Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Year. New Hopes. New Plans. New Me.

In all my 29 years, I've never made a new year's resolution. With much anticipation and a little fear, 2007 will be different.

You see, I've got a handful of things I'd love to accomplish in the coming year, but I'm shying away from the "R" word. There's just something about a resolution that yearns to be broken, but my goals this year are steadfast.

I would love to look back on 2007 and be able to think of it as the "Year Stacey Got Her (ahem) Together."

Here's a rundown:
• First and foremost, I have GOT to get organized. My apartment is small ... 600 square feet is not a lot of space, especially when that space is occupied by a gob of stuff that is rarely - if ever - put to good use. My kitchen cabinets are filled to capacity with glasses, mugs, tin boxes, holiday serving trays and a myriad of other items I haven't so much as touched in the three years since I put them there. There is no excuse for that. Then there's my closet and dresser. I don't even want to think about all the sweaters I've been hoarding for far too long. And my sock drawer is about to explode. Purge is the word. It's got to happen.

• Next is what many, many, many people hope to accomplish ... the obligatory slim down. I'd love to lose 20 lbs., tone up and get into some clothes that are both hip and flattering to my (hopefully) new-and-improved figure. I know I can do it. I've got the exercise bike, my fearless friend Holly as a walking partner and an iron resolve. I will get healthy and lose the weight. It must happen ... I feel so hefty, and that's just gross.

• Number 3 on my list of plans involves a necessary evil: Money, honey. I'm sick to death of credit cards. With my college spending still coming back to haunt me month after month, I'm going to pay the bills off. I'm done with credit card debt. And, honestly, it shouldn't be too hard to get rid of mine fairly quickly. After that, only one card will be in my wallet ... and will be for emergencies only.

• The last thing on my list is VERY important to me. I've had a hard time sitting back and relaxing over the last year. I let things get to me too easily, and I think it has a lot to do with that fact that I'm always running around doing one thing or another. I've got to learn to be still, which is going to be very difficult, but it's definitely possible. To reach that goal, two days a month I will devote to nothing but relaxation ... be it vegging out while watching a good movie, reading a book, taking a long bath, catching up with old friends or taking a nap. Two days of relaxation out of eight days off is a lot to wrap my head around, but that's what I'm shooting for. Let's hope I can do it.

Most of all, I truly hope 2007 is a year of growth and happiness for myself and all of you.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What a night ...

Christmas has come and gone, and the real world is back. I've welcomed it with open arms, but it seems to have slapped me straight in the face.


All's well, though. I still have my crazy Anna, here, to lay on my new blue jeans that I bought for myself this Christmas. Taking pictures of her being adorable, as usual, is good therapy.

Pets have a way of cheering us up through just about anything, don't they?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I wish you and your families an amazing Christmas - and if I'm not back before the new year, have a safe and fun holiday!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Do I have to?

Am I the only one who hasn't signed up for Blogger Beta?

I've heard several stories of how much a pain it is, and truly have no desire to try it.

Is the old version of Blogger passé now? I need your input because I'm lost.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wrapping it up

Yesterday was my day off, and I'd looked forward picking up one last gift, buying more ribbon, wrapping presents, making a couple ornaments, cooking a healhy dinner and enjoying a quiet evening at home.

It's funny how you can have a to-do list in your head, and it seems so small. But when you actually start working to check things off that list, it takes all of an eternity, and you're left with no time to enjoy that healthy dinner and quiet evening at home.

Yesterday I decided that going to the mall is a horrible idea from here until the holidays are over. I wanted to run in, pick up a one of those effortless wine bottle openers and leave. Ha! Yeah right ... how naive could I get?!?

Everywhere I looked, it was out of stock. Except Brookstone, of course, but $100 for a contraption to open wine bottles seems a bit excessive for my budget.

So I opted to look for something else.

And that's where my day went. It got sucked up in the endless abyss of sales racks, grouchy shoppers, frustrated store clerks and horrid traffic. Three hours went by in a matter of 30 minutes, and I still had a hundred other things to accomplish.

All day long, the time kept flying by and, yes, I checked off everything on that list ... except the two things I was looking forward to most - the dinner and quiet evening.

For dinner I had a couple of frozen biscuits I pulled out of the freezer. Mmm ... convenient.

And that quiet evening was spent wrapping every last present I'd purchased this month. I think I'm the world's slowest wrapper, because this effort took hours ... HOURS!

And that was my day off. I got things accomplished, but I feel like I should have been paid overtime for my work!


I'm taking a short break from the vacation summary. I'll post more pictures from the trip when I get the photo CD back ... somehow I managed to leave it in Atlanta last weekend ...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

And now, an important public service announcement ...

This sign was on the Ministry of Health building in Nassau. Jim and I got a chuckle out how overt the message was.

On that note, have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Itenerary changes are awesome

When we woke up Tuesday morning Jim and I expected to be in Coco Cay. We were ready for a couple hours of kayaking and then several hours of lounging around the beach in full-on lazy mode. But as we made our way up to the Windjammer for breakfast, Jim and I noticed something funny. No land was in sight. None. Only water - and lots of it. Apparently we'd missed the announcement that we would be be spending the day at sea due to high winds that would have made it unsafe for us to tender over to the island. But what made things even more interesting was that we'd be docking later that evening in Nassau and would be in port for over 24 hours. Very cool. Until then, however, there were pool games including the inevitable belly flop contest. It looks painful, but man is it entertaining.

Here are some more pictures.

No, my mother isn't undressing that girl! Sheesh - get your minds out of the gutter! Ha!
Acutally, she was asked to help out during one of the onboard games during our (half) day at sea. Several teams of four people were attempting to smoosh themselves together tighter than other teams. Whichever group had the least circumference won. Mom was measuring this team. Fun stuff, you know ...

