Don’t be a Halloweenie!

I love Halloween. But for different reasons now than I did in college and when I was younger. Aside from the obvious reasons, ahem, candy… When I was little it was the one time a year I got to be someone else for a little while. In doing that I got to be free… Strange as it sounds, behind a mask, under the makeup, I got to be more myself. That still fits me today, I feel much more comfortable behind the scenes than in the spotlight.

In college, obviously, it was a great reason to party like my inner rock star. However, since then, my inner rock star? Yeah she’s retired. Now I prefer chillin on the couch in front of the fire watching (and singing along to) the nightmare before Christmas… Again.

Some things I have learned from 29 high country Halloweens:

1. Trick or treaters only come when you don’t have any candy. It never fails. You forget the candy and they will come. In droves.

2. On the years when you forget the candy, don’t forget to wear pants. Now, I love getting off work and taking off my pants and getting in my pajamas. But when the tiny humans come (and they will come especially in the years you have neither candy nor pants) they won’t appreciate your lack of pants as much as you do. Neither will their parents.

3. If you live in a college town and don’t want to party? Just. Go. Home. College students are crazy. As in coo coo for cocoa puffs. And you don’t want none of that mess. But I love those hot-mess-of-an-almost-adult college students. So I forgive them.

Whatever you do, fall in love with Halloween. Embrace the joy, the freedom, the sheer fun.

And be safe.


who do you want to be?

when i was in college, one of my professors asked me a question that, at the time, seemed very random. she asked me “who do you want to be when you grow up?” i started to answer her saying “i want to be a…” and she cut me off saying “no… WHO do you want to be?”

i’ve been thinking about this conversation a lot lately. i have a career that i love, i own my own home, i’m generally very happy. but i’m not grown up. i’ve said it before, i’ll say it again… i never want to be “grown up” because that seems like the end of something rather than part of a journey. everyone always wants to ask you what you want to do with your life, what you want to be. but her question struck a chord with me. i don’t want to be a what. i want to be a who. now who that who (haha sounds like owls) i’m still figuring out. here’s what i have so far:

i want to be the kind of person who

  • is thankful of everything she has but isn’t so humble as to not try for her dreams.
  • loves without boundaries, without strings.
  • works for a living but doesn’t live for working (this one is really hard for me).
  • finds beauty in the pretty and in the ugly.
  • is fair and just.
  • will turn the other cheek once but won’t be walked over.
  • gives back to this amazing thing we call life.
  • trusts other people (also really hard for me) and who people can trust in.
  • has faith in something.
  • does laundry in a timely manner. i believe this one may sadly neve be accomplished. i hate laundry.
  • saves the world, one act at a time.
  • smells the roses. and then takes a picture of them to keep that memory with her.
  • for-real-smiles too much (none of that fake crap)
  • helps peole because she wants to, not because she has to.

i’ve found that i like lists. i’m sure you, dear reader, have noticed it as well. i think i know why. they can be marked up, added to, or crumpled and thrown at a wall. there are so many ways to deal with a list. much easier than dealing with people.

so i’ve had this in the back of my mind for all these years. my “who” has changed a little over the years. i think this list has shaped “what” i’ve become. it’s because of the who that i decided to work in human resources, why i took up photography, why i am a regular blood donor. strange how one conversation 6 years ago has shaped me.

someone said something to me that is absolutely hilarious and absolutely true. i have adhd. i wasn’t diagnosed until i was through with school ironically. you see when i was growing up, having adhd had a stigma associated with it that was very negative. so people would jump through hoops to make sure there was no way their child(ren) had this ability. now it’s not as big of a deal and can be managed pretty easily and effectively.

so, i have a good friend who is also has adhd and he and i make jokes about it quite a bit. in reality it’s not fun, but if you can’t laugh about something like this it means the diagnosis owns you, not the other way around. anyways… he said to me this weekend that having adhd is like having post-it notes raining in your head. so true! think about what that would feel like (i mean without the papercuts to the brain) and you have an idea of what it’s like to live that life.

change of subject. as a service industry worker, we have quite a few traditions that we just love. one of the most loved (especially in restaurants) is what we refer to as “initiation.” this is where, basically, we get our rocks of by pulling pranks on new employees. now, i’m not much of a liar. in fact i’m a terrible liar. but, for some reason, i can convince new employees that a certain task i’m asking they do is perfectly legit and relevant to their job no matter how silly it may seem. this always works best if you have another restaurant close by that also participates. you can send people for all manner of things.

