Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Card

"My father carries around the picture of the kid who came with his wallet." - Rodney Dangerfield

As promised, here is the picture I used of Sandy for my Christmas card. I printed it in sepia so the colors didn't overwhelm the card. I liked it. Hope those who received it did too.

Our Christmas was fun and too quick and filled with pictures. For as long as i can remember, there have been no pictures of me as a baby or toddler around. For years, my sisters teased me about being adopted... as only sisters can do. And my parents claimed they went through a slide phase... all the pictures taken were on slides and we needed a projector to see them, blah blah blah. As the second child, I take every opportunity to show how I was neglected... teasing my parents about my pictures. So, my younger sister pulled out all the slides and we went through all of them. Found some great pictures of our family and trips and proof I was once a baby in their household... pictures of me crawling and Leah holding me as a baby. We're taking them to preserve them digitally so we'll have prints and copies to share soon. I'll share a little timeline when I have the pictures in hand.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 12

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all. - Sam Ewing

And we're in the midst of the holiday season, I've wrapped so many presents for customers I have papercuts. Which is great - it's actually my favorite job in this busy season. I love to wrap gifts! I really enjoy it and when I give the present, wrapped and ready to go, back to the customer and see their delight, it gives me a sense of satisfaction. It's the small things in life.

Five more days to go! I've worked straight through the holiday season for the past 12 days and I have 5 more to go. I actually think it'll be the most I've ever worked in the holiday season. I usually take a day or two, refuse to work Sunday afternoons, or only help out. This year, I felt like I have something to prove. As if I can impact the bottom line by physically being there. And maybe I have, who knows. We're busy and thank goodness we are, therefore we'll be there for another year. Which is good since I have plans for my salary this year.

As far as my own Christmas to do list... I've got a little more to do.

Today, I mailed my Christmas Cards (minus a few missing addresses) which is the latest date I have ever mailed out my cards. I'm sure there are people who think I've crossed them off my list for this year - not so! Just running behind. I usually do them the Sunday first weekend of December and I will resume that habit next year as I don't like leaving them to last minute and I love receiving cards. But they are mostly done now and I'll knock the rest of them out in the next day or so. As soon as I find my cord to download pictures to my computer (I think it's in my desk drawer), I'll post the picture of Sandy I used for the cards. I think it's pretty dang cute.

My dad's present is here. I have something for my older sister, Leah and my nephew, William. My mom's present should arrive on Dec. 23rd which is cutting it close for me so I might plan a back up. I know what I'm getting Lauren, my younger sister and my brother in law, Will - I just need to remember to buy them. That is one thing about working in retail, sometimes you don't want to shop when you're done. We are approaching the days of no excuses... so I'll make it happen so I can enjoy wrapping my gifts... the best part!

The house is decorated and I'm glad I did that as early as I did because once this ride started, there's been no getting off. I've enjoyed my tree, decorations and coming home to the lights... I think we should keep the decorations up through the winter. It would definitely make the winter more tolerable and a little happier. Just a thought.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The List

"You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare" - Georgia O'Keeffe

Everyone's got a list, their personal bucket list of things they must do before they die. Books have been writted, lists have been made, and even a tv show (MTV) is about crossing items off a life list. Mine's not really about before I die... it's more about where I have to go, what I have to see and experience before I come back to a 'settled' life again. This is just the beginning but I'm off to a good start.

Eventually I'll give it a page or link of it's own and I expect it to grow, ebb and flow as necessary along my journey. But here's my first declaration of places and things I want to see, visit, experience or take in...

