Thursday, October 31, 2013

Also I'd Want Sled Dogs... And a Sled.

Don't be fooled by that pretty color. It was still like 80 degrees at noon yesterday.

I find myself idly discussing how nice it would be to live in Vermont, or maybe Maine, where it would be nice and chilly at this time of year.

Jason points out, each time, that I would probably change my tune by the time January came around. I don't think so.

I think I would have a fireplace and always wear sweaters like this one, the kind of wool sweater that there is literally no purpose for below the Mason-Dixon line, and maybe in January I wouldn't leave the house at all.

All that staying home would free up lots of time to read books!

On the other hand, we probably wouldn't have any money with which to buy said books. Hm. This is a problem. I'll just have to make do with gorgeous views, close-by mountains, wonderful springs, and mild weather three seasons per year.

... and breezes with exceptionally poor timing.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

It Really IS Probably Bad That My Mother Will Read This... And Also That My Sister Will Read This. And Everyone Else, Too.

Um... photo unrelated. 
This is a photo of me with a sign I made that said "will work for candy". 
Because.... I don't know why.

On one edge of the town I grew up in, on the road out towards the cemetery, there was what passed for a 'bridge', in its way. It was a place where underneath the road there was a small concrete tunnel or sorts, drainage for the ditches. We kids called it 'the creek', because we had no idea what creeks actually were apparently and were not the sort of children to believe it when our parents told us it was sewage.

When I was nine or ten, a group of us were playing out there. My best friend Rikki, who was my chief partner-in-crime, was less timid than I about splashing right in. We were mostly trying to make it through the tunnel and out the other side, daring each other to try and do so without getting our feet wet. I know there were four or five of us that day, but I couldn't tell you who the others were.

In these stories, as well as in my childhood in general, it was Rikki and I vs. the world. Other kids who were there just weren't considered nearly as important as her, and so I have more trouble figuring out if they were there or not. This is what we like to call "writer's memory"; it may not be 100% factually accurate, but it's what was true to us.

Or at least that's the excuse I like to use.

In any case, we were splashing around having a great time, and I realized I had to go to the bathroom. Although we had biked out, it was a good five minutes back to my house, a good five minutes back out here. I didn't want to leave playtime, especially since I had to be home by dinner anyway.

A girl in my class by the name of Nicole* lived next to the creek, so I knocked on her door. Nobody home.

I was dancing back and forth a little by this point, growing more desperate.

"Well... knock on a door," Somebody said.

And that, my readers, seemed like an absolutely fantastic idea. Except I was pretty sure I didn't know anyone on this street but Nicole*, and her mom smoked like a chimney and had beer out where we could see it sometimes, which to me was profoundly scandalous.

I hadn't really wanted to use their bathroom anyway.

"But... it's all strangers,", I pointed out.

The argument was made that this was McLean, what could possibly happen?

It was a convincing argument. But I still hesitated, and hopped back and forth.

When someone else piped up to say they dared me to do so, I frowned and said no. A note of hesitation had crept into my voice, though.

Then things got interesting.

The stakes were raised to a double-dog dare, then to a triple-dog dare, and if you were ever ten and kind of an idiot like I was you would know and understand that I really had no choice.

If I didn't do it, I would be seen as weak. A coward. Not brave at all, and that simply couldn't be borne. Rikki might forgive me my yellow-belly, but I couldn't say that about the other kids. It was tough enough making friends as it was.

I didn't need both the reputation of a bookish nerd and of the kid who can't stand up to a dare and do the brave thing, the truly courageous thing; bow to peer pressure and fold under like a piece of old tinfoil.

So I picked a house on the street that had cars in the driveway, marched up, and with my heart pounding I knocked on the door of people I had never met.

A woman answered, and I asked if she would mind if I used her bathroom, please. I tried to make myself sound very lion-hearted, which is to say I probably sounded like a tiny Napoleon. Well, actually, compared to Napoleon I probably wasn't that much tinier.

