Recent Reads Reviewed

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

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

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

The Hippopotamus The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

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

View all my Good Reads reviews

Post Christmas Bliss

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


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

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

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

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

Working from Another Place

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

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

In theory, brilliant.

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

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

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

Merry Christmas Towel Angels

towel angels

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

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

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

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

Your Nose Gets a Chilling

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


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



Send your own ElfYourself eCards

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Saks Snowflakes Carol of the Bells

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

Saks Fifth Avenue Snowflakes from Mari Walker on Vimeo.

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

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


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

Broken Down

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Good Grief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Florida Photos

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

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

Atlantic Ocean from Mari Walker on Vimeo.

Pre-Florida Pics

Birthday Cards

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

 shawn stripey shirt

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

two cents

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

Molto Mario

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

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

Light House

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


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

Solo in This City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Almost Purchase


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

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

In a Miami Minute

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

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

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

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

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

Happiness in Danville

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

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

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

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

***EDIT*** Photo by Dale!

South Beach

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


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

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

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

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

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

We Reserve the Right...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thanks for your interest in silvermari crochet hats . Most of what I make are sized for infants and toddlers, although I can size up and dow...