I realized the other day that there were a few more previously written posts that required some follow-up. If you’ve been all het up and worried about how these things have turned out for me (as I’m certain you have), today is your lucky day!
Shortly after I was offered my new (current) job, I posted about how I reeeeally wanted to give myself a Moop bag so I could look more professional. Alas, the color I had my eye on was out of stock until August! Well, I kept checking in on their site, and it turned out that at some point they found an acceptable substitute for the gunmetal gray fabric and were already cranking out new bags. I am now the happy owner of the Moop letter bag in slate. Looky!
It’s everything I hoped it would be! I feel so much less studenty now that I’m no longer carrying around the messenger bag from my college and grad school days.
More recently, I was fretting about how Jon gets to travel fun places for work and I don’t and I’m never going to have a vacation again, blah blah blah… you remember that one, don’t you? Well, a lot of it hasn’t changed — I still don’t have enough money to go to Germany in the fall, or really to go anywhere anytime soon — but I’m pleased to say that I am indeed going out to Idaho in August to visit Jon’s family and see the place in the summer. I’m imagining it will look a lot like this, only swap out the white for an earthy green…
Turns out my boss is pretty understanding and flexible when it comes to vacation time, and Jon’s mom and stepdad wanted me to be able to join the family for his stepdad’s homecoming, so they graciously offered to cover my ticket, either in skymiles or dollars. I went back and forth with Jon on how I really don’t like taking handouts, but eventually he persuaded me that this should not be viewed as such and that I should, in the wise words of Garth Algar, just say thank you.
So, that should bring you up to speed. Isn’t it great that we’re all better people?
Kingsport, Tennessee, September 1950
The last few installments have been pretty recent-timey, so I thought I’d kick it properly old school this week. This is a photo of my mama at about two and a half years outside the house she grew up in, my grandparents’ house, and it’s probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. This was back when young Laura was still an only child — lord knows if my uncles had been of playing age then the cardboard house would be covered in tiny holes from Bob’s BB gun.
Last month, the state of Georgia launched a contest to redesign its license plates. Any citizen of Georgia was welcome to submit a design so long as it conformed to the template the state provided and, above all, touted Georgia as the Peach State.
The radio story I heard announcing the contest made some mention of local art schools being involved, either as providers of entrants or judges, which perhaps set my expectations too high. The eight semifinalists were announced last Friday and they are, how you say, underwhelming. (Then again, it is a license plate.) Check them out:
image from Georgia Department of Revenue
Public voting between now and July 8 will determine the top three entries, and then it falls to the Governor to pick a winner, to be announced July 15. What do y’all think? I don’t love any of them right off. I kind of like the way Georgia is written on the first plate, with the peach — it recalls a tag from my childhood, which, now that I see it, makes this one look bad again — but I’m wary of all the designs that involve a three-color gradient. What if they turn out super ugly like the recent South Carolina redesign?
Some of these designs have the county name at the bottom and some have “In God we trust”; I gather that it’s an either/or situation, though I’m not sure who makes that call. I’ve always liked knowing what county the shitty drivers come from, so I hope they stay with the county stickers rather than the motto.
Tag no. 4 gets my vote at the moment, even though the exaggerated serifs on the font make it look like Harry Potter. (Perhaps it’s a modified version of Able, the Harry Potter font?) The colors are nice, and there’s not too much going on in the small space available. Some of the other entries are way too busy. As with many things, it’s easier to cross off the ones I don’t like than choose one I do. Which is your favorite? Don’t you think they could’ve drummed up some cooler designs?
Ottomatic, Ottoman, Ottomobile, Ottobahn, Ottozone, Ottorino*, Sir Otto — whatever you want to call the dog, he’s been with us now for a whole year.
trying to coax the puppy out of his crate in the grassy enclosure outside the Delta cargo pickup last June 25
I was definitely not sold on a puppy when it was revealed we would be getting one as a wedding gift, and he was a real pain in the ass for several months after he arrived, but he’s a lot of fun these days — and I’m finally getting used to the fact that I, the consummate cat lady, am a dog owner. Otto’s been a great addition to our family, although he and Little Man are still sorting things out.
We took Otto to a couple of obedience classes back in the summer and fall, but, due mostly to a lack of discipline on our part, none of the lessons really took. He can be hell on a leash, sometimes runs into the street just to spite us and only comes back to us when we want to leave the dog park if he’s ready to go in or we are holding his ball hostage. In fact, the only thing he does really well, besides be exceedingly cute and energetic, is fetch and catch. Check out these action shots:
That second one is like Lord of the Dance or something. Cracks me up.
Jon’s mom was here last year for about a week after we picked up Otto, and she’ll be here over the July 4 holiday weekend again this year. She hasn’t seen Otto in the flesh since then — she’ll be shocked at how big he is, and how relatively low-maintenance he is compared to this time last year. He’s all grown up!
*like Respighi! I love that this is a real name. Gotta bring this one back.
Exactly a month after our anniversary, Jon’s long-awaited gift arrived in the mail. When I saw the box, knowing what it was I announced that I needed to run an errand after dinner: I had to buy a frame so I could properly present it to Jon on this, our year-and-a-monthiversary. (Obviously I didn’t mention that part.)
What was it, you ask? Since the tradition is to give paper, I found a mini-poster for Jon’s favorite movie from childhood and, through the magic of the internet and the U.S. Postal Service, managed to arrange for one of its stars* — one of Jon’s favorite actresses — to sign it to him. I sorta can’t believe it worked! I got this idea a couple of years ago and it didn’t pan out; thanks to twitter and blogs, my second attempt was successful. When he saw what it was, he cracked up. I think that’s a good thing? No, he liked it. He definitely did not see it coming.
