Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Breaking for Cuteness

I am behind on posting. Again. Such is life.

But... what better way to pay restitution than with cute baby pictures, right?

I know, I know, nothing tops dogs in scarves and football jerseys, but bear with me...

Like a month ago I babysat my niece while my brother went to the first game of the season. She and I had a grand time. We went for a stroll - once on foot and once in a stroller. Then we set up an obstacle course in the living room with stuffed animals and drove the stroller around them. Then we decided it would be way more fun if drove over the stuffed animals with the stroller, and boy howdy, was that ever hilarious.

Then she just hung out in the stroller because apparently its comfy.

We watched a lot more football that day than any toddler should be allowed, but I think it was educational. She learned to clap on first down and when boys in orange jerseys got knocked down she would say "uh-oh" and cover her eyes. Fast learner, that one. After watching the three games after that, I'd say "uh-oh" might just cover our season as a whole. We'll see. I'm trying to have faith.

But really, how could you not want to win with such an adorable fan? Am I right?

She looks so much like my brother in this last picture it's almost disturbing. I kept expecting her to finish that look by rolling her eyes and calling me a butt-head.

Happy Wednesday. Go Vols.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Not Just Any 'Ole Friday

Yesterday was Responsible Dog Owner Day according to my Google iPage (and you know how much I love to consult it for All Things Useful and Important).

Tomorrow is the Tennessee-Florida game.

So (in case you were wondering) that makes today Somewhat Irresponsible Dog Owner / Dear God You Know How Much The World Despises Those Web-Footed Swamp-Sucking Cretins So Could You PleasePleasePlease Find It Within Your Power To Make My Boys In Orange Play Well Enough To Win Or At Least Well Enough Not To Suck As Much As They Did Last Week Day.

And to celebrate this auspicious occasion. I give you (once again) dogs in festive orange outfits:

Elsie and Oliver ask that you send help and/or let them know when it's basketball season.

Go Vols!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Top Five Target Tidbits

1. If you decide to wear your red golf shirt and khaki capri pants, you should probably think twice about going to Target after work unless you want to be stopped and asked lots of questions. The fact that I knew the answers to all of their questions didn't help much.

2. I know that there's a recession if Target still has the exact same selection of dog collars as this time last year. The selection last week at Petsmart was lame as well. The dogs need back-to-school collars, dammit. What's a girl to do?

3. Disappointment over the lack of dog collar selection can be immediately mitigated by rounding the corner and discovering a giant display of candy corn.

4. I managed to get everything I needed (plus a cute pair of ballet flats) and was only $2.17 over my monthly Target budget. I was all impressed with myself since I had estimated the total in my head as I went and only had to put back one t-shirt before I got in the check-out lane. On the way home I remembered I had a calculator on my cell phone and could have added it all up and maybe put back the bag of candy corn as well. But who are we kidding...

5. Considering that I was more appropriately dressed to work at Target - and more helpful too, I might add - than the person who rang up my items (hot pink is not red, young lady) they probably could have paid me a few bucks for the time I spent there. Like maybe $2.17 or so...

Friday, September 4, 2009

What I Learned This Summer Part Five

5. Baseball and Shakespeare Just Don't Cut it

I love the romance and tradition of our American Pastime. It's so unlike our other big sports and that's part of what I love. You stand around and chat a lot. You can chew gum. You go inside if it rains. You play until you're done. None of this running around to beat the clock business. It's almost zen-like. Even more so with a cold beer. It's good.

And I love Shakespeare. I especially love it performed on a hopefully not-quite-so-muggy-but-who-are-we-kidding-here August evening, in a park, sitting on a blanket with snacks and a bottle of wine and good friends. I love that a group of local actors get together every summer and pull off a major feat of memorization and creativity and all you have to do to see it is show up and toss a donation into a bucket.

Baseball and Shakespeare in the Park. These are both great and wondrous things.

But they're not college football.

I try. I try so hard to love these quintessential summertime traditions. And I do love them. But the heart wants what it wants and my whole body literally twitches with anticipation at every scrimmage report, recruiting update, release of pre-season rankings and press conferences to put to rest what color our uniforms are going to be.

No, I'm not kidding.

There were rampant reports at one point this summer that we would be changing to black uniforms. I was all, "Really?! Is it not enough we have a new head coach who looks and dresses and runs his damn mouth like some cocky little 13 year-old? Is the plan to completely do away with everything else that is good and holy now too? Are you trying to kill me? Black uniforms? While we're at it, why don't we just send poor Smokey to the pound and get some slobbery bulldog or some stupid rooster to be our mascot instead. Or better yet, why don't we just eliminate all of our traditions in one fail swoop and at the first game drag ole Davy Crockett out to the 50 yard line and shoot him with his musket."

Honestly. There was a difficult day in July when I really thought my head might explode...

Good thing it all turned out to be a rumor, huh. It's been a sensitive summer in Big Orange Country.

The best moment of the summer though, came from my Google Reader. I have a special section on it for UT football blogs and news feeds. I try to ignore the little tab at the bottom of my computer screen as I'm working as it's updating the total number of stories I have waiting for me (there are sections for legitimate news too!). Usually it just increases one or two every few minutes unless something big happens. The other day I glanced down and watched as the story count jumped by 6 or so. Then by another 5. And then another 5. I kind of panicked thinking some big, world event had occurred or another celebrity had died.

So I opened the tab. All the new stories were in the UT Football section. The cause: the new Jumbotron at the stadium was almost completely up and they were running test pictures. People were taking photos of it from the street with their cell phones and posting it to their blogs. Hilarious. I shook my head in amusement as I opened the first few.

