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Showing posts from July, 2010

Final Saturday in the City

Probably not my last ever, as I intend to revisit this place when I can, but our last as true residents I'm sure. We'll be pulling out of here in the wee hours of next Saturday morning. Blurgh.

We couldn't have had better weather. There was very low humidity and the temps didn't get much higher than 80 F! Shawn woke me up early to tell me about tickets we could get to Race for this week (woo hoo, one last Broadway show!), so I went to the gym and then Morton Williams to stock up on Mud Truck coffee, although I can order it online from Baton Rouge after this stash runs out.

After I had a shower we went to a street festival nearby for lunch -- gotta love that $5 Thai combo special. YUM! Then we walked to the subway ... found the entrance we needed was closed ... and walked on up to 14th Street. The inconvenience was more tolerable because of the stunning weather.

We took the train to Grand Central and walked over to the UN. Despite having liquid (in the form of sunblock …

Seven Days, Seven Books

Books I read
Originally uploaded by silvermari While on vacation I managed to read seven books. I would have read more, but there was limited access to NEW material. This was the only time I've wished for a Nook or Kindle or similar. Mostly I wished I'd packed more books. Anyway, highlights of what I read:

Little Altars Everywhere, by Rebecca Wells
This is set in Louisiana and is about a family named Walker. So of course I bought it! It's the book that comes before Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, which I'm sure I read when it was making it big, but I intend to re-read or at least re-watch the movie. Any recommendations for LA-themed movies or books would be welcomed. This one mentioned three books, and I'll look into procuring those when I'm down south.

No Lifeguard on Duty, by Janice Dickinson
I know of "the world's first supermodel" because of her judging on America's Next Top Model. This was about her life well before that, in that A…

It's Bananas - B-A-N-A-N-A-S

I can’t believe I didn’t mention this before. When we get to the New York airport, we’ve got plenty of cushion time. We’re nothing if not early birds when it comes to air travel. Anyway, Shawn took our big suitcase (remember the water) to check, and I stay put with the small carry-ons.

It’s super early – pre-6 a.m. – but everyone who walks in the doors looks around at the crowds in a panic, wide eyes and hearts beating too quickly. Eyes dart, looking for escape, or at least the shortest line. Eventually that leads to acceptance, and they trudge in line like everyone else. But the panicked faces continue to flow into the terminal. And I just stood there and watched, fretting as more and more time ticked off the clock (what a way to start a vacation, right?)

After about 30 minutes of that (i.e. how inefficient can American’s check in system be? VERY!), a group of 20-something girls comes through, and they each have small rollers. There’s something stuck underneath one. It’s small and wh…

State Room Video

Cruise 2010 Cabin Video from Mari on Vimeo.

This is the video of our cabin on the Carnival Liberty cruise. I mistakenly say the bed is smaller than ours, when in fact it is larger -- two twins together make a king, and at home we have a queen. I realized it a few days later but was too lazy to reshoot this clip. Enjoy!

Edit: Also, our stateroom was 8352 (in case I ever need to know that)


Last day working from home, at least for now. I just carted the two computers, monitor and phone, plus assorted cords, to FedEx. After a somewhat harrowing walk with my granny cart loaded down with more than 50 pounds of equipment, it took more than an hour to get everything shipped, mostly due to the incompetence of the employees working there. I guess you can't expect much more than that.

What's done is done, and although I didn't find out how much shipping was (i.e. no way to make a judgment call as to whether it actually made SENSE to ship everything vs. recycling it), too late now and hopefully I won't get in trouble. What are they going to do, fire me? Badum-dum-shee.

I didn't expect to feel quite so sad, or feel so empty when looking at the big expanse of my desk. It's dirty and there's still my printer, laptop, speakers, keyboard and external hard drive. But it's not the same. My life will never be the same.

For this I am happy, and excited. But…

Screaming Banshee

Or actually a dinosaur ... but don't worry. It's just a costume!

Last webcamming session from NYC in all likelihood. *tears*

Traveling Woman

Oh geez. I am the world's worst traveler. Like I mentioned, it's the anticipation that gets me. The packing, the pre-worrying about the lines, missing connections, etc. And I've just had my share of travel ... and it continues! Some samples of recent hiccups:

In the taxi in Miami, en route to the cruise ship. The driver feels the need to tell us that we would have much more fun if we were going with more people on the trip, i.e. take some friends next time. I'm seething, mostly because I don't think that's an appropriate thing for him to say to us. It felt all around rude and judgy. And besides, who takes friends on a honeymoon cruise? ARGH!

