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What? There was a Wedding?

This morning I was groggy.

My eyes were full of crusties, my hair resembled a bird’s nest, and my mouth tasted like socks — the stinky, cotton, gym kind — not the silky, expensive, suit kind.

Attractive, no?

It wasn’t until I managed to fumble my way to the kitchen, fix a pot of coffee, and pour the first, steamy sips down my parched throat that I actually managed to have a coherent thought.

And this is where I’ll admit — though definitely not for the first time — that I’m a bit of a freak.

My first thought of this April 29th morning was, I wonder what the weather is supposed to be like today.


I realize this makes me somewhat of an anomaly among 99.9% of the U.S. female population.  You see, not only was my first thought not, I can’t wait to turn on the t.v. so I can finally see Kate’s dress, or, Now that William’s no longer on the market, I’m going to have to cancel my plans of creating a “chance” meeting where we’ll fall madly in love and he’ll dump that British commoner for a real American princess and I’ll finally have my fairy tale just like Cinderella and OMG WHY, William?!  WHY?

Not even close.

In fact, I actually forgot the whole thing was supposed to happen last night.  I arrived home from work rather late, and didn’t get home until around the time when true fans of the royals were throwing back shots of espresso and sticking toothpicks under their eyelids.  I didn’t think to turn the television on then, either.  Instead, I caught up on some blog reading, wrote some ideas in my notebook, washed my face, crawled under the covers, fell into a coma, and apparently sucked on my feet all night.

I know.  How un-American of me to forget about a British royal wedding!

I really don’t even feel like a girl right now.

There must be something wrong with me.

It wasn’t until I turned on the television to catch the morning weather report and was instead accosted by replay after replay after replay of that dry, tight-lipped kiss (though I imagine they must have been pretty nervous with only like a billion people watching) on the balcony of Buckingham Palace (yes, I even had to Google where the kiss took place) when I realized I missed it.


For what it’s worth, yes, I do agree with the media that Kate’s dress was very pretty.  Yes, it definitely was a grand event.  Yes, I do hope they live happily ever after.

Now, can we get back to the actual news?

Well apparently the newlyweds haven’t revealed where they’re honeymooning yet.

So, no.  No we can’t.

On a less sardonic note, I have a busy weekend and week(s) ahead.  Another late night serving alcohol tonight, a day drinking wine tomorrow at a pottery festival in Sanford (I know, so delightfully “towny,” right?), a Saturday night free Everclear concert at the Dogwood Festival in Fayetteville (Jo Dee Messina is performing tonight for all you country fans), work again on Sunday, girlie party event on Monday, painting the living room and trim during the week, hopefully working on some more office projects, and overall getting ready for Justin’s upcoming college graduation and a visit from a dear friend (and fellow blogger), which I will tell you about soon.  Oh, and I’m also planning a baby shower and a trip to Spain.

I’m kind of exhausted just thinking about it.

But I have to admit that it’s nice to feel busy.

I should have a lot to post about in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

The Storm’s Movin’ In

Okay, so I’m trying really hard to not be that girl.

You know, that girl who freaks out when bad weather presents and I’m home alone with a couple of mutts and there’s no basement and I live behind a trailer park.

I’ve never been that girl before.  I mean, I’m a military spouse.  We’re built Ford tough.  And we’re used to being alone.  But those storms from a couple of weeks ago and then the ones that blew through Alabama last night and are currently swirling in the skies overhead kind of made me realize how much we’re all just sitting here all vulnerable and exposed like those little moles that pop out of the holes in that game at the fair and we’re just hoping we don’t get whacked on the head with a rubber mallet.

Or a tornado.

The tall, skinny pine trees in my back yard look like giant blades of grass blowing around in the wind.

There’s no rain, and that somehow makes it a little scarier.

We’ve been told the storms have weakened significantly since their run through Alabama, and we shouldn’t expect to see anything that we saw before.

But the thing is, before is still now.

I took these photos from a moving vehicle a couple of days ago:

Sanford Lowes

Yep, that’s our Lowe’s Home Improvement store.

Lowe’s again.

Huge trees just snapped.

This used to be a nice little neighborhood.


Nature is powerful and awesome.

And sometimes it wants to make sure we remember that.

