Recent Reads Reviewed

Holidays provide lots of reading time -- both in transit and while sitting around with family. Still working on an Erma Bombeck and then will start the first Dexter book (probably for the plane ride home). What have you been reading this year?

Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up by Dave Barry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Laughed out loud in MANY places in this collection of columns. My mom checked it out for me while home, and it was a great thing to read during slow times. Definitely think reading funny essays can help one become a better writer. We'll see though!

The Hippopotamus The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

A funny book recommended long ago by and purchased this Christmas for me by Shawn. But there was one part that was too disgusting and ruined the whole thing for me. I like Stephen Fry (especially his Bones character), but now ... like him less after reading this. Not recommended.

View all my Good Reads reviews

Post Christmas Bliss

Clip in bangs, pretty spot on once Beth flattened my hair. Now off for a snowy "mountain" drive and hopefully some photography. I should really put on makeup before I take a picture for the blog. Meh.


This character in a kids show has caught on ... at least the name is being used by my sister and myself as a put down ... like a Doofus, but with a long crazy word. We're loving it. I've been an even bigger doofenshmirtz this week than normal, and that's saying something.

It is ridiculously cold here. (Requisite weather update for my loyal Danville reader(s)) The snow started falling again, but it's much lighter than the blizzard of Christmas 09. It's falling consistently but apparently much less wind and not as bitterly cold. Am looking forward to playing in the snow some more. We've built snowmen and snow angels. When I get my act together I'll transfer photos and post retrospectives. Probably best as I enjoy actually BEING with Owen when I'm here and then documenting our activities later when I can be a little more deliberate about things.

With this post I beat my 2008 record for posts in a year. Maybe I should set a numerical goal for 2010 -- 300 posts? Should be do-able. I am also considering doing NaBloPoMo more often. (The theme for January is "best" ... but I'm not convinced I want to do 31 posts in 31 days ... maybe in February)

Off to Gran's, where Owen has been since lunch. Easier to concentrate when he's not here BUT working isn't nearly as fun.

Working from Another Place

In addition to my regular work email address I also am responsible for the "editor" and "webmaster" inboxes. Unfortunately I don't know the passwords for those accounts to check them remotely and it's always a problem when I travel.

I had a flash of "brilliance" before we left for Christmas. I could set up a rule in Outlook to forward all messages in those inboxes into my main email box.

In theory, brilliant.

In reality ... I am still not seeing any of my editor or webmaster e-mails BUT every message that comes into my main inbox is then forwarded again to my main e-mail, resulting in a duplicate set of messages. It's easy enough to just delete as they come in, or select all messages from myself and delete, but come on. I even thought I tested it, but clearly not.

I guess if this is my only work issue I'm doing OK, and for the most part I am.

UPDATE: I figured out how to delete those rules. I couldn't edit them, and Outlook online gave me grief about things not matching with regular Outlook when I turn it on next, but that's OK with me. At least my inbox is clean(er). I guess I'll just slog through the webmaster and editor inboxes on Monday. Probably not much will be there. I'll try to figure out a solution the next time I travel and work. Hrm.

Merry Christmas Towel Angels

towel angels

A scheduled post, since these are Christmas gifts that I don’t want to spoil. But how darling? I wrote a tutorial for eHow about how to make them and wanted to put them to use. I attached a little poem:

I am your Kitchen Angel
I'll watch over all you do,
Baking all those goodies,
And snitching one or two!

And if you ever tire of me,
Or some help is what your wish is,
Just untie my little ribbons,
And I'll help you with the dishes!

I hope everyone who got one likes them, and all my readers, whether I’m with you or not, have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Your Nose Gets a Chilling

Oh brother. The winter storm is keeping Owen in Lawton while I am here. Here are some photos by Shawn, who braved the storm for me:


The weather people are going nuts on the TV station (a much bigger deal here than the winter storm this weekend in New York). I do want a White Christmas, BUT I want one with OWEN!



Send your own ElfYourself eCards

This gives me a inordinate amount of pleasure. Last year I included the four of us plus Dawn, so this year Diannia gets thrown into the mix. The country dance we had last year was still an option, but this was a new one -- singing. Oh brother.


“If my life wasn’t funny, it would just be true—and that’s unacceptable.” -- Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking (and other places I'm sure)

My life isn't on par with Carrie Fisher's in the funny department, but it feels like I'm living in a sitcom sometimes, without the resolution-in-30-minutes.

Our sink is still out of commission, and a week later we're still brushing our teeth/washing our hands in the kitchen. It adds a few steps to my day, so I guess that's not a bad thing, but I gag a little every time I spit into the stainless steel of the kitchen sink. Vom-dot-com. The missing part is still missing, and I don't have an update from our super or the handy man about its eventual delivery. The handy man said the sink should just be replaced, but somehow I doubt we'll see that in our tenure in this apartment.

Anyway, today I'm brusha-brushing (as Owen might say) and took my glasses off, setting them on the side of the counter to rinse my face afterward (another Vom-dot-com-worthy task). I put the glasses back on my face and I can't see! And I'm only half-awake so I think maybe one of my eyes suddenly got a whole lot worse, when I realize that the lens has popped out of my glasses!

This is not the first problem I've had with these glasses, and their short-lived PRADA predecessors. I've rigged them to be able to see well enough, but a trip to Lens Crafters is in my immediate future. I found the screw and maybe they can put them back together (I tried and the screw didn't want to hold, so it may need a new one). I would put in contacts BUT I think my left eye really has changed because I can't see as well in contacts as in glasses because of the left eye. Since it's the right lens that popped out maybe I could wear the right contact plus my glasses with only the left lens. What a riot ... or not.

Oh, and my office is closed today for the snow, which I thought could happen but didn't know for sure until I'd already worked a couple hours. Not that it makes sense for me to lay out ... I can work despite the weather and so I am.

Saks Snowflakes Carol of the Bells

Here's a video from last night, the Saks Fifth Avenue snowflake light show:

Saks Fifth Avenue Snowflakes from Mari Walker on Vimeo.

The snow is coming down now, but nothing major like I'd been led to believe. Apparently in Danville it's a mess. Beth said we might get snow on Christmas in Oklahoma, but I'll believe that when I see it!

Photos from last night's visit to the Rock Center Christmas tree. This year Shawn wins the prize for better photographer in that I'm in focus, but my shot of him has the entire tree in the frame, so take your pick! (To be fair he got one picture of the tree and me, but I don't look as cute in it/am slightly out of focus, so blogger prerogative!)


Clearly we're feeling good and living it up in the city. I'm excited about being sort of snowed in tonight. I've got the Christmas tunes going and a crochet project to start.

Broken Down

Our bathroom sink is out of commission. Lame-oh. They couldn't find the part at a local store so had to special order it. Today it came and of course it doesn't work. Now they have to order something else - another two days. If you turn on the water it floods out on the floor. I asked if they could just put it back like it was (a small, barely noticeable leak but still usable sink) but they said the part disintegrated in the first place. I hope the part comes in so I can brush my teeth in the bathroom instead of in the kitchen! Good heavens.

I lost a button on my coat. It was hanging on by a thread, so I knew I needed to sew it back, but when I tried to pull it off and put it in my pocket it wouldn't budge so I thought it was OK. Of course I lost it either while on the subway or in the gym dressing room. Hopefully I can find a replacement black, round 1-inch plastic button for my coat. Waaaah.

I guess minor annoyances are the name of the game, but there you go.


