Monday Snax

Excellent. Just excellent.
It's time to party.
The sisters
On our best behavior.
Happy birthday...
Mom doesn't look a day over 30.
Dude wants to walk
We ran into Dave and Charlie on the mall, which was a definite highlight.

Weekend no. 3 of house guests: Family Edition, Part III: Family Women Descend. (And Mike, for a night!) We had a raucous and wonderful time with my sisters and mom this weekend, who were here for a humid visit and happy celebration of Mom’s birthday. We got to eat lots of delicious food (including perennial favorites Eppie’s and Himalayan Fusion, which Grace gainfully guided us through), see Nettles in concert at the Tea Bazaar, watch “Parks & Rec” and laugh a ton. I miss them already! Complete set of photos on Flickr.

Snax with perfect summer orzo:

Overeducated, Underemployed: How to Fix Humanities Grad School. OK, fine. Maybe I won’t go to grad school after all. This is depressing. The author exposes how humanities Ph.D.s may actually be more disadvantaged in the job market than people who only have bachelor’s degrees. Burdened with thousands of dollars in debt and no job skills, save the weak consolation of your knowledge of critical theory? Sigh. Maybe I’ll just get a master’s degree. (Slate)

Penguin Modern Book Classic Covers by Charlotte Trounce. I am going to keep posting re-designs of classic books until they stop making them. (The Fox Is Black)

First Roll of Film (In Almost 10 Years). Kristin’s babies are so beautiful. And so are her photographs! (Kristin Moore Photography)

How to Make Old Jeans New Again. Grace is so crafty. She wore that acid-washed vest number here and it looked pretty amazing in person. She also has a new blog! (Como Say What?)

Study: Seriously, Yoga’s Actually Pretty Good for You. I just like the headline. As if we needed more studies to tell us this. I just wish I liked yoga. I really want to. I’m just so terrible at it. (GOOD)

How to Start a Bad Novel. The winning sentence for this year’s Bulwer-Lytton prize. It’s pretty remarkable. I’m kind of shocked that Nelson DeMille didn’t write it. (The Hairpin)

This girl’s. Whose breakfast looks this delicious every morning?! WHOSE?? Cue envy. (Simply Breakfast)

Sneak Attack. I’ve never seen a dog actually hunt a cat before. But don’t worry, cat lovers: It ends well. (Animals Being Di*ks)

Generate Seamless Japanese Patterns. You can make your own origami paper… for your computer! (How About Orange)

Magic in the Water. How does this happen? Why is it so mesmerizing? (The Lighthouse Keeper)

Meet Reuben

Thank you for all of the excellent advice, friends. Mrs. Pinckney, thank you particularly for reminding me what a pain birds can be. (They are so CUTE, though!)

As you all know, I’d infinitely prefer a dog, but of course we can’t get one here. So we went with the most cost-effective and peaceful option: The trusty betta.

Blogosphere, meet Reuben. We spent an inordinate amount of time picking him out. Isn’t he handsome? Guion named him after his favorite German Shepherd in Ireland. Yes, in homage to the dog that we cannot have. So, that’s that. Reuben lives on our mantel and watches us while we eat and read and listen to music. And–now–watch films on our brand-new television: our other big purchase for the day. Guion was slightly more excited about the TV than the fish, but I’m rather pleased to have a pet.

Animal nostalgia

Yesterday I probably spent a good two hours researching small animals I could be allowed to own in our apartment. I love animals. Guion thinks I want a pet because I’m dissatisfied with our marriage, but that is not the case at all. This is how this conversation went last night. Not kidding:

G: Am I not enough for you? Is our marriage so terrible that you must get a pet to lavish your affection on instead?
A: No, no, no, stop being stupid. That’s not it at all. You know very well that I love animals. I love them! Not being able to have an animal is like me telling you that… that… you’re not allowed to listen to music anymore!
G: What? No. Terrible comparison. You looked at animal pictures all day, and now you want one. It would be like me sitting on the Internet all day and then insisting on having a concubine.
A: A CONCUBINE. Really. That’s the BEST analogy you can come up with!?
G: No. But I need an argument.

Whatever.

So, this is the list I came up with (with links to the cutest ones on the Interwebs, in case you don’t know what I’m talking about):

Holland lop rabbit
Budgie
Zebra finch
Betta fish (This is actually our own Saul Bellow, with Grace imitating him)

Hm. The very interesting thing about this list is the fact that these are all animals I owned when I was a child.

We had a darling dwarf Holland lop named Spencer; to this day, the four of us still swear that he knew how to play hide-and-seek with us.

I had two beautiful budgerigars named Monet and Renoir (I was a pretentious 12-year-old), who drove me crazy even though I had begged for them for my birthday. I prayed one night that they would die, and a week later, off went Renoir. Monet stuck it out for a few more months, until he died of a broken heart, I surmised. I still feel guilty about this.

