Is it just me, or do you get a secret thrill when you use up a container of bath product?

Shampoo, conditioner, face wash, tooth paste...it's all the same. I anticipate The End for a week. I look forward to it. The sense of accomplishment, the fun of a brand new container, the relief of knowing I don't have to use this particular product again for a while - or the mild anxiety of wondering whether the next one will work as well.  I love the whole experience.  It's strange, but I do.  It doesn't take much to entertain me.

So imagine my frustration when I realized that I am currently using the neverending tube of toothpaste. It's a tube of Aquafresh Extreme Clean and I don't know if i love it or hate it. Clean feeling after using?  Check. Clean feeling lasting quite a while, which gives me jollies?  Check.  But this stuff has a really strong, really 'cold' effect. Which was great back a few months when I opened it - and would probably be great in the summer.  But right now, here in Denver, where the cold tap water is approx. 32.5 degrees, my teeth go into thermal shock every time I brush and then rinse. It's like brushing with a snowball and rinsing with ice water. The sensation is painfully, paralyzingly cold.

But I have been SOCLOSE to finishing this tube that I just stuck with it. Because I'm stubborn like that.

And for a week now, twice a day, I have gleefully thought to myself, 'THIS is the time the tube will run out.' Seriously, I have had my next tube selected and waiting in my drawer for days.  And ever time I go to squeeze, there is more toothpaste in there. It keeps coming. My agony continues. The end may never come.

Have you ever been faced with something that you are desperate to replace but it just won't run out? (Doesn't that make you MAD?)


Christmas Tear-Down

At the church of my youth, the contemporary (and the largest) service was at 9am in a giant multipurpose room called the Center for New Life.  We had church setup and church tear down.  I don't remember when setup happened, but tear down happened at the end of the Sunday service.  Everybody stacked their chairs up in the back, put the hymnals away, moved the communion table (which we mistakenly called the altar) back to its weekday place, etc.  Every week there was a list of families in charge of making it happen.  It was regular - a set thing.  You knew when tear down was supposed to happen.

Not so with Christmas.  Our tree is dried up, our stockings are empty, there are no more presents to open, and I am debating whether I should let it linger, or if I should put everything away and get back to the business of unpacking.  Most years I am all about the lingering and letting Christmas extend way into the new year, but I began feeling the tear down itch first thing Saturday morning and I haven't been able to shake it yet.

How long do you leave your Christmas decorations up?


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my friends who celebrate!

Please enjoy this view of our supremely crooked tree.


daily drop cap

Do you know about the Daily Drop Cap blog?  If not, you're in for a treat. The blog itself has a pretty useful intro, so I'm pulling this description from there rather than reinvent this particular wheel:  The Daily Drop Cap is an ongoing project by typographer and illustrator Jessica Hische. Each day (or at least each WORK day), a new hand-crafted decorative initial cap will be posted for your enjoyment and for the beautification of blog posts everywhere. 

Jessica's letters are so much fun to look at. They lend themselves to all kinds of ideas for home decorating, gifts, and even blog redesigns! There's a pretty good chance that a letter or two of hers might end up in my home, framed as artwork.  She's gone through the alphabet more than once, so there is fun to be had over and over again.

If you're into typography, design, or letters in general, go have a look here.  You won't regret it.


some errands, some bread, and a little bit of word association

I don't know about you, but I've got a huge list of errands to run today.  My list holds 8 stops.  There's your standard issue trip to the grocery store and the post office, some returns to make, some ballet tickets to pick up, AND...a trip to the library to pick up my rental copy of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes.  I'm pretty stoked about that last one.  Honestly though, I don't know if I'm going to make it through the whole list.  Do you ever have errand days wherein you have given up before you even head out? 

I tried my hand at baking some high altitude challah yesterday, and while it turned out much better than my last attempt at making challah (no pictures survived either incident) it's still not quite right.  I think maybe I'm not letting the dough rise long enough.  I'm going to play around with a few other yeasty breads (helloooooo dinner rolls) before I try another serious loaf, and maybe I'll get the hang of it before long.  And with the artisan bread book heading my way, I'm pretty hopeful that homemade bread will become a regular thing in this here household.

And now for a quick meme....I say/you think (or should it be you say/I think?)

1. Taxman :: Obama
2. Material :: quilts
3. Format :: Word doc
4. File cabinet :: Bills
5. Ignore :: dont!
6. Super! :: crappy
7. Fireproof :: Kirk (Cameron)
8. Blockbuster :: online
9. Snooper :: Snoopy
10. Good will ::shopping

What are YOU up to today, my friends?


Advent Wreath on the Mantle

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

Growing up, I kind of missed the whole Advent boat. I didn't learn much about it at church and I didn't learn much about it at home.  Advent was, in my eyes, church lingo for 'the Christmas season.'  In recent conversations, I've learned that a lot of churches fail when it comes to teaching about Advent.  If you missed that one Sunday school lesson or that Bible study night, you're in the dark.  We light these random candles up by the communion table (not the altar, as so many people call it) or on the chancel (maybe it's a pulpit to you) and read some stuff and then get on with the service.

In the past couple of years, my attention has been turned to Advent and learning what it's all about.  I get the hope/peace/joy/love thing now, the quietly preparing our hearts for the arrival of the Savior thing.  Advent has added a whole new dimension to my experience of Christmas.

For a couple of years now, I've wanted to make an Advent wreath. As an Advent 'novice,' I thought there was a specific way to make a wreath...in other words, a right way or a wrong way.  I thought it needed to be round. I thought there had to be greenery. I thought you had to have the right colored candles or else your Advent wreath wasn't really an Advent wreath. I just didn't know any better.  So I bought a foam ring, but the process stopped there.  Because I don't know how to build an advent wreath from a foam circle.  As Advent arrived this year, I sighed and thought about how maybe by next year I will have figured it out.

And then I read this post by Rachel from Small Notebook.  And I realized that an Advent wreath is really just 5 candles, with one taller or bigger or otherwise distinguished from the rest.  There aren't really rules to follow.  There isn't a wrong way to celebrate Advent.

It's amazing how bound up we can be without even realizing it. There is so much freedom to be had when we lose the fear of doing something incorrectly. Flylady has so much to say on this very topic (and for those of you who are struggling with feeling overwhelmed, I encourage you to check out Flylady. She has changed my life, for the better).

