Sunday, September 29, 2013

To Prove Oneself


So... this happened.


While out running errands on Friday, my coworkers came across a stray cat in a parking lot outside of town. There aren't any houses nearby. The kitten ran right over to them, dropped at their feet, and rolled over to show his belly. One of my coworkers, whose heart is three sizes too big, brought him back to work and kept him overnight.

I waffled back and forth, back and forth. We both put up blasts on facebook but there weren't any commitments, and then somehow I ended up taking the cat home yesterday.


We've named him Sana, which apparently means "proving" or "to prove oneself". Jason picked the name out; all my name suggestions were various forms of "cow" or "horse" in different languages, because I think I'm funny.

He's in the guest room right now until we can get him to a vet for all the checkin' up new cats need. I forgot to bathe him before putting the anti-flea stuff on his neck, so that was silly. Bathing cats is... an interesting experience, anyway, I could put that off for a while, right?

He's met the dog. The dog was enthusiastically friendly, because he LOVES cats; he would just die of happiness if there was a cat in the house that did more than tolerate his presence. Sana is definitely not super sure of the dog, but only hissed at him when he got really close and just laid down and chilled out as soon as he backed up, so I think we're at the start of a beautiful friendship. I mean, I know I've had friendships start out that way.

Our current cat came around the door while we had it just barely cracked, and we let them see each other. There was a little hissing and spitting, but not much. I gave our cat lots of treats by the door while she could see Sana, which is what the internet told me to do. He's going to live in that room for at least another week or so, so I'm not super worried about introductions right away.


He is a small thing, all bony knobs of spine and featherlight weight. He's black with a white face and white belly, little white booties on his paws and white back legs right up to where they meet his belly. His tail is quite masterfully floofy. There's evidence that he had a tough time out there while on his own; there are scratchy-scars on his nose and he eats like he's never seen food before. He's very much a chill, quiet cat; he purrs like a car engine but doesn't really meow, and just sort of falls over from happiness if you give him any attention.

So... now we need to figure a new cat out.

This was not planned, but cats always end up that way - you go out and plan to get a dog, in my experience, but cats find you.

Friday, September 27, 2013

5 Things - The Caffeine, Written Word, Birthdays, And Skater Skirts Edition


1. Look. I've made it, I think, plain and clear that I love me some coffee. Coffee has its own tag on this blog. If I don't have any right away, it's like the day never really started. I'm not picky; I make drip-pot coffee at work, French press at home, and buy way too many lattes if I happen to pass a Starbucks. I got my gold card one star at a time just like all the other addicts.

While I'm not picky, I do like different and interesting coffee blends. I can definitely taste the difference. You'll find I'm always keeping my eye out for something I haven't tried before.

Well, I'm also a giant not-even-a-little-dignified-about-it fan of the Fabulous Beekman Boys. I watched their show on Netflix and read the Bucolic Plague, at times teary-eyed and at time laughing out loud enough to startle visitors at work last year. I follow their website and enjoy the posts they and their team put up on gardening, food, local craftspeople and artisans, and even... coffee.

Beekman 1802, the mercantile of sorts they started primarily selling goat-milk soap, has sourced a new coffee blend and I want it.

The idea behind the new Mokha Java was to sell the kind of coffee the original owner of the Beekman would have sold. I'd love to test it out.

For now, I will only drool. And dream.



2.  This painting, done with graphite, casein paint, ink, and charcoal. A portrait that is just enough undone.

I love to see artists who paint with graphite and ink. Graphite is such an incredible thing to work with, but it's hard to 'paint' with, since it's primarily a chalkier textured drawing medium. Like the lead inside your pencils, for instance.

On the other hand, once you can get it to work with you, you get some beautiful things like the brush marks and the 'halo' of graphite around the portrait subject's head, the sort of haunted looking-through-a-veil quality, but with those stark, clear eyes.

Gorgeous.

The painting is by Lauren Gray, who runs the Haunted Hollow Tree on etsy. She works in graphite a lot, and her works primarily have that slightly ghostly quality. Go check her out.



3. I want every single piece in this picture, from tights to sweater to coat to skater skirt.

Here's the problem; I am not obscenely wealthy.

Also I don't live in a climate where this kind of outfit is even remotely appropriate for more than three weeks in a year.

 I mean, come on. That skirt is wool.

But it's so pretty.

But I would sweat to death.

But so pretty...



4. I want this book.

I've hit that exciting part of your late twenties where your friends, for the first time, seem to all begin to have babies at once. In fact, it even begins to seem like there's some sort of a sinister plan behind it, to infect you with the urge to also procreate, what i like to call the "baby rabies". Which I think I heard on TV once, so trust me, I don't think I'm clever enough to come up with that on my own.

Have we mentioned I have the baby rabies? I think we have.

Just click over and read the description alone of this book. If this was even remotely appropriate for my life, I'd already have it in the shopping cart. Between that and Jim Gaffigan's hilarious, loving Dad is Fat, I'm pretty sure we've got our future baby books already picked out.

What?

What to Expect When You're Expecting?

Pffft, I don't need that. I'll just call my friend Sarah and say, "Horror stories. Go."

Then I won't sleep for weeks.

So, you know. It'll be just like a normal pregnancy!


5. It's Jason's birthday!

He's 29, which my brain is currently simply refusing to accept, so I'll just say he's 28 twice because then I don't have to realize I am about to be 28 in March. Because that is not okay. Ask Jason. I've started putting on some kind of face cream at night.

But that's not my point here.

I would like you all to take a moment and sing him happy birthday. Please try to do so as badly off-key as possible, that really makes it special.

Oh, I know that if you just sing to your monitor he can't actually hear you. Trust me, it still counts.

Twenty-nine years ago today the coolest person I know came into the world, something like a month-and-a-half early. He spent the first weeks of his life in a box in the hospital. There are pictures of him wearing teeny tiny baby socks as mittens so he'd stop instinctively trying to pull out the little IV's they had in him.

But he lived.

And he's awesome. And I've never been luckier in my life than the day I met him, even if I didn't know it at the time. Well, maybe I was luckier one day; I did marry him, after all.

Happy birthday, sweetie!

Now pick out your birthday restaurant already. I'm getting impatient over here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why I Don't Try On Hats: Trust Me, It's Ridiculous

Photo credit from Boden, here, because I thought of this while staring at this fedora.

