Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Running Skirt!

Yesterday's post was all over the place, I realize. So here's a little mid-week fluff to lighten the mood at Queen Ketchup.

Blog readers, I'd like to introduce you to my friend, the running skirt.

In my many years of jogging, I've never been 100% happy with what I'm wearing on my bottom half. I have found:
1) Pants are too hot (unless it's winter and you're outside);
2) Capris can also be too hot (although they're a decent option);
3) Biker shorts are more revealing than I'd like;
4) "Munchy Bottom" - or, that moment when the place where your upper thigh meets your butt begins to "munch" on your shorts, and you have to continually pull them out (or risk showing some skin);
5) "Munchy Thigh" - the moment where you start to sweat and the slightest hint of dampness makes the shorts stick to your inner thighs and start to ride up (although, I think this one might not happen to people with smaller thighs than me); and if left unattended, Munchy Thigh can lead to,
6) Thigh Rub - when your thighs rub together because there isn't any fabric in between them and it starts to burn a little.

For full disclosure, I've never tried running in a short that's made of a heavy or sweat-wicking material - I've only tried the nylon-y, Umbro-type short and short, stretchy cotton ones. So, I could be totally missing a great market - but since I had so much trouble with the nylon & cotton ones, I was hesitant to buy any more shorts.

Lucky for me, I found the running skirt! There are a few different varieties out there. From what I can tell, you can have:
1) biker shorts, essentially, with a skirt that falls over them;
2) a spanky-type bottom (no short at all) with a skirt that falls over it;
3) a skort, basically, with shorts underneath (not compression) and a skirt that falls on top;
4) or various combinations of these three (most companies are making at least one model now - Nike, Adidas, Brooks, New Balance, etc.);
5) "Skapris" - compression capri pants with a skirt that falls over the top.

I've tried varieties one and three (I figured that two is better for people who would have no thigh-rub issues - and I wasn't all that impressed with the descriptions of some of the bigger labels' skirts [but that was when I was buying them about a year ago - in doing some research for this post, a new one made by Nike looks pretty awes]).

My variety 1 skirt was made by Skirt Sport (I'm pretty sure it's the "Gym Girl Ultra"). I own this in a few colors, as it's my go-to. It's a cute skirt (I have 2 pinks and a red one), and it has nice biker-type compression shorts that are entirely covered by the skirt that hangs over them. I bought it originally because you can get them on sale at Sierra Trading (otherwise they're a little pricey). I have 2 reservations about it though: 1) the shorts underneath are mesh, basically, so you couldn't really wear it to a gym if you were going to sit down or do anything other than run, and 2) after some wear, the mesh short has started to break down a little.

My variety 2 was made by a cool company called One More Mile which I really want to hype up. I think it's a small, family-owned business. The customer service was awesome, the quality of the product was great, and they included a hand-written, personal thank you note with the shipment (in addition to wrapping it sort of cute with colorful ribbon). Unfortunately, their skirt just didn't work for me. One, it was waaaaaay too short (and yes, I'm tall, but this was short). And two, the outside skirt was pretty tight against the inner shorts, and the inner short didn't have any compression - so when the shorts started to ride up, so did the outside skirt. No dice, but I like you, One More Mile.

And finally, I think this company is the mack-daddy, Running Skirts. They have multiple varieties. The reason I didn't buy theirs to begin with was price ($58-$68 normally - although there appears to be a sale right now if you are willing to try some interesting patterns). Maybe I'll check out the sale and get back to you.

Anyway - try one of these, ladies! If anything, they are a cute way to run! What do you all wear when jogging?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's in a Name?

I've been really productive today. And one major accomplishment, in addition to work stuff, was knocking off another round of married-name updates to different accounts I have. I guess this might seem sort of obvious even if you aren't married, but the act of changing your last name on every single account you hold to your husband's is really. friggin. annoying. Now, it's an annoyance I'm willing to tackle (even though I momentarily visited the idea of keeping my maiden name; but, the thought [God willing] of having kids & wanting some name consistency in our family eventually beat out the feminist desires). So Mc---- it is - and I'm happy about it.

I've found though, that one of the weird things about changing your last name is how across-the-board different companies are in terms of requirements for change. Like, you might imagine that your credit card would be a tricky change to make (at least requiring some documentation), you know, that whole identity theft issue? But actually, you just need to make a call. Thanks for your time! And you might guess that something like the Aveda Pure Privilege rewards card would just need a call. Um, no - they need a copy of your marriage license AND your new driver's license. I'm pretty sure they didn't even need my driver's license when I originally opened the thing!

But anyway, I think this morning I updated five more accounts I have, although I'll need to send a marriage license to two of them. It's such a long, tedious project. And there are certain instances (the Aveda card, for example [which I should mention is not a credit card, it's just for awarding "points" for purchases, that you can then cash in for rewards]) where I wonder if I should even bother. Like, does it really matter that the card has my old last name on it? But again, I sort of go back to the kid analogy - when I was a kid, we didn't receive anything in the mail for my mom's maiden name, and if we did, it would've been weird and incorrect, because that wasn't her name anymore.

On a deeper level, I'm wondering when I'll actually feel like Jackie Mc-----. At what point, when asked my name, will my gut reflex not be my maiden? At what point will my friends not think of me by my maiden name? Because of course that happens at some point, but it's nowhere near close to that now. I asked Jonathan a couple nights ago what he thinks of me as; he said the married name (but, come on, he couldn't really say the maiden - too many negative implications). But I have to say, I almost feel like an impostor sometimes; or like I'm one of those really overzealous girls whose waiting her WHOLE LIFE to get married & change her name and wouldn't even fathom the idea of keeping her maiden name.

Isn't that a funny thing feminism has done to our generation of women? It's made me feel bad about 1) changing my name period, and 2) changing it too quickly - as if I have "given in" without a fight. (And this is not even touching the fact that I got married at all, instead of remaining an eternally single woman in a "sexually liberated" culture.) But what do you think, modern women friends? Do you think you'll change your name when you get married? And do you feel somewhat conflicted about hoping, perhaps, to get married & have kids someday, or maybe even (gasp) staying home with your kids vs. maintaining the feminist foundation/legacy that was so vehemently desired 50 years ago?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy GluttonDay to Me!

