Wednesday, December 30, 2009

All aboard the Cutie Express

(Please note, nobody is paying me diddle to write about tea. I'm just talking to you.)

So Mike's parents took us to Charleston for a few days as our Christmas present this year. Isn't that awesome? We just got back about an hour ago and I wanted to write about one thing we did before I forget all the important details. I have the worst memory when it comes to day-to-day stuff. I have to write down what I do every day in my little calendar at work, or else I honestly can't remember my life. And I've been out of my office for a while now, so it's going to be a real challenge trying to catch up when I get back. Luckily Mike can usually fill in the blanks, but that also makes me feel even worse about not being able to remember things.

Anyway. So this morning we went to the Charleston Tea Plantation. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law both like tea, so they wanted to go on a tour of the place. When I found out yesterday that we were going, I was not excited. I don't drink tea, I don't care about tea, and I figured it would just feel like a field trip. Except instead of missing school, I'd be missing out on shopping or sleeping or eating hush puppies. So I was expecting to have a pretty lousy time, while having to feign excitement and interest so as not to hurt Mom's feelings.

But y'all. It was SO interesting. We took a trolley tour around the plantation, and the trolley driver, Bob, was just about the cutest man of all times. He was charming and sweet and made the cutest jokes. He knew so much about tea. Some heifer from Pennsylvania kept asking questions as we were leaving, so I couldn't even tell him how much I enjoyed it and ask if he wanted to come home with us. But also the owner of the plantation, a man named Bill (one of only 28 professional tea tasters in the US, by the way), talked to us about tea via cassette tape throughout the trolley tour. And I SWEAR, that man talks EXACTLY like John Malkovich, which is not easy to do. We never saw Bill, so I'm not fully convinced it WASN'T John Malkovich. But even if you don't find tea interesting, as it turns out that I do, it would still be cool just because of the way Bill talks. And did I mention Cute Bob the Trolley Driver? Who passes out lotion made from the tea for you to try as you start your trolley tour? His wife makes him put it on every time he comes back from fishing.

So here are some of the truly fascinating things I learned about tea today:

1. All tea (black, oolong, and green) comes from the same plant. There's only one plant in the whole world that produces tea, and the different types of teas are simply processed in different ways. Also, tea plants are super eco-friendly because they're resistant to pests and disease so they don't require any pesticides or fungicides, and Bob says even deer don't like to eat the plants, so they don't have a single "predator." Plus the soil doesn't have to be tilled so there's no soil erosion. Tea is awesome. And the part they harvest is just the 3-5 inches from the top of each plant. That's where the tasty tea leaves grow. A tea plant can be harvested every 14-21 days, so the plantation has 20 different fields of tea plants. During harvest season, they harvest one section each day, and by the time they start again, the first one has new growth to harvest! Bob told us there are 3 workers who do the entire 127-acre plantation. ALL the planting has to be done by hand (!!!) and the fields have to be weeded and such by hand. Can you IMAGINE??

2. The tea plantation in Charleston is the ONLY one in all of North America. Tea plants need humidity and rain and a certain type of soil (Bill Malkovich told us tea plants looove rain but hate wet feet, so the sandy soil in Charleston helps keep the roots dry even when it's humid and rainy). The tea they produce is called American Classic Tea, and Bob said that in 2010 they're joining the digital age and getting a website where you can order! In the meantime you have to call to order, I think, and their little html website has the phone number. It's here. They had the raspberry tea for us to sample and oh MAN was it good.

3. Ireland is the biggest per-capita consumer of tea. The Irish drink an average of 9 pounds of tea a year, and Bob told us that one pound of tea makes 200 cups! HOLY CRAP, Ireland. And tea is the 2nd most commonly consumed beverage in the world.

4. 80% of the tea consumed in the US is iced tea. In South Carolina, or at least the part where I live, people don't ask for "sweetened iced tea," they just say "tea." When I worked in restaurants I always knew the non-southerners because they asked for "iced tea," or as Mike's mom still specifies (she's from up north), "unsweetened iced tea." Here, it's weird to drink what we just call "unsweet" tea and not need Splenda or some sort of artificial sugar, and hot tea is just a crazy people's drink. Hot tea. What are you, 100? Carol Brady on Christmas eve?

5. You can decaffeinate your tea! Did y'all know that? This is the single coolest thing I learned today. Here's the text from the little how-to paper:
FOR LESS CAFFEINE:

Studies show that heat releases caffeine. Therefore, you may enjoy your tea with naturally-reduced caffeine by using the following methods:

ICED TEA: Pour cold water over the tea bags- DO NOT BOIL WATER- and let sit overnight on your counter. In the morning, remove bags, add sweetener if you like, then ice and drink! (This is sometimes called "Moon Tea," but you may also leave your tea on counter during the day while you are at work.)

HOT TEA: Pour boiling water over your tea, and let it sit for 60 seconds. POUR OUT THAT FIRST CUP. Then pour boiling water over your tea again, and enjoy!

(By the way- THIS ONLY WORKS WITH AMERICAN CLASSIC TEA!! .....Haha)

I love how they tell you that it's sometimes called moon tea, but don't worry y'all you don't have to make it when the moon is out. And the joke at the end just slays me. But isn't that cool? I mean it probably doesn't turn it totally decaf, but how HANDY not to have to buy a totally different kind of tea when you want tea at night but don't want to be unable to sleep. And as Bob says, "maybe you like caffeinated but your spouse likes decaf- this little trick can save marriages!" Oh he was precious. And do you know what's the last thing he said to us? Here it is.

"Well it's been a pleasure driving y'all around. Go get some tea (there were free samples) and maybe buy some to take home, and take back home with you a little of the Charleston philosophy for living. And that's to start the day slowly, and taper off from there."

Seriously, if you are ever in Charleston, you have to go to this place. I think Bob is the only trolley driver, but if he's not, just stand there and wait until he's on duty. And try not to let any chatty heifers on.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Maybe some kind of neckwear? A nice book?

Last Friday, at 5:30 in the morning, Mike flew to Phoenix for a work thing. The thing lasts a week, so he won't be home until this Friday, which means that, for me, this is the longest week in recorded history. I can't even remember how many times yesterday I thought "it's only Wednesday?" It has not been pretty. And to make matters worse, up until Monday, I thought he was coming home on Wednesday. I sent him an e-mail to ask if he wanted me to pick him up from the airport and he said "You think I'm coming home on Wednesday?" Oh man was I bummed. Two whole extra days without him at Christmas(time).

So I've been staying with my parents, who only live about 2 miles away, and with my cousin, because it's just lonely to be alone. And yesterday my sweet friend Laura agreed to take me in for the night. After work I went home to get my things (pillow, firetruck pajamas, monsterberry crunch). And do you know what was waiting for me at home? Presents! Mike had hidden presents in the house for me to open while he was gone, and he left notes for me about where to find them. It was so awesome. He got me jingly Christmas jewelry, and a really marvelous sparkly headband that I plan to take off for showers and haircuts only, and these amazing red-and-white striped candy cane socks that I totally would have worn to work today if they didn't have a furry band around the top that made the calf-area of my pants look weirdly fatter than the rest of my leg. Ordinarily even that wouldn't have been enough to deter me, but we've got a board meeting today and the other girls who come to it are disturbingly glamorous and I totally do not fit in. Maybe I've got frizzy hair and my clothes aren't tailored, but I draw the line at being the frizzy unkempt girl with the lumpy calves.

But the best present was the last one in our guest bedroom. Y'all. I have the best husband in the history of husbands, because that turkey booked an earlier flight home from Phoenix and he was waiting to take me to San Jose for special nachos. Also we watched the SYTYCD finale. Does he get me or what? I don't know what I did to deserve such a supremely awesome man, but yesterday was for sure the best day of 2009.

So now I am finally feeling Christmasy. Mike is home, and I have festive accessories, and tomorrow I'm skipping out early in hopes of finishing my Christmas shopping. All that's left is my dad, Mike's sister and brother-in-law, my aunt and uncle, and one last thing for my sister. Well, and now I have to figure out what I can get Mike that says "Please never leave me because no one else would ever treat me half as good as you do." Any idea what that might look like?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just say "It's almost 2010, you mean, inelastic tub of lard."

This week I've been thinking about some things I'm not satisfied with in my life and how silly it is to sit around thinking about what I don't like. I'm so lazy. So I'm going to make a list of some things I'm hoping to do differently, and that way I can focus on the good things and be more proactive. Sometimes I am not very good at that, despite having read that Steven Covey book several times.

1. I need to stretch more. It may sound silly, but I am so, so inflexible. You know those sit-and-reach tests where you sit with your feet pressed against that wooden box and lean forward with your arms out and push the metal thing as far as you can? Yeah, it hurts me to just sit on the floor with my feet against the box. I can't even touch my toes when I bend over. It's bad, friends. And how long does it take to STRETCH every day? Not even 5 minutes. So there's no excuse.

2. I need to exercise. I would say exercise more, but that would imply that I exercise. Which I don't. I've been taking for granted the fact that I've lost a little weight this year just by eating less (and maybe drinking more water), but I keep complaining about how clothes don't fit right and how I don't feel pretty and how much happier I'd be if I were just fit and thin, so I'm going to need to get busy. I think my best bet will be getting up earlier to use the treadmill and/or exercise bike (we have both, in our home, and still I don't exercise), since by the time I come home from work all I really want to do is eat ice cream and go to sleep. Probably ought to get rid of the ice cream too. Also, my church's Family Life Center offers several fitness classes, and they are free, and I don't know what brain troubles were keeping me from taking advantage of THAT before now, but I'm going to start going to some or all of those in January. I also have several Jillian Michaels dvds and can go walking over my lunch hour. So really, I ought to be a fitness maven already. I know that the sooner I get into the shape I want to be in, the happier I'll be. And the happier Mike will be, because it's got to be tiring to hear "I'm fat" and "I hate everything" as often as he does and to still see me as an attractive person who splits infinitives.

3. Floss a lot more often. Again, it's small, but it's pretty important. Floss costs way, way less than fillings, which I will have 3 more of soon, and nobody has to stick a needle in my gums every time I floss.

