Southern “Fall”

One of the hardest things yet to deal with has been the lack of “normal” weather down here. When you think of fall you think of harvest, sweaters, apple cider, brisk cool mornings, etc. Down here, that’s not the case at all, not at all…

It’s hot, summer hot and it stays hot until it finally breaks down and the weather gives in to winter. Finally now in November the wind is brisk and carries a nip, the rain is frigid, and the air is  just plain cold. It feels great. People keep asking me if it’s cold enough for me, honestly the
answer would have to be, “No.” It’s still too warm, I don’t see my breath when I walk outside, there hasn’t been a frost at all on the ground, but my mind constantly ‘thinks’ it is a normal Northern fall. Who could blame my way of thinking? It’s dark when I wake up and it doesn’t get light until almost after I get to work at 7:50 something in the morning, and then it starts getting dark close to 3:30ish, but it’s still just barely making the cut of being fall. At least in the sense that I know it.

Here it seems that fall is nothing, some people decorate with the oranges, reds, and browns, but mostly its just a passing season. Barely worth the mention since its so short and Christmas is more of a party than fall. Remember it’s all about the party down here, any excuse to have a good time, apple’s becoming ripe is more of a nerd hick celebration than a real party I guess. I don’t know I still get excited about the harvest, guess that’s just me down here.

So with the change of season, I noticed the ever prissy Cleopatra the Cat becoming needy and melancholy, more so than a dignified kitty princess usually allows. So the Southern Guy and I decided to get a pet for the princess, another cat. Yes, Cleo now has her own cat. (Technically we got the cat so Cleo could have a companion, but really, he’s the Southern Guy’s pet.) So whilst enjoying a rather lazy Saturday in September, we decided to go and just ‘look’ to see what was available, I wasn’t completely sold on getting another cat. (I didn’t want to totally spoil Cleo.) After going to two stores that were having their pet adoption day and not really seeing anything that I thought would work or that really tugged at the Southern Guy’s heart strings, we headed on over to our local Petsmart the last store on our list before heading out to meet some friends to go bowling. Upon arriving we saw that they had more kittens than the other stores, which made me happy because I didn’t want to deal with a grown cat with bad habits, and also worked for the Southern Guy because they were cuter than the grown cats, (he’s a sucker for infants of all sorts, true story). After doing the back cuddle test on our top two, we ended up taking home this guy…

Meet Gator!

This is the newest addition to our oddball family, and he is fantastic! Cleo was at first offended that we got a replacement cat (which is what he was in her mind), but once she realized he was her cat, she took to him like a football team to a table of free unlimited french toast. My favorite thing about this cat is probably the comment that was made to us when we were filling out the adoption papers, “He’s a white cat……so he’s gonna need to be strictly an indoor.” Meaning, he gets dirty more easily than a not straight white cat? ooooookkkkkkkkaaaaayyyyyyy……….Hmmmmm. Still a little weirded out by that comment, just the way it was said and how serious she was about his being white was the main factor in him not going outside.

Other than gaining a cat and enduring through the eternal summer that is the South, nothing much has been going on. Just living life, working, and finding projects along the way to fill my time. Being a complete adult is interesting, you have all this freedom and you really don’t know what to do with it. So you fill it with chores, jobs, services, none of which are bad things, but it’s amazing how much we complain about never having enough time, yet we do all we can to fill those few empty spaces we are blessed with. With technology that we all have access to as well, we are constantly reminded of, invited to, and alerted of tasks new and old, we can never get away from our “duties”. It has been quite the experimental process trying to find the “happy medium” between too much work and too much relaxing and being bored. I think I’ve finally found my happy balance, so far it’s been working; making dinner for two, taking care of the cats, cleaning my little apartment, helping maintain the Southern Guy’s house, and doing all my odds and ends of projects.

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Southern Lessons

Down in the South there are some big cultural differences that take a little getting used to. For one everyone calls you “Baby” or “Girl” or “Darlin’ “, even if they don’t know you. People in general are so open and kind down here as well, not that there aren’t any kind people up North, or no meanies down here, there are they just aren’t very easy to spot. Also “Stranger Danger” is almost nonexistent, the Southern Guy has had some strange man come up and offer us “cracklin’ ” (which is like bacon or pork rinds, but it causes heart attacks 30 years earlier) and the Southern Guy was like, “Yeah sure. Ooooohhhhh that’s good!” Um Gross.

Over all I love it down here, transitioning hasn’t been hard, it’s just been interesting. Trying to understand what people say is the worst part of my transition thus far, as the Southern Guy’s mom puts it, “Cajun is the laziest form of communication.” She is SO right! I mean listening to how some people down here talk is fascinating, as well as trying to figure out how they are able to talk so fast while still talking so lazy! It isn’t that they drop the “G” off the “ING” words, they do that and SO MUCH MORE! As well as adding the Cajun french or Creole in there, it’s a workout just listening.

