Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Best Wishes on Your Quest!!

We interrupt this Holding Pattern to bring you some news....

The Defunct Curator is on the move, heading north to Prepadelphia (although she would probably call it Philadelphia...)! I (Little Miss Can't Be Wrong) am filling in for our lovely D.C today while she begins her quest... a quest for employment in the greater Philadelphia area. 

She has some leads.  She has her brains.  She has her degrees.  She has a kick-ass meeting outfit (which I haven't yet seen, but am sure exists).  Now she just needs some support.  So, friends, let's all take a minute and think happy thoughts for the Defunct Curator (always, but especially these next few days!!).  

I'm also very very excited for this quest, selfishly, as this means I get to see my lovely Curator for the first time since her wedding in October!!

<center><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Photobucket" border="0" /></a></center>

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nostalgia: On Top of the World, Skye

March 25, 2010.

IMG_4943This photo shows yours truly, The Defunct Curator herself, on the highest point of Armadale, overlooking smaller islands and the Sound of Sleat. The hike over the peat was tricky, and we scared away a few king-of-the-mountain sheep. But the view was amazing, and so was sharing it with The Professor.

Today summed up the whole week. It was sort of a downer. I continue to be upset at not being hired. I continue to be discouraged and getting myself ready to give up and find a job in university city, any job and try to get back into my field eventually. I know I need to be staying positive. And most times I am. But right now, I’m not. So I’m looking at pretty pictures of the past, and hoping for the future.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nostalga: Wet and Rainy Skye

March 24, 2010

On this day, exactly one year ago, it rained, it poured. It rained the soaking-wet rain that enters your bones and makes you forget any memory of being warm and dry.

It was also a very fun day. Dressed as rain-resistant as possible, we (seemingly the only souls on this lightly inhabited peninsula on Skye) hiked around the Clan Donald lands, playing in the rain. There were some beautiful flowers and trees, like this one.

Side note: I understand this Nostalgia series does, in a way, act as a procrastination tool, delaying me updating about my life, or my holding pattern (which is more-so what my life is) or my failure to procure lasting employment. I am admitting this. I just really have no new news. Applications are out. Interviews are interviewed. Now I'm waiting, and continuing to apply. And that's all the updating I'm prepared for today.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nostalgia: Skye

March 23, 2010

Today is a two for one.

SAM_2041One: The view from our hostel. Hostel is a forgiving term. It was a building with four bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom with cold water. It was rustic, amusing, and amazingly empty. We saw the owner to pick up the key, and that was that.

IMG_4775Two: The view of our hostel, with mountains in the background.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nostalga: Inverness to Skye, 2010

March 22, 2010

Once again, it was painstakingly difficult to pick just one photo of this day. What to choose? Another photo of food, as we enjoyed a cream team in the covered market in Inverness? The view from our hostel window overlooking the River Ness and the Cathedral? A simple photo of Inverness, the tiny city with which I fell in love? Or it's poetry-strewn sidewalks, where poets' words are inscribed. One of the many churches we visited while doing a church tour of the town? Our packs, sitting side by side on the train, heading to the coast and to Skye? The many, many breathtaking photos of the train ride to Kyle of Lochalsh, one featuring a storm off in the distance over the sea? Followed by our eventual arrival on the Island of Skye.

No. I chose a photograph which I feel encompasses the exhaustion and excitement of backpacking through Scotland without a car, during the "winter" months when trasportation in the rual area is spotty if best.

Without a place to camp, as our contact fell through, we eventually found ourselves at the only hostel in Armadale, on Skye, and this is what we enjoyed as our reward. Freezedried food from France, and wine bought in desperation at the last grocery we would see for many days. Please note the hostel's choice of glassware. Also, we were the only ones there the entire week.

Here is what I wrote one year ago about this trip to Skye and our general bombardment of travel problems while packing through Scotland:

Before heading off on our big adventure up north we surprised many a native Briton by not renting a car in Scotland and instead depending on public transportation for not one, but two weeks. After returning, I understand their misgivings. Traveling around Scotland without a tiny, European rental car is challenging, and yet I personally would not have wanted it any other way. We would not have detoured and seen York station for the first time, glanced the eastern coastline amidst the northern sunset, or detoured once again through Glencoe and it’s beautiful mountain ranges.

