Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

I am so thankful to the men & women who have served our country so that we can enjoy our freedom. I am very thankful for those that gave their life. There is no way to re-pay that.

Deb & I

We celebrated Memorial Day at work last Thursday. We recognized our vets, two of which are in our department, had a crazy hat contest, wore jeans, and had department ice cream socials. It was a great celebration, which everyone enjoyed!

Me & Diannah

We also had a photo-op where you could have your picture taken and receive a yellow lapel ribbon. We are printing these pictures and giving them out to the associates.

Enjoy this Memorial Day!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why I Hate Cats

They are mean & vindictive little monsters that pee on my bed, while I'm inches away from them in the same room.

Happy 7th Birthday Sylvester. I hope you enjoyed your night in the crate, and that you enjoy the rest of your life living in the bathroom.

Your wild, hellion brother is now the favorite. Deal with it!

You shall never relax like this again.

I deserve a refund. Too bad you were free. Now I know why. :-P

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Decade of Kenny

This weekend was yet another Kenny Chesney concert for Deborah, Elizabeth, and myself. His 'Goin' Coastal' tour stopped in at Cowboys Stadium yesterday with acts Uncle Kracker, Billy Currington, and The Zac Brown Band opening for him. The concert was in a word, AMAZING. I don't know if it was the company, the fact that I hadn't seen him perform live in 2 years since he took last year off, or the fact that he's a freakin' superstar, but it was FANTASTIC!

Yesterday's concert got me to thinking about all the other times that I've seen Kenny, most times with Deborah & Elizabeth. Kenny is kind of our thing. It started in college at SFA. Our first concert seeing him was Friday, October 26, 2001 at 8 pm at W.R. Johnson Coliseum on campus. The cost of the ticket was $25 and that was for floor seats!!! It was right before Kenny hit the big time and it was FABULOUS. We were inches from him. I have the BEST close-ups! And that's what began a decade of Kenny. Sometimes we let other people tag along with us, but it's typically just us...and we LOVE it!

2001 - Greatest Hits Tour

Me, Deb, Elizabeth, & Kate

Our last semester together at Stephen F. was Summer I of 2002. Deb & I graduated that summer and Bets (Elizabeth) had one more year of school left. Most of our other friends graduated in May of that year, and/or moved, so the three of us lived together. The theme of that summer was No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems...Kenny's 2002 CD. We knew the words to EVERY single song and listened to it 24/7. It was greatness. That will always be a very special summer & cd for us that we will never forget.

Today I spent a large part of my afternoon going through lots and lots and lots of photos to find all our Kenny ones. I find it super hard to believe that we didn't go to his 2002 or 2003 concerts, but I found no evidence to suggest we did, and my memory is obviously not that good. 2002/2003 may have been the time period that Deb went to see Kenny in IL with her sister, when they lived up there. At least one of us was representing. ;)

Bets & my next KC concert was in 2004 at Smirnoff Music Centre in Dallas, June 5, 2004 at 7:30 pm. Lawns seats were $27.50, plus all the super fun ticketmaster fees. :P Courtney came with us to this concert. She'd just had major back surgery a little over a month before so we wheeled her around in a wheelchair, which led to better lawn seats for us. Ha!

2004 - Guitars, Tiki Bars & A Whole Lotta Love Tour

Me, Court, & Bets

On April 8, 2005 we traveled to Madison, WI for yet another Kenny concert at the Kohl Center at UW-Madison! Bets & I had flown up to Chicago, IL for a long weekend with Deb, who lived in Rockford, IL at the time. Yes, we'll travel far and wide for our Kenny. ;-)

2005 - Somewhere In The Sun Tour

Bets, Deb, & Me

On July 22, 2006 we saw Kenny at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco. We had LOTS to celebrate! We were seeing Kenny together AND Bets & Kevin had JUST gotten engaged the night before! Plus Deb was finally living back in Texas. All was right with the world!

