Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The best present in the entire world

It rained Saturday night, essentially Sunday, and Monday, too.

Today it was like this:


So, of course I worked all day.

Such is the life of those who need money. I work all day again tomorrow, too! I will bet you money tomorrow is also beautiful.

Monday morning was Jason's birthday; he is 26 years old and Officially Two Years Older Than Me, at least until March comes 'round and I catch up by a year again.

On my husband's birthday, he gave me a present.

I did not work on Monday; I went to bed sometime around 3 AM Monday night. I haven't been feeling great for the last few days. Friday not 'not feeling great' hit me like a ton of bricks and while the actual really sick part only lasted about a day or so, the 'getting-over-it' part is taking much longer than I anticipated.

In any case, when I woke up a little before 11 AM on Monday, I got up, walked into the living room, sat down at my computer, and discovered a present.

(I took these pictures this afternoon when the light was pretty nice, not yesterday, obviously)


This is the present.


It is a chronicle, in pictures and words, of the second year of our marriage (no such chronicle exists for year one, but I am thinking about trying to find what (relatively few) pictures I took in the first year and making one).

We bought a digital camera last year, which I began to use around January-ish, but of course I was always a big picture-taker. It's died down a bit, but we still have a ton of photos to work with, and of course we are drowning in digital photos now.


On one side are his narrations of our year, in a sort of rough chronological order, and on the other side are pictures taken over the course of that year.

I am a big fan of self-portraits; within my family I'm somewhat famous for every roll of film having had at least one or two self-portraits. This is a family trait; we've got photos of Christina and Bryan doing it, too.

Once Jason and I began dating, I began to insert him into these portraits. He is in a lot of them now.


I sat there yesterday morning, flipping page by page in this thick little album, crying happy tears I tried to keep quiet so as not to wake him up. I was a little melty Katie-puddle.

Pictures of our cat; resting, bringing us her 'kills' (her stuffed animal toys and this fuzzy-thing-on-a-stick).



The good and the bad, the quick and the slow, everything important and sometimes the less-important. Landscapes and food, happiness and frustration overwhelmed by how much we are halves of this whole.


The moments we were there for, mentioning some of the ones we weren't. The most important parts of this summer came in two extreme opposites; going back to McLean for my grandmother's funeral, coming a month later for the Fourth of July and seeing so much of my family; my parents and my sister and brother... and my niece Delainey, this incredible little girl that grows in such leaps and bounds between each time I see her.


At the tail end of our second year, this move halfway across the country back to the city Jason grew up in. Jessi, Jen, and I in a car driving into the mountains once and for all, the way my cat started out curled in her carrier, unwilling to accept the trip at first, ending up curled up on the floor for more than half the drive almost without moving.

We made it here, we unpacked our things, this house is a home.


I love you, too.

I am responsible for year three's book; I already know some of what it will contain. The new apartment, my in-laws, sitting in Justin's apartment cooking lots of food and doing geeky things, jobs and of course still the cat and all kinds of things.

I want us to live to be 104 and be flipping through a giant pile of these books remembering all these moments with each other.

Wrinkly little old people looking at self-portraits of ourselves when we were 24 and 26, respectively, going "Man, look at our HAIR."

Okay, maybe I'll be the only one doing that.

I will now conclude this sappy blog entry...

so that I can go flip through the book again.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gray Day


It is gray, and cloudy, and wet, and raining in occasional bursts just to keep up the mood.

I am sick and groany, and whiny, and have occasional bursts of energy just so that I can be reminded when they leave how gross I feel.

The day and I deserve each other.

On the other hand?

We really needed the rain.

So this is a good thing.

Today will be lazy and gray, rainy and slow, a series of moments tied to each other instead of any particular ambition.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Feline Contributions

It's a cleaning kind of day... or at least a cleaning kind of couple of hours.

Jason's been to bed, been up, and is back in bed. I worked a closing shift last night and then went to hang with a friend of mine for a few hours.

The weird part is that I was fine all day at work, although tired for reasons I could not quite fathom, and then I was fine when hanging out with my friend, but when I came home it felt like the bones in my legs hurt, and I couldn't seem to warm up no matter how many blankets I wore. I eventually fell asleep, in any case. I woke up with my legs still hurting, but warm, when Jason came home.

