I have been so busy lately, and so many things have happened in the past month that I want to blog about. I'll be catching up soon. But for today, I just want to say a little something about our sweet Chelsea.

Many of you know Chelsea, but for those of you who don't, she is our fluffy, white, lovable pekepoo.  I came home from Bible drill in February of 1996 to a huge surprise--the puppy Katie and I had been begging for! I remember how tiny she was and how excited I was. I was 9 years old.

Chelsea died Wednesday, December 1, just shy of her 15th birthday. Mama called me on my way home from the hospital and told me that the end was very near. I'm so thankful that I got to go home and see her one last time. My family gathered around her bed, petted her, and loved her. We cried and cried, but I'm so glad that we were all there around her when she passed away.

Chelsea always had painted toenails, and she's been in nearly every Christmas card picture we've taken for the last 15 years. She used to attack basketballs, and she was an avid squirrel-chaser in her younger days. She's had some pretty rough haircuts, when a new groomer very mistakenly thought we'd like more "poodle" in her 'do. We liked her fluffy. And mama would kill someone if they cut her tail hair. Mama was very picky about Chelsea's 'do.

It's a strange feeling that she's gone.  I can hardly remember not having her. She was the best dog. We are going to miss her so, so much, but she gave our family so much JOY for the last 15 years.

Chelsea loved a good walk.

I love this picture.. I don't know what the heck is all over her face, but she looks like she's laughing.

She did not like to be dressed in clothes. She was not a happy camper for this photo shoot.

Love you, Chels.


Critters: Chapter 2, Armadillos

You might live in the country [aka, the KAWN-tree] if you see your neighbor in the bushes with a flashlight and a gun at 9:45pm on a Tuesday, and you know exactly what he's doing: killin' armadillers, of course.

You might live in the kawn-tree if said neighbor then calls you at 10:00pm to victoriously announce that he has indeed executed yet another flower bed-digging monster (and your family cheers in celebration).

You might live in the kawn-tree if your neighbor yells across the half-acre of property between your houses, "We're winning the fight!" And you know exactly what he's talking about.

You also might live in the kawn-tree if you see deer walking up your driveway.

I love the kawn-tree. It's exciting 'round here, what with all this nature.


Afternoon Adventures, Part 1

I started this post while I was on my 2-week "independent study," i.e., my 2 week break. My break wasn't exactly geared toward productivity. I slept until almost noon more days than I should probably admit. I feel like I should be slightly ashamed of that, but it was the best dadgum thing that's happened to me since sliced bread. (As if I've ever known a world without sliced bread.)

I pretty much did nothing for 14 days. It was glorious.

By the time Matt got home everyday, boredom had usually begun to take hold. One lovely afternoon, I convinced him to go on a drive with me. I wanted to take pictures of something besides Oscar Bob and Grayce. I mean, I love them, but I need new subject matter. I'm really getting into this camera, if you haven't noticed.

So he drove toward Flora, looking for nothing in particular. I saw this group of horses, and I wanted to take pictures of them. I love horses. And cows. I really love cows. I've been telling Matt that I need to own a cow someday. I don't know what it is about them. I just want one. Can I have a cow for a pet? I don't see why not. I would just love to photograph it, pet it, milk it. I'm being serious.

Anyway, I wanted to photograph these horses. They're beautiful creatures. Majestic. Well, we pulled into this little cemetery that bordered the pasture about the time the horses all started trotting away from us, toward a truck. I guess they were about to be fed. So much for my horse photo op. Much to my surprise, Matt started wandering around this cemetery. [Matt does not do cemeteries.] It was small, and most of the graves were from the 1800s or very early 1900s, many of them Civil War veterans' graves. We spent the next hour reading interesting things on very large tombstones and taking pictures. Weird? Maybe. But I loved some of the pictures.

That is a little baby's headstone that I'm assuming was probably placed at the foot of a much younger, smaller version of this tree. Fast forward 130 years, and the tree and its roots have grown all around it. I just thought it was interesting to physically see how time had passed. It looked safe and protected in the embrace of the tree. I liked it. Matt thought it was creepy. Of course. 

To be continued.


Road Trip

Last week, I took a little spontaneous road trip with my friends Bobby and Meagan. Don't get too excited... we just went to Vicksburg. Bobby had a photography business before med school, and I've been wanting to go somewhere and play with my new camera. He let me try some of his lenses and showed me a few things. Meagan just came along because she knew she could rope me into going to Fenian's at the end of the day... She was right. We had a grand ol' time. We listened to Ghetto Cowboy on the way, which always puts me in a fun mood. (Stop laughing; you know you like that song. I'm proud to say I still know about 90% of the lyrics.)

