Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas - Southern Style

My sister and I spent a lot of time in Florida before Christmas this year so our family was looking for things to do besides preparing for the next party or drinking all the red wine on the east coast. My parents had some free tickets to the Daytona Experience nearby so we went over to check it out. None of us are really Nascar fans, but it was still pretty fun. It was nearly deserted, so there were no crowds or lines for anything. One of the stops on the freezing cold tour was the Victory Lane area where you could get your picture taken as race winners. We hammed it up and whooped and hollered in our victory celebration - I would post the picture but I look like I'm in some pretty serious pain from the exertion of holding my arms up in victory. Also, there's a rumor that none of us had showered that day. (Hey, we were all on vacation...) We found out that my dad would never make it as a racecar driver while my sister and I would likely put ourselves and others in great mortal danger as soon as the engines started.

For our second redneck excursion we headed to the flea market. We have a Christmas tradition of doing a $5 gift exchange where we draw names and head to the nearest mall. To make it more interesting, we hit the flea market this year. I was a little worried about our ability to find gifts, seeing as how about three-quarters of the booths were closed, but there was no cause for concern. We all split up and headed in different directions. I found a huge portion of a warehouse set up with folding tables and cardboard boxes labeled from $1 up to $5. I'm pretty sure most of the merchandise fell off the back of a truck or was recalled for safety reasons and resold to flea market dealers. We all got funny, somewhat terrible gifts for each other and had fun exchanging them and explaining the reasoning behind our purchases once we got home.

We headed up to Kentucky after Christmas, making a stop in Georgia where my sister and I got schooled in Wii golf by our three year old cousin. Fortunately for us, we were able to prevail in bowling. This morning we celebrated my second consecutive birthday at the breakfast area of the Holiday Inn in my hometown. The afternoon may or may not have been spent reading a certain preteen vampire novel aloud to my sister as we drove back to Tennessee. All in all, an excellent holiday.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Reading - What is the What - Dave Eggers. There's not a whole lot to say about this besides how incredible it is and how you should rush out and get it even if you can't stand Dave Eggers and how it will make you cry and get really angry and still not be able to put it down and then finally be exhausted have to put it down for a month but then not be able to pick it back up because you know it will first break your heart some more and then end and you won't be be able to read it any more so you keep putting off finishing the book. So, really, not a whole lot to say about it.

Watching - I know it is full of, as someone put it, "overly contrived eccentricity", but I am loving Pushing Daisies this season. I could take it or leave it last season but it just keeps getting better, which makes its cancellation even more sad. I totally want Olive's nun outfit. Also, I am completely in love with Dogtown on the National Geographic channel. Our shelter directors have spent their vacations working out at Best Friends and they say it is just as wonderful as it looks. I generally end up crying at the end of every episode. The injured dog is now healthy! The crazy dog is now under control! The vet solved the medical mystery and the dog can now live a happy life!

Drying - apples by the bag-full. I made some of the famous Clayton family dried apple stack cake for a party last week and I am preparing to make another one in Florida so I have been processing apples for a good week now. I've only sliced a finger open twice with the mandolin so I figure I'm doing pretty good.

Loving - the Christmas tree lot at a local Methodist church. I've bought my tree there for five(!) years now and I could not love these people more. There are always old men out in the cold ready to haul trees, operate chainsaws, and secure my tree in the trunk of my car. They are really just the kindest people and would make me inclined to go to church if I weren't already of the church-going sort.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Why I Love Carrboro: Part eleventy-thousand

Overheard at the Carrboro thrift shop...
Employee working on shelving books, to other employee: "Where is the wall for Eastern Philosophy?"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I hadn't realized that my last post had been in September. I have been working on a post about a guy in federal prison who sent me an unsolicited personal letter, complete with height/weight/race stats in case I was interested in a relationship once he was released but couldn't quite master the right amount of humor vs. trying not to make fun of this poor guy. I think I basically summed up the story in that sentence - bottom line, if you're looking for love in all the wrong places just let me know and I can hook you up with his CB call sign.