Christmas music is really the greatest. I've been mostly tapping into my Pandora collection, which means a lot of stuff I haven't heard lately (or at all). I still groove every.single.time to All I Want for Christmas is You (Mariah version only). Unfortunately they don't have the Trisha Christmas album, and somehow that's disappeared from my iTunes, so I need to track it down ... it's on the backup drive (or worst case the CD is in my closet). I definitely love listening to her Reindeer Boogie and other holiday tunes. Homewrecker or not, I love TY.

So I solved my post office dilemma. I asked Shawn to mail the packages ... and he did! (I don't even feel bad, since I picked out, shopped/ordered and wrapped all the gifts we've purchased so far!) Now all our packages are on the way, and I spent less on shipping than last year. Hope that doesn't mean things will arrive late, but probably that I purchased lighter items this year. We'll see how it turns out.

ALSO, on his way back from the post office he picked up a new iPod connector cord for me. What a cutie, and definitely making my life a lot easier!

Christmas cards will go out tomorrow ... I've got to update my spreadsheet to be sure I capture all the new addresses before they're scattered. I've also got one crochet project I want to quickly attempt and carry back with me to OK. We'll see though.

Random: how's this for a question: What would a person who doesn't like you have to say about you/your work professionally?

Good Grief

First, a positive note. How CUTE are these Crankypants? Featured on Dooce, which I skim in my reader from time to time.

Anyway, that made my day, remembering our Captain Cranky Pants and knowing I'll see him in just over a week.

What didn't make my day was that I realized yesterday that I left something on the plane. It's nothing huge, just my Le Sport Sac pouch that I keep my iPod in. My iPod wasn't in it, but my cord to connect to the computer/charge it and my headphone splitter were. Also my cleaning microfiber cloth and possibly some business cards (meaning a very small chance it could be returned?). I just hate being a DUMMY like that and not checking the seat back pocket. What a maroon!

I e-mailed AA (because their site said talk to LGA and LGA's site said to talk to AA). I was given a lost and found number. I called it, the guy said "hold on, let me check" and I waited. He said he didn't have it, which didn't surprise me. He said it wouldn't turn up, so he didn't take my number or a description or anything. Why isn't this an automated system where the employees can plug it in, so if it turns up in the lost and found, say at the airport the plane went to AFTER LGA, it would ping a match?

It's not like I can't replace the cords. And the little pouch, while special to me and the pattern probably not recoverable, isn't a big deal. It's just a THING. Then why am I so cranky pants about it?

Unfortunately it's not the ONLY thing I'm stressing about. You'd think I'd come home from a vacation all blissed out and relaxed. HA! Not this girl. I'm finishing my Christmas stuff, which while fun is still stressful -- especially knowing I still have to face the post office sometime this week. Maybe I'll do it first thing one day and try to beat the rush. Doubtful.

Florida Photos

I have a video clip but can’t really embed it while offline, so that will have to wait. The video isn’t that great anyway – the waves are kind of puny and there’s more wind noise than anything else, plus a random woo hoo from people down the beach who were chasing their naked kid around. I didn’t look, but I assume the “woo hoo” was that they caught him – he was about 3. Here are some random snaps of my solo time in MIA.
mari on beach sunday 
This is me on Sunday, by Shawn. The thing in the background was like a house or something but the waves broke it apart. It was kind of crazy. The waves were much calmer today, when the temps were in the upper 80s! Snow birds indeed.
shawn on beach sunday
Here’s Shawn, also on Sunday. He is too cute for words, and look we wore somewhat matching outfits!
my shadow
My ever-faithful companion – my shadow!
A self-snap on Tuesday, so this is also South Beach. Shawn thinks I look mad here. I was just trying to take the shot as quickly as possible. Love the halo of frizz, but the humidity worked its magic. My skin feels great though – not dry or flaky like I know it will be once we’re back home!
toes in the water
Toes in the sand … I think there’s a country song about that “I’ve got my toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand. Life is good today. Life is good today.” Something like that. This was also Tuesday on South Beach.

Edit, here's the video, added on 12/19/09, ten days after it was shot:

Atlantic Ocean from Mari Walker on Vimeo.

Pre-Florida Pics

Birthday Cards

My birthday cards lined up. I think the purple theme always works well! Also can see a bit of the pencil drawing I ordered from my wedding portrait. Love it, but I need a new frame. Nerts. 

 shawn stripey shirt

A random one of Shawn because I think he’s so cute!

two cents

I took this one when two cents were randomly on my desk. I thought it would be good for an opinion post. Maybe I’ll re-use it on a post about what I think about the Hilton … or not.

Molto Mario

This is a jar of pasta sauce. I found it at Gristede’s before we left. I hadn’t bought groceries, but we knew we needed to eat in. It was expensive ($8 or 9) but very tasty. And since we would never afford Babbo (the restaurant he owns literally in our neighborhood), this is the closest we’ll come! And at home we eat whole wheat pasta for extra protein and chewy goodness.

These are just some photos I have kicking around, had meant to blog and now that I’m doomed to no Internet connection in my effective bedroom (until we’re home tomorrow that is!) I have time and inclination to review my photos and other blog ideas without the distraction of the Internet and my RSS reader. Imagine that!

Light House

This is on Cape Florida on Sunday. Shawn said his mom and Diannia love light houses, and this was a really cool one, so here is a picture:


We didn’t climb the steps because I really had to pee. Not the first time my bladder has made me miss something like that, but it could have been much worse (I was able to make it to the port-a-potty in the park)!

Solo in This City

Back from another day, and this one was much better than yesterday, although still plenty of driving. After a Starbucks treat, I made it to Sawgrass Mills, a GIANT outlet mall near Ft. Lauderdale. I mean GIANT. And so poorly laid out. I like Arundel Mills and Potomac Mills – where things are at least laid out in a circle (i.e. no back tracking required). That’s not the case with this one.

I had a good time shopping, although I wore myself out. Also I am likely overflowing my suitcase, so I had to keep that in mind despite all the shoe stores that beckoned me. I really need a new pair of black pumps, but that will have to wait for NYC or online shopping. (Also, if Dawn reads this or someone who does talks to her let her know: Gap Outlet had beau coups pea coats – the wool, short, double-breasted kind you were talking about – and for ~$30. I have absolutely no way to get one to you if they were even right. But hopefully you’ve already got your hands on one!)

After some small purchases and feeling exhausted, I stopped for lunch, which helped matters tremendously. Then it was on to the beach again. Ft. Lauderdale this time since I was there. Easy parking – plenty right beside the ocean and for $2 I had over an hour to chill out. There are palm trees on this beach, so the afternoon sun created a nice shady spot by the water where I planted myself and took in the aquamarine waves.

I read my book (clearly Stephen King … I think my father-in-law’s spelling has seeped into my brain) and rested up, feeling even better when the meter was up.

I drove back downtown (quite the feat as the sun was sinking and traffic was heavy) and decided instead of going to the hotel I’d try the Bayside Marketplace again, where I’d turned around yesterday after being unable to find parking. This is an open-air market just about 12 blocks from the hotel (too far to walk) but full of restaurants and shops. I didn’t find anything there other than Bayside-specific post cards, but it was a good way to eat up a bit of the evening.

Now here I am, waiting for Shawn to get back from tonight’s sessions. Tomorrow the conference ends at noon SO we’ll be beach bound and can actually rent chairs, maybe an umbrella and chill out together and play in the waves. Should be super fun. We’re back in New York on Friday, and hopefully the weather will be cleared (in NYC I mean) by then. The weather here has been just gorgeous – 85 and sunny (every day except Sunday, which was our other together day). But I’m not complaining. (At least I’m trying not to!)

