Friday, September 10, 2010

Let's Move On People

"We have made progress. There is still work to do." - Carlos Guiterrez

I love the NY Times... I buy into it's place in our world as the paper of record and I especially love the Travel Section. Since I'm all into travel and dreaming of seeing exotic places and yummy restaurants and lovely beaches and all that comes with that. So I pull up today's edition and I'm delighted to see the title, "36 Hours in Charleston, SC". Especially since my travel companions and I are discussing a trip to the fair city of magnolia and moonlight. So I click on the article, excited to share their suggestions with my buddies, and what does it start with?


I am southern born and bred... generations going back to the times of verandas, mint juleps, and slavery. Granted, my ancestors were the white trash on the wrong side of the tracks but we were here, gosh darn it. I have an accent... I tell people I'm fixin' to do something... I like sweet tea and biscuits... I know how to make a pecan pie... I dress for church, showers, teas and football games... I eat fried chicken when I go to my grandmommy's house... I eat peaches, pecans, and peanuts in various forms... I revere Vidalia onions (and I know how to pronounce it correctly)... I ask people "how's your momaenthem"

BUT NOT ONCE, NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER IN MY LIFE have I worried about the Civil War, contested it's outcome, or even thought the South was wise in their stance. I was taught differently and I was also taught not to live in the past. As were my friends... and sisters... and classmates. Very rarely will you run across a relic who participates in the re-enactments of the war battles or who knew their families role in the war. The rest of us? The South which still lives strong? We have MOVED ON...

And guess what? We'd like the rest of the nation to acknowledge that fact... Instead of prefacing every positive article about the south with a reference to that blip on the timeline of our country, how about you just acknowledge the positive and we have good things down here. Talented people and wonderful places worthy of visiting and experiencing... Delicious food, talented sports teams, temperate weather, beautiful beaches, good music, and yes, fabulous restaurants with chefs worthy of national recognition. You can give us that without mentioning the civil war, we'll let you. Without mentioning the Civil War, which by the way, was fought on both sides of the Mason Dixon... And we'll even thank you and tell ya'll to come on back now, ya hear?

How would you like it, if everytime we wrote about NYC, we mentioned the dirt or the gangs of New York ? Or everytime we wrote about Boston, we brought up the Tea Party or the weather or the war of 1812? Would it make sense to you? So much has happened since the Civil War and, like I've already said... We've moved on.

Charleston is one of the most visited cities because it's done a great job of preserving the beautiful and intricate architecture of a different time... it hasn't done this to aggressively preserve a past or a history that it should let go of, at least not any more than Paris or Brussels or Prague or San Francisco or any other of the great cities of our world. Charleston (and several other southern cities... Savannah, New Orleans, St. Augustine to name a few) maintain walkable cities and place importance on preservation rather than destruction and the latest fad. It's not a reach back or an attempt to live in the past but living with the future in mind and living in a sustainable way. So feel free to write about it or any other southern city with grace and confidence knowing we've all acknowledge the history of these cities and we're looking brightly to the future of our cities, our states and our nation as a whole.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Traveling through Words

"The more that you read, the more things you'll know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." - Dr. Seuss

My only goal when I go on vacation is to read as many books as possible as this is my favorite pastime and hobby. I'll read anything just to be reading and relaxing - my father says this is the way I escape from real life. I think that's probably partially ture but I don't think it's the worst option out there. So when I hit upon a great book - one that truly captivates and enthralls me rather than one that's just a way to pass the time, I like to make sure to give it some attention.

So I completely lucked out on my current vacation at SGI as one of my friends is a librian and he brought a bag (A WHOLE BAG!) full of books and I've enjoyed a new selection each day.

Today's choice, Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons is a book so beautifully written with an endearing and touching story from WWII about German refugees who try to assimilate within to the English lifestyle. It's a touching story about the frustration of feeling "outside" of your life and the people who are around you. It's based on Mrs. Solomons' grandparents and their experience of moving to England, she dedicated the book to her grandfather and the recipes included in the novel are from her grandmother's kitchen.

I gorged on this book today, unable to put it down at any moment, reading as I moved from the sun to shade, from outside to inside, from downstairs to upstairs. I wanted to know of Mr. Rosenblum's journey ended, what happened to Sadie, if the wooly-pig appeared, if Elizabeth learned to love her German heritage, and now, knowing of Natasha's connection, how the family survived and prevailed into further generations.

It's an easy read and entertaining with great characterizations of English country men, their myths and their history. You feel for Mr. Rosenblum as he struggles and studies the English to assimilate into their country and culture, fighting against prejudice and circumstance of the second World War while his wife, Sadie struggles with her husband's ambitions. The ending is both delightful and heartwarming. It's a definite "must-read".

And I'm delighted to read on the author's website, she's currently working on a screenplay for this wonderful story. Looking forward to seeing the characters being brought to life.

Footprints in the Sand

"And I'll carry you, when you need a friend, You'll find my footprints in the Sand" - Leona Lewis

This post is coming from the top deck of a gorgeous home on the beautiful, idyllic St. George Island off the forgotten coast of Florida, courtesy of my good friend Allison and her mother. For the past couple of days, we've layed in the sun, cooked fresh seafood, admired the wildlife and the sunsets, played games, read alot and have been lazy. I've loved every moment of it.

And we're here for a week! So far, this morning, I've gotten up, put on my swimsuit, lathered up in sunscreen, eaten breakfast and it's only 10am... After this post, I have the tough decision of snoozing in the sun by the pool or walking down to the dock to lounge. Life is rough right now, wink, wink.

For those of you who've never heard of St. George Island, please allow me to fill you in. It's a small, resort free island at the end of the Apalachicola River and National Forest and it's one of the most ecologiacally diverse and significant natural areas in the Southeast.* It boasts 22 miles of gorgeous white sand beaches and there's only a small commercial area with an inn, some restaurants, and some small shops. Centrally located is the historic lighthouse, alerting fisherman of the barrier island, and providing the only building taller than 3 stories. Most of the island's buildings are single family homes which see the same families return year after year to rest and relax in a safe and easy atmosphere.

I'm looking forward to visiting the state park which occupies one third of the island as a nature preserve and collecting the gorgeous seashells from the pristine beaches. Last night's menu was shrimp 'n' grits, the night before we delighted in the captain's platter at AJ's and I know I have some Apalachicola Oysters in my future. Excited for what else the week will bring.

*according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection

**all pictures in this post were take with a Nikon D90 and edited with Lightroom2

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Adding to the List

"Travel Light - prejudice and preconception are unnecessary baggage" - Unknown

I've posted my list before on here and I've found some new places to go. So I'm updating it here. Hopefully the next time I update, it'll be to cross some off as well.

  1. Visit the world's only pub inside a tree (South Africa)
  2. Eat at Giolitti - one of the oldest, family owned gelateries 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. Hiek 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 Carvaza 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 (Russia)
  35. See the Gigantic Carved heads of Easter Island (Polynesia)
  36. Play Blackjack in Monte Carlo (Monoaco)
  37. Float down the Amazon (South America)
  38. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Dublin (Ireland)
  39. Trek through Karakoram (Eastern Europe)
  40. Snowmobile (Finland)
  41. Sit on the Lawn at Wimbledon (England)
  42. Walkt the fabled Bund in Shanghai (China)
  43. Take cooking classes in Paris (France)
  44. Shop the makret at Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
  45. Watch the sunset over Machu Picchu (Peru)
  46. Take Surfing Lesson (Australia)
  47. Take the Chunnel from London to Paris or vice versa (England)
  48. Eat street food in Bangkok (Thailand)
  49. Ride the train down the Malaysian penisnsula from Bangleole to Kuala Lumpur (Asia)
  50. Journey along the Silk 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 dolphines (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 store (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 amoung the Tulips (Holland)
  80. See the fountains of Vill d'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 (Papus New Guinea)
  89. See the hieroglyphoc stairway in Copan (Honduras)
  90. Set foor 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)
  101. Drink a Manhattan in Manhattan (USA)
  102. Swim with the Whale Sharks on Isla Holbox (Mexico)
  103. Experience Vaugan Town (Spain)
  104. Protect the Sea Turtles' Nesting Grounds (Greece)
  105. Kayak the Galapagos (South America)
  106. View Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
  107. Hike the Incan Trail (South America)
  108. Eat my way through the Iowa State Fair (USA)
  109. Pet a Hemingway cat in Key West (USA)
  110. Cross a glacier on foot (USA)
  111. Visit the Spanish Riding School of Vienna (Austria)
  112. Watch the races of the Il Palio Festival (Italy)

So the new ones added are in green and the ones (only 2, sigh) are in italics.... one day, one day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What I'm Reading

"The future depends on what we do in the Present." Mahatma Ghandi

Haven't done this in a while so I thought I'd show other bloggers some love... there's a lot of talented and inspiring people out there. And I enjoy reading their stories. It makes me more confident in sharing mine. So here are my latest loves and discoveries:

Camels & Chocolate - A fellow southern belle who has itchy feet and figured out early how to make it a job. I love her stories, her energy and her pictures. Her site will make you want to jump on the next plane and go to some deserted island for days.

