Thursday, December 11

Noteworthy Thursday #6

Today is my 27th birthday. And in honor of that, I thought I’d try to find a note for Noteworthy Thursday that was received on my birthday. But because I forgot to get this written and scanned last night, I must hurry through it this morning.

The Birthday Goddesses must be smiling on me, because the first note I saw mentioned my birthday. No, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but the hilarious content of this note makes it worth the change in plans. The best part of this one? It actually only embarrasses me, because I wrote it. Yes, this one is from a shared notebook that “Judy” and I had. We’d write a note, pass it to the other, she’d write, pass it back. You get the idea. We thought we were being all sneaky, you know, so the teachers wouldn’t find out that we were passing notes. I’m sure the stickers and doodles all over the cover and the crazy folded pages inside didn’t give it away.

So about this note. I was apparently working up the nerve to sit by a boy. (A boy who later was my boyfriend for three entire days, I might add.) And I used his real name, too. Ryan, if you’re out there—sorry about that. But a few lines later I express love for another boy. No real name printed here. And I’m not telling. Finally, we get to the part that is the reason I chose this note. I lamely offer some trivia about birthdays. Ta da!

(Was that not the big finish you were hoping for?) (click below for the larger, easier-to-read, in-your-face edition of the note.)

Tuesday, December 9

I know what I shall name my firstborn.

My car’s heater has a setting called MAX HOT. Andrew and I find this inexplicably hilarious. That’s all.

Monday, December 8

"C" is for Cookie

Last weekend I was invited to a Christmas cookie exchange party. I was instructed to bring twelve dozen cookies. Yes, that is 144 cookies. Which, for the mathematically declined, is a LOT of cookies. Since I am such a do-gooder, I decided to document my baking, semi-a la the Pioneer Woman (minus the excellent photography, among other things), to help all of you out there in case you are ever invited to a cookie exchange party.

Because I’m not much of a “baker” and don’t really know anything about “cooking” or “preparing food” or “turning the oven on,” I needed a super simple recipe. A super simple recipe that could be quadrupled (oh, okay fine—doubled). After hours (oh, okay fine—minutes) of searching, I found the perfect (easy) Christmasy cookie: gingersnaps. Everyone on just seemed to drool over it.

Here are the ingredients. I tried to be a little healthnutty with the garbanzo bean flour and millet flour. And the rapadura. But what you don’t see in this photo are the three other sticks of butter I used. Now that we know what’s in these cookies, let’s get to it.

Soften the butter. This will involve either turning up the damn thermostat already or a quick pop in the microwave.

Add the sugar. See that brown stuff in the bowl? This is not, in fact brown sugar. It’s the rapadura. Tastes like refined, overly processed white sugar, but much better for your body. Or that’s what my mother-in-law will tell you. Except she is much more eloquent about it.

Cream the butter and sugar. And admire one of the lovely bowls my sister-in-law gave us last year.

Add the eggs. Except, add them one at a time and beat after each one. I may have forgotten to add them separately. But who could say for sure? I don’t see any proof. Ahem.

Time for the gooey molasses to go in. Continue with the beating. NOTE: this is the part where the dough will look like real cookie dough, so you may be tempted to stick your finger in and taste a little bit. I don’t recommend attempting this. So not worth it.

Now, in a different bowl, combine your dry ingredients. It looks so pretty before all that fluffy flour goes in there, doesn’t it?

Of course, I forgot to photograph the bowl with the flour in it. But you can take my word for it, it wasn’t nearly as pretty.

Next, slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar/butter/egg/molasses mixture and beat. The photo for this step is kind of hard to see. But keep looking. It’s like those 3D pictures where you sort of have to cross your eyes to see them. For real. And just try to add all the flour without spilling any on the counter. Go on. I dare you.

Now, put the whole thing into the fridge and let it chill for an hour. Or five.

When the dough is done chillin’ like a villain, it’s time to get busy rolling it into little balls. Place them on the cookie sheets—but seriously, place them farther apart than shown here. For the love of god, people, give them some room.

Then, if you are as lucky as me, your cookies will all go flat on the baking sheets, then they’ll get stuck together when you spatula them off. And you’ll end up with one big mass of tasty-yet-unpresentable cookie product. And you may cry a little bit because OMG the cookie exchange party is TOMORROW and you DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS.

Place the mass of cookies on the cooling racks, though why even bother you certainly cannot ever never no way take THESE cookies to the party and you’re going to have the WORST cookies there and why do you always FAIL at these kinds of things and why is your eye twitching like that?

And thirty minutes later, you may be hiding the evidence in the garbage. Trust me, no one at the party will ever know the difference.

Thursday, December 4

Noteworthy Thursday #5

Hello, again, Noteworthy Thursday. I missed you last week. Did you enjoy your turkey?

This might be my favorite note yet. I love how “Ginger” forgot to use my code name at first, and then just sort of half-heartedly scribbled it out. Eh, eff that, she said. Good thing this note did not fall into the wrong hands or the jig would’ve been up. Whew!

Also, interesting spelling of “we.” Classic.

Sunday, November 30

It was a resounding success.

On Thursday, Andrew and I prepared our very first Thanksgiving meal, and I must say, it all turned out quite well. We had roast turkey with cranberry-wine sauce, sweet potato casserole, apple-walnut stuffing, and macaroni and cheese. And apple crisp for dessert. (Photographic proof below.)

(I was just sitting here with my fingers poised over the keyboard, pondering what to say next about Thanksgiving, when it occurred to me that all I really had to discuss was the food. Not the giving of thanks, or anything. Huh.)

Besides the Thanksgiving food, other things to note this weekend:

  • We picked a paint color for the dining room (Husky Orange).
  • My sister-in-law, Liz, got engaged (!!!).
  • I had three hot chocolates at two different coffee shops on three different days.
  • Much to Andrew’s chagrin, we did not purchase Guitar Hero World Tour.
  • Like its seven predecessors, the eighth pair of boots I bought from Zappos did not fit.
  • I ordered my ninth pair of boots from Zappos.

