If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there.

~ Lewis Caroll

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Once in a Lifetime

As previously posted, I had a day of wedding dress shopping this past Saturday. It began well enough, but I quickly became discouraged at the first couple of shops. I didn't like anything they brought me to try on. Nothing was "the one" and I began to think that maybe "the one" is an 'old bride's tale.' I mean, will I really feel special when I put on a certain dress? Can I not imagine getting married in anything else but this special dress? I truly thought I would have to settle for an ok only wedding gown. However, I still had one place left to shop. I had been there previously on my own and loved everything I tried on. If I had to buy a dress, it would probably come from this one store. We ventured to our last destination of the day.


I worked with the same bridal consultant as before (p.s. Pam, you're fabulous!). We pulled the "yes" dresses from my last visit so my mom could see them, and I also walked around pointing out other dresses I'd like to try on. They once again had a trunk show, so I looked through the brand-new, never-tried-on dresses. One in particular caught my eye. It was the most beautiful dress I've ever seen. I pointed it to Momma, and told her even though it wasn't remotely close to the style I was looking for that I thought I wanted to try it on. She just smiled and told me I would probably fall in love with it.


As usual, Momma was right. The instant I put it on, it just felt right. It fit like a glove and made me feel like the most beautiful, perfect bride in the whole world! All of the cheezy cliches can be applied to that moment. It's not at all the style I thought I wanted. But it's not too "bridey" either. It has so many unique elements that I've never seen before on a wedding dress. I was the first person to try it on, and am the only person in Tennessee to own that dress. The price was even under my maximum budget. Who could ask for more? I'm so glad my mother loves it as much as I do. She can't imagine me in another dress, so I know it's the right choice. I'm positive I'll feel the same way about it in eight months.


I know it's just a dress, but I really feel that it represents so much more. When you feel this good about something, it's got to mean you've made the right choice. That applies to the person you've chosen and been chosen by.


I want to post a picture of the dress, but I can't in case Matthew remembers that I have this blog and chooses to look at it. But, I'll post a picture of the hairpiece I've picked out. It's handmade with Swarovski crytals and the flower mimics the detail on my dress. Think of it as a little sneak peek. If you are truly curious, I have tons of pictures of the dress that I look at daily until my dress comes in.


After the wedding, I'll probably wear my dress to clean the house, shop for groceries, etc. I'm determined to find some occasion that I can re-wear the fabulousness that is "the dress!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Favorite Traditions . . .






Tomorrow I will partake of my favorite holiday tradition! Let me rephrase that, ONE of my favorite holiday traditions. I don't think I could possibly choose.

Momma is making the drive up tomorrow through the cold and sleet (the cold has already arrived and the sleet is on its way) to visit me in Nashville for the weekend. I'm mostly excited because it means I don't have to drive, but also because I love having her come spend a little time in "my world." I hope to be a perfect hostess, so I'm going to buy a pack of Diet Coke on my lunch break. I'm even scrubbing the tub and (gasp!) mopping tonight after work. Matthew will be away on a boys-only excursion this weekend, so it will be just the girls. Momma and I have a jam packed weekend that will hopefully result in some fabulous photos for me to post in my next blog entry.

As for the tradition . . . NUTCRACKER time! I fell in love with this ballet as a little girl and a little ballerina. I've never tired of seeing the story danced on stage by the talented dancers over the years. I admire the effort it takes to put on such a spectacular show. There is just something magical about the performance. While I love all ballet, this one in particular holds a special place. It is the quintessential holiday experience. This will be my first time to see the Nashville Ballet perform and my first time to see a show at the Tennesseee Performing Arts Center (TPAC). I'm quite excited to take my mother to our annual mother-daughter outing. The performance is at 7 p.m., so I'm looking for a great place to go afterward for a light bite and maybe a cocktail. But we can't stay out too late because Saturday will be spent . . .