I think back to the book while I wait for dinner. (This will be posted when I have internet access again … possibly later tonight)

Almost Purchase


Setting up Live Writer on my new PC just because. These shoes, from Target, were only $22 AND they had a size 11 (actually the only pair they had left). I was sorely tempted, but knew that A) I didn’t have any space to pack them and 2) when would I ever wear them. Related: I would really like to see Mad About You re-runs in the near future. I wonder if they’re on DVD. I’m sure a quick Google could resolve that.

Also, setting this to publish in the morning, when I won’t have internet access. So we’ll see if that works.

In a Miami Minute

I am not good at vacationing on my own. I'm thinking I'm probably not good at vacationing together either, but I digress.

Anyway, I wasted two hours driving round-trip today to Cauley Square ... and when I got there I was the only shopper, everything seemed overgrown and REEKED of nag champa. The killer part was after I saw a couple cats a LIVE raccoon was looking at me, sitting on the path with its little paws up, almost like it would attack. I just backed away and headed back to the car, not even going in any of the shops. I guess I give up too easily.

I went back to South Beach and had lunch, watched the waves for a while and then went to a free Botanical garden (get what you pay for aka dud city) and the Holocaust monument there (kind of a creepy sculpture, but that's part of the point). After driving aimlessly (well, toward a shopping center) I couldn't find parking nearby and just gave up, went back to the hotel, went to the gym and then a very brief swim. I'm reading a 12-year-old Steven King book that I picked up at Target yesterday and YOWZA I'd forgotten how great of a writer he is, and I'll have to start reading more of his stuff that I've missed.

This is what I get for not planning and being more oriented. But I'm having fun driving when it's on the bridges over the water with the sweeping views of the city skyline and/or the shore line. Thank goodness for the GPS (photo of Shawn setting it up the first time in the rental car -- a brand new 2010 Nissan Altima with 4 miles on the odometer before we got it). I haven't transferred over any other photos yet, but will.

Blogger girl out, as I think Shawn may be finished practicing his presentation, in which case I can go back upstairs to the room. Although Interneting is so fun!

Happiness in Danville

I love this picture so much -- taken Thanksgiving Day/my birthday at the Elk's Lodge in Danville. I have pictures and a video to post from Miami so far (we changed hotel rooms though for a quieter sleep, so I need to do a second video I guess).

Church yesterday was amazing. We went to the First United Methodist Church of Miami -- just one block from our hotel. Instead of a sermon the children did a drama with the pastor -- about John the Baptist and preparing the way. And there was a solo of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" that sent chills down my spine (Holy Spirit at work, methinks). Even Shawn commented on how welcoming the congregation was, and truly they were very nice to us.

We got rained on a bit but did manage to get in the ocean (in DECEMBER!), have some trail mix stolen by sea gulls (a problem with a group of 2 is that there's no one left to watch the stuff when getting in the water) and took a drive to see a light house (pics to come).

For now, instead of wasting daylight blogging (among my favorite activities but can truly do it from anywhere), I'm going to get out there and shop ... Pray for me!

***EDIT*** Photo by Dale!

South Beach

It's a diet and a place where we went last night. We didn't get it together to get to the beach before it was dark. The travel was OK, but I'll have to detail it more later. We're on our way to church soon. Advent for the win.


If I blogged as much as I THOUGHT about blogging I'd have a robust and constantly updated blog. But when faced with the blinking cursor I'm less inspired.

But since I'm home, on the computer and webcamming I think "i'll just head on over to blog spot and knock out a post." it really is getting to be quantity over quality, but i could beef things up if i took better thought notes. But my internal dialogues are fun for me, and less so in digital print.

I also have several photos to transfer over -- of the time in Danville and of my birthday cards all lined up. My package from my mom came yesterday, chock full of purple goodies. I got to wear a new necklace today!

My purchases from VA are still making me happy. The most comfortable sweat pants/lounge pants ever, a super warm (and super discounted) grey bath robe and a purple cowl neck sweater with mini pockets on the front. Super cute, and even Shawn agrees. And surprisingly those purchases and the Christmas cards (which actually don't seem like something I would pick out ... "season's greetings"?!) fit in my carry on.

Shawn has six things on his Amazon wish list. That cracks me up, and when I said something he said "well i'm not asking for all of them" like i was insinuating he was being greedy. I said he should put more things on it. But I guess it gives the general idea of what he likes. I still struggle to find gifts for him, even though I arguably know him better than anyone. So instead I buy things that I want him to use and go from there. Silly!

We Reserve the Right...

Walked all the way to the doctor's office this morning without ANYONE annoying me. Usually there's someone on the street who steps in front of me, or a car almost hits me or something. But today, refreshingly, it was just a chilly walk to Union Square faced with no annoyances.

That ended when I got on the elevator and was bumped by someone else, forcefully. But I gritted my teeth and tried to keep the contentment going. God waits for me in the stillness.

Didn't really work when I had to wait for the doctor for 20+ minutes after the appointment time (40 minutes total), even though I was the first appointment of the day. Then I only spoke to her for about 5 minutes, forgot to ask some questions, etc. Gah. And I really didn't appreciate this message in the waiting room:

"Please be advised that if you are more than 15 minutes late for your appointment we reserve the right to reschedule it."

I wonder if this applies coming late to the appointment when your doctor is running an hour and a half behind (true story, and why I selected the earliest appointment possible). Because if you show up late you're effectively early since she won't be seeing you on time anyway.

I'd never be brave enough to test that theory though.

Another couple early mornings in my future as I head out to a work-related conference here in the city. Someone gave me a comp invite, and although it's not ideal because of my upcoming travel/vacation schedule and work load I'm faced with, I'm still taking any chance I can get to get out of the apartment and among the living.

Can't promise daily posts in December, but today I needed to write this if only to get to post 667!

The End is the Beginning

Wrapping up 30 days of posting. Most of it pure drivel, but exercising the posting muscle isn't the worst thing I've ever done.

Travel back from Danville was pretty uneventful, and back to a rainy, grey New York November afternoon, the perfect punctuation to this month.

After the gym, I've done a bit of work (oiy ... taking off one day for travel left me with a pile of trouble ... imagine what next week is going to be like) and am now pondering dinner I guess.

Shawn went to work, so I was home for a while by myself. The first time in five days or so when I was all alone. The sadness was crushing. Wow. I'll be glad when he's home, and I know I can remember how to be alone (and that I mostly like it). I'm already feeling better, but I am glad Shawn will be home soon.

On the plane I read "I Feel Bad About My Neck" by Nora Ephron, after I bought it in the RDU airport's second hand bookstore (what a great idea!). The book itself was meh ... essays about getting older as a woman and some typical Manhattan-ite preening. What came through most for me was despair, especially in the last essay. I am tempted to write her a letter (one of the best essays was about her "rapture" reading books and composing unsent letters to authors of books she loves) to tell her the Good News.

I want the Advent devotional to sink in for me. So far I'm really enjoying it, and perhaps part of why I bought the book was the perfect script font on the cover. Very similar to what I used in our wedding materials (1.5 year anniversary today).

