Friday, June 29, 2007

aw, hail no!

Buckeye was all about seeing the Fray. She'd sent out an email to see if anyone was interested in getting some lawn seats for the show. I hadn't been too familiar with the Fray, until visiting the Titan. He had their album on along with a live album, and I was pretty impressed. What a great CD. After having heard they were good live, I was in.

Sassy told Buckeye that I'm bad luck on concerts. Well, the outdoor ones at least. See Allman Brothers. See Joss Stone. Yeah, think I'm 0/3 for my recent lawn excursions. Out of curiousity Wednesday night, I pulled up the weather. Not just a large chance of rain, but hail was forecast. Hail. I hate rain. Hail? Hail I can't even process. Weather alert stated: "Scattered showers and thunderstorms. A few storms may be severe, especially this evening. Storms may produce large hail and strong winds. Low 74F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%." Lovely.

Nonetheless, Buckeye and I headed up to MD just as planned. The show was great. The opening act, Ok Go, was pretty good... we recognized a couple of their songs even though we definitely didn't recognize them by name. The lead singer was fascinated by cursing since there was a sign language interpreter by the stage and he said that amused them. Hmmm.

The Fray's set-up reminded me of the Killers show (also ironically at Merriweather), with lots of bright bulb lights on miscellaneous sized boxes scattered across the stage. It's interesting to see a show when a band only has one album. They played some new songs (very good - and mentioned a forthcoming new album) along with some amusing covers - Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" and Oasis' "Wonderwall".

On "Hips Don't Lie" they featured their drummer, who was singing Shakira's portion of the song. We were cracking up when he got to parts like "Oh baby when you talk like that / You make a woman go mad" in this super-deep voice. Hilarious. Buckeye and I quickly decided the drummer was the hidden gem of the band...

During their Oasis cover, Buckeye looked over and said "wonder how many out of the people here have no clue of what song this is?". Seeing as the crowd was heavy on the teenie bopper crowd (who seem to have intelligently worn white tube tops -- either based on them not being the brightest bulbs or them doing it on purpose... based on some in the crowd, there was likely a lot of the later), we guessed a significant portion.

Great concert though... we were definitely rewarded for weathering the weather. Hail, schmail. No hail for us. A little bit of rain, but nothing torrential.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

that holla-back girl

Last night was the end of season kickball party. Free admission and open bar at 18th and Red for all team members. The Fashionista had said there were enough females on their team who would no-show that I should come with. My response? "Consider my arm twisted."

After work, I headed over to the Fashionista's just 'cause. I swung by the store to pick up some Four Emus to contribute, which helped to contribute to our leisurely exit in pursuit of the cab. The F was showing us pics of her crazy connected "Giant" DC world since, as I've said before, DC is the biggest small city ever. We passed around the Paris Hilton perfume ("is this what jail smells like?").

With humidity painfully in effect, cabbing was our option. On the way over, I kept practicing my "name". Was I ever asked my name? Negative. We decided the assumed last name for me for last night, Holla, was a pretty cool one. Oh well - it went unused.

We were amused to see everyone in normal attire. It was weird not to see everyone color coded into their specific team, almost like everyone was a stranger all over again (at least momentarily). The music of course was great and turnout good. The venue was interesting though. Definitely needed fans in the part of the bar against the window. Air circulation was virtually nonexistent. Even one person cranking the A/C down to 50 degrees didn’t seem to help some parts of the bar. Interesting.

Around midnight, Sassy and I decided to check out and turn in. We caught a cab and headed home. We were chatting, catching up since I hadn’t seen too too much of Sassy since her return from Bermuda. We almost didn’t catch that our cab driver apparently clearly had no idea as to where on earth he was going. He was about to continue off in a completely different direction from our house if Sassy hadn’t piped up with “Where are you going? We live THAT way…”. Subtle? Not so much. I don’t think he was liking us, but honestly we didn’t care.

I came home to this message on Facebook from Brando: “I think you need to play kickball in the fall. Otherwise you are in danger of becoming an official kickball groupie.”

