"Hello? Can everybody hear me?" *tap tap tap* "Is this thing on?"

I have clicked the “Create new post” button at least a dozen times over the past couple of weeks and then just sat there with my my fingers on the keyboard not knowing where to begin.  How does one pick up where she left off when it’s been almost a year?!  (Just how in the HELL has it been almost a year anyway?!?!)  I have no good reason for my absence, really.  When I’ve taken a hiatus before, it was because things were full of suck and I just didn’t care to talk about it, but that wasn’t the case this time!  2013 didn’t suck at all!  It didn’t involve much running, and I spent way more time working than I would have liked, and sure it had it’s sucky moments, but overall it didn’t suck!

Allow me to share some highlights…

  • We split a week between Destin, FL (my favorite beach spot within a reasonable driving distance) and New Orleans where we celebrated our 6th anniversary in May.
We usually go to Destin in the late summer, but  from now on we’ll be going early in the year!  We were there the second week of May and it was GLORIOUS.

Anniversary dinner at Cafe Giovanni

We even had the opportunity to volunteer at Villalobos while in New Orleans!
D with one of the adoptables at Villalobos.

The famous Cafe Du Monde.  Who knew “beignet” was just a fancy word for “funnel cake”?

Jazzin’ it up.
  • We saw Kevin Nealon at Zanies in Nashville… HILARIOUS!  (But now I’m pissed because I know I took pictures that night and now I can’t find them!)
  • D and I both took up a new hobby.
  • I became more involved in rescue by volunteering locally and doing some volunteer driving on transports.  

I cry every time I see this picture. I’d like to cut a body part off of whoever cut her ears like that.

  • I started a new program here in town inspired by Abbi’s Miles & Mutts!  We take local shelter dogs to the park for exercise and socialization and to hopefully meet potential adopters.
Chops – ADOPTED!

D with Einstein – available for adoption

Me with Chops again

Cola – available for adoption.  She’s my pick of the pack right now.  I started this program last April, and she was already in the shelter then… who knows how long before that.  She’s been overlooked so many times… the “large black dog” syndrome.  She is such a fantastic dog and excellent running partner.  She sat a distance record for herself this weekend at a local 5-mile race!  I’m getting her out and networking her like crazy trying to get her out of that shelter!  If you’re looking for the perfect young, affectionate, high-energy black lab girl, please contact me!
  • Bella had her second surgery on her knee.  This was definitely not one for the “doesn’t suck” category, but it was a major event of 2013.  Financially anyway.  She reinjured it only a few months after her ACL repair and had to have meniscal repair too!  We were referred to an orthopedic specialist at UT Knoxville Veterinary Hospital for this one, and they did a wonderful job getting her back up and running.
  • Lots of fun times with the furry kids. 
Bella knows no stranger.  If you are at the dog park and you have a ball, she is your friend.

The old girl, C.C., enjoying some sunshine.

Bella’s first hotel stay the night before her appointment with the orthopedist in Knoxville.

Summertime fun.

Harley never got in the pool.  He was more interested in the water hose.  He loooooves getting sprayed.

Redneck baby gate.  This is how you allow your dog to get some sunshine after surgery when stairs are still off limits.

Nothing like a pittie smile.

More dog park fun.

Supporting a neighboring county’s humane society at their Barktoberfest.

Harley’s new friend, Gnash.  Bella and Harley have a new pupsitter, and Gnash is her dog.  Instant buds.

Bella and Gnash.
  • Saw Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band in concert.  AMAZING musicianship!

  • Crossed a major item off my bucket list and went to a Cardinals World Series game!  Remember Game 3?  The one that ended in extra innings on an obstruction call?  The one they’re calling the most bizarre ending to a World Series game in history?  Yeah, WE WERE THERE!  It was a night I’ll remember forever.

So there you have it.  That’s my year in a nutshell.  I actually didn’t realize how fantastic it was until I started looking back through a year’s worth of memories in photos.  It may not be that exciting or interesting to some, but it’s my life, and I freaking love it.