Not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow and if I'll post. I thought about the idea of a picture per day, but my camera is a drag and requires a cord to transfer so that probably won't work. I guess I'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Crochet: Anastasia Afghan in Red

I couldn't find these images on my hard drive BUT I remembered that I had ordered some hard copies for Gran in October when I finished the afghan. So they were on Walgreen's, and I've transferred them to Flickr and posted here.

The center was really easy, mindless crocheting. The edging/border was a nightmare. I couldn’t figure out the corner especially and had to rip out an entire side because I’d been adding a stitch inadvertently. The border itself was WAY too big for the center, but I sewed it on anyway and there’s just a little ruffle-ness especially near the corners.

It got a good reception from Dale when I gave it to her for early Christmas (we won’t be seeing here on Christmas and I wanted to be there when she opened it). A labor of love, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

The kit from Herrschners definitely came with too much yarn for the pattern, so I've got a few skeins of 2-ply bright red yarn left. (I really expected it to be more cranberry but the red is very Christmas-y and pops here in the basement TV room.)






To give you a sense of scale -- laid out on our bed.

Advent Day One

I read my first day of Advent book and already learned something new. Advent is the season in the Church for four weeks leading to Christmas. The celebration continues to Epiphany on December 6, but it does make sense for Advent (or coming) to end when He comes on Christmas. What a joyful time!

Shawn, Dale and I went to church with Robbie and Tabatha, and then went to eat at Golden Corral. So feeling good on all counts. Tomorrow is Robbie's birthday, so this may have been his birthday lunch. Fun times, either way. We always have fun when we're around them. And good, abundant food choices don't hurt either!

Dollar Tree shopping and JC Penney's ... I think I've hit up all the stores in Danville at least once this trip. I bought some writing paper at the Dollar Tree and nothing at Penney's, although there was a DARLING pair of shoes they had in my size they just didn't feel right. I'm out of room in the suitcase anyway, so moving on.

Now we're washing clothes and will be packing up for the flight to NYC tomorrow. Looking forward to the New York Times and some solid elliptical time (and/or basketball with Shawn).

Danville Museum

After a brisk walk at Dan Daniel Park's River Walk, we ate a Mexican lunch and took off for the Danville Fine Arts Museum. It's about the history of the city and is located in a mansion ... the last place Jefferson Davis stayed while he was president of the Confederacy. I got a few post cards and we learned a lot of interesting facts.

But boy are my feet tired.

We stopped at Hobby Lobby on the way home. I certainly could spend a lot of time and money in there -- just the yarn alone, two full rows of it, including a lot of inexpensive but gorgeous stuff. I refrained, mostly on accounts of I'm out of space in my suitcase.

Maybe some Bejewelled in my future. Sorry nothing more interesting or insightful than a recap of the day. Such is life.

Little Ditty

I gave Dale her afghan today. The pictures I took of it don't seem to be on this computer. So I'll have to look some more. I'm too lazy to transfer the photos I took when she opened it. Anyway, it's really pretty and she likes it, so that's good. Definitely a lot of work!

Now there's a James Bond marathon on, and I'm nursing a Sonic diet coke that I refilled with cherry diet dr. pepper. Only in the South!

Another duty-bound entry, but what are you gonna do? I could detail my purchases of the day and/or expand on my love of Wal-Mart. But I want to go relax. So, ta.


Hey, hey, whaddya say?

The country is celebrating today. Could it be for my birthday? HA!

Happy Thanksgiving anyway.

I've talked to my mom, Gran and NLP. Can't get ahold of my sweet baby Owen, but I'll keep trying until the day is done!

We started the morning with the parade and breakfast. Part of me wish it weren't a holiday so I could have a latte! I guess I can have that birthday treat tomorrow. We've just been futzing around ... the big dinner is at 4 pm I think. We may need to get there at 3 though. We'll see.

Shawn and I are playing XBox and blogging, respectively. Fun times. This is a lame-oh post, but a promise is a promise.

Have a great turkey day!

Post from the Basement

In the basement at my in-laws. There was no internet access at either airport, but I did jot down a post (who needs a journal when you have a laptop?), that I'll paste here and call it a night.

1.16 PM

LaGuardia Airport.
Delta Terminal.
Gate D5.

Made it to the airport gate in just over an hour. Door to door via the subway and bus. Taking the M60 bus was pretty exciting. The bus was PACKED and I was the last one on. I asked the driver if it was safe (to stand in the doorway) and he said "yes" so I boarded.


I'm basically standing, holding a rail and ZOOMING down the street - able to just see the road ahead. Crazy, right?

The fun was disrupted after a few stops when a scuffle broke out ... one woman thought another was taking up too much space and decided to yell at her about it. Very reminiscent of my subway experience a few weeks back when one woman told another how disgusting she was for snapping her gum. Who do these people think they are? The etiquette police?!

Anyway, this complaining woman was LIVID at having to touch this woman, although there really wasn't anywhere for the other person to go. They started yelling at each other, the complaining, foul mouthed woman cried to the bus driver who just shrugged.

At the next stop someone got off or stood up so the griping one could scoot over. She yelled out "Welcome to New York. Happy Thanksgiving," in a really hateful tone, of course.

Here I am, without internet access. (Guess Google doesn't Love NY) There's not even an option to pay, so whatever. This text file will have to do until I can get online and post today.

PS I did make it to the gym this morning. Holla!

Timing is Everything

Anyone want to send a postcard to a kid in Oklahoma for a class project? (Not my kid, but still in OK.) Let me know if you will and I'll e-mail the address.

I sent my NYC version today and while on the way down to drop it in the outdoor post box I remembered something that happened last time Dale & Steve visited. We were all waiting at the elevator, and Shawn started talking about how we aren't supposed to use the mail slot drop. At the EXACT moment he said that a few letters dropped right past his hand where he was pointing at the slot.

We all jumped and laughed. I still think of it every time I look at the mail slot. The timing made the joke.

A new store opened on Broadway this week. It's called SuperDry. What do you think that might be?

While it was being prepared and the signs declared "SuperDry Coming Soon" I was certain it would be a giant ... dry cleaners.

Was I ever surprised when it opened and it's a hipster-doofus clothing store. Makes sense on the NYU campus, but I still don't get the name. It's translated from Japanese I believe. I laugh at myself every time I pass. Timing had nothing to do with that joke!

Almost finished packing my carry on roller bag and then will shut down the computer and pack it up too. Trying my best to pack light. So far it's OK, but I probably won't have room for all the stuff I want to buy down there. Hopefully Shawn has extra room in his suitcase. Otherwise I will be shipping a box to myself!

I can't find my travel contact solution. DUD city. My flight isn't until 2:30 though so I can run get some on my way back from the gym. Ambitious but I do want to work out one more "regular" time before leaving. Will be a test of my will to get up in the morning when I don't technically "have" to for work. Wish me luck.

Thanksgiving Wishes from Owen

Got to test out my new printer's scanner feature. How great is Kindergarten writing? Translation: Have a fun happy day. Owen.

I like the use of upper and lowercase letters. Such a smart boy who's obviously learning a lot and working hard in his class. Auntie M is so proud!!!

Who could ask for a better birthday gift than the best nephew?!

Christmas Crochet Tree

crocheted tree 09 Here's the mystery crochet project. If I'd made all 12 squares it would have ended up 5 feet long. The pattern is written in Australian crochet terms, which I didn't realize until I'd already done most of it. I stopped at 8 squares since we won't be home for most of Advent anyway.

