Wednesday, May 27, 2009

He didn't mean it officer... he loves me

A couple of weeks ago Matthew and I watched the Will Smith movie Seven Pounds. If you haven't seen it I STRONGLY recommend you do. Fantastic movie. But be forewarned. You will cry.

In the movie there is a lady who is caught in a domestic abuse situation and won't leave because she is afraid her husband will hunt her down and kill her.

Last week I had the pleasure of being woken up at 12am by a blood curdling scream from the lady that lives in the apartment across the hall. As I shuffle into the living room I hear my boyfriend on the phone with 911 'I'd like to report a domestic dispute. Yes there is a woman screaming and a lot of bangs and crashes like furniture being thrown or knocked over'

This wasn't the first time the police have had to be called because the chic that lives across the hall and her boyfriend got into a tussle. This was, however, the first time that I actually feared for her life.

They were both 'recovering' alcoholics and she was supposedly on all kinds of anxiety & bi-polar meds and they got into somewhat loud disagreements rather often. On 3 previous times it had escalated to a physical level with them both screaming and assaulting each other at such a volume I called 911. The last time she had lied to the police and said he broke into her house (we all knew he had a key), but when they urged her to press charges and have him arrested she said no. She just wanted him to leave.

A few days later she caught me in the court yard walking my puppy and apologized. She said they'd both slipped and had started drinking again and that she'd stopped taking her bi-polar meds a few weeks earlier and flipped out and attacked him, but that they were both dry again, and she'd gone to the doctor and been put on a new medication. She basically said it was her fault he hit her because she was crazy and they were both drunks.

We stood by the door, me peering across the hall through the peep-hole, listening to crashes, bangs and screams for the next 13 minutes. At 12:15am everything went silent. She'd been screaming HELPPP for the past 2 minutes, and as much as Matthew and I wanted to barge across the hall and intervene we knew the best thing to do was wait for the police.

They finally showed up about ten minutes later. Ten minutes after everything went silent, twenty-five minutes after they were called. The police station is about 2 miles from our apartment. Matthew and I peek out the door and tell them what we'd heard and then continue to watch through the peep-hole.

The police knocked on the door and this is what followed...

"Sir, this is the police, please open the door"


"Sir, this is the police, we need you to open the door"

Muffled "Do you have a warrant?"

Mistake #1

"SIR! We need you to open the door NOW"

More mumbling - I couldn't quite make out what he was saying through the door this time, but whatever he said was not appreciated by the now 3 officers standing in the entryway between our apartments.

"Sir, we are not leaving until you open the door. If you do not open the door we will open it for you"

Muffled "You don't have any probable cause" followed by more mumbling

Mistake #2

"Trying to get legal is only going to get you in more trouble sir, you need to open the door NOW. We will not leave until you let us in!"

I should mention that the lady across the hall has a dog. It's a shar-pei-pit mix and has the disposition of Stephen King's Cujo. On a really really bad day. After a few minutes of hearing the dog bark and charge the door some comments were made about kicking the dog in the head, I think I may have heard that shooting it was an option as well.

After about fifteen minutes of trying to get the guy to open the door one of the officers makes a show of 'calling the team' to have the door forcefully opened for the loser across the hall since he seemed to have a problem turning the door knob and they decide to take a different approach. Note - they didn't really call anyone. I guess they hoped the threat would be enough for him to let them in. It wasn't.

Female Office: "Sir, this is officer so-and-so. Can you please open the door and let me in so I can see if I need to begin medical on the female?"


"Sir, please. Please open the door so I can check on the female and make sure she is ok"

There is a loud on the other side of the door, she jumps about 2 feet then runs down the 5 stairs to stand by the entry door. The 3 guy officers that were in the entry way suddenly get real business like. One takes position half way up the stairs to the 2nd floor, one is in front of the entry way door at the bottom of the stairs and one is on landing right to the side of the neighbors door. Guns drawn.

The next part was like a real life episode of COPS. The door opens a crack and things got crazy.


