Thursday, July 31, 2008

Smorgasbord

I would kill for Blake Lively's legs.

blake1

And her hair.

blake2

And her boyfriend.

blake3

Basically if I'm ever reincarnated I'm coming back as Blake Lively.

In other news, remember when my Chiweenie, Molly, was having trouble learning to walk on a leash?

I found a little video proof that she mastered it!

And since I enjoy blogging the mundane, I immediately uploaded it to share.

I know, I know, you can thank me later.



Interesting things about this video:

*Wow, I have a shrill and annoying voice.
*You can hear the water! I miss the water. Quick, somebody get me to a beach.
*See all of the shells? That is the amazing thing about Sanibel. Seashells as far as the eye can see. Miss, miss, miss. Although the living room is overflowing with vases of them from our trips there.

I found this photo as I was organizing my set from this trip (I know, only a month and a half later! I still haven't even had any printed!). I just like it. I love it when storms roll in at the beach, the way you can see them coming from the horizon with nothing blocking your view. Sigh.

Storm Moving In

And finally, more of the Butterfly Set. Just because I liked how these turned out.

Butterfly Bush

More Butterfly

Butterfly

July Butterfly

Butterfly

There is always that butterfly (or one identical to it at least) stuck to that flower every single day. I mean, I knew planting a 'Butterfly Bush' might attract a few, I didn't know they'd be moving in.

But I like it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Garden Update

When I started my garden this past spring I couldn't have foreseen what was to come. As I carefully cultivated my soil, worked in compost and chose my plants there was no way to tell that 2 months down the road I would have absolutely nothing to do with it anymore.

I should have seen the warning signs in retrospect. How my father gave me the evil eye as I was planting in a spot he didn't deem 'right'. Or how he scoffed at the spacing saying I'd not planted them far enough apart despite following every written direction I had at hand.

But about a week or two into the process it was becoming abundantly clear I was losing control of my own project, as he'd prod me awake at ungodly hours because I needed to water my garden at least twice a day. This after I'd read in my latest gardening magazine purchase that most people OVER-water their tomatoes. You can't tell men named Bob anything.

The piece de resistance came a few days after we returned from vacation when he doused the mother effing hell out of my plants with a combo of Miracle Grow and Sevin Dust. When he was finished an entire 5 pound bag of Sevin Dust was gone and my garden looked like a scene out of White Christmas.

I could have cried.

No, scratch that, I did cry. A lot. Because I wanted it to be organic. Because I knew that everything I read said that using Sevin Dust does nothing more than leave your plants vulnerable by killing the good bugs too and allowing the bad bugs to just come back stronger and less defended when the dust washes away.

And come back they did. Within weeks my plants were covered in cut worms. The leaves were browning and curling. One squash plant was dead with a capital D.

But he wasn't finished yet. Despite my protests that I'd decided to leave my tomatoes unstaked to allow a bigger yield of fruit he decided to wrap them with twine and in true Bob fashion...WAY too tight. So tight that weeks later as the fruit became ready to pick you almost couldn't get it out from the mess of twine. And immediately after the wrapping the yield slowed to an almost stand still.

It's not ended as this morning he picked a mess of tomatoes I would have not touched for days because he "doesn't want them to rot". I was livid. Crying, again for the thousandth time in regards to this garden.

I love my father, I really do. But it doesn't make up for us having what I will admit is a most difficult relationship. This garden has become the physical manesfestation of every problem we have. If I say the sky is blue he says it's yellow, if I say up he says down, if I say organic he says Sevin Dust.

So in the effort of being honest and upfront on my blog I felt I should update the garden disaster for everyone who asks me now, "how is your garden". My garden is a mess. My garden is not really my garden anymore. I'm trying to let that go.

But if left to my own devices and my own piece of land I feel confident that one day I could really garden gloriously. I'll just have to make sure my father doesn't visit.

In other progress news, my room makeover has stalled. Mostly due to a change in plans, since I'm now considering a 'fresh green' color palatte. When I finally set down the design magazines and start painting, you'll be the first to know. You know, if I ever decide to make a decision.

Photographic proof that despite what I have written here, I don't want you to think the garden has been a total waste. (Just not how I'd have done it. Which is hard for a control freak like me.)

