Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dec. 26th

So I'm at the 'rents house. We left NC on Thursday afternoon and arrived on Friday night. This means I survived a 2 day car trip - a truly signifigant and amazing thing. The only thing more amazing is that I'll have to do it again next week. Oof. Trying not to think about that.

Anywoo, I don't have my laptop with me & can't upload any photos, so like the rest of the blogospere I'm going to abandon the internet for a bit and enjoy real life for a change. Hooray! Hope you all are safe and warm and enjoying your holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dining Room: After

On Saturday afternoon I made a roast chicken with potatoes for lunch. While everything was cooking, I started cleaning up the dining room with the idea that we could eat lunch in there. The chicken was ready before the room, but that's okay. The point is that by Saturday afternoon, we finally - FINALLY - had our dining room back. Here's what it looks like now. And I must say that I am in LOVE. My love for this room now surpasses my adoration of my washing machine. Didn't think that could happen, didja.

The sad truth is that, for months now, the only table we've eaten around is the coffee table. We haven't even had friends over because we had no place to put them. Well, we did feed Kevein and Shawna in the living room that one time, but it was a bit of a headache. But those days are behind us now! We wasted no time in taking advantage of our new dining room. On Sunday night, Kevin and Shawna came over for dinner, video games, and a movie (the last in the Bourne series. The four of us have been catching up on them together). Very fun & a great way to break in the new room. And they were impressed by how nicely it turned out. Yay!

The other great thing is that we now have our breakfast nook back, too. For months it has been crammed with furniture from other places, but no more! Now we have two proper tables where we can eat! Will the wonders ever cease?!?!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Painting madness: Success!

This, my friends, it what is commonly known as a vast improvement.

This is a before & after shot all in one. Above the chair rail is the original color. Below it is the new lovely green. I think the old color looks a lot better in this photo than it does in reality. Just please believe me when I say that it was foul.

And here's a bit of what the dining room looks like now!

I still have some work to do on the ceilings so I can't completely remove the rosin paper yet, but I thought I'd pull back a corner just to see how the wood looks with the green. Don't worry about the white stuff on the floor to the right; that is NOT paint! It's leftover dust from when I scraped the ceiling.

Speaking of Scooby Do, I ordered a rug off of My hope is to put it in the living room. I'm a bit nervous, though, since I wasn't able to touch it first, but Laura says that she's bought tons of stuff on Overstock before & has always been happy with her purchases. Fingers crossed!

And speaking of Laura, I went to her house on Wednesday and met a bunch of REALLY wonderful ladies! A couple of them asked me if I'd be interested in having lunch with them sometime which thrilled me to bits. Two others have invited me to their home to watch Project Runway. And Laura and I decided to organize a tea party at a local tea house for sometime after the holidays. Talk about a successful evening! I'm especially thrilled because it means that I have something to look forward to after returning from Oklahoma at the end of the month. Leaving "home" & returning here can be so difficult for me, but I think me new-found friends will make it easier.

Must run. Tim's work place's holiday party is tonight & I need to make sure there's no more paint stuck in my hair.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Painting madness: Buying!

I made a decision. I bought paint! Wee!!! I was inspired by a video I watched on the TED website about the paradox of choice ( Click here to watch it ). Basically, he talks about how sometimes when we have too many options, we become paralyzed & cannot decide which choice is right for us because we're so worried about getting it wrong. If you've ever been to a home improvement store & stood in front of a wall of paint chips, you can understand why this message resonated with me. So I just said, "Screw it! I'm buying paint!" Maybe I'll start working on the dining room tonight. We'll see.

In other news, the weather madness continues. My parents & about 600,000 other people in the Tulsa area still do not have power. Dad says that most of their trees are damaged. At least George and Derek still have power ... or at least they did when I spoke to Derek last night.

On the other side of the coin, it has been extremely warm here. Yesterday's high was 81F - an all-time high for the entire month of December. And here's the forecast for the rest of the week.

It's suposed to be much cooler this weekend, so I better get all of this painting done quickly!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Painting madness: Testing

My mother called this morning to let me know that they have no electricity at their house. An ice storm hit Green Country last night & she is trapped at home with nothing to do but watch the icicles grow.

Meanwhile, it is unseasonably warm here. Check out the weather forecast for Raleigh & Durham this week.

Madness! Yesterday we went to the Durham Chorale's Christmas Concert (Jennifer was singing) and it was so warm that we didn't need jackets. Some members of the audience were wearing shorts. Granted, I'm grateful for the warm weather because it means I can get a lot of painting done this week, but it certainly doesn't feel Christmas-y.

Speaking of painting, we tested some colors this weekend. I am in love with Oklahoma Wheat! Or rather, "Safari". You see, there's a particular type of paint that I want to use (Benjamin Moore's Aura). It's very durable, washable, & has low fumes. In the Aura line, Oklahoma Wheat is known as Safari. It's the same color (the paint chips look exactly the same) so I'm just going to keep on thinking of it as Oklahoma Wheat.
I put some patches of it in the living room, downstairs hallway, and upstairs hallway. It looks 1000% better than the dreary beigey-lavender-grey that we currently have all over the place. It's warm and homey, while also feeling light. It's yellow, but it isn't YELLOW, if ya know what I mean. The house is going to feel so much happier & more welcoming when we're done. I can't wait!