Two of the cops grab the guy and face plant him on the floor while the 3rd handcuffs him. They drag him out dripping blood from his face and all down the stairs. Which we (Matthew) had to later clean. Then I hear the female officer yell.

"Beginning medical on the female!"

She was unconscious on the floor.

It took them around ten minutes to get her to come to. During which Matthew and I used lunch meat to lure Cujo into our bathroom because he kept lunging at the officers and medics that had come in to help. Let me say the ambulance got there a hell of a lot faster than the police did.

Things finally wrapped up around 2:30am. She declined to go to the hospital, I returned her beast of a dog to her and she once again apologized and begged me not to go to the apartment manager and tell them what happened because it may get her evicted.

I did though. Even though he could have killed her and had actually knocked her unconscious I knew that if left up to her he would be back. I didn't want to get her kicked out but I knew he wasn't on the lease and there had to be a way to get him out for good.

So I called our realty company and told them what had been going on. I told them that the people in the apartment above me had actually moved out because of the constant fighting going on in the apartment across from me. I told them that the police had been called at least 3 times in the past 6 months and this time the guy was arrested, the girl was unconscious and we'd had to clean up blood from the entryway. (I later heard the female officer tell the lady across the hall that the blood was from the officers slamming the guy on the floor. She'd asked if they should take pictures of the blood for evidence in case he came back.) I told them that while there was nothing I could do because the guy hadn't assaulted or threatened me, I knew they could take steps to have him banned from the property. The lady said she'd talk to the owner, make some calls and let me know what they could do.

She called me back later that day and said that a restraining order was being placed on the guy and they'd talked to the lady across the hall and told her he was not under any circumstances allowed back on the property. They told me to call them AND the police if I saw him again. He showed up with his mom two days later to collect all of his belongings. After being beaten unconscious the woman still helped him carry his stuff out, crying the entire time, then hugged and kissed him goodbye.

I spent the better part of a year watching my mom get pushed around and abused by a worthless piece of shit alcoholic. He threw my little sister across the kitchen once and threatened to throw me through a plate glass window. I stood up to him and although he talked a lot more crap after he didn't directly threaten me again. Then after swearing that I would never let a man hit me, I spent the next 3 years in an abusive relationship. So when a woman says "but you don't know what it's like... he doesn't mean to do it.. he loves me, you just don't understand..."

I get to call BULLSHIT. I've been there.

If you are with a man who abuses you in ANY way, verbally, mentally, emotionally or physically LEAVE HIM. And I say in ANY way for a reason. My ex-fiance only really hit me one time, but thanks to tactical training with a swat team he was quite knowledgable in inflicting pain in ways that never left a mark. He also beat me down mentally and emotionally until there was almost nothing of the strong woman I once had been left.

I don't care if you drop kick a guy in the face, no REAL man will EVER lay a hand on a woman. Granted if you do something like that you certainly deserve to have your ass kicked but that doesn't mean it's OK for a man to hit you.

You may think,

if I leave it means I failed at our relationship
if I try a little harder he'll stop
if I just don't mess up as much he won't get so angry
if I really love him I'll stay and 'help him' with his issues

There is no reason to stay in an abusive relationship. None. Ever.

In the beginning my excuse was that my ex-fiance had endured horrific things during childhood and just didn't know how to deal with them. Then I couldn't leave because I'm a perfectionist and leaving meant I hadn't been able to make it work, it meant I failed. After that it was that no one else would love me, and it wasn't always bad.. most of the time he was really great.

The number one reason women stay in abusive relationships is fear. Fear they won't be able to make it on their own. Fear that no one else will love them and they'll be alone for ever. Fear that the guy will come after them. Fear that they're actually not worth being loved and may really deserve being abused.

Well let me share something with you that surprisingly enough not many people know.

The opposite of love isn't hate. It's fear.