Birthdays and Butterflys 091

cucumbers

Huge

Although I'm not kidding about the Sevin Dust. This was one of his lighter applications:

garden as of July 2

Monday, July 28, 2008

Take Me There

I was tagged in a round-a-bout way by the lovely Katie for this one. Never one to pass these things up, I of course gave it a go.

I am
not quite sure what I want out of life
lonely
trying to find something I can't even put my finger on
basically in limbo

I want
to see the world
fall in love

I have
an amazing family
a posse of wonderful animals
a decent life

I wish
i had the answers
that barack obama becomes our next president
that i could experience a perfect day soon
i had more money

I hate
closed minds
war
genocide
suffering

I fear
losing everyone i love
heights
having my palms touched
never getting what i want

I hear
the drone of the television
the hum of a computer
the breathing of a dog

I search
for knowledge
for peace

I wonder
if i'll have children
how my life is going to turn out

I regret
not getting on the boat
not saying how i really felt when the subject was broached
not going out that first night

I love
my family
my friends
this election cycle
saving money
helping people

I ache
from the pain in my back

I always
put three cubes of ice in my cup
end up pulling my hair back

I usually
eat all of the wrong things
drive way too fast
spend too much money
and sleep way too late

I am not
always happy
terribly quiet like people think
sure of myself

I dance
in my dreams, never in public

I sing
broadway songs at home in very dramatic fashion
in the car, alone
sometimes in the shower

I never
want to regret life choices
plan to vote republican
put the cap on the toothpaste

I rarely
make my bed
do the dishes
take any medicine
wear socks
put on makeup

I cry
way too much for my own good

I am not always
strong
the best person to ask

I lose
iPod accessories...often
my patience
stuff in the bottom of my purse

I'm confused
about everything

I miss
several friends i've lost contact with
my grandmother
being close with my aunt b

I need
to get my shit together
to stop worrying

I should
throw caution to the wind more often
stop caring what people think
be nicer and more appreciative
talk to my dad more

I'm officially tagging a list of people, because the internet is way too quiet and I need stuff to read. In alphabetical order: Candace, Cassie, Charles, Devin, Erin, Laura, Meghan, Tammy. Come on peeps, my little marshmallowly fluffs...you guys are so smooshable, get to writin'.

My Back and Prince William

Biggest Celebrity Crush as a kid?

Prince William

Hands down, without a doubt, bigger than any boy band infatuation, was my love for Prince William. Admit it, the year is 1997 and you saw him walk behind his mother's casket and you fell in love a little bit too. He was adorable.

So over the weekend I managed to do something to my back. Which is kind of hilarious considering I did nothing more strenuous than popping in a DVD. But I can't explain the logic, I just know that anything that doesn't involve me lying flat, or curling up in the fetal position, HURTS.

Cooking? Hurts.
Bending over? Hurts.
Walking to the mailbox? OMG, thought I was going to die.

And it happens to be one of those laughs in the face of tylenol, motrin, aleve, kind of pains. Which could have something to do with me forgetting to take said over the counter drugs in any consistent manner, though I'm admitting fault at nothing. OH. Well.

So I've been resting with an ice pack under me for the better part of today. Except for the part where I thought baking a pineapple upside down cake in a heavy iron skillet was a good idea.

Oops.

I digress.

The point here is that as I was resting and perusing the interwebs from the luxury of my lap. After exhausting all blog options, which, HELLO people update so I can know all about your lives that are probably far more entertaining than mine, and then promptly playing 8 thousand sessions of line marbles I decided to see what ol' Prince William has been up to lately.

princewilliam

Oh, just...give me a minute.

I mean, it's not that bad. Except the whole buck tooth thing. And then the thinning hair thing. He's still royal. Second in line to be the frick fracking King of England. There's something to be said for that.

Except.

princewilliam2

Oh God. No. No. No.

I don't need to see the attempt to dance. See the girl in the corner of the picture? She agrees with me.

See the girl dancing with him? That's Kate Middleton. She could be Queen someday. Thus, she puts up with the dancing.

Hey, I hold no judgement here.
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Back Pain: Destroying One Childhood Crush at a Time.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Photo of the Day: Testing Edition

Really just posting to see if posting Flickr photo is easier than uploading pictures to blogger.

