Thursday, March 29, 2007

I heart flowers

Spring has officially sprung in Chattanooga — and at my house!

I went for a walk in Coolidge Park on Tuesday and decided then and there it was time to plant some flowers of my own.

There were blooms everywhere at the park, from the flower beds filled with pansies to wildflowers springing up through the rocks on the river banks to this tree — where even the bark was sprouting pink blooms. It was gorgeous!

So, after stopping by a few shops on Frazier Avenue, I headed over to The Home Depot, where they had tons and tons of plants. It took me forever to decide, but I think I got a relatively good start!

This is what my poor flower pots looked like before:

And this is what they look like now:

And that's only three of them! I also planted some gorgeous yellow miniature pansy-looking flowers. I think they're my favorite ... You know you're dying to see a picture, so here ya go!

Yeah, yeah ... I know I'm crazy, but I just love spring and the beautiful colors it brings with it.

I've still got a few empty pots that I need to fill, so I think I may swing by Lowe's or a local nursery sometime next week to finish things up. I love red geraniums, but couldn't find any at The Home Depot, so I'm hoping they'll be somewhere else!

How about you guys? Have you started your spring planting? What are your favorites?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

For the love of shiny dresses

Let me first preface this post by saying that, if you go blind from looking at all the sequins and glitz, blame Isabel ... she came up with this idea and I just had to copy.

However, if you laugh so hard that your belly hurts, I'll take the blame. I am, after all, the girl who paid good money to look like:

1. A big green mermaid with horrid posture
2. Cookie Monster in drag
3. An ice skater whose dress is far too long

So, without futher ado, let's take a stroll down memory lane and dive right into the horror that was prom fashion in the mid ’90s.

Above is a picture from my very first prom. I was a sophomore and Doug, my very courteous date, was a junior. It was almost too awesome to comprehend that my presence had been requested at the prom by an upperclassman. I was hot snot — can't you tell by the way I carried myself? What posture I had!

In shopping for this dress, I must have tried on a hundred different gowns. The simple black dress just would not do. I had to make a statement, and that statement apparently was, "Look!! I've adorned myself with ruffles and sparkles ... and best of all, I'm wearing GREEN!!!

I knew it was a bold statement that no one else would have the guts to make, so I did it. I paid about $200 for this handmade little ditty and wore it with pride on the big night with my very first pair of heels ... which were dyed to match the dress, of course.

I also decided to do my own hair — you never would've known I didn't have that mop professionally styled, eh? Oh yes, the hot rollers were in full effect!

Next up was my very own junior prom.

What I remember about this dress was that I had enough sense to know that I looked rather matronly in it. However, it was the only dress I could find that fit me appropriately. I wasn't fat, but I sure wasn't skinny, and they just don't make prom dresses for girls who have already developed, if you know what I mean. (And, apparently, no one in the formal shop where I purchased this dress clued me in on the wonders of a push-up bra ... ugh!)

The afternoon of the prom, I had my hair frosted ... yes, I said F-R-O-S-T-E-D — because that's what my mother said looked best and for some reason, I trusted her on that. So, in addition to wearing a blue, blue, blue sequined gown that made me look like Dorothy on "The Golden Girls," I also had a frosted 'do' that had a whole lot of hair spray keeping it in place.

I was feelin' not-so-hot, but you win some and you lose some, right?

Finally, we have my senior prom.

God, how I *loved* this dress. I saved and saved and saved to pay this baby off — all $400 of it. (Scary, eh?)

The thing weighed about 100 pounds with all the beading — and check out those shoulder pads!!

But man, did I feel good ... I just didn't like having my picture taken because, you know that is so not cool, Mom!

Once again, I did my own hair. I don't know what I had against a simple updo; I suppose I just had to bring out those hot rollers one last time.

My date was Brian, a guy I worked with at Chick-fil-A who most resembled a giraffe. He danced like one, too.

