Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dixieland, Part II

Wow, wasn't my last post long and picture heavy?? Well this one is going to be too, so hold on for the ride! (Again, if you're reading this on Facebook, go ahead and visit my blog, so you can see all of the pictures!) I know I said that I'd talk about travelling Airtran in my next post, but that one will have to wait a few more days. Check back for it later.

While I spent most of my time with family, I did spend quite a bit of time on the side with friends. The majority of that time was spent with Katrina and Kelly, two friends I grew up with from church that I have held near and dear to my heart since childhood. When Woodstock C of C split when I was in elementary school, the three of us were about the only 3 young girls left. Kelly is a year younger than me and Kat a year older. We banded together and became these 3 musketeers of sorts. Katrina and I both ended up at Harding together. :-)
I spent one evening at Katrina's with her, her baby (Briley), and her hubby (Dave). We played Guitar Hero until Dave got home, and then we went out for Mexican food. Some of you in Texas have heard me lament the lack of "white cheese dip" in Texas. I got my fill of it when I went back to Georgia! Friday night I went to Katrina's apartment again, and Kelly got to join us with her youngest daughter, Cheyenne. We played more Guitar Hero and lots of Nertz and even a game of Spades - sigh, I miss playing spades! I didn't leave until around 1:30am! We had a blast though! We got to get together one last time on Sunday night, and we didn't leave until around 12:30am. Below are some pictures of the fun we had.

These first ones are Kelly and I playing Guitar Hero. I finally got to where I could play medium, but we LOVED to battle it out on easy playing "Slow Ride!" Look how serious we looked when we weren't purposely trying to smile for the camera! By the way... I won!!!

These next ones are the three of us playing Nertz -- a fast paced, multi-player, solitaire game. Lots of screaming and laughing happened while we were playing this game! Dave, Katrina's husband, is a SAINT for putting up with us for THREE nights!

Finally here are a ton of pictures of us goofing around with the camera timer. We tried to take nice pictures at first, but we got too silly to do that well. There's one with me holding up my hands bc I went to smack Katrina on the "rum" (the word I made up accidentally mixing "rump" and "bum") only to smack bare skin -- she's a dare devil trying to moon the camera -- lol! Good thing the camera was too high for that!It was so hard to say good-bye to these two girls. I miss them so much and being there made me realize how much I miss them. How much I miss that sort of friendship. You know I can count on one hand the people who aren't family who I actually hang out with?? I mean, I have friends at church who I do small groups with or go to lunch with after church (if my family is going too bc if they're not there, I typically get forgotten when the invite to lunch happens), but I'm talking about that friendship where you can call the person (or couple) up and say, "hey let's do dinner" or "wanna do something?". I got really depressed a while back when I realized this. Sometimes I don't think people see value in doing things with a single gal -- you don't all have to do things with other couples. I don't act like or feel like a 3rd or 5th wheel when I'm with other couples. Ask me! I'll probably come. :-) I digress -- I've just been feeling a little lonely sometimes lately. I had so many friends in college. There was always someone to do something with. I miss that.

Anyways, while I went out with friends for the night, Mom and Dad puppy-sat because Sprinkles didn't get along with Brody, Katrina's hyper little jack russell terrier. They said he was really good for them, but he would sit in one of their laps, then move to the other, and then go around "looking" for me, and then repeat the cycle. :-) They would go to bed before I got home, so he actually slept in their bed with them! The first night Mom woke up and told Dad to take Sprinkles out to potty around 1:30 (right when I was about to leave to come home). She doesn't recall doing that, but Dad was waiting for me with Sprinkles on the patio when I got home. The second night, I got home and walked into the bedroom to get Sprinkles, and he jumped up on Mom's hip and barked at me like I was a burglar! Somehow Mom slept through it and Dad almost did too. I whispered, "no no no shhhhh! It's me silly!" to which he barked at more, so I got closer and whispered to him again and reached for him. BIG MISTAKE! He jumped straight up in the air and landed smack dab in the middle of Dad -- right on his stomach! Well Dad just about folded in half! His feet came up as his head came up as the air "whoofed" out of him! As an observer to the whole thing, I of course got the giggles and quickly grabbed the dog and backed out of the room whispering my apologies! All in all, they had a good time puppy-sitting though I think!

I also got to see another friend I grew up with: Katie. We grew up down the street from each other and were best friends from 3rd grade on. She was a year behind me in school, but we still hung out a lot. It was soooo good to catch up with her over brunch at IHOP. I only have one picture of the two of us that the hostess took for us. The waiter was getting sick of us I think. He kept asking if we needed anything -- it's not like he really needed the table! Anyways, Katie is a professional ballerina! How cool is that?! I wish we'd had more time to spend together.