So the pattern -- you make 12 green granny squares, each progressively bigger, then add a row of white around each. Fold them almost in half and stitch the point down, then attach the squares together with bows to make it look like a tree. With 12 squares you'd have 24 little pockets, which you number (with paper) or otherwise and put little presents or candies in each pocket, opening one each day for advent (different than Advent, I believe, which starts Sunday and lasts through Epiphany 1/6).

I've got an Advent devotional for this year, so I will learn more and be able to figure it out.


Blogging today because it's my commitment. I have a headache from ... probably overstimulation.

I left this morning for church, then had to wait 45 minutes afterward before my faith class. At least it was the last one ... I enjoyed it, but it could have been run with a little more ... I don't even know what the word is. Would have been better with more people. Would have been better with ... on and on. But even so, it was good. But I'm also glad it's over.

Afterward I stopped by a little store next door to the church and found the red ribbons/bows I had been needing to complete my mystery crochet project. OH joy. Now assembly, photos and blogging can come this week before I leave for Thanksgiving.

The subway ride - EXPRESS for once - to the gym, where I worked out for nearly an hour (a full hour if you count stretching). On the way in I saw some of the basketball players. I was almost a out-there fan girl, but instead just kept on.

At this point I'd only eaten my breakfast bar so I was getting pretty hungry, but the movie I wanted to see was starting in about 30 minutes. I got my ticket, got in line, bought some popcorn and a diet coke ($12!!!) and got a seat in the 5th row (totally crowded). I could have pushed my way into some of the more choice seats, given I was just one person but I couldn't really be bothered.

I saw Precious. And now I feel so utterly ... depressed, I guess. I mean it's got a bit of a hopeful message, and it DOES make me feel grateful that my life has been nothing like her life (aside from a shared love of writing), but just ... sad that such things happen in our world. It's fictional, but you know that poverty like that exists, as does abuse and a whole host of horrible things.

Now I'm home, and although in principle I don't want to do any work, there is something that I didn't get done on Friday because I ran out of time before the basketball game. I also need to figure out a real meal -- probably hamburger patties and green beans, how original. Oh, and I should take some Advil.

That is all.

Fired Up

If blogging had been around when I was a basketball player I probably would have been kicked out of the conference. I'm way too excitable and ... just don't know that I would have been able to keep myself in check with sportsman-like conduct.

Tonight, however I am a spectator, and I'm all fired up about a team for which I have no vested interest other than the fact that my husband works at their university and we can see the home games as part of our gym membership.

I love basketball. LOVE it. And for whatever reason, I love this team.

The women played against a team who displayed poor sportsmanship but who were GOOD athletes. NYU displayed some amazing coaching, because their defensive strategy worked and the opponent's best players were effectively shut down (and then fouled out).

BUT with so many turnovers and shots not falling it was a wonder that they were able to pull it out, but they did. And it was a sight to see. Really fun times, but would be more fun if the crowd included more fans.

Aside from just cheering for the Violets (how great is that name?!) I was against this team even before seeing their foul attitudes on the court. In their season opener they beat another team 111-32. That's just ... excessive. And the way the coach was acting I have a feeling that he shows no mercy, even when mercy is called for.

It wasn't tonight, and the poor sports went down. But I'm certain they'll do better going forward, because even poor sports come out on top sometimes.

Dud City

The church craft/holiday fair was today. Shawn and I rode up there to check it out. The blanket I donated was in a pile with some other baby blankets, mostly used and kind of ratty looking. The bows were untied and it looked a mess. That made me sad.

The snowflakes were on a table with other Christmas ornaments. Not all of them were left, so maybe they did sell. It was just junky and warm and crowded. There was really nothing we needed, and I can't eat sugary breads and such. So it was a quick 5 minute perusal and back on the train.

After the ride back we made a stop at The Strand, where Shawn sold some books, and I found a $5 copy of David Sedaris' Holidays on Ice, a book of short stories that I'm going to read and hopefully discuss w/ an online book club at Very Bookish. I also got a "Top 10" Miami book, so we'll at least have a map when we go in a few weeks.

Shawn just left for the airport and his conference. We'll meet up at his folks' house in a few days. Whatever furthers the cause of permanent employment.

Violet Violence

The Violets won the first game of the Tip Off Tournament, so that's pretty good. It was frantic and sloppy play in a lot of cases, but it was fun. I think I like screaming even more than watching the sport. Now we've got some NBA ball on the tube.

The fans/crowd at the NYU games are sad and nonexistent. The women's team is pretty good, at least I think so, but no one really there to cheer them on. And those who are there are lackadaisical (yeay spell check) and quiet. I have to check myself because I'm probably one of the loudest there and I make a racket. Eeep!

Tomorrow Shawn will be on his way to a conference in Minnesota, but we have a few craft fairs to visit before he leaves. Hopefully we'll hit the gym too. (His flight is late in the day.) My church craft fair is tomorrow, and there's one in Union Square Park and Bryant Park (not sure that they're "craft" fairs but are definitely holiday affairs). A fair in Grand Central opens Monday, so maybe I'll find time to visit it before the Thanksgiving trip.

Time flies regardless of whether you're having fun, and November 2009 is certainly slipping through  my fingers.


Work It

Someone once told me "You're lucky you don't care how you look."

I know it was meant as a backhanded complement, but it just sticks in my mind. It's sort of true. I don't take a lot of time on myself ... makeup or hair, and working from home my clothes are just jeans and T-shirts.

I've started taking efforts to exercise and improve my health, which absolutely impacts the way I look and feel. Living in NYC I should probably be more concerned about my appearance, but again being in the apartment all day renders that moot.

As far as my clothes, I'm SOOOO cheap, or frugal if you want to put a positive spin on things. I buy stuff online sometimes, and I did a mini-spree at JC Penney's when it opened in Herald Square. But for the most part I don't spend much on clothes.

But I'm not tempted by the idea of Bloomingdale's, Saks, Bergdorf, etc. being within reach. I think even if I could afford a $500 bag or shoes or even a suit I wouldn't do it!

However, I think there may be some vanity in me yet. I like to read design blogs and look at pretty pictures of fashion. And I do live in NYC, so just walking down the street looking into windows. I can tell you purple is H-O-T. And even though I can't afford the high dollar fashion I see here, I can replicate some of the looks with the Target and Old Navy and Gap fashions I have ... if I had anywhere to go. I guess that's what church is for!

Video On Demand: A Boy Named Owen

My weekly webcamming date with Owen happens every Wednesday. A highlight for sure. Today Owen went through the Toys-R-Us catalog that I sent him to let me know what his wish list for Christmas is. There is a lot that the kid wants!!! Christmas is so fun to think about.
For some reason I can't find my Christmas 08 spreadsheet. I have back to 05 what I bought for whom. I do have the Christmas card spreadsheet from last year, so I can repeat the send off with the 09 cards, more or less.
Last year after Christmas we went to Target in Danville and got a few boxes of beautiful cards for super cheap, and at an art fair on the street here in NYC I got some VIP cards that have a Christmas in New York image. No cartoon cards, but still love to spread the postal cheer. I am a member of the Letter Writers Alliance you know.
I get a big kick out of writing, but I don't do a Christmas letter. I figure this blog is enough blathering about my life. I guess I could put the blog address on the cards for anyone who wants intimate details. But I also think that most people do know about my blog but just stay away (or read on the sly!).
I finally have a phone provided by the office, which is kind of funny. I can just imagine the day when all three of my phones ring at once -- cell, home VOIP and office VOIP. I'm really living.
I hope some things will be happening in the next few weeks. We have lots of travel and frivolity on tap for the next few weeks, so there's that.


