"Aunt Kathy"

While we were all there for a very, very shitty reason, it wasn't hard to find the positive. Her husband, Larry said some pretty moving things -- things that drove us all to tears, of course. But things we needed to really think about. Sitting under a pavilion at a park that overlooked the Smokies and Douglas Dam, were four generations of my mom's family.

"Ormond and Boys."

Again, I'm totally one of the dudes. (No, I didn't see and wieners.) But I did learn that some guys go commando under their swim trunks and some don't... apparently not going commando helps prevent chaffing. Nice little tidbit I wouldn't have been privy to if I somehow fell into the 'girl' category.

"RPT: Secret Places."

I'm not a globe trotter just yet -- some day, but not yet --But I have seen a fairly decent chunk of the country. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the place this photo was taken is, and will always be, my favorite place in the world.

"Weight Maintenance."

This past weekend was bad though, I mean really bad. I spent all of Friday in the car, and dined on fast food for lunch and dinner (which makes me feel sick). Saturday was a bridal shower with the most delicious foods and cake, but before that I had Denny's for breakfast. And after, went to Red Lobster with my mom.

"See you soon."

I'm taking Nhyya and Detra out to a nice dinner tomorrow after I get out of work. And after that, I'm taking Nhyya to pick out her first baby doll. They're moving to California on Sunday and I'm emotionally overwhelmed by this. (I won't say distraught, because that would be dramatic, but I'm really, really, really, really upset.)

Cheers, Ryan!

It wasn't until I cornered Ryan, still virtual strangers, and asked what his "deal" was that I actually learned he wasn't really a student in the class. And Ryan earned the new nickname, "Phantom" for the simple fact that no one ever witnessed his presence, but there were always signs that he had recently been present.

Cinco De Mustache

Aye, Aye, Aye-Aye. Cinco De Mustache ...

Bums Talking Politics

Then, I shit you not, he stopped mid-sentence, looked at the Obama sticker on the side window of my car, and said "there's gonna be a revolution. They're going to kill Obama." And then frowned...

Something Ridiculous

These things -- the dogs and the truck startled me awake. Still laying down, my eyes flew open, my right arm uncrossed from my left, I grabbed my keys and phone, and jumped out of the car . . .

The Wanderlust

Thanks to Leslie, I'm itching for it. I keep looking at her pictures (she's spending time in Hawaii right now and living it up) and I'm thinking, holy crap I need to be some place other than Ocala right now.

8 People

...I resent the way life works. I hate that the most intriguing and beautiful and wise people of my life all passed away before I was old enough to appreciate them and value their wealth of knowledge, experience, and stories.

Problematic People

In my childhood there were people, famous and legendary people, I thought obtained experiences that I could never fathom knowing. But as I grew older, I learned my own father had more, and better, stories to tell than I could ever get from following the lives of the famous.


... I don't secretly long for the day that someone throws me a surprise party. [...] I wouldn't want it to be one of those awkward situations where people gradually leak niblets of information that eventually lead to me knowing in advance that when I arrive at my home, mysteriously, every single light in the house will be off.

Pensacola then Texas

I drank two delicious glasses of Pino Grigio with with my Chicken Brian, then continued the festivities at Loren and Ang's house with the ever so delicious sweet tea vodka Loren served up. Following dinner and post dinner drinks, Trevor, Nick, Patrick, and myself went back to Trevor & Nick's apartment and played Guitar Hero until our fingers fell off.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Great Debate: Cloth VS Disposable Diapers.

Posted by revolutionaire. at 1:28 PM 0 comments
At a point in life when I'm pregnant, looking to save every penny I can, and welcome the tips of anyone who has a knack for any kind of savings solutions, the great debate of cloth versus disposable diapers seems to surface more frequently than any other suggestion.

And it's probably the most polarizing recommendation I've heard yet. Every reaction from "oh god, no" to "best decision I ever made" has been uttered in front of me. Why such controversy? 

As it turns out, cloth diapering can be pretty gnarly business. It never occurred to me that I would have to take a crap-coated towel off my child's rump, dump it into the toilet, flush, then swish the turdy towel around in the clean toilet water, before coating it in baking soda and setting it in a bucket to wait for a washer's worth of them to pile up. That does sound kind of like, "oh god, no" to me.

That's just one perspective though. As one mom-friend was quick to point out, no matter how I approach the diapering process, I will, inevitably, get poop on my skin. She said it is going to happen and the sooner I accept that, the sooner I can make a choice whether to go cloth or not.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Why did we buy this house?

Posted by revolutionaire. at 5:41 AM 0 comments
Well, I've really done it this time.

