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Procrastination is an Art Best Left to the Professionals.

So I’ve been pretty negligent in my writing lately.

It’s not my fault, I swear.

First, there’s my job.  I don’t really want to talk about it.

Then, there’s this American duty called taxes.  Yes, they come every year.  No, it’s not a surprise.  The problem?  Justin and I are both procrastinators.  Two procrastinators in one household is worse than 2 Alphas in a  single pack.  Where 2 Alphas waste time arguing about whose way they’re going to do something, we waste time thinking about how we’re not going to do something.  Alphas will eventually finish the job when they determine who can yell the loudest or one knocks the other into a wall.  But 2 procrastinators?  We never get anything finished.

So last night, after I arrived home from work 3 hours late and was busy not packing for my trip, we realized.  Today is March 30th.  That means tomorrow is the 31st.  Of course, after that comes April, which means taxes are due in like 15 to 18 days.  I didn’t care enough to look it up.  And I’m going to be gone for like half of those.  So, yeah.  Maybe we should get on that.  Like… now.

Oh, and that trip?  That trip starts today.  Only I’m sitting here, typing to you, because my darling husband is off getting my oil changed — something I meant to do last week, I swear, but the days just kept happening one after the other and the change never occurred.

So I’ve spent the morning packing, and he’s prepping the Tracker for our imminently late departure.

And I’ll tell you what — packing for a trip up the coast is not an easy task.  Since I’m sure to face all types of weather scenarios as I head further north, I figured the best solution was to just throw all of my things into one giant suitcase.

Okay, not all of my things.  But quite a few.

I can do that because I’m driving, hence no exorbitant baggage fees.

Then, of course, there’s the travel outfit itself.  Since I rarely show you pictures of myself and I’m antsy waiting to go:

Yep, that is one classy lady.  Shorts and a baggy sweater.  Why this particular look?  Well, I personally think shorts are more comfortable for driving than jeans, and I don’t wear pajama pants in public.  The sweater is to keep off the chill since it’s raining right now, but I’m wearing a tank top underneath in case it gets stuffy in the car.

Loose clothes are key when it comes to road trips.  That way, when my inevitable fast food pooch spills over my waistline as I sit for an extended period, I won’t have to look at it.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes that’s still our guest room.

Yes, it’s been probably 2 months since we started on the master bedroom.

Yes, it’s still a mess.

And yes, that’s a pile of dirty laundry behind me.

So get off my back, would you?


Don’t you know that I’m too busy doing important things like throwing clothes into a bag and taking photos of myself in the mirror to do housework?  I mean, just look at the title of this blog.  If that’s not an excuse, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, I’m officially late for my self-imposed departure time.  It’s really not surprising, and fortunately for me, my friends are kind of awesome because they know me.  If I were to actually be on time, the world might implode.

So really, I’m doing this for you.

By the way, of course I haven’t looked up things for us to do/see during our one day in NYC.  We have reservations to see Ground Zero — can any of you locals or near-NYC-ers tell me what else we should hit that’s nearby?  I think I’d probably enjoy some of the more artsy areas.  And both of us would enjoy anything involving food.  And it should be young-teen friendly because my aunt, uncle, and cousins-in-law will be along for the ride.  Actually it’s probably the other way around.  But you get the gist.  Ideas?

How about you? Any big weekend plans?

My Mind is Like… the Most Intricate LEGO Set Ever Designed.

Michael Wurm, who has an inspiring blog and is apparently one of the most followed people on Pinterest, posted something yesterday that made me feel better about myself.

literally, for like an entire second, I felt better about myself.

It’s a quote by someone named Rae Smith that says:

Never be afraid to fall apart, because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along.

I feel like that’s me right now.

Or me for the past couple of years.

This thing — this thing that I’m doing/going through/putting the people I love through is a process.  First, we had the falling apart.  The realization that I wasn’t living my life the way I wanted to live it, and so I started taking the steps necessary to change.  I may have stumbled here and there, but for the most part, I feel like the changes were a step in the right direction.