Wednesday, November 26

What's happening tomorrow, again?

This will be the strangest Thanksgiving ever. It's barely going to be celebrated. Thanksgiving and I are merely strangers passing in the night. Weird.

We found out a couple months ago that my in-laws were planning to go to Colorado over Thanksgiving. We declined, preferring to stay in town and relax--even though it was hard to resist the temptation that is the drive across Kansas. Though we would miss seeing them on the holiday, it was actually a bit of relief. Since both of our families live in town, we typically spend every holiday hopping across town, trying to spend adequate time with both families to please everyone, and ultimately not pleasing anyone, least of all ourselves. It can be a bit stressful.

So this year, we thought, we'll be able to just spend the day with my parents, with no worries about what time we need to leave in order to get to Andrew's parents' house. And then we found out that my parents were going to spend the day with my aunt and uncle in Iowa. And . . . what?

No one will be here but us? But who will cook all the food and wash all the dishes?

Granted, we were invited to go along on both Thanksgiving vacations. But we don't have the PTO to spare, and like I said, we were looking forward to the relaxation only a four-day weekend can provide. So we decided to have our own Thanksgiving. And when I say we, I mean I decided. I decided that Andrew and I would each cook two dishes and we'd end up with a meal, dagnabbit.

Andrew chose sweet potato casserole and apple crisp. I am making a turkey (just roasting a breast, not an entire bird), apple and walnut stuffing, and macaroni and cheese. It's a bit traditional, a bit nontraditional. But it will surely be delicious. So I suppose we are celebrating, just in a small way. Like Thanksgiving Lite.

Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving, loyal readers. All nine of you deserve it. Oh, and Noteworthy Thursday will be on hiatus this week for the holiday. I'll try to find an extra juicy one for next week.

Monday, November 24

It's not easy being green.

We have a hole in our wall where our mantel used to be. As holes go, it’s not bad. It doesn’t actually go through to the outside, and it’s got some raw looking brick and mortar showing, a nice little 8” by 60” patch of urban, loft-y goodness. But we have dreams for that hole. Dreams that involve covering it up with a contemporary, eco-spectacular bamboo mantel.

I saw it on HGTV. David Bromstad dangled the concept in front of my face, taunting me with its ease and simplicity. It’s just a simple sheet of bamboo plywood, he said. Couldn’t be easier, he said.

Hrrrrummmphhh, I said.

Clearly, I should never expect anything seen on HGTV to turn out to be that simple. We tried to go buy a single sheet of bamboo plywood, because the finished product—the mantel—would be awesome, just like HGTV told me it would be. It would show all the stacked bamboo on the edge, that nice stripy look. The mantel would be clean and sleek—the perfect complement to our darkly stained furniture.

Of course neither Lowe’s nor Home Depot carries bamboo plywood (which, note to those guys: WTF?), so we looked online. But prices were high, and we preferred to support a local vendor if we could. So we searched and found a local store in the Crossroads District of KC and headed out there one chilly Saturday afternoon. And the store—Straw, Sticks, and Bricks—did carry bamboo plywood. And the samples looked fantastic.

But this is where it all went downhill. Oh my lands, was it expensive. More expensive than the online finds. I believe I would have had to mortgage my first child just to pay for a single sheet. And then! They wanted us to pay for shipping! Which cost as much as the plywood itself! For a single sheet of bamboo plywood, 48” by 96”, we would have spent nearly $500. I know!

Apparently a few other people find the shipping a bit cost-prohibitive (go figure) and the store people thought maybe we could all order together and split the shipping. I say, what’s the deal, Straw, Sticks, and Bricks? We assumed that by buying from an actual store, we wouldn’t have to pay shipping. I mean, come on! OF COURSE fewer people are interested in bamboo products when they cost a bajillion dollars plus a bajillion more for shipping!

So until we find a cheaper option, I’m going with the hole in the wall. I think it coordinates with the furniture, too.

Thursday, November 20

Noteworthy Thursday #4

Apparently this piece of paper dates back to 1989. And now it will live forever on teh intarwebs. Only intermittent code names here (sorry, girls, but you’ve pretty much outed yourselves in the comments anyway). Also, concerned readers should know that Judy did not, in fact, actually collapse. It does seem likely that Emily was indeed sitting under her desk grabbing air. Ah, memories.

Tuesday, November 18

I just checked my watch, and it’s actually no longer the Stone Age. Go figure.

Andrew and I got awesome new phones. We’ve always just had the cheapest phones, whatever came free with our plan. But the time has come for us to move up in the world. We got Google’s new phone, the T-Mobile G1. And I love it. You all know I don’t really text. But that is all about to change. In fact, my entire world is about to change. And no, I am not being overly dramatic. Let me tell you about my new world. I can have the internet whenever I want it. I can turn my camera into a scanner and read barcodes. I can hold the phone up to the radio and it will tell me what song is playing. I can access my calendar and check my email. I can probably do a thousand other things that I just haven’t figured out how to do yet. I can write and update my blog from the phone. In fact, I’m writing this post on my phone right now. Just kidding. Typing with my thumbs take too damn long.

Thursday, November 13

Noteworthy Thursday #3

Perhaps my favorite thing about notes from “Judy” is the way she only wrote three words per line. I’ve never seen anyone else so inefficiently use the space (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). But really, it was way better this way. I could get a note that only contained two actual sentences, but it would take up half the page, and I’d be all, awww, look what a nice long note I got! And all the kids would be jealous.

(If you can decipher the handwriting, you’ll see a question in pig latin—and yes, we were that cool—and 8th-grade me is going to answer it with this: esyay! ehay ishay osay utecay athay Ihay eldhay ishay andhay enwhay eway ereway anginghay outhay athay orycay’s ousehay!! eeeesqway!!!)