{5/24/10 removed the DailyMugshot viewer because it slows down the site when this page is included ... but I will send the direct link to anyone interested in seeing my face morph/age}

I think this is a pretty dumb thing that I do, but I can't stop. It takes a while to load all the pictures, but when they do it's kind of fun to watch. I haven't taken a picture EVERY day since March, but most days when I'm at the computer I will do it because it's so easy/the webcam is right here. There are some funny ones, some unflattering ones and mostly just a lot of boring Mari-face, one hair cut and watching as it grows out, on the FEW days when it's not in a ponytail or bun. Ridic!

My identity is more than my face though, both online and IRL interactions. (Imagine that!) My name changed as of 5/30/08, but I also deal with the Mari vs. Marilyn issue. Lately I've been using Mari more often even in "formal" items. I'd never change my name from Marilyn (for so many reasons, including SEVEN letters in my first name), but Mari is more "me." I'm no longer MP from I, O who likes rhymes. But I am, so it's still a little weird to me sometimes to remember I am a Mrs. I worked hard for this M-R-S degree. *groan*

I love my mirror-able initials just like I loved my rhyming name.

(Oh, and I still respond to Mare-Pear, Merlin and other name variations rooted in affection)

Skitzoid Weather

The weather here is really swinging from one extreme to another. On Saturday it was gloomy, rainy and chilly. Sunday it was warm enough to run around in the sun in short sleeves. (Not hot but definitely mid-60s.) Today we're back to a chillier, November-like weather day.

This of course means that our apartment was super-warm yesterday and that we needed to keep the windows wide open. I've mentioned that the windows have no screens -- they open out, so screens just wouldn't be possible on them. Last night we killed two mosquitos and I woke up around 2:30 a.m. with multiple bites and boiling hot (and fairly certain I hadn't fully drifted off to sleep). I rubbed one of my many anti-itch remedies (ca. bedbug battle of 08) on the spots, got a cool pack from the freezer and was able to go to sleep that way. Shawn woke up and examined the bed for bedbugs by flashlight and tried (probably successfully) to kill the third mosquito that was causing so much trouble.

Whatever the case, I woke up crankier than usual. But the skeeter bites are diminished and not itching today, so it's good to know my body isn't having the same wild reaction that it does to multiple bedbug bites.

Also, the previous post seemed a little ... I don't know the right word. It's not "inspirational" words I think I have when I'm composing posts in my head.

The posts in my head just have better stories than what I tap out on the keyboard. Because I think about the details and quirks and word play. I would have to be more dedicated to journaling ... writing things down as they enter my mind ... to be consistent.

I really like writing something every day, and I think I would continue if it didn't seem so self-indulgent. It creates a self-awareness to write about ME every day. So I should ideally find another topic -- like a content marketing blog for something that's actually worthy of being content. I'll keep working on that.

Three of Four

The third Faith Class session was today. It was a little rocky, in that we started late and then were booted from the regular room. But overall it was good. I'm definitely going to transfer my membership, something that I probably should have done as I moved from church to church. My current membership, on paper, is still in Stillwater. But since I left that town I've been somewhat invested in three other churches (UMD, Fairlington and now Park Avenue). So even though I may not be a member for long, I'll belong somewhere in the city. So there's that. Definitely a step I should have taken in year one of my tenure here in the NYC.

My faith class attendance and its over-time meant that I missed the kick off NYU women's basketball game, but Shawn was there and gave me a good report. I met him at the gym in time for the men's game, but we only stayed for the first half. I was hungry, tired and cranky, plus I'm completely out of work out socks ... so laundry was in order.

That's going right now. How exciting. I am really looking forward to the day that I don't have to share filthy (and I mean FILTHY) washing machines with a building full of people. When I don't have to pay $3 to wash and dry each load (sometimes more depending on which dryer you get stuck with). When I can do laundry every night without it seeming like a chore. When I don't have to wait for an off-peak time to avoid squabbles with neighbors over clothes, and when I don't have to RACE down there to be sure I move my laundry before another resident decides to remove it for me!

But I keep up the mantra "don't wish your life away." There's also some country song that plays on my Pandora ... about "you're gonna miss this." And to really live in the moment, relishing that's happening in your life NOW instead of always looking ahead to what's coming next. Good advice, but easier said than done.

One year ago today was our Waldorf-Astoria caper. Time really flies.

Last night's five-course meal at the French Culinary Institute was a lot of fun. I don't think I've ever eaten such fancy food. Kellie, Shawn's cousin, is a graduate of the school, and her birthday is this coming Wednesday. We made the invite list and got to hang with the cool kids, which was very fun. Also made me miss Kellie, even though we've never spent a lot of time together I always have a good time when we do! We'll see her again at Thanksgiving, which should be an interesting blow out for the family. And an interesting birthday celebration for me.

Turning 29 on Thanksgiving Day. I'm hoping to get to webcam with Owen and Beth at some point that day. I think our next plot should be to get Gran's house hooked up to wifi so we could webcam with her! That'll be the day.

I write blog posts in my head and always think of interesting prose and fun word play. On the subway, with the rocking rhythm of the cars rolling I have, what I think, are good ideas. And then when I'm here at the keyboard it just seems to be the same old "I did X, then Y. GRIPE GRIPE GRIPE." But bear with me as surely I can put together some useful posts at some point other than just this-is-my-life type drivel. But then I remember that at its core, my blog's main goal is to keep my family, friends and anyone else so inclined informed of our life on its surface, so I guess these posts have their place too. I just wish I could do a better job of note taking when my inspirational thoughts hit me.


Woke up today ... to everything grey. And all that I saw, just kept going on and on...

After sleeping in and a bit of lounging we headed out, going through the Journey sex trafficking exhibit/shipping containers down the street. There wasn't a clear message about what to do to stop sex trafficking and the literature was a first-person story typed in a handwriting font. It wasn't a clear story or narrative, but maybe that was the point ... to confuse the viewer/reader?

I didn't really get much from the art, except one room. They had the smell of poverty down pat. It was a replica of the room where the girls would be kept. The bed shook, the stench was unbearable and the exit was covered in condoms. Bizarre. At the end you could give them your e-mail address. I did not.

Then we went to the Palladium gym, where elliptical and TV makes for an easy effective workout. Afterward we walked into a DOWNPOUR, the result of the Nor'easter I believe the weather people are squawking about. Shawn didn't have an umbrella, so it made for a soggy walk to Blockbuster.

Our local one is closing, which is typical, since our Blockbuster by mail just gave us free in-store returns for the rest of the year, which would mean we could swap out a DVD we received in the mail for one at the store. Not useful when the nearest store is more than a half-hour walk away. Dud.

BUT because the store is closing they're selling off all their videos. We were able to peruse the sale items for the duration of the downpour before heading on our way. Now we're killing time before we head out again into the murky weather for Kellie's birthday dinner.

Definitely feels like autumn. November huzzah!

Mind The Gap

Oh, hello there. 

Another post via Jezebel inspired me to react in blog post form*:

Mind The Gap - the gap - Jezebel:

The American Family Association is not amused at The Gap for adding greetings like 'Happy Whateveryouwannukah' and 'Mo' Mistletoe' to its holiday ad campaign, which they claim 'censors' Christmas. [Brandweek]"
I saw this commercial last night and had a similar reaction ... i.e. "do-whatever-you-wanna-kuh" is not good. There's meaning behind the Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations, and this commercial, seemingly moreso than others, blatantly thumbs its nose at those celebrations.