2006 - The Road & The Radio Tour

The day the music died. My 'The Road and The Radio' cd bit the dust in my piece of junk computer. It got stuck in the cd slot and the computer ate it. I nearly cried. :( Of course I had to quickly buy another.

We saw Kenny at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the The Woodlands on June 15, 2007. It had rained lots in the days leading up to the concert, so since we had lawn seats we took a tarp and quilt to sit on. Someone how my booty still ended up getting soaked. Also, carrying out a wet, muddy tarp at the end of the night was hellacious. Leaving the pavilion was like a cattle stampede, people were even mooing. Our tarp was disgusting and huge and took two of us to carry it. It kept bumping into people and they were upset they were getting dirty. Pretty soon we starting purposefully knocking people with it so they would move and we could get out of there faster. It was completely ridiculous at the time, but we soon were cracking up about it. It's still hilarious to us to this day!

2007 - Flip Flop Summer Tour

Bets, Me, Deb, & Catina

We headed back to Pizza Hut Park in Frisco on May 3, 2008 at 5:30 pm. Tickets were $58 for section 115 Row 6, plus the convenience fees. It was a beautiful day and tons of fun. It's the concert where Deb & I acquired our 'She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy' green baseball caps. Whoooo! The margs were pretty good too. ;)

2008 - The Poets & Pirates Tour

There's something sexy about the rain...or so the Kenny song goes. Court & I went the Kenny concert at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco on May 2, 2009 amidst the rain, lightening, and thunder. Court & I waited around at my apt awhile but I talked her into heading over to the concert. We had to park a little ways away and wade through the water. As we were walking to the concert, through the ridiculous circumstances, Court commented "Only stupid people do this." Maybe she was right, but I was NOT going to miss MY Kenny! And she's an awesome sister for going along with my hair-brained ideas. We arrived part way through Lady Antebellum's performance and got to see Miranda Lambert. We were bundled in raincoats, plastic covers, and our caps. Kenny's band struggled to get on-stage equipment covered as the weather got worse and the lightning crew closer. We moved under a canopy, with a million other people, during Kenny's performance. Kenny had been singing less than an hour and was soaked to the bone and continued to sing, changing the playlist to sing his "There's Something Sexy About The Rain." At the end of his performance he told everyone that he'd be back in a few weeks and to get the hell out of there because the storms and lightning were way to close. We struggled to get back to the car through the flowing streams that had flip flops floating down them and finally made it out of there.

Rained-out 2009 - Sun City Carnival Tour

Kenny returned to Pizza Hut Park in Frisco on May 17, 2009. It was just Kenny, no opening act. Seating was first come first serve. It was a terrific make-up performance. Kenny sang for hours. After he finished his songs he began to sing other fun, random ones. It was great! It definitely made up for the crazy rain-out before. What a great guy to return and do another concert! See why I love this man?! Hehe!

Make-up 2009 - Sun City Carnival Tour

Kenny didn't tour in 2010. I guess everyone, even Kenny, needs a break sometimes. He didn't really take a break though. He came out with his album 'Hemingway's Whiskey' in the fall of 2010.

And that leads us back to this weekend and his 'Goin' Coastal Tour'. Again, it was awesome and just reminded us, not that we needed it, how much we love our Kenny!

2011 - Goin' Coastal Tour

Friday, April 1, 2011

Because Everyone Deserves A Lifetime

A year ago today my mom was diagnosed with cancer again for the third time. It was the worst day of my life. It was all too ironic that it fell on April Fool's Day. I had spent the night in the hospital with mom as we awaited test results for what we knew might be cancer again, although we were hoping it was some type of infection. I'll never forget that day. I wish I could. I still remember the doctor's face like it was yesterday. I can't explain the feeling of getting that news that the breast cancer was back and had spread. It's the helpless, out of control feeling. You know those tv shows where the main character is up above watching what is happening to them down below? Yeah, kind of like that.