My reply: “Ohhhhh I don't know if I'm fully kickball ready. I'm afraid the "serious kids" might eat me alive... Is there a kickball boot-camp? Sincerely, In Need of Help (or running water, one...)

The Fashionista’s response to Brando’s post: ” You should play! Otherwise, as long as you don't show up wearing no clothes every week (a la porn star bizarro Annie), you can be a groupie. Don't listen to Brando!”

Verdict? TBD.

We also arrived home to no running water. Just what everyone wants after a night out. No washing faces, brushing teeth, etc. Luckily Sassy had some “emergency water” we busted out, making it communal and leaving it out in the hallway for common use. She was on the phone with DC water at 1AM, who assured us that they were flushing the system and it should be on within two hours or so. Sassy asked, “so we are three professionals who will need to have water to get ready for work around 7AM. I assume it will be on by then?” She was told that would be the case.

I’d been texting the Titan, and then emailing as his texting is messed up again. Final email from me was: “Oh boo. We're having a crisis here. No running water!!!! Where's the sympathy? Def not with Mr. Titan. (Sniff, sniff)”. Sassy and I felt we deserved some pity, for sure. Sassy had been joking that I can’t wait to get rid of my roommates, to which I kept responding, “It’s not you guys – it’s all the problems with this house!”. It was ironic to come home to find another example of fine hundred year old row house quirks.

Was the water back on this morning? Negative. Or not until it was too late to be useful, anyway. Shower today is courtesy of Washington Sports Club.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

weekend review: bust out the crimper

Friday I rummaged in my closet to find my finest 80s attire, convinced there was no need to purchase anything additional for the occasion. I met the Fashionista at her place to head over to meet the others. Her hair was in fine curly fashion, complete with bright eye shadow. We both were donning our legwarmers (naturally).

No better way to meet new faces than in themed attire, right? We took all sorts of pics, including some fabulous guitar shots courtesy of Guitar Hero. I was talking with the Titan who in overhearing the group asked what we were doing over there. "Oh, we're just posing for pictures." When he comes next week for Jazz on Jackson, he'll understand the photos.

It was definitely a show where appropriate attire was a must. If I had not been in full garb, I would have felt awkward. The band was great. They played all those traditional faves... Bon Jovi, Madonna, the Knack's "My Sharona". Only complaint was the band electing for a 45+ minute intermission. Don't get what that was about. Luckily, our candy ring pops lasted for hours on end (perhaps not so lucky for our hair - ewww). I headed out with the Fashionista when she made an early exit (her excuse was being Dewey-licious early in the AM, and mine being the apartment hunting I'd planned).

Saturday was the MS State Society's annual Mississippi on the Mall event. The weather was perfect - the sun was out throughout the entire day and it somehow hadn't reached that typical level of June DC humidity. Mag is always up for work over the summers, so seems that MS on the Mall is our annual tradition. Now that AM has moved up to DC, she was able to join us for the festivities. The day included live music by the Wil Gravatt Band, a fine Southern spread of food (fried catfish, hushpuppies, cornbread, fresh sliced watermelon), and representatives from all the Mississippi universities and colleges (GO STATE!).

After the event wrapped, it was over to Old Ebbitt. We wanted to introduce AM to a DC staple everyone should experience at least once. From there, we capped off the evening at Cantina Marina. It was the perfect night for Cantina... don't think I've been there on a more perfect night. The place looked like everyone else thought the same thing -- it was full, but not crazy like Local 16 rooftop this time of year. They had someone playing accoustic guitar, which was just perfect for being down on the waterfront. As we were getting ready to head out, AM was chatting with a gentleman who turned out to be a horror film producer. Um, in DC? We decided our random factor was maxed and it was time to head home.

