Informed citizens, unite!

I heard the author of this book interviewed on NPR this morning.  She actually made complete sense and used facts (facts!) when discussing the federal budget and deficit. Finally, an economist that speaks English!  One of my favorite moments of the interview came when she stated that federal funding for public broadcasting is so infinitesimal it’s considered a rounding error in the budget.   So, not only is saying that you would do away with Big Bird stupid, it actually makes no difference to the budget.

Read it:

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Simple things

The Southerner and I have been married for two months now.  In the last two months, we’ve moved (again!) and I started my last semester of grad school so it’s taken me a while to get around to working on post-wedding projects.  Here’s one of them:

From the start of planning our wedding, it was really important to me to represent the different places we had traveled to and lived in the past three years.  I felt like it was a big part of who we were and everything we were capable of accomplishing in just a few short years together.  However, I struggled with different ideas of how to express these feelings until I found this brilliant etsy shop.  We ended up placing each card on a different table during our reception and I loved the simple way they allowed me to communicate our spirit of adventure.  Yes, I just used the words “spirit of adventure.”  Bite me.

While the prospect of being a wife filled me with terror (and excitement, of course), the reality is quite lovely.  Especially, my new health insurance card and, more importantly, my husband who brings me flowers when he comes home from work and pretends he likes my attempts at cooking spaetzle (note-to-self: do not attempt to cook foreign dishes while under the influence of a bottle of foreign wine).

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T-shirt heaven

I saw these t-shirts on Joanna Goddard’s blog last week and ordered one right away.  I love t-shirts and I’ve always wanted a fancy expensive one, but I’m way too cheap to spend more than $20.00 on a bundle of cotton.  I ordered a small, navy blue v-neck from the classic collection and, oh my god, this t-shirt is so soft I want to nuzzle myself in it. Next time, I’m going to try a medium size so that the shirt has a looser, sexy feel to it.  Yay for smart business ideas and getting things in the mail that make you happy!!!

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The key to changing a lightbulb

As evidenced below, I have a problem performing simple household tasks.  The Southerner asked me to change a lightbulb in our living room and this is what happened.

I’d like to think it’s because changing lightbulbs is beneath me.  That I’m a genius, incapable of boiling water because, by god, my brain is distracted with more important issues–like world peace.    Sadly, this is not true.  I’m just really bad at simple motor-skill related tasks.  As a teenager, the one time my dad asked me to mow the lawn I broke the lawnmower in the span of five minutes.    The Southerner likes to refer to this problem as my lack of “spatial awareness.”  I prefer to refer to it as “I never have to change another lightbulb or mow the lawn again.”

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Experimenting with hair dye

I’ve had gray hair since I was 17 years old.  Over the years it’s gotten progressively more noticeable to the point that I started having to dye my roots on a regular basis when I was twenty-six.  I know this because I’ve kept a diary of the progression of gray until I had so many that I wasn’t able to count them all anymore.  At 31 years old, I even have one gray eyebrow hair because life is that unfair sometimes.

My go-to hair dye for several years has been Clairol’s Nice n Easy Root Touch Up mainly because it’s cheap and blends nicely with my actual hair color.  Last February, I decided to start an experiment and buy different brands of hair dye each month until I found one that I thought was the best.  The two main criteria I wanted in a hair dye consisted of my hair not feeling dried out and a color that lasted for at least four weeks.  While the results below are totally subjective and were not conducted in any sort of controlled environment and there are about a million confounding variables, my Master’s degree is partially in Research so I think you can trust me, at least a little bit:

1. February 22, 2012: Clairol’s Nice n Easy Root Touch Up.  I started the experiment off with my go-to brand.  The application brush that comes with the packet makes the color easy to apply.  I usually leave the color on for at least 20 minutes since I have some pretty stubborn grays.  This brand does not come with any fancy conditioner to “soften” your hair from the harsh effects of the dye, so I typically use a heavy conditioner on my ends after I wash it out.