I don't try on hats in stores.

The hat rack is always sort of seductively inviting. It doesn't matter that you don't look good in hats, the rack whispers, full of little cloche caps and fedoras and big floppy straw hats that would look right at home at the Kentucky Derby, it doesn't matter. Come. Try us on, Katie. Try us.

I don't, though. And it's not because I don't look good in hats.

It's because all hats, everywhere, have head lice.

ALL OF THEM.

Does that seem unreasonable? Well, that's because it is, and it's certainly not true. But I have this incredibly clear memory of being at a store when I was a kid, I think it was a Bergner's which will mean absolutely nothing to anyone not from the Midwest, trying on the adult hats while my mother looked for something nearby. Undoubtedly just to get me to stop wasting time, Mom turned and said, "Don't try on the hats, Katie. You never know if the person who tried it on before you had lice."

She said this, and this is important, exactly once.

It wasn't a fixation of hers; in fact, it's likely my mother doesn't even remember this conversation. I jumped like someone had touched me with a hot frying pan, though, and put the hat back on the rack and ever since then I do not try on hats.

I go shopping with my friend Sarah (either of them; I actually have two entirely separate friends named Sarah, both of whom look incredible in hats) and watch her (either of her) try on the hats and am jealous both that I would just look like a fish wearing a bow tie if I tried to put a hat on and also that they can try on hats with impunity.

Meanwhile I stand to the side, staring at the fabric on a particularly cute cloche, imagining it crawling with tiny bugs I can't see 

You know what, though? They are covered in tiny bugs.

So is everything else. Tiny bugs called bacteria. That idea, hilariously, does not bother me.

The incredibly minute chance there might be head lice on them, though? I am fixated on that possibility to the exclusion of all the things that are actually likely to happen. The same way I'm convinced that every bridge will collapse underneath me, no matter how Jason explains that bridge cables don't just "go snap".

Nope. All bridge-cables are made of silly string and all hats have head lice, because my mom made a comment about hats something like twenty years ago.

Never let it be said I don't remember anything.

I just don't remember useful things.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Think We All Knew This Would Happen

I mentioned in my last post that I won a $50 gift card to Uncommon Goods in a giveaway over at Holly's blog, one of my new favorites to read. I could spend this $50 on anything I wanted in the store. Shot glasses, coffee mugs, jewelry, stuff for the dog (well okay, still for me), beer brewing kits...

Well, here is what I chose, in the end - it came in the mail, uh, probably about two hours ago:


That's right, folks.

Hilariously mismatched socks and a book.

I feel like if you never read a word I wrote except for this post, that you would know my personality immediately just from looking at that photo.

It was a tough battle between these three items and scarves I also really like, but in the end books and socks win out.


As they always do.

As they should. 

Well, for now.

(I'm going to buy the scarf, too. But ssshh, that's not until October so it doesn't count. Don't tell Jason.)

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's A Weekend, I Guess


Our dog is convinced he's the same size as the cat, and that he can snuggle in our laps exactly like she can. This was yesterday, where our animals were preoccupied with watching The Most Interesting Bird in the World. Or, well, the dog was watching until the cat decided to place herself exactly in his line of sight.

I wanted to write about my weekend, but it's a little bit tough. I took the weekend off. I was dealing with some life-stuff shenanigans of the un-fun kind that I don't particularly want to go into here, and Jason told me to just take Saturday night to relax and not have to be anywhere or do anything at all.

So after work on Saturday I came home, ate some sushi, made myself some really, really milk-heavy cafe au laits and started reading Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion by Sara Miles, a book recommended me by Nadia Bolz-Weber as a good book to read following up her new Pastrix, which I reviewed here.

I started reading Take This Bread Friday afternoon during some downtime at work, picked it back up Saturday afternoon, and had finished it by Sunday night. It's a really intense religious memoir. Sara Miles was forty-six when she walked into an odd little Episcopalian church and took communion, seemingly at random. She is a lesbian in a loving, long-term marriage with a daughter, raised by fervent atheists who themselves were the children of devout missionaries. Miles worked as a journalist during some of the worst, most destructive, least-talked about proxy wars the U.S.A. bankrolled in Central and South America during the 80's. She had started to live a fairly settled-down life in San Francisco. Then she walked into a church, found herself a convert to Christianity, and a year later was running a food bank, discovering that her call was to feed the hungry, the poor, those who cannot afford to feed themselves.

I can see why this book is suggested; it's also a memoir of someone, deeply flawed, sort of falling headfirst into Christianity and rather than digging their way out when things get tough, simply working their fingers to the bone (metaphorically speaking) to change something from the inside. It's a call to arms as much as a story, a call to radically change the way people sitting in their pews view the tired, hungry, and poor standing right outside their doors.

I really enjoyed it; well, you can obviously tell since I've already finished it in three days. This one's a library book, so I can't mark it up on a second read but I am considering buying a copy to do just that. My religiously-flavored memoirs bookshelf section is growing rapidly lately.


Sunday morning, I had this idea in my head to make something kind of fancy for breakfast. Since Sunday is Jason and I'd only read day together, I've been trying to either go out for breakfast or make something fun.

So I made this.

I took this recipe from Martha Stewart - baking acorn or dumpling squash for an hour on fairly low heat until it's cooked, with broth and halved cloves of garlic, chopped sage leaves sprinkled over the top with the pepper and salt - and scaled it down for just the two of us. After baking, you mash the garlic and mix it with cream (or, in my case, with the half-and-half I keep for coffee) and some of the sage that cooked in the broth at the bottom of the pan, and pour that over the squash. It's a side dish that seems incredibly perfect for Thanksgiving.

Jason had an idea, though, to bake eggs in the wells in the center. So I baked the squash for forty minutes, took them out and broke open eggs into the wells (as well as adding some more broth to the pan), turned the heat up to 400 degrees and stuck 'em back in for another twenty minutes. If you like your eggs runny, just leave the heat where it is. Jason refuses to eat runny yolks because he hates delicious things.

Then, pull the squash out and make the cream sauce, pour over, and die of happiness.

(I may or may not have added hot sauce to mine. But I add hot sauce to everything. Martha Stewart would probably not approve.)

