Thursday, April 19, 2012

Remember and reflect...

I have taken another sabbatical from the blog.  To my followers who missed me, thank you.  I missed writing to you.  There were several reasons I stopped blogging and then when those reasons were gone, I decided not to start back until I actually felt like I had something to say.  Today is the day…
On a seemingly very regular April morning in 1995, something crazy happened.  The feeling of security for every Oklahoman was in question as the compassion of every American flooded into our little fly-over state. 
It is just after 9:00 am as I start to write this… the exact time that the federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed 17 years ago today. 
Memorial in Oklahoma City
While I didn’t know anyone in the building at the time, I remember watching the television footage in horror feeling hurt for each of the families who lost their loved ones in that senseless act of terrorism.  While I haven’t always done my best at paying respect to those who deserve it, today I’m in a different frame of mind.  Yesterday I was frustrated for things in my life that weren’t going the way I want them to go.  Today I am so grateful that I have a life and simple things to stress over. 
Looking back over the past 17 years of my life makes it a reality of just what was taken from those people who lost their lives on April 19, 1995, and every other tragic event before or since.  I thought back on every year since then and remembered at least one thing that happened to me that I am grateful for getting to experience… opportunities and experiences that I have taken for granted, yet others beg for or mourn the loss of missing out on… either getting to see their children or grandchildren experience them or, sadly, for some, being taken from this world before getting to actually experience them themselves. 
Today my heart is sad for the things they missed.  Things that are small in this messy world we live in and so many times not even considered blessings, but things that make life worth the trouble.  Here is a list of some of those things in my life…
1995 – Had my first kiss
1996 – Gave my first speech at a public event
1997 – Earned my first varsity letter
1998 – Got my first speeding ticket
1999 – Went to my first prom
2000 – Graduated from High School
2001 – Had my first heartbreak
2002 – Took my first drink of alcohol
2003 – Became an aunt
2004 – Graduated from college
2005 – Bought my first house
2006 – Finished graduate school
2007 – Vacationed in Hawaii
2008 – Started my career at the City
2009 – Met my best friend
2010 – Fell in love
2011 – Adopted my sweet little Lilly
2012 – Get to watch my little sister get married
This list is very small.  But I hope it serves as a reminder that it’s the simple things in life we hold onto the longest.  There are so many things… good and bad… easy and hard… that I am thankful for getting to experience.  So many more then I could ever have time or space to include in a simple list.  Each of them have shaped me into who I am today and I am grateful for their impact in my life.  And I’m thankful that God blessed me with a life long enough to experience them. 
Today I am making the choice to remember those who have had their lives cut too short and to be thankful for the amazing gifts I have been given instead of wishing my life was easier.  I pray that I will continue to be blessed with time and hope that I can make it into something meaningful...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A real fine place to start...

