Thursday, March 31, 2011

Meet the Parents Recap Part Trois

Finally, let me describe the TallMan's parents' beach house. First, like almost all the houses around there it is one story of the ground, up on stilts. The entrance is the basement and just has the stairs up, a room with a refrigerator in it, and the elevator. Yeah, they have an elevator. Then its two floors of actual house.

The first floor has an open layout kitchen and dinning room with a nook for a table seating 8+. That's the bottom two photos, the kitchen if I was standing behind the sofa, and the living room if I was standing on the balcony above the kitchen.

The top left picture is the house from the canal. The house is maybe 100 yards from the beach, and on a canal so you have water access from the house with out the super high cost of the beach and can put your boat right in. One morning there was sun and we sat out on the deck getting our vitamin D.

The top right picture is the room I stayed in. On the first floor their are two ensuite rooms, where TallMan and I stayed (separately, duh). On the second floor there is the master bedroom, a kids room and another bedroom. All with their own full bathrooms. Basically the house is huge and awesome and super beachy. Its also perfectly designed and decorated. There was yellow bedding in my room and matching yellow towels in that bathroom. Too cute!

I know its the south so everything is bigger, but the beach houses where I live aren't this big, really ever. I think a comparably nice house where I live would be over $2 mil, which is a little intimidating for a girl with out a job. It was a wonderful house to spend the weekend in, and I hope the next time I visit I can take advantage of the deck more, and the pool and the ocean.

Meet the Parents Recap Part Deux

Saturday afternoon the clouds rolled in, so DD, KW and I went shopping. TallMan and his dad got the baby while the brother in law went to go to Myrtle to check a job site (the baby was alive when we returned, I'm guessing they watched college basketball while the baby wandered around playing with toys and talking to himself in his pretalkbabytalk, which is basically what he did the entire time he was there).

Shopping consisted of going to a couple of women's clothing/beach novelty shops that didn't have much I was interested in, except some very nice Lily Pulitzer stuff and a couple cute table accessories that I might've been interested in if I wasn't broke and living with my parents. DD and KW didn't find anything all that interesting either. But we wandered around and looked at stuff, which was kinda fun.

Then we went to a beach/knic-knac/christmas store. OMG was stuff tacky there. The christmas part was pretty overwhelming too. There was over 1000 square feet of fake trees and ornaments and stockings and lights and garland. Now I like christmas, its a nice holiday as holidays go. But I like a real tree and simple ornaments, or ornaments with meaning. The NC State tree was pretty darn tacky. If there was a way I could've taken a picture that would have done this place justice I would've. But it was sooooo intense, that no picture would've really made it clear how Christmasy it was.

I did learn while there that TallMan has/had terrible taste in ornaments (but that is from his mom and sister, so who knows), and that the gift TallMan got for his mom this year was something she stopped collecting years ago. (Clearly he needs me.)

Saturday night we went to The Sugar Shack. It is a Jamaican restaurant that looks like a dump, has a guitar player in a corner singing dirty songs, and has the most amazing ribs I've ever eaten. Ever. In my life. They fell off the bone with a fork, and the bone was clean. Oh sooooooo good. I wish I'd eaten there every day and night while down there. AMAZINGLY delicious. Apparently in the summer you need reservations weeks in advance to get in. Yum yum yum, I can see why.

Sunday the weather was cold and gray and periodically raining, so I decided it was the perfect time to start doing a puzzle. So I did. Sunday KW and family left, but not before buying a dvd player for the car so baby could watch Blue's Clues on the ride home (Blue for 4 hours is apparently waaaaay better than crying baby for 4 hours, which I can understand).

The rest of the weekend was puzzle, college basketball, and super duper mellow. To the point on Monday afternoon where TallMan and I finished the puzzle, I'd read my book, and we were all getting pretty antsy just sitting around. It was a really fun weekend, and it was nice to meet TallMan's family. They were really nice people and fun to be with. But it was a beach house and the weather wasn't great, so we got a little bored towards the end of it. Also, by Monday I think the pressure of stuff started to wear on us, even TallMan was cranky on Monday.

The weekend ended with TallMan and I waiting until 2:30am Tuesday morning for a plane at the Myrtle Beach airport (hence why I was fried Tuesday during the day, and even a little bit today). It was supposed to be a 10:30pm flight, but bad weather in Tampa delayed it and delayed it and delayed it. Naps were taken on the floor of the airport and on the plane. We didn't end up getting home until almost 5am on Tuesday, which after a long weekend of trying to impress parents was tough.

I'll give an update this afternoon of the beach house itself, and maybe later if I have the energy I'll tell you about the craziness that was waiting in the airport. (booze+cheerleaders+boredom=1am backflip competition).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Meet the Parents Recap Part Une

My visit to meet the TallMan's parents was from Thursday evening to Monday night at their beach house in North Carolina, just north of Myrtle Beach. Thursday was TallMan's Mom's (we'll call her DD) birthday, so we flew in and had a birthday dinner. I think she liked her birthday present of chocolate mice. For dessert we had a "Preston Pie" which is a chocolate cream pie from the golf club they belong to. Its a super rich and thick chocolate pie with a oreo cookie crust. It is apparently TallMan's favorite, and it was pretty tasty, but not something you could eat a lot of.

The weather the first two days was delightful, got off the plane and had to shed layers! Warm, sunny, mid to high 60's. On Friday TallMan and I went for a walk on the beach after breakfast and it was beautiful out. After lunch he took me on a tour of the island on a golf cart (or golf buggy as they call them) and it was a bit colder, no sun and windy. The island isn't very big and its mostly been built in the past 10 years with some condos built 30 years ago or so. I guess one family used to own the whole island, and now its become a crowded place. But it wasn't crowded this weekend, because its off season and it was pretty chilly, so it was nice and quiet.