When you decide that you deserve love, and when you decide to love yourself the fear will go away. It may not be easy and you may have to bust your ass to get back on your feet, but you will make it. Trust me... I've been there. I ended up in a domestic abuse shelter because my ex threatened to blow up the house of the people I lived with. It was all hot air, but they believed him and kicked me out. I had no where to go. But instead of crying in my oatmeal and lamenting about how hard things were and indulging in the 'poor me' syndrome, I sucked it up and decided to take charge of my life, and I made it.

So can you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Allow me to introduce.....

My new niece
Paisley Grace Langston

(and her big sister Marley)
Born May 7, 2009
Wt: 7lb 2oz Ht: 20in

At 4:30am on Thursday morning my phone rings and my sister tells me she's on her way to the hospital. I tell her to call me back when she knows if they're going to keep her and I'll be on my way. It's right at an hour drive from Mobile, AL to Gulfport, MS so I figured I'd have time to make it before Paisley made her introduction.

By 6am I hadn't heard anything and neither my sister nor her husband were answer their phones so I called my mom and found out that they were keeping her and she was indeed in labor. I would have made it in time for the actual birth but I was going to be gone for 3 days and didn't want to leave without saying bye to Matthew. Unfortunately, once the On-Air light goes on at 5am he's stuck in the news room until 8, so I waited until he could come out to say bye before leaving.

I was about fifteen minutes away when my mom called back to tell me we had a baby! Well my sister had a baby, but she belongs to all of us you know.

I lived in Michigan when my niece Marley was born so I wasn't able to be there for her birth. I came to visit when she was three weeks old and fell in love. She is responsible for my relocation back to a southern state. I miss Michigan, but I wouldn't trade the time I get to spend with her for the world.

I won't make this long since I'm sure I'll be blogging about Miss Paisley many times in the future, but I will say that like her big sister she is beautiful and was incredibly alert just hours after birth. She also is going to have the best, most loving, protective big sister of any little girl on the planet.

Marley was in sergeant mode from the minute they brought Paisley in, telling people when (IF) they could hold "her" baby and making sure to let them know when their time was up because "her wants her big sister now".

Oh - and you know how people always say "Kids say the darnedest things!"?

Shortly after they brought Paisley into the room a nursing coach came in to talk to my sister and see if she had any questions about breast feeding. Marley was sitting in the rocking chair right next to the hospital bed and as my sister begins to prop Paisley up to feed her Marley says....

"The baby says - Give me that boobie momma!"

Monday, May 18, 2009

Muffin Top(ple) Monday

Today we're going to talk about woman's number one enemy.

No... not Men. They may be a pain at times, but they have their uses.

I'm talking about the scale.

That 12x12 piece of plastic or metal, that with the twirl of a dial or the flash of a digit, can make or break your day.

Last week I sent an e-mail out to my Muffin Top(ple) ladies with a picture of me from 2004 and I asked them all to guess how much I weighed in the picture.

Here is the picture

The guesses were varied and ranged from 175 to 205lbs.

In that picture I was in the best physical shape I'd been in years. I was fit, healthy, exercising regularly and eating right.

And I weighed 237 pounds.

So many people pick a number, a weight for a goal when losing weight and get discouraged when they don't see drastic changes on the scale. Having a goal weight can be helpful, but as you can see by the picture I didn't look like I weighed anywhere near 240lbs even though I did. I was in a size 18 jeans (that I still have & will wear again!) and I was super fit and healthy.

I'd like to give you a little something to chew on (other than that candy bar!). Watching the numbers drop on the scale is always a great motivator... but an 'ideal' weight for one person may be way off for someone else - so what's most important is to shoot for getting healthy and feeling good about yourself.

According to medicine, doctors, weight charts.. the 'ideal' healthy weight for my height 5ft 5in (or 65 inches) and bone structure (large) is between 127-155lbs.

Even if I stretch it and go by the 1 inch heel height and say I'm 5'6" that only gives me another 4lbs.

