Half-hearted snax

I’m still feeling a bit swamped, so here’s the digest version of snax!

Pup links. You can read the dog-related things that interested me this week. How adorable. (Doggerel)

James: A Computer Hacker. This interview should scare you. This is from the project 100 Interviews, in which young journalist Gaby Dunn interviews 100 interesting people. It’s a very enjoyable blog to follow, but this story in particular really caught my eye. I’m inspired to change all of my passwords right now. And I’m glad I don’t have a space phone. (100 Interviews)

Around Home, Random Shots. I’m a sucker for dreamy domestic photographs. (Jolly Goo)

You Know What Sucks? Ugh. What’s sad is that I know so many people who think this. (STFU, Parents)

This Photo Made My Day. Mine too! You go, girl. (And baby.) (Marvelous Kiddo)

Annoying Words. A list of banned words from NY Mag editor Kurt Andersen. I concur! (A Cup of Jo)

Hormone-Free Birth Control. If only it were that easy. Or maybe it’s not easy to swat a stork from your apartment window. (The Hairpin)

President Obama Has No Idea What Year It Is. I laughed so hard over this. It’s just… delightful. (Daily Intel)

Goat Busters. Apparently, Charlottesville has this wonderful service for people with lawn problems. Temporarily hire a flock of goats to take care of your weeds for you! I would totally do it if I had some land to clear. (Scout Charlottesville)


Thoughts on a thunderous Wednesday afternoon:

– I want to be a WRITER today! But I have nothing to say. Nothing at all. I should finish that short story that’s been dragging on for a year…

– If I were rich, I would spend an embarrassingly large amount of money on skincare products and makeup.

– I feel guilty about wanting a purebred puppy.

– We had a freak hailstorm and a flash flood last night. It was terrifying and beautiful. I was working on a calligraphy job and watching it all happen on the street and I kept telling myself, “Just be calm, keep writing, be calm…” As if my life were in danger or something.

– I discovered Pinterest today. Oops. Goodbye, productivity!

– Grace needs to come home. NOW.

Gilead is a lovely book. I can’t describe what it is, but I think a “hushed beauty” is the best phrase I can come up with on the fly. Can anyone tell me what denomination he is, though? He’s not Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Quaker… what’s left?

– Remember how we thought we were important in college? Turns out we weren’t.

– Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate today. A nice gesture, but not even that will keep the crazies at bay. They’re sure to find something else to freak out about, particularly with Donald Trump at the helm.

– What do we have to do to convince Win to move to Charlottesville? Locals, any suggestions for things to see or do that might persuade someone that this is the best town on the east coast?

– I am so over Facebook.

– Nothing depresses me so much as reading comments on news sites. Are the only people who comment online both dumb AND angry? That is such a bad combination.

– It’s too hot to eat, too hot to dream, too hot to move your limbs above your head. We’re trying to save money by not turning on our A/C units for as long as possible. I was too hot this morning, so I had blackberries and a huge cup of tea for breakfast. Because even when it’s 80 degrees in your kitchen, a hot cup of tea will still be the best thing. Truth!

Monday Snax

Susan B. Asskicker and June the Cleaver wrestle it out at CLAW.

Guys. On Friday night, we went to the most amazing event: the annual Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers‘ tournament! We joined hundreds of other ardent supporters for this theatrical championship and had the best time. We’re already looking forward to next year. After handily defeating her opponents–the likes of Tragedy Ann, Nilla Waste-her, Jos-a-Fiend Breaker, to name a few–June the Cleaver walked away with the championship trophy. Some more photos on my Flickr!

Snax with a dose of girl power stirred into your milkshake:

Digitally Archived Yearbooks from UNC-Chapel Hill. This was my most exciting find of the week. My alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill, has digitally archived its yearbooks from 1890 to 1978. Guion and I have been paging through them all week and have been filled with so much nostalgia for Chapel Hill. The photographs are so beautiful and haunting. Seeing a fraternity from 1893 standing in Forest Theater? Totally amazing. Credit to Miss Moss and Wanderlusted for finding it; they also have collected some lovely montages from the yearbooks. (UNC University Libraries)

Older Mistresses Are So Grateful! Ben Franklin. You cad. (Letters of Note)

The Pen, Mightier. A long and very serious ode to one of the best pens ever: The Pilot V-5. One of my favorites, too! (The Millions)

In Which When I Went to Iowa I Had Never Heard of Faulkner. Wonderful snippets from the letters of the ever-brilliant Flannery O’Connor. She sounds like she would have been a lot of fun, too. (This Recording)

Washington Wonderland. A magical photographic voyage from the Washington Ballet and photographer Cade Martin; really mesmerizing. (The New Yorker Photo Booth)

