Tuesday, August 30, 2011

lunch break

i truly enjoy having an hour lunch break. today i was thinking how an hour and a half would be so nice. but i guess if i had that, i would want two hours.

earlier, before it was hot for months, i would take my hour to walk along the rive to the clinton center. this takes about 20 minutes each way. i have a favorite bench behind the building. it faces the river, and is underneath a huge, inviting tree with the greenest leaves. i like to lie down and stretch out on the bench and close my eyes. my favorite is when a small glimmer of sunlight slithers through those leaves down to my warm body. i smile inside, and rest for five minutes before continuing back. soon it will be cool enough to do this again. (for a reminder of a super cool sighting, see http://youwhohavealwaysthought.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html (halfway down the page, picture of darling critters.)

today i went to another favorite spot, the other direction, also near the river. i sat in a patch of sun on the prickly grass and bathed in the hot sun. i ate my small lunch, and drank a delicious (tres cher!) sparking water from boulevard. i closed my eyes. i talked to my dragonfly. i listened to the nearby fountain and the chirping birds. i did some yoga stretches in the grass. i may have looked tres folle, but it felt so good. i had visions of someone leading a lunchtime yoga in that very spot.

if i could have squeezed in a small nap, it would have been perfect. it was close enough :)


Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly
credit: http://stevecreek.com/arkansas-river-dragonfly/

today on my break i had a visit from a bright blue dragonfly. he was so pretty and i was delighted to see him. he seemed tame and even landed on my arm and "smelled" me. i love dragonflies.

when cade and i were married outside, dragonflies flew all around us. in different cultures, they symbolize different things. i take from the chinese to mean prosperity, and our native americans to illustrate happiness. i and others thought this was extra special on our wedding day.

the ones who visited that day were green, i believe. they seem so content flitting around.  :)

http://lyce1.free.fr/cours/chap1_svt.php (credit)

furrowed brow to smiley eyes

after having a tough time at my second job first thing this morning, i am now smiling.

i have permission to take a day off tomorrow, and i am going to get some things done that i have, literally, been needing to do for years. i am not trying to recall if there is anything i am forgetting from this list...
eye doctor/new lenses/contacts
i don't have vision insurance (not a good one offered at work) so it will cost a bit...but i can't see out of these scratched lenses! and...i wouldn't have had to go without contacts for so long if i would have bought some while i still had a prescription...well, i'll take care of that! maybe i will even get a cheap second pair of glasses, or some prescription sunglasses! (notice the excitement expressed by the exclamation points...)

passport name change
and the passport bit is depressing...i renewed my passport shortly before we were married. so, if i would have notified them of my name change within the year, it would have been virtually no cost to renew. now it's over $100. oh well...it will be finally finished! that way if we should be able to take a quick trip down to mexico, i'm not holding us back.

other name changes
there really isn't an excuse for this. my car note, for one...laziness, but also annoyed that this is such an ordeal to change, unlike, say, my credit card name change procedure... but it will be done!! i will finish them all.

years, people, years. and i will finally get it done! i will feel so good.

 (i think i will also use some time to clean out the music area of our house. i am trying to be sneaky about my day off and that way can surprise the husband with some organizing!)

also, please see WISHLIST on http://youwhohavealwaysthought.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html

since we know have a king-size bed, the first three desires on the list will be fulfilled!
really hoping for a new job for cade (waiting to hear about a few options) and i am s-l-o-w-l-y on my way to being slim and fit.  and the bank accounts goal is slowly getting there... i wouldn't have imagined all this could happen :) maybe it helped to write them out and share them with someone.  thanks  ;)

maybe my life isn't as rough as i think it is  :)

***EDIT POST*** just called for an estimate on appt/lenses...looking at at least $300 here. yeah, i might want to opt in for that vision insurance...oh well, hopefully the passport bit will work out...

Monday, August 29, 2011

so angry

i just found out that my stepson is in cancun, for a visit, with his mother (reminder: aka kidnapper.)  the way we found out this information is from her telling someone else on facebook. if she would have told the boy's father that this was happening, we could have gone to cancun for way cheap, and even a long weekend. it takes so long and so much money to travel to where he normally lives. we can't afford the time or money. (the mother left him and moved to cancun.)

thanks, it feels better to release it. hope my husband doesn't mind me sharing.

so what, part II

*read post below first.*

i try not to do this, for it is rough on readers (if i created the blog, i would have it go in order oldest to newest...and if you have to scroll down a few pages to read the newest, so what! it's like filing. put the new stuff in the back of the folder. i want it in order.)

wait, this post is supposed to be positive.

i am thankful for my blog. there. that's better.

i will buy a hot tea, and enjoy a white orange spice instead of my lady grey.

i will think more of my love for my husband every time my thumb tries to touch my invisible ring.

write what i can from memory, make new lists! (next larger purchase: l'occitane eyecream. i have monstrous wrinkles. that isn't being negative, just honest.)
list #1: buy detergent!
chore #1 this pm: throw in a load of laundry. in one hour, repeat.

i am thankful for my extra sleep, and will probably have a better workout tonight. even if i have to wait for a treadmill or a lane in the pool.

i have 2 good, mostly easy, somewhat well-paying jobs, both with excellent benefits. i enjoy waking up early (well, 4 am wouldn't be my first pick) and will turn off the light by 9 or 9:30 each night.

we will make loads of money housesitting, have pool access, and have a three-day weekend, even if it's not in our own bed.

so what

so i don't have a tea bag to brew my morning tea.

and i left my wedding ring at home and feel naked without it.
(my thumb will nudge at nothing all day.)

and my pile of lists are by the printer (at home.) no organizing today. no satisfying cross-offs.

and i didn't get that next load of laundry in the wash. i might not even have enough detergent for it, anyway.

and i slept in instead of tackling my workout.

and my work week is looking extra tough (three early morning shifts t,w,th) at the second job. 4 am wake-ups, 12 hour days. three in a row.

and we have to housesit, in a double bed, with four dogs.

