31 March 2010


Matt and I don't really spend a lot on gifts for each other.  When we were dating and had separate finances, it was really meaningful when Matt would spend a lot on something for me or vice versa, but now that our money all goes to the same place, we both cringe at the idea of spending too much on gifts for each other.  Instead, we opt to buy bigger presents for both of us, and we scrimp and save for those items: new television, computer, car repairs, etc.

We usually shoot for $50 or below on birthday gifts, which often makes it important to be thoughtful with those gifts. 

So imagine my delight when Matt came home from work a few days before my birthday with these:

And this (you've already seen this one):

And these wooden spoons.

I was especially happy about the spoons because Matt sought out the best ones, and finally decided on these, because they were the ones recommended by Cook's Illustrated.  Good job, Matt!  I can't wait to cook up some stir fry with these babies.

UniverSoul Circus, etc.

You ready to be jealous?  Tonight, Caitie and I will be attending the UniverSoul Circus

Matt and I went last year with some friends, expecting it to be awful, but discovered that it is. . .AWESOME.  F'ing awesome.  Except for the elephants.  That part was disturbing.  There were shovels involved, not to mention animal cruelty.

So this year I'm taking Caitie.  She's in for a treat!

In other news:
  •  I am about to wage war against pollen.  I have learned that Sudafed only works when paired with two glasses of boxed wine from Target. 
  • We're heading to Matt's parents' lake house tomorrow.  I'm excited to relax and visit and eat my body weight in cheese and crackers.
  • I want to go shopping.  I'm thinking Gap hoodie.  What would you recommend?
  • I need to finish our taxes.  There's something about owing the state of Georgia--the same state that has furloughed me for five days--about nine hundred dollars that's making me drag my feet on filing.  Hey, Georgia!  You know what would make it easier to pay you that nine hundred?  Oh yeah!  The money from those furlough days! 
  • It's gorgeous outside.  Methinks we should visit a park today.
  • Lost and I have a love-hate relationship.  I think I'm ready for it to be over.  Truth be told, I only cared about what the numbers meant, and now that I know that, I'm satisfied.  The rest is just for fun, except that it seems to bring more stress than fun.
  • And speaking of fun, I'd highly recommend Hot Tub Time Machine.  It's an exercise in lowered expectations, and I loved it.  But I should tell you that I hated it so that you will love it.
  • Still don't care about Tiger Woods.
  • And, finally, something delightful stolen from Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish.

Happy hump day to you!

30 March 2010


First, apologies for being MIA.  We've been super busy, hosting and boozin' and eating and turning years older.  And when I wasn't doing those things, I was dealing with my body's adverse reaction to pollen.  Booo. 

So, up first, birthdays.  Our good friends have birthdays on either side of mine, kind of a birthday sandwich, if you will.  So Cassie, because she is an incredible friend, decided to make those birthdays feel special.  She and Hugh drove down to our house on Friday afternoon, and brought with them food (an entire, delicious meal), decorations, and the most spectacular cake I've seen that wasn't on a tv show.

 Balloons and ribbons and sparkly things!

And wine, of course.

And party poppers.  I love party poppers.  Mitch does not.  He also hates balloons.  Mitch is pretty much anti-birthday.  Maybe he's a Jehovah's Witness and didn't tell anyone?  He does escape on occasion and go door to door.  It's all making sense now.

Then the Ships brought the two cutest girls on the planet, and then it was a party!

Mitch spent some time in his dirt spot.

And Iris melted hearts.

And then, while I held the pig-shaped cutting board while Cassie was cutting pancetta for our salad (yum!), she tried to cut my finger off.  The good news is that it was just a minor cut.  The great news is that it is on my middle finger, so it give me a really good excuse to flash that thing around.

And see these tulips in JMU colors?  My wonderful (and colorblind) husband bought those for me.  I knew I liked him for a reason (other than his dance moves).

And then came the big reveal: the cake.  Cassie had forbidden me from looking at the cake until it was TIME, and I was obedient.  I mean, she had made me Tyler Florence's most delicious lasagna in the universe, so who was I to be angry?  Cut or no cut.