Then we had lunch with my in-laws, to celebrate Jason's birthday! Well, it was supposed to be everybody-in-September birthday, but Jason was the only September birthday there so we called it good. I made a version of this creamy skillet corn recipe, except I used turkey bacon and threw in zucchini and some more sage leaves (our sage plant in the herb garden is dying, so... I've kind of given up on moderating my use of it.) There was chicken with rice and gravy and broccoli casserole and caprese salad and gingerbread cake and really, all around gluttony and fabulousness.

Afterwards, we came home and I read, Jason napped, and the dog ran in circles chasing his tail or the cat or dust specks we can't even see.

So, you know. Typical Sunday.

 

This morning I've already run two of my errands, and I've got a couple more to figure out before dinner. When I say 'figure out', what I really mean is 'get up the energy and wherewithal to just go DO THEM', but for now I am sipping on coffee, wearing pajama pants, and squinting suspiciously at the outside world.

The wind chimes are singing outside our front door, which is kind of making it hard for me to get up and go anywhere I can't hear them. They were a housewarming gift from one of my husband's aunts, and I absolutely love them. I am one of those people that would have fifteen sets of wind chimes if it weren't for the fact that Jason seems to have this idea that might be too many.

Silly man. 

In kinda cool news, I won a $50 gift card to Uncommon Goods in a giveaway over on Holly's blog, and my package from them should probably arrive today, so I am kind of hoping it'll arrive before I leave again. Packages from UPS with stuff I didn't actually have to pay for?

That's like Christmas, right there.

Speaking of, my mother-in-law asked us to start thinking about Christmas lists yesterday and I actually felt my brain spasm. Wait, is it already almost October?

When did that happen?












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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hemming & Hawing


Today, I did something which I felt was quite grown up.

I visited an alterations shop to have three pairs of pants hemmed. I have never done this before in my life. I've hemmed a couple of pairs of my own pants, but my amateur efforts are so shameful I'm only willing to inflict them on black pants where it's not very obvious unless you get close.

Nobody gets close enough to my shoes ( and therefore my feet) to see whether or not my seams are even. But I've hit that point in my life where I'm no longer simply content with walking on my hems. Or, well, I am content with it but have begun to spend enough money on quality clothing that I'm no longer content just letting it all get torn up. When your pants cost 10 bucks, maybe you don't worry as much about it.

When they cost 50, well... the extra 10 to hem isn't that big a deal.

My options, as a woman with an incredibly long torso and itty bitty widdle legs, are as follows.

I can just buy pants, deal with the problem, and have each and every one of them eventually end up like this:


Or I can go ahead, swallow my pride, admit I'm terrible at sewing anything by hand and don't own a machine and go visit an alterations person.

There are lots of places in Greenville, but since we live in northern Greenville county it turns out the closest place was a little shop in Travelers' Rest.

I feel like my inexperience was given away when I called them to see if they were open, and a nice older woman answered the phone. My first question was, "Can you have my pants hemmed in two weeks or so?"

She actually laughed at me, albeit nicely.

Turns out, normal people can hem pants very quickly.

I drove up there, winding through downtown TR (which I love - they are really fixing it up and even the signs have become kind of pretty to look at, with a silhouette of the Blue Ridge Skyline), and then turning off onto a little side road.

I became concerned when I drove straight through an older residential neighborhood, but then suddenly there were four churches within the span of 200 feet, all with signs advertising new constructions, new congregations, or fundraising, and nestled between them was a small building, half of which was the alterations place.

When I walked in, the same woman from the phone came out to greet me; she owns the place. There was a measuring table and cloth and books and needles and sewing machines everywhere, which immediately put me at ease; I am far more comfortable with someone who cares not a whit for image and does the job well. Usually, those people and I get along.

She told me to go ahead and try on the pants, and then simply stood there. I turned to look at the (open) blinds in which I had a clear view of the street. "Uh... right now?" I said, sliding my shoes off. Whatever, I did marching band and drama, I've undressed in front of way more people than I can count.

"Oh, not here, dear! I have a fitting room in the back!"

If I can find a way to make something socially awkward, you can pretty well bet I will.

I left my shoes where they lay and went into the fitting room, trying on each pair of pants in succession. Instead of using measuring tape, she just pinned one leg until we found the length I wanted and then would match them. "You can't use inseams, really," She said helpfully at one point, with three or four pins in her mouth, "because every pair of pants is made differently. If I just measured your inseam, every pair of pants would be wrong."

"Oh. Well. I like it this way, then," I said, just as the doorbell rang out with another customer coming in. It was a middle-aged woman whose college-age daughter had been throwing a hand-wash only top in the washing machine. From the sound of things, all hell broke loose.

While I switched pants, the seamstress and the customer muttered about young people these days not caring for anything and I started to stifle a laugh and then realized it was less that they didn't remember I was there than that I may not count in their estimation of 'young people', since I was wearing a wedding ring and bringing in professional work pants for hemming.

Then I stared at myself in the mirror, convinced my entire head of hair had turned gray spontaneously.

The other customer also had a pair of her own pants she needed hemmed, and since I was taking up the fitting room (with one pair of pants yet to be tried on for fitting), the seamstress asked her if she wouldn't mind waiting.

"I don't need the fitting room," The customer replied, all business. "As long as I change pants behind this row of clothes, it's not like anyone on the street can see me. It's nothing she's never seen before," She said, waving her hand in my direction, zipper already halfway down.

Oh, fun, she was in marching band, too!

We both finished up, and the seamstress and I chatted for a little while about her late husband, babies, kids these days, and various and sundry domestic matters. I feel like sometimes we breeze in and out of businesses where maybe we used to stop and talk. I don't mind talking; every person is a world I've never set foot in before.

So.



I was an adult today, sort of!

... except for the part where I assumed the seamstress was trying to tell me to change pants in an open room with a clear view of the street.

And also the part where I then drove way out of my way to go to Starbucks, because I had a few bucks on my brand spankin' shiny new Gold card and I have no willpower and pumpkin spice etc and so forth.

I went to the library, though!

That definitely counts for something.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cleanliness is Next to Who -Has-the-Time-liness

 There are days where I think to myself that life would just be a lot easier if we were independently wealthy and I could be a stay-at-home Katie and clean all day. 

Pffft.

Everyone knows I still wouldn't clean, I'd just have the time to come up with more creative excuses as to why I wasn't.

... which is a form of using my imagination, which is what writers are supposed to do so really I don't see the problem.

Right?

