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The List

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

My entire office takes the last two weeks of August off. It’s such a brilliant idea, because when everyone is out of the office, no one needs to catch up when we all return. Everything just… pauses… and then it starts again.

I knew that this break was coming, so I thought about what I might want to do – visit Seattle, or Nashville, or Denver, or even Hong Kong (dream big) – but in the end, I decided to stay right here in the old M-P-L-S.

It was such a good decision.

Don’t get me wrong – the last two weeks have been quiet as a mouse. Many boring tasks were attended to. I spent 90% of my time alone – by choice, because as an introvert, this was a DREAM COME TRUE.

Since I’m heading back to work tomorrow morning, I thought I’d list all that’s been accomplished in the last 17 days:

  • Enrolled in my new 401K
  • Rolled over my old 401K
  • Found a new dentist, and had my old records sent over
  • Found a new vet for Foxy, and had her old records sent over
  • Vacuumed my car
  • Weeded every flower bed in my yard
  • Picked up all of the sticks in my yard
  • Visited the DMV for the third time
  • Touched up paint in the bathroom
  • Bought a desk off Craigslist
  • Bought a headboard for the guest bed off Craigslist
  • Bought bedding for the guest bed
  • Mowed the lawn
  • Organized the work bench in the basement
  • Visited the Minnehaha dog park seven times
  • Visited Wisconsin twice
  • Read two books (For the Love, The Invention of Wings)
  • Watched two movies (The Theory of Everything, Whiplash – and I sent Birdman back before finishing it)
  • Watched Good Morning America every day
  • Killed a mouse in the kitchen
  • Got an oil change
  • Got a massage
  • Brushed the dog (Foxy’s coat is VERY soft these days – I blame Solid Gold)
  • Got the dog enrolled in doggie daycare, just in case I ever decide to take her (the jury is still out)
  • Organized my closets
  • Made multiple CrockPot freezer meals to get ready for the fall
  • Arranged for gutters to be installed
  • Arranged for the way-high-up trees to be trimmed
  • Figured out my property boundaries without the help of a land surveyor (I shall keep my $900, thankyouverymuch)
  • Got YARD WASTE stickers for my bins
  • Installed new ink cartridges in my printer
  • Hosted Greta and Jeff for two nights
  • Hung pictures on the walls
  • Hung a door back on the hinges all by myself
  • Got a toilet brush and a paper towel holder and a kettle
  • Edited a piece I’ve written for a magazine
  • Hit 20K+ steps on my Fitbit a lot of days
  • Bought a ticket to Hong Kong after all

GRIN. I am smiling so huge. I’ve wanted to visit my dear friends in Hong Kong since I was in high school, and come February, I’ll finally get my chance!

I am so grateful for an uninterrupted window of time to take care of all of these little tasks that would have worn on me throughout the fall. Tomorrow, I’ll go back to work a little less ragged, slightly more together, and ready to take on a very busy season.

May you embrace your staycation with gusto.


The guest room is ready for you.

Nothing doing

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Let me tell you what: 3+ weeks of unscheduled vacation time? Just what the doctor ordered (and the doctor is me).

First, I must say thank you for all of your amazingly kind words after I bailed off the trail. I knew that I had made the right decision, but still felt a little sheepish that I might be letting people down, and that disembodied internet voices would tell me so. How silly of me. I have the greatest friends and family in the world, and this fact was only more firmly emphasized last week.

So, now I’m on vacation. I’m basically doing nothing. I’m doing a great job of not hanging out on social media and not checking my phone very often (if you’ve tried to get in touch with me, I should just go ahead and apologize). When I first came home and realized that I had 3 ½ weeks of unscheduled free time ahead of me, I thought about going on a big trip – Hawaii, Europe, maybe a Road Trip USA. But then I remembered that my unscheduled time off was also unpaid time off, and I probably shouldn’t go blowing my Dave Ramsey Emergency Fund on frivolous gallivants and romps. So Colorado is where it’s at.