2.  March 19th, 2012: Loreal Healthy Look Creme Gloss Hair Color.  (Hair Color #1 lasted for almost a month.  Pretty good results, at least for me.)  The Loreal hair color is ammonia free.  Big plus.  It also comes with fancy conditioner.  Except the fancy conditioner leaves my hair feeling sort of heavy so I only use it once.  The color blends nicely, but my roots start to show after two weeks.

3.  In order to combat the fact that my roots are starting to show, I try Aveda’s Black Malva Color Conditioner.  The conditioner works but it leaves my hair a little darker than I like it.  However, I think this is my fault for leaving the conditioner in too long– about 20 minutes when the bottle says to leave it in for 2 – 5 minutes.

4.  April 9, 2012: I can’t remember what I used this date.  I just wrote down Loreal.  However, it’s worth pointing out that Hair Color #2 lasted roughly three weeks even with the added help of the Aveda conditioner.

5. May 4, 2012: Loreal Root Rescue.  Their website says this color uses a low ammonia formula.  The applicator is neat, but I still prefer the Clairol brush.  This is my least favorite hair dye.  Some of the gray in my bangs just turn a blondish color instead of my normal dark brown.  After about a week, I start to see gray again and my hair feels dried out.  Not good.

6.  June, 2012. I lose about a month of my life to wedding planning.  I don’t remember anything that happens this month, except that I start two summer classes and wear lots of headbands to cover my roots.

7.  June 28, 2012.  I have my roots professionally dyed at a salon in downtown St. Petersburg in order to look my best for the wedding.  Honestly, the results look exactly the same to me as when I do it myself, and three weeks later my roots are showing again.

8.  July 27, 2012.  Clairol Nice N Easy New Non-Permanent Hair Color.  After wearing headbands for a week in an effort to make the results of Hair Color #7 last, I finally broke down and used this new Clairol brand.  It’s much too early to say whether this color lasts or not, but I can tell you that it is my absolute favorite so far of all the brands I’ve tried.  The color blends perfectly and the fancy conditioner that comes with the packet is awesome.  Also, no ammonia.  I really hope the color lasts so that I can make this my new brand.  (In all fairness, I also started using a new shampoo which I think has contributed to how soft and nice my hair currently feels and looks.)


So, that is the end of the great hair color experiment of 2012.  I hope you find some of these results helpful.  Sorry for the lack of pictures but, honestly, my hair looks about the same every time I dye it no matter what color I used.  FYI: I used “dark brown” color for all the hair colors described above.

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Pre-wedding advice

My good friend Cracker-Jack and her husband came with us on our group honeymoon to Missoula.  Cracker-Jack got married last year so both of us were keen on shelling out some advice to the younger ladies on the trip with us.  I don’t know about Cracker-Jack, but anytime I’m around women in their 20’s I find it almost impossible not to give advice.  Here’s a few things we discussed:

1.  Try not to get married until you are in your thirties.  If you’re engaged right now and in your 20’s, this doesn’t mean that I think you’re marriage isn’t going to work.  It’s just that I think you have a much better chance if you’re in your thirties.  You’ve had more time to understand what you want and don’t want in a partner and you’ve also had a lot more time to get to know yourself.  These things are important.

2.  Have a short engagement.  Have a short engagement.  Six months or less is ideal.  During you’re entire engagement you will be consumed with wedding talk.  It’s all your family will want to talk about and it’s all you will think about it.  You may think you’re above all that or you’re not that type of girl.  You will more than likely be wrong. The Southerner and I were engaged for six months and towards the end of it I was at my limit and going cross-eyed from all the DIY projects and wedding blogs I still hadn’t had time to read and/or incorporate into our wedding.

3.  Take dance lessons with your future spouse. The Southerner and I took private tango lessons for six weeks before the wedding.  We had so much fun together and for at least two hours each week we did not talk about wedding stuff. We just danced.  The lessons were a little like therapy for me as well.  I realized I had a tiny problem with control when I physically could not stop myself from trying to lead.  And the Southerner realized that no matter how many times he steps on my feet, I will still love him a lot.