My BOOBS weigh almost that much. I would, to be totally honest look sickly and ill if I weighed anything less than 185 pounds. 200 would probably be a perfect weight for me, but 235 is where I've found I'm most comfortable and physically fit. At the same time my mom is one inch taller than me and can pull off weighing 125 with no problem. My sister is 5'3" and normally wears about a size 6/8 - also around 125lbs.

My mom, me, sister & brother at my sister's wedding May 2005.

Which of these things is not like the other???

I've spent the last 20 years comparing myself to a family of skinny people. I am the ONLY heavyset person in my immediate family, and for years all I could think was "how in the world can I ever get small enough to weigh what they weigh?!?"

The answer is I can't. I have a different body type. I will always be a 'thick' chic. I'll always have curves and I'll always be bigger than everyone in my family... and I'm finally realizing that that's OK. As long as I'm healthy and feel good about myself the numbers really don't mean anything.

Anyway - I guess the point I'm trying to make is don't get caught up in the numbers on the scale. Pay attention to how you feel, the fit of your clothes, the new energy you have... and let those things be your guide.

If you still feel like you should weigh a certain weight because a chart tells you, take a look at this. It's a height and weight chart made up of pictures of real people. It's a great visual for understanding the human body and how one person who's say 5'5", can weigh 235lbs and look smaller than a person who's 5'7" and weighs less.

Don't be a slave to the scale ladies (and fellas). Eat right, exercise and focus on being healthy. The fit of your clothes and the feel of your body will tell you more than a number ever could.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

There once was a girl...

...who went on a vacation. And it was wonderful.

Then it was over and she had to come back home. Which sucked.

But lucky for you she took a lot of pictures and has decided to share!

I am 33yrs old and up until April 23rd of this year, I had never been on a 'real' vacation. Growing up we did family reunion get togethers at state parks, but anyone who was once a kid knows that is more like torture than fun. Forced group activities with people you rarely see and sometimes barely know. Thanks, but I'm good.

Then I went to work for a company called ECAD, Inc and the empty place in my photo album where vacation memories go finally got a chance to be filled.

The first thing I have to say is that I work for the most incredible company on the planet. The owner of this company is one of the sweetest, most caring and kind women I've ever had the pleasure to meet. She also takes hella good care of her employees.

For the past 9 years there has been a 'Company' vacation. The only requirement to be able to go is that you have to have worked for the company for one year.

Company vacation?

That may not sound like your idea of fun, spending your vacation time with people you work with, but it's not quite what you'd expect.

Last year's vacation was in Cancun. The year before Cozumel, before that Playa Del Carmen. They've been to the Bahama's, Hawaii, on cruises.. Still thinking a vacation with your co-workers sounds like a drag? lol

I hadn't been here quite a year yet when the Cancun trip came around so I didn't get to go. This year's vacation was in Puerto Vallarta. I went.

4 nights, 5 days all, and other than some shopping and activity money, I do mean ALL expense paid vacation to an All Inclusive Luxury Resort.

Starting to sound better?

We flew out Thursday morning at the butt-crack of dawn and got to Mexico just after noon and flew back home Monday morning. Saturday evening there was an awards dinner and late Sunday afternoon there were a few hours of 'company' activities that required attendance but other than that, all the rest of the time is yours to do with as you choose.

OK enough about that - and yes, I know you wish you had my job - let's move onto the pictures!!
You can go to my Myspace and click the Puerto Vallarta photo album to view all of the pictures from our trip on a larger scale.

Every year someone comes up with a slogan for the trip and everyone gets a t-shirt. Here is this year's.

Here are a few shots from the plane on our way to Mexico.
Sunrise at 13,000 feet

Ice crystals on the plane window

Once we arrived in Mexico we piled in a bus for the twenty minute drive to our hotel.

The people that work for this company are serious drinkers so of course we had to stop by a Corona plant. The guy in the middle? That's Ramone - our guide. Don't forget to rrrrollll your rrrrrrrs.

Welcome to the Riu Palace Pacifico! We were greeted with glasses of fruit punch when we got there. This was not just any regular fruit punch, it tasted fresh squeezed and was delish!