So it's been a surreal bit of time for me.

For the moment, I am attempting to do some organization of the boxes, some of whom have been half-unpacked and a few who have, woefully, had no better work done on them than for me to open them, rifle through, get distracted by something shiny, and forget what I was doing again.

For the moment, I'm trying to actually accomplish something. It is a tiresome journey, but I believe I can do this.

The cat is, in her own way, trying to be helpful.

Of course, the cat's version of helping is to wander in aimless circles and meow at me whenever I move something, because she does not like it when I move things.

Occasionally she'll come attempt to distract me by rubbing her head against the box I'm working on or putting her absolute cutest face on and just staring at me, willing me to look at her and remember that cats are for petting.

A few minutes ago, I found one of her old toys in a box I hadn't unpacked yet, and tossed it to her.

You'd think it was Christmas morning.

She has been carrying this thing around in her mouth, trotting a little, almost strutting. Proud of herself.

Good job, you caught the stuffed cloth mouse who can't run away.

At the moment she is attempting to tear its little cloth ears off. And then she will put it in her mouth, bring it over to me, and drop it at my feet, as if to say, Look, Katie, I brought you the toy so you can play!

If only, little kitty, mice held such fascination for me as they do for you.

Give her two minutes and she'll be in cat heaven again, batting that thing around the room as though nothing else existed in the world.

Oh, and here is the mouse dropped at my feet again.

Good job, pretty girl. I appreciate your present.

But it's sure not going to be dinner.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday Night & a Quesadilla Recipe


On Wednesdays I can often be found, by the early afternoon, at Justin's house doing laundry.

Laundry is my favorite chore; it's my zen place. It's the only chore I will volunteer to do. Sometimes I work on Wednesdays, but for the most part I really don't very often, which makes it a fantastic laundry day; I wander over to Justin's place, get laundry going, and spend the intervening time between loads reading magazines and scribbling in my sketchbook.

It is a nice and peaceful time, except that the cats both decided they love me. Which is nice, except that they are the sort of cats who will walk across your head or bite your nose to get attention.

Last night we got a small group of people together to start up a new game.

This is what 'game' is when I refer to it here or on Facebook:


GURPS. The Generic Universal Roleplaying System. We make up characters and one person runs a game/story, the universe wherein these characters exist. It's pretty fun.

When this happens, so far I've been testing out my cooking skills (or at least testing out my putting-stuff-together, then-jason-cooks-it skills) on the gamers.

This week's menu was Roasted-Red-Pepper-and-Goat-Cheese-Quesadillas and spiced nut corn bread for dessert. I'm putting up the recipe for the quesadillas, but the recipe for the corn bread needs a littel tweaking; I think the recipe in the book uses too much baking powder. I want to fiddle with it and make it again before I put it out there for the masses.

In any case...

food!

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Quesadillas


What You Need:
8 oz. crumbled goat cheese
1 jar roasted red peppers
About four large handfuls of spinach
24 flour tortillas
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

On to the Creation!

Take a large skillet and heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then shift your pan around until the oil coats the bottom. Put aside a small bowl of olive oil and a brush.

Assemble your quesadilla; some cheese crumbles, spinach, and red peppers on one tortilla. Dust with salt and pepper inside each individual one. Place a second tortilla on top. Brush the outside with olive oil.

Cook in the skillet, 2 minutes or so per side, until golden brown and the cheese is melty on the inside. Repeat until all of the tortillas are cooked. This recipe made enough for six people to have two apiece.

   

And now back to my regularly scheduled programming of puttering around the house until Jason gets up.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hagood Mill


 This weekend was pretty much a whirlwind of adventure.

An awesome dinner with friends, a crazy birthday party and I get to visit a historical site?

Count me in.

Jason and I went to Hagood Mill, a still-working cornmeal mill and historical site. They do a kind of little festival on the third Saturday of every month. Jason and I went to see Griz, who Jason apprenticed with when he was first really getting into metalworking.

While it was hot, the humidity wasn't that sweltering and it was an absolutely gorgeous day.