He Loves Me Not - Another lady who inspires me and alwasy has me rooting for her. Her raw emotions and honest reveals touch me and I find myself wondering how she's doing the day. Funny how the internet provides those "connections".

50% Chance of Rain - Amazing Photographer, Amazing Pictures. I turn green with envy when I visit his site. I wish I had an ounce of his talent.

Just What I See - This is a new site for me. The site features the iphone street photography of Greg Schmigel. Very cool perspective and I love it. I haven't done much photography with my iphone but that's my next step.

So Caroline Says Another new find. I love this girl's view of the world. She's got a great sense of humor and more going for her than she thinks. Another one I silently root for through out the day.

Almost Fearless A lady who knows how to kick ass and I'd bet does it with whatever she sets her mind too. Great travel stories, Business tips, and Gorgeous Pics. Plus she just had a cutie kid and who doesn't admire a working mama?

So there you have it. Sites I'm visiting and peeps I'm cheering on and others who inspire & motivate me. They've got something to say so visit them and enjoy their stories, learn from them and realize we're all way more alike than different.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Changing Directions

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there" - Lewis Carroll

Sometimes it's hard to know what's right. Sometimes, it's hard to know how one seemingly small decision can drive the direction your life will go in. And then other times, you can know life doesn't feel right, doesn't feel good or motivating but you can see no other options. Or you feel like you have to 'suck it up' for a while before you can make a change.

And that's where I've been for a while now... where I am in my life isn't good and isn't making me happy but I haven't know what to do about it. But I've made the decision to change my job and I've until the end of September to make something... anything... happen. And I'm open to suggestion.

I have several ideas... I can go back to school. I can go back to an earlier passion. Or I can explore some new ideas and/or passions. All would be tough and require a lot of me and be big changes. But I'm so excited to change my life. I've been happier in the last 48 hours than I have been in months just knowing I don't have to do my old job ever again. My neck and shoulders are slowly starting to loosen from the stress I normally carry there and the other aches & pains of my job are also slowly disappearing. And it's so nice to know I won't be feeling those again. It's a good feeling tonight. Very peaceful.

In my mind, I have long walks and yoga classes planned for my week ahead while knowing that's not necessarily what's going to happen. Being able to structure my days again is such a freeing feeling for me and I'm excited to leave for vacation this weekend without being exhausted. For the past couple of years, I've spent the first 24 hours or so of every vacation sleeping off the job. Hopefully, this time, I'll just be spending my time working on my tan.

So things... they are a changing... and it's a good thing. Taking control of my life feels good and moving forward, I won't lose it again.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Mouth

"Those who know do not talk; those who talk do not know" - Turkish Proverb
If there was one thing I could change about my self, it would be my gift of gab. I would learn to think before I speak... I would realize people aren't always interested in what I think/know/have to say... I would censor myself... I would become an introvert.

Oh, how I wish.

I need to be quiet... and yet, it's a vital part of my personality and a part of my process to purge the thoughts from my head. Clears it out, helps me analyze and realize my true feelings. In so many ways, this is a good thing for me.

But, sometimes, like now, it's not always a good thing for the people who come in contact with me or deal with me on a daily basis - Sometimes my "healthy" venting is hurtful to others. In other words, I talk "BIG".

I'm not a mean person and I wouldn't purposefully hurt someone else's feelings. Yet, I seem to do it all the time. And I regret it every time. Yet, it never seems to stop me from opening my mouth. I never seem to learn my lesson and think about what I'm doing or saying before I speak.

Like now. I'm working with an older lady for an event and she constantly calls me at work, to discuss a non-work related project. And I have to politely tell her I can't talk and to let me call her back and that I can't discuss it over store lines, etc. It's rather awkward for me. And to boot, she's a customer. A good customer. So I can't offend her but I also can't spend work time working on this nor can I tie up a store line for something not related to business. So I vent about it to a mutual acquaintance and I'm 99% positive it gets back to her. And to her husband. Friends, customers, people who I respect and wouldn't want to hurt... ugh. It hurts to write this. It hurts to think my words hurt someone else. And I'm in a bad spot - if I apologize, then I admit to saying it and could possibly make it worse.

So maybe this will be the time, maybe I'll finally learn to keep my mouth shut - my opinions, thoughts and frustrations to myself. Or at least to myself until I talk to the boy (he won't repeat it to anyone else). Well, here's hoping anyways.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


"Time is free, but it is priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back." - Harvey MacKay

And I feel like I have so little of it... the days and weeks are flying by. Already August is almost halfway over and I feel like it's just barely started.

I like being busy... I am a joiner and I like being involved and having something beyond my daily job... however, right now, it's a little out of control. And I feeling fatigued. Which for someone who struggles with sleeping, that's a double wammy. I lay awake at night, thinking about all I have to get done, instead of sleeping to restore my body so I'm able to do those things the next morning.

So, life keeps moving on and it's taking me with it, kicking and screaming.

Over the last few weeks, I've worked alot and played alot, thought alot and planned alot, then dreamed even more. As I'm able to make some of those plans and dreams more concrete and bring them to life, I'll share more of them.

But here's what I have to look forward to in the near future (in chronological order):

  1. 2 year old's birthday party in Knoxville, TN
  2. Week long trip to St. George Island, Florida with some of my hometown favorites
  3. Nephew's 3 year old birthday party in Gulfport, Mississippi (I love spelling that out)
  4. Weekend at a cabin in the Mountains with The Boy
  5. Family week at the Riverhouse
  6. Tickets to Vandy vs. UGA
  7. Producing my first play with our local theater

And I'm sure there's more. Excited for it all, challenged by my work, and expecting the best. My life keeps moving, pulling me along and I'm determined to enjoy it all.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

And Then...

"A man who dares waste one hour of time has not discovered life." - Charles Darwin

For the past couple of years, I've been searching for something... something to motivate me, something to give me purpose, something to make me feel complete. I couldn't quite put my finger on what I wanted and I couldn't quite define what I needed. I moved states and then moved back home again... I quit jobs, applied to schools and researched multiple options but nothing seemed quite right and everything seemed forced.

But this feeling, this need seemed to constantly grow and feed off of my unhappiness which only seemed to make me more unhappy and angry about everything in my life. I've tried different things - exercise programs, joining community groups, buying a house, adopting a dog, and planning trips. But nothing seemed to be right - nothing seemed to work.

For as long as I can remember, I was basically told what I should I do... My life was very planned out: do well in school, go to good college and get a good job. No one every really offered any other options... No one every really told me how to choose a good job and how to make it fit me. I don't think I'm the only one who has this problem... Most of my friends have changed jobs by now, especially sine we hit the 30 age range.

And I've allowed myself to drown in this confusion. Until recently. Until I determined I had the ability and the control to make myself happy. This seems so obvious but recognizing I have the control and taking control are two totally different things. And it seems that's what I've done. I've taken control of my thoughts, my actions and my emotions. Instead of letting them rule me, I'm deciding how to feel and what to do. Now, I seem to be back to my old self, laughing more, wanting more, dreaming more and making more happen.