Do you remember birthdays when you were a kid? One, they were pretty awesome (read: lots of presents, cake, birthday party, etc.). But two, do you remember how fun it was to celebrate your birthday in class at school? Your mom sent you in with baked goods to share, everyone was really excited for you, and you maybe got some special privilege (I remember, in 5th grade, the privilege was to use paint pens to write the class schedule on the board [oh to live in such a simpler time!]). Anyway, one of the things that was cool about your birthday was that there was a huge hoopla at school - and then on the weekend you got to have a party; it was more or less TWO days of celebrating.

Well, I learned this year that the adult equivalent of a week-day birthday for a kid is a Saturday birthday. Because, like in childhood, I had a pre-birthday celebration at work on Friday (where adult-centered privileges are involved: cake & a balloon, an acceptably long lunch, and an accepted early departure); and then I had all of Saturday to celebrate! It was fantastic!

This year could definitely be categorized as a birthday of glutton! When I left work early on Friday, I went to get my bangs trimmed. And the hair salon happens to be right down the road from GiGi's Cupcakes, so even though I knew Jonathan was getting cupcakes for my birthday, I stopped in & got one after the haircut.

Then that night, we had my birthday dinner at a new restaurant we've been dying to try, Restaurant Grace. It was delicious - and the space was really cool (for former Memphians, it's located in Cooper Young where that nasty dessert place Sweet used to be). We started with a cheese course (LOVE restaurants with a separate cheese menu), then split a mussel appetizer, and I had scallops for my main course, and Jonathan had lamb. All around delicious! (And as a sort of fun aside, for our wedding my aunt got us a wine-themed present that included a bottle of "Jackie" merlot from a vineyard in California, so we drank it on Friday.)

My actual birthday (Saturday) was just all-around lovely! It was a gorgeous Spring day! I was treated to a delicious, gourmet breakfast in bed. I spent a few hours laying around reading. We had a yummy Fino's lunch. We went to the Botanic Gardens and walked around. (We might or might not have gotten more cupcakes.) I laid in our hammock and read for awhile. And that night, we went to an auction of which Jonathan's firm was a sponsor (and we got an awesome vase from one of our favorite local potters, Baucum). And all the great calls/texts/emails/Facebook messages - it was just the best day, all around!

There were a lot of cupcakes (6 consumed between the two of us - but mostly by me). They included:
1) Golden Brown (white cake with chocolate frosting);
2) Samoa (based on the Girl Scout cookie - caramel cake with a chocolate ganache center, caramel buttercream frosting, chocolate drizzled on top, garnished with toasted coconut and an actual GS cookie);
3) Caramel Sugar Momma (caramel cake with caramel frosting and sugar babies on top);
4) Italian Cream Wedding Cake (Italian cream cake with cream cheese frosting & toasted coconut); and
5) Raspberry Buckle (hands down, the best GiGi's cupcake I've ever had: raspberry sour cream cake, raspberry buttercream, and a dollop of jam on top - mmm). We each got one of these, which is why the total cupcakes consumed is 6.

I just couldn't get on the scale today, but I fear the number when I finally get the nerve. But whatev - it was such a great weekend (aaaaaaand, KENTUCKY LOST - Yippee)! Thanks for the well-wishes, guys!

Friday, March 26, 2010

How Neat!

So as most of my friends and family know, I'm a little bit of a neat freak. There's something about a messy house (or even a messy room, for that matter) that sets off this little internal panic mode. It's hard to explain if you don't experience something similar - but basically, when I'm in my own house/room and the area I'm sitting in is messy, I feel this anxiety creep its way into my consciousness. And it gradually takes over (and eventually registers as panic) until I have to give in and straighten everything. Obviously, it can be controlled by keeping the house clean (and so, the actual moment of panic is lessened because it's more like the already clean house has become a little messy - let's remedy it in a 5-minute pick up) vs. if the house is never entirely clean, so then it's just mess upon existing mess (and thus, a really daunting cleaning/straightening).

But the sort of weird caveat to the neatness thing is that I just need the room itself to be clean to calm the inner panic. So, as long as the living room is neat and organized, I don't care if the closet is jammed with junk. Or, as long as our bedroom is straightened, I could care less that my shoes are in an enormous, mixed-up pile in my closet. Now, in theory, I would LOVE to have one of those super organized closets with individual shoe slots and shelves everywhere, etc. - but not having one isn't really an issue, either. (I think this fact is what classifies me as a "neat freak" and not "OCD.")

So tomorrow is my birthday & at work, they brought in a balloon and cake for me. I used my cell phone to take a picture of the cake to text to Jonathan. When I looked at the first picture I took, I noticed how much junk was piled in the background on my desk, so I re-took the picture. But then I almost did a double take, and stepped away from my desk to objectively look at it. It's a M-E-S-S! Like, the messiest desk you've ever seen. Like, there are only a few places where you actually see wood because it's so piled up with junk. But in my mind, it's alright. Like, I know where everything is - and while everything's in weird, random piles, I know what's in each pile. It's almost like an organized mess (that doesn't look very organized to the unknowing eye).

But the weird thing is that I didn't even really notice. When I look at it, my mind sort of compartmentalizes every item. So, sitting in front of me right now are: some dishes from the kitchen (plate, bowl, mug, and silverware), some tupperware from home, two tape rolls that I borrowed from a co-worker, markers, a report I'm currently reading, some reports I've already read, and some reports I've read but am waiting to hear back about. And that's how I see it. But when someone else would look at it, they would see huge pile of plates/tupperware/office supplies and a paper nightmare.

Isn't that strange? Because wouldn't you think a person who is a "neat freak" would maybe have some part of their brain that causes them to be like that? Well then, wouldn't it carry over into all aspects of life? Not so for me!

What about you guys? Messy or neat? And are your offices and houses generally in the same stage of neatness?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Two Things....

Two things are on my mind today I'd like to share with you guys.

One, why is the weather in Memphis so crazy? And why can't the weather forecasters get it right? Ever! Today, there is a 100% chance of thunderstorms. It was supposed to be rainy and gross all day. The current weather: sunny skies with light cloud coverage. What? I would think that at least the weather people would update the forecast, right? Like, "it looks like that big storm system passed us, so sunny skies this afternoon." But no - still 100% predicted. (Not that I won't take sun when I can get it - but it's just annoying.)