The rain is here.

Something just hit my window.

I think I’ll go hide in the closet now.

Why don’t we have basements here??

I’m Pretty Sure I Was a Covert CIA Operative in Another Life

My first job with an actual paycheck was quite literally flipping burgers at an A&W Root Beer restaurant attached to a gas station when I was 15 years old.  I came home from my first 8-hour Saturday shift, forearm speckled pink and red from hot grill grease, the clanking sound the frozen burger patties made when I threw them down on the sizzling surface still ringing in my ears, my belly full of fries and my head full of pride because I’d gotten so good at something I’d known nothing about just 8 hours earlier.

It didn’t take me long, however, to learn that once the pride wears off, boredom sets in, and it’s time to move on to something new.  I’d mastered burger assembly, fryer operation, and simultaneously taking orders through the drive through headset while making a root beer float with one hand and counting change with the other.

I’d learned all I cared to know about the fast food industry, and the white-collared jobs of teenage corporate America beckoned with their shiny, manufactured name tags and morning staff meetings and profit charts.

Aside from the employee discount, my favorite part of working at Best Buy were the secret shopping trips I was assigned to take with some fellow employees to report on prices at a competing local company.  I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about that, but hey – this was 12 years ago – there  has to be a statute of limitations or something.  But if no one hears from me for a couple of days after I post this, you might want to contact the authorities.  Unless, of course, they’re in on it.


We’d forgo the pressed blue polos and khaki pants and don our “street clothes,” packing our tiny pens and notebooks and product “shopping” lists so we could record the numbers all stealth-like because I’m sure I looked like your average 16-year-old surround-sound shopper comparing prices and writing down SKU numbers.  We totally blended in.  Except for when we didn’t, and then store management promptly kicked us out.

Then we’d play some video games and eat at Burger King and head back to our store to regale our envious coworkers with our harrowing tale.

I was reminded of this blast from my teenage past yesterday when Don, an employee at the Fresh Market in Southern Pines, caught me taking photos inside the store with my camera phone.

The difference is that this much more technologically savvy time around, my intentions were pure.  I mean, if you were used to only shopping at… say… the Dollar Store and suddenly someone introduced you to the world of Wal-Mart, you’d want to commemorate the occasion, wouldn’t you? And since I recently told you about my frustrations with my nearby Food Lion grocery store, I knew I had to share the Fresh Market experience.

Hence the blurry camera phone pictures.

I mean… I couldn’t very well whip out my DSLR and tell the deli employees to smile.

I had to be sneaky, people.  Corporate espionage is serious business.

Plus, it was just more fun to do it this way.

Justin was off work yesterday, so we decided to head to the upscale Southern Pines area to hit up their Lowe’s (since ours was destroyed by a tornado) and grab a nice lunch.  We also thought we’d stop by this place called Fresh Market, about which our neighbor raves.

All I can say is, how have I lived a mere 45 minutes away from this gem for 4 years and never gone??

We were greeted by a diverse group of freakishly friendly employees.  Seriously.  If I’m not mistaken’, I’d say that they all actually liked their jobs.

The produce was amazing.  It all really did look fresh.  The variety was incredible.  I mean, I don’t actually have a need for baby summer squash, but I might have to find one now.

Because they have it.

Need a potato?  How about a yam?  What color would you like?  Because here they’re not just potatoes, people.  You have options.

Want to grind your own fresh coffee beans?  Be their guest.

And the meat?  Oh, god – the meat.  Remember when I went to Food Lion with the intention of buying brisket and all they had was this lousy tongue? I mean, it was value priced because it was about to expire. And no one likes expired tongue.

Well, the fresh meat selection at Fresh Market did not disappoint.  Gorgeously marbled steaks like the veins in Calacatta tiles, chicken with lovely, yellow fat, and a seafood selection that made me think we’d traveled east – not west – to get to the store.

And, while I didn’t see any tongues on display, I’m fairly certain that, had I asked, the friendly folk behind the counter would’ve gone to the back and produced a nice, gleaming, not-about-to-expire beef tongue just for me.

Unfortunately, Don caught me before I could snap blurry photos of the freshly baked bread, bulk candy and nuts, and superb deli area.  You see, he’d found my Achilles heel.  The wine.  And the quality of my covert ops quickly deteriorated as I was faced with an actual selection.

