Category Archives: happiness

step one.

Register a domain. Check! I’m now the proud owner of lemonslush.com! It’s not much to look at at the moment, but I’ll be working on it soon. Bryan surfed over to GoDaddy this weekend, and I just happened to have him check on lemonslush.com, as it’s been parked with a placeholder page forever now. And there it was, for $10.87! Normally I’m not a compulsive domain buyer (like some people I know) but this domain is mine. It is the screenname I use pretty much everywhere (minus this blog, oddly enough) and it is my “brand.” Bryan also was kind enough to link up my domain with his WebFaction account, awesome guy that he is. :) So, step one complete. Now, to make something happen!

In other news, I am looking at adopting a kitten/cat. The lot of us went to the Humane Society this weekend to peruse the felines. I found two potential youngins named Reid and Fabrizio who were caged together but not siblings. Reid was born at the H.S. and would be the first of his litter adopted out were I to take him home. Fabrizio was found abandoned and brought in alone, based on his file. We all sat in a visiting room with them for a long while, watching Reid race around, cuddling with Fabrizio. They were quite the dichotomy – crazy vs. mellow, athlete vs. lap cat.

I have a couple points of hesitation, of course. (Would I be me if I didn’t?) First, I’m still wondering whether I’m responsible enough or “ready” enough to have a pet. Second, am I at a point where I can keep my stress levels down enough to have animals in my home? Will I be able to stop worrying about both their well being AND the intact nature of my furniture and breakables long enough to enjoy their company? Third, there is the issue of Fabrizio’s tilted head. We all noticed it pretty much right away, a tilt to the right and a bit of a balance problem. His medical file mentioned an inner ear infection, but there’s no telling if that’s something temporary or chronic. Also no telling if it is, in fact, not an infection but a tumor or something else life threatening. All I’d need is for my first pet to get sick or die on me immediately. :(

But I did love cuddling with Fabrizio as he purred loudly and climbed around. Erica posted a photo on Flickr, and though I look a bit mentally handicapped in it, I’ll link to it anyway. After we left the HS, we went to the local Greek place for lunch, and, while we sat looking at the menus, I heard a TV announcer say the name Fabrizio Santos. I glanced up to see he was a professional skateboarder, but since I’d never heard the name Fabrizio before the kitty, I was pretty convinced that meant something.

With so many people visiting the HS with me, it was hard to think clearly and consider my options. So I think I’ll be going back over there at lunchtime tomorrow to visit with Fabrizio again and see how we get along without Reid and the others. As much as I’d like to give ‘Briz a brother and playmate, I think Reid may be a bit out of my league. Though he did entertain himself without my even trying, but still—I want to love my kitties, and Reid and I just didn’t click.

If Fabrizio and I don’t connect, I will respectfully withdraw my application for both little boys and go back to the drawing board. I’m fine with waiting till I find the right cat(s). The last thing I want is another Tori incident, like in college. Had I known torties were so temperamental (recent feline research) and really thought through sharing a single bedroom with a cat, I would’ve waited on that one too. :P

I leave on Thursday afternoon for Birmingham and the Social South social media conference. It will be good to see that city again after some time away. I may even get to see Dennis while there. He has high-school football to cover elsewhere in the state, so he won’t be attending SoSo, but my early arrival should allow us to grab food or a drink, or for me to see the new digs he’s renovating right now. Exciting!

What else… Oh, Bryan, Nick, Erica, Alan & I played D&D yesterday! It was my first game, so I was totally unsure how everything worked. Still am, a little bit. But I caught on well enough to kill a few Kobolds and enjoy myself during the second half of the game. Nick was our DM and he was proud of the six-page back story I wrote about Elluvia, my elven ranger. Always smart to impress the DM! :D Bryan will be DMing the next round, and Nick will be taking over his human shaman, Albini, so they can alternate playing and storytelling. Should be fun to see B in action as DM, both in that game and in the other we’ll be starting with his coworker, his wife and their son in two weekends. Twice the D&D action!! I can hardly wait. :)

Also, my brain is broken. I really need to figure out how to fix it, but with about a million things on my to-do list right now, I don’t think it’s going to happen till after Ireland and a potential mom visit in October. Maybe once fall rolls around and some sort of cool settles over the land, I’ll be able to reevaluate my mental state and get things moving in the right direction. For now, I will read good books, enjoy cuddles whenever possible, share a cup of coffee with a new friend, work hard every day and accomplish as much as I can. Woot!

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Filed under animals, depression, friends, fun, happiness, plans, recap

I whiffled. Now I can’t move.