one time, we sent some poor kid next door to another restaurant for a steam hitch, a grill stretcher, a can of a.i.r., and some xp147 (i think that’s what we called it). well, he came back loaded down with some plastic tubing, some kind of hook-on-a-stick, a spray bottle of goodness knows what, and holding it waaaaayyyy out in front of him like it’s a bomb that could go off at any time, a cup filled with some unidentifiable liquid. seriously. it was hilarious watching him carefully pick his way across the parking lot, trying not to fall or spill or drop somehting. i would love to hear what they told him that liquid would do to make him so afraid of it.

but we waitstaff are a bit milder than the kitchen. see below. yes, it happens. all. the. time.


(hint hint… the water NEVER runs out.)

i suppose it’s time to ‘fess up…

so i tried one of those online dating sites a while ago. there. i said it. i know that there are people everywhere that have met their significant other online and are happy as a unicorn on a cloud of rainbows, but i’ve never thought it would be for me. i’m more of a “i need to get to know you to your face” person. until a friend of mine talked me into it by convincing me it’s like “man shopping.” so i broke down and decided to try it. i mean what the hell right? here is what i learned: i’m glad i tried it so that i know for a fact, it’s just not for me.

now i know that by having this blog and putting my thoughts out there in the universe i probably share a little too much. but the thing is, i’m comfortable with myself (for the most part) and it’s just damn therapeutic to let things out of my head. i know that i should be writing it all down in a journal, but i realized that i like that other people can see my thoughts. i read someone elses random thoughts once and even though they will never know it, those random thoughts helped me go through something really tough and come out on the other side. so if my random, adhd, cray-cray, single 29 (!) year old thoughts can do that for someone else out there, i’m just gonna put it out there. it’s not like i’m telling my (or anyone elses) secrets… well except for this one. but it’s not really a secret anymore is it?

back to the post at hand. i share a lot. but what some other people share is way waaaayyy too much. something about being online gives people the idea that they can say things that are just not right. there are just some things on these sites that can’t be un-read. know what i’m saying? like the one guy who’s obsessed with chickens. {{inward shudder}} also… the propositions. oh dear. bless their hearts. and i mean that in the most southern way possible. do they think i’m some kind of… um… yeah there’s no nice word for that. i may not be a supermodel, but that does not mean i think any less of myself. and for someone to assume that i base my self worth off of what i look like is well… not. cool.

needless to say, i gave that up. i know that some people would say that you can’t judge the whole orchard by a few bad apples and i didn’t. i didn’t quit right after that incident, but it’s really just not my style.


oh and rocktober has returned to town. i love this month. it’s beautiful and i can make my entire mortgage payment in like a weekend if i’m lucky. that being said, please as fall rolls around, if you are going out to eat in a tourist town, take care of your servers. this time of year is insane. especially if you are in a college football tourist town. and servers/service industry workers remember what i said, we are all in this together so help each other out. we’ll get though this one kickoff, one fallen leaf at a time.

ok. we’re done here.

it’s the little things in life.

i had a really good weekend. friday i took the day off, just to be off work, and wandered around my sleepy little town (which… come to think of it… isn’t actually that sleepy this time of year). i had an epic (as in multiple hours) long lunch with a dear friend… who is also probably the funniest person i know. we laughed until we cried, oh and i also stabbed the roof of my mouth with an oyster shell. it happens.

i also had the chance to go to a wake forest/nc state football game. i of course being the freakshow that i am, managed to get punched in the face (very much an accident) by an over excited fan. really? i’m the queen of wrong place/wrong time. i’m now the proud new owner of a mini black eye. it is a badge i wear with honor and pride (ok so maybe i cried just a little bit when it happened).

i also had the chance to shoot one of my best friends (no, not with a gun… with a camera) in her wedding gown for her bridal portrait. fortunately, she’s one of those people who loves to have her picture taken so, i went just a tad crazy. unfortunately, thanks to the government shutdown, i couldn’t use the location i wanted to use and had to go to my backups.

