How I Ended Up This Way's Blog

{January 19, 2012}   Ten Things

December 27, 2013

Hey guys! Welcome! I originally posted this blog last January. Since I’ve gained many new reader’s recently, I thought I’d repost . . . Just to give you a little insight in to who “AJ” is. I hope you enjoy!!

January 18, 2012

Hello everyone. Welcome back!! As most of you know, last year I decided to take a bit of time off from blogging for personal reasons. One day, when it’s not so raw, I’ll write and tell you all about it. For now, it’s just good to be writing again. I hope you are as excited to read about my crazy life as I am to tell you about it!

I thought I would start by refreshing my readers as well as give some insight to my new readers into who I am, my writing style and more importantly, my odd, sometimes very weird, sense of humor.

So, here we go.

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me; But Should:

10. I am addicted to the TV show “Toddlers & Tiaras”. I’m not certain whether I am in awe

       of the girls or dumbfounded by the moms. Maybe both.

9.  I strive to be a peaceful person. I try to think before I speak. However, what you don’t know,

     is there is someone in my life that I secretly hate …. more and more. It’s a never-ending

     conflict within myself.

8.  I think Bill Goldberg is the epitome of a male role model. It’s very clear in his everyday

      public life he strives to be . . . better. I am proud to have my son look up to him.

Now for the fun part 🙂

7.  Sometimes, I make my kids watch the cartoons “Fairly Odd Parents” and “Dexter’s

     Laboratory” just so I can watch it without looking like a loser (yes, I know, that ship has

     sailed!). Who can turn down two faeries and a genius scientist? Not me!

6.  I can’t focus on anything unless my bed is made…forget the rest of the room…

5.  I cuddle with my cat. Not crazy enough? Ok, my cat and I sleep chest to chest with her paw

     touching the side of my check 🙂 isn’t that sweet? Or does that fall under mental?


4.  I speak German, a bit of Spanish and American Sign Language. With my sucky memory,

      it’s not an easy task!

3.  Stewie from “Family Guy” I find strangely hilarious. As you can tell, I am easily amused.

2.  I am a hippy at heart.

NOW for the big one…..

1. I have three tattoos! I know, I look so sweet and *cough, sorry I choked on that word…innocent (damn cough again!) but I have me a wild hair.

Hopefully, I have shared some good things with you so that you aren’t ill with me for being gone so long. Maybe if I tell you where my tattoo is?

Here’s one more for the road : I know a perversely amount of meaningless trivia!!

Until Next Time . . . PEACE


{November 30, 2010}   Confessions

Hello everyone!

What should I blog about this morning? The beauty that is the Fall season? The debate over global warming? What? No? You have been waiting on something else? Oh yes, I promised you something today, didn’t I? The launch date of my new website!

The website is going great. The tentative launch date if this Friday!!! All is on schedule, so . . .  cross your fingers, knock on wood, or say 3 hail Mary’s . . . whatever you do to stop a jinx!

The first thing I am putting into motion, is for a book to be launched at a later date, as it involves other’s input. You may have already heard. I am writing a book called “Confessions to AJ”.

That’s right. You can confess anything you want, no matter how little or how big, and you can be in the book.

Now, I assure you, on my reputation as a writer and more importantly, as a person  of integrity, you will remain anonymous. As a matter of fact, I will even put my own confession in the book!

To get involved, you may request to be my friend on Twitter at “Confessions2AJ”. I will then befriend you and you may DM me anything you like.  No names or other info will be released with the book, or anyplace else for that matter. While you are in Twitter, send me a follow on my personal twitter page, asjbraves.

You may also send me an unsigned postcard, letter, or to note to the website’s mailing address: A.J.Carroll PO Box 462, Callahan, FL 32011.

If this whole process makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s ok. You don’t have to participate. But, I’m hoping you will J

Until next time……Peace


{November 17, 2010}   The Elvis Connection




                                                                                                                                              But No Cigar


Hello everyone and welcome back!!

