Wednesday, August 31, 2005
I just about lost my emotional marbles this morning on my way into work, listening to all the tragic and horrific news about the Gulf Coast region and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I don't have any friends/family that have been directly affected, but how can we watch the news at night, and listen to the radio, and NOT be affected?!

What's going on down there is crazy -- Lake Pontchartrain, outside of New Orleans, has torn holes in the levees surrounding the city. In some spots, there is more than 20 FEET of standing water. Rescue crews are pushing corpses aside to try and find survivors in the waters. How many days can someone sit on their roof in the 100 degree sun, without water to drink?! The questions are overwhelming, and the needs of the citizens in LA and MS are staggering.

Please consider doing what you can to assist these people- I called in a donation to Red Cross this morning. It wasn't much, but what else can I possibly do?

Clear Channel's Storm Aid
Red Cross Website

You can also call 1-800-HELP-NOW, or the Salvation Army at 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

It's a bird, it's a plane!
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
It's a blog, it's a diet! I have decided to blog again today instead of eating lunch. And no, this entry is not about how I have a tendency to abandon proper grammar and just type in the manner of which I speak...lots of commas, parentheses, and tons of tense violations. Several writers read this blog and ya'll can just SUCK IT, as Heather would say.

This entry is about drunkenness (theme for the day). (parentheses, again.) (oh my God, punctuation inside parentheses!)

(I heart parentheses)

I recently spent time with some old co-workers of mine in Boston, and had a great time. My old job (their current one) is atypical in that it involves a lot of group travel -- onsite experiences tend toward the dramatic, crazy, and difficult. The result of this is two-fold: (1) our bonds tend to be stronger and longer-lasting than most people who just "work" together, and (2) we have gotten/get the chance to see one another in a decidedly un-corporate light.

Seeing them recently brought to mind a shared trip that we all took last summer. I ran into some photos on an old disc and thought I would share the story with you.

Have you ever wondered why the photographers at school dances posed couples in the manner that they did? Bizarre body positions, odd head angles, and won't you just lift your chin a bit? No, not you, YOU. School dance photographers have a knack for making an already uncomfortable situation REALLY F&%#KING AWKWARD. Those of you that went to prom/homecoming/turnabout with someone who was "just a friend" know exactly what I'm talking about.

This topic was conversation amongst us one very drunken night in SoHo, NYC. I can't remember how many drinks were consumed as each of us shared our embarassing stories of skirts tucked into pantyhose, broken heels, garter diving, and lost cumberbunds. Suddenly, I had what *at the time* was a brilliant-upon-brilliant idea.

Pose for some prom photos. In the bar.

People's evidence A: you will see several things, including the #1 awkward prom pose (the "Standing Spoon") and my incredible inebriation, to name a few. Yikes.

I don't think I've EVER looked as incredibly, unapologetically drunk as I do in this photo. I frighten myself.

Hi, my name is Jamie...
Say it with me now, "Hi Jamie..."

I had one too many beers last night. By myself. Note for future reference: Beer is not a suitable substitute for Diet Coke.

I was really thirsty last night, inexplicably, and tried to have two big glasses of water with dinner. That didn't do it for me, so when I would normally turn to Diet Coke (of which I had none), I had a beer instead.

But I was still thirsty.

Four beers later, I was still genuinely thirsty. So I went back to water.

This morning, I woke up feeling like I'd eaten thumbtacks and bleach for dinner. Thank GOD I took two ibuprofen before going to bed, or else I'd be totally worthless today.

Monday, August 29, 2005
While we're on the subject of my Uncle Jim's...er...unique personality, I feel obliged to fully disclose something. Like MANY members of my family (myself included), he's always been a little weird.

Case in point: an infamous day in history - the Gorilla Incident.

When I was younger, my Uncle Jim reveled in being the quirky guy that he is. One time, my sister and I flew alone to their house in northern Wisconsin. Jim picked us up at the gate in a bathrobe and crown, calling himself "the King." And not in a funny, kitschy, Elvis-y sort of way. I was 8 and I knew enough about life to be painfully embarassed by his antics.