Starbucks is everywhere these days - even in the Bahamas. We didn't go in, but this was by far the most interesting and appealing Starbucks I'd ever seen.

Several other ships were in port when we arrived including a Carnival ship and an itty bitty (and ancient-looking) ship from some bizarre cruiseline we'd never heard of. The passengers actually had to walk up metal stairs to the 4th deck to board. I wish we'd taken a picture.

Walking around downtown Nassau, we found a little Greek restaurant above a jewelry shop and decided to have a couple Kaliks - the local beer, which is really pretty good.

Walking back to the port after our evening in Nassau, Jim snapped this picture. I love city lights at night, and somehow ships remind me of little cities. Their lights reflecting on the water is so peaceful.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Vacation Day 2: Setting sail

After months of anticipation, the day was finally here!

I could tell Mom was truly excited as we took the hotel shuttle bus to the port. Every so often she'd turn around in her seat and give me a wide smile and a silent "Thank you."

It was her birthday cruise, and I was so happy she was looking forward to celebrating her 60th in style. I also was secretly scared she'd hate the entire concept of cruising or get sea sick, or - heaven forbid - someone in our group would be unlucky enough to pick up the norovirus. ... Luckily, my fears were unfounded. *whew!*

After an unusually long wait to board the ship, we had our photo snapped at the entrance, made our way to the Windjammer for a quick lunch and then headed to our (itty-bitty) cabins to unpack before the sail-away party by the pool.

The ship had been renovated last year, I believe, and the changes were obvious in the public areas - but not so much in the cabins. But it was cool ... it's not like you're in your room very often, and Mom didn't seem to mind the idea of living in a Cracker Jack box for a few days, so I was relieved.

At about 4, we headed down to the pool area, ordered a few drinks and before we knew it we were moving! The band played, people danced and everyone had a great time.

After the sail-away party, it was pretty much dinner and then we all crashed. We were pretty tired after our long drive the day before, waking up early and all the excitement.

The next day we were headed to Coco Cay ... but sometimes things don't always work out the way they're planned!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Vacation Day 1

Because I've got a zillion things I'd love to post about, I've decided to break my vacation down into daily posts. That way you won't get too bored (hopefully), and each post may sound a little less jumbled!

So, here we go - Day 1:

A 10-hour road trip to Port Canaveral, FL, was our mission for the day. Ten hours spent in a vehicle with anyone can be a little nerve-racking, but this trip was A LOT nerve-racking.

Without going into too many details, I'll say this: My mother, who I love with all my heart, has a boyfriend who is quite unusual. It's weird seeing her with this guy, and he bugged the heck out of Jim and me pretty much the entire drive down to Florida.

After arriving at our hotel, I gave fellow blogger Jen (For the Birds) a call and made plans to meet later that evening after dinner. I was so excited to finally meet her, after having been blogging friends for about a year and a half.

So, after a great supper at a neat little restaurant called Grills, Jen met Jim and I at our hotel bar. It was awesome talking face-to-face with someone I felt like I'd known for a long time. She brought me the most incredible cookies she baked using her Sicilian grandmother's recipe.

Along with that, there was an adorable Boyd's Bears Christmas ornament, which looks so cute on my tree!

We talked and talked for what only seemed to be 30 min. or so, but was actually about 2 hours. It was a great time - but considering she had to be up at 4:30 a.m., our conversation had to end. Jim and I really enjoyed getting to know Jen a little better, and I hope to see her again the next time I sail from Port Canaveral!

After Jen went home, the stress of the drive began to take its toll. I'm not a big drinker, but sometimes a beer or two (or five) can be pretty darn good. And that's how things went. It got a little silly in the hotel bar - there was Jim and I and a large group of drug enforcement agents at the Radisson for a 2-week seminar. You can only imagine how loud things got!

We had so much fun that night, and we had even more fun to look forward to the next day when we finally boarded the ship headed for the Bahamas!

More tomorrow!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Back from paradise!

I've got SO many photos to sort through and so many stories to blog about that I just don't know where to begin!!

My trip to the Bahamas was amazing - from sipping rum runners by the pool to kayaking around a private island and all the site-seeing we did combined with all the interesting people we met ... there's just too much to write about all at once.

So, here's one of my favorite pictures I took while in Coco Cay, Bahamas (Royal Caribbean's private island). The tide had gone out and these two conch shells were all alone in the sand.

It was a beautiful, beautiful day of lounging around, kayaking and finding treasures on the beach and hidden on the bottom of the ocean. That day we got to see starfish and sting rays in their natural surroundings. We also tasted sea grapes (not so yummy) and learned that Bahamians believe kissing the eye of a starfish brings 7 years of good luck. While I'd love the good luck, I didn't quite want to kiss a starfish's eye, so I suppose I'm doomed!

I promise to write more later as I get my thoughts and photos in order!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bahamas, here I come!

Finally ... a real vacation!

To do list:

1. Only buy drinks with umbrellas
2. Enjoy the sand between my toes
3. Lay in a hammock hung between palm trees
4. Kayak around the island
5. Avoid all jelly fish, sharks and other sea creatures that make me nervous
6. Catch up on my magazines
7. Read "Angels and Demons"
8. R-E-L-A-X
9. Try for a tan
10. Don't get disappointed when the tan doesn't happen
11. Shop for Christmas gifts
12. Enjoy some amazing food
13. Two words: Rum runner (x10)
14. Forget work, bills, real life, etc.
15. Give my mother the best 60th birthday ever!

I'll be back in a week!