Tuesday, April 15, 2014

living the resistance

You probably think I'm pretty normal. Typical. As far as culture and lifestyle choices for the society I inhabit, I don't really stand out. I look, talk, shop, and dress like pretty much everyone else. 

But deep in my heart, I'm a rebel. Every day I live out my tiny, secret resistance. And nobody knows. Well, until now.

Behold: my one-woman cultural resistance against...against nothing. I don't even have a cause I'm carrying a banner for. These are just the things that have come to light in recent (or not-so-recent) days that apparently make me 'different' (I prefer to think of it as 'special') from most of the other folks in my peer group. Ha.

1. I haven't seen Frozen.

AND-- I've never even heard the song 'Let it Go.' I KNOW. Some of you are probably jealous, based on how much people complain on Facebook about being sick of that song. I don't know why anyone would be shocked that I haven't seen Frozen, really. I don't have kids. I don't babysit. We're firmly in camp DINK, even if not by choice, and camp DINK doesn't choose to spend $25 and a Saturday night being camped out in a movie theater full of crying three-year-olds who have to run past your legs to the potty every 12 seconds. To be honest, I have no problem with Frozen and have every intention of seeing it. I'm sure I'll love it, just like I love all the other Disney movies. It's just that people seem utterly shocked when they hear I haven't seen it yet. Really? Really. Okay then.

2. I haven't upgraded the operating system on my iPhone.

That's right, kiddos. Take a walk down memory lane. Look at those lovely old icons! The dull, non-cartoonish colors!! A few weeks ago, a coworker noticed my phone and practically weeped as she begged to scroll through my icons and folders, reminiscing about the good old days. Apparently my phone is some kind of museum now. Whatever. I mean, I didn't upgrade when the new OS first came out because I figured there'd be tons of bugs and it would be annoying. I wanted to wait a few weeks to get the kinks worked out. Now we're past the point of waiting...I'll probably just keep rocking this OS until I get a new phone (in like, a year). Why mess with a good thing? 

3. I haven't read Harry Potter.

Pretty much the only reason I'm still holding out on this one is to bother my friend Mollyanne. Ha. No one on earth cares about anything as much as Mollyanne cares that I haven't read Harry Potter. I wouldn't want to take that away from her. I'm not sure how I slipped through the cracks on this one, really. I have nothing against them. I'm 100% sure I'd love them, as they're right up my YA-loving alley. I think the main fear is that I know that once I start, it'll take a long time to get through all 7 of them (7? Right?) and in the meantime, think of all the other books I won't be able to read? Opportunity cost? I don't know. It doesn't make much sense, really. I need to do it. If I had them on Kindle, I'd be much more likely to make the commitment, because like...those books are really big, and if I have to get them in hardback from the library...ugh. Huge. Who wants to lug that around for weeks on end? Not me. Wah wah wah.

4. I've never played Candy Crush.

I know!!! What did I DOOOOO with my life all those months that everyone else on earth did NOTHING BUT PLAY CANDY CRUSH ALL THE TIME?? I don't know. Probably sit alone and catch up on some five-year-old cultural phenomenon I'd missed out on the first time around. I really have no regrets on this one. How could I regret not having wasted dozens of hours on a phone game? Exactly. I don't plan to catch up on this one, either. 

I would feel a lot more high and mighty about this particular one except that last night I downloaded 2048. So...now I'm like one for two on Super Addictive Phone Games, I guess. Oh well. For the record, 2048 is awesome and I feel like it's a more intelligent game than CC, so I give myself props for that. I mean, there're numbers. Math? Right? Right. Also, although I've played quite a few rounds of 2048 by now, I'm still not entirely sure I understand what I'm doing. That's bad, right? Like, I get it? But then...sometimes the blocks all do something I didn't expect, which makes me think...maybe I don't actually get it. Oh well. I'll keep trying anyway. What's a good score? I have no basis for comparison here, so I'm not sure if I'm even doing good or not. Help me out, other sell-out people!

5. I do not and WILL NOT 'put a bird on it.'

SERIOUSLY, people of America. STOP ALREADY WITH THE CUTESY BIRDS ON EVERYTHING. This particular resistance is becoming increasingly hard to maintain, since I don't happen to make all of my own clothing, accessories, and home decor. But maybe I should. Or maybe I'll have to start looking at vintage stores to find a tshirt that doesn't have a damn 'adorable' owl on it somewhere. Good GRIEF! Staying strong on this issue was particularly vexing when we were trying to get the nursery ready in the fall. HOLY COW. Finding a non-bird-emblazoned baby item was next to impossible. It's gross. I can't wait for everyone else to move on past this sick obsession with gross, germy, hateful, disgusting air rodents.