Yesterday, the DG, WT, and myself indulged in a little Belgian brunch action (Cafe Belga - highly recommend) before heading out to make a pre-party run to the Target. We all seemed to be in a singing mood... highlights were us singing and dancing through the aisle in Shopper's Food Warehouse to Hall and Oats' "You Make My Dreams Come True" and having a guy apologize (and grin) for interrupting our moves. Good times. And I'll save more on the party and fun to come for later.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

the water is wide, i can't cross o'er...

The joys of moving. The insane stalking of the postings on Craigslist. What if something's been added in the last 15 minutes? Better hit "refresh". Just in case.

And everything seems to claim upwards. You learn "steps to the metro" is something that clearly needs to be quantified as a small to lenthy hike. Maybe the posters need to be schooled on the reasonable limits of being a tad liberal on descriptions.

The places claim Capitol Hill, but are more off of the map instead of anything close to what most city-dwellers would label as Capitol Hill.

One of my favorite posts recently explained the room vacant was downstairs from the landlord, but did have it's separate entrance. They encouraged interaction with their tenant and loved it if it was someone who was willing to stop by to share a bottle of wine from time to time. Nice. Not only did it sound like you could potentially get into one unit directly from the other but you could potentially have some older slimewad hoping to get a "companion" out of the arrangement. I wouldn't be surprised if I saw the next reposting of the ad including that he loves long romantic walks on the beach...

Since I've arrived, I've been a self-admitted city snob. VA? Ewww. MD? Gross - no way. I just signed a lease. Gulp. Across the river. In VA. Just barely... a girl's got limits.

I'm looking forward to the tax savings. The car insurance savings. Parking in a garage where my car will no longer be a sitting duck for bird target practice (FYI to the birds - you've proven many times over that my car might be small, but you've got that aim thing down). I'm not looking forward to smoking again in bars, but I'll deal.

And the pool. If you need me, come August, I'm planning on going MIA in that direction.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

i reckon' a good night

Seems more and more that those pre-conceived notions as to how nights will play out? Yeah. They don't seem to quite pan out as planned. Not necessarily for the worse, but differently.

I had a friend in town from Australia so what better reason to round up the troops and hit the town. That among about a thousand other reasons clearly hitting closer to home to each.

Lima was our first stop - a place I'd honestly been meaning to check out since back in the day it first opened. Finally, MsH and I opted to enter its doors at the suggestion of Sel.

It was off to a rocky start, as MsH and I made a mad dash from the metro in the downpour that appeared from nowhere. All of the sudden, the sediment and plentiful icky water that found its way into my nice mules seemed to know no bounds. Yeah. No good.

We were a bit bummed to find nowhere optimal to sit upon our entry, but it was not long before we'd found our way to a great upstairs table with a server who would pay us the utmost attention until the moment we headed out. He was a riot. Down to only mint leaves, MsH had him convinced he'd swiped her mojito while there was mas para beber. So what was the result? A round of white for the ladies.

Minor snafu coming off the metro as my heel was literally stuck in the grate. Thought I was about to be one-shoed for the evening, until we managed to pry out one of my absolute faves. Almost catastrophic!

We then met the Aussie, his fellow mate from Sydney (gotta use my Aussie-isms), and a friend of his from Amsterdam. I actually met the Aussie a couple of Thanksgivings back during a week long trip to Amsterdam. (Ahhhh, the 'dam...). This is a funny story.

Tam studied in Amsterdam a couple years back, so my parents and I decided to go Dutch on our family turkey day festivities. Funniest part was it was me and my pretty conservative 'rents in Amsterdam during Cannibis Cup of all weeks. Quite funny.

So yeah, the Aussie was studying too there for the year. He's younger than me, but I thought he was quite cute. Very Matt Damon-ish. Add in the Aussie accent and yeah... not half-bad. We ended up hanging out a couple nights before I headed back. Fun times. We exchanged email addresses but with the exception of a couple of emails here and there, nothing since.

So this summer he and his friend came over to the States for their first visit. They arrived into LA, rented a car, and have been making their way across the US. I think they've probably seen more of the US than I have!