The List: Things I Want to See, Taste, Do, Learn, Visit, Experience, or Take In

  1. Visit the world’s only pub inside a tree (South Africa)
  2. Giolitti – one of the oldest, family owned gelaterias in Rome (Italy)
  3. "Fly” through the rainforest (Costa Rica)
  4. Stay in an Ice Hotel (Norway)
  5. Stay on a working Dude Ranch (USA)
  6. Go on an African Safari (Kenya)
  7. Visit the Outback (Australia)
  8. Hike Cinque Terre (Italy)
  9. Go dog sledding (Sweden)
  10. See the Northern Lights (Sweden)
  11. Ice Skate in Rockefeller Center (USA)
  12. Walk the Great Wall (China)
  13. Eat Sushi (Japan)
  14. Deliver postcards from the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
  15. Ski the Swiss Alps (Switzerland)
  16. Christmas at the Biltmore (USA)
  17. Camp at the Darvaza Gas Crater (Turkmenistan)
  18. Visit the other Georgia (Georgia)
  19. Drink Wine in Bordeaux (France)
  20. Dive off the Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
  21. Watch the Changing of the Guards (England)
  22. See the Running of the Bulls (Spain)
  23. Sail the Strait of Gibraltar (Spain/Morocco)
  24. Ride a Camel (Egypt)
  25. Ride the Orient Express (Eastern Europe)
  26. Celebrate Oktoberfest (Germany)
  27. Celebrate Carnival (Brazil)
  28. See Elephants Paint (Thailand)
  29. Tour the Sewers (France)
  30. Learn Spanish (Spain)
  31. Walk Abbey Road (England)
  32. Hike Brooks Range (Alaska)
  33. Celebrate Easter at St. Peter's (Italy)
  34. Ride the Moscow to St. Petersburg wide gauge railroad
  35. See the Gigantic Carved Heads of Easter Island (Polynesia)
  36. Play Blackjack in Monte Carlo (Monaco)
  37. Float down the Amazon (South America)
  38. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Dublin (Ireland)
  39. Trek through Karakoram (Western Europe/Eastern Asia)
  40. Snowmobile (Finland)
  41. Sit on the Lawn at Wimbledon (England)
  42. Walk the fabled Bund in Shanghai (China)
  43. Cooking Classes in Paris (France)
  44. Shop the market at Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
  45. Watch the sun set over Machu Picchu (Peru)
  46. Take Surfing Lessons (Australia)
  47. Take the Chunnel from London to Paris (England)
  48. Eat street food in Bangkok (Thailand)
  49. Ride the train down the Malaysian peninsula from Bangleole to Kuala Lumpur (Asia)
  50. Journey along the Sillk Road (China)
  51. See the Acropolis of Athens in the moonlight (Greece)
  52. Tour the ruins of the "rose-red city" (Jordan)
  53. Ride the Chihuahua-Pacifico Railroad (Mexico)
  54. Swim with the Dolphins (New Zealand)
  55. Spend Bastille Day in Paris (France)
  56. See Stonehenge (England)
  57. Attend a Venice Biennale Art Exhibit (Italy)
  58. Fish for wild trout (Scotland)
  59. Shop the yearly sale at Harrod's department sale (England)
  60. Sail into the harbor of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  61. Stand at the Wailing Wall (Jerusalem)
  62. Visit Peace City in Hiroshima (Japan)
  63. Visit the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg (Russia)
  64. See the Royal Jewels (England)
  65. Walk Milford Track (New Zealand)
  66. See the Sydney Opera House (Australia)
  67. Taste vintage Port (Portugal)
  68. See Angel Falls (Venezuala)
  69. Snorkel Bora Bora (Polynesia)
  70. Walk the Hall of Mirrors (France)
  71. Climb the Harbor Bridge (Australia)
  72. Tour the Kremlin (Russia)
  73. See the Viking ruins & runes (Greenland)
  74. Watch the sunset from Capitoline Hill (Italy)
  75. Visit the Valley of the Kings (Egypt)
  76. Ride through the Panama Cannal (Panama)
  77. See the remains of the Berlin Wall (Germany)
  78. See the Rosetta Stone (England)
  79. Stand among the Tulips (Holland)
  80. See the fountains of Villd'Este (Italy)
  81. Ride double-decker buses around London (England)
  82. Hike the Grand Canyon (USA)
  83. Visit Lake Baikal (Russia)
  84. Visit the Turtle Sanctuary (Seychelles - Africa)
  85. See the David (Italy)
  86. Tour Jane Austen's country (England)
  87. See the Flamingos at the Lake Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania)
  88. Float the Sepik River (Papua New Guinea)
  89. See the Hieroglyphic Stairway in Copan (Honduras)
  90. Set foot on the Ho Chi Minh Trail (Vietnam)
  91. Drive on the Autobahn (Germany)
  92. See the Danube (Czech Republic)
  93. See the Great Sphinx (Egypt)
  94. Visit the Blue Mosque (Turkey)
  95. See the Paelolithic art in the Caves of Altamira (Spain)
  96. Eat Limburger cheese in Limburg (Belgium)
  97. Stand on the grounds of the first Olympics (Greece)
  98. Tour the Baja (Mexico)
  99. Take a class at Oxford (England)
  100. Stand at the beaches of Normandy (France)

