Reviews: Fat Girl and First Love

Fat Girl: A True Story Fat Girl: A True Story by Judith Moore

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
Short book/memoir. Another story about an overweight child (the last one I read was Moose, about fat camp. I read it with more interest than normal because the girl's parents met in Stillwater, although she never uses the name of the town. She had a horrible childhood with just her mother, who beat her and made her feel terrible for being overweight. I don't really remember if I was an obese child. From photos I don't think so, I just FELT big because I was the oldest in my family. But I was never made to feel fat. And I had a super-solid family life with supportive parents and grandparents who would love me no matter what. So I guess this book caused me to reflect more on my life than on anything that happened in the author's life. Which was maybe the point.

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First Love First Love by Joyce Carol Oates

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
Quick read that didn't really make me want to write a review. Definitely great writing, but you wouldn't expect anything less. Some clever switching back and forth from first to second person, which I liked. Not a recommendation, but an easy read that I picked up while browsing the library last week.

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If I Knew You Were Coming ...

I basically made what would be 1/4 of a sheet cake - golden vanilla with a homemade buttercream icing. Yummo. I definitely got a good scald on the frosting.

We spent the day at a street festival near our apartment, eating lunch from one of the vendors in Washington Square Park under a tree. It was really great weather. We also bought new umbrellas, ZIP code T-shirts (super soft) and a leather journal. I also got some fun magnets, including a super cool original Star Trek one. I have WAY too many magnets, and most (99%) are packed away.

Here's Shawn at the festival:

Review: The Gun Seller

The Gun Seller The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
My loyalty to Hugh Laurie is going to have to end with his acting work. While the writing itself was clever and full of wordplay the general plot of this book was a bit hard to follow and the character development was non-existent. It was actually hard for me to keep characters straight because they were all so alike and cardboard-ish. Shawn loved this book though, which is good since it was a gift to him for his birthday this year Christmas last year. So maybe you'd like it too.

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***EDIT: My mistake about when Shawn received this as a gift.***


Look at this! It's a Spock figurine that my mom just sent me. It's made to look like Zachary Quinto. HA! He's going to be working alongside me on my desk from now on. AND he even has a change-able hand ... He can either hold the phaser or do the Vulcan salute (or Vulcan Valediction, as Shawn and I have dubbed it). He even has his own work station and chair! Science Officer reporting for duty! HUZZAH.

The black cardboard thing is just for show/the packaging, although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to cut the Star Trek part out and affix it in my planner.

The silver/grey thing beside his name card is the Star Trek emblem. It says it's a figure stand, but I have no idea how he's supposed to stand on it. It does, however, seem to clip nicely to my shirt.

Also in the picture, a non-plugged-in purple lamp, a mirror that's almost always flipped away from me unless there are pores to inspect, my new business cards - you never know when you'll need to hand some out (or you do know and the answer is never because you work from your apartment, but I digress). You can also see the stack of magazines - we traveled a lot this month is my excuse. Photo taken by my webcam, hence the bad quality.

The REAL reason my mom sent me a package was the fact that our anniversary is Saturday. We saved our wedding cake top BUT I was dumb and didn't remember to bring it back with me during the Easter trip home. So my mom bought me the box cake from which it was originally made and sent that to me along with this and some other surprises (purple Post-Its! purple pens! a book! a T-shirt!).

Now I just need to make the cake, which I will do with my wedding gift stand mixer (in purple, natch) and make the buttercream icing recipe sent by Aunt Lee Ann via Beth. Coretta, who made the actual wedding cake, used some coconut flavoring in the icing, so I will do a bit of shopping for that tomorrow. It will be a mess but it should taste good. In a perfect world I'd make the cake tomorrow and freeze it before frosting on Saturday... We'll see. Maybe I'll practice cake decorating and post the results. Or not.

Go to Mars With Me

Hello there. I just filled out a form to have my name carried to Mars on a NASA microchip in 2011. Care to join me? You can also see where the most sign ups have come from on this map (come on Oklahoma, get it together!)

Now Filming: Step-Up 3-D

Right - another day with a staff meeting, another day with a movie shoot outside my window (meaning idling giant trucks) making it even harder to hear, participate, etc. Oh, and did I mention the meeting is at 9 am, requiring an earlier up-and-at-em. It's one thing to start working at 9, it's another to be up and prepared for a meeting. I still don't think I'm ready. My luck it will be delayed too. I slept SO badly last night.