 In fact, I think that I'll just go hole up in a cave with a stack of Harry Potter books, a Frozen DVD, and 2048...yall let me know when the world has gotten over birds and moved on to the next big thing that I'll probably miss out on. Thanks! 

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Monday, April 14, 2014

culture. and flowers. always flowers.

It was a perfect spring weekend. SUPER perfect.

For example, take Friday night. First we ate Argentinian food on the restaurant's porch. Not only was the food amazing, but we were surrounded by flowering trees and a view of some of Athens's loveliest gigantic antebellum mansions-turned-frat houses (sad but true story). 

After we stuffed our bellies, we headed to the Georgia Museum of Art to take a gander at the new MFA exhibit. It was...arty. What can I say. I really don't understand much art, but I can look at it and cock my head in a thoughtful manner and nod slowly...so maybe I blend in with the true art appreciators? Maybe. At any rate, I enthusiastically eat the free food and drink the free beer and wine like I know what I'm doing (and I do!), so there's that. 

I'm telling you. Sometimes there are some true advantages to living in a college town. I submit art shows with free (quality! local! Terrapin!!) beer as Exhibit A.

After our fill of art (and refreshments) we headed across the lawn to a scene I'm a little more familiar with: the UGA Wind Symphony's spring concert. Band concerts are my love language and I'm always thankful when Matt takes the initiative to figure out when and where they're taking place and then goes to them with me.

Pre-concert, obviously.
I was in band for all of middle and high school...and not just in band, but like...REALLY INTO BAND. My life more or less revolved around band, my friends in band, my private lessons, weekend honor bands, auditions, competitions, camps, and spending every spare minute of the day in the band room. I was just as cool as you're imagining. I loved every minute of it. Sadly, Matt went to a very tiny private school that had NO BAND, so he's woefully uneducated in the ways of music and band. But that's okay because it means he asks hilarious (to me and other music-educated folks) questions and makes funny observations about things in the concert program, the wind symphony itself, and music. It's very entertaining. So I would have to say that going to a band concert with Matt is probably the best thing ever. Therefore Friday night was pretty awesome. Again- thanks for the free entertainment, UGA! 

While our Friday was quite a cultural and artsy experience, Saturday was all about flowers. SHOCKING, right?

Our favorite local nursery was having its annual spring open house, which meant that in addition to plant sales, there was live music and free food! (You could say that we spent the weekend chasing free food...and it was glorious.)

A dude singing in a nursery-- HOW DO I GET THIS JOB??!

The combination of free food, lovely weather, live music, and good prices meant that we bought a ridiculous amount of flowers. Two new hydrangeas, three lantana (MOST CRAZY LANTANA COLOR VARIETIES EVER!!), and some super fabulous dahlias. And a raspberry bush! And some other things I can't remember the names of.

Hello ridiculously pretty dahlias!
Obviously this meant we spent the rest of Saturday afternoon digging and planting. And pruning and sweating and planning and examining. Shockingly, after all the new things were in the ground, we discovered that we 'needed' even more flowers. Funny how that works. So we had to go back yesterday and do it all again. What a tragedy. It was really torturous, let me tell ya. On the plus side, at least our flower beds will be super fabulous this summer!

Other plant-y observations:
1. With every plant I put in the ground, it adds to the feeling that I will probably never be able to sell the house and move. LEAVE MY BABIES BEHIND?!?! What if the new owners didn't care about flowers? What if they let them all die?!??!! The thought of this is unnecessarily stressful for someone that isn't even really considering moving. Ugh.
2. I'm pretty sure I just spent a week's pay on flowers. Workin' for the flowers, yall.

After all of that yard beautification on Saturday, I felt that the front door was looking sad and boring. I needed a spring/early summer wreath to get me through til it's time for the Fourth of July wreath. Allison inspired me with her fun natural-and-burlap wreath that she made a few weeks ago, so I set out to make one similar. But then I got sidetracked by things that were bright colors, so mine is a little less neutral and a little more TURQUOISE, but I'm okay with that.

The pictures suck because it was getting dark and iPhone pictures in the semi-dark and/or using a flash are a joke, but you get the idea. For a wreath that took about 20 minutes to make, I think it's pretty great! And it makes my front door look WAY happier. 

So with that, spring has been officially welcomed at our house. We knew it was really official when we both got multiple mosquito bites. Yup. Between the pollen, mosquitoes, and humidity, Georgia makes sure we never get too satisfied with the current weather. By the time the pollen leaves, it'll be 920 degrees every day...but my plants will be happy and blooming, so really, I don't care. Bring it.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

oohhhh siblings.