Then there’s the food…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh the food! It’s amazing! The gumbo, the beignets, the meats, and just everything is SO GOOD! Two years ago when I was visiting during Mardi Gras I literally gained TEN POUNDS, just from all the amazing food! The people here know what good food is and how to appreciate it, and all they want to do is share it with family, friends, or strangers.

While living on my own (this is the second time I have left home, but the first time I am striking out on my own to be my own), I have come to a realization of things that I have known, but they haven’t really clicked until now. Maybe I’m just slow, but I think that most of us don’t learn (or at least fully understand) many common life lessons until we are on our own and viewing life from a completely different aspect. Not having parents or room mates there to remind and nag about things really allows you to open your heart and mind to things that you had just accepted before hand, because you take the time to think about it for yourself rather than just accepting someone else’s thoughts on it. So here are life lessons figured out while in the South;

Lesson #1:

Live for yourself

When most people graduate from high school they leave on their own adventure, whether it be college, military, or just moving out, you are on your own. Even if you have room mates, more often than not they aren’t family, so don’t let what they have to say or think about things make your decisions for you. One regret I have about college is that I was shy and allowed myself to be a sheep, following my room mates and not going and doing things for myself. I ended up feeling like I had been jipped out of many experiences and resentful about things. Looking back (hind-sight being 20/20), I now blame only myself for not doing and living for me.

I’ve found that by living for myself and not worrying what people think about my actions, I have found peace and happiness. The hardest part about this has been when my family or friends make remarks as to why I do what I do, and at first it offended me, why coukdnt they just be happy for me in my happiness. But then I found that if I answered honestly, from my heart, they would at least respect my choice and let it go for the time. My answer to them, for those of you who were just dying of curiuosity, is, “I do what I’m doing because it makes me happy, because I enjoy doing what I do.”

I know that what I’m doing is righteous and that my decisions are pleasing to my Heavenly Father, and that’s all that matters. As long as I am happy and I am doing what I can to live the gospel standards that I know are true and rely on my Heavenly Father, others will maybe not accept my choices, but they may respect them as long as I respect and stand up for myself.

Which leads into…

Lesson #2:
It’s not always all about you

While living on my own I’ve found that my emotions aren’t always in check, I seem to allow them to run wild and end up feeling hurt with thinking about things logically. (Curse of being a woman) The Southern Guy has been amazing dealing with my uglier side and I am so blessed he’s so patient, but with my family and friends, it was hard to not get offended right off the bat. You’ve left that system and so you

When you leave home, you leave your familiar system. A system of people who keep you in check and remind you, sometimes just by actions, that there are other things going on out there that are more important than what you feel right now. Sometimes you have to push yourself to get up and do things for the benefit of others that you may or may not be reimbursed for, but it is something you have to choose to do and choose to do well.

It is not all about you. There are billions of people on this earth who are all children of a Father in Heaven, just like you. What makes you more important than them? I’m not saying we are not individuals and as such we are not individually important, but rather we need to focus on the importance of those who are more in need. Doing service, no matter how small, always makes your problems less intense and more manageable than we before thought.

Lesson #3 :
Work as if your job is always on the line

Prove your worth. No one cares what you know until they know that you care, and so put all your heart and effort into all that you do. Always be proud of what you put out, all your projects, service, and accomplishments need to show you in them. Be proud of your work and show that pride in the final product, never settle.

Lesson #4:
Be your own best friend (It’s ok to have alone time)

Again it’s not all about you, learn to love yourself and enjoy time by yourself. Have a “Me Date” and treat yourself. Even while dating someone, their life isn’t focused on you, they have their own life and worries and you can’t hold that against them. Plus you never know what life and the Lord has in plan for you, so you need to just focus on you time while you have it and learn to appreciate it.

Lesson #5 :
Life is short, no one knows how long they have been given…

Live life with the thought that you don’t know how much time you’ve been given. Love as though everyone is family, you don’t know who is having a rough time in life, who is down on their luck, or who just needs a friend. Some of my best relationships have been created out of those spur of the moment decisions to ask someone how their day is, or to sit with someone who isn’t exactly top of the crowd. We often pass by some of the best opportunities because the outward package doesn’t look like much. Never ever judge anyone or anything’s cover before at least giving the dust jacket a glance, more often than not you’re going to miss out on something wonderful.

Those are my tidbits for thought, things I’ve found to be really true and very important to living a good wholesome life. Especially when you’re a single adult and you can live for you, your time is your own and you have the ability to accept those opportunities.

Food for thought.

The MOVE! The Beginning…

So in reality I have been down in the South for the past month now, amazing it’s been a month already and in that month a LOT has happened. So let me begin with when the Southern Guy got up there to pick me up.

