Your life is yours alone.

Rise up and live it.

Time to try defying gravity...
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!
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Hmm a nice weekend...
 "I want to swim away but don't know how
Sometimes it feels just like I'm falling in the ocean
Let the waves up take me down
Let the hurricane set in motion, yeah
Let the rain of what I feel right now, come down
Let the rain come down"
Into the Ocean by Blue October

Had a very interesting weekend. Shopping, dancing, eating. Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow...who knows?
Got my first pedicure, rode in my first taxi. And I'm about to turn 27 in a couple weeks! 

At a dance club, I got bumped into by a couple of ladies who were fighting each other. They ended up wrestling on the dancefloor!  A guy spilled a drink all over my legs. Yuck. Women were smoking in the bathroom. Yuck also. A bachelor party bought us shots. The shots were terrible! We both felt like we needed to puke after drinking them.

Alex is all about some Eggo waffles. Haha. Bread is my hangover prevention/cure of choice. 
She tried to make bread with the breadmaker and failed. Haha...she started tossing ingredients in before realizing she didn't have everything the recipe called for, so she started improvising. Ended up with a doughy lump of non-bread.

The weather was gorgeous this weekend. Spring is here. I love the weeping cherry trees, and the weeping willows, and the various birds flying around. I saw cardinals, blue jays, ducks, and a canadian goose standing on one foot for unknown reasons. Oh, and must not forget the daffodils.

"I threw everything out that doesn't make sense
To find a thousand more things that don't make sense
And I can't help but get lost in a fog like this
When I don't know how to hide myself in open air
Where I'm all alone, alone, alone"
Copeland - Careful Now

"This situation's killing me
It's got me right under the thumb
I don't know where I want to be
This doesn't make no sense at all...
...I want my life to make more sense
I want my life to make amends
I want my life to make more sense to me"
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Not done with this journal yet...
I know I said I'd start a new journal. Not yet. I have to come up with a name for it first. But for now, I have to write. I need a record of everything that happens to me. I hate to forget. Even the bad things.

My life is in turmoil.  The center is closing at the end of this year. I can relocate or take the severance package. I want to relocate to Phoenix, so I can keep my job. Justin doesn't want to. We have to consider so many factors. I think if we are being totally practical, moving makes more sense. But our families are here. And a big change is scary. 

I've been thinking about Melanie lately. Not sure why. Sometimes little things just remind me of her. Sometimes things in my life make me wish I had a sister to talk to. Right now I feel a bit alone.

"Woke up and wished that I was dead
With an aching in my head
I lay motionless in bed
I thought of you and where you'd gone
and let the world spin madly on"
-The Weepies, "World Spins Madly On"

Just realized I included a sad quote in my last entry, also. *shrug*  I like to write when I'm sad, I guess.

I'm married now, by the way. For those whose only contact with me is through this journal. 

Valentine's day was nice. Justin gave me Tanzanite earrings and a matching necklace. I love Tanzanite. I took him to Leblon, the Brazilian steakhouse. Lots of meat! It was great. One waiter there kept talking to himself. haha.

"I was made for sunny days
I made do with grey, but I didn't stay
I was made for sunny days
And I was made for you"
-The Weepies, "I was made for sunny days"

I'm so behind, there's no way to update on everything that's happened. This won't have any rhyme or reason, but here goes. A mix of good, bad, funny, and sad.

Got Justin a button-up shirt for xmas (along with some camping stuff and a jacket)...when he wears it, he gets called "Ivory Snaps"

I'm getting laser hair removal on my armpits. It feels like getting stabbed repeatedly with tiny hot needles. Much better if they ice my pits ahead of time. Haha. I have 2 treatments left.
Justin's aunt passed away. My aunt Faith passed away a week later. :-/ We went to see Aunt Faith in a nursing home just a few days before she passed. We almost waited until the following weekend, because we didn't realize how sick she was. So glad we didn't wait. It would have been too late.
After Justin's aunt passed away, we attended the viewing with his family, and after the viewing, we went to have dinner at their house. His dad passed out in the hallway and went to the hospital in an ambulance. He was okay, just dehydrated apparently. Everybody was frantic as he lay on the floor, cracking jokes and apologizing. Apologizing! 

Ahh that's all I have for right now.  

pre-wedding whatever
 This might be my last post on this journal.  Getting annoyed with LiveJournal making me view ads to POST on my journal.
Gonna start a blog somewhere else I guess. It'll be better than this one.