She stared at me for a long moment, shocked, then said okay and let me in, leading me to their guest bathroom, this grubby kid who politely thanked her and ducked inside. When I came out, she and her husband were sitting at their kitchen table, just staring at me. I thanked them again, told them my name to make sure they knew it was okay since I was from around here, and ran back to play with my friends.

When I realized it was close to dinner time, I rode my bike back home, stowed it in the garage, and went about wandering into the living room to watch some TV.

Wherein my mother greeted me with a storm cloud face that made me freeze in my tracks and start mentally trying to list off all the things I'd done that might possibly get me into trouble that day. I had, by this point, conveniently forgotten the whole bathroom thing. That still left a pretty long list, though.

Turns out, the people who had let me in to use their bathroom had a son my sister's age, who worked with her and my brother at the local McDonald's. He had been there when I came in, although I didn't see him. He had told my sister what happened, and Christina had promptly told on me to my mother.

So... let's just say there was a lecture, about politeness and strangers and how you just don't do these things and some other words, besides. A... lot of words, that I didn't realize until later were from a place of worry and more than a little bit of relief that I was okay; somehow, once again, I had managed to do something that other kids would have ended up a missing poster on a milk carton for and walked out perfectly fine.

I was scared and a little ashamed and didn't understand why, so I cried because I will cry if I read a sad book let alone get in trouble. I tried to point out that I had been dared to do it and so couldn't exactly say no, but that argument has no traction with adults for some reason.

I felt this bubbling rage against my older sister's betrayal growing like a little Godzilla inside of me. I was angry with her for days, sulky and monosyllabic, for telling on me. For tattling. It took until I forgot about the whole thing for me to forgive her, by which I mean it took something like fourteen days, give or take a few.

Which was forever and I felt like she had been suitably punished.

I can remember my righteous anger incredibly clearly, but let's just rewind a bit and look at things from my fifteen-year-old sister's point of view.

A guy you go to school with and work with tells you that a little girl with your last name showed up at his house, asked to use the bathroom, did so, and then ran back outside. He has never met your little sister. You have, of course, and so realize that your little sister just happily and without a thought went into a stranger's house, trusting someone she had never met and who could have been a kidnapper or a murderer.

It was rude, it was probably dangerous and you have never done such a thing in your life. You never even had to be told not to do such a thing.

Plus, keep in mind that as Christina, you have lived with this strange, loud, dirty tomboy for much of your life. You are very much aware that your sister has a history of randomly walking up to strangers and talking to them, that this is the little sister who once got lost in Walmart, who wandered away from the family in a store at Disney World once, the kid who had to be on a wrist-leash as a toddler.

So when you hear that Katie did something that would probably have gotten any other kid on the evening news when she disappeared, you rightly make sure Mom knows about it.

Besides, it's kind of nice when Katie sulks. It's the one time she's quiet.

(I don't know that Christina thought any of these things. But I definitely know there was the occasional relief when I shut up for five minutes. I'm pretty sure that's why Mom kept agreeing to buy me more books to read.**)

So I ate dinner with that sort of miserable determination that angry children are especially good at, stomped around for a while, forgot to stomp, realized I had forgotten and tried to stomp some more, and around that time I was distracted by something. Probably the aforementioned books.

So, there you go. Another heartwarming cautionary tale. One day I'll release a whole book of them. I plan to title it "I Really Didn't Think This Through; The Corn Thief and Other Warning Signs".

*totally not even close to her real name.

**She'll never admit it. She'll say something like 'education' or 'intelligent kid' or 'money well spent', but we all know, Mom. We all know it was just to shut me up.***

***We totally know it wasn't just about that. It was also to keep me home so I couldn't run headlong into a stranger's van or something.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Just a Small Town Girl...

I've mentioned before that I really enjoy memoirs about small-town living, like Population: 485 or A Girl Named Zippy, even the back-to-the-land city-to-country memoirs like Bucolic Plague. I'm probably getting Mud Season for Christmas, still eyeballing Chickens in the Road, and hoping sooner or later to remember to check out The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love when I'm at the library instead of constantly losing myself to the cookbook section. Ooooh, or The Feast Nearby. I want both those books badly. The library wants me to check them out and you know, I do like supporting my local library.