I went to my candle/vase shelf in my linen closet (I have a linen closet now!!) and pulled out five candle holders - four little red ones I'd just picked up from Pier 1 on the clearance shelf as a whim, and a red-and-gold cut glass one my mom gave me a few years ago.  Up they went on the mantle.

And now we have an Advent wreath.


christmas doesn't look as good this year

I spent most of yesterday wrapping up and boxing all our Christmas gifts for family back east.  I am looking forward to what might become my new Christmas tradition:  setting up a wrapping station in front of the TV, munching on a giant Hershey bar and watching soap operas.

I have always liked wrapping gifts and coming up with a new way to do it.  This year, my plan was to make fabric gift bags for everything.  And then, I got sick.

SICK.  ugh.  During one of the more inconvenient weeks of the year.  I'd had big plans for this week that's wrapping up right about now: finish unpacking the living room, finish decorating the apartment for Christmas, finish Christmas shopping (that was supposed to be this past weekend) and then pack everything up, including making all the gift bags and stamping our 80 Christmas cards, with PLENTY of time to get everything to all the right places before the big day without having to pay an arm and a leg in shipping.

Well, most of that didn't happen.  And saddest of all: I couldn't find my supplies for a backup wrapping job, since there was no way I would make it to the fabric store, unearth the sewing machine, and get all the sewing and wrapping and packing and shipping done in the brief window of feeling like a human that I had yesterday.  My backup plan?  Wrap everything in brown paper, tie with twine, and hand-stamp the receiver's name on the package.  Cute and old-timey and coherent.

Except I couldn't find my twine.  Or my stamps.  (They are probably not unpacked yet.)  Not even my emergency jingle bell stash!!  And I had like 2 hours to get it all done.  No time for trips to the store or anything.

So this year, everybody's presents from Brian and Ashley are wrapped in brown package paper and written on with silver Sharpie.

I make Christmas ugly.

I do take solace in the fact that they will be arriving on time, however.  That counts for something, right?  Even though the wrapped gifts are a bit of an eyesore?


booking through thursday

Another edition of Booking Through Thursday!

btt button
Suggested by Tammy:
What items have you ever used as a bookmark? What is the most unusual item you’ve ever used or seen used?

My bookmarks are pretty normal I guess. When I was little, I would ONLY use a bookmark.  Or I would just remember what page number I'd last read, and open to that page.  In college, I went through a phase for a long time wherein I didn't buy any bookmarks.  I would either fold corners down or use whatever scrap of paper I could find.  You know, the usual: index cards, post-its, fliers.  Mostly, though, since I went to a crap load of sporting events in college, I used game tickets as bookmarks.  I would occasionally fold corners, but it didn't often happen that I didn't have a scrap.

I have since begun to buy bookmarks as souvenirs when I go to really special places. I only have a couple right now - one from St. Louis, when I was there for the 2005 Final Four.  I bought it down in the dungeon of the arch, and it's a spiffy magnetic kind.  I also picked up a nice leather one from the Library of Congress in Washington DC when Brian and I visited there with a couple of friends.  We had barely any money at all, and the bookmark was $2.

In keeping with the ticket theme, I now keep tickets from special games or events and use them from time to time.  

Brian, the third generation librarian, has effectively broken me of the corner-folding habit...for the most part.  I will fold corners in certain books I know I'll use for reference.  I'd rather do that than have a million little scraps poking out and whatnot, but I will now go to almost any effort to find a bookmark alternative to corner folds.

(Incidentally, Brian won't fold corners but he WILL write in the margins.  I'm not sure what the difference is.  Maybe he will enlighten us with an explanatory comment.)

How about you?  Play along here.


Book Review: Summer at Tiffany


I just read the greatest book.  It's called Summer at Tiffany.

Ok so maybe it's not the greatest book, but I sure enjoyed it.

It's the story of two college friends from Iowa who spend the summer of 1945 working at Tiffany.  Or, as people today might know it, Tiffany's or Tiffany & Co.

It's a fantastic true story about two college friends who move to New York City for the summer, planning to land a fabulous job at a large well-known store on 5th Avenue.  Things don't go exactly to plan, and their big job lead turns up nothing. So what do they do?  Hop back on the bus until they come to Tiffany. They march in and ask for jobs, right there on the spot. A few days later, they find themselves as the first women on the sales floor that Tiffany has ever hired. They work as pages - taking packages from the floors to the repair room, and from the repair room to the sales floors.  Set against the backdrop of the end of World War II, the story is a fun look at the Big Apple through the eyes of a good small-town girl and her friend.

So to all my friends out there who are really into charming stories and the cute life in general - see if your library has this book.


TBR Challenge

For the year 2010, I am signing up for the TBR challenge.  Here are the details, and my list will follow:

** Pick 12 books – one for each month of the year - that you’ve been wanting to read (that have been on your “TBRead” list) for 6 months or longer, but haven’t gotten around to.
** OPTIONAL: Create a list of 12 “Alternates” (books you could substitute for your challenge books, given that a particular one doesn’t grab you at the time)
** Then, starting January 1, read one of these books from your list each month, ending December 31. )
By the end of the year you should’ve knocked 12 books off of your TBR list! (of course, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have added *at LEAST* 12 more to the ever-growing pile by then! LOL).
The good news is, though, that you’ll be making some progress! ;o)
Additional rules/guidelines for this challenge:
* the challenge is to read 12 TBR books in 12 months — you can read those all in one month if you want, or one a month, or however you wanna do it.
* you should have a list posted somewhere for others to see
you CANNOT change your list after January 1st, of the current year!!!
* you can create an Alternates list of MAXIMUM 12 books, if you want, in order to have options to choose from (you can read these in place of books on your original list).
* audiobooks and e-books ARE allowed
* re-reads are NOT allowed, as they aren’t TRUE “TBRs”
* you CAN overlap with other challenges
* OPTIONAL: you can join the Yahoo! Group created for participants of the TBR Challenge, if you want to have a place to keep your list, or just to share with others about how you’re doing!

So, here's my list of 24 books - the 12 main and the 12 alternates:
1. blue like jazz
2. love as a way of life
3. how to speak dog
4. born to kvetch
5. the well-educated mind
6. why (by anne graham lotz)
7. a concise history of the russian revolution
8. cleopatra's daughter
9. the other end of the leash
10. the way of a pilgrim
11. between god and man 
12. slow is beautiful
and alternates:
1. metaphors we live by
2. the excellent wife
3. andrew carnegie
4. father melancholy's daughter
5. i isaac take thee rebekah
6. the unlikely disciple
7. the man who loved books too much
8. ellen foster
9. after dark
10. the life of lou gehrig
11. sink reflections
12. something by Bonhoeffer

Anything look interesting to you?  What would you put on your list?  Did I miss something good?


a post about snow

Holy white stuff, Batman!