And the second thing: my hair. Ok, I love my current hairstylist. She's awesome - and every time gives me a great cut. And I love my current haircut - the short hair with layers really works for my thin thin hair. And it's actually really easy to style (like, I can shower at night and then mess around with it a little in the morning and it looks great). One thing about it, though, is that I use a ton of hair product. So while it might look like it just naturally blow dries and sits well - it doesn't. There's a lot of volumizing product and hairspray keeping things in place.

So, when a windy day enters the equation, things get tricky. You know how some people have that beautiful, thick hair that almost looks better when a nice breeze has blown through it? Yeah - I don't have that. In fact, wind is my hair's enemy. And wind with some humidity in it (or a light drizzle) is its nemesis. So here's my question: what would y'all think if you saw someone young walking down the street in one of these, a la Audrey?
Would you just immediately think, "tool?" Because I think I might. But when analyzing the situation with the wind, I think a scarf might be the only way to remedy it. And I should say, the wind is a big problem for my hair (especially now that I have bangs - which are just plain DONE when they've been windblown, like not going to look good again until they're either washed or, in the minimum, wet and blow dried). And for work I park at the bottom of this huge hill by the river - so there's wind off the river, and then the hill acts as this sort of wind tunnel, channeling an enormous gust between the buildings.

So would I be such a huge, unimaginable nerd if I got a scarf to tie over my head while walking into the office? And if not, where do you think I would find such a scarf? (I have thought of a hat as an option, but sadly, my hair is too thin to not fall victim to "hat head" even when only worn for 5 minutes.)

Also, did/do any of your grandmothers carry around one of those plastic hair cap things like mine did? Since she only went to the hairdresser once a week for a shampoo & style, she would carry this plastic bonnet with her at all times in case she was caught in the rain. Maybe that's an option for me...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Come In/Go Out Friends

When you think about a lifetime, it's amazing how many different people come & go. Think about friends, alone - how close you can be to someone (say, your best friend in 1st Grade) and how far away you can be from them later. Or lovers - again, at one point they're your other half, the first person who hears your important news - and then years later, you have no contact with them. They've gone from number one to zero.

School is especially conducive to come in/go out friends. It's so easy to make a "best friend" in your English class. And for the whole year, you two are inseparable in that class, maybe even hang out outside of class. But then, the next year comes, and "best friend from English" is immediately replaced with a new class, a new possibility.

And that's just with people in whom we actually invest time. Think about the millions of people that are in & out of our lives who we don't even know. Remember that time you spent the night at a college as a perspective student? You didn't end up going to that school - but remember how much fun you had for 24 hours with your host student? You knew that if you went there, you guys would be friends. But you didn't. Now you don't even remember her name.

Or remember when you were at a random bar in a random city you were visiting? And you met a really interesting person who happened to be sitting next to you. And the whole night at the bar, you sat and talked and had great conversation. Then the night ended, and you never saw the person again.

Or when you made "vacation friends?" (My sister and I did this just about every vacation we took when we were younger.) Friends that you hung out with the whole trip: when you were younger, you would play together at the pool during the day; and then when you were older, you would go to the bar with them. Where are they now? Who knows! What were their names, even? No clue!

This is all weighing on me at the moment. One of my co-workers (Bo) is having a birthday today. I got to thinking that "Bo" is sort of a weird name, which then led me to think about a guy I went to high school with named "Beau" (I know, a sort of convoluted path). But anyway, he was 2 years younger than me and we were both in this small, 16-person choir that met everyday at 7am. Because it was so small (and we were meeting to rehearse really early, we travelled with it, etc.) we were all pretty close. I remember Beau's sort of interesting life tidbit was that his parents were Christian recording artists - so when he was younger, he used to tour the country with them, and then they decided on St. Louis so he could go to the same high school for 4 years.

I haven't thought of this guy in YEARS. In fact, probably not since the day I graduated high school (since we were close in choir, but not close enough to remain in contact after school). I decided to do a little google stalking today to see what old Beau is up to these days. And sadly, within 2 website searches, I learned that he died in January 2009. Apparently he struggled with thyroid cancer for a year; he must have been 23 or 24 years old.

I guess this will happen more and more as we get older - that we'll hear a name that used to mean something to us, and find out the person is gone. But I wonder if there's a point where it won't feel so weird to hear the news?

I'm thankful that Beau's parents have a strong faith that consoled them in their loss - and I'm glad he's no longer suffering in his earthly body - and is, in fact, Home.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Taste Test

If you aren't already, you should follow along with LB's great apple taste test ("Operation Eve"), where she side-by-side tastes different varieties of apples. How exciting!

All that excitement, as you can imagine, is making me want to do some taste testing! But I don't know what! (Actually, I was hoping to do sour cream, but it appears LB's friend Amy is already in the process of that.)

I've been involved with a few side-by-side taste tests in my life. One was a riveting study of chocolate conducted with Katie. I can't remember exactly, but I know we compared Dove, Hersheys, and Cadbury - anything else? It's pretty crazy when you put three similar things next to each other, because you notice weird, otherwise unnoticeable characteristics of them. For example, while Hersheys chocolate is awesome - when compared to Dove, it's really grainy! Never had I noticed the graininess before.

Patti and I also, recently did a peanut butter taste test: Smart Balance vs. Smuckers Natural vs. Reduced Fat Peter Pan. Both Smart Balance and Smuckers are unsweetened. The only 2 ingredients in Smuckers are "peanuts" and "salt." Smart Balance has a few more (like, palm oil, for example, to keep it from separating). My favorite of the three was the Smuckers; Patti's favorite (because she liked the classic taste of sweetened peanut butter) was Peter Pan.

Not to get on a soapbox or anything - but have you guys ever looked at the ingredient list for sweetened peanut butters (which, in fact, if you look at the label, are not called "peanut butter" at all, but instead "peanut spread")? "Roasted peanuts, corn syrup solids, soy protein concentrate, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil," etc. EW! And I know that when we were kids, we ate Jiff or Skippy or whatever - so when we think of "peanut butter" in our minds, it's that sweetened version. But gross! I would much rather add some honey or sugar to the 2-ingredient brand than take in corn syrup, genetically modified soy, and trans fat! Just saying.

So back to these taste tests. As you can imagine, I've done a ketchup side-by-side before. I've tried Heinz, Hunts, Walmart brand, and Fancy Catsup (or whatever that really cheap one is, with the wrapper that's blue & white). I've also, at a different time, tried Heinz Organic next to Heinz regular. And at yet another time, regular Heinz next to Reduced-Sugar Heinz.