My last day of work was the 2nd of August, a Friday, the Southern Guy was flying up one way to come drive with me over 34 hours to get to my new home on Saturday, and on Monday at 5:00 in the morning we were leaving once and for all. (Yes that was a little dramatic, once and for all, but you know it is kinda that serious.) So at work I was graciously given a wonderful party to say goodbye and some lovely treats to remember my coworkers by, then I gathered the few personal items that were left at my desk and headed out. It was all very final and serious leaving my work, I actually turned around and did shed a tear or two, there are many things I miss about my old job, but again I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was and how happy I am now down here to begin my life on my own.

On that Saturday, it was my absolute last day to finish packing and clean my little “shed-room” (yes I did live in the shed while living at home), I had very little to pack as a good chunk of personal things like books and memorabilia were going to have to stay, my little Ford Focus could only hold so much, so I tried cleaning as much as I could. Now remember how I said I was living in the shed? Ok, so it literally was  a shed that had been renovated for me to move back into once I decided Idaho was not the place for me, but it was renovated to fit all our family’s food storage, so it was a small space and crowded with shelves, both permanent and temporary, to house the storage. So moving that to clean around it in a day was difficult and still a subject of discussion for my mother and I.

That evening the Southern Guy flew in on time and we got to spend time together after not seeing each other for 7 months! SEVEN MONTHS! Just thinking about it makes me a little teary eyed, seven months of being separated and only being able to talk a little here and there. I am so blessed that I was able to make this move and we don’t have  to worry about that again.

Sunday was another difficult, but happy day. It was hard because going to church, to the Medford First Ward, the ward I had grown up in since I was 11 years old and seeing all the wonderful people I had grown up with, the little children who I had babysat for and their older siblings who I had also watched and played with, the families who had been companions to my family, the adults who had taught me and watched me grown, all of them were my family members. Saying goodbye to that many people who are that close to you is very, very, very difficult. Even with my Southern Guy there by my side, holding my hand, I was a little sullen at church.

July-August 2013 120

After church we had a sort of get together where some people my mother had invited came over to our house and we had a BBQ, or as much of one as we could have since the smoke was still really bad. It was nice and I loved being able to see so many people and get to say a more personal goodbye. After everyone left, just my family, the Southern Guy, and I were left, things were tense. It was hard for everyone because we all know that traveling between my new home and the North will take either a lot of time or a lot of money, actually it takes both. So we knew that we wouldn’t be seeing each other for a while, like how the Southern Guy and I had to wait at least 6 months to see each other, now my family and I would have to wait. We all had great discussions with each other about plans and travel preparations and that night I said my last goodbyes to my parents and my little sister who is the last one home. Then I went to sleep on the couch knowing it was the last night my childhood home was my actual home.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Rainie Falls Hike

My little sister recently moved out and has taken residence in Utah, where she will be working and saving until she starts school in the fall of 2014. Since she was able to land a job interview and needed to be in Utah a month earlier than originally planned, we as a family decided to spend our last weekend together and on Father’s Day we went for a hike on the Rogue River, the Rainie Falls Trail Hike. It’s two miles to the falls following a trail that is maybe two feet wide with one side going up steep rocky cliffs and the other dropping straight into the river, so in short it’s exciting!

At the beginning it doesn’t look like its going to be tough at all, but in a lot of places it is steep climbing on slick rocks and sometimes the trail would get even more narrow that it already was!

It took my family of 5 about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to completely finish the hike, we stopped at the end and took a bit of a break, but over all we didn’t do too bad time wise. It was so much fun and we made great memories together that will last way longer than seeing a movie together or yard work, on top of that it was great exercise for all of us!

And now it’s time for me to brag (cause I’m kinda proud of my photography) I took all these pictures and I edited them all myself! I know they aren’t super professional or anything, but overall I stand by my pictures.

So now that my little sister is in Utah, I myself only have about a month left until I’m packing up and moving out to the South to be with the Southern Guy and start my schooling up again. Wow, it really hasn’t hit me yet, ONE MONTH that’s nothing compared to what I’ve been waiting. I’m so excited to be moving forward with my life and becoming more of a “Big Girl”, taking care of myself, and getting the real life things done the way they should be done. But until I get to do that in a month I will be taking pictures of my home and the surroundings so that when I do get homesick, as I know I will, I can look back and see the beauty that I’ve grown up in and taken for granted the last 22 years.

Blog Button!

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Blog button tutorial, which totally did work!! For you bloggers out there, try this and let me know how it works out for you! I LOVE IT!! Also try this ONE, I like picmonkey a lot more than some of the other sites mentioned for the photo editing. Give it a try and let me know how it all works out for y’all!

Who is the Northern Girl?