Don knew my weakness.  And instead of kicking me out of the store, he exploited it to his fullest extent, taking me on a tour through the bottles and valleys and vineyards, explaining the intricacies of the various types and tastes and prices, and imparting on me some actual knowledge that I’ve somehow managed to avoid during my past several years of avid wine consumption.

I’m not going to lie – a little part of me wanted to have Don’s babies.

I’m now fairly convinced that this is the only place around here where I’ll be buying wine from now on.

Except, of course, for emergency situations.

And any other time I want to drink wine without driving all the way to Southern Pines.

And while the prices for some things were definitely higher at Fresh Market, I’m willing to pay a bit more for quality, service, and – you guessed it – the ambiance of a place that smells like freshly brewed coffee and all natural peanut butter over baby vomit and stale cheese.

I’m basically a marketing director’s wet dream.

And tonight, while I sip a new kind of Don-recommended Cabernet from the Columbia Valley in Washington to go with my incredibly tender grilled fillet (a splurge, yes, but sometimes we need these things in our lives), I will somehow find a way to be okay with that.

Cat’s Out of the Bag

Not that the cat was ever in the bag to begin with.  Seriously?  That would just be cruel.  Who comes up with these things?

Okay, so sometimes I might chase my dogs around the house with the vacuum or try to trap them in the laundry basket.

But that’s not the same thing.  Because they know it’s all in fun.  I’m pretty sure.

Anyway.  For some reason, they’ve let me post another article to the site, Musings on Life and Love.

Even though I have no clue what I’m talking about.

Shhh.  I won’t tell if you won’t.

Go check it out!

Mad Housewife My Ass

I asked Justin the other day if he would buy me a bottle of wine (or six) when he stopped at the store to pick up stuff to make this.

So, imagine my surprise when I opened the refrigerator door to find this:

What.  The.  Hell.

He thought it was funny.

You know, because I kind of am a mad housewife.

For those of you who watch Sex and the City (the shows, not the crappy movies), remember when Charlotte’s husband got her a cutout of a cardboard baby as a “joke” when they found out she couldn’t have kids of her own?

Yeah.  It’s kind of like that.

I mean… I can’t imagine why he saw this and thought of me.

It’s not like there’s a resemblance.

*The best part is what the bottle says on the back: “Somewhere near the cool shadows of the laundry room.  Past the litter box and between the plastic yard toys.  This is your time.  Time to enjoy a moment to yourself.  A moment without the madness.  The dishes can wait.  Dinner be damned.”

YES!  Why make dinner when you can have WINE instead?

There are Many Things that I Would Like to Say to You

But I don’t know how…

Scratch that.

I do know how.  But that doesn’t make it any easier.  So I’m going to get straight to the point:

I broke up with my counselor yesterday.

I’d forgotten what that was like – to break up with someone.  To tell another person you’re pretty certain he or she no longer has a role in your life.  It feels pretty shitty.  But also pretty good.  Because, while I don’t want to hurt her personally, I know – in my guts – that this was the right move for me.

Of course I took the typical chicken route and did it via awkward voicemail.

I figured since we hadn’t slept together, I was still following acceptable breakup protocol.

And I might have called during a typical appointment time, so I knew she probably would not be able to answer the phone.  I know.  You’re thinking my cojones are like the size of bb pellets right now.  And you’re probably right.  Because instead of confessing the truth – confronting her with the real reason I wanted to break up – I left a rambling message something akin to, Umm.  I need to cancel my appointment for tomorrow.  I’m sorry for the short notice, but I think you said you need 24 hours, so hopefully this works.  Umm.  I think I’ve decided counseling just isn’t something I want to do right now.  Soo yeah.  Call me at this number if you have any questions.

Counseling just isn’t something I want to do right now?  That’s the reason I gave her?  I’ll admit that part of that excuse rings true, but that’s not even close to the real reason I’m certain our relationship won’t work.  And it’s not me – it’s most definitely her.

I knew it by the end of our second appointment.

I hadn’t really felt a “click” from the beginning, but considering I’d never seen a counselor before and wasn’t even sure if there was supposed to be a “click,” I wanted to stick it out and give her a chance.