4. Don't be such a downer sometimes. It's far too easy for me to look at the few things that are wrong than everything that's right, and that tends to make me a sad and mopey person nobody wants to be around. It is not hard to be positive and optimistic when you've got as many good things going for you as I do, and I am a true heifer for not always feeling very thankful. And happy. Everybody loves a happy person, and nobody loves a heifer. Words to live by.

There are probably more, but these 4 are what I'm going to work on for now. If you encounter me not doing these things, preferably all at once, slap some sense into me. Tell me I'm not being a highly effective person.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Slow down December it's not a race!

So I've been a little busy putting off my work. I am something else. I complain about not having any work to do, and then when I get some, I procrastinate until I've got a knot in my stomach and I'm racing to get everything ready for our 9:00 meetings. Then, inevitably, I make some stupid mistake on my charts or tables and look like a fool. Luckily somebody's usually quick to point it out. And where are YOUR charts, mister "I'm going to be late today because I'm picking figs."? That axis may be skewed, but at least I didn't skip work because of some fruit. That doesn't even taste good.

Also this week I'm trying to help Mike by proofreading a paper of his that is 50 pages long and full of words like "organizational" and "theory" and "covary," which my document reader wants to change to "ovary." That'd be something new for the information systems journals, babe! But it is taking me an uninspiringly long time to get through it. And not because there are lots of errors. Let's just say we won't be seeing my name on any research publications unless there's a journal that focuses on amateur analysis of tv dance competitions, or maybe how to get through college without ever really learning any time-management techniques, because it's day 3 working on this paper and I'm only on page 7.

So now Christmas is fast approaching and I am trying my best to feel spirity and not let the fact that I only get 5 days off bum me out too much. I almost never miss school, but the holidays really make me sad that I have a real job now. So I'm listening to Christmas cds in the car every day (James Taylor and Mariah Carey are in heavy rotation; N'SYNC's Home for Christmas stays in just long enough to play Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, because the rest is pretty much one long sappy ballad.) And! Last Friday we went and got our Christmas tree, so now it's sitting in the den shining its festive twinkly lights upon all the presents I haven't bought.

Really now. Why are guys so difficult to shop for? Mike's mom and I were discussing how easy it would be to buy dozens of presents for the girls in our families, but those men really throw a kink in the works. Just because you're a dude you think you can't wear make-up? Hello, it's all-in-one face and body shimmer made from REAL BEE HONEY, Daddy! Does every present have to come with an instruction manual?



And this weekend (in a few hours actually), my family and Mike's family are going to Atlanta! We've got tickets to see the Rockettes, who I think are just about the most glamorous, classy ladies going. And we're going to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch before the show. I realize this creates the possibility that we'll be having a delicious lunch followed by a fancy, ticketed nap, but I'm eating cheesecake and I don't care.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Still if that dude eats all the turkey he'll WISH he had a helmet on.

It's almost Thanksgiving?!? It's true what they say, time really does move a lot faster when you're not in school. Well I don't know how many people really say that, but my coworker Lisa said it when I first started here, and she spoke the truth. Now she's on maternity leave. We'll see how THAT makes the time fly. Although if you ask me she really planned it right. Since her baby was born in October, she'll be at home until the holidays are over. Which is not to say that I'd trade places with her. I may have to scrounge for annual leave to get a week at Christmas, but Mike can tell me what he wants, or better yet get it himself, and I get 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep a night. That's what's known as looking on the bright side.


We're doing Thanksgiving at my mama's this year, and Mike's parents will be visiting family in Florida, and my mom's family hasn't been getting together for Thanksgiving lately, so it'll just be the 10 of us on my Dad's side. I'll be making several things, though we haven't divided up the menu yet so I don't know what those things will be. Macaroni and cheese? Broccoli casserole? Mashed potatoes and gravy? Pie? Regardless, it's a safe bet that I'll need seven or eight sticks of butter. And I'm thinking of making this bread because it looks easy and highly delicious. As for dessert, I've never been a pie fan, or cake for that matter, so I think I may also try to do a cheesecake. Caramel apple or this magnificent caramel toffee cheesecake that Mike and I had at our rehearsal dinner. Oh man, that thing was incredible. Mike and I fought over who got the last piece. So if I can manage not to sneak out of bed in the night to eat it all while he's asleep, I know it'll be a hit. Although the lady who made it warned me not to use the heath bar bits in the crust because they tend to burn and stick to the pan, so in case you plan to make one, you've been warned. Not to burn your pan, and also that it's the kind of dessert that causes people to turn on each other.

What's the food that your family fights for the last bite of? For us it's the deep-fried turkey and the cornbread casserole and the macaroni and cheese. And the desserts. This side of my family is definitely the eatin-est. My cousin Hunter plays football and the poor kid actaully struggles to consume ENOUGH calories to gain weight. And I think the rest of us feel so bad for him that we wind up eating more just so he doesn't feel like a pig. Our kindness is our greatest flaw. Or, maybe we hoard extra food because we don't want him to eat all our hard work and not even appreciate the fancy chocolate curls on top and maybe he is only sixteen and he does 'need' the calories, but would it kill him to pitch in and throw together a salad or at least buy some freaking artisan bread, I mean I'm not asking for some culinary masterpiece, since after all this is the same kid who asked his mom "do we have a microwave oven?" when he wanted to heat up his Totino's pizza rolls.

But that would make us rather petty. Probably it's just that we're so compassionate.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Prime Time Entertainment

Do you like playing games? I do, and this weekend at our Halloween party I learned a new one. Well, maybe it's not a game exactly, but it's something fun to do with a group of people to pass the time. It's simple and hilarious, and what more can you really ask for in a sort-of-game? My friend Andrew introduced us to it, and here's how it goes.


It works best with a bigger group, I'd say at least 6 or 8. Everybody gets a sheet of paper and a pen. At the top of your sheet of paper, you write a sentence. Any sentence at all. The boy likes pie. Two monkeys and a clam are speaking Spanish. Just whatever you can think up. Then you passes your paper to the person next to you, and they have to draw a picture to represent the sentence you wrote. After you've drawn your picture for the sentence the person beside you wrote, and this is crucial for the game to work properly, you FOLD OVER the top part of the paper with the sentence written on it, so that when you pass it to the person beside you, all they see is the picture you drew (and they can't read the original sentence.) Then they write a sentence to describe the picture, fold over the picture and pass it on for the next person to write a sentence describing THAT picture, and so forth and so on until you wind up with your original sentence again. The best way to know when you have your original paper back is to write your name on the bottom of the paper when you begin, so thanks again to Mike for writing everyone's names on their papers because we were all too caught up in the frivolity to bother with logistics. But you just wouldn't believe the hysterics this game can render. We were laughing so hard we were crying, reading through all the sheets to see how everyone interpreted what they were given and how different the last sentence was from the original one. Seriously, you will not be sorry about how you spent your time if you do this. My personal favorite started out as "My bird is too big for its cage." and ended as "Rocket lizards conquer Everest." There's no knowing just what kind of winners you'll get. And the best part is that this game works for all ages (so long as the kids can write) and artistic abilities, and at the end you have some wonderful artwork to frame.

What games do you like to play?

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's tricky getting the candles to stay upright in the meatballs though

Today is my Daddy's birthday.

He loves spaghetti, peanut butter milkshakes, ice cream, spaghetti, cheese, haystacks, and spaghetti. He really, really loves spaghetti. He also loves taking pictures. Emily and I have hundreds of pictures for each year of our childhood, and that's no small feat considering he had to go out and buy the film and take it to a drugstore to have all those photos developed. He captured so much of our childhoods on film, which is awesome because my memory is pretty much blank before about age 8. He also loves music. He always played music in the house when we were growing up and he turns up the radio in his truck a couple notches every time a good song comes on. His favorites are 60s and 70s rock, bluegrass, accoustic guitar, folk, blues, southern rock and country (not the junk from the 90s and 2000s, but real music like The Allman Brothers Band and ALABAMA.) He used to play this song a lot, and if you don't have the GLAD acapella Christmas album, your holiday season is seriously lacking.

When he wasn't playing music, he was watching surgery shows, cop shows, crime shows, NASCAR races, baseball and football. My daddy flips channels like no one else I've ever known. Just when you finally start to get interested in that gruesome murder case, he'll switch to a guy with a gunshot wound, and when you beg him to go to ANYTHING else, he'll change to a NASCAR race. Then he falls asleep holding the remote and snores so loud that you can't hear anything anyway.

His favorite place to be is the beach. Well, the Carrabbas at the beach. We go to Myrtle Beach every year and Daddy always sleeps with the sliding doors open to hear the ocean, even when it's 40 degrees out. He is so, so smart and extremely hilarious, which are probably the two best things to be in the world. Everybody comments on his deep, distinctive voice and he always sings or whistles along to every song he recognizes, plus some he doesn't. He has some hilarious live-action dreams and occasionally talks, laughs, and (most often) fights in his sleep. He's been a fire equipment salesman, a 911 dispatcher, a fireman, a paramedic, a saftey coordinator for a chemical company, a fire academy instructor and now he's back to 911 dispatch. He takes great care of all of us and would do anything in the whole world to make us happy. He still takes out my splinters and bandages up my cuts and he teaches me things every day and I love him slap to pieces. Even if I told him so every minute of every day, it wouldn't be enough.

Dads are the best, right?

Friday, October 23, 2009

I'll do some real blogging soon so don't be mad okay

Five YouTube videos I will never ever tire of:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtUI5MC9tVM Electric Feel, a MGMT song. Look at the colors! The clothes. The Country Bears. I freaking love this jungle dance world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4_4abCWw-w Jose Gonzales covering a song called Heartbeats. So, so beautiful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HksFcm9wi0 So You Think You Can Dance routine with Kayla and Kupono from Season 5. I'm not sure about much but I can be sure of this: if it doesn't give you goosebumps you're dead inside.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTF8x-2XbWc&feature=channel Louis Armstrong cover. This girl is amazing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wC_kZNYMWg Bon Iver and Sarah Siskind singing a song called Lovin's for Fools. This song is so incredible. Here's a cover of the song done by a different girl with an amazing voice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJKhR9WiuZg

So what gives you that feeling in your chest like your heart has filled up so full there's not even any more room for love in it?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm just gonna write "healed; made mess"

Hello. My husband gets sick every time anyone coughs, and then he brings home his illness to me, so that is where I have been. I left work on Thursday afternoon and haven't been back until this morning. Very bad news for the calendar in which I write what I did every day. I've got 6 blank days staring me in the face and I'll be darned if I can remember anything I did.