Today I’m starting something new.  I kept thinking I’d wait until January 1st to make some major life changes.  But if I have to wait until it’s natural to have a “resolution” then it’s not ever going to be a natural change.  So December 21st is the day.  Actually December 20th was the day, but since I didn’t start yesterday this way, today is my first full day of the new and improved Cassie. 
Have you ever wanted something so much that you push so hard and in the process hurt yourself and others and in the end realized all you really did was push any chance of actually getting what you wanted away?  Welcome to my world.  This has been the story of my life for about two years.
But as of yesterday, after one of the worst mornings of my life, I realized something.  Something that I always knew and have advised others to do many times, but for some reason never applied to my own situation.  Stupid, I know.  I have realized, or more appropriately, decided to apply, the ideas that you get out of something what you put into it and you can only change your behavior not someone else’s.
Sometimes it’s easy when we feel we have been wronged to blame the other person and put all the responsibility for fixing it on them.  We know our behavior isn’t appropriate either, but we sit back and say, “I’m not changing until they fix what they did to me.”  If this is your line of thought, let me offer you an opportunity to skip out on some serious heartbreak.  Don’t do it.  You are responsible for your own actions regardless of what someone else does (or doesn’t do) to encourage ill behavior from you.
For a long time I have been really crappy to someone who means the absolute world to me.  Once upon a time, they wronged me.  I forgave them, sure, but I expected major changes along with that apology.  When those changes didn’t come as quickly as I wanted them to, I allowed my behavior to change.  I became a person that was difficult to get along with, always super sensitive and overly emotional.  I thought if they could see that I was hurting they would step up their efforts to make the changes they kept promising.  But in reality, all I did was hurt them back, cause them to have major doubts in who they are and allow for situations that created a lot of resentment in both of us.
It took a very heartbreaking event in our relationship for me to make this decision and I hate that it came to what it did, but I finally realize that whether or not they ever change, I am far more unhappy in who I have become trying to get them where I think they ought to be then I am with anything they actually do.  I have allowed this to change things about my personality that I used to love.  I have allowed this to make me a distrusting, nagging, mean person.  And I am not any of those things.  I am a happy-go-lucky, easy going, fun loving person who people used to really enjoy being around.  It’s time to get that girl back.
So today I’m starting there.  I’m going to be the nice, sweet, friendly, compassionate, fun Cassie that I was when this person and I became friends in the first place.  I’m going to do the little things I used to do that let people know I care about them.  I’m going to live my life a little lighter and quit letting every little thing have such a heavy emotional weight.  I’m going to stop getting my feelings hurt so easily.  I’m going to stop pushing for the things I need.  Instead I’m going to give the people I love the things I want them to remember about me instead of the things we all want to forget.    
I can only be responsible for my actions.  And not only can I, but I have to be.  I am responsible for everything I think, say and do.  So my December 20th resolution is to, from this point forward, in all my relationships with friends, family, coworkers, etc., live out one of my favorite Bible passages… Ephesians 4:29, 31-32. 
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only that which is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Every day is a new day to wake up and choose to be the person you want to be.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Miss Lilly Belle...

I’m back!
I’m not sure if you missed me or not, but I missed you.
I thought it best to take a leave of absence from my blog when one of my readers took it as an invitation to stalk me.  But I think that has been resolved now, so I decided to make a comeback.  There are so many things I’ve wanted to share over the past three months… I don’t even know where to start. 
I think I will start with the newest addition to my world.  My sweet little Lilly.
Miss Lilly Belle
Back in February, I had to put my precious Dotti (best dog ever) down due to a heart tumor.  It was really hard for me as she was really the only good thing I had to show for the previous six years of my life.  She literally was the best dog ever.  I couldn’t replace her if I wanted to and for the longest time, I didn’t want to even consider getting a new dog.  I knew none could compare to Dotti pants.  There were several opportunities of friends emailing me pictures of cute puppies looking for forever homes, even my sister dropping a monster dog off at my house, but none of them were a good fit and I just wasn’t ready.
My last picture with Dotti
I know those of you who have human children don’t understand us dog lovers’ connections to our babies and how much we mourn the loss of one so deeply.  But Dotti was my child.  The bright spot in my day.  The “person” I made the most sacrifices for and always considered her best interest.  When buying a house that was the #1 thing on the list to the realtor… must have a fenced in back yard for Dotti to play.  The #2 was must have a garage for Kit to sleep.  What can I say?  My kids are at the top of my list.  J  The determining factor on whether or not I could go somewhere for the weekend with friends was always if Dotti could come, and if not, if I could find a worthy babysitter for my sweet love.
So after several months of considering the possibilities of inviting a new four-legged friend into my home, and always deciding the time just wasn’t right, I had one really rough day where I was feeling super lonely and I sat in the backyard next to the tree we planted over Dotti’s gravesite.  That was the moment I knew I needed a puppy.  Not to replace Dotti, but just because I was reminded of how much joy it brings to have someone to come home to that is never mad at you, will always listen to you, never complains about what you feed them, always wags its tail and greets you with a kiss, always wants to be close to you, never tells you that you work too much or not enough, never says the house isn’t clean enough or the lawn needs to be mowed.  They would rather you sit and snuggle with them or throw the ball over and over and over then you do any of those chores.  The list can go on and on, but I’ll stop there.  When I was having a rough day and the only thing that made me feel better was sitting next to my dead dog’s dead tree, I knew that I not only needed to replant a better tree, but that I needed a new puppy in my life. 
Once I made the decision to get a new puppy, I started researching breeds.  I thought maybe I’d want something new.  My family is a dog family.  We’ve always had them… sometimes tons of them at the same time.  Throughout my life I’ve had cockapoos, cocker spaniels, Siberian huskies, German shepherds, labs, pit bulls, blue healers, Staffordshire terriers, hound dogs and my fair share of mutts, but with the exception of one or two, none of them compared to Dotti, who was an American bulldog.  I kept researching new breeds that I’ve never had, but ultimately “American bulldog” kept ending up back in the search bar.  After almost convincing myself to go with a golden retriever, I stumbled upon an American Bulldog breeder out of Muldrow, Oklahoma.
Enter Lilly. 
Lilly's first picture
Or as she was named on the Southern Charm American Bulldog website… PF4 (which stands for Putter (the name of her mother), female, order born in the litter).
I found her picture and I fell in love.  She is a registered American bulldog and they were good breeders as opposed to a puppy mill.  Her color and markings were so pretty.  I knew I wanted her so I started emailing the breeder.  We made plans for me to come get her when she was six weeks old.  I was so excited.  But as it got closer to go time, the breeder started getting a little flaky, stopped returning my emails, always had excuses on why she couldn’t email pics or meet me.  I was at the Reba concert on a Friday night when I told Brett that I had planned to drive over to Muldrow the next day and pick her up.  He said he was sad because he wanted to go with me but couldn’t because his mom was in town.  Then almost immediately I got an email from the breeder saying she’d sold PF4 to someone else.  My heart was broken.  I thought PF4 was gone.  But I told her I would come up Tuesday (so Brett could join me) and see what females she still had left. 
I tried to forget about PF4 and spent some time on the website Saturday looking at the other babies she had.  I had it narrowed down to two that I wanted to look at, but neither that I was in love with.  I never told Brett that PF4 was gone, just that I had decided to go Tuesday instead of Saturday. 
Sunday I went to church in Broken Arrow.  I had invited Brett and his mom to join me and JC for lunch after church, but he said they’d be too busy.  JC and I caught the first showing at Cinemark and decided to do Olive Garden after the movie.  The movie had just started when I got a text from Brett saying his mom wasn’t feeling well and went home and that he wanted to meet us for lunch.  I told him we were in a movie but planned to eat after.  Then an hour went by and he kept texting, wondering where I was.  I was starting to think something was wrong.  Then he asked if I would meet him in the movie theater parking lot before we headed to the restaurant.  I asked if everything was okay and his response was, “I’m just sad.” 

