Saturday, October 30, 2010


Last night it smelled like snow, and we fired up the wood stove. The cat and dog have been passive-aggressively competing for ownership of the piece of floor just in front of the hearth. That is, the cat (Faith) has been passive-aggressively competing. Miley would be happy to share.

On that note, it seems that as soon as the wood stove is burning, the house slips into its winter skin. The feel of the air changes, things become a little more muffled. We begin making winter food. Right now a venison stock root-vegetable-and-rice stew is simmering in the crock pot. I am looking forward to this.

Today my mom and brother and I (dad is sick) went to Anthropologie to see our cousin at the signing for her latest book*. Though I suppose technically speaking, at least publicly, her name is Mary Randolph Carter, we call her Tippy Berg. Her sister used to be married to my paternal uncle, but we're actually blood related somehow on my mother's side as well. I can never remember how. Anyway, I don't see her often and don't know her well, but she is lovely. I can't afford to buy much of anything at Anthropologie, so after saying hello to Tippy and having a miniature family reunion with all of the other cousins that showed up, I wandered around the store taking pictures of interesting things/things I'd like to try to make myself. (It could happen.) And I did buy some yellow (aka goldish orange) tights to try to use as part of a halloween costume, but I don't look as much like a lightning bug as I had hoped. Maybe I'll have better luck thrift store shopping. Speaking of which, I need to get on that.

*It IS in my blood. See? Not my fault!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Arts

Tonight was "The Sound of Music," performed by the kids from my highschool, plus a few from middle and lower school as well to make up the Von Trapp kids. Long movie, yeah? It's a long play too. The intermission came an hour and a half in. They did a pretty decent job though.

Relatedly: am I the only one bothered by the practice of giving a standing ovation for pretty much every performance of anything ever? Am I wrong in thinking that a standing ovation should be reserved for special occasions? I hate to break it to everybody, but the way things are now, a standing ovation pretty much doesn't mean shit. So I didn't stand, and I felt like a curmudgeon. Just like every other time I didn't stand.

In case anyone other than Sara has been reading my formspring, which I doubt, but whatever, I have remembered an answer to the "favorite food" question. It is this: toast (preferably potato bread toast) soaked in the juice left over from cooking meat in a pan. Pot roast will do; roast chicken is miraculous.

It's finally cooling off, at least for a little while. Should get down into the forties tonight, I hear. I haven't checked the weather.

The moon rose sleepily tonight, heavy-lidded and cycloptic, and peered down through the trees. Miley, true to form, was a pill half of the time and angelic the rest. Oh well. I have to be up at eight tomorrow to get to the RBA and help stuff envelopes, and I've been yawning since seven. Better get to bed.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Navel-gazing, and otherness

I keep intending to post things and...not doing it. How unlike me.

Also unlike me*: I have been really wondering/hoping to figure out what on earth I want to do with myself. I shoot down every option. Sometimes in the middle of this I think, "you know, I'd really just like to be a housewife." This is a completely ridiculous idea. Perhaps someday I could make that work, but the me that I am right now could not. I would be utterly bored, completely aimless, probably depressed, and most importantly, would fail at fulfilling the duties of a housewife, i.e., keeping the house reasonably clean and making edible things to eat. It isn't that I can't clean and cook--it's that I wouldn't. Time drags by remarkably quickly when you're not doing anything.

Anyway, I just took an hour.5 break from writing this and went and applied for stuff on Craigslist, which is, inexplicably**, my job-hunting method of choice. Want to know which one I'm most excited about? Installing bleachers and stuff in gyms. Choice number two: working in a print shop. PS, I am sick of people and having to act all professional and crap. (Irony intended.) It's not that I don't have people skills, it's just that I don't want to use the make-fake-nice ones.

I really need to find a niche.

On having meant to write: I keep meaning to write things about the moon (a frequently intended topic) and about wild storm winds blowing through the trees at night, and about owls winging overhead and fall leaves swirling and racing across the road in the rain, but it just doesn't get done. However! I did actually stop at the UPS store today and return the pair of boots that didn't fit! This was a huge feat because it involved the post, despite the fact that the return shipping was free and that I pass the UPS store every day on my way to work or almost anywhere else. Also I bought a stamp! I am that much closer to mailing the letter I mostly wrote to Larry two < three weeks ago.

Is anyone here a fan of Sherlock Holmes? I am, in that my mom loves the series and I grew up on "Basil of Baker Street" and "Slylock Fox" and watched the new movie with the guy from Iron Man and then just now watched the first episode of the new, modernized Masterpiece Mystery series, "Sherlock," on PBS. It was awesome. You should watch it. It comes on Sundays at 9 EST and then is re-aired the following Wednesday at the same time. Benedict Cumberpatch stars and delivers the peach of a line, "I'm not a psychopath, Anderson, I'm a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research." Also starring (as Watson) is that one guy (okay, Martin Freeman) from Love Actually and the criminally mediocre HHG film adaptation. I love him wherever he goes, and this miniseries is no exception.

*Please, please do note the sarcasm here, and in many places in which I write. I have an uncle who consistently fails to do so, and when this happens I begin to wonder about the sort of impression I give.

**That's not exactly true. When you apply on CL you do run the risk of getting spammed/identity thefted/otherwise scammed, but you don't have to fill out stupid long applications or, like, actually use a telephone or visit a business. I've got priorities, ok?