I'm three months from having our first baby, we're working on getting the nursery set up, JM is doing all the ladder work - taping off the ceiling and spackling any pin holes to prepare the walls for paint - it's going to be cornflower blue. We're having a boy. I'm behind him, spraying the last of the wallpaper with DIF remover (which, by the way, I later discovered contains a chemical known in the state of California to cause cancer... joy).

Something makes him curious and he chips away at a piece of loose ceiling spackling in the corner. Black mold. Fuck. "Just go ahead and get out of the room while I see just how bad this is..."

I'm waiting down the hall, in the kitchen and it just keeps getting worse. My tears start to well up. Just what am I supposed to do with this disaster? Every time we decide to dive into a home project we uncover some kind of puttied-over royal disaster the owner before us left behind - intentionally hidden in my opinion. Because why would any home owner trying to sell NOT intentionally hide any terminal damage?

This puts a screeching halt on our baby room revamp and, worst case scenario - a potential halt to our living in this house. My list of tasks for today has grown exponentially, my emotions are running insanely high and I'm indescribably angry. I can't decide where to start, so last night - after finishing all the laundry (which is a major feat of strength and endurance) and watching the Walking Dead, I start making a list. This list, so immeasurably overwhelming, compels me to stay awake and work toward accomplishing something. I know it's too late at night to get anything on the list finished, but I can certainly start something and I definitely can't sleep - so what's the harm? I ended up cleaning the master bath tub. It's all I could do. It's the only thing that sounded satisfying. So I did it.

I am just so incredibly disappointed in myself. I look around this house and I know I haven't taken the best care of it. Since buying it in 2012, my complacency has created an open door for pests, water damage, mold, financial burdens and so much more. What a lesson to learn! I am so upset with myself. So angry. I knew going into home-ownership that I would need to be committed, that I would need to dedicate time and attention to this place. I KNEW THAT. And yet, I didn't do it. Or, I didn't do it enough, rather. In many ways, I've tried - maybe. I feel like I have, but who knows. I put on a great facade. I make it look well kept. It's not. It's a polished shit hole. Truly. And we're stuck with it.

So where do we go from here, right? We call our insurance agent first and ask what our policy covers because the next step is to call a home inspector to investigate how bad the damage actually has gotten. And when that person does their assessment, I want to be prepared for what comes next, whether it be a $5000 bill for damage repair or a $500 deductible for our insurance - whatever. I need to be prepared.

I talked to my dad on the phone this morning. That always helps me feel better. He said something I already knew, but hearing it from him makes it seem more real - we just need to make a list of improvements or fixes we need to make and then each weekend, we need to work on fixing or improving something - anything. Because with a baby, it's only harder. Obviously. And without a plan, none of it will ever get done. And we need to do all the things on our list without hemorrhaging money from our pores. I guess it can be done ... I'm not really sure, honestly. I just keep going back to one specific question.

Why did we buy this house?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Make your own way

Posted by revolutionaire. at 4:41 PM 0 comments
I have this overwhelming desire to do better with my life, to find something more worth doing, to find a way to commingle my home happiness and my work happiness. 

Maybe everyone feels that from time to time. Maybe not.

Lately I have realized many of my friends have made a living doing what they love. I know entrepreneurs, writers, photographers, artists, and humanitarians. And I know me. And what do we all have in common? The passion for what we love so greatly. So how is it then that I find myself parked in a mildly satisfying, depressingly paid corporate job when my friends have found the way to feed their passions and fund their lifestyles? 

What am I missing? Perhaps just the bravery to take he leap.

I have a passion for something. And that is art. No, I won't get more specific for you. I love art - all mediums. I am a photographer. I have been a painter. I am a paper craftsman, a writer, and a ceramics amateur. I am many things and love all things related to art. And in the small community I live in, I see a niche for someone like me. I see a need for the artists that live here, that visit here, that want to learn. 

So, now what? How do I start? 

First, I have made a list of friends I know who have made their own way in this world. And, friends, if you're reading this and you think i may be referring to you, I probably am. I may call, I may write. I need direction or ideas to get me started on this path. And once I am started, I'm sure it'll go very well. 