Gratuitous wedding photo.

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Fupa? What’s a fupa?

The  Southerner and I got married last week.  Yay!!! We had a beautiful ceremony surrounded by 39 people who love us a lot at a ranch in Wolf Creek, Montana.  The Southerner wrote the entire ceremony and we were married by his longtime family fishing guide, a.ka. “spiritual advisor,” Jim.   After the wedding, we had a group honeymoon at a cabin in Missoula with our siblings and a few friends.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite moments/highlights:

1. We spent the week before the wedding fishing with the Southerner’s family.  While I don’t necessarily recommend going on a fishing vacation a week prior to your wedding since imbibing massive quantities of beer and chicken fried steak don’t exactly flatter your pre-wedding figure, the trip was amazing.  On the day that the Southerner and I got to fish with Jim, we hooked a double on dry flies on the Big Horn.  The moment meant a lot and solidified for me that we had chosen the right person to marry us.  If Jim could guide us toward the fish he was certainly qualified to guide us through our ceremony, right?

2.  We got our marriage license at the Big Horn County Courthouse.  The process was very easy, and now whenever we fish the Big Horn we’ll get to drive by the courthouse.

3.  The Southerner and I karaoked to Johnny Cash and June Carter’s Jackson at our rehearsal dinner.  Also, my closest ladies performed a rap about me and the Southerner for the whole crowd.  All of these things took balls and love, two things I think we could all use a little more of in life.

4. We had a fire dancer at our rehearsal dinner.  Jim mentioned to me and the Southerner that a fire dancer lived close to where we were having the dinner and did we want to try to hire her.  A fire dancer? Yes, please.

5.  My father-in-law made a slideshow with pictures and video from all of the different stages of mine and the Southerner’s lives.  Wow.  I happy-cried the entire time.  It was one of the many moments during the wedding-weekend when I realized how much love and energy people had invested in making us feel special.

6. All of the toasts were amazing.  Particularly, when the Southerner’s 15 year-old brother told the crowd that he thought our marriage was really going to work because I was basically “the female version” of the Southerner.

7. I walked down an aisle filled with giant orange balloons to Cat Power’s Sea of Love.

8. During the ceremony, the Southerner’s sister read my favorite quote from Julia Child, “Travel, we agreed, was a litmus test: if we could make the best of the chaos and serendipity that we’d inevitably meet in transit, then we’d surely be able to sail through the rest of life together just fine. So far, we’d done pretty well.”

9. The Southerner made the groomsmen and the dad’s boutonnieres out of orange flies.

10. Jim performed an Indian blessing using sweetgrass and after the ceremony we had everyone throw stones into the creek behind us as they read us their wishes for our marriage.  As the first person came up to throw their stone, a fish rose in the creek.

11. Our first dance was a tango that we had been practicing for six weeks prior to the wedding.  I think the fact that the Southerner did not drop me during the two dips we had incorporated into our dance says a lot about the future of our marriage.

12.  My mom and all the Southerner’s siblings danced to Soulja Boy together.  Mom danced to Soulja Boy.  Brother J called it “one of the top five moments of my life.”

13. The Southerner surprised me by seating me on a chair in the middle of the dance floor and serenading me to Morphine’s You Look Like Rain.

14. The Southerner’s dad slapped my ass on the dance floor.  And then I slapped his.

15. The three shower heads in the master bedroom of our honeymoon cabin in Missoula. Three shower heads in one shower.  All pointed towards me.

Obviously, not my three shower heads. But, still, a pretty amazing view.

16. On our way to a girls lunch in Missoula, the Southerner’s 21 year-old cousin used the acronym “fupa” in conversation.  “Fupa? What’s a fupa?” I asked, and promptly learned the meaning of a word that has been missing my entire life.  I know it’s rude and insensitive, but I plan on using it as much as humanly possible until someone punches me in my fupa.

