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August 31, 2010

oooohhh...funny

Saw this on the Huffington Post. I'm so glad for things like funnyordie.com

Enjoy!

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/3a0115c21c/betwixt-the-music-jewel-sarah-palin

August 30, 2010

What I see on my way to work

As many of you know, I drive 2 hours everyday. One hour to work, one hour to home.

As you can imagine, I see a lot of funny/interesting/weird/thought provoking/scary things:

Here's what I saw last week:

Because I drive so early, I do get to see the beginning of the day. It's very quiet on the island, and if I look to the right at the right moment, I can see the ocean. This is not terrible.
This also makes the winter easier. I actually get to see the sun break the horizon and it is beautiful. More pictures of that to come when it's winter and I'm in a terrible mood all the time.


[caption id="attachment_167" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="marines"][/caption]


I have been a pacifist for my entire life, but for some reason, I keep on having to interact with the armed forces. About 90% of the work we do at the firm I work for is military work. So, I've had to interact with military and civilians in ways that I never thought I would. I have been able to put a face to the nameless faceless soldiers that I had all these preconceived notions about. I have been in barracks and super secret facilities and the Naval hospital. I have learned that marines are still people with hearts and hands like anyone else. Some of them are my friends. And because of where I live, I will see things like this periodically on the road. Now instead of seeing the tank, war and destruction....I see the people, and I wonder about their stories. Who knows what they're doing today, but I hope they have a good, safe one.

August 27, 2010

this is fantastic

Here it is...and it is fantastic.  I believe it is  Cirque de Soliele performance.

Glad I'll be taking a ballet class again this year...though, I'll never be doing this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcgg6YLVj28&feature=player_embedded

August 25, 2010

Cu-ti-pi onesie

Our friends are having a baby! And I have to say that they are super hip.

So, they deserved some super hip gifts.

We tried, and here’s what we came up with.

1. Goodnight Moon.



I don’t care how hip or square you are, everyone loves this book. The hubs and I feel that even though the baby doesn’t see or understand really anything at first, it’s worth having a good book with which to start the children’s library.


2. A boppy cover.



It was something they registered for, and it was super cute. Safari animals! Why didn’t I invent a U-shaped pillow and charge $40 for it? Genius.

3. The coolest book I've ever seen! It's called Alternative ABCs and I saw it on Designmom. F is for Flames, L is for Lowrider, G is for Graffiti. Good times.




4. Two REALLY cute onesies.





That’s right internet. These onesies are the cutest things I’ve ever seen. We don’t have human children yet and I was amazed every time I looked at the onesie at how small it was. How can a human be that small? My sister-in-law usually makes my gift onesies, BUT she just had a 4th, that’s right #4, wee one herself, so I really didn’t want to ask. So, I whipped up (ok, it took me a little while) these precious little onesies.

This one is of the record companies that the dad and all his friends love. Merge records is a Chapel Hill, NC record company that produces such bands as Superchunk, Portastatic, Spoon, and the recently most successful The Arcade Fire.



This one is supposed to look like a record. The baby’s last name will be Mize, so the “M” is like he has his own record. Not sure how well it came out, but after I explained it, the parents understood.



All in all, a successful baby shower…AND I learned that I could make onesies.

August 24, 2010

Book Review - A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick



I would recommend reading this when it’s hot. Like, when it’s so hot and humid, you can’t go outside. When it feels heavy and it kind of hurts to breath. Only read this book in the summer.

I say that because this book is freezing. It is set, for the most part, in rural Wisconsin, in the winter, in the early 1900s. Being from the South, I really can’t say what that actually feels like, but if the book’s description is remotely true, it sounds terrible. Cold, darkness, unhappiness, fear, lots and lots of snow, more cold, more darkness. People do bad things to each other when it’s cold and dark. It feels hopeless and in ways, that’s what this book was, a hopelessly sad story.

The story consists of three main characters: Ralph Truitt, the purchaser; Catherine Land, the mail-order bride; and Anthony Moretti, Truitt’s estranged son. Goolrick does a good job of fooling the reader. Each character is not quite what he or she seems to be. Each has his or her own motivations, his or her own secret history, his or her idea of what should be. You must keep reading to the end and DO NOT CHEAT. I don’t like end of book reader cheaters.