(i just planned to list the first three, i'll stop there.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011


this is one of the cutest things i have ever seen


did i even know what tiny bunnies look like?

from http://www.edibleselby.com/

dinah vierny et aristide maillol

                                                                   a love story.

this was one of my first drawings. besides the face and the lack of hips, i like it

le grand nu jaune
aristide maillol
huile sur toile

his muse

dina and her lover
maillol chose vierny as his model around the time she was fifteen. he was nearly 75, and they became lovers. ten years later, he died. she inspired beautiful works of art and eventually founded musee maillol in the early 70s. the gorgeous building is located in the seventh arrondisement on rue de grenelle. near there, just down rue de bac is a lovely parc perfect for a small visit or quick picnic.(it also has a fun playground for children.) dina would visit the museum for events, and my friend was able to go and meet her one evening. she didn't have an extra ticket, else it would have been one of the most spectacular nights of my life. madame vierny was almost 90 when she died.

i am not sure if she ever admitted to being his lover, but i imagine it was true, and that she carried a deep sadness with her all of those years. can you see it in her eyes?

                                                                                                         maillol dina.jpg



the south

he lives alone but shares himself with all.

sammy sighed and pushed the duvet to the end of the bed. it would take a second for him to get up. if it were winter he would stay in bed and read. dropping his head as his eyes greeted the morning sky, he felt happy to know he would be in the ocean sun later, and finally swung himself out of the bed. fifteen minutes later he greeted the concierge as he stepped outside his small hotel into the beckoning lazy streets of old antibes. he went to the cafe on the corner for a newspaper, un cafe creme, and a croissant. he read french now like english although when he spoke an occasional phrase revealed his southern u.s. accent.

although he had only planned to come south from paris for a month he had stayed for thirteen months, with no plans to return.

today he would meet a new lady friend for a swim at the rock beach. later he would take her to the musee picasso, where the artist once lived and worked. it was open and light, unlike the one in paris. here, the balance of looking at his work while staring at the mediterranean out of the window cut in stone could never grow old. he saw something new each time.

sammy had met maugerite the night before where they sat and listened to music in a smoky cafe. she had come to the south with her grand-mere and had tired of spending the afternoons alone in her room reading to her granny. she looked better in her swimsuit than sammy had imagined and she smiled brightly when he greeted her. he didn't know much about her except that she was on a break from  teaching at la sorbonne.

they spent the next couple of hours soaking up the faithful sun of the la cote d'azur and casually exchanging a summary of life stories. the only time sammy lost the smile on his inviting lips was when he remembered that these magical days always ended with final goodbyes. they ate paninis and drank cold drinks from a beach vendor and maugerite smiled when sammy ordered in french. she noticed how he didn't pause and cherished the idea of spending time with an ex-pat.

later at the museum the art took hold of her. she reached out and touched sammy's soft hand. ladies hadn't always treated him this way, not until after he started selling his stories and living a life of luxury. most didn't know about the money but all of them were attracted to his confidence and gentle demeanor.

he had come to france three years ago to start writing. without an increased and healthy self-worth he would have never taken such a chance. his family fortune provided the opportunity. most days he would read and write for 7-8 hours and usually worked late into the night.

 maugerite would be here a week longer and he grinned at the thought of seeing her each day. he would share time with her, and a bit with her grandmother. elderly people always thought highly of sammy because he shared a great respect with all of those around him. it pleased his lover that he would take the time to meet someone who was dear to her.

in september when they left, he went back to his quiet hotel life. he would forget maugerite soon and never know that she would think of him always, keeping the story to herself of her brief and passionate affair on the riviera with a funny and charming american.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

the final time.

nic first came to paris six years ago to run the marathon. he taught history at the time and this freed him for ten days in the spring. he had never travelled outside the states and he hungered for any foreign place. he enjoyed the visit that first infected him with a constant fever for travels. each time he came to paris he promised the city he would see her again soon. and one inviting september, he kept that promise and arrived for a long stay. he began by visiting a friend a la rive droite, enjoying being spoiled but left to himself when desired. he planned to perhaps rent a small flat in le marais later; he'd come into some money and he planned to live well.

he started out his day as usual running along the quai. he used his morning run to collect his thoughts, plan his day. he often allowed the city to distract him and always smiled inside when he spotted the eiffel tower. today he ran to parc citroen and back alongside the left bank. he returned from his run satisfied yet hungry. while he showered, ate a still-warm pain-au-choclat, and drank his espresso (from his host's state-of-the-art espresso maker), he listened to the morning news. he had visited often enough to be able to decipher main themes and ideas when listening to french. his own accent and vocabulary needed work but he could manage a conversation. being in paris provided the best practice, as natives spoke and listened so quickly.