In short, it's going to be a quiet week here on le blog. If it makes you feel better, I'll be over here covered in dust trying to figure out how the dog can have such short hair and yet shed so very much.

Clearly, it's a talent.

I'll try to have something up for you by Friday but honestly I can't promise it'll be any better than today's rambling nonsense.

Monday, September 16, 2013

What Jason Did Saturday





Jason did a blacksmithing demo for a local small town festival last weekend. I was able to go up and briefly see him on my lunch break, so I snapped some pictures while I was there. These are some of his railroad-spike knives.

Oh, sure, it may look like a glamorous life, but he comes back with arms completely gray-black from soot and dust.

And then eats basically a whole pig all on his own if one is available. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

On Meeting One of my Favorite Writers, Functional Insanity, and Baptists. Sort of.

I met Rachel Held Evans last night!

I may have mentioned her before. Well, she came to Clemson to speak and after a series of semi-unfortunate events, I had the fortunate event of the time Friday evening opening up. I love meeting authors who have written books I like! It's rare that I am anywhere near where a writer is going to be, and I try to take advantage when it does happen.

In fact, the first thing I said to Rachel upon meeting her was, "I met Neil Gaiman when I was 14, and I'm 27 now meeting you, and I haven't gotten any more articulate since then. I may babble."



Look at that adorable face. I am such a cute little baby goth.

Ah, and that unfortunate haircut. At least you can't see the unfortunate eyeliner... or my hands shaking because Neil Gaiman is touching me!

Anyway... back on track.

She laughed and signed my books anyway, and I did babble.

I was actually worried; Rachel is a religiously-focused writer and blogger, so her speaking event was hosted by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina, at a huge Baptist church in downtown Clemson. Honestly, while I knew the neighborhood I mostly know it because of a specific bar a friend of mine who lives in town really likes nearby.

But it helped me know where I was! So I'm calling it all good.

Anyway, I went straight there from work. My worry was mostly that I'm not Baptist and never have been, so I wasn't sure exactly how all this was going to work. When I called to reserve my spot for the dinner, the incredibly nice lady on the phone asked what church I'm with.

I panicked.

I may have stammered something about not having one yet and we're still looking and I've found one I think is promising I'm going to this weekend but I wouldn't say that I'm with it yet, and do I need to be part of a church yet to go? I didn't know that and and and...

"That's alright, dear," She said, with that exceedingly comforting genteel Southern accent, the same one my in-laws have. "You can just say 'none'. We just don't put it on your name tag. You're a little bit nervous, huh?"

"Yes ma'am." When did I start saying yes ma'am and no ma'am? Something about this state did that to me.

"I thought so," She said. There was a pause, and then she added, "bless your heart."

Well, that's the Southern Kiss of Death and Pity right there.

So anyway, fast forward to last night.

I arrived about twenty minutes before dinner-and-a-speech was about to start. I walked into a room where I saw about 50 people milling together and talking, people who seemed to all clearly know each other very well. I have never felt so conspicuous in my life.

I am terrified of large gatherings of people I don't know. It's all a part of that magical tapestry I like to call Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I tell most people I'm "nervous" in large crowds, but the word hardly begins to describe the delightful neuroses that make up my everyday life.

I went to one of the tables, set my things down, and pulled out a book. I always have a book or two with me, and reading is my best way to calm myself down. It's what meditation is for other people; the ability to transport my entire brain away from fear and into calm, if only for a little while.

It wasn't really working, though. I could feel my face burning bright red with embarrassment as yet more people came in and yet more people were all previously acquainted. I had never felt like such a sore not-Baptist thumb in my life. I want to really emphasize that I wasn't being left out or anything. I could easily have walked up to a group and made new friends. Anyone in the room would have been perfectly happy to make my acquaintance. But I was too terrified of not being liked to do that.

Because, you know, nothing fixes up an anxiety disorder like wallowing in it.

I texted my sister to try to alleviate some of it, and kept reading.

Then, right as I was starting to wonder if I shouldn't just leave rather than deal with the indignity of sitting at a table by myself all through dinner, a voice popped up from my left. A woman leaned over to look at my name tag. "Are you by yourself, honey? Do you have any of your people comin'?"

"No, it's just me," I said, trying to sound light-hearted.

"Well, good, then you won't mind if I just sit with you," She said, plopping her purse down. We started to talk, and she had gone to graduate school at a college just an hour of where I was born and raised, and we laughed about flatlands, and within about five minutes my table was full of people who came and sat down with us.

It was me, the lady, an older couple who had been married for forty years and they were the most adorable people I've ever seen getting coffee for each other and she grabbed some dessert for him because he'd forgotten and wow. And then there was a second couple, who it turned out often pop up to the mill that my museum operates just outside our town and we knew a lot of the same people.

From then on, it was fine. I learned quite a lot about their lives and they learned quite a bit about mine. A couple of people from the church I was in introduced themselves to me, asked about where I had grown up (the number one rule of gatherings in South Carolina is that someone will talk to me for five minutes and immediately ask 'where are you from'), and the moral of the whole story is that all it takes is just starting a conversation with a stranger.

Rachel herself came up and spoke after dinner. I made jokes about how only silly people would be taking notes and then I totally took notes. Because nerd.

Her speech was a really good one, about the necessity of disconnection in a seriously overconnected world. I fall prey to that in a huge way; I love having Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and everything at the tips of my fingers, all day long. I have apps on my phone that make sure I don't ever have to be more than two clicks away from whatever mundane thing I want to tell the world I am doing. There are more photos of my dog on the internet than there ever should be.

Her main points were about listening to God, yourself, the stories of others, and your critics, and how each of those things helps us to be more fully engaged in our way of changing the world without just trying to be the loudest voice shouting the angriest things on TV. Actually, one of the best points she made that really resonated with me was the difference between a good opportunity and the right opportunity, and how we tend to think those are the same thing and they can be, but not always.

I came home with a placemat covered in notes and two signed books. I was one of the early ones in line for the signing afterwards, and when I came up to her I said the thing about articulate and babbling and then I babbled at her, and she recognized my name from my comments on her blog and then I melted into the floor from a mix of shame and a writer I like recognized me!


Then she took a picture with me.

I left probably faster than I should have; I should have stayed around and talked to more people and introduced myself. I just kind of felt this urge to get home to Jason, though, and our dog and cat and most importantly, my pajamas and ability to swear without feeling bad.