As is to be suspected, it is snowing again here in Colorado.  Twice in 2 weeks!  My feeble southern snow-loving mind might explode.  Other pertinent details include: the forecast predicted that it would 'snow for two days.'

Did you see that?  SNOW for TWO DAYS!  Not like two hours, or two seconds like I'm used to seeing.

Eli has experienced a couple of snowfalls in his young life.  While it can't be determined whether he actually likes the stuff, he certainly tolerates it pretty well and he's been known to brave snowfall deeper than he is tall, which is pretty cute. He is not so much interested in temperatures in the teens, or lower.

Rory LOVES snow.  More specifically, she loves to eat it.  She does NOT love to potty on it, which has proven a challenge for me, the potty break enforcer.

All in all, we love snow.  Good thing, since we moved to the mountains, right?


This just in from a little while ago in basketball news

NCAA mens basketball referees call fewer fouls on the home team.

And they try to keep foul counts relatively even (though this is, in most cases, subconscious).

Read more here.

What the article doesn't mention is the well-known fact that ACC refs are firmly implanted in dook's pockets.  Who's gonna write THAT story?



Eli non-update

It's 7pm. I was supposed to hear something between 6 and 630 and there's been no call.

I haven't quite decided how much to panic, but I've already cried and calmed down three times.  So...there's that.

I am so worried for my little buddy.


Nerves for Eli

Hi guys.  I could use a little bit of support today.  Eli is going in for his first (and hopefully last) dental procedure today.  This will involve anesthesia, which makes me very very nervous.

I could use some warm thoughts and encouragement today.  Hopefully I'll have him home again by 4pm this afternoon.  And hopefully he'll still have all his teeth.  I'll post a report later today, if my nerves haven't defeated me by then.

Here's a little cuteness for you to focus on today:




Raw what?

One of my favorite blogs is Casual Kitchen.  This blog appeals to a big range of people, I'm sure, but my personal interest comes from a place of not really caring about food and nutrition but feeling like maybe I should care.  Daniel's tag line is Cook More. Think More. Spend Less.  And he delivers.  He makes it easy for me to get a little bit interested in cooking and nutrition.

I was really struck a couple of weeks ago when he posted a 7-day series on a raw food diet trial.  Raw food might be briefly summed up as food that isn't cooked - isn't dead, some say.  It doesn't appeal to me as a lifestyle at all (I heart me some bread and cheese and chocolate, thankyouverymuch) but I think I could take a few pages from the Raw Foods book.

So what Daniel did is eat a raw food diet for 7 days, and then each day he posted what/when he ate and included notes from the day.  You can see the full archive here.  Seriously, check it out.

Sounds boring, right?  WRONG.  I thought I would end up skipping this series of his, but it was actually fascinating to see what exactly constitutes a raw food breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Who knew soaked and sprouted wheat berries could be awesome?

I might actually give them a try.

Once I find my magic bullet, that is....


a big announcement from the western homefront

After nearly a week of alternating between panic attacks and extreme excitement, I am ready to announce that there is a new member of the westernmost (as far as I know) contingent of the Gainer/Daoust/Shultz/Bowden families.

Her name is Aurora, but she goes by Rory.  She is a beautiful three-month-old brown package of piddle border collie and I am investing in a Bissell Spot Shot very very soon to save the carpet.  When we brought her home, she was about the same size as Eli, but a little taller and with a bigger head.  She outgrew him overnight.  She still looks like a stuffed animal, though.

Her name, Aurora, comes from a town in the Denver Metro area, where we will probably be spending a lot of our time since our Denver neighborhood shares a border with Aurora.  She is not named after Rory Gilmore.

(Brian didn't go for my suggestion that we name her Aurora Borealis and call her Rory-Bory.)   (Sometimes I call her Rory-Bory anyway.) (UPDATE: Brian came around.)


happy birthday boy

I would like to take this opportunity to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and readers.  (And if you're a reader but not a friend, let's fix that!)  We are spending the holiday with another couple from church - a retired minister and his wife, as well as a couple other guests of theirs.  We are having turkey and pie - and as best I can tell, nothing else.  AWESOME.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish my super secret spy husband a very happy birthday.  For super secret spy reasons, I won't say exactly when his birthday is, but it's always around Thanksgiving, so there you go.  Happy birthday, love.  You are still my favorite, and I'm grateful for another year with you.


emergency knitting

Knitterly fans of Gilmore Girls might remember the episode of the knit-a-thon to save the bridge in Stars Hollow.  Lorelei wore a (totally rad) Knit Or Die shirt.  I recently had a Knit Or Die moment, myself.

It'd been weeks - WEEKS - since I'd been able to do any real crafting, any knitting or sewing whatsoever.  And after spending a week-plus with nothing but boxes and an ornery papillon to keep me company, I had a moment of desperation.  I needed to knit, and I needed to knit right then.

So did I turn to the pillows I've been working on since June, for a friend?  Even though they are entirely done and only need a pillow form and some seaming?  No.  Did I turn to the two pairs of socks for a different friend, a bartering agreement in which she bought me two football tickets in exchange for two pairs of socks?  No.

I needed something easy, and I needed something mindless.  It was time for a dish rag.  Here's an early progress shot:

This is my first time using a grand old dishrag pattern.  It's called Grandmother's Favorite (Ravelry Link) and I'm pretty sure it's been a dishrag standard for eons.  The yarn is a Japanese yarn that our cousins, currently stationed in Okinawa, sent me many moons ago - as best I can tell from the label, it's acrylic and has antibacterial properties.  I call the colorway 'fabulously orange.' I came across it today while unpacking, and I decided that it was time.

I consider knitting a part of my homemaking.  If I'm not knitting something for sale, I am knitting something to be used or to be given as a gift.  I used to feel guilty when ignoring the giant to-do list in lieu of some knitting, but not anymore.  I like to think of it as growth.

What do you do when you need a break from the world for a little while?


lisa leonard

Almost as soon as I started reading blogs, I read about Lisa Leonard.  Seriously, this lady has fans all over the place.  She does customized silver jewelry and other stuff.  Her work is simple, unique and really just plain cute.

