Tuesday, July 29, 2008

When I Grow Up.

When I find something spectacularly wonderful and fancy (read: expensive), I tell my partner or my friends that "when I grow up" I'm going to have it. I find that this declaration both inspires and unnerves me, as I am horrendously fond of instant gratification. But, I'm also (at some place within my person) a reasonable gal, so identifying something as an aspiration versus a must-have is a gesture to my checkbook...who is often wincing in the corner of most consumer establishments.


I bookmark delightful thinks as though it were my job...a vocation I acquired somewhere between the splashed-together genetics of my shopaholic grandmother and my pensive, careful mother. If I save the memory, then I'll save the money and then I'll have my precious thing. Growing up...and growing into a serious relationship...complicates this, however. What I want is not something mutually desired. In fact, more often than not, I'm the only one who wants it within a 30 mile radius of my home.



So I have lots of conversations with my beloved and we talk about how we can both merge our respective styles and also pay credance to our personal histories as well as family heirlooms. Being a young couple complicates this (as well as being a Taurus and a Leo...bullheaded, much?), because we are restling with things that pretty much stay in our imagination. There is very little we can do to affect a change of decor in our home these days, between work schedules and finances. So we dream, we sqaubble, we forward links to one another, and we try to find a balance between our two preferences and something we're both comfortable saying represents Us.


Draper's Cabinet (Set of 3) Stackable Chicken Coop

A blogger linked to repro-vintage chairs today from the Sundance Catalog and I FELL.IN.LOVE. So I forwarded a few things to Em and we both agreed that if anything, thus far, represents us and what We like, this is it. But, their stuff is pricey. So I'm creating a memory book here, of sorts, to both inspire us and remind us. Sundance has an heirloom quality to their furniture designs...it may be brand new, but rather than just looking "vintage" their designs appear to have been stolen from the living room at your grandmother's house. I cannot wait to "grow up" and have some of this stuff for my (excuse me...Our) very own.

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all images courtesy SundanceCatalog.com

Friday, July 25, 2008

Christmas in July!

You can kiss my butt if you don't like Christmas. It's my favorite season, for goodness sake! And to celebrate Christmas in July I would like to first wish the merriest of days to you and yours AND remind you that here in DC we (and by "we" I mean "a certain radio station") have a tradition of playing Christmas music on July 25...so wander over to WASH 97.1 and get your Christmas fix.

Ho ho ho.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wordle!

Not only is Wordle ridiculously fun to say (in your head...over and over again), but it's also fun to fiddle with. I found Wordle courtesy of How About Orange, and I decided to Wordle-ize my blog. I like the words that pop up with great frequency...kids, family, town, reading, living, home. Those are good words.

Wordle your blog and link back here! I want to see how y'all Wordle!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ask me a question, or I'll kick you in the Buckus!

Attention please!

Quite a while ago, my best Bucko and I started a Q&A blog over at:

Please check it out and e-mail us with your questions: bucko@raisingabuckus.com

Love and [dis]order,
Frau Fancypants

A Flickr Mosaic/Survey Thing/Hilarious Picture

I borrowed this idea from fellow blogger Robyn of craft & found.



Here's what you do:

Answer these questions in the Flickr Search box. Then find your favorite pic off the main page, and enter the url for the photo into the Mosaic Maker. et voila!

The questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you attend?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10.What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your Flickr name.

In my quest to complete my mosaic, I stumbled across this picture. I think that it is, perhaps, one of the most fantastic panhandling concepts I've seen:

Monday, July 14, 2008

A White Picket Fence Lesbian

I wrote this a year and a half ago and posted it in my Ye Olde LiveJournal. My honey reminded me of it this morning and I think that it's worth a repost...if for nothing else, an extra place to store it. Enjoy.

I was born and raised in the suburbs, and it's that precise environment from which I'd like to escape. I used to think that I wanted to live in the wilds of Montana (well, I thought that in 4th grade when I had to write a State biography) or along the water in East-Central Virginia. Fleeting dreams of log cabins, gardens, corn stalks and tractors...all of the things I shared with my grandfather when I was a kid.

As I grew older, and by "older" I mean "teenaged", I was definitely more keen on living an urban lifestyle. I went to Chicago my senior year of high school for a journalism conference, and I was hell bent on finding some chic loft in the heart of downtown, meeting my friends for cosmos and wearing really cool urban shoes with velcro, straps everywhichway, and incredibly funky colors. A few months later I left for Shepherd College, in West Virginia. While the town itself is not rural, the area in which the college is situated is. VERY. I loved the idea of open fields again, but living in close proximity to a town where everybody knew my name. I worked at the local flower shop and enjoyed becoming a local, even though I was still a student (and students in Shepherdstown aren't well loved by the locals). In many ways I felt at peace and settled there, even though I only stayed a year.

A few years later I moved to Basel, Switzerland. Basel is a European city but, even still, it's small. The streets were entirely navigable by foot, and that was the preferred mode of transportation. Foot, bicycles, or the tram system. I loved Basel. I still do, with every beat of my heart (shush, Taylor Dayne)! But obviously, unless I marry some rich (male) Swiss banker, or find a job in the pharmaceutical industry, there's no real praticality in holding onto the dream that I'll one day be living in Switzerland.

