(not) playin' tha muzak

Dear family, 

So I just posted a bunch of CDs on craigslist in one big lot.  Let me know if any of these are yours and/or if you want them back, and I will get them back to you.  Of course, you could choose to purchase the whole lot.  I might even give a family discount!

mainstream: nickelback - all the right reasons ravi shankar - chants of india (ok maybe this one isn't so mainstream) howie day - stop all the world now bryan adams - so far so good (greatest hits) daughtry - self-titled youssou n'dour - nothing's in vain (world music. it's fun!) brian mcknight - from here to there (greatest hits 1989-2002) buddy holly - greatest hits seals and crofts - greatest hits brian mcknight - anytime gypsy kings - roots chicago - what's it gonna be, santa? (christmas) grieg - violin sonatas nos. 1-3 CCM (contemporary christian music) steven curtis chapman - speechless beyond the blue - self-titled bebo norman - big blue sky jonathan pierce - one love avalon - self-titled true vibe - self-titled hillsong australia - shout to the lord caedmon's call - in the company of angels (worship album) overflow - a better place Kutless - self-titled steven curtis chapman - all about love avalon - oxygen aaron-jeffry self-titled FFH - i want to be like you 4him - self-titled 4him - face the nation audio adrenaline - lift 4him - the basics of life salvador - self-titled exodus - various without cases: Plus One - Obvious And a few random demos




Bienvenidos a the next installment of my 43 things, which is actually my 33 things.  Did I mention that yet?

16. Speak Spanish fluently - you know, I could do this at one point.  Textbook Spanish, at least.  Those were great days.  I now can't decide whether I want to specialize in one Romance language or become fairly familiar with several.  I've hit the Spanish hardcore, I've dabbled in Italian, and right now I'm listening to some (Brazilian) Portuguese tapes, which will lead me into regular Portuguese.  I tend to avoid French like the plague, but I think it might be a potential resource for me.  And holy cow, who WOULDN'T want to study Romanian?  So..yeah...still under deliberation.  It'd definitely be easier to recapture one language than pick up a few more...     
 17. Learn Italian - meaning, continue learning Italian.  I love that language.
18. Learn Gaelic - ok so my polyglot tendencies spread beyond Romance.  Gaelic, Slavic and Germanic languages are all on my wish-dar.
19. Set financial goals - this is something Brian and I have been in the process of doing over the past several weeks.  Before that, our only financial goal was to stay out of debt!
20. Go on a road trip with no predetermined destination - to the new me, this sounds cool.  to the old me, this would make me have a panic attack.  I think that in reality I would need to have at least some idea of where we were headed - like, ok let's be in Austin by Wednesday, or let's take Route 66, or let's visit X, Y and Z friends who happen to be spread across the midwest.  

You know.

See parts 1, 2 and 3 here, here and here.


booking through thursday

This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

Is there a book that you wish you could “unread”? One that  you disliked so thoroughly you wish you could just forget that you ever read it?

Months after having read it, I think I would like to un-read Midwives.  As I was reading it, I was completely engrossed.  I loved the story, the voice, the characters...  but that last page was so jarring that now, it's really the only thing I remember about the book.  Read more here.


naked trench coat grocery shopping

So I just read this blurb from this WiseBread post about romance on a dime:

Naked trench coat grocery shopping.

Talk about taking dinner at home to the next level! It's pretty much up to the ladies to pull this one off for their significant others. Bare hairy man legs and dress shoes won't look anything but goofy, but sheer hose (or bare legs) and heels are something most women can pull off. If you've still got a decent lingerie collection, slip on the bustier and garter belt, put up the hair in a French twist, slap on some heels and tie up the trench coat. Then have him meet you or drive there together to pick out special items for that evening's dinner. Give a quick flash where nobody can see before you head into the store so he knows what you're doing. You can bet he'll be eager to help hunt down those necessary dinner items so you can both get home and get cooking.

All I can say is, wow.  Am I repulsed, or am I inspired?


the ill effects of decent slumber

There is an addition project going on at the house next door to us.  We actually sleep as close to the construction work as we possibly could, and there's a window along that wall that does a poor job of blocking the sound.

This crew must be the most dedicated crew in town.  Because they begin their work by 7am most days.  This is good for them, but it's dreadful for us, because we don't really start moving until 7:30 or later.