I'm getting married in 4 days.
Seriously. Kind of hard to believe.  Sure, I've been with him for 8 and a half years and lived with him the past 3 or so years, and we own a house together in the 'burbs.... but wow, a wedding!  It feels like so much pomp and circumstance for something that will supposedly change nothing. 

All at once I'm excited, and ready for the stress and chaos to be over with, and eagerly anticipating our honeymoon, looking forward to seeing all our friends and family this weekend....and very sad that my sister can't be there.  It's just one of those things...I think she would have enjoyed the wedding so much and been so happy for me. 

20,000 seconds since you've left and I'm still counting
And 20,000 reasons to get up, get something done
But I'm still waiting
Is someone kind enough to
Pick me up and give me food, assure me that the world is good
But you should be here, you should be here

(no subject)
Scratching at the surface now
And I'm trying hard to work it out
And so much has gone misunderstood
This mystery only leads to doubt
And I'm looking for a sign
In this dark uneasy time

So if you have something to say
Say it to me now

- Glen Hansard, "Say it to me Now"

"Caught in the vein
headed for the heart of pain
memories and tears remain
and an old photograph of you and I
I know its not much but it gets me by"
 - Weekend Excursion, "Getting By"

long journey
me, beach
Thursday night, we left home and drove about 5 hours to Atlanta, where we stayed the night at my uncle's old house that he's selling. Friday morning we left Atlanta and drove another 5 or so hours to Mobile, Alabama. We stayed at a Marriott, ate at a horrible seafood restaurant, and got soaked in a torrential thunderstorm. Went to bed pretty early Friday night. Woke up Saturday morning, checked out of the hotel, and went to the funeral home that had my sister. They told us to be there at 9. We got there at 9:10 and there was a car out front but nobody in the building. Bars on all the windows and a gate blocking the entrance to the building. My mom desperately rattled the gate in between calling different employees of the funeral home on their cell phones.  Finally a couple guys showed up.

They took us back to see her body. I had to take a look, just to believe she was really gone. She wasn't embalmed or "fixed up" (because they charge $2400 for that), and passed away last Monday, so....honestly I sort of wished I hadn't looked at her. It just didn't look like her and I don't want to remember her that way.  But I know if I hadn't looked, I would have always wondered. My mom got a lock of her hair. We made arrangements for her to be cremated and shipped to us, and then we finally left the funeral home. Odd detail: they had a fridge full of coca cola. No other beverage options, just can after can of coca cola. Kleenex boxes everywhere.

After leaving the funeral home, we went to the church where Billy (Melanie's ex husband) had arranged for her funeral to be. Family was ushered into the parlor. I saw my niece Cammile and nephew Hunter for the first time in maybe 9 years. I was afraid to talk to them because I knew they wouldn't recognize me. Cammi is 12 and Hunter is 14. I spoke to them a little before the service, more afterwards.

Cammi looks SO much like Melanie did when she was younger. She's so adorable and sweet! Hunter was a little more reserved with me, which is understandable. I feel like I've missed out on so much and have so much catching up to do. I guess when Melanie disappeared from my life a few years ago, I just gave up on trying to be close to her. I thought she didn't care much about me (which I realize was wrong), and I didn't even realize how much I missed her kids.  Cammi and Billy both said Melanie talked about me and said good things about me. Billy said she missed me. If she missed me, why didn't she try to reconnect with me? It makes me SO sad to think she might have been afraid to talk to me...I ALWAYS forgave her for any mistakes she made, and I wanted her in my life.

I've never lost somebody so important to me...and it's really difficult. Can't write any more right now...  oh, one more thing.

I had a dream 2 nights ago where I was trying to fly...normally I have flying dreams where I am floating barely 2 feet off the ground and I can't get any higher. This time I dreamed that I took off from a great height and crashed far to the ground.  I've never dreamed that before as far as I can remember...

more reflection on my sister
I don't want to forget any important details, so I'm recording them here. 

Melanie always had emotional problems I think, and was often involved in damaging relationships and drug abuse throughout her life. She often had trouble being honest with our parents. She did have some placid periods in her life though, and I was nearly blind to her other side until probably the time I reached college. She was 11 years older than me, and left home when she was 17.

Throughout my childhood I saw her off and on and was SO happy whenever I could see her regularly. She had some rough times and at one point she was renting a little closet-sized bedroom. While she was living there, she gave me a music box for my birthday. She was totally broke and she gave me a lovely heart-shaped music box with my name engraved on it. I treasured it, and would wind it up and listen to it every night. At the time I didn't even understand money and the sacrifice she made to get me that, but I still loved it. 