Here, have some bullets!

Walmart may be selling out of ammo, but I’ve got plenty of bullets here!

  • I’m trying to enjoy this week while it lasts because as of this Saturday I will have no help at work.  My right-hand woman is transferring, so that means I’m looking at long days and six days a week for the foreseeable future.  (I know, I know.  First world problem.  “Woe is me, I have a job…”)  I’ve talked to someone that’s interested in transferring into my office, so I’m hoping that transfer goes thru quickly.  And I use the term “quickly” VERY loosely here.  This IS the government we’re talking about.  I’ll be thrilled if it happens before May.  If not, that’ll put me in a bit of a pickle because…
  • We have a vacation scheduled for the week of our anniversary in mid-May.  Not the big one to the Dominican that I’ve mentioned a couple of times.  We’ve still got that one on hold.  We know it won’t happen till at least August, so this one is to hold our sanity over until then.  We’re gonna go back to Destin again for a few days then drive over to New Orleans for a few days.  I’m kind of excited about that.  We’ve been to Destin several times.  It’s always been our go-to spot for a quick, cheap, relaxing beach vacation, but neither of us have been to New Orleans.  The thing I’m most excited about doing while we’re there is volunteering at Villalobos!
  • I got a new wedding band.  My job now is more manual than any job I’ve had since I’ve had my wedding set, and I’ve been scared to death that I would knock a diamond out of it.  Plus, since coming to this new office I’ve had a couple of customers make me feel uncomfortable with their “that sure is a pretty ring” comments.  I know what a compliment sounds like, and this was definitely more sinister.  So from now on, unless it’s occasion-appropriate, instead of wearing this
1.5ct diamond and white gold
I’ll be wearing this
$25 tungsten band from Amazon
  • We got new living room furniture!  I’ll post a before and after shot when we get the new rug and tables and paint the walls.
  • We sold our old living room suite, except for the love seat.  The dogs got to keep that.  Puppyhood rendered our love seat only fit for dogs.  Remember this?
  • I have a new favorite brownie recipe.  It’s by Chocolate Covered Katie.  My friend Shelly made them and raved about them, so, being the brownie whore that I am, I had to try them myself.  Dude.  They were insanely good.  I took them to a Superbowl party, and people ate the shit out of them.  I never told any of them (including and especially the hubs) that they were made from black beans.
I’m worse than a damn child when it comes to being patient enough for brownies to cool before I try to cut them.
  • I’m letting my hair grow out.  It feels crazy long to me!  This is the longest it’s been in years!

Who’s been to New Orleans?  Tell me some must-do things!

Three Things Thursday – Florida Edition

1. We are in Destin this week for our annual end-of-summer beach fix. We always take one big vacation early in the summer and then come to Florida for a relaxing week around the end of August or early September. We’re in a great location–just across the street from the water, within walking distance of a grocery, and there’s an awesome boardwalk and bike path spanning the entire length of the beachfront street we’re on. It’s always busy with people walking, running, biking, and skating, so I’ve had a great place to get my runs in this week.
2. I finally did it. Something I said I’d never do. I ditched my shirt during a run. I’ve been sleeping in this week, so it’s been pretty flippin’ hot when I would start my run. About two miles into Monday’s 6 miles (I shuffled my running days and distances around this week), I was MISERABLE. At that point I just didn’t care. I pulled my shirt off and continued my run in all my jiggly glory.  I felt soooooo much better. And who cares if someone didn’t like it? I won’t see them again anyway! And I’ve seen people in far worse shape than I am wearing far less I was!
3. The ocean isn’t very pretty this week. It usually looks like this.

A beautiful, clear, blue-green color and very calm.  This week it’s all lake-water brown with tons of seaweed.  The riptides have been pretty fierce, and I guess that’s got everything all churned up.  It’s all good though!  The sand is still white and the beer is still cold!