Friday evening TallMan's sister (we'll call her KW), his brother in law and their son (the Baby) came down for a visit. I guess TallMan had wanted it to just been a meet the parents weekend, but when KW found out we'd be there she told DD that she would be really offended if she wasn't invited, so DD invited her. The brother in law used to be a chef, so he made shrimp and grits for dinner that night and it was super duper yummy. Its also a dish that TallMan raves about, so it was nice to finally have it.

Saturday morning was the last of the nice weather for the weekend, but it was really nice. The whole family went for a walk on the beach (in the opposite direction as TallMan and I had gone the previous day), KW and baby stayed behind after a little ways to play in the sand, and the rest of us walked quite a ways up the beach with the dog. It was so nice, the sun was at our backs and so warm. I even went into the water up to my knees! (They thought I was crazy, fair, on Monday I did have the sniffles.)

On our walk back from the beach the weather started to turn gray and chilly, and just got colder the rest of the weekend, until it got to be so cold on Monday that I was wearing two tshirts, two sweaters and was huddling in front of the gas fire!

Meeting the parents, and the sister and spending the weekend with a baby was pretty darn overwhelming. I know I was a little on edge the whole weekend, trying to make sure I didn't make a mistake or say something stupid. I also know that the brother in law got a lecture on the way down to the beach house about behaving, so I'm pretty sure everyone was a little on edge about their behavior. Its nice that they wanted to make a good impression, I know I did, and I appreciate that they wanted to impress me as well. I take that as a sign that they'd like to like me. However, it did mean that the weekend wasn't very relaxing, for me at least. (I'm pretty sure it was relaxing for the Tall Man, Friday he took a nap on the roof porch (snoring and all) and got a bit of a burn on his face. I wore sunscreen and did not get even a bit of a tan on my face. Hopefully I got some color on my legs though, because without my sunglasses on they were so pale it kinda hurt to look at them, blindingly white as they were.)

That's it for now, I'll fill you in on the house, and the rest of the weekend tomorrow!

Happy Hump Day!

Whew, just getting back to my computer now after the long weekend in NC, and a bit of recovery day yesterday. Today is already jam packed with fun times (dentist and class), so you might have to wait a bit for a full update of how the weekend went.

Brief Summary: everyone was pretty nervous about meeting each other, booze helped calm people down, a bit. The weather wasn't as nice as anyone had hoped or expected, so we were stuck in the house a lot. TallMan's parents (who for the record are not nearly as tall as he is) are super duper nice. Their beach house is amazing, 5 bed rooms and gorgeous. His sister, brother-in-law and son are a darling family, and I cannot wait until the nephew starts talking, though his pre-talking baby babble is pretty cute. I saw pelicans and went up to my knees in the ocean. And ate waaaay too much fried food, and things from squeeze tubes, uck the south.

There will be a more comprehensive update to follow. I promise.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I want these shoooooes!

I love Cole Haan. I have two pairs of pumps from them and I want more. I like them because they're so well made, and classic looking.

I saw these shoes a few weeks ago while out browsing in the ritzy part of town. The only thing that stopped me from buying them right then was the fact that I had just moved and my life was feeling VERY cluttered. Oh and the fact that I have no money, yeah, that little guy.

I have wedges from Cole Haan already, but they're slightly higher, and they have a leather sole so I can't wear them as often. But I love them because they are sooooo easy to walk in, and I have problems walking in heels.
I feel like if I bought these they'd be all I wore, and I'm kind of loving them in red. The patten leather is divine, and the rubber on the sole makes them slightly more wearable than the shoes I already have.

I wish I had a job so I could buy these!

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm still on vacation...

So you get a funny video of elephants playing....
and from my favorite British Lifestyle website (the american version isn't as good, which is true of so many things), the same video set to music

Happy Monday!

Sleepy Kitty of the Week

Have I told you where Parsley and Sage sleep when I'm at home? Parsley sleeps curled in a tight ball no more than three inches from my head next to, or on my pillow, and Sage sleeps in the crook of a leg. I actually like where Parsley sleeps more than where Sage sleeps, because at least Parsley is out of the way, whereas Sage impedes my ability to move around at night, which wakes me up.

Here they are enjoying some afternoon sunlight on a chair in the living room. I like how they're sleeping head to toe, or like a ying yang. You can map the sun's progress by where the cats choose to sleep during the day. Ahhh a nap in the sunshine, is there anything better?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Barnyard Pic of the Week

This is an angora goat. They make Mohair. I once had a mohair sweater, it was purple and very pretty, but also kinda a pain because things got caught on it all the time and it shed a little. But the goat that it comes from is amusing looking. I wonder if it walks into things because its fur is in its eyes, or maybe its horns tell it where things are, like cat's whiskers, so the goat doesn't walk into anything.

I'm not here right now....

H. Armstrong Roberts/Getty Images, from NYtimes
...but leave a message and I'll get back to you after the beep.

After reading this article on the New York Times (I'm reading as much as I can right now, before they make me pay, and thus I stop reading), I got to thinking about telephone etiquette.  (Also, yesterday TallMan didn't answer his phone for a prearranged call and I got rather pissed at him.)
The article was called "Don't Call me, I Won't Call you" and it was on the topic that most people wouldn't consider news. Most people don't make phone calls these days. I guess its news to some people, and its important for the news media to notice these important cultural shifts, but what I liked about the article was knowing that when I get irked at people who don't use email as the primary communication device I'm not alone.
I have an iphone, and it is a wonderful tool for communication. I can talk to people via gchat, text message, email, or the actual phone. But the only people I call to just chat with are my parents. I might call Knowledge, but changes are she is busy, our phone dates are usually pre-arranged, and video chat dates are just as common. I could call TallMan except that his phone is awful, and he is awful at phones, either it isn't charged, or he is in a location with no reception (stupid AT&T), or he is busy and actually can't talk. To call anyone else I would worry that my call would be an intrusion.