Books about history, especially about women in history, are always so interesting to me. I love to see how women attempted to make a future for themselves; how it wasn’t as easy as getting a stand-up job and working your way up the ladder. For the most part, women had to marry someone with money in order to sell themselves in ways that are unimaginable. Well, white women, I guess. I never want to ignore the fact that when it is said, “women couldn’t work until….” Whenever I say that, I realize I’m talking about white women. Women who would marry men that worked and could provide for them. Minority women did work and have worked and have made our society go round and round while a lot of the white women didn’t. They did the dirty, unsafe jobs. Not to go too far off on a tangent, I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t making some blanket statement that wasn’t completely true.

Past the plot, there is the prose. The writing made me feel cold. The words were desolate, stark. They made you feel like that winter in Wisconsin. The Reliable Wife is beautifully written, even if it chills to the bone. Even in the winter, Goolrick keeps the reader interested and guessing. Give it a shot, but only on a sweltering August day.

August 22, 2010

Ocracoke!

[caption id="attachment_80" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="NC Hwy 12...looks like it goes off into no where"][/caption]

…one of my very favorite places on earth. The hubs and I went for a mid-summer’s mini-vacation a few weeks ago. It was fantabulous.

Ocracoke Island and village is one of those secret places that you want to tell everyone about, but at the same time, you want to tell no one. It’s got a permanent, year-round population of about 750, though it can spike up to about 5000 during the summer. Small, I know, but absolutely amazing. It’s been in the top 10 beaches of the US more times than I can count. Here are some highlights:

[caption id="attachment_81" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="Hwy 12, again. May be my favorite highway"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_85" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="the window in our room"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_86" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="the surf report for the day in the local coffee shop"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_88" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="the weirdest/coolest ducks? i've ever seen"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_90" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="mmm....coffee"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_87" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="the best place in ocracoke to eat...the flying mellon cafe. I had the crab cakes. the hubby had the veggie ravioli..mmm...mmm...delicious"][/caption]



We also took the ferry over to Hatteras to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. This place was really awesome. They have a real fresnel lens that used to be used in the Hatteras Lighthouse. So cool!

[caption id="attachment_84" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="part of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_95" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="here it is..."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_98" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="the fresnel"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_97" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="the lens"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_96" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="the fresnel lens"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_103" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="the pirate exhibit. why are pirates so interesting? "][/caption]

August 19, 2010

BURNED!



Don’t you remember the days when you were young…back in the day…a Wednesday…it was summer, and beautiful, and the best thing you could think of to do was to play outside all day long? Whether it was at the pool, riding bikes with neighborhood friends, or just playing outside, I could stay outside for hours, no matter how hot it was. Of course, I would pay for it. I would get sunburned, but even back then it was worth it. As a child, I never cared about sunscreen or skin cancer or any of those adult things. Of course, my mother would remind me to put on sunscreen every hour and give me “the look” when I came home burnt. But it wouldn’t do any good. I would run outside and stay and suffer the consequences later.

As an adult I’ve gotten much better. I wear sunscreen and hats and sunglasses that have UV protection. I am very fair skinned, so I don’t have the advantage of actual tanning, the sun kisses my skin in spots that look much more like freckles than a beautiful beach baby tan.
I thought I had grown out of the phase of not caring about my skin. Well…I was wrong.

[caption id="attachment_53" align="alignnone" width="112" caption="ouch!"][/caption]


I can’t tell you how wrong I was. The other day, my husband and I went to the pool to relax. I had just taken one of my architecture tests (more about that later) and I wanted to swim laps to train for the triathlon I’m competing in in September (also, later). I swam laps about 30 minutes and once finished, got out to dry in the sun and read my book (The Reliable Wife, more on that later). We were out there for no more than 45 minutes and THIS is what happened.

I love shopping for sunscreen. After realizing that sunscreen goes bad in a year, I decided it was a waste to buy the super cheap gallon of sunscreen that wouldn’t work next year (unfortunately, I’ve had the experience of using it and ending up like I did the other day…like I hadn’t put on any sunscreen at all). So I get nice sunscreen. It’s biodegradable…good for me…good for the environment. Especially all the fishes in the ocean. I just didn’t put it on, like an idiot. And now, I’m suffering.