Here's a video of Step Up 2, so you get an idea of what I might see today and tomorrow:

Epershand, at 28.5

A few weeks ago, I purchased this epershand necklace from Etsy seller Isette. I saw it on MightyGoods and fell in love with the curvy curl (reminiscent of my wedding stationery designs), plus MG said "for the copy editor in your life." WELL, I'm the only CE in my life (although that's only a small part of my life) ... I decided to get it.

I have worn it somewhat a lot (at least for me). Wore it to both weddings I went to in May. I figured my journalism friends would like it, but no one said anything about it. Then at the second wedding I got tons of compliments. Huh. Makes me happy to see it on my neck though, so that's what matters I'd say!

I'll be honest that I didn't know what an epershand was before this necklace. Epershand is what the Scots call an ampersand, or "and sign." Anyway, I really like this necklace, even though it looks sort of like an "E" ... I guess in another lifetime that would have been ideal (see: eels, music).

Today's my half birthday. I know that I'm nuts to mark it/think about it, but what are you going to do? Other highlights in my history - I've been out of high school for ten years. Yowza. About 10 years ago we were loading into white vans to head to Houston for our senior trip. Insane that it's been so long. Time flies, whether you're having fun or not (and for the most part I am).

Speaking of, Shawn and I are closing in on wedding anniversary numero uno. How about that? Luckiest girl alive, I know.

And speaking of Shawn and fun, we had a great time this weekend. Saturday was an NYC street fair and finding "Surprise, Surprise," a store with loads of good stuff - kitcheny, bathroomy, anything-related-to-housewares-y. We got a storage ottoman and a beach umbrella, jar opener, plus bathtub decals we've been looking for EVERYWHERE, including online. Good times!

We put the beach umbrella (provides SPF 50 in its shade!) to good use on Monday, when we took the subway to Rockaway Beach. How crazy is it that $2 gets us to the Atlantic Ocean? Score another for NYC I guess. The ride back is always a pain, just from being tired and sun soaked, but definitely worth it. The water was way too cold for swimming, but the waves and the sand and the sun were great. We also walked more than three miles, which is a lot for my poor dogs. I need to get moving like that daily! And bonus - we didn't get sunburned at all!!!

The beach has this great playground on the sand. Can't wait for Owen to come visit so we can play!!!

A picture of the waves, which doesn't show how crash-y they were. Plus who knows who the crazies in the water are. There were some lunatic teenage boys near us. They actually got into a near-fight with a woman sunbathing, calling her fat, etc. because she asked them to stop swearing and throwing sand

NYC Tourist Ideas

My cousin Micah e-mailed me about visiting New York. I wrote him a novel, so thought I would adapt it for my blog ... This may become a series or something because I continue to find NYC things that would have been SO HELPFUL to know about when I moved here (the easiest way to get to Target, stores in the city that carry Target-type stuff ... other than K-Mart, etc.).

Shawn and I saw Wicked and LOVED it - definitely recommend it as a Broadway show to see. If you want to be SURE you get tickets you can go online - probably Ticketmaster. But if you feel like taking a chance you can go to the box office when you get here - the prices should be the same as online, but you save any Internet fees. I'm not sure how popular Wicked is (probably pretty popular?) but some of the shows that need help getting the theater filled will have tickets on sale at a couple TKTS booths - there's one at South Street Sea Port (which is a cool place to check out in general - it's near the Brooklyn Bridge). Anyway, short-notice tickets to shows are available at those booths (I think the other is in Times Square?) and should be cheaper.

I definitely love the Natural History Museum - and if you like art the Met and MOMA. I enjoyed taking a bus tour - and getting to see the city from a double decker bus (ask Owen about it - he liked it too). Citi Sights (?) was the one we did last summer - the cheapest I think.

My favorite thing is the Staten Island ferry - it's free and takes you by the statue of liberty and gives good views of the city from the south.

There are also street festivals around on summer weekends - those are fun and have lots of cheapie souvenir shopping and great NYC street foods.

I like China Town for souvenirs (walking distance from us) and then Soho is in the same area w/ lots of higher end shopping.

The views from the Brooklyn Bridge are great, although in August it might be too hot.

We got engaged at the top of Rockefeller Center - it's less expensive to go to than Empire State and has shorter lines/gives ticket times so you just buy them, show up and go to the top (whereas the Empire State you have to stand in lines no matter what) - but either way you should try to get an aerial view of the city.