Well I do remember how Mike and I drowned our germs in diet CranGrape and Sprite and the most delicious granola bars I have ever tasted. For Jo-Lynne they are healthier and less process-y than storebought, but I haven't been able to find Sucanat or soft wheat pastry flour anywhere in my 4-grocery-store search, so for us they're more like sugary dessert bars. From heaven. But hey! there are oats in them, and that surely makes for a balanced nutritional breakfast bar. Plus I feel it's safe to say they help you to get better faster. Especially if you bake in a few Mucinex D tablets. That Mary Poppins may have had an ugly bag and witchy shoes, but she had a keen understanding of incentives when it came to taking medicine. A cupful of sugar really helped the off-brand cold pills go down. So now I'm feeling much better. Poor Mike can't seem to shake the cold he picked up, which I believe is a sweet little testament to his commitment and loyalty. Aww. I'm like the cold that he'll never develop the antibodies to neutralize.

And I guess I can fill in yesterday. My sister Emily and I ate some cupcakes and bought some meat. Then last night I drove my mama and my granny to pick up some dinner, and my precious granny told me I can never have kids because I don't have any room for them, what with the mess in my car. ::sigh:: It really isn't that bad. An old pair of sneakers, a couple of tank tops, a flashlight, a tool box, some receipts, a few catalogs and scraps of mail, and a floorboard full of fertilized dirt and dead leaf bits from when a plant (a plant SHE gave me) fell over in my backseat. I don't do plants, but Granny doesn't get that, and she wanted my front stoop to look nicer, so she bought us a plant, which I promptly forgot was in my backseat until I took a tight turn in the garage at work. And now I can't have kids.

So what have we learned today? Eat sugar and don't make a mess. Sage advice from pretty much all magic nannies and all regular grandmas.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mine's Rebecca


Look what Erin gave me!
She thinks this place is fabulous! Thanks lady.
Now I'm supposed to list 5 current obsessions, so:
1) Cooking. When the weather gets like this, I just want to eat and eat. Last week I made pita chips (Mike helped a lot. Hot oil = scary!), chili, and some apple things that only required one stick of butter per apple. This week my mom and I made eggrolls. They were pretty easy and downright delicious, if a bit too salty. And we had strawberry shortcake, which wasn't so much made as assembled, but still. I am liking being in the kitchen and trying new recipes these days. Is Pioneer Woman an appropriate answer to the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?"
2) Arrested Development. I think it's hysterical. Have you seen it? Why did it end so soon? It can be a little raunchy, but it's so funny. My favorite part is when George Michael has a girlfriend named Ann(e?) who's so boring and plain that nobody can remember her or get her name right. The first 2 seasons are available on Hulu, and all 3 are available through Netflix, if you're interested. And evidently there's going to be a movie! I am excited.
3) This time of year. How can you love any three months more than October, November, and December? It's like walking around in a hug. That smells like cinnamon.
4) My hair. Sad but true. I'm no counting expert, but I'd estimate I lose anywhere from 900 to 4 million hairs every day. Is this normal? It can't be. New ones can't be growing in at the rate all my old ones are falling out. If this continues, I'm going to have five curls left on my head by the time I'm 25. (My friend Johnny is probably laughing at that image.) Do I change my hair routine? Use fewer products? Better ones? Stop pulling it up so much? Eat more Jell-O? What's the answer?! I do not wish to go bald.
5) Baby names. I've been keeping a list since I started working here last February, and it's up to about 100 names now. That means there are 90ish names on the list that I'll never get to use. Unless you want me to name your kids for you. How many middle names is too many? I went to daycare with a girl named Marley Anne Coutsous Rose, spell check on the Coutsous, and I thought her names were awesome. What's your middle name?

Friday, September 18, 2009

That wrinkly shirt smells an awful lot like Pert Plus

Today I'm up in Clemson with Mike. I have Fridays off through September and he teaches on Friday mornings, so I've been riding up with him to 'keep him company on the drive', which we both accept as code for 'to get a kink in my neck from flopping over sideways in an attempt to sleep the whole time, while he listens to Bill Simmons podcasts. Because it isn't enough just to watch all the sports.

Later today we'll be going to Mike's parents' house and eventually to my cousin Hunter's football game, and tomorrow night we're seeing a play with Mike's parents. So last night before The Office, we packed up all our stuff so we wouldn't have to do anything but load up the car this morning. And that meant loading up all our bathroom things last night, which for me is always the most troubling aspect of packing. Along with wrinkles, but that's a discussion for another day. But packing up all those liquids is a real drag. And how are you supposed to pack a razor? I put it in carefully, and I don't just shove my hand in and blindly fish it out, but when I go to unpack my bathroom things from the skinny zipper pocket, my fingers almost always manage to meet the business end of those blades with horribly painful results.

Well. Last night, in a moment of clarity I feel sure was brought on by the cheese dip I ate at dinner, I developed a solution. It only works for razors with a detachable, replaceable blade, so if you use disposables you're on your own. But it's so simple! I just popped off the blade and put it in one of those tiny zip-loc bags that hold the extra buttons and thread when you buy a new sweater! Zip that heifer up and you've saved yourself hundreds of cents in Neosporin and band-aid expenses! How about ME, huh? I might wind up wearing a dress that's covered in shampoo, but I am done unpacking with a stinging, bandaged, unbendable, worthless index finger. And that's a win in my book.

Monday, September 14, 2009

He said Fatty Redface will you marry me?


Two years ago today, Mike and I got engaged. It was definitely one of my favorite days ever. This is a picture from that day. I hate it, and I sincerely hope I don't really ever look like that, because oh dear. But in case I really do look the way I seem to in most every picture ever taken of me, I'm working on coming to grips with the fact that I just don't look quite as nice as I sometimes imagine myself. Note there had been crying and my face is not always so full-and-red-looking (I hope). It was a great day despite how it might look on film. And that's one of Mike's mom's dogs in the background, begging to be let out so she can run away from the monster in the pink dress.

We went to my house later that night and my sister and my parents and my friend Laura and my cousins and aunt and uncle and granny were all there and we ate cake and drank champagne and it was so much better than I'm making it sound. Emily and Laura and my cousin Jessie and my mom all had on t-shirts that I'm realizing I'll need a new sentence to explain. In 2003, my friend Meredith and my sister planned Erin Day for me, for no real reason other than that they are magnificent friends and they love me. And they had Erin Day 2003 t-shirts made. So for engagment day, all the gals donned their Erin Day 2003 shirts and taped some masking tape on to add "and Mike" and change the 3 to a 7, resulting in Erin and Mike Day 2007 shirts, and it was so freaking sweet I cried again. I have the best friends and family of all. Mike is so lucky to have married into all this love.
Really though, I'm the lucky one, because he is a very awesome husband and I would for sure be lost without him. He hugs me like a madman, and he makes me laugh, and he kills all the spiders in our house, and he pays the bills for me and orders all my favorite movies on Netflix, and he packs my lunch, and he lets me have the last bite even when he really wants it. And if that's not love I just don't know what is.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mike+Erin

Did you have a nice holiday? Mine was good, but Mike went and got sick on Friday, so he spent most of the weekend coughing and blowing his nose and not talking at all. And it was highly lonely being in the house with somebody I couldn't talk to or even come within a foot of. Except for at night, when he made all sorts of noise in his sleep because he couldn't breathe properly. Then it was like having lots of people or bears in the bed. Not lonely at all! He is now on the mend, thank heavens, so we've got high hopes for this coming weekend. We're aiming to have double the fun, just to spite all those germs. Incidentally if you know where I can rent a bouncy castle in the midlands for next to no dollars, please give me a call.

This weekend June shared the story of how she and Marvin met and fell in love. Though in no way will it rival the humor and poignance of her storytelling, I thought I would share Mike's and my met-and-fell-in-love story too. We're one of those couples where he remembers all the details of our early dating life, whereas I was generally too busy worrying about how not to seem stupid to bother with what restaurant we were at or what movie was playing or what day it was. So if I get anything wrong, babe, know that it is out of love and an intense desire not to lose you forever to Kathryn or Mary or Ashley or Elisabeth. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We both went to a tiny college in South Carolina and took a bunch of business, economics, and English classes. But we only had one class together. And that class was creative writing. Everyone had to write 3 stories over the course of the semester, and we'd spend each class critiquing everyone's stories and reading various other stories and discussing writing in general. Most of the stories written by the students in the class were rather terrible, and mine were no exception. Just awful, truly. So embarrassing to think back to what I wrote. I do not do well under pressure, but I always waited until the day before they were due to start writing. So did Mike, actually, but with the opposite result. Everybody loved his stories and thought he was hilarious. One of his stories was a parody of CLASSIC LITERATURE, people. It was clever. I remember the first day of class, we all had to go around and say something about ourselves, and he said he was taking the GMAT the following week. A couple weeks later I asked him how it went, and he said that security at the test center was like Fort Knox. At the time I had no idea that Fort Knox is where they keep all the gold, so I laughed despite not fully understanding the joke. But that was really the only interaction we had, because the rest of the time the cute girls in class would talk to him and laugh at all his hilarious and clever stories, all Mike do you want to go to lunch with us at KFC and that shirt is so cool and can I maybe have your babies? So about that time I determined that I didn't stand a chance.