Those were the only friends I saw in Georgia (aside from all of the lovely people at Woodstock C of C that I love so dearly and miss so much!). I posted on Facebook that I was coming, but no one really contacted me. I think I got to see the best friends from Georgia anyways. :-) I wish they all lived closer. Heaven knows how much the visit meant to me. The time I spent with my friends was precious. There's something to be said for friends you've had since childhood. You can pick up again where you left off fairly easily. Old jokes resurface and new ones are created. Laughter leads to tears of joy and the comfort and ease with which you communicate and love each other is astounding. These girls have a special place in my heart and always will. I miss ya'll already!

Dixieland, Part I

I just got back from my almost 2 week visit to Woodstock, Georgia yesterday. This post is going to be about family time. In a few days I'll post friend pictures and will devote some time to the experience of travelling and Airtran. Mom and I took quite a few pictures, so I'm trying to put as many in this post as I can. Sorry if it takes a while to load! (So if you're reading this on Facebook, go look at it on my blog instead, so you can see the pictures!) Enjoy!

When Sprinkles and I arrived at the Atlanta Airport (my favorite airport by far!), Mom met us at baggage claim. She had NOT seen my hair yet. Her reaction was polite: she smiled all big, and as she hugged me she said, "oh wow! That's fun! Now I know what Sue was talking about!" I had emailed two of her friends, Pam and Sue, with the address to my blog saying to look but not mention it to Mom or Dad. Sue apparently sent a "I know something you don't know" email that morning to Mom. She decided it was cute. :-)
From the airport, Mom and I (with pup in tow) headed to Lake Butler, Florida to see Nana on the farm. Dad was already there; he noticed my hair at once. As expected, he smiled and laughed a bit. He's always pretty accepting of whatever crazy thing I do (like another piercing in my ears or a tattoo) as long as it's not toooooo insane! Nana however said, "oh Joanna! You've changed your hair! I sure did like it the way you used to have it!" Ha ha ha! Priceless! After a while people around me stop noticing the pink -- she did too. Sprinkles did GREAT on the farm. He loved to go sit in Nana's lap! (The top picture is Dad and I hand-churning ice cream while Sprinkles sat in Nana's lap to watch.)

We all drove back to Georgia on Sunday afternoon, and most of my time was spent with my family. Every morning except the first one I got up and went to work with Mom at the church office and goofed around there until she got off early at 12:30. Sprinkles even went with us a couple of times and played with the preacher, the Spanish preacher, the other secretary, and anyone and everyone who walked in the door! Everyone loved him! I should have known better thinking that I was going to get almost 2 weeks away from VBS planning though; also should have known better thinking that I would get out of painting backdrops and doing HUGE decorations this year. I helped paint one of Woodstock's backdrops and then helped decorate their stage for VBS! It started last Sunday night. Here's the backdrop I worked on:
Looks pretty good, eh? It's "Outrigger Island" -- a Hawaiian Island theme thing. Mom made that surf board; totally know who I got my talents of making paper into awesome decorations from! In the afternoons, Mom and I would go to lunch or shop or go to a movie until Dad got home from work.

When Dad got home, we would sometimes visit outside on the patio. Sprinkles really enjoyed the giant backyard, I think. He didn't stray far, and he loved to come jump up in Mom and Dad's laps. We only had one little scare when he found a brick of rat poison by the shed. He didn't ingest any, so he was ok -- his mommy just panicked a bit! (Hey, I didn't cry though - wonders never cease!)

I know Dad's eyes are closed in this picture, but I really liked how it showed how relaxed Sprinkles was in his lap. He really just naturally went to Mom and Dad and lounged on them!

Since it had been so long (a couple of years) since I had visited Georgia, I wanted to do some tourist-y stuff. One of the first nights back we met my aunt, her son, his wife, and their 3 kids for dinner and then went to the Laser Show at Stone Mountain, which I mentioned a while back here. Here I am standing in front of the 3+ acre carving. "The Memorial Carving depicts three Confederate heroes of the Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and Lt. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson." Ah, good ole' Southern Pride -- can't beat it! The Laser Show was in its 25th year... just like me. :-)

