Br-r-r-r-r…But Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Dearest Readers:

But baby, it’s cold outside! It is Thursday morning. Normally, I rush to my Weight Watchers meetings on Thursday mornings; however, this Thursday morning is the exception.


Simple. I live in Charleston, SC — a city that markets itself as a city with ‘a mild climate.’ Mild climate? Are they nuts? It is 26 degrees outside this morning. My yard is still covered with spots of snow. Icicles are still on the mimosa tree. Yes, baby…it’s cold outside!

For two days I’ve been inside the house striving to stay warm. Occasionally, I walk outside to feel the crisp, cold weather on my face. When it started raining with ice in the rain early Wednesday morning, I walked outside to feel it on my face. I wasn’t certain if it was rain, or ice, but when it dropped onto my head, I felt the ice. For two days, my husband has been home from work due to — ‘in-climate weather.’ Tuesday, nothing happened. Wednesday morning — excuse the expression, but all Hell broke loose and the City of Charleston was crippled. We, the residents of Mt. Pleasant, were crippled effective Tuesday evening at 8pm when the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge closed. Moments later, the other bridge leading us out of Mt. Pleasant, the Don Holt Bridge, was closed.

“The City of Charleston is all but crippled now,” I said to myself. “Only in Charleston!”

Yesterday, I strove to write, only staring at my computer screen instead. I could not understand why the bridges were still closed. ‘Couldn’t they clear the roadbeds?’ Regardless, the roads to and out of Mt. Pleasant are crippled — still this morning. What an interesting day this will be!

Yesterday, since my husband was home I recognized that he would interrupt my thoughts, my chores, my busy-ness constantly — and he did! Once, while staring at the computer screen, he rushed to my desk. A look of panic on his face. At first I thought ‘oh my…is he having a heart attack?’

Nope. All is fine with his heart. To those of you who do not know, or understand my husband, let’s just say — he is blessed with a technical mind. Common sense? Definitely lacking.

Yesterday, his emergency was due to a lacking of common sense. My husband is named Phil. As a child, it appeared to my observations that EVERY boy I met named Phil was either a geek, or a nerd! You guessed it — I married a “Phil,” and named my only child “Phillip!” DUH!

Let me explain the scenario of yesterday. Phil rushed to my side, asking if I had a ‘moment.’

“What now?”

“Can you take these tiny tweezers and see if you can get something out of my ear?” He held the tweezers that looked more like a small jewelry tool to me.

“What have you done?”

“I was cleaning wax out of my ears and something broke off inside my ear.”

“Let me guess. You used your eye glasses again, didn’t you!”

Mr. Gifted Technology just doesn’t get it. Never do you use the tip of your eyeglasses to clean your ears!

Phil grabbed his car keys. “Where are you going?” I asked.

“I’m certain the bridge is open now. I need to get my ear checked.”

“Arthur Ravenel Bridge is still closed. You will not be able to get out of Mt. Pleasant.”

Phil ignored me, and off he went. About thirty minutes later he returned home. No medical facilities were open, and all of the bridges were closed still. He could not understand why the Ravenel Bridge was still closed. OK…Allow me to explain.

The bridge is a twin tower structure, with cables! Wouldn’t icicles form on the cables? Yes, they could clear the roadbed, but do we actually expect someone to clean the cables, clearing them of the icicles…and IF a car drove over this bridge now…what would happen IF an icicle fell onto the car? Wouldn’t it work like an unguided missile?

Just my observation, as a writer. You must understand…Mr. Gifted Technology thinks women do not have common sense, or brains! I’m happy to announce, HE IS MISTAKEN!

At 3pm, the announcement was made that the Don Holt Bridge was open for traffic now. Phil decided he needed to get the tip of his eyeglasses out of his ear. He kept asking me to go with him. At 5pm, we left, driving across the Don Holt Bridge to I-26. Still, Phil could not understand why the signature bridge, Arthur Ravenel Bridge, wasn’t open. I decided to keep my thoughts to myself about my theory. He would never agree with me!

When we arrived at the VA Hospital, everyone got a bit of a kick out of Phil’s reason for being there! Using the tip of your eyeglasses to clean wax from your ears???