I didn't want to show up solo, having recently formally gone off the singleton market (as I'm sure you've noticed, I don't talk much about that side of my life here - and aren't likely to start too much now).. Just wanted to get that out on the off-chance that the Titan is reading this. MsH and Sel met them at FrontPage last night. MsH laughed as I walked in and said "Hmmm, he's shorter than I remembered. Then again, I was wearing rain boots in Amsterdam. Not three inch heels..."

We had a blast, chatting with them. We were talking about accents and ang phrases. We were amused to hear that they've gotten some grief as they say reckon' a lot. Haha. Me, of course, being a travel-a-holic was listening and asking for details as to where they've been. They're planning to go to Philadelphia (so they can run up the stairs from Rocky) and then on to NYC.

Final, final stop? The Aussie's then on to Paris, where he'll be living for a year. Job? Nah. Maybe he'll work in a bar. I couldn't live like that... I'm too practical in some ways I guess. But oh how I love to hear of others living it up in such a way.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

plays well with others

I love my friends. Okay, so the new job. I had emails and fabulous comments on Facebook, with my favorite coming from MsH: "Can't wait to hear all about your first day! Hope you're playing nice with all the new kids!!!!"

I joke about it, but the encouragement definitely didn't go unappreciated.

So how is it? Love it. I think it can be sort of difficult and daunting to know what you're truly signing on for until you're there - committed badge-toting employee. I could really tell in the interview process that they didn't just tell you all the good sounding stuff. It seemed they actually delivered. The person vacating the role had decided they did not want to be specialized in this specific role within HR, so they were allowing her to move within the organization.

And the people were real. Approachable. I love it when irregardless of the level of seniority you can feel relaxed and comfortable talking with anyone in the organization. And it was just hilarious to find that the head of our department went to Mississippi State. That's happened oh say never?

I'm still getting oriented... meeting all of my points of contact and learning all of the expectations of the role. I was pleased to find the vending machine just around the corner not only has Diet Dr. Pepper, but it's only $0.55. Nice...

So for the first time in years, I'm sharing an office space actually with two others. Perhaps it comes at the perfect time, just as I'm going to be shortly moving back into my own place. Believe me, I still decorated. Just means that sadly, the days of jamming all day to my iPod on shuffle are on hold.

The office space itself is kind of funny. It is an actual office (so not a cube) with these three big floor to ceiling windows. When I came in, they were open. The desks are in a C-shape, one on each side wall and one lucky desk facing out those lovely lengthy windows. First day I took to action, only commenting "Hmmm, must say - I do feel a little like an animal on display at the zoo", as every single human passing would without fail peer in to the space. As soon as I set out my photos and such yesterday, my next task was pulling the blinds.

The office next door has their blinds open (the only other with the set-up). They call it the "fish bowl". It was pretty funny though as I got comments all day for having elected to pull the blinds. I think they must have always been up? Anyhow, it was quite amusing.

Verdict is all good. Quite pleased. Besides, who can complain about anywhere where you can reward yourself with a pair of Citizens jeans for the new job and it still be considered work-attire appropriate?

flying charcoal - beware

It's kind of like Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley. Every Tuesday morning, my Russian yoga instructor begins our bright early morning 6:45AM class with us closing our eyes, her telling us good morning, that yoga is special, and that we're special in choosing to do yoga. Today I was still adjusting to the new routine & flow of the new job, so there was no yoga. Instead as is to be expected, I lugged in a huge shopping bag full of photos and a cork board with more, yep, photos. So without yoga, I'll just have to pat myself on the back here. Indulge me. Thanks.

Other random things... never mentioned the weekend. Saturday included a much needed detox session with the Fashionista at Nail Avenue. The nail tech was confused as to why I'd opted to venture to Van Ness from Capitol Hill. My bank account understands.