Fast forward to today, a year later. Mom took her 14th chemo today and her tumor marker has gone down to 55 from the 1800 it was at a year ago. Destination tumor marker is between 0 - 37. We're nearly there!!!! God is a mighty, mighty God.

This is the reason I have taken on an incredible challenge. November 4-6, 2011 I will walk 60 miles to help end breast cancer forever. I will join together with thousands of other women and men as part of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.

No one should have to go through what I have seen my mom go through. No one should have to have a double mastectomy, take radiation that burns their skin, or take chemotherapy that causes them to lose their hair and feel ill. She had NO choice in getting breast cancer three times. I choose to walk 60 miles to honor her, as well as the many other women and men fighting and SURVIVING this terrible disease. I also walk in remembrance of those we have lost. I will do all I can not to let breast cancer affect anyone else's future. I am choosing to fight back. I am challenging myself to accomplish more than I ever thought possible.

I've agreed to raise at least $2,300 in donations and need your help. I would be honored if you'd consider making a donation to this cause. Please know you can donate any amount no contribution is too small!

You can donate online at Just click on "Donate" and search for my personal fundraising page. You can also fill out the enclosed donation form and mail it to the address on the form. You can also call 800-996-3DAY to donate over the phone.

Net proceeds from the 3-Day for the Cure are invested in community-based breast health programs and breast cancer research. The research funded focuses on decreasing breast cancer incidence and mortality in the next decade.

Somewhere in the world, a woman dies from breast cancer every 69 seconds. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer, and is the leading cause of death among women worldwide. The majority of women with breast cancer have no known significant family history or other known risk factors. Breast cancer knows no boundaries be it age, gender, socio-economic status or geographic location. I'm walking in the 3-Day because everyone deserves a lifetime.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and for helping end breast cancer forever.

Also, ask your employer if they will double your donation through a matching gift program! Many companies will!

Click here to visit my personal page.
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Dallas Blooms

Robin & I met Brinda & Pup at the Dallas Arboretum for Dallas Blooms on March 19th. I took a few engagement shots for Brinda & Pup for their 'Save The Dates' and then Pup left us girls alone to enjoy the flowers. The arboretum has a Fairy Tale Castles Exhibit that runs from March 5th-December 31st and features castles based on classic tales like Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. We checked out these exhibits, as well as the Artscape, fine art show and sale that was going on that weekend.
Brinda & Pup surrounded by beautiful hydrangeas.

Brinda & Pup with a tulip back-drop.

I just love the different tulip varieties!

me, Robin, & Brinda

One of the pools with White Rock Lake in the background.

Saint Patrick's 2011

We headed to Dallas' famous St. Patty's Parade on lower Greenville Saturday, March 12th. We watched the floats go down Greenville Ave and walked all over the area, enjoying the sights of the crazy tailgaters.

Jeff, Joy, Ren, Leigh Ann, me, Leah, & Joy's mom, Sandy

Everyone met up at Lindsay's apt so we could walk to the parade together. Of course we had to pose for a group photo before heading out.

Me & Joy shamrockin' it at the parade!

One of the many crazy floats.

Cheers! Leah & I at the parade!

Leigh Ann, Ren, Jeff, Leah, & Joy strike a pose.

Kilt clad! Jeff found a fellow kilt buddy to chat with on the parade route.

We got lots of random freebies thrown at us from the floats, including this beach ball and TONS of beads!

We ran into Oneal, from church, after the parade. He participated in the 5K run pre-parade.

On Thursday, March 17th we celebrated St. Pat's Day at work with a crazy hat contest.

Spirited girls! Deborah, Ruby, me, April, Diannah, & Belinda

We forced Vincent to join us in the festivities! I had to show off my shamrock socks & green shoes in this pic! ;)

Phil came decked out and even won one of the crazy hat awards. Yes, that's a hair hat! He's actually bald! ;)

Jeff crafted this amazing butterfly hat and won an extra special award!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

February in Colorado

I headed to Colorado back in February. My friend Suzanne wanted to check out the University of Denver’s grad school program so I decided to tag along to see the sights with her. We left from work on Thursday, February 17th and headed to DFW airport where we caught a 7:25 pm flight to the “Mile High” city of Denver. That night we stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel close to the airport.