Kelsey got a Zebra finch named Sprite for some reason or another. He also died rather ceremoniously: apparently got all puffed up one day after we got back from church and we literally watched him keel right over. Sad. We were not the best at keeping birds alive.

And that brings us to the betta ownership. I had one named Napoleon for a while, and now we have Saul Bellow, the sole survivor of my unethical idea for a party decoration (fish in giant glass vases on the table! With names of important 2009 celebrities!). He has grown to be quite handsome and Mother swears that he recognizes her when she walks in. We let her pretend this.

As far as dogs and cats are concerned, I just want another Australian Shepherd, like our gorgeous, highly intelligent and highly neurotic Emma. And I’m not even remotely interested in a cat. Why? Probably because I never had one growing up. Unjust, I know. But true.

So we stand at cross purposes. Guion really doesn’t want an animal in the house; I feel the desperate need for one. A rabbit is my top choice, but Guion insists that they smell (which is only partially true). We also don’t have a pleasant yard for it to graze in. A budgie was my next choice. They are clever and companionable and they like to be scratched and carried around on your finger. But they are messy. And occasionally loud.

I guess we’ll just get a betta then. Ho hum. At least it’s something alive.

Anyone else feel this way? Do you own the same animals you did as a child? Do you wish you had the same pets you did growing up? Am I the only one who lives in this dangerous state of animal nostalgia?

Monday Snax

Ah, back from a crazy and fun weekend with the family in Davidson. Quite the whirlwind trip. I think we had a minimum of 12 people in the house at all times. Still, very fun. I just wish it didn’t pass so quickly; I barely even got to snuggle with Grace and Kelsey! The drive home last night was so long and tiring… we got back at 11:20 p.m., unloaded some stuff, and crashed. I was so tired and sickish when I got up at 6 this morning, and even more so when I jumped in the car and it wouldn’t start. One of us left the door open or something last night, and the battery was dead. Ugh. Thankfully, we were able to flag down our sweet neighbor Margaret, who had just come in from a morning run, and get her help to jump the Jeep. I just hope it will start again when I leave today…

When my highly tech-savvy uncle said goodbye to me on Saturday night, this was how he did it: “You know, Kindles are only selling for $139 these days. You have to get one. You have to succumb. (Kiss) See you later.” And I was all, “REALLY, Uncle Rush? REALLY. What a bummer way to bid me farewell.”

Cousin Emily got a ragdoll kitten (named Mocha; admittedly totally adorable, even though I don’t approve of cats) a few weeks ago and even I am totes jealous. I want a pet. Guion says we can get a fish. I’m thinking about it. Fish feel like a cheap cop-out. You can’t snuggle with a fish. You can’t teach it anything or take it on walks to the downtown mall. But they can be pretty, I guess. I think I’d get a betta. They’re like waterborne pieces of art, and they’re pretty hardy, too. We forget to feed Saul Bellow (the fam’s betta) for days at a time, and he’s just hanging in there, swimming around like nothing’s changed.

Snax! Snax! Snax! Just a few pertinent morsels for your day:

Sushi etiquette. A helpful graphic on the true Japanese way to eat sushi. (Source unknown)

Creatures found in sea survey. I don’t think anything is more terrifying–or confirming of God’s creativity–than the bottom of the ocean. (National Geographic)

Writers’ Houses. A site with photos and information about well-known authors’ homes. Pretty interesting. (Writers’ Houses)

In black and white. I don’t really know who this photographer is, or how I found her, but I’m just loving her work. It’s so dreamy and peaceful. (The Hymn for the Cigarettes)

Little Known Uses for Five Common Household Items. I think these lists are the best. I always forget about them after I’ve read them, but it’s still nice to get a refresher on secret purposes for dryer sheets and toothpaste. (Money Crashers)

DIY Project: Drawer-Knob Finials. I’ve been thinking a lot about curtains lately. I definitely want to get some for the house, particularly once it starts getting cooler outside. I’m not sure if we’ll actually do this project or not, but it seems like a good idea. (Design Sponge)

Sarah Palin Doesn’t Want Us to Believe Our Eyes, Her Eyes. Gosh, woman, can’t you just go away? There’s really a point when you can’t blame everything you do on the liberal media. Sometimes your actions–including mocking this woman–just speak for themselves. (Daily Intel)

Lovely Envelopes. How beautiful! I’d love to own any of these. (Thoughtful Day)

Literature’s 10 Best Dressed Characters. Even though it’s an impossible task to narrow this list down to 10, I think I’d pretty much agree with these choices. Love it. (Flavorwire)

Dear Printed Reading Material. I love this sentiment. (THXTHXTHX)

The Oregon Trail: Official Trailer. OMG. Totally played this computer game when I was a kid. I love that someone had the brilliant idea of making a parody “film” about it; so good. “Nobody wants to be the carpenter!” (Flavorwire)

Jackson. This really is the way we should have all learned U.S. history. So funny! (Hark, a Vagrant!)