30 May 2009


Remember that scene at the end of Forrest Gump when Forrest is talking at Jenny's grave, and right before he puts down the letter that Little Forrest wrote for her, he says, "And he's so smaht, Jenny" and his voice cracks and he starts crying and then you [unless you are Matt who does not have a soul] start crying for days?

That's nothing.

Up made me sob. It was the kind of crying where I was doing the deep breaths that shook my whole body. (I'm still crying.) But it was completely worth it. And I'll go ahead and throw this out there--best movie of the summer.

The movie is gorgeous, to start. The whole thing looks like candy. The 3-D was also beautiful, that is, when my vision was not clouded by the streams of tears falling from my eyes. Characters, great. Plot, pretty cool. Pulling of the heartstrings, oh dear God. It's a nearly perfect film. And, there's a dog who's basically Mitch. Go see it. Right. Now.

While the movie was incredible, our fellow moviegoers left much to be desired. First of all, there was the Jon and Kate Plus 8 family who boldly defied stereotypes when they did not correctly count out how many seats they would need, leaving them in a state of confusion. There was the guitar hero before the movie--which was, admittedly, a cool idea--during which the players forced us to listen to crappy renditions of "Eye of the Tiger" not just once, but twice. There was the old man in the tucked-in Hawaiian shirt who stole Matt's armrest. And then there was the screaming baby whose mother just let it scream, and scream, and scream. Maybe it was more than one screaming baby? Who knows.

And we went to the theater that is constructed from garbage. At least, that's what it feels like. There were homemade clouds on the wall that looked like a bulletin board threw up, there was food all over the floor, and the whole place had a general feeling of being covered in mayonnaise. I hate mayonnaise.

NOTE: If you have a baby, and you make the decision to take it to a public place (restaurant, movie theater, grocery store, etc.) and it starts to scream, please remove the child from that public place. Please do not punish the rest of us with your screaming child. It's neither cute nor endearing.

Matt and Mandy = Barack Obama

Matt and I are pretty much exactly like Barack Obama. Some examples:

  • Matt smokes, but is trying to quit.
  • I am tan.
  • We are good at basketball.
  • We have a dog.
  • We live in a white house.
  • We like to watch The Wire.
  • We like Michelle Obama.
  • We are really, really, really ridiculously good-looking.
  • We LOVE Five Guys burgers.

It was nice (but not at all surprising) to hear that our man Obam' recently hit up his local Five Guys. I'm telling you: exactly the same.

One explanation for these uncanny similarities may be that we're related. Matt is very very distantly related to Dick Cheney (everyone should have an evil cousin) who is very very distantly related to Obam'. The Obamas will be here for Thanksgiving. And their picture is already on our mantle.

28 May 2009

Coma Naps

Today I had a terrifying experience. I woke up to the sound of my phone ringing at 7:35 (I have to be at school by 7:30 a.m.). I panicked, jumped out of bed, and began to get ready for school. Of course, I woke up at 7:35 p.m., and I was just coming out of one of my famous coma naps.

The coma nap is one of my favorite things to do. I'm a good sleeper, and I sleep best between the hours of 3-10 p.m.
And let's not forget, people, that we're in a recession. Naps are free!
My coma naps usually go something like this: I get home from school around 3:00, tired.

And then I look at Mitch and see that he is also tired. (We are E.T. and Elliot.)

Then we lay down in the bed for a snuggle nap. First Mitch has to retrieve a bone he's buried somewhere in my bed.

And then we sleep, usually for 3-4 hours. If you try to call me between 3:30 and 8:30, and I don't answer, there's a good chance that I am in a coma.

Naps have been an important part of my daily routine since I was in high school. My body likes them, and they make me very, very happy. When Matt and I have the "to-have-kids or not-to-have-kids" discussion, one of my many reasons not to have them is because I would no longer enjoy these naps. I know that it sounds selfish or dumb, but I don't care.

So unless someone can guarantee me a child with narcolepsy (who also comes out potty-trained, intelligent, well-adjusted, and cleaning the house), it's a no go.