The World of Coca-Cola has been torn down and rebuilt since I was last in Georgia. It is by far my favorite Atlanta attraction, well right after Stone Mountain. Basically it's a museum dedicated to Coca-Cola. The remodel really upgraded World of Coke and made it more organized... more categorized. There was a whole section of memorabilia, another of "artifacts", another showing a 4D movie, yet another showing Coke in pop culture. One section was a real working bottling plant -- much smaller and slower moving than the real thing, but it bottled coke in glass bottles that they gave you as you left the attraction. There was a smaller movie area where you could watch Coke ads from around the world and from the past. That was really fun! The tasting area is the last part you go in before the gift shop -- actually you can go in and out of it, so if you're thirsty, you can run grab a cup of coke and head back to continue looking around. There are 60 flavors that you can taste in 5 hubs in the tasting room that are organized geographically. The sixth tasting hub is devoted to Coca-Cola brands (anything with the word "Coke" in the name). It's really fun! Here I am tasting some Cherry Coke -- real daring of me, eh? Below are 2 more pictures in the World of Coke. The first is Mom and Dad in the lobby in front of this cool, giant, Coke bottle from, um, somewhere I couldn't pronounce. The second is the 3 of us on the couch from American Idol! Yes, THE COUCH. I don't watch the show... but that was sort of neat. :-)

It's almost midnight, and looking at all the pictures I have left, I realize I'm going to have to put up an entire post about time I spent with friends. I don't want to relegate them to a tiny mention at the end of this post! I really had a blast with Mom and Dad. I can't tell you how nice it was to just have some time with them and Sprinkles -- to just enjoy them. :-) I don't get a lot of alone time with my parents anymore because they like to spend most of their time with the grandkids with us when they come here. I don't blame them, but this was a nice change of pace. I need to visit again sooner rather than later. Hope you enjoyed seeing part of what I was up to! Check back in a couple of days to see more!

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Alrighty, it's summertime! Couldn't have waited any longer for it!

Here's a quick run down of what I'm up to just in case you're wondering.
Thursday was our last day of classes. In fact it was a half day for the kids, late day for the teachers. My classroom packed up pretty easy this year; all items have to be off of horizontal surfaces, so all items can be removed from the room for re-waxing the floors. My classroom lights are off, the door is locked, and it's going into its happy, peaceful rest for the summer.

Friday started the summer off with a bang. LaRae, Katelyn, Joshua, and I went swimming in the morning. Well Joshua played with pool toys in his stroller bc he apparently hates the pool! That's ok. With his mommy, sister, and aunt loving to swim, eventually we'll win him over. Katelyn was a lot of fun. The water was chilly, but she didn't care. That child LOVES the pool. :-) She jumped right in and giggled just about the whole time. :-) Really fun to watch.

Then after lunch, we went to LaRae's house to discover it had been broken in to. Thankfully they have good neighbors who called the cops and got the plate numbers and such, so hopefully the jerks will be caught. We all are having to monitor our credit and change account numbers bc our tax returns were on the laptops that were taken. While it was only just stuff, my heart goes out to them for the loss of their wedding rings, LaRae's engagement band, Katelyn's piggy bank, and their camera's memory sticks. Being there when we discovered the house had been broken into was really scary -- what if they were still there?! I was watching some of my worst nightmares happening to my sister and her family, and I hated that. So scary. I'm so thankful everyone is safe.

TO ALL THE THIEVES OUT THERE: You suck! I don't know what gives you this sense of entitlement -- that you are owed something or that you deserve something that isn't yours, but you're wrong. You work for what you get in life. You don't take it! Nothing gives you the right to come into someone's private domain and touch their things, invade their lives, and take what was never yours. Get a job. Get a life. In David's words, "GROW UP!" If you're bored or needing more money for drugs or just for games and fun, try the old fashioned way of earning it yourself! I can't stand a thief; I can't stand that there is a part of the youth of America that makes me fear for the future. I can't stand this attitude of entitlement and nose-thumbing at authority that's cropping up more and more. It's not ok. It's not cool. It's selfish, Godless, and makes you worthless as a human being. Make something of yourself other than a prison inmate. I hope you, the jerks who broke into that house, are found and that justice is done.

Done now. I know the thieves will never read that, but it made me feel a little better...
Yesterday I spent 4.5 hours at the salon getting hot pink highlights in my hair. Don't tell Mom and Dad! It should be a fun surprise! Here are a few pictures.
For those of you on facebook, here is the link to the album of more pictures. It's my real hair. They bleached highlights and then highlighted it with hot pink. :-) In the words of my friends, it's "sexy, hot, cool, and rocks [their] face off!" I've never gotten to rock someone's face off. It's really fun to finally have that ability! I know I'm going to get some "fun" comments at Woodstock, but I'm ready for it. I like it, and it's a lot of fun! :-) Hurray for pink hair!

