Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy House-iversary

As you can probably imagine, not a lot happened this week, but that's not a bad thing. It was actually rather nice. Last Sunday we met up with some people from an on-line forum where I hang out. And I did some yard work. Watched some episodes of "Gilmore Girls". Went out for Mexican. Checked out the new pastry and chocolate shop in Carrboro. Read some more of "Eat Pray Love". Rubbed Millie's tummy for hours and hours. Stuff like that. Nothing big.

The only pseudo-important event of the week was our first House-iversary. We have now been living in this house for a whole year. Hooray! Funnily enough, this week I finally filled the memory card I bought for my camera shortly after we bought the house - almost exactly a year ago. So here are some of the final shots from that card, all of them taken around our house this week.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Random kvetches and stuff

Anti-kvetch: Today I mailed the final car payment for my Corolla. Woot! This is so exciting! The debt is paid! It's so nice to know that we'll have that extra bit of cash every month now. Wee!!!

Anti-kvetch: I bought flowers and herbs this week and I planted them and they make me happy. I even planted some mint in its own little pot. In my world, mint = mojitos, so this makes gardening extra exciting. Wee!!!

Anti-kvetch: Did I mention that the weather has been very nice? And that it has been raining and everything? And that the drought is over and that I can shower and flush the toilet whenever I want now? What a relief! And yes, that pun is intended.

Kvetch: Silly grocery issues.
Kvetch 1a: The Trader Joe's near my house does not sell papadons. There is shelf upon shelf upon shelf of tortilla chips, but not a single popadon to be found. I have checked numerous times over the last couple of months and the problem remains. This. ain't. right.
Kvetch 1b: I can't find Lucky Charms in this town. How bizarre is that? Lucky Charms can't be a regional thing, can it? Certainly Lucky Charms are sold in this state. But they didn't have them at the store!

By the by, this is my way of telling goerge that, no, I cannot mail popadons to her. And no, I will not be able to post a photo of Tim eating a specific cereal as was requested by her this week. Nor will I be posting a photo of me in my bathing suit as george also requested, because ... dude, I am not a desperately lonely and misguided 14 year old, mkay? And this isn't a freakin' MySpace page. It's a blog! It's classier than that shit, ya dig?


In honor of georgious, here is a Random Side Note:
Last night Tim and I were riding along in the car & listening to the radio when a new song began. Tim identified it as Foreigner's "Double Vision" within the first 3 notes of the song. I find this new-found talent rather ... disturbing. However, he would probably feel just as disturbed if he heard me singing along to Salt n Pepa's "Whatta Man" this afternoon, so it's all good.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mary FM

So, I have totally failed the whole blogging everyday thing. I even failed the blogging every other day thing. But hey! I've been busy! And the batteries in my camera died. And I have two zits on the tip of my nose, which is a real hit to the ol' self esteem.

Honestly, though, I've been slacking 'cause it's freakin' gorgeous here. The weather has been perfect: high around 72, sunny, cool breezes. Gorgeous. So forgive me if I long for my deck more than my laptop this week.

Speaking of Scooby Doo, have you heard about Neil Gaiman has a playlist over there & I enjoyed listening to it, so I am in the process of creating my own. Note the word "process" in that sentence. It's an ever-evolving thingamy, but I am enjoying it. So if you've ever wondered what it would be like if I had a radio station, click on the link and have a listen to the random songs that pop up. Good times.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mary Mary ...

When people first meet me and hear that my name is Mary, they often do 2 things in quick succession:
1. They accuse me of being "quite contrary"
2. They ask how my garden is doing.
And they always say these things in a peculiar sing-song tone.

I've never said it out-loud, but a part of me is rather offended by that initial accusation. Why do they think I'm contrary? I've always thought of myself as a rather friendly, approachable, easy-going sort. How would you like it if somebody met you and the first thing they did was call you a grumpy old coot? Wouldn't like it much, wouldja? Especially if it was said in a mocking, sing-song tone. But what is there to be done? If I call these people out on their rude behavior, then suddenly I'll seem argumentative and difficult and, unfortunatly, contrary. My attempts to proove them wrong would only show that they had good reason to think ill of me in the first place. See? I just can't win.