But rewind a second, back to the task at hand. This time, I was too young to catch on to the "scenario" being played out in the house during one of our much anticipated visits. My aunt went along with it, which kills me...anyway, we arrived and she informed us to be on the lookout for a gorilla that had escaped from the local zoo. (I didn't know that not only was there NOT a gorilla in their local zoo, there was NO LOCAL ZOO)

A couple minutes pass, and we hear thumping coming from upstairs. My mother, my aunt, my sister, and I all headed up there to investigate. By the time we hit the master bedroom, the thumping was accompanied by a fantastic wail of sorts - a really guttural sound. Definitely not human. I remember my sister, who had just hit that age where she was *this* much too big to be carried, requested to be picked up and held.

Suddenly *THRAP* goes the crawl space door in the ceiling, and out comes a rainshower of bananas - one of them hit me in the neck. Do you know how painful it is to be hit in the neck by a banana?! FULL. SIZE. BANANAS. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

And wouldn't you know it, a gorilla comes climbing out of the attic/crawl space growling, clawing, and generally carrying on. I remember screaming so loud that I didn't know if any sound was actually coming out of my mouth -- I became deaf with fear.

Several minutes (and a lifetime of therapy) later, the gorilla reaches for his neck, and slowly peels his head off to reveal my very sweaty Uncle Jim. He was grinning from ear to ear, that bastard.

So when I say that I don't like pranks, don't like practical jokes, and don't like surprises, BELIEVE ME. I DON'T. I still don't appreciate the humor that comes from embarassment, or set-ups. I don't like shows like "Punk'd," and "Candid Camera" because they truly upset me -- I can't watch them.

This story came up (and it usually does during family time) over lunch this weekend. I received some beautiful gifts from my loving relatives, and had a good time. My niece Brianna said "Happy DayDay" immediately upon my arrival, which loosely translated, means "Happy Birthday" and also probably means she'd been practicing saying it all week. It made my day-day.

Bri, I promise I'll never scare you with fake gorilla suits and projectile bananas. I do, however, promise to give you as much love and support as my Uncle Jim has given me over the years. Oh, and I promise never to wear a full-body Cleveland Indians outfit to any of your birthday parties.

In which she purposely blogs when her phone is ringing and should be answered
Friday, August 26, 2005
I understand why we thank God for fridays, but shouldn't we really be thanking the Gregorian Monks for their spectacular (and enduring, as it turns out) calendar making skills?

I really need to get out more, so that my blog entries are less of a daily minutiae report, and more of a story about my FABULOUS life. Ha.

Tomorrow, I'll be driving (with SMD, what a gem) to my family's celebration of my birthday. We will also be celebrating my Uncle Jim's birthday -- he is an interesting character, that Jim. A couple of years ago, following quadruple bypass surgery, he flatlined on the operating table and was revived a la "ER" with those funky-looking electric defibrillating paddles. He has now decided (and rightly so, I suppose) that since he's already been dead, he has NOTHING TO LOSE. Which is a healthy attitude for someone in his position.

One manifestation of his new outlook on life is his wardrobe - he wears nothing but sports clothing. Every day, all day. Coats, shoes, gloves, hats, you name it - the man has kept the Starter Company in business for the past 4-5 years. The last time I saw him in a blazer was my sister's wedding (to which we thought he might show up all in Packers gear, just to piss her off). The man has a matching outfit for every professional sports team there is - NFL, NHL, MLB, etc. When I was cheering in the AFL, he even started buying up arena football paraphenalia. He has a full outfit for every team I've ever danced/cheered for, including college.

And that's love, because he's the biggest UW-Madison alum/fan in the WORLD, and I'm sure draping himself in orange and blue was never his idea of fun. Despite his bizarre choice in clothing, he's the best uncle a girl could ask for.

I will keep you updated on his garb at tomorrow's event, as I'm sure you are slack-jawed with excitement and anticipation.

Feet Fast Anlæg Velkommen Jer!
Thursday, August 25, 2005
According to my tracking, Feet Firmly Planted is now international! Somebody in Denmark has read my lil 'ol site!


Parting is such sweet sorrow
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Goodbye my sweet, 3-bedroom love...I will miss your high ceilings and front bay window that looks so amazing with my enormous Christmas tree...and I will miss your spacious kitchen with a separate eating area...OH, how I am already feeling the pain of not having in-unit laundry...

but east-ward I must trudge...onwards and upwards into something little, yellow, and different.