I know, thrilling.

Butterfly

I have about a zillion photos of this butterfly on this 'butterfly bush' in the front yard. I could not stop clicking away. Which is good, because I've barely touched my camera since vacation. I blame that on a condition I refer to as, 'd-slr envy'.

ETA: Yay! It worked. And it looks better in my opinion.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Lord, protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will."

--Barack Obama, prayer at the Western Wall

Rest in Peace, Randy Pausch

If you've never seen his "Last Lecture" you should watch it now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just Thinking Out Loud

Off the wall names I like:
  • clementine
  • ainsley
  • poppy
  • piper
  • harrison
  • henry
  • alfie
  • ezra

Off the wall places I'd like to live:

  • San Francisco
  • a brownstone in Brooklyn
  • new orleans french quarter
  • the south of france
  • a village in cambodia

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There really isn't much point to that stuff. You ever get to just thinking about things? Things being nothing and everything and really quite intriguing and silly at the same time. Things that are otherwise inconsequential but perhaps it's important to know you once thought them. So you pull up your blog, or dust off your journal and put them down for posterity's sake.

I read an article earlier from the UK (as in United Kingdom, not the school that rapes my wallet every fall) about how old names are making a comeback in the chic department. Of course people will still stick with trendy, but over there, where I've decided they are infinitely cooler than America, really old names are on the upturn. Like little 3 year old boys walking around being called Edward, Ted, and George. Or perfectly British young girls named Mabel and Nellie. So I came up with my own list. And so you have it.

The living list will never happen. It just won't. I see myself visiting these places. But living there is like a mythical second life that exists only in my head. A what if kind of thought. Perhaps the oddest is a village in Cambodia, but I have this strange pull towards that country. Kind of like my obsession with Greece, though I've never been able to explain it. The other night my Dad posed one of those silly dinner table kind of questions: if you visited somewhere next week, no limits on distance or money, where would it be? I said Cambodia. He said, "Whatever. Watch out for landmines."

-----------------------------------------------------------

I've been kind of out of it for the past few days. I have struggled with this strange cold/sinus pressure thing all summer long and this week it has managed to rear its ugly head again. No matter what I take, nothing seems to stop the sloshing around of my brain.

Not to mention my longest known friend is pregnant. Due the same month as my birthday. In a less than perfect situation. It's just been much for me to take in and process. Frankly, I've still not made much progress in doing so. I'm sure I'll come around though.

-----------------------------------------------------------

I've declared tonight a eat bad food and watch shitty movies night. I haven't eaten out in so long that I'm thinking what my brain is missing is some processed crap. Trans Fat: It's What's For Dinner.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In Which She Talks of Blogging

I saw this at American Family and figured it'd give a starting point for today. I've been struggling with what to say lately, due to silly things I don't want out there for the internet to see.

Why did you start a blog?
I was a freshman at UK, my first semester, when I read an article in the Kernel about blogging. It listed several sites to try and I signed up for a Xanga account. Then Candace and Ryan got one and it became this little thing we did I guess to pass the time, keep in touch. I don't know really. After that kind of died off I began the first of many attempts to start a blogspot blog, but I never really updated consistently. Then I found Charles' myspace blog and got the bright idea to start blogging over there. Which has lead to the current situation where I cross post at myspace and blogspot.

All the while I discovered the blogging giants like Amalah, Dooce, A Little Pregnant, Mighty Girl, Joy Unexpected, Zoot...etc. and kind of became in awe of the community. It's really given women a voice, which I've always thought was incredibly cool.

Why do you continue to blog?
I've always loved writing and oversharing stories about my family and life. In 5th grade I remember standing up in the class and voluntarily reading stories about my brother from my journal to the class. I have no filter, and I guess this blogging thing is just an extention of that.

Do you have a blogmother/blogfather?
Amalah and The Sarcastic Journalist were the first blogs I ever read, which were great inspirations. But I've not had anyone take me under their wing or anything.

Any downsides to blogging?
Despite my knack for oversharing my life I will be the first to admit I'm actually a really sensitive person. I think in some cases I've taken comments the wrong way (or the right way) and gotten really down in the dumps for the rest of the day. Which is silly. And I think in some cases this has led to me censoring myself on certain topics, namely: politics, depression and religion, simply because I don't want to start something.