DRESS SHOPPING! Wedding dress shopping, that is. Once again (and hopefully for the last time), I will be donning white gowns (and ivory, diamond white, white with ivory overlay, etc.). This time we'll remember to take some pictures. I can't believe I have zero pictures of me in a wedding dress. Especially since they all look fabulous (hey, it's my wedding, I can be a little vain). We have three appointments throughout the day, and hopefully we'll be able to squeeze in a nice lunch somewhere. The last place is where I went a few weeks ago to try on dresses alone. I picked out half a dozen or more to try on again when Momma is here to see them. I think "the dress" may be among them, but I'm going to look at the other two stores first. Matthew and I decided to have as casual a wedding as possible, but keep it classic. However, all the dresses I love are a little fancier than I originally had hoped to purchase. However, I've been told that it's our wedding and we can wear what we want, regardless of the rest of the theme/style/tone. I hope that's true and nobody will gossip negatively behind my back. I'm sure they will, but once again--it's my wedding! I think the wedding dress should stand on its own and not cater to the whims of the rest of the decorations. It will all come together beautifully! If we can only pick a venue!

So that's my weekend. A tradition and a once-in-a-lifetime shopping trip. I can't think of a better way to spend time with the greatest mother in the world.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tis the Season to be Thankful

I think I've finally recovered from my Thanksgiving weekend. It was unusually busy and hectic for me. This Thanksgiving was extra special . . . I celebrated with my soon to be in-laws in addition to my usual family festivities. I'm so thankful that I have such a large family now! In years past, I've spent the holidays with just my mom. Those are some of the best memories I have; however, I've always hoped for a big family of my own. The noise, chaos, and fun that go along with a "Griswold" style holiday is something that I've always prayed to have. Now I believe I got my wish. Robert, the greatest step-father in the world, has been a part of our family traditions for a few years now, and I'm so happy to have him. My step-brother and his wife gave me a niece eighteen months ago. And now I have a fiance and future in-laws to include in the mix. I dream of the day when we own our own beautiful, old (but remodeled) home with room for the entire family. I'll invite everyone up for a long Thanksgiving weekend. Football out in the yard, cooking good smelling food all day, and sipping cocktails by the fire chatting about our lives . . . that's what Thanksgiving and the holidays are all about. Remember who and what you have in your life and be thankful. It could all be gone in an instant.



On a lighter note, my apartment is getting more and more festive! Matthew says it's "too Christmasy," but I don't think that can be possible. My little tree is precious, and I even have stockings for Santa to fill (but not too much, since he'll visit me again in Jacksonville). We even have lights outside. I wanted pretty twinkly lights, but Matthew requested the old-fashioned tacky giant colored bulbs, circa 1982. They, in their special way, are fabulous, too. I'm goingt to spruce it up out there a bit and enter our patio in the apartment complex decoration contest. Can't wait to win!

In a couple of weeks, I'll be continuing one of my favorite holiday traditions--seeing the Nutcracker ballet. Momma is coming to visit and we'll be doing it together, like always. The Nashville Ballet and Nashville Symphony are performing the classic, and I know it will be beautiful and inspiring as always. We'll also be going to look at wedding dresses, so hopefully I'll have that to blog about later!

Happy Holidays to All!

Monday, November 16, 2009

2010: The Year to Wed

As previously posted, I am a soon-to-be-married gal. About a week or so after announcing my own engagement, I had a fabulous phone call from one of my very bestest friends. She, too, is engaged! In addition to that announcement, another mutual friend of ours just received a ring of her own. Plus, two good friends from college will be tying the knot in April. Whew...just thinking about it all is stressful! All those showers and gifts and planning! But it will totally be worth it knowing all these people are embarking upon the greatest journey. I'm happy to be among them.

In preparation for my own big day (ahem, August 7, 2010), my mother and I went "preliminary gown browsing," as I like to call it. It was the most fun thing I've done so far in planning. Every dress looked amazing. I don't know what it its about wedding dresses, but it's hard to find one I didn't like. At least I've narrowed down the selection a bit, and I discovered that lace can be really beautiful. Even if your wedding day is months away, like mine, you need to go try on dresses! It's the greatest feeling.

I'm perusing the blogs for color and theme inspirations. I've found quite a few bloggers who put together amazing "inspiration boards." I'm printing out all the ones I like and storing them in my idea binder. Right now I'm stuck on using yellow. I keep thinking of awesome (and cheap) ways to use lemons as decorations. Navy, gray, and yellow is my favorite color scheme of the moment, but it will surely change as soon as I come across something else fabulous.

p.s. if you have any great ideas, send them my way!

Oh, and I already have my something blue and something old! I'll be carrying a handkerchief my great-grandmother made that my mother carried in her wedding. I teared up when she showed it to me. I can't believe I'll have something so special to carry. I got a great deal on the "Something Blue" Manolo Blahnik heels. I'm thrilled that they will be my wedding shoes! I think that's just a little something special that nobody will really see, but I'll be loving!

