Monday, December 31, 2012

You know, in some cultures 13 is considered lucky...

Coming up on the end of another year. Actually, quite a lot happened in 2012.

My incredible husband got his second raise in two years and now makes more than twice as much as he did when we married, two short years ago. The fact that he is not afraid to ask for a 60% raise both impresses and terrifies me. I could never be that bold.

I got a promotion, of sorts. That is to say, I am working for the same company in an entirely different position which is much more enjoyable and fulfilling.

We went to Scotland again and to Disneyland together for the first time. Both trips were fantastic, romantic, and everything an annoying friend would brag to you about.

We moved into a fantastic new apartment with a full-sized oven and more cupboard space than we truly need! We even know each of our neighbors by name.

I got pregnant with our first child.

I lost our first child.

We lived through December 21st 2012, despite all Mayan prophecies to the contrary.

I took my husband camping, complained the whole time, and enjoyed it in spite of myself.

We went to NYC for a holiday weekend and saw the amazing and delicious Wicked on broadway between bites of Magnolia's cupcakes and carriage rides round central park.

We lived, once again, happily ever after for another full year.

All dressed up (in my high school choir dress) for a pre-New Year's Downton Abbey party. I stole this picture from my sister's blog.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Have yourself a [steampunk] little Christmas

In keeping with our yearly tradition, we have once again decked our little tree in homemade and totally disposable ornaments. We're calling this year's installment "A Clockwork Christmas" and oh, it is so very, very nerdy up in here.
Clock gear ornaments made out of cinnamon, apple sauce, and craft glue. Also some paint.

It's pretty (if you don't get too close to the very non-symmetrical ornaments) but it doesn't actually smell like cinnamon.

Christmas morning! We don't smell like cinnamon either. Sorry.

Check out these ornaments which look totally professional and do not at all resemble a kindergarten art project.

And then we made peppermint marshmallows.

Word to the wise: DO NOT touch marshmallow batter. Do not attempt to scrape down the bowl while mixing it. Just beat it up and pour in onto the pan. The stickiness of this stuff is beyond any spatula you own and should you get it on your finger...well, heaven help you, my friend. Heaven help you.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

No More Mrs. Nice Christmas

Next year I am Christmassing the hell out of this place.

As per usual, this year I had my tree and village and nativity up right after my Thanksgiving nap. And when I have access to the pictures we took, I'll probably post them and we can all agree that my propensity to craft new decorations every year is equal parts unique and ridiculous. Meanwhile, a small rant.

My tree is fake. Fakety fake fake. It's lovely and proportional and perfectly green. For the last two years I have loved that plastic pine and felt more than a little sad to put the poor dear away come January. This year, though, I can see my neighbors' trees through their front windows, all real and imperfect and tree-sized. Then I get home to my tiny, plastic tree and I think "You suck, little tree." Even the clockwork ornaments and leather tree skirt are not enough to redeem the fact that it smells like nothing! I can smell the tree in apartment 1a when I walk through the freaking foyer, and there you sit, little tree, emitting ZERO odors! You suck, little tree. You suck.

Also, my village scene, while innovative and "different" is made of paper and contains no mulitcolored lights. "Multicolored lights?" you ask "Whyever would you want multicolored lights in your house?" And I have no response to that other than that I am sorry you were apparently born without a soul. (I'm looking at you, husband.)

And my nativity? It's this lovely little crystal thing with Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and three oddly Caucasian wise men. My brother gave it to me years ago and it is still as lovely and classy as it was then. It is also still totally lacking in the Shepherd/Angel category. It's is composed almost entirely of little rich white men, like the GOP of Christmas nativities.

Oh but next year. Next year, I tell you! I will get a real tree.  A huge, lopsided, REAL tree. And I will FLOCK that sucker. Oh yes! Fake snow up it's little wazzoo! And I will cover that thing in colored lights. Blue and red and pink and green and yellow and purple and awesome! And if I have to build it out of dried spaghetti and elastic bands, there will be a full angel/shepherd cohort attending the birth of little crystal Jesus.

(This is a pretty good imitation of what these rants of mine would look like in real life.)

Friday, November 16, 2012


A conversation had late last night (or perhaps early this morning) while Mr. Awesome and I slept.

Silence and Sleeping

Mr Awesome: [snore] . . . [snore]

Me: [faint whisper] "No snoring."

