Friday, January 30, 2009

I'd Rather Be Running

About six months ago, I started running and even to my own surprise, I loved it. I would strap my iPod to my arm and run through South Highlands for a little more than an hour a couple times a week. 

I think my love for it was born out of grief. I couldn't change my circumstances, so I was left to deal with where my choices had left me. While I disliked where I was in life, I could put my feet in motion and feel some relief. So, I ran. And I ran hard. I could push myself to the brink of tears, and when I was done, miraculously, my load felt lighter.  

A lot has changed in six months. I would say that I've found deep-rooted and sincere happiness. Unfortunately, with that my feet stopped moving. Rather than wanting to run away, I want to smother myself in the joys of day-to-day. 

Of course, several other factors stopped me dead in my tracks. We've had a few months of cruddy winter weather. That lung-burning feeling reminds me of first hour gym at Byrd High School, neither of which I enjoyed. Second, the holidays were busier than usual. Third, I had stitches for two weeks. Fourth, I've had the world's worst sinus infection for more than a week now.

It feels like it's always something, and soon enough I hope those somethings stop so my feet can start. I can't wait to start running toward something rather than away. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sick of being sick

I hate being sick. That's no grand statement, I think all of us hate being sick. When I'm struck with illness, it affects my entire mood. And unfortunately, I'm no stranger to sickness. 

I've been waiting for this to happen. Everyone else has been getting sick and without my weekly allergy treatment (my health insurance just kicked in), I've been an open target. So, it came as no surprise when I woke up in the middle of Thursday night with my throat practically swollen shut. However, I pressed on and went to work Friday. 

My guy and I had a date planned for Saturday night. We were going to my favorite restaurant and to see a movie — in celebration of the close of duck hunting season (at least on my end). We enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Olive Street Bistro, but toward the end I was fading. 

"Umm ... I know we're supposed to go see a movie, but I really just want to go home and put my sweat pants back on. Is that OK?" 

We couldn't make it home fast enough. The sweats were on immediately. We popped in a movie, and I think I fell asleep before we were halfway through. 

Typically, there's a lot of activity in my day-to-day life, so when I need to give my body rest, it's a struggle of my will. I don't want to sit still, and sitting still for too long makes me stir crazy even though I'm not up for much else physically. 

I worked only a few hours Monday and didn't work at all Tuesday. By last night, I was sick of being home and sick of being sick. 

Food still doesn't taste quite right. My head feels swampy and heavy. My eyes burn as if my eyelids have been taped open for hours. But surprisingly enough, those are the symptoms of feeling better. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My brother and me

Over the holidays, my grandmother pulled out an envelope stuffed to the gills with photos from my childhood. I'd never seen most of the pictures before, so it was a real treat. 

My brother and I are just 14 months apart in age. As you can imagine, that can be both good and bad. I always had someone to play with, but I didn't always want that someone to be my brother. 

There were about 15 pictures total, but a few of these have become favorites.  They're such sweet reminders of my childhood. In the picture below, Chris and I are likely being forced to hug. It looks forced. 

The surroundings bring back wonderful memories. The picture was taken at my MeMaw and PaPaw's house in Camden, Ark. On winter nights, we would roll out our sleeping bags on the driveway and watch for shooting stars. We would also sit on the driveway, while my mom stood in the grass and twirled fire. Not kidding, we were definitely the only kids whose mom could do such a thing.

This next picture is another favorite. It was taken the one year we were at my Nana and Big Mick's for Christmas morning. Our house was in the process of being built, so we were camped out at my grandparents' house for a few months. 

Chris is holding tightly to two He-Man figurines, while I'm petting my Care Bear with my feet barely hanging over the edge of the couch. It's amazing that my brother can still remember the name of the He-Man castle on the ground. I guess some of the best memories have a way of sticking with you. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Love, marriage and guacamole

My roommate and I have a tradition of reading the weddings and engagements in the Sunday paper. Between the two of us, there's usually someone to read about that we know. For the males reading this, I can't explain it other than to say it's just something we gals like to do. 

This past Sunday morning, Catherine and I read an engagement announcement that brought on tears of laughter and jaw-dropping shock. Could this couple be serious? 

In case you missed it, let me be the first to share. Guys, I promise it is worth reading. It's likely to be the first and last time guacamole will be mentioned in an engagement announcement. 

Emily Erin Goodin and David Michael Castille, both of Baton Rouge, are engaged to be married January 30, 2009, at the Terrell House in New Orleans.

Emily attended Caddo Parish Magnet High School and graduated from LSU. She currently works as a manager at Ann Taylor Loft, where David believes she spends too much money. 

David attended Baton Rouge Magnet High School. He is a graduate of Centenary College and earned his MBA at LSU. David currently works for the Louisiana Department of Economic Development as the assistant director of State Economic Competitiveness Group, where Emily believes he makes posters and does math all day. 

The couple was introduced by their good mutual friend, Shreveport celebrity Jeff Everson in mid 2006. David was immediately smitten with Emily — she was cynical and unemployed. Emily liked how David wore suits to work everyday and did not let her boss him around too much, which was a mistake scores before him had made. He also made her guacamole all the time. Love ensued and David proposed June 20, 2008. 