And then I ate the whole thing.  Well, almost.

When I was younger I would make the biggest deal out of birthdays--both mine and other people's.  But as I grow older I find that I care less and less about birthdays--both mine and other people's.  I never expected anyone to make such a big deal out of my turning twenty-nine.  But the fact that Cassie went all out, slaved over a hot stove, transported all of the food, decorated, and was so enthusiastic meant the world to me.  It's a humbling experience to have other people doing so much, and taking the time to make a day so meaningful.

I'm starting year 29 off right, with spring break.  Caitie and her daughter Phebe are here, and we're working on finding the perfect balance between doing fun stuff and sleeping.  More on that later.  I just hope that the next 51.5 weeks of my twenties will be as fun as the last few days have been, minus the pollen, of course.

25 March 2010

Mitchaversary, Part VI

Today is our sixth Mitchaversary.  Six years ago today, I went to the pound and picked up my pup.  When I got to the pound, I saw some other girl holding him and getting ready to reserve him, even though I'd reserved him days before. 

Then I killed her. 

People aren't kidding when they talk about what a mother will do for her child.

And I brought the dog home and for two years he was cute as could be, but was a terror as well.  He chewed furniture, carpet, shoes, underwear, bras, countless pairs of flip flops--made huge messes, jumped, etc.  It's amazing that I didn't suffocate him with a pillow, now that I think about it.

But for some reason that damn dog has brought me more joy than I ever thought he would.  He snuggles and makes us laugh and is always so happy to see me when I get home.  When he is smiling I can't help but to smile back (kind of like that James Taylor song).  Sometimes I think my heart just might explode because of his cuteness.  And you might not know this, but Matt and I have become critically-acclaimed singer/songwriters because we have an  uncanny ability to change the lyrics of any song to be about Mitch.  (Probably a good thing that we haven't spawned humans.)

An exchange from about four years ago:

Me:  Man, these last few years have been so horrible--with my job and family and being so poor.  Shit, if I hadn't had Mitch, I probably would have killed myself.

Matt:  What about me?

Me:  Oh, uh, I mean, yeah, of course you.  I mean, you gave me Mitch, so if it wasn't for you, then I would have been even more miserable.

Talk about a weak save. 

I mean, how do you come back from that? 

Anyway, happy Mitchaversary!

24 March 2010

Pizza Tracks

Okay, so I've discussed my love of pizza ad nauseum here (and here and here).  Why is it so good?  I don't know.  But I like it hot and fresh, and cold, and stale, and burnt.  It really doesn't matter. 

And, noting my recent homemade pizza kick, my wonderful Matthew returned home today with some birthday gifts from Kitchenware Outfitters.  (Kitchenware Outfitters is one of my favorite stores in Savannah.  It's cute, has great products, and has the best customer service around.)  Among those gifts was a fancy pizza cutter, this one by Rosle.  Apparently this pizza cutter will outlive me and Matt and all of my students.  They're guaranteed for two lifetimes!  Two lifetimes!  Matt said that they had him at "German engineering."  This is the heaviest and sharpest pizza cutter I've ever seen, and in addition to using it to slice pizza, I will be able to ward off any murderer who tries to come into the house and kill me.

So that was super exciting, and I have a feeling that there's some homemade pizza in my future.  (I hope that there's no forced-entry-by-murderer in my future.  But, if there is, I'm prepared.)

What's just as exciting is also pizza-related. 

Generally, I would prefer to eat homemade pizza, or pizza from a local place (like Vinnie's or Screaming Mimi's, etc.).  But, those places don't usually deliver to our house, and if they do, they're way overpriced.  And, I really like Domino's.  Domino's is by far my favorite chain pizza place.  By far.

And I've been a fan of Domino's since childhood, since the Avoid the Noid campaign.  Hell, Jordan and I even rented the Avoid the Noid video game for our original Nintendo system. 

