Archive for the ‘ Vacation ’ Category

2011: The happy tears and the sad tears

Well 2011 was a pretty amazing year.  I survived wedding planning (whew!) and married my best friend, the love of my life, my person. 🙂 Then we went on an amazing trip to Hawaii and started the next chapter of our lives as husband and wife!

Our wedding day was absolutely perfect.  For anyone who attended, you know the ceremony was a little less than uneventful (I may have had to ask for a chair and then drink a soda mid-ceremony to prevent myself from passing out, oops!), but that just made it that much more memorable and special – and totally me.  Our reception was exactly what I wanted, just a big fun party – the photo booth was awesomeee!  Don’t get me wrong, there were things that went wrong along the way, but none of them mattered.  I just had such an amazing time and was SO happy to marry M. that the whole day was perfect to me. 🙂 And our honeymoon was SO wonderful, too – our trip had everything we wanted, romance, excitement, togetherness, adventure, amazing food, gorgeous views, relaxation – it was just wonderful. 🙂

Unfortunately, once we got home from our honeymoon, reality kicked in quickly, and M. and I dealt with one of the most difficult things we’ve ever gone through together.

We’d noticed earlier in the summer that Rotor, our two-year old orange tabby (aka our first son), didn’t seem as playful and active as usual and it seemed as though he was losing some weight.  So when we got home from our honeymoon, we took Rotor to the vet, and after multiple doctors and tests, were informed we only had a few months left with him.  It was devastating.  Here was this awesome little guy, who played fetch and did tricks, he cuddled with us every night, and was waiting at the door for us every day that we came home, he was a part of our family – he was awesome – and we were told we had 1-3 months left with him.  After getting over the initial shock of the news, we were blessed to get another two and a half months with our “Little Lion Man” (a nickname we had affectionately given him).  He fought as long and as hard as he could, but when it was time, it was just time.  It was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make, but I know we made the right one.  I know it may seem silly to anyone who has never had a pet, but I still miss him like crazy even a month later; he was a member of our family.  But I just think of Rotor up there in heaven now, fat and happy, and I know he’ll be in our hearts and our memories for years and years to come.  And even though our kids won’t get to meet Rotor, we’ll be sure to tell them stories about our awesome cat who opened doors and played fetch and always made us smile. 🙂

Where did the time go? Oh right, I know!

Funny how when you’re planning a wedding, getting married, going on a honeymoon and then trying to re-join the “real” world as a completely new person (legally speaking), three months can fly by at the blink of an eye!  So here I am, a newlywed, with a new last name and a pretty new ring on my finger.  And so far, it’s been pretty awesome.  Mind you, 40% of our marriage thus far has been spent in Hawaii, but whatever, that included 48 hours of travel time, which we survived, so I think we should actually get bonus points!

Now being back at work, on the other hand, has been a bit of a downer, especially when I feel like there’s still so much to be done at home (cleaning, writing thank you notes, actually opening our new pots/pans, actually opening our new duvet, finding a place for all of our new crystal bowls, registering my car).  I always feel as though I could be SO much more productive at home then I am at work.  And no one tells you just how much there is to take care of AFTER you get married!  Holy crap!  I never really thought about how many memberships, accounts, credit cards, identification cards, etc., etc. would have to be changed!  It’s everything!  I just keep reminding myself, one thing at a time and eventually I’ll get it all done!

Come back later and I promise I’ll post on the wedding, our honeymoon AND the awesome spouse flight I got to go on! 🙂

Dear December, I heart you!

December is EASILY my favorite month of the year.  Not only was yours truly born in the great month of December, but so was my awesome fiancé AND Baby Jesus!  Making it one heck of a smashing good time the whole month through.  This year me and the fiancé were lucky enough to make it over to the great state of Nevada for a nice little Las Vegas trip during both of our birthdays.  All-in-all I’d say Vegas is fun, but I’m not racing to go back.  I won some money, I lost some money, I saw a few shows, I ate some pretty good food, I shopped, I drank, I partied, and I generally had a very fun (expensive) trip.