Friday morning, February 18th, we took the shuttle to Enterprise, got a rental car (which turned out to be a minivan!), and headed to Hammond’s Candies. It was fun to tour the candy factory and see how candy is made. It reminded me of the ‘I Love Lucy’ episode where Lucy and Ethel get jobs for the day at a candy factory. I’ve always wanted to do that! ;)

We enjoyed the free samples and the candy shopping. They offer a variety of treats from chocolates to caramels, lollipops, candy canes, and more. I definitely recommend the homemade peanut butter cup and chocolate covered cherry. Delish!

After the tour, and going broke buying candy, we headed to the Colorado State Capitol where we went on a free historical tour. We saw several stained glass windows, Women’s Gold Tapestry, Presidential portraits, and the Senate and House of Representatives chambers.

We then did the 99-step climb to the interior observation area, which has 360-degree panoramic views of downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountains.

Next we hit up the Denver Art Museum. This museum consists of two buildings with galleries showcasing a world-famous American Indian art collection, Modern & Contemporary Art, and Photography, just to name a few.

Weird red art.
Afterward we stopped for some awesome salads at Mad Greens and then headed for the minivan. We found a Sport Authority so that I could buy some snow boots and Suzanne could grab some gloves, then it was off to check-in at the Holiday Inn Select - Cherry Creek. We changed clothes and then headed to the grad school’s meet & greet at DU. Suzanne chatted up some fellow grad schoolers and then we went to the DU hockey game. Go Pioneers! After we’d had our fill of hockey, and chatted with the other grad school crazies nearby, we headed back to the hotel for a quick change before a late dinner at the Argyll GastroPub where we had the MOST amazing Mac-n-Cheese. It had shrimp, mini-rigatoni, a five cheese sauce, braised shallots, crimini mushrooms, bacon, peas, and parmesan breadcrumbs. My mouth is watering right now as I describe it and I’m considering hoping a flight to Denver tonight just to have some! Yes, THAT good! I didn’t touch much of my Fish & Chips after munching on that. Suzanne ordered the Roast Chicken entrĂ©e, which had the weirdest bread pudding we’d ever seen. I wasted $10 on the nastiest Tequila Thyme Margarita. I don’t think I knew, or forgot what thyme was, and then after tasting it I was too embarrassed to send it back. Seriously had two sips. I sampled Suzanne’s Pimm’s Cup Up. I do NOT know how she choked it down. It had lavender simple syrup and chopped muddled ginger, as well as grapefruit bitters. More power to her! ;)

We ended the night listening to jazz at El Chapultepec where greats like Sinatra, Bennett, and Fitzgerald have performed.

Saturday morning, February 19th, I dropped Suzanne off at DU for more grad school sessions and went back to the hotel to get ready and packed. I picked her up around 11:30 and we headed into the mountains! The drive was crazy! The road was very, very curvy and mountains surrounded us on all sides. All of a sudden the sparsely snow covered mountains turned into full blown snow coverage. It was BEAUTIFUL! My pictures do not even do it justice. As we were driving along with saw a man climbing a frozen waterfall. Really? Who does that?! The roads weren’t bad at all, which we were super thankful about. We made it to Frisco (yes, I went from one Frisco to another) and had some awesome pizza at Peppino’s Pizza & Subs. Then we hopped in the mini and headed toward Breckenridge for dog sledding. It was 6+ miles off the main road and those roads definitely were snow covered and icy in some parts. The snow everywhere was amazing. This born and bred Texas girl had never seen anything like it! We got there just in time to throw our snow/ski gear on and do the dog sledding tour. Our guide introduced us to the Siberian Huskies, quickly explained the operations of the sled and how to handle the dogs, and we were off for a 6-mile relay tour through the Middle Fork of the Swan River. The 6 of us switched between running the dogs, riding in the dogsled, and riding in a small passenger sleigh with our guide. We stopped along the way for the groups to trade places. It was amazing! Definitely my most fave part of the trip. We were in the middle of snow covered woods dog sledding. How many times do you get the chance to do that?! I have to admit I was pretty scared at first. How was I going to be able to run dogs in this rickety sled?! Oh my! All three groups of us ended up wrecking, which made the rest of us feel better about our sled driving! When you are going downhill the dogs just take off and fly around corners. That’s how Suzanne and I ended up flying into the snow. You couldn’t help but laugh. We were thrown out and the dogs took off. Thankfully our guide knew we had become airborne and stopped the sleigh and the dogs. After that I was more comfortable knowing it was okay to bust it!