Will be mentioned in cruise-related posts, but we had a bit of stress involved in getting on/off the boat and taking part in our excursions. We carefully planned everything in advance only to have times change on some of the excursions and/or the time we were in port be shorter than expected. Basically we missed one (but go…

Quick Cruising

For whatever reason I'm not feeling like writing. A lot of things are going on, and I'm feeling pulled in a hundred directions. In reality I just have to slow down, enjoy the time I have left and deal with the rest, including snatches of time in the city I'll never get back. Be careful what you wish and pray for, because getting them can impact your other plans!

But onto the cruise ... Overall a good time, but in hindsight I wished we'd stayed longer in the ports and had fewer "fun days at sea" on the ship.

We weren't as impressed with the food as we thought we might be. Also the "golden dining room" was pretentious ... and unnecessarily so, especially since nearly ever surface was painted gold -- and clearly paint. Yikes. We did eat breakfast in the silver dining room one morning, and although it was a little less tacky, we mostly stuck with the buffet. I will say this that there was always a lot of food, but I wouldn't say it was very good…


Oddly I still feel like I'm on the ship -- a bit of rocking motion. Maybe just feeling slightly dizzy or perhaps an inner ear issue. I do know that I'm still tired from the travel and commotion of it all. Otherwise, headlines are: we did not get sea sick and we did not get sunburned (although Shawn's shoulders got red in Cozumel). We had a good time overall.

I took loads of notes on the trip, and I will probably do a series of posts about what we liked and what we didn't. I intend to send customer feedback to Carnival on ways they could improve, but we also came to realize we're not the target demographic for cruising. More on those thoughts later. I'll also do a post each about the ports, create a photo album on Flickr and post a video or two on Vimeo.

But that will wait until I make it through this work trip. Tomorrow morning I have to wake up at 5 a.m., put on work clothes and take the train south for one last trip. For now I'm going to unpack our Fresh…

Happy Birthday

To the best sister in the galaxy!

Techno-Break: Cruising

With this post I've crossed the halfway point to my goal of 300 posts in a year. I should be able to catch up, given diligent blogging about the upcoming move as well as post-wrap up of our cruise. (After a full week of NO computer access, which means I won't type at all ... for the longest break ever for me since ...)

We leave the apartment tomorrow VERY early. Our flight leaves around 7 am, and we will be in Miami by 10. Gives us cushion time for delays, and in any case want to get on the ship around 12:30 or 1. (Leaves around 4.)

I'm not the best traveler. I am OK, in that I can navigate airport terminals, and I'm quick through security and stowing my luggage. But it's the ANTICIPATION of the delays, the hassle, the gretchy feeling that makes me all tense.

I was also a bundle of nerves today because I had two Skype interviews for "perfect-for-me" jobs I may have mentioned before. Very much blessings, and I'm hopeful they will turn into real live jo…


I am hungry, and it's almost all I can think about. Very troubling but expected. I don't want to buy groceries and can't bring myself to eat the scrappy things we have left in our cupboard. The worst, and poor Shawn.

Last night Shawn and I decided to take advantage of a break in the rain and take part in a free movie screening on the Hudson River. It's like Screen on the Green in DC, except with NYC in the background instead of the Capitol Building.

We walked a mile and a half, only to find that the event was canceled due to inclement weather. I suppose that could be true if there were any more storms slated to come through ... but there weren't. Oh well. We got a 3+ mile round trip walk in really nice weather.

Evening wasn't a total wash because we were home to watch the season premiere of Psych. Man, that show cracks me up. What I HATED was the weird credit card advertisement bumper that featured the actors in character. Ick.

Similarly, I hated the Closer'…

Boxes Boxes Everywhere

My boxes are actually full of other, flat boxes. There are about nine boxes of boxes in total throughout our apartment. Here's a mini slide show to give the full effect. I didn't use a flash though, so the pictures are kind of blurry and rushed (kind of how I feel).

I write like?

I write like
David Foster Wallace I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!
Not sure about this. The first one said James Joyce, but then I pasted four other posts and got this each time ... I've never read his stuff, although I've heard of him because of the blogosphere explosion following his suicide in 2008. My reality TV post said I write like Stephenie Meyer. Wonder how the algorithm works on this thing!