Geez, that was the longest movie ever.  I was so worried about him.  I thought maybe he’d had a fight with his mom, or something bad had happened.  I had no idea what to expect.  As soon as the credits started rolling I was out the door.  JC went to get us a table and I found Brett.  He was sitting against the trunk of his car with the saddest face I’d ever seen.  When I walked up to him and asked what was wrong, he started crying… yes… real tears.  He started telling me how they sold PF4 to someone else. 

Oh what a relief.  I thought it was something much more serious.  He started mumbling about how he wanted to get her for me for Christmas and now he couldn’t and how sad he was.  I tried to comfort him, though I was so caught off guard by why he was so sad about the puppy I wanted that I couldn’t really even think.  Then he said, “She has others that she sent pictures of… do you want to see?”  My mind said, “I’ve already seen them.”  But my heart said, “Anything to get him to stop crying.”  And my mouth said, “Yes, I would love to.”  So he walked around to the passenger side of his car where the window was down.  I was expecting him to pull out his phone to show me pictures and instead he pulled out PF4, wrapped in a cute little blanket with a cute little bandana around her neck.  It was love at first sight.  J
I pretty much love her.
He handed her to me and said, “Her name is Lilly.”  At first I didn’t know if I should punch Brett or hug him.  He had me worried sick.  But he also just gave me the sweetest surprise ever.  I have been accused of being a little detective, so surprising me is almost impossible.  But he pulled it off marvelously.  I’m still not sure how I feel about the real tears.  Now that I know he can cry on command, I may doubt the sincerity of his tears in the future.  J
Brett watched Lilly while I went ahead and ate with JC.  I ordered him a to-go order for being so sweet and played with and cuddled my new baby while he ate it.  Then we went to my soccer game.  Lilly was the cutest fan on the sidelines.  Brett was the second cutest.  And the little girl who would not stop making Brett get up to put Lilly in her lap was the third cutest.  Lilly was a big hit.  I don’t remember much about the game.  But I remember just about everything else about the day my sweet Miss Lilly Belle came into my world.
Lilly and I have had many “Marley and Me” moments since I first got her and I am looking forward to posting some of them in the future.  Until then, here are some pictures of my sweet baby who celebrated her 12-week birthday yesterday. 