Yep! It makes sense to me…NOT!

And to think, this man is a computer whiz! Whenever neighbors or friends need computer service, Phil is the one they call to fix the problems. He is gifted with computers and can always repair the problems I have with mine. Common sense???!!?

Well, let’s just say, anyone who uses the tip of the eyeglasses to clean their ears needs a bit more in the common sense area! Eyeglasses are prescribed to assist eye sight, not to clean the ears.

Phil is home again today. Due to the parking lot of traffic on Don Holt Bridge, he cannot make it to work. When he called, he was told, the power was out at the office, so just stay home.

Joy! Another day with a man who insists on using eye glasses to cleanse the ears. I can only imagine what will happen today. We still have snow on the ground. The Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge has been closed since 8pm Tuesday night, and If I attempt to write, I am certain I will be interrupted again. I think the next time we have a threat of a ‘winter storm in Charleston, SC’ I will escape. I’ll keep that little secret to myself!

Welcome to Charleston, SC — tourists… A city with mild climates? I’ll let the snow birds and tourists debate that statement. I’m still looking for spring!


Welcome to The Beautiful City of Charleston

Dearest Readers:

As stated in the headline, The City of Charleston, SC is crippled — all due to a freak ice/snow storm. The signature bridge of this beautiful city, The Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, closed last night at 8pm. At this moment, the bridge is still closed. A few curious pedestrians actually chose today to walk the bridge, only to fall down. A few minutes later, the news media announced the Arthur Ravenel Bridge was closed to pedestrians and bicyclists too. Duh. Why wasn’t that announced last night??? I suppose they forgot to remember that in the South, we do things our way! I awoke early at 7am knowing that everything within my neighborhood will be crippled!

Those of you reading this accustomed to snow are probably laughing. You must understand, people in the South do things a bit slower. It takes quite a bit of time just to get the roads cleared. Normally they are cleared after the weather melts the snow. It would not surprise me if some foolish person decided to head up the bridge and ski down it. Only in Charleston! People here do not exactly think at times. Yes, we are a bit spoiled because our beautiful city is marketed as a ‘mild climate.’ This winter has been the exception! We’ve had many bitterly cold days where I’ve actually worn my long fur coat. Last week, I prayed for snow, so I could make a snow angel. Well, there isn’t enough snow to make a snow angel, so I’m still disappointed. At least, when I walk outside, I feel the crunch, crunch, crunch of the snow/ice under my boots. I struggled to open the gate to outside, but it is frozen shut, so I suppose I will just stay warm and toasty inside my home. We haven’t lost our power yet. The trees are actually beautiful with ice on the branches, and icicles dripping a slow drip.

My silly four-legged boys are barking outside. They insist on going outside, over and over again. I suppose they are enjoying this refreshing mild climate and the snow crunching under their feet. They really are funny outside — our little snow bunnies! When outside, they rush to sniff their areas, only to kick their feet and run around. They frolic from one side of the back yard, to the other side, sometimes kicking their rear legs and grunting! I suppose they are claiming new territory now. Then, we go inside again, only for Prince Midnight Shadow, our giant, to demand to go outside again. He is enjoying running around like an overgrown bunny rabbit, barking, and playing. I don’t think he is chasing squirrels today! Silly guy. I laugh while watching them. They are so silly today!

When I got up this morning, the temps continued to decrease as the ice fell. I heard the ice pounding onto my garden window. Quickly, I went outside to see if it was really ice, or snow. The droplets of ice that filled my head reassured me this was most definitely ice. My mimosa tree was covered in ice. How I pray that all of my plants will survive this bitter cold. I confess, I did not prepare them. Walking back inside, I reach for a fresh warm cup of coffee, flopped down in the rocking chair and listen to the morning weather reports only to notice my back yard was now semi-blanketed with a soft thin layer of spotted snow. I am disappointed. I wanted enough snow to make a snow angel!

What an interesting day this is! Only in Charleston, a city with mild climates???!!!???

“Chattahoochee Child…” Just Opening A Vein…To Write!