Anyway...this semester has been so busy and wonderful. It was definitely time for me to move on from my job and to make some new friends. Not that my existing friends weren't incredible and still some of my favorite people, but there were lots of new babies in the picture so going out to play trivia and drink beer got moved down a bit on the priority scale. Classes were exactly as I imagined, and I have been dutifully working to make myself indispensable as a research assistant. On the home front, we are down to an average of 2.5 canine teeth per feline and the ghost in the master bedroom continues to turn on the overhead light at 4 in the morning.

Ideally, I want to write lots of posts in the upcoming days and spread them out over the next month. I want to write about some of my favorite things around the house that make it feel like home (see: William the hippo, the family tree of rock and roll, and countless dusty old books that are interesting only to me), what Christmas is going to be like without my grandma around, how the mouse brain completely took over at the end of the semester, and the first Clayton family road trip in the US since 1999. Keep checking in and I promise I'll try not to disappear for an entire semester.

Monday, September 15, 2008


It's been a while, but here's what I'm up to...
Reading - The Twenty-Seventh City by Jonathan Franzen. I think I wrote about reading The Corrections a while ago and mentioning that it took me a while to get into it. This one had me from the very beginning and it's been hard to put down and go to bed each night. I'm obviously loving it and I'll let you know if that changes by the time I'm done.

Listening - Hypocrite alert! I wrote a while back that I don't really like live music and then shortly thereafter went to see Arcade Fire. This time I've got tickets to see Andrew Bird at Memorial Hall. In my defense, I have always said (to myself) that if I had the opportunity to see him again I would (documentation!) so I could hardly pass up the chance.

Buying - prints from Berkley Illustration. I have wanted some of these for the longest time so now that I have a new space to decorate I'm switching up a lot of my old artwork for new stuff. I ordered the cheetah, the doe, and the goat and I think they'll fit nicely in the half bath. I love the little descriptions of each print so I will probably print those out and label each one once they are hung. These are really just the poor student substitute for Catherine Ledner's prints. Words cannot explain how much I love those photos.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I mentioned a while ago that my sister and I had visited my aunt to can tomatoes back in July. I've got some pictures of the three of us hard at work and will hopefully have some more later. This year was different from last year because my grandma wasn't there but we still had a great time and got a lot of work done. Our regular tomato place in Tennessee didn't have enough ripe tomatoes so we had to stop about a day earlier than we had planned and my aunt finished off the remaining tomatoes after they had time to ripen.

I've given away some of the spaghetti sauce and I took an appetizer of ripe tomato catsup and brie to a recent party but for the most part I've squirreled away the jars and saved them for myself. As the months go by, my shelf of full jars will empty and I'll accumulate more empty jars. Our family (and anyone else lucky enough to get sauce and juice every year) knows that you have to return your empty jars to get full ones next year. So as my supply runs low I'll be able to look at my empty jars and remember that we'll get to do this all over next year.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

There's been so much going on these few months! I drove 2400 miles over 10 days and eight states, left my job, moved, and started school again. So, let's talk about unimportant things that have no relation to what I've been up to.

In high school I loved the radio station out of the junior college across the border in Illinois, but it would disappear for months at a time for no good reason. I guess these were the times when students were studying for exams or out of town on break, but it was always a treat to turn to the station one day and hear the regularly lazy voices and commercials for taco places we would never visit.

In the past year, I've been listening more to the college radio station out of NC State. It's become a substitute for my much beloved and long gone high school station and I love the morning and evening rock programs. A few months ago I noticed a familiar sounding song but couldn't place it. A few songs later the DJ came on and rounded up the recent songs.

Flat Duo Jets

That brought back some memories. One of my best friends in middle school picked up the Flat Duo Jets cd In Stereo for another friend out of the bargain bin at a local record store because the band had a funny name and the cd looked really bad. Friendships changed, but the hilarity of the first track on the cd remained the same for all of us. We had no idea "Riot in Cell Block #9" was a song that had been recorded by legitimate artists (not that FDJ aren't legitimate!) and that it was a "real" song.

When I heard the announcer say that the song had been by Flat Duo Jets I laughed out loud. It had been so long since I had thought about screaming out the first line of "Riot" in my best friend's bedroom.