Seriously, folks. The new apartment is starting to grow on me, in a good way. My parents graciously borrowed a van to drop off the glass top to the dining room table, and it's pretty much complete. Except my new wine rack (courtesy of Jen H, Kate T and Kate K) and Champagne Flute rack (courtesy of Jen W), which are empty. Geez, my friends sure think I'm some kind of boozer!

They know me so well.

In other news, I have officially come down off of the mountain of anger and general pissiness that was my day today. There are more important things in life than holding onto that uncomfortable, upset feeling...so I'm going to do my best to stay optimistic and keep moving forward. Thanks for the well wishes, everybody.

Epiphany, of sorts
You know what I like? I like dogs, beer, stiletto heels, the smell of freshly mown grass, leather handbags, and people who comment on my blog. I like to help people.

You know what I don't like? I don't like people who use smoke and mirrors to make a beast into a beauty, and I don't like being made a liar.

Here in the blog world, we're instructed to be diplomatic and keep some important aspects of our life as anonymous as possible. I won't be doing that today - not on this blog, and not in real life.

I can't remember the last time I was this livid about anything - I tend towards the melodrama, but I'm not completely off my emotional rocker (yet). Can you remember the last time you were so mad that you just couldn't see straight? What did you do to work through it?

Whirling Dervish
Monday, August 22, 2005

Being out of town always helps me put my life into perspective. I am a routinized homebody, and while I love to travel, it inevitably becomes very draining for me. (unlike SMD, who could spend every day on a plane and be just ducky for weeks on end)

I would like to sit still when I get home. Not do anything, just sit on my ass and watch movies, catch up on my birthday thank-you cards, and talk nonsense to my dog.

In the past month, I have:
- moved from one section of town to another...Southport Corridor, I shall miss you (and my former proximity to Pat's mini-mart) with the fury of a thousand burning suns
- kenneled my dog TWICE (resulting in canine constipation)
- done all my laundry, all at once (this is a lot of clothes, people)
- traveled
- balanced my checkbook...twice! talk about stress.
- gone on vacation with MY ENTIRE FAMILY
- missed days of work that need to be caught up on
- returned 549 voice mails (yes, I kept count)
- celebrated a birthday (resulting in a 4-day binge on Jewel-Osco sheet cake)
- transferred my mail
- purchased ridiculous amounts of fleece for upcoming philanthropic project

Next thing you know, my car will break down. Well, shit...now I've officially jinxed it. So much for that.

It will take me the rest of the month to recover from my work absences and personal obligations. Which makes September OFFICIAL MONTH OF R&R.

And by R&R, I mean Rum and Relaxation.

Sunday, August 21, 2005
I have internet access here....(insert evil cackle laugh, complete with thrown-back head and a montgomery burns finger wiggle)


Is it super obvious that I'm in need of some sleep, and a comfortable pair of shoes?

SPF 19 : Self Portrait Friday
Friday, August 19, 2005
Some of the blogs that I read regularly do this "thing" called Self-Portrait Friday. At first I thought about it, but ruled it out as it is inherently narcissistic. Then I got bored yesterday and attempted to take some photos of myself.

First off, taking a quality photo of yourself is HARD. Especially if you're me, and still getting acquainted with the functions other than "auto" on your camera. Secondly, taking photos of yourself requires that you be 100% okay with your appearance, your surroundings, and yourself. For me, this has not always been the situation -- for instance, I really really really really really dislike my nose. Granted, I would not look like "me" if I were to ever get it redone...I know that. But that doesn't mean I don't have dreams of rhinoplasty.

Then it occurred to me that it is what it is. Self-portraits are about what you are, not what you want to be, or what you look like under a ton of make-up. I love myself as is, unconditionally, whether I'm looking ugly or looking fabulous. If other people want to tease me for my freckles or the dark circles under my eyes (dude, I've had them my entire life), then let 'em. While unpacking, I got the chance to see photographs of myself from a more made-up, skinnier past, where appearances were everything and then some. And I looked like a whore.