I haven't yet had the disposable income pleasure of owning one of her pieces, but there's somebody I've had my eye on for a while now.  It's called the Sweetheart Tree pendant, and I love it.  You can see it here. There's just something about it.  Brian and I, we aren't really monogram or crest people, but we might be initials-carved-in-a-tree people.  A little whimsical, a little old-school, a little childish youthful.

In the past few months, a number of Lisa Leonard giveaways have popped up in the blog circles I read, and I thought I would share a recent one with you, brought by SimpleMom.  SimpleMom is one of my favorite blogs, even though I'm not a mom, and I am happy to point any and all of you in that direction.

You can read more about SimpleMom, Lisa Leonard's designs and the giveaway here.



Where I come from, we pronounce the word 'style' as something more like 'stah-ll.'  Incidentally, as a newly minted Westerner, I am becoming even more familiar with my own southern accent.

And as a newly minted housewife, I am becoming dreadfully familiar with my distinct lack of personal style.  In the process of setting up a new home, I am somewhere between unpacking and arranging - not quite to the decorating stage, but a lot of stuff is out of boxes and looking for its home.  In my last home, this intimidated and depressed me - something that can somewhat be attributed to a weird, crippling insecurity and somewhat attributed to mental and physical exhaustion.  In my new home, I am in a much better state of mind and of life in general.  And while the transition from worker bee to happy housewife has required an adjusting period for sure, I am much less anxious about the decorating efforts that I know are soon on the horizon.  (I like to think of this as progress!)

So with the recent advent of internet access in my apartment, I did some catching up in the blogosphere, and I was stoked to find out about Ethan Allen's online style quiz, meant to pinpiont your personal style from one of several overarching genres.

My result is Villa.  Ethan Allen describes Villa as the following:

Villa is romance reinvented. A high-end “decorator” look. Refined without fuss. Serene yet strong. Pedigreed while also modern. Inspired by French and Scandinavian design. A mingling of carved woods. handcrafted artisanship, and the dressmaker detail.

Some of this is accurate, but some I'm not so sure about.  Wood and handcrafted artisanship, yes please!  Scandinavian design is fine in small doses, but the frilly florally French romance, not so much (I would peg myself as being more 'world' or 'global' in this aspect).  And I don't know what to make of 'dressmaker detail' although given my appreciation for little details, I'm guessing this is accurate.

Did you take the quiz?  What do you make of your style - does it fit into one of Ethan Allen's categories, or are you somewhere else entirely?



So you mean the 'hiatus' post I wrote never went live?

Ooops... sorry guys :)

WELL.  Let's recap the past few weeks:

My husband finished his seminary education back in August.  A couple of weeks later, he was offered a job in Denver, Colorado.

I spent much of September and most of October trying not to hyperventilate, on account of the moving across country at precisely the exact same time that my responsibilities at work were kicked into high gear.  All the work events and whatnot went really well and I did not, as anticipated, stroke out at any point.

On November 1, Brian was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA).  I fondly remember this day as the day he proved a few less-than-stellar personalities in the seminary realm WRONG, COMPLETELY WRONG YOU JOKERS WHO SAID HE WOULDN'T MAKE IT, AN ACCUSATION BASED PRIMARILY ON THE FACT THAT HE DIDN'T KISS YOUR BEHIND AND CRADLE IT IN FLUFFY DOWN PILLOWS AND HANDSPUN SILK IMPORTED FROM ...WHEREVER SILK IS MADE.  jerks.  [end rant]

Packers came on Thursday, Nov. 5, and loaded all our crap personal belongings into boxes.  Movers came on Friday the 6th, which was coincidentally my last day of work (I KNOW.  Take a freaking break, Ashley.).  And while the preceding couple of weeks had been very bitter-sweet (or bitter-exciting as I liked to say) Friday was mostly comprised of Bitter.  I worked until closing time, got one last meal in what had become my beloved hometown with Brian and Kyle (aka my best-guy-friend), and set to work cleaning the house.  Which had become very dirty as I had not really done any cleaning in it in the previous 2 or 3 months.  On account of all the other stuff going on, and a mild bout of some kind of gastrointestinal awfulness.

Related aside/shout out: my super-awesome boss friend and her teenage daughter came to help out.  They were life-savers.  Brian also roused some troops to come help clear out the millions of boxes from the attic - something that would have taken us hours.  (Boxes, you ask?  Well...knowing we would probably be moving in the year after Brian finished school, we saved every box that came across our threshold in the 2 years we'd been married.  We had many boxes.  Many.  Boxes.  And then that blessed institution, the church that hired Brian, sprang for packers and movers, so we didn't need any of them.)

Our greatest fear was confirmed that day, as well.  Our air mattress is no longer with us.  I have been racking my brain trying to figure out where it could have gone, and the last thing I can remember is taking it to Delaware for my brother's wedding.  I'm hoping it's floating around my mom's house somewhere, although she assures me it is not.  So we spent the night at my boss friend's house. And it was exactly what I needed.  Too busy and too many people for me to get caught up in emotional hoo-hah and bawl everywhere, but relaxed and hospitable enough that I could sit back and be emotional anyway.  Without the blubbering.

Saturday morning, we got into our overstuffed car and left.  It didn't take Eli too long to borrow himself a tunnel nearly to the back of the car.  That dog has an awful lot of funny packed in his under-8-lbs frame.

I think we were about half an hour on the road when we realized that we'd left everything in the fridge and freezer.  And even if we wanted to turn around, it would do us no good as we were effectively locked out of the house.  I am STILL kicking myself about the 3/4 bottle of wine from our friend Melissa that I planned on enjoying in my first week(s) as a housewife.  It's from Duplin County!!  Extreme sadness.  I hope my landlord enjoys it.

So that's it.  We made it.  We're here, all our crap personal belongings are here, and everyone seems to be settling into his/her/its place.

Actually, if I'm completely honest, in the battle between Ashley and The Boxes, I think The Boxes are winning.  Updates as warranted.  Unless I get stuck in a corner.  (Again.)


literary affairs

I recently finished my second novel in 4 months in which the protagonist has an affair. In both cases, the protagonist is a middle-aged woman who has been married a while and feels stale.  She embarks on a new journey - goes home, gets a new job, whatever - and there, she meets someone.  There's instant mutual attraction, blah blah blah.  She shakes off her guilt and is madly in love with her new guy.  They start to envision a future together.  And THEN, he says something weird or she learns something important about her past, and she reverts back to being happy with her husband.