Wednesday, November 12

Does anyone else have Jell-o legs?

No? Just me then?

Tonight was personal trainer night, and my ass is officially kicked. In a good way. I’ve been feeling pretty unmotivated lately. Things at work have been really busy (you may have noticed my lack of regular posting) and my energy is completely sapped. So I haven’t been going to the gym as much or working as hard when I’m there. Which is a bad cycle to get in, because it just gets harder the next time. Plus, I pretty much hate the gym. It’s so loud, I can’t even hear my own headphones. It’s too crowded. And I don’t really have anymore specific reasons, but I want to emphasize how much the gym sucks.

But back to my training session. We talked about how much I dislike being at the gym, and we decided to make my next exercise plan work at home. We actually have some dumbbells and a weight bench, so I can do all these exercises at home without any trouble. The only thing missing is a treadmill or bike, but that’s a purchase for another day. (And that day is far, far in the future. Have I mentioned how we are spending all our money on our upcoming awesome vacation to Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and Paris?)

So even though I’m feeling so beat and weak right now, I’m actually looking forward to working out again. I could use some new workout music, though. If you’ve got any exercise faves, please pass them on. I mean that, you know.

Monday, November 10

A few words on writing

I never thought of myself as a writer. An editor, sure, but never a writer. And yet here I am. I suppose I always had writer tendencies. As a child, I always chose the young writers’ competition over the science fair. I even wrote little stories about sea otters or orphans or whatever subject I happened to have recently read about. In junior high I wrote in a journal. But if you asked me what I would become, I never would have said a writer.

And yet a writer is what I am. True, my employer claims that I am an editor. But editing is not what brings the glory. “I edited 850 books this year,” I say. “Oh, that’s interesting,” people say as their eyes glaze over and their minds drift away to thoughts of defrosting chicken or of last night’s game. But when I say “I wrote four books this year,” it’s an entirely different story. “Oh, really?” they say as they sit up a little straighter. “That’s so cool! What kind of books?”

I don’t know why this matters. I think it’s cooler to write books than to edit them, too. Maybe it’s just that I love editing and the fact that I’ve found someone who will pay me to do what I love seems worthy of some recognition, whereas writing is something that just fell into my lap.

However, there is a certain something about being a writer that evokes a very visceral image. I can’t help but picture myself as l’auteur—a hybrid of New York sophistication and 1920s old worldliness—at a cocktail party celebrating the launch of my book tour, perched on the edge of a leather club chair with chardonnay in one hand, crudité in the other, gaily recounting stories of toiling over my first manuscript, stories of sitting quietly for hours watching the mist rise over my own Walden Pond just waiting for inspiration to strike or of losing myself at my Smith Corona, whom I’ve nicknamed “Old Faithful”—and of course I say “whom” and not “which” because she is no less a part of my family than my own mother, and also I’m a writer and I want everyone to know I understand the difference between who and whom—and as I type I am certain that I am writing The Great American Novel and that fame and fortune will soon be mine…

My own stories are not of typewriters and nature. They are of cubicles and a nameless iMac. And I am not writing The Great American Novel or any novel at all; I am writing children’s books and gift books. But I wouldn’t change a thing. And I can’t wait for the day when the first book I wrote hits the shelves (coming soon to a Hallmark Gold Crown store near you).

Thursday, November 6

Noteworthy Thursday #2

Can you believe it is already time for Noteworthy Thursday? Or that I’ve only posted once since last time? I won’t make any excuses. Here’s the note. Again, you’ll see how important the use of code names was. Also you’ll see that we did not have just one code name each, there were many. Confusing? Yes. Effective? The world may never know.

Tuesday, November 4


Fearing long lines at the polls and needing to get to work for early meetings, Andrew and I woke up at 5:45 this morning (okay, I set my alarm for 5:40 and then hit the snooze button, so I actually got out of bed at precisely 5:49) so we could go vote as soon as the place opened at 6:00. 6:00 in the morning. Which is quite early. I felt like we were headed to the airport for an ungodly early flight or something. Because obviously an early flight is the only reason I am ever headed anywhere at 6:00 in the morning.

We basically rolled out of bed and left. To the delight of the poll workers, we did manage to brush our teeth first. Also Andrew put on pants. I wore my pajamas. In public. Picture this sexy outfit: purple leggings, an oversized orange T-shirt, black ballet flats, and my green jacket. Mussed hair completed the look. What can I say, I am awesome.

We arrived at 6:05 to find ourselves at the end of a line. A line already, at 6:05. Andrew says if I had just gotten up at 5:45, we would have arrived right at 6:00 and there wouldn’t have been a line. I think we would have just had to wait outside. It took about twenty minutes for us to get through the line and vote. And they gave me the standard “I voted” sticker, which means I was able to go get my free Starbucks coffee on the way to work. I hear Krispy Kreme is also handing out freebies to voters.

So if you haven’t already, get out there and vote. No excuses. Especially to my swing-state friends in Missouri. Even if you have to wait longer than twenty minutes, which you probably will, because by the time we left the line was already twice as long as it was when we got there. Take a book, a newspaper, or a magazine and go wait in line. It’s your patriotic duty.

Thursday, October 30

Noteworthy Thursday

Welcome to a new feature on this website! It’s called Noteworthy Thursday, and here’s how it works.

Way back in junior high, my friends and I passed notes. A lot of notes. And I happen to have saved nearly every one of them. They’re all in one of those big holiday popcorn tins (this particular tin features red-hat wearing cows with the caption “Silent night, holy cow!”). And every Thursday I shall randomly select a note from the tin, scan it in, and post it here for your reading pleasure.

Sounds easy enough, yes? Let’s get to it. As you’ll see in this first note, we used code names. This way, we cleverly avoided being identified should our notes fall into the wrong hands. Brilliant, eh? Little did we know that this method would also prevent me from having any clue what was going on in my life 15 years later. (PS - 15 years?! Where did the time go?)

