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Rainy Day Roses

I've signed up to audit several classes on
Coursera over the summer, and I've started on one early called In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting. I've always had an interest in art history. In fact, I even tried taking an art history course as an elective when I was in college. I had never had any art classes, and I'm not artistic in painting/drawing, etc. The first day the professor kept dwelling on the work we'd be doing over the course/presenting that to classmates, and I chickened out and dropped it. It seemed geared specifically to art majors. Now that I'm older, I think I'd confront the fear and go for it, but what can you do when you're anxiety ridden and in your early 20s? I'm still riddled with anxiety just about different things now. I have less anxiety about going out on a limb and making an ass of myself in my 30s. It's refreshing. In obtaining a true depth of knowledge on something, I believe you have to make an ass of yourself sometimes. Anyway, I thought about what type of art I didn't understand and didn't necessarily like, and instead of choosing something I easily appreciated like Fauvism, I opted for something I didn't get. I've never understood big squares or lines down the center of paintings so I thought, let me take a stab at this. Why is this important? I've been going at it for about a week. I'm definitely understanding the value more as well as the true difficulty in what, at times, can look easy or nonsensical.

The professor is The Museum of Modern Art's Corey D'Augustine. I didn't know anything about him before this class, but he's an excellent instructor. In the first video in the studio, he is showing how to stretch a canvas, and I fall in love with his arms. You never see much of his face, but his arms are always crowding the screen. I'm not interested in participating in the painting portion of this online course, but I believe you can probably learn and understand more by watching the process so here I sit, in front of my laptop watching. I like how he has this dark hair that looks soft, and there's tons of it. You can keep your smooth metrosexuals, I'd much rather have men with broken noses, a chipped tooth, and hairy arms. The way he moves his arms over the canvas, and the way he uses his hands when pointing out parts of paintings with those tripping, long fingers. He's my new art world celebrity crush. My first art world celebrity crush, I should say. There's some poetic, rhythmic sexy stuff happening with his arms. Is that creepy weird to say? Probably, but I'm creepy weird. I once had a crush on a guy in college, and I think most of it involved his use of an asthma inhaler. My husband lumbers down a hall and has this sloppy walk that seems so inherently positive and happy, and I think it's one of my favorite things about him. I find it incredibly sexy. I hate when married people act like they don't see other people as attractive anymore. My husband is my soul, and I think he's the most beautiful ever but that doesn't mean I don't recognize attractiveness anymore. I didn't die when I got married. I fell in love. That's my one and only person, but I still see beauty. If you're into thin hairy arm porn elegantly moving across space (just proves there's something for everyone, prudes), 9:43 starts is a pretty spot to start at. This isn't the best video of the arms, but the one I really wanted to share wasn't available (only through the course can I find it). You can also Google image photos of him to stare at his arms like I did. I would've posted that, but I could only find them via Flickr, and I didn't want someone finding this one day and knowing how odd I am (besides all of you, of course).I mostly see his arms, and I've never heard his voice because I watch with the sound off, reading subtitles I like when his normally reserved instructional conversation takes a turn for his passion as he says, "Look at this chaos here. Gorgeous." "You'll recall the word enamel doesn't tell you a damn thing about what kind of paint it is." I rarely see his face because when he dissects a painting at MOMA, he stands to the side and draws your eyes to points of interest. I could care less, but I have developed quite an interest with his arms and the way he's cracking the code for me.

I started watching Olive Stone's The Putin Interviews Monday night (I'm going to finish up with Part 4 tonight). I'm always interested in Oliver Stone's work. Sometimes, it seems like he's a little soft on these controversial leaders. It just appears like he goes in chummy with them from the get go. Then, there's another part of me that feels like the media in the United States obviously presents things from our perspective/biased view, and our nation has historically pimped out other countries to make money off of them and their resources (see Cuba). I mean, I understand sometimes that we're not always honest with ourselves through the media or even how we exploit others so I do think there's value in hearing the other side of the story. I've also just finished a book about the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, and there seems to be some pretty damning evidence in that so I just feel a bit confused at the moment. I'm going to try to delve a little deeper and read some more on Russian history which has always fascinated me. I really would love to take this class at the university that is taught by a Ukrainian profession with a Ph.D in Russian and Ukrainian History on Russian history. I'm not sure if I can get off for a 3 hour course just to audit it since I'm not really pursuing a degree at this time. I think whether or not you're going after a degree you should still be permitted that time off because we work at a university which should encourage life long learning even if not to obtain a degree. In the meantime, maybe he offers a night class, or even if he could recommend a book or meet with me to give me some ideas. I've never met him, but I might reach out to him by email.

In other news, our bedroom is kind of sparse. Since moving in, we just haven't put in the time there. Most of our art is still stacked along the walls, and art and books are my most important parts in the house. They are what make my house a home and give me peace. Well, that and my animals (husband is a given). With my delving into Young Living Essential Oils, I'm concentrating on making our bedroom a place of
refuge (I diffuse and relax in there). I added a rug the other day which has helped, but I want to get a new comforter. I also would love to paint, but I'd have to have approval for that since we live on campus. I've got some ideas of where the art will go, and Kelly's going to put that up this weekend. Basically, I want to live in a Matisse painting if that helps any on the kind of colors I'd like in there. I think there is room for all kinds of screaming colors all over. I'm going to work on it. I told you I dug les Fauves.

I posted on Facebook recently that I always daydream of having this minimalist capsule wardrobe, but that's just not the girl, I am. Instead, I am the girl who loves interesting patterns. I've recently bought my first
eShakti dress with ice cream cones (see below), and I have another dress with a gorgeous goldfish print on the way as well as a duster shirt with a "rich old lady" flamingo print. It sounds tacky, but it's stunning. By the way, I adore the way you can customize the eShakti dresses! I loved the fit of mine, and I definitely will continue to shop there.

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We're studying Agnes Martin right now in my class, and I'm more interested in her life than her art. She ran away to New Mexico (Taos, specifically) at one point in her life. She lived as hermit in the desert plains, and I found this article interesting. Now, I really want to read this book on her, though. Oh, New Mexico. I'm still not over you. I never will be. It seems like recently I've read a lot about artists and fictional characters, others, fleeing to live out their days in New Mexico. I also love this photo of her in that magical place by Gianfranco Gorgon. This says happy to me.



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Two weekends ago, Kelly was off duty (the hubs works for Residence Life on campus) so we took advantage of a free weekend, and we went to Memphis that Saturday. It was a nice chance to have a date day which we hadn't done in a while. We have a pug who's fairly young, and I don't like to leave her on the weekends because I didn't get a dog to leave it alone all the time. Generally, Mearl goes where we go. Anyway, we took a small break and ran over to the zoo to see Memphis' famous new baby hippo, Winnie. They also have a new baby sloth named Lua, but she isn't out, yet. Fortunately, Winnie was out, and we were smitten. I also fed the giraffe. Kelly says Memphis has the right idea because they charge you 5 bucks for 4 lettuce leaves to feed the giraffes with.  He got in trouble by a volunteer for trying to pick up teeny pieces of lettuce leaves that kids had dropped to feed them with. Haha!

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Mama Binti and Baby Winnie


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Making friends

 We watched Winnie swim around for a while which was the most charming thing ever, and then, we were off to lunch at the Memphis restaurant City Silo Table and Pantry with vegetarian/vegan options, that a friend had posted about on Instagram. When I saw the photo of his food he posted, I thought, "I've gotta try this." Kelly and I both got the Buffalo Tempeh and Sesame Cauliflower Bowl with Zucchini Noodles per my friend's recommendation (he was actually there when we walked in), and it was so good. I mean, damn. I loved the cashew ranch, and I definitely plan on going back when we visit Memphis.
 

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My bowl with the Freshen Up Kombucha on the side


In other good food news, we just had a Natural Grocers open up in Jonesboro, and since we live in a small town in Northeast Arkansas, I'm so pumped excited (since when do I say pumped? WTH?) to have more vegetarian/vegan/clean eating options. I also go nuts over a good produce section so Kelly and I went to the opening last Wednesday. I got a lot of new stuff to try out, and I'll report back on all of it in the next few days. One thing we recently tried from The Truck Patch, another local health food grocery in town, is the Upton's Naturals Barb-b-que Jackfruit (they also carry it at Natural Grocers). Kelly said he liked it, and I LOVED it! We had both read about it in magazine articles recently, and it really does taste so much like pork! They have other flavors too that I'm going to have to try! I'm generally trying to stay away from depending on too many convenience vegetarian/vegan foods because they can get expensive and, at a times, unhealthy, but once in a while they're okay. This stuff is really good.

Wednesday night, I also picked up a new face wash. I want any new things I buy to be ethically sound/vegan/etc. if possible, and I was out of face wash. I hunted around and decided to try
Alaffia's Everyday Coconut Cleansing Face Wash. I'm happy to report, I also love that! It smells amazing to me, but it's definitely more earthy and not floral or coconutty. I prefer the scent though because I'm not a frou frou smell sort of gal so that just made me love it more. It foams nicely which I liked, too! On second thought, maybe it was lavender that I smelled in it. Either way, it smells good.