They have these old cabins everywhere; in one, a lady shows freshly churned butter, dressed in a gown, apron and sunbonnet. Great looms and spinning wheels are situated near windows. People were everywhere, most of them in modern clothes but you'd just as often see a lone fiddler in a loose 19th century shirt and pants.

Of course, there was a Fiddlin' Convention going on while we were there, which meant I not only got to see historical cabins, I got to listen to fiddling.

This is the point at which I must remind my family and those who know me well, or inform for the first time those who do not, that I am a fiend for stuff like this. Setting me loose on a site like this is the proverbial kid in a candy shop.

Of course, I also react this way to candy shops. Also toy shops, videogames, and really good used bookstores.

Maybe I am enthusiastic about too many things.

In any case, there is a working water-mill at this site. They still make stone-ground cornmeal, white and yellow. Bags of it are sold there, and of course I bought one. There was never any question as to whether or not I was leaving with stone-ground cornmeal.

I also react like a kid in a candyshop when you show me really good cornmeal.

I am just an excitable person.

We were able to walk around the inside of the mill and see all the parts at work.



We watched the various parts of the machinery work, and there at the end was a boy and his father watching the ground cornmeal come out into small buckets, which they would replace when they got too full and pour the meal into the bags. This is food-grade cornmeal; good stuff.

While in there, I bought a small bag of yellow cornmeal and a Hagood Mill cookbook; in it are recipes that use the cornmeal, which range from Hush Puppies, basic cornbread and Corn Pone to Tamale Pie and Chili Pie to Spiced Nut Cornbread and Coconut Custard.

I will be testing the recipes I am most interested in out on Jason and his best friend Justin, and they are going to like it darn it.

And once we'd had our fill of that, we went back outside. Jason talked to Griz for a long time; on these Saturdays, Griz comes out and does blacksmithing demo's. He had small axes, a dinner-triangle, horseshoes, and other fun stuff he'd made for sale and when we walked up, he was working on nails.

We talked for a while about what Griz has been up, Jason talked about what we've been up to. Hagood Mill is actually building a much bigger metalsmithing shop for Griz to do his shows in, which is exciting.

I should add that Hagood Mill also has a working cotton gin...


a moonshine distillery...


and two discreetly placed outhouses.


No, you're not supposed to actually use the outhouses.

I just liked that they're still there. Historical accuracy and all that.

People were there from all around, some for the Fiddlin' Convention (I swear, the sign for it had no g and the little apostrophe, I am not just doing that), some just for the fun of a Saturday out there, to be spent in the sunlight. Some enterprising folks had shown up with four huge coolers of pop on ice (er, soda, I am reminded by a certain husband) and were doing a brisk business selling them.



This man showed up with a truck so old the plaque on the side still read "Dodge Brothers", a truck made in 1935.


This strutting fellow showed up with a fellow rooster and one very confused hen in the back of someone's truck. Children were, of course, deeply fascinated. There was also a pig sleeping so soundly in the shade that at first I thought it was dead and the kids would be learning an entirely different and more depressing lesson about where hot dogs and bacon come from.

Then it snuffled in its sleep.

In short, I declare this visit a rollicking success and we assured Griz we'll be coming to see this again. I am told it is an especially gorgeous visit in the fall when the leaves change and yet it's still warm enough to spend lots of time outside.

We both had a lot of fun this weekend; Friday we went into Clemson and had dinner with Jessi, James, their roommates Ted and Sarah, and Justin. Saturday this trip to Hagood Mill started us off right let me tell you. Then Saturday night the much larger party happened. No, I will not be going into a lot of detail here. Suffice to say, it was also awesome even if at some point we broke out the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block once they gave some of us 90's kids control of the computer for five seconds.

Sunday Jason and I hung out in Clemson for a bit and then came back and had a fun little date night, just the two of us, got in some quality time. I own more shirts which coordinate now.

The tomboy inside of me is deeply ashamed and reminds me often that I could have spent that money on books or toy horses or something.

The tomboy inside of me is, uh, not entirely aware of time's passage.

Also, we bought new flavors of tea, which helped soothe her.

I am now 80% of the way into my planned wardrobe shift. I started thinking about this in Spring but now am at a place where we can actually implement this plot of mine. And this week Jason and I are going to go talk to the bank about how much money we will need to save before we buy our first rental house.