With this being said I would advise those who tend to worry about punctuality and the smooth carrying out of pre-planned plans to please rent a car, especially if your trip falls in those disastrous days before British summer time in the abandoned north (although I cannot for the life of me discern the difference in seasons between March 25th and March 26th, the date of which spring is apparently completely skipped over to blistery “summer,” and now that I think of it, being currently in the throes of actual British summer, March 26th is not that much colder than June 19th for one vacationing once again in the north, but that’s another story.)

All in all, we boarded 7 trains, 6 busses, 2 boats, and one slightly dodgy taxi in order to complete our two week journey. Of our original travel itinerary, only two legs of the trip were accomplished as originally designed, the beautiful journey between the Isle of Skye and Fort William by way of a brisk ferry trip with a ride over the acclaimed stretch of track connecting Malliag to Fort William and a direct train trip from Stirling to Edinburgh. During our two weeks in Scotland we rode both scenic railway lines accessing the remote and mountainous west coast of Scotland. The first, connecting Malliag and Fort William, is part of the West Highland Line, famous not only for its unparalleled views but also for the Glenfinnan Viaduct, overlooking the Glenfinnan memorial and most recognizably used as the route to Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.
One very drunk, elderly man made part of our journey on this line equally unforgettable when he decided on a mostly empty train car to not only sit right next to us but to also engage us in a stream of dribble, the content of which is still debated today. I can say for certain he told the tale of being unfaithful to his wife, who, upon discovering this, would certainly sick their dogs on IMG_5008him. He also advised Kevin to keep me in line through the use of certain domestic violence. Both fortunately and unfortunately he detrained at Arisaig. Fortunately as it was the second call on the line, thus leaving us earlier rather than later. Unfortunate because as we pulled into Arisaig, a small village placed on the map by poet Alasdiar MacMhaighstir Alasdair (but most likely is now better known in the region due to its having a railway stop and a Spar), I found it to be the most agreeable small village, lost to the beauty of the West Highlands. That is, until Crazy McCrazytown said his goodbyes, asked us to pray for his safety, I’m pretty sure made a racist comment, before detraining at the lovely Arisaig. Sorry, most adorable little town, I will surely never patron you based on this one encounter.

We arrived in Inverness late into the first day of our travels. Our original train journey between Sheffield and our first destination in the north was disrupted by “vandalism,” according to the station authorities, which caused gas leaks on certain vital points along the track. Thus we were delayed and detoured, our first of many travel adjustments made throughout the next two weeks. Besides this hiccup, and the need to hop on and off three trains instead of two, the CrossCountry service to Inverness was IMG_4688 perfectly uneventful. We did have to sprint and jump upon an almost-moving train in Edinburgh, but that’s besides the point. The views up the eastern coast were worth the many hours sitting across from a paranoid business man who shuddered and winced each time my knee accidentally grazed his own. The staff were friendly, the train was clean, and before we knew it we were sliding into Inverness.

A few days later we were at the station again, which boasts its own old-timey barber parlor, and aboard the Kyle of Lochalsh Line, the second scenic railway, bound for the west coast with plans to reach Armadale on the Isle of Skye by nightfall. Now plans are a funny thing. So are travel advice websites, where one can read in plain, black and white English that traveling from Kyle of Lochalsh to Armadale is as easy as two swift and cheerful bus rides, one across the famous Skye bridge into Kyleakin, and SAM_2020another down Sleat, a peninsula on Skye on which one finds Armadale. Reality is another funny thing. Arriving into Kyle of Lochalsh, a town about the size of my thumb, finding the bus stop was as easy as walking down the only street in Kyle of Lochalsh. Finding the bus was another matter entirely. According to the schedule plastered inside the bus shelter, we had arrived within the only hour that no buses come or go within the village. And then it started pouring. Not any kind of rain with which mere mortals may be experienced, but coastal Scotland rain. We found a chippie, warmed ourselves in our new found fried delicacies, and waiting, and waited.

