Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Great Memories

It was touch & go tonight.  I thought I might just cry.  Not because anything bad was happening, as I've already talked about yesterday - it's all good things going on.  But it just became nearly unbearable tonight.  That knot of stress just sat in my stomach and made me miserable.

I didn't think I'd be able to sleep tonight.  This situation called for some serious action  in the form of comfort food.  I was at the store, and it just seemed right:

Yes, I planned to eat this, and nothing else, for dinner.
No, I don't feel bad about that even a bit.
But then, well, as I was sitting for just a moment with my feet up, on the couch, with my regular bowl mixing bowl full of cereal, the unthinkable happened - I poured it everywhere.  My lap, my pillow, my floor, my couch.  I think Duke even has a few still on his back.

Confetti left over from a party?
Or my worst fears realized?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


"The answer is 'Fried'"

"What is 'the current state of my brain', Alex?"

"That's right, for $1600 and the lead.  Next up, Double Jeopardy."

I thought of that little snippet right now, so I did.  It was exceedingly true earlier, but I'm actually feeling much better now.  Earlier today, though, I was a woman on edge.  I had to remember to do 17 different things, and a lot of them were time-sensitive.  Like delivering the lasagna tonight - needed to be done before suppertime.  Packing H's bag - needed to be done before he went to work.  A lot needed to be done.  A lot got done.  It's all good.

Whoa, Mariah.
Ever hear of Fill-light?
We could call this The Dark Side of Funnel Cakes
But only because the picture is dark.
This cake was pure bliss.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A T-shirt Story

I.  Love.  T-shirts.  (ob-vious-ly)

But when I look at my stack of shirts, and I think back to the conversation Handsome and I had all those years ago, I realize, I have enough.  I do.  Easily enough to wear one every day for 2 weeks and not repeat.  I tell myself that this is okay, since they cost $0.89 at the Salvation Army on Wednesdays.  It's probably not, but that's what I tell myself.

However, when I saw this beauty two weeks ago at the SA, and it had the "sale tag color of the day" I just couldn't resist.  I loved the color of the shirt, plus the weight of it is pretty heavy while remaining soft (I know I sound like a connoisseur.  I am.), and I up and bought it.

But then I saw this idea, which is super cute.

And also this one

And then the real ringer was this one, since it would cover the words in front

And so that's what I did.  Minus the flowers, because, well, you'll see.  It's already fru-fru enough without adding flowers.

Small Things

In truth, things have felt a little crazy around here.  I mean, you've seen my living room full of boxes.  We also have yet to have confirmation on the exact closing date and time, which is slightly nervous-making, as it seems to me such an event deserves both (a) the proper prepartion, and (b) the proper build up.  I mean, we're buying our first house, here, people.  It only happens once.  I want to be properly worked up and excited for the event when it does arrive, yaknowwhatImean?

But, then, in talking to my SIL, I was reminded that it's the small things where we can find our moments of sanity.  So here's my "small things" for the day.

Maybe it's for a snack, maybe it's for breakfast.
Maybe you eat so much that you have to use a smaller-than-suggested sized pan.
Either way, inside a bowl of from-a-box brownie batter is where my worries disappear.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Moving & Shaking Packing

I need some assistance here.  If I seem needy lately, its probably due to the whole "I talk to my dog but he doesn't answer but sometimes I think he might" thing.  So have pity on me.

The state of my living room.
I'm just glad that I didn't pile these boxes up while Duke was in his bed.
Talk about a near miss.
Here's my question: What can/should I have packed 2 weeks before/1 week before/ two days before my big move?  Yes, I know that I've moved before.  I've moved quite a few times, actually.  But it's been a while, and I've never had much help.  This time 'round, it seems like I might have a good amount of help, and as such, I feel like I should be totally prepared.

I've shown up to move some people before, and all they had packed was a lunch.  That is not "help moving".  That is "help packing".  I'm looking for this move to go as smoothly as possible, and so I'd like for people who show up to "help move" to actually be able to just move, and not worry about packing.