... as everyone should.

Lookin' at you, person who hasn't set foot in a library in years.


Go now.

We'll wait.

The unfortunate thing about wanting to check those out is that when I'm actually at the library, I never seem to remember to ask for either of the books in question.

Stupid distracting cookbooks.

I love novels set in small towns, too; it's one of the biggest reasons I'm an unapologetic Stephen King fangirl, no matter how overwrought or in need of editing he gets. Nothing will ever replace 'Salem's Lot in my mind as the perfect study of the sour notes underneath small town songs, how news travels from one side to the other, how people whose families have always lived near each other for 70 years can know each other so little. Dan Simmons, who hilariously grew up not too far from my own hometown, has written some excellent horror novels with small-town kids (and their adult counterparts) as main characters.

Obviously my upbringing is a big part of how much I like those books.

I think my hometown might have made it to 850 people once, but it seemed significantly fewer than that when I was growing up. I saw the same faces at the grocery store when I was very young as I saw at church (although the grocery store closed not long after, I can still remember with incredible clarity the way it smelled and the way the lights looked on the floor, the face of the owner, even the color of the price stickers on cans).

I know small towns.

I've written about my town once or twice, usually in the context of really stupid things I did as a kid (check back Saturday morning for yet another example of why it's a miracle I was never kidnapped!) or the negative things that can come from country isolation, but I feel like no matter what I've written about growing up, I've always written about small town Midwestern life in a way that makes it clear I loved it, in the end, and wouldn't trade a second.

So... I have a hard time with books that don't love it, or at least seem to not even be able to make an effort.

I've only ever read a couple of them, invariably the Watch the city girl live without omgStarbucks and wear her high heels to mend a fence! variety, books that never seem able to temper their chilly dislike with warmth.

But, you know, I get how it can be and is inconvenient if you didn't grow up with it.

I'm the first person to whine about slow vehicles on the highway. I routinely tell people that now that I have tasted its seductive power, I could never give up delivery pizza (although that's not true; it's the delivery Chinese that would be toughest). I give friends of mine advice on how to deal with older Midwestern women they know, because I know those women.

I have always known those women. I am going to be one of those women, no matter how long I live in the South.

We all know that. We've accepted that inevitability.

I have Longaberger baskets on my shelves, cook casseroles like a champ, return borrowed baking dishes clean and empty rather than with some new kind of food in it (this is apparently a Southern rule. I feel rude now. Please forgive me, Southern people!).

I don't like to say I'm all good or all bad, fine or terrible, but find some middle way to say I "can't complain" or "I've been worse", or that all-important sign of impending doom, "could be better."

I get that small-towners can be annoying; we can move too slowly, talk in circles around what we mean "to be polite", never commit to anything on the off chance doing so might mean plans have to be changed later. We are the people who spend two hours nursing lunch at McDonald's on Saturday because we're meeting up with family and trust me, it can take a while to go over the week's happenings with all twelve people who showed up that day (yes. This has happened.).

I get it. I do.

I know that it's tough to have to drive through cornfields or cattle pasture to reach the nearest grocery store; I grew up chattering at my mom in the van while we drove into Bloomington to Cub Foods or Walmart, maybe over to Lincoln to the Eagle stores. I know it's less than cool to have no access to delivery, that even takeout has cooled somewhat by the time you make it home, that seeing a good movie involves planning for a forty-minute travel time.

But, for me, if you can't see the connection under it all, the ties running through, the way small-towners catch each other when things get tough? I'll have a hard time with your writing.

I think some of these books were written for people in the same boat as the author, those people who were never quite able to balance how much they miss the city with what things there are to love in the country. That's probably why I can't quite grasp onto them, why they just make me feel frustrated and a little bit angry.

I'm just... not that person.