Meanwhile in the dining room, we're tinkering with different shades of green. We've tested 3 so far & found a lighter green that Tim likes (Croquet - the color on the right in these photos), but I'm afraid it has a little too much grey in it. Honestly, I'm so sick of looking at paint that I feel an urge to just paint that room Oklahoma Wheat, too. Kevin & Shawna were over on Saturday night & we asked them what they thought. Kevin was noncommital. Shawna said shes like the old color. Clearly these people cannot be trusted.

Maybe I should look at the other side of the color wheel. A part of me thinks that a warm pink could be a great color for a dining room. Or not. Hmm.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Painting madness: inspiration

Once upon a time, I worked in a costume shop for a university. We made all of the costumes for every play, musical, dance, and opera that went up on our university's stage. It could be stressful, but we had a blast. I worked with 3 flamingly gay men, which made it all the more interesting. Just me, a drag queen, a couple Bears, and all the fancy, creative costumes you could possibly imagine. How could that not be fun, ya know?

My specialty in the costume shop was hand sewing - or as the boys loved to say "hand jobs". As in, "Hey Mary, I need you to give me a hand job [snicker]". Note that only gay men speaking to their beloved fag hags can get away with this kind of humor. Note also that this never. gets. old.

The reason why I became Queen of the Hand Jobs is because I have meticulous attention to detail. If something needs to be done just so - if you really truly care about the placement of every single stitch - I am your girl. The only drawback is that perfection takes time. Also, there are very few things in stage costuming that require fine detail work (the audience was always at least 20 feet away from our university's stage). And yet, I had this urge to make ALL of my work perfect. Therefore, I was slow. My boss, Robert, learned this sad fact about me. Whenever he gave me a job that needed to be done quickly, he would tell me to be a Speed Demon. If he saw me poking along on my machine on some silly sleeve for a supporting character, Robert would bellow, "I need you to be a Speed Demon, Mary! Speeeeeeed Demon!" & I'd wake up from my reverie of obsessive focus & pick up the pace.

Ah, if only Robert was still in my life now, for I have gotten myself wrapped up into my little perfectionistic world again & I need someone like him to come over, slap me around, and remind me to stop sweating the small stuff.

The small stuff in this case is painting. I know, I know, I picked out paint colors ages ago, right? But getting started on the painting project is scaring me. Paint costs money! Plus, this is Our House - a major investment! And if I spend all of that time preparing the walls and painting and then I don't like the results, then that could affect the value of the house! Plus it's a lot of money & time wasted. Never mind the fact that I'm already wasting a hell of a lot of time agonizing over this. At least I'm not wasting money yet, right?

My biggest hang-up in the paint department - the sticking point that is causing me the most grief - is the kitchen.

Oh, the kitchen. Why must it torture me so. There are lots of things about it that are ugly, but we aren't in a position to change out things right now (well, except for the dead microwave/hood seen in the breakfast nook in these pics. We got rid of that last week). We can paint, though. And boy does this room ever need painting. I hate the blue paint in the kitchen with a loathing that I usually reserve for Jefferson Starship and The Eagles. However, I can't settle on a new color. And seeing as the kitchen is connected to the living room, hallway and dining room, I feel that the color I paint the kitchen has a major influence on the colors I paint the other areas. So of course I can't paint anything in any room until I've nailed down a final color pallet, yes?

Anyway. I know this is getting long, so I'm just going to post some inspirational pics. You see, I've been feeling a leaning towards happy, colorful prints for the kitchen. Madness, I know. But the stereotypical yellow kitchen is such a boring cliche & I want to avoid that. I want something a little different. So here are some inspirational pieces that have caught my eye.

First: The sheets I recently bought at Target. Cuter in person, too. If you are smart you will buy some today. Only $20!

Concert poster for everybody's favorite band that features a trumpet, Cake! I don't own this poster, but I'm thinking about getting it despite the fact that I've never been to Milwaukee.

Third, this print from The Black Apple's on-line shop on Etsy. I don't own this yet, but I fully intend to. I've bought other things from Emily before & I think she's super fab.

Lastly, my Le Creuset cookware.

Luckily for me, I do own this. I have 5 pieces of Le Creuset cookware. And I LOVE their gorgeous red color. I have enough storage that they don't need to sit out all the time, but I don't mind at all if one is sitting on the stove just 'cause.

So that's my color story. But what does this say? What should I do? Well, besides paint the kitchen cabinets white (don't go there). Decisions, decisions ...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Amazing happenings

An amazing thing happened today, children. I had telephone conversations with three people and NOT ONCE did I erupt into a coughing fit during said calls! Not one single time! This is a huge milestone, people. I have been coughing soooooooo damn much over the last month. I have avoided going out with people & calling friends on the phone because talking - simply talking! - caused me to repeatedly hack and cough and spit up phlegm. It's been nasty. But now! Now I'm actually starting to sound like a person who is NOT dying of consumption! Imagine that! I mean, I'm still coughing a bit so it's not like a Healing Fairy flew down & hit me on the head with her magic wand or anything. But seriously. The difference is amazing.

