file that under beastly!

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that was me just over 24 hours ago. surrounded by the most horrific display of laziness i have witnessed in quite some time and trying not to lose my mind while undoing 2 years worth of utter slack.

Thursday night, we came home to find our mailbox stuffed with a nearly $900 bill for a doctor’s appointment that happened over a year ago. what is the deal with doctors and billing, right? not the first time it has taken months and months to get a bill for something — it always shows up just when you think your insurance must have covered everything and you put it out of your mind. how on earth do doctors run a business that way?

anyway, the whole thing totally set Spy off. obvs, no one is happy about having to pay the bill, but the fact that we aren’t organized enough to find any other paperwork about the appointment or a prior bill or anything tapped into one of deepest sources of self loathing. try as he may, he is just not very organized. he’s the guy constantly looking for his keys, wallet and reading glasses. and it drives him crazy. especially when nearly a thousand bucks is at stake.

i’m the organized one in the family. generally, with not too much effort, i can put my hands on pretty much any piece of paper or email we might need to dredge up long after it’s been forgotten. that silver bin in front of me in the picture above is where i throw bills after i’ve paid them, correspondence i’ll get around to filing one day and pretty much everything else i know i should save, but don’t want to make a decision about what to do with it in the moment. i typically give it a good sorting through every 6 months or so. but apparently, at this point, i hadn’t touched it for over 2 years. ugh.

so yesterday, i set about the monumental task of getting things organized. Continue reading

drivetime discussions: Miss Girl meets Queen Bey

mkay. so that thing i was writing about Melania last night? yeah, i’m completely done talking about that for right now. let’s talk about Beyoncé!

see the uncanny resemblance in the photos above? yeah, me neither. so you can imagine my utter surprise and amusement driving home from camp last night when this happened.

MG: (singing some mash-up of Run the World (Girls) and Formation)

me: what’s that?

MG: our song for our Friday performance.

me: Formation? you’re singing Formation? (obvs, a little mortified, my mind raced to whether i was gonna need to have a stern discussion with the Y.) you got hot sauce in your bag, girl?

MG: huh?

me: nevermind. so you know Beyoncé sings that.

MG: Beyoncé? who’s that?

me: (did we not just go through this during BET Awards?) really? i know you know who she is! look. (over the course of a few stoplights managed to pull up a Google image search on my phone and throw my arm in the backseat so she could see what turned up on my screen.)

MG: oh yeah. you know, that’s probably what i’m going to look like when i grow up. except with different eyes.

me: (eyes?? or EVERYTHING?? let’s see what she really meant . . .) different eyes? like how?

MG: well, you know. she has brown eyes and i have blue eyes. so that’s the only difference.

and with all the focus on tension caused by skin color lately, and all the divisiveness and highlighting of differences between people, i was once again completely amazed at, amused by and proud of my little girl who just honestly doesn’t see any difference between her and anyone else, no matter what color skin they have. so she identifies more with Beyoncé than blonde-haired, blue-eyed Dakota Fanning, whom she’s been told she favors? whatevs. i can tell you this for sure though, her white-girl dance moves got a long way to go.

Friday favorites: back in the saddle edition

cowgirl_on_white_horsei know it’s been a long time since i’ve shown my face around here. (thanks to everyone who’s hung around!) still a bit sorting through reasons why (maybe a post for later), but long story short, not writing these little posts is not helping me answer any of the questions i have been having about what i’m doing and why — here and in a couple other aspects of life. so i’m jumping back in. that’s the plan at least! and since i’m in, you know i gotta post my favorites from the week! this weekend, i’m looking forward to Spy returning home from a week in Germany. with everything going on in Europe right now, i just want him to get home safely! also, pool time, Secret Life of Pets (mandatory viewing!) and a wine tasting on Sunday afternoon. hope y’all have some fun/relaxing stuff planned, too! let’s go . . . Continue reading

bye-bye, you big bear.

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wanted to thank everyone who was so sweet and thoughtful about Clara when i posted that she was ill a few weeks ago, and give you the update that she didn’t make it. the antibiotics did nothing for the mass in her leg, so it has been painkillers and waiting the last couple of weeks. i’m unbelievable grateful that we had that extra time with her. unfortunately on Monday, while i was in Austin for SXSW, she became immobile and Spy had to take her in. i was glad that i’d made sure to give her a great big hug before i left on Friday, but so sad for that to have been the very last one.