27 May 2009

Pretty Flowers and "Pretty Flowers"

Check out all of the pretty flowers in my back yard! (The bottom one will be a gardenia soon--if only computers were scratch and sniff!)

Also, you should download "Pretty Flowers" by Steve Martin. It's super cute.

Great People: Chloe

When I was in middle school, my parents sat my brother and me down for a family meeting. We all had a decision to make: would my parents try to have another baby, or would we get a dog? We all decided on the dog.

And then, only months later, my mom was pregnant. When they told me I thought they were playing a practical joke (because my family had once played this same joke on me), and I laughed. But then I saw that my mom was not laughing. I think she was in shock, and was flooded with memories of birthing my 11-pound brother.

I immediately started referring to it as Chloe. Chloe Zoe, to be exact. I remember that same day force-feeding my mom Reese's Pieces, insisting that Chloe wanted them. The name Chloe stuck, and before long we were all calling it Chloe. I was especially nervous the day my mom came back from her sonogram. I already had a brother, and I was really looking forward to having a sister. Plus, who wants a brother named Chloe?

Fortunately for all of us, it was a girl. Chloe was born three weeks after my fifteenth birthday. My parents sissied out and wouldn't name her Chloe Zoe, but settled on Chloe Nicole. Of course I'm a bit biased, but Chloe was one of those babies who was beautiful from the time she was born. She never went through that alien-disgusting baby phase, which I appreciated.

Any time I would take her out, I would get dirty looks from people who believed I was her irresponsible teenage mother. And, many times, I resented being the "built-in babysitter." I bitched a bit [understatement of the year].

Chloe, now 13, has developed into quite a cool person. I kind of want to steal her. From an early age, she was bold, fearless, inquisitive and insightful. She may even turn out to be smarter than me. A few of my favorite Chloe moments:
  • When Chloe was 5, and we were driving home from watching Elf. She had recently seen Haunted Mansion. "You know, Sissy, sometimes you think a movie is scary or funny--but really it's about love, or Christmas spirit."
  • On Christmas Eve, when she was about 8. I was spending Christmas away from her in Savannah, and I called to see what she was doing. Her response: "Well, I was out putting food out for Santa's reindeer, but then I thought I saw the Grim Reaper so I came inside."
  • When she was 3, and I took her to see my high school's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. My friend Jason, on whom Chloe had a crush, was a member of the cast. In the middle of a musical number, Chloe recognized him, and she ran up to the stage and attempted to climb up, screaming: "That's my Jason!"
  • When she was in Kindergarten, learning to write. I was talking to her on the phone. She said that she was writing a grocery list, and she wanted me to tell her things to buy at the store. "Carrots," I would say, and she would go "c-c-carrots," and so on. At one point I said something obnoxious to her and she said, "b-b-bitch." I could have died happy in that moment.

Chloe has always been precocious. She's always been proud. She's recently developed an obsession with vampires. She's beautiful and interesting, and far less obnoxious than I was at her age. She's a good writer. She's not afraid to tell you when she disagrees with you.

She's such a badass that I think she could have pulled off the name Chloe Zoe.

I'm so, so, so happy that I got a sister instead of a dog.

25 May 2009

Pictures from Amanda

Click here to view these pictures larger

A Post by Mitch

So, today my mom and dad were getting ready to abandon me. I was sooo sad. And it was a really sunny day and I wanted to play outside. Something you might not know about me is that I love to play outside. And it had been raining forever and I really hate the rain. That rain gets on my fur and makes me smell gross.

Anyway, right when they were about to walk out the door, my mom asked me (in that stupid voice she does), "Doooo--do you want to go for a ride in the car?" Here's something else you might not know about me: I love riding in cars.

So I like freaked out and jumped around and then we got in the car. I had my head out the window like for most of the ride because it was so nice outside, and there were so many smells and things to see.

Then we got to Forsyth Park. I mean, I'm a dog, and another thing you might not know about me is that I love parks. I love the people, and I love the other dogs, and I love to eat the green grass, and I love to smell all of the different smells, and I love to run. Parks are great. Forsyth is a great park, too. It's really big.