I have my bridesmaids--and they are all fabulous! I hope to incorporate each in a special way since they all mean so much to me. I found the cutest way of asking them (well, I've already asked, but I'm still sending a little fun something extra!).

2010 is looking good. I've had a blast so far, and I hope the fun and enjoyment continues as I plan my big day and help my friend plan hers.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Going to the Chapel . . .

It's November; I can't belive October has already flown by! It has been quite the busy Fall season, and I do believe it's getting busier. In my previous posts, I lamented my Halloween plans (or lack thereof). Fortunately for me, Las Vegas was the answer! Matthew and I rushed to get our costumes, boarded a plane, and spent four fabulous days in the fabulous Sin City. It turns out that Halloween wasn't all we'd be celebrating.

I have never seen the Bellagio fountain lights show at night, so it was on my to-do list for the trip. We made reservations at Olives which has a beautiful terrace overlooking the water with front row views of the fountain show. The host led us to a table by the terrace rail (how lucky, I thought!). Little did I know that it was all prearranged. We perused the menu, but our waiter seemed to have dissapeared (and I was hungry!). The fountains came on again and Matthew got down on one knee and popped THE question! I don't really remember all the details since I went into shock. I was truly surprised! But it was beautiful! The funny thing was that the music that plays during the fountains is Frank Sinatra or something romantic; however, for Matthew's proposal Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA was being belted in the background. It still makes me giggle. Needless to say, I was no longer hungry. We finished our drinks and appetizers and left the Bellagio to celebrate! (On a side note, the steak I had planned to order sounded amazing, so we'll definitley be back.)

Halloween turned out to be interesting. Clubs in Las Vegas aren't nearly as stylish and exclusive as they appear on E!, but it was definitely an experience. Our costumes were great--I'll have to post one of Deputy Dangle from Reno 911 (a.k.a. Matt Duncan). I was a disco fairy (my dress lit up with fiber optics). All in all, not a bad night, but I'll stick to my Irish pubs!

Now I dread the planning. I know it will be fun once I get started, but picking all the initial stuff like dates, locations, colors, etc. is exhausting, and I haven't really even started! My vote is to head back to Vegas in a few months and finish what we started! Of course, all are welcome to join us! I guess I'll just keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Little Update on Lacey's Life

Life has been extra busy this fall. I'm absolutely loving the season in Nashville. We have perfect the best fall fun and foliage--I must reitterate my belief that the South is absolutely beautiful!

Anyway . . . October is jam packed with activities. Two weekends ago was Whitney's wedding. I must say, it was the most beautiful event. The weather barely cooperated, but by the time the vows were said, the sun peeked out in time to provide a gorgeous sunset in the background. My dress is awesome (now a work dress, thank you very much Whit!). I so enjoyed seeing my friends who I rarely get to spend time with these days (please come visit!). I've included a picture that illustrates my enjoyment of the festivities.

This weekend is JSU Homecoming. Wow, it seems like only yesterday was homecoming '08. It's crazy how time flies. I can't wait to see my girls! I really just want to say hello to Baby Byrd (and of course see you Allison). I'll also get to see my niece, Grace, who is growing up way too fast. I can't believe how grown up she already looks at just 15 months.

The pinnacle of my October is Halloween weekend. Drum rol . . . . Las Vegas, baby! The good times will be here soon. My costume is ready (it has fiber optic lights) and I already bought tickets to Cirque du Soleil and Madame Tussaud's wax museum (don't laugh, it has interactive exhibits!). I checked the dimensions for carry on luggage (can't lose my costume!). I'm definitely ready. I love to people watch and observe people who love to be care free, so I should get an eyeful over the weekend. We'll be there for four full days! I'll definitely be reporting on the Halloween party, so stay tuned!

As for all my followers (the few, the proud . . .), I hope you take advantage of all that fall has to offer. Enjoy your weekends and don't forget to have fun!

p.s. check out my pumpkin! it's my best yet

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Spooky Factor


You can feel it in the air . . . halloween is almost upon us! While many look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am anxiously awaiting the first holiday of the season, Halloween!When I left the house for work this morning, it was just the right temperature for my jeans and cardigan. The leaves are beginning to change colors, and you can almost smell them burning after being laboriously raked into piles. Scarves are coming out of closets in a multitude of colors and patterns, the perfect accessory on a brisk evening out.