and yesterday i also got to spend the day with my perfect nephew. seriously, the kid is too cute for his own good. the whole ride he was studying me like i had two heads or something… it was hilarious. nothing i said or did phased him. but then he decided he liked me and tried to eat my hand. and my check engine light came on again on the way back up the mountain.

i know it sounds like i’m complaining about something that happened during each of these events. i’m not. in fact, the black eye incident is so funny to me i’m still laughing about it. the point that i’m trying to make is that it’s not the little things that can ruin an otherwise good day, they add a layer, they add color and vibrance.

it’s a lot like looking at a good photograph. doesn’t matter if it’s in color or not. the light areas aren’t the only thing that exist in the picture. to have a good picture, you have to have the darks. they balance. they make you appreciate the light. they add depth and importance. someone told me you can’t appreciate joy without pain, i get that now. it’s about the contrast, about not living in a flat world. embrace the darks.

in other news (i think i use that phrase too much but it’s such a good segway (did i even spell that correctly?))…

you know when you get a song stuck in your head and the more you try actively to not think of it so it goes away, the more it repeats? i’ve had a song by blues traveler (at least it’s good music) stuck in my head for days now. the thing is that the song isn’t relevant to my current situation (it’s about a break-up… yeah… ironic right?) so i don’t know why it won’t go away. i also don’t know where it came from, i must’ve heard it on the radio i suppose. doesn’t matter.

so in my search to get said song out of my head, i’ve been revisiting the music i grew up with. and i still love all of it, well all of it that i liked in the first place. sister hazel, blues traveler, goo goo dolls, etc. are the soundtrack of my youth and i love it. it’s been quite an experience reconnecting with songs that i still know all the words to. it’s funny how when i sing something, i can remember the words. i know more lyrics than any other type of information it seems. maybe i should have sung my chemistry homework in high school?

gah, i love music. and photography. and life.

it’s 4 am. where are your marbles?

DISCLAIMER: i started writing this at 4:17 in the morning going on only 4 hours of sleep. if it doesn’t make sense, set your alarm for 4:00 am and reread it… if it still doesn’t make sense, there’s nothing more i can do for you here. okthanksbye!

you know that phrase “you’ve lost your marbles?” where do they go when you lose them? i am speaking in the figurative, not literal sense. i haven’t played marbles in years. so i guess you could say, if i were in fact speaking literally, i lost mine years ago. however, as we are currently in the figurative world, i’ll say i lost mine about 17 minutes ago when i started laughing about the fact that yet again, it was 4:00 am and i was awake.

4:00 am seems to be my jam. somehow, when i look at the clock in the middle of the night it’s always 4 o’clock in the freaking morning. this is not something i relish, however it is something i accept. my compulsion to check the clock started years ago, i know it’s not healthy and all the sleep experts tell you not to, but if i don’t check it, i can’t go back to sleep. i wouldn’t generally describe myself as an OCD person… 87.2% of the time i’m much more of a go-with-the-flow type, but it’s little idiosyncrasies like this that just make me awesome.

the problem i have with waking up at 4 is that when i’m anxious about something or stressed or sad, that is the only time of day i just can’t turn off my emotions. i can’t block thoughts from my head so when i’m not in the best place mentally and i wake up in the middle of the night, not-so-stellar things happen. that’s the problem with being someone who compartmentalizes things in her brain, sometimes those compartments come bursting forth in a blaze of glory when you least expect it.

but it’s ok.

i have to remind myself that sometimes, it’s ok to lose your marbles for a minute. you’ll find them again (or you’ll set up shop in a mental institution… either way, at least you have a plan). so today… tonight?… instead of a panic attack, i giggled. some might say maniacally, but hey, it kept me breathing right? and i decided to put my time to good use. now that i have recorded my thoughts for posterity sake, i’m going to run some errands.


the bitchy waitress

there’s a blog that i love to stalk in my spare time. ok so i don’t actually have a lot of spare time, but when i get the chance (and you should check it out also if you get the chance) i love reading it is freaking hilarious. and so very true to so many of us who have spent years working in the service industry. so today, in honor of the bitchy waiter, i bring you the bitchy waitress…

one of his articles was on “10 signs you’ve worked in a restaurant too long” and i thought it was the funniest thing i read all weekend. so my salute to that, is this:

“you might work in a restaurant if…”

you stalk blogs about other people who work in restaurants and then write about it.