Saturday, October 25

Well, that was fun.

Andrew and I are in beautiful northern California, and guess where we were this morning. You guessed it, one of Davis's hot spots and top-rated tourist destinations--the emergency room. Andrew was severely dehydrated, nauseous, shaky, barely able to move on his own, etc. So we took him to the ER for some fluids and assurance. Two hours and two liters of fluid later, he was able to walk out on his own. So glad we went and didn't just "wait and see." It seems he has a touch of the flu and desperately needed hydration. Thankfully, we don't fly back until tomorrow evening, so I'm hoping he recovers a bit more before we have to get on a plane. Right now, he's playing a video game, so he's definitely on his way back to normal.

Monday, October 20

An Open Letter to CVS

Dear CVS,

What’s the deal? Why must you be so environmentally irresponsible? I had higher expectations for you. I must say, you really let me down this time.

It was just a simple errand. I needed one little item—travel-sized, airplane-approved contact solution. Less than a four-dollar purchase. But it turned into the day I lost faith in one of the nation’s largest drug-store chains.

For that one small item, my receipt was nearly two feet long. Yes, you read that correctly. Twenty-one inches of wasted paper. What, CVS, do you think paper just grows on trees or something? Come on. Get with the program! This is 2008 and you ought to know better. I don’t need your coupons or your “extra bucks.” If you insist on including them, try printing them on the back of the receipt. Here’s another novel idea—maybe you could NOT print your logo and tagline three times.

I’m sorry, CVS, but I just can’t be with someone who insists on being so wasteful. I’ll give you one more chance, but next time you try to pull something like this, we’re through.


Seven is a Magical Number

I was tagged by Domestic Goddess to write seven weird things about myself. And, since I don’t want to anger the Blogger gods, I must comply. But first, The Rules.

Rule #1: Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
Rule #2: Share seven random or weird facts about yourself.
Rule #3: Tag seven people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
Rule #4: Let each person know that she’s been tagged by leaving a comment on her blog.

And now, on to the good stuff (and believe me, I use the term “good” loosely).

1. I totally corrected the grammar in the rules listed above. I’m weird like that. I just really, really like things to be correct. Obviously, on this site I make exceptions to that rule, for style and voice and MY ART, and DON’T HOLD ME BACK, PEOPLE, I NEED TO BE FREEEEEEEEE. ahem.
2. Nail polish remover makes my skin get really weird. Weird, like wrinkly and dry and numbish. And it last for several days. Hence, I don’t like nail polish remover. Sometimes I wear rubber gloves to remove nail polish (but then I can’t use the gloves for anything else, because I need everything to serve a specific purpose, and I know it’s weird, and this little idiosyncrasy could really be it’s own number on this list here . . .). Sometimes I wrap plastic bags around my hands to remove nail polish. And sometimes I go get a pedicure, specifically so they will remove the old polish and I don’t have to do it. Really. I will pay someone $25 to remove my old, chipped nail polish.
3. I’m addicted to the snooze button. Last week I snoozed for over an hour, unable to truly sleep because I had to reach over to hit a button every nine minutes.
4. I came THIS CLOSE to buying my cat a sweater yesterday. Shut up, she’s getting shaved next week due to a matted fur problem, and I don’t want her to be chilly.
5. I’m becoming a bit obsessive about composting. Our trash gets picked up tomorrow, and tonight when I collect the trash from around the house, I’m going to sort through it and pull out the things that can actually be composted. (This is primarily going to be used tissues. I know. Gross. But you’ll be sooo jealous when I have a beautiful pile of humus and you don’t.)
6. I recently checked out a book from the library called No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog. Two things about this: 1) Y’all better keep reading, because my blog’s future content is about to knock your socks off, and 2) I honestly thought you did care what I had for lunch. Today I had leftover hash and some cottage cheese, and the whole thing left something to be desired, namely a chocolate chip cookie. Aren’t you glad you know that?
7. I’ve been looking for a great pair of boots for at least three years. And I haven’t been able to find “the pair.” See, I apparently have enormous calves and a lot of the really cute boots don’t zip over my giant extremities. Some retailers sell wide-calf versions, but for some reason they think that if you have wide calves, you must also have thick ankles and wide feet. Which I don’t. I have very normal ankles and feet (with the tiny exception of my freakishly long second toe). And so the search for a great pair of boots continues.

Now, in alphabetical order, I tag . . .

Fresh Sodapop
Miss Zoot

Saturday, October 18

Making Bobby McFerrin Proud: A Top Ten List

Top 10 Things That Make Me Happy Today

  1. Waking up under piles of squishy blankets
  2. Feeling the warm sun as it streams through the windows
  3. Wearing the first sweater of the season
  4. Seeing the gorgeous fall leaves
  5. Noticing the inexplicable smell of macaroni and cheese in my car
  6. Taking a really hot shower after an exhausting workout
  7. Drinking a pumpkin spice latte
  8. Driving by Krispy Kreme and smelling the delicious scent of original "hot now" glazed doughnuts
  9. Seeing the compost in the compost pile start to compost (compost compost)
  10. Hearing birds chirp while sitting at a stoplight

Tuesday, October 14

Monday, October 13

Take a Seat

Today was the big day. The day we moved the furniture from the garage to the living room. But then it rained, and the couch has to go outside to then come back inside. Soooo... we only moved two chairs. The couch continues to keep the power tools company in the garage. But Couch, we still love you, too. Someday we will come back for you.

But for now, may I introduce to you, dear readers, Chair One and Chair Two. (they could really use some better names, eh? but naming things is hard.)

Shall I tell you about my weekend? OK then.

It was a big weekend in the Langford household. Andrew didn't have to go to work. And he didn't do any homework until Sunday evening. And that means he had plenty of time to hang out with me and have lots of fun. We had an awesome time Friday night hanging out with JiaoJiao and her cutie-patootie boyfriend, Jason. Then on Saturday, we slept late and went out for breakfast.