I also bought my first vegan lipstick.  I'd always wanted to try organic makeup without gross chemicals, but I'll admit, I remained skeptical on whether or not it would last/be bright enough, etc.  I rarely wear makeup anymore, but when I do, I don't want it to be some light crap.  I tried out
Mineral Fusion Lipstick Butter in Blackberry.  This was most shocking to me because I loved it!!  It was bright and pretty, and it reminded me a lot of the famous Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey which I wore for years.  Now, I'm very fair so it definitely shows up pretty dark on me, but any way, I was pleasantly surprised.  It also lasted quite a while.  It's not a long wear by any means, but it didn't come right off in two seconds either.  I'm looking forward to trying other vegan makeups and cosmetic products now.  If any of you use them , let me know which brands are your favorites/what you recommend.  I'll post a photo later with the lipstick on so you can see the shade on me. 

This past weekend was Mother's Day so on Saturday we drove to Little Rock to celebrate with Kelly's mom and sister.  We grilled out, and I took the Tofurky Italian Sausage.  It was really good, and Ashley always has plenty of veggies so I knew I'd have sides.  She was a vegetarian for years, and she let me borrow a great cookbook, Mollie Katzen's The Vegetable Dishes I Cant' Live Without. We had a great time, and we did a little shopping, too.  We went to an Indian grocery, and I was able to finally get Indian Black Salt to add to my tofu scrambles.  I'm excited about trying that.  

Well, I didn't intend on making this all about food and such, but that's what's going on in my life so there you go.  

I'm reading a
great book on Bob Hope recommended by John Waters.  I've never seen Bob Hope on anything, and I didn't know anything about him but I trust John Waters.  He's made some great book recommendations, and I'm working my way through the other stuff on his list.  Now, I'm going to have to check into watching or listening to some Bob Hope stuff.  I'm also reading The Vegan Way: 21 Days to  Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet, and You by Jackie Day which is pretty good.  

I guess that's about all for now, guys.  

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Through a dirty window in Oklahoma

Kelly and I are finally back from our road trip to New Mexico (it's actually been over a month now), and I'm even more in love with that state after visiting a second time. It's hard coming home for me. I always get depressed, and I want to talk about our trip, but then I'm just struggling to wade through day to day hum drum of being back to reality so I usually fail at it. Just know that I had the time of my life! I dream of moving there someday. It's stunningly beautiful, and I love and value the diversity. The food is the best. The art is everywhere. The people are kind, and the history is thick. The landscape is my favorite thing, though. It's the most beautiful place I've ever visited so far and that included several countries in Europe.

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Happy to my toes at White Sands National Monument

In other news, I used to take Polaroids with a
Spectra that I was in love with, and when they stopped making the film, I was heartbroken. I've purchased many cameras since then in the hunt for the next Spectra in my life. They have been unsuccessful, but I think I've finally found her. I got this in the mail, and I can't wait to start trying it out. If Kelly can set up our scanner at home, I might be able to post some photos here once I start snapping.

I'm attempting to be vegetarian, and I'm loving it so far! I've never been much of a meat eater at all, and I'm loving the new recipes I get to cook each week. I'd like to eventually attempt to become vegan, but I'm starting for a long time with just clean eating/vegetarian (long, long time). It's not for any ethical "meat is murder" reasons but more about my health. I know that meat eaters can be super healthy too, but I'm finding this to be easier for me. We'll see how it goes. I'm not doing it to lose weight so I haven't been weighing myself every day as I usually do. I just prefer the food right now, and it's easier for me to not eat shit when I do it this way. Why am I explaining myself? I don't owe you anything.

Kelly and I finished listening to the
S-Town Podcast a few weeks ago. We had been listening to one or two episodes every night in our living room. I joked that it reminded me of coming home and listening to an old time radio show. It was really wonderful, full of mystery, and heartbreak. I highly recommend it if you haven't checked it out, yet. As everyone has said, it reads listens like a southern gothic novel. It's special. It's also heartbreaking.

Because I am being disgustingly ungrateful at times, here are some things that make me happy:

1. We had a petting zoo at work recently as one of our final events for the semester (as I said, I work on a college campus so I never have to grow up). I made friends with many different animals, but my favorite was this camel.

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2. Everything is starting to bloom and come up in our yard. I'm so happy it's mushroom season again, and the rose bushes are blooming.

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3. Memphis date tomorrow with my love (we haven't been on a date-date in ages with art and vegan food and fingers crossed, a baby hippo)

4. Speaking of books, I'm over at
Goodreads (love new booknerd friends so feel free to add me), and I often get emails about giveaway contests for books I've shelved to read. I always enter them, but I never think I'll win anything. I won this week! I won The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. I can't wait to read/review it.

5. Feeling better finally!  I've been sick all week, and yesterday evening/today is the first time I've felt back to my normal self.  

6. Mearl's birthday was a few Sundays ago. She turned one one, and we got her a pupcake. We had a birthday outfit. Yes, we're those people. See her below on Easter with her basket at Mom's house/birthday party photos.
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7. Meeting next Wednesday about my art deco/Erté tattoo I'm desperately wanting and beyond excited about

8.  
Farmer's Market back in business as of this Saturday

9.  New season of Twin Peaks coming up which I am beyond pumped about

10.  I want to live in this post. These photos feel close to my heart right now.

Anyway, I'm back, guys!  



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High School Graduation

When I had completed third grade, my parents announced we'd be moving from my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri to a rural town in Arkansas called Pocahontas. I was devastated.

Thus far, I'd attended a private Catholic school, and even though we weren't Catholic, I adored the atmosphere. I went to mass once a week where I was comforted by the holy water fonts. I loved the kneeling and praying, the beautiful statues, and most of the Sisters that taught me. I appreciated how we colored in a different candle on our color pages during Advent each week, and I loved lugging around my cardboard suitcase of things to sell for fundraisers. I enthusiastically peddled Weebles each year, and once my family had purchased them, I'd harass them to give them to me. I was always in trouble in Catholic school. I went to the office to see the Principal, and my mother was called more times than I'd care to admit. Yes, I was a problem child from kindergarten to third grade. I was smart though, and I read at the top of my class. As in, myself and one other boy were the only ones in the group, and we were given the task of assisting with teaching the lower groups along with Sister Hanneke. We mostly went to a smaller sanctuary for mass, but a few times we to memorized and recited verses in our
larger church which was/is was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. It was built in 1898 by Slovakian Catholics.

I grew up surrounded by diversity, and I loved that. I was my Mom's date to glamorous parties thrown by her friends where the guests spoke to me respectfully, as a fellow individual, never a child. I paddled around the hot tub with doctors with heavy accents with skin as beautiful and dark as mine was translucent and pale. I was convinced I would marry one named Sayid who tickled me, and I knew I wanted to have a life like my Mom's best friend. She had a wall to tall tank of Oscars behind her couch, and I was allowed to play in her lab at the med school and deliver babies from obstetrical manikins or give breast and prostate exams while she and Mom worked.
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We moved over the summer, and that upcoming Fall, I started school at M.D. Williams Middle School. At my new school, we would change classes seven times throughout the day. At Most Holy Trinity, we had never changed classes. There were so many more students than in Catholic School, and I was a 4th grade child with the anxiety level of 10 adults combined. On my first day, I couldn't find my class. There were tons of papers taped up with lists of names so you could find your homeroom class. I was completely overwhelmed. It had started from the time I came to the tiny town and saw the cover of the local paper, The Star Herald. This was certainly no St. Louis Post Dispatch. There were society pages detailing who had visited whom that week.  On the cover of the first edition I read was that Bessie Lou had the first tomato crop of the season. There she was, photographed center cover, displaying a ripe red tomato proudly. I wondered where in the Hell Mom and Dad had moved me. As I struggled to find my class on the list, hot tears began to roll down my face. I was near sobbing when I heard a voice behind me, "Hey, is there something I can help you with?" I turned to see a girl with long, silky blonde hair and a welcoming smile. "I can't find my class," I manged to get out. "Well, I don't know you, but I can help you," she responded. She went on to ask me my name, and then she determined that we were in
the same class. I felt like she was my angel.  I followed along behind her, and it was the beginning of our friendship.

I spent summers with Paige in the shed her Mom had set up for us to play in with our American Girls. We played "Olden Days" and pretended to churn butter. We spent nights snuggled up with her cat Gizmo and her rottweiler, Tigger. We made mud pies, and I pet her bunnies through the squares of their cage. Paige was friends with everyone, and she was readily accepted into the popular clique in school, however, she never socialized with them at the expense of anyone else. She would be a rare one who could move effortlessly through all the social realms.  I was kind of an oddball outsider/loner, and she was my closest friend for years. Later, we both went to college at Arkansas State University, and we remained dear friends.

As often happens, we lost contact over the years after college, and we eventually reconnected on Facebook. I noticed over the next few months that we had significant differences in politics. I let those differences anger me, and I unfriended Paige frequently. She reached out to me, and explained that she still cared about me and that I had hurt her feelings. I convinced myself I never had known her and that maybe we had grown apart.  Yes, in some ways we had, but I wasn't giving nearly enough importance to the many years we had together, our history. I was nasty in my responses to her, edgy and angry. She was honest and calm and kind. Many times she moved past my anger with grace and forgiveness. She continually sought me out.

Recently, Paige shared a photo of several beautiful brooches and tagged me, "You need these, Sarah." It struck me because I had recently bought a similar one on a trip Kelly and I had taken. My eyes were immediately drawn to a beautiful peacock one, and I laughed when she posted a comment, "I'm going to try to find you the peacock one. It reminds me of you and all of your sparkle!" It made me smile down to my bones, and it made me sad about how I had treated Paige. She hadn't seen me in years, and yet, she knew me as if we had sat side by side in class yesterday. A few weeks went by, and I received updates from her that the peacock brooch was sold out, but she was still on the hunt for it. Then, "I have your brooch!"  I told her where to find me in my office on campus, but I cautioned her it was hard to find. In truth, I was nervous. What if we had nothing to talk about? What if I didn't know her anymore.