No matter how crazy others thought I was.

No matter how crazy I sometimes think I was.  Because I have to remember that sometimes I would leave my cubicle, close myself into a bathroom stall, and sit there for 20 minutes to contemplate the meaning of my job.  My life.

Sometimes I would cry.  At work.  In a bathroom stall.

So when I think about how I miss the paycheck and my way-above-averagely-awesome co-workers, I have to remember the bathroom.

I have to remember the bathroom and the sense that if I stayed in that place (the job, not the bathroom) much longer, I might quite literally lose my mind.

Second, we have the rebuilding.  As with any major construction project, the process is a bit slower than I’d like, I’ll admit.  And some of the pieces keep falling off, which indicates that it may be time to invest in some better glue.

So when I find myself falling into the rut of my new job (new? I’ve been there since August), I have to remind myself of what it is that I’m really after and how this job can help get me there.  It’s home photography practice.  It’s writing practice and people skills.  It’s a portfolio-builder in many ways, and while there isn’t a lot of extra floating around, it helps pay the bills.

Photo I took for a house flyer.

It’s flexible, and for the most part, allows me time to work on other things.

I just need to force myself to do it.

By the way, I made it to the finals in a writing/photo contest to win a trip to India.  I believe that winners will be announced later this week.  And while I realistically understand that the guy who’s made it to the finals 4 times as opposed to my 1 time has a better shot, I’d like to keep it positive up in this mind.  You know… better glue.

Dinner for One: The Microwave is my Friend.


I’ll admit it.

I misled you.

I don’t cook myself an extravagant meal every night to enjoy with a glass of vino on the back deck while Justin’s away.  I don’t even always go so far as to construct an elaborate sandwich or a box of Mac ‘n Cheese.

Sometimes, simple really is best.

Whole wheat crackers with sliced, spiced Havarti cheese, an artichoke microwaved (yes, microwaved) and served with basil mayo, and shortbread cookies topped with salted chocolate.

Of course, I ate it on the back deck with a glass of wine.

Some things don’t change.

For Artichoke:

1. Lop off the top with a sharp knife, then cut away the remaining leaf tips with a pair of kitchen shears.  Cut off the bottom of the stem, leaving an inch or so — I left a little much.  The stem is an extension of the heart, so don’t toss it.  Rinse it well, and don’t drain.

2. Place it in a microwave-safe dish with a couple of tablespoons of water.  Cover tightly with a glass lid or plastic wrap.  Microwave on high for approximately 7 minutes.  A knife inserted near the base will slide right in — like buttah — when it’s done.

3. Remove with tongs and let it cool slightly.  Peel off a leaf, dip in some mayo mixed with a bit of lemon juice and fresh basil, and scrape the meat from the leaf with your teeth.  Discard the leaf.

4. When you get down to the heart, pull away the remaining tiny leaves and cut off the hair.  Yes, hair.  Slice the heart into bite-sized pieces so you can savor every bit.

5. Sip wine.  Relax.  Everything will be okay.


If Life is a Contest to See Who’s The Most Pamperedest Chef, You Win. I Give.

What is it about getting older that makes us feel like we need to slap a theme on something in order to make it fun?

Take, for example, renovated house reveal party my bosses are planning.  It can’t just be a classy affair with an amuse bouche or two, some tapas, and a cocktail bar — it has to have a theme. “Sangrias at Sunset” sounds simple enough, but in reality it requires coordinating the food, music, and even colors to make everything fit a predetermined Spanish vibe, even though nothing about this home in a historic downtown Fayetteville neighborhood has anything to do with Spain.

It’s undue stress, I tell you, and if they’re not careful, the end result will likely be some mishmashed medley of weak catered sangria with cheap wine, bright garish table cloths, and streaming mariachi music.

The house will be beautiful, but I wonder if anyone will see it.

