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.