Also, when I came I was one of the last ones to get the parallel parking spots outside the church. I was proud of myself for snagging it, and managed to get a spot where no one had yet parked on either side. I went in all content and proud, and it only occurred to me a few minutes later that I don't actually know how to parallel park.

I mean, I do in theory. I was taught how to parallel park when I was sixteen by a tired drivers' ed teacher who had me do it in an empty block with no cars for miles around. So I have a notion of how it's supposed to happen, but if parallel parking is a necessity in life I usually park the car and make Jason get in the driver's seat to do it while I stand by nervously jumping every time I think he's within three feet of another car.

Which, if you've ever parallel parked, you always are.

So, while sitting at dinner, I realized that I wasn't entirely sure I would be able to leave, if the people parked on either side of me stayed 'til the bitter end. I would just have to sit on the steps outside or go to one of the bars to wait 'em out or something.

It did not occur to me that I could just go back inside and talk to people. Oh no. Once you leave a place, you can't just go back in. The floor becomes lava, or something.

Instead, I sat in the car and stared morosely at the car in my rearview mirror, and the car out in front of me. Back and forth, willing something to happen. I decided to call Jason to let him know I was about to try to leave and we may need to call insurance in the morning when I inevitably destroy something.

Then, lights came on in my rearview mirror. The people behind me had come out to leave!

I turned my own headlights back off to signal I wasn't going anywhere. They didn't move at first, and I realized they were waiting for me. I just waved through the back windshield, trying to sort of sign to them that I was omgjustsobusy on the phone I couldn't possibly go yet, and after about thirty seconds they very, very, very carefully maneuvered out of their own spot and left.

Success!

I backed up as far as I wanted to (nearly but not quite still managing to hit the car two spots behind me), made my way back onto the road, and drove home.

They may say fortune favors the bold, but I say fortune favors the anxious.

Or it did last night.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Katie Talks Books: Pastrix


Currently reading:
by Nadia Bolz-Weber
I won't lie. I have a deep and innate weakness for books, but I am generally terrible at taking book recommendations. When someone tells me I will definitely like a book, I usually have a hard time picking it up. It ends up being a problem, as most of my weird quirks are, of anxiety; I become so worried that I won't like it and will therefore hurt the feelings of the person who suggested it that I never read the book at all. I come up with a thousand reasons why not, and all those reasons boil down to if I don't like it, that might not be the right choice.

So it's way easier when someone I don't actually know in real life suggests something, because then if I don't like it, no harm no foul! I only know them on the internet! They never have to know!

This book was recommended by Rachel Held Evans, a writer and blogger I like quite a bit. When I looked at the image alongside Rachel's recommendation, I realized that the cover design was all done up like medieval chapel stained glass and old text from books copied by monks. If this reflected her as a person in any way, I could say I would almost definitely love this book.

Then I realized one of her tattoos, in the cover photo, is of the Mary Magdalene.

Well, now I can't not read it. I headed to the library!

... where I discovered they have no plans of purchasing it.

One disappointing email from the library system later, I found myself in a bookstore with a pumpkin spice cafe au lait, a new container of Harney & Sons Pumpkin Spice Tea (what? I'm impulsive. It's part of my charm! also the tea is caffeine free! pumpkin! also impulsive!), and a new book.

Or two.

What? Impulsive.

I'm about halfway through Pastrix, which I suppose is an odd place to be giving any kind of a book review, but I'm really liking Nadia's voice, her message, and everything about her. It's exactly what the cover leads you to believe - cranky and beautiful. She swears like a sailor on Tuesday, comes from a comedy background and so knows how to sell the punchline, and is absolutely coated in tattoos, things you might find surprising in a religious book.

Of course, the inspiration for the title is the thing you might find most surprising; Nadia Bolz-Weber is a female Lutheran pastor.

She's someone I'd love to talk to over coffee in real life, that I'd love to sit down with and just start asking questions about what life experiences do to change us. I'll settle for the book, but still. I'll add her to my ever-growing list of people I'd like to invite to a really chaotic dinner party.

(also on the list are Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Queen Elizabeth, Jim Gaffigan, Freddie Mercury, and a whole bunch of other people. Like I said; really, really chaotic.)

The thing is, I love memoirs. I'm a memoir kinda person. I like all that crawling inside someone else's head that is really at the heart of it, living in some small dim way someone else's story. I love reading how someone else made it from Point A to B, or sometimes skipping B entirely and ending up at Point Q somewhere on the other side of the earth. I don't want to hear my own voice all the time, I love a book written by someone entirely different than me.

A certain type of religious memoir catches my eye all the time, these written by people who are like me, who have been sort of fumbling around in the dark trying to figure it all out: the writer of these books is a woman, invariably, a woman who has a great sense of humor about it all, self-deprecating but a little bit earnest in the end nevertheless. Girl Meets God, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, Evolving in Monkeytown, The Book of Mormon Girl... all of those have made their way onto my bookshelf, and there's more like them, too.

I'm glad to add Nadia's book to my already overstuffed collection. She's funny and a little tragic thus far but not self-pitying, and unerringly honest in a way that can be painful to read. Nonetheless, it's hard to stop reading and laughing and worrying along with her.

In short, I seriously recommend this book to anyone who loves memoirs as much as I do. I am always up for another glimpse into someone else's mind and hopes and heart and life. Nadia doesn't disappoint, and she doesn't hold back.

Although actually, this whole post reminded me that my mother still has The Book of Mormon Girl she borrowed last year. I need to write a note on my forehead to have her bring it when she and Dad come to visit for Thanksgiving this year.

Or maybe write a note on my hand.

Or... maybe paper. I mean, if I can find any.

Oh, and my apology for no Five Things this week. I usually have most of the post thrown together by Friday morning and finish editing and getting it up there Friday afternoon, but this just... wasn't one of those weeks where I'm going to manage it. Hopefully you're okay with a rambling discourse on a book I'm reading instead.

If not, well...

it's my blog, neener neener. 

Edited to add:

 I wanted to edit, now that I've finished the book, to say that the last two chapters in particular I think are a bit of a punch to the gut, in the best way. I'm taking a couple of days' break to read some light fiction and then going back to re-read Pastrix again with my trust pen ready to underline and make notes in the margins. 