Last night Cassie came over for dinner, and since we didn't have any dinner planned other than leftovers, we decided to order pizza--from Domino's.  And I'm so happy we did.

I'm so happy, also, that I ordered it online, because I had the most fun pizza ordering experience of my life.  The Domino's website is awesome!  You get to pick your pizza and your toppings, and you build your virtual pizza.  Pepperoni?  Just click it and beautiful little pepperoni will appear on your pizza.  Onions on half?  Done. 

Did Cassie and I play with the site for ten minutes before finally ordering?  Yes, yes we did.

But the best part of all was the tracker.  The tracker told us when our pizza was being prepped, baked, boxed, and delivered.  It would say, "April put your pizza in the oven at 7:41 p.m." and "April checked your pizza for perfection at 7:52 p.m."  Hey, thanks, April!

And our pizza got to us in about twenty minutes, and then Cassie and I each ate about five slices.  And then we ordered pizza again just for the fun of it.

In the future, I'm going to have to put in a special request that Domino's leave my pizza unsliced, though, because I've got the greatest pizza cutter in the world, and I want to do it myself.

Birthday Bash

About half of the houses on our street are for sale or for rent (Yay for the housing crisis in the ghetto!), and we've grown accustomed to being neighborless.  It's kind of nice.  Quiet.  Calm.  We use their recycling bin when ours runneth over.  Nice.

But all good things must come to an end, and now a family has moved in two houses down from us.  They seem nice, actually, and they have two little girls who seem to be glued to their Big Wheels, but in a cute way.  They also have a dog, a furry cute black dog named Toby who is about Mitch's size. 

Toby's also pretty cute, but he whines a lot.  He's probably whining because he's aware of the fact that he now lives two houses away from the greatest dog on the planet, and he wants to play with Mitch.

Oh, we've also had the windows open a lot lately because it's been so nice outside.

So here's what happens:  windows are open, Toby is outside whining, Mitch hears Toby whining.  At this point Mitch will do one of two things.  He'll either beg to go outside, at which point he will then howl and howl and get Toby to howl along with him.  OR, he'll stay in the house and howl and howl and get Toby to howl along with him.  It's not annoying at all.

In an attempt to stop the insane howling, sometimes I just let Mitch go in the yard of the house between our two houses (nobody lives there, either) and run over to the fence to say  hi to Toby.  This solution has seemed to work a little. 

Until today.

Here's a view of our carport  (remember the Beeeestro?).  That gate that you see belongs to the next-door neighbor. 

And that pole to the right of the gate?  Well, that pole is really hard.  It's especially hard when you slam your own face against it.

I learned just how hard the pole was when, after allowing Mitch into the neighbor's yard, I went to bring him back in.  I'd neglected to bring a leash, and was just going to have him run back to our door, which he does ninety-nine percent of the time (it's that one percent when he chases a kid down the street and onto the hood of a car that's the problem).  And right as I opened the gate, I heard the little girls on their big wheels, and I didn't want Mitch to go apeshit and chase them (Kids and bicycles?  Well, that's an enemy on top of an even bigger enemy in Mitch's mind.). 

So I yelled out "to the house," pointed, and began to corral him toward the door.  And then, before I knew it, I'd slammed my eye against the pole.  F'ing wonderful.

So there's a good chance I'll be ringing  in year twenty-nine with a black eye.  (Apparently the universe mistook "shiny things" for "shiner.")  This is just like the time I was missing a toenail on my weddin' day! 


22 March 2010


Onomatopoeias are the most fun.

Okay, so Matt, Mitch, and I are bigtime chicken eaters.  It's really kind of ridiculous, but since we're not so much fans of the seafood, and we try not to eat too much red meat, it works for us.  Usually we stick to the boneless skinless breast (because we're lame), and we go apeshit every time we find them on sale.  You should see our freezer right now.  There are like two hundred chickens in there.  Ba-gock!

Here are two awesome chicken recipes that we've made recently.  They're pretty low-cal, and they're f'ing delicious. 