I've been having trouble getting solid sleep and feeling rested for a few weeks now, and I know part of the problem is that I toss and turn in the mornings.  A more diligent person would probably take the situation and say, well ok I guess I'll be getting up at quarter to 7 just to make it easier on myself.  (Truth is, that didn't occur to me until right this second.)

Yesterday, what with it being a national holiday and all, was different.  Not only did we have the rumbly bumbly trash truck making all kinds of noise (welcome to the work-week jokers!  How bout a nice straining diesel engine to wake you pre-dawn?) but there was no construction work happening 10 feet away.

And I slept until 8:30am.  I haven't slept that late in months.  And yesterday I felt GREAT.  Clearly I needed it.  And clearly I was up past midnight last night as a result.

I'm thinking about taking radical steps now - going to bed even earlier, getting up at or before 7.  How solid would that be?  I've always wanted to be an early riser but I couldn't make it happen.  Could it be that the tides are changing for me?


Saturday Showers

This past Saturday, I experienced four of the following definitions of shower. Can you guess which ones?

NOUN:1. A brief fall of precipitation, such as rain, hail, or sleet. 2. A fall of a group of objects, especially from the sky: a meteor shower; a shower of leaves. 3. An abundant flow; an outpouring: a shower of praise. 4. A party held to honor and present gifts to someone: a bridal shower. 5a. A bath in which the water is sprayed on the bather in fine streams from a showerhead, usually secured overhead: take a shower. b. The stall or tub in which such a bath is taken.
VERB:Inflected forms: show·ered, show·er·ing, show·ers
TRANSITIVE VERB:1. To pour down in a shower: showered confetti on the parade. 2. To cover with or as if with a shower. See synonyms at barrage2. 3. To bestow abundantly or liberally.
INTRANSITIVE VERB:1. To fall or pour down in or as if in a shower. 2. To wash oneself in a shower.
ETYMOLOGY:Middle English shour, from Old English scr.

This definition brought to you by the American Heritage Dictionary (my personal favorite).

Yes, I have a favorite dictionary.


43 things, part 3

Back, after a hiatus!  See part 1 here and part 2 here if you're so inclined.

11. Get the artwork hung in the house.  I am the only one on 43things.com with this particular thing on my list.  I am coming up on 2 years here, and still have not figured out how to arrange the miscellany on the walls.  Most of it went up on preexisting hooks and nails as I was unpacking, in an attempt to keep from breaking anything, and it has all stayed right where it landed.  It's bad, y'all.  Bad.

12. Learn to sew.  Happily, I am beginning the journey!  I now know how to work the machine and I've done some very very simple projects (curtains and pillow cases).  There's a book on the way that talks about beginner quilting.  This summer, I will make a tshirt quilt if it's the first and last quilting project I ever do!!!!  

Also, I am thinking about changing this one to something more specific.  Like 'make a quilt' or 'make a dress from a pattern.'  Something measurable or accomplishable.

13. Go back to school.  Sadly, I'm beginning to realize that my days as an academic have probably passed me.  I just don't have the capacity I used to for highly concentrated study.  Continuing ed, certificate programs, and the like very much appeal to me, but I doubt I'll ever be a master or doctor of anything.

14. Walk the dog more often. Again with the 'goals' that aren't really quantifiable.  Now that the days are longer and the weather is nicer, Eli does go on a W-A-L-K more often.  But more often than what?  Than in winter?  Than when I was sick?  Than when he was a baby puppy squishyface?  More often than he gets walked right now would be ideal.  Maybe 5 times a week for 4 weeks?  It'd be a habit by then, yes?

15. Write a song.  As a musician AND a verbivore holding a communication degree, I ostensibly should have written a song by now.


great things on craigslist RIGHT NOW

Mayline Cabinet - if my house wasn't already crammed with furniture, I would be acquiring this without a second thought. I might still try to figure out how to squeeze it in...

Mailbox/letter holder - for the 'shabby chic' enthusiast who needs a little more organization.

White-framed oval mirror - there is SO MUCH you could do with this thing.

Atomic bar on wheels - who doesn't love midcentury oddities? Seriously. How fantastic is this thing?

Awesome solid wood bookshelf - another thing I would love to cram into my house...