About 3 weeks into class, I facebook friend-ed him, and a few weeks later he sent me a facebook message to remind me that Conan O'Brien was finally coming back with live shows, because he had seen that Conan was listed in my favorite "tv shows." I sent him one back to say thanks and talk about Imogen Heap, who was in both of our "music" lists. Then we talked about Scrubs, and I mentioned that Emily and I had the first season on dvd. So he came by my dorm room one day to borrow the dvds, and he stayed and talked for an hour. Then he left to go eat dinner, and I went to eat dinner, and I think we both wondered why we weren't eating dinner together. A few days later he asked me to go with him to Dempsey's, a pizza buffet in town, and I said "Can my roommates come too?" in part because the food at our dining hall is THAT bad, and in part because I didn't think he was actually asking me on a date. I figured maybe I could be the friend he cracked jokes with in class, to impress the other girls. But my roommate was like, um, maybe it should just be you and him, so then it was. He came to pick me up in his tiny blue car, and he was wearing a blue t-shirt and camo shorts and he barely ate because he was sick (which I did not know until after the fact) and he talked about how one time he and his sister had to wash off their cat with a garden hose because it got covered in paint. And then he had to go to a lecture for our school's silly Cultural Enrichment Program, and because I had already racked up enough CEPs for the semester, I didn't go with him. Was I dumb or what? But he persisted and finally I came to my senses. So then we got married!

Does that about cover it? I feel like I'm forgetting something.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's a bird

I've been e-mailing with Erin about how excited we both are that fall and football season are finally upon us. Also about many other topics because the e-mails are pretty dang long. It's true what she says, we are blog bffs, or as I like to call us, bbffs, and I am going to mail her some sauce.

So she's down in Atlanta prepping for the first Hokie game of the season on Saturday, and tonight's the first game of the season for the Carolina Gamecocks. Which is a terribly strange mascot when I think about it, but I grew up with it so it never seemed strange. Neither Mike nor I went to Carolina, but it was the closest college to me growing up so I became attached, and our friends Johnny and Rich go there, and really the whole town will be watching the game, so we're going to too. Clemson (where Mike works) and Carolina are rivals, and I am a rare breed because I cheer for both schools. Though when they play each other, I have to pull for Clemson. Which is fine, because the only Gamecock cheer I've ever heard the cheerleaders do goes: Carolina!, Carolina!, Go!, Go! and that's just a little too complex for my taste. Anyway the game tonight is at North Carolina State, so we're going to watch it on tv. And eat pork tenderloin and potatoes and squash and zucchini and maybe carrots if I can manage to go to the store after work without falling asleep in the produce section. Otherwise just the squash and zucchini. Also if I feel up to it we may have some dessert, but again, it's asking a lot of me not to go home and just take a 9-hour nap. Luckily, though, today is my Friday, so at least I won't have to shoo our friends out the door an hour after kickoff (7:03 pm) because Gramgram needs some rest.

I've also got Monday off, and to celebrate, my mom and dad and I are going down to Charleston to labor the day away helping my sister move. Poor Mike has to teach on Monday, because for some silly reason Clemson doesn't give their students the day off. And THAT is why we're going to start pulling for Carolina. Right babe?

So whom do you pull for? What's your favorite football game food? Would your boss be receptive to the notion of afternoon naps?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

If only my bank account didn't have to prove that it happened.

One morning last year I was in a hurry leaving for work, and in backing out of the driveway I ran into the mailbox. So stupid. Mike fixed the mailbox, but my car still has a big ol' dent on the back passenger-side bumper area. Some paint is missing, and a piece of the plastic covering the headlight is chipped, and the dent is about the size of my hand- big enough to see from a ways off. Since then, every single time I get in my car, or see my car, or even talk or think about my car, I can't help but think "There's a dent. My car is messed up. Everyone can see that it's flawed. That guy driving past me knows I had an accident." I haven't gotten it fixed. I haven't even gone to have an estimate done. Back in May, a guy came up to me in a parking lot and gave me his business card, saying he could give me an estimate and fix the dent. The business card is sitting on the side of my bathtub. I keep putting it off because I know that it's going to be expensive, and it's hard to coordinate a time when we can leave the car to have it fixed. But it's a constant mindset now: My car is defective. And I'm embarrassed to drive it.

This has taught me two things. First, that afternoon when I got home, I made Mike switch sides with me in the garage so it would be much harder for me to get to the mailbox. It seems like it would be easy to avoid running into your mailbox, but I'm not the best with depth and distance perception, and when I'm in reverse and I get flustered, I tend to forget which way to turn the wheel. Not awesome. Our hope is that this way, I'll have to hit something else first, like the tree in our yard, and that will keep me from careening into the mailbox again. So far so good. But the second thing I learned is that God is capable of a kind of forgiveness I can hardly imagine, because even though I'm waaaay more dinged up than my car, there isn't a single second that passes that He thinks "That Erin is defective. I'm ashamed to call her mine." It's only through God that I can even attempt that kind of forgiveness, so big and complete that I literally forget whatever wrong was done. So my car is ganked up and ugly on one side, but even when I do get around to having it fixed, it will still serve as a reminder that I'm not really forgiving something unless I can move right past it and act like it never happened at all.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Can I get more toothbrushes? We have a lot of cousins.

Tonight my mama and I are going to a bridal shower at my church honoring pretty much the sweetest, most adorable person I know (apart from my grandmothers). She is wonderful and everybody loves her, as evidenced by the fact that the invitation to the shower has twelve names listed below "Hosted by:". Twelve! That's how many people were in my entire wedding party, including me and Mike. And this shower is just the one for her church friends! She'll probably have a work shower and a girlfriends shower that are each hosted by just as many people. She is THAT special. She really is. I don't want to talk too much about her, because it's not my story to tell, but nobody is more deserving of all the love and happiness in the world than she is, and I am so so excited. My excitement is compounded by the fact that we go to a Baptist church, and the shower is from 6:30 to 8:30. And you know what that means. Hangover!

Oh, I'm kidding. There aren't even enough of those wee plastic communion cups to get a child drunk. I don't think grape juice has a very high alcohol content anyway. But I'm going to pay attention to all the reactions from all the presents and see what everyone thinks is the best so we can try to establish a Customary Wedding Gift. Is there something you usually get people? It's tiring having to go through a registry every time, seeing what's left and making sure it doesn't cost more than what they gave us. For this shower, we did a recipe album and measuring cups and spoons and some dish towels and an oven mitt. We got the measuring cups (and spoons) at Kohl's, and now they're all I can think about. They include the weird sizes you don't usually get, AND the measuring cups come with an egg separator! I am envisioning terrible things accidentally happening to my plain old four red measuring cups.

Then in September is the wedding! And, we have a lots of birthdays. Our friend Johnny, our friend Meredith, my mama, Mike's sister Lori, Granny, and our friend Rich. And I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. Plus Mike and I have evidently gone crazy with the acidic and sugary foods since we shacked up together, because we walked away from the dentist earlier this month with a combined 6 cavities. Basically, we are fixing to be horrendously cash poor. For the rest of our lives. Nobody tells you that when you get married, your birthday budget is going to have to expand. Or more accurately, once your friends get married, your birthday presents from them are going to get a lot crappier. And forget Christmas. Just forget it. Hope you have fun fighting over who gets the mint-waxed dental floss and who gets the sensitivity toothpaste.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's practically illegal to disclose all of this at no charge.

Okay, I noticed some things in San Francisco that we need to talk about. Join me in a discussion of what I believe to be the current and coming trends in fashion for young women.

Let's quickly go over what 'trendy' looks like in South Carolina. It's basically a razored emo haircut and a silly t-shirt or maybe some tights underneath a pair of cutoff jean shorts. We don't get too wild with our fashion. I've never seen or known anyone here to wear something crazy and weird that nobody else was wearing, to discover in six months that it's what everybody is wearing. We just don't set many trends. After they've been in place for half a season, at least three famous people have worn them, and we feel sure we won't look like fools, then we may cautiously adopt them. So, ladies, if you're looking to stand out in South Carolina, you've come to the right place. Here's what you do.

First of all, I hope you haven't cleaned out your closet in 20 years, because guess what's making a comeback? These are. Not new, updated, funky ones either. Plain white and plain black canvas ones. I saw them EVERYWHERE in San Francisco. When I spotted the first pair, I chuckled to myself, thinking that poor girl is laughably behind the times with her footwear. I should offer her my overalls and velour patterned scrunchie. But y'all. I saw more plain black Keds than I could count. I can hardly believe it. These shoes are practical, comfortable, and they've been around forever. Three things I happen to know most young girls do not consider to be positive qualities when shopping. And do you know what I saw nary a single one of? It brings me no small amount of joy to tell you that it was Crocs.

Next up, harem pants. Got your Princess Jasmine halloween costume from ten years ago? Those pants ought to fit just right. Basically you want them to be nice and baggy and totally unflattering, with a fitted cuff that falls a few inches past your knee. Or, if you want a European-inspired look, and I wish I were kidding, something more like these. Twice I saw women holding up the ...harem part of their pants to keep from stepping all over it or dragging it through the rain. They were tumbling and freewheeling all right, but I don't think that's what Jasmine and Aladdin had in mind when they sang A Whole New World.

Third, you need either to eliminate from your wardrobe any jean that is not a skinny jean (unless you manage to find a denim harem pant, which I have no doubt exists), or you need to peg those jeans, a la the 80s, Katie Holmes, and your J. Crew catalog. Now I have no qualms with the skinny jean, but there's a time and a place. And as for the peg? If you can just tell me how it's flattering, I might come around. J. Crew has some ideas about pairing a frilly silk blouse, pearls, and heels with a light-wash pegged jean, and all I see is a woman who gave up from the waist down and balled up her husband's jeans so she wouldn't fray the ends with her 3-inch heels. I'm afraid these trends are a byproduct of people just not knowing where to go next in trouser fashions. It doesn't bode well for Fall 2015.

This next trend was evident in Charleston, SC as well, but decidedly more pronounced and quirky in San Francisco. It's simple, so long as you don't ever have to bend over. Just put on a solid-colored tank top (to truly recreate the trend, I regret to inform you, you'll need to ditch the bra) and a skirt. Bonus trendiness if it has a strange and dizzying pattern. Yank up your skirt so high that it covers up 75-100% of your ribcage and only a fraction of the tank top is exposed. You can then add a skinny metallic belt or a big fat tacky belt, pretty much anywhere. Top of skirt, middle of skirt, around your knees. Whatever.

Lastly, you're going to need some lipstick. Color is irrelevant, so long as everybody can immediately tell that you're wearing some.