The NC State station plays Flat Duo Jets fairly regularly, but I never fail to laugh out loud. As seriously as some people and critics might take them, they will always remind me of laughing hysterically with friends.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Updates - Twitter Style

I am so glad my dad painted the important pieces of furntiure - painting today shows I am not cut out for a career involving precision or staining substances

Facebook's Northwest Trail application is a sorry excuse for Oregon Trail. Am waiting for Amazon Trail version.

Did you hear last week's This American Life? Have been constantly repeating "Tivo pieces!"

I dropped the TV on my new router and then figured out a way to make it work - am electronic genius! (knocking on wood)

Have been without income for four working days - miss it already.

Harpoon Summer Beer is an excellent substitute for Sam Adams Summer Lager.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How to make me cry

While I'm out of town, use the only copy of the key not in my possession to enter apartment and fix air conditioning. Leave project unfinished and turn off refrigerator at breaker box. Leave apartment and promptly lose key, making it impossible to finish ac repair or restore power to fridge.

I came home to an incredibly stinky kitchen at one a.m. today. I saved a few bottles of beer but had to toss everything else. (The bucket of lard is awaiting disposal - I would bet that it weathered the outage just fine but I'm not willing to risk it. Besides, lard buckets are pretty easy to come by at the Food Lion.) I could not be happier that tomorrow is moving day. Sorry, new tenant - you better invest in some baking soda.

In other news, the trip was fantastic. I have some pictures of cousin camp and tomato camp that I'll post later this week. I'm happy to report that I can still get up on waterskis after 10-15 years and didn't suffer any major wipeouts.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Last Few Days

Beach, Food, Nap, Beach, More Food, repeat.

I had a great drive down to Florida and the weather has been just beautiful with perfect ocean waves. We had the traditional shrimp feast tonight and tomorrow is a trip up to the best fried shrimp place on the coast.

Before I drove down here I stopped at the library to get some books on CD. I have been meaning to write a round-up of the ones I've listened to forever but never got around to it. For those who care (or more likely, for my future reference), here it is (I'm not doing links - you all are smart enough to find these for yourself):

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke: I loved this one. The reader had a fantastic British accent and the book seemed to fly by even though there were 26 CDs. There were some slow spots so I don't know if I would have gotten through the book as quickly, but the audio was great for drives between NC and Indiana a few years ago. I checked out a CD of short stories from the same author this trip but haven't gotten that into it yet.

Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland: I could not have loved this one more. I can't listen to audio books if the reader isn't invested in the story, but this is not at all the case with this one. Every time I see this one on the library shelf I want to pick it up again, and I think about it a lot. The actors/readers are so perfect for each section of the book and add so much to the listening experience - I know that sounds cheesy. Coupland's other books have been hit or miss (mainly miss) for me, but this will always be one of my favorite audio books.

Oh, The Glory Of It All - Sean Wilsey: An autobiography of a boy growing up with socialite San Francisco parents. Pretty interesting but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they were familiar with the city. I can imagine that it would have been much more enjoyable if you were able to relate to the location and the time period, but Wilsey was still pretty whiney through the last quarter (third? half?) of the book. Interestingly (for me), his mother founded an organization that sponsored visits between US children and children from the USSR. As soon as he started describing this group I recognized the group from a picture book we had while we were growing up. It was called Making Friends but I can't find it from a brief amazon search.

Son Of A Witch - Gregory Maguire: So, so bad. I loved Wicked but have been very disappointed by everything else he's written. To his credit, he read the book, but that's a technical redeeming quality that can't save a boring book.

The Areas of My Expertise - John Hodgman: This is the PC guy from the PC/Mac commercials and he has written a very Dwight Schrute-esque guide to his catalog of made-up knowledge. There have definitely been some laugh out loud moments but it's a bit much for seven straight hours. It looks like the last CD just contains a list of 700 hobo names so I have one fewer CD to go (unless you're looking for a hobo name, in which case I would gladly help you pick one out).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

So! Much! Going! On!