I obviously would never have taken a 5-week leave of absence from work just to lie around and relax – but good grief, have you ever done this before? It’s HEAVEN. Never in my life have I had an opportunity to rest my brain and body to this extent. It’s worth not getting paid for.

I still have two weeks before I have to head back to work (on my birthday, so please arrange for your gifts to arrive at the office), and have a few things I hope to do and thoughts I hope to think. But mostly, I’ll be waking up each day and taking Foxy on a walk and then just seeing what happens next. Last night I got to see this sunset, so life is obviously rich these days.

photo (12) copy 2


Monday, July 8th, 2013

Today I re-enter real life after a 9-day vacation – and oh, the pain.

I mean that figuratively, of course – but also literally. My body hurts. I climbed three 14ers last week, and I’m all scabs and bruises today. On a steep slope a week ago Sunday, a rock the size of a bowling ball dislodged above me and somehow rolled into my left knee, leaving only a small bloody mark but a deep bruise. Today, I’m left with a dilemma: I need to stretch my quad, but to do so would require bending my knee, which tears the scab.

We all face choices.

Anyway, this past Saturday I climbed Mt. Columbia. And it’s a good thing this 14er was my 34th and not my 1st – because had it been my 1st, I would never have climbed a mountain again. It was that horrible.

The top 2,000 feet is nothing but scree, a mixture of countless small loose rocks and slippery dirt that has only one goal: move down the mountain. To step is to dislodge it, leaving a climber feel like she’s in Indiana Jones, or a video game, or at least an episode of “Wipeout” – no matter what, you have to keep your feet moving. To stop is to slide. So I spent hours – HOURS – plodding straight up the mountain, and when the earth would start to give way beneath my feet, I’d run (fine, awkwardly scamper) to not be taken down with it.

The descent was even worse, so I decided to try to just ride the landslides down like I was skiing: SCREEING, I thought, proud of myself for being so clever.

Come to find out, the Internet already coined the term. The Internet always wins.

I have never cussed so much in my life – all the worst words, the ones that would convince you to never let me hold your babies again. I’d slide a bit, first cautiously, then out of control, causing one landslide after another, making me thankful that no one was below me. When I’d finally grind to a stop, pebbles in my boots and body shaking, I’d feel like screaming. I mean SCREEMING.

Thankfully, Mt. Columbia is over. Not so thankfully, vacation is too.

Keep your chin up out there today, people. Mondays can’t last forever, and neither can scabs. Words to live by.

Hammerhead over heels

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Just a few days ago, this is where I was:

The Gulf coast of Florida is something amazing. White sands and clear water and slushy drinks and hammerhead sharks that ALMOST EAT YOU.

No joke, Miranda and I were up to our waists in the water when people on the shore started yelling and motioning us to GET OUT OF THE WATER. When was the last time someone used full arm-waving to get your attention? Let me tell you, it works. If I see a stranger-woman flailing her arms and yelling something indiscernible except for something about “teeth like razors” and “eaten alive,” you can bet I’ll hustle.*

Other than multiple shark sightings, the weekend was the most relaxing, glorious, magical experience. I was with three of my favorite people. We talked a lot. We laughed a lot. I read a lot. I barely checked into work email. I only almost-cried once (almost-cry: to be in mid-sentence when something strikes you as emotional, and your eyes burn for 3 seconds as your throat snaps shut and your voice breaks, only to recover and act like it never happened).

Catapulting out of a holiday weekend and back into Real Life, I should be all business. After taking an actual, honest-to-goodness vacation, I should be organizing my house and working out and running errands and grocery shopping and obliterating my to-do list. But right now, my throat hurts. And I think that the very best thing for me would be to practice playing “Come Together” on my guitar and congratulate myself for making it to the day-before-pay-day with a cool $1.04 remaining in my checking account.

So that’s what I’m doing tonight.