As for my garden ... well, I honestly haven't done much with it this year. I took out some dead bushes and planted some grass seed (damn you, Drought of 2007!), but I've yet to put my own stamp on our garden. I tried visiting a plant nursery for inspiration, but I was overwhelmed by choice, paralyzed by indecision. It was just like picking paint colors. Dizzying. So far all I've managed to bring home is a hanging basket of fuschia. It's a lovely basket, but we need more. The flower bed around the mailbox looks particularly sad since, well, there aren't any flowers in it. Indeed, there isn't anything at all growing in it right now. It isn't a flower bed as much as it is a patch of barren dirt and mulch. I really need to fix that this week. And since I'm mentioning it on my blog, that means I have to do it, right? Because now you people will ask me about it. You'll call and say, "How does your garden grow?" and I better have a response ready or you'll give me what-for, right? Right.

So yeah. I'll get on that. In the mean time, here are some photos of my fuschia plant. Yay.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I scream

I assume that if you're reading this, you probably know me a little bit. And if you know me, you probably know that I am a worrier. Is it a personality trait? A hobby? A bad habit I just can't kick? Who knows, but it's part of what makes me so gloriously, wonderfully me. The thing I worry about most is money. And in the last few months, I've been worried more than usual. I won't list everything, but basically we had some unexpected bills and our savings took a hit. Thank goodness for tax refunds and tax rebates! With their help, we're almost back to normal (almost). But we still need to be careful. And I'm still worried.

But now on top of being worried, I feel guilty because I spent a HELL of a lot of cash this week. Why? Because I'm a masochist, of course. Here's what I bought & their approximate prices:
1. A necklace at the Handmade Market: $25
2. A new bathing suit. And not a cheap Target one. It's from Lands End, but I promise it's cute: $80
3. Plane tickets for Girl Party 2008: $300 (I paid extra for decent flights)
4. An ice cream maker with 2 freezing bowls: $60

Oddly enough, the thing I feel least guilty about is the ice cream maker - the thing that seems most silly and indulgent on that entire list. For this lack of guilt, I blame my mother. I was on the fence about buying the ice cream maker when Mom called me on Wednesday. Mom was overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the idea and her excitement was contagious. She even got on the internet to look at the model I was considering. "Did you see the video that shows how it works?!" she asked, excitedly. Then she pointed out that I could make Tim's favorite ice cream - cherry vanilla - which is very hard to find in stores. Eventually we decided that it was worth purchasing purely for experimental purposes. I would sacrifice myself & try out the machine, then let my mother know if I enjoyed it or not. If I was satisfied, then Mother could buy an ice cream maker of her very own without worry, knowing that her beloved daughter had test-driven the model and had been pleased with the results. This wouldn't be just any purchase. This would be an act of love ... love for my mother in the days before Mother's Day. How could I say no to that?

I talked to Mom before I went to the store. And Mom called me while I was driving the 2 miles to the store. And then I called Mom again once I got to the store to let her know that, yes, the advertised price on the website was the same as the in-store price. Because this was a very important mission, you see, and we needed to be in constant communication at all times so that we could share every little detail.

Bad mommy. She's such a terrible influence. But in the very best of ways.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

3rd Time's the Charm?

It has now been 2 years since we moved to North Carolina. In that time, we have made a handfull of friends whom I really like. There's Kevin and Shawna, the future architect. There's Kyle and Jennifer, the sweet-as-sugar opera singer with a much dirtier mind than you might think. And of course, there's Mark, my male substitue for george. This is our posse. When we have friends over for dinner, these are the people we invite.

But as much as I love this gang of ours, there's something missing. I've had a little bit of trouble finding girlfriends of my own - women whom I really click with on a deep level who I happened to meet without any aid from Tim. With help from the internet, I've met many women here, but before now only 2 of them really clicked with me. The first gal pal I met was Pam, the wine distributor. Pam is really great and she always seemed thrilled to hang out and talk with me, but she had an extremely busy work and social life and ... well, she just didn't have time for me. Plus I got the impression that she hates children & that rubbed me the wrong way (Being Child-Free-By-Choice is one thing. Frequently voicing your dislike of children is another). Next I met Laura - aka Haliburton. Laura was fun & I had a good time hanging out with her & I get the feeling that I was her favorite of all of the friends she made here. But then her husband lost his job and she moved to Austin. Besides, she and I disagreed on a lot of political issues, so sometimes there was a bit of an elephant in the room. Not ideal.

The 3rd time is the charm, so they say. I hope they're right.

