Monday, June 30, 2008

If the shoe fits ...

When I was 7 or 8 years old my mother bought me the first pair of shoes I ever wholeheartedly fell in love with. They screamed LOOK AT ME, I AM SO COOL, and I wore those shoes everywhere — to Girl Scout meetings, out on the bike trails and to church (much to my mother's distress).

I was a tomboy and didn't care that they were boys' shoes. I would have slept in them if I could. They were me, and I rocked those fabulous black-and-white checkered Vans.

Those shoes also gave me ambition. For so long, I had reluctantly answered, "nurse" every time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. All of my aunts were nurses, and it seemed to be the thing to do in my family. It was my lot in life, and I'd accepted it.

Until those shoes.

In a matter of seconds I had become thoroughly convinced that I would be a "shoe salesperson" when I grew up. I would outfit the world with uber cool black-and-white checkered shoes.

I proudly announced my chosen career path to anyone who would listen ... as I bopped around in my new kicks to illustrate my great taste in footwear. It was my calling, and no one could stop me.

No one. ... That is, until that newspaper reporter visited my seventh-grade journalism class four years later.

In my middle school world he was the definition of hip. I could almost picture him wearing a fedora with his press pass wedged beneath the ribbon. He talked about covering trials, visiting crime scenes and interviewing all sorts of interesting people. His name appeared at the top of every story that MILLIONS of people probably had the pleasure of reading.

That reporter played the role of society's watchdog by fighting injustice with his pen, and that man became my hero over the course of the one-hour class he lead. He challenged us to write every day, to pay attention to the news and to speak out against the wrongs in society.

I was hooked. Anytime I saw a newspaper I read it - front to back. I began paying attention to the evening news, and CNN became my channel of choice. Forget "Beverly Hills 90210," I had a date every evening with Peter Jennings on ABC's "World News Tonight."

When it came time to apply for colleges, I had no problem listing my intended major. My friends struggled to figure out what they wanted to study, but I was firm in my decision. I would be a newspaper reporter, and that was that.

At my university I was the managing editor for our student newspaper. I loved it most days, but the stresses of maintaining a good enough GPA for my scholarship and working what essentially became a full-time job at the paper really wore on me. I chalked it up to everyone's experience in college and, in addition to my other job, accepted a freelance position with the local newspaper covering agriculture. I would win a Pulitzer Prize someday, and it would all be worth it.

After college I took a job covering higher education for a couple of years in South Georgia. I truly loved my job. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about the politics of higher ed., and learned a little about photography as well.

Since then I've had two other jobs in newspapers. There are times when I wish that reporter had never visited my seventh-grade journalism class, and I wonder what I would be doing now had I not gotten bit by the journalism bug. I think I'd be some sort of designer - whether it be graphic design or interior design.

But don't we all wonder where we'd be had someone — or something — not influenced our decision to become what we are today? I like to think so.

Who knows what I'll be doing 10 years from now. Maybe I'll still be in newspapers, but then again maybe I'll be running my own shoe store. You never know when my inner 8-year-old will emerge.

Maybe, just maybe, you'll see me strutting down the street in a pair of black-and-white checkered Vans again.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Not cool

I always leave my apartment when the exterminator comes. I don't know why, but I just feel funny being there while he's spraying my house as my landlord just stands there. Casual conversation just doesn't work in that situation for me.

So the bug man came today.
And left.
And neglected to lock my door.

I'm not happy.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Someone's another year older!

With just 15 minutes to spare before his birthday, Jim wheeled his chair over to my desk at work Sunday night at 11:45 and asked, "Are you going to do a birthday blog post about me?"

How could a person refuse that? So yes, Jim, here's your birthday blog post:

Even though you wear bizarre sandals from Greece and don't have any hair, I think you're absolutely fabulous.

You don't take my crap, and although I think you should, at least someone can keep me in line.

You make me happy when skies are grey. ... Wait, that's a song. Scratch that.

Your mad skillz with the Frisbee blow me away.

Your family is amazing, which probably has something to do with why you are so friendly, loving, patient, kind and someone I'm so very grateful to have in my life.

Happy birthday, Jim!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

For the love of all things fattening

I've been eating like I have somewhere to put all those calories lately. Don't ask, because I don't know what's gotten into me. The thing is, I truly feel hungry - all. the. time.

So when Allison began raving about Rita's, a frozen custard/gelati shop that had just opened near her house in Atlanta, I pretty much grabbed her, plopped her in the car and told her to DRIVE.

This place is fan-freakin'-tastic. I had a gelati with cookies and cream water ice and vanilla custard. Their gelatis aren't like the traditional gelatis I've seen, but dang it - they're fabulous.

At the risk of this blog post sounding like an ad, I'll stop now. And while I'm at it, I think I'll stop eating everything in sight because I'm going to look like I swallowed a barn before it's all over.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Crank up the banjo music

Saturday: Whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River
Sunday: Riverboat cruise on the Tennessee River

Anyone who knows me could tell you I love the being close to water. And while my weekend wasn't spent at the beach, my time on one river or the other was fantastic.

