in spring 1998, i was finishing up my first year at st. ben’s. i had three pretty good friends (all of whom dropped out), and i felt like i was edging out a little bit into the world. the same way that my family’s move from austin to new london helped me edge out a little bit, my transition to college also helped (maybe a little bit moreso…). it also seemed to be a time at a cultural precipice; i was now a huge fan of the internet and chat rooms, even though much of the world didn’t know 3 things about the internet at the time. we had moved from the mid-90s and were moving into the late 90s. my eyeglasses had gone from metal gold-rimmed gross looking things to a plastic frame with a slimmer look. instead of a pair of carpenter jeans, i had a wide-leg pair of levis. and it was the summer of the skinny-strapped tank top*.

oooh, i was really skeptical and scared when i went to target and tried on my first black skinny strapped tank. there seemed to be entirely too much skin showing on top with very little holding up the shirt. but everyone was wearing them (along with capris, but there was no way on earth i was donning a pair of those ugly things), so i sucked it up and plunked down the $8 for the tank.

the three first-year dorms at st. ben’s create a sort of U around a large piece of lawn, and when the weather was nice, we ladies migrated from our rooms to the lawn. this was a time when a few people had a desktop computer in their dorm rooms, and NO ONE had a laptop. laptops were entirely too expensive. we had to wait in line for the computer lab on each floor – 6 god-awful slow dinosaurs with 13″ screens.

so when students migrated outdoors, it was with books, notebooks, friends, frisbees, maybe a portable CD player, and card games. we’re talking even pre-mp3 players (soon to come!).

maybe a week or two before the end of spring semester, it climbed into the 70s, and the great migration happened. the time had come for me to try out the tank top. i don’t know why i was so nervous; everyone was wearing them, and it was a good time for a test run. i put it on and tried not to look down at my expanse of pasty white exposed chest. 

i grabbed my three pretty good friends, a blanket, and a textbook or two (may was well feign studying, right?). we spread our blanket on an empty space on the lawn, stretched out, and did was college kids do. someone had opened up their first floor window and pointed their boombox outside, which was playing madonna’s immaculate collection. 

so we listened to “vogue” (which was only 8 years old at the time but seemed ancient) and put our hands alongside our faces in our best madonna poses, maybe glanced at a textbook in prep for finals, talked about how two of my friends weren’t coming back, and soaked up the first 70-degree weather we’d seen in 8 months. pretty soon my self-consciousness about the tank slipped away a little bit. i ended up wearing that thing til it wore out. 

when spring finally arrives every year and i pull on a tank top to wear outside for the first time (the straps are even SKINNIER now!), i am transported back to 70-degree weather at st. ben’s, surrounded by friends, and listening to “papa don’t preach.” 

*i KNOW i have a picture somewhere. just gotta find it.


after my next weight goal, which is to get back under 200 lbs, i want to get a tribute tattoo for my uncle squire.

when the ground was finally ready to be tilled, he planted tomatoes. big boys were his specialty, and he treated those plants like babies. when they were finally ripe to eat, we went to the garden and picked the reddest, juiciest looking tomatoes on the vine. we’d go back to his car, where he’d pull out a salt shaker from somewhere and his knife from his pocket. five minutes after pulling the fruits from the vine, he’d be cutting the tomatoes into slices and passing them out with the salt shaker for a true bite of summer. 

on my left shoulder, i want to get a variation of a tomato plant. maybe a salt shaker? maybe a pocket knife? i want to talk to my tattoo lady about it, and i’m open to any ideas she has about it. i’m excited about it though!

bedroom makeover pt II

so what prompted the bedroom makeover? 

my mattress.

my mattress, while only 6 years old, has not fared well. it’s been rotated plenty of times, but use has just gotten the better of it. to top it off, when i pulled it away from the wall about a month ago, there was a bunch of mold on it. awesome.

so, we had to buy a new mattress. 

we ended up getting a leesa mattress, which i really like and i know nate likes. it’s a foam mattress made in the usa that comes through the mail. it has a 120-day tryout period, so we didn’t have much to lose. we put some plywood under his half of the bed since he likes his firmer. i got a cheapo frame off craigslist, and we were good to go.

if you’re in the market for a new mattress, i recommend a leesa, and here’s a link for some $$$ off! you get a coupon; i get a referral bonus. http://go.referralcandy.com/share/HR764RS

onward with the final reveal! i hung a few more pics, got the curtains and blinds up, and took a shot of the new closet pulls. (notice i actually hung the old doorknob hardware from the door underneath the shelf.)





bedroom makeover pt. I

when i lived in st. joe, my guest room was awesome – i made it pretty much how i’d like it. but the master bedroom left something to be desired. i vowed to flip flip that with this house (and it helped that i don’t have a guest room yet).