I've been working crazy hours as I try to get things wrapped up at work before my last day and haven't had time to update anything here. I'm in the process of moving, dealing with plumbing and drywall repairs, getting ready for a houseguest, showing my current apartment to prospective renters (grrr - not happy about this), buying furniture and major appliances, admiring a brand new baby (not mine, obviously), and tackling several upholstery projects.

Here are a few pictures of my latest furniture project. I got two chairs at the PTA thrift shop for $10 each and recovered the cushions with some remnant fabric from Ecko. I still need to paint/rehab the chair frames but they have moved from hideous into not-too-ugly. I've also recently picked up two sewing tables (one with a functioning machine!) and a fantastic gun cabinet. I love having an apartment filled with used and rehab pieces that each have a story and I'm really excited about fitting everything into my new place and making it somewhat cohesive.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Now with 100% less whining!

I saw this on kottke yesterday and it completely made my day. I've only been to the La Paz airport, but I've spent some time in Santa Cruz. If the traffic in the two cities is comparable I'm surprised there haven't been any incidents of zebra roadkill.

La Paz, Bolivia's crossing guard zebras

Monday, June 9, 2008

AC Update

Really, what's one more day when the forecast for tomorrow is a degree cooler at 97? It's been 8 days since I reported the problem, a week since they "lost" my appointment, and 6 days since they put in a temporary fix that didn't work. I'm okay and have offers to stay with friends, but the poor cats have been moping around in their fur coats. I just have to keep telling myself that I won't be in this apartment forever. I can't move soon enough.

Weekend: Pros and Cons

Pro: Had a great visit with Dad and accomplished exactly what we had hoped to while he was here - details later.

Con: Air conditioning still not working. Now on Day 10 of Operation: Try Not To Die Of Heatstroke. I've called about it twice today and can't get an answer other than "we'll call you back."

Pro: Went to a great baby shower for Heather. Lots of fun.

Con: Rear-ended an Accord in Raleigh. Thankfully, no injuries or major damage. My car is fine but I left the impression of the screws from my front license plate in her bumper. I did the exact same thing four years ago and my insurance rates had just come down from that incident. Awesome.

Pro: Got fantastic deals on two armchairs, a sewing machine table, a desk chair, and fabric for recovering the armchair cushions. I'll post project pictures as I get started on these new projects.

Con: To top off a weekend that was both very bad and very good I managed to lock myself out of the house last night. Of course my neighbors with the spare key were out of town so I ended up going to the gym as planned and then decided my best option was to run out to Jeff and Heather's. I have no idea how long it took but I arrived drenched in sweat and bleeding from an encounter with a thorny vine on the side of the road. I was finally able to get in touch with my landlord but he wanted me to pay him to come by with a key. (His exact words were to "give him something for his time" so maybe I could have made a deal for the six-pack in my refrigerator.) Jeff drove me out to his house to get the key and I finally got back into the house six hours after locking myself out.

Con: I completely failed in my attempts to pick the lock on my front door (don't give me that look - I was desperate) so it looks like I'll never make it as a secret agent. Cat burglar is probably out as well.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lessons Learned

If you find yourself in possession of chocolate chip cookie dough made with lard instead of butter, resist the temptation to eat it raw. Seriously. Just put down the spatula.

Monday, May 19, 2008

If you can stand it, more Davidson

So I'm a few months late with this. With all the Davidson hoopla this spring I missed this simple article that captures so much of what it is to be a Davidson Wildcat. Well done, JT.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thrift Store Finds

I've wanted a cake platter for a long time, so this diy project from Design*Sponge caught my eye. I found a great candlestick and a plain white plate at a local thrift shop - I haven't glued them together yet but that's the next step.

I also found this fantastic metal Beatrix Potter platter. It matches two pencil cases I've had forever so they're all on display now in my hutch. (Speaking of the hutch, that was the ultimate furniture rehab project. I really wish I had some before pictures.)

Finished Catalog

Here's the final catalog post! I really couldn't be happier with how it turned out. So far, I've labeled all but 13 of the 60 drawers. If you know me at all, you will spot the one task I hadn't completed when I took the pictures. Obviously, I couldn't live with unordered drawers - they are now in alphabetical order.