Yesterday afternoon marked the first real physical activity I’ve had in a while. Not the routinized jaunt on the elliptical trainer, mind you, but straining of muscles, unfamiliar motions. I’m so incredibly stiff and sore today, I can barely move, especially after sitting at my desk in a single position for just a bit too long, which has happened more than once already today. And how did I hurt myself to this degree, you ask? Playing whiffle ball.

I went with Bryan to a cookout at his parents’ house yesterday afternoon. I’d met his dad the previous weekend (and played a few rounds of billiards with them both) but this event resulted in meeting the mom, the brother, the brother’s girlfriend, the “uncle” and his wife. It also meant that the men in the family broke out the whiffle bat and balls for a rousing game of hit-the-roof-or-you-lose in the backyard.

I wandered outside to watch them from afar for a few minutes. It was humid out after one of many short rainstorms that had punctuated the day after a full-blown thunderstorm in the early-morning hours. With the heat, the thickness of the air, the skirt I was wearing and the predominate testosterone of the players, I thought about staying in the shade, out of the game. But as soon as my bare feet sunk into the warm wet of the backyard grass, my girlish tendencies sort of switched off. I was transported back to those days in my own backyard, when my brother-in-law taught me how to hold the bat, swing harder but smarter, watch the ball until it hit the bat. I couldn’t stop myself from elbowing my way into the game. And while it may not have appeared that way to the others involved, that is precisely what I did. Because, as I said to Bryan, I’d much rather play than watch. As the other ladies looked on from the shade of the patio umbrella, I wandered around in the muck fetching balls.

Now, you see, I am not one of those annoying girls who loves to talk about sports and leaves the TV on ESPN so the next man who turns it on marvels at what must be her sexy habit of watching sports all day. Hah. No, my best friends can tell you that I am not like that at all. But I DID play softball. And I DID like it, when my parents weren’t forcing it on me and I wasn’t pissing my pants with anxiety while on deck on a hot July afternoon, sweating through my light-gray #44 T-shirt. And I DO like other active things, like kayaking, gym exercise, taking walks, hiking, occasionally climbing a rock or two. It was that piece of my personality that came alive when I watched them swing the little yellow whiffle bat. So I elbowed. And they relented, patiently.

I didn’t hit the roof, but Bryan did give me the opportunity to come close on two occasions. It was enough to make me want to try again someday, if I’m still in the picture come their next backyard pick-up game. And maybe then I won’t swing at terrible pitches. And maybe I’ll have learned to trash talk well enough to fit in.

The remainder of the evening included some delicious hamburgers and hotdogs, photos from Bryan’s mom’s trip to Yellowstone (beautiful!), some billiards playing and a couple corner brownies with ice cream and raspberry sauce. Even being the oddest man out, I reveled in the familial vibe in that house, in the constant, comfortable conversation that reverberated through every room. It made me miss Michigan even more strongly than I had already.

We vacated when Bryan’s weekend head cold refused to back down and he was overdue for another dose of meds. We returned to his house, I went out to get him some groceries for his recovery at home today and then it was another early bedtime, which made me happy. I had whiffled myself into a state of exhaustion. Now to keep that up as the summer progresses. I had forgotten how awesome it hurts when you do something active. It’s one of my favorite feelings in the world.

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Filed under exercise, fun, happiness, health, recap, thoughts

dimly on a Friday evening

I can almost guarantee this entry will be neither thought provoking nor particularly eloquent. I’m sitting in a dim living room at the moment, looking out over two snoozing felines, listening to deep, even breaths coming from the nearby bedroom… erk! Hoping my ringing cell phone didn’t just wake said deep, even breather!

My regular phone calls home prove to me that my life is not very interesting at the moment, at least not in the conventional sense of the word. I am not fighting crime or building empires in my spare time. I am hanging out with a boy and his cats, watching a bit more TV on DVD than usual, playing (and wanting to play) Lego Star Wars on the Xbox just a little too much. Not working out enough, sleeping enough or being motivated enough at the office. It is a familiar phase for me, and it will pass eventually—this much I know for sure. But, just now, I’m enjoying it while it’s here, while I have an excuse to be starry eyed and silly 95% of the time. I’m giving myself a free pass just this once, no deep-seated, self-induced guilt trips or sudden, random dips into depression. I’m coasting. It feels good.

Now, that’s not to say everything’s perfect; it never is, in fact. But it’s damn near for me. Even as I stare at empty frozen-custard cups that beg me to pitch them, even as I grumble through a month’s overdue laundry, even as I yawn my way through a day at the office, I realize that the happiness I get to have now is worth the imperfections. When I am unhappy, life is one big imperfection, one giant blemish in the grand scheme of things. And when life IS the grand scheme of things… well, that’s a tough one, isn’t it? So I will take this near-perfect situation and hold it dear to my heart. And laugh at its occasional pitfalls and fairly noticeable quirks and tics.

