Sunday, July 31, 2011

this face keeps me coming back to Illinois

Well. That and all the other hilarious faces she makes.

And the stuff she says.

Oh, and the games she comes up with.

You know.

Basically everything about her.

This is what happens when your niece is incredible. It's hard not to take pictures, even when those pictures are of her making silly faces. I'm debating buying her a Viking hat so we can match. Oh wait. I stole that Viking hat from a friend for those pictures.

Okay, I'll buy us both Viking hats so we can match.

Of course, I go back for my family. To wake up in a house with my siblings and my parents in it, to make endless single cups of coffee in my parents' awesome Keurig thing, to watch TV shows geared towards toddlers and eat fried pumpkin blossoms (YES I got to eat some this year! Life is good) and talk to my sister, to my brother, to my parents.

To help my cousin Melissa celebrate her Independence Day in style.

So now I get to start counting down days until we go back for Christmas.

How tall do you think she'll be at Christmas?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Momentarily Distracted by Consumerism

I am back in Greenville! My plane landed only a few minutes late yesterday, and I saw my brother off to his terminal for his flight back to Austin, Texas and then headed for baggage claim. Jason got backed up in traffic, but it didn't end up affecting that much as to when he got to the airport to come get me... just as rush hour starts in Atlanta, Georgia.

Where the airport is.

And we have to go straight through Georgia to come home.

We stopped at the Atlanta Bread Company place inside the airport, right outside baggage claim, and had a quick kind-of-dinner between 3:30 and 4-ish, figuring getting in any kind of hurry would be a bad plan. And it really would have been. Had we chosen not to eat first...

It took us about an hour to get out of the city. It usually takes us... maybe twenty minutes to a half an hour.

Rush hour traffic does not play around.

Had we chosen to leave before eating, we would have been considering cannibalism by the time we finally got out of Atlanta, let me tell you internet.

It took us forever to get home, but when we did, I was able to pet the cat and settle right back into things. This morning we went downtown to the Saturday market. We didn't buy anything (other than iced coffee) but we did walk much further down the West End of downtown than I have ever gone before, so that was fun. Now we're back and making sure to guzzle some water before we meet up with friends for some lunch at our favorite Saturday meetup place, Cafe Paulista, a restaurant everyone should go to, as often as fiscally possible.

I work late afternoon to close, so boo on that, but yay on getting back to work, really.

Tomorrow I start week 1 in earnest of my book on organizing your life that I picked up. I may keep you updated on the progress, but really, I may not. My current level of chaos is a little much to try and talk about.

I haven't been able to load pictures from my week in Illinois just yet, but I'll try and get a few up from the trip in the next few days. I had a great time being with my parents and my siblings each day again, and getting to see my extended family is always fantastic. We had a really busy week, not exactly a vacation in the strictest sense, but I had a pretty awesome time there. Still... I need some time to get the photos loaded and go through them.

In the meantime, some things I either own and love, or love and wish I owned and am scribbling mad little plans for once our financial stuff gets back on track:
Brazil Nut Body Scrub from the Body Shop. It's for dry skin, as is the body butter I have now that's about to follow, so I can't use it all the time... but it's great for when you've gotten out of the pool or been cleaning all day covered in dust, or spent your day on an airplane. The smell is great; a really light, faintly sweet smell, and while it exfoliates, it's made to moisturize at the same time so it doesn't leave my skin super dry and itchy afterward.

Cocoa Butter Body Butter, from the Body Shop as well. This is what I use after the scrub, and a little goes a really long way. It's also made for super dry skin. But let me tell you, after spending yesterday in airports, on a plane, and then trapped in a car in Atlanta's rush hour traffic... the body butter really does the trick to relax you. It's got a great not-quite-chocolate smell that lasts forever without being cloying or really obvious.

How badly do I want these boots. How very, very badly. Or at least boots that are similar to these boots. I may take up flouncy mid-length prairie skirts just to justify owning cowboy boots like this. Cowboy boots don't look ridiculous in the South, right?

Besides, the company is located in Austin, where Bryan lives! I'd be supporting local business! Well, somebody's local business, anyway.

Maybe I will find boots similar to this, in a price range that does not raise my eyebrows so high they nearly fall off my head.