Central Park is fun to walk around - they have a zoo (really tiny/not anything special except that it's IN CP and in August it's very unoccupied/the animals all stay inside).

The Bronx Zoo is famous though and has way more animals - Shawn took Beth, Mama and Owen there last year and they really enjoyed it.

There's tons of great food - Little Italy is chock full of stuff and anything outside of Times Square/the really touristy areas should be "authentic" and tasty. We really like this diner in our neighborhood, but it's probably more because of location than anything else.

Review: Her Last Death

Her Last Death Her Last Death by Susanna Sonnenberg

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
Another fast, entertaining read, although I did take issue with some of it. It's a memoir of this woman's life with her mother, who raised her and her sister.

In the first part of the book I felt sympathy for the daughter/writer. But as the book continued it seemed to evolve into just a blame game, wherein her mother's shortcomings caused the writer's life problems, particularly in her love life. That's not to say the mother was blameless, but it didn't seem like the writer cut her much slack, especially since she's made it through all of that and now has a happy family - husband, two kids, etc.

My heart ached for the mother, who is still alive and would read this book, not to mention the writer's kids, who will someday read about their mother's sexual escapades, which the writer suggests she did because of the influence of her mother.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend this, BUT it did remind me how great my childhood was and how lucky I am to have (and have had) the stability of family around me, regardless of how wacky we were/are.

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Star Trek Revisited

You know you're in a theater full of geeks when the audience APPLAUDS a Transformers movie preview. I was cracking up!

There was also applause when Leonard Nimoy came on screen for the first time (including one Dr. Walker).

Loved the movie. LOVED Zachary Quinto.

To illustrate our Trekki-ness (mine cultivated only since I met SW), here's a picture my friend Megan took at our wedding ... almost one year ago! The look on my face is contorted and weird - something I didn't notice when I looked at the pictures before (probably because it's one of the few shots where my dress doesn't look like it's flopping open at the top), but still posting because it works.

Live long and prosper.

Review: The Wednesday Letters

The Wednesday Letters The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

I finished this book in just over a day. It's pretty sappy and reminded me a lot of The Notebook, which I liked better. But due to hormones and what have you, I did cry a bit. It is romantic, although the character development was a bit forced.

So the book is set during the weekend of the funeral for a couple who were married a long time, ran a B&B and had three grown kids. Each Wednesday he wrote her a letter (I wasn't clear if he chose Wed because they were married on a Wed or what). The kids find the letters after the parents die and spend the weekend grieving and reading the letters, which reveal a secret about the family.

I love the idea of writing a letter each week to your spouse. I'm about a year too late for that, but I think I'd like to do a letter each year on our anniversary, summarizing our year. Probably the IDEA of that was what got to me emotionally more than any of the writing or true "plot" of the book.

Over all, a fast, entertaining read that I would recommend.

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See Owen's Fingers Fly

A snapshot from webcamming - Owen typing a message. What a sugar britches!

Random Finding

I get NIH press releases at work - and they have a podcast for healthy pregnancy. I didn't listen to it, but in scanning the tips (hey, I definitely want to put them to use someday!) I saw this: "A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, Dr. Spong said. Doctors consider delivery before 37 weeks to be preterm."

SO - 40 weeks/4 weeks per month = 10 months.


(Even pre-term - 37 weeks/4 weeks per month is 9.25 months!)

On His Way to Kindergarten

Last night was Pre-K graduation. What a cuterson graduate!

Weekend in Virginia Beach - Chronology

Shawn Looks at Map Mari in Rental Car
Shawn reviews the map in the rental car, and I'm so excited to be in the front seat!

We arrived in Virginia Beach at about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. The flight was really fast, and it was easy to get the rental car and get on our way. We met up with Shawn's parents at the VB visitor's center and went to eat. After driving around and around looking for a place to eat, we landed at the Waterman's Grill, near our hotel and the setting for the wedding reception. We saw the bride there (she was having a bridal lunch with her girls) and were treated to gorgeous views and sunny, sunny weather.

After lunch with the in-laws, we went to the hotel and were wowed by the view. Kapow!

