Monday Musings: On feeling the funk, passages and nesting.

I know, I know. I’ve skipped a couple of Monday Musings. But I’m back this week, and in a funk. It’s why I just haven’t felt like writing as of late.

Oliver

Oliver’s been really sick, which has thrown my world into disarray. I’ve been on a tear dealing with the beach house. I’ve been overscheduled with social things. And I took a couple of days off for my birthday, which I think you always pay for coming and going. The stress of trying to go on vacation and then trying to get back in the swing is often not worth the going. Let’s just say I reversed any rest and relaxation about 24 minutes into my first morning back. Continue reading

Advertisements

Monday Musings: On decor, dog-shaming and old wives’ tales.

Good Monday to you.

beach_decor

My family is refurbishing our beach house, albeit a bit late in the season. I don’t consider myself especially good at decorating — I don’t have the patience or vision to pick out knick-knacks and accessories, all those little items that make a room look finished. But I learned one important thing about myself: I’m much better at it when it’s someone else’s money. When I’m not grimacing at the $80 pillow or the $200 difference in a panel vs. sleigh bed, I can bring fabrics and colors and textures together like nobody’s business. My house though? Still an embarrassing “work in progress,” after five years.

I joined Instagram this week. As if I needed another social media site to monitor. I’m way over Facebook, am sporadic on Twitter but can Pinterest like a champ. Apparently Instagram is the wave of the future, though. All I know is that I have no idea what I’m doing. But, come. Be my friend. I can promise you way too many dog-shaming pictures of Ollie, like this one. Continue reading

Monday Musings: On pollen, tragedy and rubbernecking.

(I know it’s not Monday, but let’s just pretend it is.) And I won’t wish you a happy Monday, because it wasn’t.

But, first.

When I lived up north, I forgot about the dust cloud of pollen that envelops our southern cities for a couple of weeks in the spring. I’m lucky that I’m not much affected by it, but I can imagine the agony of those who are during this time. It’s just inescapable.

That fine, yellow powder is a blanket over every outdoor surface. Our cars turn yellow, our wipers work overtime and pollen crust clings to the sides of our windshields. The air hangs heavy with it until a soaking rainstorm comes along to wash it away. Then we’re left with the chalky remnants along street drains and sidewalks.

Even Oliver isn’t immune. During a walk last week, he was just rifling along, nose skimming the grass. Then I looked down and saw this. Pollen nose.

Oliver

As we all are, I’m just stricken by everything that happened in Boston yesterday. But, at the same time, not surprised. Is that just the world we live in now? One in which I’m desensitized to violent news or the prospect of terror events in America? That’s the shocking part. And it scares and saddens me.  Continue reading

Monday Musings: On childhood, book movies and gelato.

Happy Monday to you. I’m back with more random, wacky things on my mind.purple_flowers

Finally (finally!), spring weather seems to be breaking through. This weekend down south was only slightly cool but gloriously clear and sunny, which does loads for my mental and physical health. Don’t mind me while I go roll in the warm grass like Oliver does, reveling in spring. I just wish we didn’t go straight from freezing to sweating this year.

I finished reading Divergent, by Veronica Roth, this weekend. Have you had the pleasure? It’s great. Really creative and suspenseful, and I highly recommend it. It’s of the same genre and post-apocalyptic undertones as the Hunger Games series. And therein, I guess, lies the scary part. These books are for young adults — meaning pre-teens and teenagers, right?. Books about killing and war and sex, even. Hey, when I was 15 I was reading questionable things too. But more like romance smut from the vaults of Danielle Steele and Judith McNaught. Not dark, violent books about evil people who want to take over the world. I’m just sayin’.

Speaking of books, it’s starting to bother me when a popular book that everyone’s read becomes a movie. Think Gone Girl or Fifty Shades of Grey. It seems a waste to recreate a story that everyone already knows. To me, it destroys the magic, replacing all of the imaginative visions I created with Hollywood’s interpretation. And it becomes so much more about who’s going to be cast than about the words or the work. I prefer when an obscure book becomes a movie — think Perks of Being a Wallflower and Silver Linings Playbook. Then I can read the book to fill in details. But I suppose my definitions of “popular” or “obscure” are relative.

Mad Men season 6 premiered last night. I’ll tell you how it’s gone for me by the time you’re reading this. I watched it live, but also recorded on my DVR. I will spend all day today reading through the TV writers’ and fellow viewers’ analyses. Then I will watch the whole thing again tonight or later this week with fresh eyes. Because it’s visual literature, remember? I know, obsessed.

Have you tried Talenti gelato? You can probably find it in your supermarket. All I have to say is this. Salted Caramel gelato with chocolate-caramel truffles mixed in. I have no other words.

Have a good week, all.

Monday Musings: On pets, peeves and Downton Abbey.

Some things on my mind this Monday:
hello2

This week, I officially cut over to southandsundry.com, so be sure to update your bookmarks. If you want to receive my posts by email, just enter your email address in the field under “Email Subscription” (above on the right) and click “Follow.”