Soaked and aboard the bus to Kyleakin (which we could see from the bus stop and most likely could have swam there by this point and had been just as wet and cold), and being the only passengers, we discussed our options with the bus driver about getting to Armadale. We were told that without a car there was no way we would reach our destination that night. But, after our 7 minute bus ride across the bridge into Kyleakin, if we wanted to wait another hour or so, the same bus with the same driver would be back to bring passengers the 8 miles to Broadford, not on Sleat but a tiny bit closer.
SAM_2028 Sitting in another bus shelter watching the sky pour down now on the other side of Kyle Akin (yes, the strip of water between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin is also called “Kyle Akin”) we phoned the Flora MacDonald Hostel, as camping seemed no longer an option, explaining that we were attempting to get to the accommodation advertised as “just north” of the Aramdale pier (which was in fact a little over 3 miles north), without a car, he replied, “Well how in the hell do you think you’re going to get here?” This simple question summed up our entire car-less experience in Scotland.

Understanding now that this task may be a little more difficult than originally perceived, we were instructed by the hostel manager to hitch hike. He assured us that Skye is very friendly and locals are used to hitch hikers. Stuck in Kyleakin, hitch hiking seemed the most viable option, that is if either of us proved themselves able to successfully hitch hike. My predisposition to believe every person passing was a potential homicidal maniac based on the make and model of their vehicle, and "The Professor's"* indecisive suggestions of, “maybe them…maybe them…maybe them…” lead us to fail in our first ever joint hitch hiking experiment. The empty bus returned prompting me to wonder where it had even gone in the first place and if, as it seemed, we were the only passengers of the entire day, the driver couldn’t take a slight detour onto Sleat and deliver two wet and weary travelers to the unknown hostel awaiting us. Instead, we went to Broadford.

Broadford serves as the metropolitan center of Skye. It has a Co-Op grocery store (from which we bought wine), a gas station (at which I scoped out prospective hitchees, finding none desirable), some restaurants (all of which seemed closed), and a youth hostel (at which we contemplated stopping). Instead we hooked up with Norma, the taxi driving grandmother extraordinaire. Norma showed up in a nondescript four door sedan which had no markings of a taxi. Regardless she shuttled us the 18 or so miles to our hostel, of which she had never heard. She spoke with us candidly of how little she valued England, her belief that Scotland was much more inviting and much less racist than England, and what it takes in someone’s character to live on such a small island, isolated from most of the world. Pulling into the hostel I was a little sad to see Norma go, and even sadder to say goodbye to the car, as the next few days saw us traipsing up and down the A851 (which only took 10 years to build according to prominent signs scattered throughout) towards Armadale and back.

After some days on Skye it was time to catch the Malliag ferry and be on our way. Equipped with our heavy packs and with about a 3 mile hike to the port we made another go of hitch hiking along the A851 (the full bus service along this route started literally the next day, thank you British-Summer-Time). This go around I did not discriminate, I was an equal opportunity hitch hiker, sticking my thumb out for all who crossed my path. There is nothing that inflicts low self esteem more than being turned down with shrug after shrug, (trust me, they all pity-shrugged) of local Skye residents. My yearn for four wheels and regret at packing across Scotland stopped in that moment as we viewed a rare sea eagle taking to the sky, reminding me of all we were able to see on two feet.
IMG_4977 The lack of a vehicle also came in handy while boarding the ferry, as pedestrian crossing is much cheaper. The Sound of Sleat must be viewed from the water, don’t let anyone tell you any different. Sailing into Malliag, we quickly boarded the West Highland Line to Fort William.
IMG_5246 After two days hiking the Great Glen Way, I was ready for a city break. Next on the agenda was Stirling, then on to Edinburgh. First we had to return to Fort William to board our train to Stirling. We easily caught a bus near Loch Lochy and traveled down the opposite banks of the Loch up which we had just hiked. Once in Fort William, another change of plans. A piece of track was out between Fort William and Crianlarich and we detoured on a bus through Glencoe instead. The winding mountain pass was IMG_5259 beautiful. Once in Crianlarich I was reminded once more that such detours were serendipitous as we passed by a small and unique church. The local service into Stirling provided passengers with remarks concerning points of interest along the way, and although the sound system made the mini-speeches unrecognizable, I appreciated the efforts of the elderly porter.
Our last train ride was from Stirling to Edinburgh, and was thankfully uneventful, unlike our means of transportation from Edinburgh back to England. So yes, we packed through Scotland in the cold, frost-bitten March without access to a car. But we reached remote villages of the West Highlands, islands with more sheep than citizens, and journeyed on rail lines renown for their beautiful scenery. We camped along an ancient Loch kissed by a rainbow (OK, that’s going a little overboard, but it DID happen!) I would not recommend this journey to the faint of heart, or to anyone who would rather have a seamless, perfect vacation, but for those who like to get their hands a little dirty, and maybe like to view many, many sheep, leave the car at home and take Scotland by foot.