After our great Vegas trip, we ventured up to Connecticut for a little family gathering.  M.’s family is always entertaining.  Last year we had a Pictionary tournament.  This year we did a snowball relay, a balloon-smashing/bubble-gum-popping relay and then each group wrote our own versions of Christmas songs using two words/phrases that we pulled out of a hat (to base our lyrics on).  Our song was Deck the Halls and our items were “skim milk” and “toe cheese.”  Oh the joys of dairy.  From Connecticut we made our way down to New York to hang out with Papa K (M.’s Dad), and then quickly back down to DC for another week of work.

Now THIS weekend is going to be awesome.  Not only will we be observing M. and my birthdays tonight (we couldn’t celebrate with the fam on the actual days because we were in Vegas), but tomorrow morning will be our Christmas morning!  Bring it on fat man!  Sure, it’s a little weird that we celebrate Christmas morning a week early (and it’s amazing that Santa is in on the switch), but at least we all get to do it together, and that’s all that really matters (ahh, Christmas magic).

More things I love about this month?  We still have another trip to New York planned (which means hanging out with M.’s family and a mini trip to NYC – yippee!).  And today is my last day of work for the next ten days (hallelujah!)!!!!  And we’re ringing in the new year with some great friends!  Oh December, how sweet you are!

Struggling in the world of prioritization

When you get yourself so deep into life and responsibility, how do you decide what matters, and what doesn’t matter?  How do you know when the effort you’ve given a project is enough, and when you need to try harder?  When is quitting okay?  And what responsibilities are important enough to prioritize over friends and family?  At what point do you just have to do what you can do and throw the towel in for the rest of it?

I’ve been struggling recently.  A lot.  School and work at the same time is hard.  It’s beyond hard.  It’s kicking my butt – and the worst part is, I’m letting it kick my butt.  There are tons of people out there who accomplish it all and do it with a smile on their face.  They don’t get overwhelmed or frustrated; they just go on their merry way conquering all that lies before them.  Me?  The minute I get two stressful events occurring in the same time frame, I freak out.  And life right now is throwing stressful situations at me left and right!

Work?  Work is stressful and actually busy and I have these responsibilities that overwhelm me because I’m not confident in myself that I can accomplish the things that are expected of me.  School?  School is stupid and pointless and I don’t want to do it and have built a mind block against it.  Love?  Love takes work and tender lovin’ care.  You can’t just let love simmer, otherwise it gets soft and mushy.  And speaking of soft and mushy – exercise!  I never have time to exercise.  I sleep instead of exercising, and then feel guilty.  Health?  It’s not the best, and it’s stressing me out.  Family?  I bailed on my family last week because I was so stressed out of my mind I couldn’t comprehend using the night to spend with the people I love instead of using the night to move stuff and that sucked.  And that’s another thing!  A new home!  I am currently in that limbo world of living in a new home, which means living out of boxes, and trying to find space in the new home to put all my crap and adjusting to living with a boy.  I’m excited to live with a boy, but it means adapting to the new life.

Why do I let things that are supposed to just be “life” get me so stressed out?  I mean, look at my list:  work, school, love, health, family, home.  Those are the stress factors in my life.  How does that make any sense?  And it’s not even that those things are necessarily “stressful” I just worry about them and therefore they become stress inducers to me – if that makes sense.

Ugh, where is this all coming from, you’re probably asking.  Well, this week I had my midterm for school, and I did 80% of it and quit.  I read the last two questions, which totaled 20% of my grade, got completely overwhelmed by them/didn’t understand them, so I just didn’t do them.  I turned in an exam only 80% of the way complete for the first time since my days of Accounting 101 and attempting to break my way into the School of Business at the University of Maryland.  I was miserable then, and am having flashbacks to it all now.  But what do you do when you realize you don’t really want the degree you’re working toward?  You’re merely doing it because it’s what will better your career (and oh, by the way, you don’t even really love your career) and it’ll make all the people above you happy to see you’re doing it.  What do you do?  I think I just want to be one of those people who works 40 hours a week and then goes home.  I don’t want to kill myself doing school on my time off from work.  I just want to work because I have to and then go home and have my life.  Have the time I want to spend with my family, unpack the boxes sitting on my dining table, go hiking and take pictures, TAKE PICTURES, I miss taking pictures.  I don’t want school to run my life, and it is.