 he decided to take the bus to le marais for a visit to musee picasso. while riding he observed the sights of the city and the people nearest him. he always noticed the bus driver and liked to imagine his daily life. the thing he noticed most was that they were all so different. his thoughts wandered to what he would see at the museum. he liked his early work best, always feeling a connection somehow to his pieces from the blue period. he once figured he related this to the part of himself he rarely revealed. not because others couldn't understand him, but because they probably wouldn't take the time to do so, and even the thought of this hurt him and caused him to release the idea of showing himself. he'd been like this since il etait petit, playing alone most of the time.

the third floor intrigued nick despite its correlation with modern pornography. it always prompted him to wander why great minds always turn to sex, drugs, self-destruction in the end. was it emptiness, perhaps, or unfulfillment, despite a tap into celestial secrets? he looked intently and pondered these ideas but didn't find the answer today. he had only come here to find calm, not enlightenment. even upon his entrance to the courtyard calmness had reached out and stroked him. after leaving he dined at a cafe on the terrace. he made sure to finish his meal with a taste of fine cheeses-- du chevres, du comte, et du camembert. not usual for the mid-day meal, but he was in a tourist area so he felt comfortable breaking the rules.

he walked home afterward with his usual confidence and a respect for those around him. he took time to notice a leaf on the ground or the look of pain behind the eyes of someone who had lost yet decided to live again. he remained oblivious, however, to the responses beautiful women naturally gave to him. he couldn't notice this because he always felt shy, unworthy, and insufficient around the opposite sex. outwardly he displayed a happiness and almost reverence for women no matter her status or appearance. his parents had taught him this yet he didn't grasp (or realize) this treasure he held. women who didn't know him found him attractive even after two glances. they always looked a second time.

that night nic met an ex-lover for dinner at san remo. he liked the italian cafe, away from the tourists,  because it was cheap yet impressionable. he enjoyed a complimentary kir while he waited, and his thoughts drifted to their history. he always met maugerite each time he came to paris. their relationship remained on good terms but he knew he would have to say goodbye when he met a girl he planned to stay with. he pushed this thought out of his mind as he greeted her with kisses. she looked ridiculously sexy in a clingy black dress and he felt glad he put on a clean long-sleeved shirt and some aftershave. his face broke into a smile each time she giggled, revealing his laugh lines that had come with time and age. when he looked at her through the haze of burgundy wine, he knew that the night would end with more than the formal goodnight kisses. he smiled again, clutching her bare leg beneath the table, knowing if he died tonight he would feel satisfied with life.

joseph A paris

he rides a moped, wears plaid shorts with thick, high, maybe colored socks. he looks tres bizarre on that bike but it doesn't matter because he's cool. it works for him. he earns his euros at someplace like monoprix or the newstand, and only eats a baguette all day until dinner when he always has a beer. he knows where to get the best bread, a good beer, and smiles at least one smile to a stranger each day. he grows stubble and then shaves it off again. he can't decide. he goes to a free internet cafe where he knows a guy and always scores a free coffee. he likes to wear his headphones when he e-mails. sometimes the french keyboard still frustrates him.

he listens to good music and drinks a carafe of wine while he sits at the jazz cafe. a busty brunette locks his eyes from across the room.  he is used to this but still acts awkward. girls fancy him on many days but mostly he's scared of really letting someone know him.

 he runs at parc monceau and the surrounding streets. people notice him because he is tall, and his feet hit the gravel loudly. he often stops to watch the old men lazily play their games. they are always smoking and someone sits on a bench in the silence. he wants to be like them. they are comfortable with life.

on sad days he visits le jardin du luxembourg and imagines himself running at the pigeons. this always makes him chuckle. he buys a cheap panini from a vendor on the street and always savors it. sometimes, on these days, he rides the bus just to feel like he's going somewhere.

he thinks about how when he's old he will come back to paris and in a park hidden away from the crowds he will play le petanque with the old men. he has a manual camera with a brown leather case. he takes photos of everything. he hopes to work at a photostation soon.

he likes to sit pres de sacre coeur and look at the tourists. people often think he's german. he takes pictures for them sometimes and prides himself on a good shot. later, when he is at home drinking coffee and listening to his favorite record, he thinks about this and feels good.

he still plays the drums. a little girl once told him he panicked while playing. he liked that and told himself to remember it. he misses the food channels and once or twice a month he watches them at a friend's flat on his day off. then he cooks for someone, usually a girl. and after, he has a good time with her. he finds a reason to put on his shoes and leave quickly.

he listens more than he talks and sends postcards to his family. his sister likes them best.

he misses his grandpa on most days.

he has friends visit but mostly they come to see paris. he feels good about being here and like his life but knows this is only one chapter. he's okay with it and does what he can.

he has a small wooden nightstand with a lamp from IKEA. he always reads a psalm before bed and checks his alarm three times before switching off the lamp. once during a fete du cinema, he went to the movies seven times in three days. he made sure he watched only french and spanish films.

once he washed his socks by wearing them in the shower but after they felt mushy. he usually washes his white t-shirts in the sink.

he sketches the eiffel tower from a picture in his mind.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

workout update

i don't think anyone has read any of this since i pledged my five days a week.