You will love this story. Whether, you like Elvis Presley or not, it’s just plain entertaining to hear. And the joy my readers experience when you get to peak into my often ….. “disturblly” (yes, that is one of my made up words…feel free to use at your own risk) creative mind, is priceless. Admit it, you do love the craziness that is my world. I embrace my ever changing days. Otherwise, I’d have nothing to write about; you’d have nothing to read.

I am always running a dollar short and a day late for all the good stuff. It always seems to happen that someone I am friends with will somehow and in some weird way, get to meet someone in the “biz” and most of the time, the friend will have no clue who this person is!

Example one: My ex used to pull garbage. In other words, he used to drive the garbage truck and sometimes, depending on his mood that day, he would run the back of the trucks and empty the bins into the truck.  I live close to a certain community called “Amelia Island”. Yes, that is the Island that numerous celebrities have second (third, forth…whatever) homes as vacation homes. It’s where the rich and famous such as Tommy Lee and Tiger Woods stay when they are in North Florida. The ones that do not own a home here, stay at the Ritz Carlton.  I mean, even Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter) had a home out here, she may still have it, I’m not certain.

The difference between life on “The Island” and what I refer to as “the real world” when dealing with garbage, is when you pull bins from the island, the guys have to actually go around the back of the home, where most have a room for the garbage. Yes, you heard me, a room made just to keep the garbage bins in. Anyway, my ex runs up to the back of the house to get the bin from the “garbage room” pulls the bin to the truck and returns. Yea, us “average” people do not get this type of service! As my ex is opening the door to this room to return the bin, guess who he ALMOST literally runs in to. Chris Everett Lloyd. For those of you who do not know who she is, she was a tennis pro that was really huge back in her day. And even though she wasn’t an active player when this happened, it’s cool that he got to talk to her (he did know who she is, by the way). In case you are wondering, she was very sweet and nice.

Chris Everett lloyd  

 Example two: Let me say, this example and example three…..and four actually, are the ones that eat me from the inside out because I wasn’t the one to meet them. One of our long time friends (going back to high school) was also a driver for the garbage company. This particular day, he decided to ride on the back and “pull” the bins. So, dude is driving down the road on the island, Will (friend) is pulling bins. All of a sudden, a kid he had seen a few minutes earlier riding his bike, darts out in the road directly in front of the truck. When I say “the truck” it’s important to note I am not referring to some small pickup truck although that is scary enough in itself. No, the truck I am referring to is a full size garbage truck. It’s huge. I couldn’t even begin to guess the weight of the truck. Thank goodness, the driver had plenty of time to stop. Will goes to the boy, who was about 5 years old at the time, and gets him out of the road and waits for his father to catch up. His father, who was with him teaching him how to ride a bike, finally catches up to him and Will. The father thanks Will over and over, as we all would if we were in his shoes. Will has no idea who this man is other than a father with his son. As he makes his way back to the truck, the driver is just sitting there, astonished. As Will is watching the driver who is now watching the father, and not driving, Will does what we all would do. He said, “Are you going to go or what?” The driver, I do not know his name, asks Will “Do you know who that was?!”  You guessed it, Will had no clue. Turns out, it was a starting pitcher for the……big gulp…..Atlanta Braves. Can you believe that? You know I am ALL Braves! Will, our long time good friend, not only met but help keep John Smoltz’s son from being hurt. John Smoltz, by the way, is one of the most gracious of men…all around a good guy. And I have to hear this story second hand. Will, the long time friend, almost became Will, the late friend, if you you get me.