you’ve seen the movie “waiting” and pretty much live it every day.

you rush to help people carry things because we all know what happens when a full plate of wings gets dropped on the floor.

you understand that personal space is not in fact personal and will be invaded often.

you don’t realize how bad you smell like a restaurant until you walk out of that restaurant at the end of your shift.

you separate your laundry by restaurant/not restaurant rather than colors/whites.

you understand that even though they can be ugly, crocs are some of the best shoes.

the magic words inside your head are “shift beer” rather than “abracadabra.”

you instantly bond to others who have worked in the service industry and know that those who haven’t just won’t ever understand.

your friends look to you for wine selection when you go out to eat.

you overtip. every. single. time.

you know what it means to be a psychologist, friend, server, photographer, birthday singer, and bouncer all at the same time. for $2.13 and hour.

you and your best friend make promises to each other not to ever be THAT customer upon fear of death.

dirty jokes, comments about hygiene, sex, politics, you name it, don’t even phase you anymore.

you can make enough money to pay your mortgage/rent in three days in the summertime but in the winter it takes three weeks.

you understand that some of the best humans have or do work in the service industry.

you want to kill -ahem- gently chastise the tiny humans who run in front of you when you have an arm full of hot food.

your dominant arm is substantially stronger than you other arm because those plates are damn heavy.

you relate most other areas of your life/career outside of the restaurant back to the restaurant.

you can go from bitchy to sweetness and light in .2 seconds when you walk out of that wait station.

i could actually, probably keep going with this. the point is that working in a restaurant whether you are a (bitchy) waitress, bartender, cook, busser, cashier, caterer, expediter, host, or manager (yes, i have done all of this at some point or another) is a unique, terrifying, uplifting, interesting, and ever-changing experience. you will make the best of friends, have the worst of shouting matches. you will be groped, abused and appreciated… all in the same shift. you will work long hours for tiny pay and some short hours for bank.

personally i fee that every person should have to work in the service industry at some point or another if for no other reason than to give them a healthy appreciation for the people who choose to be there.

so next time you go out to eat, remember your server is a person and is one of many that form a team to get you the food you ordered. they are, for a short while, here to make your life a tiny bit better (as long as your tiny humans don’t get in their way) and want to make you happy. they work in service for a reason (even if that reason is just to pay rent) and that is in and of itself quite a statement.


oh. and please tip.

Conferences people… Conferences.

I love conferences. Granted, this is only the second one I’ve been to, but you have to understand… They give out free pens like its nobody’s business. And this speaks to my inner bartender in ways you couldn’t imagine.

So here’s the thing about this post, it’s not exactly about conferences (even though, as we have established, I love them).

So, you know those bittersweet moments that have a way if sneaking up on you? just when you think you’ve gotten past the surprise, you’re smacked out of left field with the past?

That happened to me today.

Those of you who know me for real already know the story I’m about to tell, but its still something I have to just say. I had this amazing friend. Like for reals. She was a great mom, a good manager, and one of the most genuine people the world has ever seen.

So we drove across the country once, well almost anyways. 1980 miles. 7 states. 42 hours. At the time many people asked us how we put up with each other for that intense amount of time. The answer is easy, we talked. A whole freaking lot. About everything. When she started hallucinating from a combination of no sleep and too much red bull, I talked her down. When I did the same and saw fireworks and monkeys that didn’t really exist… She made me pull over and switch so we didn’t crash.

I can’t really explain what Terrie was to me because there are no words. We all have (at least) that one friend who transcends friendship and becomes family. I am fortunate to have many of them. But T was my other mother (if you can have one of those), my solid place to go when my brain overloaded.

Three months after we went on this trip, had this adventure, she was killed in a car accident. On the way to work. 5 miles from home. We went 1980 miles and she was killed in 5. Miles. From. Home.