So I realized I only gave a brief introduction to who I am and my background. Not that anyone is particularly interested in who I am, maybe not even interested in my advice, but just in case and since I feel like explaining who I am so that I have a more personal connection with what I’m trying to accomplish, here it is.

My name is Megan, I was born and raised in the Northwestern part of the wonderful United States of America, also known as the Pacific Northwest. The Pacific coast has always been one my favorite places to visit, as I live further inland than most think, but close enough that it only takes a few hours to get there. I am recently graduated from college, (one of the BYU’s) where I was a music major, but chose to get an associate’s degree instead of a bachelor’s from the get go so that I could move closer to my Southern guy faster. I love cooking and took a class in college to see if culinary school was my next big move (it wasn’t, it’s just a hobby), and moved back home to a room free of rent, a picky cat (who I left because she couldn’t come to college with me), and the crazy family life that I had sort of forgotten since being single and on my own.

So now I’m a nanny to a wonderful little guy who I’ve been with since he was four months old, and working for a bank where I love my office job of paper work and customer care calls. All this to save to go back to school and be closer to that Southern gentleman who is my Superman, cheesy but true.

Superman and I met over the internet, as penpals. I do not suggest meeting people that way, honestly it was a miracle for us to have met and for it not to have been a traumatic experience for either of us. We are best friends who just happened to fall in love with each other and have worked through things together, separate in space, but together in emotions and spirit. We’ve made our relationship work for three years and hopefully this will be the last year that we spend apart, I plan on getting back to school in the next six months or so, and moving down there. Which plays into my weight loss goals. I want to be my best for my best friend and amazing boyfriend.

Like I’ve said before I’m not a skinny girl, I’ve never been skinny. I am a well built gal, I’m never going to be Victoria Secret model thin, but I know that I can look better than I do now. I honestly love my body, I really do, but there are specific things I can pin point that I absolutely hate about my early 20’s body. I have a body that clings to fat so changing my diet doesn’t cause anything to change, unlike my thin sisters, and the only time in my life that I was “thin” a.k.a “fit” was when I was working my butt off in marching band and doing several other activities. I really have to work at getting my body to where I want it to be, more than my sisters have ever. That’s ok, I realize that long term weight loss goals are going to take long term progress, but that means that they are going to stick better than if I just dieted it off.

So that’s me the Northern Girl, and the Southern Guy Kyle may put something in here eventually, that’s all up to him. I can tell you this though; he is younger than me by two months, he’s going to graduate in 8 months with his bachelor’s, and he is the BEST FRIEND and most amazing boyfriend ever! I don’t know what I would do without him, even though technically every day we are apart we talk for at least an hour to sometime 4 if we can fit it in. There are very few days where we don’t talk and when we don’t we always make up for it by talking as soon as we can and catching up with everything.

 That’s us, the Northern Girl and a little bit of the Southern Guy. The Northern Girl and Her Southern Guy

Real Change

So this week I’m really putting my gears in motion, for the last couple of weeks I’ve made goals and met them half way, but this week I’m going all the way! I’m really going to do it.

That means I’m going to make goals for the entire week and check in daily, I want to make this really stick. As I’ve said before I’m not perfect, I’m not one of those already pretty fit gals. I really need to lose the weight and I just need to push myself to get it all done.

This week I will:

  1. Run 4x’s this week (at least a mile)
  2. Eat a healthy Breakfast and Dinner and snack on fruit and veggies during the day
  3. Work on my situp and pushup levels

So there it is. Nothing really out there, totally doable, but by checking in I hope to make this a habit more than its been before.

In keeping up, here is Monday of this week:

I am currently house-sitting for some really good friends, at the barn where we keep our goat and cows. My mom’s best friend and her husband are away visiting family, and helping to take care of their granddaughter, so I’m here taking care of the animals and enjoying some time away from my crazy, wonderful family. I haven’t lived on my own in a long time and so it has been a little weird not being constantly bugged or asked to take care of something, but I’m enjoying it immensely! (I can’t wait to move out again and be on my own, can you tell?) So tonight because I didn’t prepare my things to get over here right after work and be able to change into my running clothes, I didn’t go running. I still have 6 days left though! So tomorrow morning my plan is to get up and at least go for a walk before work, but after work definitely go for my run on the road right down the highway from the farm. I will have no excuse tomorrow as I got all my errands done, my work out clothes here, and I will have the extra time to get over to the road. Today I did succeed in having a great breakfast of an egg white, smoked salmon, and laughing cow cheese omelet with herbs for seasoning. Then for lunch I made an awesome laughing cow cheese, smoked salmon, and herb spread on top off some flat bread, while dinner was a bowl of lettuce with some vinaigrette and a lean steak.

Also tonight I am going to get some sit ups and pushups in before bedtime. So I’m not too far behind in my goals for this week!

Happy Monday!