A sign of a book I really loved is if I finish it the first time, wait a couple of days, and then immediately read it again. I really loved this book, and I highly recommend it on a couple of levels; as a memoir, as a Christian inspiration, as an excuse to listen to a woman be badass for a couple hundred pages, as a look at recovery, as a look at forgiveness, as a way to take a deeper look into the mundane and the real, as punchlines and poignancy and exactly the right amount of cussing.








Note: I have started using Amazon affiliate linking, and am considering utilizing other monetization techniques in order to hopefully eventually fund updates to my blog design. What this means for you is - If you click through any of these links and purchase either the book in question or any of a certain other series of items (not everything qualifies, but a lot does and I'm honestly not sure which is which yet), I may or may not receive a small fee in compensation for it. I'm trying to be very forthright and upfront about this. E-mail me if you have any questions or concerns. I will never ever ever ever pretend to like something if I don't.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Indie Craft Parade


I went, I saw, I bought T-shirts.

I have a problem with the Indie Craft Parade; I love it, but I never think far enough ahead to save enough money to really go nuts and buy all the stuff I like. I end up endlessly debating with myself as we walk the aisles, trying to figure out what to do with the money I do have.

And then, in the end, I buy t-shirts.

I'm going to start planning for next year's show sometime in March, make sure I have enough money saved up to really just make a spectacle of myself with how much stuff I buy.

I say that, but I said that last year after I bought t-shirts, too. You see how that 'planning ahead' stuff works out for me.

After breakfast yesterday, Jason and I walked up to the Huguenot Mill, just behind the Peace Center, where they hold it. It was about 10:42 (and the Parade didn't open up until 11) but there was already a line of fifty or so stretching along the side. We took our place at the end, and within about five minutes another hundred or so had gathered behind us, slowly winding around the side of another building and down towards the river.

When your event has 200 people in line by the time you open the doors, that's usually a good sign.

This year, the Indie Craft Parade expanded into a downstairs level as well as the upstairs, giving them room for more booths and for each booth to have a little more space to breathe.

I would definitely say the artists and craftspeople were friendlier this year - last year, I remember being surprised by how standoffish many of the artists were but this year we were greeted by nearly every booth we paused at, asked how we were doing, what kind of things we were looking for today. I was even able to chat with a couple of artists about their process.

Our favorites:


This lady (no website yet, but I grabbed her email and I will post up the link to her shop once it's up) made flower headbands and pins and these awesome animal masks. I didn't pick one up (I ran into the aforementioned didn't-plan-ahead-to-have-money problem), but I am eyeballing a mask for Halloween.

I think I should be a raccoon. I like racoons. Well, not actual raccoons but I like the idea of raccoons.

Actually, I'll probably end up going as the guy dressed up at the fox in this music video. Warning: this video is completely insane, and that song will be stuck in your head for days.


Seed & Sky had my favorite jewelry. Her pendants are these gorgeous tiny prints of paintings she's done. They were all beautiful, but I was staring pretty hard at a necklace with a painting of the Blue Ridge skyline. I am still staring at it.

I think I will be staring at it in my hands next month, because it is only a matter of time, people. That necklace will be mine.


I loved Chomp's business cards! She does work with textile and had a gorgeous quilt and lots of tote bags and bigger kind of beach-y bags that you could carry your whole lives in. They were very pretty and well-constructed.

I suppose I should add one of their bags to the "it's only a matter of time" list. Christmas is coming up, right? I'm still enough of a kid to get frivolous presents... right?


This booth, for Tree and Laser, had a ton of awesome woodworking stuff. I really liked this set of magnets, and just below it a wooden coaster that said "Don't Feed the Bear."

Bears seemed to be somewhat of a theme, this year. Apparently bears became cool at some point, who knew?

Well... the bears did. The bears liked bears before bears were cool.

Cory Godbey, as per usual, was there. I don't have any photos of his booth because it was always swarmed the whole time we were there, so I didn't have a chance.

 I told Jason that Cory is basically who I want to be when I grow up. He's a fantasy-based illustrator and artist, depending on the project, and has appeared in the Spectrum series of books highlighting awesome fantasy and sci-fi artists, which is probably the second-coolest thing I can imagine happening in my career.

I love his stuff. I've featured him before on the blog as an artist that I love, and it's great getting to see prints and cards and larger versions of his work close-up at the parade every year.


In the end, though, I walked out with two T-shirts from Dapper Ink. I'm wearing one and holding the other, because that is how we do swag around here. I just drape as much of it on myself as I can for the photo. Next year I hope to be so weighed down I can't even stand up.

That super-cool model pose up there is entirely due to the dogs across the street distracting me. I'm so good at taking pictures of myself. Clearly.

If you look at the photo of me in my last entry from our visit to Mary Beth's, and you see my T-shirt? That's the shirt the Dapper Ink people were selling last year at the Parade. I didn't realize it until someone downstairs at a booth asked me about it, and then when I was browsing the Dapper Ink guys' booth, one of them actually called me on the fact that I was wearing last year's shirt.

I am still undecided as to whether or not I think that was cool or if I have actually become the least-cool person on earth and should just sort of wallow in shame.

I can only swear to you on a stack of all my favorite books that I had no idea until we got there.

Other favorites that I have no photos of -  Platypusfile, january jewelry, Courtney Dodd, Gypsy Raku, Rachel Wilder's jewelry, Overton Ironworks, Lily Wikoff's beautiful ceramic-and-chain necklaces. Just about every booth, really.

Next year, though. Next year I'm going to be ready.

I mean it this time.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Breakfast at Mary Beth's


Doesn't have quite the ring of Breakfast with Tiffany's, does it?

Ah, well. We do what we can.

What with my Tuesday through Saturday work schedule, the only day Jason and I usually have to spend together is Sunday. This tends to mean that we really push togetherness to sappy, gag-inducing heights on Sundays, and today was no exception.

We decided to hit up downtown, to see the expanded Indie Craft Parade. What we saw is going to be a whole other post, mostly because I don't want to ramble on for pages and pages and pages in a single entry, since this one is basically just going to be about Mary Beth's, the awesome place Jason and I had brunch this morning.

Trust me, I will ramble on long enough in this one entry to make you glad I'm splitting the day into two.

Our general rule is to park over in a parking garage and just walk wherever we want to go. It gives us time to talk, and it means we don't have to circle the few on-street parking spots to catch one open. I've seen the same red car go around the block six times before, which I found ridiculously sad. Like the movie Groundhog Day, but without the promise of Bill Murray.