Today, for the first time… Almost exactly to the freaking day, 6 years later, I drove on that road again. I traveled to Phoenix in my mind. I did not expect that, but it happened. And in the end? I realized that I gotta go on. Life is what it is. I MISS Terrie. But I still am ya know… Me.

on beerfests and bone marrow

apparently, there is this magical place called “beerfest” in the high country. it exists for a brief moment in time, it brings smiles, breaks hearts, causes the occasional arrest… you know… the usual things associated with a bunch of 21-something-year-olds. i myself have never experienced it… until this year.

so. beerfest. now like any other (well a lot of other) grown adults i enjoy beer. no, i am not a young college kid looking to get drunk as fast as i can, i actually like trying new beer and figuring out what they did/included/changed in the process to make it taste differently. i am a beer snob. i admit it. if i choose to drink (which isn’t quite as often as you would think) i find myself choosing what to drink based on my prefered tastes rather than the volume of alcohol my wallet can afford.

that being said, bring me to a festival celebrating the art of craft beers on my birthday (weekend)? no-brainer. i have a very good friend who graciously bought me a ticket so that i could go for the first time. i had fun. will i be repeating the experience? we’ll see.

another thing i did for my birthday is register for “be the match.” now what is “be the match” you ask? it’s a national bone marrow donation registry. the theory is that someday, someone who needs it will be matched with me and i will go to the hospital, get put to sleep, and they will take my bone marrow in hopes of saving someone elses life.

so why is this such a big deal to me? i mean, i donate blood every two months or so. why is this different? well, you see i really don’t like pain. and should they need me… it’s gonna hurt. but when i think about it, if i were the one with leukemia or if it were my brother, my nephew… what’s a little pain? everyone who needs a match is a brother, a sister, a mom, a dad, a nephew. so what’s the difference if they are mine or someone elses?

so if you get a chance, check it out at all it takes is a little time and a swab of the inside of your cheek. chances are you won’t ever get called, but if you do it could mean the difference between just today and lots of tomorrows for someone in need. besides, you could totally pull the sympathy “but i saved a life and now i’m in pain” card for at least a week right? we’re talking presents here people. presents.

summah summah summah time

tell the truth. you’ve missed me haven’t you? i know you’ve been going through withdrawal, don’t worry, it’s ok… i’m back.

where have i been you ask? well, the truth is, i just freaking love summer. summer time really revs up for me since i pick up a couple of extra jobs oh and there’s that whole outdoor thing. i love outside. seriously. however, you can’t really live where i live and not at least have a healthy respect for it. but seriously, it’s one of the more beautiful places on earth and as a girl with a camera, well, you get the picture (see! my ability to pun hasn’t completely deserted me!)

i want to share something with you. you know that one friend that you have that you have the most random conversations with? well, i’ve recorded a few. i would like to say as a disclaimer, we are both very healthy, functional adults who have direction and have accomplished many of our life goals. that being said, we aren’t always mature.

conversation 1: now, just in case you don’t know this, i don’t handle being sick well. i get cranky and bitchy and impatient and i just want to be left alone. but i also don’t want to do the things for myself that normally, i don’t mind doing at all, like say… turning off the overhead light.


conversation 2: we are not alcoholics (i don’t think) however we do have a very healthy respect for the ability to unwind and let loose with the aid of a tasty adult beverage. and yes, sometimes that can affect our choices. specifically those regarding how we view interior design.


conversation 3: again, we don’t really abuse our privileges of being over 21, but sometimes, two unrelated things, such as tequila and my insane geriatric dog absolutely go hand in hand.


also, just in case you were wondering, yes, i do have permission to use these. please make her dream of being famous come true!


so, it’s that time of year again where the Blowing Rock Community Foundation starts it’s annual Community Days. I’ve been bumped up from lowly beer wench (ok so that was actually a pretty fun time) and this year will be participating in Groovy Nights.

“what is Groovy Nights?” you may ask… well guess what, i’m gonna tell you. my community has a lot of talent. seriously. now talent at what, you will have to just find out for yourself. but once a year, we all get together and get on stage with one (well maybe two) purposes to (a) make you laugh until you pee yourself and (b) raise money for the community. as you know, i am a champion for my community because they send kids like me to college. they make dreams come true.

so my aunt asked me if i would help them out this year. immediately i said “sure!” then, she said the dreaded words:

“yeah, it’s this really neat dance called the illusion dance”

DANCE??? oh crap. i can’t dance. i have not rhythm. and i’m clumsy. oh double crap. well, i looked up this dance and it didn’t look too hard, even for someone like me. that is, until i realized that we will all be attached to one another. triple crap. so if i go down, we all go down.

anything for a laugh right?