In future days, I’ll be sharing pictures of my new Shotgun house. I’ll surely have tales from my recent experimentation with CrossFit. I want to tell you about the music I’m head over heels for lately. My heart is being tugged in some very fresh and new ways. And I want to write it all down so I don’t forget, so I always remember what it feels like to be living these particular days. Time is going so fast. I want mine to count.

And I’m trying to figure out what that looks like.

*Running through water? Among the most awkward actions to attempt.

Tuesday love

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

I just finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  I can’t tell you what this book did to my heart.  I can tell you that wherever life takes me next, I’m going on a major backpacking trip first.  If you know me at all, you’ve already heard me talk about it.

Say what you will about Taylor Swift’s latest album, but I can tell you this: “All Too Well” is classic Taylor, and it hits me in the gut.

“How we spend our minutes is how we spend our lives.”  I don’t know who’s credited with coining that phrase, but it’s hitting home for me these days.  I want to spend my minutes well – which means, ugh, maybe I need to stop watching “Dawson’s Creek” on Netflix.

I recently volunteered to be bumped from a flight in exchange for a travel voucher.  I’ve decided that I want to use it on a solo vacation somewhere peaceful in early 2013.  Requirements: a beach, a kitchen, and plenty of quiet.  Any ideas for where I should go?

I plan on being spontaneous

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Next week, I am taking the entire week off of work. The entire week.

For vacation.

I don’t think I have ever had an entire week of vacation, ever in my life. I’ve taken 7-day stretches off of work, but have used them for crazy travel plans (ping-pong flights, weddings, road-trips, holidays, family events). Never have I ever taken a solid Monday through Friday with weekends on both ends, and decided to stay put.

This is my only plan: do not leave Colorado.

Except, that’s not true. You all know that I’ve planned it a bit more than that. In fact, last week, someone who knows me better than I thought called me out on it: “I don’t believe you. You totally have the week planned out.”

I denied it, because technically, I don’t know what’s going to happen when.

But he was totally right.

Here are some of my hopes for the week:
-Climb 3 mountains
-Snuggle my visiting nephews
-Go to the Denver Zoo
-See the final installment of “Harry Potter”
-Get a massage
-Turn 29-years old
-Go for ice cream

Because as long as I can plan on it, the spontaneous will come easily.

Any other ideas of what I should do with my “unplanned” time off? What would you do?


Friday, May 27th, 2011

Memorial Day weekend.  Aren’t you so glad?

My very long hair is currently twisted into two tight French braids, which I will release tomorrow into a crazy mane.

I am heading to Home Depot tonight to get the supplies to refinish some bedroom furniture.  If it turns out well, expect a celebratory picture post.  If it doesn’t, forget I ever said anything.

Other plans this weekend include several hikes, making Monika’s spinach zucchini pancakes, and reading Shania’s autobiography (naturally).

Care to share your holiday weekend plans?


Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Monday was a paid holiday, and I am taking tomorrow and Friday off.  That makes this a 2 day work week, and today my Friday.  Amen.

I’m not very good at “vacation.”  I travel a lot, and use every minute of the (very generous) vacation time that I am given – but I never take the time to just relax.  Relaxing makes me feel lazy – I’m too task-oriented and high-strung to relax*.  If I take time off, it is usually because I am flying to a wedding, or hitting the proverbial road, or spending a busy long weekend with friends – or, in the case of this week, climbing mountains and screaming at total strangers.

Let’s start with the first thing: climbing mountains.  Over the weekend, I absolutely destroyed the knuckles on my left hand.  How do I always wind up with bloody knuckles?  I mean, honestly – am I a Neanderthal, dragging my hands on the gravel behind me?  I never remember scraping them – I just look down and realize, “Oh, there are my bones.”  “Oh, there is blood.”  And then I spend the next 10 days breaking open the scabs every time I bend my fingers.

Type type type.  This is a sacrifice.

We’ll see if the weather allows for me to climb two 14ers in the next couple of days.