17. Committing to spend the rest of my life with the Southerner.

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Things that make me happy

Okay, so I know the flash mob thing is really overdone and yesterday’s news.  But, whatever, I love them! I love that a group of people got together to do a cool thing in a public space just for the fun of it.

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There’s a rata in mi casa

The year of freak medical maladies and parasitic insect-invasions truly reached its pinnacle this weekend, friends. The Southerner’s sister drove down from North Carolina to help us finish some last-minute wedding projects (Smore’s kits, anyone?) and visit St. Pete for the first time  (a.k.a. school us on how to party like a 21 year-old).  All of us were sitting around Sunday night watching the awesome new HBO show, The Newsroom when my future sis-in-law turned to me and said, “Umm, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I just saw a rat run through your kitchen.” “WHHHHAAAATTT? Was it big?” “I don’t know.  Maybe, about this big.”

And, then I saw it…  This huge, grey, beady-looking rat run right under my oven.   The appropriate obscenity has not yet been invented to describe how I felt about seeing that rat running under my oven. Mother-Fuckuckkakaw?

So, yeah, there’s a rat in our kitchen.  No biggie.  I mean I used to have pet rats as a teenager, right? Except, I’m not a teenager anymore and rats are gross.  Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you view the proverbial glass), our house also has termites so the termite-guys are coming to bomb it in the next few weeks and I’m fairly certain that all that toxic gas will take care of our little rat issue.

By now, you may be starting to wonder about the cleanliness of our house. I totally get it.  You think we’re slobs. How could you not, what with all the fleas, termites, and RATS running around our house.  Except, we (and by “we”, I mean “me”) are total clean-freaks. I swear.  Yes, the Southerner does have a little problem with falling asleep with a spoonful of peanut-butter in his mouth (no joke) from time to time. But, the minute I get over the shock of thinking that he shit on his own pillow-case, those sheets get washed on heavy-duty cycle.  Which is normally just reserved for blue jeans and skid marks.  See, clean?

As far as I’m concerned, all signs point toward “time to move into another house.” Really, the signs should have been glaringly obvious after the great flea invasion of 2012. But, seriously, I draw the line at rats.

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Pest control

The Southerner started complaining about fleas in our house about a week ago.  I didn’t pay much attention to him since that’s kind of what I do when he complains about things that don’t affect me. Just because he’s a flea magnet doesn’t mean we had an actual problem, right?  Until this weekend.  Every time we went out to the backyard, even for a few seconds, we returned covered in FLEAS.  FLEAS.  I hate them.  They’re parasites. Blood-sucking scum of the earth. While driving to school this morning, I almost swerved off the side of the road when I noticed a flea gorging itself on my inner arm.  I am walking around with fleas on me. That is just not attractive.  In fact, that is probably the exact opposite of attractive.

Yesterday, in an attempt to take back our house, the Southerner bought outdoor and indoor flea killers, while I vacuumed and cleaned every square inch of exposed living space.  We also spent the better part of the day playing a game that involved seeing how many fleas we could catch and successfully drown in a cup of water while yelling things like, “I got you, you mother-fucker!” and “Drown, bitch, drown!”  Aren’t you glad we took one another off the dating market?

We don’t have pets, unless you count the snake that lives in a bush in our yard and the zillions of outdoor lizards that occasionally make their way indoors, so I can’t explain our flea phenomenon.  Except to say that South Florida is a breeding ground for insects and crazy-ass wildlife, including things like bobcats.  A girl in my class has a bobcat that likes to hang out in her backyard.  I would not be cool with this.  As it stands, the snake and I are barely managing to maintain a healthy, neighborlyish relationship built on the understanding that as long as he keeps to his side of the yard, I will not have the Southerner hit him over the head with a shovel.

South Florida is also a wonderful place to grow wildlife, and this weekend my cherry tomatoes started to ripen.  Except, every time I wanted to eat one, I had to go running outside at full speed, snatch one really quick, turn around, and run back in before the fleas attacked me.

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