So, there you have it! I'll extend the challenge to you all — Go ahead, you know you want to!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Changes in lattitudes, changes in attitudes

To help improve my state of mind, a vacation has been booked.

I know, I know ... I just got back from D.C. two weeks ago. But I figure that by May, I'll be more than ready to lounge on the beach with a good book in one hand and a mai tai in the other!

Siesta Key better get ready because I'll be there soon!

Get a grip

I very seriously need to take a chill pill — before someone shoves one down my throat.

I'm somewhat at my wit's end, and I can't put my finger on what's been bothering me — but it's probably a number of things that are slowly taking over my positive psyche and replacing it with a rather sour attitude.

In the last 24 hours, I have:
1. Snapped (and by that I mean jumped down their throat over a minimal issue) at someone I have a lot of respect for.
2. Forced back tears over a story I read about people buying ducks for their kids for Easter, only to dump them a short time later because — seriously — who can really keep a duck? (Unless you've got a pond, and that's cool with me.)
3. Developed one rather large blemish (i.e. one monster Z-I-T)
4. Tried to stop my heart from jumping out of its chest while my neighbor's truly horrid music vibrated my entire living room and kitchen.
5. Reminded myself to *just breathe* at least 250 times.
I may not be too far away from the looney bin. It sounds somewhat relaxing, actually.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Overheard in Chattanooga

At a crowded table filled with loud, obnoxious guys and girls in their early 20s last night at a local bar/restaurant:

Big guy: "Hey dude ... "

Little guy: "Yeah?"

Big guy: "How do you spell 'wait' — as in 'I can't wait'?"

Little guy: "Uhhh ... "

The poor guy never got an answer, but he still finished his text message ... I'm curious how he spelled the ultra-complex word — and if the message recipient couldn't 'wait,' either.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hooray for Spring! Grab a Kleenex!

The little wormy pollen-filled things are back. I don't know what they're called, but they're emerging from the trees outside my apartment at rapid speeds.

I love spring, but I hate these things!

They make me sneeze.
They make my eyes water and itch.
They make me miserable.

But the temperature is in the mid 70s, and spring is definitely here! So, I've popped my allergy pills, put on my flip-flops and am enjoying the beautiful weather.

I guess the allergies are a small price to pay for such a gorgeous season.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Today's the day

The fateful day has come ... and I'm really not sure if I'm up for it. I don't think I remember how to edit stories. I'm not sure if I can properly log in to our computer system at the office. And I really don't know if I have the energy to sit for 8 or 9 hours doing nothing but work.

I wish that were an excuse, but it's not ... so it's back to work for this girl today!

Actually, it'll be kind of nice to feel productive. My apartment is clean, but other than that, I've not done anything truly productive over the last 2 weeks. I also miss my work girls — there's so much to catch up on!

My vacation was fabulous, and I had an amazing time at Nick's wedding — where I got to see college friends who I don't get to spend time with often enough. It's been a great 11 days, but I think I'm ready to get back to reality ... at least for now!

But first, here's a couple pictures from the reception Saturday night. It was a beautiful wedding, and the party was a blast!

Meredith and Nick cutting the cake.

Kelley, the very happy groom and I.

Honeymoon bound!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Vacation notes

Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, walk some more. ... If I had to sum up why it's taken me this long to post after returning home on Thursday, I'd have to blame it on all the walking we did in D.C. It was so much fun, but I was absolutely worn out!!

So, here's a few notes from my D.C. trip:

1. There's an entire memorial dedicated to Franklin Delano Roosevelt — and it's definitely one I wish I'd known about on my previous visits to the city. It covers the era in which he served as president, including the Great Depression, with a depiction of a breadline and an elderly couple with furrowed brows standing outside their front door. With FDR's quotes carved into the stone in each "room" of the memorial, his words still have a very profound message ... "The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation. It must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world." There was also a portion dedicated to Elanor, who I've always admired. Go see this memorial the next time you're there; it's definitely worth it.