*sorry to be so vague — I don’t think there would be a rush on this person to sign things, but as part of my plea for this favor I assured the parties involved that I would keep the details confidential! She’s on twitter though, and has family on the blogs…
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C., June 22*, 2008
It was almost too good to be true: we had plans to be our friends’ wedding in Charlottesville, Va., on Friday and Saturday; Pearl Jam didn’t have an Atlanta date, but was playing D.C. that Sunday. I had secured a pair of fan-club presale tickets for the D.C. show, and when we picked them up at the Verizon Center will call, we knew we had been assigned sweet seats: Section 2, Row A. It wasn’t until we made our way to the floor and were passed from usher to usher (to usher) that we realized our tickets were dead center on the very front row. DAHHHHH.
It was the most surreal night of my life. I had always planned to drop an obscene amount of money on front-row seats to see my favorite band once I was wealthy enough to afford such a thing (and assuming they were still touring), but here it was being dropped into my lap for like $35 a seat, thanks to a randomizer and a fan club membership. Eddie Vedder even tossed me a water bottle! Shyeah!
no zooming was involved in the taking of this photo (!)
On the long drive back from D.C. a couple of weeks ago, while Jon conked out in the passenger seat, I decided to relive the glory of that show almost three years ago via the live recording on my iPod. It’s funny how little I actually remember of the show — it was a total out-of-body (and mind) experience that almost doesn’t feel like a concert when I think back on it. The setlist wasn’t quite as awesome as it could have been, but that hardly mattered. It was an epic, unforgettable night.
Taken with my KRZR phone when my camera crapped out. Not bad!
*I can’t help but think this occasion, on the 22nd of the month, helps explain why I have good feelings surrounding the 22nd as a date in general (which is perhaps why I leaned toward May 22 for our wedding date). Good things happen on the 22nd! Also, when I looked at the ticket as a reference for this post, the sold-on date was April 22. Dude!
Yesterday we went over to my parents’ house for fathers’ day dinner. This time of year, a lot of what we eat at mom & dad’s comes straight from Farmer Jim’s (dad’s) garden, and this was no exception: potato salad, green beans and squash casserole were all sourced from the backyard, as were all the peaches and berries in our shortcake desserts. After dinner, dad went out and picked peaches off the trees for each of us to take home. Here’s some of what’s in the garden right now:
Some of the gorgeous zinnias were brought inside to dress up the kitchen table:
And, last but not least, the card I drew up for dad in honor of the holiday:
Hope y’all had a great weekend!
As you may recall, last weekend I was in Washington, D.C. for a wedding. See?
That’s me and Obama, kickin’ it at the reception. Good times!
I had been watching airfares for this weekend for a while, but the trip from Atlanta to D.C. was much more expensive this time than it had been in the past. When the price never dropped below $300, Jon and I decided to make the 10+ hour drive instead. Jon was tired of airports, I love roadtrips and we both love saving money, so it made sense.
Overall, we spent about 21 hours on the road. That is indeed a long time, and it meant that we spent the majority of Friday’s and Sunday’s waking hours in the car. (To take the edge off, we took the scenic route through Virginia’s lovely Shenandoah Valley both ways.) As soon as we got home to Atlanta on Sunday, I totaled up the mileage and gas receipts to see just how worth it our drive was…
Turns out it was a brilliant call! With gas prices much lower than I estimated, we only spent $134.44 on gas. Even when I added in the requisite roadtrip snacks and fast food meals, we still spent less than half of what one plane ticket would have cost. I am the winner! I was also pleased to see that my little car (which still remains nameless… gotta fix that) averaged 33.5 miles per gallon for the trip.
So, all of this is to say that sometimes it’s a good thing to hit the road, and I just wanted to share my success. Major bonus points to anyone (who is not my sister or best friend) who can identify the above-pictured rainy town on I-85…
Durham, North Carolina, September 2008
I had to post this one today in honor of this past weekend’s events. When my alma mater came to a neighboring state to kick some Blue Devil ass on the gridiron back in ’08, I made plans with my college buddy Caroline to come stay with her (she was living and working in Durham at the time) and go to the official alumni tailgate and football game. That weekend, her new-to-me boyfriend of several months, John, also an NU alum, came down from DC to visit and catch the game as well. Nearly three years later, these two are hitched! Congratulations and U Rah Rah to the newlyweds!
Twin Bridges, Montana, Summer 1994click to enlarge for full effect
I found this gem over the weekend in DC. Jon and I crashed at my aunt and uncle’s house, which is well stocked with old family photo albums, on Friday night. The one this came from caught me at perhaps the peak (or the beginning of the peak) of my awkward/unfortunate/’90s-tastic/unphotogenic period. (I mean, at least I didn’t have braces yet? Although that just meant I never smiled like a normal person.) I didn’t have a scanner handy, so I took a picture of the print with my cell phone. There was actually another awesome picture of me doing barrel racing (so legit!), wild hair and flannel shirttail streaming behind me in the wind, but I forgot to take a shot of that one. Alas!
This was one of a few summers during which we went out west to a guest ranch (for non-cowboy types) for vacation instead of going to the beach. I was about at the end of the all too common preteen-girl horse-obsession phase, so getting to ride horses for a week while the guys were off fly-fishing suited me just fine. Here I’m wearing hiking boots with jeans that don’t fit inside or over the boots, a Westafest 1994 t-shirt from my elementary school, a rope necklace from summer camp and iridescent, mirrored John Lennon-style sunglasses. My flannel shirt is rolled and tied up just behind the saddle. Damn, I was a stylish kid.