Ahh . . . I'm itching to take my carving knife to a pumpkin and create that seasonal masterpiece!

Luckily, spiders have flocked to my patio like an arachnid Miami, so I have instant spooky ambiance. I've snipped recipes for spooky sweets and cooky cocktails. I'm ready for scary movies and freaking myself out accidentally on purpose. The dilemma for Halloween 2009 is what I'm going to do on actual Halloween night.

For the past two years, my friends and I have hosted a Halloween bash. It's debatable whether or not it's a good time had by all, but it's definitley interesting! Unfortunately this year there will be no annual Hallowfun. I'm unsure of my options. Julie will be celebrating at Degaween (or Hallowdega), and her house is the usual site for the party. I have no idea what any of my other friends are doing. I could host a fa'boo' party (hehe), but my 700 square foot apartment may object. I've tried to look up events via the internet, but nobody seems to be in the spirit! What is wrong with Nashville!? Nevertheless, I'm holding out hope that something spooktacular (hehe again) will develop. My evening will be spent in costume with my friends somewhere doing someting totally ridiculous and immature. I do believe that's what Halloween is all about.

Now for the costume--the pinnacle of Halloween frivolity. I'm debating between two main alter egos: the tooth fairy or Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie is an easy look to put together; I simply need a blonde wig and a Merlotte's tshirt (available at hbo.com). The tooth fairy requires more detail, which I have access to thanks to my mommy (yes I'm 27, but she's still my mommy). I recently decided I could be an evil tooth fairy! But still sexy. I could get several sets of fake halloween teeth and dip them in costume blood (leftover thanks to my very bloody vampire of 2008) and tote them around in my tooth fairy bag. This look also entails some awesome fairy wings (which are a fire hazard--lesson learned from the lady bug of 2007). My sluttiness factor dipped last year (even though my dress was super short and I had on kick ass stilletos). I pulled a Lindsey Lohan in Mean Girls. This year I'm determined to find a costume that fits all of my requirements. A trip to the Halloween store in the near future will undoubtedly prove worthwhile.

I hope you all find time in your busy October to take the time to carve a pumpkin, hang a Frankie (wink, wink Allison), or simply go "boo!" Remember it's the one day of the year where you can pretend to be something you aren't and nobody can give you crap for it. It's a shame to waste that kind of freedom.

BOOOOO!!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Couch Potato Season

Ahh...the fall tv season is upon us. As busy as my life is, it's so nice to have something simple to look forward to each evening. Television is also great for the multitasker like myself; I prepare for class, check email, cook dinner, etc., all while tuning in to my stories (that's what my granny called her soaps, her stories). And they are wonderful stories that keep me mindlessly entertained until bedtime.

I don't just watch anything that's on tv, however. My weekly schedule is quite specific and each show has special place in the hierarchy of dvr series recordings. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my essential show days. NCIS comes in first, and season seven is off to a great start! They've hooked me again after a not-so-hot season six. Tony and Ziva may finally come to grips with their feelings for each other. Gibbs is still kick-ass, and of course the rest of the cast is still awesome. The new NCIS-Los Angeles hasn't gotten my dedication, but I'll give them a couple of weeks to get in the groove before I veto it. Then Thursdays is my Bones night. I heart David Boreanaz (a.k.a. Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and love the rest of the cast as well. Good things are coming, I just know it.

Besides the above mentioned shows, which are cannot miss, I have a few others that I am faithful too as long as I can record them:

Psych
House
Chuck (unfortunately not on again until after the winter olympics, boo that)
Leverage (also on hiatus)
The Mentalist (a serious knock-off of Psych, but still a good show)
True Blood (not as good as the books, but quite entertaining)

There are some other shows I get excited about that are Matthew's dvr picks, and these are worth mentioning:

Fringe (on after Bones and really good)
Eureka
Lie to Me
How I Met Your Mother
Two and a Half Men
Entourage

Everyone has their favorite shows and guilty pleasures, but this lineup is about all I can handle. I have to squeeze in all my books as well. If you haven't checked out any of these shows, you should give them a try. A little escape is good for the soul, and good tv (or even crappy reality tv) can provide just such an escape.

*disclaimer: television should be used in moderation. don't forget to read and exercise.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yumm-O

While spending the last few hours with my houseguests (and good friends, of course) yesterday, we drove past what we thought may be an ice cream shop. After some sightseeing we drove back to the shop, ignoring the protests from the backseat. Leaving the boys in the car, Crystal and I went in to explore Nashville's Tasti D-Lite.