But, like I said, by the end of date #2, I just knew.

At the risk of potentially alienating some of you lovely readers, I’m just going to go ahead and tell you something about me in case you haven’t already figured it out:  I’m not a particularly religious person.  I wasn’t raised that way, and no one since has been able to convince me that any particular religion is right for me.  Or just “right,” period.

I’m sorry if this upsets any of you, but trust me – people have tried to convince me to “join up” with certain religions.  Sometimes it feels like I’m being heavily recruited by several competing sororities and some are telling me, “Sign with us because we have the BEST social events,” or “Our philanthropy is TOP notch – we’ll spend your money wisely” or “WE have the nicest church, so you know God loves us best.”

And I’m sitting there thinking, really?  I consider myself a spiritual person.  And personally, I don’t feel the need to sign up for any particular dogma that (I feel) might keep me from growing and learning on my own.  And I love to learn from everybody.

I don’t think I’m better than anyone else based on my fluid, loose-leaf belief system.

I mean, that’s kind of the point.

So.  My intention here is not to open a discussion on religion.  It’s to give you a little background information so I can properly explain why I felt the need to break up with my counselor.

To my second appointment, I wore my distinctively gaudy and very noticeable Ganesh necklace, which represents a Hindu deity known for his ability to remove obstacles.  And I’m not gonna lie – I could use some obstacle removal in my life.  I mean – remember the old lady and the kittens?

Long story short, I expressed to her my interest in trying out some mind expansion exercises (aka. “meditation”), and she all but flipped her lid.

I’ll expand on this little pet project of mine at a later date, but all you need to know for right now is that I did not bring up the subject of religion, but had simply told her how elated I felt when I started reading this book about meditation that my friend in India sent me because, after reading only the first chapter, it finally – finally – felt like someone “got” me.

Someone understood my particular brand of “depression.”

Which is more than I could say for this counselor.

I could tell she was trying to remain professional, but she spent the next 20 minutes (cutting 10 minutes into her next appointment) delicately dancing around the subject of how meditation practices could be extremely dangerous because they could take me further away from THE God and let demons into my life and did I know that people in India worship cows, for crying out loud?

I looked down at my necklace and contemplated this predicament.  My counselor, whose job, I thought, it was to help guide me to my own conclusions about what’s best for me in life without giving any true opinions of her own, was flat-out telling me that a drug-free mind exercise I wanted to try was essentially evil and, even worse, she was essentially laughing at another culture – another belief system that while I certainly don’t practice, I definitely respect.

Like I said – I’m here to learn.  Not judge.

And clearly, she thought she was qualified to judge.  Either she noticed my necklace and is extremely insensitive, didn’t notice it and is extremely unobservant, or noticed it and didn’t know what it was, which pretty much makes her completely unqualified to comment at all.

So that’s that.

Irreconcilable differences.

I don’t judge her for her beliefs, but I certainly judge her for judging mine.

Or something like that.

I realize I probably should have told her the real reason I don’t want to see her again.  But honestly?  I think she knows.

She took it really well.  In fact, she called me back shortly after and left me a very kind, professional voicemail.  (I didn’t answer the phone because I was in the bathroom – not because I was avoiding her calls.  I think.)  To her credit, I’m pretty sure she knew this was coming.  Even though I hadn’t implied that the problem was her, she did leave me the names and numbers of 2 other women in her office with whom I might be more comfortable working.

Those were her words – more comfortable.

But the thing is, I’m not sure I’ll ever be “comfortable” spilling my guts in the office of a complete stranger.  If she doesn’t make the mistake of spewing her own religious beliefs on me, I might be sitting there wondering – Is she judging me?  Does she think I’m an idiot?  Am I a lost cause and she just gets me to come back every 2 weeks so she can bank off my insurance?

No.  I think, for the time being, I’d rather spill my guts here in my own office to a whole bunch of complete strangers.  Because “listening” and giving feedback is your choice – not your obligation.

This doesn’t mean I’m done with counseling for good.  But right now, I have one other avenue I’d like to pursue, just to see if it’s a better fit.

My sister’s roommate (hey, Teagan!) gave me a quote from Lady Gaga who, surprisingly, describes my current sentiments based on this last experience exactly:

“I’m terrified of therapy because I don’t want it to mess with my creativity.”