Oddly enough, since I love ketchup so much, my tastes sort of change. Sometimes I like a sweeter version, sometimes a more vinegary one. Fancy Catsup is by far the sweetest ketchup on the market (and therefore a little more grainy). But otherwise, they're all somewhat similar. Hunts & Walmart brand tend to be more vinegary than Heinz (which, since my preference is towards that of late, Hunts is my current front runner). The reduced-sugar Heinz wasn't very good. And I think Heinz has recently tweaked the organic formula - because when I first tried it awhile ago against regular, it wasn't that good. But last time I was in St. Louis, my mom had the Organic, and it was about equal to normal Heinz. I. Love. Ketchup.

So what should my next taste test be?? I'm sort of interested in trying cupcakes next to each other (one from love-of-my-life GiGi's Cupcakes [which is a chain bakery] and one from Muddy's Bake Shop [which is local and has a huge following of chain-haters]). I've had them independent of each other (where GiGi's smoked Muddy's), but I'd be interested in a side-by-side. It's sort of difficult, though, because I'd have to have the same flavor cupcake from each - and I'm not sure if their menus overlap on any days.

Any other thoughts for taste tests? I love to eat!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Review

I think occasionally I'll do a blog post to keep you all attuned to what I've been reading, of late. I'm not sure these posts will be huge crowd-pleasers or highly anticipated - but for myself, I'd like to have some documentation so I can remember what books go in & out of my hands. And also, I know some of you friends are big readers, too, so maybe I can sway you one way or another when choosing your next book.

So - what's been in my hands lately...

1) Let The Great World Spin, by Colum McCann
This won the 2010 National Book Award for fiction - and with good reason. It's essentially a collection of short stories; and the majority of the stories are intertwined with each other. The whole thing takes place in 1974 New York, where a tightrope walker has set up a rope between the Twin Towers. I found the idea to be brilliant, generally; that is, to have a strange, rare event as a backdrop for intertwined lives, told through short stories. In a way, the stories are telling each person's tale on the day of the walk - but it goes so much deeper than that. And the walk plays a central part in some stories, and in others, is just an event that happened that day. Really great character development (even though some of the characters are a little difficult).

2) Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill
This is a book about cricket, and life, and love, and New York, and Europe - it has a lot going on, in just about 150 pages. The book is told in retrospect. So it's a man looking back on his life a few years ago. This particular time in his life was pretty tough; and when reading it, even though I knew everything would turn out fine (since it's given to the reader on page one that the narrator is back in the life you'd like him to be in), it was still hard to go along with him through the dredges. It was a great book: brilliant writing, interesting story, good characterization - just sort of tough. (And I'll say that my husband loved the book. But he read it awhile back - so I'm wondering if the reason it was so tough for me was because the narrator's marriage was pretty crappy for awhile [and that's a central part of the story], so it was hard, at times, to stomach the pain, since I myself am a newlywed.) But overall, really good and worth the hype going around the book world.

And finally, the less critically-acclaimed, but personal favorite of the group,

3) Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
I just really enjoyed reading this book. It was fast-paced and interesting, and just sort of fun. It could generally be categorized as a coming-of-age story ("bildungsroman" for fellow English majors). But more specifically, it's about an almost graduated veterinarian, who after some difficult life events, jumps onto a train for lack of something else to do. The train, as you can guess, is not just an ordinary one, but instead the travelling Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth circus. The book takes place during the Depression & paints an interesting, intriguing picture of "circus life" during that time. *

Overall, I'd recommend each book, no doubt!

Next on the reading list:
The UnHealthy Truth (I sort of constantly read this, instead of just sitting down and finishing), The Poisonwood Bible, and Eat, Pray, Love. Stay tuned!

*Another sort of funny aspect of my Water for Elephants reading was that I accidentally bought the large-print edition. Although, I'll say, I kind of liked it! I could read 100 pages in an hour, easy!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Working for the Weekend

I'm so happy it's Friday! Not that this week has been particularly difficult or anything, but nothing beats counting down the minutes until quitting time before the weekend. And it's a gor-geous day outside! And I'm having lunch with a friend! And basketball is on all day & night! And I actually slept last night (the first time in 3 nights)! Just look at all those exclamation points! It's like I can't stop! I love the exclamation! Love it!

Ahem. Whoa. Excuse me.

So anyway - I'm excited about the weekend, even though there isn't a ton on the agenda. I imagine there'll be quite a bit of basketball. And Saturday night we're having a pre-birthday celebration for me with Jonathan's parents. And Jonathan has informed me he's working all day Sunday - so it looks like I might have to drive out to the new Anthropologie and see what's going on there (which sounds awful, I realize - my husband stays home & works while I go shopping - but it's not like that - no, really!).

Hopefully there will be some good sleep. Seriously - this week has been really bad for my on-again, off-again insomnia. And since we did a major clean of the house last weekend, hopefully there won't be too much time spent there. Maybe some brewksies are also in the mix? Who knows, but happy weekend, guys! And Gooooooo all the teams I've picked on my bracket!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Ball is Tipped...

"One shining moment, it's all on the line..."

...One shining moment, there frozen in time"

March madness is definitely in the air; and I don't know if it's the fanatical husband, or the intense co-workers, or just the general feeling of anticipation, but I'm excited about it! I just turned my tv on, actually.

Working in an office with mostly men definitely increases the excitement around major sporting events. So of course we have an office pool, of course there's already some trash talk being thrown around, and of course, the tv in the breakroom is going to be consistently on CBS (or ESPN) for the next week+. It's always fun these two weeks, because pretty much at any given time, someone will be in the breakroom watching a game (and this is totally accepted and cool - and often it will be the Director himself). And it's nice how most of the people in my department aren't just from Memphis - so there are some seemingly random team loyalties.

I think I might carry my bracket with me at all times so I can cheer appropriately!

Alright - here we go - first games: Go BYU, Villanova, and Notre Dame!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Luck O' the Irish

I thought a lovely picture of Ireland was a little more appropriate than a clip art shamrock or a picture of a glass of Guinness.

So - Happy St. Patrick's Day, friends. I think having a "Mc" in my last name gives me a little more street cred on the St. Patrick's Day front (but admittedly, not that much more). And I am sporting a green sweater today - and I might or might not have pinched a co-worker who isn't in green (I'm so SNEAKY!).