Apparently yesterday was National Siblings Day. Ummm...I feel like we're just inventing holidays now, people. For real. Was this the first year? Because I never recall celebrating this in the past. And I didn't celebrate it yesterday. Not so much as a text to either one of my siblings. Oops! At any rate, since evidently the way to 'celebrate' or 'observe' NSD (PS- add this to my list of holidays with confusing apostrophe situations) is simply to share sibling pictures on social media, I'll have to say...I'm down with that. I'm terrible with cards and gifts and phone calls and thematic crafts and snacks, but sharing a picture on FB or Instagram? Can't we just celebrate ALL holidays this way from now on? (Thanksgiving being the obvious exception. There's no substitute for real turkey.)

All that said, I still didn't participate in NSD yesterday. It caught me unprepared...and then I kept forgetting to find old pictures...blah blah blah. When I finally got around to looking for some appropriate sibling pictures, I realized that I couldn't possibly limit myself to just one or two. People who can limit their life sharing to one or two pictures are people for whom FB or Instagram is enough. Those of us that can't limit have blogs. Obviously. 

I love my siblings. I love our ages and our order. I highly recommend that if you have any control or say-so over the number, order, sexes, and spacing of your offspring, you model them after my siblings and I: girl, boy, girl, with 2 to 2.5 years between each. It's really quite fabulous, particularly if you happen to be the first girl. I was always on the winning team. ALWAYS. With three kids, it's bound to end up as two against one most of the time sometimes. Given my fortuitous position, I was always on the winning team: it was either the oldest two versus the baby, or the two girls against the lone boy. It was awesome. Actually, it was mostly the two wisest against the gullible one (which also aligned with the age thing)...and that's what most of my favorite childhood memories consist of. Jake and I making up ridiculous crap and convincing Sarah it was real. It's taken her years of therapy and Googling to come to terms with what is actually real in life and what was actually a prolonged, elaborate, and fiercely defended series of lies that Jake and I created and managed to convince our parents to go along with. Sorry Sarah. But not really. It was hilarious.

Alright. Enough talking- let's get to the pictures. THE WORLD NEEDS TO SEE MORE ADORABLE CHILDREN FROM THE LATE 80s/EARLY 90s!!!

This picture will never not make me happy. Look how precious we were!! How coordinated our outfits! How tan our skin! How weird my bangs!

Sadly, we didn't live in an Olan Mills studio, so most of the time our pictures were a little less polished. We did normal kid stuff like fish.

 I made this picture huge because there are so many amazing details. The bows that Sarah and I are wearing. Her awesome overalls. My brother's jorts. And again with my weird-ass bangs. What the heck, 90s?

 This photo shoot was designed to showcase us in the outfits associated with our current favorite hobbies: dancing for the girls, football for Jake. Themed photo shoots?? My mom should have been a mommyblogger. Let us also observe that despite being thin, I had legit HIPS at age 8 or 9. And again- unfortunate bangs.

First day of school-- fifth grade. My 'bookbag' is large enough to hold the luggage for a family of 10 spending a month on vacation. I remember that it was always SO HEAVY from all the stuff (books) I had to carry around all the time. No matter, though- this is clearly what prepared me for a lifetime of Really Heavy Purses. Please also note: Jake's ROLLED UP JORTS. And Sarah's illegal amount of cuteness. How did she alone manage to escape looking ridiculous all the time?? I guess it's the trade-off for being really incredibly gullible.

Annnnnd....now fast forward through a lot of years that I couldn't readily find already scanned pictures for...and skip to my college graduation!! Unfortunately, we all look mostly normal here, as it was only 9 years ago.

There aren't nearly as many pictures of us now that we're adults living in three different cities, but at least the pictures we do manage to take make us all look good!

My wedding (June 2007):

Sarah's wedding (Dec. 2010):

Jake's Rehearsal Dinner (June 2011) (couldn't quickly find a wedding day pic of the three of us, oops):

Awww...I love my siblings. And I will leave you with one short story to exemplify what a great big sister and brother Sarah had to look up to.

She was maybe 4 or 6. We were sharing a room at the time, and I was sitting at my desk (probably studying advanced physics or maybe reading Babysitters Club books) when she came in the room from taking a shower. She had her towel on and I glanced over and casually mentioned that what was really fun was jumping on the bed naked. She looked skeptical and said something about us not being allowed to jump on the bed, but I reassuringly told her that as long as you were naked, Mom and Dad didn't care. I brought Jake in and he confirmed the situation-- oh, yeah. Naked bed-jumping had the parental stamp of approval. Never one to miss out on something potentially really fun, Sarah started jumping on the bed naked. Jake and I quickly summoned our parents, who came in the room and were shocked to see their blonde angel doing something so bizarre and obviously against the rules. They scold. Sarah starts to point fingers at Jake and I, but upon receiving Death Stares Times Two, realizes the error in her ways and promises to never jump on the bed again, naked or otherwise. Parents leave the room. Jake and I have the BIGGEST LAUGH EVER and thank God for the gift of such a wonderful little sister to play tricks on. The end.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

books books books! and horrifying unidentified book objects.