But then I thought about it, and my slightly more rational side (as there is no truly rational Mari) says they're just trying to sell clothes, so let them say what they want, and it's catchy besides. It's not like a church is propagating the idea that you can believe what you want, mix and match until you're happy.

This is a topic of discussion in my faith/Methodism class (whether it's OK to just pick your favorite parts of various religions and kind of create your own path ... consensus: it's not). I'm reading a Q&A book about Methodism and the Articles of Religion, so it's kind of top-of-mind, which might account for my initial sour-puss reaction to the advertisement.
*Normally I might have just shared this in my Google Reader, but knowing I have a daily blog post to create tends to skew things toward a post rather than a share.

Here's the ad via YouTube:

Number Threes, via Jezabel

This made me laugh so hard. I think that speaks more to me and my humor level than anything.

Not sure that it should count for NaBloPoMo, but with a little writing from me here, I think I'm going to count it.

Work has been especially tough lately. I hope next week it evens out. I hate wishing my life away and I ESPECIALLY hate wishing NOVEMBER away, but I am certainly looking forward to a trip to Danville for Thanksgiving followed shortly thereafter by a trip to Miami. Yeah, keep focusing on the here and now, the tangible parts of being in this moment, in this day, typing on this keyboard.

I'm participating in a mystery crochet project, so that's kind of exciting. I still haven't gone through Journey, but that's still on the agenda. Also, holiday craft fairs are opening around the city, which I didn't know about in the last TWO holiday seasons I've lived in New York, and I also discovered a Michaels opened up in Manhattan. Now all I need is a Target. Or to be voted off the island.


Crafting Memories

I like to think of myself as the crafty sort (see crochet projects, magnet Christmas gifts and a "head board"). It's not an adult-onset craftiness, and I think fondness for crafting may be in my genes.

Image of VA Apartment bedroom w/ wonky "headboard" made of foam core, batting and fabric.

Growing up I spent many days with my Great Aunt Norma Lee, a queen crafter. She sewed us Barbie clothes, baby accessories and entertained us with craft projects featuring puff paint, glitter and beads. (This was the 80s/early 90s!)

There are a couple crafty times I remember at Gran's house -- creating a colorful fan and recycling crayons.

To make the fan, we colored each line of a piece of college-ruled notebook paper a different color ... on both sides. So we ended up with a striped piece of paper, which we then folded accordion-style along each stripe. Then we bunched up one end and folded it to make a beautiful (in our eyes) fan.

We always had a box of broken old crayons, and at some point we decided to make something with them. I remember making multi-color crayons by putting a bunch of (unwrapped) broken pieces together in a muffin-tin, then melting the crayons in a low oven. When they cooled we had these wild crayons (surprisingly the colors don't "run" together). The results weren't exactly ergonomic, although I suppose we could have used a corn pone pan or similar to better approximate a crayon.

Writing this reminds me of another crayon craft. We used the shavings from sharpening the crayons. First we'd draw an outline on a piece of waxed paper -- or lay waxed paper over an outline drawing. Then we'd take crayon shavings and fill in the outline. Then we'd cover with more waxed paper, a towel and iron it. The colored shavings would melt together and create a picture (for some reason I'm thinking of a butterfly). Then when it cooled we could peel off the paper and stick (tape?) the results to the window so the light would shine through. I'm fairly certain I'm not making this up, but either way it sounds like a good idea.

I was also a Girl Scout, which could account for some of my crafting tendencies. However my strongest GS craft-related memory involves blood. Specifically me slicing my thumb open when we were carving potatoes to make vegetable stamps. I was probably the least likely to do something like that (i.e. I was old enough to have knife skills), but sure enough WHACK and I was gushing blood everywhere. I have a feeling I didn't finish that craft project. Geez.

Do you have any crafty childhood memories?

Dental DON'T

Today I figured out why most people dislike the dentist. It's PAINFUL. I've never had a really bad cleaning, but this one was the worst. And obnoxious because for the last six months I've been brushing w/ a high dollar Sonicare toothbrush that the hygienist insisted I have. I have flossed regularly for years, and no dentist or hygienist has ever noticed, but it's something adults have to do so I do it. Clearly I'm brushing wrong ... she said there were hard deposits under my gums in the front and she was surprised I hadn't had gum pain because they were inflammed and looked sore. Well I certainly have pain now after she dug out whatever was in there. How horrifying, right?

So I'm near tears at this point, cursing myself for spending so much money on something that clearly didn't do the job, the dentist is showing me how to brush my teeth and then I go to have a cavity filled ... it's not a new one/is the same one as last time. I put it off due to insurance battles but all seems well now. The filling was easier than the cleaning, although I hate the noise, and I zoned out so I didn't hear his "open wider" commands until he said my name kind of loud and tapped my shoulder. Nice.

How did I make it twenty-five years without a cavity? Now it seems I have one/year at least and I'm actually taking BETTER care of my teeth in terms of flossing and brushing (or so I thought). I didn't have cavities until I moved away from Oklahoma, but then I was younger then, so who knows why things change.

Webcam shot of my teeth. My laptop's webcam has a built in "film" option so I guess I could start my own video diary/confessionals. How Real World of me. Only a thought.


Hopefully a proper post later, but wanted to get this down while it's still "a story."

This morning I woke up to the sound of a press conference and the voice of Emma Thompson, then Mayor Bloomberg. There's an art installation called Journey set up on our street, which I can see from our window. With unseasonably warm weather, we have the window wide open.

I didn't race down to be part of the melee, but I do intend to walk through the installation while it's here and learn about sex trafficking and what it is that they're encouraging people to do about it. I'll report back.

Dentist today, so wish me luck!!!

The view from 8G this morning

Snap that Gum; Pop those Hips

I keep thinking about how much I loved Saturday's SNL. I like Taylor Swift a lot, and she was really good hosting the show. It was literally the best one I've seen in ages. And she sure does pop her hips when she sings. Pretty funny to watch, since I generally just listen to her music on my Pandora station as it comes up.

On the subway to church yesterday I got a seat after 42nd Street and was minding my own business reading when all of a sudden a woman popped out of her seat and went over to someone sitting a few seats to my left to berate her about snapping her gum. It was the most bizarre thing -- someone being so rude and inappropriate under the guise of correcting someone else's rude behavior. I didn't notice the gum chewing or popping, but I definitely noticed the shrew who made a big stink ... and not on her way out. She stomped her foot and demanded the other woman stop her gum chewing and then stood at the door pouting and acting self-righteous until the next stop. The gum chewer said "I'm sorry" and stopped snapping her gum as far as I could tell.

What is wrong with people?

The theme for this week's faith class was love, and what love is. One thing is not jealous, so we were talking about jealousy ... which led to work issues. One thing that was said ... that people act jealous or mean and petty because of a deep-seated need to be loved. Interesting. But then why do I do the mean and petty things I do? I am a people pleaser in some respects and a "who cares what you think?" terror on wheels in others. That's not to say I don't feel loved ... I do. It's just something tumbling around in my brain today. (i.e. What's wrong with me?)

An answer for another day, because for now I'm lacing up my kicks and heading to the gym for a happy Monday workout (the elliptical seems so bla after a nice Sunday afternoon basketball workout with Shawn).