If I feel like dropping someone a line, letting them know I'm thinking of them, I'll send an email or a text. Its less demanding of the other person, but still communicative. What is so interesting about the article, and the way we communicate today, is that we don't call because we assume people always have their phones with them and are busy, yet at the same time we email because we assume people have constant access to their email and so our message will reach them quickly.
Perhaps this is why so many people complain of getting too many emails, and feeling like their inbox is overwhelming them. I'd rather have a full inbox though than my phone constantly ringing, at least with emails you can answer them on your own time, and think about what you want to say to someone before saying it. Interesting that in an increasingly fast paced world I like email because it allows me to think before I speak.

How do you use your phone to communicate? Do you get annoyed when people call you AND when they don't answer your emails promptly? I liked the validation the NYtimes article gave me, I'd like you to add to it please :p

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hostess Gift Update

We're leaving for North Carolina today, I'm super excited and neeerrrrrvous! Nervous at meeting parents, staying in a strangers house, being in the south for the first time. Excited that the weather will be better than than here, a whole weekend with TallMan where he won't be working, meeting the parents, and being in the south for the first time.
Also, I hope the nephew likes me. (BABIES! Ok so he is 1.25 years old, not quite a baby... but still.)

I put together the hostess gift yesterday and it came out adorably if I do say so myself.
I had bought two foutas from Basic French because I wasn't totally sure of what color was better, and I wanted one for myself. So I sent this picture of both of them to TallMan and Knowledge and Knowledge said blue because it goes better with the stars, and TallMan said he liked green better. Thus, I chose blue because Knowledge is a genius and if TallMan likes green better shouldn't that be the one I keep, because then he'll see it more often? Yes, that is what I thought as well.

Then I spent Wednesday morning making cheese stars, two batches wasn't quite enough to fill the jar so I made another half batch and the jar is now filled quite charmingly to the top! For scale, that is 10 cups of cheese stars. Which I know is a lot but I also know they keep a while, because it took me over a week to eat the first batch. But I figure they're pretty family friendly finger food that looks cute so they'll probably be eaten, even if its not all of them this weekend. (I know TallMan and I  like them at least.)

Then I wrapped the foutas around the jar (to make a complete packaged gift, and so that the jar doesn't break during transit) and clipped the ends of the foutas together with a binder clip so that it would stay in place while I tied the ribbon around the middle. After the ribbon was secure I removed the binder clip and everything stayed in place.

Ta Da! Cute, beachy, springy hostess gift for the future future in-laws.

Keep your fingers crossed/pray that I don't embarrass myself this weekend!

PS. Sorry about the double post this morning, I clearly scheduled them funny... hopefully this post makes up for it!

What is the catbird seat anyway?

If you've never checked out catbird before, take a moment and check out their website. I've never been to their shop, but TallMan promises that someday soon we'll go to NYC and on that day I will dance my butt over to Catbird's store in Brooklyn.
I'm pretty sure Cup of Jo introduced me to Catbird, in a post on weddings, and I fell in love a little. A lot of their jewelry is too hipster for me. But I have one of their little gold initial rings (~h~), and bought the initial earrings for a friend for Christmas. I love how dainty these rings are.
My little dream is to have them in my initials, and sometimes wear all three together, sometimes just one or two.

Some other favorites from Catbird are below:

(In case you were wondering, wikipedia says that a catbird seat is a idiom for an enviable position, and having the upper hand. Of course, there is also a bird called a cat bird... confusing.)

The Apartment Has Sold...

Hey remember how a month ago I got fed up with my apartment, broke the lease and moved out? I do. (If you don't, go read my past posts.) Well it finally got leased to a new tenant. I just need to get the interest back from the rental company and my relationship with them will be completely finished. YAY!
I've been waiting for this moment, when someone else had already decided to take the apartment, to do a pro con list of the place.

*close to metro
*not living with parents
*under $1000 a month, per roommate
*two bathrooms
*great sunlight in my room (south facing windows)
*good water pressure in the shower
*one bedroom had two full sized closets

*terrible ventilation in bathrooms= serious mold every 6 months on ceiling
*in bathrooms the light also turned on the fan, very loud
*terrible ventilation in the kitchen the above stove fan just took smoke and smells and sucked them up 2 feet then blew them into your eyes
*low ceilings on first floor (TallMan hit his head on light fixtures frequently, and twice on the stairs' ceiling)
*heat didn't work because the only working thermostat was on the second floor, and since heat rises it never knew that it was FREEZING on the first floor
*first floor had tile floors that were cold and very hard, many things shattered on those floors (plates, glasses, mugs, light fixtures, bottles of wine, bottles of jam)
*the second floor had wall to wall carpets, sure we washed them when we moved in, but they were pretty gross, stains, and even before I got cats I was vacuuming cat hair out of the rugs
*there was the time the front door stopped working, and we were locked into the house, we could only get in and out via the windows
*the fridge outlet was painted over and sometimes stopped working
*the fridge was either too warm or too cold, and always froze stuff on the top shelf of the fridge part
*the paint on the front and back doors was peeling off
*that time the water stopped running
*that time there was no hot water in february
*that time water came pouring in the house during a rain storm
*the mice we heard the first few months we lived there
*the pipes were so loud you could hear it when someone two apartments away flushed the toilet, and my roommate taking a shower frequently woke me up due to loudness

That is all I can think of right now for the pro-con list, but I'm sure I'm missing things on both lists. I miss living there a little, but only because I liked not being a nomad. Living with my parents is pretty ok, for instance, last night Dad made corned beef hash at 8pm, it was delicious. If I was hungry at 8pm and living by myself I'd have microwave popcorn. Corned beef hash>microwave popcorn.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Splish Splash! I was takin' a bath...