I'm sorry I don't have more top-related fashion tidbits to share, but shirts in San Francisco are pretty much the same as they are wherever you live. That, or I was so distracted by everyone's legs and lips that I didn't pay any attention to the rest of them.

So that about does it, save for a quick disclaimer. I make no promises that people will find you trendy. If you elect to sport one or more of these trends, you're doing so of your own volition and at your own risk, and if you receive comments and/or requests to let others take your picture or study at your school of snazzy fashion looks, I will accept neither credit nor blame. Unless there is cash or fame involved.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

But I do love the Allison Janney starfish

I'm sitting in the hotel room waiting for Mike to come back from a social function at an art museum. And I'm watching a show about these young girls who can see spirits and auras and communicate with ghosts and know when people are going to die. And that kind of stuff scares the crap out of me. I hate scary things. Once I see or hear something scary, I remember it when I'm going to the bathroom in the dark, or walking past a window at night, or when I'm home by myself. Sometimes after we watch Monk and Psych I make Mike stand right outside the bathroom door and talk to me the whole time I'm in there. And I haaaate when tv shows have special scary Halloween episodes. I don't want to be scared! But here I am, watching 9 year old girls talk about Freddie the spirit tapping on the window or that little boy Jacob who wants to play every time she goes to bed.

And do you know why I changed the channel to the ghost girls show? Because Finding Nemo is on and I can't stand the part at the beginning where everybody dies and Nemo's the only survivor and he has a gimpy fin. The only thing worse than scary stuff is sad stuff. That Nemo breaks my heart with his little fin working and flapping twice as hard as the normal-sized one. Wouldn't kids like a movie where some fish just swim around and eat snacks and nothing bad happens to anybody?

When Mike gets back, we are going out in search of dinner. So far we haven't had the best dining experiences. Nothing has been bad, but it's nothing we couldn't have at home, which I find disappointing. Maybe people in California just eat the same things for dinner that we do in South Carolina. Though from the number of girls I've seen in skinny jeans with wasitbands that I couldn't even fit one leg into, something tells me our diets can't have THAT much in common. Mike even found a Mexican restaurant online, and I was really excited about that, but it turns out they don't give you free chips and salsa! Talk about scary.

All right, I'm going to switch back to Nemo and try to avert my eyes whenever they show Nemo. Which, if you haven't seen the film, should make me some more dizzy, because (not to spoil it for you) that fishie is a critical part of the storyline.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Just a quick update. Cause I'm going to fall asleep.

Well we made it! The flights were fine, except the descent into Houston made my left ear hurt like a mother. Does this happen to anyone else? And then Mike and I both got stuck in middle seats on the flight from Houston to San Francisco. That was fun. But the best part of the journey was definitely the time I was exposed to a mystery allergen. We may never know what it was, but we can be sure that my skin DOES NOT WANT IT NEAR, OH HELP, IT ITCHES SO BAD. So last night, rather than go out in search of dinner or other entertainment, we stayed in the hotel and used up a tube of hydrocortisone and a sleeve of Benadryl capsules. My poor husband. I cried like a baby. I was so miserable and I kept insisting that it would never get better and we need to go home right now. I'd like to think it was the Benadryl talking, but I've displayed the same winning cool-headedness on too many other occasions for Mike to write it off as drug-induced hysteria. I'm just a big wimp who can't stand being itchy. My options are a) itch, or b) take Benadryl and feel drowsy all day. So I'm not scratching myself silly, but it is a bit of a challenge staying awake.

On the plus side, the weather here is amazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Do they say dude in California?

Most days, this job bums me out. I wake up at 6:20 to get here in time which means I go to bed by 10 most nights. That makes me feel stressed and rushed every evening when I get home. Only 4 hours to cram in everything. Hurry and relax! Then when I am here, I frequently say fewer than 20 words the entire day. The way we divide up duties means we all keep to ourselves and work individually on our own projects, then report to the boss individually. I don't generally interact with anybody for longer than it takes to answer the phone or say good morning when somebody passes by on their way to the printer. We have meetings every Monday morning to update each other on projects, and once a month or so I go to lunch with a few people from the office, but mostly it's pretty lonely. I don't know what I expected, and I don't know that we'd all be able to get our work done any other way, but it's kind of sad. Do you feel like that ever? I don't know. I kind of feel like I'm wasting my life away doing something that doesn't really even matter, and that is a scary feeling.

But, for the time being, I'm going to stop stressing about wasting my life, and I'm going to go to San Francisco! Well. In the morning. But my sister is staying at my house so don't bother trying to rob us, bad guys! Or if you do, please only take the couch. I hate that thing.

See you dudes later.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm going to see some Giants!

In a few days, Mike and I are flying to San Francisco. Land of the Giants. And the Tanner family. Mike has to go for a conference, and I'm tagging along because work is really wearing on me. It takes a lot out of a person having to come to work four days a week and occasionally make tables in Excel. I need a break!!

In truth, this vacation is making me a little anxious. First of all, we have to fly. That means airports, which I love (they're so bright and open!), but it also means airplanes, which I'm just okay with. This will mark flight number three for me, ever, because I am a sheltered person who's never been anywhere you can't get to by car in a reasonable amount of time, although certain bus drivers and I have very different definitions of what that amount of time is. I'm not afraid to fly by any stretch, but I'm not wild about having to sit and entertain myself for more than a few hours at a time. My other flights were only 3 hours, and it was only about an hour into them that I started to split my chewing gum in half and chew half on each side of my mouth, and if that's not a sign that you've run out of ideas, I don't know what is. And I may well be the last person in the US who has a portable music player that sits empty on my nightstand because it's too daunting to operate.

Second of all, did you know about time zones? I'm going to be waking up at 6:30 like I do on weekdays, ready for breakfast, only it'll really be 3:30 (please let that be right) and there won't be anyone to make me waffles. Do you think my carry-on luggage can be a cooler full of frozen waffles and a toaster with a strap that I use like a purse? Also, it's our first trip to the West Coast! I don't even know if it should be capitalized! We have no idea what it's like over there, but I get the feeling that if there was such as thing as the opposite of South Carolina, California might be it. So if you have any suggestions about anywhere we should go while we're there (just for a long weekend), I'd love to hear them. But you should know that my friend Johnny has already told us about the guy at Mission Dolores Park who sells the ganja treats.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sustaining lives is so complicated.

On Monday night we made dinner at home. An undertaking which has become exceedingly rare as of late, possibly because we've quit going to the grocery store. San Jose is on the way to the grocery store, and we'll get home too late to fix dinner, so let's just go ahead and eat first. Yum tacos. Uhhhk. I am too full to move please don't make me go in that grocery store full of foods I need to lay down. Does this happen to anyone else? Is it just because it's summer? Maybe it has something to do with me being at work for an extra 2 hours every day and not having any energy left to open the refrigerator door when I get home, let alone prepare a meal and clean up afterwords. Luckily my hours will change back come fall, but then I'll also have to go back to working Fridays. I tell you I don't know how moms do it. I can barely get myself fed.

Cooking and eating at home was a very welcome change from what we've been doing lately, that is for certain. We fixed chicken and twice baked potatoes and brownies AND we made banana bread. As far as the east is from the west, was this banana bread from my last dreadful attempt. And all I did differently was barely help at all while my mom did the work! Evidently that's the trick. In order to make tasty things, I need to not really play a role in their production. There isn't a show on the Food Network where somebody does that, so I believe I may have stumbled onto a million dollar idea here.

Then yesterday my friend Johnny came over and we ate at home again. This time there wasn't a lot of culinary investment, since Mike and Johnny just ate sandwiches, and all I did was boil some noodles and heat up frozen chicken. But it was nice not to have to drive somewhere and pay money to eat. If I go back through my bank statement, almost every entry is money we've spent at restaurants. Not exactly a wise investment. And probably not a healthy one either. So from now on I'm aiming to have more meals at home. It isn't that challenging if we can just slap together a meal plan and shop on the weekend for what we'll need all week. Fairly simple, in fact. But someone else will need to do the grocery shopping because every time I try, I only come home with a stomach ache. Which you can't bake or freeze for later.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What do I, run places?

For the fourth, my parents and Emily and Mike and I went up to Mike's parents'. We had much tasty food and hung out at their pool all afternoon, and then we went up to Simpsonville for an outdoor symphony concert and fireworks display. It was really fun and enjoyable to be with our families. Said everyone in attendance. Boy do folks like to take their kids to outdoorsy summertime festivals. And it makes them all so HAPPY! And they are so cute when they dance! And find a cricket and put him in a bag with some grass and name him Silly and ask their dads to take pictures of Silly the cricket! It almost made me want to go home and dump a bunch of quarters in the Polly Pocket jar.

But only almost. Because shortly after Silly's photo shoot, I saw the funnel cake booth and desperately threw all my quarters at them instead. I couldn't believe they wanted five dollars for a funnel cake, but you better believe it was worth every penny. And now I'm going to run the whole way home to burn off all the calories!

Which, if you were to picture it, would make you laugh very hard if you know me at all.

Seriously, how does anyone ever stay in shape? Do they not KNOW about funnel cake?

Also this weekend I saw Away We Go, and at one point Jim makes Maya promise that she will love their daughter whether she is fat or skinny or short or tall or anything else so long as she is happy, and at that point I wondered whether it is awful of me to hope my children are skinny. But if they are I will probably just be jealous and feed them pies.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Home is where I'll be at!

1. Boy am I lazy. This applies not only to not blogging for a week and then copping out with a list, but also to the fact that I am deliberately not drinking enough water simply because the bathroom is too dang far away, and I have to stop by a coworker's office to let her know I'm going to the bathroom every time I have to go, because we're the only two who can answer the phones. I won't get into how we're also the only two gals, lest I start some kind of nasty rumor about sexism or some such. This is 2009!

2. My governor is a bit of a schmuck. And I'll tell you why. Utilizing an outline. Without the Roman numerals because I never really learned those so well.