Today at work, I walked down the hall to run a quick errand to the ATM. As I rounded the corner, there in the sunlight was a mini version of Paige. I couldn't have missed him for the world. Her youngest son Abram has her exact eyes, lashes, and skin. Paige stood there with her back to me, and I was able to surprise her. We quickly hugged, and we were able to share a quick chat. They presented me with my beautiful gift to me proudly, and I adore it. It was as if no time had passed, and we laughed so much, as we always had. I was charmed by her funny little boy, and we finally reluctantly parted with promises to get together soon. We hugged, and she smelled good as she always had when we were kids.

It was the highlight of my week. I am grateful for Paige's friendship even when I don't deserve it. It was a special deep down to my bones feeling, timely reminder (Ash Wednesday), and moment.

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Beautiful brooch Paige gave me! I love it.  



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 “It’s just a silly fairy tale that says hotel chambermaids spy through keyholes. Hotel chambermaids have no interest whatsoever in the people behind the keyholes. Hotel chambermaids have a lot to do and are tired out, and they are all a little disillusioned, and besides, they are entirely occupied with their own affairs. Nobody bothers about anyone else in a big hotel. Everybody is alone with himself in this great pub that Doctor Otternschlag not inaptly compared with life in general. Everyone lives behind double doors and has no companion but his own reflection in the mirror or his shadow on the wall. People brush past one another in the passages, say good morning or good evening in the Lounge, sometimes even enter into a brief conversation painfully raked together out of the barren topics of the day. A glance at another doesn’t go up as far as the eyes. It stops at his clothes. Perhaps it happens that a dance in the Yellow Pavilion brings two bodies into contact. Perhaps someone steals out of his room into another’s. That is all. Behind it lies an abyss of loneliness. Each in his own room is alone with his own ego and is little concerned with another’s. Even the honeymoon couple in Room No. 134 are separated by a vacancy of unspoken words as they lie in bed. Some wedded pairs of boots and shoes that stand outside the doors at night wear a distinct expression of mutual hatred on their leather visages, and some have a jaunty air though they are desperate and floppy eared. The valet who collects them suffers terribly from chronic indigestion, but who cares?”-Vicki Baum, Grand Hotel 
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While we were on our trip, I bought three postcards from 410 Vintage Market in Fayetteville.  There were a huge stack of these with a ton of babies in each photo, and I found them both strange and comical.  I desperately wish I knew what they said.  Anyway, I managed to not buy them all, and I narrowed it down to these three.  If you speak French, please enlighten me.  I've been doing Google Research, but I haven't found much about these.  I'm going to mat and frame them together, but now, I'm obsessed with searching for more.  I wanted them all, but I'm embarrassed to admit I paid 4 bucks each for these.  Kelly put his foot down at three.    
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Image from
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Lately, I've been nagged by how untrustworthy our memories can be, and how other times, they rise from some inner depth and break the surface unexpectedly and crystal clear. I've recovered something so wonderfully precious, yet randomly, as stumbling across a fourth leaf clover.

I have this one memory that I was so sure was true, and I kept it for years. One day, I mentioned it to my mother. It involved a square maroon car that we used to own, and I was shaken when she responded, "We never owned any maroon car." "Yeah, remember the plush velvet seats? It was some type that old women drive," I responded in an effort to jog her memory which to be frank, is horrible so can I really trust it? We went around and around, but I guess she'd remember what kind of car she owned. Where did this pseudo memory come from? How and why did it appear? It seemed so vivid. Come to think of it, I also remember a dark navy car that was similar. Maybe I'm getting the color confused? I think my grandparents gave or lent it to us. Same sort of velvet plush seats. I could put up the armrest in the front seat, and no one could see back to me. I'll have to ask her if that's a true memory. I guess I still keep the Maroon Car Memory even if it's false. It's a parallel universe memory of sorts that doubles back on itself as now, I remember it...in that I didn't remember it!

Actually, quite a few of my early memories involve cars. This one involves a dark green Aries with lighter green vinyl seats that stuck to your legs and burned you in the hottest part of St. Louis summers. At some point in my childhood, I found a delicate robin's egg, and I found it to be the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen thus far in my young life. I asked if I could take it to school for show and tell, and someone, maybe my stepmum, agreed. I was so excited to show the class, and off I went, climbing into the front seat with it cradled greedily in my palm. As I was buckling my seat belt, I crushed it between my palm and the metal clasp. I can remember wanting to cry out and being shocked. First, that this beautiful blue egg was gone, just like that. Secondly, the tactile horror of cold yolk squishing between my fingers and getting on my school uniform. That memory floated up recently and caught me by surprise! It was so lucid, it seemed as if it had happened yesterday.

Nostalgia has overtaken my life lately, and I am not a nostalgic type. I generally never want to go to my hometown, and I hate even thinking about high school and my youth because I made horrible decisions repeatedly, and I wasn't sure who I was and I was uncomfortable and stifled in small town monotonous Hell. I guess, I'm going back before that, though. I do like to remember and think about when we still lived in St. Louis, and when I went to Catholic school. That's a nice spot for me to visit in my thoughts. I'm comfortable going there, and it feels safe. I remember my Grandma Jo's kitchen vividly. She had this little framed picture of a mouse that had a different saying for every month. I would also sit at the kitchen table and snack while seeing what the mouse was doing that particular month. The prized part of the memory and my youth in that kitchen always took place in the afternoon. She had a small kitchen window above her sink, and she had put prisms and crystal suncatchers there. When the afternoon sun came through the window, the room would be covered with rainbows. It seemed so magical. If I'm remembering correctly there were a few plants tucked in the window too as it had shelves. I have two windows over my kitchen sink, and I have taken up the hunt to find pretty things to make rainbows and sparkle in the sun. K. has taken up my effort, too. He actually picked out our first addition to that window, a bluebird of happiness we picked up during our trip to
Terra Studios.


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Bluebird of Happiness in our windowsill

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I want our kitchen to have rainbows everywhere like this one but a ton more! Photo from here.


Another in my memory Rolodex, is my dad taking me to a store called Faru that specialized in imports. I loved how it smelled in there, and how everything was so unfamiliar and unique. He bought me many treasures from there over the years--jewelry, this display with small sticks that had different African animals on the top of each one (I can't remember what they were used for or what they were called), and a beautiful handheld mirror with a fake jade handle and butterfly on the back. I loved dusting them when I cleaned my room and wondering if I'd get to travel to see the countries they came from someday when I was grown. I always was transfixed by this eyeball jewelry in the case, and I remember Dad telling me it was of the Devil and to never buy it. That must've really stuck with me because now when I see any of that stuff in necklaces or jewelry, it sort of creeps me out. I think he was referring to the evil eye, and it was supposed to ward off bad things. But my memory usually goes first to it being of the Devil. He may have said the second, but I usually go with the first explanation. I didn't tell my Mom his take on it, and I convinced her to buy me a cheap version that turned my finger green. She relented even though, unprompted, she said it was, "Ugly and weird." 

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Photo from here


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Photo from here


To close, here is a video of dancing lights from a crystal.  I like the rainbows best, but the teeny light flecks are nice, too.  

 
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Sun coming up and fog and damp


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Francis in the sunshine
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When we arrived in Fayetteville, we beelined straight to lunch at Hammontree's Grilled Cheese. K. had briefly mentioned the restaurant to me, and I couldn't think of anything I'd like more than a restaurant with every combination of grilled cheese known to man. It was a beautiful day so we sat on the porch and shared a beer. I'd been momentarily horrified when I asked for sweet tea, and they told me they didn't serve it. Look, I get that northerners don't understand our southern dedication to tea with so much sugar it could double as hummingbird feed, but it's table wine here. I literally recoiled when the waiter told me they didn't serve sweet tea. "You're in Arkansas, man," I countered. It wasn't five minutes before I overheard another table have a similar conversation. I wonder how many times a day those poor waiters have to listen to that. It'd probably be easier to just suck it up and serve the sugar coma inducing syrup and get over it. I definitely deducted stars from their review on that, but then, the sandwiches were amazing. I had the Brie's Company which was grilled apple, Brie, Gouda, caramelized onions, and fig jam on sourdough. I love cheese, but I could probably be just as happy with caramelized onions and fig jam in all honesty.

