Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Howdy, 2007!

What's playing on the iPod right now: "Boston" by Augustana

(I see this opening tag on another blog and I really like it as a feature, so I'm trying it out.)

I can't believe another year is almost finished. It seems like yesterday that I was starting this blog two years ago -- no one I knew was blogging; I was doing it for an assignment, and within six or seven months everyone was blogging. I guess they're all going to be podcasting next....

Anyway, here's to the end of 2006, a mixed bag of a year. I said goodbye to my mother's last house and hello to my oldest sister's new house. I went to Las Vegas and had many adventures; I went to Orlando and had more adventures. I lost part of my tripod; I found it after about six months. Six months! I am a disorganized doofus. I had one bird catastrophe (she's healing fine, thank you), I got an iPod; I learned how to navigate iTunes ... OK, that's a lie. iTunes still eludes me. But I'm figuring it out.

I learned how to drive a manual-transmission vehicle! I got cool martini glasses. I learned what Britney Spears doesn't wear in the undergarment category. (OK, I didn't really need to know that.) I got a new TV and couldn't hook it up; I didn't cook Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner, but the food was good, anyway, and I survived both of those holidays without any new emotional scars.

I saw my best friend in the world three times in 2006 -- in Las Vegas in January, in Tennessee in July, and again in Tennessee in December. Hi, Amy! I miss you already!

I started podcasting! And I met new people as a result and learned all sorts of new things!

I finally found a meatloaf recipe that makes my family happy, and I'm making it for them even though I don't like any meatloaf recipe.

But as always since 1988, when a year is winding down, I find that I look back and just really enjoyed my rotten kids. They're not really rotten. They're really kind of cool, and they make me laugh. I hope they stick around for a good, long time, and I can't wait to see how they make me laugh in 2007!

Have a happy new year, y'all!!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Deep breath.....

It's finally over.

I'm not sure why I still do the Christmas thing -- I'm not terribly religious; I don't go to church, et cetera. And Christmas is horribly stressful and unpleasant for me in so many ways. Even when I was scrapbooking all the time, I never once scrapped a Christmas photo. Why? They look pretty bad, for one thing, and I don't like Christmas.

I should like Christmas. Everyone is supposed to like it. But I don't. It's too much running around and work, and in the end, my favorite moments are the little tiny ones when one of the kids actually gets a present they didn't expect and they jump up and hug you.

With all the cooking and decorating and cleaning and running around -- those moments are too rare. Heck, this year's golden moment came when Woodrow found out that he's getting a basketball goal. I ordered that thing online. It didn't come. I emailed the seller, and they're sending one late. So Woodrow didn't even get the thing; he just found out he's going to get it someday. And the ordering took fifteen minutes. Chasing down the missing item took fifteen minutes. Woodrow's joy at the news lasted at least four hours.

Considering the hours and hours of agonizing and unfulfilling work that went into cooking, cleaning, and decorating, I should have just ordered a basketball goal and left the rest of the season to itself.

Now, aside from the stress of the holiday crap, one shining golden thing stands out: Amy is here. I love being with her; I love hanging out with her. And I know that if my house were a mess (which it pretty much is, even after the hassle of holiday cleaning) and I didn't give her anything except a bologna sandwich and a cup of coffee, Amy would *still* be delighted to be here and delightful to be around. Everyone else comes with strings attached. I have to decorate right; I have to cook right; I have to give the right gifts; I have to wrap them right. Nothing I do is *quite* good enough for anyone, and I'm totally frazzled, close to crying, sleepless and headachey the whole time.

Who invented this stupid holiday? Oh, that's right, the pagans. So whyyyyyyyy did early Christians think it was a good idea?

Next year, next year, maybe next year is the year I grow a spine and refuse to do anything for Christmas. It's just not worth it. I would much rather put all this energy into something nice -- like visiting Amy in Las Vegas. *That* would be a holiday. Not Christmas.

Thank heaven it's over. Now I can be normal and stop cooking, cleaning, and decorating all the time. And Amy and I can go see a movie. Now, *that* is fun!!!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Amy's home!!!

There are two reasons for tonight's post --

1. Amy's home!!!!! And that makes me happy all by itself!!!!

2. Just in case you're a podcast listener and you wondered where the new show is... Errrrr, Amy was on a plane last night, and I don't have podcast publishing software, anyway. And I don't know how to put updates on the Grits to Glitz website. I'm sorry! We have the info for the fabulous recipe contest, and we *absolutely* would have posted a note about it on the homepage for our loyal listeners.... but I'm stuppid and Amy is without Internet service. Eek!!!

Tonight was just too short a visit with Amy, but I'll get to see her tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow... and not one of them will creep in a petty pace. This holiday visit will be over in a blink. Darn it!