*Name changed from original

Monday, March 21, 2011

Scotland Nostalga Week: March 20 and 21st

I was bad and made promises I did not keep. I promised to post a photo from Scotland in my Nostalgia series each day and have already missed a day. The first day. Therefore I present two photos for the price of one.

March 20, 2010.

We left this day for Scotland. As the train had trouble (vandalism we were told) we were diverted and took three trains to slowly make our way from Northern England to Inverness. The trip was beautiful (until it got dark and all I had to look at was the balding man seated directly across me.) After arriving sleepy, hungry, and getting used to our heavy packs, we promptly found our amazing hostel (it had a cat!) and went in search of food. Did we eat haggis? Oatcakes? Stews and porridge and tatties? No. We found a Turkish restaurant that was very hospitable as it was almost 11pm and gorged ourselves on our favorite foods.

March 21, 2010.

It was next to impossible to chose one photo from this day. This was a full day. We roamed around Inverness, toured Loch Ness by boat, visited Urquhart Castle, went on the river walk in Inverness, looked about in the cathedral, and visited the statue of Flora MacDonald (from whom The Professor happens to be descended.) We also found the most adorable and authentic pub, very close to our hostel, and discussed whiskey with the locals.

However, I decided to be predictable and post a photo of a castle. While in Scotland, go see castles. Urquhart is situated nicely on Loch Ness, is beautifully in ruins, and very picturesque.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Scotland, Scotland All Week Long

Warning. I am highly nostalgic. Living in the middle of nowhere in Georgia tends to constantly remind one of one’s exciting life living in urban England and traveling.

I meant to feed, or deal with, such nostalgia by weekly posting a photo from that exact date a year or two or three (you get the idea) ago. You can read about it here. However, I did not really get around to that. Thus I bring you: a week of Scotland

We left for Scotland on March 20, 2010 and so for this whole week I’ll be nostalgic about Scotland through daily photos. It’s part of my grieving process, go with it.


Storage Unit Tease

Today is was hot. Well, for me. Having lived in England for a while and not having a “normal” summer experience, today was the hottest temperatures I’ve experience since 2009. For serious. So I celebrated by being completely lazy and taking the boat out while trying to remember how to wear a bikini.

storage-unit-01I was not completely lazy as The Professor and I made the sad trip to visit our storage unit. Our “temporary” living situation is getting less and less temporary and sifting through my suitcase on the floor (filled with the same 15 or so outfits I’ve had for almost two years now) is losing it’s appeal (wait, it was never appealing to start with.)

I remembered some plastic drawers left in our storage unit before the move to England. It’s always a downer to drive down the road, open a large metal door, and stare at all your belongings. They aren’t even all mine. Half of my stuff is in that cold cell. The rest is in New York where many things have been in storage for almost 8 years now. Beautiful things.

1950_slipskypickupThe door goes up with a bang and you desperately want to take everything out to a safer place. A home. An actual existence. Oh, and you see the rat poop on the ground and the steam rising from the not-temperature-controlled space and you remember what a bitch it will be when that day actually comes.

It’s always a tease. Hello my things. I’m sorry you can’t come with me. All you nice, new wedding presents will be used one day. I hope.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"what to do when you hate your husband pony tail"

Blogger is a curious little friend. It records blog stats. It tells you what search terms brought visitors to your blog. Above is one such search term which led one lucky reader here, where they were no doubt enlightened by the very mundane musings of my rural existance.

It made me smile to read this search term. Then it made me think.