Saturday evening Sassy and I headed out for some VA party hopping. Our first stop was for a friend's cook-out. She and her roommate are splitting up. We were dubbing it their break-up party. Seemed appropriate. I made "friends" with the self-dubbed bartender, who seemed to have it out for me from the second I told him Miami was not all it's cracked up to be. Don't want to know my thoughts? Don't ask =) The highlight of this stop though had to be the nice gentlemen who were firing up the second grill for the hot dogs I was pushing for over the already overflowing supply of hamburgers. As they were checking if they were properly heated, one guy accidentally flung the hot coal straight at yours truly. I managed to quickly scoot myself back at least a foot, escaping the ball o' heat. Reflexes en pointe? Check.

Stop two was another party at Ballston, ehem I mean VA Square. I guess it's a fine line, but I still say that if I can SEE Macy's in front of me, I'm in Ballston!! Sassy and I had to call Brando, who assured us no, we were not lost. Keep going past Gold's Gym? Yes. Highlight here would have to be the shopping cart, which was being used to tote the grilling and party items from the downstairs picnic area back up to their apartment. Classic. Sassy, the Fashionista, and I managed to catch a ride back into town with the Pitch. And who should be in the Pitchmobile? Noneother than a couple of our friends from stop one. Pitch kindly rolled us out once we were back across the District lines.

The weekend was capped off by a trip back out to VA, poolside. Much thanks to Paris for her willingness to extend her pool invite. With the balmy temps like today seemingly here to stay, I'm all about me some pool detox time.

Monday, June 18, 2007

chapter next

It's time. Friday as I left out of work, I felt the page turn. The pavement ahead a fresh new slate... a new chapter that lies in store.

Somehow, seems as far as work goes, places seem determined to make me feel as comfortable as possible in walzing out the door that final time. Sometime I think I'd like to tear up, just a bit. Especially considering I've been known to tear up at Hallmark commercials in recent years.

But perhaps it's then the confirmation you made the right move. The right call. The right step at the right time. I ran out to the restroom before grabbing the last few things I had in my office, the vast majority having already been emptied out over the weekend. As I returned back to the departmental suite and swiped my badge, I saw the light flash red. Glancing down at my watch, I could see it was 5:40PM. With the workday technically ending, the system actually denied me access back into the suite. It was like it was releasing me, sending me on.

It's been an odd end to the last couple of years. The oddest point being resigning the same day as my manager to go to the same organization, without either of us having been initially aware that the other was even interviewing, let alone that specific organization. Life's just funny that way sometimes, I do suppose.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

bruised but not broken

I melt in the rain. No, I'm not the Wicked Witch of the West, but it's a fact. Chances I'll move to Seattle? Next to none.

Email to the girls: "Ok ladies... we're under a severe weather alert. It's been raining on and off all day... rest of night has scattered thunderstorms. Just wanted to see if we're still on, etc. I'm partly worried about getting stuck out in the middle of something..."

Response from DrP: "I'd stand in the rain for Joss."

Response from me: "I wish I could say the same... Love Joss, but I'm not doing rain." (Yeah, apparently this statement was as solid as my futile "I'm not staying out late tonight" comments...)

A bottle of red... A bottle of white...

At 4:40PM I decided I was in. Jeans, tennis shoes, snacks, screw-top wine... I was good to go. It all was peachy keen until some 15 minutes 'til the opening act came on, the rain came tumbling down. And oh it kept coming. Foolish me: "Oh, it's lighter behind... See?? It'll pass!". Sassy just smiled back at me. I think she knew I was foolishly being super optimistic. Smart one there.

It was only as DrP and myself, the remaining members of our posse, were running to catch the last bus to the metro (success!!) that we noticed that the rain had ended. Chances that I'll be getting a refund on an unused emergency poncho purchase at CVS? Um, yeah. Non-existent. However, I can personally vouch for their effectiveness. After three hours of concert, it was still helping to simlultaneously keep the rain off my shirt, my head, and functioning to keep my rump as dry as possible (as the rain had long since seeped up through the blanket - oh well - valiant effort Sassy!).

