The Story of Rival

I lived by myself in Dallas for about a year.  I started toying with the idea of getting a puppy to keep me company.  The problem that I had is my job was too far away and I had too many lunch appointments to be able to stop by the apartment to let the dog out halfway through the day.  About the time I had decided to wait to get a dog until I had a backyard I took a trip down to the pool in the complex.  I was minding my own business when this small cat came up to me and was meowing at me and rubbing against my legs.  He was so cute and seemed to be very social, so in the matter of about 10 minutes I decided to get a cat and had taken him upstairs to my apartment.  His name is Rival.  At first this was because of the difference between my alma mater and my ex-boyfriends, but he has truly lived up to his name without fail. 

Here is my son at the beginning of his life with me:

  I found out through the vet that he was about 4 months old and that he is a Maine Coon.  This breed is known for being affectionate, talkative, and big.  Rival is more like a dog than I could have ever planned for.  He enjoys sitting in my lap (especially when it is cold) and follows me around the house.  He is so fun to play with and has turned into a size that Maine Coon’s are proud of, 16 pounds.  He lives up to his name when he acts very mischievous.  He enjoys waking me up in the middle of the night by playing with the blinds or meowing because he wants me to turn on the faucet so he can drink out of it.  Here is a picture of Rival at his full size.  He hates when I travel and tries to go with me: 

I am very lucky because my husband likes cats.  Rival wasn’t so sure about Ryan when he first joined the family, but has quickly learned to love him.  Ryan and Rival love to play together.  For some reason Rival likes to attack Ryan’s undershirts and Ryan is always provoking the cat to be wild and crazy. 

As a person that never had pets growing up (unless you count hamsters, and an outside dog that was my sister’s) I feel so blessed that Rival came into my life.  He leaves fur balls everywhere and the occasional “presents” to clean up, but I love him regardless.


Just Finished Reading…

I really enjoy reading.  There are people out there who will intently read a book and analyze them and try to gain lessons out of all of them.  I think I am more of a person who likes the stories.  I want to lose myself in someone else’s fiction, a different world in which I will never belong.  My favorite books are historical fiction and mystery/thrillers.  One thing I also try to do is between every fiction I read put in some kind of non-fiction that will help better me. 

I was really excited when my husband gave me a Nook for my birthday this year.  So far I love this device.  It allows me to keep a whole lot of books in one light spot.  This will definitely come in handy on my upcoming trip to Aruba!

So because I am a reading fool these days, here are my mini-reviews for my most recent reads.


The Help by Kathryn Stockett  

I didn’t know much about this book before I read it.  All I really knew is that there is a lot of buzz about it, and several threads on a book forum I read dedicated to it.

This is a story taking place in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi.  At this time there were two distinctly different groups of women living within the city.  There were the “Society” ladies who played bridge once a week and were members of Junior League, and there were the black women who worked in the white women’s homes and kept them clean, cooked all the meals, and raised their children.  This story revolves around one white woman who started to feel that something was wrong.  Skeeter Phelan decided that she would try and write a book in which several of the maids told their stories, good and bad, about what it was like to work for the white women.  It was very difficult for her to get the maids to help her because they were scared for their lives and families in this still very racially heated atmosphere.  With the help of Aibileen and Minny, 11 other maids come forward and work together to make this book a reality.  The rest of The Help follows these three women’s personal lives and their own ups and downs.

I related to this book in some of the feelings it relayed.  Skeeter had a deep and meaningful relationship with Constantine, the black woman who raised her.  In my life part of the group of people who raised me was our babysitter who worked for us for over 20 years.  Although my family wasn’t extremely wealthy like some of the families in this book, I did feel some guilt about the way we lived our life versus my babysitters.  I loved spending as much time with her as I could, and went and stayed with her in her mobile home every once in a while.  There is sometimes a strange line between someone who is raising you and teaching you wonderful lessons and them being an employee of your parents.  I have an indescribable bond with her that will never be broken.  She taught me many valuable things, problem solving skills one of the largest of them.  I believe the greatest thing she taught me was how to stay grounded and easy-going. 

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

This is the second book of a trilogy involving a journalist who gets caught up in mysteries and can’t help but solve them.  In the first book of the trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) he was hired to solve the case of a missing person.   With the help of an extremely anti-social, computer hacker, Mikael Blomkvist in this book is working to solve the murders of two people who were working to expose a sex trade ring in Sweden. 

Lisbeth Salander (the hacker) is the character in the book that most confuses me.  I think mostly because I have never met or heard or someone quite like her.  She is an incredibly smart person who enjoys solving complex math equations in her spare time.  Lisbeth mostly keeps to herself, has an awful family history, and pursues intimate relationships with men or women when she is bored.

The book didn’t answer my question about what happened to her newly revealed twin sister, Camille.  The book also did not solve anything regarding the sex trade.  I do believe that the author will continue to work on the issue in the last book of the trilogy.

I enjoyed the suspense of this novel and will definitely be reading the third installment.  I know this was not a very in depth review, but it is hard to explain all the details of the case that is being broken, just read the book, it’s good, I promise!

Before the Wedding, Part 1

Meeting My Love

As part of my New Year’s 2008 goals I decided that I needed to distance myself from past relationships and start anew.  The way I started this was to join eHarmony.  I wasn’t sure if this would work for me or not, I had previously joined Match and didn’t have any luck, and met several jerks.  I went on a few dates with one guy who was very nice, just not for me.  I changed a few settings I had on my profile and Ryan was the first match to pop up.  We went through the prerequisite multiple choice and short answer questions before meeting for coffee.

Here are some examples of the questions we answered for each other (and yes, these are the actual questions):

Charlotte’s question to Ryan:
1.  Describe an interest you have that you would truly hope your partner could share with you.
I enjoy travelling and I hope that my partner would too. I have an interest in cars and several times a year I drive down to Austin for a weekend to drive through Hill Country along Lake Travis with an exotic car club. Other times I travel to Arkansas and the Ozarks to explore and camp. I’ve been to 40 out of the 50 states exploring everything this great country has to offer. I loved touring Europe two years ago (my favorite places are Switzerland, Northern Italy and Bavaria) and I look forward to upcoming trips to France and Denmark for work. I work in a very international setting and always meeting people from difference places and cultures – I am amazed at all the unique places there are in the world – I want to visit and experience them all! I believe it’s important for my partner to be excited to do these types of activities and really enjoy them.

Ryan’s question to Charlotte:
2.  Describe an interest you have that you would truly hope your partner could share with you.

I love love love to DANCE!!!!!!!! (Ok, I like to travel too, but you already took that one). I don’t expect my partner to be awesome at dancing, by no means am I, but he has to be at least willing to try it. Dancing is something that I have found joy in since I was 5 and I hope to share that with someone.


After our first meeting I was really interested in knowing more about this man.  He made me laugh, was so smart, and of course very handsome.  The thing I love about our relationship is that I never had any doubts about him.  I never had to question if I wanted to see him again or not, it was a given.  Here is the first picture we took together at a Spazmatic’s concert.