The view from the deck just outside the lobby and the pool.

The view from our room, Matthew posing and us, chilling on the balcony listening to the ocean.

Check in was at 3 and we got there early so we decided to talk a walk along the beach while we waited for our room to be ready.

The view of the hotel from the beach, and our footprints in the sand

Early Friday morning we went on a Kon-Tiki tour where we sailed around the bay, stopped at an island for snorkeling, visited a small village and hiked a mountain to a waterfall.

Except for about 3 hours we spent hiking to the waterfall we sunned on the top of that boat from 9am to around 6pm. We got a LOT of sun. Which wouldn't have been so bad except we left our sunscreen at the hotel. Ack!

We got a chance to go snorkeling at a small island.
I couldn't stand the mask on my face but Matthew had a blast. Flippers are so sexy.

I stayed on the boat taking pictures

Me, pretty fish & the island cave they snorkeled through

The village

We hiked across two 'rivers', up 70 degree inclines, up a rock staircase and across a rickety bridge to get to the waterfall

I thought I was going to die. Matthew had to at times literally push me up the mountain.

But once we got there it was so worth it!

Nooo silly, that's not the waterfall......

This is

Matthew jumped in and played under the waterfall. I was too tired to do anything but sit on the rocks and watch the fish. Plus the water was ice cold and I knew hiking back down the mountain in wet clothes wouldn't be fun!

By the time we got back to the boat we were pretty pooped. Not quite as tired as some people though.

Then the guides on the boat decided it was time for some fun and games.
We danced to the YMCA and I found out I have the whitest boyfriend on the planet. We also played a game that somehow ended up using my bra as a prop.

I'd taken my bra off earlier in the morning to put my swimsuit on and put it in our bag. Funny how it somehow managed to find it's way atop one of the guide's head.

Our fabulous guides!

We'd met two lovely ladies on the boat that we sort of befriended. Mother and daughter - Anna & Linda. They did not speak one word of English, but we still managed to communicate. When we got back to the marina the 'Pirate Ship' tour was just pulling out

Even though we ended up borrowing sunscreen from someone on the boat, we'd already been baking for about 3 hours and knew some burning was inevitable so we walked to the mall to get some after frying sun lotion with lidocain. It didn't work, the lidocain that is. We were in hella pain that night lol.

There were 4 restaurants at the hotel, but the buffet was so good we ended up eating from it the whole time. Plus the weather was so incredible we wanted to eat outside. They always had everything set up so pretty.

Saturday afternoon we took a cab to Bucerias, a village about 2 miles up the beach from the hotel. The main part of the village was like one giant flea market. Matthew bartered the guy in the middle from 450 to 135 pesos for a silver ring. From about $37 to about $11!

There was so much color everywhere. Everything just seemed bright and festive.

After about an hour of window shopping we decided to walk down the beach back to the hotel. Like hiking a mountain hadn't been enough exercise!

We passed some tourists who's grandkids had buried them quite literally up to their necks in sand and some kids waiting for a good wave to surf.

Saturday evening we had the company awards dinner. They took 'official' vacation pictures of everyone then we ate dinner out on the veranda while the sunset over the beach.

We'd been so busy doing other fun stuff that we hadn't had a chance to check out the pool yet so Sunday morning we ordered room service for breakfast, slathered ourselves with sunscreen and headed down for a swim.

Sunday afternoon was the other company required event. It turned out to be an ECAD version of Survivor. In light of our extreme sunburns we opted to be voted out after the first game and then sat on a grassy hill in the shade watching the rest of the fun.

Then bright and early Monday (5:30am) morning headed to the airport to come back home.

Bye bye Mexico.

Bye Bye Mountains

Bye Bye scariest damn flight I've ever been on!

The last leg of the flight from Houston to Mobile had some SERIOUS turbulance!!

Sunburns aside, it was a fabulous vacation and we had an absolutely fantastic time. Being lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean drifting in through our open balcony door was something I will never forget.

Something else I won't forget?

Sunscreen for next years trip!!