I generally view the "holiday" as somewhat ridiculous (although it made an awesome excuse to drink when I was in college [or the first year or two out, what?]). But really, I don't understand why/how the tradition came to America. Can anyone enlighten me? I watched a show about the food of Ireland on Saturday (and hoped it would shed some light) - but it only really mentioned that the national holiday was St. Patrick's Day - and then was devoted all to food (which, sorry to say, didn't look all that awesome - except for the potatoes, mmm, I love a potato).

But anyway, do you think the way St. Patrick's is a national holiday in Ireland is similar to the way we celebrate Independence Day in America? (I mean, I know 4th of July celebrates a specific event in our history - but I'm making the connection as a holiday that is distinctly of one country.) And to sort of take it one step further, how funny would it be if other countries partook in 4th of July celebrations that were distinctly American - think of what they'd do: eat hot dogs and hamburgers, drink beer, eat corn, wear cutoff jean shorts, run through sprinklers in the yard - GO AMERICA!

So the original intention of this post was to put up some ridiculous away messages that are on facebook today in honor of the holiday. (This idea was sparked when I read one posted last night [by someone my age] saying, "bar date at 9am......goooooOOOOOO ST PATTYS DAY.) But my socks have been knocked off, really, because there aren't a ton of people doing all-day drinking or anything. In fact, there are some nice little rhymes and blessings being posted (and, I mean, I can't really be cynical about an Irish blessing, can I?).

Therefore - in honor of the holiday (and in lieu of brilliant, biting criticism) - here's a list of some of my favorite things that are green:

-the shutters on our house
-Benny Kitty's eyes
-reusable grocery bags (get it - green - like, eco??)
-mint chocolate chip ice cream (although I don't really have this that much)
-Pure Abundance shampoo by Aveda
-broccoli-cheddar soup

And some of my least favorite things that are green:


I hope you all have a good day. Anyone going out and drinking green beer? With a little bit of irony, I have a meeting tonight at a Mexican restaurant. I guess margaritas are green, though, right?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I'm just trying to keep my blog relevant & up to date. So since it's all over the news, I have a desire to jot down some thoughts on John Edwards and Rielle Hunter. I realize that a blog post about a political affair - or an affair in general (of which I'm not involved) - can end up being accusatory, and can show some serious naivete on the writer's behalf (since, as said, it's an affair with which I'm not involved [thank goodness!]).

But, as a wife, I form these opinions about the situation I see in the news - that is, these opinions come from a woman who has agreed to become part of a union that lasts "until death do us part." This is a pretty difficult union, when you think about it. We could be (and hopefully will be) looking at 50+ years together; and I imagine as a whole, those 50+ years will be filled with happiness and sadness, good times and bad times, agreement and disagreement - but generally, will be flippin hard. Rewarding, certainly; fulfilling, absolutely; filled with love, abundantly. But H-A-R-D. And so, even if you aren't married (or anywhere close to being so), I think you can see how my role as "wife" now seriously shapes my worldview (since it is such a constant, demanding part of my life).

So while the feminist in me doesn't want to blame Rielle - reeeeeeally doesn't want to blame Rielle - the wife in me resonates louder: when I've been married to my husband for 30 years (and I've been with him through all the good and bad times), do I want him to start an affair (that ends in a child's birth, no less) with a ten-year-his-junior woman who's pickup line is "you are so hot?" Um, no.

So even though I know it takes two to tango (wink wink-yaknowwhatImean??), come on, Rielle! Don't even try to come out ahead in this situation - or even try to: villainize Elizabeth, claim that God wants you to be with John, discuss your conflicted "belief systems," or be upset about your sexy pics in the magazine.

1) All I can say about Elizabeth is that I don't know anything about her in real life (although she did seem sweet, composed, and classy when Oprah interviewed her [and yes - I did watch that]). But she could very well be horrible, mean, "emasculating," nagging, demanding, etc. But here's the fact, Rielle - it doesn't matter! John was (is still) married to her. And you KNEW that - and yet, you still told him how hot you thought he was. You still went to his hotel room. His relationship with his wife (no matter how good or bad), is not of your concern. Even if he explains to you how he doesn't love her, hasn't in 15 years, hates to be around her - it doesn't matter. He's married - back off!

2) By bringing up what you told John (that is, "try to tell God your plan and He'll laugh at you") in your interview with GQ, you are suggesting that God has a plan in which we Earthlings have no involvement. Thus, in a weirdly twisted way, you're justifying your behavior as God's will. In one word, no. In two words, no way. Maybe double check your sources, Rielle, but last I checked, marriage is both a holy sacrament and a gift from God. I'd say it's generally not "God's plan" to disrupt a sacrament.

3) Rielle says in her interview that her "belief system" was torn apart when John's assistant decided to claim paternity of Rielle's baby. Hmm. On the other hand, things that did not disrupt her belief system include: hitting on a married man, sleeping with a married man within hours of meeting him, becoming employed by a married man with whom you have a sexual relationship, continuing the affair after the married man's wife finds out, continuing the affair after the married man's wife (who knows about you) finds out she has terminal cancer, conceiving a child with the married man who's wife has terminal cancer, posing sexy for a national magazine that your new baby with the married man will one day see.

And finally, 4) Rielle is very upset about the pictures that were chosen for her magazine spread. If you go to you can see video footage of the photo shoot. Funny how Rielle's angry about the sexy nature of the photos, yet in 2 different sets of takes (two different outfits and locations), she's not wearing pants. In most photos, she's doing a sexy pout of her lips. She's in an oversized shirt that's been pinned in the back to show her body. Even if she did have some level of trust that the photographer would shoot her well, they don't take sexy pictures of you without you knowing. Like, I'm sure if Elizabeth Edwards were doing a photo shoot, she wouldn't end up with a final product in which she has no pants and a sexy pout ("where'd my pants go?? I swear I had some on!"). And so, we can assume Rielle wanted to look at least a little sexy in the photos; but I mean, really, is that the printed legacy you want to leave for your daughter? She already has newspapers and magazines full of her parent's affair, you really want to top that off, Rielle, with some sexy pics of you and a ridiculous article?

I don't know - it's just such a fascinatingly horrible situation. I hope that the adorable little girl can come out of this with the least amount of therapy possible when she's older. What do y'all think? (And in writing this blog post, I'm from the school of thought that John Edwards is Sleezy McSleezikins, no doubt.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday Funday?

