Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's been a long time... I shouldna left you

I missed you, dear Internets. It's been too long.

Since my last post, about Miley Cyrus, of all things, I have been hopping.

--I went to a Cordova family reunion in Jersey and boogied with John's not-so-frail grandmother;
--I flew to Tennessee to watch my sister graduate with a Master's Degree. I'm still glowing with pride.
--My company league reminded me how to play softball and I remembered that it only takes 5 swings for me to start connecting with the ball;
--We hosted our first guests in the new guest room, including John's mom and dad and a friend from Princeton, separately of course;
--The Chef and I went to Jersey and watched Radiohead and Kings of Leon rock on stage. Radiohead no longer sounds like noise to me, and Kings of Leon grew impossibly cooler.
--Then tragedy struck, and my dearest Emily's dad suddenly died. She is still a Daddy's Girl, through and through. I suddenly felt very far away.
--Near the end of summer, I trekked to Arkansas to visit my family and Emily. Mary B. made the 12-hour drive down from the hills of Tennessee, and we hung out with mom and her sweetie to watch the Olympics, Dad in the hospital for knee surgery, Dee and Kirby in the pool and Mitchell in the car on the way to and from the hottest football practice in the history of the game. And Emily and I spent a night just talking, and the gap closed.

--Finally, for John's mid-30s birthday on Labor Day, we went to the US Open and bbq'd a little food on his new grill. He is the hottest 35 year old I know.

It's been a big summer, and I hope to catch up with you more often this fall.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Foiled by Miley

Tonight was all about Getting Stuff Done. My mother in law is coming to stay with us next week, and there are a few things I want to get done before she arrives. (You know, hang some more art, pick my clothes up off the floor, stock up on the chocolate martini mix...)

I got home around 8 and hit the ground running. I took the girls for a long walk and started in on the bedroom. We just bought a new dresser, and I've claimed the job of filling it up with all our clothes. (It makes me happy to organize things and think about how they should be placed so they'll be easily found when I'm getting ready for work in the dark.)

So, I was diligently folding our clothes and Getting Stuff Done when I heard this fun little beat start to thump out of the office speakers. "I got my sights set on you, and I'm ready to wait...."

Miley Cyrus had flipped into my random song mix. So help me, I can't help but wiggle around when I hear the song "I can't wait to see you again."

Play it. I dare you not to search for a big-bristled hairbrush to sing into.

Now I've been sitting at this computer for half an hour, bouncing around in my chair and singing Miley at the top of my lungs. The clothes will wait one more day.

Thanks again for the introduction, Jorn!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Flashback to age 11

Yesterday I got dust on my new cleats, and it felt so good.

I joined my company's softball team, and although I hadn't touched a bat in something like 20 years, I had a great time trying to hit the ball and talking smack to the other team. (I played catcher and some made-up position called "middle-center." I basically stood right next to the action during the whole game and screamed for my fellow teammates.)

We lost by seven runs. But it was so cool to pretend that I was back in the sixth grade (the last time I played softball.) This time, I didn't care that I'm not great at the game... it was just fun to haul ass to first base when I got a tiny hit.

We'll see how the season unfolds... I've got a dozen more games to go.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Summer Sunday

Today's to-do list:

Sleep late.
Eat brunch.
Walk the dogs. (x3)
Work on putting the apartment together. (hang more art? buy bookshelf?)
Take a nap.
Cuddle on the couch with husband, two dogs and cat.
Start NaBloPoMo for June. (theme: home)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Blog celebrities in Brooklyn!

Me to imaginary secretary:
"Clear all my Wednesday afternoon appointments! Dooce and Laid-Off-Dad are coming to my neighborhood bar!!"
I am soooo excited! Seriously, I feel like Parker Posey just invited me over for croquet. How cool is this??

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The big move is on Saturday

We signed a lease for a new place in Brooklyn! Y'all, it's got two bedrooms! I never would've thought it was possible in New York, but I HAVE A GUEST ROOM!! And it's big enough for me to do cartwheels.