Without doing a thing other than realizing I control my future. It's a great thing to know.

Although, I do have to give a little credit to the words Camryn Manheim wrote herself:

The thing is, Camryn, life isn't a dress rehearsal. We don't get any do-overs. You've got to mkae the days count - all of them.
So go kick some ass. Don't take no for an answer. Work hard, play hard, fight hard, and love hard. Break some rules and raise a little hell. And as the end of every day, ask yourself if you have any regrets. I guarantee you, you will rarely regret the things you did do, and mostly regret the things you didn't do. So do it. Do it all. Learn French.* Get a piano. Write your one-person show. Fall in love more often. Love the journey, not just the result.

*Notice the french lessons... It's definitely a reoccuring theme in my life lately.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


"I like the word 'indolence'. It makes my laziness seem classy" - Bern Williams

I wish it is because I am a slacker that I'm not getting anything done in my life, but mainly it's because I've allowed my job to consume and overwhelm all other areas. Leaving no time for me, my hobbies, or laundry. And yes, I'm whining again. Soon, I will have a new theme.

So today, while I'm at work, I'm doing my stuff. Hiding in my office, not adhearing to dress code (due to the laundry) and doing my stuff at work instead of work during my time. So far, I like it. I may need to do this more often... Acutally, I'm trading off - a little work then a lot of me. It's a nice balance.

I was reminded of a goal this past weekend... Hiking the Appalachian Trail. From Georgia to Maine. 2175 miles of putting one foot in front of the other to accomplish your goal. To reach the end result. The metaphor is SCREAMING at me. Anyone else hear it? I remember standing in a sporting goods store my senior year of college in Nashville, talking with a sale associate about the trail and how I wanted to hike it. He said, 'why not go now?' and I had so many reasons why not... and 10 years later, I can't find validity in any of them. Especially since I don't feel as though I've accomplished anything "fabulous"...

So I spent the rest of the day making goals and steps to make these things happen for me. I'm feeling a little caught in my present situation but optimistic I can make my life into what I want it to be.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sad but True

"How soon 'not now' becomes 'never' " - Martin Luther

How sad is it that my motivating factor to come back to write on my blog tonight was to just have another post before the month of June was over. I dislike this forum feeling like an obligation and I try to avoid writing when I feel like I 'have' to write. It's supposed to be a place for me to express my thoughts, organize and analyze them, so I know how I feel and the direction I want to pursue.

It's like other things in my life, the hardest part is the getting started. And then the hardest part becomes finishing... ba-da-bum-bum. And she's funny now.

The month of June has overwhelmed and exhausted me. It started with a rough Memorial Day weekend with new processes at work that we're still trying to iron out, then a whirl-wind girls weekend in quaint Alexandria, VA for an upcoming wedding. Fun and too quick as they always are lead to another long hour week at work and now we're covering for summer vacations... We run a tight schedule and there is little wiggle room so when someone is gone, we're pushing hard to cover everyone's responsibilities and promises to our customers. Plus, we're growing. And growing quickly. A great problem to have. But long and painful when you're in the trenches.

Hence, the lack of posts. Or time for posts. Added in the boy drama already mentioned in my last post, a weeklong nighttime high school drama production at the local theater, and the amount of dog hair I must sleep up in one day... June has FLOWN by! Being busy is good for me, it forces me to act instead of living inside of my head all the time. So here's to living July in action!

I am having to learn patience... I have a long term goal - a big picture, if you will - and I know what I want and how to make it happen. I can see it happening but forcing myself to remain patient and work day after day after day at the same tasks for very little visible progress on a daily basis. Patience is a virture I don't have... And I need to develop. My current career position might finally make it happen for me. And teach me how to manage or handle the ups & downs of our business in a much more reasonable way. Well, here's hoping anyways.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's Enough?

"If you love me, let me know. If not, please gently let me go." Anonymous

I've had a weekend of thoughts... pondering different possible directions for my life to take. I'm constantly taking stock of my life. Where I am, where I want to be, what my progress is, and how to make my dreams happen - it's a little exhausting. And I know it wears out my friends and family because I tend to think out loud. Alot. It's just who I am.

And when it comes to the boy, I'm the talker in the relationship when it comes to relationship conversations. He's "chatty cathy" until it's a conversation about us when he becomes more tight-lipped than a clam. It's frustrating to say the least. We've had a good spring... we've seen each other consistently and he's been such an anchor for me in terms of emotional support while I ponder the other areas of my life. If you had asked me about him a week ago, I would have said I was incrediably happy with that area of my life.

So when I broached a conversation with him, that's how I started it... "I'm incrediably happy with you, us, our relationship - how do you feel? What do you want?" I ask this because, after two years of being in each other's lives, we have no definitions and no plans. While I don't need or want any movement toward permanacy, I sure would like to know we both want things to continue the way they've been going lately. I find it unbelievably frustrating that's he's not able or not willing to share his feelings or his desire for his/our future... Dreaming is what keeps me going. Goals and desires for the future is how I make things happen. We're such opposite people in this sense - he doesn't do it. Or at least not outloud because I know he makes goals. He shares them after he's achieved them.

I shouldn't have found it suprising that he couldn't or wouldn't engage in a conversation about his feelings. Once again, I open up and he shuts down. During the conversation, he did vocalize "At this point in my life, actions speak louder than words to me" and "I'm not going to say anything now because it would feel forced". And then he shuts down and physically/emotionally pulls away from me.

Which leaves me pondering, why isn't the way he makes me feel enough?

Why do I need the words?

He makes me feel loved, safe and secure, and very happy... I told him those things. And that's when he said, "actions speak louder than words to me". I trust him and I rely heavily on him for so much and he's always on my side while still calling me on my BS. I appreciate his honesty, his perspective, and his desire for me to be happy.

So why do I feel like I'm comprising what I need (and want) everytime I let him out of the conversation?

Thursday, June 10, 2010


"There is no love sincerer than the love of food" - George Bernard Shaw

I had forgotten about this pastry shop... I had forgotten about the yumminess that I drooled over one afternoon in Gertrude Stein's neighborhood of Paris. The smells were so inviting outside the door of the shop that I dared not venture in... I would have been more than tempted. I would have been convinced. But I did take some pictures. And this is one of those pastries, a work of art really, much too good looking to eat. But so so so so drool worthy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


"The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up." - author unknown

I know, I make promises, I write them down here and then I still fail to follow through. It's not that I'm lying around eating bon-bons and watching daytime television. I'm launching a new part of our business and I'm putting in serious hours (example: yesterday, started at 7:45am and finished at 7:20pm with a 25 minute lunch). And my to do list gets longer and longer. With personal items (including this site) falling farther and farther down the list. I think some of my friends think I've died. I ignore texts and emails or respond at 2am... that's how well the sleep thing is going. So, while my laundry is getting done (at 4am) and my kitchen stays clean, the bags under my eyes are growing.

All excuses, I know. I'm full of them.

But also joy. Even with the pace I've been keeping, my spirits have been lifting. I'm giving myself a daily attitude adjustment and reminding myself that my attitude controls the way my day goes. And it's working. Along with red wine, deep breaths, time outs, and pedicures. But I'm getting there. And that's progress for me.

I returned late Sunday night from a weekend in old town Alexandria (VA) celebrating my favorite red head's upcoming nuptuals. A former roomie, sorority sister, and good friend from college, this redhead will be tying the knot next month in NY... I have a hotel reservation in the town of Fishkill, NY... no joke. She's getting married at a castle and there will be lawn games at this wedding reception. After the shenanigans this past weekend, I can't wait to see this crowd with croquet mallets and bocci balls! As I told the bride, I'm bringing my fancy camera to this wedding! I love the idea of it.