2. Two Diet Cokes at the Natural Histrory Museum cost more than 5 Diet Cokes at any fast food restaurant in Chattanooga. The profits go to a great cause, but I was shocked to shell out more than $6 for two (flat) soft drinks.

3. 50 cents is a hot commodity in Chinatown. Everyone seems to urgently need 50 cents there — and they're not afraid to ask multiple times for the money. I guess we truly looked like tourists, but when someone says "I'm sorry" once, you'd think they'd move on to the next potential 50-cent holder.

4. If you want a really amazing burger, head over to Matchbox on H Street in Chinatown. Seriously ... it was the best burger I've ever had. They're known for their pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven, and they looked absolutely delish, too! The restaurant, itself, was very cool. The very narrow 3-story building didn't feel cramped at all and was warm and inviting, yet hip and fun.

5. The one-day Metro pass is the way to go. For only $6.50, you can ride which ever line to where ever you choose from 9:30 a.m. until closing all day long. That's a steal — especially when your hotel is in Fairfax.

6. Speaking of hotels, the Holiday Inn Express in Fairfax was pretty impressive. It had recently been completely renovated and had a flat-screen TV, marble counter tops and very nice bedding. It was much less than staying inside the city, obviously, and only two miles from the Metro station.

I'm sure I've got more things stored in my brain, but I've got to get ready for a St. Patty's Day wedding!! Gotta run!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Today in pictures

1. I gave today a thumb's up.
2. A view of the Jefferson Memorial.
3. The World War II Memorial
4. Our U.S. Capitol
5. Yes, I am a dork.
6. I just thought the yellow flowers were pretty!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Greetings from D.C.

Air and Space Museum: Check
Lincoln Memorial: Check
Korean War Memorial: Check
World War II Memorial: Check
Amazing dinner at Matchbox: Check

I guess you could say it's been a great day of touristing in Washington for us! This picture was taken at the Lincoln Memorial ... taking a bit of a rest after walking all over creation tonight.

I'm tired, my feet hurt and I can't wait to catch some zzz's. But I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's adventures! Next up will be the remaining monuments, the Natural History Museum, possibly Arlington National Cemetery and who knows what else!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hitting the road

I've got about 8 hours ahead of me on the road, which is never exciting, but I am very excited about getting there! I'll be gone until Thursday, but hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures or a few words while I'm away.

My birthday was absolutely wonderful - dinner with great friends, the discovery of my new favorite drink - a mai tai, and lots and lots of laughter. If I remember, I'll write about last night when I get home!

Thank you all for the birthday wishes!! Have a wonderful week!

Friday, March 09, 2007

The last day of my 20s

Today is it. Tomorrow my 20s will be behind me, and I'll be looking straight at year number 30.

Turning 30 has really, really been eating away at me. I blame it partly on my hectic work schedule the past several weeks, which has made nearly everything bother me. But mostly, I think, rounding the corner of another decade makes most people a squirm - even if they don't like to admit it.

But you know what? I think I've let it go.

I woke up this morning - the first day of my glorious 11-day vacation - and felt better about the whole 3-0. It's a beautiful day outside, I'm going to have lunch with my dad, my car is still running (for now), I have a big trip coming up, and best of all ... there's nothing at all wrong with my life.

Sure, I'd like to be wealthier, I'd like to be thinner, I'd like to have a new car, a professionally designed home and a number of other worldly things. But, I've got everything I need, and that's more than many people in the world can say.

So, who cares that another day puts me into another age bracket? Not me.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cute cat picture

I just walked into my living room to find this bundle of fur packed tightly into her bed ... which happens to be the bottom of a 24-pack of bottled water. I had to share because, well, she's like my child and I think she's adorable.

If there ever were a time, it would be now

A time for a vacation, that is ...

Let me list the reasons:

1. First and formost, my birthday is Saturday. To be clear on how important this is, I have to say it's my 30th birthday. I'm not really looking forward to that number, but it's going to happen whether I like it or not - so a vacation is essential.