***Did that make sense? More than two, less than three.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


First, an excerpt from my Blogger stats page:

Pageviews all time history

Pretty cool, huh? Now, on to business.

TONIGHT ZOMG I SAW THE COOLEST THING EVER. You are just going to have to suck it up and forgive me for typing in all caps, because it really, really was that cool. I made Miley wait until nearly 9pm for a walk, and I am so glad I did. I also let her lead me down a cul-de-sac that we don't usuall walk, and I am so glad I did. Halfway down the street I happened to glance up into the sky and saw the most enormous, spectacular shooting star that I have ever witnessed. It was incredibly bright and slightly orange, and had this ridiculously long tail streaming out behind it. It had already begun when I looked up, and I saw it fly for a couple of seconds, at which point it broke into two pieces and fell a little farther behind the trees. If a normal shooting star is this big (.), this one was about this big (*). And with the tail, it looked about like this, only far more starlike and linear: *.................

It was really amazing.

As a side note, I highly recommend an extendable leash for single-dog walks. Miley is about 60-70% more obedient and less infuriating when she's on one, though it's probable that her socialization this weekend helped a lot. For instance, after being walked at a few gas stations next to the road, she shows significantly less excitement and thus less noise when a car passes us in the neighborhood. Fantastic.

Next, I want to announce that I actually cooked myself dinner tonight. People who know me well, particularly Chris I'd think, will be properly impressed by this. I turned on the stove. I made a two-egg omelette* in olive oil with green pepper, red onion, garlic, and grated parmesan. Really good, and I wasn't even forced. It's just that there's no one home and no non-frozen leftovers and I didn't want Raisin Bran.

Next, this is super cool:

And lastly, this is super true (as corroborated by virtually everything I've ever read that wasn't written by an employee of one of these companies) and not cool:

*This is code for "scrambled eggs with stuff"


I'm back from the weekend at Camp. It was a good time. A general movie night, a dinner invitation, a dogs-invited cookout, and a couple of specific movie-marathons (one involving pork chops) are in the works. Two posters, one sweater, and one Spud Trooper were distributed by me. (By myself? A persistent grammatical question.) I took Miley along, as there wasn't really a plan for her care here with all of us out of town, and she did remarkably well. I was impressed and heartened. She made friends with Laura's dog, Harley, as well. I played volleyball, if you accept a loose definition of the word "played." I was pretty awful, but it was fun. Ten or fifteen of us (it was an extremely large group for a staff retreat--probably around thirty) sat around the campfire last night telling "worst date" stories and listening to David play the ukelele that he'd tuned like a banjo. I did have a little trouble not hitting on David this weekend, but I never did crumple inward, and we got along, and I am considering the weekend a success. I also heard that I still may hear back from the massage receptionist job which I had come to consider as water under the bridge. They said they'd call either way by Monday, but here it is Sunday evening and I still haven't gotten a call. Evidently they've been busy. My parents are on their way back from visiting Chloe in Conneticut, and should get in around midnight. I need to find something to eat for dinner, and I need to walk Miley. That seems like so much more of a chore somehow when I'm not walking around outside all the time anyway. At Camp I had to go outside to get from my bed to breakfast, from breakfast to the shower, from the shower back to the dining hall, to the field, to my room, to the bathroom, to anywhere. She got to go outside a lot. Here, obviously, everything is close together and I don't need to go outside--but she needs to run around and use the facilities, as it were.

And hey--people have stopped asking questions on formspring. This was predictable I suppose, particularly considering that I have not (thus far) been using the post-to-facebook nonsense, but still rather disappointing. Ah well. Perhaps it'll bounce back. Perhaps I'll sell out and beg for questions on everyone's favorite social network. Perhaps it'll go to the cyber graveyard of old blogs, pages and profiles I've created over the years, and never be heard from again.

Lastly--this is the second edit I've made in as many minutes--I have to say that I love DSW. Seriously. I ordered those boots from them on Friday (Thursday?), and forgot to put in two codes--one for free shipping and another for 10% off--which would have decreased my total by nearly $15. I emailed DSW customer service explaining what had happened and asking whether anything could be done, and they applied both codes to my order and emailed me back saying so. I am extremely grateful and impressed.

Actually, I've encountered quite a bit of good customer service lately. I emailed Chick-fil-a to ask, politely, why the crap they use styrofoam cups when they seem to care so much about everything except the environment, and I quickly received a personal email explaining that their cups are polystyrene and are recyclable "in some municipalities," and that C-f-a is looking into more recycling options for their cups. I also emailed Badger Balm last week (I've been on the prowl, I guess) asking why a lot of their beeswax comes from India, for heaven's sake, when we have plenty of bees in the states. It seemed incongruous when B.B. is so environmentally conscious that they use both sides of a sheet of paper in their office, and make sure their coffeepots are turned off when no one is using them. The response, which came from the CEO of the company the next day, made sense--B.B.'s products are all USDA certified organic, and that means that their beeswax has to be certified as well. Easy enough (I would guess) for a beekeeper to use organic methods, but bees travel. As I was informed, "The apiary has to be surrounded by enough chemical free forage area to qualify for organic certification. I believe they require, depending upon the certifying agency, a 2-3 mile radius." So that makes sense, though it's unfortunate that none such a situation seems to exist in the United States. And then there was the time I emailed Terry Pratchett's agent about a question I had regarding Making Money, and I received, again, a response the next day. I am floored by these instances, especially the last one--I feel like I almost spoke to a famous person!