So help a girl out there, you uber-organized peeps.  For example:

I'm thinking this can probably be packed.
I mean, yes, I may have to suffer through some warm Schweppes (my ginger ale of choice),
but I can manage it for a week (I think).
I'm not sure about this one.
I mean, what if I need to puree something?
What if I need a little magic?
Open to Suggestions,

Food to Eat (& photograph)

I need to come clean about something.  I didn’t finish my book.  The cookbook-thing that I told you about months ago, well, I never finished it.  It was 11:45 on the night before my coupon went from “free book” to “$25 off a book that surely costs more than $25.”  I was furiously typing, and talking to Handsome about how I just needed to get a few more recipes typed and then I could do the book.  And Handsome says to me, “You’re a wonderful person, and have no timing/procrastination issues at all.”  Okay, that’s not really what he said.  What he said was something along the lines of “You don’t have pictures of the majority of your recipes.  You should have pictures.  You want pictures.  Don’t publish a crappy book just because you’re late.  Take the hit, end up paying more for it, but make a book you can be proud of.”

That man, I’ll tell you what, he’s brilliant sometimes.  And if he’d lose the mustache, I’d tell you I absolutely love love LOVE his face.

Anyhow, we had that conversation months upon months ago, and guess what?  I still don’t have pictures for the majority of the recipes in the book I seem to be trying my darndest not to finish.  And I still have to type of some of my recipes.  Have I made those things?  Oh, heck yes I have.  Did I photograph any of them?  One.  Last week.  Have I included any of those photos in the book yet?  Not a chance.

So starting this week, *SWEEPING PROCLAMATION*, I’m only going to make cookbook recipes!

Actually, what I mean by that is I’m going to make 3-5 cookbook recipes a week.  I’m going to photograph what I make.  And I’m going to type 5-7 recipes a week.  Typing, cooking, and photographing, thus will be the sum of my days.  Here’s what most of the pages of my book look like right now:

Top Left: MeatLoaves
Top Right: Red Enchiladas
Bottom Left: Steak Bites
Bottom Right: Tacos

If I were working from this, we see that I need to type these 4 recipes, and also make & photograph one of them.  I choose… Notmeatloaf.  You’ve never heard of the dish “Notmeatloaf”?  Let me assure you, anything that is “Notmeatloaf” is wonderful.  Why is something that is not “Notmeatloaf” in my cookbook?  Handsome l-o-v-e-s notNotmeatloaf.  So, as you young grasshoppers will learn, and you old grasshoppers know, in marriage, you make sacrifices.  Him, he works 3 jobs and goes grocery shopping with me for company.  Me, I make him meatloaf on a semi-annual basis.  Because that’s love, ladies & gents.

Okay, not that we’ve had all that lovey-dovey talk, I feel properly chastised and am convinced that I should make Handsome some meatloaf this week.  There we go, the beginning of my dining menu.  And now, since I’d hate to start one more thing and not finish it, here is the rest of the menu for the Magagnotti household.  You see anything you like, you call me up, I’ll set you a place.  Also, we’re going to be eating a lot of pantry items in this week’s menu.  Its because I’d rather moved canned green beans in my stomach than in a box, and we’re supposedly moving sometime next week.  You might think that a person should know for sure, if she is moving out of her house within the next 10 days.  Me, no, I like to play it by ear.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Toothpaste and Goats

I purchased the Better World Shopping Guide last week, and I couldn't put it down.  It might not sound like a best-seller to you, but I was instantly sucked into it's pages and couldn't get enough!  

For those of you not yet sucked in by this book, let me tell you about it.  The BWSG, as those of us in the know call it, (okay, actually just me) is a book that rates companies based on factors such as:

  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Human Rights
  • Community Involvement
  • Animal Protection
  • Social Justice

The companies are then assigned a score (A+ through F-).  These companies are arranged by category, so that a consumer wishing to buy toothpaste responsibly can look up the category "Tooth Care" and find out the best and worst companies to support with their purchase. 


And that is really the crux of it; we support the companies we buy from.  This has never bothered me before, and I've just mindlessly consumed whatever I wanted, generally looking for the best deal.  It never crossed my mind that perhaps those jeans were only $11.50 because the person who made them halfway around the world only got paid $1.50 that day.  