Other amazing happenings:
1. My father shaved off his mustache for the first time in 35 years. No really. I have never ever seen my father without his mustache. Color me highly intrigued.
2. My brother, Mike, is currently in Los Angeles on a photography job. This is the same guy who got laid off from his old, sucky job a couple of months ago. Now he is pursuing his dreams & traveling around the country. How cool is that?!?
3. The house next door (dubbed "Scary House" by george when she was visiting last spring) was painted over the weekend. It is now a clean, cheerful white & doesn't look the least bit scary anymore.
4. I found a video game I like. The last time I liked playing a particular video game was back in 1983 when I played the Smurfs game on our ColecoVision. This new game - the game that sucked up almost my entire weekend - is Lego Star Wars II for the XBox 360. Tim doesn't seem to like it as much as I do, which is a shame, but he's still managed to log in many an hour playing the game with me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thanksgiving pics

From left to right: Meryl, "Tes", & me. There were at least a dozen other fabulous people there, too, but these two ladies are especially fabulous.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Q: So, Mary, you havn't posted a new entry on your blog in, like, forever. What's that about? Are you okay?

A: Yes, Mary, I'm fine. In fact, I'm doing much better today than I have been. After many weeks of feeling craptacular, I actually have some ENERGY today!
I'm still coughing a lot, but this natural injection of energy is thrilling after spending so many weeks in my pajamas. This morning I woke up and I worked out! Gasp! And I scrubbed the bathtub before I took a nice, long shower. And I actually left the house & scratched some errands off of my list (bank, grocery store, etc.) and I did not feel exhausted when I got home! This is really major, folks. Seriously. I'm thrilled. So thrilled that I almost went out to buy new curtains for the living room this evening before coming home to make shepherd's pie for dinner. I did not do that, though, as I'm afraid that might be pushing things.

I have a habit of pushing things, ya know. One of my oldest friends once said that I am the sort of person who is either "going 100 miles per hour or is at a complete standstill". He was so right. I will sit around on my ass for days and days, just allowing my to-do list to get longer & longer. But once that list reaches critical mass, I jump up and try to get everything done in, like, 2 hours. I need to have a lot of things to do in order to work up the energy to do just one thing. I'm weird like that. The only exception to this rule is dishes. I'm pretty good at doing dishes every day, no matter how many are dirty.

So. Anyway. Enough rambling. My latest load of laundry is almost done & it's about time to start chopping onions. Pray that I still have some of this energy left in me tomorrow!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cough cough hack cough

I'm back. It took me a little longer than I expected, but that's what can happen when you catch a virus while on vacation.

Unfortunately, I'm not the only one who is under the weather. It appears that my laptop may be dying. I'll get Tim to look at it sometime soon & determine if all hope is lost.

In the mean time, I get to play on his computer! Wee! He has a British keyboard which, if you didn't know, is set up a bit differently than an American keyboard. For instance, the @ symbol and the " symbol are not where you'd expect. Same goes for the ~ thingamy. But it's easier than ever to use the symbols for the British pound & the Euro. £! €! See? Exciting, no? No? No, I didn't think so, either. ;)

Mkay, I'm going to go cuddle up under a blanket with a giant pile of tissues & drift in & out of consciousness for a while. Hope the virus hasn't caught up with you yet.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


The following is an excerpt of a phone call I made on Friday, 11/02/07 at approximately 11am Central time.

Me: So, whatcha doin' today?
George: Oh, I don't know. Maybe buying milk. And butter.
Me: You don't have to do anything else for the play tonight?
George: Nope.
Me: So, uh, you wanna go out to lunch?
George: Are you in town?!
Me: Yes!
George: AAH!!! AAH!!! AAH!!! AAH!!! AAH!!! AAH!!! AAH!!! AAH!!! AAH!!! AAH!!! AAH!!!

Thanks to Veronica for inspiring me to buy a plane ticket (and for driving up here, too!). Thanks to all of you who helped keep the secret, well, secret! And to those who didn't already know ... yup, I'm in Tulsa. I'll be here until Thursday. WEEE!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A life of crime

This week I stumbled across a fabulous old article from The Onion. I didn't even know The Onion existed 10 years ago, did you?

Housewife Charged In Sex-For-Security Scam
September 23, 1997 | Issue 32•08

AKRON, OH—Area resident Helen Crandall, 44, was arrested by Akron police Sunday, charged with conducting an elaborate "sex-for-security" scam in which she allegedly defrauded husband Russell Crandall out of nearly $230,000 in cash, food, clothing and housing over the past 19 years using periodic offers of sexual intercourse.

"It's the biggest scam of its kind I've ever seen," Akron police chief Thomas Agee said. "We're talking coats, dishwashers, jewelry, sewing machines, bathroom cleansers—you name it."

Read the rest of the article here.

In somewhat related news, I'm thinking of applying for a job a found in the paper. Only a part-time job, though, so that I will still have time to continue whoring myself out to my husband.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007


My first boyfriend used to say "Whazzup?" to everybody. He'd write it in notes, too. Luckily, this was still long before it turned into an annoying catch phrase of a certain beer company, but still. Kinda annoying. But lots of things about him weren't quite right. Ah, youth.
Yup, I'm still here. Not to worry. Still feeling a little down. I'm talking with Tim about it. Maybe someday I'll talk about it here, too.

I just wanted to say thanks to the people out there who continue to stop by & read the ol' blog. I know some of you are more comfortable with calling me on the phone than posting a comment, so I also wanted to say that that is okay, too. I appreciate the phone calls, the e-mails, the cards, and the occasional comment. It's all good.