In the professional world, things are the same as always, though I grow irritable more quickly with my tasks than I once did. I suppose that’s a sign of the times, both for me and for the company as a whole. Everyone is quicker to anger now, quicker to threaten walking out, even with no place else to go. We’re all on edge and we’re all a bit fed up with what we cannot change, what happens higher in the ranks than we dare to tread a single step. And that height is the very thing that causes the strife for everyone. For those who wish to attain greatness, the strife comes in the form of glass ceilings, hiring freezes, cut positions and a sort of moratorium on progress. Those who wish to remain in the lower bowl (me, for example) turn a spiteful eye to those out for personal gain, become tense when issues of clout are discussed, wish the whole system would dissolve into the disorganized heap it really is so we could start fresh and make something good out of our company again. That said, I know they’re doing the best they can with what they have… most, anyway. Those that aren’t, that are looking out for #1 and #1 alone… well, they can head out any day now, and I don’t doubt for a second they’ll never be missed, at least not by me.

This is when I quit my cushy desk job and become a waitress at a diner. Doesn’t that sound fun, kids? Take a risk, start a new life AND force myself to speak at a normal volume all in one fell swoop!

In things-that-don’t-frustrate-me news, Bryan lent me a book called Storm Front, by Jim Butcher. I’m about three chapters in and loving it so far, in spite of the fact that Butcher is still just setting the scene. I’m OK with that—I appreciate the opportunity to visualize the scene and the characters in greater detail before delving into the story. While it’s nice to be reminded as you go along what the characters are like, and add to their depth and breadth with anecdotes and revealing moments along the way, I desire a solid foundation to go on most of the time. Unless I’m reading one of those pointedly confusing books written to make one’s head spin in circles.

I am attempting to create an online resume (on Bryan’s Mac laptop, so I have no idea how to make accented “e”s or how to find a character map, if there is one at all). I really need to do it myself using HTML and CSS, but I haven’t had the energy of late. I did start piecing something together using moonfruit, which is free and sleek and lovely. But that won’t fly when I’m looking for HTML AND CSS JOBS. Ha. However, it is giving me inspiration for how to make my real site look. And if I can just figure out some fancy-looking-but-not-actually-difficult-to-implement JavaScript, we’ll be good to go.

I’ve also noticed a few things I’ve been missing in my life lately. But then I look at what my life DOES contain and wonder how on earth I’m supposed to wedge it all in. Maybe I’m too shallow and one-dimensional. Maybe I need to hone my multitasking skills until they can slice hairs without even being in the same room. There are NPR shows I want to listen to, movies I want to see, books I want to read, places I want to visit, languages I want to learn, games I want to play, experiences I want to have just once to say I did, foods I want to eat, laughs I want to share… There’s just so MUCH to be done and seen and FELT in this world. I feel like I’m still fresh and warm from the womb with about a million miles to go before I reach the first summit of what I expect will be an endless mountain range of life experiences. And that’s great, I love that—I just don’t know where to begin. That indecision breeds laziness and stress, which then makes me drop out of the race completely and return to base camp without even donning all my gear.

I need to start with one thing. One. Just one. Not one thing to get to another. It CAN be one thing that eventually leads to another, but I need to keep my eye on the thing, not the other. If I want to learn to knit, I need to focus on learning, not on producing the World’s Best Scarf Just in Time for Christmas, Which is Three Weeks Away. No, no! See how that breeds failure? If I want to volunteer my time more, I need to focus on finding good places to volunteer, choosing one and trying it out. Not choosing seven, trying to volunteer at all of them and stretching my resources so thin I have nothing left to give anyone at the end of the week.

What one thing would you suggest? Or what’s one thing you’ve been wanting to learn or do lately? Or that you are learning or doing as we speak? If nothing else, it would be nice to read about others’ plans, others’ triumphs. Or failures—either way. I’m usually a happy-endings kind of gal, but I can revel in tragedy with the best of ’em!

That is enough drivel for one dim Friday evening. I’m going to see if the heavy breather is still breathing and maybe flip on a light or two.

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Filed under books, dating, fun, happiness, jobs, recap, thoughts

moving triumph

We are in the home stretch, people. Well, we’re pretty much done, but there’s a few loose ends to be tied up at the old place first. I’m basically in house-sitting mode over there now, as my landlady is on holiday until Tuesday. I spent half the day over there today cleaning the upstairs and doing several loads of laundry.