These books make me really angry.  I shake my finger at these women and urge them not to be so carefree about tossing their marriages aside.  Marriage as a commitment and a way of life and I care about my own marriage too much to be 'moved' or even entertained by a story about someone being careless with hers.

I guess you could say I'm too married.

What kinds of books do you avoid because they rile you up too much?


Weekend recap and Monday-Monday

Big things are happening at home.  This past weekend, Brian was ordained.  It's official - he is a Minister of Word and Sacrament, and more concern-worthy, I am a Minister's Wife.  I should probably take a moment to go through all my archives and remove every instance of the word 'hell' (all what, three of them?) - just in case.

After a nice dinner with Julia - the last NC friend on my list to see before we left - I drove down to Concord, NC to be with Brian and his family.  Brian had left for Colorado more than two weeks earlier, so it was a happy reunion.  Saturday was an early Thanksgiving meal with Brian's family and some very close family friends, topped off with a round of trick-or-treaters at the door.  Sunday, of course, had Brian's ordination.  We got in late last night and the general mood was one of contentedness and complete exhaustion.  Brian has a lot of things to do to get us ready to move, and I have made him several lists to help him - because that's what any good Minister's Wife would do.  Also, my mom came up last week and made a bunch of freezer meals for us, so we don't have to think about food.  Thanks, ma!

This will be my last Monday at work.  I think I am mostly done being sad about leaving - or at the very least, I am more excited than sad at this point.  I had a real cryfest last week and I've been focused on the mechanics of moving, ever since. 

Richmond, I love you, and I am sad to be leaving you.  Denver, you'd better be ready to step up.

We have begun the days-away countdown.  Five days.  I've thought about installing one of those little count down thingers on the blog, but who has the time to research those?


Lou Gehrig on night baseball

The job I have right now - for the next couple of weeks, at least - sometimes inspires me to delve into information about Lou Gehrig.  (It's Gehrig, not Gherig, by the way.)

Many months ago, I came across a fun interview that Lou did with a guy named Dwight Merriam, of KROC.  They talked about all kinds of basebally subjects, but this one comment on night baseball games struck me as odd in a funny kind of way. There was a shift in the days of the Great Depression from baseball games being played in the daytime to being played at night, made possible by electricity and made necessary by dwindling spectatorship.  Playing at night meant that folks who worked during the day could come to the evening games, and ticket sales were (as always) important.  The first night baseball game was played in 1935, but it didn't really take off until after the war.  The Chicaco Cubs were the lone daytime holdout for decades, and they didn't install lights at Wrigley until 1988.

While fans seemed to take to night baseball pretty quickly, a lot of the people IN baseball didn't like the change.  As a self-professed analog person in a digital world, I totally 'get' an innate resistance to change brought on by technology, and some of the major arguments from 80 years ago are tinged with quaint antique notions.  For example, one major worry was that players would have a hard time shifting betweein lighting conditions and that there would be more injuries during night games (per this site).

Want to know what Lou Gehrig thought?  Read this excerpt from that 1939 interview, and keep in mind that Gehrig and the Yankees lost their first night game, in Philadelphia, prior to this interview.  (Note: I've put my favorite comment in bold.)

Dwight Merriam, KROC: Lou, what's your opinion of night baseball?

Lou Gehrig: Well, night baseball is strictly a show and is strictly advantageous to the owners' pocketbook. But as far as being a true exhibition of baseball, well, I don't think I can say it is, and it's very difficult on the ballplayers themselves. Of course, we realize that the men who work in the daytime like to get out at night and really see a spectacle, and we do all in our power to give them their money's worth. But after all, it's not really baseball. Real baseball should be played in the daytime, in the sunshine.

 I love baseball.  I don't really 'follow' it, I don't know many players and I can only tell you the Phillies won the world series last year because one of my best friends is a hardcore fan.  It was a long time before I'd return to a stadium or even watch a game after the big players strick in the 90s.  But I sure do love going to stadiums, especially major league stadiums, and it doesn't take much for me to get caught up in the traditions of our national pastime.


only for you, Bill

In my job, I deal with lots of people, including people who are not necessarily tech savvy.  This can sometime cause a flurry of small problems, as one of our major fundraising events centers around heavy use of a website.

I have one one fundraising team captain who is not really interested in messing around with the website.  He's from an older generation and isn't as comfortable with the ins and outs as we youngsters are.  He's also not quite sure yet how much to trust the internet, and in particular, how much to trust credit card transactions over the internet.  He is the nicest man, though, diligent and really dedicated to the cause.

He got in touch with me the other day, asking me if it would be ok if he could call me today and give me his credit card information to process a donation.

I said, For you Bill, I would, and gladly.

Ok I didn't actually say that, but how suave would that have been?

What's the most charming thing you've said to somebody?


feelin' right this time of year

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

–Emily Brontë (1818–48)


the road trip with no predetermined destination, revisited

So I have road trips on the brain.  Back a while ago, I mentioned that I would like to go on a road trip with no predetermined destination, with the caveat that I did want to have some kind of ultimate goal or at least idea of a goal in mind for somewhere on down the line.

Brian said this made him sad, because there IS a predetermined destination. My thought was, yes ultimately you're aiming for somewhere, but that doesn't mean you have to go STRAIGHT there, hence it's an unplanned road trip! Same thing, right?

Brian said that you're supposed to just go and 'see where the road takes you.' I have no idea what that means.

No. Seriously. The concept is unfathomable. How do you decide where to turn?

Apparently, I have nary a spontaneous bone in my body.

How do you decide where to turn, when you're on a spontaneous road trip to who-knows-where?


the video of Anne Frank

I saw on CBS.com (and a number of other blogs) that footage of Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager who died at the hands of the Nazis and whose diary has been published and read by many, has recently been discovered.  In the video, a neighbor of Anne's is leaving to go to a wedding.  Anne is looking out her window.  It's easy to recognize her shadowed eyes and dark hair.

You can see the video here.

Of course, I got lost in a timesuck of watching Anne Frank videos and reading about her life, her family, and her legacy.  I read the Diary of Anne Frank when I was around her age, and I remember feeling so sad.  I could relate to her in many ways, but there were other things in her life that I had no way of comprehending.  Heady, heady stuff for a young teenager.  I probably would have had a breakdown in her situation.  As I often remind Brian, I have little, if any, survival instinct and I might not fare well in a do-or-die situation.

Heady, heady stuff for a Tuesday.


I think I forgot to mention ...

... that we are moving!

Yes, we are relocating.  To a completely different and new-to-us part of the country.  Many hundreds of miles away from family.