So what's going on 'round here? Not a whole lot. I managed to rake the garden! Hooray! But now there's more leaves on the ground than there were before. That's to be expected, though, because autumn is finally showing its face around here. I took some photos from our back deck earlier this week and in the few short days since then, I've noticed the trees have altered their colors slightly. I'll have to take some more photos over the next couple of weeks in order to capture the progression.

And yes, we really own every single one of the trees featured in these photos. I still can't believe it. As Mom says, we are quite blessed.

In other news ...
1. I went to the Parade of Homes with Laura and we had a fabulous time. There was one house in particular we both liked, but we can't seem to rummage up the required $3.1 million for it.
2. Did I mention that we got a HUGE aquarium for free from our friend, Dave? And that we set it up in the office? And that it's huge and free? Yay Dave!
3. And did I mention that we got a comfy chair for me to sit in & placed it next to said aquarium so that I can hang out with Tim while he plays on the computer? I'm sitting in that chair now & it's a fabulous thing. Tim & I spend a lot more time together now thanks to this chair, so it was a great investment.
... although I can hear george shrieking, "You got MORE furniture?!?!" Yes. Yes we did.

4. We spontaneously went out to dinner with Jennifer & Kyle on Thursday. I really really like Jennifer. I like her more every time I see her. She studied voice in college & still performs with a locale chorale group (although she pays the bills by making video games). She giggles a lot - like me - and thoroughly enjoys cute things - like me - but she isn't too painfully sweet - like (I hope) me.
5. Futher proof that autumn has finally arrived: I wore socks this week. This may have been my first time to wear socks in our new house. Unbelieveable, no? I had lots of fun sliding around on the hardwoods.
6. No, I'm not done with the dining room yet. No, I don't like to think about it. The ceiling is completely scraped, but now I'm so sick of it that I feel like sweeping up the mess and just ignoring the fact that the ceiling desperately needs to be painted. If any of you have tips on painting a ceiling, I'd love to hear them.
7. Yes, I'm still watching "America's Next Top Model". Go Heather!
8. Now I have also been sucked in by Canada's version of "Project Runway". It's pretty good! I don't like their mentor as much (his mustache is kinda creepy), but they have Iman! Fabulous, glorious, beautiful Iman! And the designers are very talented, too. My favorite is a chick named Carlie. Anyway, I mention this because I neeeeed to talk someone into watching it with me. Reality TV is so much more fun when I can chatter on for ages with others about it! The first episode is available on YouTube. Click here to see part 1.
9. I watch entirely too much TV. That is all.

Friday, October 12, 2007


So here's the deal.
I'm having a difficult time.
I don't feel like talking about it. Tim says that's part of the problem. I just don't feel like burdening people with, well, me. I've spent so much of my life whining & I don't feel that I have a right to be depressed right now. And yet, I am.

So. That's why things have been quieter here again. I need to dig out of this slump, though. I need to finish what I want to do on the house. I need to rake the yard. I need to get my car inspected. I need to file ten billion papers. The list goes on and on.

But for a while, let's just focus on happy things. Okay? Okay.

Anti-kvetch: After record-highs in the 90s, the heat wave finaly broke this week. Our highs are in the lower 70s now! Woot!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Kvetch Up #2

Anti-kvetch: I went to an opera on Friday night with Jennifer. We saw "Marriage of Figaro". Good times! I didn't get home until about 2am. I'm a party animal! Woot!

Kvetch: Still no rain here. Le siiiiiiiiigh.

Anti-kvetch: Monday I finished scraping the popcorn ceiling off in the dining room

Kvetch: Honestly, there's still some places that need to be smoothed out a bit. And it still has to be painted. Bleh.

Anti-kvetch: I watched the first 2 episodes of "America's Next Top Model" on-line. I have been avoiding this show for years now, but after witnessing George & Holly's love of it while they were visiting me in April, I decided to give it a shot. Now I can talk with mah peeps about how Mila has no soul & debate whether we like Ebony or not.

Kvetch: I fear I will grow dumber and dumber every week if I keep this up. And if I start feeling fat after watching this show, I'm giving it up. Fer reelz.

Antikvetch: The episode round-ups on FourFour are FABulous, honey! If you aren't reading these babies, then your entire ANTM experience is seriously lacking. Read it.

MAJOR MAJOR Kvetch: On Tuesday morning, Tim realized that his greencard would expire in 48 hours!!!! Can you say, "Eep"? So he called the Department of Homeland Security & found out what we needed to do. He came home on his lunch break and we filled out forms and found various bits of documentation that (we hope) proves that, yes, we are still living together as a married couple. I will not tell you of the nightmarish encounter that Tim had at the post office. The point is ...

Anti-kvetch: The documents are mailed now and they should arrive on time. Barely.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Amy Sedaris on Martha!

In case you missed it ... :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another link dump

My computer has been acting funky, so I'm going to post a few more links here so I can close tabs & keep my system from crashing ... again. Grr.

My dream cooker:
If I were rich & didn't care about resale & such, I'd get that baby in red. With a matching range hood. Oh yeah, baby!

Southern Accents Design Assistant:

HGTV message boards - Color:

Charles&Hudson decorating blog:

Fancy french toast:

Monday, September 24, 2007

Link dump

Just dropping off some links to food sites.