Walker Family - OG Walker Family 2.0
The Original Walker Family (Dale, Steve and Shawn) and Walker Family 2.0 (Shawn and Mari)

We also walked by the water and sat on a bench. We're thrill seekers, you know. (We did outlast a brief rain shower)
Walker Men Toes in Atlantic
The Walker Men, and Shawn dips his toes in the Atlantic Ocean.

Mari on Beach 3 Walkers on a Bench
Mari on the Beach, and Three Walkers on a Bench.

Rehearsal BeachAfter Dale and Steve took off for the Outer Banks for a weekend of fun with Diannia and Donnie, Shawn and I went to the rehearsal at First Landing State Park -- the plan was to get married at the beach overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The weather was lovely for the rehearsal, and that's where I first met Porter, my weekend crush. (A sweet little 2-yr-old ... I would post his picture, but figure his parents might take issue with it!) I absolutely have baby fever, but it's the most fun fever EVER!

After a great rehearsal and meeting Chris & Jennie's families we went to an outdoor pavilion for a tasty BBQ supper and good times. It made Shawn very nostalgic for camping. Me: not-so-much. We met up with Janette and Zeke, friends from Connecticut whom Shawn also knew when he lived there. They were really great fun, and Janette in particular tried to convince me that we should go camping near Cape Cod in a yert. Uh... We'll see. Then there was an after-rehearsal party that was good times - can't beat the hotel rooms with a view. So great:
View from Our Room at Night

On Sunday, Jennie and Gunther's wedding day, it rained. Not just a light drizzle but a DOWNPOUR that continued throughout the day and included gale force winds. So sad, BUT it is good luck to have rain on your wedding day, despite it's disputable irony.

Crazy Boys From OceanAfter a light lunch at The Raven (with Chris, Zeke and Janette) and some souvenir shopping (for me), we decided to indulge ourselves in some indoor pool and spa time. Unfortunately the spa/hot tub/jacuzzi was extremely over-chlorinated. So much so that after about 15 minutes in it, my lungs were burning, although the hot steamy bubbly water was very relaxing.

The groom, his best man/brother and Zeke decided to be a little crazy. Zeke's words: "You don't come to Virginia Beach without at least getting in the water." That's right - these crazy boys ran out in the pouring rain and jumped in to the freezing Atlantic ocean, then raced back and jumped in the heated pool. I managed to get a few photos - although the rain and my older-technology camera had limited success, you get the picture I hope!

The SandAfter the pool and showers, Shawn and I made our way to the rain plan restaurant, a mere two blocks away. We had to battle the winds and driving rain, but with a few secret passage ways through our hotel and the hotel next to us, we (and the rest of the guests) made it through relatively unscathed and on time for the brief, romantic ceremony.

Chris and Jennie did a sand ceremony - "as these grains of sand cannot be separated, so will these two people be inseparable." Really touching and gave me the tingles. After the wedding, we really got down to partying. The signature drink, The Orange Crush, was super tasty, and the decorations and favors were so perfect. Our flip-flop favors/place card holders matched to make a pair! And the centerpieces - so lovely. Also, there were candles flickering everywhere. Ah, romance. They did a really great job on all facets of the wedding, including flowers and decorations.

Favors and Orange Crush Centerpiece

Potato FlowersThe CakeIt wouldn't be complete without writing about the food. The appetizers were high class - coconut shrimp, BBQ fish bites, fruit platters, cheese and crackers, bruschetta. And those were just the horse-do-vers! The tables with the appetizers were decorated with the most darling centerpiece - a bouquet of food - broccoli with dyed potato flowers!!! I still think the roses might be sweet potatoes, but they assured me they were dyed white potatoes. And the cake - wow, the cake. It was as yummy as it was beautiful.

One of the best parts of the weekend was the people - being with the happy couple and all their loved ones. We really got along well with Zeke and Janette, who took this picture of Shawn and me dancing. They live in Connecticut, but of course they're moving to Singapore in two weeks.

Walker Dance

We definitely need to take dance lessons, but the dancing at the wedding was fun - we jumped around and grooved our hearts out. The rain had ended for the walk home (we opted out of the after-party and went to sleep to the sounds of the ocean). The flight back to NYC was fine, although way too early.

I almost wish I were this social every weekend - because I had a really great time.

Pictures are all a part of the Virginia Beach Weekend May 09 Flickr Set.

Edit: Chris = Gunther (we call him by his last name, but need to get in the habit of using Chris instead)
Also, it's Janette (not Jeanette)


My friend (from TFAS Days in DC) Zach will be "in jail" this Thursday for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I made a donation to bail him out. You can too at

My co-worker's daughter is running a race Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure. You can donate too at Julie's Page.