The Russians are coming early Saturday to haul our stuff over to the new place. In the meantime, we're picking our way around mountains of boxes and wondering where our toothbrushes might be. Here are some pictures of the new place. Thanks to Keith n Beth who saved my sanity by making such a big job easy.

Because the walls are so tall, we decided to paint just one wall in each room and then color the deep window wells that same color as accents. I like the finished effect in both rooms... The Caribbean blue in the living room feels airy, and the New Orleans green (no, I didn't pick it for the name) in the bedroom feels lush. I'll add more picture once we unpack all our stuff.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Maybe we'll become brownstoners

I spent the weekend apartment hunting with John, since our lease is up in less than three weeks. We scoped out six or seven places before I came up with this handy guide for anyone who wants to live in Brooklyn:

Pick two: space, good neighborhood, easy commute, cheap.

You can have any two of these, but if you expect a third or fourth amenity, you're just setting yourself up for pitiful sadness. For instance, you can find an apartment with plenty of space, in a good neighborhood, if you don't mind paying rent in gold bricks or traveling an hour and a half to get to work.


You can have a 30-minute commute for relatively little rent, as long as it doesn't bother you to live in a shoebox and/or in a neighborhood that makes you consider wrapping the dogs in Teflon before each walk.

It's all about your priorities and how much you're willing to compromise.

Right now, we're leaning toward an apartment that has plenty of space (two bedrooms!) and reasonable rent (relatively speaking, of course... i mean, "reasonable" in Brooklyn is $1,500 a month, which is astronomical back home in Arkansas.)

The place we want isn't in the greatest neighborhood, but this particular block seems calmer and quieter than our current digs. Think tree-lined brownstones instead of street-party chaos. The move would probably stretch my commute from 40 minutes to an hour, but it won't be horrendous.

If we get approved for the place, I'll let you know and post some pictures. Wish us luck!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A night with Maggie and Sophie

I heard that yesterday's video of Sophie and Maggie made my very sick Grandmother smile. So here's a handful more that I took with the girls tonight. They are such hams. (Sorry in advance for my loud voice over the shots. I swear I sound like a Muppet.)

This is the welcome-wagon that greets John and I at the door everyday:

Then, I ask them the most rhetorical question ever: "Do you wanna go for a walk?"

Our caravan down four flights of stairs looks something like this:

The actual evening walk... well, 30 seconds of it.

I told you that my voice sounded like a Muppet. Think of John!! He has to listen to this earnest squeaking every day for the rest of his life! Someone buy this man a consolatory beer!

And going back upstairs, where the food lives:

The last one is a little long, but it shows off Sophie's mad hunting skills...

Grandmother, our little branch of the family is getting along beautifully. Thanks for trusting us to take care of the girls. They are a joy.

Update: My grandmother passed away this morning. Carolyn A. Butler, rest in peace.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Meet the Girls

Maggie and Sophie have settled right into our little Brooklyn apartment, and they are just joyous little dogs.

Sophie, the oldest, cleans the kitchen floor every single day, hoping that The Chef dropped a morsel just for her.

Maggie is a little needier, and she starts trying to climb into my lap before I've even started to sit down.

They have been so much fun that I don't mind grabbing their still-warm poop with only a skimpy plastic bag to use as a glove. It must be love.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Easter bunny came!

My dear sister Mary B. was the Easter bunny this year. Look at all the fun stuff!! The chicken is a wind-up toy that poops little pieces of gum. Hee...

This is how the eggs came out...

Happy Easter, everybody. The Chef and I are heading to the late service at church tonight. I'm taking a little time to be thankful for all my blessings this Easter.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Thirty | 30 | 29 plus 1 | 75% to 40

I celebrated my birthday Ruskie-style with dinner and a show at The National, a Russian nightclub in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. You can click here for pictures.

I got dolled up in suede boots and G'mom's fur for the night, and I'm so glad I went all out. Everyone at the club was done up to the nines, with sequins and full-length mink coats everywhere.