Growing up I had cats that would sit in between the plastic shower curtain and the cloth one while you showered. I like to think it was to keep me company, but it was probably because I take such hot showers that it was nice and warm right there. Well, Sage discovered that spot today and it got me thinking about shower curtains.
In my last apartment I only had a plastic curtain, but towards the end of my stay there I was itching to paint the walls a very very light purple, and have a purple accented shower curtain. Maybe with a lavender plant on the back of the toilet. Confession: all my shower stuff is lavender, and chances are if I use it on my skin its lavender scented too, then there are the lavender sachets in all my drawers and the lavender sleep spray I use on my pillow. So this lavender bathroom idea is really just an extension of that.
Now, I don't know about you but when I see a room and all the accents are hot pink I shake my head and say "no man lives there" or possibly "so that woman doesn't plan on bringing a man home". I fully respect TallMan's masculinity, and I would never have hot pink accents. But lavender is fresh and clean and so lovely smelling. Besides, a bathroom is not a place for manly decor, gross.
The paint is Behr's "Muted Melody", its just purple enough. In small rooms, which bathrooms usually are, its important not to have dark colors, I think this purple won't be overwhelming in a small room, but will still be purple, not white. Ant this shower curtain is my dream. I will have it in my next apartment. End of story. I've already shown it to the TallMan and he approves. (I like him to agree to things, if he didn't I probably wouldn't go ahead with it unless I really really really liked it, but he approves of the shower curtain, possibly just doesn't care about shower curtains at all, so its a moot point in this case). The shower curtain is from an awesome store I linked to above called Saffron Marigold, and they have bedspreads, tablecloths, shower curtains, curtains, and pillows in beautiful hand printed linens.
Now that you know my future bathroom plans go check out Saffron Marigold!

Dream Vacations

Wednesday morning, early spring, where are you thinking of heading on a dream vacation?
Paris? California Vineyards? Tropical Island? A small town in Europe you can explore for a weekend? Miami for a dance party?
When I like to fantasize about vacations I like to go to Mr. and Mrs Smith, no not the Brangelina movie, though I really like that too, but the luxury hotel website. You can just search properties and drool over them and their amazing views. None of them are cheap, but not for no reason. They offer properties all over the place, so you aren't limited by continent.
What I really like is that they have homes and apartments you can stay in as well. If I'm traveling with my family an apartment is the way I like to go, then you can have breakfast there, and if there is an amazing view you don't feel like you're missing part of your vacation by staying in for an evening drink.
In my dreams I'd love to go to one of the hotels converted from an old castle in Europe, or right on the beach on a tropical island. The pictures are so wonderful on this site that you can almost feel the sunshine, and opulence.
Paris, anyone?
I could spend a week here, Napa Valley California.

I really recommend browsing the Mr &Mrs Smith website, for your next vacation plans, or just your next day dream.
Under the section, "Right Near the Beach", this hotel in Spain.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Meet the Parents, NC style

The TallMan is from North Carolina. Thursday I'm going to North Carolina to meet his parents. Thursday is also his mom's birthday.
I liked Meet the Parents in high school when it came out. Now it is providing a platform for worries. Will I be asked to milk a cat? Will I set something on fire? Will I wear the most awkward bathing suit known to man and give someone a bloody nose? That movie has given me much cause for concern.

Foutas, from Basic French
I have prepared for this trip by working out a little more frequently, since we're going to his parents' beach house, and also because his mom is super fit and I don't want to be fatter than a 50 year old woman. I have bought an awesome hostess gift, a tablecloth/shawl/towel thing (I need to either learn to pronounce the name "foutas" or call it something better), and a jar full of my cheese stars. Since its a beach house I figure the fouta is appropriate with out being clutter, and the cheese stars are adorable and tasty!

I got the fouta from Basic French, and it is gorgeous. I also ordered one for myself. I'm a little paranoid about getting things on time when I order them online, so I asked that they deliver it by a certain day so I'd have it in time. I even mentioned that it was for my future future mother in law so it was extra important that it arrive on time. They sent an adorable note with my order congratulating me on getting to the meet the parents step, and wishing me luck on meeting them. How can you not love a company with that kind of personal touch?!

Now I'm just a little stuck on what to get TallMan's mom for her birthday. Anything? Something? It has to be something I can carry onto a plane, which has the TallMan succinctly put means no exploding wine guns. Knowledge suggested some chocolate penguins from Burdicks, but TallMan took that idea, and is going to get his mom that for her birthday. (Yeah, did I mention that I'm in charge of finding presents for my future future mother in law from me, AND from her own son? Men.) So now I need something else too. Maple syrup was a consideration, except it probably violates that 3oz rule TSA has. Stupid TSA.

Does anyone have any suggestions? It has to be something I can easily bring on a plane, and can pick up in the next two days.

The Next Two Months....