We leave in 3.5 weeks.

THREE POINT FIVE WEEKS we are leaving Richmond and driving to Denver.  And I have only had 2 breakdowns (that I can remember).  (and one of those was really small.)

I love Richmond, and I am really really sad to be leaving it.  I love my job, I love my neighborhood, I love this town.  But I also love snow, and I love major league baseball, and I love my husband.  There is some sadness in leaving Richmond, but there is much joy in going to Denver.  It means Brian is finally going to live his calling.  It means we will have a fresh start in a new place, just us, together, everything as 'we' or 'us' or 'our.'

This is a new chapter in my story, in his story, in OUR story.  This will be a major dividing point - we'll have Before Denver, which is a nebulous mis-mash of Ashley's life and Brian's life and Brian and Ashley's life together, and we'll have After We Moved To Denver, which will be wholly ours.

You know what else this means?  ROAD TRIP!!

Anybody have any tips on road tripping with a papillon?


Water - it's important, y'all

It's amazing how big of a difference water makes in day-to-day physical function.  I have often sat in a slump at 2pm, wondering why I can't seem to focus my eyes or concentrate on anything, only to realize that I had not yet taken a single sip of water that day.

Granted, I'll have a piece or two of fruit most days for breakfast, which is a good step toward proper hydration. But there's nothing like dehydration to get me permanently sidetracked in a sorry slump.  One or two cups is enough to revive me, but it's sometimes an effort to get a full 8 cups throughout the day.  Generally, if I don't get it all in while I'm at work, I don't get it all in.

I urge you to learn your body's signs of dehydration.  For me, I lose the ability to concentrate.  I will 'come-to' with my head to the side, staring at my computer screen, with no memory of how the previous moments passed.  Also, the back of my tongue will feel dry.  If it's REALLY bad, I'll get a slight headache above my eyebrows and find any movement to require more effort than usual (read: I get clumsy).

How do you know when you're dehydrated?  What are your symptoms?

Photo by Nico van der Merwe, from here.


Manic Monday #185

It's Monday!  And that means it's time for another Manic Monday post.  This week's MM is coming up in the evening, for a change of pace.  At least, that's what I'm going to pose this late post as.  Here goes!  And of course, please play along here.

What word describes you best?

ooooh..just one word?  I'd really like to do some kind of deep philosophical cop-out and say something like 'myself' - but that's lame.  I think one word that describes me well, if not best, is actually introverted.  I am really introverted, and this is a major driving force behind what matters to me, and in a large part it shapes who I am.  Because I'm introverted, I want to be home a lot, and because I spend a lot of time at home, I want my home to be a nice, warm, welcoming, interesting place.  Because I'm introverted, I limit the number of people I spend time with, and the friendships I do have are really meaningful to me.  To pass the time, I might knit or sew or write or read - solo, quiet activities.  I have an interest in photography - always looking and observing, less inclined to be a part of the action and more inclined to watch the action and enjoy it from my own perspective.  You know, that kind of thing.

What drives you every day?

A 2001 Toyota Highlander.
Jokes aside, I don't know.  I love my job, I like getting up in the morning and going to work.  But career isn't what drives me.  I don't know what drives me, really.  Just a resolute understanding that no matter what, this is life and life goes on.

Where do you want to retire?

 Oh!  I know this one!  Hawaii! 
Or maybe Alaska!!
Or maybe a yurt in New Mexico!
Or a house boat!
Or a beach house on the rocky Maine coast!

oooh...I don't know. 

How about you?


365 photo challenges

I'm thinking about doing a 365 photo challenge - maybe this one with Blissfully Domestic.

This challenge is pretty simple - commit to taking at least one photo every day for a full year.  In some of them, you put them on a blog.  Some you tag in a group like Flickr.  Some have a topic, like a color or a subject (the self-portrait one comes to mind). And I'm sure some people just do it, without rules or public disclosure.

I've thought about doing one starting in the days before our big move - say, Nov. 1, 2009 - Oct. 31, 2010.  I think it might be fun to have the first year of our new life out west documented.  

Have you ever done a 365 challenge?  If so, would you recommend it?  What did you do with all your photos when your year is over?


real and true happiness

One of the things about my husband that I find most endearing is his affinity for glass-bottled Cokes. I've always been a Coke girl myself, so we were a natural fit.

Cokes usually come in 8 oz glass bottles - the 12 oz variety doesn't seem to be made anymore. Even the bottles go for 'big money' - $4 or $10 at antique shops.

So when we were shopping at the Evil Empire the other day, we were thrilled to find that there was an entire palette of 6-pack 12 oz glass bottle Cokes. We picked some up, naturally, and have been enjoying their presence in our fridge, and our tummies, all weekend.

The only real hitch with these guys is that the caps are plastic, not metal. Some would consider this great, for the same reason that any resealable cap is great. And hey, they may become our new water bottles until we can make the move to aluminum or stainless steel bottles. But really, there's something a little odd about twisting a contemporary plastic cap off an old-fashioned bottle. This certainly won't stop us from making the most of our newly acquired "happiness in a bottle!!"

And as a side note: if you're into the nostalgia that Coke brings up, I'd recommend you check out the Coca-Cola store website. They have some super rad stuff.


Funday Monday

Today my workplace is hosting what has come to be known as Funday Monday. I am looking forward to the event - there are still a couple of folks I haven't met yet. There will be food, games, and general goodness running around this wooded park. And it will be the first time I will witness anything close to the whole staff coming together. What's not to love?

Besides the 2 hour commute each way, I mean.

And I, in true and typical girl fashion, can't figure out what to wear. I'm not supposed to wear jeans, according to my chiropractor, because they are too tight across the hips and will exacerbate my hip problem. But what else do I have that's appropriate to wear to a work function involving running around in a city park?

I have yet to figure this out. And I leave in an hour.


a little marriage advice

Last night I somehow stumbled upon my new favorite blog. And as I was paging through some of the recent archives, something called out to me.

At the risk of sharing too much information, I am a newlywed (by my own standards). We haven't quite been married 2 years yet. And while I love my husband very much (VERY much! extraordinarily much! i-don't-sleep-enough-some-nights-because-i'm-caught-up-in-gazing-at-him much!) our young marriage has not exactly been pure bliss. (That's what happens when you combine two passionate people, one of whom will go to excessively great lengths to ignore every problem no matter what and the other of whom feels the obsessive compulsion to deal with every single problem no matter how minute and get it dealt with and resolved.) (You can guess who is which.)