The font here is, Blogger swears, the same font that's been used in the rest of the entry: Times, size "normal." However, it is showing up on my blog and on the preview as something which is clearly not Times size normal. I feel like this happens a lot. What the heck, Blogger?

Friday, October 22, 2010


Did I mention that I want to buy Badger Balm stuff? I want to buy everything they have on sale at their website, plus a few other things for good measure I'm sure. And a large percentage of the Burt's Bees catalog. Also I just finally ordered that one pair of boots, now that I've finally printed out the return shipping label for the ones that didn't fit. Sort of like a reward program for good behavior. Also I paid the balance on the phone bill last night, which felt nice. The only trick here, of course, is making sure that there is money remaining in my account. I am keeping an eye on it and trying to keep my hands off anything by Badger Balm.

Did I mention that a tree limb fell through our roof last night? Luckily it missed the a.c. vent and failed to come through the ceiling of my parents' room. The claims adjuster (adjustor?) was here this morning, and we're hoping to have it fixed before the next rain, courtesy of my mother's roofer friend Ann.

Camp staff retreat is this weekend, and I have been trying to figure out when I am supposed to meet Laura so that we can ride up together. I am bringing Miley with me because there would otherwise be no one around to walk her except Jack, and possibly also because I am soft in the head. So we'll see how that goes.

I am feeling really jittery at the moment. Possibly due to a lack of sleep? We were all up until 2 am or so, for some reason.

A full moon.

I took Miley for our nightly walk under the full fall (harvest?) moon, and it was so bright that at times the tree shadows looked like papercuts laid out on the road. It was bright enough almost to read a book, bright enough for a midnight walk in the woods, enough to see my breath misting and dissipating as I looked up into the night's shining* eye. There were a few late-season crickets still singing, but the owls I had heard calling back and forth during our earlier (7 pm) walk were not in attendance. These lined Crocs worn with socks feel like slippers, and I was so cozy in the cool, clear night air that if the temperature had been ten degrees cooler, it would have felt like really real winter. It was a very nice walk.

*I had planned to use "bright" here, and I am sad that I can't. Repetition for effect can be nice, but redundancy is more difficult to discern in a mental composition. Luckily it usually shows up rather clearly on paper or on a screen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fabulousness of fall

Sometimes alliteration just happens, okay? Don't hate.

I love so much when the wind blows through the trees on a fall day, and a golden shower of leaves falls slantwise through the air. Bonus points if there's a sunbeam involved, which there usually is. Mmm.

Also, I was reminded this morning, as I am every time I am awake in the morning (which, admittedly, is shamefully rare), that morning light is its own ethereal, inexplicable, unspeakably beautiful beast. I was lucky enough to have to stop for traffic as I crossed the bridge this morning (I am not being sarcastic) and had the extremely rare opportunity to sit for a brief moment on the bridge and watch the morning sunlight slanting through the changing trees. It was gorgeous. A few hundred yards down the road it shone through a fountain, and I don't even know what to say about it. Beautiful.

And you'd think that sunrise would be pretty much the same as sunset, only backwards and on the other side of the house, but it isn't. Why isn't it? In both cases we're getting the sunlight at a steeper angle--the only difference is rising vs. falling. Is it the air temperature? Is it just that the air is less smoggy in the morning, or that the morning sun gets to dance through the fallen dew, whereas the evening sun has already burned it off? I'm really not sure, but I'm having that oh-so-American urge to say that I wish I could bottle the sunrise and morning light. I suppose I don't really, because it wouldn't be great anymore, then--only ordinary. But wouldn't it be glorious for a moment? Forget that it would be ruined forever after, and that its every-morning glory would be sacrificed for the sake of that once-glorious bottle.

Okay, don't forget. I love the sunrise.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And another thing.

Who here has had Nutella? I love this recent ad (bad quality video, I know, I'm sorry) that works so hard to make the stuff sound nutritious. I mean, yes, it's tasty, and yes, I suppose it's true that it contains no artificial  colors or preservatives, but come on. Do you want to know what is the first listed ingredient in a jar of Nutella? Sugar. I kid you not. In a 2 tbsp serving, there are 21 grams of sugar. I was helpfully informed by David a while back that for reference, a nickel weighs about five grams. This same serving includes 18% of your daily value of saturated fat, but makes up for this with 1 gram of fiber, which is 6% of your (underestimated, as many scientists agree) daily value. 3g protein. 21g sugar. Delicious and nutritious.

That being said, I am eating some off a spoon as I type. It really is delicious.


Video skyping is pretty awesome. I like having a webcam again.

TED talks: also pretty awesome. Here's one on an idea (already in use) to replace styrofoam used in shipping and packaging with mycelium. They upcycle agricultural waste products into shipping materials. It's super cool, but call me when it can be used for disposable cups and takeout containers.

I was told tonight by my dad about Evernote (just, which is a free online storage-and-bookmark thing, as far as I can tell. I haven't really tried it yet, but he seems enthusiastic.

Also, I think that all of you should get formspring accounts and make my afternoons more entertaining.