Next, we held hands and walked through the alley to my favorite bookstore in the world,
Dickson St. Bookshop. The store is so cram packed that you have to let one person walk down an aisle at a time. It took me forever the first time I visited to find the fiction/literature section. It's just has books to the ceiling and random things taped to the walls, and it's heavenly. I'm so heartbroken that the pictures I took inside somehow were accidentally deleted because it's gorgeous if you're a bibliophile. Also, they specialize in rare and out of print books. One of my favorite authors is Colette, and she's hard to find in regular bookshops. The first time I went there, I had a religious experience when I found about six of her books I didn't own. This time, I actually put back a book of movie reviews and two screenplays by her! That's how good the other loot I found was. If you're interested, I bought Attilio Bertolucci's Selected Poems (Yes, Bernardo Bertolucci's Dad). I usually hate poetry, but I adore his stuff. Bernardo Bertolucci is an incredible writer too if you ever find any of his poetry. I also purchased: Vicki Baum's Grand Hotel, Djuana Barnes' Interviews, Elizabeth Bowen's Last September , Disraeli in Love by Maurice Edelman, La Bâtarde by Violette Leduc, Jean Cocteau's Round the World Again in 80 Days, The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters, The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, and The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani. I've read The Yonahlossee book before, and I liked it enough to add to my collection. I think I've read The Bean Trees too, but I couldn't remember. I know that I've loved several of Kingsolver's books that I read when I was in high school. I presented myself with books stacked in my arms right up to under my chin to K., and he was still sitting sifting through shelves and shelves of books on Arkansas history. By now, I think he could teach a class himself, and he must own all of them. It amused me when he told me that he most enjoys seeing books he owns on the shelves. He rarely buys anything there, but he likes to browse through them. I think that's fortunate for our wallets because I'll spend a ton of our money in there. I spent 56 bucks that time, but I got all of those books plus a postcard I found interesting. It's a great thing they're so reasonably priced. You couldn't even get half of those on Amazon for that price. Plus, it's supporting a magical bookstore. I miss bookstores. Stupid effing Kindle. I admonished K. to hurry up, but he continued singing Lucinda Williams, which was playing softly, and patted me on the cheek. I'm an impatient sort, but fortunately, he ignores me most of the time. He promised to never leave as long as they played Lucinda.

Then, were off to hunt through a
410 Vintage, a great local vintage shop in Fayetteville. Some of my photos from here disappeared, too. I guess I just deleted most from that day for some reason. I can't find them in my recently deleted file either so that's a bummer. I managed to only walk away with three French postcards which I will post a photo of later because A. I don't know what they say in French because I took Spanish, and B. I just think they're gorgeous and kinda funny, too.

 

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I found this photo I took inside 410 Vintage


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This monkey caught my eye, but then I was completely head over heels for the shell collection/diorama below him! See blown up photo of the shell shelf
here.

 
Finally, we were off to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. We are so fortunate to have this museum in Arkansas. It's free, and they've got an incredible collection. Kelly and I have been before, and we didn't have a ton of time so we just wanted to hit up some of their new pieces. First, on the list was their recently acquired Frank Lloyd Wright house--the Bachman-Wilson House. It's also free to tour, but you have to get tickets to go through. I really enjoyed it. They have a little self guided tour, and you can't go to the 2nd floor but you can view photos of it online. It's not sturdy enough to have people tromping up and down on the stairs all day.

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Behind the Bachman-Wilson House. I would've taken a photo of the front, but the way the sun was hitting, you couldn't see shit.

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Crystal Bridges itself is beautiful. The architect was Moshe Safdie. I should've taken more photos of the outside of the museum, but Google it. It's stunning.


As you can see in the photo above, the museum also acquired the Louise Bourgeois sculpture Maman. I was so excited to see . I always found her her spider sculptures to be so beautiful and just truly marveled at their construction. I became even more enamored when I read about how she associated spiders with her mother--clever, helpful (eating mosquitoes), and protective. Plus, the artist was 88 when she created the sculpture. I adored it. I loved hiding beneath her and taking photos from different angels. I even liked capturing Maman in a reflection with a "twin" spider.

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Twin Mamans


On the way to the museum coffee shop, one of the docents stopped me and whispered in a beautifully accented voice, "Did you know your glasses make you an artist?" K. and I both remembered chatting with him the last time we visited the museum, and it was nice to meet up with him again. He likes to chat with guests about pieces throughout the museum, and he's warm and funny. He strives to make art accessible to the hundreds that walk through Crystal Bridges every day.

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Karen LaMonte's Dress Impression with Wrinkled Cowl as the sun goes down

Kelly is always teaching me something, and for once, I relished getting to tell him about Keith Haring and the Eames chair while I sipped a Lavender Limeade, and we waited for it to get dark to view Leo Villareal's Buckyball. Buckyball has these comfortable wooden seats for two that are in the shape of a reclining body and allow you to look up comfortably. While we settled in and watched the lights begin to change as the sun went down, people jogged by and talked about the light sculpture and other people joined us in gazing up in chairs. You can see it from the road as you drive by, but it's much more special to take the time to gaze up and watch it cycle through several different colors while tucked in next to someone you love.



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Kelly in front of Buckyball

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K. heading back to our car in the fading light 
 
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Gas Station Roses


I took notes from our trip so I could tell you about it.  I typed them out on my phone along the way, and they make no sense to anyone but me. I've done this before on trips, and then forgot about the notes.  Then I've went back later and reread them.  Some things I recognize right away and others confuse me.  I had good intentions to start telling you about the trip yesterday and to do things around the house, but instead, I drank two beers and listened to music and worked on recreating my "Night Music" playlist that I accidentally deleted.  I laughed and kissed my husband, and I yelled at our bad dog.  I love her in spite of her being so terrible.  She's not been raised properly, and pugs are number 4 on the list of the top ten naughtiest dogs Kelly tells me.  

Oh, but first on Valentine's Day we went to Thai Taste for dinner with our gift certificate Kelly had managed to save from my weekly prying.  There was nobody there, and it was nice to have the whole restaurant to ourselves.  I had Thai Iced Tea and Tom Kha Soup with veggies and tofu.  I never want any meat.  For dessert, I scalded my tongue on the Tapioca Pudding with Coconut Milk.  I just slurped it down because I'd had it before at other restaurants, and it was usually lukewarm.  Anyway, I overheard our waitress chatting with a customer waiting for a pick up order at the front, and I briefly understood life coaches.  She said that she'd come to the restaurant when it first opened and that she liked the food so much she ate there for three days straight, begging for a job each day.  She told the customer that she loved the food, and she just worked there because of her love of Thai food.  She said she was a Christian, and she looked at it as another form of service.  She really enjoyed getting to know the different people who eat Thai food, and that "even if it was a bad day at work, most people view Thai food as a comfort.  Plus, when she was having a bad day, it wasn't like someone would die like at the ER."  She told him she believed in carrying this into any job she worked in, and she was really happy working at Thai Taste.  I told Kelly I wanted to hire her so she could teach me how to live my life.  She sounded so happy as if money just took care of itself and that it was better to be satisfied with what you are doing every day.  I'm not currently into what I do everyday, but at 35, I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up.  I'm most passionate about books and coffee, and I think I'd love to work in one of those fields but I'm terrified about having no money and no health insurance.  I don't know, though.  She almost convinced me to ask for a job there.  I admire people who just know, without  a doubt, what they want out of life.  I've never been that sort.  People with decisive walks make me swoon because I've always been a meandering sort.  

After the trauma of dropping off the dog at the vet to be boarded, Kelly and I hit the road on Friday morning to head to the Northwest Arkansas.  It was a nice and sunny drive, and I drank lots of iced coffee on the way. We split different flavored "beef sticks" which I got a kick out of calling them in a pervy way.  Being overly caffeinated made me leer at him, and say, "Gimme some of that beef stick," and then I would laugh wildly because I'm rarely mature when it's just the two of us.  That's the fun of married life for me--being a complete bizarro day in and day out with the one you love.  Anyway, there was a pork and ostrich beef stick, and I screeched, "Who in the hell would think would think of putting pork and ostrich together?"  Seriously, it's obscene. When I ate it, it just tasted like the spices and like every other beef stick in the package.  Just the idea of pork and poultry mixed up weirded me out, I guess.  

We finally stopped at a gas station after several hours in the car and did the stiff walk like zombies.  They had all their Easter candy out already, and I bought two of the Reese's White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup King Sized eggs.  The eggs are the best because I hate the crinkly edges on peanut butter cups.  When I was younger, I told Mom once before I properly though it out, "Ahhh, the reason for the season," while clutching a Cadbury Creme Egg.  She almost slapped my face, but then I thought about it and realized what I was saying.  The man in front of Kelly and I at the gas station joked with the employees.  He was a regular, and he scolded them by name when couldn't remember what brand of cigarettes he liked.  He gave them three chances to get it right, and finally, one did.  When we were walking across the parking lot, I heard the intercom, "Customer #47, your shower is now ready." 

I will tell you more about our trip soon and show you photos.  It's a day by day retelling because we saw so much.  In other news, we've decided to drive instead of fly to New Mexico.  I'm okay with that because while I hate the drive through Oklahoma, I do love driving across that barren part of Texas.  There's this one part where they warn you by sign about 20 times to get gas before entering no man's land.  Last time when we drove through, we stopped at the gas station everyone stops at, and I checked in on Facebook out of boredom, and someone had labeled it as "Gas Station in the Middle of Nowhere."  That made me laugh, but that's really what it is.  I can't remember if the scrub brush barren zone was actually in Texas or New Mexico.  It rides that border so maybe it's in both.  

Kelly stopped by our office today, and I called him "Baby" in the workplace. It slipped out fast as a mouse before I could catch it.  One of the students leaned around the column to see who was with me. 


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I had lunch out with my dear friend Natalie and my Mama today. Nat said she thought I was feeling sassy, and I was because it's my Friday today. I don't work again until next Wednesday because Kelly and I are going on a little weekend trip for his birthday/Valentine's Day. I kicked up little tantrums here and there until I sat, back to the wall, in the center of the rounded corner booth and surveyed the entire restaurant like a queen and ate Loaded Baked Potato Soup and was finally satisfied. I'm only friends with people who will humor and spoil me, and my promise is to provide entertainment with my neuroses and flair for the dramatic in return. Nat's so nice she'll make you defensive as hell about her. She's humble even though she's incredibly talented and it's admirable, and half the time I spend wishing I were more like her. The other half the time, I think about beating to a pulp anyone who has crossed her. After lunch, Mama kidnapped her pug-grandchild and Facetimed me at the office. I answered from the front desk. Everyone in the office could probably hear the conversation, but I was feeling free and didn't care. "Look who I've got," she said, and I could see Mearl happily between Mom and Dad on the couch. She's probably getting fed so much she won't eat dinner, but that's what pug grandparents are for. We're those people. We don't have kids, and my parents were always like, "Don't have them. We don't care about grandkids." Thank God.