It was awesome. I have to admit that I do not generally get excited about ice cream. I'm just not much of a dessert person; I'm really a meat girl. However, this place hooked me. They happily give you a sample of whatever flavors are "regular" this week, and they'll gladly explain all of the custom flavors to you in detail. There are over 100 possible tasty flavors!

It's soft serve and delicious. I ordered the Banana Fudge. Wow. Crystal ordered the Peanut Butter Dream. Double wow.

They should have a club like bars do for beer drinkers. Once you try 100 flavors you get a free cup or your picture on the wall or a t-shirt. Maybe I'll get Crystal to co-write a letter to the Tasti D-Lite president.

Oh, and the best part! Everything is 100 calories or less! It's actually good for you! I was floored when I saw the menu organized in flavors by calorie count.

I believe Tasti D-Lite originated in NYC. Crystal texted me last night to tell me that Charlotte (SATC) had some Tasti D on last night's rerun. If it's good enough for the SATC girls, it's good enough for me. Nashville has some fabulous eateries (which I'll probably blog about) and this is one of them. Find your local franchise and help yourself to the samples until you find that just-right flavor.

www.tastidlite.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Workin' on My Fitness

As Fergie so eliquently put it, "I be up in the gym just workin' on my fitness."

I couln't resist the lure of a cheap gym membership, so I joined today. It really is a good deal. The Urban Active fitness center is in the adjoining parking lot to my office, which happens to be right next door to my apartment complex. It's as though the fitness gods are giving me a sign. Besides, a friend at work just joined, and Matthew joined earlier this week. Between the two I'll always have a gym buddy! Plus my membership fee of a mere $24.95 per month includes unlimited tanning. What's not to love about that?

Now, the problem. How do I make the money worthwhile? How do I keep going after that first week of expoloring all the equipment and checking out all the people you can make fun of (admit it, people do dumb things in gyms). Perhaps I have the answer! I received a free consultation with a trainer as part of my membership. I meet with him this evening at 5pm. His name is Clint, and so far he doesn't seem very intimidating. I've yet to see him in action though. When I signed my contract he gave me an assignment. I'm to come up with a list of three or more goals (it'll probably be an essay!) and a picture of my former too hot self (that's a joke) or a picture of my ideal body type. The first is easy enough and the second not possible since my office blocks the Victoria Secret website (we must have some serious pervs around here). I'll just submit my goals and explain to Clint that I used to have abs and I'd like to find them again. My biggest fear is when he takes those metal pincer things and grabs my arm flab to measure it (ew, gross). I know I have some fat to lose, why is it necessary to measure it like it's about to be sold by the pound? Nevertheless, I hope he'll have some good tips that I can use to make my new fitness routine exciting and fun. Note: working out is always fun when you already look good...why is that? Oh, and have I mentioned that in order to make this fitness fantasy come true, I'll have to work out BEFORE work a few days a week because of my second job!?

I'm hoping for the best. I have a vision of what the future will hold and the things I'll be able to accomplish with more energy, more muscle mass, and smaller pants.

To add some motivation I purchased new running shoes today. My Mizuno's should arrive in 5-7 business days. Perhaps I should refer to my earlier blog about Shopalism?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

WHAT'S UP WITH OUR GOVERNMENT?

I condsider myself to be a "good American." I support the President, the House, and the Senate . . . even when I disagree with their political views and goals. I understand the importance of being a united country even though most Americans would rather complain about things they have no knowledge of. Yet, I am now questioning my loyalty to our military. I support the troops, but what about those who manage the troops. The people "behind the scenes," I suppose.

My boyfriend was set to leave for OCS (Officer Candidacy School) in October. This has been in the works for several months. All the paperwork was filed, his physicals were done, and we've been waiting for the official word. We assumed it was a done deal. I was even looking forward to the excitement and challenges of this new military life. Until today.

Apparently they misfiled some of his paperwork. Remember that this paperwork has been completed for over a month. They didn't get it thru on time. Seriously! The military has people just to deal with paperwork! I'm so outraged and confused . . . if I can't count on the military to file paperwork correctly, how can I depend on them to protect my country and the men (and women) out there depending on them! No wonder people are dissatisfied with government in this country. It makes me want to move to England. I bet the queen doesn't f-up paperwork.

