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.

They Named a Street After You

Just back from the voting place. An old man was pulling the "reset" lever between each voter, and when the other worker took my name said "They named a street after you." (There's a Walker Street downtown.) I just smiled and said, "Actually they named it after my husband. It's his name." Then the old guy kept talking to me but I couldn't understand a thing. Civic duty done though.

Last night's game was super fun. It was our first NBA game -- Knicks vs. New Orleans Hornets. Knicks won. We had trouble finding our seats, but we did just in time for the National Anthem. We took some pictures:

Mari at Madison Square Garden

 Shawn at Madison Square Garden

Shawn watching the City Dancers with the binoculars!

Final score: 117-111

I think we'll have to go back some time. It didn't last too long, which was good, and basketball is entertaining. I wonder if Owen would like a sporting event like this. We were very high up though, so that might not go over well. Mario Batali, a Food Network chef and NYC restaurant owner, was the most famous person there. All the other celebs were at the World Series I'm sure!

Until tomorrow...

Patience and Discipline

Here's a webcam shot of Owen from Halloween. I got to see him in his hybrid Bumblebee/Optimus Prime outfit. He was certainly hopped up on sugar and gave me a cute closeup on screen. He surely is sweet. Sweeter than candy!

I am now being tested -- at least my patience is. My work changed Internet Service Providers, which somehow managed to kick me off the access list for VPN and e-mail. A struggle, as here it is afternoon and I haven't had access to my work e-mail since late Friday. Good news is that my direct boss is on vacation, so nothing should be too pressing (and people CAN just call me if it's urgent). I have also been able to do some work that didn't require e-mail. But it's a pretty weird disconnect.

Now a computer tech has remote access of my work computer, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to pop off a little blog post. Last night as I was trying to fall asleep (shouldn't the time change make me SLEEPIER at bedtime?) I was thinking about discipline and the ways I'm trying to improve myself.

I have become a dedicated flosser over the past few years, and over the last six months my brushing routine has picked up because of the purchase of a sonic toothbrush.

Exercising daily is still forming into a habit, but getting there. Eating better is something that requires more discipline, including discipline to plan and prepare meals in advance. I get really lazy and have to fight the tendency to just do takeout.

I need to have better discipline in my spiritual life, with devotions. I'm making a start with the faith class commitment (which could be a post on its own). I also would like to be a more disciplined writer -- not necessarily blogger, but there are some things I need to write that I just don't do ... in favor of TV or goofing around or whatever.

My patience paid off -- the tech was able to quickly fix the problem, flush my DNS and get me re-connected. So it's whirlwind work this afternoon. Hopefully a quick trip to the gym before the Knicks game. HA!

Welcome to November

We're having perfect November weather in NYC. It's blustery and overcast, with lots of leaves swirling about.

The marathon was today, which meant lower-than-average attendance at church. I also started the faith class today - learning about Methodism. So far so good. It's only four sessions, but I'm worried about having to miss the fourth one (our trip for Thanksgiving and then Miami), but I'll figure it out when I get there.

Shawn will be home soon, so I'm looking forward to that. Today for me was church, the faith class, then the gym (Palladium -- working out and watching TV is so much better than without TV!), an omelet at Cozy and then home. I've got "Sunshine Cleaning" going while I'm waiting and blogging. Need to gear myself up for work this week.

I have a notebook sheet of ideas for blog posts, so I should have plenty of content beyond the day-to-day mundane this-is-my-life posts. But we'll see. Tomorrow is the Knicks game after work, so there will be that to write about.

Kind of a lame first-of-November post, but it will do. Until tomorrow...

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