And this is an interesting story. Not so much interesting, I guess, as just sort of weird. We had heard that the coffee shop next to Stonewall Inn was doing some sort of waffle breakfast and chili tasting event. I know, I wouldn't have thought those two went together, either. But who am I to judge? Well, Andrew and me, we luurve us some waffles, so when we got our sleepy butts out of bed around 9:30, we decided to head over there for waffley goodness. The time was 10:05 when we arrived, and they had already shut down the waffle maker. The barista man (what is the masculine of barista? does it have a masculine version? baristo, perhaps?) invited us to join in the chili tasting, but we said we hadn't had breakfast yet and would maybe just get coffee instead. But the nice man offered to turn on the waffle maker, so yay! Waffles! More and more people--a surprising number of people, actually--came into the shop, all there to taste chili (at 10:15 in the morning). Another barista came in and mentioned the chili tasting to us, and the first barista man said in a low voice to her, “They wanted waffles . . . they haven't had breakfast yet.” And she looked at us in a sad way, as though she'd just found out we only had six months to live. Really? Is it that weird to be wanting breakfast at 10AM on a Saturday? Such judgment, coming from a crowd that included a 40-something man with zebra-stripe tattoos down his arms and legs, and a woman who perched her toddler on the back of a large dog for the picture-taking pleasure of her companion. (The child was not amused.) In the end, though, we got our delicious waffles and coffee and didn't have to taste any chili. (note: they announced the chili competition winner just before 11:00. Wow.)

The rest of Saturday was mostly just Andrew and I hanging out and enjoying the beautiful day. We ran some errands and got various hardware for the house. We went to the library and I checked out a book I've been wanting to read, then we sat out on the back deck and read books. We went to the grocery store and then cooked dinner together. It was so ho-hum, yet so glorious. Does anyone else love that kind of day as much as I do?

Sunday was a day of productivity. The in-laws were over to help out with the house again, and guess what. Furniture is going in tonight! For reals. We completed all the painting touch-ups and messy dirty work in the living room, so we can move back in. We even rented a Rug Doctor and scrubbed the dust and my summer memories out of the carpet. There is still plenty of work to do (paint kitchen windows and door, paint bathroom door and bathroom, paint dining room, paint and install more trim...) but for now, I'm declaring a victory.

Thursday, October 9

A Reason to Still Go to Westport

I just had a sangria milkshake and I am not even kidding. It was quite delicious. Though not as delicious as Stephanie's Midori and Malibu milkshake. Mmmmmm... Also, truffle fries. (All this goodness was from Blanc. You should go there.) Ahhh, I love happy hour. There's just nothing better after a sucky work day. Happy hour is one of those things that is very appropriately named. Unlike Pottery Barn. It doesn't really sell pottery, nor is it a barn. I mean, what's up with that?

Tuesday, October 7

Blahbity, Blah, Complain Complain, etc.

I’m having one of those evenings where everything just sort of stresses me out. And of course, some of it I brought on myself. Which in a way, just makes it that much worse, because I can add a little bit of guilt to the stress. Let me tell you about my evening.

I went to Crate & Barrel after work because I wanted the countertop composter that I saw in their catalog. It turns out to be nothing more than a bucket with a filter in the lid. Of course, I buy it anyway because I’m determined to start composting. And now that I have the composter, I will actually have to start composting, which I have no idea how to do. I know this isn’t logical, but that is stress #1.

After C & B, I picked up our produce from the CSA we joined this year. This stresses me because we’ve been wasting so much food (hence the desire for composting) and I hate wasting such good food. But with Andrew so busy, we haven’t been cooking much at home. And when I say “much,” I mean “at all.” In fact, I can’t remember the last time we cooked at home together. I hate when Andrew is so busy because I really love hanging out with him. So wasting food and missing my husband encompass stresses #2 and #3.

Picking up the food reminds me of the fact that I have no idea what I’m going to make for dinner tonight, and since Andrew’s in class, I’m again on my own for eating. Stress #4.

When I arrive at home, this note from Marrs Tree Service falls out of the front door: “The maple in front has a lot of damage to the trunk. It would probably be better to remove it and start over. Remove it, haul away, grind the stump: $150.” Is that not just the most depressing thing? We’re probably going to lose this beautiful tree, the largest tree in our front yard, the one that shades the front of the house and gives us some privacy in the bedroom (which we need a lot of, if you know what I mean. I mean, Andrew likes to walk around in his boxer briefs. what did you think I meant?). And on top of that, we’re going to have to pay them $150 to lose the tree. So this is stress #5.

After heading inside, I go about the business of washing the produce from this week and throwing out the produce from last week that has gone bad. I decide to make pizza sauce with all the tomatoes we’ve got, so I set about doing that. But that’s going to take awhile, and still won’t produce any dinner for me. And I’m hungry. And because I’m feeling stressed and just worn out and the pizza sauce reminds of pizza (obviously), I order pizza. And ordering pizza is bad for me because I will eat the pizza. And because I will eat the pizza, I won’t go to the gym, only making the effects of eating the pizza that much more pronounced. Stresses #6 and #7. (told you it wasn’t logical—I totally brought these on myself)

So that’s my evening. I’m now going to watch the Presidential debate. I’m sure that will be just the pick-me-up I need.

Thursday, October 2

Joe Versus Sarah "The Volcano" Palin

The hot topic of the day seems to be the vice presidential debate. Yeah, I watched it. Did you watch it? Sadly, Sarah Palin did not entertain me nearly as much as I hoped she would. Except for when she called Obama and Biden “you guys.” And her sparkly flag pin.

What did entertain me was this: When I was at the gym earlier this evening, I saw a TV news segment about how Joe Biden would prepare to debate a woman.