So my goal in life is to find somewhere in America that is LIKE Basel and Shepherdstown, something on the crossroads of rural and urban, and something most certainly NOT suburban. And when I get there, I'll be able to fulfill my (almost) lifelong dream of owning a bookstore...something focused on, and driven by, the local community. Ideally I'd love to work in a college town. I'd host craft hours, book groups and TONS of children's storytimes (my field of expertise, actually). I'd have a huge collection of children's books to match, as well as book swaps and even a building with a free library out back. I'd live in some cute house situated on the outskirts of town, and I'd ride my bike (or aqua Vespa) into town daily. And now and then I'd just walk into work, so I could bring my dog with me. I'd stop at the flower shop and get a little bouquet to put at the check-out counter. I'd even have a small coffee bar, and I'd put little bouquets on the tables there too. I'd have big fluffy couches and chairs situated throughout the store, where people could nest and read. I'd have the local bakery sell their treats to my customers, and local artists could put their work up all over the walls. I'd have a wall to wall metal sheet in the kid's area, where people could play with magnetic poetry. And no one would have to wear a name tag, because everyone would know our names! Yes, that's my dream.

I've also done a lot of thinking about the place I'd call home. Three requirements...I'd want an attic-ish space with lots of nooks for reading and crafting; a hammock in the backyard; and an almost-wraparound porch. I imagine my house in the northeast somewhere, relatively close to water. I'd have big, generous flower pots on the front steps, and lush landscaping everywhere else. My kitchen would have mostly red things in it, and a big bowl in the center of my butcher block island would always be filled with lemons and limes. My bathroom would look and feel like a spa, with thick lush bathrobes, bathmats and towels and a huge huge shower with jets that shoot in every direction. My bedroom would be completely comfort oriented too...lots of pillows, a thick fluffy mattress and comforter. There'd be a big plush reading chair in the corner, and really cute embroidered (with their names) dog beds at the end of the bed. There would be no such thing as a "room you can't touch"...every room would serve a purpose for daily use. It would just be warm and full of love.

If you've seen The Family Stone, you'll understand what I mean when I say that I want to grow old in a house and have family circulate in and out of it for all eternity. I believe in roots. I know that this wanderlust that's been itching at me for years will fade and I'll want to find somewhere to call home. My heart was shaken quite a bit when my parents moved to Arizona three years ago...going "home" doesn't feel like home. So my quest is not to find somewhere suitable for the next few years, but somewhere that I can plant myself and my life and feel whole and complete forever.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Babysitter's Club...I was mostly like Mallory, I guess.

I was chatting this afternoon with my BFF and was tinkering around a little on Facebook. Facebook is both a blessing and a curse, folks. Sure, you can search for anyone under the sun but most folks have their profiles locked (mine too, natch) so you can't see more than a 1"x1" picture of them, and perhaps their current location or school. And this doesn't help an old lady like me when it comes to identifying kids that I once babysat. Yes, I looked up kids I used to part-time parent. That's what I always thought babysitting was, anyway. Hardly one of those things where you sat back comfortably on the couch and relaxed. I was the best damn babysitter in the world.

I think the first kids I cared for were the Madaj's up around the corner from my childhood home. There were three kids, two boys and a girl. The girl was all piss and vinegar and the boys were just loud and rambunctious. My fondest memories include the kids showing me their parents CD collection and hearing Spin Doctors for the first time...ONE, TWO, PRINCES KNEEL BEFORE YOU. That's what I said now. I also remember the girl, J, insisting that she was allowed to watch Beavis and Butthead. I wasn't even allowed to watch that evil show, so I decided that it was a cardinal rule when I watched them. No. Freakin. Beavis and Butthead.

They soon grew out of needing childcare, right around the time I started caring for the two girls and a little boy across the street. I can't remember their last name beyond the fact that the eldest daughter was in the same class as my brother, and she insisted that it was acceptable for her and her younger sister (they were probably 9 and 5 years-old at the time) to watch Pretty Woman. Again, I wasn't even allowed to watch Pretty Woman, but we put it in and I fell in love with the concept of being a high class hooker with a BFF named Kit Deluca. Who knew that I'd grow old and have a friend not much different than the woman who coined the phrase, "Cinder-fuckin-rella."

Shortly after these kids came E, who was a little angel fighting for her life after having a brain tumor removed and being in the throes of some heavy duty chemotherapy. I remember one night reading an entire children's library department to her and losing my voice. We used to sit on the big old leather sofa in her living room, with the reading light on, and see if the peach fuzz on her naked head was amounting to anything. We also fought like big sister/little sister the day she insisted she was going to wear her Jasmine (from the Disney film Aladdin, natch) t-shirt again, even though she had donned it for close to two weeks EVERYDAY. Their housekeeper was kind enough to do the laundry on the daily for this family. I took care of E for many, many years and saw the addition of J, her sister, and T, her brother. I used to have to chase their dog Quincy all over God's green creation or wrestle with him to release a dirty diaper. He was like a dysfunctional Nana, the family's steadfast nanny from Peter Pan.

