So I was on vacation. It was wonderful but now I am tired. Here, have an alligator:
I really miss blogging. As in, writing blog posts. And reading OTHER PEOPLE’S blog posts. Especially yours.
Anyway. Randomosity is a good re-entry into posting. For me, at least. For you, probably not so much. But I GAVE YOU AN ALLIGATOR so get off my back already.
* During my vacation, I somehow fell into a wormhole of books about Russia. It started with Child 44 which I got from my husband for my birthday. It was soooo dark and horrible and fascinating that I had to IMMEDIATELY, while I was in Florida at my in-laws’ house, Amazon Prime myself the next book in the series. (The Secret Speech.) And I really really REALLY wish I had also ordered Agent 6, which is the THIRD book in the series. But instead I also Amazon Primed myself the second in ANOTHER mystery/crime/thriller series (the Sweden-based Henning Mankell series starring Kurt Wallander) called The Dogs of Riga which, well, it didn’t have do with RUSSIA but it did have to do with LATVIA and continued the theme of Stalinist-era culture. And THEN I read Snowdrops, which was about modern-day Russia and the lasting effects of the Stalinist era.
Of the four, Child 44 was the best. Closely followed by The Secret Speech and then Snowdrops. I was disappointed in The Dogs of Riga. Namely because the author/translator felt the need to keep talking about how “the dogs” (in Riga, obvs) were after the main character and other characters, as though to really drive home the fact that the title was chosen for a Serious Reason. Seriously. Every chapter after Wallander got to Riga mentioned the dogs. Sometimes there were dog mentions multiple times per page. I GET IT. These are the Dogs of Riga. STOP BASHING ME OVER THE HEAD WITH IT.
(The dogs are not actual canines, you know. They are the villains in the book.)
* Is it clear that I spent large portions of my vacation reading?
But I have a problem, Internet. When I want to read a book, I want to read it NOW. I was about 100 pages from being done with Child 44 when I noticed that it was nearly over (WOE!) and I’d be out of fascinating Stalinist-era reading before I knew it. So my husband and I went to Barnes & Noble.
Listen, I could write 10 bazillion words about the GLARING differences between my husband and me when it comes to books and book buying and book choosing and book reading. But I will spare you all that and just say: he is a price comparison kind of guy where I am an “if I want it and the price isn’t unreasonable, I will buy it” kind of gal. I guess this isn’t specific to books. But what I’m saying is, I wanted to buy The Secret Speech. At Barnes & Noble. Which is why we went there.
But my husband – who knew all this, and still drove me to Barnes & Noble for the PURPOSE of buying The Secret Speech – did not allow me to buy The Secret Speech at Barnes & Noble. (Note: I don’t mean “did not allow” as in he FORBADE me to do things. He’s not so much into forbidding me to do stuff. I mean it as, he advocated against buying it there and, partly in the name of marital harmony, but mostly in the name of I hadn’t yet finished Child 44, I went along with his plan instead of just buying the damn book. At the Barnes & Noble. In which we were standing. BECAUSE WE’D GONE THERE TO BUY THE BOOK IN QUESTION.) Instead, he pointed out that we could order it much more cheaply online, and with Amazon Prime, not only would we get free shipping, we’d also get the book in two days.
Fine. I get it. Saving a buck blah blah blah. BUT WHY DID WE HAVE TO GO TO BARNES & NOBLE THEN?
* We went to the beach one night to see the sun set over the ocean. I unwisely decided I needed to dip my toes in the ocean while my husband took photos with his camera (mostly amazing) and I took photos with my camera (mostly blurry) of the beautiful clouds rolling in.
It rained, so we sat in the car for most of the pre-sunset time. (I mainly spent that time trying vainly to brush sand off my feet so I wouldn’t get sand in my father-in-law’s car. I failed. Which is why I am very thankful for dustbusters.)
And another raindrop photo – this one with a palm tree in the background:
The rain did let up right in time for the sun to slip into the ocean in a wonderful photo-op-tastic way.
* What’s the opposite of the beach at sunset? Snow and fog in the mountains!
* That Zooey Deschanel show on Fox, The New Girl? I find it quite charming. But the theme song will NOT get out of my head.
And it’s not the whole theme song, either. It’s just the beginning. The “Hey, girl… Whatcha doin’?” part. Over and over and over. It is making me want to punch things.
Also, whenever I watch that show I feel an uncontrollable urge to get bangs.
* Have I blathered on sufficiently long enough to talk about the bug now? We have had a few of these bugs in our house:
Do you know what kind of bug that is? It’s horrifying, obviously. But, like, its name? Or how to make sure I never see another one ever again?
* Speaking of bugs, a giant, pudgy brown flying thing just helicoptered past my window. Outside, at least. But dude: What the eff is that?
And now there is a big swarm of bugs circling the tree in the back yard. I AM NOT READY FOR THIS. IT IS MARCH.
* You know what eats bugs? A turtle.
I could really use a turtle around here right now.
* It’s possible I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a tendency to get hooked on specific foods. As in, I get so obsessed with them, I eat them every day and I crave them constantly. My current addiction is wedge salads. There is something so intoxicating about a half-head of cool iceberg lettuce luxuriating in a lazy river of creamy parmesan ranch dressing, bejeweled with rings of soft pink shallot and squares of crisp, salty bacon. I have been eating about five heads of lettuce a week. And much bacon. MUCH BACON.
* Did my use of the word “luxuriating” make you think of Toddlers and Tiaras? No? Just me, then?
* The second best thing about the wedge salads (the first best thing being the salads themselves) is that I now have a nice steady supply of bacon fat in my fridge.