Card Catalog in Progress

Turns out I only had to sand the catalog and not strip it. Here are a few pictures of the refinishing in progress.

The existing stain on the drawers had worn unevenly so the stain I put on didn't create an consistent color. It ended up looking fine since the darker area is covered by the hardware and labels but it was frustrating to deal with. It also affected how the polyurethane covered the surface. In the end, it's not perfect but I am calling the imperfections "character" instead of "flaws".

Having all these drawers stacked in the middle of the living room served as motivation to get the work finished.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Brain Dump

The card catalog is finished! I love it and couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Of course I keep forgetting to upload the new pictures, but trust me - it's fantastic.

In lieu of photos, here are some links and items that have been occupying my brain lately.

Loving - John Adams. Seriously. I started watching the mini-series on HBO but decided to stop after the fifth episode and read the book first. For the past week or so I've developed a nightly ritual of popping kettle corn and reading for an hour before bed. From what I've read and watched, the show stays pretty faithful to the book with the exception of some timing details. Laura Linney and Stephen Dillane are so wonderfully perfect as Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson that I want to send cookies to the casting director. I can't recommend the book or the show enough.

Listening - To the Indie Soup Runner podcasts. Although the weather is getting nicer, it's still too pollen-y outside for me to move my runs outside. I don't really mind the treadmill, but these podcasts are perfect for relieving any gym-related boredom. All of the songs are high-tempo and work really well for timing your steps to the beat. Only downside - it's difficult to execute appropriate dance moves on the treadmill.

Science Tattoos
The nerd in me loves this. It's probably for the better that I'm not super-passionate about econ because I don't think a tattoo of supply and demand curves would look as good as the squid anatomy tattoo. via Boing Boing

Vintage Microwave
This fills in the hole left by The Week in Craig posts when The Black Table stopped publishing. The weeks where she covered the Free Stuff section of craigslist were always the best, and Vintage Microwave ably carries on the tradition of mocking people for what they try to get rid of. via Evany

Monday, May 5, 2008

Where was the Class of '03?

Two weekends ago my parents were at Davidson for my dad's reunion so I decided to drive down for the afternoon and have lunch with them. We went to the official alumni event on campus and my dad had registered me ahead of time so I had a nametag with my name and graduation date like everyone else. All major reunions except the five year one are held in April so everyone there was celebrating 10, 15, 20, etc. years and I was the only one at five years. It became the joke of the day that I was the only one who had shown up for the five year reunion so dad made sure to take a class picture of me to document that I was there. I had a really nice time and got to hang out with her parents and other classmates of my dad.

Here we are by the thumbs-up wildcat.

Friday, May 2, 2008

New Project!

I haven't had a good project (home-, not work-related) in a while so I'm really excited about my new piece of furniture, just waiting for sanding, stripping, and finishing:

I found it on craigslist in Charlotte and it just happened that my parents were in the area with a van so getting it home was relatively painless. It was pretty dusty, so I spent last Sunday vacuuming out the inside and rinsing off all the drawers (60!). The drawers are plastic with a wooden front, and I've since removed the drawer fronts and all the hardware. Due to the location of the screws holding the wood fronts to the drawers and the size of my screwdriver/drill I had to detach the fronts by hand - not fun.

This weekend is going to be spent sanding it and getting it ready for stripping. It's possible that I can just sand off the current finish rather than having to get chemical stripper involved but we'll see how that goes. After contemplating the sanding possibilities I gave in last night and bought a sander so I'm excited to get to use my new toy. I think it will look really nice when it's finished but there's a lot of work between now and then.

Here are some more pictures showing some of the stains/damage on top, the pull-out writing boards, and one fan of the new furniture. I'll keep you updated during the process!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's Official

So, it's been official for a while, but I haven't gotten around to saying anything about it here. As of August, my Kentucky-blue heart will have to change to a lighter shade of blue when I become a Tarheel.* I'm going back to school full time at the UNC School of Public Health.