Pumpkin muffins (from Smitten Kitchen):

More pumpkin muffins (with some additional instructions):

Molasses cookies:

Rose lassi:

If you like that, you'll probably LOVE my favorite site for food porn:

And totally unrelated to food ...
For those who have trouble understanding my husband (or some of the language I've picked up from him), here's a guide to British slang:

Friday, September 21, 2007


Tonight I made a custard pie. Or perhaps one might say that I'm still in the midst of making a pie, since it's still in the oven. I really love to bake but, oddly enough, I don't like making pies. There's just so much faffing about and it's messy and although the end product always turns out spectacularly well, I'm usually worse for wear at the end of it (Note: I have 2 burns on my right hand now & I can't even type with my left thumb. Grr.). I think the biggest annoyance in pie-making is that I insist on making my crust from scratch. I don't know ANYbody other than me and my mother who still makes crust from scratch. It's like a dying art that I kinda feel an obligation to keep alive. Too bad it frustrates the hell out of me ...

Here are some other things I made within the last week.

1. A necklace

On Saturday I spent the afternoon with Jennifer & Shauna at a bead shop in Cary. The necklace I made is a little unconventional compared to what most people make at bead stores, but I like it. The large white jade beads are meant to look like morning glories - a flower that my mother grows at her house in Oklahoma.

2. Rosemary & Olive Oil Bread

I cooked this up to accompany some stew. I got the recipe from Emily over at "Inside a Black Apple". So warm and soft and delicious and wonderful! I suggest you store it in a ziplock freezer bag instead of foil. It keeps for a very long time that way. Yum!

3. The bed

I love our bed. I like to think of it as a great, big, fluffy marshmallow. Light and soft and lovely. But I'm not always so good about making it. This week I decided to change that. I remembered that I always made our bed when we lived in Brighton and it made it look so much more inviting at night, so I'm re-adopting the habit. Now you know, Mom. It may have taken me 32 years, but I have FINALLY learned to make my bed everyday.

4. A Potter addict

Recently I mentioned to Tim that I have read dozens of books that he had recomended to me, but that he had yet to read a single, solitary book that I had suggested. Since Tim had just finished reading some lengthy three-book saga about sex-crazed fairies, he agreed that maybe he should finally - FINALLY - give the Harry Potter books a try. Afterall, all of his friends had read them and they liked them, so why not? He could just read the first book and if he liked it, then maybe he'd eventually get around to reading the 2nd one. No harm in that, right? Well, he gobbled the first book up quickly. And hastily moved on to the 2nd. He read Book 3 within about 24 hours (on a work day!) and he's about to finish Book 4. Yup. I think he's been bitten by the Potter Bug.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Kvetch Up

My favorite little on-line community has a thread called "Kvetch Up" that is very active. People mainly chat in that thread & talk about what is going on in their lives. We "kvetch" about the bad & annoying stuff, but we also list our "anti-kvetches" (the good stuff). Often times when I write my blog, I think of the layout of entries in that thread & it's hard for me to break out of that pattern. So I'm just going to embrace it.

Anti-kvetch: It's BEAUTIFUL outside! The air conditioning is off and the windows are open. On Friday we got a good rain for the first time in months and suddenly everything is crisp and cool and gorgeous. The plants are happier, too.

Kvetch: The cell phone reception at our house is worse than EVER. I cannot conduct a single phone call without the line going dead. The longest I could stay on the line without losing reception was 2 minutes. SUCKS.

Kvetch: My laptop tried to die yesterday. It kept freezing up & had to be rebooted. Sometimes it took 15 minutes for it to reboot. UGH. Understand that I spend many many hours sitting on our couch with this thing on my little lap desk in front of me. Losing my laptop would be like losing my eyes. It was super stressful. It seems to be better today, though (touch wood).

Anti-kvetch: About a week ago we ordered a fancy DVD/book case with glass doors on the front. It arrived yesterday and it is SO pretty! It's almost as tall as I am & it holds sooooo so much stuff. And it looks so much better than the pile of cardboard boxes we've had in the corner of the living room for the past 4 months.

Anti-kvetch: Mom called to tell me some good news. It's a long story, but basically I gave her some advice & she took it & as a result, she's going to graduate with her degree in Spanish in December! She thought she was going to have to wait until May or possibly even December '08, but that isn't the case anymore. Hooray! Woo hoo!

Anti-kvetch: Mom was so appreciative that she sent me flowers. Aaaaawww!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I am a wimp. I spent a lot of time working on the garden, which has resulted in a blister on the palm of my left hand. Typing is kinda painful. At least the garden is looking better. Sadly, a lot of the plants are trying desperately to die (the drought here is terrible!). But somehow the camellias are thriving. In fact, they started blooming this week.

Monday, September 10, 2007

"This day could one day be ... an anniversary"

Five years ago today, I walked off of a plane in Manchester, England and met my future husband. He was wearing a blue and white rain jacket. That was the main thing I knew - look for that jacket! I was so nervous & shy - as was he - but we said hello and made our way across the airport & to the train platform, where the English sky was drizzling slightly.

Tim says that when he first saw me, he knew I was the woman of his dreams. Sadly, I was far too nervous. I wasn't convinced he was meant for me until we got to the train platform about 10 minutes later.