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Mearl-Purvis Ponder with My Mom Getting Spoiled.  She's a lady even though everyone thinks she's a boy because of her blue collar.

 
Today, a student walking by said: "You are so pretty," and I batted my eyes and lit up like a Christmas tree. Later, two other girls came in giggling and said, "We're looking at boobs." "Enjoy," I responded. I know they're adult women, but when you're 35, and they're 21, in my mind, they're girls. They have been listening to 80s music in their office and dancing. Everyone is a bit lighter because of the sunshine and almost crawling into Friday. They have been plying me with sugary coffee drinks and bossing me about what shows to watch on Netflix. They're right though, The OA
is great! They're obsessed recently with the OJ trial and Monica Lewinsky because they were wee when that was going on, and I enjoy being the expert.

This morning, K. and I deflated the air mattress because our new bed has arrived! As we rolled this way and that, pushing the air out with our weight, I confessed, "I had a sex dream with Todd Clever last night. That's what happens when you make me watch rugby before bed." Fortunately, K.'s not a stupid, jealous sort and knows he has nothing to worry about ever. He's mine for life, and besides, Todd was in a nudie shoot in ESPN magazine and his name is "TODD CLEVER", and who cares about a Viking beefcake? In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have said anything, but I'm always tell all. He's so muscly and beautiful that he's not even real. His middle name is Stanger. I give K. permission to look at boobs at a Hooters if he'd like in exchange and repentance for my dream dalliance.
Todd Clever
Photo from
here

On the agenda for our upcoming trip--Frank Lloyd Wright house, Giant Spider, maybe the 410 Vintage Market, flock of bluebirds of happiness, grilled cheese restaurant, heavenly used rare bookstore, and ancient ruins, an old brothel and a yurt.  Details when we return, I promise.  It'll be early next week before you hear from me.  

I read about a morning wedding on an old Livejournal recently, and I think that sounds so perfect now! Maybe I'll take Kelly up on renewing our vows someday, and we'll have a morning wedding and then eat beignets and have black coffee. I love the clean slate of morning. I've always been a morning person. I love the promise of the day. I can't think of anything more romantic than promising your eternal love and waffles.
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Valentine from my sweet Grandma.  I love that she still takes the time to jot out handwritten cards and letters to people all the time.  The inside reads--"Be Mine.  Keep the prayers coming. Love, Gram!"

 
Last night, around 1 a.m. Mearl woke up and started frantically pacing in circles around our bed.  She would jolt a little bit like she'd had a spasm (or how dogs have the hiccups--but it wasn't the hiccups).  I was up for about 2 hours with her doing that, and her tail was unfurled and down, and her pug eyes looked at me with confusion.  We both finally passed out, and before you know it, the alarm was going off.  She and I both yawned a lot and forced ourselves to start the day.  She seemed a bit better this morning, but I was still worried.  Perhaps from lack of sleep, maybe neuroses, potentially that I posted on the pug forum, but I was quickly convinced that my precious pup was suffering from Meningitis or Pug Dog Encephalitis.  Fortunately, I called Dad and he took us to the vet.  He tries to be gruff, but he patted her a few times to comfort her--she adores my Dad.  She has a really bad ear infection so she's on 8 drops in each ear twice a day and pain meds.  

The vet office was  a nightmare, though.  The vet is either really good with everyone excited, reuniting in the lobby and licking and jumping and yapping and baby talk and head pats, or the vet is really bad.  Today, the vet was really bad.  A grown burly man dressed head to toe in camouflage--he looked like a farmer--came in with his Boston Terrier.  He cradled her like a baby the whole time, and he rubbed her under her chin until she dozed against his chest.  When they came out to collect her, I noticed her eye was horribly infected and bulging even more than Boston Terriers usually stick out.  He was insistent that they were gentle with her, and he reluctantly passed her over to the assistant.  Then, he sat down in his chair, and he started to cry.  He had tears rolling down his cheeks for quite some time, and he snuffled  and several times wiped his entire face in his t-shirt.  I wanted desperately to hug him, to tell him how I didn't know what he was going through but how sorry I was.  I wanted to offer comfort in some way, but I also didn't know if how he felt about crying in public. I wasn't sure if he was embarrassed since he kept staring off outside the door, away from everyone in the room.  I was the only one on his side of  lobby, but I didn't want to impose on his sadness either,  you know?  When I'm having a hard time and crying, I hate people to touch me, and I'd prefer to be left alone. Out of respect for him, I averted my eyes just in case he wanted privacy.  I really wanted to just pat his knee, though.  I wanted to not say anything but give some sign that I understood, that I was sorry.  They took him back to speak with the doctor, and not 15 minutes later, an older woman came in dragging a dog slowly behind her.  The animal looked in pain and crouched low, and in spite of her soothing tones, it dug its heels in and just allowed her to pull it's defeated body behind her. This was definitely a bad case.  She covered it with a towel and sat near it in a chair.  She was already crying, and she whispered and whimpered apologetically to it, "I waited too late. I waited too late."  My eyes welled up with tears, and I figured I was about a minute away from crying myself. The assistant quickly came out, comforting both her and carrying the huge dog in her arms and found them a private room.  The administrative assistants apologized to me for making me wait, and I shook my head, fighting back tears. Compassion was heavy in the room.  The television played softly in the background, more news of the world falling apart. Everything on the Internet lately leads with “This should terrify everyone,” and it does, but this moment of pure compassion in the lobby, our eyes cast down softly, or when we dared lock them, hoping to convey our love, our understanding.  The madness of the world seemed like it was happening on another planet.  We all just stared at the 80 something year old parrot.  He meowed or said "America" intermittently while furiously ripping newspaper and throwing it through the cage bars onto the floor.  

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For a second time, just like that, a trip is born out of my deepest daydream desire. I can't get enough of sobbing lately about how New Mexico was magic, and it's the only place in the world that's magic--besides maybe the desert where I haven't been, yet. I have taken off all of spring break and, we're going back to Santa Fe, Taos, Los Alamos...and adding Albuquerque! I won't pout at all when we're there this time because last time K. never knew how much I loved it because I was anxious and snippy. When I got back I told everyone, "It's like an art museum exploded into a city." It made me sad that he never knew how much I adored it. I have generalized anxiety disorder, and unfortunately, it will manifest as anger when I'm all nerves. I know what to expect now though so I don't think it will be nearly as trying. I have been working on lists of things to see and do and places to revisit.

I can't wait to see the mountains. We live in the rice country which is all flat lands for ages. I think it's horribly boring, and I'm usually stunned by the beauty of mountains. I don't like the curvy, scary drop offs, but it's worth it. In New Mexico, there are mountains with different personalities, too. The ones outside of Taos are pine covered and snowy and soft and inviting, but on the way to Los Alamos they are a barren and devastating and fierce--those are my favorites. In the canyons, it looks like the Earth is yawning or maybe getting ready to swallow us all--jagged teeth mountains and secretive Georgia O'Keeffe shadows everywhere. In fact, I never really got O'Keeffe until I visited New Mexico.


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On the way to Taos
 

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Just a small part of the mountains on the way to Los Alamos. They are huge here, and this photo can't capture it. No photo ever could.



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Rio Grande

There is a church that existed in the 1600s and has a staircase that some believe St. Joseph himself designed--a miraculous staircase with seemingly no central support. There is a church with holy dirt to to touch, and you may take some home for your afflictions if you wish. There is a church that the community comes together once a year to pat with their wet palms, caking thick layers of a mud and straw mixture.



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Loretto Chapel Staircase

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Loretto Chapel

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El Santuario de Chimayo


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San Francisco de Asis Mission Church

 
 
In Los Alamos, I finally was able to quench some of my insatiable thirst for all things bomb related. I am mad about atomic history, and it all sounded so glamorous with cocktails and banding together for a common goal. I get it, I know it's oversimplified and naive and the subject they were working on was a blight on American history. I just like the idea of carving their way through the treacherous terrain, and babies born with a post office box as their birthplace. I most like the idea of fresh flowers at the commissary and the canyon stream becoming a skating rink in winter. There were parties at dance halls and community theater in this secret universe that the world didn't know existed. When the world finally found out, there were cakes and earrings and perfumes all celebrating the accomplishments of the brilliant men of "The Hill."


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New Mexico is also the land of liquid chocolate elixirs and foil wrapped sweets. If the rich taste weren't heavenly enough, they sculpt them into dainty little mushrooms and gooshy swirly 6th grade hearts. This door leads into a place more romantic than Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, I promise. I'm going back. It's on my list of places to return.

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Todos Santos Chocolates

 
 

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The teeny mushroom and heart are my favorite to look at, but my favorite to taste is the peanut butter cone.



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These are darling, and I wasn't sure what they were the first time I went but now, I'm almost certain they're surprise balls! I'm going to check when I go back, and if so, I'm picking one up.

Things I won't see next time, but I appreciated last time include--



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Horseface man and horseface horse



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Dali-esque clock in front of the perfect blue sky


 

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I won't go back to see this piece of art, but I do hope to see a duck with boobs.  It is all magic, I swear.  EVERYTHING THERE.  