That seems like a good start... we'll go from there, revise... edit... clarify... delete and experience all the people along the way. Sounds fun, hmmm?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Behaving Badly

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” - Emily Post

I've been 'that' person lately... the one who's a little snarkier, snippier, and a little ruder than necessary. Not proud of that. The last time I felt this way, I quit my job and moved to Chicago for a new start. It took me three months to calm down, be nice and have fun again. I miss having fun... I feel like I've forgotten how. Annoying.

So, I have a new plan and it excites me. Motivates me to make the time work for me and spend my energy working toward my new goal. But it doesn't make my fuse any longer. Sigh. How do I fix that? Learn to take a deep breath and remain patient and be positive. Channel my inner Emily Post, stay on top of my game, think before I speak and remain polite. I know better and I don't know that person (or like her).

So, moving on to better things. Continuing to work on myself. Making progress on my new dream... that's what I can do and those are positive things.

Monday, December 7, 2009


"The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love." - William Sloan Coffin

Kind of exciting progress on my trip idea... all I've done is start saving some money, mention it to some friends, recruit some advice, and write some posts. People have been coming out of the woodwork with connections, suggestions, places to go and people to visit. I love it. Makes me so excited to make it even more of a reality.

So Far, I have people in the following countries:

  1. Peru
  2. Ireland
  3. New Zealand
  4. Australia
  5. Japan
  6. England
  7. Germany
  8. The Philippines
  9. South Africa

Nine Countries... and without much effort, how cool is that? I'm sure when I contact my friends and explain what I'm doing and why, more will come. Just wanted to share my enthusiasm. And express my surprise about how many people read my blog when I had no idea. Nice.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Adding it to the List

"Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today - James Dean

One thing I'm going to do while preparing for my trip is find places I want to visit, cities I want to explore, things I want to do and put them all in one list. I'll continue to update it as I go along and check things off my list.

Here's something I stumbled upon today, and I'm adding it to list. I need to check out this place in Sweden. It's another example of a different way of life and a different way of living. I love it. Share it with others.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Plotting My Escape

Maybe you don't like your job, maybe you didn't get enough sleep, well nobody likes their job, nobody got enough sleep. Maybe you just had the worst day of your life, but you know, there's no escape, there's no excuse, so just suck up and be nice. - Ani DiFranco

I've been thinking, almost constantly, about changing my life. Again. Trying something different to find my place in the world. And I need the change. I do. Because I'm not nice anymore. And I don't care if I am either. Which is a whole different level of scratchiness in my life. And I agree with Ani, I believe I should be nice to others and I try but when a constant simmer is under the surface, I'm less able to remain patient, kind and understanding. I don't like who I become or how I behave. I remember it from being in Chicago, it took me about 3 months of living there before I didn't react to everything with anger.

I'm in Gulfport, Mississippi* to babysit my nephew for a couple of days while my sister and brother in law play in the state USTA tennis league championships in Jackson. (Yes, I realize how that sounds but it's fun for me to spend time with William and they always need a couple days off.) As I drove down here, I realized I had everything in my car I needed to start my journey... car, computer, camera, clothes and my dog. Too bad I left behind a lot of obligations. This time, when I leave, I have a lot more to do than just quit my job and pack up my stuff.

So I'll go back instead of heading another direction like I was dreaming to do, sell my stuff, make arrangements, save some money, and plan my escape. Even though I call it my 'escape' - I'm not running from anything. I'm looking for a way to live my life which makes me happy and allows me to cross some places off my list. It may not be everyone's way of living or everyone's idea of a life but it appeals to me and I think it will give me a greater level of satisfaction than my current work hard, please everyone but myself situation.

We'll see. One step at a time.

*I always spell out Mississippi, mainly cause I like to sing, "crooked letter, crooked letter, i, humpback, humpback, i" outloud to myself.