A) He disappears for a week, and no one knows where, and he can't be reached by phone
1. He's got a wife and four boys
2. He's gone on Father's Day
B) Staffer says he's hiking in the Applachian
1. Senators, Representatives, and citizens freak out. "We can't get a hold of him if we need him! Who'll run our state further into the ground?!"
2. Staffer reports that governor will cut trip short to appease us
C) He wasn't in the Applachian! It was Argentina!
1. SO different
2. Oh no, I do not like where this is headed
D) Press Conference
1. He says sorry about all the travel-related fibbing
2. Oh yeah and about the affair

3. Who neglects her blog all week, comes up with a pathetic two-point list, and then darts out the door before quitting time because it's only logical that I should be GONE by 5:00 so that means I have to get to the car at 4:50, right? I do. Next week my boss(es) are all going on vacation, though, so I should have plenty of time to devote to updating this poor blog. And/or watching tv online. Do you have any favorite shows that are available online that I could maybe latch on to? Any blogs I can read through the archives of? Any sentences I can end in prepositions?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Crap.

Yesterday I spent an hour and ten minutes listening to Alex and Gus demonstrate all the ways I will now be able to utilize their company's econometrics services. Don't ask me what those are, because all I can tell you is that this job gets further and further over my head with every passing day. I had to log in to a training seminar online where my screen became Alex/Gus's, and I had to call in to the company to get the accompanying audio, so they could show me around the wonderful world of economic forecasting. And if that doesn't sound like a keen way to spend 70 minutes, I don't know what does. Nevermind that for the most part, I had no idea what anyone was doing or saying, and about twenty minutes in my stomach started growling so bad that I had to mute my phone so I could eat my almonds without everyone hearing. Almonds: not the best idea for people who need to be stealthy.

Then after work I went home and cried over how much weight I haven't lost. I just don't understand how I can eat as much bread and cheese and consume as many empty carbohydrates and diet Cokes as I do and not lose any weight. Clearly I should have asked Alex or Gus for a quick nutrition lesson while I had them. Anyway I resolved to get my act together and quit messing around at meal times. I haven't earned myself those 30 tortilla chips just because the bathroom is on the opposite side of the building from my office and I walk to it quickly. So for dinner I ate a salad and a bowl of vegetable soup. And only 1.5 croutons and 4 of Mike's chips. And a little piece of bread to get rid of the weird taste that those croutons left in of my mouth. Leading me to believe that all of the carbs have banded together and crafted some sort of elaborate plan for how to do me in.

Aaaaand my coworker just brought me some bread.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Still working on that hobby...

Just want to share a recipe real quick. I made these yesterday morning for the new small group Mike and I are attending at church. They are easy and portable and a nice alternative to boring old breakfast casseroles that can be messy and that you have to eat with a fork.

Breakfast Casserole Muffins!!

1 lb. sausage, browned and drained (can add onion, peppers, or sub. bacon or ham for sausage.)
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup biscuit mix (Bisquick or whatnot)
2 cups half-and-half or milk
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ F. Brown and drain the sausage, adding in whatever you like. I used maple sausage, and God bless Jimmy Dean for that treasure, and added in somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of an onion, though ultimately I shoveled out about a tablespoon of that because it just looked too oniony. I have onion issues. Too many diced onions and I feel like I'm eating a happy meal that somebody forgot to order with NO ONIONS IN SIGHT PLEASE MY DAUGHTERS ARE FREAKY ABOUT THOSE TINY DICED ONIONS.

Grease 2 muffin pans and distribute the ground sausage evenly into all 24.

Mix together the eggs, biscuit mix, half-and-half (or milk, whichever you use), salt and pepper. Pour this evenly into the tins. Then put all the cheese on top. Stick those suckers in the oven for 25 minutes and you are good to go.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Can I bum a hobby off of you?

**Updated: Stainless steel is the solution to my garlic problem in item 6. NOT sterling silver. Who am I, the queen of America? I don't have sterling silver spoons.

I thought I'd use this post to share some very useful/important/pretty things with you. That way we can bond over a love of said things, or I can at least get up another post and not feel as bad about going so long without posting. Not too much going on a lot of the time, so sometimes I just don't have many words to say. So today, instead of sharing thoughts or ideas, let's just talk about stuff! Ready?

1. I love these tank tops. (Caution: the model in the link is adequately covered, but the shirt is pretty dang tight. Maybe don't show that to a kid.) I probably have 15 of them. I wear one under everything. They're long (even on me, and I'm tall) and thick enough that you can wear them alone, and they fit nice and snug and suck in any pudge you might worry about. They are especially great under low-cut sweaters and dresses, and I wear them under virtually every top I have. They come in about 30 beautiful, vibrant colors. I buy lots of the brightly colored ones because they're so pretty, and then most mornings I throw on a white one. So I have 4 in white. I just can't say enough good things about them. I will likely never buy another brand of tank top. Maybe after Jillian is through with me, I'll be able to wear the brightly colored ones by themselves. Incidentally the workout is still going great, and I'm starting to notice my pants being a little loosey, and also in addition to the shred, this week my sister and my mom are doing the Sacred Heart diet. Yikes. Notice the complete lack of cheese and starchy carbs, and on an unrelated note, I am never, ever going to do that diet ever. Anyway I like these tank tops. I highly doubt you would regret buying (at least) one. Though they are usually buy 1 get 1 half off, so you may as well get two.

2. Mexican food. Who doesn't love Mexican food, is what I'd like to know. I cannot get enough. Tacos, quesadillas, nachos, taco salad, queso, rice and beans, even the dang chips and salsa. I get so bummed when we go to San Jose because I want to order some of it all and I never have enough room to eat everything I want. I wind up eating half a basket of chips and then all I have room for is one measly taco. Guys. What is the deal? I could really, truly go every single day. Are they using some kind of drugs in the cooking? ARE THEY?!

3. Are you familiar with haystacks? Birds' nests? Beaver dams? Chinese noodle cookies? Whatever name you know them by, your life is bound to be better because of them. Except when you can't wear your beautiful pink tank top because you ate too many haystacks. But then you can comfort yourself by enjoying another haystack. I made these for a cookout recently and had lots of leftovers, and I have been preparing all week for the fight I imagined Mike and I would have regarding who got the last one. He let me have it without a word. I love that dude.

4. Bon Iver. Ack. If you don't have his cd(s), I feel sorry for your ears. This guy has the most wonderful voice. My sister Emily introduced me to this music, and she gets to see him play at Bonnaroo in a few days. I'm so jealous. (note: some of the songs have PG-13 words in them)

5. Cake Wrecks. Not only are the cakes hilarious, the blogger who maintains this site is hysterical. She cracks me up. Particularly when she uses the word flotsam. That word is a riot. I've read all the archives. Hoo boy, some people are just not bright. Cause it takes a special kind of bakery employee to turn 'happy fatherhood' into 'happy falker satherhood.' A special kind.

6. Last night I fixed a pork tenderloin marinade that requires minced garlic. I don't know about you, but I dread dealing with onions and garlic because they make my hands smell dreadful. For days on end. I can't get away from the smell, it gets all up in my fingernails and on my pillows and makes me a little nasueated every time my hands get too close to my face. So unpleasant. Well it turns out there's an easy remedy. A really easy one. Stainless steel! Maybe you already knew about this, but I've been wandering in the Hand Stench desert for years. Come to find, all you have to do is rub your hands all over a stainless steel spoon (or sink, in the event that you really manhandled the garlic). The smell isn't totally gone from under my nails, but it was so great to discover such a simple remedy. And that pork is going to be extremely delicious. Not long ago I was preeeetty intimidated at the thought of cooking pork, but I found some recipes online that seemed fairly straight-forward, and here we are 1 year later and we have pork at least once a month. The recipe I use is here.

I'd say that's enough linking for one weekend. Saturday we're going up to Mike's parents' house to hang out by the pool and eat. I will use that time to consider taking up a hobby of some sort, because if you asked me right now, Erin what is it that you like to do in your free time?, the answer is eat and sleep. And somehow I feel like life is meant to be about more than just the things that, you know, everybody has to do or else they die. What do you like to do? Can I do it?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I don't know what he thinks a wildcat needs money for.

Phew! Today will be day 12 of the 30 Day Shred, and I'm still alive. And that's about all I can tell you. As far as progress, there isn't any difference in my weight yet, but I feel like I can tell a difference in certain areas even without weight loss. Plus Jillian says the goal is to burn fat AND build muscle, so weight loss isn't imperative and it may just be that fat is being replaced with muscle. We're going to stick with it as long as we feel like it's giving us a good workout, probably beyond 30 days, and then when we're ready to move on, we'll switch to another of Jillian's DVDs which I ordered at the same time as this one (for a small discount) on Amazon.

And that's enough about that snoozy topic. This weekend we had a family reunion in the upstate. It was great, and it gave Mike another opportunity to show that he excels at each and every thing. This time it was corn hole. He got those dang corn bags on the board or through the hole every single time! You'd think I'd have learned my lesson from the Bowling Incident of 2007 and insisted on being on his team. It was my dad's side of the family. His dad was one of five brothers, so the family is fairly large now and spread out over the state, so we don't see each other often. My dad's aunt Nancy had all the 'kids' get together and ask each other questions so that we could get to know each other better. It was adorable as well as a little awkward. There were also lots of pictures of previous family reunions, and those are always good for a laugh. What was everyone thinking in the eighties? I take no responsibility for my dreadful appearance up through about 2002, because I am convinced that nobody had any idea where to go from shoulderpads and stonewashed denim, so we all just swam around in a sea of wardrobe confusion for ten years. Tight clothes? Baggy clothes? Greasy hair? Poofy hair? Who am I supposed to be??? It was a dark time for fashion. All I can say is I'm glad to have made it out. And I sure am glad I didn't get married back then. Heh.

Then yesterday we went to the zoo! Which was as fun, and smelly, as I remembered. Reportedly the Columbia Zoo's animals live longer than just about any other zoo's in the world, which makes me feel incredibly proud of my zoo. There was an adorable mom at the zoo with her baby who talked and talked to that baby like she was her best friend, just another grown-up to talk to about llamas and the rain, and it was so darn cute I almost melted. Then at a wildcat exhibit, a zoo trainer was playing with some baby wildcats using one of those sticks with a bunch of felt shapes attached to it, and a little boy explained to his brother that she was "teachin 'em how to make money." Which is when I flat out died of cuteness. Kids are hilarious.