Speaking of blogs, the reader stats for this site tell me how all of you find me — what country you live in, what websites you come from, and even search terms you use to find me. This week, I got a good chuckle. One of you searched for “yellow fever vaccination if only stopping in dakar to refuel” and landed on my blog. Ha, I feel your pain. My advice: always get the vaccine! Better safe than very, very sorry.

For awhile now, I’ve felt that something’s off with Oliver. He’s seemed, only at times, uncomfortable and unnaturally sensitive about his back end. I’ll spare you the saga, but for nearly a year we’ve endured numerable vet visits, specialists (including a brush with a $1,000 colonoscopy), food trials and medicines and supplements of all sorts. I now give him more powder and crushed pills than food. Well, I exaggerate … but only a bit. Last weekend, I finally learned that his pelvis is out of alignment. He was likely born that way, but soon we’re off to the doggie chiropractor. Heck, I need one too.

Here’s Pet Peeve #87: Servers who clear plates before everyone at the table has finished eating. Is that rude, or am I old fashioned? (Or both?)

Did you watch the finale episode of “Downton Abbey” last night? (Shhh! I haven’t yet.) I’m proud that everyone’s gotten into the series, but I’m a little mad at all of you who just discovered it. Back when season 1 was airing, I could buy the DVDs for a steal at $19.99. Now that it’s a phenomenon, season 3 is $39.99. Curse you, economics!

I'm (not) gonna soak up the sun.

Oliver and I spent a few days at the beach last weekend, for the first and only time this summer. I had grand ideas of slathering myself in sunscreen and pitching a chair on the strand all day with a stack of reading material. Then I realized how much of a hassle that is. It’s hot. I’d have to shave my legs. I don’t swim in the ocean. And I don’t particularly like sand. I’ll take a pool over the beach any day. Plus, the older I get the less I really care about a tan.

Continue reading

Life with a scaredy cat. Um, dog.

I don’t know about all of you but it’s been storming here like crazy. Thunderstorms every day at 4:00 p.m.

Not that I’m complaining, because it must be keeping Charlotte out of The Great Drought of 2012 that’s gripping the rest of the country. And I do love a good thunderstorm. (When inside though, not running through it with sopping shoes and clinging, wet hair while lightning cracks above me and hail pounds the pavement. Hey, we’ve all been there at some point.)

It’s been raining cats and dogs, you could say, which brings me to Oliver.

Oh, Oliver, love of my life. (Sorry, Raleigh). He came to me at a time when I needed something and someone to take care of, and though he keeps me on my toes (and money flying out of my purse), he’s made life funnier, more joyful and so full. I love coming home to his wiggly, crazed-with-energy little body, and I love snuggling with him while watching TV or going to bed.

(As I type this he is fully laid out across my lap, holding one of my arms nearly immobile in a way that makes typing difficult and pushing the laptop away with his sprawled limbs. Apparently I am inconveniencing him.)

He can be sweet and loving, and he can be an emotionally unpredictable handful. Either way, he’s worth it.
Keep reading »

Living the high life.

My friend Melanie once told me that, being a Gemini, I can easily find myself bored. That I constantly need stimulation — people to see, places to go, projects to do. Now, I am a person who relishes laying around watching TV for 15 hours, but it’s true that I thrive with structure and purpose and fall into slovenly behavior when those are absent.

Well, it’s officially been 7 weeks since the layoff and I haven’t been bored once. I’ve actually been enjoying my mini-retirement, keeping a schedule and even tiring myself out with all that I need to accomplish. It makes me wonder how I survived when 40+ hours of my week were claimed elsewhere — did I sleep? Did I have a social life? Did I ever carry through on anything? And let’s not even think about the MBA I somehow completed.

The past few weeks have been incredibly full — I’ve had uproarious dinners/lunches/brunches out with friends, I’ve volunteered my time to good causes, I’ve stayed in touch with my b-school folks and prepared for graduation in a few weeks. Keep reading »

Suffering the effects of too much sleep.

This morning I awoke at 5:16 a.m. As I type this, it is now 7:02 a.m., an hour at which I try never to willingly be awake, unless it is pre-slumber.

I have to confess that I may have buried the lead in my post a few weeks ago — I alluded to some earth-shattering news I had received just before I was to go out of town for the weekend. Well, I was laid off from a job I’d held for two days shy of 7 months. In truth it was a relief, since it was just not the right fit … an absolute square peg in round hole. But, it’s the first time I have ever left a job not of my own volition: clean out your desk, hand in your badge, leave when you’re done, the whole bit.

It’s been a rough past four years in our workforce, so I know my story isn’t unique or special. I also understand that it had nothing to do with me personally or my performance — the cuts are wide and deep for everyone. But the immediacy of such a turn of events … arriving at work expecting to spend your day/week/month/year a certain way … to have that yanked from you is quite jarring. On the plus side, it was clearly a “meant to be” for me — I wasn’t happy spending 40 hours of my week or life that way, and my family obviously needed me over the ensuing weeks. Now that drama has cleared, and I’m staring at an unknown, yet wide open, future. What in the world do I want to be when I grow up?

(If you figure it out, let me know?)
Keep reading »