Um. Seriously? Is this really something that needs special preparation? Why should debating a woman be any different than debating a man? I don’t recall any segments on how John McCain would prepare to debate a black man. I mean, really, WTF? Were they afraid Biden would stare at Palin’s cleavage? Or that if he disagreed with her, he would say she was just on her period? Or maybe, instead of shaking her hand afterward, he might slap her ass?

Sigh. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could focus more on the issues in this campaign and less on the gender of the candidates?

Wednesday, October 1

The Great Tulip Project of 2008

I planted bulbs for the first time last weekend, and while I know it’s not rocket science, it is science, sort of, and I don’t know if these bulbs will actually produce any tulips, come spring. I also don’t know if perhaps I planted my ability to write something other than a run-on sentence, because wow. I absolutely love tulips, so I couldn’t let another fall pass me by without planting some.

We have a small berm* in the front yard around our marriage tree. (Have I mentioned our marriage tree? We planted it when we got married, and now on every anniversary, we are taking a picture of us by the tree, so we can see how much it’s changed and how we’ve changed. It’s like a metaphor for watching our love grow. I know, it makes me want to throw up a little, too.) And I wanted something other than the sedum** that Andrew planted around the tree. So I went to the nursery (the plant nursery, not the baby one) and bought 40 tulip bulbs, in varying shades of red, orange, and yellow.

This is where it gets complicated. I thought this project would take about two hours, from the removal of the ground cover to the planting of the bulbs, to the laying of the chicken wire over the top, to the spreading of mulch. FYI, the tulip website I looked at said that squirrels just love bulbs, so to prevent the squirrels from eating them, chicken wire could be placed over the top and the flowers could still grow through it.

But, clearly, it took longer than two hours. I’d say it took closer to six hours. Most of that time was devoted to ripping out the sedum. Those suckers have quite a root system. (And may I just point out that this, this right here, is a wonderful example of a topic I never ever thought I would discuss, had you asked me three years ago.) Once I finally got the sedum—okay, most of the sedum—out, the dirt was packed so hard, that I really was only able to dig down about four inches to plant the bulbs. I’m sure that had I not already been working on this project for three hours, I would have kept trying, but I was totally ready to throw in the towel. But I still wanted all the work to produce results, namely tulips.

To solve this problem, I bought more dirt and made sure the bulbs were planted deep enough. Brilliant, eh? I’m sure all you horticulturists out there are cringing. So more dirt, then chicken wire cutting and placing, then mulch. Then lots of watering. I must say, the berm looks fantastic. And, if I’m lucky, it will look even more fantastic this spring when 40 tulips bloom.

*berm: a word I did not know until I bought a house
**sedum: another word I did not know until I bought a house

Saturday, September 27

Awww, so precious!

Congratulations, Ben and Katy! And welcome to the world, Amelia Ann and Paul Joseph! Go see the pictures!

Friday, September 26

The babies are coming!

Oh my gosh! The babies are coming! Ben and Katy’s baaaaaaybeeeees! Katy is pregnant with twins, and they are on their way! Follow this baby story on Go on, click! What are you waiting for?

Thursday, September 25

A Breakfast Post

This morning Andrew ate the last of the dark chocolate almond granola. That’s right, healthy granola with delicious bits of dark chocolatey goodness (and almonds, but they’re kind of the redheaded stepchild in this equation) (does anyone else hate that phrase, redheaded stepchild, as much as I do?). This granola is perhaps the tastiest cereal I’ve ever had, with the possible exception of Reese’s Puffs, but the granola wins because it does not contain high fructose corn syrup. I actually can’t say for sure that Reese’s Puffs contains HFCS, but I would bet money on it. Real money, the kind I spend on real things, like dark chocolate almond granola.

So anyway. Andrew ate the last of it. And I was so sad. Sad and a little angry. I was really looking forward to that cereal, and then I open up the pantry, and what do I see? Not my cereal, that’s for damn sure. Yeah, I called it mine, whatcha gonna do about it? Plus, this is not the first incident like this one. Usually Andrew takes the last of my milk. He prefers soy milk, and I prefer Shatto milk, so there are often two milks in the fridge. Until his milk is gone, and there is just the one. And then he drinks my milk, even if there’s only enough for one bowl of cereal. Cereal milk that I was going to have for breakfast, since we didn’t have toast or bagels or yogurt or waffles or eggs or ANYTHING else for breakfast.

To sum up: Cascadian Farms, I love your cereal. Andrew ate mine. May I have some please? Kthxbai.

Wednesday, September 24

Ahhh! It's a photo of my boyfriend David Cook!

But not just ANY old photo. Remember when I said that I karaoked with him once a long long time ago? Well. I found photographic evidence of it! How did I find it, you ask? No, it was not in a dusty old attic somewhere (the picture wasn't taken in the 40s, jeebus). I happened to be using my old laptop, and I happened to look at the pictures on it to see if there was anything suitable for my food photo essay on facebook, and I happened to come across this gem. It would be better if I were in the photo, rather than behind the camera, but what can you do? And, as a bonus, due to my fantastic labeling of said photo, I now know when, exactly, it was that the karaoke took place. If only I had been videotaping it. I have no recollection what the song was. Bummer.

I called it "David and Jessie rock out in NKC 11.19.05."
So there you go.

And this is Andrew singing that same night.
At least this sort of resembles proof that
we were actually with David Cook that evening.

Punch me, please.

Nothing is better than going out for coffee on a weekend afternoon. Nothing, that is, except going out for free coffee on a weekend afternoon. Fortunately, most coffee places hand out punch cards, in the “buy nine, get the tenth free” sort of way. (tangent: I hate the places that put limitations on their punch cards, like you have to buy espresso drinks to get a punch. That’s right, I’m looking at you, Black Dog. Isn’t it enough that you forced me to listen to an entire Hootie cd while at your establishment? Have a heart, man!)