Themes can be fun when they’re original, like the “Ugly Sweater Parties” from a decade ago.  But did anyone notice the mass surge of ugly sweater parties during this past holiday season?  It became the it thing to do, and suddenly the act of hunting down an ugly sweater became a chore — it no longer entailed a quick trip to the Goodwill, but an all-out hunt for the best worst sweater in town, sometimes requiring the payment of retail prices in department stores which were stocked with colorful Santa and reindeer knits designed specifically, it seemed, for parties honoring the art of the ugly sweater.

It seems like all adult social parties, once we reach a certain age, have to be designed around a theme.  Especially the social parties exclusively for women.

What is it about turning the big THREE-OH that apparently makes us lose our ability to gather with a group of women to enjoy some good drinks, sincere laughs, and stimulating conversation without the crutch of a theme?

Or worse, without guilting each other into buying something?

Every single women-only event I’ve been invited to since turning 29, with the exception of the book club and a much-loved “girls’ night out” or two with former colleagues, has been a ruse to get me to buy something I neither want nor need.  From jewelry to bags to kitchen gadgets to chip dips, my social world has turned into a support network for home-based pyramid schemes businesses.  I can no longer go to my local wine shop without feeling a twinge of guilt for not purchasing bottles from someone with a home-based wine selling business.  I can’t make my own fresh ingredient soup without thinking about the just-add-water bag of powder still sitting in the back of my drawer.  I can’t comparison shop for health products.  Test my own makeup.  Buy my own non-fugly patterned lunch bags.  I can’t even purchase inexpensive Wal-Mart brand room fresheners because they might soil the specialized plug-in warmers that cost me a 2-week grocery budget and a contract for my first-born child.

I don’t mind supporting my friends, but when I’m guilted into attending these “parties” where I’m forced to fake enthusiasm for a collapsible polka-dot thermal picnic cooler and spend $50 on powdered drink mixes that will be doomed to take up back-of-pantry real estate until we move, I’m not gonna lie — I find myself wondering how much Im supposed to spend in order to qualify my friendship.

I say this not to insult those who earn a living supporting these companies or those who genuinely enjoy the products and purchase on a regular basis.

I say this because I’m concerned about the fact that these are the only gatherings that seem to exist after a certain age — these, and baby showers.  And I’m sorry, but unless they involve Kahlua and stroller races, I’m really not going to get excited about them.

Why can we not get together simply for the sake of getting together?  Why can we not gather at a friend’s home and cook a collective meal?  Talk about the books we’ve read?  Watch the latest Nicholas Sparks film and outwardly ridicule the main characters while secretly wishing we were them?

Why does there always have to be a premise?

The next time you attend one of these themed gatherings, ask yourself if you’re having fun.

And if you think that you are, ask yourself if you really are, or if you’re just faking it.

Because there’s something that happens as we get older and more domestic.  Something bad.

Somehow somewhere along the line, we start telling ourselves that it’s okay to fake it.

That fun isn’t fun unless it’s forced.

That we can’t really laugh, because our laugh is too loud.

Our jokes are too crude.

And our meatballs must suck because there are still some left on the tray.

We leave feeling inadequate.  Ridiculed.  Or the coolest member of a club we never wanted to join.

And when I think about it, I realize that I have no energy for pretense.  There are too many fun things to do.  Fantastic people to meet.  Wonders to experience.

So maybe it’s the domestiphobe in me, but I really don’t think I want to do this anymore.  This faking it thing.

So I think that I’ll stop.

Because really, if my laugh is too loud, then I’ll stop getting invited.

And I’ll have more time for the people and things that make me laugh for real.

Everybody wins.

What about you? Think you have a little domestiphobia in you?

Dinner for One: Rustic Pasta Carbonara. And Did I Tell You I Had A Baby?

Last night I dreamt that I had a baby.

But the baby — and the having of it — wasn’t actually the main focus of the dream.

The main focus of the dream was how I kept forgetting that I had a baby.