I also think realizing if you put it out there it can be found is a sobering idea. I've begun to write less about my parents for the simple fear of them finding this (and the fact that my Mom is begging for a myspace). And as Jon gets older I've become more sensitive to what I'm sharing about him as well, out of simple respect. Early teenage-dom is an awkward time, I don't need to add to that.

Do your 'real' world friends read your blog?
Lots of them do, obviously. Strangely enough my closest real life friend does not though which is a bit odd. And I've made closer friends with people I've met in real life, but not known that well, through blogging which is really awesome.

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So tell me, if you blog, why do you do it?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Proof I Don't Just Read Trashy Romance Novels

Supposedly this is the list of 101 Books to Read Before College as selected by the College Board. Only I couldn't find the original link, so who really knows. Looks legit though. You know the drill...bold the ones you've read. Exam at the end.

Beowulf
Achebe, Chinua Things Fall Apart
Agee, James A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul The Adventures of Augie March
Bronte, Charlotte Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert The Stranger
Cather, Willa Death Comes for the Archbishop
Cervantes, Miguel de Don Quixote
Chaucer, Geoffrey The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph Heart of Darkness Cooper,
James Fenimore The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen The Red Badge of Courage
Dante, Inferno
Defoe, Daniel Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo Selected Essays
Faulkner, William As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von Faust
Golding, William Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest A Farewell to Arms
Homer The Iliad
Homer The Odyssey
Hugo, Victor The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik A Doll's House
James, Henry The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair Babbitt
London, Jack The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur The Crucible
Morrison, Toni Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allen Selected Tales
Proust, Marcel Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William Hamlet
Shakespeare, William Macbeth
Shakespeare, William A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles Antigone
Sophocles Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan Gulliver's Travels
Thackeray, William Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David Walden
Tolstoy, Leo War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire, Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice The Color Purple
Warton, Edith The House of Mirth Welty, Eudora Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard Native Son
_____________________________________________________

In all fairness, I read many of these once I actually got to college. So I'm not entirely sure what the so called "college board" has been smoking. Shakespeare, The Canterbury Tales, Beowulf Antigone and Oedipus Rex evoked bad memories of miserable days spent in Senior English. Thank you College Board for that.

Favorites from the list: Pride and Prejudice, Leaves of Grass, The Glass Menagerie, The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights, To Kill a Mockingbird, Vanity Fair.

Books I Ceremoniously Burned After Reading: Native Son, Moby Dick, The Odyssey and The Iliad.

The Ones I Still Want to Tackle (In Some Cases Against My Better Judgement): As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, both by William Faulkner (Reading Faulkner is on my list of things to do before I go), The Awakening by Kate Chopin, A Death in the Family by James Agee.

Personality Test

Your answers suggest you are a Counsellor

The four aspects that make up this personality type are:


Summary of Counsellors:
*Search for meaning in their life and develop powerful insights
*Are dedicated to helping others reach their potential
*Think of themselves as gentle, peaceable and cautious
*Others may find it difficult to get to know them

More about Counsellors:

Counsellors have a natural understanding of human relationships and the complexities of life, which they use to help others. They search for meaning in everything and develop complex insights.

Counsellors feel most relaxed and creative when their surroundings are organised. They are deeply private people who only share their insights with trusted friends; however, they will defend their values if challenged.

In situations where they can't use their talents or are unappreciated, Counsellors may withdraw from the people around them or become resentful. Under extreme stress, Counsellors may feel overwhelmed and be driven to organise small parts of their lives such as their kitchen cabinets or their record collection.

Counsellors typically prefer a few close relationships to a wide circle of friends.

Counsellors are often drawn to jobs where they can help people develop emotionally, intellectually or spiritually and where they can use their imagination.

Read about the 16 personality types from the What Am I like? Personality test:
Big Thinker,Counsellor, Go-getter, Idealist, Innovator, Leader, Mastermind, Mentor, Nurturer, Peacemaker, Performer, Provider, Realist, Resolver, Strategist and Supervisor.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/whatamilike/index.shtml

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Overall I was surprised by how much I agreed with the results of this thing. I think it describes me pretty well. I am very private, sensitive, tend to have a small group of friends and I am alway searching for meaning in my life. Yep, sounds about right.