We went with eight friends and settled in for six hours of endless food and cabaret-style entertainment. There were enough Russian dishes to feed us for a week, but over the hours, we worked our way through full plates of smoked salmon, beef tongue (John tried it and made a face), crepes with salmon roe, crab salad with string-shaved cucumber, and roasted eggplant stuffed with feta. And that's just the appetizers!

For the main course, they brought huge platters of broiled fish with oyster sauce, potatoes and mushrooms, beef stroganoff and mushroom pasta with duck. On the side, we had Ceasar salad (appropriate for the Ides of March) and duck salad with roasted peppers.

I know that sounds like TONS of food, but it was nothing compared to the vodka we swilled. Our table came with one bottle, and John and I brought a second to top everyone off. Then we splurged on one more bottle (for $65!) for a nightcap. I'm pretty sure that I would've blown the top off a breathalyzer test well into Sunday night.

Strangely, for all the distilled potato I ingested, I never felt the least bit woozy. It helped that we danced all night long.

At mid-meal, they raised the curtain on an older, mulleted fellow in a shiny lounge jacket. He played acoustic guitar for a few slow Russian songs. John melted me by asking me to dance during the first song, and I cracked up in a belly laugh when it ended 15 seconds after we took to the floor. (After nearly nine months of marriage, he's caught on... ask your wife to dance early to get off the hook for most of the night.)

After ponytail guy finished, the real entertainment started. A long stream of violently wigged performers came out to perform, singing songs that sounded like Russian Idol fodder and the occasional American pop song. They turned on the black lights early in the evening and kept them going until 2 a.m. The costumes got sillier and more outrageous as the night went on... At one point, a woman who seriously resembled glamorous transsexual Amanda Lepore, strutted out for her 20th song of the night, and I swear she was wearing an inflatable, Hawaiian-style fat-girl costume. She was sporting stuffed boobs that were each bigger than her head.

It was a riot. John and I danced the conga across the stage while holding an inflated palm tree. How much better could it get? 30 rocks!

Update: Laura blogged about the party over at VittlesVamp! She got some great shots, too. Link.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Out of touch

I know, I know. Super Tuesday is long past, and my last post is gathering as much dust as the Chef’s blog.

I’m sorry I’ve been out of touch, both on the Internets and in person. I’ve tried several times to write a new entry and post my opinions on the end of the writer’s strike (yay!), the likely demise of Friday Night Lights (boo!) and even my upcoming 30th birthday (we’re getting dolled up for a night at a Russian nightclub in Brooklyn.)

But I haven’t been able to talk about any of those things because I’ve been avoiding one big subject… my grandmother. About a month ago, Grandmother had emergency surgery to remove the colon cancer that had been quietly, insidiously demolishing her digestive tract.

The Chef and I flew to Tulsa and spent a week with my family at Grandmother’s bedside, alternately holding her hand, staring at the machines that go “ping!” and playing poker in the ICU waiting room. She is recovering from the surgery, but there’s nothing they can do about the advanced liver and pancreatic cancer they found last fall.

Leaving Tulsa was a hard decision. I’ve never felt so far away from home as I did when I called Grandmother’s hospital room the day after I left. It gets easier every time I call, but I still feel like I should be there, if only to fetch the nurse when it’s time for another popsicle.

I’m going back on Tulsa time next weekend to visit with Grandmother in a rehab wing of a different hospital. I’m bringing flowers and audio books to share with her. But I’ll be taking away something she loves dearly, her two lhasa apso dogs, Sophie and Maggie. John and I agreed to adopt them as our own, after she was gone, but we’re taking them in early since we don’t know when she might be able to leave the hospital for hospice at home.

I’ll be wrangling the dogs alone on this trip, so if anyone has any advice about flying with two nervous pups, I’d love to hear it.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saturday before Super Tuesday

Here's a test from the Wall Street Journal that will tell you which candidates share your point of view.

After answering the 20 or so questions, I landed within about 10 pixels of Obama.