Like… I would go to the grocery store to buy milk and bacon, apparently, and suddenly I would remember that I left the baby at home.  And did my dream self freak out about the fact that I’d forgotten my helpless baby and left it to fend for itself at home in the bassinet or whatever they call those frilly rocking things where babies sleep?


My dream self just said, damn… I forgot my baby and then continued comparing one brand of ultra thick-cut hickory smoked bacon to another brand of reduced-fat maple flavored.  And if you even have to guess which one my dream self picked, then you really don’t know me as well as I thought you did.

And then I dreamt about blogging.  I had all of these fantastic post ideas that of course my dream self neglected to write down for my awake self to remember because it’s apparently as equally negligent of its writing needs as I am.  Anyway.  As my dream self was typing out one such brilliant post, it dawned on me that I completely forgot to tell the readers that I’d had a baby.

It was such an insignificant part of my existence that it wasn’t even blog worthy.

So, somewhere in the middle of my post about people pods or my crappy taste in music or vaginas on my kindle or any other such nonsense, I typed something to the effect of, “Oh, yeah!  And I had a baby.  I can’t believe I forgot to tell you.  Oops.  So about this road trip…”

Tell me.

What does this mean?

Was it simply because my new co-worker brought her doe-eyed pudgesicle of a pants-pooper into the office and I went grocery shopping the other day?

Or could it be more?

Could my dream self actually be mocking me?

Does it know what a crappy parent I’d be and is attempting to prove it to me via segmented black and white subconscious thought streams?

I mean, really.  I know I would be a terrible parent.  I don’t need my self to tell me that.  Mockery from my own Id?

Kind of effed up.

It’s like my subconscious thinks I carelessly flit from one thing to the next with little regard for whatever I just left behind, no matter how profound it may be.

So about this bacon.

I did buy some, and so far I’ve put it to good use.  I would go so far as to say that bacon is probably a staple when cooking for one — it can be added to almost anything (salads, meats, fish, pastas, etc.) for an instant slap of delicious flavor.  Just don’t go overboard with it.

For my first meal as a pseudo-single person, table for one, I knew exactly what I wanted to make for dinner.

Pasta alla Carbonara.

Sounds fancy, right?

Well.  It’s not.  According to Wikipedia, it may have first been made as a “hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers.”  In the States, it’s sometimes referred to as “coal miners’ spaghetti.”  It’s a simple, rustic, back-to-basics pasta dish that takes all of 10-15 minutes to prepare.  The basic dish requires some type of pasta (usually spaghetti or fettuccini), some type of pork (bacon, pancetta, or the traditional guanciale), a hard cheese (like  Parmigiano-Reggiano), eggs, and black pepper.

That’s it!

Of course, the internet is full of variation recipes that call for different herbs, spices, and a slew of other veggies and accouterments, and of course over time I’ve developed my own bastardized version that I’m sharing here.  It’s a perfect “dinner for one” because you can add anything you want, and the amounts can be easily adjusted to make as little or as much as you’d like.  You really can’t mess it up.  The amounts below are guesstimates, and you likely will have leftovers.  If you don’t want leftovers, just cut it back!

  • 1/2-ish pound of dried pasta (I think I used a little less)
  • 2-3 slices of bacon
  • 1/3-ish cup of pasta water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3-ish cup of frozen corn
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1/4-ish cup of Parmesan cheese that you grate yourself, plus extra for garnish (I actually used a hard cheese called Grana Padano, which I had from another recipe, but good ol’ Parm will do the trick)
  • Black pepper to taste

1.  Boil a pot of salted water and add your pasta.  Cook until al dente.  In non-fancy terms, it shouldn’t be complete mush.

2.  Stick the raw bacon in a pan and turn the heat to medium-high.  My grocery store was out of the bacon I looooove to buy, Carolina Pride, which always cooks up deliciously even and perfect, so I was stuck with this:

This stuff, whatever it is, didn’t understand my style of set-it-and-forget-it cooking, so it decided to burn the second I walked away.