All in all, this is a pretty contented Monday morning for me.

Well, except for one thing I need to make my morning... er, noon now I guess... absolutely complete.

And speak of the devil, I think the coffee is done.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Weekend


So this is the beginning of my four-day weekend. A weekend which, I will remind you, is actually taking place on an actual weekend.

I'm frankly a little giddy about it.

Waiting for Jason to wake up; obviously it'll be a few hours. Until then, I'm hanging out with the cat.

We have been invited to a party in Clemson this weekend, and it is a party which, as far as I can tell, is beginning on Friday and just sort goin' on from there. I have been informed that if we stay until Monday, rent negotiations will begin.

So, whatever that tells you.

For the moment it's pretty peaceful. I'm going to write for a while, pay a couple of bills, make myself some food. Nothing too exciting.

Once Jason is awake, booze shopping and packing for the weekend will commence. I completely and thoroughly plan to both have clean clothing on hand AND not smell this weekend, even if I am in Clemson and not here.

Or...

Maybe I'll go back to bed. I was up until 3 AM last night. I really need to get better at falling asleep when Jason's at work.

What is everyone else doing this weekend?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Friday at Clemson, in Pictures

I have decided not to ramble at length about my adventures visiting my sister-in-law at her new college in Clemson last Friday. Hunter is eighteen, and doing the dorm-room-thing for the first time.


I think, instead of giving you my best attempts at explanations for the day, I'll just show you a few photographs, see if I can't let the images do most of the talking for me.

(EDIT after I finished writing: I totally lied. I ramble all over the place in this entry. I'm going to go ahead and say I politely misdirected your expectations! See, it's not a lie if I use really big words to explain it)


Hunter, in her Clemson shirt, showing Robin and I the stadium. When we first arrived, Robin and I and our stockpile of cold medicine, snacks, and clothing waited outside Hunter's dorm for her to get back from class, wherein I discovered that Robin knows everyone. Or at least three kids on campus were people she recognized within about five minutes. It is really fun to watch.

When Hunter returned, we lounged in her dorm room for a bit; incredibly coordinated and well-kept. At some point... the walk began. We saw classroom buildings, a beautiful clocktower, had lunch at a place I seem to recall was called the Pita Pit, which was like Subway if Subway had hummus and tsatziki.

The walking... continued. Jason's family has kind of a history with Clemson, and there is no shortage of fun stories and things to point out while you walk with Robin.

I highly recommend Robin and Hunter as Clemson tour guides; I never stopped being entertained and learning things.


The stadium is called Death Valley. Along the sides, high up in the stadium, there is a happy cheerful message declaring "Clemson Welcomes You to Death Valley." For the fans, of course, this is a happy and loving greeting. For the opposing team, however, I imagine it's a little more unsettling.



This... is a rock. It is a very important rock, as it was presented to one of Clemson's coaches, and it is in fact a rock from Actual Death Valley out in California. Apparently, before the game, they take the cover off and the members of the team touch it for luck?


The library is beautiful. Actually, most of the spaces here are beautiful; even patches of unused grass seemed to be planned out and executed on purpose. Most of the "free spaces" have been worked on so there is careful landscaping, pretty benches. Something to look at.

Clemson is a really sprawling campus; from having driven by it once or twice in the dark, I was surprised to discover just how much land it takes up. I believe I walked at least half of that land on Friday, and my legs believe that, too.


Even if their students have way too much free time, clearly. In case you can't tell, this is one of those little seed-y burrs stuck onto a stick, which is then stuck into the ground. Hunter discovered several of these things.

I was eighteen once...

and I had too much free time.

Point proven. Check and mate.

There's a point in here where I didn't take any pictures, because I was too busy enjoying my time with Hunter and Robin. Hunter is this incredible self-assured woman, and I keep thinking about the teenager I met for the first time when I was nineteen. We were both so shy about it we hardly spoke to one another, as I recall, at least at first. I was terrified of doing something so completely insane that I would be forever disliked not only by Jason's family but possibly the whole state of South Carolina at large and I can only imagine Hunter was trying to figure out what this crazy lady was doing in her house.

Sometimes I still worry that I am about to do something completely insane.