So we got there and I chewed on a really big stick. I tried to drink beer, but my mom and dad wouldn't let me. Then a dog friend named Wally came and we ran and played. But then he got on my nerves when he peed right next to my mom's bag!

Wally seemed fun at first but he was pretty annoying. He was so annoying that I bit him. My mom got so mad and she yelled at me! It was just a little "don't pee on my stuff or drink from my water bowl" bite, but she didn't care.

After all of that excitement, we went home. Good thing, because I was pretty tired. When we got home I just went to one of my favorite napping places, under the bed, and did some dog relaxing.

All in all, it was a pretty good dog day.

24 May 2009

Matt's Movie Review: Terminator Salvation

So I went to see Terminator Salvation today. I loved it. It was fantastic, I can't say enough about it. The funniest movie I've seen all year.
Wait, what? It wasn't supposed to be a comedy? They were serious? Oh...oh no.
Well, we officially have the first nominee for the Unintentional Comedy category at next years Oscars. The movie, directed by McG of Charlie's Angels infamy, is completely and utterly over the top and unbelievable in every way, from the dialogue to the characters to the acting (special nod to Sam Worthington for his portrayal of a robot who thinks he's human yet still delivers his lines more roboticly than the Governator did in the first two Terminators). The action sequences were on a whole nother level. Spoiler Alert: Our hero survives, by my count, a nuclear explosion that causes his helicopter to crash, another unrelated helicopter crash, and another nuclear explosion that occurs adjacent to his helicopter but does not cause it to crash. Again, Terminator Salvation truly is a fantastically funny movie.
Check back next week for a review of Sam Raimi's Drag Me To Hell, a horror film from a director who always knows when he is making fun of his movie.

Project Time

Since we're going to be living in Savannah for at least another year, I've decided to make some improvements around the house.

Today I slipped into manic mode and tackled the bathroom.

Bathroom before:

And bathroom after:

All it's missing is a dimmer switch and a framed picture of Mitch.

22 May 2009

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

My Grandma Carol bought me a subscription to Cook's Illustrated for Christmas a couple of years ago. At first I thought it was stupid because it didn't have pictures (which I'm pretty sure means that I am the one who is stupid), but I finally started reading it and discovered how wonderful it is. It's like the Food Network and science class had a baby. If you're serious about cooking or learning to cook, I highly recommend it.

A recent issue had a recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. When I read the article it reminded me of that episode of Friends when my friend Monica is trying to copy Phoebe's grandma's cookie recipe, only to find out--after dozens of failed batches--that it's the Nestle Tollhouse recipe. Forgive me, for I didn't have cable for a year, but I did have all of the seasons of Friends on DVD.

This recipe is kind of cool, albeit time-consuming. There are many more steps to it than there were in my previous cookie-baking endeavors (read: buying dough and eating it with a spoon). But it made believers of Matt and me.

Note: unlike most cookies, these are best when eaten the next day. I don't know why.

Have it it, ladies and gentlemen.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2009)

1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whish for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.


Somebody stole our lawnmower. I'm pissed.

Hopefully it explodes and kills them. That's what happens if you steal.

20 May 2009

And the winner is. . .Kris?

Adam didn't win.

My favorite Matt comment during the show: "Since when did Rod Stewart become the guy from Love Actually?"

Also, I love the song Steve Martin wrote. I will be downloading it. Something about pretty flowers.

Congratulations to Kris, formerly known to us as "cute boy," and the one who makes the funniest faces whilst singing. I will download his album when it comes out, since I can't resist the soothing quality of a whiny boy singing and playing the guitar.

19 May 2009

Go Adam!

All the cool people know that tonight is part one of the finale of American Idol. Matt and I mocked AI for years, but finally became interested last year during the writer’s strike, when nothing else was available to watch. What we hadn’t realized for all of those years is that AI is fantastic. There’s something really special about a show that appeals to me, my grandma, Matt's parents, and my students all at the same time. And there’s something even more special about Adam Lambert.