I have two months until I graduate from law school. This boggles my mind a little. A) I don't feel that much older than I did three years ago (heavier and more tired yes, older no), B) I've been at this school three years and its passed so quickly, the next two months are going to go by super duper fast.

In the next two months a lot of things are happening, I'm going to meet my boyfriends parents for the first time, I need to prepare for 5 exams, I have to get a cavity filled, prepare for and celebrate Passover, the TallMan is going to a conference in Seattle, a flurry of reading days, 5 exams in 6 days, and somewhere in there I need to apply for the Bar which is a fairly lengthy process I know nothing about because they haven't posted it on their website yet. Also, it is entirely possible in the next two months I need to find an apartment with TallMan and talk to my parents about the TallMan and my plans for the future. Oh and it would be great if I could find a job during this time as well.

The crazy thing is, these next two months are going to be blissfully calm and relatively light compared to June and July, during which I need to learn all of the laws, how to take a multiple choice test, and how to write an essay for that little test they call the Bar.

Am I ready to graduate? Yes. Am I ready to take my exams? No. But I have plenty of time to study, as long as I pace myself and don't get distracted.
Ooooh look, snow, and a shiny thing over there, and has anyone played on Words with Friends? Damn it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Teen Pregnancy Rant

We got two sundaes because we couldn't agree on what to split.
Last week I promised you a rant about teen pregnancy. This came up because last weekend when I kidnapped my TallMan we needed some food after going to the vineyards, so we went to a diner near-ish to the vineyards, but also near-ish to a historical upper class summer town which during the winter is filled with lower class hicks.
As we were splitting our cheese steak sub and before we got our separate, gigantic sundaes I over heard our waitress talking to a girl at another booth. The waitress and their girl were of a similar age, I'd say somewhere between 16-19, both petite, but softish in places and both decked out in green. The girl at he booth was with her mother, who had no front teeth and was mangy looking at best, and an adorable baby who slept on the toothless mother's shoulder. Had I given them any thought before over hearing the following conversation it would've occurred to me that the toothless mother was the baby's grandmother, but it didn't, so whatever.

Waitress: hey i haven't seen you around mumble mumble mumble in a while.
Girl: Well I have a Baby now so I can't make it as often.
Waitress: Yeah, I have a baby now too, he is six months old.

I immediately assumed that the mumbled section was school or church or work, or even around anywhere. From the other girl's tone when she said "Well I have a Baby now" I took her to be under the misapprehension that being a mother now gives her some kind of amazing status that non-mothers don't have, and that it excuses her from whatever the waitress clearly was insinuating was more important that the baby. For the record, the waitress sounded like she was just being polite and making conversation, and the girl wasn't even holding her own baby, so it doesn't seem like she was a really hands on parent.
Also, did I mention that she looked like a baby herself!

Now I've seen my share of lifetime movies about teenage pregnancy, and I'm sure accidents happen because of misinformation or lack of information about birth control. What I do not understand is how any teenager could possibly think that teen pregnancy is glamorous or fun, or bequeathing of social status. To me the girl seemed to be shirking on duties that would make her life better for her and her baby (job, school, church can all do those things) and our waitress was working her butt off (she had more than 10 crowded tables) on a weekend, and the town was having a big parade that day that clearly the other girl had just come from. It seemed like the waitress was being very responsible for her and her baby and the other girl was being irresponsible.

I want babies, I hear my ovaries ticking, I want to play with tiny baby feet and marvel in their discovering life. But I'm not ready for that now, I won't be ready for that next year, I certainly wasn't ready for it in high school!

But more importantly I don't understand where the idea comes from that having teenage pregnancy is cool, and that being a teen mom is awesome. It can't come from the MTV show Teen Mom watching that show makes me never want to have a baby ever, let alone as a teenager, it makes birth look disgusting, their bodies are ruined, and their relationships make no sense, with friends, parents or baby-daddys. It might come from the Secret Life of the American Teenager, because it glamorizes teenage pregnancy by making the girl seem desirable and able to still go to school and take care of he baby etc. I don't think the pervasiveness of sex in the media helps either. From Miley Cyrus pole dancing at her concerts to Glee's recent show about sex (which I thought was a little much, and I like Glee, sex, and teens being educated about sex) sex is everywhere, glamorized and marketed to teenagers because they are easy to market to and can control their parents spending. Which is a whole other problem about spoiled children, a rant I'm not really ready to give right now.

I feel like I've gotten off track... and that this is a very long post.
Point: Teen Pregnancy=bad. I don't know how anyone could think otherwise.
Also, on a $20 meal I tipped our waitress $10, because I felt like she has a head on her shoulders and despite having made some bad choices (condoms good, sex before you're ready bad) she was working on a better life for her and her kid, and lets face it I felt really bad for a teen mom working on a Saturday.

Sleepy Kitty of the Week

This is picture of Parsley from the old apartment, lounging on a sunny bed. I guess she is pretty cute, mostly she is limbs.
Also, this is her, dead to the world passed out, not just flopping around. I know because right after this picture I started playing with her floppy big feet and she barely woke up.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chag Sameach!

Hamantaschen from Smitten Kitchen
Happy Purim everyone!

Because passover is so late this year, Purim is pretty late too. (Oh lunar calender.) The past few years its been in early February! Usually I make Hamantaschen, which always come out looking like disgusting misshapen lumps with brown goo in the middle (I make mine with a poppy seed filling) nothing near as nice as the ones pictured from Smitten Kitchen, I'll have to try her recipe. But this year I was so busy for St.Patrick's day that I didn't have time to make hamantaschen. *tear*
Side note: google thinks that the correct spelling of hamantaschen is "Schenectady". Also that Barack should be Bareback... hot.