I'm not all green and granola-y, (although what follows may persuade you otherwise), and I don't give that much of a hoot about whether those companies protect animals or offset their carbon footprint.  Yes, I think we should protect animals, but I bought the book because I was more concerned with the human element.  

Morning Lies

I did it again.  I said I wouldn't, but it seems that's just another lie to add to the pile.

I lie to myself in the mornings.  Like a ... well, like a lying liar who lies, I suppose.  Last week I started getting up about a half-hour earlier in order to read my bib-le, and it has only gotten worse.  Let me take you through this morning so you can see what I mean.

6:20 [first alarm] Lie: Oh, I set that earlier than needed so I could snooze.
6:25 [second alarm] Lie: Okay, now I'm mostly awake, I'll use this time to start praying.
6:30 [third alarm] Lie: Okay, now I'm mostly awake, I'll use this time to start praying.
-- You'll notice that the lies aren't always different.  Because I lie to myself and pretend each time is the first time I've told it.--
6:32 [real Mariah wakes up] What the what?! I meant to get up 15 minutes ago! (not so much a lie, as an exaggeration) [gets up, goes and does the bible reading/praying thing.]
6:47 [while falling asleep during prayer, realizes that 8am class is cancelled for the morning] Lie: Well, I can still go to the gym at 8, but I just don't have to leave as early, because if I walk in at 8:05, that's okay.  [decides to go back to bed until Handsome gets home, usually around 7:15]
7:10 - 8:05 [half-asleep, waiting on Handsome.  No, not at all like sleeping beauty.]
     Lie: Man, it feels like it's been a really long time.  But I've noticed these last couple of mornings that
    20 minutes seems to take a long time to go by.  Handsome isn't here yet, so I can just keep
     Lie: Wow, it's really light out.  Perhaps I missed "spring forward, fall back".  I'm sure it has nothing
     to do with how long I've been resting, since Handsome isn't home yet.
8:10 [Duke hears Handsome unlocking the door] Lie: Well, guess it's time for me to get up!  Wow, those 20 minutes really did me good.
8:11 [real Mariah looks at the time] Aww stink.  I did it again.

So I lie.  You ever do something like that?

A Lying (but well-rested) Liar,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Goings Ons

Hi all!  I hope you've had a lovely weekend.  I don't know if this ever happens to you, but on Monday morning, when people in my office ask me how my weekend was, I usually have to stop and think and try to remember. "I think it was good..." is my default response.

Not because I've spent the weekend in a drunken stupor or anything, just because... well, I don't know why.  Because Monday morning is a hard time to function?  Because ... I was going to put another reason here, but I couldn't think of another reason.  Apparently Sunday night is a hard time for me to function, as well.

I think this is a cocoon.
Maybe an abandoned one?
It was red a few days ago, but I don't know what that means.
If I had a cocoon, it'd be made of flannel and old t-shirts.
So while I'm still in it, I'm going to attempt to document that this weekend was, in fact, swell.  Let me begin by stating that the weather was gorgeous, and legit Fall was edging out Flummer for most of it.  I've gotten stuff done, thanks in no small part to the music you all suggested.  Speaking of music, church was fantastic this morning.  The worship music was great, and then they opened the sermon with a girl singing "Don't Stop Believin'".  I mean, it wasn't a worship song, but if I thought about it as a mini-bonus concert, it was fantastic.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Getting Crap Done Music

I'm in need of assistance here.  See, it's Friday, and I've got fun waiting for me, but I have un-fun things to do first.  And, perhaps because I'm not very grown-up yet, or because I'm merely human, or for whatever reason, I'm lacking motivation to get the stuff done I have to do, so that I can move on to the things I want to do.

I want to skip to the end, like eating ice cream for breakfast.

Not that I've ever done that.  And, hypothetically speaking, if I had done that, it's really not like music would have helped.  Hypothetically, of course.

But today, it feels like music would help.  The problem: ever since music started costing money (i.e.- napster became illegal and disappeared/went legit), I haven't really added any songs to my music collection.  And, curiously enough, the music I found inspiring back then (uhm, at... 14?) is not really doing it for me any more.  