Oh, Adam. . . He’s kind of like Elvis gone punk. I’ve gushed about Adam to the point where Matt might leave me. I’ve spent hours on the phone voting for him, and I’ve downloaded all of his performances on iTunes. It’s probably true that Adam would be much more interested in Matt than in me, but I don’t care. He’s going on the list!

What seems really funny to me is that when we were younger, my friend Tanya and I had a string of beautiful Adams with whom we were obsessed. There was Adam the Jehovah’s Witness with one eye (well, he was blind in one eye), there was Adam with the webbed feet, there was her neighbor Adam (we would take pictures of him with her mom’s nice camera with the powerful zoom lens). And now there’s guyliner skinny jeans Adam. It feels like my life is coming full circle.

By the way, my grandma is also an Adam Lambert fan.

Opossums will kill you.

During my planning today I noticed that Animal Control was parked out in front of the school. "What a novel way to get rid of problem students," I thought to myself. Of course, later I discovered that Animal Control was not getting rid of the De’Jons and Jerricas and Tatianas of the world like I had wished; rather, there were 5 opossums loose in the art/guidance wing of the school! HA! Apparently they were really big and live in the ceiling. [So gross!] I just keep imagining a rabid opossum dropping from the ceiling while I’m in the middle of teaching gerunds or Romeo and Juliet. Do I still have to go to school if I get rabies?

Opossums are gross, and they will kill you.

18 May 2009


I accept that this show is fake and horrible and ridiculous. My husband (who, by the way, is a loyal watcher of any Real World/Road Rules challenge) refuses to watch it with me. But it's also AMAZING. I think I really just watch it to feel superior. And it works. Case in point:
On the preview for the next episode of The Hills, Spencer remarks to Heidi that "getting married will save this relationship."
What's more frustrating is that some people actually believe this. "Maybe if we sign some papers and have a big party and get some new jewelry, then we won't hate each other, cheat on each other, and fight all the time." It's horrible, but that's what we've come to expect from platinum-haired Heidi and her beau with the flesh-colored beard.
And don't even get me started on Audrina and Stephanie. . .

54 Degrees and Raining

We live in Savannah. You know, balmy, hot Savannah. At this point of the year I am supposed to be putting talcum powder on my face to absorb all of the sweat. But no.

Here is my angry, "Stupid cold rain!" face.

It's cold outside, and it's raining, and Mitch hates it. This is one of those times when he channels his inner kitten, and he refuses to be outside if it is raining. Also, since he is a Georgian wild swamp dog, he's not accustomed to the cold.

So now nature is not just trying to destroy me, but it is also trying to destroy my son. Stupid nature.

17 May 2009

Slugs will kill you.

So, it's been raining a lot down here this week, and I like flip-flops. Also, nature is out to get me. I made a quick trip to HomeGoods after work (I'm painting the bathroom dark purple, a color that my colorblind husband will just think is navy blue), and had been home for about an hour when I realized that there was something stuck to the bottom of my foot.


The slug had been trying to gnaw off my foot. We all know how deadly they are.

This experience should also serve as a reminder to me that I should not have such dirty Wal-Mart feet.

16 May 2009

Matt and Mandy.

Meet Matt and Mandy. We're really into alliteration, we're good spellers, and, as you can tell, we are really really incredibly good-looking. Also, we really love each other. I love Matt so much that I try really hard not to be a maniacal bitch, and he loves me so much that he will finish trimming hedges after a snake tries to attack me!
We met in college at James Madison University, and it's been pretty great since then. "Why?" you may ask. Because we got a dog instead of having a baby. That's why.


In case you have not met him, this is Mitchell. He is perfect, and Matt and I spend way too much time talking about how cute he is. He is an American Dingo, and he will eat any baby he sees.

Snakes will kill you.

A snake tried to kill me today while I was hedge trimming. It popped its head up out of the bushes, then jumped into my mouth, traveled down my throat, and ended up in my stomach where it proceeded to try to eat me from the inside out.

Here is said snake.


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