Speaking of cameras, I forgot mine as I was packing for this weekend. If I had known what delays awaited me at the airport, I would have turned around for it but I thought I was cutting it close so I kept going. Two flights cancelled and a third one delayed and delayed and delayed again. I was so late (and exhausted) getting to the hotel, I could barely formulate complete sentences while greeting everyone. But a good night's sleep and refreshing shower turned that around. So no incriminating pictures have been sent my way but let's just say, good times were had in Old Town. And much yumminess was eaten. I had the best crab cake of my life at Harry's Oyster Shack on King Street.

If you follow me on twitter (no? please do) then you read some of the highlights. We ended the night at a tavern with bluegrass music with no dancing signs posted which were quickly ignored. Made some Ozzie friends and drank to good friends, good times and new love. It was exactly what I needed. Maybe now, I'll be able to write about PARIS!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


"You don't take a photograph. You ask, quietly, to borrow it." -Author Unknown

I'm not a great photographer... I don't have any training... I attempted a class last year and never could make it because of work. So I dropped out. I like taking pictures and I need to spend more time doing it, learning what my camera can do, learning how to get the image I want. But here's some of the ones I managed to take in PARIS!. And a link to more on my flickr page.
One of the many bridges across the Seine with the Effiel Tower in the background:
The Arch de Triumph...
Standing under the Effiel Tower.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Updating the List

"We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment." - Hilaire Belloc

I had great intentions of posting my travel experiences as soon as I returned stateside but everything seemed to get in the way: job, life and sleep. So it'll be slow going but eventually I'll hit on everything I did in PARIS!

But first, let's update the list:
  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 the 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 the Cinque Terre (Italy)
  9. Go dogsledding (Sweden)
  10. Ice skate in Rockefeller Center (USA)
  11. Walk the Great Wall (China)
  12. Eat Sushi (Japan)
  13. Deliver postcards from the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
  14. Ski the Swiss Alps (Switzerland)
  15. Christmas at the Biltmore (USA)
  16. Camp at the Darvaza Gas Crater (Turkmenistan)
  17. Visit the other Georgia (Georgia)
  18. Drink wine in Bordeaux (France)
  19. Dive off the Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
  20. Watch the Changing of the Guards (England)
  21. See the Running of the Bulls (Spain)
  22. Sail the Strait of Gilbraltar (Spain/Morocco)
  23. Ride a Camel (Egypt)
  24. Ride the Orient Express (Eastern Europe)
  25. Celebrate Oktoberfest (Germany)
  26. Celebrate Carnival (Brazil)
  27. See elephants paint (Thailand)
  28. Tour the sewers (France)
  29. Learn Spanish (Spain)
  30. Walk Abbey Road (England)
  31. Hike Brooks Range (USA)
  32. Celebrate Easter in St. Peter's (Italy)
  33. Ride the Mowcow to St. Petersburg wide gauge railroad (Russia)
  34. See the Gigantic Carved Heads of Easter Island (Polyunesia)
  35. Play blackjack in Monte Carlo (Monaco)
  36. Float down the Amazon (South America)
  37. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Dublin (Ireland)
  38. Trek through Karakoram (Western Europe/Eastern Asia)
  39. Snowmobile (Finland)
  40. Sit on the lawn at Wimbledon (England)
  41. Walk the fabled Bund in Shanghai (China)
  42. Cooking Classes in Paris (France)
  43. Shop the market at Ougadougou (Burkina Faso)
  44. Watch the sun set over Machu Picchu (Peru)
  45. Take surfing lessons (Australia)
  46. Take the chunnel from London to Paris (England)
  47. East street food in Bangkok (Thailand)
  48. Ride the train down the Malaysian pennisula from Bangleole to Kuala Lumpur (Asia)
  49. Journey along the Silk Road (China)
  50. See the Acropolis of Athens in the moonlight (Greece)
  51. Tour the ruins of the "rose-red city" (Jordan)
  52. Ride the Chihuahua-Pacifico Railroad (Mexico)
  53. Swim with the dolphins (New Zealand)
  54. Spend Bastille Day in Paris (France)
  55. See Stonehenge (England)
  56. Attend a Venice Biennale Art Exhibit (Italy)
  57. Fish for wild trout (Scotland)
  58. Shop the yearly sale at Harrod's department sale (England)
  59. Sail into the harbor of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  60. Stand at the Wailing Wall (Jerusalem)
  61. Visit Peace City in Hiroshima (Japan)
  62. Visit the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg (Russia)
  63. See the Royal Jewels (England)
  64. Walk Milford Track (New Zealand)
  65. See the Sydney Opera House (Australia)
  66. Taste vintage port (Portugal)
  67. See Angel Falls (Venezuala)
  68. Snorkel Bora Bora (Polynesia)
  69. Walk the Hall of Mirrors (Paris)
  70. Climb the Harbor Bridge (Australia)
  71. Tour the Kremlin (Russia)
  72. See the Viking ruins & runes (Greenland)
  73. Watch the sunset from Capitoline Hill (Italy)
  74. Visit the Valley of the Kings (Egypt)
  75. Ride through the Panama Cannal (Panama)
  76. See the remains of the Berlin Wall (Germany)
  77. See the Rosetta Stone (England)
  78. Stan among the Tulips (Holland)
  79. See the fountains of Vill d'Este (Italy)
  80. Ride the double-decker buses around London (England)
  81. Hike the Grand Canyon (USA)
  82. Visit Lake Baikal (Russia)
  83. Visit the Turtle Sanctuary (Seychelle-Africa)
  84. See the David (Italy)
  85. Tour Jane Austen's country (England)
  86. See the Flamingos at the Lake Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania)
  87. Float the Sepik River (Papua New Guinea)
  88. See the Hieroglyphic Stairway in Copan (Honduras)
  89. See foot on the Ho Chi Minh Trail (Vietnam)
  90. Drive on the Autobahn (Germany)
  91. See the Danube (Czech Republic)
  92. See the great Sphinx (Egypt)
  93. Visit the Blue Mosque (Turkey)
  94. See the Paelolithic art in the Caves of Altamira (Spain)
  95. Eat Limburger cheese in Limburg (Belgium)
  96. Stand on the grounds of the first Olympics (Greece)
  97. Tour the Baja (Mexico)
  98. Take a class at Oxrford (England)
  99. Stand at the beaches of Normandy (France)
  100. Drink a Manhattan in Manhattan (USA)
  101. Swim with the whale sharks on Isla Holbox (Mexico)
  102. Experience Vaughan Town (Spain)

*Completed items in Italics*

So I added 2 more items while simultaneously checking 2 off the list. I've got a feeling that's the way it'll go for awhile since there is so much I want to do in this world and I keep discovering more places to go, see, and experience. Such is life!

After being in Paris, submersed in the language and feeling so lost, I'm wanting to add a language immersion program so I'm researching those and I'll add that to the list eventually.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up our enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." - Samuel Ullman

My 31st birthday was spent in the Big Apple. I arrived mid-morning by plane, took the subway to Midtown to my friend's large office building and then spent the afternoon wondering around with my camera. My first moments in a large city now that I'm a country mouse again are overwhelming... my senses are on overload, there are so many sounds, sights, and actions coming at me from so many directions I'm overwhelmed with it all.
The endless possibilities, the freedoms of expression, the crazy combinations of skin/hair/eye colors with everyone looking different and the same all at once. Contrasted with my black and white small town full of familiar faces, the anonymity of the city is both comforting and challenging to me.
It's so easy to image the possibilities of life in NYC because they play out before you on the streets where so many have walked before. Searching for purpose, living their dreams, hoping to achieve and be a part of something greater than a solitary life. It inspires and intimidates me as the contrast is too much with my everyday life and little town.
My day was nice as I had time to wander, wonder and get lost while receiving texts and messages of birthday wishes... feeling loved all day is a great. Hopefully, I'll find a way to capture and recall those feelings when needed after a terrible, rotten, no good, awful day. I started out on 2nd Avenue, wondered up 42th Street to Bryant Park, walked through the Public Library, took 5th to Central Park - pausing with tourists and churches along the way. And enjoyed the hustle bustle of the city. I took pictures of things and places rather than my desired choice of people - some of them are ok and I've played around with some editing to enhance or create the desired look. I didn't take a huge amount of images on this trip which limits my options and results - I just was so much more into being in the moment rather than preserving it. I need to work on finding a way to accomplish both.
Turning 31 isn't a major milestone so I think I'm just having some hangover emotions from 30, questions and frustrations and challenges which seem ever present. Achievements, Education, Goals, Relationships and/or the lack thereof were ever present on my mind through out my trip and return. I've told several people close in my life I feel like I've lost my enthusiasm for life - never one to mourn the past, I've always looked forward to next best thing. Yet now, I feel there is no such thing for me. I have no direction, passion or drive for something to motivate me forward, to propel me into a confident and fulfilling life, and I hate it. I'm jealous of those with drive and passion, envious of those with light steps and happy hearts, and hiding my feelings behind a very thin veil of anger.
This is a very different post than I imagined writing while taking these pictures and I know I'll regret allowing those emotions to overwhelm my first trip to Europe. But it is where I am in my life and those emotions/struggles/frustrations don't take a vacation, unfortunately. While I definitely had those moments of "I am in PARIS!" with a silly grin on my face, I spent a lot of time wondering about my future, contemplating my choices and options for the future. And I still have no answers.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Along The Way