Here's what I envisioned: a cooperative art studio, gallery, and supply hub. A place where local artists could work and display their work and also a place where community members, visitors, and everyone in the world could visit, shop, and express themselves. I see this co-op claiming a majestic, historic home - something with appropriate, artistic character. I picture a lush front yard with a hammock and a front porch swing to set a very welcoming and serene tone. I see a great room designated as the gallery where we could show our latest works - with places to sit and observe the art, really soak it all in. And, if the artist so wished, offer them for sale. I envision a large, naturally well-lit room with hardwood floors for easy cleaning as a place for the artists to work on their projects. I see high, dusty tables for standing to sculpt clay, easels for the painters, and communal stools and tables for working on anything and everything. I envision another large room with more tables and stools. And in the closet, every kind of paper craft supply you could imagine. And another room for simply relaxing, for feeling the world around you. And another room with a small counter and register and a perfect little couch to sink into when it's quiet to read an inspiring book. I see a back room full of well-organized supplies and materials. All inventoried and priced to sell if someone happens to need something. I envisioned teachers doing classes here, artists doing craft workshops - all to inspire and invigorate the creative minds, while bringing in the revenue we would need to keep the roof over us, the lights on and the supply closets well-stocked. 

I imagine this place to be open to the public, of course, for art classes and clubs, hobbyists, and crafters. And ideally, these artists, these hobbyists would become involved in the co-op. They would come to us for space away from the distractions of home, of family, and of work. They would come to us for eir own workshop ideas and projects and is few person co-op would grow into a community staple. 

I believe in this Idea. I know it can work and that it is purely a matter of finding the right people to accomplish it together. I can make this happen. Now I am off to network a little before it's too late at night. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"You're looking slim!"

Posted by revolutionaire. at 7:28 PM 1 comments
We went to the gym yesterday. It was pretty excellent. After almost convincing myself not to go, JM finally got my head right and talked me into going with him. I hit he elliptical pretty hard did 100 crunches before calling it a day and heading home to clean house. But before I left, I got the gym compliment so far - "you're looking slim! Whatever you're doing, keep it up; it's working." 

Those two sentences, two sentences that took Ian just seconds to speak, will resonate with me until the next time someone says something equally as motivating. "You're looking slim!" When I don't feel like working out - "you're looking slim," when I'm tempted my treats brought into work by a client - "you're looking slim!"

So I keep going. And I will keep going because it makes me feel better, stronger, and more confident. And you know, it's not that I'm not confident - I do love myself. I just want to be in the physical shape I should be in for my age. I want to be healthy, active, and agile. I even want to inspire others. I want to be able to motivate other people to make positive changes in their lives too.

A new person has added me on SparkPeople! I'm thinking this is a wonderful opportunity for me to reignite my motivation for self-improvement and involvement on SP. I thoroughly enjoy the website, but I seldom ever go in it. Maybe having a new friend to motivate, share stories and feedback with, and learn from will help me stay focused and dedicated.

Here's to a wonderful 2014 for my personal fitness. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

How could anyone expect me to actually leave after seeing this sleep sesh?

Posted by revolutionaire. at 4:47 AM 0 comments

If there has ever been a day that I wanted to get back in bed and snuggle over go to work, that day is today. And, honestly, who could blame me?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Revolutionaire's Resolutions.

Posted by revolutionaire. at 7:52 PM 0 comments
1. I resolve to write more frequently - I am off to a solid start on this one. Every once in awhile I think about how clear my mind was when I wrote more often. Granted, I had all the time in the world and an employer who didn't care - or maybe didn't know - what I was ever up to in the office. And I had time to stimulate my mind by reading, reading, reading all over the internet. As I type this, I recognize the excuses I'm making - time, time, time. News flash though - there are still 24 hours in a day; I have just become less skilled at managing them. Maybe writing took a back burner, maybe I dove into my new work, maybe I lost interest. Who knows. All I know is that I want to write again - I want to clear my mind and find my inspiration again. And I know writing will get me there.

2. I resolve to consciously ask more questions - I was spending time with the wife of a college friend over the weekend - a couple we are hoping to spend more and more time with this year - and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations. As the day ended and I reflected on how everything went, I realized I barely know Lindsey and it's no one's fault but my own. When I replayed the day, I realized she gave me so many opportunities to learn about her, but I didn't ask enough questions. It's easy to make small talk in the moment and then excuses after the fact. The challenge is controlling the moments and really seizing all opportunities to develop deeper relationships with people.

3. I resolve to say exactly what I mean more often - sometimes, when under pressure or stress, I truly struggle with verbalizing what I mean to say or specifically asking for what I need. This happens to me at work a lot more than in my personal life. My boss and I have talked through this a few times - get to the point and get to it faster - know what I need and ask for it.

4. I resolve to accomplish more firsts - for starters, I will travel to new places. We will accomplish this one in May when we take our 'honeymoon' trip to Ireland and Austria. Jon-Michael and I would like to go on a road trip. Unless things change, a long one won't necessarily happen this year, but we're still going to start planning it. We want to go camping - we wanted to do this one last year, but we didn't make it happen. The good news is that we have a few places picked out already. Camping should be easy.