Dearest Readers:

If you are reading this, and either you know me, or follow my blog, you will know the struggles I have just writing “Chattahoochee Child.” Years ago, at a writers meeting, I shared the premise of this story, receiving much encouragement. At the time, I had no idea where the story would go, but now, after a few life events, I recognize I must get this story down. There have been many times I have written, only to hit the delete key, erasing everything. Now, today, I recognize the time is now. Years ago, I submitted a small portion of “Chattahoochee Child” to a writer’s competition, winning first place. Below is a comment I received from one of the judges:

“Chattahoochee Child was on another emotional level. There was an emotional honesty and vulnerability there, mixed in with some really beautiful writing that just stood out…It affected me emotionally…” Another quote from this successful writer and judge shared: “I have judged stories that were superficial, clever, or lecturing, but yours just went deep to the bone. You had some beautiful passages in there. I read one aloud to my wife and it stopped her in her tracks… You have a genuine gift…”

Today, I will share a bit of freewriting I worked on during the holidays. Today, I awoke with thoughts dancing a graceful ballet in my mind, telling myself I cannot write. I’ve fought this doubt for much too long, only to discover and re-read these quotes this special writer and judge shared. Yes, I keep his comments near my desk — for inspiration. Another discovery today for me is how important music is for me while writing. Music is my therapy!

Today, I share a letter written to the character of Rebecca:

Dearest Rebecca:
Sometimes in life we must write a letter to ourselves, for us to heal. Writing the letter gets the words down…opening the mind to what happened, how we coped, and most of all, how we learned to love again. For years, I lived without love. Why? Simple. I thought I was unworthy of love. After all, no one in this world would ever love someone so outspoken, independent and threatening as I was, at least those were the words I grew up hearing over…and over…and over again! I believed I was a monster. And so today, Dear Rebecca, I address this letter to you, after all – no one knows you better than you know yourself. You are Rebecca!

Sitting here in the early morning light, I reminisce about my childhood and I am thankful. So thankful I had a strong-willed grandmother teaching me faith. Thankful I found guidance woven within the fingertips of her hands. I watched her with a critical, curious eye when she folded her hands in prayer. When she whispered ever so softly for God to guide her and give her strength. I learned so much, just by watching her actions — the beliefs and values she taught me are priceless.

I am thankful that I got to know and improve my relationship with my father. As a child, I overlooked his indiscretions. When my mother criticized him for his quick temper, I looked to see a different person. In my innocent eyes, I saw a caring man who adored singing with me. He taught me how to harmonize, and to sing from the pit of my stomach. He taught me to believe in the power of God’s words, and when he rarely spoke about his identical twin brother who died too young, I saw the pain on my father’s face. I wanted him to love me, like he loved his twin brother. I wanted to learn more about their dreams of harmonizing and preaching the gospel to others. During the times when my father lost his temper, beating my mother, I was the one to run between them, pushing my hands on their steaming bodies to move them apart. I was the one who strove to see the good, and not the bad in relationships. I am grateful that I overlooked the sadness of a volatile man who only showed his anger behind the closed doors of our home. Singing and preaching in church, no one knew the secrets of our family. When Dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, I am grateful that I was the daughter to step up and care for him. I am grateful we had a small amount of time to heal the wounds of childhood while we developed a close relationship before we said goodbye.

Now, as a woman, I am thankful I found the courage to believe in myself and the goals and dreams I established at such an early time of my life. I am thankful – when the storms of life threaten me, I have an inner strength that helps me find the courage to survive. My grandmother influenced my life by guiding me as she practiced the values, philosophies and standards she shared in her actions and her prayers. Without her guidance, I would not be the woman I am today. Reflecting about my childhood, now I recognize how painful it was. Yes, as I look back into my life as a child, I could dwell on the heartache and pain, the many episodes of family abuse, and the hatred that appeared to always dance inside our moments as a family; however, I chose to move forward, as my father said to me during his torrential battle with esophageal cancer. I do want to move forward, to wash all of the hurt and anger away. While it still dances inside my mind at times, I wish to bid the anger and abuse goodbye permanently.