ALSO, I just found this when I was trying to figure out whether mycobond (the mycelium antistyrofoam) can be utilized to form food-safe containers. I never did find information on that, but I stumbled across this. It seems to be a sort of database of innovative ideas with regard to materials ranging from cloth to lighting. The stuff I'm finding is really, really awesome. Go check it out. You will not be sorry.

And Badger Balm. They sell it at Cracker Barrel, among other places. They have a sale. I want to buy things, but my car is a jealous lover.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's in the eye of the beholder.

Mostly trash, in my opinion: tv. I know I harp on it sometimes, and I know I watch it sometimes, but honestly? I don't plan on buying one when I get my own place, or even having one unless one is given to me. If it is, I must admit that it'll probably live in the closet (to be pulled out for special occasions), or under the kitchen table and against the wall like last time. I dislike it enough that I get really annoyed when I am outside at night and I can hear the sounds of a television floating out through someone's open window, or see the lights flashing out through the open curtains and into my very yard. Is that unreasonable?

On a more positive note, I made it back to my hometown with minimal incident today, and even minimal issues with traffic considering that I barely scraped through DC and NoVa before rush hour really hit. The total "car issues" bill for the past seven days is currently hovering around $265, not including gas or the WD-40 I bought to replace that which I had stupidly allowed myself to use up. Please, no more.

Something super cool, and again regarding the title of the post: how open-minded are you about swimming? You can make a skate park out of a pool, but out of what can you make a pool? I realize that in the eyes of some I'm a little behind the times on this. Months behind. I don't read the news, okay? I just follow links. Don't judge me.

Speaking of which, ways in which I am becoming my father #1: I have begun listening to NPR while driving in the car (you know, as opposed to driving in the sofa) or working in the kitchen. Don't... you know. I do what I want.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In the night

Sometimes, it's just lonely.

That is what the internet is for.

That is what the internet makes.

I should be asleep.

I am on the internet.

And I am in Maryland. I should be in the shower, but I have this procrastination issue. So really I should be in bed, having taken a shower earlier, because I'll be getting up before ten am. (The horror!) But actually I'm here, in Maryland, online, having watched four(ish) successive episodes of that one show about the Mormons, and read during commercials, and then gotten online.

I had quite the adventure getting here. I left RVA a little before 2 pm, and didn't get picked up by Jill (I'll get to that momentarily) until after 8. Everything was going smoothly, aside from that part where Pennsylvania Avenue never materialized and I drove through DC in rush hour traffic looking for signs to 295, until I noticed that my engine was smoking hardcore and I was stuck in the middle lane. I hastily hung up with Jill and Geoff who were most helpfully giving me new directions and shouldered my way into the right lane and pulled over. I opened my hood and was able to discern through the spray that a hole had appeared in my upper radiator hose, and thus the entire engine (and, momentarily, my face) was being bathed in radiator fluid. I really didn't want to call AAA during rush hour, so I walked to two gas stations looking for duct tape (of course they ddin't) and then called and texted Susannah and Chris(tina) looking for duct tape and asked people for duct tape and put a sign in my car window begging for duct tape. Sweet Susannah, who is an angel, was prepared to make a 75 minute trip to bring me some, and had actually just begun it when I saw a man in a work van a few yards away. He had duct tape! He even came over and wrapped my radiator hose for me! However, he also had me leave my radiator cap extremely loose. I am all for loosening it slightly to allow pressure to escape, but this was a barely-clinging-to-the-threads loose. I couldn't really say "thanks for rescuing me, but I'm going to ignore your advice," so I went with it. I don't really know whether that ended up being a problem or not, but I got back on the road and drove a little way with a little hood steam but normal temperature reading, and drove maybe ten miles (I have no idea) when my engine temp suddenly shot up. So much for not calling AAA. I called, by this point it was getting close to six, and was told that I'd have a tow within about 45 minutes. The problem was that I didn't know where I was, and so neither did the wonderful, kind, helpful people at AAA. Eventually Jill reminded me that I had crossed in to PG County, and I relayed this information, and then later a tow truck driver stopped (tragically, he was bound for another breakdown) and told me where I was, and I relayed that information, and finally I was found around 8:00. The tow truck driver was from El Salvador, and he was very nice. He didn't speak a whole lot of English, and I speak very little Spanish, and yet somehow, "tu entiendes mas espanol tu me caiste muy bien amor de primera." I made the mistake of responding to a "gracias" (for the tip) text with "denada," which clearly means that I am fluent in Spanish and that Wilfredo and I are meant for each other. So that's an interesting development.

In any case, all of my time in the car gave me a chance to do a little reading and to write the bulk of a letter that I have owed Larry for, oh, well, I don't want to talk about how long. Many months, at the very least. Possibly more than a year. I really am not sure, but he's a little miffed. Not angry, I think, but he has reminded me several times. (The most recent reminder was while I was sitting in the car by the highway reading, as it happens.)