"I love short trips to New York; to me it is the finest three-day town on earth" - James Cameron

While I've mainly been focusing on my trip to PARIS! (yes, I'm still doing that), I have forgotten to mention my brief 24 hour stay in NYC along the way. My travel companion is my childhood BFF Jennie, who I've traveled enough with to know she won't kill me for being my crazy and ridiculous self along this adventure. And who will probably not speak to me for 6 months after having to spend 8 days straight with me but won't stop loving me so all will be ok. (Seriously, thought, it's going to be interesting because we haven't spent this much time together since middle school. Crazy, huh?).

I leave early, early, early Friday morning (gotta love the mile reward trip options on Delta) and get to NYC about 10:30am... according to, it's going to take me a little over an hour to get to her office: taking the airtrain from JFK, then the E train, then hauling my suitcase up from the subway, then walking to her office building to drop my bags so I can go play tourist in The City while she works. It's not too far from Grand Central Station and Radio City Music Hall and just a little further from Central Park so who knows where I will end up. The last time I was in NYC for a bachelorette party, I arrived early on Friday before the festivities and just had fun walking around, feeling the urban vibe and people watching. I'm sure that's what I'll do this time too.

I love NYC - I don't know if I could live there but I've always said I'd try. In fact, for the first 13 years of my life, Jennie and I were moving there together after college graduation. She did and I moved out west. What can I say, I get distracted easily (ooh, mountains...). The last time she was down here, we talked about me moving to NYC. Which I could easily do... it's still on the life t0-do list.

It's the energy of the city, the pace, the constant motion - somethings always going on - that motivates me, encourages me to seek and do rather than sit and watch. Something I struggle with here since there always seems to be nothing going on in my sleepy, southern town. So I drink it up when I'm there. Should be great to walk around the city, with my camera and check it all out... never know what I might come back with. Last year it was this great image from the Macy's flower show.
Jennie lives in Brooklyn so I know I'm in for some great pizza Friday night... and checking out her new neighborhood since she just moved. What else, I don't know. We shall see.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

300th Post

"Babies are my inspiration and my joy. In them, I see innocence and the precious possibilities of each life unfolding." - Anne Geddes

Side note: WOW... can you believe it's my 300th post? I haven't been keeping track and as I hit the button for a 'new post', I saw that I had published 299 posts. Hence, my next one would be number 300. Amazing since this isn't my main focus or job. I definitely go through stages with time, interest and having something to say. Right now, I'm fired up about my trip to PARIS! so I'm babbling about that and the sites I want to see and the food and wine I can't wait to try.

But today's post is different. Today, I finally watched the movie "Precious" (based on the book "Push") and made famous by the combined talent and efforts of Monique, Oprah, Tyler Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, Lee Daniels, Paula Patton and introducing Gabourey Sidbie. The book had touched me but since I don't see that lifestyle everyday and haven't visited many places where those standards, behaviors, and actions are commonplace, I had a hard time picturing happening as I read the book. But watching the movie made it real. If I had seen it in the theater, the scenes and the sounds would have been overwhelming. Such raw pain and power in the intimate scenes, the emotions and the daily abuse of the characters.

I live such a privileged life. My troubles are petty and superficial compared to others in this world... And I, just like so many others, deserve a swift kick in the ass when I start to feel sorry for myself. The world is my oyster in all ways that matter: family, future, career, et al. I guess I could complain about my love life but I'm a firm believer in the theory we all have the love life we want. So whatever's lacking there is my responsibility. Sometimes I need a reminder of how fortunate I am... and this movie reminded me.

It also reminded me that this is the reality of others... when I judge the choices and lifestyles of others. I started with so many advantages, with so many safety nets and was shown only one direction to go. At first, I didn't realize others didn't have the home life I did, now I know but it's still so foreign to me, I can't imagine living with those circumstances, obstacles, and challenges in my life. I struggle with too many options and being able to do whatever I want... Others struggle with making any options for themselves. I need to remember, to give back more, and to be more thankful for my life.

Precious was a reminder - Go see it and remind yourself of what's good in your life. Of all that you should be thankful for in your life. It will remind you...

Monday, April 26, 2010

In Less than Two Weeks...

"If pleasures are greatest in anticipation, just remember that this is also true of troubles." - Elbert Hubbard

I can't wait for my facebook status to be "Je suis a Paris!" Less than two weeks for me to be in the City of Light... walking the streets that inspired the lives of Hemingway, Picasso, Child, Dali, Stavinsky, and so many more. I have lists of places to see and the planning is overwhelming... I have only SEVEN DAYS in a city with museums that can take months to see everything. It's a little much and I'm so concerned I'm not going to be able to see it all.

Reality Check: I will NOT be able to see it all. This I know for sure. So I've got to quit freaking out about what I'm going to miss and enjoy my time there. And while I don't plan to sleep, I also plan to return, to see it all again and experience Paris (with the rest of France) at a slower pace. So this trip will be about some of the must sees: Effiel Tower, Versailles, Mona Lisa, etc. And the food... Have I mentioned how excited I am to eat the food? I've gone on a Paris diet... not going out with friends to save money for eating in Paris... why should I eat a processed hamburger when I'll be able to eat Parisan cuisine!?!? And the wine? My taste buds start to do a happy dance in my mouth when I think about it. I have decided, if the opportunity presents itself, I will try escargot... It just seems appropriate, don't you think?

Following my desire to be more adventurous and experience more of life, trying this delicacy in a new country for the first time seems like a step in the right direction. So we'll see. It's not a goal but an opportunity. Haven't added it to the bucket list yet but am looking to include it on this trip.

Speaking of the List, what's there that I need to make sure I cover on this trip?

#29 Tour the Sewers

#70 Walk the Hall of Mirrors

and possibily...

#43 Cooking Classes in Paris

although, when I wrote that, I was thinking more along the lines of a 6 week intensive class, not an afternoon session but I won't turn my nose up at that either.

I've just finished "My Life in France" by Julia Child - she mentions attending afternoon lectures at Le Cordon Bleu open to the public for a small fee. I wonder if they are still a part of the school? If so, I'll definitely want to drop in... again, not good enough for a check on the list but still an experience not to be missed.

Ooh la la... Lookie here. (This is why I love the interwebs... an idea pops into my head and I can research it right away).

Culinary Demonstrations DAILY in Paris. With TASTINGS. I am in heaven. Also, options to tour the Parisian markets (something Julia did often in her training) to see how to properly pick produce, then followed by a cooking demonstration. Or a food & wine course, how to pair with foods, tastings included. I may stay at Le Cordon Bleu the whole time. Oh dear, Jennie may hate me by the end of the trip because of my obsession with Julia and cooking and Paris and food but I'm about to pop with excitement! ("French people eat French food every day!" - Julia Child).