As a closing note: he is now scheduled to leave in January. Officially we're supposed to know something the first of October. Fingers crossed! Hopefully the fax machine won't be down between now and then (sarcasm there).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One Year Challenge

As a huge fan of food, I was intrigued when the movie Julie & Julia came out in theaters. I discovered that the film is based on Julie Powell's book of the same name, which was written as a result of her blogging experience. If you don't know, Julie Powell was feeling lost and unfocused in life (as we all have experienced) and took on the project of cooking all of the recipes in a Julia Child's cookbook (a very daunting task) in one year, and she blogged about it. Obviously the blog was a huge hit since fame and fortune ensued.

I chose not to watch the movie, but instead I bought the book. It's wonderfully written. Julie is very candid and opens herself up to her readers. The book is really funny at times, too. Aside from enjoying a good read, I got to thinking about her plan--cooking over five hundred authentic French recipes in 365 days in a walk up in NYC--and what I could challenge myself to do. What could any of us challenge ourselves to do?

It seems silly to come up with something just because it seems like a good idea. I'm waiting for something to inspire me--something like that cookbook. My friend, A.P., thinks I should write a book. This idea is always in the back of my mind, but I'm not sure I have enough motivation to complete this within twelve months. I could become a fitness buff, but I don't think my aforementioned love of food would allow for great success. I could travel to all the exotic and not-so-exotic places on my lifetime travel wishlist within a year, but I do believe that costs money.

For now it's just food for thought. If anyone out there is undergoing a personal adventure I wish you the best of luck!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Life in Higher Ed

Tonight I teach my first college class. It's what I've been trying to do since I received my M.A. last spring. My whole career path hinges on whether or not I even like teaching English. If I don't, then I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Well, that's not true . . . Vanna White has to retire one day, and she has my dream job. See how it's related--all about letters. My current job is enjoyable, but it's not long-term. There is no advancement, and my butt will get enormous if I spend thirty more years sitting at a desk behind a computer. I think I'm getting carpal tunnel, too.

My class is small tonight, only ten students. This seems like a good way to start off. They should be more comfortable with that size and do more talking. I sure don't want to spend three hours hearing myself talk about critical reading and thinking. Ugh. My plan is to be easy-going but not to let them take over. I've had teachers like that and things just get unorganized and out of control. So I've got rules, but hey, we're grownups, if you have to pee you have to pee--don't raise your hand and ask.

I think I'm so excited about this because I love school! I think it's the greatest. That makes me weird, but we're all weird in some way. I never planned on teaching (which is what everyone always told me I would do). I feel I'm giving in to the negative thoughts of a certain JSU freshman counselor who told me I'd never amount to anything with an English degree. But teaching college composition somehow seems important since everyone has to write something at some point in their job. As for that counselor, I think I'll write her a letter when I'm successful in some aspect of my life and tell her where she can put her advice.

Wish me luck!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Man's Best Friend

Our beloved dog, Duke, passed away Tuesday, August 4, 2009. It's honestly the most surreal thing I've ever experienced. I suppose that's because it was so unexpected. I won't go into details, but it was completely, randomly, tragic. I've been trying to snap out of my funk. I mean he wasn't a person after all. Or was he? For young singles and couples without children, pets often fill that role. They cost almost as much and demand as much attention as a child, so why should they be considered any less significant. My boss was completely in agreement, and he allowed me time off to grieve and work things out at home.

Life is going on as it always does, but it's not the same. I know one day the pain will be gone, but Duke's goofy grin will forever be with me. I still can't believe he won't be there when I get home from work, the couch covered in dog hair! The nights are so terrible. Matthew and I lay in bed thinking about him and not sleeping. It's easy to stay busy during the day, but at some point you have to stop doing and just think. I've never experienced this feeling of loss. When my childhood dog, Sassy, passed last month, it was expected. She had lived a full life of almost thirteen years. I was happy that she had been with us so long and cherish my memories of my childhood friend. My father died in 2005, and that was also not a surprising loss; he'd had some serious health issues prior and I had come to terms with him not being here for the majority of my adult life. Duke, however, was only five. I planned on my children growing up with him and loving him as much as I.

Pets can truly be man's best friend, family, support system. They love us unconditionally. Hopefully Duke is frolicking with other beloved family pets somewhere in the great beyond. I know he knows we loved him so very much.