Anyway. I have a lot of these punch cards. Some places put card boxes out on the counter, so you could potentially leave your card there and never have to remember to bring it. But I do not trust The Public. What if my card is full, and I’m pumped, ready for my free drink, and someone steals it from me? Because I have totally thought about searching through those boxes for the cards that are ready for the free drink. Because I’m a bad person like that. (I could never go through with it, though. Tangent #2: this morning it was raining as I arrived at work, so I wanted to park in the garage that is attached to the building, but of course, all the spots were full. I actually pulled into one of the “reserved” spots, put the car in park, and had my finger on the power button, when I wimped out. I couldn’t do it. The sign said I would be towed! What’s a girl to do? So I left the garage and parked outside. In the rain. But! It’s sunny now! Hooray!) But back to the punch cards. I firmly believe that more establishments should offer punch cards. Why is this primarily limited to coffee shops? I do have a few non-coffee cards, as you’ll see. And I love those places and go to them partly due to their punch cards. So businesses out there, get in on this action!

Here is a list of punch/rewards cards I carry around with me:

  • Dunn Bros. Coffee
  • Black Dog
  • Aixois
  • Smoothie King (I shouldn’t carry this card—they are waaaaaay too far away to justify the extra eighth of an ounce in my bag)
  • Planet Sub
  • Spin
  • Westport Coffee House
  • Maui Express (is this place even open anymore?)
  • The Crave Café
  • Maurices (what? there is a Maurices in town? where? why do I have this card? am I in college again?)
  • The Café (this place is actually in my workplace, so technically I don’t carry this card around with me—it just sits in my desk all the time, between the extra sugar packets and a package of Saltines)

Here is a list of places I wish offered punch/rewards cards (because I would have earned, like, hundreds of free things by now):
  • Sheridan’s
  • Stonewall Inn Pizza
  • Mafia Mike’s
  • Panera
  • First Watch
  • Café Song
  • Blue Koi
  • Gomer’s
  • Chipotle

Tuesday, September 16

It rained there.

I spent the weekend in Chicago with my girls. And it rained. A lot. The entire time, actually. Except for the moment we left to walk to breakfast. They talked me out of taking my umbrella. And then, of course, it rained on the walk back. And we got quite drippy. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Why did I go to Chicago? There are lots of reasons, but the short answer is to see my two best friends, Emily and Molly. (Together we’re the three M’s. We’re tight like that. I think it was sometime in high school when we started calling ourselves that—you know, for Megan, Molly, and Emily. We’ve been friends for twenty years, people—we were destined to get a group nickname at some point). Emily moved to Chicago this year, and Molly and I wanted to plan a trip to see the apartment, hang out, shop, and do all the standard M’s stuff, like make pizza (except it’s really like watch Emo make pizza and then eat it). If we’d just made chocolate chip cookies (but ate half the dough) or those orange sweet rolls in a can, it would have been like many of my weekends of yesteryear.

The trip was excellent. We did some standard Chicago-type things, like eat at Gino’s East and shop on Michigan Avenue. We saw lots of old friends who were also in Chicago. I bought a supercute purple bag. Ooh, and we ate cheesecake-stuffed French toast. Sooo good.

There is just nothing like hanging out with best friends. Friends who have been around so long that my dad calls them his “oldest and dearest friends.” We just know each other. Like, even though Molly and I have no idea how she does it, Emily’s showers take less than a minute. Or the way I know I can trust Molly’s advice when it comes to bag buying (guess who was carrying a Coach bag this weekend? Not me). And we can talk about boys forever and say the same things over and over, essentially, but there’s always more to say. And that’s okay. We can talk about how we’re unsure of our haircuts or how we wonder if we need different shades of eye shadow or whether these shirts look good on us, and regardless of the answers, we know we’re all beautiful in the end. And really, that’s why I went to Chicago.

Friday, September 12

My 100th post!

Yes, this is officially my 100th post. Originally, I planned to write something prosey and feely about writing, which would likely have only entertained myself. But I am leaving for the airport in about 20 minutes (it's a 3Ms weekend to see Emily's new digs), so instead I'm posting a video of my cat. Incidentally, this also will only entertain myself. And maybe Andrew.

Monday, September 8

A Love Story and a Lucky T-Shirt


The day I met Andrew, I think I knew he was a good fit for me. I don’t want to say it was love at first sight or anything, because it wasn’t. Not by a long shot. But there was just something about him. And because I think you might be tiring of my “what I did this weekend” entries, I’m going to tell you about the day I met Andrew.