Then there was a post with the picture of one of the screens that contained two words - a play on our famous saying, "It's football time in Tennessee!" that is shouted by 107,000+ at the beginning of every game (and by several hundred other thousand in front of their TVs and radios).

The screen simply read, "It's Time," (spelled with the Power T, of course). Don't know the marketing team behind that bit of genius, but it perfectly sums up the end of a long summer, the hope of a new season and the promise of a new era.

Cocky new coaches and rumors of black uniforms be damned, I have to admit I got a little goose-bumpy.

And I'm not the only one. The caption under the photo read, "Amen."

Amen, indeed.

Here's to the official end of summer. And, of course, GO VOLS!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Brief Intermission

Even a Summer School Recap needs a break, right?

So I interrupt your regularly-scheduled programming because I accidentally ended up with a cute outfit today.

No, really, that's why.

That and I am completely unmotivated about the actual work I have to get done.

I really don't like summer clothes, so by August I've inevitably slipped into the very bad habit of just reaching into the closet (or the clean pile of laundry) and pulling out a pair of pants (occassionally a skirt) and then a top of some sort. Usually they go together. I don't often have to interact with people face-to-face at my job so if they happen not to go together so much it really doesn't matter. I will receive disapproving looks from the coffee house barista - but really, that's going to happen no matter what I wear...
Anyway... It's raining out and I finally unearthed my favorite umbrella from the boxes of stuff in my house and I'm accidentally feeling a tiny bit Charlotte York-ish today so I thought I'd share:

Black wrap top from the Gap that looks like this, but actually has a tiny ruffle along the edge (gasp).

Plain, go-to, wide-leg, khaki chinos. Flat-front, of course. From Eddie Bauer. I know, Charlotte would probably never be caught dead in a pair of chinos. Or anything from Eddie Bauer. Or the Gap, for that matter. Let's pretend.

Black wedge-heel sandals. Nine West.
Very cool, tan, suede cross-body bag that my mother bought for me in Italy. It has a red lining and smells delicious. And I loooove it. It's slightly different than in this picture, and a much lighter tan, but this is close enough...

And last, but not least. My burberry plaid umbrella.

Not the brand, Burberry, with a capital B because - holy hell - do you have any idea how much that would cost?!? It is Bauer with a capital B, as in Eddie. Again, like the chinos, Charlotte would probably be appalled. I did take a gander at a real Burberry umbrella once at Bloomingdale's in New York, just to compare. I nearly fainted. Mine is still really cute though. I'm one of those weirdos that likes rainy days. This makes them even better.

That is all. As you were.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What I Learned This Summer - Part Four

Sometimes Stating the Obvious Really is Helpful. Oh, and, Feng Shui Totally Works:

I've been griping about my job for some time now. Nothing official, just usually over cocktails or coffee or when some unsuspecting person asks "how's work?" Anyway... a friend sent me a link to one of those personality tests (kind of Myers Briggs-ish, if you're familiar with that sort of thing) and at the end of it you could see what jobs were well-suited for your personality type.

The result: Apparently I'm an empathetic, critically-thinking, introvert who is well-suited for a job in natural resource education. (Or a lawyer or a computer programmer, but neither of those things are going to happen...)

Good. To. Know.

At first I got a big kick out of it, but then it was kind of comforting to know that despite all of the worrying and whining and feeling like I'm wandering aimlessly all of the time, I probably am on the right track. I just need a better train compartment.

Or something else in that metaphor that makes sense....

So I decided to say so. Very officially and out loud. With feeling. And then I felt bad for doing so because, you know, I do have a job already whereas many of my friends do not - or did not for a brief time. But I said it and it was out there.

I also said this around the time that my house was finally being put back together and was once again livable - briefly a couple of unfortunate shades of paint, but that's been fixed now too. And I'm a firm believer in Feng Shui. That disordered and cluttered homes make for a disordered and cluttered lives. Now, I am very messy. I don't want to be, but I am. But I'm a highly organized messy and even in my messiness, one can see that there is usually a rhyme and a reason and there's good flow. Or chi, if you will. And my house, for like a year, has had some seriously bad chi issues.

As I recall, a friend took to calling it Shawshank...

But as soon as there was a turning point in the chaos at the blueberry cottage, there seemed to be a turning point in me. And so with the confidence that only comes with new drywall, apparently, I declared my allegiance to this current job over. Finito. I am done. I won't be leaving until something appropriate comes along, but I felt the need to announce it officially to the universe.

And you know what, within a couple of days I'd sent a little email to a professor at a local university about their new graduate school program in sustainability. You know, just to ask a couple of questions. A few days later I'd met with said professor and now it looks like I may be going back to graduate school in the spring.

Then, last week, two friends of mine had a conversation about life and jobs and such and my name was mentioned as a possible person for a project one of them was working on and a day later I'd sent in a resume and some sample work and now I may, possibly, if it all works out, have a new job. Doing what might be the most perfect job for me. Maybe. Possibly. If it all works out.

I'm trying so hard not to get my hopes up and saying that, worst-case-scenario, it's still a sign that this is the right move for me and that there are good options out there and I just need to be patient.

Patient. While I'm obsessively checking my email and cell phone like some girl pathetically waiting for some boy to call her. Patient.

Anyway... when I thought more about it, it seems as though that there are a lot of people around me who've taken a big leap of faith this summer. Much bigger than the one I've taken. They've lost their jobs and come out of it with the inspiration to be teachers. Or quit their jobs to start their own business doing something they love. Or had a baby. Or decided to adopt a baby. Or, like my niece - who is a baby - decided one day that walking might be a fun thing to try. Crazy stuff.

So it's been a big summer of change all around. And it can't just be my new drywall that did it. Somewhere there's some bigger chi at work out there. I don't care, as long as it keeps stirring up good stuff well into the fall.