Saturdays

All summer long I've been longing for some sort of feeling or experience that up until recently I couldn't put my finger on. Isn't that life? Constantly longing for something you don't exactly know what. Completely and utterly miserable feeling I tell you.

Anyways, this desire has been following me since May. An overwhelming feeling hits me every single Saturday that I'm doing nothing rewarding or enjoyable.

Today I realized.

This is my perfect Saturday.
  • Up at 6 or 7. Early enough to still feel dew on the ground and perhaps a mist or fog slightly in the air.
  • A tall toffee nut frappucino/no whipped cream from Starbucks.
  • Perusing this Farmer's Market where I'd purchase a BabyCake, some okra and berries, a carton of free range eggs, a bouquet of fresh flowers and a jar of homemade apple butter.
  • I'd drop off my purchases and head to Bardstown where I'd find a cafe with outdoor seating for lunch.
  • After lunch I'd indulge in the local antique shops, boutiques and used bookstores. By the end of the afternoon I'd have bags full of precious treasures.
  • Shopping would have been exhausting so I'd see the afternoon out with some penny candy and a cherry coke from the Hurst Drug Store Soda Fountain.
  • The drive home would be evening, just as the sun begins to set and the air becomes cooler. I'd defy all previous misgivings about driving with windows down and enjoy the air on my cheeks. The radio would blare embarrassing songs I'd never admit to listening to and I'd drive for and hour or two as though gas only cost $1.50 again.

Such a simple dream, such a simple experience and yet it all seems like the farthest thing from actually happening. Which begs the question, if we are all supposed to live like there is no tomorrow why is it always so hard to throw caution to the wind and actually go for it?

I'm still not sure. But I'm fairly certain it has something to do with responsibility.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Imagine

I haven't talked politics in a while. It is after all that slow lull in the campaign season where the biggest news is which governor/senator/political big wig has said they DON'T want to be VP. Trust when you hear that they are most definitely hiding something and could never pass the vetting process. Or they are lazy. Take your pick.

Nevertheless, MOMocrats has been entertaining me during this slow news time. Just so you know, I stand by my comment on the Kathleen Sebelius for VP post, it would be a slap in the face to Hillary supporters. I know this because my mother is one of those supporters, you must tread carefully with those people. Barry knows this.

This post has been one of the most genuinely thought provoking things I've read in a while. I really feel on the cusp of something big this fall. What with ol' Johnny's age problem, the Crypt Keeper former mistress turned wife and the fact that he's just now getting around to the internet, I'm feeling a bit like a Democrat in china shop full of glass elephants.

Just read a few of the suggested cabinet positions and members from that post and tell me if the amount of progress and vision we are getting the pleasure of dreaming about doesn't make you salivate just a little bit.

Secretary of Homeland Security the Department of
Public Safety and Border Defense: Richard Clarke

In my Dream Cabinet, this position will be renamed something significantly less Orwellian. And the department itself will also be made to, you know, actually function.

Richard Clarke, Bill Clinton's former chief terrorism adviser, was pretty much totally ignored by the Bush Administration when he warned of an impending Al Qaeda attack before 9/11. One would hope that most people have since learned that Richard Clarke is a man who ought to be listened to.

Head of EPA Secretary of Environmental Policy: Al Gore

This will be elevated to a cabinet position. And when I say this will be elevated to an official cabinet position, I mean this will be elevated to an official cabinet position. If the next president fails to muster enough concern about the current state of our environment to elevate the EPA head to an official cabinet position, the future of humanity is totally screwed.

I know Al Gore is an obvious pick. But it's obvious because he's the best man for the job.

Attorney General: John Edwards

Duh.

Secretary of Peace: Dennis Kucinich

Kucinich mentioned during his own presidential campaign that he thinks an executive Department of Peace would be an excellent idea. He wanted Jimmy Carter to head it under his administration. But I'm pretty sure Kucinich himself would do an excellent job.