I never thought it would take me this long to be back in school, but I really wouldn't change how things have worked out. It took me a long time to figure out what exactly I want to be doing and I couldn't be happier to be at UNC. I'm so excited I can hardly contain it - I'm ready to leave my job and start tomorrow. There's a lot to do between now and then, finishing up at work, possibly moving, vacation, canning camp, maybe math camp (nerd) but for now I just need to stay on task at work and pull together my immunization records. I know that within a year I'll be longing for my eight hour work days and wide open weekends but it's really a small price to pay for working towards something I'm really passionate about. I just have to keep that in mind during exams.

*Obviously, I'll never be a true Carolina fan, but I don't think they check true loyalties with your student ID at basketball games.

Just Ignore That Earlier Post

So, there's this.

I'm making an exception to my no live music preference for three reasons. One, it's Arcade Fire. Two, it's free. Three, it's within walking distance of my house. Let me know if you're interested in playing hooky on Friday afternoon and we can hang out with the Carrboro hippies (and assorted Triangle Obama fans). I'm picking up my ticket this afternoon.

Sadly, there is a very real possibility that I'll be moving from Carrboro soon. It's a decision that makes financial sense but I'm really pretty bummed about it. It's not like I'll be moving across the country (or even state) but I've never lived in a place like Carrboro. There's such a sense of community and responsibility to the local community that anyone who's ever spent time in the area can feel. It's rather unfortunate that my dream home would go for about 800K - not exactly in my price range. Nevermind that it's not for sale. I'm not one to get hung up on details like that.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Economist Joke

Jeff: So I heard on NPR about all of these guys who are developing markets for trading carbon credits -
Me: - out on the new frontier...
Jeff: Yeah, the Pareto frontier.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Things I Wish I Liked/Appreciated

Live music*
Fiction in The New Yorker
Movies (I'm getting better at this one!)
Indian food

*A friend suggested going to Bonnaroo a few years back. Fantastic, I thought. Then I remembered I don't like camping or live music. I think Bonnarro would pretty much be my personal hell, what with the camping, music, and lack of cleanliness.

**I was writing this post and thinking of things that I like that maybe other people wish they liked. I don't know if anyone really aspires to like airports, but I bet I've got you beat there.

Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm practically famous!

My mom and sister both directed me to this article. Not just because of the Davidson connection, but because I was one of the speakers at the seminar Thomas Sander mentions in the article! We took a break midway through the presentation and one student came back in telling everyone about the email. Everyone thought he was joking at first but then realized that would have been way too cruel. Obviously, no one wanted to stay for the second half of the talk. The offer was unfortunatly not extended to alumni guest-speakers.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Yesterday morning I was driving home from a particularly hellish work trip to the eastern part of the state and passing the time by listening to a sports radio broadcast from the RBC Center in Raleigh. I was just outside Raleigh when the announcer mentioned that Davidson would be taking the court to practice in about 15 minutes and that practices were open to the public. The RBC Center is one of the few places in Raleigh I can find unassisted and my route home took me within spitting distance of the arena. I made it inside after they had started practice and stayed about half an hour, until it was UMBC's turn to practice. There were about 100 people watching but most just seemed to be hanging around until UNC practice started later in the day. Out of habit, I really wanted to start clapping or cheer when someone made a great play or pulled off a difficult shot, but ummmmmm, it's practice. Maybe not the best time to act like a crazed fan. I stopped by the box office when I left but I missed the last of the Friday tickets by a few hours. Nonetheless, it was a perfect way to end a tough trip. Check out the pictures, with a bonus video of my Davidson basketball boyfriend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Projects, Old and New

I was pretty busy with some sewing projects over the weekend and realized I haven't posted anything about other recent crafty things. Here are some details for those of you who are interested (mom). My camera isn't cooperating so some of these picture aren't great.

First, a fancy-schmancy cover/liner for a recycling bin. Note to self: when trying to disguise cardboard, do not choose a light brown suede fabric. This just looks like a picture of a plain cardboard box. Fancy.

In other trash-related projects, I made car trash bag based on this one. I have never sewn on oilcloth before so the sewing is pretty terrible because it kept slipping everywhere. This picture is taken at a flattering angle - it really doesn't look that good.