Give all your animals a hug and extra love. They do so much for us.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Workday Blues

Do you ever just dread going to work? I know that's a stupid question--of course we all do at some point. I was so thrilled to be offered this opportunity, and I've only been working my current job since April, but I'm starting to lose some of my enthusiasm. It worries me that I'll never be fully satisfied with a job or career. Maybe because I never realized what I want to be "when I grow up." I think that's a fairly depressing thought to never decide on a dream. What do I strive for? I'm completely undecided. I'll be starting a second job, part-time with practically no pay, in September. It's with this job that I hope to realize something about myself and what direction my life may take. Perhaps I will love it and take off in that direction. Perhaps it will be just as unsatisfying as the other jobs I've had. I have inner goals and hobbies and loves, but it's difficult to create a career out of them. I want to work to live! I think that a life absorbed in corporate America isn't really living. Yet, I want to be successful and financially secure. It's a conundrum to say the least. Woe is me. My boyfriend tells me that nobody is in love with their job and it's just the way the world is. I have to strongly disagree! Someone out their is doing what they love and is eager to get up in the morning and go do it. Who are you? What are you doing? How can I find what I'm meant to be?! Well, it's back to the trenches for now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Matrimonial Merriment

Ahh...it's time for another round of weddings. Since I have three to attend (and one in which I'm an attendent!), marriage has been on my mind. I'm so very happy for my friends tying the knot and am thrilled to take part in one girlfriend's ceremony. However, it raises the question of whether or not I'll ever join the world of matrimonial delight. I've often thought of how I'd do it, or where, who would be there (who wouldn't), etc. But it's strange how lately I think more about the after part of a wedding. What will marriage be like? In many ways, marriage seems like a tired convention that no longer has a part in modern society, but I still like the romantic notion of being a part of someone in a spiritual and emotional way. While I pride myself on being a modern, self-sufficient woman, I still am pleased as punch when a gentleman holds a door open or offers his seat or looks offended if I offer to pay for my own drink! It's these ties to historical expectations of the sexes that keep me intrigued by the idea of marriage. Plus married couples have the added benefit of extra financial security, and we can't get enough security these days. After careful consideration I am stating that I am pro-marriage (if you want it). If you don't, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have lived a happy life of non-marrital bliss, so there is an alternative that seems as fulfilling. So congrats to my friends and I wish them a lifetime of happiness and compromises and hope. Maybe one day soon the Little White Chapel will be calling me to Vegas, so until then I'll choose to believe in the tradition and happy endings.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm a lifetime lover and proponent of public libraries. While I love to own the books I read, they aren't always affordable. Great books should be available to all! Please support your local library. They run mainly on donations and community support. A poorly stocked library can turn into a great one with a little help from its patrons. Almost all libraries have a "help us out" website or club. Consider joining or just donate what you can. Even if its a few books they might need or want.

"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries."
-Anne Herbert

If you happen to be in Nashville, here is the link to the Nashville Public Library's foundation:
http://www.nplf.org/support.aspx.

Keep the love of reading alive and strong in your community.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No New is Good News?

After a couple weeks of the Michael Jackson media takeover, I started to miss the real news. Don’t get me wrong, I love MJ as much as the next. I played his records on the turntable in tribute while I cleaned my apartment. However, full-time media coverage shouldn’t preempt everything else happening in the world. I even missed the fluff pieces that the Today show regularly intermixes with hard hitting news stories. However, now that the news is back on track, I’m wondering if I wasn’t happier with a one-track newsreel. The murder of those parents of sixteen children, soldiers dying in the war, airplane crashes . . . it’s all so disheartening. Yet, it’s the way the world works. Bad things happen every day and ignoring them doesn’t make them impact you less, it just leaves you less prepared for when something hits too close to home. So that said, “no news is good news” simply isn’t true. We have to take the good with the bad. Every once in a while something inspirational will slip through to the front page.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shopping Substitutes

I’m an addict. I love, love, love to shop—especially for clothes and shoes. Having recently moved into a new apartment, home d├ęcor is back on my “to buy” list. Now I know that I’m far from the only one suffering from this (I’ve watched the MTV special on shopaholics), but I’ve decided to reform. After reading Confessions of a Shopaholic and watching Isla Fischer’s performance in the film, I have to admit that I’m reluctant to stop my couture compulsion. You know how it is, you work hard (or you work) and bring home a paycheck only to find yourself making meals of Lucky Charms and olives at the end of the month. Where does it all go!? My money apparently goes on my feet. In order to curb the desire to purchase (and actually bring my card balances down), I thought I’d come up with some distractions.