Challenging the Westboro Baptist Church One Blackout Poem at a Time. Turning their own messages against them; I like it. (Lit Drift)

Less Than Human. I follow several blogs by artists and designers, but I have to say that Matt Dorfman’s is one of my favorites. Dorfman is a designer for the New York Times and he also designs book covers. In this particular post, he documents his artistic process as he decides on the cover for the book Less Than Human. So fascinating to me. (Matt Dorfman)

Closet Visit: Claire Cottrell. Loved this closet visit; Ms. Cottrell has such breezy, colorful style. (Jeana Sohn)

What’s In My Suitcase? Peek inside the suitcases of Mr. and Mrs. Globe Trot, an adorable wedding-photographer couple who have been traveling around the world for almost a year now. It was a pretty amazing reminder of how little we actually need to survive! Julia also provides some great tips for those who are packing for trips abroad. (Mr and Mrs Globe Trot)

Man Who Temporarily Disables Facebook Account Deems Self “Off-the-Grid.” Hilarious and chastening, because that’s probably how I would think about it if I deleted my Facebook account. (The Onion)

President Obama Waving Grudgingly. A montage of Obama grimly waving. It’s great. I don’t know why I find this so funny. (Daily Intel)

Tuesday Snax

Quality time with my cousin-law Katie and my first cousin-in-law, once removed, Noah. Yeah! That's what he is to me; I looked it up. He's also totally adorable.

The Snax will be brief, readers. I’ve been feeling sickish since we got back from our whirlwind Thanksgiving adventures and I’m trying to lay low here. Hope you all enjoyed a peaceful and filling holiday, though! I certainly did. Lots of drive time, but lots of great moments with our families.

A Snax sandwich with the leftover turkey and a slice of cranberry sauce:

Expectations vs. Reality. Get ready to LOL, and I mean LOL. (Hyperbole and a Half)

Ann Thomsen. In the vein of featuring some of my favorite online artists, I’m in love with every photo this Danish woman takes. Breathtakingly beautiful! I want prints of everything. You can also visit her official portfolio here. (Her Flickr)

President Obama Spares Two Turkeys From Annual Ritualistic Genocide. Daily Intel can always make me laugh. (Daily Intel)

Are the Elder Bushes Officially the Greatest Old People in the World? I think they might be. Totally serious. I’d like to hang out with them. (Daily Intel)

Livraddare. I love this haunting painting by Camilla Engman. I had it as my desktop background for a week or more. (Camilla Engman)

Tea: A Literary Tour. There are but two things I require: Tea and my books. Here’s a brief and entertaining survey of the role of tea in literature. (The Book Bench)

Science Says Dogs are Smarter than Cats. I mean, haven’t we always known that it’s true? And the reason is: Dogs are just nicer. Actually, it’s because they’re more social than cats, which inclines them to learn and adapt more. (Jezebel)

Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels. According to this list, banana peels can do practically anything. They’re like the new Neosporin or Windex. I wonder how many of these are actually true, though. And who figured out that holding a banana peel to your head would cure a headache? Because I don’t believe them. (Wise Bread)

Dear Mornings. A thank-you note from my favorite thank-you note writer, Leah. She’s actually inspired me to do a year-long gratitude project myself, which I will unveil at a later time. (THXTHXTHX)


– The only place you can go on the Internet and not read nasty comments–literally, the ONLY place–is The Daily Puppy. For realz. There are about 200 comments with every puppy and everyone just says a variation of the same thing: “Eeeeeeeee, you are so precious I want to EAT YOU UP!!!” or “OMG you CANNOT be this CUTE!!! LOLZ :-D.” Stuff like that. It’s comforting, in this vitriolic world of totally crazy and aggressive online commenters; dare I say, it is a breath of fresh virtual air.

– Thanks, Twinings! I learned how to pronounce “rooibos” tea. Want to know? It’s “roy-BOSS.” Now I won’t sound stupid when I get it at the Tea Bazaar.

– I want to be friends with the cool girls at work.

– I am going to walk home tomorrow from work. This is because Obama is coming for a visit (stumping for Tom Periello), and all of the roads are going to be shut down near our house. He’s coming to speak at the Pavilion, which we can see from our bedroom window. We want to go hear him, but I’m worried I’m going to miss it. According to Google Maps, it’s going to take me 1 hour and 7 minutes to walk home. Adventure! I’m actually kind of looking forward to it.

– Have I mentioned that I can’t wait to see my family?

– Confession: I probably look at the “Pets” section of Charlottesville Craigslist and/or the Charlottesville SPCA once a week. Just to tempt myself with the love I can’t have.

