Thursday, June 25, 2009

My 25-year life status report

This post needs a little back story:

My mom has her masters degree in counseling. As in, secondary school-age kid counseling. She's an education manager now, but she still has these pesky guidance counselor tendencies, and being the child of this made me the subject of lots of life goal related experiments...

Which brings me to life goals. Mom has never been the type to push my brother and I in any particular direction (we weren't expected to be virtuosos at the piano/violin/viola/fluglehorn/all of the above at age 2 1/2. Nor were we coached into oblivion at soccer/tennis/racketball practice. But mom did like for us to have goals. Not set in stone "I-WILL-be-a-hedge-fund-manager-making-six-figures-by-thirty" goals, but nice things that we'd like to achieve in our lives.

So, here's the card that mom had me create a long time ago and rediscovered during her kitchen remodel. I wish I'd dated it, because I can't recall exactly how old I was when I made this list. Judging by my handwriting, the fact that the pen was pink and my spelling... I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12 years old. Classic.

For everyone's enjoyment, here's my quarter century check-in on my 11-year-old self's life goals. Let's see how I'm doing, shall we?I will answer them in the order in which they were originally penned (wonder if this was a prioritized list... it would be pretty darn random if it were.)
  1. Speak Japanese: Negatory. I do remember dribs and drabs of my college level French. Heck I even conjugate french verbs in my head from time to time if I get bored. And I DO know how to order "two beers" in at least six different languages. Perhaps if I learn how to do that in Japanese I could partially claim this goal. (Nice! "Beer Please" in 26 languages?!) Japanese? Check. Bee-ru ip-pon ku-da-sai?
  2. Be a better dancer: Awwww, this one is really sweet! At some point in my life, I reached for the stars, see?! Since this was written at age 11 - and I started dancing at age five and stopped at age 18 after high school (and Ann's Studio of Dance) graduation - I can fairly say that, yes, I believe I did become a better dancer! And while I was always more of a "let's stick her in the back because... she's tall" kind of a dancer, I do think I improved over the years. And while I may not be prima ballerina material, all of that dancing did make me a much better dancer at parties (woot!) and improved my overall posture and carriage, this was quite a good expenditure of so much of my time as a kid. Dancing? Check.
  3. Be come (sic) an author of books: So, I might not have become an author, but my writing (and *ahem* spelling) skills sure have improved over the years! A couple of hardass English teachers in high school and Journalism 1100 at Auburn certainly did whip me into shape here. My first story as a volunteer for The Auburn Plainsman even made the front cover! One day I might even buckle down and attempt a novel... I'll get back to you on that part of this goal, but.... Writer? Check.
  4. Learn more about geogaphry (sic): Again with the spelling! At least I improved upon that. Hmmm... geography improvement, hey? Well, I've been a lot of new places since age 11. I've visited Europe and hit many more states. I've become more and more aware where global places of interest are by following the news... and following the news is a good citizen thing to do, right? So. While it could use continued improvment, I have definitely learned more about "geogaphry". Geography? Check.
  5. Get my bedroom painted: We didn't "paint" my bedroom, we did better. I somehow convinced my parents to put up a giant, full wall width mural of a deserted island beach on my bedroom wall. I managed to (a) get my mom on board with my rather out there decor scheme and (b) get my dad to actually put that puppy up on my wall. There were a lot of expletives coming from my bedroom that weekend. I'm obviously still using those persuasive skills I used to get what I wanted in a new field - PR! Perfect career choice for my skill set, I think! And, I still do enjoy design and again, can't wait to get my bedroom painted... in a house I own. I'm so tired of white rental house walls! Painting? Not exactly. But what I got was something much more involved and AWESOME. Bedroom? Check.
  6. Have my own little garden: As in, not part of my mom's massive garden... hel-lo! And lo and behold - I DO have my own little garden! It's a rental house garden, i.e. all in pots and hanging baskets, but it's gorgeous, in full bloom this summer and I completed it myself! Nice one, Sollid. Garden? Check.
  7. Be an "A" (scribbled out "B") student: BUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. So, who wants to bet that my mom was looking over my shoulder on this one and encouraged me to reach even further for the stars? "Hmm, that's great Mel, but don't you think you could probably make all A's? We don't want you selling yourself short, now. This is a goal list, after all." So, thanks mom, for making me botch a goal. How's a B-and-a-half student? Half A's, half B's the occasional C in an Algebra course? I came out all right didn't I?! Geez. Decent student? Check. I'm giving myself this one. Argue with me. Dare ya.
  8. Make two new friends: I've made WAY more than two new friends, but this is still one of my favorite things to do. I made all new friends when I moved away to D.C. and had to or totally forefeit a social life. I continued to make more new friends when I moved back to Huntsville as a part of the workforce and wanted to meet other young professionals (I hate that term, I need to coin a new, less yuppie-sounding one) like me. Thank God for friends, they make being a grownup bearable! Friends? Check.
Thanks, mom, for finding this note card. And for making me write it in the first place. I really like the person I was back then - in all of her spastic, nerdy, do-goody glory. And I especially like that, by reading back, I am coming to realize that I am still in a nutshell my 11-year-old self. Because she was pretty awesome.