When we got there, we went down by the river to a cool little spot with murals and railroad tracks. Here are a few of my favorite pictures.

The adventure ended with a shrimp po'boy at a quaint little place called Rusty's... and a neon pink gorilla.

What a perfect day!


The Blinds Project

My front door has lots of windows. Big windows that open right into my living room. Big windows that allow people on the street to see what channel I'm watching at night. I mean, if there were people on the street. I basically live on the moon, so it's generally not a problem. However, after 2 years of living here, I decided it's time to put some blinds up.

God, help us.

Matt accompanied me to Lowe's--a decision that he would later regret. I debated on which blinds to purchase for quite some time. Blinds vs. shades? Light vs. dark? Which specific shade of color? Bamboo vs. whatever that other material was. Ahhh... Matt was ready to kill me. "Just freakin' pick something!" 

Conveniently, my sister's boyfriend, Chris, just happened to show up on this particular day. I'm sure that was a decision he would later regret as well. You see, Chris is quite handy. And my door is a weird shape. Who makes a door with curved windows at the top?? That is not conducive to blind installation. And the size of my wallet is not conducive to custom blinds.

Anyway, I was hell-bent on putting these suckers up myself. I was going to feel so accomplished. So victorious. So capable. 

Well. So much for that. After turning the blinds around 7 or 18 different times, reading the directions more times than that, and hollerin' "Hey Chris? What exactly is a wingnut??", Chris comes waltzing in and hands me what apparently is a wingnut. He kindly offers to assist me. Assisting turned into doing.

Well, next time I'll be able to do it myself. Dangit.

Notice Matt in the reflection being ever-so-helpful.

Katie, you're such a freak.

Matt now being helpful, Katie still being... Katie. And Polo being Polo. I mean look at that toolbag. How did I think I could take on this project with my little, pink, graduation gift from high school toolbox?

The finished project. Such a relief that all those people out in the streets won't be able to see all up in my business. Whew.

Grayce's happy about it too.



I love Saturdays.

I love Saturdays more when I don't have to be up before dawn.

I love Saturdays even more during the months of September, October, and November.

I love GAME DAY.

Matt and I scored some sweet tickets from a friend for the first game of the season. We sat in The Zone, and we got a little taste of heaven. (Define heaven: being able to sit in the A/C during a September game.)

Ah, college... I miss you so.

This may be the best idea anyone has ever had:


Anyway, since Matt and I are far too poor to afford season tickets at Alabama, and even if we weren't too poor, we'd be on a waiting list until at least the next decade, we have since been enjoying our own little gameday festivities on the homefront.

Matt's mom sent Grayce and Oscar Bob a little gameday happy in the mail. Grayce was not amused. [She's saying, "If you don't get this $%*# off of me in the next 10 seconds, I am going to sink my huge, sharp teeth into your flesh and rip it off."]

Oscar didn't mind as much.

If you were worried that Matt was left out, fret no longer. My cousin Malisa had a little prize for Matt a few weeks ago. She ran across this beauty and couldn't resist. Matt wore it proudly (in the privacy of our own living room, blinds down, after a couple of stout coke and rums). He even let me take his picture! (Now he's going to kill me for posting it on the internet...)

Aren't they precious? (Make sure you note the Alabama "A" on the pocket.) See how happy Matt is in his new shirt?! Thanks Malisa!

My favorite picture of the day:

Roll tide!

On another note, my Mamaw and Pap celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary this week! I feel like that is such a rare feat these days. We are so blessed to have such a Godly, loving example of marriage at the center of our family. Happy anniversary, Mam and Pap! We love you!


my love

I love this little man.

My Oscar Bob. Look at that face! Ah. Love of my life.

He's so little and sweet and soft. He likes to nap as much as I do. And he's a good snuggler. He is always excited to see me when I get home. Shoot, even if I go pee, he's excited to see me when I walk back out the bathroom door. Maybe he has short term memory problems...

Anyway, OB doesn't mind that I'm a little messy. He doesn't tell me to pick my shoes up off the floor. He doesn't complain if I'm a little moody. He's pretty much always interested in what I have to say. He likes The Bachelor and Criminal Minds. He's such a good little pal.

All this guy wants in life is someone to throw his tennis ball.

I can do that.

They say people with dogs tend to live longer. I get that.


Movin' on

Well, thanks be to the LORD that I'm done with Psychiatry. I guess that was harsh. I mean, it was fine, but it's just not my thing. I like to do things. I like to fix things. I just don't get these people. I wanted to roll my eyes and say things like "Please." or "Stop acting like that." I don't think that should be the kind of attitude a good Psychiatrist has. Thus, I think I've checked it off my list of future careers. 