I'd never seen Joss Stone live and I have to say, she was quite engaging live in concert. I was very glad that Sassy'd decided to spearhead our Wolf Trap outting. Joss came out with a snappy fun retro short dress (much a la Edie). DrP said she'd much improved over her show last year at Wolf Trap. She told great stories of words of wisdom from her "mum" and of her experiences with troubles with the "blokes". I was loving the British slang and soul vibe wrapped all into one.

It was also funny to listen to her view on things as she introduced her songs alongside with the powerful lyrics, much a contrast to the world of "The Rules". Ah, the Rules. At the prompting of the DG, Sassy's been reading the lovely book entitled The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right. My take on the rules? It's a time-tested list of random things to have females obsess with like it's some sort of one-size fits all perfect prescription for dating bliss that's going to magically take you to some sort of state of romantic perfection. Um no.

I've harped on it before, but I definitely don't buy into this philosophy. What is the point in conforming oneself to something you aren't? I'm not in the business of false advertising. Granted, most people perhaps tone down aspects of their personalities - but pretending to be something altogether different from who you are still completely perplexes me.

So why you ask am I off on this random tangent in the midst of discussing the Joss Stone concert? While only 20, Joss is on board with this for sure. Her songs speak of the strength of women. It was energizing to hear her stories, her singing live, with us dancing and singing along under our cluster of umbrellas.

I've got a right to be wrong
I've been held down too long
I've got to break free
So I can finally breathe
I've got a right to be wrong
Got to sing my own song
I might be singing out of key
But it sure feels good to me
I've got a right to be wrong
So just leave me alone

Oh and side-note, the follow-up to "The Rules" was released around the same time as one of the author's marriages desolved. I stand firm I'm not any less Southern for saying that I feel "The Rules" are a load of rubbish.

As DrP and I cleaned up our scene, even in our soggy state it was recyclables in one bag, trash (including some previously fabulous but now creepily liquidized Girl Scout shortbreads) in another, and a third housed our now seemingly 10-15 pound soggy blanket and our (then) unopened bag of animal crackers. That whole use Metro to take you to your place to eat and not *as* your place to eat? Yeah. Not quite believers. But our clean patch of Wolf Trap grass surely earned us honorary Cadet status.

Muchas gracias to DrP for lending me her pepper spray ("just in case") for last night. I did do the test spray en route to mi casa, so be forewarned I'm prepped, armed, and dangerous. I think DrP may have come out with the better deal out of the arrangement somehow...

I'm loving the absence of rain. Dry clothing. Dry um all sorts of garmets. Yeah. I think I've served my time in the rain department for quite some time to come.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

wake me up before you go-go

Three days left. Three days before I walk out of my last day of work to be greeted by a whole new world come Monday morning. A whole new cast of characters.

It's starting to sink in the last couple of days. My office is now barren. No decoration. Super blah. The emails with new requests have died down, replaced with the occasional call or fellow employees stopping by to say they've heard my big news. It is nice to hear all of those positive things people think and never say. Who knew?

This marks the first time I've made a job change 100% because I chose to leave the position/organization itself. In South Florida it wasn't so much the organization but more South Florida itself I was choosing to say hasta luego to.

So what has this whole process meant over the last couple of days? Meant time to go get a new phone (since also come Friday I'll have to part with the organization-issued crackberry). Yesterday it meant downloading way more ringtones than any human-being could ever possibly need, from Skynyrd to Timberlake (gasp - the embarassment) to my favorite SATC ringtone. And way too much time wasted on any and all networking sites.

Take someone used to being busy and give her nothing to do? Um, yeah. She'll go mighty stir-crazy.

But she is looking forward to the self-requested white chocolate mousse cake come Friday. Literally, parting is such *sweet* sorrow ;-)

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Monday, June 11, 2007

i don't care if monday's blue...

As I walked off the escalator en route to baggage claim, boom! Someone slammed into me. They didn't break stride as they continued on their forward path. Ahhhh. Back to the city this country mouse has come. Ok, I exaggerate, but yeah - not in Bama anymore. Good thing I had my fried okra about an hour beforehand. Last dose of the Deep South 'til August.