On the way home from Houston
Trying to steal firewood

At church with mom

Lilly: 1, Toy: 0

Playing at NSU-BA

She's precious

Lilly's loft

First trip to Mom's office

Sleeping with a fat belly

Playing at Dad's house

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lost treasure found...

Today was a good day.  God was definitely smiling on Cassie.  J
First, this morning, in an unsuccessful search for my missing iPad, I accidentally found my missing Ray Bans.  And just in time to take with me to Milwaukee!  Of course I have my classic gold-framed aviator Ray Bans that I wear all the time, then I have a pair of black and silver Pradas that I mostly just wear for play.  Brett jokingly said one day while we were floating down Spring Creek in a canoe, “You’re the only girl I know who would wear Pradas on a fishing trip.”  I take that as a compliment.  J
But these Ray Bans are different.  They have polarized lenses and they are the perfect size for my little face.  And the frames are plastic and tortoise shell which is perfect for either when I wear brown instead of black or when I want to dress down a little.  Brett gave them to me.  Okay, really, Brett gave me all three of my fancy pairs of sunglasses.  He’s pretty fantastic.  These I picked out though.  I love my aviators, but they started out as his that I stole before I dropped them in the lake and he had to order me a new pair all the way from Italy (a whole other story).  The Pradas were also his.  I’m not sure why he gave them to me.  He just found them one day in his closet and said, “Here, do you want these?”  Who says no to that?  But these brown ones I picked out at Sunglass Hut at the mall.  I had planned to have Brett order them for me and actually pay him for them, but I missed the order deadline.  So I thought I was out of luck.  But then he surprised me with them at the beginning of the summer.  I was so excited.  The only proof that I’ve actually had them that long is a photo taken Memorial Day weekend where I am wearing them.  Then… they went missing.  L 
I looked all over for them, but couldn’t find them anywhere.  The only relief I had was that I knew they were at least in their case which would keep them from getting all scratched up.  Then today, three months after I’d last seen them, I found them in a box of random stuff in my spare bedroom.  Now, it’s no secret that my house is a construction zone and pretty well a disaster, but even still it is very unusual for me to put something away like that and then forget about it, being that I usually remember everything… no seriously, I have the memory of a very smart elephant.  Anyway, I opened the box looking for the iPad and found the sunglasses instead.  Yay! 
I was so excited that I just pretty much gave up even looking for the old iPad.  Even though it is my City-issued iPad and if I don’t find it, I will have to buy it… and even though it’s been missing for two whole months… and even though it has been very difficult to follow along in City Council meetings without it… the excitement of the sunglasses made me temporarily forget about how bad I needed to find the iPad.
But as I was sitting at work getting all my stuff together for my trip in Milwuakee I kept thinking about how nice it would be to have my iPad for the conference.  So my mind went back to all the places I have already looked (which is basically everywhere), and tried to think of anywhere else it might possibly be that I had not yet looked.  Then I remembered seeing a plastic Walmart bag in the corner in that room.  At first glance I thought it was my Wii because I had put it in a plastic bag to keep the construction dust off of it.  But then I remembered that the Wii was actually in a Walgreens bag (memory of an elephant).  So when I went home at lunch, I went straight for that Walmart bag… Halleluiah!  There it was.  The missing iPad, its charger and randomly, a box of Reese’s Pieces and some empty manila file folders.  I put the file folders in my filing cabinet and threw the plastic bag and the Reese’s Pieces away (I was afraid they might be melted and two-month-old melted candy is the last thing I need).  The iPad case was a little dusty, but nothing I can’t clean.  It is currently charging in my office getting ready for its resurrection trip to Wisconsin. 
So… now I have my sunglasses.  And I don’t have to buy the City a new iPad.  I think that adds up to a great day.  J  While I’m enjoying the bliss of locating both of my long-lost treasures, I am mentally making a note to deep clean that spare room when I get home to see what else I might find.  J

Monday, September 12, 2011

A weekend in the city...