As a young child, I lived in fear. Fear of my parents. Fear of their habitual demeanor of shouting angry, hateful words to each other. Never did I hear my mother or father say “I love you,” to each other or the children of their marriage. Most households awaken to children laughing with excitement for the events of the day. Morning hugs are shared. I hungered to have just one morning where my mother would hug me before I left the house. Monsters appeared to live inside our household, inside the cantankerous voice of my mother and the boisterous shouting of my father. I haven’t addressed our household as a home because it wasn’t a home. A home is where a family goes to receive love, attention and a feeling of belonging. Home is a place to share life’s events and life’s tragedies, a place where children come for comfort and guidance. As a child, I was a stranger trapped within four walls. We moved like drifters, never establishing roots or cherished memories. Never did I feel a sense of belonging. Deep inside my heart, I struggled to find positive, happy thoughts, finding them only in the energy, happiness and pride I found whenever I sang, or wrote. For years, I kept a diary, hiding it underneath my mattress and that is where I slowly learned to feed positive energy to myself. “A home is where the heart is,” only my heart never felt comfortable within my birth family, with exception of the wisdom and knowledge I received from my maternal grandmother and my father – on his good days.

Once I heard the quote, “Turn a negative into a positive,” I asked my teacher how someone could do that. She smiled at me saying, “By applying positive feedback and believing in yourself. Don’t allow others to discourage your dreams.”

My teacher’s encouragement remained with me. I recognized my home situation was venomous. The vicious words I heard so often felt as poisonous as the stings from a yellow jacket or a snake, burning inside my brain and body. Hurting. Destroying. I realized to survive, I had to build myself up by feeding my brain positive thoughts. Although I was a child, I could not permit negative thoughts to destroy what I desired in my life. My life was up to me. Slowly, ever so slowly, I applied the newfound knowledge of turning a negative into a positive. Whenever I heard my mother tell me I was a stupid child, I visualized being smart. I read books. I studied. I did everything within my power not to be a stupid child, and before the age of thirteen, I realized I was not stupid. In school I made all A’s. I sang in the choir and whenever a project was assigned, I worked hard to make the best grade in the class. Teachers complimented me on my writing and researching talents. The choir director told me I had a nice voice, and when the words of destruction from my mother’s voice echoed in my head, I fed myself positive thoughts. After all, I wasn’t stupid.

Although I was young, the struggles of my life taught me courage. I was on a journey to find the young girl who would become the woman I am today. Many people have told me that as adults, we are a reflection of our parents. I was determined to break the toxic, backbiting habits of my mother. Yes, I watched her actions, making mental notes to make my life different. Observing her manipulations, I chose to do things in a different style.
Life is so precious and we must cherish every breath we take, every moment we live. The only regret I have now is the reality that my mother and I never made peace. Repeatedly, I tried. My mother allowed negativity to feed anger within her. Now, she was in the twilight years of her life, struggling to become stronger after a stroke. Prior to this, she allowed the many storms of her life to destroy her. Filled with anger and resentment she rarely shared compliments or encouragement. Instead, she spat back with a venomous attitude, telling me I would never amount to nothing but a hill of beans. I grew to hate her attitude towards me. Perhaps her resentment was a reflection of her innermost desires. Maybe she considered herself a failure, and now, in the twilight years, she realized her days were numbered. Mortality was knocking at her door and there was nothing she could do to fight it.

Or – maybe – my mother was jealous of me and the relationship I developed with my father. As a child, I overlooked his temper, and when he sang, “You Are My Sunshine” to me, I melted. Just maybe…just maybe I was lovable, after all!

During her struggle to survive, I challenged myself to look at my mother’s life. Although she never shared her childhood stories, or the romance and marriage, I realized there had to be pain intertwined within the core of her persona. The only time I recall her showing any emotion was on the day she and Dad separated. Arriving at home, I found her in tears. When I ask her what was wrong, she replied, “Your damned daddy has left me. It’s all your fault. You’re the one who told him to leave yesterday. I hope you are happy now, you stupid bitch.” Her hand slammed hard on my face, leaving a burning redness I felt for hours. Rubbing my face, I tugged at her apron strings. “But you said you wanted him to die. Over and over you said you hoped Daddy would die soon. Don’t you remember saying that to me when I was little?”

“You shut up. Death is different…You have time to mourn. Divorce…Why Divorce is something shameful, especially for a Southern woman.”