I'll make a list tomorrow of things I want to see on this upcoming trip, but I'll sign off for now because this is another longest post known to man.  
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I thought about it for a month or so, and I wanted it so desperately. Oh, how I wanted it. I listed pros and cons, and the pros won every time, hands down. So, I finally did it. 

1. It’s easier. So many times, I have looked at men and thought, how easy that must be. To get up, wash and go. I’ve had a short pixie cut for years, and even though sides were shaved off, I still had to get up and wash my hair, dry it, and style it every single morning. I couldn’t imagine how liberating it could be just to get up and go. I can finally just get up on summer mornings and head to the Farmer’s Market! I can finally sleep longer on vacations. I CAN TAKE A SHOWER AT NIGHT and just wake up the next morning AND GO!

2. It’s hair. It’s not brave. It’s fucking hair or lack thereof now.

3. My femininity and womanhood is not wrapped up in my hair. Women are not their hair.

4. People didn’t want me to do it. Some old dude overhearing me talking about the upcoming buzz to a friend said, “Why would you do that? I know it probably doesn’t matter to you, but I think you need to leave your hair like that.” I swear, if I would’ve had an electric razor, I would’ve pulled it out of my purse and shaved it while standing right in front of him looking him dead in his face the entire time. Instead I looked over, and said, “No, it doesn’t matter to me.” When someone gives me there unasked for opinion and is horrified by the idea, it only served to encourage me more so thanks for that, naysayers.

5. It’s cheaper.

6. It is soft and wonderful, and I love the way the newly shorn hair feels under my palm.

7. It shows off my sexy dangly earring even more now, and it allows my Avant-Garde sunglasses to be even more outrageous (see photo below).

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8. No more bad hair days.

9. Bald is beautiful: See Charlize Theron as Furiosa, Erykah Badu, Natalie Portman, Sinead O’Conner, Grace Jones, Amber Rose, Robin Tunney in Empire Records, Agyness Deyn, etc.

10 It’s empowering.

11.Because I wanted to

 And I think I look like a stunning, warrior goddess, and I love it. I don’t regret it, and I’m never, ever going back. I wish I would’ve done this years ago.

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From inside Hail Dark Aesthetics--one of my favorite shops in Nashville 

At work, they are amused but not surprised that I know about the rally and that I was invited. The "Republican" or "Fox News", as he is known behind his back, a holdover from his first week on the job when he brazenly turned on the television in the lobby to said offensive channel, calls me "The Radical." I used to loathe him, but he grew on me like a tumor. We don't agree on anything, but he is sometimes funny. He posts up photos in his office of Trump and motivational quotes that give me the heebie-jeebies. They are all in black and white because he doesn't have access to the color printer. He has plastered them over a Kandinsky that a colleague left in that office.  The work still partially peeks through.  I begin to wonder if I might have synaesthesia as the artist did because whenever I look in there, I can certainly hear the colors drowning under it all and screaming.  In spite of this, I let him borrow my phone charger every day, and he always returns it. He tells me he likes my hair this "standard color" because it is back to my natural color, dark brown. I secretly chuckle to myself and wonder what he'll think when I come in next week with a buzz cut (more on that later, it is deserving of it's own post).

She tells me that she is always surprised when I post my pictures of myself in my twenties when I only wore vintage, and I say, "Yeah, I was beautiful and thin." I just happen to find things more important now than being beautiful and thin. Old age will do that. So, I was pretty. Who cares?  I really took to heart when I hit 34 that quote about as a woman not owing anyone pretty.  I don't see the point in pretending to be modest about it all when wasn't anything special I did or any talent I developed.  

I love the new house, and I'm discovering many things about it.  I think it will be the perfect yard for picnics in the spring and summer.  I must get one of these.  Then, I'll be able to tie Mearl-Purvis (my pug) to a tree near me, and she and I can laze about reading books and chewing sticks.  You can decide who will do which.  There's a perfect tree to sit under, and beneath another tree, I think I discovered a rose bush.  I hope so!  Kelly used to have a rose bush at his old house, and when we were dating, he would sometimes bring roses for my blue bud vase.  Then, when I moved next door to him, he had the roses and I had a gorgeous hydrangea bush.  We both had pecan trees in our backyards in our side by side campus houses, and our new house has a pecan tree, too.  

I have almost bought out the Asian grocery in town of Green Fields Thai Tea.  It's makes me sing silly songs and laugh at myself, and Kelly laughs too and says, "Someone's in a good mood."  Really, I suspect it's just the good hit of sugar.  I took home some of these Green Tea cakes.  They remind me of Fig Newtons, but they have Green Tea mixture in them instead of Fig.  I also have already finished the Peanut Mochi I bought.  

We are waiting for a new bed to arrive so in the meantime, Kelly is sleeping on the couch, and Mearl I sleep on an air mattress in the bedroom, back to back like Girl Scouts.  She is tiny and furry, of course, but she snores loudly.  I love her stupid wrinkled face so much. I love her marble eyes, and I love how she farts and bites and sleeps under all the blankets with her head on the pillows.  In the morning when my alarm goes off, she lays on my chest and yawns with her "bubble tape tongue" unfurling as Kelly calls it.  

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Wednesday on the ride home, I scramble quickly for my phone to capture him. He is mid laugh with the sun setting, his beard on fire, the copper red coming out that I adore. My Abe, his elegant fingers cradling his head.  He is the fruition of my mother's prayer.  He is everything I didn't know I needed.  I tell friends I have never ever seen him angry, and they think I'm joking or exaggerating.  It's true, though.  Not once since I met him.  He presents the gift to me, and I am all bravado as always.  "What's this," I sneer skeptically?  He has checked out a book for me from the library--Danielle Dutton's Margaret the First:  A Novel.  It is the perfect selection for me--heavy on whimsy with a thick froth of decadence. I've lost count of all the kind ways he shows his love to me, but this one is one of my favorites.  He said he'd read several reviews during his incessant periodical combing, and he thought of me.  A book, no less!  He whips up mashed potatoes for me for dinner because he knows they're my favorite.  Sometimes, he runs to the grocer, and his talent for always picking perfectly ripe avocados is frustrating but rewarding when a dinner of chips and guac is served.  We are spending the night with our animals babies in the new house for the first night.  We have a lot of unpacking to do, and we will for the next few weeks probably.  He promised to celebrate with Thai food soon.  



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News of the week--the weather continued to plague us last week with rain and more rain. Although it's rather pretty resting on the leaves of the tree in our front yard, it doesn't make for good moving weather. We are so very close to being completely in the new house. I was thrilled to see that this week, finally, there should be nothing but sunshine and clear skies! By the end of the weekend, if not sooner, we should be in the new house with all our animal babies! We are on good terms with our sweet rugby boys that play at the university so they have moved us twice over the years. This will be their third move of our house. We moved most of the stuff already, but the big stuff, we let them get. My husband has some heart issues that keep him from lifting heavy items, and I am out of shape and frankly, don't do manual labor. Ewww! Ewwww! The young pups are very familiar with heavy lifting, and they always need a little spending money, as everyone in college does, so it's a win win.

Lately, there have been many thrifting days which I love, and I also had wonderful time out with friends celebrating two birthdays. A group of us met up over sushi and drinks (warm sake to pink my cheeks and make me laugh and a bit brazen). The night was magic and quite literally glowing with cherry blossom trees and radioactive forks with which to dine on the most delicious cookie cake. Hookah and conversation until we all yawned and went home to warm beds.

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My tray of goodies from the thrift: Smiling orange to add to my new kitchen, two pairs of avant-garde sunglasses, silvery magic headband, and a pretty rounded wooden tray with blue/green/yellow motif. I may hang the tray up on a wall. I haven't really decided what I'm going to do with that just yet.

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These glowing trees outside of our local sushi place always make me happy.

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Bathroom selfies are acceptable in pretty public johns. My hair has already been cut again since this photo. It now has no mohawk back, and the sides are completely shaved all the way up. It's sort of like a military high and tight, but much less severe. I've almost had the nerve to shave it completely off which I desperately want, and perhaps soon. I'll get the courage one day, I know it.


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Bubbly, radioactive plasticware, and good conversation for a wonderful end to a great night!


What else has been going on? My life is tragically slow right now it seems. Who am I kidding? It's always slow because I'm pretty much a shut in, and I hate to leave my house. Yeah. Blah blah blah community and no man is island. I'd like to have a go at it most days. I've been voraciously reading. I'm currently reading Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places. I've always been obsessed with Chernobyl history and really anything dealing with nuclear history. I don't know why, but my real dad always says after all the research I've done online and books I've checked out from the library, he's sure I'm on some watch list. :) He jokingly told me once to "only visit his house under the cover of night." I've got a stack by my bed from the library. If you'd like to know what else I'm reading, befriend me at Goodreads, too. I love new booknerd friends.

Kelly and I finally finished Breaking Bad. I know. I know. I'm always 10 years behind on everything. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen. We're making our way through Curb now before the new season, and then, I may have to rewatch Twin Peaks, too. I am beside myself waiting for the new season to come on Showtime.

You guys, I am also beside myself hoping that the boots below don't sell out in my size before tomorrow. I'm ordering them tomorrow morning, and aren't they the most gorgeous shoes you've seen in your life? I haven't had a pair of Docs since high school (those boots lasted me about 10 years with good repeated greasings). I've said before I'm not your stereotypical woman because I could give a hang about shoes. In my opinion, shoes are utilitarian so who gives a damn? I take it all back! Well, I take back the part about being purely utilitarian after seeing these. I can't imagine walking around with works of art on my boots?!! The particular tale of this work by William Hogarth is detailed below (taken from the Dr. Marten blog). You can also read more thoroughly about it here.