The only other significant family I cared for was the Reavis family, at the top of Orr Drive, my childhood street. There were three kids...E, J, and M...two girls and a boy. E was a wonderful oldest sister, guarding her home and her siblings like a hawk. She used to suck on her two middle fingers and drag a tattered blanket across the top under her middle and pinky fingers, with perfect timing and consistency. J, the middle child, was classic neurotic. She had a terrycloth bear (who did have many stunt doubles) she'd cart around endlessly, sucking on the arm until it was practically rancid, at which point I'd have to hunt down a clean one and swap the dirty bear out. M was the baby, and was always a little uneasy. I think he knew that there was trouble afoot from the minute he was born, and I don't doubt for a second that his birth was an attempt for the parents to make it work...this one last time. Their parents' marriage disintegrated rapidly, however, when Mr. was discovered to have been cheating on Mrs. Mrs. was the sweetest lady in the world, and rather than crumbling into a million bits, turned into a powerhouse and eventually carted the kids back to her homestate of Michigan (I think). I never really heard from them again, save for a Christmas card now and then.

The kids I babysat were kind of a cross between children and siblings for me. I worked really hard, above and beyond most nights, and won the favor of the kids and parents with ease. I became sort of infamous in my neighborhood for being a great caregiver, and while I'm sure it stunted my social growth (or aided in my social ineptitude, however you'd like to look at it), I wouldn't change it for a second. Those moments when you're watching 12 kids in a townhouse in the middle of nowhere, and the home happens to be owned by a guy who works for Hostess, and they happen to have a gigantic stash of Twinkies and HoHos in a broom closet, and the kids happen to eat a few boxes and pass out in a heaving, post-hyperactive mass on the pullout couch in the basement, and you have to cart them all to their separate resting spots. Or the kid, whose mother was a news broadcaster and doesn't have any idea what a real kid should eat or look like when they're feeling particularly tummy-ill, and insists they should eat pizza for dinner, and then fails to come home in time after said child has literally projectiled vomited across the VERY expensive Oriental rug in the family room.....well, I wouldn't give those times up for anything. These moments are mine and I love them.

Back to Facebook. I decided, in my piddlefarting around, look up a few of the kids I used to care for...specifically the Reavis kids. I found E, J and M (I hope!) and after a little uncertain chatting with my BFF, decided to pen a Facebook message to E, in the hopes she would write back and I could see how the family was...which is where I am now. Waiting.

I was part of a Babysitter's Club of one, and I was exceptional. And I love these memories, these kids and the person they helped me become. So, God bless Facebook.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

“Never cry over spilt milk, because it may have been poisoned.” - W.C. Fields

In the interest of full disclosure on this here blog, I have something to ask you guys.

What costs approximately $3,000, four months of itch and anguish, two doctors, one short-term disability claim, countless missed days at work, and a couple ice packs?

A FRICKIN' DAIRY ALLERGY, that's what.
(Mold and almonds, too.)

Yesterday I got home and opened up a bill from LabCorp, the company who did all the blood work that my allergist prescribed, and I laughed uproariously at the ridiculousness that was my bill. I was being asked to pay, after my insurance chipped their part in, $35.97 out of a close-to $3,000 lab work bill. Hilarious!

(In all actuality, having to only pay $35.97 is a blessing, and I'm uniquely fortunate to have excellent insurance and a fantastic allergist who knows/knew what to ask for when it came down to the enigma that is my health issue.)

I found out the new about my dairy allergy approximately two months ago, but since I haven't posted here, I haven't really shared it with the world. And world, let me tell you, it's not easy giving up something so ingrained in your experience of life, so specifically essential to your life's fulfillment, so creamy and delectable. I haven't had any dairy (knowingly...an not including those five Tootsie Rolls I accidentally ate a few weeks ago) in just about two months. I can't say I've lost weight, but I didn't really care about that. I DO feel less bloated, less crampy and significantly less phlegmy. I'm also pretty much hive-less, which is the most delightful part. While still on my massive regime of suppressant meds, I still feel like kicking the dairy habit has been a fantastic blessing in disguise.

A really craptastic disguise, sometimes. I can't lie. There is dairy in EVERYTHING.

Fortunately, I now live in a dairy-free home thanks to Em giving up the poison too. We're eating salads, cheese-free risotto (which is to die for), balsamic-glazed chicken, sushi, and lots of delectable vegetarian treats, too. Our friends have been really understanding and supportive, and even going out to eat is fairly easy as most restaurants want to avoid lawsuits and will clean the grill just for ME in order to prevent an allergy attack (thank you, Sweetwater Tavern!). All in all, and despite my whining, it hasn't been so bad.

There are parts of me that desperately miss cheese. It was such an enormous staple for me that it's hard to imagine I've cut it out completely. We walked by the cheese counter at Whole Foods the other day and I just about cried. But every day it gets easier. And I hope that in seven years or so, my body does that miraculous shift and I can once more tolerate the nectar of the Gods. Until then, dry cereal it is.
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