Visiting Jill and Geoff has been nice. Jill tried to terrify me before I arrived, telling me how challenging their kids are (they've adopted two--one who was a drug baby and another who was a preemie and a shaken baby) and how I should just ignore their dogs if they try to eat me. Thus far the kids are kids (I had met them before, anyway) and the dogs are really sweet and adorable. The female and alpha, Kimba, does have some problems (as in, attacking problems) with other dogs at times, but with those in the house she is extremely sweet and affectionate. Jake is the oldest and is a little insecure, but still sweet, and Rex is the newest addition--a miniature daschound who tries desperately to make out, and then settles down and groans whenever he is moved. (The other two are Boston Terrier mixes, and are surprisingly large, given that knowledge. Not huge though...25 or 30 pounds, maybe?)
Today we all went to a pumpkin festival out in the booneys, and then went to Jill's parents' house for Geoff's birthday dinner. It was delicious. Jill and Geoff, by the way, are of the family that my family visits in Arkansas periodically, and thus are Larry's cousins and friends of my parents as well as myself.
Tomorrow we'll be heading to my first-ever Ren Faire, and also I'll be trying to replace my radiator hose myself. I don't really know what it takes to remove and replace the clamps that hold such a hose in place, but whatever it is, I'm hoping that I can duplicate it because a) I don't want to pay someone else to do something so simple, b) I want to go home tomorrow because I don't like changing my plans, and c) I want to go home tomorrow because I haven't told my parents that there's anything wrong with my car, and I don't want to explain over the phone.

Lastly, I haven't listened to the music in question yet, but I really like this entry. You might like it too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Today has been lovely.

I woke up to the rain.

I knew when I heard it that the rain was falling into my missing car window, but this area was cleaned out and not cushioned, so I didn't really care. Eventually I got up and put a piece of canvas, anchored with a split log, over the hole, but mostly this morning I lay in bed and dozed to the rainfall, guiltless, knowing that I couldn't drive anywhere without soaking the entire interior of my car. It was lovely.

Eventually the rain stopped and my uncle called with a new (to me) window from the junkyard in hand and a directive to make my way immediately to the auto glass guys. Timing was important, as this installation was to take place outside. The rain made it a no-go for a while. Why did my uncle pick up this glass for me? Partly because I didn't have the tools to remove it myself, and partly because he is an angel. So is the guy at the auto glass place, whom I had met before and whom I really like. A lot. I guess he's in his fifties or so (I am awful at guessing ages, truly), and has the kindest face and manner I think I have seen. Not that I haven't met other friendly people, but at S S Auto I actually feel at ease, and that's saying something. Anyway I think he shouldn't really have installed my window because he's a dealer, not an installer, but again: angel. The whole thing took less than an hour, and since the new window has an antenna in it, my radio reception has improved dramatically.

I went home for an hour and sorted Phase 10 cards for my tutoring session at four, then made my way over. Today we played Go Fish with the 1-9 phase 10 cards. My student doesn't have good number recognition at this point, but she can count, so I made a chart on the dry erase board I had brought. I wrote the numbers 1-9, and then underneath drew a corresponding number of dots. When she came upon a number she didn't know, she could find it on the board and count the dots to figure out what it was, or if she knew she wanted a "7" and didn't know what a seven looked like, she could count dots until she came up with seven, and find the corresponding number. Five year olds are pretty distractible, but otherwise it worked well. We also began to make our way through the alphabet, sorting through the Scrabble Slam cards I bought last night and finding A, then B, then C, etc, and then practicing writing them on the dry erase board. Again, she (like any kid her age) has a very short attention span, but otherwise it went well. We worked a little bit on phonics too, using the board and the Scrabble cards, and she sounded out and spelled "sun" (she had been drawing one and it's a simple word, so I went with it), and then she sounded out the word "swamp," which I had written. I think she (mostly) had fun, because at the end she gave me a strand of green Mardi Gras beads, "so we can be best friends."


From thence I finally went to the bank to deposit checks, and on my way home David texted me asking if I wanted to have lunch tomorrow. (Earlier in the week I had asked if he wanted to meet up next week to trade his book--which I've had for months--for the mixed cd his brother John made for me but didn't quite get delivered this weekend. I  said next week because I wasn't sure how this week would go with trying to get my window fixed before leaving for MD.) Clearly that wouldn't be possible, so we had dinner tonight instead at Ellwood Thompson's hot bar. Have I mentioned how much I love this store? I really, really do. I should shop there more. From their hot bar tonight I gathered, among other things, real mashed potatoes, cider braised chicken, collard greens cooked with ham, ratatouille, and cassoulet. Holy crap, is cassoulet delicious. Usually I only get it at Christmas when one of my aunts makes it--or when I eat at the E.T. hot bar. And all of their food is made from real ingredients, by hand, in their store. Much, if not all, of it is organic, and they have a selection of vegan food as well, and a salad bar (which I missed out on tonight because I ran out of plate space before I remembered that it was there), and even some "plant food untouched by fire" for people who go in for that sort of thing.


The dinner was nice. The cd is awesome so far.

Somehow I was still hungry after eating this giant plate of food (I feel like this has been happening a lot lately, despite the fact that I haven't been eating much during the day so really my stomach should be smaller), so after we left I attraversato...d* the parking lot to visit the Ellwood Cafe in hopes of finding some iced cream.** Luckily I was stymied, and instead found a large cup of ambrosia hot chocolate and a warmed pumpkin muffin to go. Thursdays are open mic nights, and when I walked in two men were singing a really great version of "Only Living Boy in New York." It was pretty magical. So were the hot chocolate and pumpkin muffin.

I worked a little after this, the heat gun died, I drove home magically not cold in the cold night air and my cosy blue two-sizes-too-big cashmere sweater with the windows open, listening to my new mixed cd. It was lovely.