I’m pretty sure it’s the bacon’s fault — not mine.  I cooked some more and used the burnt stuff, too.

Hey.  Waste not, want not.

2.  While the bacon is cooking, separate your eggs.  It’s not as hard as it sounds.  Just crack the egg, split it in half, and let the yolk slide back and forth between the two shell halves while letting the white drip out.  Soon you should be left with just yolk!

Mix the yolks with a fork.

Steal some of your pasta water (1/4-1/3 of a cup) by dipping a measuring cup directly into the pot, and slowly add that to the egg while mixing with the fork.  This tempers the egg slowly so it doesn’t get all crazy cooked and coagulated.  You don’t want to end up with scrambled egg in your pasta.

Then grate some cheese into it and stir until it melts into the hot water/yolk mixture.

3.  Once the bacon is cooked, set it aside and add some minced garlic and corn to the hot bacon grease.

Stir around for just a couple of minutes until the corn is lightly cooked and the garlic is fragrant.  (This would be wonderful with fresh corn off the cob, but I use what I have.  And what I have is frozen corn.)

4.  Crumble the bacon, add it to the pan, and stir it around.

5.  Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the pan, stirring everything with tongs or a fork to cook and combine.

6.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yolk sauce.  It will cook slowly, without scrambling, and give your pasta a rich, slick flavor.  It’s incredible.

‘Scuse the intense blur, but you get the idea.

7.  Add plenty of black pepper, dish onto a plate or into a pasta bowl, and pour yourself a glass of wine.

Toast to taking the time to cook for yourself.  Be happy you’re treating yourself right, even when no one else is around to see it.

Sleep well, and dream about forgetting your baby.


We can’t all be perfect and sometimes the bacon does get burned.

Such is life.

Dinner for One: An Introduction

So I’m sitting here, staring at my grocery list.

It’s an extra challenging grocery list because I’m currently shopping for one.

When Justin leaves town (as he’s prone to do — gotta love that military), one of two things usually happens:  Either I become super motivated, finishing loads of house projects and writing assignments and exercising daily and cooking up all kinds of awesome and delicious girly dinners-for-one that I know Justin would probably not love if he were here, or… I become super un-motivated, letting personal and professional deadlines slide by unnoticed, cooking any convenience or comfort food I can think of including boxed macaroni and cheese, grilled mozzarella sandwiches, oven-broiled nachos, or basically anything with — you guessed it — cheese, and slovenly sitting in my own filth on the sofa watching the complete box set of Sex and the City (all six seasons) for the 27th time.

I never really know which Katie will appear until he’s gone, so there’s no way to properly prepare my pantry or agenda until it’s too late.

This time, we’ve been graced with the motivated Katie.  Today she’s already cleaned the kitchen, folded her laundry, taken the dogs on a 3 mile walk, finished 2 freelance assignments, edited photos she took for a friend and burned them to disk, and thought about doing her taxes.


I’m a procrastinator.

Some things will never change.

But now I’m stuck.

I’m looking at the grocery list I’ve begun for the week, and it doesn’t look very promising.

If that’s not the shopping list of a Domestiphobe, I’m not sure what is.

The bacon will likely be used in pasta carbonara, a recipe I love to make when it’s just me, a glass of wine, and a chick flick.

The milk is just in case I have a weak moment and turn to the mac ‘n cheese.

But other than that, I’m at a loss.

On the positive side, I can eat anything I want.  But on the negative side, I can eat anything I want.

There’s no one to look at me with judgmental eyes — eyes that say, “Are you sure you want to make that chocolate peanut butter cream pie and eat the entire thing yourself for dinner?” while glancing down at my waistline to see how close I am to busting a button, which has been known to happen.

Not that Justin would ever do that, if he knows what’s good for him.

And I’m pretty sure he does.

So.  While this bacon guacamole grilled cheese sandwich looks like it would be a suitable replacement orgasm-giver while he’s away, I probably should pace myself.