I was bored as a teenager, sure, but teenagers are bored no matter where you go. I wanted to 'escape', because as a teenager you're working so hard to make your own identity that escape is the only thing you can think about, especially in a place where everyone over the age of 60 doesn't even know your name. They just know you're Randy's youngest or Barbara's granddaughter or Christina's little sister. Or sometimes they just call you Christina, and you nod and answer to it because it's not worth the time it'd take to explain that she's actually 19 and has been in college for almost two years now, and you're barely in high school.

I made my escape, but I wouldn't even call it that, because escape implies I was ever trying to run away. I just... left. And I left quite a bit behind to miss, unbalanced myself; I loved the place of small-town Illinois nearly as much as I loved the people.

I love those small-town memoirs and novels because they are mostly written by people who do the same thing; Haven Kimmel of A Girl Named Zippy loves her parents fiercely and her town only just a little bit less. Michael Perry of Population: 485 is a volunteer firefighter in a small town in Wisconsin; volunteer firefighters are really their own breed and Michael writes about even the weirder members of his town's firefighting team with real affection.

If you want to write a memoir about moving from the city to a small town and the differences you had to adjust to, I'll have a hard time following you through non-stop negativity, without real hints of life. To miss what you came from is one thing; I'm with you on that, all the way. But I shouldn't have to work so hard to find any sense of optimism in a book that purports to be about "learning to love" your new life.

Your bitterness and patronizing attitude isn't new, either. I've seen people like you sneering at our tourist attractions or talking down to the locals you assume must be borderline illiterate or never have seen the world.

I don't want to read your books, if that is who you are. If you can't find a single thing about small towns to really love, I can tell that you never looked beneath the surface.

Disclaimer: All book links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. Any proceeds from sales that result from clicking on those links will be used to revamp my blog design in the coming months.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Other Thing I Do at Work When I Am Bored

I draw stuff. Well, that and dust shelves.

Someone on Twitter asked, so here are the other poems of mine that have been on this blog:

I've written a bunch of others, too, but they're in need of... we'll call it 'sprucing up'. 

You know, the way chopping half the branches on a tree spruces it up.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tomboy Style, of a Sort: Sweater Weather and Fifty Thousand

Fifty thousand what, you ask?


I have officially passed the fifty-thousand pageview mark. I've had this blog for years, although I've alternately neglected it entirely or, at the beginning, just posted short updates on what Jason and I were up to to keep my family in the know (most of those entries are gone, in part because I don't think anyone really wanted to know that I ate pizza after finishing my shift at Walmart in 2009). It's only really been within the last two years I've given this blog the effort it deserves and my pageviews seem to ticking up accordingly!

It's far more exciting than it has any right to be.

The other exciting thing has been that the temperatures have dropped about ten degrees from being in the early eighties to the low seventies.

Yes, to a Midwestern transplant to the South this counts as incredibly exciting news.

I'm not one of those who pines for summer in January and then for fall in June. I pine for November and December all year round in South Carolina, for those exciting times I can text my Illinois family that Jason and I are out in front of the Christmas tree over at the Shops of Greenridge in a T-shirt and jeans while in Illinois they're bundled up in parkas.

But low seventies does mean that I can actually get away with wearing sweaters.

Real sweaters.

Like this one.

I bought this sweater to wear with jeans and boots (yes, my brand new totally-not-evil boots), but thought it might work better for my job's dress code when paired with these comfortable but very much not-tight business casual maroon pants. Or I guess we call it "burgundy" or "oxblood" now, because we're not allowed to call colors their actual names.

I didn't even end up wearing any jewelry... although that may have had more to do with not being able to find any due to my aforementioned incredibly strong power to lose things.

 I realize the stripes are not the most flattering if you consider 'flattering' to always and only mean 'slimming', but honestly I don't very much care. It's all about comfort, and this is a seriously comfortable sweater. I could nap in this sweater. I'm sort of afraid I will nap in this sweater, as it's been sort of a sleep-deprived week for me.