1.  Lemon and Rosemary Chicken from The Bitten Word.  Delicious, delicious.  Juicy and bold and awesome all around.  Just make sure you're in good company, because you'll be picking this apart with your fingers to make sure you get every last piece.

2. Garlic-Marinated Chicken Cutlets with Grilled Potatoes by my best good friend Martha.  There's a reason we're friends (well, about two million), and this is one of them.  The marinade is so easy, and everything gets cooked on the grill, which means that Matt does most of the work.  Hells yeah!

We've been trying to eat better, and these chicken recipes are a good start.

So why is it that I can't stop thinking about this cereal and how I just want to shove handfuls of it into my face. 
And in other exciting news, it's birthday week.  Birthday week!  Birthday week!  (It's also birthday week for three of our readers that I know of, so happy birthday week to you ladies: Christina, Ann, and Carly!)

This is the last birthday of my youth, so I plan to celebrate and celebrate and then celebrate some more.

Go, Kentucky!  Mandy needs a new pair of shoes!

21 March 2010

Happy Spring!

I celebrated the first day of spring by buying a sassy new white trenchcoat from Old Navy.  Could Old Navy be making a comeback?

(Oh, and for some reason it was on sale for $35, and then I had a coupon for 30% off, so I got that baby for $25!  Yes!  Win!)

It's raining and gross here today, so it looks like we'll just be cleaning up the house and watching basketball (read: watching as I get closer and closer to collecting $100 because of awesome predictions--that's four more coats!).

Hope you're enjoying your Sunday.

19 March 2010

If I knew you were coming, I'd have baked a cake. . .

One year and one week left of my twenties.  Cake time it is.  Then, ellipting.  Pffft.  Then, more cake.

R.I.P., Wine Glasses

This is why you shouldn't drink.

Or maybe this is why you should drink? 

After Matt and I got married, we had a crapload of store credit at Macy's (seriously, does anyone on the earth need 18 place settings of Fiesta dishes?).  And one thing I purchased with that store credit was these wine glasses:

I'd registered for the red wine cousins (which are all still alive, by the way, which only serves as a testament as to how rarely I drink red wine) and they're gorgeous.  But the white wine ones?  Well, the last one lost his battle tonight.  While a partially inebriated Mandy attempted to do a dance routine to Usher's "Yeah!", she accidentally smacked the wine glass to the floor.  And it shattered.  For real shattered.  Like, all over the place.  Like, "we won't be going barefoot in the house for a long while" kind of shattered.   Well, shit.

I really loved those glasses.  R.I.P., old friends.  Many a good night we've shared together.

Fortunately, my birthday is fast approaching, and these glasses are available on Amazon.  If you don't buy them, I will.


18 March 2010

March Madness

Oh boy, I love March!  It's birthday month and it's getting warmer and it's spring break and it's daylight savings time and it's back to grilling and looking ahead toward summer.  Oh March.  Oh yeah, and there's some basketball, too.

Now, I really know very little about sports.  Everything I know about sports I have memorized from ESPN radio, overhead Matt say in conversation with sportsminded friends, or learned from such amazing artistic works as Friday Night Lights and Jerry Maguire.  And I did work at a sports bar for a few years, during which time I learned mostly that I hate Redskins fans and that boys are really loud when they watch sports.  Why so loud?  Ugh.

With the slivers of knowledge I attain from my sources, I like to form very strong opinions.  For example, after a road trip before the NFL draft years ago, I heard stuff about Eli Manning ad nauseum.  Will he ski or swim?  It was all very Cush from Jerry Maguire.  And then and there I decided that I hate Eli Manning, and that he's a drama queen.  Peyton is cool; Eli is a whiny and spoiled little brother. 

And I apply even more brilliant lines of reasoning to my March Madness bracket.  A few years back, in my very first bracket, I chose Gonzaga (who was like a 6 seed or something), to go all the way.  Why?  Because they had this guy named Adam who was so weird and gigantic, and had a pubestasche.  So I was all about Gonzaga, and kept insisting to Matt that Gonzaga would go all the way.  Matt would shake his head in that way he does when he thinks I'm being ridiculous, and I'd just tell him, "You'll see.  Pubestache is gonna do it.  Gonzaga, all the way!"