What she said.

Turns Out Turkey is Good for More than Just Thanksgiving…

I’m not gonna lie.

Those of you who know me and/or have been reading the blog for a good while (so you pretty much know me too), know that I like me some red meat.

Delicious baked pork loin topped with stuffing?

Yes, please.

Anything with sausage?

Don’t think you could stop me.

Grilled ranch beef burgers stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese?

Bet I can fit a whole one in my mouth.

Just kidding.


Pan fried steak sandwich with caramelized onions?

Steak Sandwich

I’m pretty sure I just jizzed in my pants.


Red meat most certainly doesn’t have to be a part of every main meal – in fact, meat in general doesn’t have to be a part of every main meal – but I do like it.  I don’t think I could ever voluntarily give it up entirely.

However, in the name of health, I occasionally substitute red meat – especially hamburger – for a leaner poultry like ground turkey or chicken.  Especially if it’s a meal that’s heavily seasoned with taco seasoning or a medley of ingredients like these Taco Rice Bowls of Deliciousness, I find I can get away with a non-beef substitute.

But turkey burgers?

No, thanks.

Every time I tried them, they turned out dry and tasteless.  SO not like a regular beef burger with a lovely pink center and juices that soak into the lightly toasted bun…

*Hang on, I need to wipe the drool off my keyboard.*

Until now, that is.

Friends, meet the Spinach Feta Turkey Burger.  I found the recipe on Eat, Live, Run, where Jenna, an extremely talented chef and recipe creator, shares her amazing food.

And I will tell you – these burgers really are ah-maz-ing.

I’m seriously so glad I decided to try them.

And they really only took about 20 minutes to make.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey (I used 1.25, since that’s what came in the package)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 5 oz. frozen spinach, defrosted (I used almost the whole box since I had more meat. This recipe is very forgiving.  I simply microwaved the spinach for a couple minutes after cutting a ventilation slit in the bag, and then squeezed out as much of the water as I could.)
  • 3/4 cups crumbled feta cheese (I used a whole cup)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • Buns (I toasted mine with butter on a griddle)
  • Garnish (All I used was a bit of mayo mixed with fresh basil and lemon juice, which is what I made as a dip for the sweet potato fries we had on the side.  Turns out it worked pretty well on the burgers!)
1.  Mix your ingredients together in a bowl.

2.  Use your hands to form the mixture into patties (I made 5 patties with 1.25 lbs of turkey). Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and cook the burgers for 6-8 minutes per side until the meat is cooked through (no longer pink).

*Make sure you don’t have your heat set too high.  Unlike beef burgers, turkey burgers need to be thoroughly cooked all the way through.  If the heat is too high, you’ll burn the outside of the burgers before the inside is fully cooked.  It might help to make them a little flatter than I made mine, but hey – I like to live on the edge.

That’s IT!

Stick ’em on a bun, and they’re ready to eat.  They’re absolutely delicious.

In fact, I might have to make one for myself tonight.

As usual, my photos of the finished product are awful.  I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.  Part of the problem is I ran out of decent light.  And I was in a hurry because I really wanted to eat my burger.  Is that a crime?

Didn’t think so.

Definitely check out Jenna’s fantastic site for even more enticing pictures.  And thanks, Jenna, for finally convincing me that turkey actually CAN make a delicious burger.

So Our Mail Lady Thinks We’re Cool

Guess what I did yesterday.

It’s something I despise but, much to my shock and dismay, is pretty much a must-do for homeowners.

That’s right – yard work.


We actually have quite a bit we “should” do in both the front and back yards to make this place more presentable for resale, but when I start to think about the stagnant pond we need to take out, the grass we need to plant, the holes we need to fill in, and the termite-infested garden bed we need to demolish, I find myself fighting the intense urge to crawl back under the covers and not emerge until September.

And, considering I love summer, that simply won’t do.


Baby steps.

Just like everything else.

Last weekend, Justin removed this random trellis sticking out into our back yard off the side of the house which the previous owners had stuck there to support the equally random rose bush vine thingy that’s full of thorns that will claw at you every time you enter the back yard through the fence gate or back garage door, which lie on either side of the trellis.  Oh, yeah – he took the rose bush out, too.