I'm going home now to eat some salmon and broccoli because I can feel Jillian shaking her head at me whenever it's meal time. How does she know I only want to eat cheese and oreos?

Monday, May 18, 2009

You do the math, Jillian

Yesterday was day 3 of the 30 Day Shred. I got the dvd in the mail on Friday, and after dinner that night, my mom and sister and I got to work. The workout is only 20 minutes long, plus 5ish minutes of warm-up and 5ish of cool-down, so we hardly had time to start complaining before it was over. We have since learned to get our whining in ahead of time and after the workout is over, because Jillian has us moving non-stop and it is difficult to talk about how much you hate someone mid-jumping jack. The two worst parts of the workout, for me, are when we have to do push-ups (well. modified push-ups. lest you think I could ever complete a real one) and this horrible simultaneous side lunge and weight lift that makes me want to snap off my arms before the pain causes me to meet my maker. Also I always seem to get a stitch in my side during the jumping jacks and jump rope, but I think I'm just not breathing properly or I ate too recently. Other than that, it's really quite manageable, and Jillian mixes up the steps so we're never doing the same thing twice. The workout is broken into several 3-2-1 circuits, composed of 3 minutes of strength, 2 of cardio, and 1 of abs. And you have never seen 3 people so blissfully excited and thankful to get to lay down and do some crunches. You'd think Jillian was telling us to eat french fries for a minute. Really though, it is over very quickly, and I know I'm getting a better workout than I used to by using the treadmill for 45 minutes. If all the sweating didn't give it away, all the lactic acid certainly would.

So I'll keep you posted, but so far I'm feeling pretty good about this exercise system. It's quick and easy, and all we need are some hand weights. Plus, the dvd has 3 levels of the workout, so if we decide level 1 isn't doing it for us anymore, we have the option of moving up to level 2 or level 3. But as sore and sweaty as level 1 is making me, I can only assume level 3 is 20 straight minutes of push-ups. If that's the case, there's a better chance I'll quit eating altogether. And there's about a .0001% chance of that ever happening.

Friday, May 15, 2009

We're going to need a few more jars

Bahahaha. Thanks babe, for telling me the books you enjoyed. I will for sure look into that dinosaur book.

The softball game was great. I still cannot get over how free everything was. I worried that there'd be some large hulking guards at the gates, and if they didn't automatically recognize me as Invaluable Legislative Staff for whom the event was free, they would force me to fork over a hundred dollars to get in, or they'd escort me right back to my car, in which case haha!, joke's on them because we parked about 9 miles away. But there were just two sweet women handing us ticket stubs so they could keep track of how many people came. We just walked right in. We could have been anybody! And THEN, once we were in? All the food in the land was there. All for us. And for free! There were hot dogs, burgers, barbecue, baked beans, corns on the cob, cole slaw (boo), chips, cookies, popcorn, ice cream sandwiches, sodas and beer. In cute commemorative cups! And they set up 3 different tables of food and several drink booths so there weren't even any lines! I mean. Y'all. Sometimes the general assembly is a real pain in my side, but I am not kidding when I say that all of their transgressions against me were pretty much atoned for right there at the hot dog table. Those hot dogs were SO GOOD. I am not one to use the word weenie, but I was looking all night for some event staff person who might be able to tell me where I could buy those weenies. Mike doesn't even like hot dogs, and he ate one. It was amazing, and let's not forget the part about how much it cost. Thank heavens for friends like Laura who work for Senators and can tell me about things like that.

The game itself was also fun, though the Senate made a bit of a sad showing. Several of them sent their grandsons, pages, security staff, and other athletically inclined friends to play in their stead. Which is okay, I guess, since they worked till 6:00 on the budget (and they didn't cut my job!). A few of the actual Senators were there, so those of you reading in the northwest section of the state can rest secure in the knowledge that if government were to come down to one big baseball game, your senators would still have your backs. The rest of us are in some trouble. But the Representatives were mostly there live and in person, though they were clearly distraught at the prospect of playing against a team of 15 year-olds. And rightly so. Ultimately the Senate Filibusters pulled it out over the House Amenders. I can't remember the score. There was a smooshie little girl with curly hair sitting in the section beside us with a hippo ballerina 'pocketbook' (her word), so I was a bit distracted. I am a sucker for a curly-haired girl who knows how to accessorize.

Which reminds me of a hilarious incident. Several years ago at a vacation bible school, one of the four-year-olds in my class had a teeny Polly Pocket that she wanted me to hold for her while she played on the playground. Only we both forgot about it and she never got it back. So I threw it in my purse, and recently during a cleaning spree, Mike discovered Polly, so he put her on the bathroom counter, because he is a good husband who doesn't throw your things away even if they are really weird. Also on the counter we have a jar where we put our loose change. So he set her on the lid of the jar so she wouldn't inadvertantly get knocked down the sink drain. Neither of us thought much about it I guess. Then, when we had a bunch of our friends over for our birthday last month, they used our bathroom to get ready. Several weeks later, seemingly out of the blue, our friend Ali asked my sister "...are Erin and Mike saving up for a baby?" Emily was totally confused. "Uh, I don't think so. Why?" "Well I saw that jar of money with the little Polly Pocket on it..."

Hooo boy, did we have some laughs about that. Polly Pocket reminding us to save up our pennies like when the jar gets full we're ready for a baby.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Boy did I love books where everyone went to summer camp

So tonight there is a sporting event in town. The 16th annual South Carolina Senators vs. South Carolina Representatives softball game. With free food! And maybe free booze! We are going to go, of course, and I will report back with what is sure to be an extensive injured reserve list. I don't know much about softball, and I don't know much about government, but I can guarantee that when the two are combined, a very good time is in store.

Meanwhile, please tell me about your favorite book(s) from childhood, or your siblings' or children's or nieces' or nephews' favorite books, or books your students loved, or books you like even now, and possibly tell me why you like(d) said book(s). Children's literature is my favorite, as I have said before, and I'm reading a great book now called The Mysterious Benedict Society, and I'm afraid it will soon be over and I'll be left with nothing. You can certainly tell me if your favorite books were something like The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew or or something horrifically sad like Charlotte's Web or Old Yeller or Little Women, but I make no promises because I just am not one for the scary or the sad. Also if you like(d) Little House on the Prairie, talk to me about that, because I've never read those. Some part of me just feels like prairie life = boring. For the record, my favorite book as a kid varied depending on which Babysitters Club or Sweet Valley book I was reading.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Take, for example, Nickelback

1. Unless you count the frozen waffles I eat for breakfast every morning, I haven't had a meal at home, or even one from home, yet this week. For a change, tonight we will have some tacos prepared in our very own kitchen. ette. Kitchenette. It's probably not a real kitchen unless it has walls around it and ours is all open to the rest of the house. Incidentally it's also making me rethink my stance on carpet. Which is to say, I don't feel all the crumbs sticking to my feet on carpet like I do on linoleum. Not that I'd re-do my floors in linoleum, but I suspect even the fanciest hardwood won't be self-cleaning. We should probably just get a dog. See how I started with waffles and ended with dogs? It's a wonder and a shame I don't post more often.

2. Monday I played Bunko for the first time. I'd have spelled it with a c, but the women who hosted spell it with a k, so Bunko with a k is what I played. Many women would probably tell you that the beauty of Bunko is that it requires no skill whatsoever. But those women are wrong. Dead wrong. Because the beauty of Bunko is that everybody has to bring some food. After 18 rounds and more simple addition errors than I care to admit (I can add together a bunch of 1s with little trouble, but throw some 5s and 21s in there and it's a different story.), I wound up winning 9 and losing 9. I think. All I know for certain is that I paid five dollars and got a better dinner than if I'd eaten at home, so I felt like there were really no losers. I am supremely excited to play Bunko again. Just as soon as I buy a calculator or do some remedial mathematics.

3. Today at work we had an employee appreciation luncheon where I was relegated to the overflow table for people who didn't get there on time or whose 'friends' didn't save them a seat. SO awkward. I did what I could to make conversation, but we all knew what table it was, so mostly there was a lot of errant glancing over at the cool table and laughing when everyone else laughed, hoping somebody would realize we belonged with them and there had been some sort of terrible seating arrangement faux-pas. Eventually, enough people trickled out that I was able to filch my way in, just in time to watch a coworker attempt to eat 10 brownies for twenty bucks.

4. Whenever I see someone in great shape all showy-offy with their tiny clothes and bottled water, or really when I see anyone skinnier than me, I get pretty angry. It probably really does stem from a place of sheer rage, and not any sort of secret envy or self-doubt, but that's beside the point. I just need them to cover it up and please be uglier for crying out loud because nobody wants to see that. Right? Well I've decided that instead of yelling at the skinny people to eat more doughnuts, I'm going to try Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred and see what that does to my attitude. And my fat. So I will keep you posted on that front, unless it goes to pot and I'm to embarrassed to tell you. I am expecting to be highly sore, plus I'll probably just redirect my anger toward Jillian, which seems like exactly what she wants. Is it possible to gain strength from other people's hatred? History points to 'yes.'

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nobody remembers their favorite tax law.

I am at work.

It is 8:30 at night.

And what's the REASON I am at work at 8:30 at night? One word: Budget.

Alternatively: Bureaucracy.

Never have I been so sure that this kind of work is all wrong for me. I go home depressed and dread having to wake up and come back. But I need this job and the money and benefits it provides. And I like the people I work with. Everyone is really friendly and helpful and funny and they all agree that there are aspects of our work that are just awful. Like when we have to stay late and wait by the phones just in case we're needed. And I can tell you right now that none of the people who are requiring us to be here so late have even stopped to consider that their schedule might be affecting the lives of anyone other than themselves. Call me crazy, but I just don't see the sense in working somewhere that I don't feel at least remotely valuable.

Next time I get a job, I think it will be in teaching. People remember their favorite teachers, man.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Now hiring. Will pay 2 rice cakes per idea.