So I went on about my self-portraiting (is that a word?) and tried to capture ME, wide nose, crows feet, freckles and all. I even took a few shots that I designed to make my nose look larger, purely out of curiosity. I might not do SPF every week, but this was definitely an eye opening experience for me.

I even took a photo of me IN MY READING GLASSES, PEOPLE - the ones that double the size of my eyeballs. That's how dedicated I am to near-total, internet self-disclosure.

I'm off to Boston this weekend to spend time with some old friends. Updates from tomorrow to Tuesday are unlikely. See you on Wednesday - have a great weekend!

I Love this Game!
Thursday, August 18, 2005
I totally stole this idea from Heather.

So you google the phrase "_______ is", inserting your first name where the underscore is...and then post the top 10 resulting phrases.

Here is what I am:

1. Jamie is second from left, Renae is third
2. Jamie is a challenge - but so is every child
3. Jamie is currently filming a new project for Channel 4 called 'Jamie's School'
4. Jamie is also a veteran of hundreds of live guest appearances
5. Such a good girl Jamie is
6. jamie is in the "gifted and talented" class and does best with math
7. Jamie Is Ill
8. Jamie is just one of many artists who recorded a song for this double CD
9. Jamie is a psychic able to read minds and see the future
10. Jamie is a shallow, manipulative, bitch anyway

What are you? Respond back with your favorite result.

Canine Candy
If you love dogs, you need to click on this link. This photo was taken by Heather C/P who is arguably one of the best photographers/photobloggers there is.

I cannot get over how adorable this photo is. It's just unbelievable.

Feeling Bookish
Inspired by a recent post on K Duck's Rocketship (to read, click here), I decided to spend a little birthday cash-ola at Borders. Turns out, Borders.Com is integrated with Amazon, my favorite-est upon favorite-est online retailer. (Thank you, Katie & Barbara!)

Turning 26 was a milestone for me. I've always felt more like 22 or 23, so being in the second half of my twenties is odd and a little unsettling. Certain parts of my life are changing - my living arrangements, my age, my tastes, etc. So I decided to pay homage to the new phase in my life by buying books are a departure from what I would typically pick up in a store.

(For those of you that know me, you understand what I would typically buy in a bookstore. Everything. I love bookstores - the smell of paper and cardstock, MMMM. It makes me want to lick the shelves and climb the walls, while simultaneously clutching a hardback version of "Pride and Prejudice" and "The Girls Guide to Texas Hold 'Em.")

Book #1 - The Preservationist by David Maine
Photo courtesy of Amazon.Com (Amazon, I love you more than life itself, baby. Please don't hate me for taking a couple of photos)

This book is a contemporary re-telling of the story of Noah's Ark. I'm not much of a biblical reader - I read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and I didn't like it at all. I'm giving semi-religious books another shot with this one, it's supposedly VERY good.

Visitations from God are a mixed blessing for Noah and his family in Maine's spirited, imaginative debut. Noah (aka "Noe") may have pissed himself upon hearing God's instructions to build an arc, but he sets to the task without delay. Wildly different in temperament, age and provenance, each character tells a part of the story, and helps create a brilliant kaleidoscopic analysis of the situation: the neighbors who ridicule Noe and clan; the inner doubts and shifting alliances; the varying feelings toward God, whose presence is always felt and sometimes resented. The flood comes as a relief from the wondering ("who is crazier: the crazy man or the people who put their faith in him?"), but hardship soon follows. Though the ending is already written, Maine enlivens every step toward it with small surprises. A story of faith and survival (think Life of Pi thousands of years earlier with a much larger cast of characters), this debut is a winner.

Book #2 - Grave's End by Elaine Mercado

This is primarily a ghost story about the author's family, and their experiences living in a haunted house in Brooklyn, NY. I find it intriguing because it is autobiographical, and this writer is clearly NOT a kook.

Elaine Mercado is a wife and mother of two daughters, registered nurse, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, and entrepreneur. She holds a license as an LPN and as a registered nurse. During her tenure as an emergency room nurse, Mercado developed an interest in the psychological aspects of patient care and thus, began studying the mind, body, and spirit connection. At the same time, Mercado began to focus on paranormal phenomena. For over fifteen years, she has studied and attended numerous lectures and workshops on types of hauntings and the current theories behind them. Mercado, a locally published writer, has also written for The Brooklyn Baron and The Nursing Spectrum. Mercado still lives in Gravesend with her family.