The New York Public Library is getting a bit of buzz on the blogosphere, and as a patron I'm on their mailing list for the Dream Raffle 2009. (There was also a call to e-mail your city council person from the Library, which I did a while back, but now I'm wondering if I should keep doing it/bombardment!) I pay a CRAP load of taxes to this city, and I'd really like them to apply some/a lot of it to the services I use, like the library. I know that's not a realistic way of looking at things, but anyway. Anyway, on the raffle, no purchase necessary, but still nice to make a donation. Maybe I'll win something.

What are your favorite charities?

Filet Crochet and Sea Shells

So, the foreshadowed crochet project, which was really quick. It's not perfect, but I used Excel to get it to the right size (this is 5x7 in an 8x10 frame). To avoid a ridonkulously long piece, I added the hearts at the top and bottom, although once I went to look for frames (of course AFTER completing the crochet portion of the piece), I saw they did have some long skinny frames. But I think this looks great.

The unusual/different part is the seashells that I glued to the frame. Kim & Tom got married in Clearwater Beach, FL, so while collecting shells on the beach during their wedding day, I had this idea. I found the blue paper at Paper & Presentations on 18th St btwn 5th and 6th Aves here in NYC - I have about 8 more sheets of various shades of blue. This one was the best I thought - not too dark, but dark enough that the white Jonson and hearts are viewable.

I'm sure this isn't something they need - but I hope they like it. I've got it packed up, but I need to get some butcher paper or something to wrap the box (which is actually the box for the frying pan I got them - I took it in my carry on luggage, so there wasn't space for the box ... and would you believe the TSA peeps didn't bat an eyelash to the fact that I was carrying on a 5 lb frying pan?!) - then I'll address and get it to the PO (at the same time as the twin blankets - which are wrapped and waiting to be shipped as well).

A high school friend is pregnant, I learned on Facebook. And when I was home at Easter Gran gave me a new pattern to try. SO, I think a trip to Michael's is in order ... unless I want to just log on and order online - it would probably get here faster than I could get to Queens.

Hooray for crochet hooking!

Ocean Front Room: Video for Owen

Video from yesterday when Shawn was in the shower getting ready for Gunther and Jennie's wedding. OMG it was a great party - a great weekend really. A more detailed post is coming soon, but wanted to throw this video up. How amazing to have an ocean view?!?!

Mathematical Love Song

Went to a party tonight, and this was mentioned. Basically every time anyone mentioned ANYTHING someone pulled out an iPhone or similar to look it up. What's the record for pogo jumping? Let me look it up.

And ... don't get me started about talking about Cambridge (said in a nasal-y hoity toity accent). It's not as impressive to talk about how you're associated with Harvard when everyone in the room is SOMEHOW associated with some Ivy League school. (Save spouses, or maybe just me.) Whatevs.

I don't understand this video at all - but when we played it tonight Shawn laughed, so I guess it's something.

Jackie's Twins' Blankies May 2009

Duhn, duhn, duhn.

The project that would not end ENDED! I used WAY too small of thread/yarn, so each blanket has more than 200 shells (each shell is 3-sc and 3-DC). That's a lotta stitches, especially when you DOUBLE it for the second blankie. So this is quite a relief that I have it finished.

Unfortunately I'm not going to make it to Jackie's baby shower - I can't justify the $$ to come down for a single day, but I am sending them to the shower hostess in an effort to build up the gift pile for the mom-to-be.

Another, more abbreviated, crochet project is drying/being blocked ... so hopefully that will be post-able tomorrow. If not, I'll do it after we get back from Virginia Beach and Chris & Jennie's wedding!!!

M&M's FTW!

M&Ms arranged in my initials - given out free at today's NYU graduation parties or something in Shawn's department. Yeay for free PURPLE M&Ms. NYC has some redeeming qualities.

Seen Around Today

I want this “Newly Married” necklace - but it’s almost my one-year anniversary. Shouldn’t I be less excited about my new name?

via I want this “Newly Married” necklace - but it’s almost my one-year anniversary. Shouldn’t I be less excited about my new name?

Don't Bite Me Patch: How it Works »

Uh, this makes it sound like it COULD work for bedbugs - and I bet it’s safer than DEET bugspray … I sent away for a free sample. I’m not actually getting new bites, but I’m as paranoid as ever.