Well, it's not so much that I worry I might as I try to figure out exactly when. Really, it's not a matter of if.

In any case, there was a lot of walking. A lot a lot a lot. I kept up, and I impressed myself. Once thing I can say is that taking up our long walks back in Illinois was really good for me; I have a lot of energy and stamina I didn't have six months ago, I can tell you that.

We went by their student center for ice cream; Clemson as its own microcreamery, where students study ice cream.

I am beginning to think my career plans should change; I want to study ice cream now.

We had some, and it was that incredible thick Coldstone Creamery-type of ice cream. I did not take pictures because I was too busy eating it. So there.

At some point, we went back to have a few minutes at Hunter's dorm room before heading off with her friend Ben to see Crew, the rowing team, in action. And here, I began taking pictures again. I was asked to take some photos of Hunter and Crew stuff.


I have a few pictures from warm-ups, but I really like this one because of the way Hunter is smiling like that.


The rowing boats. I have this urge to call them 'rowboats' even though I know that's not what they're called. Canoes? I don't even know what they're called. I'm sure someone out there does and will tell me.


The lake, with the dock and the bleachers by it. It was, surprisingly, really quiet over here. I really enjoyed my time alternately watching the rowing people and just sort of closing my eyes and being aware of the lake and everything.


A sailboat, just sort of gliding along in the lake. I don't even know. This just seemed like such a moment out of time I couldn't help but photograph it.


Where I spent much of my time sitting, next to the docks, on the bleachers. The sun was beginning to go down, slip-sliding in and out of the clouds. There was just something kind of wonderful going on.

There is an interim period here where we lose Hunter for a bit and then find her again. We went out to dinner with Robin, my father-in-law Rusty, Hunter and her friend Ben. We had delicious, delicious foods. I caught a ride with Rusty so I could get home in time to have about an hour with Jason before he had to leave for work.

Then, as mentioned in my previous entry, I worked a pretty grueling two days. I went to work for a shorter shift today and was informed by my manager that I did a pretty good job with what was handed to me those two days. I have a shiny new sense of pride in what I can do at my job, my manager is giving me a four-day weekend, I ate a giant chocolate-covered cream puff today just because I could, and Jason is for some reason napping on the living room floor instead of in the bed.

I don't know. Don't make me explain these mysterious habits.

Tomorrow I go to Do Laundry over at Jason's best friend's place. After that, the three of us are having spicy chicken taco soup. Or at least chicken taco soup with the option of spiciness included.

I can't lie; it's going to be pretty exciting.

...

Well, I'm excited.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Adrenaline is Awesome!

Those three words sum up what I have learned this weekend.

To sum things up; I worked 9 AM to 5:30 PM Saturday and Sunday at my job. Saturday morning, my poor supervisor was incredibly ill and had to go home. I had a helper for much of the day, but since it was a rainy, kind of awful weather day, we were absolutely swamped. I probably did more than a mile in tight little circles as I had to go back and forth, here and there, to and fro. I was exhausted when I got out of work on Saturday. Luckily I rallied long enough that we could go see Jason's aunt and his adorable little cousins and hang out with the family at Gina's house for a while. I watched Hunter and Carrie play hide-the-stuffed-animal games and Whitney do Sudoku with her daddy and it was just lovely. Nonetheless, Jason and I were absolutely asleep by 10:30 last night we were both so exhausted.

This morning, Sunday, I woke up at 5 AM. Absolutely wide awake. I ended up just lying in bed thinking about getting up until 7:30. It was very, very nice.

Then up for a shower and to get ready for work. When I got to work, I discovered Sherry, who had gone home Saturday, couldn't make it in Sunday, so I had someone else to help for a while! But they were short-staffed all over the place. So I had helpers coming in to relieve me for breaks or help when the lines got crazy but for a good chunk of the day was on my own.

When I got back to the house to change into other clothes, I thought to myself, the last two days have proven exactly one thing to me, and that one thing is the title of this post.

Adrenaline is awesome.

Still, this tiring weekend is holding off your update at least one more night.

I'm hoping tomorrow when I get out of work at 4:30 to be able to update about last Friday's trip to Clemson to see my sister-in-law at college and get a look at her campus and everything. I'll get there, I promise.