Enter you.  What music really gets you inspired, gets you moving?  I'm talking fast-paced, exciting, non-explicit music that I can rock out to on my headphones whilst getting crap done.  I recently got a gift card in the mail from the Blood Donation Center or Red Cross or somewhere for 5 free songs, to thank me for giving blood.  Hi, have we met?  I'm an American Hero.

My playlist so far:
Yes I have a Zune.
No, I don't wish it was an iPod.
Crazy Train (Black Sabbath)
Foreplay/Long Time (Boston)
Eye of the Tiger (Journey)
I Got a Feeling & Pump It (Black-Eyed Peas)
Rock You Like a Hurricane (Scorpions)
We Built This City (Starship)
Centerfold (The J. Geils Band)

So this should give you an idea of where I'm starting from.  Yes, I know only two of those songs were actually recorded while I was alive.  I can't help that I'm ahead of my time.  I'm not opposed to new music, I just never really know what to look for.  I only know about the 'Peas because of Sunday/Monday night football. 

Grateful for your assistance,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Doing New Things

Yesterday was so good, so busy, so "Getting Crap Done"-awesome that I just didn't even have time to tell you all (still can't "y'all") about it.  Really, it was wonderful.  Afternoon classes were cancelled, because of a job fair.  

Who goes to job fairs?  People looking to gain employment.  Who is not looking to gain employment?  Yours truly!  (Ha!  A job!  A person would have to graduate from, and then not go back to, school in order to get one of those...)  So that left me off the hook for the afternoon (homework and pending research aside).

I headed out to our local Habitat for Humanity thrift store.  This was key as they are only open during certain obscure hours, and I've been trying to go out there to look for (a) a refrigerator, (b) a dresser, or (c) anything that looks necessary to the success of our new home-ownership-ness.

Well, the only refrigerator there was born before I was.  That is my number one rule of appliances - never by anything older than me.  Someday, when there are little people running around and I want something new, I might amend that to read "Never by any appliance older than the youngest person in your house."  Just for future reference.

So no fridge, but I did score this awesome table for $10!  I plan to use it for crafting/homeworking in our 3rd spare oohm when we move.

It's more awesome when it's set up than it looks here.
Really, I don't think there is much that looks totally awesome, stacked behind the weed-eater and covered in cardboard.
[except YOUR MOM!]
Also, something (I was going to say The Spirit, but I'm thinking not) came over me, and I stepped out of my comfort zone.  Really, this was a stretch for me.  I...  bought... 

... decorations!
I think the thought of having my own house has started to change me!
I might keep fruit in the basket.
I <3 that basket.
Can you believe it?!  I'm having trouble myself, and I'm the one who carried them around the store for 20 minutes, then finally paid the *quickmath* $7.97 for the whole lot and hauled them home.  It wasn't the best deal I've ever found (see above), but I was afraid that if I waited for the blue tags to be 50% off, someone else would snatch them up.

Apparently Handsome also had some trouble believing, as we had the following conversation about 30 minutes after I had showed them to him.  We had moved on to other things, talked, been quiet, and even had lunch, when this came up:

H: What did you say those were for?
M: I told you, I think they're decorations.
H: What for?  What are you going to do with them?
M: Well, from what I understand, people decorate with them.
H: Where are you going to put it?  You're just going to set a pot down and call it a decoration?
M: No, I thought I would maybe put them on a shelf together, with a potted flower or something.
H: That is homosexual.  A pot with flowers beside it?  Really?

(a) I understand his use of the word "homosexual" might offend some people.  sorry.  As a note, there is another, much more offensive Handsome story coming up at the end, and if you care to retain any affection for us at all, please stop reading if this one offended you.  It gets much worse.

(b) I wish you could imagine the incredulity on his face when he asked the last 2 questions.  Like I had suggested we stuff Duke and put him on a shelf with flowers.  Which has also been discussed from time to time in our home.  I can't explain these things.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Flummer - When Fall & Summer Collide


Yes, I made it up.  And I know, you're not "technically" allowed to start using made-up words in public until you "officially" have a PhD, but I've put in a lot of time, and I'd like to just try this one out for a while.  Don't worry, I won't try and publish it or anything.