I can't wait for them to arrive! Eeeee! I love new books!

Blast from the Past
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Recently I was reminded of a strange time in my life, via a conversation with my good friend Jen.

The summer of 1998 was a strange one for me -- I was at home instead of traveling and working with all my dance friends. I had reluctantly elected to take a couple of classes at the local community college, and ran into an old friend who was also attending. We'll call him Random Roger.

Roger was a longtime friend of mine through the church that I grew up in - a friend for which I had harbored a very large crush basically my entire childhood. I can't tell you why I did, as he was one of those angry, bird-flipping, bowl-haircut and Van shoe wearing, skateboarding idiots. I guess deep down I thought there was a larger reason that he continued to attend meetings and classes about faith and youth fellowship. Not one to be overwhelmed by my hormones, I put my crush aside for several years and while it lay dormant, Roger and I became pretty close, platonic friends.

Back to summer school (oh my God, how cliche does THAT sound?!)...

I ran into him during a break between classes, and noticed that his time at Larger-than-life-Midwestern-U had put some weight on his lanky frame, and he had gotten rid of the awful hair. SCORE. The crush was back and in full effect.

Turns out that while I was attempting to avoid him/but really run into him anyway, he was busy asking mutual friends whether they thought I would say yes to a date. He asked, I said yes. But we only went out on dates on Mondays, due to our class schedules, and the fact that he worked nights. Whatever, I wasn't expecting marriage, so I went along with it.

Several dates (and awkward goodbyes) later, we made plans to attend a "talk" downtown with Kevin Costner, who remains one of my FAVORITE actors in the entire world. RR knew this and very sneakily got tickets. By the end of the night, I had met Kevin Costner (swoon) and we were on our way back to the 'burbs.

It turns out this was to be our grand finale - our very last date. As we pulled into the driveway of my parent's house, I sort of looked at him impatiently and said something stupid like, "Well...err...thanks for a great night..." and responded with something equally erudite like, "Ummm..." and then it all came pouring out. He started babbling about how he was afraid to kiss me, because we'd been friends for so long and he'd put so much pressure on the relationship. He actually used the phrase, "I'm scared to make the first move." I think I responded with some awfully nervous humor involving a joke on brushing and flossing.

Thank you, I'll be here all week.

So I got out of the car, thanked him again, and that was the end of it. I took my polyester-sundress-and-chunky-platform-heel-wearing self back into the house, and he pulled away. Years later, I think back on that and have to just shrug my shoulders. He was AFRAID to kiss me?! I wasn't really Mary material, but I certainly wasn't Rhoda either.

And therein lies the story of the summer of '98 - all talk, and no action.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The move is over - it went flawlessly, thanks to a spectacular moving company called USA Moving & Storage. They swept through at 8:30 and by 10:30 am, I lived somewhere else! Like magic! I saved all summer to pay for those movers, and it was MONEY WELL SPENT. I highly recommend the company to anyone looking to move in Chicago or to the suburbs.

I picked the dog up this morning from the kennel and he looked very happy to see me, which is a relief. They said he did just fine (apart from his traumatic arrival - more traumatic for me, it would seem), ate normally during his stay, and was generally lovable. Which is nice to hear, since he's going back there this weekend while I take a quick trip to Boston to visit with some old friends. After picking him up, we went straight to work where he has been keeping me company.

I'm going to take before/after photos of the apartments, so you can see the transition in all it's bloggity goodness...you will all wonder why I would leave such a nice place, but life is like that. You do what you can, and when you have to leave, you may as well go in peace.

Also, today is my 26th birthday! Happy Birthday to me!

Puppy Love
Sunday, August 14, 2005
This afternoon, I realized how much I love my dog. I adopted him about 1 year ago, and there have been times when I can honestly say that I'm not sure whether I did the right thing. Sure, he was a stray and I definitely rescued him from a life of who-knows-what...but it's been difficult finding a balance and appreciating all the things he brings to my life.