To get to Mary Beth's, you just head down McBee off of Main Street for two or three blocks, head under the overpass, and into an upscale shopping-and-living area on the other side. By the time we got there, we were both pretty seriously hungry, and what I'd checked out of the menu online definitely looked promising. I don't want anything avant-garde for breakfast, I want some perfectly done eggs and maybe, if I'm feelin' crazy that day, some fruit.


And also coffee, but I need that to live, so that's different.

We were greeted right away, I suspect by the owner, an older gentleman who also showed us to our seat. I am a sucker for any place that asks if I prefer a booth, because I always do. I am definitely a booth person. I will stare longingly and sadly at booths that are open if not offered one.

Jason and I ordered a French press coffee to split, and I suggest if you're a coffee drinker who visits Mary Beth's that you do just that. It was velvet-y, had a great dark but not burnt flavor, and came with very chilled cream.

Jason has ADD, and coffee will put him to sleep if he doesn't drink a fairly large amount of it. Only a tiny cup or two of this and he was pretty awake, so that tells you how strong the coffee was. Yum.

Our waitress was super-cheerful and really nice, and I spent the whole time we were there trying to figure out what movie she reminded me of. No dice, but I guarantee I will sit up in bed around midnight suddenly knowing exactly what.

Then I will fall back asleep and by the time I wake back up, I'll have forgotten again.


Being me is magical.

Anyway, we ordered suspiciously similar foods. I snagged the Upstate Eggs Benedict, because seriously hollandaise sauce people. They serve hollandaise sauce in gallon buckets in heaven, I'm pretty sure.

It came with horseradish hollandaise and corned beef hash, the two eggs perfectly cooked; not exactly runny, but juuuuust soft enough, over an English muffin. Jason just went the straightforward route - two eggs, potato hash browns, corned beef hash. Saved himself the sauce, I suppose.


But got himself a biscuit.

We inhaled our food in a way that may have been vaguely embarrassing if it weren't for the fact that everyone around us was doing the same thing. There was an adorable baby at the next table over and babies should not be allowed where I can see them at this point, because it's like shaking a big old box of gold in front of Francisco Pizarro.

Except that I'm way less murderous. And don't steal or conquer Peru through sheer megalomaniac determination and hideous horror.

So... guess it's not like that at all.

The whole point of this is that locals should definitely eat breakfast over there. Like, now.

Now now now.

I'll wait.

Sunday Sunrise & Search Terms


The view outside this morning. 

As a fun note, here are search terms people have used that led them to my blog:

Stress and Stars blog (obvious enough)
sort pant (uh... okay)
moonshine toddy (awesome)
"car wouldn't start" (haha good luck getting help from me)
are smartwool socks cool? (I think I can answer that)
never nap alone (That seems...existential.)
Boo Rochman 
(I get a ton of these - there's a park by that name in Carbondale back when we lived in Illinois I took a ton of photos of once upon a time)
The name of a hardcore porn star I will not repeat here, because ew. Also I feel bad for whoever was looking for a porn star and found my blog.
flames on the side of my face (ah, another Clue lover)
and
what to do with an art degree (... oh, you poor poor thing.)


Friday, September 6, 2013

5 Things - the Farmers, Fashion & Florals Edition



1. This article on NPR about the hardships that younger or first-generation farmers are having getting into the business. The thing about family farming is that you really don't make much money because the costs are enormous, especially for those who aren't inheriting any of their land or equipment. Machines can cost into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, seed corn and pesticides are more expensive all the time, and keeping everything in working order requires constant effort and even more in the way of expenditures.

The younger crowd getting into this now works harder than ever at making a living off it. One of the examples is a young woman getting into raising pigs, who is working a second job on the side to help pay the bills while she gets off the ground. On top of the usual issues of how much land costs and the sheer expense needed to afford the machinery early on, my generation pushes the organic, locally grown, low-pesticide thing in a big way. That offsets some costs (pesticides and GMO seeds can have insane prices) but organic and pesticide-free food requires, often, even more work on the farmer's part to keep it from getting torn apart by insects and invasive weeds (or ensuring that the farmer never discovers that Monsanto's GMO seeds "accidentally" sprouted in his non-GMO fields). This can translate into more work and more costs in certain areas.

They talked a little bit about this on the radio on my way home from work last night, and at the end of the segment the guy doing the interviewing climbed up into a tractor. He was pretty clearly a city kid, and listening to him marvel over how big it was... I really enjoyed that. Until I moved here to South Carolina I grew up surrounded by farmers, farmer's kids and people who knew the routine of when tractors would be on the roads in the spring and fall. It's fun to be reminded of how impressed by the machinery people can be when they don't see it every day.

I miss seeing it every day.

Never thought I'd say that.



2. So I wrote a couple of outfit posts ago about growing into liking the Gap. Well, that growing-into-it faded somewhat quickly, although not all the way. I snagged a green shirt of theirs, that I'm wearing in the aforementioned outfit post, and it already has worn holes in it from being so threadbare. I work in a museum, but I often have to stand with my abdomen leaning up against a slightly-too-high counter while talking to visitors. Within two wears, this wore holes in the front of my new Gap shirt.

This makes Katie a sad panda. Do people still say 'sad panda'? Was that ever actually a thing people said, or did I make that up?

Huh. I'll have to check into that.

Anyway, I'm not really buying much from the Gap anymore, but I still check their new arrivals, and this outfit is absolutely perfect. I'm trying to figure out how to recreate something similar, and I think I've fairly well got it decided. I have my awesome new red clay-colored pants, I have a beige T-shirt (not a turtleneck like in the photo, because ew turtlenecks are the devil), and I have a denim shirt.

I think I came up with a new outfit for fall and I don't even have to buy anything.

Let's all take a moment to savor the magic and wonder of it all, and hear my bank account sigh with relief.



3. This art print of South Carolina. The heart's not quite in the right place, but the cool thing about this shop is that they can customize the placement of the heart. I'm thinking this would look great on our living room wall once we get the whole thing painted.

No, we haven't finished it yet. I need someone to come babysit the dog in the backyard while we do it, because it's hours of work and we are soft-hearted shmucks who can't bear his sad little face pressed up against the back door.

The upside to this is that I have friends who will babysit him if I just remember to ask, and they are the kind of friends who enjoy being paid in beer and pizza.