This gastrogasm recipe courtesy of Kevin from Closet Cooking.

But it looks so amazing.

It might even beat the aptly named Orgasm Panini from a post of yore.

I can’t stop thinking about it.

So… um… Kevin.  What are you doing later?  Want to come over and make me a sandwich?

A nice, hot, gooey sandwich?

No, really.  I just want the sandwich.

No funny business.

At least not until after you leave and I’m alone with my sandwich.

Okay.  So maybe I’ll indulge every now and then.  But I’m pretty sure indulgence is the key to happiness.

My point is that eating alone doesn’t always have to mean Easy Mac and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I’ve written about this before.

So I intend on sharing my personal indulgences as they come — simply to show you that the work I do for myself isn’t really work.  It’s a deserved reward after a stressful day.

And that makes aloneness a little less lonely.

I Wish the Internet Worked in Candlelight.

Yesterday and the night before, I had no internet.

I didn’t realize quite how much my world revolved around internet until I didn’t have it.

Kind of like when the electricity goes out for a couple of days, and you think it’ll be fine because you have plenty of leftovers you can just pop in the microwave for dinner, except oh yeah, the microwave doesn’t work and so all meals henceforth, including your morning toast, will need to be cooked on the grill out back.  And I don’t mind not having television (since we don’t even have cable anyway) so I’ll just read, except reading by candlelight is much more difficult and less romantic than expected, and so not worth the inevitable squinting headache at the end of the night.  And you can forget about hot showers because it’s electricity, my friends, that heats the water.

In Costa Rica we couldn’t even flush the toilets when the electricity went out, but somehow not being able to poop near common living areas during power outages there seemed a lot less inconvenient than not being able to make toast here.

It’s like that with the internet, too.  The internet is my baby.  It’s my connection from this secluded suburban pocket to the outside world.  It’s how I stream Dexter and Downton Abbey and The Bachelor.

It’s how I talk to you.

Anyway.  This is my long-winded way of telling you why I haven’t posted.

Well, if we’re going to be honest, the internet thing isn’t the only reason.

See, someone commented not too long ago that if I don’t have something worth writing about or can’t put together a coherent post, maybe I shouldn’t write.  Maybe I should wait longer between posts.  And I’ll admit that jarred me a little — I thought, maybe I shouldn’t just throw all of these inane thoughts out into the vastness of the internet where anyone can see.

But then I quickly remembered that thoughtfulness and coherency are not what this blog is about.

So.  Speedbump hurdled.  (Thanks for talking me through that one, Rhome410.)

The third reason is that my job — not career, but job — has suddenly become more stressful.

Despite the fact that my boss and I came to a mutual agreement that I would not be working full-time for him, I was shifted into the position of my other boss’s assistant, which is, I’m finding, pretty much a full-time job.


I think I’ve been manipulated.

Worse, I’ve been manipulated into a respect-less, opinion-less role of subhuman dignity, where apparently the idea is for me to work my ass off in order to make someone else look good and collect all of the money.


I don’t hate it.


The world of real estate is a pretty shallow, bitchy, self-righteous place full quirky and interesting characters.  From the extreme end of clients who think that in hiring a realtor they’ve invested in some form of legalized slave labor, to the extreme end of agents who think selling real estate is akin to saving the manatees and all the rest of you would-be manatee savers better back the f*ck off because I’m the only person allowed to save manatees in this town — ME, my days are filled with interesting sociological observations of the extremes and the dawning realization that no one, no matter how old, experienced, wealthy, or intelligent, really knows what he or she is doing.

My job is anything but mundane.

And that’s what makes it work for me.

There are some atrocities, however, that I find difficult to move past.

Take, for example, a would-be client who currently can’t get approved for a mortgage.  Is it because he has questionable history, late payments, bankruptcy, or any other blemish on his credit report?


It’s because he has no credit report.

The bank will not give him a loan because he has no debt.  He’s financially responsible.  He pays for everything with cash, therefore ensuring that he never buys more than he can afford.