however, i will post something tonight to stay true to my word.

update on working out:  finally lost 5 pounds, maybe, i think.
geez, that's great. only 3 months and 5 whole pounds. wth. that'll be ten whole pounds by christmas, instead of the projected 40. surely i can still do it.

i will have my mother measure me again when i am at her house and maybe i will see some difference.
i KNOW i am smaller.

to keep training toward a goal, and to hopefully help shed pounds, i signed up for the SOARING WINGS HALF MARATHON. (sorry, i can't italicize for some reason.)

check it out on facebook:
or, for those less socially mediac, swhalf.com

saturday 29 october, unfortunately just a few hours before the most hardcore shift of the year at my second job. and hopefully not too hilly of a course.

but i am sure i will have a blast, regardless. and maybe not walk on sunday.
(this is pending no hip injuries. if so, my registration fee will be more of a donation...)
hoping for the best.

sorry for the lame post, ghost readers... i had a flashback of the grand canyon today, so hopefully i will write about that tomorrow. instead of smell, which is the sense that most often triggers memory, it was touch. super cool.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


that's french for yuck!

so i just started a new book

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - Citywell, my (library) copy has a better cover

i am having a grand time so far, finding myself lost in each page and already choosing a recipe to try tonight.. of course, how could i not love a book about paris, cooking, and la vie parisienne written by a man who worked over a decade at chez panisse?

and then, on page 27, i come to this paragraph with a solution to a lack of space in an oh-so-typical parisian apartment:

     And why limit the bathroom to personal grooming? My dated, but thoroughly utilitarian, marble bathroom shelves are a perfect pigeon-proof environment* for cooling candy. When there are lots of pots and pans to be tackled, there's much more room in my generously sized bathtub than in my dinky kitchen sink , which would frustrate even Barbie if it were installed in her dream house.

*He had tried using his roof top to cool his delicious desserts.

disgusting!!! degoutant!!

my friend jenifer walked by while i was writing this and i had her read it. when i read it, i thought immediately of the episode on seinfeld when kramer decides to take care of some kitchen duties while showering (e.g. peeling vegetables.) when jenifer read it, she thought of something else...while looking for an apartment in new york, she became excited about what seemed to be a good find. when she went to view the two-bedroom, one bath loft, she was surprised to find an unusual kitchen/second bedroom. in the kitchen there was a bathtub, and above that bathtub there was a murphy bed.

 i guess we do what we have to do with the space we have.  just remind me to only eat what lebovitz has cooked in a restaurant or bakery.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


You know how in the Bible, those around and near Abraham were blessed? Just by being associated with him?

Au contraire, Jonah brought destruction and cursing to those he encountered.

I used to be that Abraham, I think.

I feel more like Jonah these days. 

Maybe it's more of a Job thing, in a way. hopefully.

:(   :(

Sometimes we just can't see it.
Like in Esther, how the name of God is never mentioned.

"And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Just His work, and greatness, and direction, implied.

This may not make much sense to you, but I need to share it a bit.

Monday, August 22, 2011


i am extremely thankful for reading. definitely one of my favorite things to do. sometimes i think of a book or story i am reading and i become sort of giddy, like an eager child looking forward to a trip to the candy store. i have lost countless hours of sleep from not restraining myself from turning another page. i have thoughts of staying in for the weekend and reading for days. i might do it if i were single.

one of my favorite settings for reading is just like the opening chapter of a wrinkle in time. (one of my favorite books.) meg has a room in the attic of an old house and on this night the wind, rain, and thunder shake her bed. literally, l'engle writes, "it was a dark and stormy night." can't you feel it? meg wanders downstairs and shares a warm drink and cold sandwich with her mom and brother, who are also kept up by the storm. charles wallace eats something very strange, perhaps liverwurst and cream cheese? (no, i don't think that is unusual enough. tell me if you know, i don't have to book to reference right now.) they enjoy their good conversations and the sound of the storm.

if i were meg, and i had that room, in that house, and on that night, i would make a grilled cheese sandwich, golden brown and slathered in butter (just like my mom used to make), brew a cup of hot tea (with the fine sound of the piping cry of the whistling kettle), perhaps grab a biscuit (shortbread?), and climb those creaky stairs to my solitude. i would snuggle under my favorite quilt, the tattered one sewn with primary colors, and read. later, as i listened to the now quiet storm with my now full belly, i would fall asleep thinking about the words i just read, letting them soak into me.

i also like to wake up early, when the sun is just peeking over the horizon, drink a black cup of strong coffee, and lose myself for a few moments before the day begins. i like to have a kitty next to me. he looks forward to the warming sun and tells me of his happiness with his purrs. i purr back.


i read in a super good magazine article (from oxford american) that there are three voices the reader hears while reading--the author's, the character's, and his own. i find that this is mostly true with me--rarely nonfiction, of course--but i sometimes lose the author's voice in the story. it's hard to hear my voice sometimes in the poetry, too. i often think about these voices while i am reading, and sometimes become cognizant of all three at one time. not in a way that distracts from the words, though.