Tomorrow: Brunch/lunch with Anna (and people I don't know)! Driving to Maryland! Dinner with Jill (and people I don't know)! I am looking forward to these things. Should be lovely.

*For some reason I was thinking here of the Eat, Pray, Love moment during which E. Gilbert discusses her favorite Italian word, which is similar to that which I have typed and which means "let's cross over." Don't judge me.

*Which was ridiculous, because it was about 53 degrees and misty outside.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Guess who has a new car window? This girl.

The Price Of Doing Business

Well the auto glass is finally all out of my car, and all of the old urethane glue has been removed, thanks to work by myself and tips by my uncle Bud. I did sustain a small cut on my wrist and a lot of urethane under my nails, but otherwise everything is cool. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a new window in there, all fresh and clean for my trip through the mixing bowl and up into MD.  I took a few pictures, but--you may be shocked to hear this--I don't feel like posting them at the moment.

I think I mentioned that I made a formspring. Thank you, whoever asked questions! It would be cool though to know who you are.

Lastly, as a continuation of this crazy link-posting streak I've been on lately, here's one I clicked to from facebook, and was really surprised by: Halogen TV, a channel concerned with social change for the better. Their website is full of articles on fair trade and global causes, and they have buckets of petitions to sign. I just added my name to one (and edited/added to the form letter a bit) to Hershey chocolate about their really uncool practice of buying from cocoa manufacturers that utilize child labor in their production. The one I originally clicked to was a little odd--they didn't say what the petition was for, so I must admit that I am skeptical. However, for each signature they were donating $5 toward the drilling of a clean well in Africa--not sure whether they specified a country. Anyway, visit. See what you think.

(The "do you drink coffee" link from the previous post, in case you didn't click it and find out, was another about donating toward clean water, medicine, etc for people in African countries.)

Last thing: today this blog passed 2,000 all-time views! A drop in the bucket for some, but sort of exciting for me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rather Incredible.

Do you drink coffee?


After 68 days, the second of the 33 Chilean miners has just been rescued from their tiny hole of a shelter a half-mile underground. Such joy! There is a live feed on the front page of It may take days to get everyone up. Go see!

Also, far less importantly, I made a formspring. There is a widget where there used to be a thing about saving the Byrd.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Also, if I ever remember, I want to add "arugula" and "Milton H. Erickson" to my facebook interests.

Nobody asked you if you cared.

Things That Really Need To Be Shared

1. BANANARCHY. Why, oh why are you not in Va? Other than making this stuff myself, I don't know what I am going to do. Cry, probably.

2. The Black Sheep. I really want to eat here. Really. So bad. No, seriously. Read their menu, and try not to drool on your keyboard.

I mean, I will be eating there, on Friday, as a wing(wo)man for Anna's lunch not-date*, but I mean like in a non-awkward, money-to-burn sort of situation.

3. Sprout! And these guys are in town! Thank you Jesus. Also, they are (or seem to be) significantly cheaper than TBS (which is also in town). They have a menu up as well, but as they only sell local food, their menu changes pretty much all the time. Anybody want to go?

Now, less flashily gustatorily exciting but important and good nevertheless,

Nuride. You sign up, you walk or carpool or ride your bike or take the bus, and you get coupons. Sometimes for food! How great is that? Pretty great.

And lastly, the ever-awesome Jo(h?)n Stewart.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
An Energy-Independent Future
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

*She and I both really need to find some way to be able to say, "I'm sorry, I'm just not that into you." It just feels so heartless!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sometimes, I have a bit of a one-track mind.

I really want to learn to dance to zydeco. Have I mentioned this before? I really do. I must admit that it started when I heard the Paul Simon song "That Was Your Mother," and then it hugely intensified when I saw a few people really do it well. There are plenty of videos of it on youtube, but although I've seen people dance it well in real life several times, I have only found one video of the dance being done justice. Unfortunately, it's pretty much the worst quality video imaginable. I have a feeling I've posted it before, but whatever. Friends, I give you "Harold & Mandy dancing Zydeco":

There are a couple of others that are good, but not quite magical...

Here's Harold and... some other chick I don't have the name of,

And here is a clip of a guy and woman dancing zydeco, though their frame is really weird here,

And HERE is a video of some footwork. Really, aside from the general fabulousness, it's the spins that are my favorite, and it's the floating-across-the-floor heel-knee-toe-turn-slide stuff that I can't wrap my head around. Good gracious.

Lastly, this was one of my favorite songs long, long before I ever even heard the word zydeco. I had never seen the music video before just now:

PS: if you go rifling through the zydeco dancing videos on Youtube, you may notice (as I did) that there are lots and lots of videos, posted by different people, of the same couple dancing at random festivals throughout Louisiana. They don't always show up at the beginning of the video, but they usually dress to match each other, they always wear cowboy boots, and they always have enormous belt buckles. It's pretty awesome.


Somehow, I have this craving--often--for a website that is me, and people who love me. I look for a reflection of my real self and my real affections and loves and relationships on the internet. I guess I look for affection and perhaps for purpose, for a solid idea of who I am, that I haven't figured out how to find and hold on to in real life. Of course, it's never there. I know it will never be there. But I get this craving and I go stare at my facebook profile for a moment, and then at my blog front page, hoping and searching. And then I usually either go to or go wander around the house. Sad, right?