around january, i start to get antsy, so i try to time these home projects over long weekends in the doldrums of winter. i had gotten an old door from my work buddy jenee to use as a headboard, so charlie and i stripped it, framed it with trim, then i stained and polyurethaned it. 

meanwhile, i painted the bedroom a light pink on three walls and the fourth wall big old kelly green (i do like to make statements). replaced the knobs on my closet doors and cha and i hung the door/headboard on the wall. my old beige curtains were definitely not doing the trick, so i got some floral white and grey curtains and some 2″ blinds.


bonus cat.

headboard headboardshelf trim



baaad phone pic with a messy bed. will take a nice wide angle when the sun's up.

baaad phone pic with a messy bed. will take a nice wide angle when the sun’s up.



what i don’t like

i like my new blog look, but i don’t like the fact that i can’t see if there are any comments on a post from the homepage. >:( also, you need to click on the title to get to any place to even think about commenting in the first place. hmmm.

what say you, regulars? like? dislike?

i could write about…

elysiani could write about 50 shades of grey, but i didn’t read the books and don’t plan on seeing the movie, so i really can’t have an opinion.

i could write about my bedroom makeover, but it’s not done yet so i don’t want to spoil the surprise.

i could write about the ice cream waiting to be churned in my fridge, but i’ve written too much about ice cream already.

i could write about a fancy pants mythical fairy tale land filled with princesses and evil unicorns and midgets who hide coins under mushrooms, but i don’t want to delve into that.

i could write about the fantastic book i’m reading right now, but i’m going to wait and write a full review when i’m finished.

i could write about how charlie is ruining my home life, but he’s really not, so that’s a libel suite waiting to happen.

i could write about the measles outbreak, but i really don’t want to contribute to an already saturated blogosphere on that.

i could write about how people don’t know how to use a stupid search bar on a website, but i’m still annoyed about that and it would not end well.

i could write about the keystone pipeline, but that would require a lot of research i really am not in the mood for right now.

i could write about how kevin sorbo’s going to be at wizard world in may! yeah! so that’s happening! 

new digs

new digs; new look. i changed hosting services, and it looks like everything uploaded (THANK GOD). i’m having a weird image issue, but it seems like they should all point to the correct spot. let me know if you are seeing images within posts or not. 



today on FB, i once again got to say something about all the research i’ve done on corn since starting my no devil’s syrup odyssey. one of my FB friends works for eli lilly and wanted to know why the distrust of GMOs and that everything is GMO, so what’s the deal here.

i replied saying, well, GMOs aren’t inherently bad, but people have a distruct because there are plant genetic modifications that would never ever happen naturally. when they were figuring out round-up ready soybeans, they inserted a gene from a petunia. that wouldn’t have happened in a traditional GMO setup. 

anyway, i went on to say that i’d be more concerned about the pesticides and herbicides that the RR seed allows than the petunia gene, but that’s just me. and here’s an excerpt from my devil’s syrup book that has my opinion on the matter!

Ultimately, I’m not saying GM foods are bad. There is a lot of potential with transgenics and what companies could do to increase yield and help seeds resist pests. Transgenic seed and the process of creating them is not inherently bad. The lack of “regulation” on them, however, is disturbing and baffling. If the government were as concerned about GM seeds as they were about people consuming milk straight from the cow or what temperature I should cook my steak to, there might be a different attitude toward GM foods.

As it is, as of 2005, eighty percent of soybeans in the US were GM, as well as eighty-four percent of canola, seventy-six percent of cotton, and forty-five percent of corn.[3] Whether or not you like it, if you live in the US, you are most likely eating GM foods. I don’t think labeling the foods would hurt at all, but with the current state of processed foods in this country, you would be hard pressed to find a box of corn flakes without the GM label. The label, however, might shift the market if the average consumer is wary, and if labeling GMs becomes as a commonplace requirement as stating the nutrition facts on a box of food, then a true shift has happened. It means the US government acknowledges that GMs are, in fact, different than regular seed and should be regulated as such. I don’t think it’s going to happen on a federal level any time soon, but on a state level it could happen. And government regulation, or rather, deregulation, is part of the issue with how Monsanto does business before that devil’s syrup hits the grocery store shelves.

Review: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

there are very few books where i try to read every word. even fewer are the books that i need to take my time with because the sentence construct is such that the words need careful consideration.

i picked up this book because public radio recommended it; the last time i read an NPR-recommended book, i picked up “the time traveler’s wife,” with which i fell in love. i started to read and was reminded of three books in particular: “the book thief,” “the time traveler’s wife,” and “the goldfinch.” the subject matter lent itself to the first, the needing to read every word the second, and the prose the third.

i can’t necessarily pinpoint why i give this book 5 stars. it’s not overly emotional, nor is there a grandiose ending. while the plot is unique, giving us a blind protagonist and an element of mystery with a cursed diamond, the subject matter (WWII) is not new. i think it comes down to the writing style. mr. doerr is a lovely writer.

View all my reviews