Him: [faint whisper] "Sorry"


And that, my friends, is how to housebreak a husband.

I do love this crazy, snoring boy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In my defense, Facebook told me to do it.

Yesterday everyone was telling me to vote. So I did. And now half of them are pissed about it.

Seriously, why is it that democracy brings out the worst in us? And natural disasters bring out the best? This past week the right to vote had us calling each other all kinds of bad names, ending friendships, and predicting the end of the world. Meanwhile, a hurricane devastating the east coast had us coming together, donating money and time to help others, and making friendships with total strangers.

Seriously, ya'll. What's that about?

Granted, I must sound all high and mighty given that I voted for the man who won. Apologies if it comes off like that. I'd like to think if the other dude won, I would be disappointed but not catatonic about it. True, I did tell my husband that a vote for Romney meant he hates women, puppies, and America. But I was mostly joking about that one. Still, I cannot guarantee I would not have indulged in some form of histrionics (though I like to hope I'd restrain myself). Meanwhile, according to my Utah friends' status updates, gun sales should be skyrocketing today. And while I understand that they are very upset that Romney lost, I'm still not sure that's a good reason to shoot him.

Neither is it a good reason to basically flip off the rest of the country because "You lost, neiner neiner" (Though I applaud you for trying to make "neiner neiner" happen again, people). Obama's victory, while nice for you, isn't really a coop for civil-rights-and-women-everywhere-excessive-punctuation. It's probably not going to change all that much, really. Voting for him did not make you smarter, sexier, or cooler than your republican counterparts. And it won't solve all of our problems (not hardly, but that's a blog for another day...and another blogger.)

In the end, next year some dude will be president. He'll struggle to work with a democratic senate and a republican house to reduce a staggering debt and get a fragile economy off of life support. He'll kiss babies and appoint judges and give really long winded speeches. He doesn't hate America or want to make illicit deals with the Russians. But then, neither did the other guy.
A liberal and a conservative in love. Awww. (This is the part where we all join hands and sing kumbayah.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Three years ago today...

Jeremy and I had our first date on Halloween...

Fitting, isn't it?

Friday, October 26, 2012

"Everything Happens for a Reason"

I see these pins and posts everywhere about remembering that everything happens for a reason, and I want to reach out and shake the poor lost people who post them. No, no, stop cheating yourself! Stop expecting some bearded dude in the sky to plan out your life for you and make all the hard decisions for you and turn the hard things into part of some big plan for you.

You need to take responsibility for your own choices and your own desires. And you know what? Shit happens. Really, Forest, it does. And there is no celestial reason behind the shit that life will fling at you. And it will be awful and hurtful and hopefully it won't last too long. And then maybe you'll look back on it and mold it into something that fits the paradigm that you have chosen to explain your life. You will look back and invent reasons why it's better this way, why it had to happen like this, what you were supposed to learn from it. But really, unless it teaches you how to more efficiently pick your ass up off the ground the next time life backhands you, it will do you no real good. You, and you alone, are responsible for your life choices.

If you are the master of your destiny (up to a point, see previous paragraph regarding shit-happens) then spending your days waiting for someone else to confirm your decisions--or worse yet, make them for you--is pathetic and asinine and dangerous. It is an excuse for you not to do hard things, take scary risks, and accept the full weight of your own stupid decisions and failures. Either way, you make bad decisions and you totally fail. You fail because you are not as good at something as you want to be. You fail because someone else is better at it than you are. You fail, because you fail. Not because some divine weirdo waved his magic hands around and aligned the cosmos to make your failure inevitable. You failed, dude. You just failed.

(PS. This doesn't mean I don't believe in God. It just means I don't need Him to tell me which shoes to wear today. Or to convince me that my coworker is a tool "for a reason".)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Revenge of the Ren Faire Nerds

I think it's pretty normal behavior around any office for coworkers to ask each other "So what did you do this weekend?" You know, common workplace smalltalk. Twice a year it's also pretty common for me to get stank-face in response to my weekend activities. Because twice a year, I dress up in a costume and go to the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

Oh and it is so nerdy. I mean, come on. Costumes? Do I also speak Old English and walk around calling random stangers "M'lord?" Obviously I play World of Warcraft in leu of a normal social life. What did I name my pet dragon?