I’ve determined that I really am the suck when it comes to sweeping the floor. I run a mean vacuum and am skilled as the dust-pan holder, but put a broom in my hands and I become totally inept. Which translates into trying to mop a floor that still has hair and bits of dust all over it. Then getting irritated as you smear the debris into all the grouted crevices. And then just giving up and doing it by hand with paper towel and bleach. That was my afternoon.

But let me rewind momentarily to what you all can read if you check over to the right in my twitter feed… Friday night, I donned a hat and walked from my apartment over to Canoun Mediterranean Grill to read a book, inhale a delicious gyro and sit outside on the patio soaking up the warm May evening. The manager gave me a free piece of baklava after I turned down the usual offer of dessert by the pleasant southern waitress. Canoun is definitely coming in at the top of my list of restaurant preferences these days. =)

After dinner, I walked back home, painted my toenails turquoise and watched some episodes of “Extras” on DVD. Clay lent me two seasons of that and one of the British “Office” after I explained that I’d just realized I had an entire extra day off from work and no idea what to do with all that spare time. =P

This morning, the awesomeness continued when I woke late, brewed coffee (eh) and listened to “Whad’ya Know?” on NPR. I had a little work to do for DU (a tweet, some videos to post and a news release on our new prez), watched “My Neighbor Totoro” (cutest movie ever), stopped at Kroger for a few things and then went to the landlady’s for the rest of the afternoon.

Brett texted to see if I’d be interested in hanging with him later. I met him at Hastings (wearing my cleaning attire, no less) where we ran into the captain (that’s how I think of him anyway) of Spinal Tappin’ That Ass. We browsed the books a bit, but mostly Brett vented about politics and religion, which was fine. It was the first human interaction I’d had all day, so I was OK with any content whatsoever. We drove over to Starbucks for a quick beverage and then parted ways just before 10. My beverage was not decaf, but it hasn’t affected me yet—I’m up late because I’m a dork, not because I’m not exhausted and ready to crash. =P

Tomorrow may hold Cracker Barrel for breakfast with RP and then a trip to Cooper-Young to try out a church Brett mentioned where his friend Joey pastors. Mandy and I walked in its general vicinity when she was here (not the church with the big banners—it’s across the street from there) so I’m familiar with the area. RP asked me to go to Bellevue with him, but I just can’t bear it. Great pastor, but stuffy, uninteresting atmosphere that smells like cold cream and Sea-Bond. *shudder* Besides, if I’m going to make an appearance in Midtown, I probably will stick around there and find a place to drink coffee and read for a while. Maybe Eclectic or Otherlands.

Something I think everyone should read: The Great and Secret Thing Seven days a week of intriguing, amazing and otherwise awesome stuff from the brains of local Memphians and other select creative contributors. My favorites: Magictown, Brandon Dill’s photographs and Matthew’s Cartography verse. I so enjoy being immersed in other people’s creativity. It is ever-inspiring, especially when it’s as good as this.

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Filed under friends, fun, happiness, moving, recap, web

prefill

I have visited the new apartment every night this week and transferred a load o’ stuff each time. I fly to Michigan in the morning, so tonight’s haul was the last till next week or the following. Thank goodness! I know the worst of it lies ahead, but I need a break for the next day or two.

I did take some obligatory pre-stuff photos of the apartment! Here’s a preview. Click it to visit my Prefill Flickr set.

Click above to see full-size photos on Flickr

Click above to see full-size photos on Flickr

On a totally separate note, I am so thankful for the people in my life. Recent highlights: Mandy offered to spend her break from school visiting me and helping me move my shit to Tennessee. Brett and I went out for coffee twice this week as a break while working late. Matt and I played a rousing game of Scrabble via Facebook (I won’t rub in my win, though it was pretty amazing). I finally talked to Carla after at least a month of missing each other’s calls. Dennis and I had our first phone conversation post-breakup and it went really well—I’m looking forward to the next bit of news on his impending condo purchase! The rest of you rock too. Those are just the highlights.

I’m looking forward to the end of this moving process. Mostly because it marks the start of a new chapter, but also because I can settle the eff down for the first time in a few months. Even when I wasn’t actively packing boxes, I was searching for a place, pacing back and forth cursing my current living situation, stressing about what my future in Memphis would hold. Not every question has been answered, but I’m on a track somewhere now, right or not. Can’t wait to feel settled.

Look out, Michigan! I’ll be there tomorrow morning!

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Filed under friends, fun, happiness, home, moving, photography

emerald isle, ahoy!