In other words, because he doesn’t owe the bank any money, they won’t loan him any money.

And this is exactly the kind of thing that makes me want to experience other countries.

Even if I’m not allowed poop during thunderstorms.

Look for the House with the Swans. No, Really. You Can’t Miss It.

I’ve been busy.

I’m not gonna lie.

And it’s been great.

From juggling 3 jobs while a co-worker was out last week (I normally only juggle 2), to the usual freelance asides, to painting-yet-not-quite-finishing my bedroom furniture, to photographing a friend with her husband who’s deploying to Afghanistan, to trying to get out and enjoy this heavenly weather as much as possible, the last fifteen-or-so days have been a blur.

The blog has been suffering, for sure, but I figure I need to use this concentrated juice-like momentum to propel other aspects of my life — like expanding my freelance repertoire, working towards moving out of the guest room, and actually doing some of the crazy things I pin on Pinterest.  (Besides just making the food.  Which I do.  A lot.  Bacon guacamole grilled cheese sandwich, anyone?)

The good news, however, is I do have some exciting things planned for this little place in space.  Like telling you about my road trip, which is coming up quicker than expected.  And sharing more recipes, now that it’s light enough to actually decently photograph them in the evening.  And sharing a DIY chalk paint tutorial (previews on the Facebook page) for finishing your furniture.  And yes, I know there are a gagillion of those out there, but this one will be mine.

And you ain’t heard nothin’ until you’ve heard a domestiphobe’s take on a project.

Because we speak the truth.

The straight-up vanilla, ugly, acne-riddled truth.

Forget cost breakdowns and what kind of paintbrush I used — I’m going to share that and then some.  From what kind of beer provides the best hydration for the duration of the project to how many laptop streaming movies it actually took to complete, you’ll get all of the gritty, must-know details.

Mama knows what you really care about.

And now I’d like to take a moment to share something rather extraordinary.

I passed it on my way to a house I needed to photograph for work last week, and it spoke to me.

It said, you have to slow down, ogle, and snap a photo with your trusty iPhone, all while avoiding getting shot by the neighbors.  Because this IS the South.  So watch your back.


Are you ready?

Here goes.

No, this is not some foolish app of iPhone trickery.

Nor do your eyes deceive you.

This IS a house bedazzled, if you will, with plastic swans.

It’s like the owners stood in front of their nice-yet-plain-jane suburban facade and thought, You know?  Some stately white swans sitting atop those matching brick driveway pillars are just what we need to maximize curb appeal.  No, they wouldn’t be “too much.”  They’re white.  They match the siding.  They accent our entry.  And if we don’t do anything else to the yard — nothing whatsoever — it won’t matter because there will be swans.  It will be a revolution in outdoor decorating.  And all of our neighbors will be jealous of our originality.  Yep.  Forget landscaping — we have SWANS.

I think I might want some.

No longer would I have to explain to arriving guests that we’re the “white house with red shutters” or the “fifth house down on the left” or the “one with the leaning white mailbox and unkempt bushes.”


I’d just have to say, “Look for the house with the swans.  You can’t miss it.”

It would be awesome.

Hideously awesome.

Like guardians of the driveway, only much meaner than gargoyles.

I mean, have you seen swans in person?

They tried to attack my dog.

No joke.

So bad people would know to stay away from the house with the swans because swans are pretty much the nastiest, badassiest birds around.

Worse than Canadian Geese.

And I’m pretty sure my Home Owner’s Association would love them.

So.  When you start seeing the matching exterior white swan trend flying across the blogosphere, remember where you saw it first.

How to Win a Race Without Actually Running It.

1. Wear something comfortable.  Something like jeans and a t-shirt.  Something that says, I am not a runner.  I take myself too seriously.  I would rather sit on the sidewalk drinking beer while you fools go run like it’s fun or something.

