Archive for memories

Vacation from Sanity

Posted in Comments from the Peanut Gallery with tags , , on August 19, 2009 by Alison Amok

“Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun. We’re all gonna have so much … fun we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our … smiles.”

– Clark W. Griswold in National Lampoon’s Vacation



[vey-key-shuhn, vuh]


1. a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday: Schoolchildren are on vacation now.
2. a part of the year, regularly set aside, when normal activities of law courts, legislatures, etc., are suspended.
3. freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.
4. an act or instance of vacating.
–verb (used without object)

5. to take or have a vacation: to vacation in the Caribbean.



Husband and I have not taken a vacation since before we left for basic training.  Just to clarify this, we have not taken a vacation in almost nine years.  Nine years.  We had no honeymoon because Husband had to go back to work three days after our wedding and then was deployed to Afghanistan two months later.  He was gone for a year.  I was deployed twice during my military career and Husband another two times.  Then Husband began his current profession as a Secret Squirrel.  Because of this he had to move away from me and into our current home in DC.  We were geographically separated for almost two years.

So for nine years serving our country, deployments, illness, surgeries, hospitalizations, protecting national security, the Appalachian Mountains, second jobs, fertility treatments and family obligations prevented us from vacations.  Oh and lets be clear, I do not count traveling to visit family as a vacation.  Because seriously, that is not a vacation.  And yes I do feel sorry for us and so should you.   But all that is about to end.

This December is our five year anniversary.  We are finally going on a vacation.  A honest to goodness vacation. With just the two of us. Our honeymoon anniversary-moon.  No family and minimal phone contact (well you can try but I doubt we’ll answer).  Just.  The.  Two.  Of.  Us.  And where are we going you ask?  Well we’re going to the happiest place on earth.  No, not Denmark.  We’re going to Disney World.  Yes, Disney World.  Because I want to that’s why.  Having grown up in and out of Europe, my family didn’t really do the Disney thing.  And more often than not our family vacations were more National Lampoon’s European Vacation and less Cheaper by the Dozen 2.

So our vacation is going to be insane.  And I am crazy excited.  No expense has been spared, no detail overlooked.  And yes I’m bragging because I am excited.  And really glad that we can finally afford to pay and take the time off for a vacation.  We are going for ten whole days of absolute child-like joy and fun.  And we’re staying in a super posh hotel, uber lush suite with room service.  And I am so going to be ordering room service.  I don’t care if I have to pay 14$ for a bottle of water.  We are ordering room service.

But I’m most excited about being able to just spend ten days in row with Husband.  We’ve been so busy with life that its almost as if we’ve put our life on hold.  But  no longer.  It will be ten days of food, fun, excitement, relaxation and Mickey, Minnie and the gang.  Because seriously, we’re such big kids anyways.  And I’m most excited about it being the Christmas season during our trip.  I’ve watched so many Travel Channel shows on Disney that I am practically an expert.  But my favorites have always been the Disney Christmas programs.  I cannot wait for all the extra special food, the decorations and everything else they do above and beyond special for Christmas.  I’m so completely giddy with excitement because Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I can’t believe how lucky I am to get to go on a luxury vacation and enjoy a Disney Christmas and then come home and enjoy an actual Christmas at home.

This vacation I think is a huge turning point in our lives.  It’s exciting because we’ve never been able to spend too much time with each other over the years.  Finally living together again helped initially with that issue but taking vacations allows us to become normal adults.  Luckily, this is the first of many adventures we will take together and our life together will finally be, well, be together.

So dear readers, here’s a question for you.  Tell me about the best time you’ve ever had with your significant other alone.  Was it a vacation?  Where did you go?  What made it memorable?  Share your story so the rest of us can live vicariously through your adventures!


Shoe Fly…Don’t Bother Me

Posted in Shopping 101 with tags , , , , on May 20, 2009 by Alison Amok

“What becomes of the broken-hearted?  They buy shoes.”