one of my favorite authors, if not the favorite, is kevin brockmeier. he is native to little rock and still lives here, so i have had the privilege and pleasure of hearing him read on several occasions. each of his written words filters in, almost becoming another part of me. perhaps changing me a little with every word? i tried to express my thoughts and thankfulness to him once, after reading the illumination for the first time. we were in the middle of a crowded mexican restaurant, and tears formed in my eyes. (embarrassing.) i had no way to tell him. i had no voice of my own.

 i always hear his voice when i read his words.

this will sound cliche, but his voice is like dripping honey, cool and syrupy and viscous, stretching out with every word. it has a calming sound and soothes (but does not overly pacify) the audience. he reads with a changing rhythm, a short pause in the perfect moment, and sometimes an uncomfortable long one. i find myself holding my breath for the next word, not wanting my breathing to muffle any part of the experience. he reads with a humility, hiding his power and not allowing his confidence to distract from the words. do you know what i mean, how some authors almost read too loud, and you can get lost in the voice instead of the words? i like hearing his voice, but it never leaves the words behind. sometimes they even linger above my head and fall down like a mist. i like to think that there is something in that mist that changes me.

sometimes a moment unexpectedly reminds me of his words. like in one story when he describes the coolness of a pillow, once it has been turned over from the other side. it makes my face feel cooler to think of it. or the pain of a mouth ulcer that keeps me from talking. it somehow makes the pain less, to know that someone else can describe it.

one of the reasons i love his work so much is that he knows people-in an uncanny way. he is inside the mind of so many different kinds of us, knowing so many different kinds of love, and hurt, and feeling. happiness and sadness, strength and weakness. i can't understand how he can know so much. his characters are so real, it's as if he's embodied each of them.

his settings, his imagination, his execution. connotations, denotations, comparisons. genius. i can't imagine the hours he thought and wrote. and rewrote and thought again. and finished.

please read something by him, and tell me what you think. he has to appeal to a part of everyone. and i think that if we aren't reading him in a hundred years, something went wrong.

i did get a little carried away. i just wanted to tell you how much i like to read.

Friday, August 19, 2011


going crazy here.

which is correct?

my husband cade...

my husband, cade, ...

one would imply that i only have one husband. the other would imply that i have more than one husband.
such as, i have 4 sisters, so i would either write

my sister rebekah ...
 my sister, rebekah, ...

i think the commas with the husband are correct, but i can't remember.

help! please reply.


skip this post if you are a man.

those who know me know that i hate wearing a bra. i will try to get around it as much as possible.
i hate bra shopping, i hate how they feel. i hate how other people enjoy their bras, and how some even sleep in them.

recently i accidentally dried one of two bras that i own.
(neither of them fit properly.)

the black (dried) bra now flipped out considerably on the left cup. it looked ridiculous.

i had a thought this week that perhaps wearing my bra inside-out would look better.
and it did! there was a noticeable line at the top of the cups, but nothing to compared to what it was.

this morning i thought, "maybe the inside-out days fixed the bra." and it did! my bra now fits the way it did before. not perfect, but better. i am thankful.


yesterday in paris

every so often, i smell paris. it is a mix of a lingering perfume, cigarette smoke, and exhaust fumes. sometimes just baked bread adds to the mix, but usually the bread doesn't smell good enough to remind me of my old home. the smells hit me like a gust of wind, and a scene of me walking along my favorite path in a parc, or looking at the seine, or marveling, still, at the arc de triomphe returns to me. i sigh, the smell dissipates, and i look forward to next time.

yesterday as i walked along president clinton avenue to fetch an order i had called in for pick-up, the smell caught me.

on the way back to work, as i carried good, local food, i thought about the smell, and realized i still felt like paris. i was enjoying a walk down the street and looking foward to a delicious meal. my turquoise light sweater heated my body allowing me to truly appreciate the cool breeze. and i smiled.

it made me happy to have paris linger a bit more this time.

wow! favorite new food.

Jack's Nut Butters

i tasted a spoonful of this early this morning.
can't wait to have my own few jars.
best nut butter in the world!!!

also in a close competition, for dessert:


Thursday, August 18, 2011

fun surprises

hopefully my husband does not read this until next week. (and if you do, darling, surprise!)

 i read the happiness project (see former post) and will write more about it later, perhaps. Rubin did talk a bit about money related to happiness. not really that money can make happiness, but instead that small splurges (or sometimes big ones) can ignite a bit o' feeling good.

the surprise...i went on amazon and bought a few fun things:

1. sink or swim by waterdeep. if you are not familiar with this album, please check it out immediately! i am not sure how both of us lost our copies. my honey has been wanting to listen to it lately.

enclosed note: for you xoxo

2. sombra. sombra warm therapy gel. you will love it. natural, miraculous, good for all pain. we made our supply last as long as possible, but we are out.

enclosed note: for us xoxo

3. vanilla extract from madagascar. i love using a good vanilla extract. i had this from a wedding present. clearly, i also made that one stretch, but i need more.

enclosed note: for me xoxo

they are really all three for both of us, but i couldn't resist the cute notes.
and for only 32 dollars and 19 cents, endless happiness!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

5 days!

although i am not sure how many followers i have, if any, i have decided to try to write five days a week...i haven't written in five days, which is totally unacceptable. well, i have been writing, but not posting.

i hereby declare that i will do what is within my power to post five days a week. should i fail in this goal, i will write at least two posts for every day i have missed.