Being outside is still a little too warm for me to really wear a knit this thick, but... turns out I just don't go outside that often while at work and everything's awesome. Although I guess I had to go outside during lunch to snap these photos.

So that undermines my point a bit.

In Case You Want to Recreate This Mess
Sweater: Lands' End, here (I also love the navy!)
Pants: Eddie Bauer, here (although I liked Lands' End styling with ankle-length pants and flats better, I just don't own pants (or shoes) like that. Hm. Maybe I should.)
Shoes: Privo by Clarks, so old they only seem to still exist on ebay (I like this, this or this for other options)
 Purse: Haiku, old (similar style but super bright colors now)

Monday, October 14, 2013


Spent the weekend preparing for and then going down south of Atlanta for a friend's wedding. 

They held the ceremony at a fairly new Catholic church that had some beautiful artwork inside; the iconography was gorgeous. I walked around for some time just taking everything in.

Above is the pool of holy water when you enter the sanctuary. 

I felt like we could use a little bit of serenity to start things off this week.

I know I can.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hardly Even One Degree of Separation

So, I've mentioned previously that I am a huge fan of the Fabulous Beekman Boys, that there is no dignity in my love for them and also no shame. I would probably collapse into hysterical, nonsensical babbling the way twelve-year-old girls collapse in front of Justin Bieber (Beiber? Bieber? Burrburr? I don't even know) if I were ever to actually meet Josh or Brent (OR FARMER JOHN) in person.

Well, I did not meet them in person. I wouldn't be able to write this entry coherently for at least a week if I had.



I met people who have. Which is almost as good.

I work in a small museum, and today we had two visitors come in who got to chatting with me a little bit. They mentioned they were from a small town in rural New York, and we discussed the sad reality of being from a state with an big, important city like NYC or Chicago - everyone assumes you're from the city and loses interest the minute you start talking farmland, fields, and population counts in the hundreds.

I mentioned to them that I did know just a little about rural New York, thanks to a TV show and website I really like. They asked about the name of it, and I answered that the TV show was called The Fabulous Beekman Boys and the website Beekman 1802.

"Oh, we live about four miles from Sharon Springs," The man replied.

"Really?" I asked. I may have jumped up and down a little.

"Yeah, you know, we've been in the Beekman house."


I finally let them leave something like a half an hour later.

When they mentioned that they had actually met Josh and Brent and knew Farmer John, well, they were officially not going anywhere until I was damn good and ready to let them go. I had questions to ask and giggling to do.

Luckily, they were more than willing to stay and chat with me and I am pretty sure they don't find me terrifying. Not, like, one hundred percent sure? But pretty sure.

We talked about Sharon Springs' history as a town (I knew about how it used to be a spa from Josh's book the Bucolic Plague which is one of my favorite books to re-read and I am starting to sound like a seriously deranged fan at this point aren't I) and how the man used to help write grants and was part of the push to try and bring Sharon Springs back from its state of being somewhat in disrepair back in the eighties. He had a lot of stories about the town, the American Hotel, and the Beekman house itself.

Some of it I knew already from the book or the show but a lot of the history aspect I really didn't know about. We talked about how they know the woman who makes Beekman 1802's goat milk soap, and how they showcase the local cooks and photographers and artisans on their site, how they've been good for bringing Sharon Springs back.

I mentioned that a big part of my love for the website is just that; how often they work with or showcase locals, how much Sharon Springs has changed just in a few years. I'm a lover of small towns; I'm not shy about rambling endlessly about how I grew up in one. I know they have their faults and their tendency to fear change, but I love seeing small towns on the brink brought back. The owner of the American Hotel in Sharon Springs is a big part of that, and Josh and Brent have been a part of it, too.

I love reading about small towns that fall apart and then come back, and I feel like Sharon Springs, the Beekman house itself, and the local population are essentially 'characters' in the show, website, and book just as much as Josh, Brent, and Farmer John are.

I'll stop gushing about it now, I promise.