5. I resolve to be more physically fit - near the end of 2013, Jon-Michael joined TYH gym and I renewed my membership. He has done remarkably well considering he didn't think he'd want a membership. He rediscovered his love of running and has made a great routine for himself. Enough about him - what about me. I love that he is going to the gym - it's inspiring me and keeping me on track. I have created a solid routine for myself too - now it's just a matter of seeing the results.

What results, you may ask: how about overall happiness, better health, clearer state of mind.  I'll get it all when I start tying together all these resolutions.

two thousand thirteen.

Posted by revolutionaire. at 7:04 PM 0 comments
Two thousand thirteen. Ahhhh. What a wonderful year it was to me -- to us.

We celebrated one year in our own home. We celebrated the engagements and marriages of several of our good friends. We celebrated eight years together. Then we got engaged in 2013. And two months later, even we got married. Our love has never been stronger, our lives never better. Everything is coming together - finally.

As I look back on the last twelve months of my life, do I wonder about things I could have done differently? Better? Sure. But it's not exactly from a heinously critical perspective, but more a perspective of opportunity. I see where I can improve. Even more prominent though are the memories I have of adventures we've taken these last twelve months. The adventures are the best part.

In January we found ourselves taking a drive to Gainesville to relive on of our first official dates and visit the Florida Museum of Natural History. It was there we took this picture - it's funny, but not really. Black bears are not the cuddly buddies you might think they are when you see them playing on the side of the road. The museum also housed a temporary exhibit of Charles Schultz material. That was the most enjoyable part of the museum this time. When it was all laid out in black and white, it was clear Schultz truly tried to shed light some very serious and concerning topics.

In February J.M. got this really neat opportunity to take his little brother to a trampoline house and the two of them were kind enough to let me come along. Truthfully, the trampoline place is a wonderful spot for active adventures. If you want to get your physical activity on and want to play a challenging game of tag or basketball, or even practice your acrobatics this is the place to go. In a lot of ways, it's similar to an arcade - it has the pizza and sodas and prizes available, but the majority of the floor plan was dedicated to these trampolines. They're all connected by the bright green pads and, as you can see, you can even bounce off the walls. Literally. Like I said, it's pretty cool. Last time we visited with Chris (his little brother), he asked if we could go again. We talked about it - now it's a matter of making it happen again in 2014.

In March, our friends, Christina and Christian, visited from Austria. They stayed with us in Rainbow Springs and we took them on small, local adventures. The most memorable of which was snorkeling with manatees in Crystal River. Talk about euphoria. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to connect with such majestic and lovable wild animals. Manatees are compassionate, gentle, and curious. And they love to be rubbed on! This was, hands down, the best excursion of the year. And it's one I do hope to repeat in 2014. Any takers?

Then, in April, I completed my first 5K. I did it with a co-worker, Alycia, and admittedly, we walked most of it. But it was my first 5K completion, regardless. The mega grin on my face in the photo is wholly genuine - to me, this 5K was a major accomplishment. I have found something I enjoy doing, feel satisfaction from completing, AND recognize that I can improve on. After the race was over, I waited around in the grass just soaking up my self-satisfaction and I came to a realization. This accomplishment sparked a desire to get into better shape and I began frequenting the gym more consistently. I mastered long stretches on the elliptical, made work-out buddies with several people at various stages of fit, and began improving my stamina on the treadmill. I want to continue my improvements at the gym and truly see the results reflected in accomplishments in 2014 that include other completed races, weight loss, and better nutrition.

J.M. and I took vacation time in June and made absolutely no plans for it. We did lots of stuff locally, but the best part was spontaneously taking a few days to lay on the beach. We stayed in a tiny motel - maybe had 10 rooms, very quaint, family-owned place right on the water. We didn't do much more than just lay on the sand the whole time we were there. This photo is one I took on our last day there. I woke up before the day began and headed down toward the beach to be there when the sun joined the party. Saying good morning to the ocean before the daylight does is my favorite way to feel connected to the earth.

In August, we took Susan and Kenneth to see Less Than Jake for their birthdays. This is a photo of Susan, Kenneth and J.M. with Roger - a round of jello shots to celebrate! We always have a stellar time seeing Less Than Jake - they put on unforgettable performances, especially in Gainesville, but the 2013 experience was slightly more memorable for the journey home. We were the first car on the scene of a gruesome head-on collision where all parties were injured and the woman who caused it was more than three sheets to the wind and begging us to let her die. As if I needed another reason not to drink and drive ...