Read and Watch: Notes on a Scandal

Notes on a Scandal: What Was She Thinking?: A Novel by Zoë Heller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Picked this up at Greenflea for $4. The movie was in our Blockbuster queue and got to the top BEFORE I had a chance to read the book. So, once I'd seen the film, I decided to go ahead and read the book now (clearly I'm buzzing through my cruise reading prematurely).

A quick read that wasn't as tense as the movie, and there was a change to one of the major characters that made the movie better than the book, in my opinion.

It deals with sexual abuse of a child, and the double standard when the adult is a woman (although Roman Polanski anyone?). So the book (and movie) wouldn't be for everyone, but I found them entertaining enough and I liked the language choices in the book and the perspective of the narrator.

View all my reviews

Righting the Ship

I still haven't figured out the blog's RSS feed -- why it just wasn't working. It is working again for me, but I'm not 100% convinced of its health.

I AM happy that FeedBurner stopped including FriendFeed followers in the subscriber count. 20 is much more realistic than 244 for this piece of internet real estate. (And it's more like 4 people who actually read regularly -- hey-oh!)

Other technical glitches include my regular website and the inability to connect via FTP to my server. The place I host with says the problem can't be theirs, so my next step it to talk to Time Warner. Is it wrong that I want to just wait until I have a different ISP to test the connection? I'm convinced the issue is with the web server, since I can connect to other FTPs without issue. Grrrr. Oh, and I also tried on my work computer ... and was able to connect. So something is fishy. Windows 7 failure? THAT would be my luck I know...

Probably what I should do is sw…

Complete: Baby Blue Bow Tie

Hooray! I finally finished this labor of love, a blue and white baby blanket for Baby Gunther! Just in the nick of time ... he's scheduled to make his appearance in the world on August 1. Now I just need to get it in the mail, on its way to Woodbridge, VA. Hope his parents like it. A few more photos in my crochet set on Flickr.

Some notes on the process and pattern (also on my Ravelry, membership required):

The kit I purchased from Herrschners contained the right amount of “weight” listed in the pattern, but not enough yardage. And even after they sent me an additional skein of blue and white (one each), I still didn’t have enough blue to make the pattern to size. I basically needed twice as much yarn as was included in the kit, and a bit more than what was listed in the pattern. Perhaps I just have loose tension, but I don’t think it’s THAT loose.

All that said, the pattern is adorable and the resulting “bow ties” that are created with single crochet and chain (read: it …

Read: The Way We Were

The Way We Were by Marcia Willett
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not a bad book, but the dialogue was what got me. It wasn't so much dialogue as back-and-forth monologues. Bizarre, and I can't imagine ANYONE speaking that way (although thinking that way, definitely).

There's also the non-linear storyline, in that it jumps back and forth through time. I hated it at first, but as the story kept going I liked it, and Willett is clear by labeling the sections by year. So it's pretty easy to know exactly where you are in time.

I didn't like the over-abundance of characters. There were at least 20 to keep track of, and 5-10 main characters, depending on how you define "main" ... so it was just a bit much, especially for a 300 page book.

Overall it was mostly inspiring in an "I should be able to do this too" kind of way. We'll see...

View all my reviews

New Shades

I'll have MANY more snaps of these glasses in action from our honeymoon cruise, coming up in a few short days. But seriously, how cute is my husband?!

High Horse

I've slowly felt the welcoming of my New York church (more than two years later), but mostly it's just a place I go worship and then retreat. I know a lot of the experience is up to me, but I've covered those thoughts in other posts.

Today included the report from annual conference. The first report was great, and the second left me seething. So much so that I thought I might get up and walk out, as if anyone would have noticed I left!

The woman started off OK, and then was able to put into words everything I find deplorable about the elitist mentality that thrives, including (perhaps especially) in the church.

She was talking about the discussions and debate around gay marriages, a hot topic in the church conference. She said that the NY conference has been able to become much more prayerful and graceful in its debate ... and that she wanted to point out that the NY conference is very diverse in its views, race, ethnicity, etc., unlike the one-dimensional conferences you&…

Driving Gloves

Yesterday Shawn and I went out to Queens for a test drive -- a 2010 Honda Accord. Our salesman was OK, and we know he's just doing his job, but ... the odd pressure at the end, when we'd told him we were just shopping and really needed to compare the best price he could give us with the best price we could get in Baton Rouge. Basically it's going to come down to price. (Because we're pretty much set on a Honda ... although I didn't know we weren't supposed to tell him that!)

So color us surprised when the best he could do for us was the MSRP from the website. Uh ... we've gotten lower quotes from other dealers in this area via email. So, he kinda "screwed the pooch" on that one. Ick.

