  1. Clean the cats’ litter box every morning
  2. Clean the house every week
  3. Make the bed every morning


  1. Be less judgmental
  2. Be more kind
  3. Be more giving

Lesson Learned

You know that stupid saying?  The old standby to whip out when you’re thinking about NOT taking a risk: “it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.”  Of course, there are other variations.  My personal favorite (and adult in nature) is: “it’s all shits and giggles until someone giggles and shits.”  I guess the phrase is usually referring to people having a good time…maybe too good a time.  But really ANYTHING can be all fun and games….until someone loses an eye.  It doesn’t have to be an obvious risk.

Can you tell that right now I’m speaking from paranoia?  Well, I used to love driving.  I loved driving myself places so that I could go by alone if I wanted.  I loved driving for the convenience of it. I loved feeling productive in driving.  Right now though, driving is probably my absolute least favorite thing.  So yes, it was all fun and games until someone lost an eye.  In this case, until someone (read: me) hydroplaned on the interstate.

I was heading home to Chapel Hill on Wednesday morning after Christmas.  It was raining, and I was feeling really worried about hydroplaning. Well, lo and behold, about 10 songs into the new Adele CD gifted to me by my brother, my car hit a sheet of water and spun out of control.  I honestly don’t remember anything but screaming my head off and then seeing that I was in the guard rail.  My driver side airbags had deployed with efficiency, and I was saved from any significant injuries via the windshield thanks to my seatbelt. The first responders that pulled over when they saw what happened told the responding officer (who was really, truly kind and gentle with me) that I spun and hit the guard rail three different times.  It’s really astounding that I didn’t hit anyone else or injure myself more seriously.

What I did come out with was severe whiplash, slight head trauma, and anxiety.  The real effects didn’t really start to manifest themselves until the next day when I woke up stiff as a board.  Of course that hadn’t been helped by the fact that the night before I had a small breakdown when I couldn’t sleep because my brain insisted on replaying what I did remember of the accident. So I went to the doctor, and they gave me something for it.  The magical somethings worked, and I stopped taking them.

What I’m now realizing though is that even though the worst of the whiplash is leaving, the anxiety and tension remain.  I was driving in the rain tonight on a twisty road when I realized I was having a sort-of panic attack.  In a fifty mph zone, I was clocking thirty-five because I was terrified.  My shoulders were tense and my neck was stiff.  Every curve gave me a minor heart attack.  So, I immediately retreated to a friend’s house that I was close to and gave in to comforting hugs.  

Maybe I don’t deserve this.  After all, I wasn’t speeding when I hydroplaned.  I wasn’t driving crazy.  I was being careful.  But I guess it happens to all of us.  However, while I might have been a little more cavalier in my driving habits before the accident, now I’m firmly in the camp of “better safe than sorry.”  The main lesson I’ve learned though is that there are aftershocks.  And my experience as of day six post-accident is that the effects of an accident like that are long-lasting.  The hard lessons we learn don’t hurt because of what actually happens.  They hurt because of what they continue to do to us. 

So, this new year, everyone please be safe.

‘Cause it’s all shits and giggles until somebody giggles and shits. 


Today is Thanksgiving, and my Thanksgiving break has maybe been a little more dramatic than I would like.  Regardless of whatever else is happening though, there are a few things that for which I will always be thankful.

  1. A relationship with God.  This is what has led me to be thankful for everything else in my life.
  2. The unconditional love of my fiancee and best friend Ben King.  No matter what, he’s rooting for me, picking me up when I fall down, talking me through my ups and downs, pushing me a little farther, holding me close when I need comfort, and giving me a new adventure each day.
  3. The true friendship I enjoy with three very special ladies: Jane Martyn, Anya Abashian, and Rebecca McDaniel.  These three women are each special to me in different ways but they see me and understand me for who I am, even when I’m being a brat.
  4. The fellowship I enjoy with Howard and Donya McLeod and their children Katie and Max.  They have welcomed me with open arms and watched me transform during my time in Chapel Hill.  Their family means more to me than they will ever know.
  5. The always cuddling, purring, grooming, snuggling love of my fur children: Pippa and Louis.  Their love is so simple but so heartwarming.  They are my own little family.
  6. Finally, with the prospect of being repetitious, I a


    m so so so thankful that God has provided for me in every way.