Amazing antique trunk - don't you wish you were this type of person?

Extreme cold weather sleeping bag - Brian's been talking about camping and hiking this summer. Maybe I shouldn't post this one...

Sa-weet cash resgister. No, seriously, look at it.

And for the happy housewife in all of us... a dyson vacuum.



I did it again. I was sitting there, lounging on the couch with a trashy makeover show blaring on the tv, perfectly content after a delightful meal of my favorite cheap delivery pizza. Brian was at the library doing some school work. It was just me, the leftover pizza, and Dr. Rey.

I kept noticing the box. But why? I wasn't hungry. In fact, I was fully sated and pretty content not to move. But I grabbed another one anyway.

Why did I do it? I didn't really want it. I certainly didn't need it. I knew that if I ate it, I wouldn't have any left for lunch after Brian had his share. And yet, up went the lid and in went my hand. Down the hatch.

I regretted it immediately - before even finishing it. The gross feeling, not to mention the lethargy. I will probably regret it all day tomorrow, too.

I know I'm not the only one who deals with overeating. Why is this such a big problem for so many folks? I know I eat when I'm stressed out - and I can't eat when I'm extremely stressed out. But the question bothers me. Why.

I don't like not knowing what's going on in my own head. Is it distraction? Is it hopelessness (I'll never drop these 25lbs, why bother try)? Is there some sort of weird self-sabotage at work? Am I trying to hide from something - being happy, maybe? I'm sure that's the answer any life coach or wannabe would give. Is there any truth to the cliche?

Why do YOU overeat?


no list post today

Because I've been sick the past few days, and thus uninspired and more or less too dizzy to write, there is no new post.

See you next week!



1. What is something your husband always says to you?

You better! 

2. What makes your husband happy?

 Connecting actors with previous roles.  He's especially happy when he can find other random connections, a-la 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon

3. What makes your husband sad?

Having a little dog.

4. What was your husband like as a teen?

Shy about girls...so cute

5. How old is your husband ?

25, grrrrr.  I'm 7mos older.

6. How tall is your husband ?


7. What is his favorite thing to do?

Talk about movies, and then sigh when I can't carry the conversation.

8. What is your husband really good at?

Synthesizing information and making connections that aren't necessarily obvious but are interesting.  This comes in handy in grad school!

9. What is your husband not very good at?

Knowing when to stop talking about something.

10. What does your husband do for a job?

Right now he's in school.  Check back in a year.

11. What is your husbands favorite food?

Red meat.  He's also keen on pasta, tomatoes, and honey buns.

12. What makes you proud of your husband?

The way he makes me care about people.

13. If your husband were a cartoon character, who would he be?

He'd fall somewhere on the vigilante scale between Batman and Punisher.


general tso FAIL

In a fey fit of culinary inspiration, Brian and I decided to try our hands at making some General Tso's chicken...the yummy spicy red-sauced Chinese dish that can't be beat.

I thought this would be an appropriate venture because we had basically everything we'd need - not to mention some chicken that needed to be consumed.  We've tried our hand at some basic Chinese dishes, so it seemed a good time to step up the game.

It all started out well enough.  We got the chickens fried and battered no sweat.  When it came time to make the sauce, things were looking up.  It smelled good, I had the heat on the right setting, and we were getting really hungry.

The last step of making the sauce is combining the flavorful stuff you've been cooking with an oil.  When I did this, something happened.  They never combined.  And the flavorful sauce started getting darker and darker.  It was also getting thicker, which I thought was good.

It was, however, very very bad.  Almost immediately things got very sticky and stringy.  In a hurry, we tossed some of the chicken in to coat, and things just got weirder.

Stringy, super-sticky-stuck-together, and pretty quickly, hardened.

Brian was brave and bit down first.  Reaction: not happy.  It was CRUNCHY.  And reportedly tasted like charcoal.

I tried it myself.  Yep, definitely felt like eating fried chicken dipped in BURN.  Not appetizing.  Eli wouldn't even touch it.

I don't know what we did wrong (besides too much heat), but I think we might try again sometime.  Maybe.

The next time I was at the grocery store, I hit up the 'asian foods' section and got a premade bottle of General Tso sauce.

on work

I got really choked up last night when I realized that it was Sunday evening, and I wasn't a tense, anxious, very unhappy person on account of another work week looming less than 12 hours away.