There is a song by Jets to Brazil called "Sweet Avenue" that always reminds me of that first visit. It's a beautiful song & often brings tears to my eyes.
Tasting you and rain I ... walk down to the train
Trying not to look down
This day could one day be ... an anniversary
Everything is light and sound
Facing forwards, going slowly, wait for you to show me
Where this train wants to go
Living by the hour I ... stop for every flower
Everything is soft and slow
Now all these tastes improve through the view that comes with you
Like they handed me my life
For the first time it felt right

If you'd like to hear the song, you can click here and watch a video on YouTube (just ignore the "Pride & Prejudice" film clips) or you can click here and play with the music player on the fan club's website. But whatever you do, please pick one.

Anyway. Happy 5th Meetiversary to us. Here's hoping we continue to meet on this day for many years to come.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Paint chips

From left to right ...
Southfield Green, Oklahoma Wheat, and Teacup Rose
All colors from Benjamin Moore

My thought is that I'd put the green in the dining room, the "wheat" in the living room and hallway, and the "rose" in the kitchen. Very colorful, yes? But is it too colorful. Hmmmmm. This evening I set out these paint chips for Tim and asked what he thought. He said to go for it. I suspect he may have just been humoring me. We shall see.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A bunny! And other randomness

Well, bother.
This week I set myself a little goal. I was going to try to make one post on my blog every single day. Afterall, a lot of my favorite bloggers make posts nearly every day, so why not give it a go? Sadly, I had to skip yesterday because I got busy. But I am not giving up! I shall continue to post for the rest of the week! Yes!

And, lucky you, I made another ultra-short video today. This evening Tim and I were doing a bit of work in the scullery/laundry room when Tim noticed a bunny rabbit outside the window. It was at the foot of our driveway, eating the stray bits of green grass that haven't burned up in the drought. So of course, I had to get out my camera & record the cuteness.

At some point I'll have to record a video in which I use my normal voice rather than my precious cutesy voice.

In other news, I spoke to my brother, Ray, and although his car is still a mess, life is doing quite well for him. Today the big corporation where he works named him the Employee of the Month! Hooray! And I think they'll be giving him some money as a reward. Excellent timing, yes?

I also spoke to george and picked on her because she hasn't updated her blog since she entered the Central time zone. She assures me that she has recently unearthed her laptop and will provide an up-date shortly. So yay to that, too.

As for me? I am mulling over paint colors for the downstairs rooms in the house. Ah, what a thrilling life I do lead, yes? God help me, but a strange part of me - a very strange part of me, no doubt - wants to paint the kitchen pink. I can offer no explanation for this urge. The problem is that every color I like seems to resemble that fake pink flesh color found on band-aids. Not terribly appetizing. Hopefully I'll find a warm yellow that is good enough to distract me from Benjamin Moore's "teacup rose".

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Shit+fan= life for my brothers at the mo'

This afternoon I received a phone call from my brother, Ray. One of the first things he said was, "You don't know how lucky you are to be suffering from a drought right now." It has been raining buckets in Oklahoma this summer. Flash floods galore. Today the torential rains struck again while Ray was driving along the Broken Arrow Expressway. His back wheels lost their grip near the Sheridan exit and he ended up hitting the barrier wall along the middle of the roadway. The good news is that Ray appears to be fine physically. Shame about the car, though.

In other familial news, my other brother, Mike, has been having a terrible time. First he was informed that he was being laid off (his last day is in about 2 weeks). Then an old friend died. And last but not least, he got a note from his landlord saying that his rent was going up about 53% in, oh, just 35 days or so. I am convinced this is not legal. And I am SOOOOOOOO UPSET that sombody is trying to pull this crap on my brother. It's really bringing out the Momma Bear in me. Grrrrrrr.

Things are looking up for Mike, though. He has been offered a place to live and he had a job interview today. If things work out right, he'll have more money than before & he'll have more time to do his photography. Imagine ... he may actually end up better off than he was a month ago before the shit hit the fan.

Is there a lesson to be learned here? Perhaps that sometimes beautiful things can come from the nastiest stuff? It makes one think. Do you think Ray's car wreck could result in something wonderful for him? Hmmmmm .....

Since I mentioned the drought before, yes, it's terribly dry here. Much of our lawn looks like a hashbrown. One of our trees was trying to die, so I'm watering it regularly now. The lovely by-product of this is that our rose bush has bloomed for the first time in 2 months. Yay!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We have cats!

That is to say, we have panda cats ... As in panda catfish! This is my very favorite type of fish, which is why Tim bought some for me on Saturday. They are black & white and tiny (less than 2 inches long). And they swim in a cute wiggly way and they like to hang out in groups. They will even cuddle up together in pairs or groups when they sleep! Isn't that adorable?!

So that you can better appreciate their cuteness, I made a video.

"The panda cats are bein' cuuuuuuute!"

Monday, September 03, 2007

Experimental cooking

Other than fretting over the proper use of turn signals and illegal blood-alcohol levels (.08, thank you very much), I have also been cooking this week! I finally broke in my food processor and made a Bakewell tart for Tim. This was one of our favorite treats in England. The bed of the tart has a layer of rasberry jam topped with an almond cream filling & a nice thin layer of icing on the top. I tried making one a few weeks ago without the food processor, but it was gritty & wrong. This time it was sooooooo much better! Almost exactly like what we would have in Bakewell. And it's all thanks to my new food processor. It would seem that there is love in my heart for more than one household appliance, afterall.