After the 1+ hour dog sled experience we then headed into the town of Breckenridge to do a Hot Chocolate Scenic Sleigh Ride. This was a 45-min ride on Peak 9. It had started snowing on our dog sled tour and by the time we were on the sleigh ride the snow was flying down in buckets. I had to put my goggles on to be able to see. Thank goodness for the blankets they provided. When the sleigh ride was over we found parking around Main St. and started walking around. It’s SO cute there! It seriously looks like those little Christmas villages people decorate with during the holidays. I LOVED IT!

We met up with my college friend, Audray, who now lives in CO, and had dinner at the Whale’s Tail. It was some yum seafood. We did a lot more walking around afterward, and checked out some souvenir shops. We popped into Celia’s Night Club for a bit, but being tired and still in my ski gear, I was not feeling the dance vibe! The drive back to our motel in Frisco was INSANE. It was snowing a LOT and I could barely see. I couldn’t even tell where the lanes were. Of course people were flying by me, which made it worse! We finally arrived at the Snowshoe Motel and got checked in. Audray spent the night so she wouldn’t have to drive back in the crazy weather, and so she could ski the next day.

Sunday, February 20th, Audray took off to cross country ski and Suzanne and I headed to Loveland to downhill ski. It had continued to snow, and snow, and snow all night. The view when walking out of the motel that morning was a sight to see. It also made the drive to Loveland pretty scary. Suzanne was driving this time but I could tell it was super stressful. The road was covered, it was hard to see, and one car was stuck in the middle of the highway. Commercial vehicles weren’t allowed to be without snow chains. It was crazy!

We finally made it though and got checked in for ski school. This was my first time to EVER ski so I definitely needed lessons. Suzanne had skied a few times before so she decided to do some intermediate lessons. We both did a half-day lesson, which turned out to be around 3 hours. Looking back, I probably should have done the full-day for 5 ½ hours. Skiing did NOT go well for me.