I remember one time when I got to visit her and her "husband" (who turned out to actually be just a roommate/boyfriend or whatever) Rob in their apartment in Raleigh. I came down with a cold and she gave me hot tea with honey in it. She sent Rob out on his moped in pretty unpleasant weather to get me some medicine, I think.

At one point, she got married to a nice guy and had 2 kids and seemed to be living a fairly "normal" life and not getting into any trouble. I was 12 when she had her son, Hunter.  During that time, we visited regularly, even when she and her family lived in the Atlanta area, and another phase where they lived in Mobile, Alabama.  I remember visits to gulf shores beach, and new orleans. There were many times in my life when I felt she understood me better than anyone else did. 

I don't want to dwell too much on the time when everything went to shit so I'll be brief on that. She met the wrong guy, left her husband, was abused by wrong guy, then came to stay with our family for awhile. She was working at waffle house, it was summertime so I was home from college. One weekend we went to the mountains and when we returned, she was gone and my dad's laptop was also. My parents gave her a safe place to stay and that wasn't good enough for her apparently. Pretty sure she was on drugs at that time.  That was about 4 years ago I guess. We hadn't heard from her since...other than her writing me a few facebook messages. Not much. Thinking back on it, I think she maybe lost control and never meant for things to happen the way they did. She may have had some "bad" friends over and they took the laptop and she felt responsible and didn't want to face my parents...I don't know, just theories here.

She had her problems, but I always loved her. I'm devastated that I'll never have the chance to reconnect with her, and afraid that she did not realize how much I loved her.

This stuff is difficult to write but necessary. It didn't really hit me until last night...

This morning I was at work when my phone started vibrating. Caller ID showed an unfamiliar number. The voice on the other end didn't enunciate particularly well, so at first I thought I heard him wrong.  He was a policeman in Alabama. This could only be about one thing, and I knew it, but still, he had to repeat it a couple times before it registered ..."Your sister passed."  I just couldn't believe it. He asked for my address and my mom's phone number.
While I was on the phone with the policeman, my sister's ex husband left me a voicemail. I called him back and he told me he was driving down to Mobile, where Melanie was.  
My hands were shaking.  I guess she's the closest person to me to ever die. I sat down at my desk and found myself needing to take deep breaths and unable to focus on my work. I spoke with my boss and he kindly encouraged me to go home. So I took my laptop (intending to do some work from home) and left. 
Once at home, I got a call from a "Jennifer" who told me she was Melanie's best friend. She wanted to talk...but couldn't then. I told her I'd call her in the evening. 

My parents came over.  At one point, an eye place called saying Melanie was an organ donor and asking for permission to give someone her corneas. They ended up deciding not to use them after learning more of her medical history. We also found out her body was being autopsied and hopefully tomorrow we will learn the results of that. From Jennifer we learned that Melanie had been to a pain specialist for severe back pain and been prescribed Methadone, which she started Saturday. Apparently she overdosed on that. She also had other health problems...asthma, kidney trouble.

WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT DOCTOR THINKING PRESCRIBING AN ALREADY UNHEALTHY PERSON SUCH A DANGEROUS DRUG?!?! WTF. WTF.  I'm extremely eager to learn the results of the autopsy....*taking deep breaths*   SO MANY people die from methadone overdoses. I personally feel that it should only be administered in a hospital under close supervision of a doctor. 
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new cat, new house...interesting dreams
me, beach
 wow, I just realized I haven't posted an entry since we moved into our house!

We moved in on April 24th, and it's pretty great. Love the neighborhood, love having a house and a yard. Don't mind the drive so's about the same as it was from our apartment in Greensboro. It's much closer to Justin's work. 

We did a bit of fixing up around the place before we moved in. We took down the ugly wallpaper in the kitchen (not a fun job!!), and painted the kitchen, dining room, and living room. It looks great now. 

Turns out you end up buying all kinds of things after you buy a house...light fixtures, rugs, stepladder...etc. Justin got a lawn mower for his bday and we were also given a nice electric edger/trimmer. And we just ordered some new living room furniture from Rooms to Go during their great memorial day sale. Can't wait to replace our ugly reddish pinkish couches!!