The Electric Crowd has just come on the radio. Public radio on the weekend really is so good. I don't usually listen to it--I never remember and I'm often out on weekends--but it's so great. Prairie Home Companion, Out of the Blue Radio Review, The Mountain Stage, The Electric Crowd, The Thistle and Shamrock, Piano Jazz... wonderful, wonderful programming.

I rode the shuttle back to my side of town with aching thighs and an aching lower back from wandering around the Festival all day and from dancing like a crazy person to Haitian music with Kelly, Maggie, Junior, and Erica. It was pretty great.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I seem to have developed this thing for Baileys on the rocks. At the moment I'm having a difficult time thinking of anything more tasty.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I don't really have anything to say today.

Nor did I have anything to say yesterday. Which is why I have been relatively silent.

I did take Smithfield for a walk (ps, I am house sitting) last night, which I think he appreciated. It reminded me of our neighbors around the corner, an elderly couple (Mr and Mrs Wood) who are often out watching for an owl or walking their dogs near midnight. I find this extremely endearing.

I had a bunch of other things to say which I have forgotten and remembered at least three times. Unfortunately I seem to be on the "forgotten" piece of the cycle right now. Perhaps it'll come back to me.

One thing! (One that was forgotten, that is.) Christmas music starts playing on the radio next month. I realized this in the car last night on my way back here, and I became instantly giddy and began singing. Unfortunately I don't know all of the lyrics to "Winter Wonderland," and so sang the verse about the snowman and Parson Brown about five times, in addition to two or three repetitions of "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)" and whatever I could remember of "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." It's so true. It is so The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year. Yes. Yes it is.

Then I sang the skinnamarninky dinky dink song and "I love you, a bushel and a peck" several times, and then I was here.

Don't judge me.

One sad thing (yes, I know, my mini-crusade) from Peaceful Parenting today. A baby boy with a congenital heart defect was nevertheless unecessarily operated upon, and died of cardiac arrest:

"The reality is that today more baby boys die from circumcision surgery each year in the United States than from choking, from auto accidents, from suffocation, from SIDS, and from the (newly recalled) sleep positioners. Do not allow your child to suffer or be taken from you for senseless cosmetic amputation surgery upon his perfectly formed penis."

But let's remember good things, too. Richmond Folk Festival! Tomorrow! OH YES.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Really quickly

I have a half-written post on the screen at Sara's house, but I just signed on to see if anyone had updated and ZOMG I love the new "blogs I'm following" layout. I guess there isn't a ton of change except that now I can see pictures in a large enough size to see what's going on, instead of having to squint at a thumbnail, but still. Super awesome. I am super excited about it. It's so nice to react positively to a formatting change online. Generally I really don't like them.

Another thing I am crazily excited about: RFF starts tomorrow. Oh my goodness, I can hardly breathe.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I meant to post this at least a week ago.

Okay, five days ago. Whatever. But remember that book I quoted from? The "eat local" book that talked about asparagus? Sara read my post and sent this email:

Oh Marie - my comment that would be on your blog if blogspot had a
place for me in its heart:

HI MARIE ITS YOUR GOOD FRIEND SARA, I told you to read that book a
million times the second I finished it and you refused. You could have
had this joy a year ago!

Love, Me.

I have this thing where I don't like to read books that people recommend to me. I don't know why. I've probably missed out on a lot of good books that way, particularly considering the number of books that I've finally given in and read and then completely fallen in love with. Oh well.

In other news, it's Tuesday. I had forgotten until Maggie sent me a text message at 7:36 pm saying "Im at your house Glee starts at eight," to which I responded, "omg I completely forgot it was tuesday*."


Three "words" (did I come up with a better name for these? If so I can't remember, and I can't remember how to spell capcha/captcha/whatever) by Blogger I ran across today:

merversp, datis, and coysec. Ta-da.

Lastly, a message from somebody who gives a crap.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

This day's been crazy, but everything's happened on schedule.

This morning I went to scrape paint and discovered the work of genius (or, possibly, boredom) that is the heat gun. This, for those of you who remain unenlightened, is essentially a jacked-up hairdryer which reaches temperatures high enough to melt (boil?) dried paint, thus enabling a paint-scraper like myself to pull it off in 4x10 inch sheets, rather than scraping it off (along with little bits of wood) in 1x2 mm chips.

Also, the people who live in this apartment like tot throw away useful things, like clean clothes (seriously, were in a trash can in the basement under a broken detergent bottle), laundry baskets, and drinking glasses.

Also, just before getting in my car to leave I put a useful piece of trash--a sturdy chair bottom, the back having been broken off; I have been wanting a low stool--in the back of my car, closed the tailgate, and heard a small sound like some sand falling onto the ground. Turns out it was sand, sort of, in that auto glass is probably made from sand just like other glass. Somehow the impact of the closing tailgate caused the left side panel window at the back of my car to shatter. I guess there must have been a hairline crack that I didn't see, or something. I'm just glad it wasn't one of the windows that rolls up and down, or, God forbid, my rear windshield. As Junior put it (merely giving voice to thoughts I had been thus far keeping to myself), my car is becoming more and more ghetto all the time.

After knocking the rest of the window out and taping a trash bag into place (stay classy), I ran over to DSW in a vain attempt to blow the $50 I made yesterday on a pair of boots I've been wanting for a while. Possibly months. Unfortunately, I don't wear a 6.5 or a 7, and that's all that was left. I had a sneaking suspicion that this was going to be the case. It's alright. And they do sell them online, though I won't get DSW reward points for buying boots from Zappo's, and that's really a shame.