Monday marked the end of an era, as Clara was the last family member we brought with us from Richmond to Atlanta. whisked away from the mean streets of Church Hill (where Spy found her under a bush in the park near our home) to an idyllic long weekend at our river house that quickly turned into a new life with her forever family, we often said Clara was the luckiest dog in the world. the truth is, we were the lucky ones to have had her in our lives for the past 15 years. we’ll miss our big bear terribly, but are glad she is reunited with her buddies Maury and Parker in that big doggy (and kitty) park in the great beyond.

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ironically, there isn’t a photo that could possibly capture the beautiful, the mundane, the tragic of this evening. but i wanted to somehow capture the sort of like 16,000 conflicting emotions and experiences that happen around here on any given evening, but particularly tonight. thanks for indulging me in a pretty non-typical-for me post.

i’m in the midst of coming down from a lot of angst and uncertainty about leaving an old job to working my first 2 days (at home!) at a new job, where there also is uncertainty simply because it is a new and different situation from where i thought i would be 6 months ago — but also a lot of excitement about what i can help build.

at about 4:00 today, i realized i was still in my pajamas. i had promised myself i was not under any circumstances going to be that person. i did not go for a run (not my fault. did you see the storm map for the Southeast today??). and my dishwasher was still full of clean dishes washed overnight. i felt a minor pang of incompetence for not having this work at home shit completely nailed after 2 days. then i eye-rolled myself.

as i rallied to step away from the computer and my work to get dressed, i let the dogs out and realized our 14-year-old Clara was limping and can’t put any weight on one of her hind legs. i’ve spent the rest of the evening — in between getting pain meds from our dog sitter, checking what time the vet opens tomorrow and helping Spy carry her up and down the stairs —  worrying that when she does see the vet tomorrow, it will be the last time we see her. that’s how Maury went a few years ago at 16. she quite suddenly lost use of her back legs and the vet suggested it would be a hard road ahead. so far, the painkiller has helped some. we have spent lots of time holding hands (always her favorite) and looking longingly at each other. i’ll call at 8:00 tomorrow morning to see when i can bring her in, and until that time, hope for the best.

in the meantime, i’m also literally trying to cook a proper dinner for me and Spy, who have fallen into a bad pattern of eating at different times and places in the house. the ravenous Miss Girl demanded a hot dog the minute she walked into the house, so her dinner was long since done. in between pulsing cauliflower rice, i’m having a conversation that goes something like this:

“PUT YOUR PANTS ON!”

“but Mommy, my booty’s too hot. and besides, Lily has my pants.”

“WHY DOES LILY HAVE YOUR PANTS? GET YOUR PANTS FROM HER!”

“we’re playing tug-o-war with them!”

Lily runs a couple laps around the house with pants in her mouth.

“DO NOT PLAY TUG-O-WAR WITH YOUR PANTS! go get those pants from that dog!”

ridiculous laughter.

“i’m serious! get some pants — any pants! — on that hot booty and get those pants from that dog!”

ridiculous laughter.

“ONE . . . TWO . . .”

“okay, okay, Mommy. i got the pants. but now i need to take off my shirt.”

facepalm.

ridiculous, ear-to-ear grin.

also, at some point during all of this, i got a call from the Bernie Sanders campaign asking if i plan to vote in the upcoming primary and for whom. the girl was floored when i said i plan to vote and they had my support. like i was literally the first person on her (i assume Atlanta Metro) list who had given her a positive reaction. she didn’t know how to respond to me. was really glad i could make that girl’s day, because making those calls has to be a thankless job!

at bath/bedtime, when Spy took Clara up the stairs for the evening, i remembered that somehow, although i was home all day today, Lily peed on the bed. ON THE BED, y’all. duvet was in the laundry, but taking 1,000 years to dry. so while Miss Girl’s bath was running, i was psyched to find a clean set of sheets. not psyched to make our bed. let’s just say that since the Brazilians started, the pain in the ass that is re-sheeting a California king has not often been in my repertoire. sigh.