It's Flummer, here in SC.  Since this word is new territory for... well, everyone except me, I'll expand a bit upon it.  Help you understand exactly what it means and how to recognize it.

It might be Flummer when it's dark in the morning (yes, this is morning, as in "straight on 'til morning," morning),
but still reaches highs of 90+ in the afternoon
It might be Flummer when both Chili and Watermelon seem seasonally appropriate.

Now that I've cleared that up, let me tell you that the creation of this word has eased my mind quite a bit.  Before, I was worried about not being content, as it was still summer and felt like fall (or fall and felt like summer, I couldn't really tell) and I didn't know which to want.  Now, I can be content that it is Flummer.  In Flummer, people do things, like take hikes and watch football, and yet still go swimming in the out-of-doors and drink lemonade when the sun beats to hot.  Flummer is a time for long-sleeved t-shirts and shorts.  There.  That last one really clears everything up.  I should have led with that.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I would like to write a note about 9/11.  I would like to do something, make some small gesture to honor those who ran in when others were running out.  I find myself unable to even type these few sentences, however, without crying.

I don't know exactly what it is.  Heroics always cause pride and tears and gratefulness to well up inside of me, but this is a little bit more.  I think it's my personal connection to firefighters.  I know men who, although not yet tested, would have done the same as those who gave their lives to try and save others.  I'm married to one of them.  He may say that he doesn't know for sure, but I know him; he would.

So maybe that's the cause.  Perhaps its the knowledge that, in different times and circumstances, I could be missing my firefighter today as so many others are.  So as my remembrance, I can only sit here and let my tears be the evidence of my pride in Americans, my offering of gratitude, and my heartfelt condolences.  May those who lost their lives 10 years ago be remembered fondly, for their best moments.

Praying for our people, our country,

Friday, September 9, 2011

This is a First

Duke, who is not very good for much, other than looking cute, is good at one thing:

Bug Sniffing

That one roach episode aside, where he slept while it ran under his leg, he is pretty good at sniffing at bugs, letting me know when something is running around that ought not be running around.  And tonight, he sniffed out (and barked at) a brand new contender.

Exhibit A: a Scorpion
If I had thought to name him before I squished him dead, I would have named him Frances.
Now his name is Dead Frances. 
Also making the news today, I'm making pop tarts from Smitten Kitchen.  It's a first, too.  But a much better one.  One that lets me sleep at night, rather than lying awake feeling like creepies are crawling into my bed, hoping to paralyze me and eat my soul.  And FTR, I don't care if scorpions don't "officially" eat people's souls.  Its what I believe, and I cannot be convinced otherwise.

Goosed by Fall

It's been glorious this week.

Don't misunderstand, I've thoroughly enjoyed summer.  Really, it was everything a summer should be.  And I was fully expecting it to continue.  I mean, we're in South Carolina, for goodness sake!  I expected summer to last right up unto the Autumnal Equinox.  

But then, last week, I'm just walking along, going to classes, minding my own business, and *pinch!*  Fall goosed me right on the bee-hind.  I turned around and boom.  "Hi, I'm fall, can I hang around you for a while?".

See those brown leaves there at the bottom?
That's my scentifical proof.
Fall has been here.
CSI taught me everything I know.
Handsome & I took advantage of the weather to head up to the mountains and hike to a waterfall.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Up-cycled Tees (again)

So this time, it wasn't even my idea.  Last time, I wanted to tell you all about what to do with T-shirts that you had lying around.  And so I harped on and on about T-shirt quilts and how amazing they are and how easy to make and how much I love them and... wait, where was I going with this?

Oh, right, not my fault.  It's actually my SIL's fault.  I was just wandering through Sally Anne's, looking at things and touching stuff, reading off interesting shirts while talking on the phone like a total jerk-face.  Really, I felt bad about it.  Clearly not bad enough to alter my behavior, but enough to try and talk quietly, when I remembered.

There was one shirt that was all teal, and on the front it just said "Chinese Delivers".  I wanted it.  But I didn't feel moved to pay $1.79 for it.  And then, I found one that my SIL would like, so I read it to her.  One thing led to another, I walked out a few bucks lighter, and now we've got a new project for T-shirts.  That's just how things go sometimes.