Monday, June 22, 2009

mini vacation: 21c Art Hotel

Ever since I heard about 21c on NPR during my morning commute to work last winter, I've been dying to check it out. Finally, in June, thanks to a combination of factors including J having an unheard of weekend off work and me being employed (whoo!) we're heading to Louisville (Louhvul?) Ky. for the weekend. A minibreak, if you will. And I couldn't be more excited...

Really what makes 21c different from all other hotels is it's vast private art collection, amassed by owners Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. This is modern art: crazy paintings of men caressing mannequins, conceptual films with accompanying dioramas. Red penguins everywhere. Modern art, like my favorite - the Hirshhorn - oh how I would love to work there...

Our agenda for the weekend:
  • leisurely, five hour drive from Huntsville to Louhvul with a potential stop in E-Town (as Mr. Addis calls it)
  • if we can swing the work schedules, an organic wine dinner featuring french bistro food at 610 Magnolia
  • perusing the downtown Louhvul art scene, including two(!) glassblowing workshops
  • more eating, at Proof on Main, 21c's on site (and apparently fabulous) restaurant and wine bar
  • troll the Urban Bourbon Trail
  • music and dancing?
  • and brunch. no vacation is complete with out at least one brunch.
This "itinerary" should pretty much sums up my idea of a perfect vacation. Leisurely road trip, eating, eating, wine, eating, dancing, distillery tour, eating. Repeat.

Woohooo Friday!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


What a long lapse between posts. I've been busy, both at work and personally (entertaining out of towners... Nashville in photos part deux coming soon). I'm also extremely irritated about the way my blog is looking and haven't had time to update and beautify it. Work Web site takes precedence over personal blog, obviously.

I think the perfect way to get back into the swing of things is to discuss my summertime obsession. SYTYCD (#sytycd on Twitter!)

After an amazing first week of couples competition, yesterday's performances were kinda underwhelming. My early favorites had slow performances... still liking them better than the others, though. Everyone else seemed to love the waltz and spastic popper Phillip, who I can't stand and find painfully goofy.

Other general impressions:
  • Love Kayla, but so does everyone else. She'll be fine.
  • Also love Caitlin and I'm a bit more concerned about how she'll do this week. On an unrelated note, am I the only one who thinks she looks like Amy Smart? Like her partner too. That Bollywood number last week was incredible.
  • The only major change of heart I've had between last week and this one was for Jonathan and his partner uhh... whatsherface. They were AWESOME. I had him totally pegged as a mediocre ballroom dancer, then in comes this incredible choreographer from SYTYCD Canada and her infallible "Falling Slowly" song choice and brings the couple back to life. I feel badly that I don't remember the girls' name (Karla...there!)
  • Speaking of Karla, she's fast becoming another of my favorites, she made absolutely no impression on me last week and suddenly comes out of the woodwork with the contemporary number. And lo and behold, she's also an accomplished hip-hopper who dances in a crew! Fun!
  • So, other recaps have been calling Lil C's reviews rambling and incoherent, but I was pretty impressed with his philosophical reviews of dances. And his amazing vocabulary. Nice.
  • Love Melissa and Ade, too. But didn't fully appreciate their performance the first time, changing my attitude after the reviews and the recap. Is this bad? At least I can claim that the bf came home during this and I felt compelled to talk even though I'd really rather have just shushed everyone till it was finished...
Had to add this photo because (1) it's HILARIOUS. This dude looks so young.. and (2) because he and his partner are first dancers of the season to win me over from skepticism or pure dislike.

At any rate, it'll be interesting to see who leaves tomorrow. These reality shows are awfully time consuming with the two night performance-then-elimination format and if I watch them at all I typically skip the performance night and watch the group numbers, recaps and special guests on the results show. But this show is my drug and I can't seem to do that. Addicted.

I do kind of wish that they'd keep the show to once a year. I think that the buildup of waiting SO long between seasons is part of what makes the show so great (you know, that and the enthusiastic, talented - HOT - dancers and fun costumes and music). But as with all things, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I hope this multiple seasons per year thing doesn't kill it for me. Also, I would really like my Wednesday and Thursday nights back. My social life would suffer if this happened twice a year. :)

I really, really, REALLY want to take couples dancing lessons. After the start of this show and a fun Nashville visit, I'm convinced.