at the end of the night, with my sweet family all upstairs — one in what feels like a makeshift bed with a spare Queen comforter on top (we’ll be fighting over that in a couple hours); one maybe sleeping in her well-worn spot on my side of the bed for the last time; one dreaming pantsless dreams of world domination; and one completely oblivious to all of it as long as she can snuggle with someone — i just had to try to explain the beautiful, amazing, circle of life chaos of it all. because it constantly amazes me how all these things can co-exist in my life and in my brain in these amazing moments in time and (usually) nothing actually explodes, except sometimes (almost) my heart.

tomorrow’s Hump Day, y’all. notice that amazing moment that’ll get you through the rest of the week!

Friday Favorites: slacksplaining my absence

hate blog posts that begin with an apology for having been gone for so long, for not writing, for ignoring readers in favor of real life pursuits. so i’m not going to be that blogger. suffice to say there has been a lot going on in my world recently and now that the dust has settled a bit, i thought it would be fun to catch y’all up on 5 of my favorite things that have kept me so incredibly busy the past month or so. settle in. this one might be long. thanks for sticking around and happy Friday, everyone!

1. shopping
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y’all can have your shoes and jewelry. i’m a sucker for a handbag. and after i missed out on an amazing 75% off black Kate Spade tote at their holiday surprise sale because i was trying to be responsible and not splurge on myself (what was i thinking?), i vowed never to let an obsession of the moment get away again. i am utterly in love with this delicious creation. the Grand Street Colorblock Gabriel is the perfect size for normal pocketbook stuff like a wallet and make-up, plus roomy enough to tote around a small laptop and my notebook — making it the perfect size to stash everything needed for, say, a plane ride. originally $478, i snagged it for about $160 including tax after having the internal debate again for only about 3 hours this time. amazing bag. amazing deal. and no, you may not have one because, just like the bag i went gaga over at Christmas, this one is sold out!

2. sipping wine


so, that i have been sipping wine is clearly nothing new. but what’s different this time is that i got to do it a couple weekends ago with some of my best girlfriends during a fun-filled day of winery touring in Virginia to celebrate the upcoming wedding of one of them. we hit Pippin Hill for lunch and bubbles, then a white and a red at Dave Matthews’ Blenheim. we followed up dinner in Charlottesville, accompanied by (probably too much) bourbon, with a good old-fashioned gab and grub session (over more cocktails, obvs) in our jammies in the living room of the adorable 1750s farmhouse (complete with cows, chickens, goats and maple syrup taps on the trees) that we had rented for the weekend. i cannot think of a more perfect address for a bachelorette weekend than Dick Woods Road. (i’ll just leave that right there.) so many laughs and so much love, beautiful views and delicious tastes . . . it was a fantastic weekend full of all my favorite stuff. can’t wait to go back up for the wedding next weekend!

3. sneaking around playing Tooth Fairy


OMG IT FINALLY HAPPENED!! after moping around for months because all her school friends were losing their teeth, Miss Girl finally had a little wiggle. then a big wiggle. then at 7:00 last Saturday morning (because you know it couldn’t happen at the crack of dawn on a school day when we’re up anyway), she raced into our room, jumped on the bed and announced that her tooth had finally come out. and she carried the evidence in her hand. well. i’d been thinking about it since that first wiggle and casually browsing Pinterest for cute ideas on how the Tooth Fairy would deliver her goods, but of course never actually downloaded any of the gazillion printables i’d looked at. bedtime Saturday night was go time for me and of course, at that point, i couldn’t find anything i thought was exactly right. so i whipped something up on Canva. and i think it turned out pretty cute, if i do say so myself! after my covert operation was done, Spy deftly slipped my handiwork under her pillow. the next morning, we were met with another exuberant early wake up. though, i think she was a little disappointed that her haul was only $1. but, as we like to say around our house: you git whatchya git and you don’t pitch a fit. 

4. snuggling by the fire
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this one’s a lame. i know. but y’all. do you know how many hours can be consumed just trying to get and stay warm? i am a summer girl, 1000%. and all this cold, dark weather lately has had me ready to curl up in pajamas and a blanket, binge eat and binge watch until things thaw out. so i’ve traded in my flip flops for fuzzy socks and have kind of done just that on a lot of recent nights and weekends, which is honestly just so unlike the usual me who is always busy doing something. my state of mind and my waistline can’t take much more of it. coooooome on, spring!