But now I’m back to where I started.  When is it okay to quit?  I worry a lot that if I quit now, it’ll make me a “Quitter” in general, and I don’t want to be labeled that way.  I’m not a quitter when it comes to things I love and things I’m passionate about.  But if I quit this, will it break down the flood gate and make it acceptable to quit other things?  And everyone keeps telling me to just suck it up and do it, just finish school now while my job is paying for it and I don’t have kids.  Ugh. 😦 Growing up my parents had this rule that once you started something, you had to finish it, whether it be a season of T-ball, or a season of O.M. (Odyssey of the Mind, anyone anyone?), or a school class, or just whatever, once you started, you had to finish.  Well how does this factor in?  Do I have to finish the program, or just the semester?  What makes me a quitter?

Let me just lay it out for you.  I am overwhelmed.  Life is drowning me right now and I don’t know where to go for a breath.  I need a breather.  Hell, I need a vacation.  I just need something to give a little.  So is school the place to bend?  I don’t know, I really don’t, but I need to figure it out, and I need to figure it out soon.

Just a few reasons why I’m counting down to Friday…

In less than three days, I will be on my way to Ocean City, Maryland for an all girls beach weekend extravaganza!  So I thought I’d dedicate this blog to all the reasons I love Ocean City…
 
1.  The Boardwalk… a place of joy and pure content… full of ridiculous people to make fun of, henna tattoo places, a Candy Kitchen (see #6) on every block, delicious food that is awful for you, that over priced kite place, the amusement rides at the end, Kohr Bros frozen custard and so much more!

The Boardwalk!

 

 2.  The beach… okay, I know it’s not the best beach ever – it’s not even my favorite beach, but it’s a beach and I am looking forward to lying on it!  

The beach

 

3.  Miniature Golf!  Who doesn’t love a good game of mini golf with the windmill at the end that without fail always blocks your ball from entering the clown’s mouth.  Or there’s the dinosaur one.  Or the pirate one.  Or the Medieval one.  Or the caveman one.  Or the Antartica one.  Oooh the options are endless when it comes to mini golf!  

Miniature Golf! You're never too old!

 

 4.  Fried Oreos.  Ahh, beautiful little chocolate cookie sandwiches dipped in batter and fried to perfection.  Easily the most amazing treat you can find in Ocean City.  

Fried Oreo Deliciousness

 

 5.  The Ocean Gallery.  A staple of Ocean City, Maryland.  An amazing world of art that only gets more ridiculous year after year.  How that place crams in all that art, I’ll never know, and how it passes fire regulations – again, I’ll never know, but who cares!  It’s fun!  Every time I go to Ocean City I insist upon wandering through the Ocean Gallery and digging through all the posters and paintings and pieces of artwork.  Sure, I’ve already seen 90% from the last time I wandered through, but it’s still just something I have to do.  No trip to Maryland’s OC is truly complete without a visit to the Ocean Gallery.  

The Ocean Gallery

 

 6.  Candy Kitchen.  Now five or so years ago, Candy Kitchen was easily one of my top two favorite parts of Ocean City, however, as of late, I am sad to report Candy Kitchen no longer sells all red Sour Patch Kids.  That’s right.  They only sell the boring assorted Sour Patch Kids – the ones you can find pretty much anywhere in the world.  Such news drops my level of excitement about good ole CK from a 10++ to probably a 6.  Still a good time, but not nearly as amazingly wonderful to me anymore.  

Candy Kitchen... a dime a dozen... to say the least.

 

 7.  Picture Ops!  It’ll be my first venture to the great land of Ocean City with my DSLR, so to say I am excited would be an understatement!  Pictures, pictures, pictures!!!  Walks down the beach at dusk with just me, my camera and my tripod?  Oh yes, I think so!  

Someone else's pretty picture of Ocean City, MD.

 

Only three more days!!!!!!

April Goals

1.  Register for my Summer grad class.

2.  Eat more salads and less crap.

3.  Go to the Alexandria Farmers’ Market.

4.  Make a new dentist appointment.

5.  Start to plan our Vegas trip.

6.  Finish at least 1/3 of current book I’m reading.

7.  Cook a new recipe.

8.  Complete PMAN634 with a B or higher!

9.  Create a budget for myself.

10.  Fix Microsoft Money – damn program.

11.  Watch a movie I’ve never seen before.

12.  Blog at least three times a week.

13.  Go on at least two photo outings.

14.  Complete my reimbursement paperwork for my Spring semester.

15.  Clean out my closet and get rid of clothes I never wear anymore.

Alrighty folks… cross your fingers for me! 🙂

I need a vacation. Period.