Driving the car was really fun, and it was the first (and probably only time) that I used my New York driver's license IN New York.

Still a lot to do before the move and getting everything lined up. Just wanted to share this anecdote about the stupidity of salesme…

My Own Paparazzi

I constantly think about blogging, and how to do it better. There's nothing "right" or "wrong," but ...

I read a lot of others' blogs. Sometimes just a post, other times devouring everything a blogger has written and following her recommendations for other blogs. (Recently Better Off Wed and Motherload ... you can see where my priorities lie) I'm always on the lookout for more, for inspiration, for entertainment.

And I'm noticing some trends, at least among what I read. Although it's not entirely coalesced in my mind in a way that can easily be articulated I do want to talk/write/think about the blog as self promotion and self documentation (self preservation?).

I do see that basically we can use a blog, when we're writing about ourselves, as our own gossip magazine. The blogger is the editor and star. Photos of thrifty/clever outfits and cute write-ups of adventures. Using phrasing and poses and layouts reminiscent of US Weekly, Life & S…

Reality TV and Me

I'm not sure that my TV viewing tastes mirror that of the United States as a whole, as I haven't watched a reality show religiously since America's Next Top Model during the years directly following college. But I still know who all the reality TV stars are because of my pop culture consumption online.

I don't like competition-y shows on HGTV or Food Network and have never seen a full episode of American Idol or most of the copy cats, despite being fond of AI's two biggest stars Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. (I did watch an episode of America's Got Talent at my cousin's house recently, and it was OK but didn't become required viewing for me.)

I do my part in keeping bad dramas and sitcoms on the air though. I was a loyal viewer of Saving Grace, mostly because of its setting -- Oklahoma City -- but was completely wounded by its series ending and wished I'd never watched an episode. I still find myself thinking about Olivia from Fringe and worr…

Oil and Baton Rouge

I've been reading about my future home, subscribing to Baton Rouge bloggers and watching the official sites for the city (in addition to scouring the interwebs for relevant job openings).

Here's a post from the visitors' bureau blog that I read about a month ago, about the (non-) impact of the oil disaster on the capital city.
While the Baton Rouge economy is closely tied to the petrochemical industry, visitors to our region have not experienced any change in services due to the spill.  Baton Rouge is located approximated 160 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, and as such, has experienced no environmental or physical impact from the spill.I hope this remains the case, and beyond that pray for a resolution to the disaster!


Who knew that the <> had a real name? These are things I come across in my regular reading. Random, but the more you know...

For some reason my FeedBurner isn't pinging properly so posts are showing up much delayed -- sometimes as much as 12 hours late -- at least in my reader. So sorry about that. I fiddled with some settings so maybe it will be better.

Skyping an interview went OK. We'll see what comes of it. Don't want to talk too much about it or jinx things. Trying to get lots of things in the works, a la The Five O'Clock Club.

Weird story about an alligator on the LSU campus.

Interesting story about native English speakers' inability to understand passive sentences. Pretty weird, via @GrammarGirl.

My sweet moo nephew wants a Titanic toy for his birthday, but not just any toy. He wants one that floats, but also breaks apart and sinks -- in the exact way the real Titanic broke apart and sank. Oh, and it needs the same number of life boats as the real Tit…

The Sweetest

Hope the Skype connection holds up tomorrow. Fingers crossed for me, but I have to believe there's something greater than me at work here. Let it unfold ... and all that jazz.

(P.S. Increased posting because I realized how far behind I am in my "300 posts in 2010" goal, given that we're past the halfway mark of the year (!) and I'm only at 134... Bear with me in any case as I play catch up! And feel free to send post ideas my way.)

Write More

My husband's advice. Need to take it to heart. But write what? Remains to be seen, but I don't think blog posts are what he has in mind!

I'm reading a book, "The Way We Were," (not related to the Streisand-Redford movie) written by a woman whose author blurb says she was encouraged to write by her second husband, and this is her eighth tenth book. And it is awful, at least from a literary perspective. It's another non-linear storyline, which I know is a legitimate technique when done properly, but what's worse is her dialogue. EGADS. The characters talk in paragraphs and there's very little actual conversation. I don't know. It's easy to be critical and b*tch about published authors' work instead of doing it myself.

I have the time. I guess mostly afraid of confirming that I'm no good.