We had a bit of a housewarming party a couple weeks after we moved in, and that was pretty great. Around 20 people came to our party. We made use of the grill that came with the house, and the awesome patio down the hill in our backyard. We were going to enjoy our new firepit but it rained so we only got to use it for 15 minutes.
Justin and I have acquired our 3rd cat
Here's teh long story about that:

One day when I was leaving for work, I spotted a fluffy kitten outside our apartment. I brought a handful of catfood out for it and managed to pet it a little, but it wouldn't take the food. I was running late for work, so I left the catfood on a stair. I figured the cat belonged to someone who would find it. But thinking about it more throughout the day I started to wonder. The cat was pretty skinny...maybe it would be around again. So that evening I got home and set some cat food out. In the morning, the food was gone! So we started a regular thing of leaving cat food out, and it would disappear without us seeing the cat. When we finally saw a cat eating the food on our patio, it was a different cat than the fluffy one I saw that first day.
The first day or 2 after I saw the kitten, some guy randomly knocked on our door, but I didn't answer because Justin wasn't home. But my guess now is that he was the owner of the kitten and was looking for it. So the kitten was hopefully taken home, and this other cat kept coming every night to eat cat food while we watched through the window. If we opened the door, he immediately bolted. It was a little gray cat with the tip of his right ear missing.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we gradually earned his trust. First we opened our sliding glass door and watched through the screen while he ate a couple feet away. Eventually I got to the point where I could sit outside and he would eat a foot or so away from me, though he would dart away if I made any sudden movements. There was no way he'd let us close enough to pet him. If we were inside with the screen closed, he would come right up to the screen to see Leeloo.
One night, we were watching through the screen on the sliding door as he ate. I slid the screen door open to see if he would come in. He walked in through the door and I immediately grabbed him. I was wearing a thick sweatshirt in case, but he didn't fight me. (I was really lucky that he didn't scratch the crap out of me)
About 5 weeks after we first left food on the patio, Spooky became ours. At first he was very skittish, hiding under the bed a lot. I got him used to me by closing him in the bathroom with me, giving him no way to escape my affection. After much petting and cuddling, he was forced to realize I meant him no harm. Haha. 
I took him to the vet and discovered that he was already neutered. Not because he had a home, however. The tip of his ear was missing because that's how vets indicate a "feral" cat has been neutered/spayed before being released back into the wild. He knew how to use a litter box without any education from us.
Cut to now: Spooky follows me around the house, meows at me constantly to play with him, and sleeps on the bed. He harasses me when I'm trying to eat, and he purrs loudly when I hold him. So he's become a super sweet, completely non-feral cat. I can't even believe it's the same cat at all.

Let's see, what else... I had a weird dream last night about a zombie invasion. Clearly I've played too much Left 4 fact, I think the auto shotgun from that game was in my dream. It was a very intense dream. I was with a group of people, searching for a safe place to hole up and avoid the hordes of zombies. Apparently if we were quiet enough and kept the lights out, it was possible they might not find us. I was also trying to get in touch with Justin so we could meet. We spoke via cell phone, but for some reason (approaching zombies maybe) we could only talk once and only for a few minutes. Not enough time to plan where to meet. So I just had to hope we would think to go to the same place. 

A couple weeks ago I had a really sad dream where my dad was dead. BUT I had a phone that could make calls back in time, so I could call him back when he was still alive. But of course hearing him while he was still alive just made me sadder that he was gone. Anyway, the day after I had this dream, I called my dad to tell him about it. His response was "Well are you in the future now?"  LOL.  It amazes me the stuff my brain comes up with when I'm not conscious.

I feel like I have been super busy lately! taking care of the house and getting things settled, wedding planning (we met with our officiant and got engagement photos taken recently,  I have had alterations appointments for my dress and just got the final product the other day, went bridesmaid dress shopping with Rhea), and going places (we just took a trip to Sunset Beach with Justin's family). Not to mention work! And I photographed a wedding in May, and I'm still working through those photos. Whew.
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Easter weekend with friends & family
I had a dream last night where I was inside a robot thing, controlling it. Shooting lasers and stuff, of course. Pretty cool.

Thursday night was awesome, we got to hang out with Josh and his gf Olivia, and Chris & Diana and Amanda and Brian. We started with some Rock Band and eventually (after many beverages) progressed to playing Just Dance on the Wii. That game resulted in some hilarious videos of people who never dance, dancing quite energetically.  Extremely fun times.

Friday was pretty chill, did a little shopping with Justin's mom and Diana. We all walked at the park and went out for Thai for dinner. Played some Partini and Apples to Apples. Yesterday we had ribs at Justin's parents house and played some more Wii games. 

Justin and I are trying to think of where we should go for our honeymoon mid October. Any ideas? I think we've decided NOT to go to some tropical beach, because we're not really beach people so much. I was thinking the mountains in Virginia, but I don't want to necessarily stay in some rustic cabin...I want some luxury on our honeymoon. Any ideas?

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