Friday, August 12, 2011

when you're in...

birmingham, alabama:

trattoria centrale
chef-owned pizzeria.

east nashville, tennessee:

holland house
delicious, unusual cocktails
the hearty menu will make you smile.

somewhere in south carolina:
heirloom book co
just books about food, etc. old and new.
gorgeous and quaint.

these are all on my list, as i haven't been to any of them. i just read september's food and wine. also copied a recipe for butterscotch pot de creme!

coming soon

i read about this new novel (first-time novelist) in the book review.  i have been thinking about michigan for about a month now. i hear about it, read about it, look at pictures of places. it keeps coming back to me. i think, maybe i need to go to mackinac island or whatnot (spelling? pronounced mack-e-naw.)

anyway, when i read this review, i knew. this book is for me!

it just came in from being on hold at the library. can't wait.

South of Superior(don't click to look inside)
i hadn't seen the cover, and it surprised me. but i like it. :)

btw, september is national library card, so make sure you have yours. and some businesses offer discounts for those with library cards during this month, so check with your local branch. all four of you.

speaking of happiness

currently reading:

The Happiness Project: Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Funi am enjoying it. a bit like julie and julia meets eat, pray, love meets somebody that likes organization. gretchen rubin follows a year with different goals directed at being happy. interesting to note: she actually is a pretty happy person to being with. she already had a career change, and that was life-changing. she starts the project, however, when she realizes how her life is a bit "blah." i have already implemented a few of her suggestions, and many of them are ones i have thought of before (e.g. going to be early/same time for one week.) it is also a blog to book deal, which makes me happy for her. (project working, affecting readers, we are happy just thinking about it!) "be gretchen."  "be sarah."  (be you.)

this next image is from her website. i think it is too cute, and it may make you happy!


happy weekend :)

ritual. novelty. challenge

every human brain seeks these three things. think of this, it is so true. i ponder this often and it amazes me.

if you are unhappy, try making sure you have these aspects in your life. it might change it.
(also, fresh air helps.)

this is a short write, but please take a long time in reflection.
(thank you, the management.)


i was thinking about writing this blog when my sister came to visit me. she noticed my brand of lipstick when i was showing her the darling little mirror on the end of the tube. so small! so convenient!  i don't remember her words about me, but she said, "i've never even bought YSL lipstick."  i told her next time she had a manic mini-shopping spree, maybe she could pick up some.

here's the story...i had to drive the black clunker to work (see previous entry) and as i was driving i touched up my 'taboo rouge' (taboo red) yves st laurent lipstick. and then i thought, "i guess i am a little bit funny."  walking (driving?) contradiction. for you to have the complete picture and laugh, i'll describe the car.

 black clunker was given to us by my husband's uncle, so we are grateful for it. it's a saturn, and 2-door, and probably from 1995. it has a smashed in front end (which is apparently plastic--"we don't work on plastic cars!" they tell me at the shop) and the styrofoam is showing through the hole  (who knew? styrofoam on a car?) the A/C does not work, so the windows have to be down most of the time. the mini-window in the back on the driver's side is smashed, so we sit on a towel when it has rained, since the car's all wet. at least 2 of the tires are usually low. i mean super low, super fast. (we've had them "fixed" but i am certainly not justifying new tires on a car worth less than my other car payment. plus, then i wouldn't have such a blast at the ghetto gas station using the air pump. cat calls. stares. grease on hands.)n i digress. car description continues:  the light fixture on the ceiling dangles, as does the ceiling material and the material on the side of the doors has been pulled off...i may be forgetting something.
 it did look pretty "washed" from the rain this morning.
and i'm glad we have that second car while the "real" car is in the shop :)

you probably have a good image. that + super expensive lipstick and bright red lips!  :)

closing thought: on a regular walking route in paris, i would stroll past the YSL "haute couture" building. i always wanted to see in, or at least to see a famous model or actor walking out, leaving their fine fitting. i didn't, but i enjoyed just imagining it.

and another: i feel that this bit of writing doesn't flow well. maybe it's the morning i've had. or lack of caffeine. coffee tastes gross to me these days :(

did you know?

didn't realize i had been a blog-slacker this week!
probably from my traumatization from the lost words.

regarding that, i found them!! should publish soon.

i had to have our car towed to the garage this morning. wouldn't start.
as i was fretting about the cost of towing + mechanical work, my mother said that insurance may cover it.
and it does! i had NO idea. so, i want to inform: always check with the insurance!! i am happy about that part, but waiting to hear from the garage about the other.

right after we decided to just go ahead and buy a new bed (sleeping on a very old one, and it is breaking about once a week now. we daydream about good sleep and think the new bed may help.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


i want to cry. i almost am. was writing it. was getting better.

lost it all again. i may have it saved somewhere else.
if i don't, i did not learn my lesson.

if i don't, i am not re-writing it. and i might cry.

Monday, August 8, 2011

working on it

i am working on re-writing that blog i lost. i have it "done" but it pales in comparison. like if i would have been graded, the first one would be a 99% and this one would be a 60%.


i'll post it sometime, though.

ode to a butterscotch

butterscotch i love you
i ate four of you just now
i even like your wrapper

i want to cream you into a pudding and eat you with a small spoon.

you leave a furry film on my teeth.