This blog currently is nothing but a collection of marriage advice from ...folks, I don't know where they come from - friends of the blog author, I guess, solicited to fill in the holes while she's on her email. And some of the advice is hokey (always go on adventures!) but some of it is really meaningful. Which brings me (back) to something that spoke to me.

In this entry, Anna Bond writes a quote that a friend had told her: "Love your other how they need to be loved, not how you need to be loved." This is something touched on in things like Gary Chapman's the Five Love Languages and in any number of sources for good sex advice. But really, that's it right there. That's IT.

The times when I get the most angry or frustrated with Brian are those when he is not loving me the way I need to be loved. I can only assume he feels the same way when the roles are reversed. Do I know how he needs to be loved? And do I know how to show that to him? If I'm honest...no, I don't really know how he needs to be loved. And that's hard to acknowledge, or accept. I am learning, yes, but relating to him his way, and on his level, is certainly not easy right now.

When we're in the midst of conflict, doesn't come naturally, and I can't read his mind.

I could say the same for him. I get so caught up in the martyrdom of 'he KNOWS I don't like this or I need that' that I lose sight of what he needs and how I can be or do that for him. I am not responsible for his actions and inactions - only mine. And mine need to be centered around him - the same way he needs to be focused on what I need instead of what I'm not doing for him, especially when we are arguing.

Talk about a reality check and a swift kick in the pants.


how now

Unless you live under an even bigger rock than the one I live under, you know that the US Open is going on. (What you might not know is that Roger Federer can play tennis so well that he can hit a ball, back to the net, between his legs, and it will go back over the net just out of his opponent's reach.)

And the US Open, as you may or may not know, is aired on CBS. Or CBSHD if you're high-tech. Which we are not (yet).

You know what else is aired on CBS - at least for the next week? Guiding Light. The longest-running television show in history. (72 years.) CBS canceled the show back in April, and its last episode airs this Friday. I've been watching GL since the latter part of 2005, when I was stuck in my old room at my mom's house, with a head injury that prevented me from reading and left me with radio or TV for entertainment, and all but maybe 2 of my friends had just moved away (graduation and all). I happened upon GL during a pretty interesting young-people story line, and my viewership stuck. I've been pretty bummed that the show is canceled, like many people.

So when I heard that 60 Minutes was airing some kind of special on GL, I decided to tune in. Except the US Open was still going on, and 60M was being bumped back.

It was while I was waiting for one irrelevant subject of great passion to wrap up so that I could watch a special on another irrelevant subject of great passion being wrapped up that I remembered that, despite a lifetime of tennis-watching and even playing, I still do not know how the sport is scored (sorry mom). I've got game-set-match down, and I know that 'love' means zero, and at some point or other, to win you have to have two more of something than the other guy does. End of tennis knowledge storehouse.

So after offering this new insight to my husband for his greater enlightenment, I proceeded to Google to educate myself. I typed in the word 'how' (as in 'how tennis is scored') and some Google suggestions popped up. Would you like to know what Google suggests for search terms beginning with the word HOW?

I knew you would. Maybe you'll see the funny correlation among the top 5.

Here we go:

HOW to tie a tie
HOW i met your mother
HOW to kiss
HOW to get pregnant
HOW stuff works
HOW to
HOWard University
HOW to lose weight
HOWard Hanna
HOW to make a website


Some books I read recently and liked

I've been doing some reading lately, and I thought that in lieu of writing a slew of book reviews (for now), I would post a list. You can find links to all of these titles to your right.

Here if you need me - This is something of a memoir by a game warden chaplain in Maine. She's Unitarian Universalist, which is...not exactly what I am. But she tells a great story, and she has some great stories to tell. I think I read this book in 2 days, and I loved it. You can borrow my copy!

The end of overeating - To sum it up, Food Industry = Head Games, and also, Understanding Behaviorism Will Help You Stop Eating Crap. I didn't really retain a lot of the science and really relevant stuff in this book, so I can't do much more than heartily recommend that you read it if you, like me, feel an internal tug of war with food. I am not one of the food-obsessed, but I do eat out of habit or availability a lot and I have about 30 too many pounds as proof. Reading this book shortly on the heels of reading Skinny Bitch (which I would only recommend if you can handle a healthy dose of profanity, and p.s. skip the animal slaughterhouse chapter) has had a big impact on my ability to 1. cut back on the crap I eat and 2. cut back on the desire to eat the crap I eat.

His Needs, Her Needs - possibly the second-best self-help book I've read, and I've had a generous dose of self-helpery in my time. (The absolute best self-help book in my opinion is It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken.) Easy to read, relevant examples, and it just plain makes sense. It's in the genre of the Love Languages book, in that you have a list of needs and you learn to identify which needs are yours and which are your partner's. This is one of those books that I wish my husband would read.


Marginalia, by Billy Collins

I was charmed by this poem, found here (hat tip to @thatwhichmatters via Twitter). Maybe you will, be too. Unless you're my librarian-bred husband, in which case you will cringe. Me, I am often charmed by reading the responses in the marginalia, though for some reason I have never had the nerve to contribute my own. Maybe I will, now, next time I'm enraptured or otherwise moved.



Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love."


when all else fails, post a meme

I was tagged! And instead of wasting more time on Facebook, I decided to do a non-update on my blog. Don't worry folks, news is coming soon.

The following meme is brought to you by Angie, aka lala, aka AngStudAng, aka Trigger. Please note that she will not answer to any of these.

Three nicknames I go by or nicknames others have given me:
1. bashtree
2. ash
3. beb

Three jobs I have had in my life.
1. childcare assistant for CHBC's mothers morning out program
2. staff assistant, center for academic integrity
3. administrative coordinator, the als association

Three Places I have lived:
1. charlotte, nc
2. chapel hill, nc
3. richmond, va

Three Favorite drinks:
1. room-temperature water
2. white grape juice
3. vodka (shut up)

Three TV shows that I watch
1. so you think you can dance
2. guiding light (for the next couple of weeks that it's on) (also, stop judging)
3. in shape with sharon mann

Three Favorite Old Shows
1. that 70s show. i'm counting it as old, because it's no longer produced and it's set in the 70s
2. the match game (best game show ever)
3. that pyramid game with the words - $64,000 pyramid? i love old game shows.