And so I dream, 11 days to go...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Catching Up

"Enthusiasm is excitemen with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity" - Bo Bennett

I've been a little overwhelmed lately and when I got my new computer, I didn't immediately transfer my favorite sites so I've been a little behind on my reading. But here who is keeping me entertained and inspired these days. It's where I go when I need to feel less alone, rejuvenated, and renewed with enthusiasm for a different life.

Some are new, focused on travel or photography, and some are old favorites. Check them out, enjoy and be inspired.

Jennsylvania - ya'll know I love this lady and her crazy antics. Her stories are right up my alley - I can't read her at work because she makes me laugh out loud. And I will be attending her book signing in Atlanta this May after I missed it the last time. A mistake not to be made again. I might even bring her cupcakes.

Chookooloonks - my peaceful site... her pictures are beautiful, her words are thoughtful, and she gives me warm fuzzies. And inspires me to evolve and flow as life continues to come at me. I found her through the beloved Shutter Sisters, all of whom make me feel less alone.

betweenbird - one of my long time friends, a photographer with a great eye. Love her in person, love her work, and love her longtime. Enjoy her work.

Camels & Chocolate - Always on the move, this girl travels the world with style and looks like so much fun! I lost a good work day to her site, completely enthralled with her adventures and enthusiasm for life. I follow her on twitter and invited her to hang out anytime she's around my neck of the woods. If you've got the travel bug, she'll give you itchy feet with one post.

Nomadic Matt - the lone male in the group, this MBA has figured out how to work on the road. He'a making it work, has great advice and introduced me to the idea of seeing the sewers of Paris (which I am soooo excited about). Really thinking about how to make his lifestyle work for me.

Dooce - the queen of all bloggers, she's always on the list... especially when she's writes great posts about The First Lady, I'll forget to visit and then I'm drawn back in for all of her crazy antics.

More is Better - always leaving me in stitches, this one is always (and I mean always) up to something. Most recent posts: fire dancing, sex dolls, and yelling at school children.... I wish I was 8 years younger and living in San Francisco. I'd so want to be her friend just so I'd laugh each day.

Nomadic Chick - she shares my dream of a RTW trip, only her's has been made possible by a layoff in her corporate world. Very excited for her and can't wait to see what happens along the way, motivating me to make it happen for myself.

There you are, 8 of my favorite sites. They make me laugh (and cry), inspire me, encourage me, and make me feel less alone in this crazy world. When I can't sleep, it's reassuring to know they are there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A New Window

"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brillantly disguised as impossible situations." - Charles R. Swindoll

My life took a crazy turn last week... And I still haven't reacted... I'm frozen like a deer in headlights, suprised by the unexpected.

Last December, a job posting on a website I visit regularly caught my attention and I applied for a position. As my frequent readers know, I wrestle with my current job and wonder if I'm choosing the "right" path or just the "easiest" path. I look for less physical containment and constant obligation than my family's business requires and I don't enjoy the management of people and their daily drama to consider (and yes, it's always daily when you have as large of a staff as we do - it's more than daily, it's more like hourly). So, anyways, this job posting caught my eye. I applied. I received a questionaire. I complete it and emailed back. I never heard another word.

Until last Wednesday. Almost six months later. To schedule a phone interview. For Friday. So I thought, why not, I should always explore opportunities and keep my options open. Two and half hours later on the phone, I had a verbal job offer. Yesterday I received the formal offer by email. And now, I'm not certain what to do...

The job is
  • A different industry and I would definitely entertain a change
  • "Virtual" meaning I could do my job anywhere, anytime, anyway equaling a newfound freedom for me
  • Commission based meaning hard work is rewarded (and rewarded well)
  • Established & Defined - someone else is making the decisions and I just have to do my job
  • Reputable - a young company on it's way up with tons of growth ahead and mass appeal

I'm purposely being vague and I apologize for the lack of detail but I'm uncertain of any policies and I would hate to get in trouble before I even accept the job.

And, as before, leaving my family business is hard. It would be even harder to do so without a physical move which I'm not looking to do at this time. Taking this job would allow me that option since I know I'd like to live other places at some point in the future. What's frustrating is when I applied for this job, I was in a completely different place concerning my life, my job, and my desire level to stay with my status quo. Now, things have changed and evolved, wheels are in motion and I can see progress.

It's a "have my cake and eat it too" moment because I want to try this new option and keep my finger in the pie of my current job. Sometimes, life is just ridiculously complicated. Or in this case, a seemingly impossible situation.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Selfish Plea to the Universe

"There's no disaster that can't become a blessing, and no blessing that can't become a disaster." - Richard Bach

Dear Universe,

I'm a logical person and a practical person... I deal with life and death every day in my profession so I try to keep my personal drama in perspective. I try not to get too worked up over the little things and take joy in the calamities (!what a great word!) of life, laughing it off and retelling my misfortunes for the pleasure of others.

However, if my FIRST EVER TRIP TO PARIS! is disruppted by the volcano in Iceland I might cry. For seven days and seven nights. Cry until my tear ducts dry up and I can't cry any more. This would be a travesty in it's own right since I am a champion crier... who cries at all and anything... those GE mom commercials during the Olympics? I cried. Running over an already dead squirrel Sunday morning, I cried. When I'm laughing, I usually laugh until I cry. The world needs my tears... I make it ok for others to cry so the ash from the volcano MUST NOT interfer with my first ever trip to PARIS!

I have waited 31 looooooooooooooooong years for this trip (alright, maybe more like 25 years) and a natural disaster is not going to interfer with my plans. I will not allow it. So let's see what we can do about cleaning up the air so my flight to CDG has no problems. Now, once I'm there... all bets are off... strand me in Europe with no flight home for as long as necessary... you won't hear a peep from me.

But let me get there first, okay? Okay. Glad we got that sorted out...

Your Loving Citizen Lindsey

aka IfNothingElse

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Thing...

"The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one" - Oscar Wilde

Ole Oscar and my boss (aka my father) have a similar approach to job/life/work balance. Without a job and work, there is no balance and everything else I have going on in my life is extra. Which it often has to be since I rarely have time for anything else. Sometimes it's irritating and sometimes I find it to be a great excuse (ahem, such as when I think I need to go to the gym...)!

I've always admired my parents for their work hard, play harder, get up and do it all again mentality. They do more than anyone else I know and they don't stop. I wear out way before they do and I'm embarrassed to admit I can't accomplish the same amount my 30 years my senior parents are able to do without blinking. I remembering detailing our schedules to someone about a year ago and her question of "do your parents every stop?" making me pause to chuckle...

Recently, we've had some changes in the business and we're adapting, growing, plotting and planning as we best know how and it seems to be working. It has put me and my father working literally side by side for a majority of the time. Which he and I love because we don't have to complete sentences sometimes when talking to each other, we think so much alike but I'm sure for some of our employees, there's a little too much "Hickman" going on in that area. But I'm really enjoying it and the other night at dinner, he said he was too. And with the change of our structure, I have a much more tangible job with a clearer set of goals. One that's inspiring me to get up for work each day and pushing me to stay later (even later than before) to make sure the job is done. All of these are good things.

And yet, I'm still looking for "My Thang" - Something to motivate and inspire me. Something bringing out the best of my talents and passions for me to accomplish something. Something which makes work feel easier and less stressful for me.

A friend runs her own business - it's just her and she's making it happen for herself and while she's growing/expanding/generally kicking ass, she's not wanting to grow it beyond a certain point. Not wanting employees and payrolls and managment skills. Oh, how I wish for her choices.

For if I stay my current course and follow the path before me, I will have all of those headaches and more... And while my experience and my personality actually lend to being somewhat good at some of those functions, there's quite a few where I am limited. And I find it so hard to know what to do, how to choose, what to emphasize and how to rejuvenate myself when I do have "me" time.*

And while a part of me questions, observes and wants for something more meaningful - another part of me keeps trucking along to ensure I reach the current pot at the end of the rainbow. If nothing else, I've figured out the only way for me to be happy is to learn every day, find challenge in my work, and constantly strive for improvement in service or quality of production. Stagnant or repetitive production is not for me. I also know that part of life will always be questioning where I am, where I want to be, how I can get there, and then what will be the next step. Obviously, it's what I'm pondering now.