i’m sure that i’ll keep you up to date on how the performance goes off. i will say that so far, there has been no bodily harm or permanent injury. i’ve only stubbed my toe and haven’t managed to take out half the female population of my family (btw, the other dancers are my aunts, a cousin, and some close family friends). i’m actually looking forward to it, i just hope i can keep a straight face and that my wig doesn’t fall off mid-performance.

sigh. the things i get into.

in other news of the summer, i got to work the symphony again this year… FIREWORKS! i really, really love fireworks. i have since i was a kid. and unfortunately because of the gross weather and other commitments i didn’t get to see any at the fourth of july (yeah, first time in probably 25 years or more). so instead i got a front row seat to see them over a lake. i’m a lucky, lucky girl.

enjoy your summer, there isn’t much left. bonus points if you recognized the lyrical reference in the title.


somedays i go all meredith grey on you readers.

ok, so everything i write is a soliloquy that comes out of my head worthy of meredith grey. for those of you who have never watched grey’s anatomy (truth time: until 2 weeks ago i had never seen a single episode of the huge phenomenon that is grey’s anatomy so if you haven’t seen it, i understand), the main character, meredith grey, has (in almost every single episode) a monologue at the beginning and end of the episode that talks about the world through her eyes. how she sees different events, how she believes the human race lives, you get the point.

so i kinda do this to all of you readers. it’s just in print form and i don’t know nearly the medical terminology that dr. grey does.

oh, and i write my own stuff because my life is not a tv show and i don’t have a group of writers that pick out what they think should go in my head. and i’m not a fictional character.

anyways! so what have i been up to lately you ask? ok so you don’t ask, but, i’m gonna tell you anyways. because i can.

i may or may not have mentioned that i can’t grow plants for shit. yes, i’m southern, and i’m sure somewhere along the line, i have farmers in my family history. my dad has grown gardens before. but, it’s never really been my thing. i’ve always been the one who wants to be outside and look at everything. explore, take pictures, push myself up the side of a mountain. you get it. so… i kinda don’t have the green thumb in me. i have never kept a houseplant alive, with flowers, about the best i can do is keep cut ones fresh in a vase for a week or two. well, my dad mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago that he wasn’t going to fool with planting his garden this year and asked if i wanted to use the space. so, my friend ash (yeah, the one from the roller derby) and i decided to give it a shot.

am i crazy? probably. will anything come up? probably not. but… we. planted. a. garden. oh and we had fun doing it. but there’s not much ash and i do that doesn’t lead to fun. we are fun girls. now if only we had thought to add some alcohol to that garden party? we could have topped our expectations entirely.

doing things that aren’t necessarily one of your favorite things to do with one of your best friends always makes it better. bonus: WORKOUT!

now, i am not a farmer, i would rather be in the city than a pasture. but, i do like fresh produce and our farmers market, as much as i love it, is far from cheap. so i’ll give it a shot. we will see what happens.

part 2.

i’ve recently learned a very hard lesson in giving… up. you don’t know me that well, but i don’t give up on things that are important to me. i think someone once described me as tenacious (i’m using a lot of big words in this post… yay me!). i grab onto things that i value (family, friends, education, etc.) and i do whatever it takes. i don’t want to lose these things because they are who i am. they make up a part of me. and until recently, i thought if i ever let go, not only would i lose that connection, i would lose a part of my makeup (no, not the shit i put on my face).

but you know the saying “you can’t beat a dead horse?” well… you can’t.

there comes a point where the give and the take has to have balance. now that doesn’t necessarily mean 50-50. it’s not a quid-pro-quo kind of thing. but, at some point in giving, sometimes you have to give up. the strange thing, especially for someone like me, is that giving up on something does not mean i’ve failed. it’s actually kind of liberating to just let it go. once something you value starts to become negative, it begins to hurt you.

another thing i’ve learned. when you give up on something that is truly worth giving up on? you don’t lose the good that was there. the good part of you never goes away. it’s similar to closure. letting go. you remember the good even more because the negative is no longer draining that part of you.

now, if i’m not making sense, i’m sorry. and i’m not telling you that i think everything is worth giving up on. there is a line that you have to find within yourself that means the difference between giving, and giving up.

also, there are some things that should never be given up on, hope, love, yourself… some things are just too precious.

to end on a fun note, a joke:

“what do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back?

a stick.”