And then Pubestache fell apart.  Like, apart apart.  Like, Pubestache acted like much more of a baby than Eli Manning ever did.

He threw himself to the floor and cried. 

And then I cried, partly because of human compassion, but mostly because I had lost, and because Matt was right. 

Let this be a lesson to you; never trust a pubestache.

Now, back to brackets.  I fill out the bracket in part because I want something to do, but mostly because I want to pick the winners better than Matt does.  Last night we filled out our brackets together, and Matt told me that I was not allowed to just use President Obama's bracket (he later said that I could use it, but by that time I wanted to be more of an individual).  So I set out to select winners and losers.  Here's what I'm thinking:
  • Maryland is going to do well because Maryland is a really good state and I was born there.  Now, they are turtles, which is a mark against them, but they're ferocious turtles, so that helps.  Plus, my friend Bethy is all about Maryland basketball, so I want them to win.
  • Georgetown was going to do well because Zoe Bartlett from West Wing went to Georgetown (and I think Charlie did, too).  But they lost.  And Zoe got kidnapped.  I guess I should have thought that one through a little better.
  • Gonzaga, of course, will beat Florida State, because Gonzaga is much more fun to say than Florida State.  GONZAGA!
  • Ohio State will do well because Becky works there.
  • Kentucky will do well because they have that guy named John Wall and he's really good at basketball.  My students made me watch a video of his highlights on YouTube, and he's really good--much better than I am.  Oh, and Matt said I needed to put them in the final four.  Matt's trying to rig our pool so that we'll take home some cash money.
  • Notre Dame will beat ODU because it's so close to St. Patrick's Day, and because Matt said so.  Oh, wait.  They lost to ODU?  Even though I was leaning toward picking ODU because I remember drinking really good root beer that was called Old Dominion root beer and I loved it?  Way to lead me down a path to destruction, Matt.  Pfffft.
Okay, so there you have it.  I have Kentucky v. Syracuse in the championship, and Kentucky winning because of that John Wall guy.  Matt has Kansas winning everything.  Other than that, I really don't know anything about his bracket except that it's a sissy bracket for little girls who don't pick upsets.

And here's that John Wall highlight reel:

17 March 2010

Thank you for curing me of my ridiculous obsession with love!

I saw Moulin Rouge three times in the theater, bought the soundtrack, memorized it, bought the second soundtrack, memorized it, listened to and watched both over and over and over again.  And I've been in love with Ewan MacGregor ever since he flashed that grin and belted out "Your Song."  Seriously.  Love.  True love.

And, inspired by the look of the film, painted my bedroom in college purple with lime green trim, and sprayed glitter on the trim, too.  Seriously.  Glitter.  Lime green trim.  It was pretty awesome.

I've never even made Matt watch Moulin Rouge because I am afraid that he will mock it and then I will have to divorce him.  I mean, I can understand how he would mock Center Stage--Center Stage is dumb.  But Moulin Rouge is art, and Matt has neither the eye for the visually stunning nor does he have attention deficit disorder, so he just wouldn't appreciate it.  Plus, as far as I can tell, he's not so much into dance like I am.

But I am into dance and critically acclaimed films and handsome men who sing songs.  So, whenever Moulin Rouge is on TV, or whenever I'm feeling like a pisspot, I watch it.  And I smile, and I sing the songs for days.

And then, when either Matt or Mitch are annoying me in any way, I, in the most dramatic voice with the most horrible British accent, scream at them: "Thank you for curing me of my ridiculous obsession with love!" 

And they don't know what I'm talking about, and then they ask me to get them a treat. 

An exchange:

Me:  This movie made me want to paint everything with glitter.  It was all so sparkly!  And then I wanted to be a whore and live in an elephant and die of consumption!

Matt:  You know that consumption doesn't mean that you eat a bunch and then die, right?

He's no Ewan, that's for damn sure.


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