In the meantime, though, I have to say -- it's fabulous to see my sister again!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


The best thing about Christmas -- the best, best thing -- is that Amy is coming home! I just talked to her -- she's in the Las Vegas airport, and her flight was boarding. She'll be home this time tomorrow! Heck, she'll be home at 10:00 in the morning!

I'm so happy!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Tell me why --
The stars do shine?
Tell me why --
The ivy twines?
Tell me why --
The sky's so blue?
Then I will tell you
Just why I love you...

(December is a pretty good time to take portraits of one's children, huh?)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Nostalgia & Noel

My friend Greg wrote to me last night in praise of the 80's, when we were teenagers and wild kids, and the whole thing has made me feel very nostalgic for my youth, not only because it's fun to be 15 and listening to "Tainted Love" at full blast while lounging on an inner tube on the lake -- but also because holidays were just plain better when I was a kid.

I was thinking about this the other night while having a truly bad holiday shopping excursion. Things were not going well. I threw in the towel and headed for the mall (again) and the food court (again again) -- just to get some respite from the ineffectiveness of it all. As we were headed for the parking garage (which didn't exist in the 80's), I suddenly remembered a shopping excursion from my sophomore year when things weren't going well, and Mama threw in the towel and took us to Swenson's.

Remember Swenson's? Does anyone remember? Am I the only person? For about half a year, Swenson's ice cream parlor was the hottest restaurant in West Knoxville. If you went there on a Saturday, you could wait for two hours to get a table. And -- the worst part -- you'd be standing there watching other people eat. Swenson's had enormous, elaborate sundaes. The only thing that kept us from attacking the diners was the idea that after they finished, we would be able to sit down and have some food and an enormous sundae of our own.

So on Monday night when things were going badly and I was headed for a mall food court, I suddenly had this outrageous craving for a Swenson's tuna melt and some kind of giant sundae. I also wished Mama were here -- I miss her still so much -- because she was fun. She was fun!

But best of all, she was the mama, and I didn't have to worry about anything.

Mama took care of everything, all of it, and as long as she was the mama, Christmas was great and gorgeous and stress-free and perfect, and all of it had a giant cookies-and-cream sundae with whipped cream on top and an a cappella chorale Christmas album playing in the background.

A couple of hours after this fit of nostalgia, I was sitting in the food court with my little family. We didn't have any sundae remnants, but we were giggling madly as we fought over the last french fries and Emily was trying to steal my Petro's orange iced tea -- even though she had her own orange iced tea -- and humming along to the Christmas music playing in there --

And I realized, yep, I'm the mama now. I may not have everything as under control as my mother did, but maybe in twenty years, maybe one of my children will wish that they could just be a teenager again and let me take care of everything.

If I'm lucky.

(Extra-easy Christmas card by me, using the incomparably gorgeous Club Scrap Ivory Elegance kit and an older Club Scrap special release unmounted holiday greeting, Ranger Black Perfect Medium, and Ranger Perfect Pearl in Sunflower Sparkle -- it looks the most like gold leaf.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Eek! Almost a week?

OK, I forgot to make a post. But how did I let almost a week go by between posts? I'm obviously coming unhinged.

I blame the holidays. It's crazy. Every year, it's the same crazy. Well -- this year it's a little different. I won't be hosting the holiday festivities at my house. We'll do those at my sister Martha's house in Athens. So that means I'll be traveling to Athens a lot on Dec. 24th and 25th.

Here's my foot. Here's a brick. Let's drop it on my foot and see how that feels!

In general, I have just a few things to say:
1. Company Christmas parties are lame. Especially when the company in question chooses to use the party as an excuse for an impromptu work-related pep rally. "Safer! More productive! And more profitable in '07!!!" Puhleeeeeeeeze. I could gag.

2. The only cure for a company Christmas party is to wear one's sluttiest and most incredibly luscious camisole. WOOO HOOO!!!! I love my trampy clothes!

3. Holiday shopping is not as wretched if you do it on a late Sunday afternoon/evening.

4. Wesley says I run to the mall food court like Phoebe running through Central Park. (Didja see that episode of "Friends"? Rachel and Phoebe agree to go running, but Phoebe runs like a child with her arms pinwheeling madly and her legs in all directions. Rachel's embarrassed until she tries it herself, and it turns out it's really fun!)

5. I don't really run to the mall food court like Phoebe. I run to sales like Phoebe.

6. I really like Wesley's new French press pot.

7. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Especially with the inflatable, light-up, blowing-snow snow globes down the street.

8. I have an inner Bart Simpson that I never knew I had, because I really want to pop the blow-up snow globe and see if it blats all over the neighborhood emitting fake snow as if it were incontinent.

9. Does anyone need a spare kitty? I have a very nice one up for adoption. He's extremely handsome, with thick, dark grey fur.