Any-who. Purim is a festival day in the Jewish year where we're glad that Esther stood up to her non-jew king husband and prevented the killing of thousands of jews. Basic version of the story is that Esther wins a beauty pageant given by the king, she doesn't tell him she is jewish. Next, her uncle, Mordecai, exposes a plot to kill the king and is rewarded by being made prime minister. Haman is jealous and orders him killed, the king doesn't know about how Mordecai uncovered that plot so he is ok with killing him, and all the jews in the kingdom. Eventually the king finds out about Mordecai's good deeds, and the king asks Haman how he should reward a man who is so good, Haman thinks he is talking about him, so he says all sorts of lavish things, and the king tells him to give those to Mordecai. Esther then reveals that she is jewish and that if all the jews are killed she will be killed too, so Haman is hung, and the jews are allowed to fight back because the king can't take back the original decree.

Moral of the story: the king is kinda flaky, Esther is the hero for saving all the Jews, anti-semites get mad at one guy and want to kill all Jews, and Haman is an asshole.

Purim is usually celebrated with a pageant reenacting this story, obviously in greater detail, drinking, singing and eating, and with costume parties, because this is the time the Jews got saved and didn't get exterminated or run out of a country. Yay!
You can celebrate today by making Hamantaschen, reading the story of Esther (its in the Bible!), or telling a friend about an awesome holiday where people dress up in costumes, drink, eat cookies, and yell when the name Haman is mentioned.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Barnyard Pic of the Week!

I did a google search for milk goats, because they're the kind I want... obviously since I like animals with a purpose. And I got this picture from an article about a goat farm in Central Mass where they use goat milk to make pharmacudicals for humans.

I'm not really sure that the kid in the back gets what is going on. Though maybe he is helping by preventing the goat from kicking the milk bucket over, or the goat kicking his sister in the face. Not sure how I feel about milking a goat that is above me on a platform, feel like its asking to get kicked in the face.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patricks Day Arts and Crafts Project

Remember how I said that on Wednesday Allison and I would be having an arts and crafts afternoon and would be making these? WELL WE DID!
 I didn't print out the "elixir of life" things that Design Sponge had, mostly because I didn't have access to a color printer.
I used Jameson and Bushmills whiskeys because they're Irish, and stickers because I got excited when I saw them.

 The most difficult part of this process was to get the labels off. We tried soaking the labels with goo be gone, but that barely worked, so we tried scraping them off. That worked, but was very time consuming and with my xacto knife I had to be very careful not to cut myself in the fingers or chest.

Allison got a bit frustrated, so I suggested she try the Bushmills bottles to see if they were easier. They were. Perhaps it was the fact that they are square with flat sides and the Jameson bottles are round, but the labels on the Bushmills bottles just came right off and the adhesive came off with some goo be gone.

After all the bottles were cleaned, we washed them with soap and drank some tea.  :)
 Then came the decorating. I tried to make little hearts and trace them on the gold paper. They came out looking fairly stupid, and not at all looking like shamrocks. :(
 Then I tried tracing the green stickers, this looked decent, but didn't look nearly as good as the individual hearts Allison cut out from tracing a heart template and putting together in a shamrock form.

You can see here just how those turned out and the differences between them all.
 Eventually we got a streamlined way of making the heart shamrocks. I traced the gold hearts, and cut them out. Allison glued them in the shapes on the bottles, and cut out the tails (stems).

 I decided to put the gold shamrocks on the green bottles and green shamrocks on the gold bottles, that made the shamrocks pop just a little bit more. We used stickers on three sides of the gold Bushmills bottles and one of Allison's gorgeous heart shamrocks on the fourth side.

As you can see it was a bit of a mess, and we ended up going over the bottles with some goo be gone to get up the excess modge podge.

Ta Da! This is the finished product with the corks in the bottles, and little heart tags tied to the outside.

I think they're pretty cute. A little pointless, true, but I had a lot of fun making them with Allison. I'm thinking of putting them in a little basket as a decoration when I have some people over on Saturday for a St. Patrick's Day dinner.

If you think these are tacky or in bad taste I promise my mom will agree with you.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!!!!

I hope you are wearing GREEN, else you'll get a St. Patty's Day pinch!

As you know I went to Ireland last summer, and we heard some amazing music while we were there, here is a song that always gets me in the St. Patrick's day mood, and some pictures of the beautiful emerald isle.
    or for a less Irish/American/tourist song, ie something slightly more traditional
  This one is from a music festival in Milltown Malbay that takes place every year, in the morning there are classes and in the afternoon people go to bars in the town and play together. So awesome.

Just a selection of pretty pictures, of green green Ireland. This is not a joke. Its very very green there, if you get a chance, go there.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! If you aren't Irish, today is the day to pretend!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

British Jewelers: Astley Clark

The other day, while reading a website dedicated to British celebrity gossip, I happened upon some cute British jewelry sites and I thought I'd share one of them with you.

 I must be honest, I am a bit of an anglophile. I love England, Britain and the UK is cool too but I think they probably shouldn't have hung on to Northern Ireland. (A nation once again!) (Though while finding that link I found a bunch of Nazi propaganda, which is weird, also I hate Nazis. Hate. I've gotten really off topic though...)

Here we go, back on topic: Astley Clarke!
Here are a few of the GORGEOUS pieces I found.
Squirrel: I might buy this for my mom if it was something she'd wear and wasn't $1000, because we call her a squirrel because of her tendency to bury acorns all over the place. (This is a metaphor for an actual habit of hers.)