I didn’t cry.

Here’s a photo I snapped of the trellis on Closing Day*.  The owners must have installed it just before we moved in, because it took virtually no time for the thing to start warping and the paint to peel and virtually start looking like a big ol’ catastrophe:

The “bed” for the bush had been loosely lined with some leftover bricks they’d used for the back patio, so yesterday I dug those out and decided to beautify our mailbox.

I forgot to take a “before” photo, but the mailbox was basically a naked post surrounded by spiny weeds and gravely dirt and over all just looked unkempt.  We recently replaced the “box” part of the mailbox for around $11 because the old one was falling apart, but I wanted to use those leftover bricks and some cheap-o flowers we bought on our recent trip to Big Bloomers to finish the whole thing off.

Because – you know – making stuff look pretty is what we do in the ‘burbs.

Forgive the crazy lighting in these photos.  The sun this morning is already pretty intense.

Turns out this, like so many other projects I start, was a bit more difficult than I’d originally bargained.

For starters, the ground at the base of the mailbox was not level.  Not by a long shot.  So if I’d simply laid the bricks around it, there would’ve been several holes and it would have looked like a 2-year-old decided to stack some blocks around my mailbox and never put them away.

So, after hauling bricks from the back yard to the front, I dug.  I used a tiny little garden trowel and dug through rocky soil, roots, grubs, and spider carcases (I kid you not) to have a relatively flat surface on which to build my little brick wall.  I’d sufficiently basted my skin with a fine layer of sweat and a flour coating of dirt and grime by the time I finished what I thought would be a five-minute project.

Of course, it wasn’t until after I finished the project and wasn’t completely satisfied with the overall stability/levelness that my neighbor told me I should have used a rubber mallet to completely level the bottom layer.

Oh well – I’ll fix it when this one falls apart.

Overall, I’m still fairly happy with how it turned out:

It’s definitely not perfect, but neither are the bricks.  And for that matter, neither am I.

And any time my inner perfectionist is annoyed at the slight misalignment and unequal brick sizes, I’ll remind myself of one, indisputable fact that makes everything seem okay:

It’s just a mailbox.

*I just this minute realized that tomorrow (4/20, baby) is our 4 YEAR Anniversary of owning this house.  Holy crap, where does the time go?  I guess that trellis didn’t deteriorate as quickly as I’d thought…

Not-So-Sweet Dreams (and Flying Machines in Pieces On the Ground)

I have a recurring dream in which my teeth are falling out.

The dream offers no explanation – no background history of severe tooth decay, chronic tobacco chewing, gum cancer, or baseball bats to the kisser.

Just the horrible feeling of wiggling the tooth with my tongue, noticing the excess space in the sockets of my gums, and the slight pinch of pain as the roots detach themselves from the fertile gum soil – the sickening crunching sound of severed – what – nerves?  ligaments?  capillaries?  as I pinch my fingers over the bone and it breaks free with only the slightest expenditure of energy.

I take really good care of my teeth.  I floss every day.  I want these puppies to last, you know?

So when I dream about them falling out for no determinable reason?

It freaks me the fuck out.

Aside from the disturbingly vivid teeth dreams, my subconscious ramblings in the middle of the night rarely leave me with a waking feeling of unease, because, well, I rarely remember them at all.

I might recall an image here or a feeling there, but it’s uncommon that they’re realistic enough to leave any kind of lasting impression.

But, like I mentioned earlier today, this weekend was a doozie.

We had power outages, severe storms, and tornadoes ripping through our town (and in some cases our homes).  Walking through the ‘hood with my pups the next morning, I felt like the sole person to wake after the apocalypse – not a soul to be seen at 9:00 a.m. on a gorgeous Sunday morning because when people opened their eyes to the absence of ringing alarm clocks, whirring fans, morning television news casts, it’s like they decided the pain of it all was too much to bear and they’d best wait out the torment in bed.

I mean… there’d be no coffee.

I’ll admit that one had me down a little, too.

It felt like I was in a Stephen King novel when 2 guys came gunning down the deserted streets in their pickup truck, made an abrupt turnaround in a driveway ahead of me, stopped their vehicle in my path and proceeded to inform me of news from the outside world:

Yep, it would take at least 5-8 days to restore power to this part of town.