What do you do when you hate something about your husband. OK, that's harsh. Maybe not hate but maybe despise-so-hard-and-it-gets-under-your-skin-and-makes-you-scrunch-up-your-face-dislike? This reader was so desperate she turned to Google to find a ponytail solution. We all have annoying little traits. I crack my knuckles. I know. It's disgusting. Even I think it's disgusting. The Professor doesn't seem to notice. I also sing along to every song on the radio that I might know some semblance of. That could also be annoying. The Professor says he finds it endearing. I leave half full (or half empty I suppose) water glasses all over the house. The Professor silently collects them and never scolds me for it.

Why then do I want to scratch out my own eyeballs at two of The Professor's irritating quarks? So minuscule in importance are these habits that most good people would never notice. First, he has become the Bing commercial. Queries of all shapes and sizes result in the whipping out of his droid to not only answer your rumination, but to tell you a million other semi-related facts that you never, ever wanted to know. Like how many Six Flag theme parks there are in the country. Or what states they are all in. When all you did was wonder out loud was if Sea World was in Florida.

While the Bing-like death grip The Professor has on his phone is annoying, it's not as worrisome as the second habit that I hope to, somehow, stop. The Professor is very intelligent. He is well educated and knowledgeable about a wide-range of subjects and can hold his own in any discourse. However, he says "like" far, far too much. It was brought to my attention only recently by my sister who noticed it spreading to my vernacular. I have since squashed my use of the useless filler word, but have sense overwhelmingly noticed it with The Professor. So what is there to do when you hate your husband's pony tail, or in my case need to address a speech issue which will shape how others see him in his profession?

Sidebar; When The Professor commits every so often to growing out his beautiful curls long enough to put his hair back, I don't find it the least bit annoying but actually quite sexy. His Scotishness comes out and it is quite delightful. Unfortunately the longer hair the higher the maintenance, and my low-maintenance Professor can only handle this look for about a week before he shaves it all off again. Sigh.

Monday, March 14, 2011

You Cut My Dog, I Cut You!

OK, that’s extreme. But we had a pretty extreme evening here at the cottage. Our pup was once again attacked by the roving neighbor dogs, which now number three (there is a new one) and still no owners in sight.

She held her own, and we’re pretty sure (or The Professor is, who ran into the whole mess) that she won. But she’s nursing some pretty deep cuts and I’m in complete mommy nurse mode.

Also I’m in angry-mommy-I’m-going-to-take-you-down mode as well. This is about the fourth time this has happened, but the worst case so far. The Evil Dogs, as I call them, used to stay in their own yard, even though I’ve rarely seen them attended. Recently they come into our land and harass our sweet pup.

The Professor, who has been a dog owner his whole life, while pup is my first and only canine, assures me that pup is OK. He says she can nurse herself better than we could (which didn’t stop me from cleaning her up,) and if the wounds still look bad in a couple days we’ll take her to the vet.

What could ever harm such a pup!


I’ll just brag about her a little more.


Pup loves mud. And digging holes. And getting muddy.


Pup hates her dog house and never used it.


She contemplates and thinks deep. About things like how to play with ducks. And why the ducks don’t want to play with her.


Pup likes to go hiking.


Pup really likes to go hiking. It makes her smile.


Pup likes to swim too. She even has fun doing it when I make her wear her adorable life jacket. Even though she doesn’t need to wear it anymore.

neha sill

She is pretty much perfect.

For Love of the Weekend: Total Win; Total Fail.

This weekend was a curious little creature. It was long, as The Professor and I both took off on Friday. It was sunny and warm, with temperatures reaching 78 sizzling degrees (for us Northern girls, them's beach temperatures.) There was also a mix of ups and downs, making this past weekend a true example of convergence.

First, my job search claimed another fatality (besides that of my soul.) My baby toe was crushed in a door as I ran to answer my interviewer's phone call, which was twenty minutes early, thus my failure at being prepared (total fail). Although I screamed obscenities and writhed in severe pain, I rallied to answer the phone with a cheerful "Good morning!" After my hour spent in preparation, my nervous twitching, and my balmy palms, the call actually informed me that due to extreme business, my interview would have to be pushed back six hours (fail.)*

Rearranging my day, I did my weekly weigh-in and discovered I had lost 5% of my body weight, an initial goal (total win!) Which was followed by me leaving the house commenting, "I'm sure I can get around the grocery store, how bad can this pinky toe thing be anyway. It's just a pinky toe!" Total fail. My sad, pathetic self wallowed around in the local grocery, limping here, throwing my body there. Apparently the pinky toe is quite important in functioning, and balancing, and, you know, standing upright. People looked worried for me, like I had escaped some sort of caretaker.