Yes, right, because sitting around the house watching reality TV and shopping at the Target is such a better use of time right?


This mime is playing a saw with a violin bow. And he is rocking it.

Look at these talented musicians about to teach us the steps to an Elizabethan dance like the dorks we are.

Ah, pansies wearing cod pieces.  

They were also tear-jerkingly hilarious and they fenced beautifully, with real swords. But we're focusing on the silly costumes, right?

This elephant is not impressed with your Real Housewives reruns or your NPR listening.

Blown glass and a master blowing glass behind it...but let's focus on that short leather skirt he's wearing instead shall we?

Nothing I can say will make this understandable.

Gosh, my husband is such a nerd. I mean, who wants to be married to a man who will dress as the Dread Pirate Roberts to walk around a RenFaire and sporadically kiss your hand when you could marry someone who spends his Saturdays half naked on the couch watching football? I'm so unlucky.

Yes yes, she's about to jump between the flying knives and balance on a yoga ball. Clearly we'd all rather be checking facebook. Also, she's got feathers on her head.

Yikes! Leather art? Is this where they store the dragon skin too?

And there I am. Wearing one of my various costumes (this one for Pirate Weekend). Eating a warm, juicy turkey leg. Later I chased it with chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick. Pity me.

So he can walk on stilts around uneven ground in a funny hat. I'll bet you can change the channel three times per second. You totally win.

Look at all of these people, enjoying themselves while listening to live musing, watching plays, and eating roasted almonds. Losers.

So many bagpipes all in one place. We are obviously compensating for something.

Ah, the Rogues. Sure, the electric violin and mad percussion allowed them to play everything from Last of the Mohicans to some Led Zepplin. It's the fact that I got all choked up when they played a medley of armed forces themes and Scotland the Brave that truly marks both them and me as total pansy nerds. In skirts.

Not pictured:
  • Live jousting
  • The sword swallower (ick ick ick)
  • Acrobats dangling from trees in random walkways.
  • The silversmith making jewelry
  • Me finally hitting the target at the archery range
  • Jeremy throwing a battle axe over his head and straight into the target.
  • Me trying to throw a battle axe over my head and dropping it.
  • The most realistic Mongolian Warrior costume I've ever seen.
  • Two mimes performing the funniest version of Hamlet you'll ever see.
  • Me learning to play the hammered dulcimer.
  • A medieval German band rocking it out with a special guest...on the cowbell.
In conclusion, what did YOU do this weekend, huh? That's right. Who's the loser now?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mom, Mom, hey look Mom, look!

Until she spawned a pack of over 6' tall giants who made her respectable 5'8" seem diminutive, my mother was considered a tall woman. No only that, she's smart, creative, witty, and resourceful. In fact, sometimes when people who know my older siblings say things like "Is it hard to follow in such impressive footsteps?" I respond "Dude, you should meet my mother."

But anyway, bragging about my mother's talents and brilliance aside, we were discussing her height.  Being herself above the average height for a woman, she understood some of the difficulties a tall girl faces when trying to find a dress that fits right and is, wonder of wonders, long enough. So, when the day came that I was the same height as her (in fifth grade), she looked at me and said something along the lines of "Well, I'd better teach you how to sew your own clothes I suppose."

And, seventeen years later, I've finally got something to show for it. (Yes, seventeen years to make a passable dress. I said SHE was the brilliant resourceful one. I just got the height. And the cheekbones.)

So, basically, this one's for you mom! Look what I can do!

I was going for "Seventies Chic" with this one. It flatters me from the front, but those pleats down the middle actually make it look a bit of a potato sack from the side so...

I made it again, only this time I sliced it at the waist and re-cut the skirt to lie flat. Then I removed the little ties in the back and made it a full-waist tie. And I chopped off the sleeves. So now it says "Working Girl" (No, not THAT kind of working girl. Perv!)

And then I used a pattern my mother sent me, that she had made for herself in the seventies. Unfortunately, my choice of fabric was...lamentable. I look like a giant Easter Egg (in my defense, it was meant to be an Easter dress). Also, those sleeves are enormous.
Yes, technically I have made other garments before. Things like pajamas and skirts and random Scottish Maiden costumes. But still, other than that blue travesty, these are dresses I actually wear in public on a somewhat frequent basis and NOT as missionary (when one gives up all understanding of fashion and gets in touch with one's masculine side, despite the dress). And I just want my brilliant, resourceful, creative Mom to be proud of me dang it! (And you are, right Mom? Huh? Yes? Huh?)