After a pretty intense week last week, I decided to make a little time for myself and my friends.  And I’m so glad I did.  I had a good weekend.  I left work a little early on Friday, packed my stuff and hit the road for Edmond.  I was going to visit my friend Meredith for a little girl time.  Meredith is a little younger than me.  We actually met when I was a sophomore in college and volunteered to be a counselor at Super Summer (church camp).  She had just started high school.  She was one of my campers and I was her “mom.”  We have maintained a big/little sister type relationship since then.  I am very proud of the woman she has become. 
We started our evening with a nice dinner at a Mexican place called Alfredo’s.  I know… sounds Italian, but it’s not.  It was pretty good.  I particularly liked their queso.  It was yellow and I’m usually more partial to white queso, but it was good.  We talked a little bit, caught each other up on the latest boy drama in our lives and compassionately offered our best advice and words of encouragement to each other.  Because that’s what girlfriends do.  J
After dinner, we went back to Meredith’s house to get ready.  We had plans to go out in Bricktown.  So we straightened our hair, put on dresses and sandals and headed out.  We weren’t really sure what we wanted to do, so we just kind of started walking.  We ended up at In the Raw.  We decided that since we rarely get to see each other, instead of going out to a club or something like that, we’d rather just sit and talk.  So we sat at a small table on the patio and since we’d already eaten, decided wine was our best bet. 
I ordered a glass of my new favorite (okay, truthfully, the only wine I can even stand), Moscoto.   I don’t particularly like the taste of alcohol and I have a really hard time finding anything I can sit a enjoy drinking.  But at a wedding earlier this summer, my friend Amanda introduced me to Moscoto, which is a sweet dessert wine.  While it’s not a sweet as the fruity drinks I typically order, it gets bonus points from me because it’s wine.  I know it sounds stupid, but I have always secretly wished that I liked wine, because I think it looks much classier for a lady to slowly sip on a glass of wine rather then throw back shots or chug beer.  Or even in my case, slowly drink some bright green cocktail with a cherry in it through a straw.  Until recently, I just could never find a wine I liked.  It’s silly that it makes me feel so much more grown up to sit and enjoy wine with a girlfriend on a patio then drinking a Madori sour at the club.  But it does…
So me with my white wine and Meredith with her red (much classier, but also much yuckier) sat and continued our discussion from dinner.  It was nice.  And after a couple glasses of wine, which I did actually enjoy, I still finished the night with a cocktail.  It just tastes better.  J
at In the Raw in Bricktown
We left Bricktown and headed back to Meredith’s house.  She is actually living with her parents while she finishes her student teaching, so we got ready for bed and then sat in her mom’s bed with her mom and sister while we had a little more girl time.  Her family is really sweet.  Then Meredith and I decided to watch the Ugly Truth before bed (it seemed fitting given all the discussion of the male population), but we didn’t make it very far into the movie before we decided sleep was a better option.  J 
We woke to the sun coming through her bedroom window and laid there for a little while.  We finally got up and Meredith’s mom made us breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast and bacon.  We sat and talked with her mom and dad as we ate.  They are a very sweet family and I enjoyed both their personalities and their hospitality. 
After breakfast, I showered while Meredith sat in bed and read.  Then we switched.  It was nice and relaxing.  I rarely take time to just sit and relax, especially on a Saturday, so it was a really nice break.  Finally I got up and we got dressed and ready to go.  We weren’t really hungry because of our breakfast, so we just went to Johnnie’s for drinks (sweet tea for me and soda for her) and a shared slice of banana crème pie (which was delicious).  We stayed and talked until Meredith had to leave for work. 
Then I called Amanda.  Amanda is a sorority sister, though we were never in college together.  She just happens to be my great grand little and we have always had a bond.  She's also the one who introduced me to my new favortie wine. J  She recently moved to OKC for dental hygiene school.  So I couldn’t make a visit without seeing her as well.  She was studying when I got to her apartment (such a good little student J).  We sat and talked and caught each other up on life a little bit before she went back to the computer.  I read a book and watched a little TV while she studied.  After a few hours, we decided we were hungry, and headed to Chipotle.  We got dinner to go and took it back to her place.  We stopped by the liquor store on the way home where I bought a bottle of, you guessed it, Moscoto.  J  We ate and talked and then Amanda decided to start getting ready.  Her friend Lindsey also showed up and we all got ready together.  Frank (Amanda’s other half) came home for a bit before he went to his buddy’s house to eat.  Once we were ready and Frank and his friend Adam came back, we headed to Oktoberfest. 
No, I don’t know why they have Oktoberfest in Choctaw, and I don’t honestly care.  It was still a good time.  J  It was in Choctaw, which was really only about a half hour away.  We got there, paid our way in, bought our food and drink tickets and got our wristbands before we headed to the drink tent.  Frank, Adam and I got separated from Amanda and Lindsey while they met up with another friend, so of course we did what guys love to do and got some food. 
No idea what Frank is eating...
We did some serious people watching and had an interesting conversation about applesauce (apparently Frank is not a fan and he definitely doesn’t think it goes with potato cakes).  Then we went for a walk.  We hoped to find Amanda and Lindsey, but instead got found by “Creepy guy.”  This guy walked up to me and said, “I told you!”  Since I had never seen him before, I assumed he wasn’t talking to me and tried to walk away, at which point he started following us.  If we would stop, he would stop.  If we would walk, he would follow again.  But he never spoke to me again.  Adam took one for the team and kept him busy while Frank and I escaped.  Then the guy told him, “You don’t have to entertain me, you can go.”  And in my favorite line of the night, Adam said, “No, I don’t think I can.  I think you’re probably going to follow me.”  It caught the guy off guard and Adam was also able to escape.  Thank goodness.
Then we finally found the rest of our group and headed back to the drink tent.  We hung out, danced a little and took some pictures. 