Regardless of how cruel she was, I learned to accept her as a lost woman. A woman who never achieved her own goals. A woman angry that the man she married chose to divorce her, instead of stand by her. Angry. So enraged. Infuriated that her children grew up, refusing to remain by her side. Angry that no one else wanted to be her friend or companion. The red-eyed monster of anger captivated her. She could not see the deceptions she created, blaming him for the thunderstorms in her life, nor could she accept responsibility for her actions.

Still, to this day, I regret how my mother would not allow me to be close, but now that I am older and wiser, I recognize that she behaved in the same hateful, malicious demeanor to others, especially to my dad.

After my mother’s death, I have recognized our relationship is now a closed matter. We cannot sit down together to attempt an open discussion of why we were so estranged. She is gone. Nothing I can do or say can bring her back. I have to find peace. I have to come to terms with what happened on the night of her death. Although she was an embittered woman, with a poisonous tongue, I loved her. She gave me life. Watching her actions, I learned that I was the one responsible for my character, my values and my beliefs. My life was up to me to build, and I was determined that others would not destroy me. I have come to the reality that I am the woman I am today, thanks to all that I endured. I found strength and purpose inside an unhappy home that should’ve taught me destruction. Instead of walking in the shadows of my mother, I chose to walk alone. I suppose I have finally found my way home.


Simple Start, Weight Watchers — Why? Because It Works!

Dearest Readers:

Yes, I know…I’ve been quiet. As you recall, the new year started with a loss…not at Weight Watchers, but a loss of a loved one — our precious little Maltese, Shasta Daisy Shampagne. She was at least ten-years-old, probably closer to twelve. For approximately six months we watched her slowly fading away from us. At first, she stopped jumping across the gate. Then, she started to sleep — a lot…almost all day long. Occasionally she wouldn’t eat. During her wellness check at the vets, we discovered our suspicions — she was now completely blind, and that is why when she was awake, she raised her head high, to look at the bright lights she could see from the skyline of our windows. She could see a bright image, but nothing more. Each time I reached to pick her up, I would rub her and speak to her softly. She responded by struggling to jump into my arms. When she needed something, she did not whine or bark. She paced herself and I fully believe she knew exactly how many steps she needed to take to find the water bowl. She stopped playing with her favorite toys. When the seizures began, we strove to accept Shasta was fading away. I’ve never been a believer in ‘putting a dog down’ although we have let two go in this way. Their quality of life was gone, and so we made the decision to let them go peacefully, with us by their sides. With Shasta, it was different. Every time we considered making that dreadful call, she bounced back. Just like the Energizer Bunny. Twenty-four hours after a seizure, she worked hard to show us she could still walk and move. She could take care of her body functions. She could still drink and eat. Little Miss Independent Shasta wasn’t ready to go. Unfortunately, on January 4, early in the morning, I went to pick her up to let her go outside with me. She did not respond. She went on her terms. She did not want us to make that dreadful call. And so, we started the new year with the loss of our precious Shasta.

Life has taught me the fact of life that after death, we must continue. The question is how? How do we learn to live without those we loved? It is a known fact that we must continue to move. Demands in life force us to pick ourselves up. To take baby steps. To move. Simply — just to move. After losing Shasta, I wanted to just shut the world away, but the phone rang, door bells screamed, and I realized, I had to move on. I forced myself to get up and to return to my life. On January 9, I returned to Weight Watchers, anticipating more dismay, much to my surprise, I lost 1.8 pounds. This week, I lost .02 pounds. Baby steps. Now, I’ve discovered for me, it takes baby steps to continue my weight loss.

I do have a confession. Years ago, my husband bought a treadmill — one for him to use after heart surgery. Funny. He’s only used it twice. He used the excuse it was boring. He needed a TV so he could watch it while on the treadmill. We moved a TV into the room. The treadmill sat, all by itself, still awaiting my husband to move it! For years, I used it — to air dry clothes. After joining Weight Watchers, I stared at that treadmill. By now, it was dusty and needed attention, so I hopped on. ‘If only I can do ten minutes,’ I said. The treadmill is a 1998 version. The timer would not work, so I counted it down, while watching the clock and gasping for air. I’m asthmatic. Exercise is a bit difficult for me, but I was determined to do just ten minutes. At first, after five minutes, I had to jump off while gasping for air. That treadmill was getting the best of me!