There's something about the airport in Huntsville. I think they're the most touchy-feely airport -- well, I think that's actually somewhat a personal problem... I can fly in/out of DC, NYC, Paris, Amsterdam, or Sao Paolo without problem - but Huntsville? I get hassled everytime. I cleared security with my purse and carry-on, along with a massive shopping bag I was just hoping no one would question. I thought I was homefree. Had my streak perhaps ended?

Bzzzzz. Wrong. As they called us to board by zone, I walked up to go through. "M'am, can you step aside?". Grumble. "No, I can't". Ok, I didn't say that. But I wanted to. And, as has been my experience the some 2-3x a year I make the return trip to HSV, I was asked to sit down all of my carry-ons and be patted down, all-around. I guess there's some dignity in at least being able for once to retain my shoes in this process. Perhaps.

Anyhow, now I'm back. After more than a week off from work and having taken my first true vacation since I don't know when, I should feel refreshed and ready to face my last week at work. But yeah, I don't.

Very odd. I usually slide with ease from DC to AL, DC to NYC, etc. Just city to city. No true transition. Nothing to notice. Yesterday though, for the first time I can recall since I don't even know when, I felt the change in speeds. Felt the change in cooling methods at the house, trading fantastic central A/C with my rattly obnoxious window unit. Felt the change in geographic locales, as on came the sneezes.

I pulled up my calendar. Most nights? Booked. I picked up the phone and called WT for an impromptu dinner to catch up. Time to get back in sync with the District life I know and love.
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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

south... DEEP south

I think my Deep South must-do's are well on their way to being accomplished. Just made a quick restroom stop at a Jack's. (Yeah... that's about *all* I'll do at a Jack's).

We made a quick stop earlier today at a gas station. Varieties of baked potato chips? One. Varieties of Moon Pies? Three. Varieties of Laffy Taffy and pork rinds? Four.

I've had hush puppies as sides for two meals. Biscuits for two meals (including once at Hardees this morning in Florala - not to be confused witht the Florabama). I've had a ridiculous quantity of sweet tea. I've been to Wal-Mart, and lived to tell.

I've probably spent about as much time in a car this trip as I have the whole year. Ok, I exaggerate (recent trip to NYC nullifies that, I suppose)... but still, a whole lot for someone who's had a car since October and put only some 800 miles on it.

I've been getting mighty spoiled on homemade cooking, down to baked spaghetti accented with fresh basil from my mom's herb garden. Awesome..

Oh yes... I'm getting my dose o' the South. And I'm lovin' it!

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Monday, June 04, 2007

make love, not war

The nice thing about being on vacation with your parents is that, in general, you can feel completely comfortable, relaxed, and no need to spend the typical time and energy to get all done up before heading out.

The winds were slightly less ferocious today, but yesterday they were pretty rough. I gave up, pulled my hair back into a poneytail, and we headed out for dinner. Destin has built up so much from where it was 10 years ago. The strips of restaurants and stores just go on and on. Impressive.

Among the restaurants is a new (to me) Hard Rock Cafe. I don't know if I've mentioned, but I collect pins wherever I go, so had to get one here. Got a flip flop guitar pin. Very appropriate.

We ended up sitting at the bar and grabbing a quick bite to eat. While there, we were quite amused by the bar tender. He was quite a loud mouth. One minute he was singing along with the music and the next he would be putting together a fancy cocktail, much a la Tom Cruise in Cocktail (except hmmm much less refined than TC ... perhaps less teeth too?).

The highlight was his stacking tiers of margarita glasses and concocting two different colored drinks - bright orange and bright yellow - and pouring it into the glasses. He then passed the glasses out to the patrons at the bar. Noticeably missing one for someone. Ehem. Me. My mom was amused, sliding me hers. We caught his attention. How old did he think I was? 19. Guess that's what happens when I dress so fancy for the occasion.

destin-ation relaxation

Destin's my favorite beach. Growing up, Gulf Shores was the typical summer beach vacation. Destin was the treat. I think we came here 2x, maybe 3x when I was growing up. It didn't matter if the other beaches were overrun by seaweed or the like. Destin was almost guaranteed to remain picturesque.