Earrings:  Adorable. That is all.

Cherry Necklace: I think this is sweet and pretty, and with a 16inch chain it would nestle sweetly against my skin.

Bracelet: Its pretty and red and gold, it makes me smile.

These are things I'd be more likely to wear:
Purple Ring: If I was to buy myself a bling-y right hand ring, it would be something like this. I like smaller rings, so for me this would feel big.

Heart Earrings: I love these! I want these!

Love Ring: So sweet, so small, I can think of this as a great gift from a significant other, or a gift to yourself.

SPARKLES: Fish and women are attracted to shiny things. I wouldn't want this for my engagement ring, but I think its stunning.

The problem with these items that the cheapest is still over 100£. But they do deliver to the US...

Book Review: The Devil in the White City

OMG, this book is fantastic! When I started reading it my impression was that it was a "boys book" you know, murder, building things, mud, but I really really enjoyed this book. The Devil in the White City is a story about the Chicago's World Fair. It is non-fiction, but the author is clearly a genius at research because he has found so many letters/diaries from people of the day that there are quotes and conversations and recollections of what people wore on a certain day and the description of the weather on that day. And not just on the important days of the fair, but on random days that lead up to it. This level of detail makes the book seem less like a non-fiction book, and more like a story, but what it really does is makes you feel really connected with events and people from over a century ago.
The book tells the story of the head architect of the World Fair and a serial killer living a few blocks away from the Fair. It tells the story of how Chicago bid to get the fair, and how it was put together,  the remarkable people that worked on it, and the wonders that it created that have had a lasting impact on America. But it also tells of the horrors of the fair, the economic collapses of the time, the deaths during construction and the gruesome killings that were happening a few blocks away that no one noticed until many years later. The story of the serial killer is creepy in the most perfect way, I can't explain it, but the book is being made into a movie and apparently Leonardo DiCaprio is going to be playing Holmes the killer. I think this casting choice will be perfect as long as DiCaprio plays it as a creepy/villainous version of his Catch Me If You Can Character.

I recommend this book so highly, to men, women, people who don't normally enjoy non-fiction, and to people who like history, murder, intrigue and want to know more about the Ferris Wheel.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Duffel/Duffle Bag

Since the move I've been splitting my time between the TallMan's apartment in the City and my parents house in Suburbia. I'd say the split is 60/40, but some weeks its 40/60 depending on schedules. The factors that go into determining where I spend my nights are whether I have a car (ie if Dad is away on business), whether TallMan has to work ridiculously late (sometimes he works until 3am, and I can't go to his apartment and just wait for him, because he has roommates who wouldn't appreciate that), and whether the cats miss me.
This last one is actually something I consider more than you would think. They're cats right? They've got my parents, they don't miss you. You would be wrong. At least for Parsley. (Though as I write that, Sage just got up and moved across the room to lie on my legs, so maybe Sage misses me too.) But Parsley is actually a little worrying. TallMan has always said that Parsley has kitty down syndrome, and he might not be incorrect. Parsley is very tolerant, she'll let you pick her up, but she warms up to people really slowly. She is afraid of both my parents, and as far as I can tell she only eats her food when I'm in the room. Now I know this isn't true because after being gone a few days I found her vomit in places around the house, so clearly she's been eating. But she is a bit thin. Last night I woke up at 2am, excessively warm, why? Because Parsley was sleeping on my arm with her head tucked under my chin. Parsley wants to be as close to my face as possible, always. This has been true since I got her. It is very cute, but also seriously annoying, because sometimes I like to breathe.

Anyway, I try to be home often enough so the cats, mostly Parsley doesn't miss me too too much. But this back and forth means that I've become a bit of a bag lady. There is school stuff (laptop), gym stuff (sneakers, flip flops for the shower, clothes, lock, etc), clothing (I keep some at TallMans, but I don't want to run out so I always bring a couple outfits over), and sometimes food (TallMan's roommate can be weird about letting other people use the kitchen or the refrigerator so sometimes I bring snacks). But this usually means that I'm carrying a purse, a lunch box, a backpack and a.... wait for it.... reusable shopping bag.

Ahhh yes this is where the post title starts to make sense! I have a duffel bag for traveling, and I could use that, but what I'd really like is a gym bag, something I can wash, something that isn't huge, but closes, unlike the reusable shopping bag. If I could get down to two bags, a backpack/purse and a gym bag, I would feel a lot less crazy.

Ideally I would get this bag, it looks like the most sturdy thing known to man, and you can get it in a bunch of colors. I'd get it in gray with navy straps in the 15.5".
Isn't that a classy looking duffel? So Handsome. Its made in the USA and has been for a sixty years, by Wm. J. Mills & Co. Unfortunately that bag is $130. Which is a little much for a gym bag for a girl who has $0 income.

So I'll probably get this bag, in gray. It is only $44. Which I thought was expensive the other day when I saw it in a store, but I feel better about it after seeing the $130 alternative. I like that they're both washable, and I love that this one has a small zippered pocket on the front of it. Perfect for keys, wallet, cellphone, lock and shampoo.
It is slightly bigger, and I'd get it in gray. Also, its not canvas it is denim, but while that makes it not waterproof like the other one, it is still washable, which is KEY. Its from American Apparel so you can just get it in a store nearby, and its also made in the USA.

I did the green route too, and checked on Etsy (which had some hilarious hipster options in vintage, and terribly ugly options in homemade, but none with the simplicity I desired), and then Ebay and boy was I glad I did. I found some AMAZING options, new and used.