But that does bring me to this post, which is going to be about sunscreen. I know we all know how important sunscreen is, so I’m not going to lecture on that point. Something I have recently learned about some sunscreens is that they can protect our skin, but be dangerous to the rest of us.

Sunscreen can have chemicals that can affect all types of systems in our bodies, including our largest organ, our skin.

Check out the website for the Environmental Working Group. They have done serious testing and research, and do not seem to be sponsored by a particular brand. This website helped me weed through all the claims. Turns out, the FDA does not regulate sunscreen like a lot of other things we put on our skin! Hard to believe, but true. I ended up going with Caribbean Solutions.

You can find it here.



It’s a natural, biodegradable sunscreen that has very low occurrences of side effects. The best part about this site is that you can search the sunscreen you usually use and see how safe it is. Thanks Environmental Working Group. We appreciate your service!

Don't worry, I didn't get paid to say that. I actually really appreciate their website. And boy do I appreciate sunscreen.

There's a line in a Portastatic song "Hey Salty" (which also happens to be our wedding song) that says,
"Your cheeks are burned / Don't you ever learn?"

Nope. Of course, I'll take heed for a while...until next summer.

August 17, 2010

this is fantastic

Ya know when you have one of those days when you just need to laugh? Well, here's mine.

This was sent to me by one of my best friends, Amanda. Thanks! Really made me laugh and want to take over the world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2PM0om2El8

August 16, 2010

"reach up and grab your joy"

I do wish I had actually said this, but what’s even better is that it was said by my yoga teacher. In a lot of ways, it was better to hear it than to say it. It was the beginning of practice and as we reached up in Tadasana, Juli said, “Now, reach up and grab your joy!” What a wonderful thought. Tonight’s class was about expansion instead of contractions. Finding joy when we take a risk, when we reach a bit further. It seems that a lot of times, we only find joy when we try something new and succeed, or try something new and learn an incredibly important lesson. One we hope we’ll learn from and then make a new mistake instead of repeating the old one (even though I do believe in trying most things twice…it could have been a bad day, or you were in a bad mood, who knows, but it’s always worth a second look whatever it is). This is the story of all the things I try. I try a lot of things. I’m a lady who sees something and says, “Hey, I could make that.” I’m going to shine some light on these adventures and hopefully be entertainment while you’re sitting at work, or home, or on the bus, or on the train, and need some inspiration.

Book Review - The Postmistress by Sarah Blake



The first thing that struck me about this book was how detailed and graphic the description of London and Europe in World War II.  I was born in 1983, so I’ve never had the experience of living in a country where war has caused an entire population to change habits and lifestyle.  I am unfamiliar of a time when the government forces you to ration and hold back for the greater good.  This book encapsulates all the senses of what it was like to be alive during a war.  That part is amazing.

The book follows three female characters simultaneously during the Blitz and right after the US was attacked at Pearl Harbor, but before the US had actually gotten involved.  There is a postmistress (hence the name) who has just been transferred to a new post in Massachusetts, an American radio reporter who has come to London, a young woman, recently married, living in MA, as well as a slew of minor characters that really give richness and depth to the story, including Edward R. Murrow and some nameless, faceless travelers that could encapsulate the feeling of WWII.

The first three-quarters of the book are fantastic.  The author takes you into a world that is scary and real, and even scarier because at one point because it was a reality for millions of people.

The American reporter in Europe, Frankie Bard, has, in my opinion, the most interesting story.  She eventually travels on the trains throughout Europe and begins to glimpse what Hitler is actually doing to the Jews.

The young, newly married, woman, Emma, in the States sees the war from a completely different perspective.  She keeps seeing family and friends disappear to the war and watches people get more and more paranoid.

The postmistress, Iris, is the thread that stitches all the stories together, but she has a serious dilemma.  The reader grapples with this dilemma throughout the book.  How much power does a head of a post office have.  Though not legal, a postmaster or mistress has the power to control communication, especially during the war; when other forms of communication were severely limited.  The book discusses what a person can do with that power.

I can only endorse this book by 75%.  Unfortunately, the end falls apart.  It gets a bit talky and it feels like Blake loses her focus.  But for all the talkiness and the indirection at the end, this book is well worth reading, if only for the absolutely amazing prose describing the war.  This book has completely informed how I think about war, and that, in my opinion, is completely worth a read.