Chief of Staff: David Axelrod

Why mess with a good thing? A man who revolutionized campaign organization can almost certainly also make sure that administrative operations at the White House run smoothly and efficiently. I'd like to think that under an Obama administration, the Chief of Staff would be just that— a guy who runs the White House staff— and not some creepy sneaky Emperor-Palpatine-esque puppetmaster figure like a certain former Deputy Chief of Staff we won't mention who now works for Fox News. Therefore the primary qualification in my mind for a good Obama Chief of Staff would be someone who knows how to make an organization made up of lots of people with varying backgrounds and personal agendas run like a Swiss watch. And David Axelrod seems to be that sort of guy.

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John Edwards for Attorney General is the most brilliant of all suggestions, close behind is changing the name of Homeland Security. Genius.
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The other day I mentioned the story about the Obama daughters getting promised a dog after the election was over to my Dad, his response: "Oh, so they're going to have a dog in the White House." My Mom's response: "Oh how very Kennedy-esqe."

Which is cute, because Michelle does seem to exude Jackie's style.

A change is coming.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The One in Which She Talks of Death

Anyone who knows me, is aware that some of the most defining moments of my life actually surround death. My earliest memory is a funeral and in all I've attended (at last count) 23 of the damn things. My own father nearly died once, as many of you know. And perhaps the single most defining moment of my young life is the 3 months I spent caring for my dying grandmother.

It's one thing to see countless corspes all dolled up in funeral homes, another to find your grandmother dead in the middle of the night inside of your own house. This situation I find not creepy, no matter how odd that sounds, but rather comforting. I've witnessed hospital deaths as well and something about the lack of tubes and machines involved with my grandma's death was serene and beautiful. She died happy. That much I know for certain.

There is absolutely, without a doubt, one certainty in life: we will all die. No matter how many anti aging creams you use, medications you take or exercises you perform, you too will succumb to death. I know this because I had an aunt once who lived through a massive heart attack, spent the next 3 years of her life eating rabbit food and walking 2 miles each day only to have Breast Cancer strike her down at her otherwise most healthiest period in her life.

Death is funny that way.

Side note: I like to think if she had it all to do over again she'd indulge in a Big Mac once in a while. Let that be a little food for thought.

So death, the bottom line is this: it fascinates me, I accept it and it frightens the living hell out of me. The one thing I have no control of. What a powerful notion.

Earlier I saw this (thank you Katie) and I've yet to stop thinking about it:



On May 1, 1947, Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from the observation deck
of the Empire State Building. Photographer Robert Wiles took a photo of McHale a
few minutes after her death.

The photo ran a couple of weeks later in Life magazine accompanied by
the following caption: On May Day, just after leaving her fiancĂ©, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale wrote a note. ‘He is much better off without me … I wouldn’t make a good wife for anybody,’ … Then she crossed it out.

She went to the observation platform of the Empire State Building. Through
the mist she gazed at the street, 86 floors below. Then she jumped. In her
desperate determination she leaped clear of the setbacks and hit a United
Nations limousine parked at the curb.

Across the street photography student Robert Wiles heard an explosive
crash. Just four minutes after Evelyn McHale’s death Wiles got this picture of
death’s violence and its composure.

From McHale’s NY Times obituary, Empire State Ends Life of Girl, 20:

At 10:40 A. M., Patrolman John Morrissey of Traffic C, directing traffic at Thirty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue, noticed a swirling white scarf floating down from the upper floors of the Empire State. A moment later he heard a crash that sounded like an explosion. He saw a crowd converge in Thirty-third Street. Two hundred feet west of Fifth Avenue, Miss McHale’s body landed atop the car. The impact stove in the metal roof and shattered the car’s windows. The driver was in a near-by drug store, thereby escaping death or serious injury. On the observation deck, Detective Frank Murray of the West Thirtieth Street station, found Miss McHale’s gray cloth coat, her pocketbook with several dollars and the note, and a make-up kit filled with family pictures.

The serenity of McHale’s body amidst the crumpled wreckage it caused is
astounding. (via The most beautiful suicide (kottke.org)

You see, along with my morbid fascination with death and dying, I also have a fascination with Post Mortem Photography. This was widely practiced in the 1800s as a way of preserving the memory of a dead family member. Often they had never had their picture taken before they actually died. The dead bodies would be positioned, many times, to seem "alive". Sometimes faces were painted, often photos were taken of the dead body with living siblings, parents or other family members. All in all, very creepy stuff. Several good examples can be found here.