The Fifth of July

Originally uploaded by "O62"
(Pic of the floating fireworks I said
were "neat" ... clearly I'm not a
real New Yorker!) Our last Fourth of July in NYC was pretty great and low key. We started with church, and cousin Kellie met us there. It was another loooooong service, but we were in a fan's path, so it was comfortable and the songs were good, sermon too.

Then caught the crosstown bus and headed to the Upper West Side, home of brunch-y places. We ate at a funny place called Fred's ... and I geeked out on some delicious-o coffee. We parted ways after that, but plans to meet up for fireworks later.

Kellie was at our apartment at 7, and we scooted over to Hudson River Park to wait for the dark. Hanging around and listening to hipster doofus conversations, enjoying the warmth. Crazy kids running around and wanting to try juggling like Shawn. He even let them try. One of them said "You must be some kind of juggling expert!"

Finally the …

Read: Third Husband and Straight Up

Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My mom recommended this book and it's the kind of thing I like -- short essays a la Erma Bombeck or Dave Barry. This woman is good, but not THAT good. Overall I enjoyed it, and it made a couple workouts go by quickly because I was entertained. I didn't like the Jennifer Aniston bashing (or the converse worship of Brangelina ... yuck), and I'm not a big fan of dog and chicken kissing, although to each her own. I also took issue to something she wrote in the intro about no good female characters in literature (other than what she writes in her own books).

Some of the essays made me tear up -- especially when she talked about her parents and family love. And some made me laugh out loud (good thing I have exceptional balance on the elliptical machine!). Overall it's good for what it is, but I'm glad I didn't buy it and that I was able to check…

Facebook Thoughts

I have major issues with Facebook and its high school mentality, even among adults (a group that I scarily consider myself a part of). Facebook often leaves me feeling bad, even when the negativity is not directed at me. And I'll admit that Facebook also tinges me green. I like being able to keep up with the lives of people who would fade away otherwise, but I hate that I feel jealous and otherwise unworthy, even when I love my life! But this is a different type of ickiness that exists. Me calling it out just puts me in the same awful category, I know. But here goes.

Recently a former "mean girl" from my middle school/high school years posted a couple awful things. First, a cell phone picture of a stranger from behind whom she deemed "too fat to be in public" (who was maybe a size 10 or 12, i.e. much smaller than me, which is part of what irked me I know) and all her friends started commenting in on the body snark ... OF A PERFECT STRANGER! A couple days…

Employment Search

I'm on an email list called "Job of the Week" for PR/media types. The jobs are from all over the country, so I have to search w/in the email to find the rare Louisiana job (there's been one, and it was the joke one of that issue).

Searching for "LA" in the last issue this job came up:

PR and Social Media Specialist, CRAYOLA, Easton, PA

How cool would it be to work for Crayola?

Read: Lonely

Lonely: A Memoir by Emily White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read most of this earlier this year, right after it came out. Then got busy/distracted and finished the last bit recently. She gets her seemingly happy ending (and reading her current blog seems to be working out), but this is less memoir and more academic report on loneliness research, which I found really helpful.

However, I haven't fully absorbed what the idea of loneliness as a condition/disorder means to me and what, if anything, I want to do about it. I know I'll be more proactive and such in our new hometown. But there wasn't a lot of practical advice in the book, mostly because it doesn't really work like that. Needs more thought on my part, but TBD.

Cranky Britches Continued

Scene, Yesterday:

Arms loaded with laundry -- sack on my back. Elevators open on my floor, and two fat, fluffy cats race by the opening doors -- looking, to me, like deranged rodents. These are same cats who meow incessantly at each other during the day (luckily can only hear them in the hallway, not from in the apartment).

They dare me to exit the elevator and seem to threaten getting on with me. I flip out and hit the close door, letting the elevator sink. Trying to decide what to do. These house cats aren't anything to be afraid of, but I've let myself become frightened and worked up.

Do I tell the doorman and ask him to send someone up to remove the cats or speak to the cat lady who lets them roam in the hall? Or to give me a broom so I can sweep them out of my way as I get into my apartment?

It seems stupid to make an even bigger deal of it, plus my laundry is getting heavy ... so I pull up my big girl panties and hit "8."

The cats race by again when the doors …

Cranky Britches

Someone wrote an email addressing me as Marilyn. This someone is not a stranger and was asking me to do something, copying four other people.

I replied as best I could and signed off "My Name is Mari."

I think I'm in a bit of a turbo-b*tch mode today.

(How's that different from any other day? ba-dum-bum-shee!)