Friday, April 30, 2010

Now THAT'S a bike basket!

My bike needs this basket. With those hydrangeas. Now.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

With gratitude...

Thank you, Gigi's Cupcakes, for making a slightly terrible day much less terrible.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

If you like "Dungeons and Dragons," don't read this.

I don't know about any of you, but whenever I hear the sentence "Let's roleplay!" used in any context (even on tv), I immediately want to run away. Fast.

I don't think there is anything more awkward than watching grown-ups trying to be symbolic through make-believe.

But maybe that's just me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's getting better all the time...

Notice anything new?

YES! I have a new blog layout, thanks to the uber talented Annie! She was so, so easy to work with and her prices are great. She "got" me perfectly.

Now if only everything in my life looked as cool as my blog...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A nice reminder

Oh, this would look so perfect on the wall in my hallway.

Book #8: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters: Volume One

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters: Volume One by Gordon Dahlquist

I'll be honest and say that I bought this book because I really liked the cover, and I thought "This would look really cool on my bookshelves..." The girl at the check-out counter said "Oh my gosh! This book is SO good. I just started reading the sequel."

And it really is good. The setting is an unnamed European country (which seems very close to Victorian England), and each chapter is told from the viewpoint of the three main characters: Miss Celeste Temple (a former uppity society girl who, after being inexplicably dumped by her fiance, quickly becomes a master sleuth and "Alias" type kick-butt heroine), Cardinal Chang (a hired assassin-turned-good-guy), and Dr. Abelard Svenson (a German private physican to royals who is terrified of heights but is continually faced with a number of steep climbs).

All three characters find out that those closest to them have become involved in a dangerous underground society that is seeking to take over the world using people's dreams. I normally don't like science fiction at all, but this is so engaging that I forgot that it is technically a sci-fi story. In fact, it's very reminiscent of "The Pirates of the Carribbean" films. Seriously. Keira Knightley would be great as Miss Temple.

The book ends on a giant cliffhanger, so of course I immediately went to Barnes and Noble and bought the second volume. We'll see if Dahlquist can keep it up.

Song I'm Digging This Week

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Song I'm Digging This Week

"Here It Goes Again" by OK Go

I still love this video.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who do you think you are?

Lately, I've gotten into the show "Who Do You Think You Are?" The show focuses on different celebrities as they trace their ancestry on each side of the family. It's pretty fascinating.

So after I watched Brooke Shields' episode last night, I got on (they have a free trial for two weeks which I signed up for and then cancelled my membership after I found out what I wanted to - I can't afford to pay $200 so I can get the death certificate of my great-great-great-great second cousin). I was just curious as to where some of my family members actually came from.

The trail on my dad's side stopped dead with his parents for some reason - they couldn't find anything on my grandmother or my grandfather (without some extra cash). All I know from Dad is that his mom's family was from France and that his dad's was from Scotland and Ireland. My dad's middle name is "Kirkpatrick," which was also my grandfather's middle name, and his dad's, etc.

On my mom's side, though, I struck gold.

Here are the interesting things I found out:

1. There are at least two Amandas in the family - my great-grandmother, Amanda Vandora (I know! Vandora! How awesome is that?!) and a great, great, great, great, great something or other aunt from like the early 1800's. Her name was Amanda, but she went by Mandy. So that's kind of cool to find out that I actually have a family name that goes back a ways.

2. Almost all of my Mom's ancestors had like 12 kids. No lie. And they're all weird names, like Amasa, Maltie, Vandora, Arleva, Joachim, Jedediah (that's a woman - one of my great, great grandmas), Obsolom...

3. One grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War and he lived in Virginia. So he was around during the Declaration of Independence, and might even have seen/known George Washington. Cool.

4. One grandfather fought in the Civil War (since he lived in Alabama, he was of course Confederate).

5. Most of the family stayed around the South, but one started out (Obsolom) in England, and another (Joseph something) in Ireland. They both moved here and married women from South Carolina.

I've never been an ancestry buff, but it makes you think. The people that literally created your family actually lived. They had completely different beginnings and experiences from mine. And they're part of me.

I won't be naming my kids Obsolom or Jedediah, however. I promise.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Universal Truths

Ashleigh forwarded this to me this morning, and it's so funny (and true) that I had to share:

"Universal Truths"

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is a great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.
15. I hate it when I just miss a call by the last ring ("Hello? Hello? Darn it!"), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my cell phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than with Kay.
20. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.
22. I would rather try to carry ten plastic grocery bags in each hand than take two trips to bring my groceries in.
23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text. (Oprah would not approve.)
24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
25. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber and dumber every year?
29. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.
31. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch three consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
32. Even under ideal conditions, people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tailon the Donkey - but I'd bet my behind everyone can find and push the snooze button from three feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Shoush Song

Normally I enjoy teaching preschool music classes.