Funniest Site EVER: Awkward Family Photos. We have a classic one that cracks us up - it's an 11x13 (or whatever the biggest size is) photo from when I was about 3 and Beth was probably 1 and a half. She's woozy looking, I've got self-cut bangs and my mom's glasses. Oh, totally 80s! Love it.

Anniversary Cards

I can't believe I didn't include this in my Florida post - but the CUTEST thing was done at Kim & Tom's wedding. I'm not sure if it's a secret from them, but whatever, I'm 99% sure she doesn't read this.

Anyway, their reception had 15 tables of people. And someone had purchased 15 anniversary cards - and each table signed one. They'll be given/sent (?) to Kim & Tom on the respective anniversary (1st, 2nd, etc.). We got the 11th (2020, b/c we're her journalism friends and 20-20 is a news show - clever, right?).

I just thought that was the BEST idea - what a great wedding gift all guests can work together to give the happy couple.

And another cute thing was that the DJ announced their "three hour anniversary."

Wasted Time?

At 5:30 I left work/home to go to Bumble & Bumble University - a "model" call for people willing to be guinea pigs for student hair stylists. You go, have your hair reviewed, choose the haircut and then schedule the appointment with the

A ~25 minute walk to the Meatpacking District (and I saw Scott Speedman - swoon! - at the corner of Perry & West 4th). Then I get to the building and wait in line.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

The call was 5:45 - 6:15. I got there at 6 and wasn't in a "consultation" chair until probably 6:50. The line wrapped around the open space with all the stylist chairs - so I could see and hear the various consultants working with the different women there. Always touching their hair, always having a 2-5 minute conversation about their hair, style, etc.

Yeah, I get in my chair, fill out my form and when my turn finally comes the guy looks at me, doesn't shake my hand (maybe they only shake pretty girls' hands?) and says "what do you want to do?" I said something about being OK with going shorter - maybe the shortish-layers. He said - why don't we just do the curly cut. He wrote it on my form and said "take this to the girls in the front to make your appointment." Yeah - 30 seconds. Something that someone could have told me when I first walked in. OBVIOUSLY I was there for the curly cut.

So now I have an appointment for June 5 - at 2:15 - meaning I'll have to leave work at 1:45 if I decide to do it. I mean, on the one hand it's a free salon haircut (these student stylists aren't fresh off the boat and probably have as much or more experience as a Super Cuts person). But on the other hand, it's time off work - which isn't a giant deal, but I'd rather take that time to squeeze Owen J. So - is it worth it? I don't know. What's the point of having a haircut no one sees?

BUT the trip to the call was worth it - how many times in my life would I have the chance to see BEN COVINGTON in the flesh? Ha!

In All the World

OK - I wrote the last post late at night, feeling a little desperate. The light of day (and a couple relatively itch-free days ... knock on wood) have me feeling somewhat more optimistic about life in general and New York specifically.

Statue of Liberty Crown is re-opening this summer. Wonder if Owen would like to go to it... Will require winning a lottery or something. He'll definitely want to SEE it when he comes next (hopefully this summer - maybe the week when Shawn is in Norway).

In two weekends (i.e. NEXT weekend) - another trip OUT of NYC for Gunther & Jennie's wedding in Virginia Beach. ALSO we'll get to see Shawn's mom and dad - who are going to make the drive from Danville to have lunch with us on Saturday. (Shawn's aunt has a beach house share farther south, so they'll be traveling anyway. It's totally out of the way but to me, totally worth it! Love my in-laws!!!)

For what I've been lacking in crafting I've been doing OK in the cooking area. Travel to me means magazines, and I've come to love the home magazines - Ladies Home Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, First, etc. And those always have recipes in them that make me think hmmm... So, last night I made pork chops and sweet potato fries from a recipe in First. And on Cinco de Mayo we had enchiladas that I made from a Campbell's Soup recipe! (Ads get me too!) Tonight I am going to try a chicken and rice with sugar snap peas. Ordering groceries online makes recipe building fun - although FreshDirect doesn't ALWAYS have everything I need (they NEVER have cream of chicken soup ... what's up with that? My enchildas used cream of mushroom soup, which wasn't too bad).