I haven't really made up my mind yet, but I enjoy questionnaires like these because they get me to thinking about the issues.

We'll see what happens on Super Tuesday.

Thanks to Chris for the link!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Insight from Steve Martin

Smithsonian Magazine ran a great article by comedian Steve Martin for its February issue. It gives his well-written perspective on being funny. What a talent!

You can check it out here, and make sure to watch the video at the top of the story before reading.

Thanks to BoingBoing for the link!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Two items of note

Chris Rose, a longtime columnist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans used to be known for poking fun at Louisiana native Britney Spears. (I think her dad once pulled a gun on him.) Since Katrina, he's been a key voice for the struggling people of NOLA. Two years ago, I read his wonderful book, One Dead in the Attic, a compilation of his post-Katrina columns, but I didn't realize how much he's lost personally by staying in New Orleans.

I'm so proud of him. Click here to read a touching article about Rose by the Columbia Journalism Review.

On a lighter note, click here for a very cool film (8 minutes long) of an Arcade Fire show. Stick with it to the end... it starts slowly.

Thanks for the AF link, Ze!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Isn't she lovely?

Furla, my very favorite purse brand, has come out with the perfectly named bag: The Elisabeth. It's spelled right and everything. They introduced it last fall, I think, but only in three sort of blah colors. But for spring, it comes in a whole spectrum of juicy shades, including the burnt orange pictured here.

I think this is a much better use of the name Elisabeth than Liz Claiborne made... Their "Elisabeth fashion line was a plus-sized collection. I always assumed they used the "S" for that line because the letter itself is curvier than the "Z" that usually shows up in the name.

Curvy Elisabeths unite! And I just love our new bag.

Friday, January 11, 2008

She got lip gloss on her eyebrows

This is a email that I wrote to my friend Alex, a new mom living in England... maybe I can return to blogging regularly if I post this.

.... We had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's here, too, although it has become a little bittersweet. My grandmother on my father's side hosted the whole family (in shifts) for two weeks in December. John and I went over to Tulsa, Oklahoma, the town I was born in, to spend a week with Grandmother, my sister, my aunt and my uncle. We just chilled out, cooked a lot of food, drank a lot of cocktails, stayed up until midnight to celebrate 2008 and spent the rest of the time playing with my grandmother's terribly cute Lhasa Apso dogs.

It was a wistful time for the family because Grandmother was diagnosed with pretty serious cancer last fall. Well, the day after we flew back to the city, Grandmother got the news that her treatments weren't working and that the cancer had gotten worse. The doctors stopped the chemo, and barring any miracles--Come on, miracle!--Grandmother has only a few more weeks to live.

It's been hard to accept, since I've always been close to her. I know I'm lucky that I have a grandparent left, considering that I will turn 30 in a few weeks, and I'm so happy that she got to see me get married to a man that we both love. (A first for us.)

So, the family is kind of waiting to see what will happen. She's playing cards with her friends and telling us to stop calling her every five seconds to see if we can "do anything," and we're all wondering if it's too soon to call her again and see if we can "do anything."

I hope she goes without pain or suffering, but I have a hard time saying that I want her to go at all. She just seems like one of those people who is so lively, so larger than life, that she should live forever. Alex, if you got to meet her at the wedding, I'm sure she charmed your socks off. That woman could get a wall to talk back to her. Hee... when she visited me in the city, just weeks after I moved here, she would talk to everyone on the subway, and everyone chatted right back with her. She had the whole subway car laughing when she tried to put on lip gloss as the train was swaying back and forth. I still think about it when I see someone pull out a compact on the train.

John and I have offered to adopt her two puppies, so we'll have a house full when they move in. I'll send pics when that day comes... They are true charmers.

Well, thanks for letting me get that out in writing, hon. It's the first time I've tried to explain it. (It's been weeks since I posted on my blog. I just didn't know how to start saying what's on my mind.)

Give some love to Edie and Shaun for me... And here's a kiss and hug for you!! XO


Tuesday, January 08, 2008