A recent variation of post mortem photography has emerged involving photography of stillborn infants. Once whisked away from family as quickly as possible after birth, parents of stillborn children are now encouraged to spend time with the infant. Many choose to bathe their child, dress it, visit with it and properly say goodbye. Often they take their own photographs (the only they'll ever have), but a not for profit formed called "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" which has professional photographers donate their time to take these lasting photographs. I strongly urge you to visit their website and see some of these pictures. Talk about taking the stigma out of death and dying, they are all so beautiful and poignant.

My final example of post mortem photography is the following photo essay: Life Before Death. I saw this posted sometime in the last few months, somewhere I can't remember on the internet. But I've had it in my favorites ever since. This essay deals, in many cases, with cancer patients. Patients who willingly agreed to be photographed before and after death. They are the definition of hauntingly beautiful.

"Death is a test of one’s maturity. Everyone has got to get through it on
their own. I want very much to die. I want to become part of that vast
extraordinary light. But dying is hard work. Death is in control of the process,
I cannot influence its course. All I can do is wait. I was given my life, I had
to live it, and now I am giving it back"

--Edelgard Clavey, 67, one of the participants in that photo essay.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Musings

I've not had a lot to say lately.

For a brief moment I considered another controversial topic.

But you gotta be prepared to defend yourself, and I have no energy right now. So, I passed.

I could have blogged about my progress on the room makeover. Except, well, there isn't exactly any progress yet. I have paint chips taped to the wall though! Where they may stay for the next several weeks.

Then of course there is the car thing. I hate car things. So it's best to just sweep that under the rug and pretend it doesn't exist. Last night my father asked if I'd found anything worth checking out yet. Umm, yeah...I haven't really been looking too hard. I should get on that though.

So, no car stuff, or room stuff, or controversy.

I've been working on organizing my coupon stuff. I seem to flip flop a lot on the whole couponing thing. I'll go really strong for several weeks, scooping up deals left and right, and then I'll promptly procrastinate on clipping them for several Sundays in a row. Oops.

I've been applying for jobs and internships. No luck yet, but that is something a little bit new. I'm not rushing anything, or particularly desperate. I just figure it's good to be productive and start getting my name out there a bit.

In other news, I hate my car insurance company. Not so much the company itself, but the women who work in the local office. The ones who always seem SO BOTHERED to have to enter payments or print receipts or you know DO THEIR JOB everytime I'm in there. Today I dropped off my tow bill, which under the terms of my policy I get reimbursed $40 for and you'd have thought I asked them to recite the bible BACKWARDS. I mean Jesus, pardon the pun.

So yes, that's about all I've got. How are things in your neck of the woods? Really, I'd love to know. Do you love your car insurance company? Should I switch? How about your car, is it reliable and affordable?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Flip-flops of course, I like Havaianas (a brazilian sandal) because they are so easy to wash off..."

--Rihanna, In Style Magazine interview on her favorite beach accessories

Dude, I totally recommended them first. But...ditto anyway.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Little Gems

I myself have never made a lasagna. I've seen my Mom do it dozens of times, but if I'm going to do Italian I usually go with spaghetti or fettucini instead. This week at the grocery I happened upon those Barilla Lasagna noodles that you don't have to boil first....HELLO, that is so up my alley. I bought some non-tainted beef, a shitload of mozzarella, a little pasta sauce and some ricotta and away I went.

Oh my word...so worth my time.


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Can we discuss my mom for a minute? Specifically my mom and her dog?

Good. Okay, so I took these last night after dinner, so I could illustrate that when I say this dog is my mother's baby...I am so not lying.

I've seen a picture like this before, in it my mother is holding ME.



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Finally a little money saving tip:

I saw all of this while I was in Walmart the other night, but when it was listed on MoneySavingMom.com this morning, I remembered to share it with everyone else. I haven't seen school supplies this cheap in several years, but it's a good time to go stock up on stuff. Whether you are in school right now or not, everyone can enjoy paper and crayons. Just saying.

Crayola Crayons (24 ct.) were 25 cents
Rose Art crayons (24 ct) were 17 cents
one subject notebooks were 5 cents
2 pocket folders were 15 cents
Elmers school glue was 22 cents
Crayola colored pencils (12 ct) were 88 cents

Monday, July 7, 2008

HGTVing my Life

Early in the summer I tackled my bird retreat project. I consider it to have been a success, especially when I walk out to a million birds chirping in the backyard every morning.