Those of you who really know me understand how stubborn, independent and determined I can be when something intimidates me. I continued my pursuit. After joining Weight Watchers, I learned we must move to be successful with weight loss. I walked. I exercised, occasionally, but that silly treadmill all but stared and laughed at me. It was beating me, and I was just a bit annoyed.

Last year, I decided to set a goal of ten minutes again on the treadmill; after all, I had lost about 30 pounds. Just how hard can a treadmill be? My newest mini-schnauzer, Hankster the Prankster showed me. One morning while letting the treadmill down, he hopped onboard, as if to say, “Ha…Ha…I can do the treadmill and you cannot!” I turned it on just to see what he would do. That silly four-legged friend moved…and moved…and moved. Then, he barked, looked up at me as if to say, “Make it go faster,” so I did. Now he was running! A four-legged friend who knew much about me was using the treadmill. His little legs moved quickly and he barked a happy bark. I wanted to spank him!

Baby steps! The next day, I gave myself five minutes on the treadmill…a few days later, ten, and this time, I did not stop! Ten minutes was an achievement and I was proud of myself. I am happy to say, now, I can move on a treadmill for 50 minutes — non-stop! Then, I do an upper body workout. All to the credit of Weight Watchers!

This year, there is another new program with Weight Watchers — Simple Start, a two-week jump-start program that is easy to do. At the meeting this morning, many of the members shared weight losses and how easy the program is. As for me, I suppose you could say, I lose ever so slowly, but what I have learned this time with Weight Watchers is something simple. Weight Watchers works. No longer is it a difficult program. No longer is there a beige curtain with an intimidating scale staring in my face. The weigh ins are ‘confidential.’ Never do we share how much we weighed when we joined, and now, even a small weight loss of .02 is still — A LOSS!

Perhaps I owe the credit to Hankster the Prankster for teaching me that IF a tiny dog could work out on a treadmill, then I could too! There are days when he still wants to show me up on the treadmill, after a few minutes he hops off, as if to say, “OK…it’s your turn now!”

Thank you, Hanks. Yes, it is a new year. A new year to remember little Miss Shasta, and I still hear her little bark sometimes. When I walk by her bed, I still speak to her. As the year continues to move forward, I must focus on the blessings I have, including my precious four-legged children, and I must continue to move on to accomplish my weight loss.

Thank you, Weight Watchers. Thank you Hanks for teaching me I can do the treadmill, and Little Miss Shasta, thank you for the spunk and determination you taught me. I suppose people who do not have animals cannot understand how much they nourish, teach and inspire our life. These four-legged friends are there for us when we need a hug. They will lick away your tears, and melt your heart. I am blessed to have them in my life, and I am blessed to have a new inspiration and determined with Weight Watchers. It is a new year with Simple Start. A new year to count my blessings. Now, if I could only convince Hank I must use the treadmill before he does! Baby Steps!

To a New Year, New Beginnings, Goals and Promises – Learning to Move On

Dearest Readers:

My last post, Saturday, January 4, 2014 was written with a broken heart after we lost our precious Maltese, Shasta Daisy Shampagne. To say it has been a stressful, depressing and an almost unbearable week is an understatement. I have caught myself bursting into tears as the sea of grief rushes over me once again. Nevertheless, after losing many loved ones, friends, and family members, I recognize that life continues. Just because we have lost someone so special does not cause our lives to stop. We awaken in the morning. Demands of life still need attention. We still must pick up the pieces and “Move On!”

I must say, I am a bit proud of myself and how I have dealt with the grief and emptiness that Little Miss Shasta Daisy left. Shasta lost the remainder of her eye sight last year. I am convinced she counted the steps to where the water bowls were, along with the pillow she loved to rest on. This pillow is located next to my desk. Daily, she curled her tiny body by the pillow, and when she was thirsty, never did she whine for me to carry her to the water bowl. She was a feisty and most independent little girl. She loved doing things her way! Today, her pillow and blankie rest by my desk. I haven’t found the courage to wash her pillow or the blankie. Our newest little boy, a Maltese, named Toby Keith has adopted the spot, pillow and blankie as his comfort zone. Funny. Never did he claim this territory as his until Monday of this week. We were blessed to be the foster parent of Toby in early December after Shasta became weaker and weaker. As I’ve written before, Shasta’s seizures became more violent in December. Christmas Day was her worst. The amazing thing about Shasta is after a seizure, after Phil and I decided we should consult with our vet once again about her, Shasta chose to prove to us that she was still our little energizer bunny. Mornings after she suffered a seizure, she would go outside to potty and to walk around the back yard, as if to say, “See…I’m OK!”