It's just that now I really... need to...

zzzzzzzzz...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

To tide your silly selves over

I know, I know. I am far too boring for all this internet excitement. I promise, and I promise, and I promise. And then days go by.

But I know you'll forgive me, and besides!

I have three days in a row off work!

Tomorrow is dubbed Official Sleep-In Day. Tonight is Official Stay-Up-Late Night. I've got the tea for it and everything.

Thursday we've got errands to run all over God's green earth, and Friday I'm going to Clemson with my mother-in-law, to visit Jason's little sister Hunter at college. Jason and the family actually went to see her last weekend, but I had to work and was unable to go. I have been promised a tour, and been told to wear good walking shoes.

For the moment, however, I have been tagged by a fellow blogger here on Blogspot with a little questionnaire to fill out.

Three Thing Tag


3 places I would pack my travel bag for:
Seattle, Washington
Germany
Sweden

3 on-screen characters I like to watch:
Hank and Dean from The Venture Bros. (I count them as one!)
Simba in The Lion King (don't judge me)
Richard Mayhew in the Neverwhere miniseries

3 moods that describe me best:
Mercurial
Friendly
Anxious

3 things I always think of doing on a weekend:
Writing
Shopping
Snuggling
 
3 things from my childhood that I can’t forget:
Cheese and crackers with Grandma VanHoorn
Playing in a kiddie pool across the street when the Lee's house caught on fire, thinking it was them cooking on the grill and going to see, being swept up by my mother in a panic and not understanding what was going on.
Playing endless legends of The Herd out with Rikki

3 things I would never say no to:
Conversation
A coffee date with friends
My cat. It's not that I would never, it's more that I can't.
 
3 things I can’t live without:
Jason.
Family.
Books.


I know you're meant to tag others, but I'm not going to. I'll just leave this here and be on my merry way!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

the only thing you drink in paradise

Yesterday, Jason did not work at night.

He doesn't work tonight either.

Yesterday, we went out to the mall, originally I thought we would be shopping for clothing (well, I would...) but I couldn't bring myself to make the investment in new clothes just yet and we ended up wandering the mall. Now, we wandered quickly and left just before Jason was completely done with being able to shop, so I think I timed things well.

We stopped by amanzi tea, a store that is similar to a store I fell in love with at the Mall of America, Teavana, but have hardly seen anywhere else. Amanzi Tea, however, is a much smaller store, but they have little tins with examples of each kind of tea for you to smell, as well as several samples you can test out. They also have a small 'bar' area where you can get tea lattes, tea frappes, all kinds of fun stuff.

We picked three samples that we liked the smell of: Earl Gray, Thai Green, and Chocolate Mint.

We tried the chocolate mint as an afternoon snack, while curled up watching TV blissfully talking about how neither of us had to work that night.


Oh wow.

Oh wow.

This is tea like a cookie; with milk and sugar it was a perfect little snack and we were both in absolute heaven. If you can get ahold of any chocolate mint tea, I suggest you try it. My next experiment is going to be making iced tea out of the chocolate mint... I think I can make it work. And I think it will be delicious.

We will see.

In other news, Jason is off visiting his little sister at Clemson today, with his parents. They're going to go see a football game, hang out seeing all the local Clemson sights, and then my husband will come back to me... so we can go hang with a friend of ours in a bit. This is working out to be a really good weekend.

On top of that, I've gotten a bunch of writing done Thursday and Friday as well, and as soon as I post this I'm going to settle in to write some more.

Away I go!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

that's what Katie's are made of?

this image obviously belongs to Starbucks, not me.

At work, something incredibly dangerous happened.

We began serving our fall lineup of drinks.

There is now a big ol' bottle of pumpkin spice syrup that sits on the counter all day. It is very orange. I stare at it.

It tempts me.

There is another huge bottle of Toffee Nut syrup, for a mocha and for frappucinos. I was able to sample a Toffee Nut Mocha Frappucino the other day? It is like drinking an ice cream Heath bar. I don't know if I like it or not, but goodness did I want more.

The cinnamon dolce syrup, while less tempting, stares at me, too. I glance at it, from time to time, aware once more that I could be getting one of those, when I'm on break. It's only really sugary, what could be the harm?