Still want 'em, though.

A set of notecards and envelopes from Papyrus. I didn't know that store existed until I visited New York City with some of my in-laws and my friend Tea showed me all the awesome stationary. Maybe I'm getting too domesticated, drooling over stationary. I feel a sudden need to go listen to old punk music for a while or dye my hair bright red.

Vanilla Chai Lip Balm from Soothing Touch. I found it at the EarthFare grocery store Jason and I visit sometimes and it is the best lip balm ever... so far. Every single ingredient is something I recognize, which is something I'm striving for overall over time, it actually smells (and tastes) like Chai (due to actual chai tea and vanilla extract), and it's a HUGE bottle of balm, meaning it lasts for a long time.

So those are just some things I thought were pretty cool. Some I already have, some I would like to have. Hopefully I'll get at least a little bit of a tidbit about my trip up in the next couple of days. I don't work until evening tomorrow, so I've got some free time.

The cat conked out right next to me last night, so it's nice to know she missed me. Or, you know, is a cat and therefore just wanted to see if I'd pet her if she laid right there.

She was right.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Clearly, I live.

Plane took off exactly on time and landed a few minutes before we were officially scheduled to. I panicked during takeoff, as per usual, and panicked less during landing, which was nice. You would think with the serious amount of flying I've done in the past twelve months that I'd be able to handle takeoff by now, but... no.

So I'm here in flatland, corn and soybeans all around, and it feels... nice. It's too hot here for people to be outside much during the day; I told my dad it feels like home, only less humid.

I have watched my niece scamper, and scheme, and probably a bunch of other actions that start with the letter S. She's hilarious and I keep thinking how different she is every time I'm here.

Last night my niece stayed up later than I did, although she got a nap in the evening so she had the advantage there. I got to wander out right before sleep and see her drawing with glow in the dark sidewalk chalk, which was pretty cool. I didn't even know that existed.

My brother-in-law made a gigantic circle of bread - I mean seriously enormous. We had the bread for dinner last night - there were burgers and hot dogs and fried pumpkin blossoms (YES I got to have some!) which I have pictures of but can't post just yet. I had JW's bread with this sort of meat spread he had brought and delicious goat cheese. So last night's dinner was pretty much awesome.

Right now, we're preparing to meet up with my cousins and aunt for a day of shopping. The downside here is that, with the three of us in the house again, we fall into an old, old pattern. Because I am the youngest, I get up first.

So here I am, typing away, listening to the creaks of the upstairs as my sister moves around, counting down time.

I miss my husband, but it's only a week. We can handle a week.

More later. For now, I am going to think about coffee, but try to hold back from actually getting any, in the hopes that there will be coffee later. Sometimes there's coffee later.

Sorry this was a little bit random - now I can hear my sister making coffee on our parents' Keurig thingie and I think I might have to give in and have some.


I have no self-control.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


It is raining like a wild creature outside, like the sky just fell open and let all the rain out at once. It was a humid, hot day, so I wasn't surprised to get rain, but... our drive home from the grocery store was kind of exciting. Also full of water spraying up from the tires in perfect waves, which while kind of pretty, is also a little unnerving.

We came in from the rain looking like drowned cats, which our cat did not really at all appreciate. She's currently hiding from the bad bad thunder noises.

I leave for Illinois Friday (!!!!) morning, so it has occurred to me I should probably look into that whole, y'know, 'packing' thing. And then it occurs to me that I really like playing video games a lot more than I like packing. So we'll see what happens.

My plans for tonight consist mostly of fruit, my favorite sarsaparilla soda, and curling up with my husband to either watch TV, play video games, or just be so cute we actually annoy people who cannot even see us.

I'm going to miss him while I'm gone.

But I'll get to see so many people I've been missing for months, and my head and my heart both sing about how it's almost time to leave, almost time for me to be there, almost that moment I'll see my mom and my dad, my brother and my sister and my whole family again. Maybe the bright blue upturned bowl that is the sky in the Midwest on a sunny day.

I don't have a lot photographs lately, just a picture here or there of a fun angle or some close-up of my porch... heh. A pile of photos from my friend's daughter's fifth birthday party that I have yet to get anything done with.