I am the most nonathletic person on earth. I'm not coordinated, or graceful in the least, however, I wanted to take on the challenge of skiing. I knew it would be hard. I knew I would fall. I knew it would be a big workout. What I did not know is that it would very seriously be the most terrifying thing I had ever, ever, EVER done. I started my lesson out just fine. We practiced without skis and only poles. Then we practiced with one ski. Then we moved up to two skis. We went into the Kids Corral to ride up the people mover/conveyor belt they had in there that led up a little hill and then we skied down the little hill a few times. The conveyor belt was scary because you had to get on it while it was moving. Lucky for me the first time I got on it had been stopped for some reason so I didn't have any problems getting on, although it was really jerky when it took off again. Of course the second time I had to get on it while it was moving and I busted it hardcore. Yep, busted it in the Kids Corral with a line of people behind me. My instructor and some other helpers in that area tried to help me up but I was dead weight so I had to take my skis off, get them situated on the conveyor belt, and then get in them. I nearly fell again when it started back up but thankfully one of the workers in there kept me from doing so. The third time I nearly fell as well, however the workers remembered me and one guy seriously grabbed on so I didn't fall this time. I should have known this was only going to lead to worse things! :-P Next it was time for the ski lift. I was already worried about the lift because of things I had heard. We had an uneven number in our group of 5, so the instructor, knowing I was the worst in the group, joined me on the lift. Getting on was pretty scary, being up that high and looking down was a bit frightening, but skiing off the lift was horrific and I of course fell. And again, my instructor and the dude running the lift couldn't get my dead weight up so the skis came off again and I had to get back in them. The instructor asked me and another girl if we wanted to attempt the next little part of the mountain on our own or with him skiing backward and us holding on to his poles. We both said we would attempt it on our own; why I said that I don't know. I fell yet again. This time it hurt...BAD! He had told us to not fall backward. Lean forward on your boots and you won't fall. Yep, pretty much forgot all I'd learned when I started going out of control and fell backward right on my tailbone. It was at that point the tears welled up in my eyes. My instructor was able to get me up this time without having to take my skis off since I was on a slant and he said he'd hold on to me while we skied down the next part. Well, he was holding on but I still busted it, this time falling into him and on his skis. Awesome. I was way upset by this point and was having a super hard time holding back the tears that started rolling out. I was trying to talk to the instructor and my voice was cracking and shaky. He asked if I just wanted to take a break and sit for a bit to which I quickly replied yes. So I sat there in the snow while he talked to the other people in my ski class. I tried to calm down but just couldn't. By this point I had the WORST mental block about skiing and I honestly wanted the ski patrol to come get me because I was still halfway up the mountain. The others in my group had all taken off down the mountain when my instructor asked if I was ready to go down. I wasn't and he knew it. So he said he'd ski backward and I could hold on to our poles he'd be holding. It was still the scariest thing ever but we ended up making it down. The entire lesson he kept telling me to stop watching my feet and look where I was going. I was unable to do so. Of course I was supposed to be watching as he skied backward, but wasn't, and we skied into one of those little pole things you see the skiers skiing around on the Olympics. Then we were all tangled, so he had to push me backward a little to get out, which again, was SCARY. When we got down to the part we'd practiced on before he had me do it myself, and I finished fine. I couldn't wait to get out of my skis though. He did tell me that skiing is 90% mental and 10% in your head. Ha. Yup, I agree that it's all mental and I had the worst mental block ever after that lesson. The out of control, I'm flying down this mountain and can't stop, I'm going to die feeling would not leave me. He also made the comment along the way that kids that start out at 4 have a much easier time at it. He started back in the 40's when he was 4. Yup, starting at 31 wasn't the easiest. I headed to the lodge and met up with Suzanne for lunch. After lunch she went to ski again until the lift closed at 4, but I WAS DONE! I hung out with a random lady that we shared a table with, took pictures, snacked, and did attempt the skis once more but that scary 10 min attempt at the bottom of the mountain was enough and I turned my skis back in.

I'm honestly glad I tried it, even after all that. If I hadn't I would have never known. I'm also not saying I'll never try it again either. It might be better next time, who knows. But for now, I'm totally not a skier. :-P

We left Loveland and headed to Keystone to snow tube. That drive was crazy. The curves of the drive from Denver to Frisco was nothing compared to this. There were no shoulders, straight drop offs down the mountains, snow everywhere, and signs that said 'Avalanche Area'. Yeah, crazy. We did stop to take pictures because it was beautiful, but I was glad when we were off that road.

We got to Keystone but the snow tubing was booked. We were bummed, but there were lots of little shops and restaurants around Keystone so we shopped around and ate.

Monday, February 21st was time to head home. After breakfast in Frisco we headed back toward Denver, stopping to take pictures of course.

We stopped at Idaho Springs to do some gold panning at the Argo Gold Mine & Mill. It was windy and the water was freezing, but we did find some gold flakes we got to come home with. We also thought it was hilarious that the local sports team was called The Golddiggers!!!

It was a fun trip & I'm glad we went. It took awhile to recover from the bruises and tiredness, but the experience was great!