This is a busy week at work. I have nothing interesting to say because I haven't been anywhere except my office and my bed. Today is Administrative Professionals Day, though, so if you have one, do something nice in honor of yours. If you are one, good job working like a dog to make your office run like it does. As best I can tell, it's often a thankless job. My mama is a secretary at a high school, and if that flaky principal and those self-absorbed assistant principals don't do something special for her and the others, well. I don't even know what. I don't even KNOW! That's meant to be threatening, for the record, and leave the consequences a mystery so as to insight fear and submission. Sometimes it's hard to convey emotion without a voice or face.

Friday is Mike's birthday. That is meant to be a dejected, Debbie Downer-style announcement. Because I have no present. I don't even have an idea for a present. A few weeks ago, I had a dream that I decided what to buy him for his birthday, and I woke up and realized it really was a good idea- a DVR for the bedroom tv. Awesome idea! And I never have meaningful or productive dreams. I was pumped. But I know nothing about technology. Do I go to Best Buy? Do I call the cable company? Do I pay for it up front, or every month, or both? How on earth do I set it up? Ultimately, I just had to tell Mike I had the idea, and he went out and got it. And added baseball channels. ::sigh:: And that appears to have been my one good idea for the month of April, because now I'm slap out.

And I've got to get busy working on all this work that keeps me so busy. I don't even have TIME to have an idea. I need a personal administrative professional.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The whole weekend was one big party

This weekend we celebrated our birthday and Mike's and my first anniversary. On Friday my sister and Mike and my friends threw me an amazing (and surprising) surprise party. It was great. My friend Johnny made cookies and Ali made queso and Mike made burgers and chicken tacos and somebody made margaritas and boozy Arnold Palmers (Firefly and lemonade) and it was magical. There was even a theme. We all really love the song Electric Feel by a band called MGMT. The music video is amazing and psychadelic. Your basic hip young sexy people partying in the jungle, with an appearance by the Country Bears, and then the band rides bikes to the moon. You get the idea. So they decorated our house to look like the video and everybody dressed up like the people in the video and it was really perfect and great. These people know how to throw a party. I wish I had pictures to show you, but alas I am one of those people who complains about never having pictures of anything and always forgetting the camera or feeling awkward making that squinty I'm-taking-a-snapshot face. You know the face.

Then on Saturday we went with my family and Mike's parents to The Melting Pot, and I'll tell you right now that the only way to improve your very own electric surprise party is to follow it up with a trip to The Melting Pot. I don't know what they do to those little hunks of teriyaki sirloin or those brownie bits, but you should prepare yourself for the day that I find out, because there will be rejoicing throughout the land. Man was that dinner good. I hope for your sake that you have been to a Melting Pot, unless you happen to be someone who's terribly practical and has a problem spending a week's worth of your salary just to cook your own dinner. In which case, I'm sorry, but I don't think it's going to work out between us.

In closing, I am happier every day that I get to be married to my best friend and my favorite person and I hope we have 700 more years together.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I love you but those bread cubes are mine, heifer.


It's my birthday today! It's also my sister's birthday, on account of we're twins. But whether we're identical or fraternal is still up in the air, because apparently in 1986 the most reliable way to tell was some type of scale that ran from 0 to 20, and all they could tell our parents is that Emily and I scored an 11. It's a fool-proof scientific measurement they've worked up, isn't it?


Anyway. There is a picture of us from last summer. You can decide for yourself whether we are identical or fraternal. Just, you know, be sure to go about it scientifically.
And happy birthday to my beautiful hilarious sister! Whom I will see on Saturday for the most dramatic episode of Birthday Dinner ever. Cause we're goin to the Melting Pot, and those fondue forks are very stabby.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I had a crabcake at dinner that almost changed my view of the outdoors. The underwater outdoors, anyway.

Saturday, my best friend from middle and high school, Lauren, got married. She can make me laugh like no one else can, and I love her slap to pieces. She and her husband Jon are adorable, hilarious, caring people. Totally MFEO. Lauren works in a bakery, and I can tell you that paid off in spades for her wedding. Not only were the cakes delicious, but Lauren had a hand in making them! The groom's cake was an edible recreation of their engagement spot- some hikey mountain locale. These two are big into the outdoors. Biking, hiking, camping. They like to commune with nature. In this way we could not be more different. Mike can make peace with the outdoors, but since meeting me he's grown tired of the beauty of the land, as it pales in comparison to me. That, or he knows how miserable the outdoors will make me, and in turn how miserable I will make him, so he knows to steer clear. I get itchy, frizzy, and paranoid when I am out of doors. But not Lauren and Jon. They get engaged.

The wedding was sweet and perfect. All the bridesmaids cried like babies when we saw her coming down the aisle. It was over fast, like all weddings are, and then we went into town to have dinner with some friends. On the way out of the park where the wedding was held, our caravan made some poor driving decisions (pdd) that led us to a toll-booth-like road where two (live) giant geese flanked either side of the drive way. The first 2 cars made it through, but when it was our turn (my sister was driving, I was riding), the goose on the left chose to switch sides. We slowed and waited. He hesitated. We moved forward. He started walking. We stopped. He stopped. Jake, driving the car behind us, honked. The goose slowly ambled across to the other side. Finally we were able to get through, only to come to some strange dead-end. It was so frustrating, and we were highly put-out with the lead car for steering us wrong. Jake, who was in back, drove past us to instruct the front car how to get out. We rolled down our window to hear his instructions. And he said:

"That goose was really rude, by the way. F*** that bird. Let's go."

And we nearly died laughing. It's probably one of those stories where you had to have been there. Is it? Lord, it was funny to us.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Imagine how many people will offer to buy me some green beer when they see me wearing that!

This weekend Mike and I went to Charleston. He had a school thing for part of the time, and we decided to make it our anniversary trip so I could go along and we could shell out the big bucks for a nice hotel and round-the-clock hush puppies. Do you love hush puppies like I do? I love them about 4 pounds worth. As in, this weekend I gained 4 pounds. So. Probably you don't love them like that. And that's for the best. Because when they say to add more seafood to your diet, I get the feeling they mean salmon or tuna, not so much battered and fried cornmeal blobs slathered in butter and, judge me if you must, ketchup. But you just can't go to Charleston and not eat seafood, and you REALLY can't eat seafood and not have hush puppies. There've been many studies. You can't.

Regardless, we (me + the new 4lbs. on my belly) had a wonderful time. We got to spend some time with some friends who we never get to see anymore, and we also enjoyed the most juice-like wine you will ever find. It's called Red Cat, and if you cringe at the sting-y smell and painful burn of red wine like I do, this wine will make you cry tears of joy. Because nothing is less cool than having a wine night or going to a bar with friends and being the girl who 'just can't stand the taste of aclohol. I just can't.' Am I the only one? I feel like the only one. It's just all so burny. Plus it all gives me a headache, which really bums me out. So while my friends are all light on their feet and happy after a few glasses of wine, I become fairly hostile and incessantly ask everyone for some Advil. And if I've learned anything from my dad the paramedic, it's that you're not supposed to mix one glass of 13% alcohol by volume wine with 2 over the counter pain reducers. That's just gambling with your own life.

I also got a beautiful green sweater at J. Crew that, in an ironic hush-puppy related twiste of fate, I won't be able to wear for Saint Patrick's Day tomorrow unless I can somehow find a way to sleep and tread my mill at the same time. No? Not possible?

I guess I'll just wear this tomorrow.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I anticipate many garlic cheese trials in my life.

Last night we went to a surprise party to celebrate my uncle Gene's 50th birthday. Uncle Gene is my mama's baby brother, and I think he looks like a salt-and-pepper haired Kevin Kline. I've possibly heard him speak five or ten times in my whole life. Once when he was little, the family was celebrating my uncle Barry's birthday, and they all got to singing happy birthday, and even though nobody was singing to him, Uncle Gene was so embarrassed that he slinked under the table. He handled himself much better last night, probably thanks to his fabulous wife Kathy. She is truly an all-star, that Kathy, and I love her to bits. She makes up for Uncle Gene's terseness, but in the good way and not the way that makes you want to crawl under a table. One of the first times she ever met Mike, she had a lengthy discussion with him about vegitarians and how it's a personal choice but God made animals to be eaten and hell if she isn't going to take advantage of that.

The party was a lot of fun, despite a few hiccups. Aunt Kathy had the party at restaurant and everybody was supposed to get there at 6 and sit down so we could all be there to surprise Uncle Gene when they arrived. But we were late. Surprise! Didn't see that one coming, did you, Gene? Then, despite ample warning and advising from Aunt Kathy, the restaurant staff was ill prepared. I never counted, but I'd guess there were probably 40 of us. And without giving away too much information, I can tell you that it took far too long for the cheddar bay biscuits to show up, and when they did, the baskets were all one biscuit short, forcing a lot of that "we can share it" baloney. We can share it. It's a biscuit, not a math book. Get your own. We had to all but send up flares to get a refill, and then good luck getting the waitress not to pour tea into your empty Dr. Pepper glass. And there wasn't even a free birthday dessert! Lastly, and most troubling, my granny nearly choked herself to death. Thankfully she made a timely recovery, despite every attempt from the waitstaff to leave her with an empty glass in a time of crisis. Still, it was scary to watch. And a little frustrating. I love my granny like a madman, but for heaven's sake, WHY does she insist on shaking pepper all over everything? Of COURSE she's going to have a coughing fit at every meal. But it always seems to take her by surprise. ::hack hack:: I don't understand. ::cough, wheeze:: What could be the cause of this? ::eyes watering:: Can't identify a culprit! ::hoist another forkful of peppered food to mouth::

Oh Granny. There are plenty of times when I love her slap to pieces and it's all I can do not to melt because she's so cute, like when she buys me decorations for every single holiday or when she cracks up while watching one of those goofy prank shows. Ha ha! You thought the water was going to come out of that spout, but look where it's coming out instead! On your pants! Man she's cute. She really is, and she's a great granny. She just sometimes makes me a little crazy. Is this normal?

Also, if a heart for the elderly isn't my spiritual gift, I am wont to wonder if perhaps my talent falls more in the realm of eating a lot of biscuits. If I could just figure out how to use my abilities to glorify the Lord.