– Hannah and I talked about Japan last night again at The Local and my longing to return was reinvigorated. I think I’d like to live there for a year. Teach English, maybe? We’ll reevaluate this plan after Guion gets his degree.

– Coworker: Calling yourself Jim Halpert would be inaccurate. We are not that cool.

– Hear me, ye Interwebs: I am NOT PREGNANT.

– I kind of want to be Very Mary Kate for Halloween. Anybody know where I can buy a sweet blond wig?

Themes in tears

Humility time!

Today, I am thinking about crying, but not because I am sad. I’m thinking about crying on a purely objective, philosophical, memory-induced basis. In the quieter hours of the day, I’ve been replaying the still shots from the many times I’ve cried in front of strangers. Yes. In front of strangers. Many times.

Anyone who knows me well can attest to the fact that while I might not cry that often, I cry VERY easily. I’ve often tried to reassure myself that it’s only because I am an incredibly well-balanced person emotionally (crying releases stress and toxins. I love this line from that article: “Emotional tears are common among people who see Bambi’s mother die or who suffer personal losses.” No kidding!).

But, honestly, I think it’s just because I hate being wrong. The common theme in my ridiculous flow of tears has to do with reprimand from figures in authority. Being the eldest child and homeschooled means that I can probably count on my fingers the number of times an adult was angry with me as a child; I lived to be the good girl, the front-row student, the teacher’s pet. In other words, I was the type of little girl that Guion hated in elementary school.

I still have a visceral memory of the first time a teacher rebuked me in front of a class. I was probably 8 or 9, and attending ballet class at Miss Vicki’s (which was a bunch of pink girls running in circles and trying to learn the positions). We were rehearsing some flower dance for our upcoming performance of “Beauty and the Beast,” and I spent my time during the rehearsal telling all of my fellow ballerinas what they were doing wrong. Finally, Miss Vicki had had it with me, and brought our merry little circle to a grinding halt. “ABBY. IF YOU TELL SOMEONE WHAT TO DO ONE MORE TIME, YOU ARE GOING HOME.” I fell apart. I started sobbing–weeping, like I would have done if someone had killed my sweet velvet-eared bunny in front of me. I sat in a corner for the rest of the lesson and was inconsolable, even when Mom came to get me. I don’t think I spoke for the duration of the year in that class. I was stone-faced during our actual performance, terrified into submission.

More recently? I’m not a wilted ballerina anymore, but I still cry at really stupid, inopportune moments when I’m in the wrong, such as in…

… News editing class. My professor stood over my chair and yelled at me for opening a file in the wrong directory. Tears welled up in my eyes, but did not actually fall. I looked upward and hoped that they would seep back into my eyeballs and that my classmates would not notice.

… The Denver Post newsroom. I missed a misspelling of the Chinese province (the “x” and the “i” were swapped) where the earthquakes during the summer of 2009 were wreaking havoc. My editing mentor caught it and yelled at me for missing something so elementary and critical. I listened to him, corrected my error, and then went into the bathroom and cried silently with my hand over my mouth. But it was midnight, and I missed Guion, so it might have been for other things, too.

… The Mecklenburg County Courthouse. Guion and I were going to get our marriage license. We were in the wrong building, and had to go through this intense security scan. My camera was in my purse, as it usually is, and the police officer grumbled at me to take it out and told me I could not reenter the building. Commence tears! Guion fixed it, though.

… The Charlottesville DMV. We barely made it there in time to get my new license and change my name, and then when we get to the counter, I realize I don’t have the proper paperwork to prove that we live in Charlottesville. The lady at the counter considers this as she’s holding my hand, admiring my wedding and engagement rings. She even called a coworker over to look at them. Meanwhile, I start to well up. Guion comes to the rescue again and dashes home to get the paperwork, and she decides to give me a ticket to wait anyway. I think the only reason she let me through was out of pity, and admiration for Mary Windley’s rings. Many thanks, Grandmother Tillman! I knew I could count on you.

… Our car, listening to NPR. OK, so this time I wasn’t in the wrong. But I cried yesterday in the car listening to this story about Davis Guggenheim’s documentary about inner-city kids trying to get into charter schools. The interviewer recounts this scene in the film about Daisy, the Los Angeles 5th-grader, going to the charter school lottery with her dad. Her dad tells her to cross her fingers, because he has a good feeling about it, and Daisy sits there for two hours, tightly crossing her fingers, hoping and praying for her future. I LOST IT.

Hope this post made you feel better about yourself. At least you’re not as pathetic as I am! But, that’s the way it is.

What about you? Do you cry? If so, why? If not, why?

(Also, according to this poll, one in five Americans believe Obama is a cactus.)