We did not call the vet. I am convinced that little Miss Shasta Daisy chose to leave us on her terms — after she was certain we would be ok. Maybe she and Toby communicated, and maybe Toby convinced her that all would be OK. I am convinced animals communicate, to us, and to each other.

So, while it is a New Year and we had to build new goals, promises and beginnings, I am learning to move on. Yes, I miss Shasta, and I certainly miss my precious Prince Marmaduke Shamus; although, our home is filled with the love of our precious four-legged children. Together, we strive to make each day a new and good day. Yes, at times, I am sad, but I am learning to work through the grief. After all, life continues.

Today was my first day back at Weight Watchers after the holidays. Let’s just say, during the holidays I was a most naughty girl. Just before Christmas, I broke the plateau and I was so proud to accomplish that goal. Attending parties, I found myself craving Christmas cookies. I asked Phil to get us a few Christmas cookies and when he brought them home, I continued to eat and eat those blasted temptations until I was furious with myself. Then, I decided to do a bit of Christmas baking. My mistake! Going back to Weight Watchers, I hopped on the scales — gaining four pounds. I missed the next meeting — intentionally, and I continued to binge. No matter what I said to myself, I could not stop eating desserts.

“It’s the holidays,” people said. “Enjoy yourself.”

Thanks so much for your encouragement! Then I realized, I was the one out of control. After all, no one was forcing these delicacies on me, but myself! Naughty…NAUGHTY — OH SO NAUGHTY GIRL!

Now, my scales were reading a 10 pound gain. I was ready to jump off the bridge I was so angry with myself. I had a serious talk with myself and hopped back on the treadmill. After all, if my life was spinning out of control and I was gaining weight, shouldn’t I jump on a treadmill to stop this craziness?

Today was a good day. I am proud to say, the scales showed a loss of two pounds. Yes, even when life is spinning out of control and I am depressed from watching my precious friend Shasta fading away…even when I felt my life was losing its balance, I am happy to say, I have rejuvenated myself…after many tears and discussions at my special window. Today, I am moving on with life, goals, dreams and promises made to myself. Today is a new day. A new beginning. I have started the new year with a two pound loss! Thank you, Weight Watchers! This holiday season taught me something special. I have always been described as a strong, independent and opinionated woman. Yep. That is me. However, when a craving enters my brain, I become weak. Because of the weight gain, I have discovered that I must get back in control. I have lost 36 pounds, thanks to Weight Watchers. How many inches have I lost? I haven’t a clue, but my body is changing, along with my attitude about food. I must remember to be strong, independent and eat healthy. Yes, there will be times when I am tempted. At parties…dances…and other special events… Now, I must remember, I hold the key. I have the strength. I have the courage. After all, no one is spoon feeding me. When temptations occur, I will think twice! And then, I will think again…and AGAIN!

Rest in peace, Little Miss Shasta Daisy Shampagne. You were such a blessing to rescue and to become such an amazing loving part of our family. Watching you and the determination you had taught me that life must go on and with each day, we must continue to make the most of each day…Just like you did, precious Shasta!

Carolina Opry


            For Immediate Release

            January 8, 2014


Media Contact:

Jordan Watkins 

Director of Marketing




Editorial Note:

Images available for download here:

Calvin Gilmore and cast are available for interviews.


28th season of landmark variety show to add two new powerhouse vocalists to legendary cast line-up, new seating for 2014, and a new show time


North Carolina-based singer/songwriter Bibis Ellison will join the cast of The Carolina Opry and Good Vibrations. Likened to artists such as Adele, Bibis is known for her soulful tones and has performed both covers and original music all over the US, as well as in Japan and Mexico. Owner, producer and performer Calvin Gilmore states, “Bibis is the high level of talent our fans have come to expect here at Calvin Gilmore Theater.”