So, anyway, the conversation wrapped up and our two visitors left to go visit a quilt show down the road from my workplace, and I sat down and thought, "That's it. I've met people who know Farmer John, who have met and spoken to Josh and Brent from my favorite reality show and who wrote one of my favorite books. I don't even care what else happens today. It's been a good day."

Then I remembered that Jason's having his friends over for their regular get-together tonight, and that meant I was going to eat pizza for dinner.

I thought, Screw it being a good day. It's already been a good day. Now it's going to be an awesome day."

Then I took a drink of my coffee and greeted the next visitor with a smile and good cheer that made him faintly worried, but it's okay.

People having awesome days are like that sometimes.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

He's Like a Fluffy Stalker

Sanna wants to be Tstertsta's bestest best friend in the whole wide world. He wants to snuggle with her and play with her and have her be his mom and maybe there will be treats and everyone will live happily ever after.

He follows her around the house when he can find her, ears up, excited and curious and so so so happy that there is someone just like him he can smother with his love.

He is her true companion, in his own mind.

Tstertsta, don't ask me how her name is actually supposed to be spelled 'cause I don't know, is... shall we say less than enthusiastic about this attention. She was enjoying her old life, free of young animals, before we threw Indy at her, and now we've introduced this... other cat into the household.

And this other cat wants to be friends with her.

There is no greater horror in her world.

So far, this is the closest the two have gotten without there being lots of terrible noises and me or Jason having to intervene. They don't fight, exactly - our older cat makes lots of angry sounds and the occasional swat and the little cat, who has the common sense of a gnat, keeps coming back to see if maybe she'll snuggle this time.

It's kind of heartbreaking. Although not as heartbreaking as watching Indy, our dog, try to convince Sanna to come out from under the couch after his OH MY GOD IT'S SO FLUFFY I'M GONNA DIE I WANT IT TO PLAAAAAY attempts involve a little too much looming and barking and jumping around for our itty bitty kitty.

... who is not so itty-bitty at all. I expected him to put on weight right away, after regular mealtimes started to happen. Which he did. I did not expect him to get taller.

Which he has.

So there's that.

Oh, and don't worry - we looked up on the internet the best way to introduce cats and he spent the first week of his life with us entirely in a guest room with no contact with Tstertsta other than a few glimpses through a cracked door. Now he's on supervised visits, but goes back in the guest room at night. But we're showing progress!

Progress is measured in the amount of times I have to clap my hands really loudly and be the Terrible Noise Monster.

I've had kind of a busy week, so I don't feel like I've had a ton to say. Jason and I are going to see a friend of ours from college get married this weekend (after seeing friends of ours get married LAST weekend), so we're trying to plan out that whole thing as far as timing and everything goes. Plus people are coming over tomorrow night so we spent much of the week attempting to remember how to clean.

Jason was about 80% successful, I think I clocked in at maybe 40%. We'll call it good.

On the other hand, though, I finally figured out what I did with my camera! So you won't have to look at these cell phone photos anymore. So, go me, bein' Super Adult over here.

I'm not quite sure how I manage to routinely lose things inside my own purse, but clearly it's a talent I have. If the NSA ever wants to hide their documentation about spying on us, all they need to do is ask me to keep track of it. It'll disappear in three days and I won't find it for twenty years, and then it'll be at the bottom of a purse I never wear with, like, a piece of peppermint candy stuck to it or something.

If you think about it, I'm kind of a superhero.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sweater Weather, Socks, and Sunshine



Just some photos from my lunch break today.

Little kids play with dolls or trucks or (if they're me) plastic horses. I play with sun halos behind my head (you should see the ridiculous faces I made in most of the photos like that) and cell phone photo editors.

It's pretty much the same thing. Toys are toys, right?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

In Which I Witness One Half of a Political Cartoon

Driving home a few days ago, I ran into my nemesis: a man on a moped.