5. snagging a new job
I feel the start of something new!

(image: quotesgram.com)

today is my last day in my current job. for a variety of reasons it’s probably not appropriate to go into here, i just wasn’t that into it anymore. seriously nothing terrible, but it’s like when you’ve been dating someone for a year or so and it just doesn’t really seem like it’s going anywhere. there’s still things you love about them, but you find yourself fantasizing about being in a different situation. then some hot young thing winks at you from across the room and you know it’s over. that hot young thing approached me and we flirted for several weeks before deciding to make things official. i start my new gig on Monday and i’ve got all kinds of mixed emotions about making the move. but overall, i feel like the change will be a good one that will have a positive effect on some other areas of life. more on this later, probably, but for now i’m looking forward to a new week and a new chapter!

 

kindergarten: where content of character is everything

humanaeproject(photos: Angélica Dass)

in the world of my 5 year old, people aren’t black or white. people have beige skin or brown skin . . . or sometimes pink. they are not defined by the color of their skin — nor are they judged by it.

my blonde-haired, blue-eyed, beige-skinned daughter was born into a world where the only president she knows is African American. she lives in a city that is 54% African American. she attends a public school here where 74% of the student body is African American and Hispanic. that there are kind and unkind people, geniuses and morons, leaders and losers with skin tones running the gamut and that their skin tone is utterly inconsequential to what they all have to offer is beyond obvious to her. it’s beautiful to see it in action.

last week, her class studied Martin Luther King, Jr. as a lead up to today’s day off in celebration of his life and accomplishments. on the way home in the car on Friday, she told me all about it. she described the Civil Rights icon as smart, good, nice and charming. but it was difficult to gather what she actually knew about what he did and what he stood for. as we pulled into our garage, she arrived a the part of the story where “this one police officer really didn’t like Martin.” she paused a moment and asked “Mommy, why didn’t some people like Martin Luther King?” and i wondered how i was going to explain this one in a way that she would understand that wouldn’t also completely freak her out.

“well, sweetie, not everyone believed in the same things he did,” i began.

“like what?” of course.

“well, he believed that all people should be treated the same — they should have the same rights and opportunities — no matter what color their skin is.” i think i did okay, i think i did okay . . .

“uh, duh, Mom.”

“i know, right? but a long time ago not everybody believed that people with beige skin and people with brown skin should be treated the same. and people with brown skin didn’t get to do all the same things people with beige skin did.”

“well, that’s just crazy, girl! CRAZY!

“i know, girl. totally crazy.” i got this. hit me with somethin’ else . . .

“Mommy, can i have dinner?”

and with the exception of one weird question about whether we were supposed to pray to Dr. King in the sky on his birthday (yeah, really.), that was pretty much our discussion about why we have today off of work and school.

in general, my feeling is that if everyone acted like 5 year olds, the world would be an absolutely unbearable place. but in this one respect, i sure wish people would channel their kindergarten selves way more often.

p.s. the unique photos above are part of the Humanæ Project, a series of images created by Brazilian photographer Angélica Dass, “who intends to deploy a chromatic range of the different human skin colors.” each subject’s skin tone is matched to a corresponding Pantone color, to create a metaphor about how much more complex we all are than simply black or white. it’s really beautiful, meaningful and thought-provoking work that i hope comes to Atlanta. go check it out.

Friday favorites: best of 2015

happy 2016, y’all!! i’m tired. and not just because i stayed up too late on New Year’s Eve and drank too much! (i mean, maybe that’s about to happen. i’m writing this one early — for once — so i’ll have to let y’all know!) and not because i had a terrible year (i’m already seeing the Facebook posts about “good riddance to 2015!”).