Shawn and I had our six-month dental check ups. I used to have great teeth - strong, healthy and clean. Uh ... apparently my teeth are "groove-y" (not a surprise, as we know Mari is straight up GROOVY) ... anyway, ANOTHER visit to the dentist (like my fifth in a month, when you count the retainer trips) to have a small cavity filled. Of course this time I'm going to demand they do the silver, since my insurance covers that and NOT the white nice kind, and I'd rather spend my cash on new shorts and bathing suits!

Speaking of shopping, the dental hygeniest told us both to get an electric toothbrush - and that Philips Sonicare is the best. I have had the WORST time trying to figure out the best to buy - but this is what I've come up with: Flexcare Special Edition. I haven't pulled the trigger yet (I should soon - since every time you look at it Amazon marks it down and will start INCREASING the price ... possibly fixed by clearing the cache), but the reviews all seem pretty good - it comes with two handles and two chargers. I'm justifying it (and the expense of replacement heads etc.) by the fact that it SHOULD reduce the number of dental trips (score) and therefore dental expenses in the future. I like my groovy/groove-y teeth just fine, but I'd rather not get those grooves filled, which is basically how the dentist explained things to me. Meh.

I also got my dental molds from the retainer - the dentist said I can use them again if I ever need to have another replacement made. So that's pretty cool. Too bad I didn't keep my original ones with me - maybe it would have been less expensive to get new retainers if they didn't have to do the molds. I'm also worried that the insurance is going to/has reneged on their promise to pay half of the cost - but the dentist admin staff didn't mention it so I didn't either. They're not the most helpful people.

Yeah - I did a photo shoot with my tye-dye NYU athletics T-shirt. Get it? GROOVY Baby. Yeah, I know.


Waiting for Shawn to return before we pop in the DVD tonight. (All About Eve)

I woke up this morning with three suspicious bites on my leg. Yesterday my ankles were itching like mad, which I chalked up to sunburn, but now not so sure. RIGHT, just what I need on top of all the other depressing crap that I allow myself to wallow in deeply.

So I tweet about the itching/bites and a pest control company writes back: @silver_mari If you are having bites it may have been instars new born bedbugs. Go to our site and read about them.

Their site doesn't tell me much that I didn't know - although I didn't know you could buy a $300 thing to "treat" your possessions - somehow I don't believe it one bit. And they almost make it seem like the eggs can bite you - that doesn't seem right. Also, I had to look up instars - which means newborn bedbugs.

I'm hoping that it's just paranoia, but I'm pretty sure it's not. I'm not reacting violently ... yet. i.e. no swelling or anything - but that's probably not going to happen until I've been chewed on for weeks. (Makes me wonder how long we had bugs before I even realized my skin was severely messed up the first time, not to mention the six weeks it took from that point to figure out it was bedbugs and not just an allergic reaction to something.)

We're going to be in this apartment for another year - this small, bug-infested apartment that makes me want to cry. This place where I spend more than 20 hours each day, since this is where I work, sleep and "relax," if you can call it that. I know ... world's smallest violin ... but I surely am tired of battling these bugs that can bite me - we rewashed our sheets and blankets and pillows. Shawn vacuumed around the mattress and box spring (both still in their encasement, although I don't know how you'd wash the encasements because then that would leave the mattress and box spring exposed to the GD bugs ... although I guess you trap them inside the encasement then). I'm still going to spray myself with bug spray tonight and just pray I can get some rest and not wake up with more chew marks.

I just want a temporary stay - a leave of absence - or something. I don't want to have to deal with this. I want to be able to ... well, I want a lot of things. But as Owen and I would say: Tough Tooties!

Laptop Resurrection

So, I turned my laptop on Monday night - I was going to hook it up to my work monitor to do a little Indiahoma UMC Web site work (mild re-design coming soon ... about time since the site was put together when I was a senior in college, i.e. nearly SIX years ago). {You'll recall that the laptop screen was dead last time I checked.} But when I turn the laptop on - I'll be darned if it didn't just turn on and light right up. WTH?

I don't know what the deal is - I hadn't tried to turn it on since March 23, the night before the RA awards event/big day, when the back light died and I had to get up extra early to go do last minute work at the office, making my big day even longer. ARGH!

So the back light works now (for now) but there seems to be an issue with XP - basically it's displaying as Windows 98. And the wifi connectivity doesn't show up - there's no way to select networks or connect to (I did minimal trouble shooting and ended up just connecting directly to our modem/router). When I was looking at the settings, it looks like the normal XP-look set-up file has been deleted - I mean, how could that evaporate? WHY? And what does it have to do with the backlight dying (or I guess in reality it was just napping/giving me a story and something to b*tch about on March 24).