Ok - I'm hoping this isn't one of those pop culture references that I just don't know. But, is "Sunday Funday" a thing? Like, is it from a movie or a song or something? And does it imply something specific (like, "Sunday Funday" is when you do X), or is it more just a cute little rhyme a lot of people use? Because a lot of people use it. In fact, it seems every Sunday my facebook news feed is loaded with people having TONS of FUN on Sundays.

Well, I would like to state pretty definitively that for me, Sunday is not usually fun.

Does anyone else feel this way? It seems like it goes way back to the days of school when Sunday was the day of buckling down and doing homework. Or college, when Sunday was the day of buckling down doing homework and laundry and cleaning (not to mention potentially nursing an awful hangover). In my life now, Sunday is a day for: church, laundry, cleaning the house, planning meals for the week, grocery shopping, exercising, getting everything together for the work week, etc. Not: laying around, drinking, going out for meals, going to movies, etc.

And it's not that I wouldn't like to be doing fun things, in theory, but how/when would I get everything done that's required for a home to run properly if I spent all Sunday at a bar? (And I guess I should disclose that church doesn't start until 11, so just about every Sunday I sleep in and then stay in bed drinking coffee, eating breakfast, and watching cooking shows until it's time to get ready. And I guess I could be doing laundry/cleaning/meal planning during this time - but I love how glorious and lazy and indulgent it is, and would hate to give it up.)

About a month ago, for a few weeks in a row, I was going to lunch after church with friends - and I found that the stress it caused for the rest of the afternoon almost wasn't worth the fun of the lunch (especially one time when we sat around until 3:30 - and it was a great time, for sure - but a little stressful in the back of my mind). And also, I guess I'm not a huge fan of daytime drinking or drinking if I'm hungover (I actually never do this [and, I mean, come on - coffee and greasy breakfast are SO MUCH more satisfying after a night of drinking than a bloody mary]), so maybe that automatically puts me at a disadvantage to Sunday Funday participation and enjoyment.

Of course I realize the obvious conclusion is to do the "chores" of Sunday another day - but then glorious Saturday afternoon isn't as fun. So what about you, friends, do you enjoy your Sunday? And if you do, when do you do your weekly "chores?" (And also, can someone maybe explain if "Sunday Funday" is an actual thing?? Thanks.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

So...What Do You Want??

Birthdays are pretty cool. Let's just put that out there. And it's not even that in our older age, a TON needs to be done to make it so. It's just sort of neat to have a day that's a little more special than other days - and one where you might enjoy some sort of celebratory meal/drink/dessert/whatever, out of the ordinary.

Presents are also pretty fun. Not to be dumb - but, come on! It's fun to get presents! Although every year, even though I anticipate it, I d-r-e-a-d the question "so...what do you want?"

I think that birthdays are a good time to get presents that are actual, fun wants vs. needs (a new dress vs. a new faucet for the kitchen sink). BUT - that's where it gets difficult for me - because in terms of NEEDS, the kitchen sink is pressing - and if I ask for it as a present, I don't pay for it. But, that's no fun at all.

And then it's also sort of difficult, because when on the spot, I can never think of what to ask for. Then my birthday passes and there are tons of things I see that look awesome.

Oh poor me - all these people want to buy me things and I can't think of what to tell them!

If thinking about needs, I could make a list pretty easily:
-a new (non-drippy) kitchen sink
-a new (non-drippy) bathroom sink
-a new chandelier for the dining room
-some frames for the artwork we want to display in the living room
-decorative pillows and/or a quilt for our bedroom
-a truck to bring the dining room set from St. Louis to Memphis
-paint for the dining room

And some bigger things:
-a new roof
-new couches
-a re-finish on the kitchen table chairs
-new cushions for the front porch furniture
-an amazon giftcard that could eventually help in the purchase of a new tv

But these aren't fun.

And I could always ask for things that would be good, but unexciting:
-cute yoga clothes
-cute underwear
-a rolling pin
-a new belt

But, I mean, I would probably buy these things for myself at some point. So this leaves me with nothing. And because we have the big, previously stated "needs" for our house, it's hard to ask my husband for anything other than just a nice dinner (since we should be saving money for the big things). So puzzling! (And such a nice puzzle to have, I realize, but still.)

What about you, friends? What are some great presents you've received? Or things you've seen that look awesome & you can't live without?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

I L-O-V-E springtime! While Fall is definitely my favorite season, Spring is a close second. I love the temperatures warming up (but not as hot as awful Summer). I love daylight saving time (as I've mentioned before). I love the buzz in the community around the first warm/sunny day of the year (as was the case here last weekend) - the way patios fill up and people take walks and sunroofs are open and sandals pulled out. I love the overwhelming smell of grilling in the neighborhood. And actually grilling out ourselves, eating dinner on our deck. And flowers. Oh how I love the flowers - daffodils giving the first hint of what's to come, then the flowering trees, then the azaleas - all of a sudden, the gray of winter is gone & entirely replaced with yellow and green and pink and blue. It's such a lovely time of year!

One thing I worry about every year, though. The awful downside to that first warm/sunny day: when Spring Has Sprung...Too Early.

I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed that this hasn't happened, but lo, I worry it has. This year. Right now.

Today's predicted temperature high is 75. 75! That's insane! And the next few days it will stay in the 70s - and then this weekend it's back down to the 50s. All the while, our little friends the daffodils don't know what's up. They think it's time to show themselves - and then - WHAMMY - it snows at the end of March. See ya, guys!

The cherry blossoms and azaleas hurt my heart most, though. I remember a few years ago, Spring sprung too early. The cherry tree in front of the old house was in peak, beautiful, pink Heaven. And BOOM. A late March snow. The tree looked gorgeous for about 12 hours (with the snow AND blossoms). But after that, all the pink goodness turned brown and fell to the ground. Gone for the season. And the azaleas - the beautiful pink, magenta, and red sweethearts of my front yard - they are sturdy, for sure, but no one's strong enough to withstand snow, come on!

So fingers crossed it hasn't happened. PLEASE Mother Nature, let's take the temps back down a little so as not to confuse anything (but, uh, thanks for last weekend, it was unbelievable).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Sickness

Nurse Ben Cat, bringing us some meds.