Today I made the mistake of asking a class of three-year-olds which songs they'd like to sing. Everything was going fine, until I got to a normally angelic child, C. Here's a play-by-play of a huge downward spiral:

Me: C., what song do YOU want to sing?

C.: The Shoush song.

Me: The Shoush song? Um...

C.: The Shoush song. The Shoush song.

Me, confused: The church song?

C., voice rising a little higher: NO! The Shoush song!

J., another little girl in class: Miss Amanda - I have no idea what he's saying.

C., getting teary-eyed: YOU KNOW! The Shoush song! The Shoush song! The Shoush song!

Me: Ok, C., calm down a little bit, ok? Let's sing another song, how about that? How about "In a Cabin"?

C., now out-and-out crying: NO! NO! NO! The Shoush sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong (this last said in a high-pitched whine)!

Me, getting a little stern: I'm sorry, C., but I don't know that song. Let's sing another song. It's really nothing to cry about.

At this point, C. begins to literally scream and climbs out of his chair and begins to kick his legs and wave his arms, all the while wailing "THE SHOUSH SONG! THE SHOUSH SONG! NO OTHER SONGS! JUST THE SHOUSH SONG!"

No matter what I attempted to sing with the kids, C. was determined to out-scream my singing.

I finally had to go get his teacher, who had to pick his deadweight screaming body off the floor and lug him to his classroom.

Afterwards, a lady said to me "Aren't those kids adorable?"

I smiled and said "Oh, yes," but what I was REALLY thinking was "Sure, they're adorable - if you think Satan is adorable."

This is how I know I'm not ready for kids of my own.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The genius of Hugh Grant applies today.

Let me start this post by saying that everybody has one person that they've never really gotten over. I don't mean that we still harbor crazy romantic feelings for this person, or that we're still secretly hoping that they'll show up and confess their undying love and we'll end up honeymooning in Hawaii, but that things between us ended for one reason or another and we still feel...unfinished. Things didn't close out smoothly. Whenever we see them or hear their name, there's some part of our heart that twitches just a little bit.

Sometimes I dream about my person. Usually he's just in the background - sometimes I don't even speak to him in the dream. I'm just aware of his presence. He rarely has a starring role.

But I had one of those dreams last night -you know, the kind where you wake up exhausted and thinking "Whoa."

I dreamed that, for some unexplained reason, I called him. He answered the phone and we didn't speak. For minutes. I just held the phone to my ear and I could hear him breathing, and he could hear me. Then I started crying and suddenly I was walking. Seconds later I was at his house (in reality, he lives out of state and is married to a lovely girl, but in dream-land, I guess anything's possible). He met me at the door and didn't say a word. He just hugged me - hard - and said "It happened. I cared. You mattered." We hugged for a little while longer and I left.

Then I woke up.

And all day I've been feeling gloomy. Moribund (thank you, Hugh Grant). I've listened to depressing music and maybe even cried a little bit. All thanks to that stupid dream.

But I know what it meant - we all just want to know that we have meant something to someone - that our interaction with them didn't leave them completely unaffected. Our existence was remembered.

All week I've been feeling sort of forgotten, for want of a better word. I know my family loves me. My friends love me. But I'm lonely. As much as I love my apartment and my cat and my freedom...I miss having someone's hand to hold. I'm able to fight it off at work, but when I get home and it's dark and I'm alone except for the sound of the tv or iPod, it gets to me. I don't want it to always be this way.

I want to believe that things will change, that tomorrow I'll either meet someone who changes the equation or that I'll snap out of this funk and be ok. But's tough.

Ugh. Moribund. Yep. Mor-i-bund.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Song I'm Digging This Week

"Glasgow Love Theme" by Craig Armstrong (from Love Actually)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


You know, I just love it when you try out a new look (hairstyle, makeup, etc.) and think "Hey! I look pretty good. Maybe even great!"

Then you arrive at work, and the first thing that's said to you is "You look tired."

"You look tired" is just another way of saying "Whoa...not looking your best, kiddo."

Yeah. It's one of those days.

Monday, April 5, 2010


"If you tell my teacher on me, Jesus will get you."
- 3-year-old, after I told him he was having trouble listening in music today and I might have to tell his teacher when she came to pick him up

Sorry, kid. I think Jesus is on my side on this one.

But nice negotiation tactic.

Motivational massage...and then some

I have been losing weight. Yep. I'm pretty proud of myself, too.

I made a deal with myself when I started this whole food-deprivation and physical exertion "journey" that when I lost 15 pounds, I would reward myself with a 30 minute massage. So I weighed on Saturday morning, and guess what! Woohoo! 15 pounds gone!