But first, the lucky T-shirt part of this story. Sometime in late high school, my dear friend Christy and I were thrift store shopping. We both saw this awesome T-shirt at the same time. This particular T-shirt was red and in big bold letters it said IMPROVE YOUR IMAGE. BE SEEN WITH ME. Somehow, I convinced Christy that the shirt should be mine. It was probably less me convincing her and more her just being nice. But man, I loved that T-shirt. It definitely became a staple of my early college wardrobe.
But now, on to the point. It was waaaaaay back in the year 2000. I had just started my freshman year at MU. I was living the good life, on the Honors floor of my dorm. I know, nerdy, right? But it was a co-ed dorm, so that should give me a couple of cool points. I had signed up for a class called The Warm Little Pond. I cannot even begin to describe it to you, but it was in that class that I learned the term “limnology.” Oh, and I met JiaoJiao (who, by the way, is awesome).
Jiao happened to live just down the hall from me, and she remembered seeing me in the dorm because I was wearing my supercool red T-shirt and people take notice of supercool T-shirts. So anyway, on the first (or maybe the second or third, who can remember after all these years?) day of The Warm Little Pond, she came over to me and asked if I lived in Hatch (the dorm) because she remembered my shirt and liked it. So we became friends. She was my first college friend (awwwwww) and we became tight. Like, we used to do the electric slide in the hall of the dorm, and we’d army crawl down the hall just because it made us laugh. Also, she liked Britney Spears and wasn’t ashamed to admit it, so I finally had someone to listen to “Born to Make You Happy” with.
Fast forward several months. Second semester. Jiao was taking anthropology. One of her classmates happened to be Andrew (unrelated fact: Andrew describes that anthropology professor as being just like the gopher “or whatever burrowing animal” from Winnie the Pooh). So Jiao and Andrew are taking this class together, and because they both lived on 6th floor Hatch, they chatted and whatnot. And Jiao learned that Andrew played guitar. And Jiao wanted to learn to play the guitar. More specifically, she wanted to learn to play one song (perhaps a Michelle Branch song? again, I can’t remember, what with the passing of time and me being so old). So Jiao asked Andrew to give her lessons in exchange for a 3 Musketeers bar.
And the lessons commenced. When Jiao learned the song, she was so excited. She came to my room and asked me to come to Andrew’s room to hear her play. I was all, who’s Andrew? She’s like, a guy in my class who lives down the hall, haven’t you met him? Nope, I haven’t met him, but I’ll come hear you play.
So I went to Andrew’s room. And apparently JiaoJiao had a guitar there, and played a song or something. All I remember is the hot guy with the great smile and green eyes who had taught her how to play. I was enamored with him. What girl could resist a really, really cute guy that plays the freaking guitar? Not this girl. I decided right then and there, while Jiao picked out those chords, that I was going to get to know this guy.
I stuck around after Jiao’s one-song set to chat. We talked about music and such, and I flipped through his cds. And he had not one, not two, but three Muppets cds. And that was when I knew. I knew he would be a good fit for me. (He didn’t come to the same realization until a couple of years later, but my tenacity won out. I knew a good thing when I saw it.)
Incidentally, though I didn’t remember seeing him, Andrew remembered seeing me at our floor meetings earlier in the year. Why did I stand out to him? Because I was wearing that T-shirt (and because I’m just so darn good looking).
Now, eight years later, I no longer have that shirt. Also, it turns out that Andrew’s eyes are actually more hazel than green. Go figure.

Wednesday, September 3

Labor Day Weekend, Part 2: The Fun

Remember how I said Part 2 would be more fun? I was not kidding. Anything would be more fun than pictures of paint drying. I mean, GAWD. But where to start with all the fun? It was so damn fun, I barely remember it happening. Just kidding. It wasn’t THAT fun. But enough with the increasingly lame intro. Let’s not waste anymore time.

Friday night. Hmmm . . . Okay, so perhaps this is not the best place to begin if we’re talking about what an awesometrocity this weekend was. We spent the evening weeding the garden and swatting the mosquitoes. I wish I was kidding about that (the weeding part, not the swatting part. I would swat again in a heartbeat. I got a mosquito bite ON MY EYELID). I’m not exactly sure when I turned into my father, but it seems to have happened sometime after I began wearing a lot of sunscreen but before I spent every weekend at the office.

Moving on. Saturday night. Eff yeah! We went to see my boyfriend David Cook rock it out at the Sprint Center. Yes, you heard me correctly—we went to the American Idols concert. It was pretty fun, despite sitting 2,471 miles away from the stage. The hometown crowd loved my boyfriend. And David, honey, don’t get jealous, but I also loved Michael Johns. He can rock me anytime. RRRWWWARRR!! Andrew’s fav, though, was David Archuleta (Andrew has always wanted a puppy). In fact, he clapped so hard, his hands bled. (I’m sure it had nothing at all to do with the fact that he spent six hours sanding the trim earlier that day. It was definitely about teh awwsum.)

And then came Sunday night. We went to the ever-popular (yet always trashy) SantaCaliGon Days festival in IndepMO. That’s right. I can call it that, because that’s my ’hood, yo. Among the attractions were mullets, bare midriffs, and smokers with teeny tiny babies in their arms. And that was just on the shuttle to get there. We ate some grease—I mean french fries—and delicious ice cream sandwiches. We saw crafts and a “paddy wagon.” We people-watched and laughed at the punkness of the young punks. We decided that going to SantaCaliGon can probably become a bi-annual event for us.

And to wrap the weekend up: Monday night. We fell asleep. That’s all. Told you it was fun.

Monday, September 1

Labor Day Weekend, Part 1: The House

Don’t you just luuuuuvvvvvvvv three-day weekends? Sleeping late, relaxing, enjoying the weather, barbecuing . . . those kinds of things? Well. Then my weekend? Was not for you. Apparently they don't call it Labor Day for nothing.

From 8:00 until about 4:30 or 5:00 we did more housey stuff (every. single. day. OMG.)The Paint was painted. The Trim was trimmed. The Doors were a late-60s rock band. I’ve never had a less relaxing weekend in my life. But the house is looking fantastic. The white trim looks awesome next to the green walls. And it’s looking together enough that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. We’re not actually installing a tunnel, though I wouldn’t put it past Mark and Stan.

This is Stan. Did you know he had an emergency appendectomy, like, a week ago?

This is Mark. He is painting.
(see what I just wrote there? that is a perfect example of my prose,
my word skillz, if you will. THIS is what draws my readers in, like a moth to a flame.

This is Sarah and Andrew. Andrew got sunburned that day.
The wearing of the hats? That was my idea.

I know it looks like a lot of trim, but we ran out. Sigh.

The trim, zoomed-in style. Still need to patch the nail holes.

The nail gun, making holes that need to be patched. Also hanging the trim.

Windows being painted. Is anyone else reading this as bored as I am?
Sheesh, it's like watching paint dry or something.
(HA! get it? like watching paint dry?!)

Andrew forgot to take his crazy pills, so he spent his entire three-day
weekend working on the house. Also he ate some paint.

Zadie was thirsty after all that work.
Hiding under the bed is quite difficult, you know.

You can kind of sort of tell what the room looks like. Nice, isn't it?

So that is that. Lots and lots of painting, a little sanding (all that trim had to be sanded before it could be painted), some nail-gunning, and some more painting. Labor Day Weekend, Part 2 will come shortly. It will be more fun, I promise.