Below are some pictures of those for which I’m thankful.


Anya in Ann Arbor, MI. Miss her!

The lovely and fun Becca.

Howard, Donya, Max, and Katie McLeod in Belize the Spring of 2011.

Ben and I in Carrboro, NC.

Jane and I in Charleston before eating at Poogan’s Porch in October of 2011.

Cat Lady in Resident

I can wholeheartedly say that a cat lady is something I never wanted to be.  Yet here I am with two cats who I talk about more than anything else like they’re my children.  Well, guess what? I’m happy to say that I have two lovely, adorable cats and I am proud of it.  I can’t say I’m too happy at being associated with the stereotypical cat lady who has ten cats each named a variant on “fluffy.” But at the end of the day, when Ben picks me up from work and takes me back to my apartment, I am extremely happy to see my two cats racing to see me and eager to be loved.

I love this picture because it exudes such a sense of peace and love. They are most often like this in the morning when I’m waking up.

Hummingbirds, butterflies, and a lizard named Rango

So, by my estimation, the garden is flourishing.  How do I know?  Because we’ve had multiple hummingbirds visit the hyssop, tons of butterflies, and a resident lizard that we’ve named Rango.


So, the Hyssop has definitely been a big draw for the hummingbirds and the butterflies.  The small trumpet shape is just perfect for hummingbirds as you can see below.  

This is the type of hyssop we have.  It’s called Root Beer Hyssop (or Agastache rupestris).  However there are lots of different types, and they all have wonderful properties.  This is a nice link on the qualities of hyssop and what it can be used in and why it’s so good to have in your kitchen garden:

Being Thankful

Every year around November, turkeys begin to appear everywhere while people begin to ask, “What are thankful for?”  Often my glib response (or what I hope is glib) is about being alive.  Well yes, being alive is definitely something to be thankful for, but I realized recently just how much I have to be thankful for and how little gratitude I show.  

Springtime (or Summertime here in Chapel Hill) has brought out in me a thankful attitude as I’ve realized what I have.  Let’s start with the garden.  I have a blooming, bursting, bountiful, beautiful retreat from the world right behind my apartment.  I mean, I’m thankful that everything grew to start with, but I’m also pretty grateful that my boyfriend Ben did all of the heavy lifting and planting.  Suddenly, feeling grateful seems to make the garden that much more enjoyable!  I mean…the raspberries certainly help though.

So, I started realizing how little I had to complain about…and then, reality: there is ALWAYS something to complain about–especially at work.  Besides, ranting and raving a little bit always serves to make me feel better.  But at the end of that, I realize just how glad I am to have a job. More than that, I’m glad to have a job that I truly enjoy.  How many people can say that? And regardless of how many people can say it, I can go home at the end of the day being happy because I feel fulfilled.

Have I mentioned how glad I am that I got a cat?  Well, I am ecstatic.  When we got her, I was afraid that Pippa was going to end up shy and reclusive.  Low and behold, she has become my little shadow as she follows me around the house mew-ing at my heels while she isn’t playing with Ben.  SCORE!  She is the world’s coolest cat.

May I also add how happy I am that Ben and I are continuing in a productive relationship?  I think it’s fantastic that both of us are working on our issues as well as staying in touch about them.  I think it hit me the other day just how wonderful things have been of late… and I hope they only get better.

More than anything, I am thankful to feel a sense of purpose in life.  This has to be one of the most important aspects of any life according to Victor Frankl (Holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning).  I must say that I agree with him wholeheartedly.  So, I am grateful for finding meaning and I hope I continue to enjoy and define it.  

I guess I started thinking about this whole thankfulness thing when I was at Barnes and Noble the other week and saw a five-year journal for one sentence a day.  The journal’s instructions were to write one sentence each day about what you find beautiful.  Well, I may not write it down every day, but from here on out, I am determined to think each day about what I find wonderful!