I already had an eyebrow waxing appointment at the salon/spa down the road, so I figured I'd check their available openings when I got there. They happened to have an opening that afternoon, so I went ahead and paid for my massage and then went home to change into appropriate massage attire (t-shirt, yoga pants, and flip flops).

I got back to the spa about five minutes before my appointment, and they sent me upstairs to wait on my masseuse, P. So I went upstairs, parked myself in the comfy chair in the waiting room, and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, about 15 minutes past my appointment time, I asked one of the nail technicians if she knew where P. was and wondered if maybe P. didn't realize that I was up here waiting.

Five minutes later, P. busted through the door, all apologies. She said that she thought my appointment was for 30 minutes later, but she'd be ready for me in just a second. She started hustling down the hall, but then came back a second later and said "What is your birth month?"

"Um...June," I said, wondering why she needed to know.

"Yes, yes," she nodded enthusiastically. "Ok. So...I have scents to choose from. Tangerine? Vanilla?"

I said yeah, tangerine sounds good. She nodded again. "I thought so. Most Junes like tangerine."


A couple of minutes later she called me back to the room and told me to disrobe to my "comfort level" (which in my opinion, really means - "please don't take your panties off. Please."), and that she'd be back in a few minutes. So I undressed and wriggled under the leopard print sheet in a hurry, because I'm always afraid they're going to bust in on me when I'm naked. Then I tried to relax, listening to the Enya-ish music and breathing in the Gemini tangerine candle.

P. came in a few minutes later, and asked me where I wanted her to concentrate the massage. I told her my shoulders were a little tight, and she told me to just relax all my muscles and she would get started. As she started to knead the muscles in my neck, she said " this just a present to yourself today?"

I briefly explained my weight loss reward, and she squealed. I jumped a little bit - did I have a gross mole or something on my back that I wasn't aware of?

"Oh my God, oh my GOD," she gushed. "That is so great. I've lost 90 pounds in about a year and a half."

"That's great!" I exclaimed into the face pillow.

She then went on to detail her entire weight loss plan, complete with all exercise routines, food choices, and vitamins. Great. I was happy for her, but please - all this chattering was not helping me to relax.

She began to lean into my shoulders with her palms, and then suddenly I was aware of her face, just inches from my ears. In a shuddery whisper, very reminiscent of "Silence of the Lambs" ("It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again!"), she said "Oh my God. You're so beautiful."

Ok. I began to hear the theme from "Psycho" over the Enya music. I laughed uncomfortably and said "Wow. Thanks."

"No, I'm serious," she insisted. "Beautiful. Your skin! Your skin is so great!"

"...Thanks?" I said, praying that she would stop talking soon, because I'm pretty sure every single muscle in my body was tense by now.

She moved down to my legs and began to talk about her boyfriend that she was breaking up with that very night. She said that he was too cerebral and let his cat sleep in his bed and there was lots of cat hair. Ok. I started to zone out again - I didn't mind her droning on as long as I wasn't the topic. Then she drew in a huge breath and whispered again "Oh my God. Your legs...are so long."

"Yeah, I'm pretty tall." (6 ft. I know.)

"Your legs are...hold on..." I heard her counting, "32 inches! 32 INCHES! Oh my GOD. You are so BEAUTIFUL!"

Here we go again. I'm all about compliments, but I was beginning to envision this chick showing up at my apartment, waiting in my living room in the dark, and then saying "I will not be IGNORED, Amanda!!!"

Luckily, she calmed down after that and actually extended my massage time to 60 minutes because she was "so proud" of my weight loss. Which was nice. It really was. Even if I was a tad nervous the whole time.

But here comes the kicker for the session:

Towards the end, P. asked me to flip over on my back and began massaging my head. Suddenly, she leaned into my field of vision, over the top of my head, and said "Please close your eyes and imagine yourself achieving three goals for your life." I said ok, and then she began vigorously massaging my head again. She breathed in deeply and said "Dear Heavenly Father....we pray for Amanda..." and so forth. A whole prayer. While cradling my head, which was attached to my mostly naked body under a sheet. I think this weirded me out more than anything during the previous hour. Don't get me wrong - I think praying is great. I do it all the time, and the Bible says to pray without ceasing, but for some reason, I'm thinking this might not have been the best...venue.

Maybe I'll go for a pedicure next time I reach a weight loss goal...

Thursday, April 1, 2010


"I'm still growing, and learning, and trying, and succeeding, and failing, and playing, and searching, and wondering, and laughing, and smiling, and finding, and creating, and defining."

- from Little Garden, my new favorite blog discovery

Life lesson for today

"You don't want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie."
-Rosie O'Donnell, Sleepless in Seattle

Ah. The wisdom of Nora Ephron. It still rings true. At least for me.

I know I'm still waiting for Tom Hanks to come and sweep me off my feet.