Colton Cason made his debut at The Calvin Gilmore Theater in their recent Christmas production and has agreed to join the cast for the 2014 season. Colton’s smooth crooner style, inspired by Sinatra and Bublé, adds an element of jazz—and he also plays a mean trumpet.  A member of the prestigious Del Couch music foundation, Colton is seasoned in orchestral feature performance and has already become a favorite at The Calvin Gilmore Theater.


These are just two among the many changes in store for the 2014 season. All That, renowned hip-hop cloggers seen on NBC’s America’s Got Talent will be back with new moves. Emcee and Nashville recording artist Brad Long will return along with the rest of the legendary cast of 35 singers, musicians and dancers.


Also among the changes for 2014 is all new seating in The Calvin Gilmore Theater auditorium. Gilmore is replacing all floor seating with plush, wide new seats decked out with rocking backs and cup holders. He says, “After nearly 30 years in this business I get a little sentimental about these original theater seats, but I can’t wait until you sit in the new ones.” A limited quantity of the original theater seats may be available for purchase as collectors’ items.


Colton and Bibis can be seen in all of The Calvin Gilmore Theater productions. Shows run nightly at the new show time of 7:00 pm beginning January 29 at The Calvin Gilmore Theater, closed Sundays. Call for full schedule and to book, 800-843-6779.


More About The Carolina Opry

Gilmore Entertainment has long been the leader of musical variety show entertainment in the Southeast, with the classic Carolina Opry show and their newest hit, Good Vibrations. Gilmore and his Carolina Opry have been featured by USA TodayABC Nightly NewsSouthern Living MagazineVariety, and a host of other newspapers and television shows. It is the only Myrtle Beach show to receive the coveted South Carolina Governor’s Cup, as well as being voted South Carolina’s Most Outstanding Attraction. In recent years, Gilmore has performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and he is designated as South Carolina’s Official Country Music Ambassador.




Top 10 Workout Songs for 2013


The Top 10 Workout Songs of 2013

Fort Wayne, IN – January 2, 2014 – The end of the year is a great time to survey workout music for two reasons. First, it provides a chance to look back at the year that’s winding down and reminisce. Second, the new year is when folks make resolutions–often to get into better shape–and the recap includes a few songs that might help with that.
The list below reflects more than 70,000 votes placed last year on Run Hundred—the web’s most heavily-trafficked workout music blog. According to the folks polled there, the most popular artists in the gym this year were David Guetta and Pitbull. They’re the only two artists who appear in the list twice—though they managed this feat with the help of collaborators like Christina Aguilera, Ke$ha, Rihanna, Akon, and Ne-Yo.
As is the case each year, there are some workout music staples present in the list. There are chart hits—like those from Flo Rida and Jason Derulo. There are hits that got beat out by their own remixes—like those from Lady GaGa and Avicii. There are monster hits that didn’t make the cut—like Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Lastly, there are songs that got more love in the gym than on the radio—like Fergie, Q-Tip, and GoonRock’s contribution to The Great Gatsby.
On the whole, there should be a few songs here you loved, a few you missed, and a few that have been given a makeover since you last heard them. If you’re looking for a few tunes to jump start the new year—and possibly a new you—the list below provides 10 great places to start.
Pitbull & Christina Aguilera – Feel This Moment – 137 BPM
Selena Gomez – Come & Get It (Dave Aude Club Remix) – 130 BPM
Fergie, Q-Tip & GoonRock – A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) – 130 BPM
Flo Rida – How I Feel – 128 BPM
Lady GaGa – Applause (DJ White Shadow Trap Remix) – 141 BPM
Jason Derulo – The Other Side – 128 BPM
Avicii – Wake Me Up (Avicii Speed Remix) – 126 BPM
David Guetta, Ne-Yo & Akon – Play Hard – 130 BPM
Rihanna & David Guetta – Right Now (Justin Prime Radio Edit) – 131 BPM
Pitbull & Kesha – Timber – 130 BPM
To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Chris Lawhorn
Run Hundred

Chris Lawhorn

Run Hundred