In the last of the recent projects, I altered a pair of mens shorts to fit. I have really wanted a pair of madras shorts for a while now but most of the womens ones are bermuda length and expensive. I got a cheap pair at Old Navy and just fixed the length and pockets. I had to cut off my head in the picture because I was still wearing my sweaty gym shirt. I'm a classy model like that.

Old Projects:
I found some great flannel fabric a while ago but it took me some time to get around to doing anything with it. Enter the grossly oversized but incredibly comfortable whale pants:

Side note on sea mammal pants: Gap used to have a style of pants called the Matinee pant. It took me forever to figure out why someone would wear pants named after a sea cow.

Finally, a close-up of some embroidery on a skirt I made. The image is from this Johnny Gruelle story that my mom used to read my sister and me. "A wishbone is an object of great importance in this world!"

And for those of you still scrolling through this, here is my sewing machine. I recently traded with my mom so I'm still getting used to it and am slightly intimidated by its fancy features.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


In middle and high school our family would occasionally go watch a University of Evansville men's basketball game. During these years they won the Missouri Valley Conference championship a few times and got to dance so they were fun to watch and cheer for. The school ran a lot of promotions to get people excited about games and offered endless types of halftime entertainment shows. By far, the best promotion was one sponsored by a local fast food-type fried chicken place. If the Aces held the opposing team to under 50 points then everyone in attendance could redeem their ticket for a free chicken dinner the next day. This kept the crowd engaged in blow-outs and most likely caused some confusion and ill-will among visiting teams when fans continued to heckle losing teams after home team victory was nearly assured. "Getting chicken" is still a commonly used phrase in our family's lexicon.

All this is to say that although we got our asses kicked last night, at least they're not enjoying chicken today in Nashville.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Click Here

Links that have caught my attention recently. Most of them have been over on the starred items feature but some are new.

Bossy explains delegates. Relevant for today's voting, especially if you live in a state that has primaries before, say, May.

Mimi Smartypants wants to punch Paul McCartney in the face. This made me laugh out loud this morning.

Afraid of clusters of things? I was laughing at the comments until someone brought up the tree-man from the Discovery Channel or some such show. I can barely finish this sentence without darting under my desk and curling up in a ball, such is my physical reaction to the tree-man. Google at your own risk.

Bookplates. I have been mildly obsessed with cheap and cute bookplates for a while now and haven't found anything that meets both qualifications. The ones I made and posted about here a while ago are fine but incredibly time intensive. I have some ideas for new ones so I'll let you know how that goes.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cooking Disaster

I had a little cooking accident this weekend (no brownies were harmed!) that I have beautifully illustrated below. Bottom line: completely clear stovetop before turning on oven. Also, black beans catch fire easily.


I haven't done this in a while - here's what I'm up to.

Listening - Just bought the newest Okkervil River cd on a whim after seeing in on someone's list of the best of 2007. I'm really loving it - it's a lot more upbeat than I was expecting and doesn't make you want to stick your head in the oven as much as Black Sheep Boy.

Reading - After a two year hiatus I picked up Spook again. I had gotten completely bogged down in the discussion of measuring and detecting souls so I ended up skipping to the end of that section and starting with the chapter on ectoplasm. Much more enjoyable this time around. I'm also working on Bridge of Sighs but it's pretty slow going now. I just haven't had a whole lot of time for reading lately.

Watching - I can't remember who recommended Cache to me but they must have only watched the first half of the movie. (spoiler ahead!) The concept is really intriguing and there is a perfectly creepy amount of suspense, especially when you're not sure if you're watching real-time action or a videotape. The end of the movie is a huge let-down, all the drama is created by a man with a 40 year old grudge against a six year old. Seriously? So disappointing.

Monday, January 28, 2008


I've had a case of Severe Crankypants lately and it's been like a case of high school senioritis with a heaping dose of apathy. I can't yet start making plans for grad school because I have another month before I hear back from schools. It's also hard to be enthusiastic about work when I know I won't be seeing any of my current projects to completion. I'm really ready to have a new direction to focus my energy - nervous energy with no outlet equals crankypants.

