Monday, June 30, 2008

Mid-Atlantic Homecoming

I got off the plan around 1:30 AM last night in Baltimore, and the humidity embraced me like an old friend. A moist, suffocating old friend. I peeled my thighs off the car seat around 3:00 AM, took down what was left of my ponytail from the mass of frizz, and climbed in to bed, feeling like I had just taken a dirty shower.

Oh, how I miss the east coast!

There was strawberry pie waiting for me for breakfast, and oodles of fresh cherries. Corn is already in season, and the fireflies are swarming. Well, swarming amongst the Japanese beetles that are currently devouring my Grandmother’s rose bush. Ah, nature. It’s so satisfying to squish some of it.

I’m supposed to be working, but who can work when there is cold wine to be drunk, and sun rooms to sit in? Not I, that is for sure. Although my boss doesn’t seem to get it, and keeps sending me pesky tasks. Like forecasting for the entire sales team for next year. Apparently “Er, let’s try to break a million, eh folks?” was not precise enough for him.

So demanding.

The grown-ups (see how I revert to my seven-year-old self when I come back? The grown-ups!) are playing bridge, and I am fantasizing about Jane Eyre in between pie and sweet tea breaks, having re-started the novel on the flight out. I forgot how much I desperately want to adopt her. Poor little 19th-century orphaned English girl! She’s so heartbreaking, in a delicious kind of way.

It’s good to be home. I just need a Funasaurus. Although spooning in one of the creaky old twin beds at my grandmother’s house isn’t exactly the romantic ideal. But if you drink enough brandy, you don’t really notice.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Royal Validation

It’s Dress Thursday! I wore a dress. A new one. I got it at Rue 21. You know, the store for skanky 15-year-olds? But it was only $19 and perfect for summertime! I recently made a resolve that I would only buy fair-trade, organically-made clothing. Apparently my resolves go out the window for $19 worth of red cotton/polyester blends on a hot day.

I’m thinking The Funasaurus did not marry me for my convictions so much as for my awesome CD collection.

In other news, I am still actively seeking friends on Flickr. Or at least someone who’s willing to explain to me how to navigate the site. What is the goal? How do you find the cool pictures without going back to 2006? Do you also stress about the fact that the “Cats R Cool” group will not accept you into being one of their 3,496 members when you don’t hear from them right away?

I’m off to humiliate myself at my first yoga class in months. Wish me luck. I plan on drinking wine, afterwards.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wannabe Photo Geek

Is anyone out there on Flickr? I just joined. But I don’t know how to go about making friends. I should. I’m on, like, a million and a half social networking sites. But the beginning is always intimidating, no?

Also, it’d help if I felt a little more confident about my photos. There are some really talented people on that site.

But it’s fun, too. I got all inspired by Alyndabear and stole her meme, and I encourage you to do the same. Here are the rules:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

And here are my results:


Any surprises?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This Would be a Good Afternoon for Tea

I am pleased to announce that not only did I NOT kill the rose bush, but it seems to be happy. (Either that, or it’s putting on quite the dramatic death, but I am pretty sure it’s happy.)



Nine! Nine roses! When I planted it on Friday, there were two! Oh hooray for undead flowers! … Do you like it how I’ve turned them into vampire flora?

So anyway. That’s about the highlight of my weekend. I continued to discover I am so not meant for a) heavy lifting b) wielding power tools, at a construction site on Saturday. Don’t ask. I was trying to do a good thing, although I think my biggest contribution to the day was the sharing of my Combos with the other workers at lunchtime.

I am involved in a vague-ish deception, which I’m not really happy about, because I’m not good at lying. Or avoiding the truth when the truth involves marriage and pretty flowers and rings and formalwear. I love talking about marriage and pretty flowers and rings and formalwear.

Have I said too much?

So there’s going to be an elopement, but at least I am invited to the elopement and get to wear a fabulous dress (provided I do crunches every day from now until the elopement) so it’s not all bad. I am just trying to figure out how not to talk about it. Maybe I will post some pictures of my dress at the Not-A-Wedding. We’ll call it the NAW. Remind me.

And there are a lot of birthdays this month. Happy birthday to you, if yours is/was this month, I am worried I forgot someone. Certainly a non-personalized generic shout-out on my regularly updated blog will suffice?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tudor Rose

Well, I did it, I got us a rose bush. And I pulled out a dead bush, and I planted the rose bush, which I shall name the Tudor Bush in honor of my favorite author… and I wish it didn’t sound quite so dirty, but oh well.

Speaking of dirt. This next sentence shall perhaps clue the discerning eye into the fact that I am something of a gardening virgin. It turns out: gardening makes you dirty.