Friday, August 5, 2011

sick to my stomach

i just wrote my favorite post ever. maybe some of my favorite words.

and this website LOST IT. i tried saving it, and it said there was a problem. i didn't even think of CTRL+C.

and then i hit PUBLISH POST. it closed the page, and lost it.

i want to cry  :(


i have a recently divorced girlfriend. she works in a small cafe, and today the health inspector came by to inspect. my friend is about 30; he's well over 50. he did a half-way inspection, and then asked for her number. and said they should go to tunica some weekend. i am laughing so hard right now. but i told her to go for it!

i will

i will not look in the mirror everytime i pass one.
i will not compare myself to others.
i will think about my beauty and my fitness more than i think about my fat
i will try to dress up once a week, including make-up.

i will smile more often, even when i don't feel like smiling.
i will take time to be sad, and allow myself to cry

i will spend less money on frivilous and fleeting things (out to eat) and save more

i will remember that sleeping in instead of some form of morning exercise makes me feel more low than rested.

i will make smart food choices that make my body and soul feel better.
i will limit dairy, as it makes me sick, and is a toxin to my body.
i will allow myself indulgent treats, only sometimes, and savor every bite.
i will spend more time writing letters, doing crafts, painting, and reading at home with a cup of tea.
i will remember that these things make me truly happy.

i will fix my eyes on Jesus.
i will glorify the LORD.
i will spend time reading His words He wrote for me.

i will learn to love my job, and not allow my pride to surface.
i will consider others better than myself.

i will forget (and not regret) the past, and strive toward what is ahead.

God will reveal my calling to me one day.

i will pray for my husband, selflessly, more often.

i will learn to love myself again.
i will allow my soul to sing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


oh! i've blogged and left out pictures...if i had a camera i would give you some real-life.
for now, 3 recommendations...


 The story of a relative who fled Lithiuania inspired Sepetys to write this (teen) historical fiction novel. Chilling and educational, you'll wait with angst to turn each page. seriously.



                                                                                                                      BRIGHT STAR

heart-breaking, sweet love stories. queen victoria. john keats. gorgeous films (also PG so could watch them with your kids!)


do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but in humility, consider others better than yourself.

plain english. or greek, i suppose.

still the soup

i must make that cucumber soup tonight. i didn't cook last night, but instead enjoyed a delicious pizza from a wood-fired oven. so similar to the original italian indulgence. the crust so thin and crisp, with just the right amount of sauce. and a traditional margherita with tomato and basil. don't get me wrong, it isn't as glorious as an actual italian pizza, or say, a super good pizza from san remo in my neighborhood in paris. (i must be missing france.)

tonight it's running, gardening, and cooking. hmm...but what to eat for the main course? salmon would go well with the soup...

(boring life post.)

more on coffee breaks

when i first moved to paris, i moved into a completely re-renovated (what we would call brownstone) house. most of the "houses" in this building were actually apartments. this part used to be several businesses. my host family bought it and turned it (back into) a four-story dream house complete with spiraling staircases and a private garden. i wish you all could experience it.

when i arrived the children were still away for the summer as there was still work to be done on the house. the crew of workers would come and go, come and go, in and out, bonjour, a tout a l'heure. then one day i learned that they were going on breaks when they would go. i assumed they were running errands--like buying a different set of screws or something. no, i was informed that they would arrive, let's say, at 9, and by 9.30, they would go for a coffee. and then continue like this all day. quel vie.

i will say that billy was pretty cool. billy was, i guess you could say, boss of this hard-working crew. he was from algeria, with light -brown skin, dark hair, a rather commanding nose, and in a certain way, handsome. he always had something nice or interesting to converse about, and always fought with the portuguese femme de menage (maria-celeste, who i will always hold dear in my heart.) i loved it. the one time they did harmonize was when he told me i was having vertigo because my bed was facing the wrong direction. maria-celeste nodded in agreement. he definitely worked harder than most of his team, and even stayed late sometimes...like the time the father had billy stay with the kids while i went to carry a dead hare across town to be butchered. but that's another story.

i do love coffee and tea breaks. i think america would be a lot happier if they were mandatory. kind of like siestas...i'll take a large siesta and a small tea to go, please. extra pillows, crumpets on the side.

espresso machine

when i lived in france, one of my oddest experiences was at one of my language schools. i had changed schools to save money...and i did. but i also had to walk farther, passing questionable people and even more questionable situtations,  to a dodgy and strange neighborhood which lacked cafes and boulangeries. bizarre. so when we had a break, we went down the hall...to the vending machine for...hot drinks.

"un espresso, s'il vous plait"

no, just press the small button..the paper cup drops...hell if i know what drips into it... and voila...you have your coffee break. hot chocolate, cafe au lait, un demi. at your service.

i couldn't understand it and when i saw my native professor drink one; it blew my mind. she fit the normal parisienne mold. stylish hair and clothes, pretty face, sexy french accent. petite, or as my sister noted, "how do all of her organs fit inside of her body?" to see her drinking espresso from a paper cup was, in the least, disappointing.

maybe they are hidden all over france, surely equivalent to something we have here in america...but what?
my first thought is of "meal" vending machines...where one could buy a cold sandwich, or a frozen breakfast sandwich to heat in the microwave. but we are so un-gourmand here that this is not a strong comparison. if you have any ideas, let me know.