It's pollen season in Georgia. If you're not from 'round here, that probably means nothing to you. If you are a fellow lucky Southern pollen-state resident, you're probably not even able to read this through your watery, itchy eyes, fuzzy head, and nonstop sneezing. Ugh. We only get to enjoy spring for about a week before the beautiful blooming trees, weeds, and grasses all conspire to kill us with their death pollen. It sucks. Especially when you're me and you'd much rather be outside enjoying the trees and flowers than doing anything else. Boo and extra boo.

Luckily I've been on a book reading rampage that makes being stuck indoors much less miserable. My new BFFs are the folks at the holds desk at the library. And my friend Colleen, who has been knocking it out of the park lately with her book recommendations. Last week I read Red Rising-- "Hunger Games for smart adults," Colleen called it. And she was very right. It took a little while for me to really get into it (which Colleen had warned me about), but once things got going...it was amaaaazing. My main complaint with the book is that the author is a very good looking infant baby child who has already written a bestseller and he is ONLY 26 YEARS OLD. So like, that's just insulting. What have I done with my life??! On the plus side, at least he has a good eighty years of writing ahead of him. It sucks when you discover an amazing author and they didn't start writing books til they were like 60. OH THE WASTED YEARS.

After Red Rising I knocked out this month's book club selection, This is Where I Leave You. It was really funny and also really uhhh...scandalous. So. There's that. It made me alternately laugh and squirm quiiiite a bit. Should make for an interesting (or short?) book club discussion!

As soon as I closed TIWILY I moved onto Colleen's next pick.

 I was super excited about this one because Dave Eggers is the author of the best short story collection of all time, in my humble opinion: How We Are Hungry. Despite the fact that my college besties and I read HWAH (out loud to each other) cover to cover probably 20 times in college, I haven't actually read any of his full-length novels. Come to think of it, I bought A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius at a yard sale last year and haven't read it yet! It must be hiding on a shelf somewhere. Hm. Anyway, as soon as I read the summary of The Circle I knew I had to read it immediately. I'm not quite finished with it, but I can already definitely highly recommend it. It's blowing my mind and creeping me out on so many levels...I need everyone to read it immediately so that we can discuss. Thanks!

I have about 40 pages left in The Circle, but I'm already thinking about what I'll read next. (Yes, I'm also the kind of person that starts planning her next meal before she's done with the current one) I'm torn between The Rosie Project and Room. I think it's going to depend on how creeped out and stressed I am when I finish The Circle. If I need a mental break from anguish, I'll probably go with The Rosie Project, since it looks more lighthearted. If I feel like doing some more stressing and deep thinking, maybe Room. Or maybe sometime between now and the time I start my next book, Colleen (or someone else!) will open my eyes to something even better! The possibilities are endless, and that's really good, because pollen season is looking kind of endless here, too. 

I've been getting most of these books at the library because none of them met my 'free to $3' Kindle purchase requirement. And it's been working out just fine; I can find them on the library's archaic online library system, and 400 clicks later, reserve to have them on hold. Then the library magically contacts whichever remote backwoods Georgia library has the one available copy of the book I want- I'm guessing they do this via smoke signals or carrier pigeons, based on the time it takes and the prehistoric nature of their webpage design. Then the book travels to the Athens library (probably via covered wagon), and a few days later I get an email notifying me that it's available for pickup! And it's awesome. I mean, I mock, but really-- it's awesome. And since I have so many books I'm already reading, I'm not in a huge rush, so I don't really care that it kind of takes forever to get a book that's supposedly at a branch 30 miles away. Whatever. I appreciate the freeness of it.

What I do NOT appreciate?

Turning to page 184 and discovering a random brown crusty thing stuck to the page of my book.


What IS IT?!?! Toast. OBVIOUSLY it is a crumb of toast stuck to the page because I really just cannot allow myself to think about what it REALLY looks like (BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER) because then I would die of being grossed out. ICCCCKKKK. So...I don't know. This disgusting library book phenomenon has happened more times than I'd like to recall lately, and I will have to say...there are many, many amazing things about 'real' books (as opposed to Kindle books). I'll never judge you for being on Team Real Books Are Awesome and E-books Are Stupid. I get that. But can I just say...unidentifiable gross crusty objects on page 184 NEVER HAPPENS ON KINDLE. So...take that, Team Real Books.  

PS. I don't know if anyone cares, but for the record, none of these are affiliate links. Click away with abandon knowing I won't earn a single fraction of a penny off you! But for the record, I wish they WERE affiliate links. And that I could redeem the penny fractions for MORE BOOKS, preferably on Kindle...for obvious reasons.

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