Working at a coffeeshop inside a bookstore is dangerous. I adore coffee and books are about a third of what I think about ever. It is a hard moment when I walk inside to clock in and become aware that I am surrounded by thousands of books. Thousands.

On my break, I could buy them. I get a really good discount. Why don't I buy all the books?

This is a moment of pure temptation. If I ever write a bargaining-with-the-devil short story, it will involve me coming into work to find the Devil telling me to just buy all the books.

In any case, most of the time I make it through my shift without finding a book too fascinating not to buy.

Most of the time.

Of course, I work in the cafe section of the bookstore, which means I am surrounded by coffee, espresso, sandwiches, and desserts all night long. Everything smells delicious. Especially with the pumpkin spice stuff now. Oh man.

I adore fall. I love fall. Fall is my second-favorite season. It falls second to spring, just because A. my birthday is in that nebulous few days in March that is neither winter nor spring just yet, when everything begins to flicker back to green but the winter grays and browns are still dominant, and B. I am a huge fan of that whole everything-turning-green-again time.

But fall, wherein everything bursts into bright colors and then goes cold and chilly, and I have an excuse to wear my favorite sweater, that's my second-favorite season. It helps that my father, my husband, and my sister all have birthdays that are technically fall-ish, though Christina's is more towards winter. Oh and my niece!

Who might be finding herself with a giant care package soon, if that monkey backpack I saw won't leave my mind alone.

I need kids, so I can buy them monkey backpacks.

This is my first Fall spent in South Carolina, or really anywhere below the Mason-Dixon line. I'm not entirely clear on what the weather will do; will I be able to wear my favorite cat sweater (and my only cat sweater; according to Jason, I am only allowed to own ONE cat-themed sweater because otherwise I am becoming a Crazy Cat Lady) very soon? Will I have to wait until December for the temperatures to be fall-ish? I don't know.

What I do know is that I am totally getting a pumpkin spice latte at work tonight on my break.

You can't stop me.

I can't stop myself.

If wishes were horses I would ride, ride, ride





There are several little bronze mice hidden around downtown Greenville. This is but one of them. I've taken pictures of two, but I keep meaning to take pictures of as many as I find, and I think I've seen... five? at this point.

I realize I haven't updated in a week, which is a little unusual when you look at my usual rate of updating roughly every other day or so on average. I do feel bad about it, but I'm kind of forced to admit here that my life has not been at its most exciting lately. Jason and I are in a bit of a holding pattern as far as work and such is concerned; those hours we get together are so precious I feel like we try to squeeze in as much friend-time and us-time as we can when we have them.

On last Saturday, Jason, his best friend Justin, and I went back to downtown Greenville. Justin is my insurance policy; Jason cannot shop to save his own life, and certainly not the way I do. I am a window-shopper. My mother is a window-shopper, I was raised to be able to window-shop, and that is how I like to do it. Jason... Jason can't.

He physically cannot. It is both hilarious and kind of horrible at the same time to try and take him shopping if it's more than half an hour or so.

In any case, I was able to wander around Mast General Store to my heart's content while those two kept themselves entertained, until we were all ready to eat. Then i shopped some more. Then we walked, and walked, and walked...

A place that pretty, you need to walk and really appreciate it.

Other than that, we continue to exist. Tonight was great, actually; we hung out with friends and were able to relax, which was lovely.

Tomorrow I work, Friday I don't! And Jason doesn't either! Which means we get the night together! Which I am, to be frank, probably too excited about. I can't even explain how nice it is to sit and have a conversation with him for however long we want without having to watch the clock for either of us.

The odd bit going on is that since I am working mostly closing shifts, my own sleep schedule has begun to shift to match a little closer to Jason's. I'm having a hard time going to sleep before 2 or 3 in the morning, and sleeping until almost noon. It hasn't really been a problem; the few day shifts I've worked, I've been able to shift back to regular sleeping very quickly. It's just odd to find myself awake at 2 AM, wide awake, trying to think of something to do.

Oh man.

I just realized Justin and Jenn still have our vaccuum.

Well.

Guess that gives me a great excuse not to vaccuum tonight, huh?