Yep, Fort Bragg is closed and they’re not letting any traffic through.

Yep, the Food Lion has a generator but they’re already completely out of nonperishable items, ice, AND BEER, so don’t even bother wasting your gas because the pumps aren’t working, either.

Yep, we most certainly are still drunk from last night.  I burned my hand while trying to start a fire – SEE? – but it’s no biggie because we won’t even be able to get out of this neighborhood for like a month.

I told them to be careful and sent them on their way.  I seriously would’ve been more worried if there’d been… you know… people around.

But they did come out eventually, blinking in the sun’s bright rays like bears after a long hibernation, the pallor stained by artificial lighting on their skin already fading with exposure to the outside world.  Soon, the sound of children laughing and playing in the streets and neighbors actually conversing was even stranger than the empty streets of 9:00 a.m.

There was no t.v.

There were no video games.

We cooked our breakfast outside on the grill, the sweat from my dog walking venture dripping down the small of my back, and everything tasted good.  Everything looked good.  Honestly?  Aside from the knowledge that others were suffering for the very same reasons, everything – to me – felt good.

The surrealness of it all was topped off when Justin woke me abruptly at 5:00 a.m. today to tell me he’d been called into work and was heading out.  Because he woke me in the thick of a dream, I was coherent enough to remember it in vivid detail – something that almost never happens – and I immediately wrote it down under the covers with a book light like I sometimes used to do with my journal when I was a kid.

This dream took up 3 pages in my journal, which really isn’t a journal but a notebook where I write down ideas when they pop into my head.  Mostly writing ideas and sometimes doodles.

I like to doodle.

Because I don’t have any other pictures in this post, here’s a doodle I did back when I had to take a really boring training class and I was losing my mind at my cubicle job:

So.  Now that I’ve wasted eight hundred billion words leading up to my dream, I’m just going to give you the gist – not the full 3-page version – of the dream I wrote about in my notebook:

Basically, I followed Erin – remember her? – into a pet shop in the mall of all places (Erin and I went thrift shopping together, by the way – never the mall), except the pet shop was mostly filled with childrens’ clothes.  But, below the hanging onesies and bib overalls and teeny wittle ruffled socks were these plexiglass bins filled with kittens.

I picked out a tiny little gray and black kitten to hold while I made my way back to what I really wanted to see, which were the puppies.  While I worked my way through the ridiculously crowded store, the kitten’s claws were digging into my skin as it crawled all over my sweater and bit my hands and chewed my ears and just became an all-around mildly painful nuisance.  I eventually put it on the floor, where it latched its uncannily strong feline jaws onto the strap of my flip-flop and let me drag it to the back of the store.

One of the store clerks, who was lazily lounging around on the floor, shot me a mildly irritated look when I arrived at the empty puppy bins, but I spotted my brother Joel, who is 11 years my senior (you’re welcome, Joel), happily playing with a puppy towards the back.  But before I could get to him or say anything, the clerk told me I had to put the kitten back where I’d found it.

I finally found the bin from where I’d grabbed the thing in the first place, my skin feeling severely scratched and threads on my sweater were coming loose, and I couldn’t put the kitten inside the bin because this lady – this crazy lady – had her papers scattered all over the lid!  She was a teacher or something, and while it wasn’t strange in the dream that a teacher should be going over her attendance sheets in a children’s clothing/pet store in the mall, I wonder now what exactly was in those Negra Modelos I’d so zealously consumed the day before.

In my haste to detach the kitten from my skin and put it back safely behind plexiglass where it belonged, I lifted the hinged lid before she’d removed the last of her papers, and an extremely important attendance sheet slid back behind the bin and onto a hard-to-reach space on the dirty floor.  I apologized profusely while a store clerk – one who was decidedly less lazy than the girl at the back of the store – used one of those schmancy reaching/gripping tools to fetch the paper and return it safely to its owner.

In my relief at the paper’s safe retrieval, I looked at the woman for the first time in the dream to offer her a smile and my sincere apology for almost losing one of her precious records.  And – I swear to God – she looked just like like the mom from the Goonies.

Whiskers and all.