Mopeds are surprisingly popular in the hilly not-quite-mountain town I work in. It's usually a pretty good giveaway that someone lost their license and isn't working particularly hard right now to get it back. Oh, sure, some people just choose mopeds or scooters; I had a friend who used an adorable scooter back in college to get around because she didn't really need the expense of a car just to go to and from work.

When you see a big, burly guy with two six-packs of the worst, cheapest beer ever in a plastic milk-crate basket duct-taped to the back of his moped driving along a country highway at rush hour?

He probably didn't choose to drive that moped because he just likes it so much. That man is probably not allowed to operate large vehicles any longer.

In any case, moped drivers are the bane of my existence. They drive along, happy as you please, making their slow and steady I-think-I-can-I-think-I-can way up hill after hill after hill. When we're very lucky he might be going 40 miles an hour. While driving up the aforementioned hills? We're all crawling along at 20. It's worse than tractors back in Illinois; at least the tractor is huge and you can't miss it.

People on mopeds are routinely hardly visible at all until the last second, especially now that the sun is going down earlier and earlier. I could whine about how much I hate mopeds for several pages worth of writing, but we'll go ahead and stop now, because I think you get the point.

Mopeds: bad. Bad bad bad.

Not my favorite.

Right, so back to the other day.

I came around a mostly-blind curve and nearly ran into the back of the aforementioned six-packs man, putt-puttin' his way up the hill that starts around the corner. I had to slam on my brakes, which thankfully are really good, and I hadn't even hit within five miles of the speed limit yet. I sighed, settled in to wait until the next time there was actually a passing zone (they are very rare on my route home; there are only two good spots on a half-hour drive), and started daydreaming about soup.

Then, the flash of the sun against something caught my eye.

The guy on the moped in front of me swerved a little to left to avoid... nothing, as far as I could tell... and I realized what had gotten my attention; he was wearing a very large handgun on a holster on his hip.

A very... very large handgun.

I am not kidding. This gun was just absurdly, comically oversized. If there is a type of pistol whose label is just "The Compensating For Something" this would be that gun. Frankly, I didn't even know they made guns like that. They may not; I wouldn't have been surprised if it were fake.

Between the handgun made for clumsy giants, his lack of helmet allowing his bald head to catch the sun in just the right way as to shine it directly into my eyes, the duct-taped milk-crate holding said beer, two tiny flags ALSO duct-taped to the back - one American and one that kind of looked like the snake from the "Don't Tread on Me" flag... my brain simply refused, for a moment, to believe what my eyes saw. Surely this couldn't be real. Surely.

After a while, the man turned off to the right and went down a different road. For just a second, I caught a glimpse of another six-pack of beer held between his knees. Then he was behind the trees, around a curve, and gone.

I realized, in that half-second, that I had seen a stereotype of such hyperbole that no one would ever really believe me when I told this story. They would always think I was exaggerating, making it up, making it out to be weirder than it was.

I hadn't even been able to get a photo to commemorate it.

But I know what I saw.

I'll never forget you, crazy moped guy.

We'll always have Wednesday.

Friday, October 4, 2013

5 Things - The Edition That's a Little Bit Different

I thought I'd switch my usual 5 Things post up a little bit this week. Instead of trawling all around the internet, I'm going to show you 5 things that warm me up in my own life today.


1. Coffee with my favorite hazelnut creamer this morning, in a cheap mug from Ingles that matches the green of the chair I sit in at work. I am slowly filling my desk with colors.

I start every day with a mug of coffee, refill it once, and by then I'm caffeinated enough to make it through. Even days like today, which are filled in taping envelopes shut and putting together paperwork, seem brighter with coffee.

Or maybe that's just the caffeine addiction.

2. The last big flush of flowers in bloom in the Native Plants Garden before autumn takes all their color and leaves us a pile of sticks and brown for the winter.

Well - sticks, brown, and fire ants.

Fire ants are always magical. 

3. The way Sana arches up his back and starts up his rumble-purr as soon as we walk into the guest room he's currently staying in.