There had been plans for me to meet Kaiser (guy I met in May who miraculously was given my phone number) at the park at 3, but at this point it was... nearly 3*. I had said I might be late due to the window incident, but it wasn't too bad. After a hurried lunch I ended up leaving the house at 3:05.

Wandering around Maymont was fine, but judging by my slight annoyance upon leaving and my really and truly horrible mood upon rising from a not-sleeping-just-lying-in-the-dark two hour "nap," I have to say, hanging out with people who are attracted to me and to whom I am not attracted, especially people in said category that I don't know well, really, really stresses me out. I really, really do not like it. If we hang out again, I am going to have to lay down some ground rules. For instance: please do not touch my arm. Please do not touch me at all. Please do not try to hold my hand. You're nice and stuff, but pretty much as a rule I don't want to be around people I don't know that act this way toward me, and you're only making things worse for yourself. Actually, yeah, maybe just one ground rule. He is a nice guy. I just a) don't really want to be dating anyone right now**, and b) don't want to hang around relative strangers who obviously want to date me.

The reason for the two hour not-exactly-nap was largely that when I came home from the park, my hip hurt. A lot. Increasingly. There have been times that my hip has hurt a little after a lot of walking, but I don't think it's ever been like this. I discovered while walking Miley tonight that if I step very carefully onto my right leg, it usually doesn't hurt very much. I'm hoping it will have improved at least a little by tomorrow.

While I was walking though, eventually, once I mostly had a grasp on the hip thing, I started to sing. It was a song of praise actually (though I've begun to realize that really, anytime I just start singing out of nowhere it's a song of praise, even if I'm singing some completely heathen Celtic song about magic)--a simple one I like a lot and never really hear anywhere, about love being higher and deeper and longer and wider than our perception***. Then I started thinking about yesterday, about  having had lunch with David, and how wonderful it was. Not that the food was particularly great or that from beginning to end it was the best time of my life, or even that it was easy, but it was so good. It was so honest and real and survivable. I survived it, and I learned things--I learned a lot--and I think maybe we know each other better now than we did before. I thought of sitting on the stoop in the sun with the band playing down the street, and I just said "thank you," and then I couldn't stop saying it. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you. For this draught of hope. Thank you. For my breath misting in the night air, for this sweet little dog, for my sweet family, for the clear sky, for the lights shining through the trees, thank you. For breath. For hope. For giving me my friend back.

Post title taken from my favorite Caedmon's Call song, which you can find if you search "Table for Two" on or or Pandora. However, none of these sites will allow me, at the moment, to link the song. The part I've quoted goes like this:
This day's been crazy, but everything's happened on schedule: from the rain and the cold to the drink that I spilled on my shirt. You knew how you'd save me before I fell dead in the garden, and you knew this day long before you made me out of dirt.

*I don't usually make unnecessary side trips when I'm already running late--I just want to say that. However, under the circumstances (I finally made some money yesterday, I had already said I'd be late, K and I have no relationship whatsoever really and the time and location were picked arbitrarily and by me in the first place, I had been putting off the boot thing forever and knew they'd be gone soon if not already, my effing window just broke out of nowhere), I felt that it was at least somewhat justified.

**Part of this is that I just straight-up don't. I'm not saying it won't change, but right now that's how I feel. Part of it is that I just started talking to David again, and I'd be lying if I said I was over him, and I'd be lying if I said I was still completely in love with him. I'd also be lying if I said I didn't want to tackle him and not let him up for air for at least an hour. However, that kind of tackling can really cloud the thinking, and can cause quite a lot of related problems. We two are in agreement about that. Also, getting back together only to break up again would be, pardon my French, fucking hell. And getting back together without either of us really having given this "what's life like being romantically involved with someone other than you someday" experiment any kind of chance would sort of feel like giving up, and that goes for both of us. So I think we're going to give being friends and sitting a few feet apart at all times a fair chance, and just see. I am pointedly staying the hell away from any kind of questions about the future because they are so completely fucking utterly unhelpful. As I said to the man upstairs earlier tonight, between the singing and the can't-stop-thanking-yous, I am going to let that go and trust that all things will be made right according to His will. And that's about as religious as I ever expect to get in a public forum on the internet.

***"Your love is deeper than my view of grace, higher than this earthly place, longer than this road I travel, wider than the gap you filled."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Quick and dirty "I'm about to be late" version

This morning I went downtown, half asleep, to help my aunt clean out her pantry so that one of my uncles can do some work in there. First I had to wash a shelf, then I could start pulling things out of the pantry and matching lids to storage containers, throwing things away, and so on. She fed me kippers and grits with cheese and tomato, and gave me English breakfast tea to wake me up. Delicious. I was done at 3ish rather than 1 as was planned, but it was okay.

I met David for lunch. I met David for lunch! And neither of us even died, or cried, which was pretty nice I must say. I did start feeling a little melancholy toward the end, but mostly it was really nice. We had some Thai food and then we sat on a stoop in the sun on 17th street and listened to a band setting up and beginning their set at the farmer's market, and talked. He said my feet looked pretty in my shoes. We talked about life, and how things are going for each of us, and how we should proceed. It was really nice.

I have to go babysit. Peace(/h) out.