So, here’s the deal, since I’ve been fairly absent of late and a lot has been going on…

I decided to take a trip to Ireland. Why? Well, during one of many long discussions with my coworkers about my relatively poor mental health recently, one of them mentioned his past trips to Ireland. It reminded me how much I’ve always wanted to go there, so I thought, Why the hell not? So I’m going. October 3, 2009. The flight is booked already.

Why Ireland?
There are several reasons. To me, Ireland epitomizes laid-back culture: quiet villages, neighborhood pubs, friendly locals, green landscapes, seaside cliffs, rolling hills – it’s like a freaking wonderland over there, but still so understated and navigable. While I’d also like to see Italy and Australia, those are places that require more than a week’s vacation. And while Ireland deserves more than a week, I can manage the Republic in 7.5 days, so that’s what I’m going to do.

What’s the plan?
There isn’t one, really. I started planning this transcontinental getaway about a week ago, with the intention of going the first week of June. But various obstacles cropped up and I found a cheaper flight in October ($600!!) than the already cheap flight in June, so I thought I’d save $100+ on the flight, $70 on expediting my new passport, $50 on lodging (low season in Oct.), various fees on being an under-25 car renter, etc. Besides, I now have 5 months to make that plan that I’m thus far lacking.

No, really – what’s the plan?
If you must know, IrishTourism.com got the ball rolling with all their awesome self-drive vacation packages. I started out with their 7-day tours of the Republic and wasted invested a lot of time figuring out details, prices and the like. At this point, I’ve decided to take the reins entirely and go with straight B&B vouchers, no strings attached, no requirements for where I need to be or when I need to get there. I will plan ahead, of course, but nothing will be set in stone. I will rent a cheap car (maybe even learn to drive a stick before I go, so I can get around even more cheaply) and set off into the green. I’m salivating a little just thinking about it. =)

ALONE??
Most likely. Though I’ve had vague interest from a few parties when I issued an open invitation to join up, I rather doubt anyone will accompany me, and I fully intend to hit the trail alone. I’m OK with that. And Ireland? It’s one of the safest countries for me to do it. Not entirely safe, of course, but I don’t plan to enter any dark alleys in Dublin either. In fact, I’ll probably stay away from the cities as much as possible, hitting the Dublin highlights my last day or so before hopping my flight back to the States. But I’m not afraid. Not of long flights, a crazy number of unknowns, staying in various rural B&Bs by myself. I think I will be cared for in Ireland, and I will keep my eyes open and my mind alert. Except when I’m gazing out over picturesque cliffs into deep blue waters beyond. Then? I’ll just gaze.

So, that’s what I’m doing in October. What about you?

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the turning of a heart

I don’t really have time to write at the moment, but I’m doing it anyway, before I forget what this feels like. I know part of it is just that I’m seeing familiar faces for the first time since Christmas, but seeing my sister and her family is just amazingly powerful for me. They drove 13 hours from Michigan loaded down with a camper, two large dogs, three bikes and their 10 year old in tow. They came to Memphis, of all places. And while my sister mentioned that it’s just nice going somewhere they’ve never been, Memphis isn’t exactly a tourist attraction—my presence here clearly played a role in their choice of destination. Which is almost surreal to me. To think that anyone—let alone my older sister—would drive all the way to the Mid-South to spend Easter weekend with me is just… beyond words.

I’m an awkward person. I’ll be the first to admit that. So I don’t think my thankfulness translates very well when we’re face to face. I’m definitely smiling and upbeat, but I doubt I come across as bowled over. Because when I went there at lunch today and ate a PB&J, generic Cheetos and a glass of milk, I couldn’t have been more thankful. Even with a wet dog nose stuffed in my armpit while I ate my sandwich.

In about an hour, they’ll be coming over to DU for a quick tour of the lobby and my office before we close early for the Easter holiday. Then we’ll be finding a local pizza place… somewhere… and hanging out for the evening. I still remember the days of old when we’d do that very thing, in one of their various condos or another, watching “Friends” before it was in reruns, listening to awesome ’90s easy listening. We’d almost always have pizza. And everything felt safe and wonderful. I miss that feeling.

I know my sister doesn’t know this blog exists, but thank you, sis. I’ll say it more than once this weekend, and probably several more times through e-mail after you’ve left, but thank you for coming here, for making such a long trip to see me. For the e-mails we’ve exchanged over the past month, for your willingness to give me another chance to be your sister, to be part of your family. I may not deserve that chance, but if you’re willing to give it… well, I won’t let you down. Thank you for being there for me, then, now and in the future.

[I wrote a very brief synopsis of the reasons behind my strained relationship with my sister on April 6.]

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