Okay... we obviously didn't take that last one... some drunk old guy with a camera did, but then handed us a card and said we could get a free download.  Cool.  Too bad Adam wasn't in the picutre... it would have been nice to get the whole group.  Oh well... he was off celebrating the fact that he just passed the bar exam.  Good for him.
They closed Oktoberfest down at midnight and we left.  On the way out, we saw this old guy driving a six-seater golf cart and asked him for a ride, fully expecting him to say no… but he said yes!  He quickly became the coolest guy ever.  We parked across the street from the festival grounds, so it was quite a long drive from the tents to the front entrance where the car was, but he took us the whole way.  He was a sweet guy.  And that’s just proof that it never hurts to ask.  J
I drove us home, but not until after we found this great new set of wheels for Amanda. 
AB's new wheels...
It was there when we went in and it was still lying in the grass when we left, so we decided it was meant to be.  It needed a new home and it was just her size.  J
Once we got back to Frank and Amanda’s apartment, we all stayed up a talked for another couple hours before crashing.  I enjoyed the fun time with my friends.  I really need to make an effort to come visit them more often. 
Sunday morning came early.  I got up and showered and got ready, trying hard not to wake anyone.  Then I wrote a little goodbye note and headed home.  I made it back to Broken Arrow in time for the 11:00 church service and then went to my soccer game in Jenks.  It was the first game of the season.  It was good to see all my teammates again and even though we didn’t win, L we didn’t do horrible either.  I did get kicked in the toe, and I’m pretty sure it will result in a lost toenail… again… let’s just hope it grows back again.  I’m going to be brave tonight and try drilling a hole in it to relieve the pressure.  Yikes!  It’s going to hurt, but if it means saving the nail, I’m for it.  I looked ridiculous without a big toe nail for eight months the last time this happened. 
Anyway, we had no subs in our game, I played left mid the whole time, which is not my best position, but minus the longest 40-minute halves of my life, the exhaustion caused by being out of shape and the hurt toe, it was fun.  My friend, Ian, even came to watch.  Poor guy, it wasn’t much of a show, I think for a little bit, he took a nap in the grass, but who can blame him. 
After the game I came home, took a much-needed shower and an even more-needed nap.  Then I got up, got dressed and headed to Catoosa, where I met my friend, Caleb, for dinner.  He’s the one who hurt his foot a few blogs back.  He’s still hurt, which sucks.  He crutched his way into the restaurant.  It’s been a while since we’ve got to hang out, so we had a nice visit.  Then, after making a quick run by the grocery store, I headed home.  It was early, but I was still so tired, so I put on my pjs, brushed my teeth, grabbed my book and read until I started to doze off. 
All in all, it was a very fun, pretty relaxing and nice break from my usual routine.  Now, if only I didn’t have to go back to work… Oh well, at the end of this crazy busy week, I get to go to Milwaukee, which I’m pretty excited about for a number of reasons, so I think I can make it.  J

Friday, September 9, 2011

My last GRAND weekend of the summer...