We've been hit with the sickness in our casa - apparently a few of Jonathan's coworkers were stricken last week. But he started to get a stomachache after dinner on Sunday night, felt really bad Monday morning & stayed home from work. And I started to get a stomachache Monday morning, went to work, got home around 5 & died on the couch for the night. I would've stayed home from work today, but we're super busy and I knew if I was laying around all day, I wouldn't be able to do anything but think about work. So I went in for a half day-ish, and am home now.

I'm not exactly sure what this does for my theory that I never get sick. But I'm going to say it still might be in place (ie, my theory might only apply to things like colds/sinus infections/strep throat, all that non-stomach stuff that gets spread around a few times a year that I never get, even if my husband/coworkers/friends do). Hmmm.

Anyway - I might crawl back into bed now. Luckily I wasn't so sick that I couldn't stop by TCBY on the way home.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscars II

One more thing - did anyone else see Crazy when she pulled a Kanye last night??

There's No Business Like Show Business

I'm going to preface this by hoping that stupid doesn't delete this post after I spend some quality time writing it (like it did with the riveting post I wrote on Friday [that I'm sorry to say, will never be read by the masses as I didn't/still don't have any desire to try to re-write]). Ahem. So anyway - last night was THE OSCARS!

Of all awards shows, not only are the Oscars my favorite, but of late, the only ones I can really handle watching. I'm not crazy about them - like, trying to see all the films nominated & hosting viewing parties, etc. - but I do enjoy devoting one Sunday a year to the silly, glitzyness of Hollywood.

This year, I found tivo to be my best friend for the show. I started watching a good bit behind real time, so I could fast forward through all commercials (and - don't know if I should admit this - through most of the acceptance speeches). What I had was a beautiful show, taylored perfectly for me.

But in general, I thought the show was really well done this year. I loved Alec Baldwin & Steve Martin as hosts (with, of course, the guest appearance song by Barney Stinson in the beginning). I loved the way they showed the Best Picture clips (quickly & smoothly throughout the show). I thought the speeches about each Best Actor/Actress nominee were touching & personal. James Taylor singing the Beatles was a classic choice for honoring those who died this year. And I even thought the modern dance thing was pretty cool (mainly because it wasn't over the top - just really awesome dancers doing their thing [without a huge, flashy set/fireworks/weird costumes, etc.])

And I was generally happy about who won. Of the Best Picture nominees, I had seen: Avatar, Up, The Blind Side, District 9, (and basically An Education, because my mom gave me a 15+ minute detailed description of it). I had/have absolutely no desire to see: Precious, The Hurt Locker, or Inglorious Basterds - but from everything I've heard about them, I'm sure they're awesome, and all the awards they won were well deserved.

I guess one winner I wasn't thrilled about was Sandra Bullock for Best Actress, because, come on. BEST actress? Of all the actresses out there, this Speed/Miss Congeniality/The Proposal/The Lake House actress is the best? Uh, no. Also - The Blind Side was a pretty bad movie, right? I mean, cool that it's a true story, but even if the cliches & bad writing were based on a true story, as a movie, it's still, well, bad writing & cliches.

I did like Sandy's dress, though. I liked a lot of other dresses - but it's so hard to remember now. I remember quite clearly, though, how WEIRD Sarah Jessica Parker looked on the red carpet! Did you guys see her? She had a weird/unflattering dress, an awful spray tan, and her eyes were all glassy & c-r-a-z-y. I don't know what happened there.

And finally - what is George Clooney's deal? Can someone explain this? It is an understood thing that he doesn't like award shows? Or that he doesn't like having attention given to him at award shows? I didn't quite understand what was going on - and I have to say, even with that smile, he looked kind of jerky when he would roll his eyes & get mad on camera. Just saying.

Were you all happy with who won? Did you see a lot of the movies?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I'm Wearing Genes

This article popped up today on msn at such a strange time - because I had JUST been pondering the whole issue of genetics and weight (prompted by some interesting weight-related posts by other bloggers I read). And I should say, this is a totally woman-centered post - so male readers, be forewarned.

When I was younger (especially in middle school - around the time of puberty) I had quite a few friends who were really thin. Like, naturally so - it wasn't that they got a ton of exercise or ate really healthfully - they were just thin-bodied. And yet, they had huge mothers - like medically classified, I'm assuming, as "obese" or even "morbidly obese." And it never really made sense to me. It seemed like if the daughter was naturally thin, wouldn't her mother also be?

So this has always interested me. And of late, I've wondered if a shift would take place between genes and lifestyle (nurture vs. nature, if you will) regarding weight. The world is a lot different than it was 30+ years ago: girls play sports when they're young, general guidelines for healthy living encourage healthful eating (and cooking), everyone is encouraged to get some exercise (can you imagine your great-grandmother on a treadmill?), and so much attention is paid to a woman's body size and health.

The article is really interesting. One thing it highlights is that because our generation of young girls, in general, played more sports (ie built muscle mass) than their mothers, they might be able to hold off the genetic weight gain for longer than their mother did. But, it does still exist - the genetically-linked weight gain.

But I want to take this to a nature vs. nurture level. Even though I'm not a doctor, I feel comfortable saying that a person who is "morbidly obese" is not so because their body is physically unable to lose weight. To clarify, if a person who's classified as "morbidly obese" ate healthfully and/or exercised, they could lose enough weight to at least be classified as "obese" or "overweight." Is this something everyone agrees on (aside from a medical condition [thyroid, hormone imbalance, etc.]) - if one put in the effort to lose weight, one could?

Ok, now, consider the factors that get in the way of the morbidly obese person losing weight. They are mental, for the most part: exercising is hard, I don't have time to do it, counting calories is annoying, I like soda/alcohol/candy/junk food too much to give it up, I don't care if I'm fat, losing weight is too hard, etc.

So, here's a question, do you think the genetically-linked cause of weight gain is a mental one or a physical one? Like, are there actual "fat genes" in a person's body that makes them more likely to gain weight when they're older - or are there mental genes that make them more likely to face a mental blockade about losing weight?

The article says there are some actual "fat genes" that are passed down. But this is so hard for me to grasp, because I can't imagine (as stated before) that a person who is "morbidly obese" is physically unable to at least lose enough weight to move out of that category. There must be a genetic, mental connection. But I also think there has to be some "nurture" vs. "nature" involved.