In August we also discovered the wonderful world of geocaching. It's pretty awesome. Simply put, it's  a network of users who have hidden treasures of varying sizes, shapes, and values all over the world and recorded their locations using latitude and longitude. They then spend their time finding other peoples' treasures boxes and adding to them while also hiding more of their own. There really is a lot involved in the hobby. An aspiring geocacher needs a GPS device, a sense of adventure, an open mind and a keen eye - many caches are small, like film canisters or pill bottles. In this photo, we found a cache and brought it back to the car to look through. It had items in it from all over the country. One item was even what we call a trackable. Those are special items given a serial number and carried from one cache to another by traveling cachers. 

In September, Jon-Michael and I went to Patrick and Korinne's wedding. It was up in Jacksonville, so we decided to make a weekend out if it. Stayed in a nice hotel near the venue and planned on going to the beach the morning after. We stopped at my parents' house to drop off the doggos. I wasn't aware at the time, but JM snuck off on two separate occasions to speak to my parents individually. Then on our way up to Jacksonville, we checked the weather - called for rain the morning we planned on going to the beach. I asked JM if he still wanted to go, he said "YES!" Didn't pick up on it then either, but something was definitely up. He proposed after Patrick's wedding. HE PROPOSED! We were laying in bed at the hotel talking about how beautiful Korinne looked and how happy Patrick was and he just hopped up to change really quickly and then ... there he was, down on one knee. My heart started racing, I cried uncontrollably, I couldn't make words come out in any sensible fashion, but inside I was shouting emphatically, "YES!" We stayed up all night laughing and taking pictures. He was so romantic about the proposal - I wish I could remember what he said to me. We woke up early, went out for breakfast and took our sweet time heading back home to share the story with my mom, dad, sister, brother, and Kelly. This picture is a picture JM took while we were out to breakfast at this wonderful restaurant called First Watch. So, at this point in the year 2013, this was by far the best day I had had. 

The short story: we started planning a wedding ... it got really stressful and extremely far from what we had dreamed of having for ourselves. We went to look at venues in Gainesville and picked the Florida Museum of Natural History. We fell in love on sight, it had sentimental value (being the location of our first official date), and absolutely LOVED that it was too small for the massive guest list we had acquired. Then it all happened so fast -- we looked at the venue in mid-October, booked a date in mid-November and threw it all together perfectly. We had help from my entire family on everything from the dress and the accessories to the music and the favors and flowers. We made it all ourselves and did it, I think, way under budget. We invited most of the 25 guests (yes, only 25 guests) to spend the night at a local hotel the night before since we were having a breakfast wedding. The hotel hosted a free cocktail hour for all their guests, so we had ourselves a wonderfully memorable night. This photo is of me and Dad - he's wearing is googly eyed glasses -- a prank he considering pulling the day of the wedding, but only whipped out for the rehearsal and the party. I love this man.

Speaking of men I love ... here is my husband. EEEE!! That still sounds so wild to hear -- to say! This is one of our sneak-peek photos. Bonnie Estelle, our photographer, was absolutely wonderful. She has a brilliant eye for aesthetics and knows how to make her subjects feel as if she's not even there. Our wedding day turned out flawlessly. We had the best help from the moment we set the plan into action to the moment we were pronounced husband and wife .. which, by the way, we forgot to wait for. Elizabeth St. Louis officiated our wedding - she was spectacular; I could never ask for better. Before she could pronounce us husband and wife, we high-fived and kissed and hugged and kissed some more and hugged some more. We were so excited -- we still are! -- we were so excited we just couldn't wait to celebrate our love! After the wedding we spent about two hours in different spots in Gainesville doing artistic photos with Bonnie before departing for our gorgeous suite in Orlando and gearing up for ... what turned out to be the best concert of my life thus far! 

Third Eye Blind. Glorious, glorious, glorious show. Absolutely glorious. I don't know how to describe it. I did something silly - I painted a poster board with the words "just married!" on it. And what's more? I tweeted to 3EB before the concert started telling them we were there to celebrate getting married that morning. They favorited the tweet and retweeted it. Then between songs, I put the sign as high up into the air as I could and Stephan Jenkins did the unspeakable. Stephan Jenkins pointed out into the audience and said four simply beautiful words: "I see you there!" Then a few heads turned, a few camera phones snapped pictures, and the concert carried on. It was a beautiful, breathlessly exciting few seconds of my life. And the rest of the two and a half hour concert just played on euphorically then and on repeat in my mind. Best. Concert. Ever. 

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