 John Smoltz

 Example three: This one really burns me. I may even be a little bitter about it, still not sure. I’ll let you know when I decide. I use to work for a lady that ran a small business from her home. Our girls were friends since they were 3yrs old and started ballet classes together, so I got to know the whole family pretty well. Her husband, who I may add does not look like he would get within 500 yards of the country or even a country song, was working in his parents field (most “country folk” have fields, not yards) in Alabama one day. His parents’ neighbor was out at the same time using the bush hog to cut his own field. Are you still with me? I promise this is going somewhere. Okay. Byron, my friend’s husband at the time, needed something done that required heavy machinery. You know, digging a hole, removing a tree stump, burying some debris…. real important stuff. Byron goes to the man on the tractor and asks would he mind using the tractor for this important task. The man does as any country boy (hint, hint) would have done and obliges. Bryon gets back to the house later and describes his day. His father patiently listens to Byron as he explains how quickly he completed this task. As Bryon wraps up his story, his father tells him…..”Oh, that’s Hank for you” . Uhm….people, that is Hank Williams Jr he’s referring to. Again, Byron doesn’t know Hank Jr from Adam……Again, I wasn’t the one meeting him. Damn.  Always, “this close” to the good stuff!


Hank Williams Jr 

 Which leads me to my biggest “this close” moment ever. Growing up, we lived about 2 hours out of Memphis. My mom says we lived about 10 minutes from Graceland, but I think she is delusional on this one because I used just so I could give you all the proper information. Information is the key, right? My mom was and still is completely consumed with her love of “The King”. Maybe that is where I get my love for him from, SMG!

Now, granted, I was only 7 years old when he died, however my memories of each trip to Graceland are forever integrated within my mind. This particular time, I was about 6 years old. I remember standing outside of Graceland’s gates, my mom crying like a baby as well as another woman we met while waiting for Elvis to come out and say hello. I tried really hard to find the “Graceland Gate” photo for you guys, but came up empty.

Anyway, I was 6 years old, dad was holding me and guess who pulls up in a red pickup. Elvis’ uncle! Ok, not quite Elvis, but this would do for the moment. My dad, having the bold personality that he does (I was happy he did at this point!) goes up to Elvis’ uncle’s truck as he stopped for the security guard to let him pass. I can’t for the life of me remember this uncle’s name. I mean, names are irrelevant when you are 6 and standing (or being carried) outside Elvis’ home, right? Do you really care what the uncle’s name was? Me either.

What do you ask Elvis’ uncle while you are standing outside his home? So many questions! What is he really like? What are his hobbies that he really loves? How does he make his peanut butter and banana sandwiches and how did he come up with that idea? You get it, really important questions. So, in that spirit, my dad asks him “is Elvis home?” followed by what I still maintain was a question equal to genus coming from the mind of a 6 year old, “what is he doing?” in my best Arkansas country bumkin twang. He was inside watching TV we were told. His uncle, as I remember, was a very outgoing, approachable and friendly man. All I could think in my little mind was Elvis was going to come out to say hello, if only we waited long enough. How could he see a little blonde hair blue eyed girl, and not say hello, right? Well, I guess he was able to resist because he never came out! However, our trip was not in vain. As we are loading back into the car to head home, my mom with tears still rolling down her face, slowly looks around as if she was branding this memory into her mind. However, I guess the memory of our trip was not quite enough. She wanted something tangible. Looking around for something to bring home with us, she slowly reaches down and picks up……….wait for it………..a chunk of his driveway. Yes, I know. However, I have said before, mom can be a little “off” at times. So, now she has a tangible memory to sustain her for the rest of her life. And just to get it on the record, this chunk, picture below, is MINE, when the time comes.

                                                                                     Piece of Elvis’ Driveway

Don’t hang up your boots yet, because there is a little more to tell you about the big E. Just a little more salt to rub into my wound. When we moved back down to Florida I was 14 years old. My grandfather had always lived in Florida do I didn’t get to see him much until we moved back. So, all of a sudden, my mother decided, “Oh, AJ might find this interesting…” (did I express my profound sarcasm enough?). Mom proceeded to tell me my grandfather, her father, had a long time girlfriend. We are talking about 30 plus years, that my grandfather and as he called her “Chubby” were together. Yea, awww how sweet right? Hold up a second before you let mom off so easy for not telling me. Chubby’s name was actually June. June Presley. Uhm, hello mom?!