He was just neutered yesterday. Jason picked him up from the Humane Society, where we had the surgery done, brought him home and he drank his own weight in water and then went to sleep.

He's still a little bit wobbly and just a touch high on pain meds right now, but he's still so happy to see us. I like to think we are his rescuers. Well, really, my coworker Dan is his rescuer; we're like the people that swoop in after the fact, snatch him up, and take all the credit.

That doesn't make us sound very good. I take all that back. We're totally rescuers. Noble, noble rescuers.

4. My Oil & Wax candles in the candle-warmer at work, making it smell like lavender and home. I'm thinking I might need to invest in more of these in her awesome fall/winter scents - Pumpkin Butter and Apple Orchard both have my attention right now.

When did I become someone who buys really nice candles?

I swear, ten years ago I was wearing a Sex Pistols T-shirt, plaid punk pants, and cheap combat boots. And I had red hair.

Now I drink tea and talk about candles.

Adulthood is crazy exciting, let me tell you.

5. That slightly desaturated mustard yellow that is my favorite fall color ever. Especially since it's finally cool enough for me to wear my clothing in this color outside.

Well, I guess I can say mustard yellow is my favorite fall color after teal. Nothing replaces teal, although this yellow comes close. I suppose the fact that I've got both this shirt I snagged on absolute bottom-of-the-barrel sale at Boden and the yellow cardigan from Target I wore Tuesday gives it away.

The shirt is a heavy ponte, and even though it's short-sleeved it's a little warm in about half of South Carolina's seasons (that would be one month of winter, two months of spring, six months of summer, three months of fall). Luckily, my workplace is heavily air-conditioned and it's finally cool enough in the mornings that I'm not sweating by the time I get to my car.

So there you go - five things keeping me warm, inside and out, today.

Anything warming any of you up out there in the wide world today?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tomboy Style, of a Sort: Pinterest Did It

Note - this is not me. Uh, give it a minute. We're getting to me. That's the inspiration.

So, I actually liked my outfit today.

I know, I know, it's gettin' all crazy in here.

My dress code for work is essentially business casual, although the environment I'm in allows me to get a little bit creative with that. Today, though, I felt like classin' things up a bit. I have this photo (the one of the semi-scowly hipster lady) off of Pinterest that I've been eyeballing for a long time - I loved the colors and the idea and, after making somewhat of a fool of myself at Target on Saturday, I even had the cardigan to finish the idea off.

AND BOOTS. I have the best boots now. I'm not wearing them in this outfit though, because they are too beautiful to be covered up by pants. But you just wait until the next Tomboy Style post. Then you'll see.

Well, that was kind of threatening. I promise they're not evil boots.

My take on the idea, stupid pose and all. Seriously, guys, I am going to get a tripod sooner or later, I promise. Until then you'll just have to deal with... whatever that was up there.

Seriously, though, what was I trying to do there? I look like I threw my back out right as the flash went off. Are those... pigeon toes?

This photo, you guys. I don't even know.

And this was the best one.

... I need a tripod.

In other excitingly positive news, I don't feel well. I've been fighting a sore throat via continuous applications of coffee, tea, and soup for a couple of days now and while sometimes feeling bad makes you want to curl up in yoga pants, sometimes I want to do the opposite; try and look a little nicer in the hopes that feel will follow appear.

Then come home from work and immediately put on yoga pants, drink a beer, and whine like a little girl.

But for roughly eight glorious shining hours, I looked and pretended to be like an adult. It was terribly exciting for everyone involved.

Now I'm home and... well, beer.

The shoes look like boots, but they're not. They're just the closest thing to heels I can comfortably wear.

We'll call the outfit (and its intended effects) a success, except for my hair. All I can do about that is shrug; the hair does what the hair wants to do.

It may or may not be the one who's really in charge around here.
They're Kind of Like Outfit Details:
Cardigan & shoes - Target
Striped boatneck shirt - LOFT, gift from my in-laws
Pants - Eddie Bauer
Necklace - Pike's Peak, bought out of the gift shop I run at work