First the new options:

This bag is from It Style Bag, and they have a lot of cute canvas bags selling on Ebay. Sure they're a little manly. But sometimes manly is more practical, more preppy, and more classically designed. Seriously, this bag might be perfect. Also, its only $39, including shipping.

This bag is from the same company, and is slightly more duffel-y looking. Its shorter and longer with a couple outside pockets and is $40, including shipping. I think this one is slightly less handsome, but maybe more practical because of the outside pockets.

The used option is:
A white victorias secret duffel, 17', for $40, including shipping. It is promising. But since it is more expensive than the cuter one above, I'm not sure why I'd get it.

On Ebay you can buy duffel bags from WWII, the Israeli army, the Australian Army, and a number of other places, which is remarkable and not at all what I'm looking for.
There were a LOT of bags on Ebay that were awesome, but were larger or smaller than I wanted. (One had a printed image of a deer on it, it was majestic and suggested that maybe I like to kill deer on weekends, I was sad it was too big.)
So I guess I haven't made up my mind yet, but in your searches for new-to-you items, my suggestion would be to check Ebay, you might find something new and cute, or something reused/recycled and perfect for you.

St. Patricks Day (Preview)

Every year for St.Patricks Day, my family/I have a party.

This year, I'm dying to make these cuties I saw on Design Sponge. Allison from Halcyon Style and I are having a craft day on Wednesday (woot Spring Break!) and I'll be attempting to make them then. Get excited for photos. Especially since I'm not that good at following directions, or crafting, or art.... :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

I think this story has a happy ending...

This weekend I kidnapped the TallMan and took him on a little day trip. The TallMan works nearly every day, and he was able to not work Saturday so I was really looking forward to taking him out of the city. We were almost not able to go because the car we were going to take died as my Dad was driving it to the airport before a business trip. There was much frustration, some tears, and a few swear words, but by the end of the day Friday it was all resolved, the car was fixed, I had it in my possession, and the TallMan and I were good to go on our adventure!

Saturday we grabbed some snacks from Whole Foods, goat cheese, a baguett, and some grapes and headed south to a few local vineyards. The vineyards in this part of the world are not very good, but every so often they can have a stellar wine. I particularly like the "champagne" from one of them. I think its better than Moet and Chandon, but not better than Veuve Clicquot. My plan was to take the TallMan to a few vineyards, maybe pet some barnyard animals, see the ocean, and be back to watch TV and do laundry in the evening (is this my idea of the perfect day? no, but its close!).

We started at the vineyard where they sell my favorite champagne, and where they used to have cows. It has a very small tasting area, but they walked us through five wines for $7, and you get to keep the glasses, and we had a lovely time. The TallMan doesn't even like white wines very much, and he liked one he tried so much he bought one! Remarkable. I asked about the cows as we were leaving, because I couldn't see them out the window, and the girl (girl? woman? she was married, probably about my age, whatever) doing the tasting said that they were gone, and made a sad face. I asked if they had been eaten, and she said yes the family had eaten them. I asked if they were any good, she said that they were pretty tasty but it had been weird to eat someone that you'd seen all the time, like a friend.

So we didn't get to pet the cows, because they had been eaten. Am I odd for thinking this is a happy ending? I'm glad the cows had a purpose, other than being there to be petted. I'm sure they ate the clearings from some fields, made a lot of manure, and then fed many people. In my book that is better than keeping an animal who is meant to be eaten, and never eating it.
Humans have spent centuries domesticating animals to do productive things. It would be weird to own goats and not make cheese or eat the goats after a few years. Just like it is not good to own a border collie and not give it anything to herd. Would you own a chicken and not eat its eggs? Would you own a cat and not let it chase mice?

This post has ended in a very different place from where it began. We had a good time this weekend, but two things about our trip made me think: people's reluctance to use animals for their purpose, and teenage pregnancy. (More on the latter in a later post).

Books I want to read

There is no reason why I should share this with you, except that I tried to save it on my library account online and it disappeared and now I'm annoyed. This is me blogging about how I'm annoyed. Blah blah blah.

Here are the books:

Goat Song: A seasonal life, a short history of herding, and the art of making cheese by Brad Kessler
If you have to ask why I'm interested in reading this book you clearly haven't been reading my blog. =p
Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter's Memoir by Fatima Bhutto
I've heard really good things about this book, I don't remember what I heard or where, but I remember they were very good.

Distant Hours by Kate Morton
I've read Kate Morton's other books, "A House at Riverton" and "A Forgotten Garden" and I found them dense, well told stories, with unexpected endings, intrigue, love and most importantly Britain society in the early 20th century. I expect I'll like her third novel just as much.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
I want to watch the movie, but I like books. No further reason.

Also, all of the Kate Martinelli books by Laurie King. Because I loved her Mary Russel novels, with a fierce passion, I think I read all 10 of them in under a month. You know how sometimes you don't want the story to end? It was like that with the Mary Russel novels, good thing a new one is coming out in September of this year, woot!

Ok, well now that I've saved the books I want to read somewhere accessible, stupid library internet, I'll leave you all now and I will go do some laundry.

Sleepy Kitty of the Week

"Hello, my name is Sage. I like to sleep on your lap, but if its not there, I'll just take the chair." 
Insomniacs should get cats, these animals can really teach you a think or two about taking a nap.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Barnyard Pic of the Week!

Saint Patrick's Day is coming up which is a huge deal in my family. We eat corned beef and cabbage and sing Irish songs and get fairly silly. Last summer we went to Ireland, here is a picture of cows from the beautiful green fields of Ireland as our Barnyard Pic of the week!

Hope you have a restful and beautiful weekend!