Saturday I have deemed hide-away-day due to The Professor and I lying to anyone who asked and saying we had busy, busy and important plans for Saturday and could not attend any number of social engagements. This is because we are tired. We've been gone almost every weekend. And we drive three hours on the week days. Every day. So we spent a lazy day around the house (total win!) Well, I mostly limped around and ever so slowly cleaned (total fail) while I made sad, puppy faces, whining too much which resulted in The Professor enjoying taking care of me a bit (total win!)

When one lives in the middle of nowhere, one prepares for a day of errands like a soldier might prepare for battle. You need to rev yourself up. Play loud music. Pretend the car ride is actually fun. The hour long car ride. The hour it takes to get from your personless plot of land to the oh-so-over-populated 10 mile long stretch of horrifying plazas. After church and lunch we had only two tasks at hand. Get The Professor's car washed as we had a free coupon and go to Pet Smart. But first we had to get gas. Being adorably anal, The Professor demanded I hand over any trash from under my seat of the car (where's a girl supposed to shove her granola bar wrappers?) and he threw them away.

After what seemed like an entire lifetime we made all the necessary u-turns and plaza short cuts to come to the car wash but, EPIC FAIL NUMBER 1: The Professor accidentally threw away the coupon with my garbage. The decision: to trash dive or to not trash dive? I am not proud of us for this. But this was an exterior AND interior car wash, with buff and shine! Who can pass up a free buff and shine just because in the twenty minutes it took you to cross the highway someone could have thrown God-knows-what on top of your beloved coupon? We spent another twenty minutes returning. The Professor braved the public rubbish bin and produced the slightly dampened coupon (which I refused to touch.)

After the car wash (total win!) we completed our PetSmart run, with me pushing a shopping cart just to keep up appearances and not unseemly limp around, thus scaring all the small children. The task at hand: pick out a new collar for our beloved dog. EPIC FAIL NUMBER 2: After returning home (another entire hour in the car, during which we had to stop and get iced tea because that's how long the drive was) and painstakingly removing all pup's tags and putting them on the new collar, we discover the collar is much too large for our petite pup. Oh the horror. The Professor's face goes into melt-down mode. We must return next weekend and repeat the entire experience (except, I hope, for the bin diving.) During a slight (sort of massive) hissy-fit, The Professor rolled his ankle and is at this point also limping like a pathetic broken toy.

How could I possibly rescue such a failure of a weekend? The answer: BRINNER! Apparently not wanting anything our kitchen had to offer, I produced (using all of The Professor's gram's cottage pantry) pancakes, scrambled eggs, and fortune cookies. Our spirits brightening, we limp-danced around the kitchen to some favorite music, remembering how blessed we are and how beautiful the love of the weekend can be.

*I know jinxes are not real, but I'd rather not test it out. Thus I probably won't discuss my job interview until I hear something. Better safe than unemployed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Great Matter

My great matter seems to be these days, the job search. The dreaded and soul crushing job search. The never ending, year-long, 100 jobs deep, job search.

Tuesday I thought I'd had it. I was done. This was ridiculous. I was fully prepared to take my two masters degrees and my double major and shove them, shove them hard down the throat of life (that sounds really melodramatic, but I wanted to say it anyway.) Thoughts raced through my head. We need to get out of the cottage. We need to move back into civilization. We are deteriorating mentally and physically. We have no health insurance. Student loans are due in three weeks. We need to get out of here. Thus I resolved myself to work a job, any job, that would move us into university city and stop our dependence on our families. I also cried a lot.