To celebrate Father's Day, my dad, stepmother, their granddaughter and I went on a dinner cruise on the Southern Belle here in Chattanooga.

Dad's like me — he's most happy when he's watching the world go by on a boat or ship. There's just something about it that we can't seem to get enough of. So the riverboat cruise was the perfect Father's Day gift.

And I had the chance to take some pictures from a different vantage point. So that was a bonus for me. The only problem was the boat was moving, of course, and my little point-and-shoot wasn't thrilled about that. Blurry pictures make me grouchy, but some of them turned out, and I thought I'd share.

Midway through the cruise ... Chattanooga's surrounded by mountains. I really should know which one this is, but I don't.

Chattanooga's riverfront near Ross's Landing. The pointy building in the center is the Tennessee Aquarium.

And finally, we were almost back to the dock here. I really would love to have one of those houseboats. I think I need one, don't you?

So, that was my weekend. And I'm ready to do it all again. Actually, I'm ready to hit the beach now. But I'm thinking that's not going to happen again this year. Hopefully I'll survive!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

River rafting

I spent much of my Saturday on the Ocoee River whitewater rafting with my girls from work. I can't tell you how much fun it was!

It had been ages since I'd gone rafting, but I'm already planning my next trip. And after this weekend, I've decided I want to take kayaking lessons. I can't imagine what a rush it must be to do hit the rapids solo. So, I've got some research to do and some money to start saving!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fused plastic wallet action

You've probably got dozens of plastic bags balled up somewhere in a cabinet, drawer or closet, right? Me too. But I'm actually using them now to make cute little credit card holders and change purses. It's so easy, and at the request of Jen, I'm posting a little tutorial. So here it goes!

First, gather 4 or 5 plastic grocery bags. You want the kind that are thin and crunchy. Stay away from those cool, thick Target bags. I learned my lesson this evening. They MELT and get goopy and, well, I won't go into the disappointment it caused me.

Next, cut the handles off the bags. Also, cut the bottoms off.

Completely flatten out the bags once you've cut the handles and bottoms off. Here you see a Target bag. That will change.

I place my bags on top of a kitchen towel that I don't mind getting ink on. If you're fusing bags that have a print, place the printed side face-down.

Next place regular printer paper on top of your bags. Like I mentioned before, I generally use 4 or 5 bags, which means there are 8 to 10 layers.

Set iron to about medium heat. Iron gently over the printer paper being careful not to cause any wrinkles in your plastic bags. I usually iron for about 2 to 3 minutes, making broad strokes.

Once you've thoroughly ironed your bags, they will be fused together. Carefully peal away the printer paper. And cut your plastic into what ever form you want. I don't have a template, or I'd post that here, too.

WARNING: Bag change about to occur

Tada! Fused plastic from new bags cut into desired size for credit card wallet.

Next, I will sew the plastic together using DMC floss and add a button detail.

I used a Velcro piece for the wallet's closure. It also hides the thread from the button detail.

And here is the finished product. Kinda cute. Very durable. And one-of-a-kind.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Retail therapy is a good thing

I truly love my new sandals. And after the weekend I had, I feel like I deserved a little shopping!

Things are kind up turned upside-down in my little world right now, so forgive me if I seem a bit preoccupied. I don't know how often I'll be posting, but I will be back.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

River thinking

There has always been something soothing about hearing the river's water lapping against its shoreline. And I kind of needed it today.

So I spent a good portion of my afternoon among blue herons keeping watch for their dinner, old fishermen casting their lines into the muddy water and little kids whizzing by on their bicycles without a care in the world.

And I soaked up the beauty of life. It's exactly what I needed. Because life is good - even when it seems a bit unnerving.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Fresh out of ideas

Really, I have no clue as to what to blog about these days. I've wracked my brain - to no avail. Work has been the only noteworthy thing in my world lately, but who really wants to read about the trouble I've had learning the language of sports. What a snoozer.

So. With that in mind, I'm asking for your ideas. Ask me anything (well ... not anything). If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear 'em. I'm truly all out of ideas.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Uh oh.

I cleaned out my wallet yesterday. Crammed to capacity with receipts, business cards and other various pieces of paper, it was time to just shred it all.

Apparently, that included all of my cash, too.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Welcome to Chattanooga!

I had a visitor yesterday who I dragged around Chattanooga in the gross, chilly, wet rain. It was fun, but I was so bummed that the weather was nasty.

So, I went out this afternoon in an attempt to capture some of Chattanooga's finer points, minus the dark skies and constant raindrops. But unfortunately I got stuck in the rain AGAIN after only 20 minutes of shooting.

Here are a few pictures I was able to snap before the sky opened up on me.

View of Veterans Bridge from the Bluff View Art District — one of my favorite places in Chattanooga.
I don't know why, but I really like this sculpture.

I played around with this picture a little. I think I like it.

Because I love ginkgo leaves ...

Another interesting piece in the sculpture garden.