Giving Thanks

This month my mom has been blogging daily about things for which she's thankful. I've tried to write gratitude journals but am usually less-than-committed to that. I really like the idea of it though.

One year when we were little we did a Thanksgiving tree in our bathroom. It's possible we did it more than one year, but it's a distinct memory. We cut out all these leaves from yellow, orange, brown and red construction paper. We taped a brown paper "trunk" to the hot water heater door, and then every day of November we wrote something we were thankful for on a leaf and taped them on the trunk.

I'm sure I was thankful for family, friends, books, my toys, the usual things a kid likes. I'm still thankful for all those things (I still have my Brownie bear and Heidi "My Child" doll). And I LOVE the idea of a Thanksgiving tree -- seeing the gratitudes "grow" before you.

Another thing I love about this time of year are the turkey hands. Tracing a hand and using the fingers as the feathers and the thumb as the turkey's head. And if we're ever blessed with children I like the idea of tracing their hands each year and building the turkey that way -- each year adding more "feathers" with the larger hand outline. I have all sorts of crazy ideas of the things I'd like to do with kids ... but I know I'll be lucky to just keep it together!

But today, specifically I am thankful for basketball with my husband, ridiculously warm weather in November, the joy of giving my crocheted works to the craft fair and a grande skim latte on a downtown bus ride after church.

Happy weekend.

Saturday in the City

Last night's show was pretty good. Not slosh-in-the-rain-looking-for-tickets good, but worth seeing. Carrie Fisher is something else. Unfortunately we were way high at the theater, something I didn't realize or I would have brought the binoculars! You could still see her and her literal glittery performance, but being so far back we were less involved in the performance.

The theater itself was Studio 54 in a former life ... a place Shawn had never heard of. It was also very shabby looking - the front part around the stage was actually crumbled.

We laughed and enjoyed ourselves. The show was a lot like the book -- If I'd realized I would see the show I probably would have waited to read it -- but some other audience interaction things added in. Plus there was some multimedia, which always makes things better.

When we got home I started looking through my photos. I'm in the process of moving everything from my back-up drive (which backed up my old laptop) and then trying to organize everything more logically within Windows 7. It was fun to look back through our engagement photos -- two years ago this month.

Pretty good stuff. We should go traipsing through Central Park again now while the leaves are changing. The weather is getting much cooler. In fact last night it was down right frigid! November is my favorite.

I'm still getting used to the laptop -- the screen is so wide that there's space around EVERY web page. And it's so clear that if I look at this screen at the same time as my work desktop's monitor it's a striking difference that makes my eyes hurt!

I still have writing plans. So I hope that will be a main use for this computer. I also use it for webcamming, e-mailing, blogging and games. Maybe a little Roller Coaster Tycoon in my future.

Tonight we've been invited to a birthday dinner for one of Shawn's colleagues, so that should be fun. Also strangely looking forward to SNL. Must be a country thing. Onward.

Notes from Bulletins Past

Each week at church I jot notes in my bulletin. They recycle them there, but I tend to bring mine home with me ... now I have a stack of them with notes in them, and here are some of the notes:

A children's sermon that I liked from last week, the Sunday after Halloween. The pastor asked the kids what they did for the holiday and what they dressed up as. On Halloween we wear costumes and some are scary. Other things about Halloween are scary, but with Jesus we don't need to be afraid because he's our lifesaver. Then she passed out Life Saver candies. Kind of hokey, but not the worst children's sermon I've ever heard. :)

Another -- she brought out a guitar and talked about how she'd borrowed it. Then she strummed and acted surprised that she couldn't play. How can she learn? Take lessons, which would mean practicing and sticking with it so she could get good. Sometimes it's important to stick with something when it's hard, like we stick with it and keep coming to church to practice being followers of Christ.

Every week the ushers keep a death grip on the offering plates and I make a note of it when they're especially grabby. I guess it's because money could slip out/into the pockets of someone, but it's just so weird to see them practically laying across someone in an aisle seat to allow an inner-seated person to place their offering in the plate instead of allowing the plate to be passed. Trust issues? (Not that I can talk ... I get nervous leaving my purse in the pew for communion.)

A lady in a pew in front of me one week had on the cutest crocheted beret. The older ladies also wear hat pins to keep their hats on their heads no matter what. It took me a while to figure out what the jewel was on the hat ... it was a pin. The hat was definitely distracting and my sermon notes reflect that. I kept thinking "I could make that!" and "Wouldn't I look jaunty in a hat like that?" Oh brother.

An anecdote about the Biosphere project (my main memory of that is that there was a Pauly Shore movie that made fun of it?) ... anyway, one of the things that came out of that was learning that trees need the wind to build strong bark and allow them to grow taller. Without wind, they grow to a certain height and then fall over and die. Life's challenges are like that and we need struggles to make us stronger in our faith.

Also from that sermon, a remark that really resonated for me -- sometimes it's harder to depend on God in the good times when we have lots of possessions and everything is going great. Calling out to God for help is a natural ingrained response for me, but I need to be more conscious of my relationship with the Lord when things are going well.

None of these are my ideas or thoughts, but I wanted to promulgate them and keep them together for my own reference (which is a big reason for me to blog).

Tonight's the "Wishful Drinking" show, so that post will be on tap for Saturday. I also found my notebook page with ideas for posts. Yippie!

Secrecy and Some Finished Ornaments

I first read about the Google Dashboard this morning on Hillicon Valley, a Capitol Hill blog written by a graduate school friend. Since then I've come across several more articles with people freaking out (even mildly) about the "Big Brother" aspect of Google's hold on private facts about our online lives.

Uh ... duh?

In truth I'm not so much creeped out about it and like the idea of a dashboard (see yours here) to quickly access all the privacy settings for my Google tools. Maybe I've been drinking too much Kool-Aid though.

I finished prepping my thread crochet ornaments last night:


There are 15 snowflakes and stars and one angel. The two big ones are meant as tree toppers (and they're about 8"-10" across), although I wasn't quite sure how to rig them that way so I just tied the translucent thread at two points near the middle thinking the star could nestle among the branches. My favorite is the big star on the left.

I made RIDICULOUSLY strong sugar starch to stiffen the ornaments, and it took a while for everything to dry. But they did and now they're stiff as a board. None is perfect, but they turned out great.

I had the idea of taking this picture and then filling in the rest of the non-purple area with the clone tool. It ended up looking so dumb that I just decided that seeing the bedspread was OK. The purple material is a Target sash that I bought for Beth to wear with her maid of honor dress.

I'll be taking these and the green baby blanket to church for the craft fair, which is 11/21. My brain is all sorts of Swiss cheese about the month. Old age? Probably not, although my 28th year is coming to an end ... three weeks left at this age.


Brain freeze -- I actually WILL be at church for the next three Sundays before holiday travel starts. I didn't think I would be there for all four faith class sessions. Look at a calendar, jeez.

I have very little to report, and I can't find my blog ideas paper. I've been webcamming with Owen and Beth on the laptop. It's pretty fun although Shawn says the picture will be better when directly plugged into the Internet. But I wanted to move around and lay on the bed. That's part of why I bought a laptop!

I'm also in the market for a new cell phone. My contract is complete, and my phone has been holding its charge for less time. I also SHOULD be able to lower my contract plan to pay less once I get an office phone. However it's been promised for three weeks, so we'll see. I'm not happy with the choices at AT&T. Could I think about switching? I'm not sure. It seems a little over-the-top to get another new gadget, but I definitely want it.

Materialistic much? Oiy.

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