As promised, here is my "catching up on the past three weeks blog"... part two…
But first, I want to include another picture from the family float trip.  Brett just emailed it to me and I love it.  This is my sassy little niece Brooklynn.
She is such a little diva.
Anyway, back to Saturday…
After they let me leave the United Way fundraiser breakfast early, I came home, finished packing for the lake and laid down for a little nap.  It was still early.  And I was still tired.  So I slept while I waited on Brett to get up and come over.  When he got there, he woke me up and we went to eat at Boomarang, our favorite breakfast spot. 
Since I thought I’d still be at the fundraiser, we were a little ahead of schedule, so I asked him if we could stop by the High School Football Stadium.  My nephew Jaxon had his first football game that day.  So we stopped by to cheer on the little second grade Zebras before heading to the lake.  I can’t wait until Brooklynn is old enough to be a little cheerleader for the little Zebras.  Aunt Cassie plans to teach her everything she needs to know.  J
We left from the game and headed to Grand Lake.  We got to the Riff’s cabin right on time.  We hung out and talked with everyone for a little bit and then we loaded up the boat and headed to Dripping Springs.  It was just five of us… Jerad, Jamie, Russ, Brett and myself.
me and Jamie
the boys
me and Brett
I had a really fun time.  Russ’s party raft, which we call “The Friend Maker,” definitely did its job.  It was soon filled with seven girls from the boat next to us.  I crawled down in there with them and quickly learned that they were all dentists from Kansas City.  They were on Ginger’s boat.  I had never met Ginger, but being that it really is a small world after all, it turns out that I knew her through two degrees of separation.  My friend Jill (the one who came for sorority recruitment) is good friends with Ginger.  Jill and I always seem to miss each other at Grand, but she always tells me that she is with Ginger.  So I finally met Ginger.  It was fun to make the connection and so, naturally, we took a picture.
Ginger and me
I had fun with Ginger and her boat full of dentists.  They even gave me a tramp stamp. 
Who doesn’t love a butterfly in the small of their back…
Don't worry, it was only temporary.  I scrubbed it off a couple days later. 
Jerad also got one.  His was on his chest and said “Beautiful.”  J
Jamie and Beautiful :)
We came in from Dripping at about the usual time and joined up with the rest of the crew… Russ’s wife Amy and their daughter, Russ’s parents and then our friends Cheryl and Mike.  We all took the boat to Oliver’s Twist for a little dinner on the water.  It was nice.  I had macaroni and cheese.  And it was delicious.  I also ate a little of Brett’s all-you-can-eat catfish.  Shh, don’t tell anyone.  J
After dinner, we went and got cleaned up so that we could go out for a little dancing, which for those of you who don’t know, is my absolute favorite activity.  J  Russ, Brett and I went to Ugly’s first and then to Mooney’s to dance the night away.  Brett is a really good dance partner and I had a lot of fun.  And I enjoyed the nighttime boat ride home.  Even though we let Russ drive us.  J
It wasn’t too terribly late when we finally made it back to the cabin, but with the sun and the dancing, we slept hard.  Sunday we all got up early so the whole crew could go to breakfast together at Harbor’s View.  I opted to go with pancakes as opposed to my normal cinnamon roll.  They were pretty good. 
After breakfast, we went back, packed our stuff, got the cabin cleaned up and the boat loaded on the trailer and headed home.  All in all, even though it was a short lake trip, it was one of the better ones.  It was a nice, relaxing, fun time and I was so glad I got to spend one more weekend up there before the summer comes to an end.
Sunday we just spent the day relaxing, napping, eating, etc., until it was time to head back to Jerad’s house.  He and Jamie had invited us over for dinner.  We played a little washers with the group, ate dinner with everyone and then when the girls at the party started planning their upcoming trip to Kansas City, Brett and I excused ourselves and took the opportunity to borrow Jerad’s bedroom TV to catch up on True Blood.  I really do love that show.  Hard to believe it’s almost over.
Sunday was a good end to a good weekend.  Then Monday the craziness started all over again.  Oh well, work hard, play harder, right?  J

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'm back...