So I've gotten this shirt to my place, and now all I'm concerned with is being careful not to rip it's arms off at the seams.  Wait, I mean, I'm interested in conversation and totally not just it's chest area... wait... Really, I'm just interested in her future... as an ECO-TOTE!! *whatwhat!?!*

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Whip it Good

Please do not ever challenge me to a towel-whipping contest.  There are only two outcomes, and neither of them are pretty.  (1) I make a pitiful attempt at waving my towel, and twisting it, and flinging it through the air, and end up with a bunch of welts.  (2) I put my towel down after the first welt I receive, get a broom, and hit you with it.

Because, you see, I can't whip a towel.  Clearly not going to public school for all of my elementary years left some gaps in my education.

I did 'whip it' one, once.  I remember most of the day clearly, although I'm a little hazy on the exact location.  I mean, it was at summer camp (the one I wrote about here), and I'm pretty sure it was near the pool.  The poor guy on the receiving end was a kid (okay, teenager) who liked to terrorize younger girls.  All I can say in my defense is that the guy started it, and I have no aim.  The one time, the only time, that I actually got a good 'crack!' from the end of my towel, well, I, um... well, lets just say I hit him in his most vulnerable spot.  Whoops!

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I must also confess that the above story has nothing to do with what I wanted to tell you about to day.  Me!  Wandering in conversation.  Imagine that!

Here's what I wanted to tell you: I made my own washcloths.

And here's what I wanted to know: Did I just cross a line?  Is that too far?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You Can't HANDLE the Jorts!

Jorts (jort-s): Definition - Shorts made out of denim.  Specifically, denim shorts roughly shorn above the knee.
I do not have words for this experience.  I have only photos, and you may find some of them disturbing.  If you are uncertain about your capability, here is one photo for your viewing pleasure, and you can decide for yourself.

Forgive the perspective.
Let's just chalk it up to me being in shock.
And yes, that is Handsome's favorite belt.  He got it for my birthday.
If you feel up to it, please, there is much more waiting for you...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Rain & Other Things



Wasn't so "hot".  More "wet".


Doesn't have the same feel, but I might try & throw it into casual conversation, see how it flies.

I'm still processing everything that happened yesterday at the race that wasn't.  And by "race that wasn't," I mean that we got rain delayed and then sat for 2 1/2 hours while they dried 7/8th of the track, and then it rained again for 5 minutes and it was cancelled.  Technically, this means that I've still never been to a Nascar race.

I suddenly feel better :)

Confession: I did have fun.  Take me as I am, I cannot help myself.  

I have pictures.  Oh, do I have pictures.  But I don't have my camera currently, so you're going to have to live in a state of suspended satisfaction until I can get home and put them up here for you.  Trust me, if anything was ever worth waiting for, these pictures are it.  Let me see if I can sum it up in a few words for you.

Handsome.  Wal*Mart Jeans.  Scissors.  Redneck.

I feel like that induces the appropriate level of anticipation.  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Steelers Extravaganza!

Our trip to see the final Steelers Pre-season game was a raging success.  Today, as you read this (assuming you're plugged in and addicted to this little slice of the interwebs here, reading it just as I put it up...) we're on our way to the ... ATLANTAMOTORSPEEDWAYNASCARRACE.  *WHEW!*  There, now, I said it.

I'm still not thrilled by the idea.  

Perhaps tomorrow will reveal some new opinions that I've formed, but I'm standing firm for now.  

Our company during the race will be of the highest quality, as Coot & his wife are joining us.  Really, it is a weekend of wonderful company!  For the Stillers game, we met up with a friend from highschool & his wonderful wife.  Don't think that we left Duke out, no ma'am.  Doug & Cori brought their puppies and we all had a lovely time!

Doug & Cori
The two most photogenic people I know.
Of course, the black & gold doesn't hurt at all either...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Plans Gone Awry

It was Thursday.
2 in the PM.
Approximately 2 hours past our leaving "deadline".
We're finally on the road.
Heading out of town, when...
it happens.

The tones drop.

A call comes out.
Brush Fire.
5 housed down from our soon-to-be new home.

"Let's just drive by and see," says he.

10 minutes later...

He's on the pumper.

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