Do you think that’s weird? I mentioned it in the company of several people a few weeks ago, and some of them gave me the “she needs to be institutionalized” face.
I don’t think it’s weird. I think it’s WONDERFUL. Bacon fat can enrich so many things! I get all drool-faced when I think about how rich and velvety my onion soup is going to be. Once I get over my wedge salad fixation long enough to make some onion soup, that is.
I have used the bacon fat to make lentil soup, however. I’ve been recently obsessed with lentil soup, too. Lentil soup and wedge salads. I think that’s all I ate for a couple of weeks.
* I have finally found a reliable makeup remover. I don’t really wear a lot of makeup. Just a little blush and some mascara; eyeliner and lip gloss if I’m feeling fancy. But I have the HARDEST time getting the mascara off my stupid lashes. For pale stumpy things, they sure get a good grip on the mascara.
The makeup remover in question? Those Neutrogena face wipes that Jennifer Garner is promoting all over the teevee. I didn’t hear about them from JGarn, though. I am pretty sure I heard about them from the Internet – maybe from you? – because I get about 98% of my info from the Internet.
Anyway: these suckers work. At least on stubborn mascara.
* Last week, for the first time ever, I went snow shoeing.
I don’t know what I expected, but it was a lot like walking.
* I suppose I should clarify that my vacation was two weeks long. We spent the first week in Florida. We spent the second in Montana. Probably I should have mentioned that earlier.
* If you are a) married or b) not married, you will likely already know this. But going on vacation can be really good for a marriage. It was SO FUN to just… hang out with my husband. I mean, our parents were around for a lot of the hanging out, which was great. But we also got to do fun stuff alone together. And eat delicious food together. And brave far too many flights together. And go skiing and snow shoeing and alligatoring together. And just enjoy each other without the specter of Work and The Hospital and Household Chores looming over us. My husband is pretty fun to hang out with, you know.
* Also, we watched the entire first season of Downton Abbey and most of the first season of Game of Thrones together. There is really nothing that brings a couple together like World-War-I-era British society drama and some fantastical intrigue.
* Can we talk about the gators? My in-laws live in a gated community on a golf course. And the golf course abuts a pond of some sort. And there are LIVE WILD GATORS in the pondthing. GatorS as in Multiple Carnivorous Reptiles.
This is crazy, Internet. And yet, my in-laws have all these gators that just lounge near the golf course. Within simple slithering distance of golfers’ legs.
The reason I have these photos? Is because we took our daily constitutional on a path that goes right next to the gator pondthing. And I had my camera because the gators were there EVERY DAY and I knew to expect them.
How is this… okay? How do the people in my in-laws’ development not constantly fall victim to hungry gators? HOW?
* My husband and his parents were very nonchalant about the gators. TOO nonchalant, in my opinion. Yes, I come from a part of the country where bears and wolves and cougars roam wild. So I get that The Wild is full of Wild Creatures, and that humans can totally co-exist with scary vicious animals who will for the most part leave you alone if you leave them alone.
But it’s not like there’s a field near my parents’ house that just has BEARS MILLING AROUND or anything. It’s not like my dad goes out to water the lawn and there are wolves taking a nap behind the shrubbery and he’s all “lah dee dah, wolves, whatever.” My mom doesn’t hear about a copse of trees that’s hosting a cougar family and purposely walk past it each day in order to get some sunshine and exercise.
No. If there are bears or wolves or cougars anywhere in the vicinity, they STEER CLEAR.
Are gators that different from bears and wolves and cougars? NOT TO MY KNOWLEDGE.
* I told Kristina about these the other day.
They are the beautiful and delicious lemon-filled cupcakes I made for the Super Bowl. Yes, I realize the Super Bowl took place over a month ago. Errr… nearly two months ago. Nonetheless.
We had about ten people over for the Super Bowl party. Not a single person ate a cupcake.
Which means that I ate them all.
(Not ALL. There are four sitting in a container in the freezer, waiting for me to remember to take one out to defrost it BEFORE I am in the mood for a cupcake.)
(To be fair, we had a LOT of food at our Super Bowl party. And we had a LOT of desserts. As in, my husband made brownies and two flavors of homemade ice cream AND one of our guests brought an ice cream cake. So my beautiful cupcakes didn’t really stand a chance.)
* Have you seen those toilet paper commercials about the “backup roll”? The whole point of the commercial – other than to sell toilet paper, I imagine – is to push this little decorative toilet paper cozy (cosie? cozie?) that holds the backup roll. Or may the commercial is selling the decorative cozy? I don’t really know. I just know that backup rolls are important. Not important enough for me to buy or want a toilet paper cozy, mind you. But important. There is NOTHING WORSE than not having a backup roll. It’s either a problem NOW or it’s a problem LATER when you’ve skipped into the bathroom without remembering that you ran out last time.
That’s why I try to convince my husband that we need more toilet paper every time we go to Target. My goal is to have 50 rolls under every cabinet in every bathroom at all times. A sort of Extreme Couponers stockpile under all my sinks.
Yep. I think I’m ending there. On backup toilet paper.
This may be the most random thing I’ve ever written.
[Do I have to say this? I bought all the Neutrogena wipes/Stalinist-era novels/toilet paper/cupcake materials/Amazon Prime memberships mentioned in this post with my own money because I wanted to. I am not being compensated for talking about them. And all the opinions expressed here are my own. But please: feel free to send me all the makeup removal products or mystery books or cupcake paraphernalia you want. I would totally love that.]
[Also, you should probably know that the best photos in this post were taken by my husband.]