Yes, indeed, Chubby was married to one of Elvis’ other uncles. His name was Kenneth. Before you get too excited, as I did, believing I had access to all kinds of “Elvis information” I must tell you this was the biggest “this close, but no cigar” of all time.  I had access to a real live Presley. Yea, she had been married to the “black sheep Presley”. Can you believe that? She was married to the uncle that was estranged from the family. I seriously, can’t catch a break!

My grandfather and Chubby

So, now you have a glimpse into my very odd childhood. Growing up loving Elvis (I still love Elvis), knowing he was so close, yet so far away from my grasp it was insane!

Really, it’s just plain cruel. Either have no connection at all, or give me full access! Am I right on this one??

Until next time……Peace



{October 25, 2010}   “A.J.’s Rules”

Hi Everyone! Welcome back!

I absolutely love the show NCIS on CBS. Sean Murray shines in his portrayal of the tech-geek, McGee, while somehow maintaining the charm we have learned to love. DiNozzo, played by the adorable Michael Weatherly, is a mixture of jock, attraction, cocky and a goof-ball personality that leaves me shaking my head and laughing at him (my type completely!). It’s hard to remember this is the same DiNozzo that put his heart on his sleeve only to have it shoved back by the beautiful Jeanne Benoit. Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) is the heart of the team. She’s like the “Energizer Bunny” just give her a ‘Caff-Pow’ and she recharges and comes back for more.

Then there’s Ziva David. She is the most “wickedly awesome” female on CBS Network! I thought, Sasha Alexander (ex Agent Todd) was the perfect fit for this NCIS team, however, since Ziva had to step in due to Agent Todd’s death Ziva has certainly cemented her place on this wacky team It is hard not to love her. It’s not because I’m scared of her or anything, so what if she worked for the Mossad as an interrogator. Shhhhh, hold on, let me check and make sure the doors are locked. Ok, we’re good.

I tell you all of the above so that I can tell you this. Agent Gibbs, played by the wonderfully talented Mark Harman (give me a second while I gush over his strikingly handsome features), is very hard to define. At first, he appears to be a cold, I don’t care, it’s my way period sort of guy. Well, he is. However, he is much more once you scratch the surface. He is the most honorable, caring and trustworthy man we all hope for one day. Now, the most important thing with Gibbs are his rules. He has 51 rules you must know. You are not given a list of these rules. You have to learn the hard way. However, each one is as important as the next. Such as Rule #7, Always be specific when you lie (love that one). And Rule #23, Never mess with a Marine’s coffee if you want to live. Then there is my personal favorite Rule # 18 It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask for permission.

I was thinking this morning, “what would it be like to have a set of rules that I strive to achieve on a daily bases?”. Now, I know my rules would be vastly different than Gibb’s rules, after all, I don’t interrogate people. I don’t deal with suspects. And I don’t hunt down terrorist. However, the principal remains the same.

So, here are my rules, AJ’s Rules if you will. They are not in any specific order, just have some fun and go with me on this.

         1. ALWAYS be thankful even when you’re going through a rough patch.

                       Someone else is having a much harder time than you.

       2. Never, ever let your anger get the best of you.

       3.  When dealing with someone who seems to just want to argue or fight

                   with you, react with your head and not your emotions. Act rationally not


       4. Protect your friends and family as best you can. Good friends are

                 difficult to find and family well, they are your family and thereby

                 deserve your protection and respect.

      5.  Children first . . . ALWAYS.

      6.   Don’t lash out just because you are in a bad mood. Better to keep your

                 mouth shut than say something you will never be able to take back.

      7.  Don’t judge people. You don’t know what that person is dealing with and

            you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. More importantly,

            you do not have the authority to judge, that is reserved for God alone.

     8.  Going with #7; never jump to conclusions about people. You may be

            passing up a great friend because you think that nose rings means

            this person is trouble.          