Yesterday I started ENT, and after a morning of cleaning large amounts of earwax out of old men's ears, my love of medicine had been renewed. I was strangely satisfied by those clean ear canals. However, before I move on, I wanted to summarize my experience in Psychiatry because it was definitely interesting and largely entertaining at times. There were so many good stories, but in lieu of violating confidentiality and being targeted by the HIPAA Nazis, I'll just leave you with a few quotes:

"I have no empathy for this guy. In fact, I'd like to set him on fire. Don't you? Just a little bit?"

"The cold. It's in my mouth. The jaw keeps puttin' it there." (Repeat statement x15 days.)

Patient: "Please don't make me go through the obstacle course. Especially the haystacks. I can't go through the haystacks."
Doctor: "Yeah... we should really stop making people do that."

"Can somebody explain to me why I pay this institution $14,000 a year, and I can ONLY have 2 pairs of scrubs, but the borderline who overdosed for attention then vomited all over her clothes gets to have them? And the schizophrenic with syphilis who has his own pajama pants is sporting a pair? And this noncompliant, no-pay going to Whitfield gets some? Are you freakin kidding me?! We deserve two more pieces of $5 blue cloth!"
(Next day, in a patient's room) Attending: "Let's get out of here before Laura goes into a blind rage because the patient is wearing scrubs."

"Wouldn't you be upset if (the tech) gave you a bath every morning? I can see that. Tyler, tomorrow, let Andrew give you a bath and see if it makes you aggressive. Then we'll reasses."

"Does [the 60-something year old patient] really have breast implants?"
"I don't know."
"Find out. Physical exam."
"Oh, God.."
"I'm kidding."

"[Something about nitrous oxide.]"
"Did he just say to get the patient some socks and an erection??"

"Does anybody know what just happened??"

[I can't stop laughing while trying to present a patient case.]
"Are you going to be able to get it together?"
"I don't think so. There's a bit of an exhibition going on in the group room behind you."

"Was that Santa Claus? Did you see that guy? Wow. Christmas in July, huh?"

"Sir, I think Don King has filed a class-action lawsuit against you."

"I don't get it. I just don't understand why anybody would..."
"Stop. Do not try to understand. What floor are we on?"
"Oh. Right. 7th."

"Cannibal. Butcher. That's really all you need to know."

"Bye-bye, Mr. Vampire."

"Do you want to be admitted to the inpatient psychiatric unit? We can give you some treatments to get these voices to go away."
"But I kinda like the voice. He seems nice. I'm comfortable with him."
"You don't want the voice to go away?"
"Not really. I might get lonely."

"Does anybody know how much you can buy Xanax for on the streets?"
"10 bucks?"
"Damn boy, you must be buying yo' Xanax in Eastover. Try again."

............and my favorite,

"Call Condoleezza Rice! Condoleezza knows the truth!"

It was quite an experience, to say the least, but it's time to move on.


Critters: Chapter 1, The Rattlesnake

This may be one of those you-had-to-be-there kind of stories, but I swear this is one of the funniest things that has ever happened to me.

I'm kind of minimally afraid of snakes. I mean, I guess I'd probably freak out if I had a surprise close encounter with an unknown species in the wilderness, but as long as I know I'm a safe distance, I kind of like to watch them. I like to look at them at the pet store. I have held non-poisonous ones in controlled environments. It makes me feel brave. I think they're interesting creatures. All this really has nothing to do with my story.

A few weeks ago, my dad, my uncle, my sister, and I were returning from my Papaw's visitation. My family lives in the country. I mean, the cowntry. So we pull into the long, gravel driveway in my dad's F150. We are in the woods. The sticks, if you will. He and my uncle are wearing suits. Katie and I are wearing dresses and heels. It's solemn. I remember being so emotionally and physically exhausted, I was almost numb. 

Suddenly, the quiet, sad mood was interrupted as my dad slammed on the brakes and I flew forward into the back of the front passenger seat. "What the crap?!" No response. He threw it into reverse, and slammed on the accelerator, as we all sustained whiplash. "Daddy!" Uncle Gary could see what was going on, but Katie and I, in the backseat, were bewildered. Finally, after we had repeated this accelerate-brake-reverse sequence a couple more times, he mumbled "Rattlesnake." Except I thought he said something about a rabbit. Now I thought for a split second that my father was running over bunnies. I was mortified. What does he have against rabbits?? These thoughts were fleeting, though, because I suddenly saw what we were killing. Oh my gah. It was a 5-foot-ish rattlesnake. 