-Mimi Pond


I have an addiction.  And as with all addictions, the first step is admitting you have a problem.  So here it goes…

Hello, my name is Alison.   And I have a shoe addiction.

Ok, seriously now, I’m not trying to make light of addiction problems.  But seriously, shoes are my weakness.  Lets just say, I own more than my fair share of shoes.  And to be completely honest, I own more than several women’s fair share of shoes.

I.  Love.  Shoes.

I think Jennifer Weiner summed it up perfectly in her book, In Her Shoes: “Clothes never look any good, food just makes me fatter, but shoes always fit.”  This is a thought I’m sure has been silently whispered by every woman and immortalized in words by this modern author.

Look at Cinderella, every little girl has drifted to sleep with this magical fairy tale in her head.  What a wonderful story of true love and the importance of simple things.  And I feel grateful that Husband understand my obsession and indulges my fantasies.  He understands that shoes are more than an object of clothing, they make the outfit.  And he is indescribably understanding, albeit slightly confused, why I need yet another pair of black patent leather Mary Janes.  Because, Husband, I don’t have these black patent leather Mary Janes.  That is why I need them.

I rarely get as excited as I do when I get a new pair of shoes.  Especially when they’ve been bought on-line.  The anticipation of this nondescript brown package delivered by an anonymous mail man, a carrier of joy.  Romantically, its as if I’m receiving a gift, a love token, from a secret admirer.  This little package speaks nothing of the beauty and joy held within.  Nothing of the splendor and glamour of life.  And it definitely speaks nothing of the magic a great pair of shoes can do to your life.

Every pair of shoes in my closet is carefully stored.  Pairs are individually stored in clear plastic boxes, guarded and sheltered, impervious to the elements.  Perfectly preserved yet visible to me every day.  Every pair put on permanent display for my personal entertainment.  A private museum of shoes.  Every pair possesses a memory.  They are the representation of my dreams and hint at the fantasy in my mind.  Every pair speaks volumes of stories, of inside jokes and adventures to be individually worshiped and wistfully retold to future generations.

The glittering pink stilettos are reminders of the new love, excitement and the anxiety of marriage.  These shoes represent our union with a strong foundation and a touch of whimsy.  These beautiful, fanciful shoes supported me the day before my wedding.  The lifted me down the aisle, aided me in practicing the most important walk of my life.  Their support and beauty epitomized my love for Husband and his positive influence on my life.  Their sisters, identical in style but different in color.  A sparkling black, these are the shoes that I wore to the celebration with friends and family for my bridal shower.

Often, I wander into my closet and sigh.  I see this mountain of shoes, this mountain of stories and a mountain of memories.  Occasionally, I select a pair, carefully pull them out of their boxes and assume a new persona.  Or I use the shoes as a way to remember a moment, a minute space in time that occupies a great place in my heart.  Each new pair is an opportunity to re-invent myself.  Each new pair is an opportunity to stay true to myself.  Each new pair is a way to display my personality, my hopes and dreams and put it out there for the casual perception of strangers.

I am in love.  I am in love with each and every pair.  I am excited that each shoe has the potential for new miracles.  I look forward to the future.  I look forward to donning these new shoes and creating new memories and walking, beautifully garnished in new leather and satin, into new adventures by the side of my very own Prince Charming.

PS – You can now be jealous because I’ve added these fabulous new shoes to my wardrobe.

Pink Shoes

** UPDATE ** 21 May 2009 **

So due to popular demand…. drumroll please…. My organized shoes.  This is about half my shoe collection, the other half is still packed away in a box from my move mostly because I’ve been too lazy to actually seek them out.  And the mess of sheets next to my shoes is until I can figure out a good way to organize my linen closet.  Stay tuned for more organizational p*o*r*n.  I had no idea people were as weird as I am and love seeing things in perfect order.  It makes my little heart happy.