I was not quite expecting this amount of filth. Gardening was hard on my muscle-free arms and prickly on my newly buffed and manicured feet. I endured a lot of tickling to get those calluses off. Now I am kinda realizing people grow them for a reason. They serve a biological purpose. They help keep every FRICKING STICK AND PEBBLE FROM FEELING LIKE SHARDS OF GLASS. Prickly glass.

I was wrestling with the bush I was trying to get rid of when my neighbor wandered over, Avon catalog in hand. In flip-flops. I in my gardening gloves (they are purple! So cute! Shame to get them dirty…) and SPF 50 were wrestling a plant of less than a foot high. That sucker had IRON roots, I tell you. (Or, wait, that also might have been the pipe I hit with my LARGE SHOVEL. Hee. Oopsie. Hopefully The Funasaurus won’t read that part. I buried it, no one will notice, right?) So anyway, here I am in a sundress, flashing the entire neighborhood as I treat the sad little dead bush like a rabid alligator, and my neighbor is all, “Er, do you want a hand with that?”

I said “No” in the most yes-please-y way possible.

So she took hold of the bush, and yanked it out with her manicured fingers while I and my LARGE SHOVEL and gardening gloves stood by and watched.

Apparently she is not a gardening virgin.

So then I planted the new rose bush, and used my very burly set of pink floral gardening equipment to do it.


Can you see? Here’s a close-up:


See the bit of dirt? I used it!

I also forgot roses have thorns so I got scratched everywhere possible, including my BUM. But that was not so much due to the rose bush as the sad little dead bush behind me that I forgot about when I sat back to admire my handiwork. Ow.

Last night we went to a charity event. I am much more suited to charity events. Pretty dresses? Yes, please! Copious amounts of wine and valet parking and gourmet cupcakes? Oh, I was in heaven! Charity suits me. Gardening... was a bit of a stretch.

But now I have this in my yard.


And this.


Mrs. Tudor, this bit of princess-y deviance was for you.

Pumpkin Moonshine was a Friend of Mine

I just found out one of my literary heroines died on Wednesday. Tasha Tudor, in case you were living in a cave that predates 1830, was a children’s book author and illustrator. She lived this fantastical life, spinning her own yard and wearing (homemade) clothes straight out of the early 1800s, creating magical gardens, and drawing beautiful, delicate illustrations as a means of supporting herself on her farm in Vermont.

I wanted to BE Tasha Tudor. Or, at the very least, one of the characters in her books. A Tale for Easter was, and still is, one of my all-time favorite books. I wanted to use the adjective “magical” again, because it’s so applicable, but I couldn’t figure out a way to do that without sounding repetitive.

I feel like Tasha Tudor would have approved of Dress Thursdays. I did wear a sundress yesterday. In fact, that was the first sentence in my blog entry, yesterday. But since I couldn’t come up with any further sentences, I didn’t bother posting it. But I hope the spirit of Dress Thursdays was with you all the same.

I busted out my worn copy of The Private World of Tasha Tudor this morning, in kind of a still-in-my-pajamas homage, and fell in love with her gardens all over again. I would like to celebrate midsummer’s and sit on a porch in a rocking chair, enjoying the late spring evenings! I would like to go back to the east coast, where the mountains are not as high but the land is twice as green.

And I wonder why I just can’t compel myself to process another spreadsheet this morning. I think I may go buy a rose bush, instead.

“Life is too short not to be enjoyed thoroughly.” –Tasha Tudor

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Holy Cow. I Just Read This Post. I AM a Hippie.

Yesterday was a good day. I got to see a friend’s new baby (who has more hair than I did when I was FOUR) and last night I went to the Indigo Girls concert at the botanic gardens. The botanic gardens are an ideal venue, because you can bring wine. Also, a picnic. But mostly I was excited for the wine. And being able to head-bob without judgment because, HEY, we are all freedom-loving hippies and also Very White and so rhythm is not a prerequisite.

In other news we’ve switched up the cat food at our house. (Ooooh, our life! It’s so exciting! Nacht.) Because Innova is one of the best, according to numerous surveys. Of course, it’s different and Sugar has made Change her personal enemy, so she’s currently practicing anorexia. Tatum, on the other hand, is practicing his goat-ish tendencies, and loves him some Innova. He is about twice as heavy as he was last week, which seems like an awfully short amount of time to double one’s body mass. I’ve stopped calling him plump, because, well, he actually IS kind of plump, now. The joke’s less funny. But there’s more of him to poke, so, you know. All’s not lost.

I also went on a hike and made the poor Beanie Baby I got from Vagabond Beanies go rock climbing. Because what is more Colorado than throwing yourself against a reddish-colored rock and attempting to climb its face, despite the fact that there’s a perfectly good trail that goes up the side?


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Why My Dad is Awesome, For Father’s Day.