Mike Arnold had no intentions of letting that sucker live. Suddenly, he grabs a pistol and jumps out of the truck. I see him raise the gun toward the snake, then he lowers it. He yells, "I can't see!" He comes back around the car door, and I see that his glasses are fogged up. I howled. Here is my dad, in a suit, trying to kill a snake at 11:00 at night, and his glasses are fogged up. It was hilarious. He wiped them off. They fogged back up. I laughed. He took them off; he still couldn't see. I was crying I was laughing so hard.

At this point, Katie has gotten out of the truck. She wants to see. My uncle is yelling at her. (My Uncle Gary will be the first person to tell you he wants nothing to do with a snake.) So he's yelling, "Katie! Get in the truck! Get back in the truck! He's not dead!" My father realizes that she is definitely within striking distance, and yanks her back toward the truck. Chaos. Yelling. Fogging. 

Everyone gets back in the truck. We drive up to the house, and these two men on a mission go inside the house. I thought this ordeal was over, and I stayed outside to make a phone call. Moments later, daddy and Uncle Gary return with my other uncle and a shotgun. Please visualize this: 3 men in suits and ties walking side-by-side down a long, pitch-dark, gravel driveway with a shotgun and a spotlight. I cracked up again. A shotgun? Really? It's not a buffalo. It's a snake. But I guess they probably know more about snake-killing than I do. Who do I think I am? I wish I had a picture. It was very Men in Black, yet very Franklin County. I could not stop laughing. A couple of cousins came outside, and I couldn't even speak. I had been so sad all day, and I don't know if I was delirious or if my soul was in such need of a moment of happiness, but I couldn't stop laughing. My stomach hurt. I probably snorted. I'm sure the snake was dead. They, apparently, were not so confident. I watch them walk down in silence, out of sight. 


Silent pause. 



The Men in Black reappeared, victorious. 

Uncle Gary, the snake-hater, was grinning. "We made him a Christian."




I hate snail mail. Perhaps it is due to my upbringing in this digital generation. No instant gratification involved with the United States Postal Service, that's for sure. Or, maybe it's just due to the fact that, let's be honest, patience isn't exactly my greatest attribute.

I'd been waiting for my camera for 7 days. Everyday I'd get so excited when I got home, rush to check by the front door, only to be disappointed. No package. Deflation.

USPS, why did you have to go from Kentucky to Minnesota to Southaven, MS, then back to Minnesota? You were so close! The government is irritating in so many ways. That could be a blog post. "100+ ways the government annoys me." (Side note: the mailmen and women do not annoy me. They're friendly people.)

Finally, yesterday, there was indeed a package by the door. DELIVERY. It felt like Christmas. Wahoo!! I'm so excited. I might have hugged the mailman if I had seen him. Fortunately for him, I did not.

I've been reading and experimenting. If you have any photography tips, holler!

So, let me catch you up on my life... with new pictures!

First of all, there is a lizard that lives in and around my Gerbera daisy. We named him Clarence after we watched the movie Airplane. "Roger, Roger. We have clearance, Clarence. What's our vector, Victor?" You should only watch that movie if you've had 2 or more martinis. Otherwise, you won't make it. So here's Clarence:

He's pretty cool. Grayce discovered him, and she sits by the window that's in front of this table and stares at him. She punches the window and whines. It's pretty funny.


Grayce wanting to eat Clarence:

I really, really hope that she doesn't eat Clarence. Sick.

Last night, a few girls came over and ate dinner. I made chicken salad. Yummmm. I took a picture of it, but I didn't take any the rest of the night. I know, I know... brand new camera and I didn't take any pictures! It needed to charge completely, and we were so busy catching up and laughing at Jessie and Lyssa's stories, I just forgot. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. It was good for my soul. And my abs.

And then I took a picture of my apples just because 1) I liked the colors and 2) I have a new camera.

Today, I took these pictures of Grayce and Oscar Bob. This little scenario happens at least 3 times a day. If you know Oscar Bob, you know he is obsessed with his tennis ball. I've never seen anything like it in my life. Well, Grayce's favorite thing to do is take it away from him, and stare at him while he whines. She's such a bully.

Oscar's just playing. Minding his own business.

Grayce steals his ball and gloats. She doesn't even want it. She just keeps it where he can't get it.

Oscar cries. Please notice how he is sitting on the pillow.

Poor buddy. He's hard to take pictures of because he's always moving. They always end up at least a little blurry. This little man does not sit still. Eva.

Look at those claws. Talons. 

Lastly, this is one of my favorite pictures of Grayce. I just love that sad face. I took this with my old camera, and I was just messing around with effects. It's not a very good quality picture because it was dark, but I like how it turned out.

Gotta go. Grayce is in a frenzy and I think she's about to claw through the window to get to Clarence.