Just in case you were worried, I am actually alive.  Sorry for slacking on the blog.  I have had a crazy, stressful roller coaster of the last few weeks.  I haven’t thought of anything worth blogging about.  But since I’m starting to have people actually scold me for not writing anything, I thought I better make a comeback fast. 
So a few things you have missed out on since I’ve been slacking…
In late August, my family went on a float trip down the Illinois River for my sister’s 10th anniversary of her 21st birthday.  J  It was a good time.  I wish I had more pictures, but I stupidly never got my camera out.  My little sister sent me some and I am still waiting on some others but I’ll give you a few. 
My beautiful sisters… the one on the left was the birthday girl.
Mom and Laurney Cakes
Group picture

Me and Laurney Cakes

Our raft... working on my tan while the men do the work  :)
We had a good group… 15 of us all together… all three of my sisters, my mom, my aunt Kathy, my nephew and niece, my brother in law and his sister’s boyfriend, my sister’s best friend and her son, Brett and his mom and dad.  Time with my family is never short of a few intense moments.  We had a few crazy moments where I thought someone might die.  Only one of which was due to dangers on the river (and a whole lot of stupid).  The rest were all due to heightened emotions.  I love my family.  We are most definitely a passionate bunch.  J  I worry that Brett’s parents think he is hanging out with a bunch of crazed idiots.  But at least they know that we treat him like he’s part of us and we’d tag team anyone who tried to hurt him.  J
Anyway, the float trip was ultimately a good time spent with the people I love.  I’m lucky to get opportunities to do things like that with my family.  Not everyone does.
After the floats were in and *almost* everyone was accounted for, Lauren hit the road to get to a bachelorette party, Sarah and her crew stayed to camp and Brett and I, his parents, my mom and aunt and Elyse went to eat at El Zarape… since it’s only in Tahlequah, we have to take advantage of it when we can. 
Then Brett and I went to see Conan the Barbarian.  I’ve never seen the original, but I’m told this guy has nothing on Arnold.  It was pretty cheesy and a little too bloody for my taste.  The cheesy line from the preview was even cheesier in the actual movie and most definitely got a laugh from Cassie… “I live, I love, I slay and I am content.”  Really, Conan?  That was deep.

See?  A little bloody...
Brett and I made it back to Claremore a little late and due to our sun exposure we were exhausted.  That warranted sleeping in a little and going to the late church service Sunday.
The next week was kind of a blur.  I was crazy busy all week.  The Alpha Sigma Alpha Chapter at RSU had their Fall Recruitment and since I am their Chapter Advisor I am obligated to go to all the events.  Which meant Monday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night were consumed with sorority life. 
RSU Recruitment Week
I had Tuesday off since it was just information night so I took advantage of that and taped off my living room.  I was having the sheetrock taped, finished and textured in my living room later that week so I needed to get the windows, fireplace, baseboards, etc. taped off.  Brett came and helped and after a long night of work, we finally got it done.  The texture looks great and after a few minor things I still need to do, I should be ready to paint any day.  Woo-hoo!
Thankfully my wonderful friend Jill came in Friday to help with preference night of recruitment because I had a bit of a personal breakdown.  Rough night.  But we did manage to get our bid list done and complete bid matching before we left.  That meant that we didn’t have to come back Saturday morning.  Yay!
The Theta Etas picked up seven new members (all but one are pictured below) during formal recruitment and have informally picked up a few more since then.  One of the girls from NSU’s chapter also transferred to RSU and affiliated with the Theta Etas.  It’s nice to have a Beta Gamma in the mix and I think she will have a lot to contribute to the still new RSU Chapter.  I love to see that the chapter is growing.  I have high hopes for them this year.
Theta Eta baby bugs
Anyway, since I got to skip out on Bid Day, I started my Saturday morning early, volunteering a little time at a United Way breakfast fundraiser, where we raised $771.  Not sure how that happened since it was $5 a plate… but way to go us!  Then Brett and I hit the road for some much-needed Grand Lake time.  It was possibly one of the best Grand Lake trips ever.  But at the risk of losing you to a super-long blog, I’ll pick up there tomorrow… and don’t worry, I’ll have lots of pictures. J