Although the two are having a private ceremony in New Orleans, they hope their friends will not forget to give them presents. 

They will honeymoon in Anguilla and St. Martin/St Maarten in May. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Death by mallow

We're a little more than two weeks into the new year, and it seems Christmas has gone as quickly as it came. I did my shopping early this Christmas, avoided last minute holiday stress and basked in my favorite time of year by baking a variety of cookies for anyone who would eat them. 

Now, the busy season is over. My tree was hauled to the curb about a week ago, taking with it the woodsy, seasonal scent of Frasier Fur. Decorations have been stored in the garage, and to the relief of waistlines all around me, my kitchen has become a no-bake zone. 

It will be a while before Christmas comes 'round again, so until then, I'll have to get by on the wonderful memories this Christmas season gave. Admittedly, I've been spoiled by a lifetime of wonderful Christmases. Trampolines, go-carts, air hockey tables, bikes, — those were the type of unexpected treats that made sleeping on Christmas Eve nearly impossible. We were truly blessed and somehow managed to never break any bones with the toys we were given.  

I may be older, but I still get that feeling in my stomach on Christmas Eve. It's not because of what I hope to find waiting under the tree, but rather for the day I know is in store. The house will be filled with family and the aroma coming from the kitchen will be too much to bear waiting for. 

As my brothers and I have gotten older, I've always tried to do little things to keep the spirit of Christmas as exciting as when we were younger. Silly, inexpensive gifts that bring out the childlike nature in us all. This year, my boyfriend's mom had the same thing in mind. 

The picture above is me with my boyfriend's sister, Mandy, and her husband, Justin, on Christmas morning before we'd opened our gifts. Margaret handed out four gifts, identically wrapped, and made us open them together. 

To our surprise, she'd gotten us each a marshmallow gun. War of the Mallow soon ensued — mini-marshmallows flew through the air as we pelted each other and canvased the house. There's no mercy when your weapon fires not-so-menacing marshmallows.  

Ty's dad, Butch, even managed to get in on the action. Butch would cover his eyes as Mandy used his mouth for target practice. Throughout the day, we shot at anyone and everyone we knew. We took the guns to my parents' house and shot up the place, and later we ambushed unexpecting friends as they came up the front steps of my house.

The concrete outside my home is still stained with tiny white dots from our marshmallow shoot out, but I don't mind. It's nothing more than the sugary, sweet marks of a wonderful holiday season. 

(I've posted two videos to the right. The first shows Mandy shooting marshmallows at Butch — who has his eyes covered, but says once the war ends, "I think I  have a black eye now." The second video, is from our ambush at my parent's house of my brother's girlfriend, Katye. We wish her a Merry Christmas and send some mini-mallows her way. The dogs soon ambushed her too — to eat all the marshmallows. Bella (the westie) later got sick.)

Friday, January 9, 2009

What's in a name?

It's a name change that the Shreveport Sports hope will fill a few seats — at least a few more than last year when the team had the lowest attendance in the league. 

Also under new management, the Shreveport-Bossier Captains hope the new name will bring back some old fans with warm memories of the past. 

In my younger years, Captains games were the ultimate way to spend a summer night. I would go to games with my church softball team, eat hot dogs and helmet bowls filled with soft-serve ice cream that melted before it hit your lips. 

I hope the changes revive the local club, and bring in fans — old and new. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hot diggity dog

I'm working on a story this month about relationships. My goal is to remove the mystery of healthy relationships. To many of us the concept seems impossible, but I've met some interesting couples with great stories to tell. 

I'm talking to everyone from newlyweds to a couple of 70-plus years, and today I met with the Lewis'. David and Ruth will celebrate their 50th anniversary in April, and their joy and happiness is apparent. 

I asked the pair about how their relationship has changed over the years, and to my surprise it boiled down to hot dogs. 

Every week, as far back as they can remember, the Lewis' have had "hot dog night." As Mrs. Ruth will tell you, "It's just something we always did." After 40 years of hot dog nights, David had reached his boiling point, "I hate hot dogs," he blurted out to Ruth's surprise. "Hot dogs are good — every now and then — but once a week is too much."

The couple laughs about it now. "It took him 40 years to tell me he didn't like hot dogs," Ruth said, shaking her head. 

It's nice to know that after so many years, this sweet couple is still enjoying the everyday adventures relationships can bring.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back on the blog-wagon

Well, hello there! It's been a few months, but I'm back on the blog beat. 

As many of you know, I've relocated from The Times to SB Magazine, and I'm enjoying my new digs. I've always had a passion for the job, no matter where I was working — heck, even before I could work. 

I've kept journals most of my life (still have them stashed in a very secret hiding spot); I was associate editor of my high school yearbook; and in my spare time, I created newsletters for my church youth group. I know, nerd alert! 

I don't know when that passion left me, but it did. Blogging became a burden. Stories became stressful. So, I had to shake things up and start anew. It's been a wonderful journey so far. I hope you can see that in the pages of SB's January issue. 

Thanks for joining in this new chapter — it's great having you here!