So Monday through Wednesday I'm working for the district on a curriculum writing team I've been working with all school year. Friday I'm flying out to Georgia to see Mom and Dad. Once I land though we're driving to Florida for a quick stop to see Nana on the farm and then will be back in Woodstock on Sunday for church in the evening. Then I'll be in Woodstock until the 24th of so. VBS is the 28th, so June is basically full up! After that though, it's time for poolside relaxation and lazy fun for the rest of the summer. Can't wait to be in GA though -- I'm ready to get some quality time with the 'rents.
For those of you in GA - if you want to hang while I'm there, shoot me a message. :-)
Peace and love to all! Hope your summer's are starting out great!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sex and the City

In college I would spend slow weekends and even weeknights at Hastings, the local video rental store/bookstore/coffee house/music store. Yeah, Hastings had the best combinations -- comics they let me read for free, books I would randomly pick up and buy, caffeine, and movies -- all at my fingertips. I could go there alone and be perfectly content. In fact, I preferred to go alone. I would sometimes go study there. Studying for me had to be done away from my dorm room or apartment. Often one could find me studying in the student center; I welcomed the interruptions. Later in my college years though, I would happily tote my advanced math work to Hastings.

Why am I telling you this? Why would you care? I dunno - except I'm taking a quick walk down memory lane to simply say that Hastings is where I would rent episodes of Sex and the City one disc (4 episodes) at a time until I'd finished the whole series. I loved getting a quick glimpse of the world of New York that I would never get to really be in. You see in my head, in my dreams, I am one of those 4 women -- independent, strong, beautiful, skinny, stylish, wearing fabulous clothing, carrying fabulous bags, and having a fabulous time. Sigh. To be a Charlotte York or Carrie Bradshaw (not sure I'd like to be Miranda Hobbs even if I am more on the logical side like she is and definitely don't want to be Samantha Jones with her relationships)... I can't fully imagine that life, but I enjoyed getting to watch it.

Tonight I got to see the movie with LaRae. First off, I love spending time with my big sis. More than once I've written about how cool I thought she was growing up. She really still is one of the coolest people I know. Second though, the movie was wonderful! The friendship, the bond, those women share. I know, I know, they're fictional, but it's still so great to watch. (Mild spoiler alert!) There were numerous parts that I could call my favorite, but the one that stands out is Charlotte being fiercely protective of her friend, Carrie, who has just been hurt deeply. Out of all the love lost, love found, broken dreams, broken hearts, that is the moment that made me want to cry the most. The amount of warrior-like ferocity that came out of that woman lashing out at the man who hurt her best friend was amazing to behold. On the way home, LaRae and I talked about the movie. There were points in it where we were laughing until we about cried and points where we could have cried (but not tears of laughter), but that point in the movie stood out to both of us.

It makes me think about my friendships. My sister and I have the bond that turns us into "mama bears" if someone hurts the other. Lord help you if you hurt my sister; you will rue the day you come into contact with ME again! Same holds true for the opposite. Sisterhood is easy like that for me.

In a previous post I said I wanted my real smile to be seen more... now I'm thinking about real friendship. How many friends do I have that would tell someone "I curse the day that you were born!" if that person had hurt me?? How many friends would I do the same for? How many friends are so close that my pain really and truly is their pain, not just a story for them to listen to? How much of my friends' pain to do I really feel? I want to be that sort of friend; it's not possible to be that close to everyone, but it is possible to have a group like that. Who is my group? Where do I fit? Who loves me that much?? I have friends that come to mind when I ask those questions. We all do I think. Now, I'm not asking you to step up and say, "I love you that much, Joanna!" Ha! I'm just wondering "aloud" really.

Excuse my nostalgia for a bit longer. The picture below is some friends from college. Horrid picture of me, so ignore me. The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree in the background was $10 at WalMart, and I did the best I could do with it, hence the giant bow on top! The 4 of us got together my last Christmas at Harding. One of the girls I've been friends with since I was a child. I sometimes get to talk to another one of them and we try to stay up on what's going on in each other's lives, and the final one my eye hesitantly strays to, well I haven't talked to her since her wedding day. All 3 of them at one point or another I was so loyal to that I would have yanked my earrings out and bitch slapped another girl for (ok maybe not something so fierce...). Sadly out of the 3, only 2 of them were willing to do that in return for me and did (again more like a verbal bitch slap than a physical one!). To you two -- I will always thank you for turning in your GATA jersey when you knew what was happening was wrong. I told you both the other day that I'm finally able to look back at my GATA memories and separate the good from the bad. You two were so much of the good. Thank you for being that good. I love and miss you both. To the other - I do miss you and wish our friendship had been as deep as I thought it was. I wish you'd been more thoughtful and that I'd been less trusting. When lines are drawn in the sand when you're out of the country, you can't stay on the line; one side or the other will always pull you over. If you'd realized that, perhaps things would have been different. Again, I miss you.

Life is short. I hope I am really surrounding myself with good friends, with people I can really trust to have my back. Because when it all came down to it in Sex and the City, those women had each other's backs. See the movie -- even if you didn't watch the show -- you'll love it. :-)