Then yesterday two little, tiny, almost invisible baby steps towards employment occurred. One of the hundred jobs offered me an interview. It's not the most perfect position, but it's in my field. And it's somewhere new and interesting. And it's a permanent job, giving us cause to relocate and get health insurance. So basically I get all ahead of myself planning what life could be if only this works out. Which is dangerous and I must stop it. It's basically the equivalent of feeding stale bread to starving people. They devour it and think it's the greatest thing ever.

Because the truth is it is very likely that I won't get this position. And we can't move. And I get more rejections. Yesterday alone I received four rejections. Today I opened my email at work to receive one more, first thing in the morning.

Staying positive and upbeat has usually been my thing in an almost inhuman way. Now it's proving difficult. Challenging. Next to freaking impossible.

So cross your fingers, and your toes, and whatever else you are able to cross, that my interview goes well tomorrow. Because I'm starving and would love some stale bread now please.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Judging Man with the Ponytail

I work in a curious little basement office. While my archive is on one side of this sprawling matrix of confusing hallways, another group works at the opposite corner. I've never known what this collection of men does. I think, perhaps, something to do with tech. It's never been explained to me. Their hallway is, however, an obstical I need to overcome each time I use the restroom, which unfortunately resides on the other side of their offices. And here is another problem, I pee a lot.

Yes, over-share, I know, sorry. But it's true. It's always been true. I'm a hydrated little lady and if that means peeing 14 times a day I will gladly do so. That is, before I was so totally noticed and judged each time. Because my office is fra-fra-freeeeezing I wear the same black Columbia fleece everyday. It stays at my desk and welcomes my cold, cold body each morning. Because of this, I am much like a cartoon character. Whatever day it is, I basically look like I'm wearing the same thing. This makes me very noticeable to the men who monitor me walking down the long hallway, much like a walk of shame, to the restroom every hour.

Each man works with his door open, each looks up from his computer as I walk by. But the man with the ponytail, whose office oh-so-sadly resides in that sad space between the men's and women's restrooms (how does that even happen!) he notices the most. He looks up and he judges me, each.time. He looks at me as if to say, "you're peeing again?" And I return a look that says, "you're office is next to the restroom, what do you even do!"

I see him sometimes when I walk around outside or am coming to work, and his looks says, "you're that girl, that girl that pees all the time." And my look says, "your pony tail is much much longer than I thought it was now that I see it in the daylight and not in the shadows of your basement bathroom office."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Seven Facts (Other Than The Fact That I Could Not Develop An Original Blog Post Today)

A week or so ago, City Dreamer at City Dreams, Suburban Schemes tagged all her readers in a 7 Facts post. Having just returned from Florida and in no shape whatsoever to be in the least bit creative or interesting today, I've decided to go ahead and provide you with six facts (I know the rules, but I don't like odd numbers, and you can count that fact towards the seventh I've deleted) about myself in lieu of actually being original.

Fact Number One.
I eat popcorn with a spoon. It's true. For whatever reason, either I don't like to touch it or I've found it more effective to eat with a spoon. Either way, even in movie theaters I order my popcorn with a side of plastic cutlery.

Fact Number Two.
I married the love of my life in October, on the same day that Katy Perry married Russell Brand, thus linking us with these celebrities for life (or as long as they're married; side fact: I secretly love them and hope those crazy kids make it.)

Fact Number Three.
I suffered from Nephritis as a child, which in the States is very rare. It's an auto-immune disorder which attacks the kidneys. Because of it I've never been what you may call robust and often am the first person in a group to come down with any type of garden variety illness (ie: flu, cold, ect.)

Fact Number Four.
I clean my nails every night, sometimes twice a night. This is obsessive, but hey, we all have a little OCD. At least mine keeps my nails looking sparkly and clean. I think it stems from my mother. She hated when our nails were dirty and would clean them out in a really, really painful way (to my six year old self anyway) which kept me pretty much on top of cleaning them myself. I even have a nail brush which I use in the shower.

Fact Number Five.
I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee which was given to me as a wedding gift from my in-laws. Sometimes it makes me feel like I owe them big, obligated, ect.

Fact Number Six.
I had to inventory my clothing and accessories for a collection management project while in graduate school and was shamed in front of my fellow students to reveal the numbers of each category. I had something like 17 blazers and 42 pairs of jeans. It's my own version of hedonism and it's horrible. I'm not as bad anymore, but stopping my shopping addiction has not depleted my current collection, just maintained it as it's already above ridiculous levels.