2. Arrive at the square with enough arms and bags to carry all of your non-runner stuff (camera, purse, reading material, umbrella, water bottle, etc.) and all of your significant other’s runner stuff (water bottle, free t-shirt, wallet, car keys, etc.). Promptly lose significant other because you had to run back to the car to get more stuff (aka. your jacket because it’s cold and you, the smarter of the two, will not be running).

St. Patty's Day Race Raleigh

3. Find significant other standing in line to acquire his bib (that’s fancy runner talk for “numbers”).  Quickly become bored and wander off to see how many random strangers will let you take their photos.

I now own a piece of each of your souls. Mwahahahaha.

4. Realize how many people are there.  Start to experience a pang of anxiety.  Calm yourself by remembering that soon they will all be gone and you will be left relatively alone because, as one of the smartest people in Raleigh, you will not be running.  You will be free to breathe, holding nothing but 80 lbs. of crap.  And also, somehow, a glass of beer.

Will you all just GO already?  You’re drinking all of the beer.

5. Strategically position yourself in a place where you can get a good view of the lesser species — that running breed of human — as they leave your life forever.  Or at least the next 20-50 minutes.

Observe that the most hardcore competitive runners wear the most colorful footwear. Do you think that makes them faster, or is it simply so you can see something — a bright streak of color — as they zip by at lightening speed?

Some are clearly in it to win it. (Bright green shirt guy.)

Some wear looks of sheer determination. (Green tank top girl.)

Some are probably stoned out of their minds.


Some are… well.

I actually think he might be on to something here.  A kilt could provide excellent breathability.  Though he could’ve gone shorter.

This is NOT responsible running attire.

I sure hope he’s wearing a sports bra.

People who run with children are like extreme gluttons for punishment.

And also kind of badass.

It’s fun to embarrass your significant other by screaming and yelling like a crazed fan while snapping photos with paparazzi-like ferocity.

6. When they’re gone, find yourself the bar.

Order a Smithwick’s (but pronounce it Smiddicks, so you sound like you know what you’re talking about), sit on the sidewalk, and make friends with the other smart people who don’t run.

When the mob returns with the wet stench of sweat and pain unfit for human habitation, feel slightly superior in the fact that you’re still clean and happy as the last wash of Smithwick’s slides down your throat.

Totally, totally winning.

(For the record, I love runners.  They’re like the happiest people on earth, and the truth is I just like to be around them and try to absorb the endorphins via osmosis and beer.  Click here to see the last race I watched, and here for my friend Erin’s experience at the Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run)

I Will Be Spending the Day in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Please Do Not Disturb.

I miss the days of pretend.

When we could lose ourselves in a world of make-believe and it seemed so real.

Let’s try it.

Like… can we pretend that my post from yesterday made a modicum of sense?

Can we pretend that I actually planned where I was headed with that post and somehow managed to successfully tie my Sweeney Todd date story in with how people in a relationship can be different, but that’s okay, as long as you both respect those differences?

Can we pretend that I didn’t flee the house, 10 minutes late for work, knowing that I could have written that better if I’d actually left myself some time?

Can we pretend that I did go back and fix it, and that blemish that will likely exist on my blog until the very end of time (along with many, many others) is just an illusion brought on by lack of sleep or drinking 3 cups of coffee before we’ve had anything to eat?

And while we’re at it, can we pretend I’m still here:

Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain

Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain

Doing this:

Biking on Formentera

Biking is the best way to get yourself around this island. It’s mostly flat. Mostly. And for the parts that aren’t… well… exercise is good for you.

And eating this:

Formentera Breakfast Frittata

We rented a small apartment just a half-mile bike ride from a tiny grocery store. This breakfast “frittata” is my sister-in-law’s genius concoction of our leftover garlicy pasta noodles, eggs, and whatever else we had left in the fridge.

With these people:

So this is the not-flat part of Formentera. We were exhausted. But it was nothing that a can of Pringles and a spectacular cliff side view couldn’t fix.


I think, while assisting realtors in their extremely respected and important line of profession today, I’m going to be doing a lot of pretending.