Before fall hits us all like a ton of bricks and before winter begins to creep up, I've decided I want to get one more project in.

Making this room I reside in multi functional and pretty.

You see, I do not forsee living in this room in the years to come. I'll be off on my own, making some house my own. However, for the time being it's mine. And for the time being I hate it. My mother hates it.

Most days it looks just like a hodge-podge of things, where my formerly packed up in tidy boxes apartment exploded all over the room in a tizzy of books here, trinkets there, 14 old comforters on the bed and my lamps that used to cover an entire apartment, but now hold court in one tiny corner.

Bit a problem, don't you think?

I sat down to make a list of things I wanted out of the space.
  1. Multi-Functionality: I want this room to transition into a room my mother could use to craft or watch television in when I'm gone.
  2. Organized: Stuff is everywhere in this room, none of it where it should be.

  3. Beautiful: Blame it on the free subscription to Elle Decor, but by God, I want this room to end up beautiful. I like statement pieces, and bright colors.
Things I currently hate about the space include:

This chest of drawers is HIDEOUS. I've been trying for 22 long years to rid of the damn thing, and it hasn't happened yet. But I've vowed to burn it in the backyard in a ritualistic cleansing if someone doesn't find somewhere else for it to be.

I also hate the tv. For obvious reasons I'm thinking small flatscreen.



This is the space behind the door. A cork board from when I was 12 and a book shelf that is overstuffed with only a small portion of my treasures (note to self: STOP BUYING BOOKS). I'm seeing all of this gone and shelves that go from floor to ceiling behind here.

Part of the area where my lamps have gone to die. What isn't wrong about this space? Ancient musical "THING" that nobody uses anymore. A storage thing for all of that crafting I don't do. Oh and a glimpse of the ugly awful desk that takes up space.

Gone. I want all of it gone.

What else do I want?

  • I want aqua/robin's egg blue walls, with purple accents...possibly striped purple/green/blue kind of accents.
  • A giant abstact on canvas with oil. Which I'm going to do myself. Yes, little ol' non crafty me.
  • An old chair which hopefully I can find someone to reupholster for me in some sort of the stripy purple/green/blue fabric that I hope I can find.
  • Curtains made from the same material.
  • New TV.
  • New storage space, IN CLOSET, rather than the chest of drawers.
  • And a long countertop/desk sort of workspace across the wall where the desk and chest are now.

I'm going all trading spaces on my own ass.

Why am I doing this?

  • Something to pass the time while I'm car-less.
  • Insane desire to beautify things.
  • I like to undertake the impossible.
  • I hate that damn chest.

Mostly the last one.

Nothing Prolific

The internet is overwhelming me.

First you had to have a Myspace, then Facebook was the new thing. After which I began a Xanga, only to abandon that for Blogger.

Now there is Twitter and everyone is starting a Tumblr (which is cool and all, but comments...I'm confused by this looking and reading and then not being able to leave comment stuff).

Then of course we have to have a Flickr Account, a Livejournal account if you want to join communities there, Wordpress if you want to register for comments, YouTube wants you to sign up, Vimeo if you want something a little less searchable, CNN wants to you be an iReporter, The New York Times needs your info before you can read.

I'm tired.

Nevermind the 8 THOUSAND E-Mail accounts I can barely keep up with. 2 AOL identities, one for school, another with my ISP, GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo....

So then I'll record every book I've ever read with GoodReads, manage my iTunes account, sign up for an Imeem thing, I'll make a playlist with Project Playlist and if I wasn't done there I'll make a MuxTape.

I don't have anything prolific to say about all of this. I can't decide if it's all advancing us as a society, or rotting our brains out. I can't say I could actually go through with deleting my dozen accounts. I'm simply stating the facts.

The internet is a busy place.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

By the Numbers

$40: Towing your car to the mechanic.

$350: Cost to repair a broken Timing Belt.

$1600: Price of the bent valve repair needed in the engine from the timing belt breaking.

Hearing you'll be trading in the vehicle for a new one: Priceless.