I also made an attempt at dulce de leche. The ingredient list is very short & simple; it's little more than milk and sugar. Mostly it takes time & attention. And, as I have learned the hard way, practice. The directions said to simmer for an hour & a half. I stopped after an hour, but it still turned out harder than it should have. I was wanting a jam-like consistency, but it's hard as a rock unless you heat it up in the microwave. Oh well! Guess I'll just have to make more. Somehow I don't think Tim will mind.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Testing ...

This week I finally did something that I should have done a year ago: I got my North Carolina driver's license. My Oklahoma license was only good through the end of August, so I had no choice.

But why put it off? Well, because the state of NC makes you take a test if you want to have a license in this state. Luckily, it's only a written test, but I was still terrified of it (I'll spare you the details of my first failed attempt at getting my OK license). I was so scared that I would fail miserably. Driving is one of those things I just do ... without thinking. It's like walking and breathing. How good could I possibly do on a test about the finer details of walking?

I studied for the test for hours, but I still put it off to the last moment - August 31st at about 2pm. I was just so sure that I would get tripped up by some sneaky questions. And sure enough, when I walked into the DMV, the first thing I saw was a young man, politely disagreeing with the person at the front desk over his failed test.
"But I'm sure the question was wrong. I read the entire manual and it never covered that."
"I'm sorry," said the DMV guy. "I don't get to write the tests. I just give them."
My hands immediately started shaking. My palms were sweating. I considered just flying back to Oklahoma and renewing my license there.

But I stayed & it all turned out well. An hour later I walked out with my new NC driver's license. I got every single question right! Woo hoo! I even appear to be smirking in my photo. The license is good until 2015 - my 40th birthday. I'm afraid I may have to take the written test AGAIN at that time. What a fabulous birthday that's going to be. :P

And did you hear? George and Derek have moved back to Oklahoma! Took her long enough to mention it on her blog, though. I've been biting my tongue for weeks. :D

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Like a tree. Or a high-class prostitute."

Before you all start to worry about me, I feel that I should assure you that my washing machine is not the only thing in this world that is bringing me joy lately. Honestly, I chose to make a video of the washer because it was a Wednesday morning and ... well, what else am I supposed to film? My toes? Besides, I like the cute little music it plays when I turn it on. The drier does the same thing! Eee!

Here are some other things that have made me happy in the past week.

1. Liz may appreciate this one more than anybody.
There is a HILARIOUS personal ad on right now. Jeezie creezie, it's a masterpiece. I read about it on Jezebel (which is sort of feminist-y, silly gossip blog). The ad is for a man who calls himself "TheGoodDr" and in the ad, he basically imagines the internal monologue of a woman who is on a date with him. It's stellar. Click here to read it.

2. I am finally - FINALLY - teaching myself some more advanced knitting stitches. I was inspired to do this because last week I needed to find a washcloth pattern for Shawna. I found what she wanted, but it had a few steps in it that I had never tried before. The name of this pattern: "Idiot's Washcloth". I realized that I needed to move past the "idiot" stage of knitting. Hence, lace work. Here's a link to the pattern. It's complicated, but I am currently on row 59 and have managed not to screw it up.

3. This week's obsession: Flight of the Conchords. I LOVE this show. These guys are like The Smothers Brothers with a splash of Newhart, but ... well, younger. And from New Zealand. I've only been able to watch 3 episodes of Flight of the Conchords, and that's after scraping the bottom of that big barrel known as The Internets, but I've watched oodles of clips of their stand-up routine on YouTube. If you have HBO (which sadly, I do not), then you must watch this show. It's on Sunday nights after Entourage. Here's the first song from the first episode just to whet your appetite.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First film

I can be such an idiot sometimes. I have owned this new camera since last Christmas and only recently did I realize that I can record movies with it. Picture me smacking myself in the forehead.

So this morning, just as an experiment, I made a little video of one of my favorite things. :)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Tear jerker

I'm feeling emotional this week. Please forgive me. I have been crying off-and-on.

No, nothing bad has happened to me or Tim, so don't worry your little heads. Indeed, everything is great!
1. I made some new friends - Tina & Valerie. Both have great senses of humor & enjoy Amy & David Sedaris, so I'm feeling hopeful there.
2. My fancy KitchenAid food processor arrived in the mail. Did you know that the French term for "food processor" is "robot culinaire"? This means I have my very own robot! Kick ass!
3. I cooked lamb chops for dinner on Thursday. However, they were absurdly expensive ($20 bought enough for just me & Tim) so I won't be doing that very often, but it made Tim happy so it's all good.
4. After many months of ignoring my knitting needles, I picked them up again in order to decifer a knitting project for our friend, Shawna. And it was fun & Shawna really appreciated my help (she now knows how to purl & how to do a "yarn over" thanks to me). So yay!

So ya see? Good things! And yet, I have been a weepy mess.
1. I watched "Miss Potter" - the movie about Beatrix Potter staring Renee Zellwegger & Ewan McGreggor. Bawled my eyes out. Streams of tears. Partly I was crying because some sad things happen in her life, but mainly I was crying because the scenes from the Lake District were so unbelieveably beautiful. I miss Cumbria. Sigh.
2. A dog I never met has died. There's a blog I like to read called "Posie Gets Cozy" ( ) and the woman who writes it owns - owned - a fabulous black and white corgi named Audrey. If you know me well, you know that I adore corgis and black & white animals. As you can imagine, this corgi was my ideal dog. So to read that poor little Audrey had cancer & had to be put to sleep ... well, I'm getting teary just thinking about it again.