I’ve decided to take up hiking. I love being outdoors, but I’m not too into sports. I golf, but you can sit down and drink beer, so it doesn’t count. And it’s expensive. I recently purchased a new golf outfit—precious and pink! It also benefited breast cancer research, so I feel it’s justified. Anyway, I checked out two books from the library (another hot spot for the money deprived) on hiking in Middle Tennessee. There are some fantastic looking parks and hiking trails within two hours of my house. Even better, it’s basically free! I’m planning a hike for next Saturday. I’m taking my boyfriend and our dog (they don’t know it yet), packing a lunch, and lacing up my tennis shoes. I thought about investing in hiking boots, but I think I’ll see if I can stick with it first. I think it will do wonders for me. Besides saving money and killing time otherwise spent at the mall or by the pool, I’ll be getting exercise, and who doesn’t want killer buns earned from climbing rocky terrain?

I’m totally pumped about kicking my addiction. I also went through my closet and pulled out everything that I never wear, or just doesn’t fit (seriously, by the time it does, I can just buy something new), and am taking it to Plato’s Closet to sell. I made $300 the last time I sold to them, so maybe they’ll want my merchandise this time around. It’s freed up my closet so I can invest in some quality items. That’s the key. My Manolo Blahnik patent leather mary janes have gotten me through three fall/winter seasons and look like new. It’s amazing how affordable they seem when you get to wear them for years and not throw them out. Well, that’s my rant for the day. I say this as I have $93 left until payday, but hey, at least I have a plan!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Back on Track

This is my first attempt at blogging. I always have random thoughts, rants, or raves that I usually keep to myself, or dole out to whoever happens to be with me at the time. Now I can write it here for all (or a few) to read.

I finally hit a milestone in my “career” yesterday. I say that in quotes because I hardly call my employment history a career. I guess it’s common for twenty-somethings to be indecisive and not have a life plan, but that was never how it was supposed to be. I just knew that once I went to college I’d somehow know what I was supposed to major in, who I was supposed to date, what direction my life would take . . . like hopping on a train and just riding to the end of the line. Of course my train derailed many times. I finished my B.A. (in English, no less) and discovered that my career choices were limited. I continued to waitress (something I’m surprisingly good). I thought about going to graduate school in Boston. A boy took precedence. I know that happens, but for anyone out there, don’t let it happen to you! It worked out because six years later we’re still together, but still you never quit thinking “what might have happened?” Anyway, I finally got a job in marketing where I minimally put to use the things I’d learned in college. After a while I was unhappy with my choices and went back to the same school to pursue my M.A. in, what else, English. After all, I can teach college with that! Who can beat the hours of a college instructor! So I worked full time and went to grad school until finally the big day, graduation, had come! I donned my cap and gown, quit my job and thought my train was back on track. I’ve never been more wrong.

I went through the best and worst year of my life. I remained unemployed because I had no experience teaching, and the rest of the job market was a wreck because of the economy. Slowly a year passed since I got my M.A., and I was resigned to the fact that I’d probably be a waitress again. I love waitressing and have complete respect for the food service industry, but it wasn’t what I wanted. It’s hard to have something so close and not be able to touch it. Finally, I got an interview for a technical writing job in Nashville. Needless to say, I took it. It’s a great company, and I enjoy the writing, but I never got over the blow of working so hard at something and not getting what I wanted from it. I started my new life in Nashville in April. A few weeks after I moved the greatest thing happened. I received an email from Nashville State Community College. They needed adjunct instructors for the fall term! I pretty much got the job through email, and then yesterday was officially hired! I have textbooks and a syllabus and two classes waiting for me in August. I’m researching teaching methods and composition 101 assignments online. I can’t begin to explain how elated I am! It’s only a small-paying gig (really just for the experience), but it’s not about the money. It’s about finally feeling like I’ve accomplished something I set out to do.

No matter how hard things are, they're totally worth it if you reach your goal. Maybe I’ll be a great teacher and finally have a career. Maybe I’ll hate it and have to start from square one. Either way, I’m proud to say I did it. And as backup I’ve already applied to grad school at UT for the Library & Information Sciences program. Hey, being a librarian might be cool.