Because I'm moving tomorrow (eek!) I thought it was best that I drop the dog off at the kennel for a couple of days. This not only gives him time to socialize with other dogs (which he doesn't do a lot of) but it also keeps him from being underfoot during the move. He tries to climb into my suitcase when I'm packing, so I figured witnessing an entire move may be a bit traumatic for him.

When I dropped him off this afternoon, I was in tears. They took him straight into a fenced outdoor area where the other boarders were playing, and all these big dogs were all over him, barking and sniffing to say hello. He looked so little and scared - he just flattened onto the ground and slunk off to a corner and watched me walk away through the chainlink fence. No wailing, howling, or barking - just a wide-eyed stare of total bewilderment as if to say, "But, but...what did I do? Where are you going?!" It literally hurt my heart to leave him.

I know he'll forget all about it in a couple of days, and that my tears probably had more to do with my lack of sleep and high stress level...but I simply couldn't take it. I really hope he adjusts okay over the next day or two, because I love the kennel and the staff there. They are so good to him and I would hate to have to switch facilities after finding one that I'm truly happy with.

I'm picking him back up on Tuesday, so I'll update you all then. Hopefully he'll be his usual happy self so that I don't have to worry. Keep my little man in your thoughts!

Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday
Friday, August 12, 2005
Gee, I love the sound of that word.

Commencing tonight will be the last-ditch-clean-it-pack-it-or-toss-it marathon, which is due to last all weekend. Exciting stuff, I know. It also hit me today about how must money I will be spending on movers -- worth it, but still gives me a slight heart murmur.

For the love of this blog, I will not be packing my camera at all. You can look forward to photos of the hysteria next week, and laugh at the misery that I brought upon myself.

Until then, feast your eyes upon this FRIGHTENING photo of Teri Hatcher jogging. I saw this on Conversations about Famous People, one of my favorite "guilty pleasure" daily reads. I am literally SICKENED by this photo. What has Hollywood done to the image of a healthy female adult?!

I am my own Smoking Gun
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Last night, I left work a bit early to take care of one of those pesky rites of passage for anyone in their mid-twenties. The 26th birhday Drivers License Renewal.

Not only did I have to subject myself to be processed through a huge metro DMV facility (complete with miles of dark blue velvet rope stantions), but I had to retake the written exam, and get a new picture taken. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! NO ONE INFORMED ME THAT I WOULD HAVE TO LOOK PRESENTABLE! Everything was just ducky until I was guided into the "card update" line and noticed that there were mirrors available a couple yards in front of me. Talk about a shock to the senses. It's eleventy-zillion degrees here, people, and with humidity like you wouldn't believe. Any self-respecting curly-headed female had her hair pulled back in a bun just like mine.

Do you KNOW what curly hair looks like when you pull it out of a bun? It looks like a scoop of ice cream. It's a battle of evils: either I pull my hair down and risk looking like a crazed homeless person, or I keep my hair in a bun and look like my own identical twin, crazy spinster style, or EVEN WORSE, completely bald.

Because I know that many photos put up on Blogger websites become property of the internet-at-large, and often times cannot be removed, I will NOT be posting before and after photos of my drivers licenses on this site. I can just imagine my children one day, searching some space-age website for "scary redhead" and finding my DMV photo. Please reference the photos below for a somewhat accurate representation.




Baby B on Vacation
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
In a couple of months (eek!), my adorable niece Brianna will no longer be the only baby in our family. Her brother Grant is scheduled to arrived in mid-October. Until then, witness the extreme cute-aliscious-ness of these photos taken of her on our SC vacation. (click to enlarge)

Well, we're moving on up to the EAST SIDE
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Last night, I picked up the keys to my new apartment and took a preliminary look around my new domain. I only have one thing to say - IT IS SMALL. Small like the Travelocity gnome. Small like my pinky toenail. Teeny tiny. It's so small, I will henceforth refer to it as the apt.

I went through a little renter's remorse, but felt much better after returning later with my parents to see it again. After noticing that the seal on the fridge was broken, I took another walk around. If you're from Chicago, you'll know what I mean when I say that it's in one of those beyond-ancient buildings that are hard to maintain. The hallways are a bit shabby, and the mailboxes definitely pre-date WWII. Some of the built-in cabinet drawers don't shut because they've been painted too many times, and if I wanted to, I could exit the shower and open the bathroom door in one fell swoop.