Thank goodness my husband is sappy, too. Any other man in his right mind would see me weaping over things like this & would give me a rather wide berth for a few days. But dear Tim smiles as if to say, "You're wacky & sweet & adorable & I love you," & wraps his arm around my shoulder. Ain't he the best?

I'll leave you with a video of Audrey the dog playing at the beach. So cute! Oh lordy, now I want a dog again.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Social Life: The return

Last Friday: Went over to house of new friends, Lauran and John, for snacks and a card game called "Killer Bunnies"
Last Saturday: Hosted dinner party. Fed fabulous smothered pork chops to Kevin, Shawna, & Mark. Then tried out Tim's new card game called "Legacy of Madness"
Last Sunday: Went to Mark's to watch F1 race. Ate croissants & grumbled about Alonzo, the newly-knighted Sir Douchebag of Ass-a-lot.
Thursday: Went to Laura's house for Girly Card Night. Played Balderdash and Apples to Apples with the ladies while eating Doritos and lemon cookies.
Saturday (today): Going to Kevin & Shawna's place for spaghetti & card games. Jennifer, Kyle, and Mark may join us.
Sunday: Potential movie outing. Potentially.
Tuesday: Massive get-together at Laura's house for ladies we've met on-line who happen to live in Durham. Sandy, Tina, and Victoria should be in attendance. Should be fab!

So yes. I suppose I have a social life again. Hmmm. Whodathunkit? Of course, if I keep talking about my washing machine, these invitations may dwindle down to nothing again.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

My Endless Love

I love my washing machine.
If you'll recall, shortly after moving into our lovely house, we chose to invest in the LG Tromm front-loading washer & dryer. They are widely known to be the best machines on the market. And oh my ... they are fabulous. The washing machine is especially amazing. Miracles take place in that drum, I'm sure of it.

My adoration for my washing machine is so intense that it's becoming a bit fanatical ... and perhaps a touch embarassing. I have rambled on about the glory of my washing machine to friends & have gushed about its cleaning power on internet message boards. Once I even held up my phone to the machine so that George could hear the cute little song they play when I turn them on ("Deedle-deedle-dee!"). I just can't help myself. Would you like to hear about the incident with the tika masala sauce? Or the grenadine? Or how about the old, set-in blood stains? All of these long, passionate, dramatic stories end the same way - with laundry that has miraculously come clean without the slightest bit of soaking or hand scrubbing on my part. Astounding.

So if any of you know anybody at the LG corporation & they're looking for testamonials, tell them to look me up. I'd be thrilled to wax poetic about my washing machine ... to someone who cares.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Chicken goes to Disney

Remember the 20-pound concrete chicken that we stole from my friend, Tes? We took it to Disney World. Unfortunately, we saw no way to take the chicken inside any of the parks because they've really stepped up security there (ll bags are searched before you enter the parks). Besides, who wants to carry around a 20-pound concrete chicken all day?! Luckily there are no security issues at the Disney Marketplace, so we took some pics around there.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Florida trip: final days

The last 2 days of June were also our last 2 days to play in Florida. Some people were a bit worse for wear at this point. Tiff was covered in dozens of mosquito bites (despite wearing jeans & bug repellant) and poor Ray was developing a very unhappy tummy. Tim was weary, as well, so in the end we did not get to do all the things I wanted to do on this trip. Guess that measn we'll have to go back someday. ;)

On Thursday, Ray, Tim and I decided we should check out the other water park, Blizzard Beach. The theme of Blizzard Beach is unusual: a freak snowstorm hit Florida and disney, always keen to take advantage of a marketing opportunity, opened a ski resort. Well, the snow began to melt, of course, so now the bobsled and skiing courses are water slides. Good fun - especially when the rains poured down on us!

One of the wonderful things about Ray is that he will pose for ANY picture I want to take.

Thursday was the Davis Clan's last day in Florida, so we chose to meet up with them that night at the Magic Kingdom to watch the parade & the fireworks.

Slideshow time! Click on the little "View Show" buttons if you're having trouble seeing the images.

The archway through Cinderella's Castle is very pretty. Lovely mosaics. Not enough people take the time to appreciate it.


Here's dear Helen & my sweet Ashes. I miss them so much! Sobebody kidnap them & drag them to North Carolina. ;)

And then it was Friday. Our last day. We chose to spend most of it at Animal Kingdom. I had never been there before, but I must say that I liked it a LOT more than I thought I would. We didn't get to see half of what it has to offer, so I look forward to going back.

The very best thing was the safari ride. The road the truck drives along is VERY very bumpy & I chose not to take pics because I was sure my camera would be thrown from my hands! But the views we saw of the elephants and giraffes and other animals ... wow. Breath taking. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.

Since it was our last night together, those of us who were still in town got together for dinner. It was a nice way to close out the trip.

Tim & Tiff - aka "two peas in a pod" :)

Tim & his mother, Sylvia

That may have been our last full day in Florida, but I'm not quite done with photos yet! Next time ... Chicken Pics!