Changing the topic to good things! After a two month break from running I finally got new shoes and got back on the treadmill. Thank goodness for the fantastic people at Fleet Feet - it took me about a month and four returns to get the right pair of shoes and they never rolled their eyes (at least to my face). It was really encouraging to be able to pick up where I left off without losing much in the way of endurance. Good to know the hours spent on the elliptical reading Us Weekely weren't wasted. Also, can we talk about how much I love Body Pump? It's enough to get me to a 6:30 am class. Please try not to fall out of your chair in shock. I got your gun show right here, baby.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I've become friends with a group of women who meet once a month to hang out and drink wine (seriously the best kind of friends). There is usually a theme, where the host picks the type of wine that people bring, and the host provides snacky foods. This past month the woman hosting it decided to have a Cringe night and we all brought old journals and notes from middle and high school. I have not laughed that hard in the longest time. It's always so nice to be reminded that you were not the only neurotic high school freshman. I read parts of the letter to a boy that I referenced in my very first blog post - there were some parts where I couldn't read I was laughing so hard at my heartfelt agony.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Christmas Gifts, Reviewed

Electric mattress pad - wow. I cannot adequately describe my love for this. I turn it on high while I brush my teeth and it is nice and toasty when I get into bed, eliminating the need for multiple pairs of socks, fleece pants, and bulky sweaters. I told my officemate how much I loved it and she said it sounded like "pigs in a blanket." Exactly.

Envirosax. I have the flora set and I bought my sister the amazonia set. While the website describes the environmental and waste-reducing benefits of bringing your own shopping bags to the grocery it fails to mention one of the main reasons these bags are so great - feelings of smugness and vast superiority over people using plastic bags at the grocery.

Garth Pig and the Ice Cream Lady. I loved this book growing up but we never owned it. I put it on my amazon wish list just to remind myself that I would like to have it someday but mom went ahead and got it for me this Christmas. It is as wonderful as I remember it. I have been known to whimper "Don't want a Whoosh" to myself when I don't get my way.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oh, hi!

So I have this blog...What can I say - things have been pretty busy since I last posted. From Thanksgiving through the first week of January I took 15 flights through 7 different airports (that's 23 total airport visits for those of you counting), including the always exciting Evansville Regional Airport. Anyway, I am here for the foreseeable future so posting should maybe be somewhat regular (note use of qualifiers). How about a story?

My house has a wooded area behind it that is large enough to attract the occasional deer but not so large that it filters the noise from the neighbors' 4-wheeler course. I generally dump my yard waste (failed potted plants, weeds, etc) at the edge and usually drag my Christmas tree a bit deeper in. Earlier this week I was getting ready for work and saw a woman in my backyard hauling my tree out of the woods. I moved to the kitchen window and looked for some type of municipal vehicle (maybe yard waste collectors were really going the extra mile?) but just saw another woman standing beside a pickup truck with a trailer labeled with the name of a landscaping/gardening business (that I had never heard of).

The first woman drags the tree around the house and the two of them toss it into the already full (with other Christmas trees) truck bed. Then she climbs into the bed to pack the tree down and ends up laying down on the pile of trees like she is going to take a nap. Woman number two stands beside the truck and they have a full conversation while woman number one continues to lie in the bed. Um, what? First off, my tree was not visible from the road. They must have been doing some serious scouting to find it and the other trees they had collected. Second, why do they need it? I'm guessing maybe for pine needles but I can't imagine they would be so expensive that it would be cheaper for two people to spend a morning searching backyards for used Christmas trees.

I kind of wanted to go out and accuse them of stealing my tree, but thought better of it when I remembered my own leaf stealing experiences. Growing up, my family had a garden and compost pile and the trees in our neighborhood didn't produce enough leaves to keep them covered/fed in the winter. Mom would drive the van through nearby neighborhoods on yard waste pick up days and we would haul bags of leaves into the back of the van. As a teenager this was incredibly embarrassing - what if I see someone I know! We're stealing people's leaves! I'm sure we only did this once or twice but I still remember being absolutely mortified.