*Other than the obvious choice of a large glass of wine while taking a bubble bath, of course.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

PARIS! photo blog

Look at what I just found...

What to See...

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

So I've got my Lonely Planet guidebook, emails with recommendations, movies to watch, books to read and blogs with tips. All for my trip to PARIS! (that's how I refer to it in my head & I actually get to visualize my excitement on here, so bare with me). I've printed the map of the metro, figured out what I want to see in the Louvre, and planned a day trip to Versailles. I'm so ready to go.

What's so funny is everyone whom I've told I'm going to Paris says the people are horribly rude. Which is the standard stereotype for French people. Especially to Americans. Interested to see if it's true - haven't read of that but been told it. I've traveled before and was attacked by a drunk Englishman in a vineyard in New Zealand about our former president. So hopefully I'll be able to hold my own. Especially in a country with a foreign language. At least if they're insulting me, I won't be able to understand them - I guess that's a positive thing. Althought I actually would love to learn French (just have this tiny problem with hearing sounds, it doesn't happen for me).

So I've got restaurants to try, especially the crepe stand across from Notre Dame (if it's still there and as good as it was in 2003), which I hope can find. And I've been told the view from the Effiel Tower is not to be missed - great - I have a thing about heights. I can deal if I have to but I'd rather not. But I've got a feeling this is one I can't miss out on so I'll be dealing with my racing pulse while I force myself to focus on the beauty of the view instead of how much the fall would hurt.

But I digress.

So 27 days until I go to PARIS!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Adventure Begins...

"America is my country and Paris is my hometown." - Gertrude Stein

I am going to Paris... In exactly 35 days, I will be flying from NYC to PARIS. For seven days, my childhood bestie and I will walk around, see the sights, visit museums, drink French wine and eat French food! And I'm so excited I can't think about anything else! I heard on the news that the Euro was down today and all I could think was that hopefully it will stay that way for the next month.

While it's outside of my desire to do a RTW trip and will definitely set back my savings for that trip as I completely depleted my travel account to pay for the trip, I'm rationalizing my choice with the money is being used for travel and I can't keep waiting for "some day". So, a week in Paris as my first European adventure will have to do. No compliants here.

While I've never been anywhere in Europe and I want to see it all, biting off Paris is an ambitious endeavor for someone who only speaks English and sometimes I don't do that well. Jennie, my traveling buddy, knows "some" French but I'll admit, after reading everything is in French, I'm a little intimidated. But at the same time, people are rude to me here so they can be rude there and I'll still BE IN PARIS!!!

After reading NomadicMatt's post about the Sewers of Paris, I've always thought that would be a very cool adventure. So I'm requesting that be on the itinerary. As well as the Catacombs. Plus the Louvre, Effiel Tower, Notre Dame, Monmarte, Jardin de Luxemburg, Moulin Rouge...

I could go on forever.

Now comes the fun part, reading Paris books and watching French movies and planning for French fun!

I'm just so excited. I can't stand it. Now to figure out how much spending money I'll need.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


"Flowers really do intoxicate me" - Vita Sackville-West

Here's the best picture of the tulips I have... between the light and the age of the flowers, it was the best I could do and I was too lazy to move them. But I really enjoyed them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Loving me Some Chelsea

"The Fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can." - Robert Cushing

I have found a new source of entertainment and I've been reading her blog today as I wait on the IT guy to show up and fix some work related components of my computer. (FYI: Not being able to send work email blows). It's been a wasted day except for this blog and in particular, this post: Gwen and Feeding little monsters. If that doesn't inspire you to get off the couch and do something, I don't know what will. I need a little bit of that in my life... Every day I need a little bit of that... a reminder that life is not a dress rehearsal. And this one had the bonus of making me laugh as well. Nice one.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Heaven in a Bowl

“Of all the items on the menu, soup is that which exacts the most delicate perfection and the strictest attention.”-Escoffier

Over the weekend, I discover a new recipe and I am in love with this soup. I usually go to the grocery store on Sundays* and as I was wondering around the produce department, I decided on potato soup. It's moments like this I love having a smart phone. This is the recipe I decided upon and while it has no health value, it is delicious.

Creamy Garlic Potato Soup

Ingredients -
4 (12 ounces) 99% Fat-Free Chicken Broth

2 (12 ounces) Evaporated Skim Milk
5 pounds Russet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 1/2 cups chopped Yellow or White Onion
8 slices cooked, crumbled Bacon
1 slice Ham Steak, chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 teaspoons diced Garlic
3 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon Celery Seed
1 pint Whipping Cream
1/3 cup chopped Fresh Parsley

For garnish:
shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
chopped Green Onion


Saute the onions and garlic in butter or margarine over medium heat until translucent. Scrape them into the soup kettle, and turn on the heat to medium. Pour in the chicken broth and evaporated milk. Put in the potato pieces, bacon, ham pieces, bay leaves, celery seed and whipping cream. Bring to boil, and simmer until the potato is tender. Mash a dozen or so potato chunks against the side of the kettle and stir the pot to thicken the soup (you can mash more to make it thicker). Throw in the parlsey and stir, and return pot to simmer. Cut up some good rich bread, ladle the soup into your bowl. Sprinkle cheese and green onion on top to taste.

And it was yummie...

My only edits to the recipe are I would cook the bacon before getting started on the onions. That way they're ready when it's time to combine everything. I used parsley flakes versus fresh parsley and it didn't seem to affect it - I'm sure the fresh is better but I had to make do.

*except for when I need wine since I live in a backwards state with no liquor sales on Sundays

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter Wonderland

"So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending". - JRR Tolkien

My house. At 6pm or so when I made it home on Friday night, it had been snowing for about 3 hours at that point. I know it's growing up in the South that makes each snowstorm a thrill... you never got enough of it to get tired of it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

St. Valentine

"Women wish to be loved not because they are pretty, or good, or well bred, or graceful, or intelligent, but because they are themselves." - Henri Frederic Amiel

No matter how many hints I drop in the universe about loving fresh flowers, tulips have yet to arrive at my house. So this past Saturday, at the grocery store, I bought an unopened bouquet of pink tulips and have enjoyed them all week in my dressing area. I shall take a picture and post it so you can enjoy their beauty as well.

Life has been a rollercoaster so far this month. Last night, I caught up with a friend who I hadn't seen since before Christmas and my response to her inquiry about life, "Is it still February? Then life still sucks..." So far, not a good month. My emotions seem to have leveled out over the past two days but it doesn't mean they won't spin out again if I don't make some changes. As they happen, I'll share what's working and what's needed.

One already made is an adjustment in my work schedule to attend a yoga class on Wednesday and Saturday mornings - it feels good and it starts my day well. Coming up, gym visits for treadmill and weight workouts - Hope to make this happen with the start of next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me to wake up with my alarm because it has been a struggle.

I'm looking at school - again - for different reasons and ideas. I'm not certain what to do or which direction to go in for my career. When I think my situation now could be the rest of my life, I have a panic attack. Not good. When listing what I want in my position and/or career, I look for travel, freedom and passion. There are several options to combine all of these in a less convential career path. I'm researching and internally debating these options currently.

Presently, I own a house. With a yard. This is new territory for me. I don't know how to do yard work and it shows. So my goal this spring and summer is to learn about plants, gardens, and how to beautify my yard without spending a fortune. I've heard this will help with my fitness goals so I'm excited about that side effect. Otherwise, it just makes me feel silly to not know how to handle my yard. Plus, I know my neighbors are hating me. I do nothing to help in the visual appeal of the street. So that will give me something else to laugh about.

My first project was planting herbs for my window sill from a kit... it went ok. We'll see if they bloom. I ended up with way more soil than needed (I think that's expected) so I'm going to buy something else to pot and use the excess. Plus I've been looking for two planters to go outside my front door and I found beautiful royal blue ones - they're on the to get list for this weekend. Patience and Baby steps as I'm still working on trimming my budget. Once purchased, I will showcase here since I've been slacking on pictures lately.