 
‘A Rake’s Progress’ is a satirical depiction of the rise and fall of Tom Rakewell, a country boy who inherits a fortune. Having gambled it away and squandered it on debauched evenings in the renowned Rose Tavern in Covent Garden, he marries a rich one-eyed woman. Once again he loses his fortune in a gambling house, becomes imprisoned for debt and eventually dies from madness in the notorious Bedlam asylum.

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Look at this photo I found of them online (above). Green eyed, and I can't wait to have my own!

You guys, if they keep making boots like this, it's all over for me. I'll give in and become a shoe addict. I looked at this pair and these first, but they are out of my size so I went with the Rake's Progress pair. I never knew Dr. Marten worked with museums and added art now. Look at these (photos below) I would effing kill for! I'm going to have to scour the internet for the willow china plate ones, and I'm even fond of the roses on the sides. I think Docs are a good investment, though. Like I said, my first pair I had for ages.
 
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Photo from here
 
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Photo from here


In order to try to be kinder when moving (which I'm forever failing at because disorder turns me into the grouchiest), I'm diving into self-care. I've taken many hot baths lately, one with the pug who continued to whine and bark the entire time so I threw her in, too. I know you all are grossed out, but I'm too old to give a damn now. Yes, I took a bath with my dog. Yes, if I dropped a fork in a restaurant, I'd pick it up and keep eating most likely. Yes, my cats walk all over my counters and step over my plate most days. Guess what? I'm still alive! I like to live on the edge, and it probably builds up my immunity so stuff it, germaphobes. I'll eat my words, when I get a parasite, but until then, I throw caution to the wind and take bubble baths with a pug swimming near my feet. After, I pat my face with rose oil which smells and feels heavenly.
 
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The weather has been hinting at spring here and there. I'm so excited to spend the heady time in a new home!  Check out this beautiful sunset above our garage.  Don't judge our abandoned tomato plant buckets.  We will empty them and plant some new ones before you know it! 
 
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*I know I've been a shitty friend on here, and I promise to get better very soon! It's all the moving that's kept me away from reading and commenting. Hang in there, new friends! Cross my heart and kiss my elbow, I'll be catching up with you all soon! xo*

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Photo from our trip to Natchez of the Mississippi River at sunset

 
We are currently still in the old house but should be completely finished moving soon. Once I sort everything out, I will post photos of the new place which I'm crazy about! It will take a while to get settled because my husband is very finicky about how and where we hang the art. I generally pick the art, although he has some mixed in, and then he decides on placement. It's a joint project which takes time, but I'm very giddy about the decorating and nesting so hopefully it won't take too long to show you. It's funny because before I was married, I loved art but I'd just haphazardly hang it up any old way on a wall. Tacked, crooked, and taped. K. is particular. While it frustrates me with my immediate demands and lack of patience, I do admit it looks better when he's in charge with his maddening measuring and eyeballing and teeny pencil marking. Shh! Don't tell him.

In our neighborhood in the front of our street they are building a new road. Behind us they are building new graduate halls so there is always something going on when I come out every morning with the dog. I’m always at my worst, hair standing on end from sleep, eyes blinking in the morning light. Today there are cars parked in our yard, several bulldozers, half a fence torn down around the site, and workers in boots gabbing by our pecan tree. Mearl, our pug, is miffed, and she tells them loudly and insistently. She charges down to the creek, and her eyeballs bulge as she chews madly on weeds while watching them. I imagine she’s thinking of what she’d like to do to them, but in truth, she’s dumb as a box of rocks and eats everything like a goat. She is a delightful little companion, and I’m mad about her but she’s definitely lacking in the intelligence department.

I finally tried Confetto, the last of the perfume samples. It’s good, but it smells like a sissy version of Hypnotic Poison. Some described it as better than Hypnotic, but I prefer how the Dior scent smells very naughty with the softness of the vanilla. Confetto just smells soft to me, and I like depth and mystery. It’s okay, but I don’t have to own a bottle. I put on the Salome again this morning, and I’m truly in love with that perfume. It’s my next “to buy” scent (or to have bought for me if I play my cards right at holidays or birthday). The Cumin is so heavy in this perfume, and it’s naught, naughty, naughty. Some of my favorite online reviews/descriptions of it are below—

The first perfume that actually made me blush. Jehzus. Elephants. Circus. Straw. Feces. Leather. Sweat. Definitely of the ‘Grossmith’ older perfume house ilk, it felt vintage but more daring. It honestly makes me swoon a little just because I feel like my brain can’t process or define the intensity that I’m selling. This is Not for the faint hearted and definitely not one to wear at Christmas dinner with the in-laws. Or is it… "

Wow. Just wow. All the little animals contributing their wonderful stinkiness amid the flowers. I think I love it. Quite powerful and would avoid crowed elevators while wearing, but this is a beauty.

“This beauty blew me away! Absolutely stunning. Gorgeous fragrance reminiscent of a vintage perfume on a glamorous silent film starlet. Animalic, a little smoke and a lot of hot sultry "come hither".

“You know the famous scene in When Harry Met Sally: " YES! YES! YES!" ? Well, I will DEFINITELY have what she's having. OMG, Salome is utter delight. When I was 26, I fell in love with L'Heure Bleue, before the whispered reformulation. This reminded me of that: vintage, amazing, beautiful, bold. But this is different: it is its own modern thing, and delicious on its own. It takes a different turn & has many different scents going on during the drydown. Witchy candle-wax, vintage, castoreum, sex.

“Oh, man! Got a sample and immediately had to have the full bottle. I'm in love with each stage of this gorgeous, vintage-smelling, sex pot of a fragrance. The smoke, the indolic flowers, the deeply unsettling and very carnal humanness of this scent is like nothing I've smelled before. All I can say is WOW.

“Um, whoa. Right off, Salome socked me in the eye with a very vintage Rochas Femme feel. Of course, Femme is about as raunchy as they come. But this is unshowered Femme, with her JF hair & post-coital cigarette, & she is unimpressed with you. Flowers, my butt. This is cumin, ashtray &, well, particular mucoidal fluids. If you are confident enough to pull this one off, more frickin' power to you! Tough sell, though, for more conventional palates, I predict.”

What I’m saying is, it makes normal people say, “What’s that smell?” It makes me say, THIS IS PERFECT. I always wonder why I like the dark so much? I pray about it, “Dear Lord, I want to be good, but I love the hard edges and mystery so much. Is that wrong, too?” I always imagine Heaven as arriving at the gates and finding I belong to one of the 12 tribes of Israel. I just would like to get up there, and Jesus would say, “Okay, here is where you come from.” I would see this group of warrior like people that have fought their anger issues their entire lives, but Jesus uses them as the badasses from Heaven who fight the Dark. So they’ve got a little Dark too because you can’t go toe to toe without picking up some. They would be silent people with icy eyes and moon skin like mine. They would always be pacing and prowling like animals and restless and want to wander, and my lifetime of anxiety would make sense then. Oh, these are “my people”. These are the ones I came from. Everything has a rhyme and reason now. That’s my version of Heaven. Getting down to the roots of why I am how I am. That or this other version—everyone exists in the same place at the same time, but we each are independently also living our own version of Heaven. Like, mine might be ballets and beaches and operas and libraries and your’s might be golf and…what do people that play golf like? Anyway, we’d each be living our version unbeknownst to the others, but we’d all be doing that together. Does that make sense? My favorite is the first version though where we all each come from some tribe of likemindeds. We hang out together up there doing whatever you do in Heaven, but we have a special connection—like twins do—with our tribe. I was so jealous of the forever history when I toured the beautiful synagogue in Savannah. I wanted that sort of history and those kinds of stories. I want onion history going back to the 1500s. Anyway, I’m sure that’s not how it works, and He has a better plan but that’s the best I can come up with.

Anxiety is going to get your 6 month refills on your prescriptions/wellness check from your doctor, and being beside yourself for days before with consuming worry that threatens to swallow me about the entire situation. “Hey, how are you?” I really want to answer, “I’m still crazy. I still worry about sinkholes swallowing me daily. I still worry about having an aneurysm. I still worry that my husband will die in the 15 minute trip to the grocery store. I worry that my dog has rawhide wrapped around her intestines. I worry that my dog has asthma. I still think every time the heater comes on in the house, that it will explode. I still can’t drive because it’s huge gaping laughing terror. I still have anxiety about this anxiety med appointment. Please help, Doc?”

While we wait together, my Mom asks me, “Are you happy, Sarah?” My matter of fact response, “No, I haven’t been happy in a very long time. Years, maybe.” “Are you happy with your marriage still?” she questions. I quickly and fiercely respond, “That is the only thing I am happy with. That is what gets me through my days. That is the one thing I cling too.” It’s everything to me. He’s everything to me. He is my anchor. I can’t tell you what the problem is because I don’t know. It’s just here, and it’s been here for the last 5 to 7 years, I guess? It’s become such a part of my life that it doesn’t even make me sad to admit it. “No, Mom. I’m not happy. I don’t remember her. I don’t know what she looks like. She was years ago for a brief time, and then she died. She’s not coming back, and it’s not important that she come back. What’s important is to figure out, how to keep surviving, and I do. I will. But my marriage, is what gives me shiny droplets of happy, dripping in daily. It comes into my cell to give me a little bread and water, and I wait for it to visit every day. It’s bits that drip down into my life and are so special and perfect. It is the only thing that means a damn out of all of this that I messed up somewhere. That probably sounds pathetic to you, but I don’t care. This day to day heavy curtain doesn’t even bother me anymore. It’s just here. It’s forever. I am learning how to carry it better, but please never touch my perfect K. with it. He is my life raft. That's not to say that I'm on the verge every day, and I don't have things I enjoy but I've accepted that this undercurrent will always be a part of my life.