I was pondering when we were last down this way as we drove in today. Mom remembered. Ironically it was 10 years ago. Summer after my senior year. It included the night Princess Di passed away, and our crew included by boyfriend at the time, one who my current friends would probably not picture me with. He was a drummer... long hair and very unique. What can I say. My family was kind-hearted enough over the years to let me bring a few beauxs to such outtings. Guess it helped to keep life interesting.

It's ironic though to make the trip again now these ten years later. The very summer my ten year high school reunion is scheduled.

I was noting the spacing between buildings. Such spacing, while common up in Northern AL, was definitely not to be found in the likes of South FL. There it was development upon development, maximizing what seemed to be every square centimeter.

Here it's laid back. No crazy beachside bars. No vibe similar to anythig remotely Spring Break-esque. I laid by the pool today. Walked slowly along the rolling tide with my parents. Nowhere to be. Nothing to answer to. And tomorrow, I'm looking forward to another day of the same.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

bama bound...

I learned the upside quickly of traveling in warm weather rather than winter. I know it's not rocket science, but it's amazing how much more fits in your suitcase when the weather gets warm. The space once devoted to one thick coat quickly becomes the equivalent of some 10 tank tops and 4 pairs of flip flops. Pretty sweet.

I tried to keep it to the bare minimum, but let's discuss... it's ridiculous how many chargers and batteries one now needs to carry. It's been a while since I've done a lot of photography, so I decided to bring my nice photo equipment (Nikon, of course). That meant I now have my cellphone charger, Blackberry charger, camera battery charger, and portable hard drive charger. I'd have the iPod charger if it hadn't gone bad recently. Pretty ridiculous! I feel like an electronic device assortment platter on legs...

I love my city life, but it'll be nice to have a dose of Bama living. I'm looking forward to riding around in cars - as a *regular* mode of transportation. I'm pretty pumped for central air conditioning (yeahhhh, the not-so-subtle humming noise of my window unit helps to drown out the nighttime traffic, but does get old). I'm looking forward to hearing the occasional thick Southern accent. I'm excited for sleeping late and getting my fill o' Southern comfort foods. Oh yeah - I can't wait.

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the times they are a-changin'

I'm on vacation. Officially. The idea was for vacation to start at 5:31PM today, but I found it more in the ballpark of 7:30PM before I left out of the office to run those inevitable last minute pre-trip errands. How is it that I've had my suitcase packed since Tuesday (shhhh on snide comments now), but I still seem to have a million things to wrap up?

I'll admit to being somewhat a creature of habit. I walk the same route to the metro. I do the exact same routine when I walk into the kitchen at work every morning... down to the sweetener in my hot tea, the order in which I wash my hands, yeah... I have my routine pretty set.

I did realize today as I was walking out of the office that I'm officially five working days away from a brand new job. A whole new organization to start at ground zero within and learn. I'm three months away from moving to a whole new scenario, as my roomies and I officially informed our landlord today we'd not be opting to renew our lease for another year. Even me, Miss I'm-not-a-big-fan-of-cats, is now contemplating getting one for myself and returning back to the realm of pet owners. Somehow Miss Creature of Habit is simultaneously charged by all of these changes, seemingly happening all at once.

But in the meantime as that all digests, I'm pretty pumped for over a week to disconnect. Back to Bama she goes. I came home and flipped on the TV and found it quite fitting that the Wonder Years was on. Out of all of the episodes, it was one of the first where Kevin and Winnie's friendship became a bit more.

Mmmmm... Fred Savage... I remember thinking he was the biggest hunk-muffin at the time that show was on. I had no concept that he was on the shorter side. I thought he was the hotest stuff around and, of course, that life would be perfect if I could just find my own personal Kevin Arnold. Very appropriate though in the midst of everything else going on to get lost if only for an hour...

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