2. I am stressed out. Not just a little ... a LOT. There are many, many, many things on my mind lately including (Oooo ... a subcategory!):
a. Apartment life (Which I know I complain about far too often, but I'm sorry ... I can't afford to buy a house on an editor's salary.)
b. My car, which was leaking some fluid last night around 11 when I dropped some trash off at the dumpster. Oh joy.
c. My love life, which I don't talk about here because some things I like to keep to myself. But let's just say I'm not so good in relationships these days for a reason I can't seem to figure out - and that's making me feel pretty bad.
d. Money ... need I say more?
e. I'm on Day 9 of 11 at work. So tired. So very tired.
f. A variety of little things that add up to one big headache.
3. Isn't it always a great time for a vacation?!? I think so!!!

So, with all that said, this is the perfect opportunity for a road trip. On Sunday, I'm heading to Virginia and then on to D.C. It's going to be a somewhat hectic time, which I'm not looking forward to, but here's the rundown:
*Sunday night: At my mother's house in Lynchburg, VA.
* Monday and Tuesday: In Washington doing the whole tourist thing ... museums, monuments and shopping!
* Wednesday: Back at my mother's in Lynchburg.
* Thursday: Drive back to Chattanooga.
* Friday: Recuperate.
* Saturday: Wedding in Atlanta.
* Sunday: Back to work.
It's kind of busy, but I know it'll be fun once we get to where we're going and try to keep a reasonable pace.

My next vacation, however, will definitely involve the ocean, boat drinks and lots of sunshine!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Permanent makeover

Things look a little different around here, eh?

I've been wanting to change the look of this space for months now but haven't felt creative at all. But it hit me tonight that I was sick to death of the masthead I've had up for almost a year now.

Oh, and Dooce inspired me with her link to some pretty cool Photoshop paintbrushes that I couldn't resist.

So here you have it. A new look for Permanent Vacation. Hope you like it!

(I'm probably going to be changing the post headers to another color ... the red is somewhat blinding, don't you think?)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Waiting on the gain ... Er, loss.

In my world, whoever coined the expression "no pain, no gain" really meant "no pain, no loss." Sure, it doesn't rhyme, but I'm all about being realistic. There's nothing cute about hard work and sweat, so I'm changing that quote.

I'm proud to say that every day of this past week I've worked out - and hard. My legs are stiff and sore, but I've got my eye on the prize - which just happens to be a new wardrobe. Now that's motivation! So, if I lose 20 lbs., I've decided that I'll treat myself to a full-on shopping spree. I'd really like to drop 30 lbs., but I'm going to be practical about it.

I just need to keep this up, turn it into part of my lifestyle, and I'm sure the pounds will drop off and I'll feel much better about myself - not to mention my energy level will skyrocket. I can already tell a difference in that regard!

So, the word of the year is "Focus" and my new motto is, "No pain, no loss!"

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A pajamas kind of day

I blame the stormy weather for my complete laziness today. That's a valid argument for not going to the grocery store or working out, isn't it? It's practically dark outside and the rain and thunder are so soothing that no one can pry themselves off the sofa, right?


It's been raining/storming here since about 5 a.m., when I was awoken by my fraidy cat who finds it necessary to jump on me to alert me of weather that's out-of-the-ordinary ... that means a little rain or hail. To clarify, it was hailing this morning at 5. But, instead of being afraid of it like my fearful feline, the sound made me sleepy and I was out like a light ... until about 11 a.m., when I got up, had some water, watched part of "Passport to Europe" on the Travel Channel and then decided to go back to bed. ... You know, because it is practically nighttime outside.

I've just woken up and decided enough is enough. Plus, I was getting hungry. So I had lunch and am mulling the idea of taking a shower. I guess I should do that soon, since I've got to be at work in a couple hours.

So, you see, it's not a completely lazy day. Yeah ... I'm not so bad after all.