Happy Monday. If you've not been tagged in this little exercise, then I tag you now. Go forth and reveal.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In Flight Menu; Sky Mall: A Little Comfort

Things have not been going very well this week. My dad is in the hospital, my grandmother’s health is failing (we are leaving today to go down to Florida to see her,) and The Professor is having a hard time at work, causing him to be very upset most evenings. I feel, sometimes, like I’m keeping it all together by a thread.

And still, there are no job prospects, no interviews, no new leads.

When I’ve got worries because of all the noise and the hurries, I used to go downtown. But now that there’s no downtown downtown, I eat comfort food or shop online (as well as being no downtown, there are not many shops in this area, unless you want to buy a gun or a hostess cake.) However, as this week did not warrant an either/or solution for comfort, I did both. Thus I bring you a two-for-one installment of In Flight Menu and Sky Mall.

In Flight Menu: Mac and Cheese

IMG_6217Is there anything better as comfort food than Mac and Cheese? Your mom used to make it, school lunches would feature it on rainy days, and you can even sneak it as a dinner choice when out with friends given all the “grown up” options.

IMG_6214Don’t you just want to fall right into it? Into it’s hot, bubbly, melty, goodness? Let it tell you that everything’s going to be alright, if you just have one more bite?

Granted, this is not helping the “get fit” mantra in my life, but it is all about serving size, so I only had a perfectly measured serving of this beauty.

Here is my recipe (adapted from Ina Garten’s here,) perfected over many mac and cheese mishaps:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, cook 1 pound whole wheat pasta of your choice (I like cavatappi, but elbow works too,) according to instructions. Heat 1 quart milk on the stovetop, slowly, making sure it doesn’t burn. Melt 6 TBS butter (or slightly less if you want to make it slightly healthier) in a large pot, when melted add 1/2 cup of flour. Whisk this and it should make a creamy texture, let it cook a couple minutes, then slowly start whisking in the milk, then cook until it becomes thicker, a couple minutes. On low or no heat, add 8 ounces cheddar cheese (I like it not to be too sharp, but use your preference,) 4-6 ounces Swiss cheese (or gruyere, which I have a hard time finding in the middle-of-nowhere,) and 4-6 ounces of Monterrey jack, all shredded. (You can also substitute the Swiss and jack for smoked gouda.)

Add some salt and pepper to taste, and 1/4 (or slightly less, can IMG_6212be just 1/8 if you find it too strong) teaspoon nutmeg. Stir in the cooked pasta, mixing well. I also added bits of cooked bacon, because that’s The Professor’s comfort food and we both needed a little comfort this week.

Pour this melty and delicious goodness into a 3-quart baking dish, and you can cover it lightly with breadcrumbs (you can also mix the breadcrumbs with butter first, making it crumbly, but I chose to hold the butter, thus holding more added fat.) Bake for 30-35 minutes, sit back and enjoy.

Sky Mall: Zulilly

There are a lot of great discount websites out there. There’s Rue La La, there’s Joss and Main. There is also Zulilly. Zulilly operates under the same principles as the others; new boutiques open daily with amazing offers and discounts. But Zulilly is all children's and baby clothes, accessories, and toys. As a new Aunt-to-be I find it an awesome outlet for spoiling little Baby H (or Fetus H as she currently is.) It also features mommy-to-be gifts, maternity gifts, and unique shower-gift ideas. One of today’s boutiques, for example, is Little Me. Check out these adorable looks:



The other day, when I needed massive comfort (i.e.: cute, adorable little baby clothes,) I picked up:

cat in hat

this Dr. Suess oneseie to go along with the book, which I also bought for Baby H.


This Mini Muffin Pink Sweater Dress.


This, oh-so-perfect red houndstooth playsuit from BeeHave.


And I could not pass up this white birdy romper by Absorba. I mean, it’s a romper with a little dress. And I’m sort of obsessed with love birds.

If I’ve peaked your interest, then here is an invitation from me to you to the fabulous Zulilly.

There’s nothing that can cheer you up better than good old mac and cheese, and some baby clothes.