Oh, other happy moment, though! My Uncle that passed away used to make this amazing Wild Rice Soup that he predatorily guarded the recipe for, despite my pleading. My aunts, uncle, cousins, and mom and dad all met up at Grandma’s to celebrate their belated 60th anniversary with a family party, and they made his famous soup. Mama brought me home a bowl and a bottle of Merlot sent to me from Grandma. It was as amazing as I’d remembered. I thinned it out a little with milk to make four bowls from the one (it’s very rich), and it’s so yummy! Fortunately, the recipe was passed on to Mama so when we make it, we can also think fondly of Mark.

In outlandish things, I was absolutely dreamy about these copper sneakers by Stella McCartney, but she is entirely too proud of her outer space shoes made of ground up pennies as they are $385 (marked down from $550). Also, everything she’s done shoe wise as of late is on a huge foam-looking platform. She takes sensible and slaps audacity on it and calls it a day, and unfortunately, I couldn’t love it more. It’s not for me to wear, but I do delight in them even if I think it’s ridiculous to spend so much on shoes which to me are just functional. Put ‘em on your feet and walk. I definitely didn’t get the stereotypical lady obsession with shoes. But all these that look like they’ve been presented on a pedestal, and I’m admiring just a bit.

This weekend: more moving, trip to the library to collect new books and return those read, celebrating a friend’s birthday with a dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, and hopefully, sorting through some thrift stores if I can convince my love. I hope your weekends are all marvelous! What have you got planned?  


thesarahscope: (Spooky Mouse Club)

New hair this weekend!
 

Friday evening my magical hair artist whipped and painted and created the most perfect hair she's conjured, yet. Stormy gray and blues brewing and lapping over my skull.  She went down to a two on the buzzed sides. The shorter sides make me feel like a warrior. It feels fierce and coupled with the color, I might be able to conquer the world. It suits me.  I think this one will stay for quite some time!  Perhaps forever.  

A dear friend came back to our office bearing King Cake from Louisiana.  I had never tried it, but I knew of the baby so I insisted that she hide it for us.  The cake tastes like a cinnamon roll, but this one has an over the top cream cheese filling that luxuriously spills out when you cut a slice.  It also has the jewel colored sugar sprinkled on the top that crunches delightfully in your teeth.  Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about because if you've ever eaten a Christmas Tree Cake (by Chef Little Debbie), you've caught the bug.  I do it as a toast to my teeth cleaning friends at the dentist so they can continue to live in style, I insist.  I will happily crunch the sugar bits against my molars until I have clickety clackety porcelain ones that I soak in a cup every night.  It will be worth it, I surmise.  We then read up on the history of the baby, and I was delighted to find that a baker once bought a surplus of porcelain babies that a traveling salesman was selling to put in the King Cake in place of the bean that was usually used.  It became very popular, and when he used all the porcelain infants up, he went with the cheaper plastic ones. I'm not from Louisiana so I'm not sure as to how true this is, but so says the Internet (there is a lot of fighting about whether the baby in the King Cake represents baby Jesus). If you know of another tale, do tell.  I like this traveling salesman story though so I'll keep that one if you don't mind?  

Yesterday my perfume samples came in, and I first tried Salome.  The first smell was awful to me.  It burned my nose, and it reminded me of Grandmothers at church.  It is strong, and it bowls you over.  After a while, I smelled my wrist again, and I enjoyed it.  It is still bold, but it's a nice vintage smell.  It's definitely not a daily wear perfume, though.  It's for a night out at the opera.  It's for the ballet.  Use sparingly, or you'll give yourself a headache.  Trust me, I know.  Of course I would have exquisite tastes, and I adored the sample of Note Vanillee that I tried this morning.  After testing it, I went online to see how much a full size bottle would cost, and it's a cool 235 bucks.  Around 10:30 a.m., I took a whiff of my wrist, and it had faded.  I couldn't detect it at all, and for almost 300 bucks, you'd hope it'd last longer.  The Salome is so pungent it would probably last for four days.  I haven't tried Confetto yet, but I'll report back when I do.  Rumor is that it smells like a better version of Dior's Hypnotic Poison which is my signature scent.  

At work, our office has been infiltrated by a gnat army.  We have been searching high and low for what's drawing them in, but fortunately, our Facilities department brought vinegar traps.  Then a curious student overturned one near my desk, and it smelled of vinegar all day.  He has scented the hallways, and a friend questions, "Why does it smell like cat piss everywhere in here?"  

At lunch, in the food court, I see a man who looks exactly like Charles Manson waiting at a table.  I can't stop staring.  I wonder if anyone has ever told him that?  I'm certainly not going to be the one to break it to him, but I can't help but feel both sorry for him and also repulsed even though he's done nothing wrong.  

thesarahscope: (Spooky Mouse Club)
Our three kitties lazing about: The black and white is Dimitri, the gray one leaning on him is Francis, and the one farthest from those two is Nickel

The Christmas break is over, and it was wonderful. It ended too soon, as usual. Mine was a mix of giving over to the depths of laziness and also packing and starting the move to our new house. The new house is just four houses down from our current house.  That can be both convenient or insulting depending on my mood and how heavy the boxes are that day. Besides the moving, I've been enjoying the gloomy, wet weather quite a bit.  Every morning when I go to take out Mearl, the stubborn pug, it feels as if I'm suddenly on some Welsh coast.  Trudging through piles of wet leaves with my ankles out.  The air is so damp, I look to make sure I didn't step in water.  I like to commiserate with people on nasty weather because, for an introvert like me, it's an easy way to not have to think of some mind numbing small talk everyone seems interested in exchanging. I must admit, however, it's all a blatant lie.  I love the rainy, wild days in the winter. I love avoiding puddles, and I love the sting of the wind. It makes me feel alive.  In summer, it's just awful and humid, but rain in winter is a dream,I confess!  We did the usual and made some trips to visit family over the break which we enjoyed. I gorged myself on literature, olives, and blue cheese.  I ate an ungodly amount of blue cheese.  When I talked to the pusher behind the cheese counter, I insisted, "I want some funky blue cheese.  I mean funky."  She raised an eyebrow, "You want something that kicks you in the teeth?"  "Perfect," I said.  I don't think it's healthy to eat an entire block of it no matter how much you're enjoying the creamy melt in your mouth texture and wrapping your tongue around the chunks of blue mold while reading.  That didn't stop me, but the dog wouldn't leave my side.  Every time she neared me, I'd see her little nose quiver wildly, and she looked eager to find the source of the putrid smell. I once went with my Mom to a wine tasting, and I was much more impressed with the cheese.  These Southern society wives kept droning on and on about the wine, and all I wanted to know was where the hell the cheese came from.  

In other expensive habits I have, I purchased three new samples from my favorite perfume site Luckyscent. I ordered Note Vanillee, Salome, and Confetto.  A lot of people said in the reviews of Confetto that it was really similar to Hypnotic Poison which is  my signature scent so I'm sure I'll like that one.  I hope I don't like them too much because the full size bottles cost a shit ton.  

Kelly won at gifts as he does on every occasion.  One gift from him I've been enjoying lately is our new subscription to FilmStruck.  I was heartbroken when The Criterion Collection moved off Hulu so of course, we had to pick this up.  He also booked a stay for us in February at Stonewind Retreat to stay in a yurt.  There's heat and wifi and an indoor bathroom so I can go.  I still have my fear of bears, and the deep dark secret wish that they would all become extinct, at least in the United States. I've never come across a bear in the wild, but I've had millions of nightmares involving them since I was young, and I try not to go anywhere where there is a potential to run into one hence the reason that I don't go hiking (one of many).  

Last night, I took myself back to childhood.  There was a pot of leftover rice on the stove, so I reheated it and added milk, butter, and a teeny bit of splenda, teeny bit of honey, and tons of cinnamon.  My Mom used to make this for me when I was little.  I basically find it to be a kheer knockoff, but it's still yummy and was as good as when I was a kid.  Not as good as kheer, mind you, but it'll do.  

I had a wonderful lunch with my Goldilocks friend today.  She is always a wonderful listener, a light to everyone, a curly haired perpetual sunshine.  It was so good to catch up with her.  We laughed a lot, as always.  There is never enough time to get everything out in a lunch break, though.  We'll have to meet up again soon.  One of my intentions this year is to try to be a better friend.  I have been blessed with friends who have the patience of saints and have never given up on me when I'm down in a hole.  The problem is, I'm always in the hole.  I owe them more.  They deserve better.  I am going to try.  I love them, but actions speak louder than words so I hope to do better this year.  I'm sorry for the many times I let everyone down in the last year.  It probably won't be the last time, but I strive to make it not as common in 2017.  

I'm really happy to be over here now.  For some reason my blog always made me feel like I  had to be more formal, and like I couldn't just ramble like in the old Livejournal days.  I have rambled my way through this, and it feels wonderfully familiar and comforting.  I hope you all will feel free to comment, and if you have an account on here and you stumble across this journal, please feel free to add me.  I look forward to making new online friends, too!   

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