I mean, I guess I'm happy that I can still do personal web work and such on this computer, and I GUESS I can still take it with me traveling for work and whatever, but it's a giant clunky heavy piece of ... there you go.

White Sand, Aqua Green Water, Azure Sky


OK - Florida probably has the best beaches I've ever been to - which isn't saying much I know, coming from a land-locked state. The sand was so white and soft and cool to the touch. The water was so clear and blue-green. While we were there the sky was so clear and blue - a deep azure that was so calming.

lisa-soapHotel, Motel, Holiday Inn...

This being the start of the "low" season, the beaches weren't too crowded (and the motel rates were cheaper). We stayed at the Club Monaco Motel, which was a nice beachy motel. They had Lisa soap, which was really funny (I already sent this picture to my cousin Lisa). The room was clean, but small. We spent most of our time outside or at the wedding anyway, so it served its purpose!

Sunblock & burn

Yeah, I am TERRIBLE at applying sunscreen. I mean, I start the day with it, and even sometimes I'll reload. But inevitably I miss spots. I've tried creams and sprays - either way I end up with funky striped burns. Painful. This time my ankles got spotted and I had a weird finger mark along my back (even though I did have Shawn help me out with that!). I know it will heal, but that doesn't make me happier.

wedded-toesThe time we spent on the beach was great otherwise - we swam, collected shells and I took a few pictures (although not as many as I should have!). I love the picture of our feet together (how great is my purple nail polish? Sally Hansen Quick Dry in Pronto Purple), and I also made a sand heart with our initials (the sand was so white it was ridiculous - I was really wishing Owen Max could have been there with us!).

sand-heartWedding Bells

The wedding, i.e. the main event, was incredible - Kim looked amazing and she and Tom are so happy. The ceremony was short and sweet, and the reception was a lot of fun. I got to catch up with the CNS/UMD group, and meet two new additions: Amin and Haydin. SO CUTE. It's also great to see Shawn interact with kids. He really is going to be a great dad.

During the reception we went outside - there was a view of the intercoastal waters and it was so peaceful with all the stars and the clear sky. We just meant to step out and then go back in for the cake cutting, but we got wrapped up in a NYC-based conversation with someone who had lived there before. WE MISSED THE CAKE CUTTING! Basically they didn't make an announcement that made it outside, so we didn't know (we were facing the water instead of the windows into the reception hall). My friend Maya (Happy Birthday today!) showed me the cutting on her camera in video form, but I was just so distraught that I basically got up and ran away from our conversation with the guy who had lived in NYC. So on top of feeling crummy about that (I mean do I have to be so rude?), we missed the cutting! One of the best parts. Oh well.

love-shawnThe travel to/from was easy, although each flight was delayed by about an hour. We did have a great time having a rental car - and we found another perk of marriage. Although the car was rented in my name Shawn could drive it free/was covered by the policy b/c he's my husband! Very cool.

Of course it's non-stop raining here in NYC, but I'll enjoy it while I can - nursing my burned skin. But I definitely want to plan another trip to Florida's beaches...and maybe get myself in some of my photos (although I guess my toes count, right?)...

Flickr Challenge - Five Months Later?

Type your answer to the questions into flickr search

-Using only the first page, pick an image
-Copy and paste each of the urls in the Mosaic Maker

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3.What high school did you go to?
4.What is your favorite color?
5.Who is your celebrity crush?
6.What is your favorite drink?
7.What is your dream vacation?
8.What is your favorite dessert?
9.What do you want to do when you grow up?
10.Who/what do you love most in life?
11.Choose one word that describes you?
12.What is your Flickr name?

1. Mari on the run!, 2. Cheesecake, 3. Desert Flowers, 4. Gotham City, 5. vincent d'onofrio, 6. Week 35: classic., 7. double and supernumerary rainbows, 8. Clickstart My Heart, 9. ..Precious Things.., 10. superheroes, 11. Fat Bottomed Girls They'll Be Riding Today, 12. look!

Teaser: Florida Weekend

I didn't take as many photos as I should have, but I've got plenty to write about from our weekend in the sun for Kim & Tom's wedding.

Want to Order a Crochet Hat?

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