She returned a heartless “thanks,” and just as I was turning to head back to the puppies, she made me turn back towards her with a cough.

Very seriously, very realistically, she said, “They give some women the death penalty for doing something like that, you know.”

And I did know.  In the dream, it made perfect, sickening sense.

It gets a little fuzzy after that.  I remember that I started to argue but she told me that it happened frequently in Iraq, and then I went off on some tangent about Big Brother and Russia and Communism and how people would never be motivated to perform well at work if they weren’t allowed to keep any of their hard-earned money, and then suddenly (except it seemed normal in the dream) I was alone in the food court, and Jimmie, a guy I work with at the bar, was behind the counter of one of the places but I couldn’t tell him about the crazy lady in the pet store because he was too busy to talk, and at the Asian place next door, someone was ordering a wheat wrap with asparagus, spinach, and broccoli (except they were out of broccoli which turned out to be okay with the girl who was ordering) and red beans.

I noticed the beans were very, very watery.

It mattered NOT that this was supposed to be an Asian food court restaurant.




I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, She didn’t shorten that dream AT ALL.

But I assure you, I did.


What the hell am I supposed to do with my life now?

Be wary of crazy old women sending me death threats?  Buy a kitten?  Order takeout?  Eat more broccoli?

Maybe – maybe – I should cut back on the weekend power outage binge drinking.  Or stop telling Justin it’s okay to wake me up when he has to leave in the middle of the night.

Because this – and the creepy, inky feeling that’s now sitting at the base of my spine – officially makes me realize that some things are simply not worth remembering.

We’re Definitely Not In Kansas Anymore.

What.  A.  Weekend.

It was a tough one – I’m not going to lie.

A tough-but-fun one filled with old friends visiting from out-of-town, drinking lots of beer, a 2-year-old’s birthday party, a 19 hour power outage, a power outage during a 2-year-old’s birthday party, drinking lots more beer because it’s good beer and it’s about to get warm and because you’re at a 2-year-old’s birthday party, and oh yeah – the power is out.

It was a little like this:

Yes, the mother of the 2-year-old could very well kill me for posting this photo.  But she doesn’t read this blog.  And if you do read this blog and you happen to know her, let’s just forget about this little incident and think of the greater good.  I think some people could really use some smiles today, you know?  Thank you for your cooperation.

But really, electricity or no, the party was a lot of fun.

As far as I’m concerned, any time cake and beer come together is a good time.

Little did we know, things like this were happening not too far away:

Lowe’s store in Sanford, NC. Photo by: Ted Richardson, Associated Press

This is definitely not Kansas.  It’s the Lowes where I shop regularly.  I pass it on my way to work.  Thanks to the store manager who ushered people to the back of the store, none of the 150-some employees and customers were injured while Nature, during her epic tantrum, hurled their cars like so many Hot Wheels at the front of the building.

I could go on.

A dear friend who lives very near the destruction said I should come document it with photos.  I was tempted.  Very tempted.  But the thing is, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I didn’t want to stand there and freeze a moment of someone’s devastation.  A stranger’s pain.  It could’ve been someone I serve at the bar.  Someone I get mad at for driving too slow.  They don’t need me there now.  At least not in that way.

I’m happy my friends are safe.

But I’m sad for the people who aren’t, because while I don’t know them, they could’ve been my friends at some point.  But now they won’t.  You know?

Also, I had a dream last night.  I wrote it down at 5:00 this morning because it was so vivid, and I didn’t want the fog of consciousness to later make it seem less significant than it did at 5:00 this morning.

It could just be that anything that happens at 5:00 in the morning seems significant.

I don’t know.

But I’m pretty sure I’m going to share it with you later today.  It was one of those dreams where people from different facets of my life appear in little cameos throughout.  It makes no sense now, but it made perfect sense in the dream.

Picture Dorothy waking up from the land of Oz, saying, “You were there.  And you!”

And that’s how this was.  All over the place.  A glimpse of what goes on inside my head.

Yet there seemed to be a point – one I can’t grasp.  There’s the very real possibility that sharing it might change how you think of me, but that’s a  risk I’m willing to take if someone could shed some light on what it actually means.

IF it means anything.

It could just mean I had too much beer and cake this weekend.

And you know what?

That’s probably it.