I need to decide what clothes to wear for a week, what shoes to take, if I need any jewelry but my wedding ring. The only time I get truly girly, I suppose, is when I'm packing or if a spider appears somewhere in my house. Of course, what is going to take the longest when packing is going to be the Battle of Books, wherein I try to decide how to limit myself to just one or two books for my trip, because I can't possibly need more than three for just one week, but you know... you never know. What I want to read the fourth book I vetoed at the last second?

Clearly, this is a conundrum.

In any case, dinner is almost ready, it is still raining like some kind of mythical battle is happening outside, and I think that's about all I had to say for today.

If you don't mind, I think I'll go hide from the thunder with the cat, under the bed.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

there are days when I need the reminder

photograph is mine, taken in downtown greenville

p.s. yes, I am working on blog layout. It's going to be kinda wonky for a couple of days.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Farmer's Markets and Hope

There are a lot of people in Greenville. Or at least more than I am used to there being in places. Greenville is a sprawling kind of place, which makes it the perfect sort of city for me; full of grass and trees and space to move around in. So I kind of forget that there are so many people here.

Until we go to the farmer's market downtown on Saturday. We arrived about half an hour after it even opened for the morning, so there weren't that many people yet - although there was already a line at an heirloom tomato booth.

The photo above was taken around ten in the morning, when the crowd started to get pretty serious. I think almost everyone with their face towards my camera is wearing sunglasses, because they are smart people who own sunglasses and I should really look into that.

The booths are awesome and varied; a ton of vegetables and fruit, of course, but a homemade pasta booth as well, some local meats, a guy who makes these incredible benches, seats, and bowls out of these slabs of wood he gets to a high shine.

Yarn, in the most beautiful colors.

Jason and I got ourselves a hunk of habanero jack cheese from Happy Cow, a bag of roasted Cajun peanuts, Pepper Jelly, and a pint of blueberries. We settled down to make a snack of the blueberries and the cheese, since we were meeting friends for lunch later.

Downtown is beautiful, and I never get tired of it, really. I could wander there all afternoon, as long as I got to occasionally duck into an air-conditioned store to recover from the constant, unrelenting humidity. I turn into a soggy Yankee after very little time outside right now.

Which Jason thinks is just sooooo funny.

It's been a good couple of weeks, on every front but financially. Financially we're still dealing with a few things (my brand spanking new medical bills being part of it), but frankly, I've been able to spend some time lounging by the pool at my in-laws', eating great (and healthy) food because Jason is a great cook when he's home all the time (and even when he isn't - he's just cooking a lot right now), all kinds of things.

Less than two weeks until I visit Illinois! I can't wait. I'm already deciding what clothes to take in my head and what books I might want on the plane, that kind of thing. I'm actually going to be on the same flight my brother is (he's flying from Texas to the Atlanta airport that I fly out of to go back to Illinois, then we're hopping on the same flight) and there has been some discussion as to whether or not that might help my fear of flying, to have a family member with me.

My husband and his best friend, who still remember my fingernails digging into their arms on the way back from Colorado, may beg to differ on that. But I'm hopeful.

Also, as a side note: Greenville has the most polite graffiti ever downtown. There were just little thought-provoking notes like this:

or one in front of an unoccupied storefront that simply said, "Empty? Empty." Or someone drew a giant pile of Harry Potter symbols on the path by the Reedy River.

There was a dinosaur hugging a duck on the wall under the bridge where we were eating.

I'm not saying there isn't horrible graffiti elsewhere or anything, or stuff I just didn't see. But honestly, cuddly dinosaur hugging a duck beats all that.

Wish us luck on the financial front! We've signed a lease with our apartment complex for another year, so it's nice to not have to pack up all my stuff for the first year since I first went to college. Maybe that's why I hate the month of July so much; it's been my moving month every year for nearly seven years.

But not this year.

Woo hoo!

11 days 'til Illinois.

I'm tappin' my feet and counting the moments.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Working on words, but having a hard time with them, recently. It's not that I'm not doing things, but rather that I'm having a hard time sitting down to write about them. I'd rather stick my nose in a book or make food or go to a farmer's market on a Saturday morning.

Which I will get around to talking about, a little bit, in the morning.

For now, I'm going to let myself settle down and finish out this quiet, lazy Sunday off work with my husband.