Three Places I Have Been
1. st. petersburg, russia
2. san blas islands, off of panama
3. the ruins at ancient ephesus

Three people who e-mail/Facebook me regularly
1. lisa
2. chuck
3. stacey

Three of my favorite restaurants
1. sticky rice
2. hill cafe
3. city diner

Three things I am looking forward to
1. my next mac, whatever/whenever it may be
2. having a swanky downtown loft apartment (in my dreams)
3. getting another dog

Three Places I would like to visit
1. monticello
2. mt. vernon
3. blue ridge parkway

Three books I'd like to finish this year:
1. the way of a pilgrim
2. o come ye back to ireland
3. little heathens
(and much, much more)

Three Dreams:
1. multiple papillons
2. a long, happy marriage
3. a pile of quilts

Three living people I'd like to have dinner with my family:
1. kelly justice
2. john christopher
3. eddie izzard

Three life sweet events this week:
1. a volunteer bringing a special treat for me (little does he know what's in store for him!)
2. eli responding well to his new training and being much more cuddly and at ease and people-oriented
3. brian and his extremely good news - and the new demeanor he's had since hearing it

Three things I am grateful for:
1. a husband who's easy to love
2. people who want to take care of us
3. bark busters


Walt would be scandalized


I need a red Mickey Mouse swimsuit for $11.99 on sale.



Because everyone needs a red Mickey Mouse swimsuit for $11.99 on sale. Nothing says 'high quality' and 'kid friendly' like a cheap, low-cut-up-top-and-high-cut-on-bottom red Mickey Mouse swimsuit for $11.99

Note: the lady in the photo is not me.


I am not a Trekkie

I'm not a Trekker, for that matter.

But Brian and I just got home after watching the new Star Trek movie for the third time.

I have NEVER seen a movie in theaters 3 times before, I would like to add. I can't think of any movies I saw twice in theaters, although I'm sure there must have been one at some point.

What movies have you seen multiple times in theaters?


Eli's coming!

Actually, Eli's here.

Eli's home!! After 3 loooong weeks without my little furry friend to stalk around the house and make me feel guilty deigning to offer him dog food rather than steak, I almost got used to life without him.


Oh doggie, how I missed you.


that which matters!

My Google Reader is overloaded. It's always overloaded. And one of the main contributors is Lifehacker. They send out dozens of posts a day. It's almost too hard to keep up...and if I miss a day, there is much weeping and gnashing and sorting of feeds.

Yesterday, though, Lifehacker proved its weight in posts yesterday when it sent this link to my inbox:



a special facebook meme for my friend susan

50 things you've never been asked....Copy/Paste & Share!!

Once you've been tagged, you have to answer this and tag 15 people, including the person who tagged you.

1. What color is your toothbrush? Blue and white and purple and green

2. Name one person who made you smile today: steph martin

3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning? trying (and failing) to wake up

4 What were you doing 45 minutes ago? watching so you think you can dance and picking up the house during commercial breaks...it's what I refer to as 'commercial cleaning'

5. What is your favorite candy bar? most days it's a plain straight-up Hershey bar. sometimes it's a york. and sometimes it's a milky way.

6. Have you ever bit your toenails? i think i did a little bit, when i was young. on purpose. come to think of it...i picked up a lot of bad habits by hearing them referred to as bad habits and thinking 'oh, that actually makes sense, i think i'll try it.' the toenail thing is a prime example.

7. What is the last thing you said aloud? 'i'm just sleepy and trying to understand is all'

8. What is your favorite ice cream? mmm....cherry

9. What was the last thing you had to drink? water, and not enough

10. Do you like your wallet? it's fine. i've had it forever, it'll be around another forever i'm sure. coach leather...yes, oh yes.

11. What was the last thing you ate? ugh. don't ask. (kraft macaroni and cheese)

12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week? no. this month, no. not since mid-june and those were from the Goodwill

13. The last sporting event you watched? i cant even remember!! probably basketball.

14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn? buttered and salty to the max

15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to? brian

16. Ever go camping? Yes but i'm due...it's been a while

17. Do you take vitamins daily? i'm supposed to...i take it on days i can remember....

18. Do you go to church every Sunday? generally yes

19. Do you have a tan? 'tan' for me is more pale than you'll ever be

20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza? almost never. i prefer pizza over nearly everything

21. Do you drink your soda with a straw? i don't drink soda, but if i did i probably wouldn't use a straw

22. What did your last text message say? heck if i know and i'm not about to look it up. probably something about bojangles.

23. What are you doing tomorrow? retrieving my dog from the Old North State, which happens to be southward from here

25. Look to your left, what do you see? a cluttered coffee table and beyond that, a TV

26. What color is your watch? the watch i have is 2-toned but i never wear it. i've never been a watch person despite my best efforts.

27. What do you think of when you hear Australia? 'ooooooooooo...let's go!'

29. Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? i don't go often enough to have a 'pattern'

30. What is your favorite number? eh. 12 maybe.

31. Who's the last person you talked to on the phone? brian. who is surprised by this?

32. Any plans today? dinner with the trautmanns

33. How many states have you lived in? 3. SC - NC - VA. watch out maryland, you're next

34. Biggest annoyance right now? people

35. Last song listened to? 'if it kills me' by jason mraz

36. Can you say the alphabet backwards? YES, and QUICKLY

37. Do you have a maid service clean your house? i'm pretty sure i have the opposite of a maid service - i'm pretty sure the dwellers of my house mess it up as though it were their jobs

38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? my birks that i got for half off. yessssssssssssss

39. Are you jealous of anyone? no. i'm cynical enough that i can look at anyone in a 'better' position than me and decide he/she is faking whatever glee that i'm perceiving.

40. Is anyone jealous of you? probably NOT.

41. Do you love anyone? yes

42. Do any of your friends have children? ummm...depends on how you define 'friends.' most of my friends around my age don't have kids yet. although my elementary/jr high best friend is giving birth TODAY at some point. holy cow, and also, word.

43. What do you usually do during the day? a big mix of various administrative things that my happy little (not little) nonprofit needs from me

44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? no but that doesn't stop me from wanting to bash people's faces in

45. Do you use the word 'hello' daily? i'll usually use 'hi there' instead, but i probably say hello most days

46. What color is your car? royal [dook] blue. gag me.

47. Do you like cats? i have even less patience for cats than cats do for me

48. Are you thinking about someone right now? yes...hi susan!

49. Have you ever been to Six Flags? no but i've been to paramount and busch garden parks. and hersheypark. way better.

50. How did you get your worst scar? i don't have any one big scar, just lots of little scars everywhere. most of them are from running into things.