As mentioned above, still working on the budget, and I'm learning to budget and developing patience for items I want/need. My free time is rare and after I do laundry, sleep, bathe, take care of the dog and the house... then I'm able to shop. So it's frustrating to see what I need/want and not purchase it in that moment because it's pricetag is larger than the amount in my pocket. Especially when I 'technically' have the money in the bank just not in that week's spending amount. I've gone back to giving myself a cash allowance for the week so if I have $20 dollars and I want pots which total at $50, then I have to save the cash for the purchase. So far, I'm doing ok. But these pots are driving me nuts since I don't want them to sell out before I get mine. After such a long search, I want them... have to have them... can't wait to get them. So telling myself to save for them out of my weekly budget pisses me off - even if it's me restricting myself - my bank account thanks me.

Which leads me to a status update on travel savings: over $500, more than 1/6 of my way to my first goal of $3000. And I should receive my tax return (hopefully) this week which will help in all areas of saving and debt reduction. Nice.

Question - If I decide to sell my house before I leave to travel, then paying additional money each month would also be a form of savings since it will help lower the amount owed at the time of closing. Correct? I wouldn't normally think of my house as a savings account but putting additional money towards the principal would help reduce the amount of interest owed overall, decrease the repayment time and allow for additional profit if I sell my home. Not certain I want to sell but if I do, then it would provide me with more cash than I can save plus less headaches while on the road. What would you do? Put the money towards the house or keep with the rest of the travel savings? I'm not talking a huge amount - $100 a month or so. Thoughts? Ideas? Experiences? Please share.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lifestyle Changes

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” -John Bingham

I've been slightly MIA because life has, once again, taken over. I'm having long days at work, then followed by play rehearsal 3 nights a week and trying to be somewhat social during this gloomy month. I love the south, it's home and it's beautiful but it always needs some help during the months of January & February. It's gloomy, it's damp, and this year it's cold. I love the cold but I like it to be accompanied by scenic snowfalls and sunny afternoons. We're just cold enough to be uncomfortable but without powdery playgrounds. We've had more threats of snow this year than any previous year I can remember but no dice.

As time moves on, February will bring more sunshine and the days are already getting longer but January is always such a hard month to find emotional motivation and strength. Hence, why I never start any New Year resolutions until after I manage to make it through this month. So today is the last day of the month and I have changes in my life to make. Starting with a healthier lifestyle - anyting, and I mean anything, bad for me must go. People included. Negative influences and "friends" who make me feel bad about myself will no longer be allowed to influence me. I will look for the beauty within myself and others for inspiration, motivation and satisfaction.

I will continued to work towards my goal of extended, international travel to experience more of the world and other cultures. To obtain this goal, I must continue to live frugally, fulfill my previous obligations, save diligently and complete the work upon my house. All of these are obtainable goals and I am slowly making progress. Recently, I watched Seabiscuit and during his recovery and that of his horse, Red the jockey, repeats the saying, "brick by brick, my son, brick by brick" about the building of Rome. His voice rings through my head as I save, "penny by penny". It will happen, in good time.

Part of my changes need to be physical... I need to eat better, sleep better, and exercise more. I do better when I'm on a schedule yet I rebel from setting up one. It's hard for me to start but tomorrow morning, I'll wake to go to the gym and commit to a hour workout even if it kills me. I have done enough damage to my physical self and I'm not wasting more money on the same clothing in a larger size. Twice a week, I'm going to attend a yoga class which I know I will enjoy. In addition to that, I'm going to start swimming - I swam in high schoool and I've always enjoyed it as exercise plus I'm acutally good at it which makes it easier. I've got a pool membership (have since last summer) so I'll add that to my workout schedule when I can - have to work out the details on that one still.

It feels good to write it down... It's the beginning of change and I need someting to change (as I've mentioned here before) so now I'm making it happen. And, brick by brick, all of it will change.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Whoa, Nellie!

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." — Ferris Bueller

And so, it's the middle of January - life has sped up significantly and I'm scrambling to keep up with it. The month (and my life) are flying by... I'm 30 and I'm not certain who I am, or what I want, or how to make it happen for me. All of these and more are daily questions - maybe this is what getting old is like because I don't remember being 'concerned' about these issues five or even ten years ago. I need to remember to step back, take stock and then move forward - not stand still while constantly questioning...

Today is supposed to be a holiday but I live/work in one of those jobs which doesn't "DO" holidays so I'm sitting at my desk this morning - looking for another job... Not really but not entirely untrue either. I've mentioned it before, I'm not entirely comfortable in my skin here, and I just had a weekend of solitude to prove it to me again. My life here, it isn't what I want it to be and I'm not certain how to make it something I want...

I subscribe to an job openings email list which is a dream from another point in my life... I guess it's my one way of keeping my finger in the water, knowing what other options are out there. A job is on the list which is VERY appealing to me today and I'm tempted to apply... There are 80 million questions running through my head currently about how I'd make it work but the sensible part of me is telling myself, apply & see what happens, then figure out the details if I get the position. And I think I'm going to. I've never been afraid of life and that's how I can best describe my feelings currently - fear. Not going to give into that...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Travel Update

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth." - Anonymous

As far as an update on my travel plans, I've got little progress to report. As I mentioned before, I have some other financial obligations to take care of as well as work on my house to complete. So far, I have almost $100 designated to my travel fund... not much I know but I started at the beginning of the holiday season and I went out a lot and went out of town for NYE. But enough with the excuses, that's where I am, cash wise. Not a big dent in the original goal of $3000. But the hardest part is getting started so I've at least got that done. {Insert After School special cheers here}

Other than continuing to read other's adventures and daydream about my own, I've got nothing. Strike that, I did have a conversation with a property owner on my street about renting out her house, she hasn't had any trouble having renters and good ones at that. I forgot to ask what she charges but I'll ask her the next time. So that's a definite possibility for my house.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Magic Words

"Get around people who have something of value to share with you. Their impact will continue to have a significant effect on your life long they have departed." - Jim Rohn

There's something to be said about surrounding yourself with people who inspire and motivate you. Everytime I have a reunion with my college girlfriends, I leave feeling rejuvenated, motivated, and ambitious for whatever is coming next in my life. They are inspiring and accomplished women who real and supportive of my dreams. It's something I miss in my everyday life and I'm openly seeking... can you put out a want ad for challenging and stimulating girlfriends? Without seeming like a weirdo?

So I try to surround myself with motivated and interesting women, a little more difficult when you live in Mayberry... but slowly and surely, I'm meeting new people and making friends. And I appreciate it when they share their challenges and inspirations. Here's one passed along from an artist I really admore called "The Magic Moment" from Paul Coelho's Blog... hopefully it will touch you the way it got me.

We have to take risks. We can only truly understand the miracle of life when we let the unexpected manifest itself.
Every day – together with the sun – God gives us a moment in which it is possible to change everything that makes us unhappy.
Every day we try to pretend that we don’t realize that moment, that it doesn’t exist, that today is just the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow. But if you pay attention, you can discover the magic instant.It may be hiding at the moment when we put the key in the door in the morning, in the silence right after dinner, in the thousand and one things that all seem the same to us.
This moment exists – a moment when all the strength of the stars passes through us and lets us work miracles.
Happiness is at times a blessing – but usually it’s a conquest. The magic instant helps us to change, drives us forward to seek our dreams. We shall suffer and go through quite a few difficult moments and face many a disappointment – but this is all transitory and inevitable, and eventually we shall feel proud of the marks left behind by the obstacles. In the future we will be able to look back with pride and faith.
Poor are those who are afraid of running risks. Because maybe they are never disappointed, never disillusioned, never suffer like those who have a dream to pursue. But when they look back – for we always look back – they will hear their heart saying: “What did you do with the miracles that God sowed for your days? What did you do with the talent that your Master entrusted to you? You buried it deep in a grave because you were afraid to lose it.
So this is your inheritance: the certainty that you have wasted your life.”Poor are those who hear these words. For then they will believe in miracles, but the magic instants of life will have already passed.

in “By the river Piedra I sat down and wept”