     9.  Reach out to people. Say hello when you pass a stranger on the street or

           give them a warm smile….they just may need it.

  10. God made us all in His image, however, we are all different. We have

          differing opinions. That is what makes us who we are. Respect others

          decisions whether you agree or not. Even if they do not respect your opinions.

         You can’t do anything about their reactions, however, you CAN do right by

         how YOU hand it. STAY FIRM IN WHO YOU ARE!!

   11. Don’t believe everything you hear. Just because you try to be honest does

            not mean everyone is as honest. There are at least two sides to each

            story. You are ONLY going to hear what this person wants you to

            believe. Especially, if you have not first hand knowledge of the

            situation. Then….it’s just gossip.

 And isn’t gossip one of the worst things we can do to someone as well as ourselves? Imagine how we look to others when we are seen gossiping.

Well, there you go, my blog family. My first set of 11 in the A.J.’s Rule book. I hope you had fun reading them. I’m sure I’ll come up with more!

If you are interesting in reading Gibb’s rules here is the link:

 Til next time……Peace


{July 30, 2010}   From Dread to Giving….

Hi Everyone!

I knew this day would come. For the last two years, I have dreaded this day. I woke up this morning, not just another year older, but 40….the BIG 40. I wonder how that happened so quickly. I was just 29 with a 6, 3 and 1 year old! I guess if I look at my now 17, 13 and 12 year old, it shouldn’t come as such a shock.

My oldest, a girl, will be graduating next year. My middle, also a girl, is a teenager. And my baby boy, my baby boy is almost a teenager! WOW, time really does fly!

For years, maybe even centuries, the older and wiser generation have always told the younger generations how fast life moves. They tell you that one day, you will wake up and your kids are grown, it’s just you and your spouse dealing with the “empty nest” syndrome. They have also said that before you can begin to wonder how so much time has slipped by you, unnoticed, your grandchildren begin to enter the world. We won’t even begin to go to that place right now!

What they don’t tell you, and what I have begun to understand, is all this time…this time that now has me wondering how it got past me so quickly….was able to pass by, unnoticed, because I was too busy living my life. The lucky ones, as I now understand, fill their life with family, whoever they may be, friends, work …. if you are doing what you love – something which brings a sense of purpose in your life.

I was too busy living my life to notice I was getting older in years (at least until I realized I was turning 40!). However, my heart is still somewhere in my late twenty’s to mid thirties, which is awesome place to be!

Age is relative. Do I feel old now that I have left my thirties behind me? Do I have to give up goofing around with my kids or playing basketball on the court with my 13 year old? Not at all. I am no older than I was yesterday, at least in my heart.

Something very special happened to me this morning. If I had known yesterday that I would wake up with a very special and surprising well wishes from a wonderfully gracious Actor, ex-WWE, former Georgia Bulldog football player, former NFL player … I could go on and on. However, had I known this wonderful man, Bill Goldberg, would be wishing me a “Happy 40th Birthday” I would have turned 40 a lot sooner!

Most of us know who Bill Goldberg is. We see the actor, former professional wrestler and former Georgia as well as former NFL football player. Put simple, he’s awesome. However, most of the American public is not aware of his extreme generosity towards others. He gives so much more of himself and his time than any of us realize. He’s not a “bragger”. He doesn’t give of himself so that he can broadcast it to the world. He does it for the people in need and it comes from his heart.

I requested from Bill, a couple of charities that he holds close to his heart. I asked him this, because he does give so much of himself. We should all be so considerate of others.

This year, for the BIG 40, I will be giving the gifts. I will be donating to the two charities that Bill holds close to his heart. I will also dedicate myself that I may learn more about these charities and provide any assistance they need.

I encourage you to look within yourself and if you feel the need, that pull that we all have felt at one point or another, please give what you can. In monetary value or give some of your time.  Both are well appreciated by the charities.

 Communities 4 kids

 Jimmy V Foundation

 Thank you.  And thank you Bill for being yourself.

 Until next time……PEACE


et cetera