I used to be one of the many miserable people who hated their jobs.  I would go to work every day and be so frustrated, uninspired, tense, worried, guilty, and ... miserable.  I was a square peg trying to fit in a round hole...the round hole was a great job with a lot of value to the community and to the organization.  But it wasn't right for me at all.
My health was shot.  I couldn't sleep at night, I'd be sick for months with illnesses that usually wouldn't last more than a week, a lot of my food allergies and digestive problems were resurfacing, I was in so much pain I couldn't stand up straight and my feet always hurt.  I was exhausted and my physical world was starting to cave in.  I'd already lost my mental and emotional stability,  on account of all the anxiety and self-flagellation.  And when every argument with my husband rapidly descended into 'you are NEVER happy, there is nothing I could possibly do to make you happy' and I recognized the TRUTH in that statement, I knew it was time for a change.  Bad economy or not, I reached the point where being unemployed would have been better for me than staying where I was.  I was in a tight spot, y'all.

So when a seasonal job opened up for me - one that I'd had and LOVED before - I jumped.  Knowing it would only be 6-8 weeks, I jumped anyway.  I was making much more income with relatively stable hours, so we were able to sock away another 2 weeks of living expenses during the time I was there.  And within 2 weeks of that job ending, I was temping in another job that would end up hiring me permanently a couple of weeks later.

Here I am - happy, healthy(er), much more stable at home, and I'm even reading regularly - a sure sign that I am doing much better.  I am able to enjoy my weekends 100% and not deal with the angst of Monday mornings approaching.  My home is slowly coming back together, I'm exercising and getting all of the permanent knots worked out of my back, I even MOPPED last night.  Brian and I argue so much less, the things that seemed like a big deal when every last nerve of mine was frayed aren't so important, and he's more inclined to compromise now.  I feel like we're a team again.

I feel like I have my life back.  

I am so fortunate to have been able to make this change, especially with the job market the way it is here in Richmond.  Not everyone could be so fortunate.  

If you're mired in misery the way I was, I encourage you to do whatever it takes to get out.  Don't convince yourself that it will get better.  Don't throw those days and weeks and months of your life away!  The fear you feel, starring down the face of unemployment, could be worth facing.  You don't know what's going to happen.  When you get a chance to get out, take it.

You might want to cancel your cable first, though.  Just in case.


an excerpt from my journal

It's race weekend. There's something unsettlingly familiar about hearing the races at night. It makes me miss the huffing and thunder and high-pitched squeals from the train yard.


mas 43 things

Read Part I here.

To continue my 43 things that actually number 33 (yes, it was 34 last week but I deleted one) we have Things 6-10, also in no particular order:

6. Become ambidextrous - I don't think Brian would have married me if I didn't have the deep desire to become ambidextrous.  As it is, I think I'm pretty good with using both hands pretty well at a lot of things.  I bat left-handed and I knit left-handed, so that's a good start. 

7. Sleep well - I am often plagued with bad sleep.  I don't know what the problem is.  Sometimes it's back pain, but now that that's mostly taken care of, I've begun tossing and turning most nights and waking up in knots.  I don't know how to get this one 'done' yet.  It will probably be on the list a long time.  sad day! 

8. Write a Letter to the Editor - Despite my journalism training at one of the top journalism schools, I have never written a letter to the editor.  I find this to be a source of shame. I DID, however, write a letter to President Bush I when I was young, asking him to please save the spotted owls. 

9. Move to Ireland - This is a real goal of mine (and fortunately, of Brian's as well).  And I'm pretty sure it will happen at some point.  We both have a heart for the country and we want to be involved in the next phase of its healing.  Right now contracts and responsibilities are keeping us here, but in a couple of years we might be freed up to go finally.  I actually almost decided to go to Ireland as an Au Pair, but I had a dog and couldn't find any programs that would let me take him.  Oh Eli, thwarting my life goals!! 

10. Be on the radio - I've had an interest in radio for as long as I can remember.  There are many days during which I think, 'I would REALLY like to be a radio personality.'  There are a few problems with this plan, however: people don't get my jokes, and I don't have a good voice.  So, I'll just settle for being on the radio someday, just once.