Think about my middle school friends. Maybe their mothers had been thin most of their lives (like their daughters), but then started gaining weight (as genetically pre-dispositioned). THEN they faced the mental blockade to weight loss (perhaps also pre-dispositioned). But there has to be some "nurture," too, because the world has changed so much - maybe they had learned fatty cooking techniques growing up, maybe they didn't know much about exercise because they hadn't seen their mom/grandma exercise, maybe they had seen their mom/grandma gain weight & viewed weight gain with aging as unavoidable.

So my point of this all is: do you think, with the shift in our culture towards healthy living (eating well, cooking healthfully, getting exercise, playing sports), that women who are thin when they're younger will become "morbidly obese" if their mother is? Nurture or nature?

I have to lean towards nurture (even though I'd L-O-V-E to be as thin as my mom when I'm older).

And of course, I realize all this is very middleclass & above- centered; and I also realize that with hormones & menopause, just about every woman gains a little weight later in life. But what do you think, women readers, nature or nurture? And how do you feel about your mom's weight in relation to yours? Do you think that wherever she is now in her weight is where you'll be at her age? Do you see that idea as improbable or unavoidable?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yoga for Dummies

Don't mind me...just a little yoga on the beach

Of late, I've been trying to attend at least one yoga class a week. There are various motivations behind this, but mainly I'm hoping (desperately praying/begging) to become a little more flexible. My inflexibility is borderline ridiculous: I can't touch my toes in a forward fold (cough, notevenclose, cough), I can barely touch my toe when seated with one leg stretched forward, my knees are nowhere near the ground when seated with my feet sole to sole - you get the picture - total muscle tightness.

In addition to the flexibility, though, it's a nice time to relax some anxiety and learn about being more mindful. And occasionally, it will be a really good/hard workout. So, all this to say, I really like yoga, and think that gained flexibility & mindfulness will help me with other athletic aspects of my life.

Through the various classes I've attended, though, I've noticed that there are some unspoken rules that most class-attending veterans know. Thankfully for you all, I'm going to help you learn these, so as to make any class experience you might have better.

Yoga for Dummies

1) Arrive to class early, not too early, and NEVER late.

a) Arriving early is key. And the second you get there, put your mat down. You need to stake your territory. If you first go to the back room to get blankets & blocks, you risk coming out to a full room of mats.
b) If you arrive too early, you risk an extremely awkward 5 minutes alone with your teacher. If you do arrive too early, stake your territory, and then pretend you need to use the bathroom.
c) NEVER arrive late. Never. Particularly if it's a class where the mats face the door, and particularly if it's a class that's usually quite full. Fail to follow this rule and you risk: dirty looks, exasperated sighs, a spot in either the very front of the classroom or dangerously close to another student (igniting yet another exasperated sigh), and eye rolls. You also risk the teacher, in his soothing voice, saying something like, "continue to concentrate, ignore the sounds around you, ignore the student who arrived late..."

2) Do not forget to take your shoes off before you walk on the floor of the classroom.

a) WHOA. Seriously. That's sacred ground you're walking on. Get those filthy things off, or your might see the bulge of a teacher's neck vein while he tells you with a strained expression, "no, it's fine, just try to remember next time."

3) Chose which student you sit by carefully.

a) Avoid anyone smelly.
b) Avoid anyone sweaty.
c) Avoid the woman who's chatty & talks to everyone before class.
d) Avoid the man who looks really inflexible and makes a comment that it's his first class (this warrants too much attention from the teacher in your part of the room).
e) Avoid anyone who could be mistaken for Gumby (ie the woman who arrives at class and goes into a forward fold with her head behind her knees so she can put her hair in a ponytail), she will undoubtedly ignite self-doubt.
f) Avoid anyone in a warm-up headstand when you arrive (friggin show off).

4) Don't bring a water bottle that requires effort to open (or you risk a similar reaction to item 1c). But actually, on second thought, don't bring a water bottle period - it's YOGA, you can get a drink when it's over.

5) If a pose is particularly difficult to you, claim a past "sports injury" to avoid interrogation from your teacher.

And finally, one of the more important lessons (that, if you're lucky, has been learned by watching another student, not personal experience)...

6) Don't eat beans the day of class. Enough said.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This & That

This is a sort of busy week at work for me (which is awesome - I love being busy). But in lieu of a real blog post today, I'm going to make an entirely unrelated list of things on my mind.

1) We are in the market for a new car. This is exciting, but also a little nerve-wrecking (since it's a lot of friggin money for a car - and it seems reeeeeeally easy to get screwed). So part of my busyness at work this week is making myself an expert on buying a new car & getting an awesome loan. And fyi, we'll gladly take any advice from you guys who've bought one before. But hopefully all will go well and we'll be cruising around Memphis in our low-emission Subaru:

2) I'm a little bummed. I had become involved with a non-profit in town (a conservation group working to protect the Wolf River) and was going to head a campaign of theirs in association with a local brewery - trying to sell beer and raise money for the non-profit. Well, I found out yesterday that the partners at the brewery worry the campaign is a conflict of interest for them, so it's permanently on hold (ie, probably won't happen).

3) I am so excited, though, that it's March! This year is already flying by - but I can't say I'm too disappointed to see dreary, cold, sun-less February gone. And I cannot wait for daylight saving time next weekend! I love getting home from work and having a few hours of sunlight left (which really opens the door for outside walks/time on our porch/dinner on our deck, etc.).

4) Along the same lines, I love months where the first day is on a Sunday or Monday (as was the case with February and now March). It sounds silly, but I really like how the first week of the month is done, basically, by the first weekend. For whatever reason, it helps with my planning and budgeting for the month.

5) I have found, of late, that being able to check gmail on my iphone has positives & negatives. It was really awesome in the beginning (since I'd never been able to check my personal email during the work day [and HELLO, why did I not have an iphone while wedding planning?], I felt so connected to the world). But, a benefit of not checking email during the day was that at night, I actually had to put some time into reading email & responding. Well now, I find that I read my email all day, but a lot of times, I never really respond. And it's not intentional, per se, it's just that I get so many emails a day (mostly junk), that if I don't respond the moment I see something legit, it just goes into the abyss of my phone. And having the phone definitely encourages me to never sign into gmail on the actual computer at home. So friends, if you've emailed me & I haven't responded, I apologize - and will try to be better about that.

Anyway - just a quick little snippet of life. Happy March!