As for the screaming at total strangers, well – when two pit bulls attacked my dear old dog Rowdy, snarling and growling and biting, and their owner made no move to stop them, it felt like a fair trade.  Your dog snaps, I snap.

Obscenities were screamed (yes, the worst of the bad words), as well as a threat to call the police.  It was out of control.  I was out of control.

Maybe I need a vacation after all.

*I need** an intervention.  Seriously.  I don’t think I will ever relax unless someone hog-ties me and forces me to.

**You know what ELSE I need?   Seven fillings.  I went to the dentist and they found SEVEN cavities.  I have excellent dental hygiene, and haven’t had a cavity in 10 years.  What is going ON?  It’s going to be a 4-hour torture session (not to mention a hefty wad of cash) to get these bad boys taken care of.

Gah, I say.  GAH.

Up from the grave

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

I am resurrecting from the blog-dead.

Maybe if I say it out loud, it will stick.

Where have I been?  Oh, you know.  Working.  Working out.  Thinking.  Reading.  Watching some more “Friday Night Lights.”  Breathing.

I spent the long weekend in Colorado Springs at my parent’s new house – they moved in June, and I hadn’t made it out until now.  Their new house is a charmer, and the Springs is a beautiful city.  On Saturday morning, we hiked the Incline, a stretch of old railroad tracks that go straight (no, seriously: STRAIGHT) up a mountain side – 2,000 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile, and then a 4-mile hike down.

To give you an idea:



I was pleasantly surprised to wake up the following morning to find that I wasn’t even sore.  Who’s been working out?  [Thumbs] This girl.

Another great thing about the weekend was hanging out with our 3 dogs, Rowdy, Maci, and Kodi.  There is something great about having dogs around.  They don’t need you to say anything, and they don’t need to talk.  They just provide pleasant company – sometimes some vomit on the floor, but mostly, just pleasant company.

On the flight out to Denver, I saw a gorgeous man.  He was so attractive: tall and bearded and broad-shouldered and manly – rugged, like Aragorn.  I didn’t talk to him, though – so the next best thing would be to mention him here.  I’m just reminding myself that I do, in fact, have a heart that beats.

On the flight back to Nashville, I recognized two outrageously successful songwriters who happen to be married, and introduced myself to them.  When I did, the woman fell all over herself: “You’re… Annie PARsons?  THE Annie Parsons?”  My heart stopped – this woman KNEW WHO I WAS?  I mean, word travels fast – especially in Nashville – and I know that I’m AMAZING (there is such a need for a Sarcasm font), but could it be that someone who wrote a CMA and ACM Song of the Year had stumbled across my name?

But then.  I had to correct her.  No, she did not used to babysit for me when she was in high school.

Sigh.  Steady on.

All you people, can’t you see, can’t you see

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Today, I am back to reality – back to Nashville, back to the heat, back to work, back to the gym, back to balancing my checkbook, back to routine, back to a schedule.

It feels quite wretched, so much so that I accidentally started bawling last night when I got back – “accidentally” being that I didn’t mean to… it just happened.  Then Julie and Mel and I laid in a circle on my bedroom floor, each of us curled on our side, and I felt a little bit better.

But returning from vacation can feel unstomachable – especially when the previous 12 days had been full of so many good things: family, mountains, ocean, orcas, food, wine, Seattle, music, friends, and dancing to Backstreet Boy’s “Larger Than Life” at Miranda and Will’s wedding.

1999 never sounded so good.  Not even in 1999.

In my absence from real life (i.e. The Internet), I missed Michael Jackson’s funeral, Steve McNair’s murder, Sarah Palin’s resignation, any 4th of July festivities, and the electric bill.  Also, I gained 10 lbs.

Not that I know.  But I KNOW.

I’m overwhelmed with all that I have to catch up on, make up for, rein in, cut out, and resume.  My inbox piled up with emails while I was away, but don’t worry – no one called me except for collections agencies looking for one “Daniel Perkins.”

Today, I sally forth, and will dig myself out of this funk.