it seems a bit sacrilegous to have those espresso machines in france. but maybe they are in corners of breakrooms in small to mid-sized companies dotted all over the country. je ne sais pas.

 if i write a film about paris, i'll be sure to include a scene at the water cooler. just so people know it's not always la vie en rose.

la musique

my family, for as long as i can remember, has been surrounded by, immersed in, and moved by...music.

we sang grace at the table, holding hands, peeking at one another, when we barely could form the words.
now my sister's children do the same. leading the others who aren't familiar with the words of gratitude. following a tradition for at least another generation. reminding us of our youth.

we sang hymns. the historical,  respectful, amazing hymns. we watched with little eyes as our father swayed his hands to keep the beat. we watched the smile grow across his moustached face as he looked out across the small crowd. we held the hymnals and pretended that we could read the words. then one day, we could.

we went to concerts, tried to sing along. bought a cd and a poster and had them sign it. thought it was worth pure gold.

 we performed for people, making them laugh and smile.we joined choirs, sang casually in groups. "they're like an american von trapp family. sing us the national anthem!" we played instruments, learned about the history of grandad's trumpet, our ancestor's songs. performed for many, performed for few. sometimes only for the walls.

we  jammed out with our walkmans. worked up trouble when we blasted the stereo. struggled to change the car radio. fought over cassette tapes and cds. "no, i remember, i bought this at the mall last summer. it's mine." sang with our friends. made videos, longing to emulate her, him, or all of them. played a super good song when we returned to a place we loved. drove around the block once more to hear the smooth voice sing loud over the beat. "are you listening? you've gotta listen to the words! i'll start it again." always wanting to share our experience. listened when nobody else wanted to listen. we would sing on a good day, or just allow the sounds to permeate our souls on a bad one.

listened as the music made us smile, laugh, or cry and shed tears beyond our understanding. the music made us still. the music made us move.

"i'm just movin' to the music."
"where did you learn to dance like that? i didn't know you could do that!"  --it's just in me, mom.
dancing for hours so we wouldn't scream. dancing for hours so we could.


the music helped make us who we are, expressed what we weren't sure of, and interpreted the feelings we couldn't explain.

i am convinced that if we couldn't hear, couldn't make a sound, couldn't move...we would always have a soundtrack running through our heads. and if not, always a song in our hearts.


on a lighter note, i remember my mother once telling me that music didn't seem to affect me the way it did my sisters. i was a bit offended by that, but told myself "it's because i am more private. i don't want anyone to see that about me." i'd like to think that is true, but maybe it just took longer for me to appreciate the finer notes and tones.maybe it was more than zoning out to the cranberries, or feeling like eddie vedder just got it.  i think my voice also strengthened when i was older, and i became more confident of my musical abilities.

i think we all still long for the stage.

well, when i did have the stage, i sure did enjoy it. a few of my best performance memories are:

music when soft voices die.
star vaccino.
children of the earth.
agnus dei
the man i love.

and now, i still miss the uniformity, individuality, rigidness, fluidness, and beauty of performing in a group. for now, i just sing along. and hope that no one hears me. or if they do, that they like what they hear.

Monday, August 1, 2011

trop de mayonnaise?

so sometimes i put mayonnaise in my hair as a conditioner.

this morning i think i used too much, again, and my hair just looks oily.

that along with forgetting earrings and my wedding ring makes me kinda squirmy.


trop de sel

yesterday i had a grand time in the kitchen. i finished nearly everything i planned.

first i went shopping, buying loads of ingredients for all of my recipes.
then i tended to the garden and harvested okra, tomatoes, and cucumbers--while i baked this:


DUTCH BABY PANCAKES, adapted from molly wizenberg.
something like...

1/2 cup flour, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup half & half in the blender--
added to 1/2 stick  butter melted in a  2 six inch cast-irons.
bake for 25 minutes at...425F,
i recommend to add to the mix about 1/4-1/2 sugar, to your liking.
cook until golden brown, careful not to burn the edges, and brush with melted butter before serving.
(we don't have baby cast-irons so they weren't dutch babies.)
topped with lemon juice and powdered sugar for me;
fresh strawberries and maple syrup for my sweetie.
loads of turkey bacon, coffee, orange mango juice, and TWIN PEAKS.

then a nap followed by a five mile run on the treadmill, and a much needed storm!

back home to make dinner:

i prepared (once again, my obsession's recipe) of banana bread with choc chips and ginger to bake while i cooked.


fried chicken with brown chicken gravy. (first time for both!)
fried okra (harvested this morning.)
creamy mashed potatoes (courtesy of my man, i think because he knows he makes them better.)
turnip greens (harvested & frozen  from my winter crop)

and...from my title...too much salt  :( all except the potatoes, and okra wasn't too bad.
however, my husband ate every last bit on his plate, waited 2 hours, and ate another plate.
so i guess it tasted rather yummy...

and for dessert: the banana bread, topped with hand-whipped cream.

just now i had a bit of bread with a morning cup of tea.  :)  (lady grey)

now i only need to make some more CUCUMBER DILL SOUP, and perhaps make some more pickles.
(my first batch of dill ones are not good--i need to change recipes. i am sure the sweet pickles are delish.)

i have planned a labor intensive treat to make soon as presents to my sisters for their birthday.
those, along with another small treat will make a nice prezzy, i would think :)