I did end up re-using that last pattern for my halloween costume this year. I added some lacing, changed the neckline, dropped it to the floor, altered the sleeves a bit, and made it in red with a gold belt. Any ideas as to who I'll be dressing as? One more hint: Mr. Awesome will be wearing black. All black. ;)

Okay, one more hint: "ROUSes? I don't think they exist."

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I do not like summer. Not even during the best of times do I like summer. When the temperature is over 100 degrees and the humidity up to 80, I hate summer to the depths of my soul. This summer was worse than most. But now that it's over and no longer ruining my life, let's look back at some pictures I took along the way.

Pie. Lemon zest in the graham cracker crust. Boom.
Hey look, that place where I no longer live!

Pop Quiz: How many national monuments and historical buildings can be seen from the roof of the apartment we just moved away from? Answer: I never counted, because I'm not that much of a dork.
Honestly, this rooftop was the best thing about that apartment, and I still don't miss it.
Pop quiz: Which camera setting did I use to get this image? Answer: I'm hoping you can tell me because I truly do not know.
Note: You are not actually supposed to wade in the pool at the WWII memorial. These people are doing it wrong!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh Shenandoah

This summer as my one concession to Mr. Awesome's dream that we become "outdoorsy" we spent the night at Shenandoah National Park or, as he liked to call it: camping.

If it were up to him we'd drive a Subaru and buy all our clothes from L.L. Bean. Alas, we drive a Hyundai and own not one article of L.L. Bean finery. The poor man had his hopes mercilessly dashed when, on looking through our closet one day, he found my obviously well-used hiking backpack and jumped around in expectant joy only to be told that "Oh that was from India, and the months I spent there pretty much met my quota of "outdoorsy" living, we will not be walking the Adirondack any time soon." His desperate pleas of "But look, I have one too!" and "Check out this tent, though, look we already have a tent!" and "But maybe the Northface stuff is on sale?" went unheeded. Puppy dogs eyes and long sighs notwithstanding, I can be pretty heartless when questions of peeing on trees and smelling like a campfire for days come into play.

And then, one day, for some reason not even I truly remember, I caved. I would allow one night in the outdoors. One. We would go someplace pretty with a legitimate campsite (with modern toilets!) and I would consent to sleep there ONE night. Then we would come home and I would fumigate us both to within an inch of our lives. Before I knew it we were getting daily packages from Amazon with random camping equipment that he was absolutely sure we would need. Matching mess kits, thermal sleeping bags, cooking gear, knife sets, fire-starter kits. Eventually I had to forcibly remind him that we are going to a campsite for an overnight, NOT scaling Mt. Everest.

The camping itself went just as you would expect it to go. In fact, the following conversation pretty much sums up the first day of our stay:

Me (standing in the middle of the campsite, trying not to touch any plants at all and staring at the "Beware of Bears" guidelines in horror): WHY are we here? What is it about this camping crap you like, again?

Him (artistically stacking the fire wood in the pit): I don't know, I guess I just like...roughing it.

Me: Roughing it? ROUGHING IT? We are ten feet from our car with a bag full of hotdogs and marshmallows and there are flush toilets within easy walking distance. This is not roughing it. This is the equivalent of staying in a cheep hotel where the other guests pee on the walls before leaving!

Him: So...lunch then?

But anyway, some photos:
This deer was equally unimpressed with the accommodations. And then he started chewing on them. Also, why was he so close to our campsite? Does he not understand common rules of privacy? Rude.

This trail looks innocent and such, but then it's all "Here, let me give you a giant snake right were you were about to put your foot. You're welcome." Rude.

See Mr. Awesome. See Mr. Awesome roughing it. Rough it, Mr. Awesome. Rough it.

Did you know, if you stand in front of a waterfall and close your eyes and focus really hard, you can almost imagine yourself at home taking a hot shower? True story.

Later I climbed up the rocks next to this waterfall and sat there pondering the cruelties of life that had brought me to this dirty, damp, probably tick infested point in my life.

Would you believe me if I told you I also climbed this waterfall? No? Rude.

In all honesty, it was kind of gorgeous and peaceful and heavenly and not at all as horrible as I'm making it out to be.