My excitement about living alone (if you don't count the dog) tempers all these potentially negative factors, however. Good things about it include: direct alley access for doggy walks and moving, two deadbolts on each door, a lovely sized living room, THREE closets, close to the doggy beach/lake, and just around the corner from the grocery store. Also, I am in the building next to my good friend Jennifer.

I anticipate a difficult transition, as I am moving from a fabulous 3-bedroom apartment with an ENORMOUS kitchen in a sweet-ass neighborhood to this little 1-bedroom homeslice...but I think it will be just fine. If I'm still sane by moving day, I will provide blog-worthy before and after photos of each place to further illustrate the mental challenge of moving from one place to the other.

Until then, enjoy this photo from my recent vacation...this is the view from our condo unit.

Vacation, all I ever wanted...
Monday, August 08, 2005
So I'm back from the reunion-slash-wedding, and actually feeling pretty good about my re-immersion into normal life. I'm in a much more positive "place" after having had a week (plus) of rest and relaxation. I don't think I've ever taken a full week and gone somewhere -- I'm more of a half-day here, Friday there type of gal.

One of the many activities to do in Seabrook, SC, is take a sunset cruise on the inlets and tributaries of the Atlantic. Basically it's brackish water, which apparently means that the ocean saltwater is meeting up with the river freshwater. So my parents, my sister (and family), SMD, and I packed up some scrumptious goodies and hit the road.

This photo does NOTHING to properly display the ghetto-ass boat that we were on. I don't know who the pirate's lady is, but I'm pretty sure that if she ever saw the boat bearing her name, she'd be back in 5 with a can of industrial grade turpentine and some steel wool.

Nine dirt trails later, we were at the weirdest looking "harbor" that I have ever seen. As I remarked to my family, I felt like I was going to walk down the pier and see Gary Sinise (a la Captain Dan) hanging from a mast in a fake beard, wielding only an eye patch and a shrimping net.

We set off on a sunset cruise, and it was surprisingly cool-- we saw pelicans, dolphins, and learned some of the area's history. That is one thing about the South that I am jealous of -- they have such a colorful history. The midwest is a bit plain in that regard.

As we started to head back to the docks, the rain started up and would continue intermittently for a couple of days. Say it with me now, "Boooooooooooo, Hisssssssssss!" Either way, I got some beautiful and memorable shots...click to enlarge.

My niece Bri looks over the side of the boat for dolphins. The dolphins managed to be on whatever side of the boat that the people were not -- clearly they are far more intelligent than we.

There's really no explanation for this photograph, given that my father was completely sober (evidence A: Diet Coke can in hand). But they look like they're having so much fun, so I had to include this shot.

This is an abandoned shrimping boat -- made mostly of steel and such. According to our guide, it was more expensive to haul it out of the inlet than to clean it up and let it sink into the silt. I think it looks a little weird, but what do I know?!

More stories later...

Ohhhhh I wish I were in the land of cotton...
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Old times there are not forgotten, LOOK AWAY, LOOK AWAY, LOOK AWAY, Dixieland.

Don't even get me started on the contextually appropriate Shag quotes that I could use to describe this vacation.

So I'm biding time in a cafe with free wireless internet service, while SMD makes phone calls outside and pretends not to be annoyed that we've been here for an hour and I'm only to the "D" section of my bookmarked list of blogs.

More stories to come about the beautiful wedding of SMD's friend Jami and Steve in New Hampshire, seeing Eric Clapton's boat anchored on the shore of Kittery, Maine, and flying twice in one day on a tiny regional jet.

For now, I'll say this -- South Carolina is a humid, hot, ball of crabby people that drive really slow. The island we are on is beautiful, despite the intermittent rain we've had all week. My family is in Charleston right now, with other extended relatives, shopping and hanging out. SMD is my "get out of Charleston free" card - ROCK ON. I love having a boyfriend on vacation with me.

So far, I've done a little bit of work, done a few crosswords, baked brownies, guzzled beer, eaten my weight in chips & french onion dip, and learned to play gin. So in a weird, Dirty Dancing way, this is like the best vacation ever.

I will post pictures when I get back. Hope you're all having a great week!