Alternate Title: Why Having a Little Girl Should Send You Running in Fear

This is for my dad, who actually doesn’t know this site exists. Hi, Dad!

You were the one who taught me to love Chablis. At age four.

You were the one who taught me that Kanga, having a son named Roo, was actually a pun. Clever! I remember parroting your words on a box at recess, to an audience of ignorant pre-schoolers. I felt so wise.

You were the one who taught me that half of a half was a quarter, thus breaking up the tedious drive to Grandma’s into fractions. SO INTERESTING! (OMG, you tried so hard to breed a math geek, you really did.) Speaking of, I remember you waking up at 4:00 AM to help me with pre-calc in high school. In a moment of hateful, rebellious teenage angst, I had decided early morning was a better time to study than late night. I am still not sure why you didn’t hit me upside the head and tell me to go back to sleep.

You taught me to saw wood and hammer it together with rusty nails when I wanted a swing for my doll. Fischer Price can suck it. Building your own swing (with an arm on a hinge!) while dodging tetanus was so much more satisfying.

I remember you singing railroad songs to me on a stool in the workshop. I thought your voice was magical and beautiful, and your guitar playing was lovely. I believe this goes back to my point about my inheriting your complete lack of rhythm and harmony and anything musical-appreciation-y. I am surprised we did not shatter windows.

You were the one who taught me not to let “truth” get in the way of a good story. On the other hand, lying is WRONG.

I remember being angry that you wouldn’t run for president. You were the smartest person I had ever encountered. Even at an early age, I remember thinking, “Wow, my dad is so much smarter than other adults.” It probably helped that we grew up in the boonies where teeth and education were optional.

I remember watching thunderstorms with you late at night, wrapped up in a blanket in the living room. The view was spectacular from the large picture windows across the fields, but we weren’t usually allowed in the living room. It was a room for grown-ups. It felt slightly forbidden. That, plus the warm blanket, plus your strong arms, plus the cracking lightning outside made it just about the most delicious feeling in the world.

I remember seeing you cry when the cat died. My heart was breaking for the Muffin, but it broke for you, too.

I inherited my love of foreign languages from you. Mostly French. I think it might be because you used to tell my mom where the Christmas presents were hidden in French.

You fed me beer for constipation and ice cream for a broken heart. Two life lessons I still use.

I learned to waltz on your feet on the heinous orange shag carpet in our front hall. Again, we had no rhythm, but we certainly didn’t let that get in the way of our good time.

You used to let me and my friends style your hair with my cheap crimping iron and plastic bows. Why? Dad, sometimes, it’s o.k. to draw a line. I burned those pictures just in case you ever do decide to run for president. You’re welcome.

And I remember the late nineties. Mom was going through menopause. My brother was being as rebellious as his computer geek soul would allow, and I was in the process of throwing another hysterical hissy fit about lord-only-knows-what-contrived-teenaged-crisis I had invented that day. You were the twinkly blue calm eyes in our family storm. I remember summoning up the words, between drawn-out sobs to ask you, “Why do you put up with us?” I think I would have walked out on us, if I were you.

I remember your answer so vividly. You smiled a genuine smile, blue eyes twinkling even more, and simply replied, “Cathy*, I don’t put up with you, I love you.”

That was probably the most powerful sentence I have ever heard. Only ever trumped by one Funasaurus when he said, “Will you marry me?”

I remember your fondness for the Washington Redskins and The Sound of Music.

It’s o.k., no one’s perfect.

And I know I’m your daughter because we both love to ski and hike. And still like wood paneling, even though it’s out of style. And we both like to eat anchovies. And despise barley. (Unless it’s fermented.) I’m also your daughter because I like to drive little sporty cars a little too fast.

I wish I could get you a sporty little car for Father’s Day. Instead I got you a book, because you’re also an avid reader. I only wish I could remember as much as you do from what I read.

I hope you have a good Father’s Day all the same. We’ll certainly have wine, another family favorite. Cheers.

*Childhood name used for keepin' it real in sappy story, not for giving permission to anyone to go back to calling me that.

Friday, June 13, 2008

This Little Piggy Was a Princess

So, I know I am a little late, and this picture has been all over the internet, already.

But: MEEP!


Wee little galoshes! On wittle piglet feet! There could never be enough pictures. Story.

Sugar move over, I have a new mascot.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Blame It on the Lack of Wine

Blegh, I know I checked out there. But the universe is back to hatin’.

This week I have a) lost my internet connection b) sworn Comcast as my mortal enemy (side note: If you are a COMPETITOR OF COMCAST, please bring your business here to my neighborhood, I will give you all my money, immediately. I do not think I am alone.) c) had my brand new, shiny, wide-screen monitor decide it didn’t want to display pictures anymore. Kaput. Finis. Back to balancing my laptop on, well, my lap. d) had a dead excel spreadsheet come back to life and attack me like a fucking starving werewolf.