And then I get a new art print for the wall!

Everyone wins.

Except my bank account, which now looks worried again.

What I'd really like to have one of these of South Carolina, and one of Illinois, side-by-side.


4. For a long time I both A. didn't want to spend any money on shoes and B. didn't wear leather.

I'm not sure what kind of ethical point I thought I was making by not wearing leather; I basically eat beef just for revenge against how smelly cows are, and I never stopped. Somehow my not-wearing-leather thing stuck for a long time, though, and I found myself wearing endless pairs of cheap canvas shoes.

The upside to cheap canvas shoes is that they are cheap.

The downside is that they fall apart within a year or two from constant wear and tear.

Well, next year I am designating Year of the Shoes. I'm going to work on getting quality materials and craftsmanship back into my shoes, wearing nicer styles and working harder on making sure I'm buying things that will last.

In that vein, I am drooling over these Boden brogues. The blue-green Cypress color pictured is my favorite, but I love basically every shade they come in. Can I afford even one pair?

No.

But you can't stop a lady from dreaming.



5.  This little sketch from Rachel over at Floral Prints & Common Sense, from a series of classwork sketches she put up just a couple of days ago.

She's a blogger I've just found out about and kind of took a shine to right away. She's an Illustration major, and we've discussed before that Illustration is my favorite sort of subset of the art world, and one that I think is unfairly maligned and not given nearly enough attention.

She mostly seems to do personal style blogging, but she's put up several art posts and I love the dry style of humor that infuses each and every one. Check out the "illustration" page at the top of her blog!

In fact, I like her stuff so much I'm going to make you look at another one from the same post:




Oddball animal illustrations are just basically the top of my list right now, and these are perfect.

I was going to tell you a little something more about her blog, and realized from her sidebar 'About' that she's from South Carolina. Cool, I thought. I like showing South Carolina artists. Wonder where from. I go about my business, click through her etsy shop because I have no willpower when it comes to buying art prints, and...

she actually lives in the same town as I do.

Soooo now I feel kinda like a stalker.

Awesome.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Welp.


So far...

 I started my day off with a nasty headache from sleeping in a weird position.

Stubbed my toe on the corner of a cabinet and hopped around the house making weird sounds.

The dog stared at me with his head cocked to the side the whole time. He looked at my toe, he looked at me. I felt like he understood my pain.When I sat down, he came over to lick my hand and promptly stepped on that same toe.

Left a cabinet door open and banged my forehead into it.

Forgot to shower on time so my hair won't even remotely be dry when I get to work.

Looked in the mirror after I finally showered and I think the wrinkle by my mouth is getting bigger

Saw a new wrinkle by my left eye. Proceeded to freak out. Currently trying to figure out a way to not be 27 anymore because I've decided I don't like it.

I have a jillion clothes and don't want to wear any of them.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tuesday, By the Hour

I decided I wanted to do a day where I took one photo every hour, to take you guys through a day. I was going to do a fun day where I had awesome things planned, but I forgot. Twice. So instead you get an average workday, from waking up to heading to bed.

I was also going to use my camera, but forgot that too. So I used my phone instead. Because I am not a quitter!

Just really bad at remembering things.

----------------------------------------------------------------


7:30 AM: Indy watches Jason leave while I get dressed after breakfast. He is more broken-hearted about Jason leaving than me leaving. Squint at him until his tail-wagging is too cute for me to keep that face going.


8:30 AM: Making a pot of coffee and reading the newspaper after I get to work. After reading the national news, consider going off the grid and raising goats. I might like goats. I like eating goat...


9:30 AM: MATH! and coffee. Told you.


10:30 AM: A quick break to refresh my coffee. I took the long way around through the garden on my way back and caught this little guy getting some late-season pollen. He held still until I was done.


11:30 AM: Finally done with math! So I do some dusting around the merchandise in the shop, and took a second to take a photo of this little guy. I keep raccoons hidden all over the shop. Little kids love to find them.


12:30 pm: Lunch hour! I go for a walk on a nearby trail. I did some running, too, only to realize that I kinda need to work back up to that since I haven't done any in over a month now, thanks to the medical thing. Oh and also I was dehydrated. Also also it was like 90 degrees.



1:30 pm: See what I mean? Half an hour after getting back from my exercise, I am still super red-faced. Coworkers give me funny looks. Consider wearing makeup. Remember that makeup and I agreed to disagree about five years ago. Drink lots of water.



2:30 pm: Try to rearrange my little library of extra books I keep near my desk. Realize there is literally no other way to arrange them than how I had them before. Give up and put everything back. Sigh heavily and mutter something about raising goats.


3:30 pm: Remember that NPR stops playing classical and starts back up with the news at 3. Listen to the news for ten minutes. Debate the positive aspects of living in a cave where I will never hear the news again. Wonder if I could have goats in an adjoining cave.


4:30 pm: My friend Jessi stops by work, since she happened to be in town. We discuss puppies. She makes the last thirty minutes of the day, which usually drag by like turtles given sedatives, fly past like turtles given both wings and speed. Wonder why I'm thinking so much about turtles. Decide it's better than thinking about... well, you know.

 

5:30 pm: Arrive home, and start simultaneously working on dinner and working on lunch for us to take to work for the rest of the week. Open up my copy of the cookbook Jerusalem and start working on Naamah's Fattoush, my favorite recipe out of there so far.


6:30 pm: Dinner! Oven roasted chicken and rainbow chard with onions and garlic in chicken broth. Fattoush is done and settling, puppy is fed and running around outside, husband is home and eating. Feel content. Purposefully refuse to look at the news.


7:30 pm: Warm-up painting while watching Kids in the Hall on Netflix. Try to figure out what it is about Canadian sketch comedy that I just don't get. Mutter something about the word 'aboot'.


8:30 pm: Painting. We gave up on Canadian sketch-comedy and now Jason is playing a video game about zombies. Not a good one, either. I didn't even realize there were bad zombie video games. Well, now I know.


9:30 pm: We started with the dog, we'll end with the dog. I find myself no longer painting, just taking photos of my puppy. Wonder what anthropologists five hundred years from now will think about my many, many photos of my animals. 

Decide to stop thinking and take more photos of the dog.

And that's it! So there was Tuesday. Wednesday promises to be similar, only with way less math.

I'm okay with that.