Back in January at a big Girls Night Out thingamy, I met Stephanie. She and I had written back and forth & I had a feeling we'd get along, so I was eager to see her face-to-face. We hit it off and I was blown away by her coolness. A few weeks later she invited me out to lunch, but that turned out to be the day that Millie came home to live with us (amongst other things), so I had to cancel. Well, on my birthday Tim and I had a conversation and one of the goals we set for me was to work on this girlfriend issue again. But how? The answer came to me in an e-mail last week. The e-mail was a reminder that Saturday was the annual Handmade Market - an indie artsy craft fair that features a lot of local talent with shops on Etsy. I had a sneaking suspicion that Stephanie would like it, so with some encouragement from Tim, I wrote to her on Friday & asked her if she wanted to carpool. Turns out that my instincts were correct & she was extremely interested in the Handmade Market, so we arranged to go together. Yay!

Stephanie is so cool. Much cooler than me, I think. She's smart and talented and just all-around great. We like so many of the same things it's a bit ridiculous. We read the same magazines, frequent the same websites, vote for the same people, listen to the same music. For heaven's sake, she watches Project Runway and Top Gear. When she discovered this last factoid, Stephanie practically squealed with delight; "You're the only other woman I know who watches Top Gear!" So things are looking up.

Stephanie and I both have gardening on our mind lately and she discovered a nursery in Chapel Hill that we want to check out. Why this particular nursery? Because they carry a plant called "Wulfenii Spurge". We feel that any plant with a name as scrumptious as that warrants further investigation.

You see? I had a feeling that the number 3 would treat me well this year.

Monday, May 05, 2008

What's in a name?

On Friday, my pseudo-sis, Ashlie, gave birth to her second child. His name is Jeremiah, but his big brother, Ge'Rae, calls him Nugget. Isn't that fabulous? I mean, that kid has a cool nickname and he isn't even a week old yet.

I have had a number of nicknames in my time - Smokey, Mare Bear, Horse Yes (long story), Dork Girl (thanks, Corey!), Pepper, Apple Pie (I'm Apple, right george?), etc. Honestly, I've had more nicknames than I can remember. I figured that everybody has had a nickname at some point in their life, but I found out recently that this is not the case for Tim. My husband has never had a nickname! How does this happen?! I guess it's because (1.) Tim is already a shortened form of Timothy and (2.) Tim is so easy to say. Just the one syllable. But it still seems wrong somehow.

So I'm thinking that Tim needs a nickname. But I am drawing a complete blank. Nicknames are usually inspired by something ... a silly story perhaps. Unfortunately, the only stories that are popping into my head about Tim are embarassing ones. And I'm not going to take the traditional British route (no "Jeeves" or "Crumpet" or anything like that, thanks).

The more I thought about this, though, the more I realized that I know very few guys who have nicknames. Does Derek have a nickname? Does my Dad have a nickname? Is this overwhelmingly a girl thing or something? Any opinions on this?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Post A Day In May

There are a number of writers whose blogs I frequently read. Today I found out that one of them is encouraging people to post every single day in the month of May.
That sounds like quite a commitment. Maybe I can handle posting every other day? We shall see ...

Friday, May 02, 2008

7000 words or less

I should keep my camera with me more often. I saw so many interesting things in the last week.

- At Kevin & Shawna's place, I saw their adorable hedgehog & their 2 bunnies. One of the bunnies let me pet it for quite a while even though I wasn't feeding it at the time. That's a major feat.
- Saturday morning at the Duke Gardens, I saw a jazz band (The Dixie Dukes) made up entirely of senior citizens. They played "Honeysuckle Rose" & it was fabulous.
- While riding home from the fish shop, I saw a gaggle of young men playing some sort of combination of football and frizbee. What would you call that? Frizball seems wrong since there was no ball involved and Footbee sounds too cute to be a sport. We need a new word!

All of those things sound cool and all, but they'd be so much better if you could see them ... the old "picture is worth a thousand words" thingamy. I'm finding that most of the time I actually prefer posting photos on this blog than writing. That doesn't mean I intend to turn this into a photoblog, but I like that photos allow me to show you all of the things that I just can't properly tell you about over the phone or in an e-mail. Besides, my life might seem more interesting in photos. I mean, do you honestly want to hear me talk about filing my taxes? Or about how crampy my period was this month? Or about how disappointed I am that Katarzyna got kicked off of ANTM this week? Wouldn't you much rather look at photos of my cat? Of course. So with that in mind, allow me to share some sights from around the house from the past couple of weeks, m'kay? M'kay.

And lest we forget ...