Despite the antibiotics, I am opening up the alcohol tonight.

Diane said it’s o.k., I blame her.

In less cranky news, I got a Beanie Baby from Vagabond Beanies, and while, yes, I get that Beanie Babies were sooooo 1999, I actually think the project is very cute, and am taking my photography powers veeeery seriously. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Rudolph Subsists Off of Sprite

Here’s the thing about antibiotics. They’re kind of the nemesis of fun. You can’t go out in the sun. You can’t drink. And you have to eat when you’re not hungry. So I spent the weekend hiding in shadows, trying not to drink alcohol as my friends had a gorgeous, outdoor wedding.

Let’s just say I did some retail therapy and found myself a cute, new dress to compensate for the fact that a FUCKING BUG bit me two weeks ago, and if that’s not disgusting enough, I could not sit outside nor partake of the FREE WINE because my doctor is a sadist and felt that I should take anti-fun pills for the next eon.

Not only that, but there was a rehearsal dinner (more free wine!) an open house the day after (MORE WINE) and then another friend’s poolside engagement party which again CONSISTED OF LOTS OF SUN AND EVEN MORE FREE WINE.

Do you see a pattern, here? A pattern of the universe mocking me?

The upside is that my pictures came out less blurry than usual. Of course, I got a sunburn on my nose, but oh well. I’m thinking I could try to make the “Rudolph” look work for the summer. At least it balances out my neon nails.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Day-Glo Temptation

We are going to a wedding this weekend, so I went and treated myself to a pedicure, so as not to offend the bride with my heinous toes. I don’t love toes in general, but they are made slightly better when painted pink. There’s a new “nail spa” that opened up right around the corner from where I live. I loved the very idea of it, a local business that does its best to be organic and non-chemically (which is quite a trick, when it comes to dealing with nail polish), it’s owned by a savvy lesbian couple, it’s reasonably priced, and when you walk in, it's darling enough to be featured on Desire to Inspire. Everything about it set my little liberal, aesthetically-inclined heart a-flutter.

Sadly, I have given myself better pedicures. While drunk. It’s a mess. Also, hideous. But that’s more my fault for choosing NEON PINK, circa Barbie 1986. I look like I’m announcing toxic waste on all my extremities. My thumbs do make handy day-glo sticks, though. In any case, I am prepared to give them another chance, to go back and pick a better color and maybe a nail technician with some experience beyond finger painting.

Sorry, K, to be such an eyesore at your wedding. Let me know if you’d like me to put my fingers on the floor just before you come down to light the aisle!

* * * * *

In other news, we have friends from all over coming in to town today, and I really have no interest in working. Especially when there’s laundry, vacuuming, and magazine reading to be doing. (Magazine reading IS considered cleaning, by the way. I am kind of compulsive about reading magazines that come in to our house. Even if they’re horribly outdated and I’m completely uninterested, I cannot bring myself to recycle/throw them out until I’ve at least glanced at each page. This has lead to quite a collection of old magazines under our coffee table.)

I’m also tempted to break out vino as soon as said guests appear… but I can’t do that, right? I’m technically at work and that’s kind of frowned upon, right?



Wednesday, June 04, 2008

New World

Welcome Puppy

I can't wait to meet you, E.B.W.

And in the meantime, I give you a quote by a great writer who happens to share your initials, (and my fondness for commas) which, I feel, is very good advice for starting out a new life.

"We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry." --E. B. White

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Caught Up in My World

I started Travels with Charley last night. (Book group’s less than a week away… can’t rush in to these things.) I’m pretty sure I was the one who originally suggested this book, because I had already read it and it fit perfectly, in a lot of ways. Our book group decided to do classics for the first year, so Steinbeck was an easy choice, except for the fact that I hate everything Steinbeck wrote except for Travels with Charley. Which totally makes up for the other stuff he wrote. It’s not long, but extremely well-written, and it is BRIMMING with discussion topics. The man lived at an interesting time. If you haven’t read this book, put it on your list.

But of course, now I am once again fantasizing about taking off for a road trip with Sugar. I’m hoping she’ll understand it’s for fun, and not a trip to the vet, because she’s never really excited about going to the vet. Mostly it involves a lot of claws and otherworldly groaning and hissing. And fur shedding. It’s messy.


Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe she should just stay home and continue to supervise Tatum’s antics with a disdainful eye. It’s what she’s best at.

While I’m happy summer’s finally here, after last night I’ve also become homesick for the New England falls, the colors, the smells, the apple cider. Fuck, I’m never satisfied. I wonder if book group would consider Christine Heather a classic? It’s got more of a summery, beach-y feel, no?

I think it helps to stay season appropriate. Any other suggestions for next summer?