The last time I went on a real vacation – like a vacation that wasn’t for work, wasn’t for the holidays to visit family, wasn’t to go see my long distance beau, wasn’t squeezed into a weekend, wasn’t so jam-packed with activities that I couldn’t even relax, wasn’t planned with the sole purpose of overcoming sadness – just a vacation that was completely intended for happiness, relaxation and a complete lack of responsibility waaaaaas… Summer 2007?  My family and I ventured out to the great world of Ocean City, Maryland where we stayed in an ocean front townhouse for a week.  It was a great time – lots of lazin’ about, card games, the boardwalk, fried oreos, drinking at all hours, and just not worrying about a darn thing!  I need that.  I need that so badly it’s not even funny.  I mean, that was 2.5 years ago… TWO AND A HALF YEARS.  Toooo long ago.

I did make my fair share of trips in 2009 – venturing to Albuquerque, NM for the first time ever and going back thereafter multiple times (all to see M), making it down to Jacksonville, FL (for work), going to Hilton Head Island, SC (for work), an impromptu trip to Murfreesboro, TN on Memorial Day weekend, I even made my way to California twice, once to San Diego (jam-packed tourist non-stop shenanigans) and then once to Sacramento (for work).  But like I said – all of those trips had ulterior motives – none of which were for me to lie on the beach and… well… just lie on the beach.  Or take pictures.  I want to lie on a beach half the time, and wander around taking pictures the other half of the time.  I have this new amazing camera – and with the exception of J&KK’s wedding, a trip to the Botanic Gardens and a rather popular mini photo shoot with my roommate’s cat, I feel like I’ve been wasting away the abilities of my camera.  It’s like money burning a hole in my pocket, my camera is burning a hole in my pocket.  It’s aching to be used.  My camera is aching to be used and my body is just hankering for the beach.

A few months ago a good friend of mine told me about www.cheapcaribbean.com which is this wonderful website with these all-inclusive packages (we’re talking airfare, lodging, food AND drinks) to tropical places some of which were 5 nights for $500/person.  How can you beat that???  Pretty much since then I’ve had my eye on the prize – unfortunately, my wallet has had it’s eye on the rent, and the student loan, and the car payment, and the car insurance, and the graduate school, and the credit card, and the list goes on…  I feel like I’m letting what I want to do be put on hold because of money and I hate that.  That’s not me, and that’s never really been me – at least the young, go-getter, money-doesn’t-matter me that I used to be.  I’m no longer that me, I suppose.  I’m now the “I have a real job and I have real responsibilities” me that doesn’t just go.

But you know what, as my father has told me many times, “It is what you make it” and he is so right – and what I want is a vacation!  I want to escape from work, take my camera and just go.  I want to do and see the things I want to do and see and not let money stop me.  Now, I’m not saying throw caution to the wind and go crazy in-debt, I’m more just saying it’s time to get my eye back on the prize and make my wallet work for me!  It’s time to get those dollars snapped into shape and go somewhere!  Anywhere!

It doesn’t even have to be the Caribbean.  I’d be happy with the whales in New England, or Seattle, or ya-know Alaska.  Oh man, I would be SO happy with whale watching.  For years now one of my dream trips has been to go whale watching.  I did get to see the Shamu Show in San Diego at SeaWorld – which was amaaaazing.  But I feel like nothing really compares to a whale out in the wild.  There’s just something so grand and majestic about it that just sends chills right through me.  I will see a live whale out in the wild one day, mark my word, I will do it.

But I’m seriously getting so desperate for a vacation these days, I’d even consider going alone.  Okay, that’s not true.  I mean, I totally could go alone, and have done plenty of traveling alone, it’s just, I’m not the type of person who wants to spend lots of money and go somewhere with no one else to enjoy it with.  I just want to go somewhere – whether it’s a big group trip, or just me and M, or an all-girls trip, or my family, or whatever, I JUST WANT TO GO SOMEWHERE.  I want to escape from reality into the realms of vacation!  I need it.  I want it.  I’ve gotta have it.

Okay, I think I’ve made my point.

Vacation?  Yes, please.