no, we just had our normal post-holiday visit with our folks in the northern colonies . . . a 5-day jaunt to Richmond and DC to visit our parents and friends, which was fantastic, as always, but wow. just so much after the whole month or so of activities. with crazy weather, we arrived back in Atlanta around 10:00 Wednesday night. i had to show my face in the office for a bit on Thursday. and then finally, finally settled down to a little quiet with surf ‘n’ turf cooked (and being eaten on a rotating basis since we all are more in nosh mode than sit-down), 3 girls upstairs in the playroom watching the Seacrest New Year’s Eve show (better than 3 girls screaming in my kitchen! — i just made them promise to let me know when One Direction comes on!), the husband watching football in the livingroom and me in the office drinking wine, reflecting on the past and wondering about the future.

whoooooooshyogapantsfeelgoodrightnow . . .

so i know i haven’t posted in a long time. there has been a lot going on here. nothing totally bad. and nothing totally good. but enough life stuff to have kept me focused on other things and not writing regularly. i’m working on what fixing that looks like, as well as broader new year’s resolutions and such. in the meantime, before i can look forward, i wanted to spend this post looking back at some of my favorite moments of 2015 (in no particular order of course!). it really was a good year, as years go. hope y’all feel the same! and if not, as they are saying in Facebook memes, today is the first blank page of a 365-page book — write a good one!

France
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i mean. there could not have been a more amazing vacation and week of togetherness for me and my family than our Spring Break in France. can’t wait for Hawaii 5-0 (neither can you! stay tuned . . .).

glamping!
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seriously, yurts-so-good was maybe the funnest weekend of the year. despite getting in uber trouble for joining the wiccans in their full moon ceremony (sheesh), this was an epic weekend with amazing friends who i hope we’ll keep forever. so. much. love.

Lily
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there have been a lot of ups and downs since she arrived on our scene last January. for example, ups: she is an amazing snuggler. downs: she eats everything . . . shoes, rugs, the house (literally) . . . somehow, the ups make up for the downs and just less than a year later, i cannot imagine life without her.

Parker
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no. my cat dying was not one of my favorite moments. i still miss him terribly. that last morning with him, when i knew it was not going to end well, we had a good snuggle and a good conversation. and in that last few hours, i know we solidified everything we’d meant to each other in the past 15 years. big, good stuff.

DC
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Spy and i never actually lived in this amazing city at the same time. maybe crossed paths at The Tombs, we’ve decided, but that’s it. post-Christmas visit confirmed our love for all the in-town awesome. we really don’t get back there enough and visits always make me miss it. just maybe Miss Girl will go to Georgetown like her dad and we’ll just have to be up there like all the time . . .

Friday favorites: pre-Thanksgiving finds & fun

isn’t the week before a holiday week just the worst?? feels like this one has gone on forever! a work trip to New York sandwiched right in the middle of it at least mixed things up, but let’s be honest — 2 solid days in a conference room doing 2016 planning kinda sucked all the fun out of it. i pretty much officially checked out last night when Spy and i stayed up way too late drinking way too much wine and talking politics. i’ll have y’all know that i actually impressed my husband, who reads 2 newspapers cover to cover every day, with a comment and a perspective he had not heard or thought of on how President Obama is handling ISIS and the media. i was seriously so proud of myself! anyhoo . . . glad it is now officially the weekend! we have a ton of stuff to do to get ready for Thanksgiving guests arriving Tuesday. i am so excited i can’t stand it. here’s a quick look back at some of the awesomeness of the week. (i was terrible about taking photos of anything, so enjoy these much better ones!) hope y’all had a good one and have some big fun planned for the weekend ahead!

cauliflower rice
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you guys. are you ready to be totally amazed? i’m doing a quick 10-day paleo thing so i don’t feel like an absolute cow on Thanksgiving . . . which rolls into holiday parties, my birthday, Christmas and basically a 6-week food and booze fest. it’s the least i can do, right? so i have wanted to try this cauliflower rice for a while, but did not have high hopes. it is the bomb. i used this recipe from The Kitchn (also photo source). it is so easy, makes a ton and was amazing first with salmon and then under fajita steak and chicken (for like 3 meals). you will never actually confuse it for rice, but when you are off carbs and need that texture, or a bed of something to put your stir fry or curry or whatever on, it is absolutely perfect. try it and let me know what you think!

a new dress


a NYC work trip definitely required a new outfit. duh. lucky for me i hit probably the last week of nice (aka not freezing) weather, so it didn’t have to be a pants situation. this Ann Taylor dress looks super prim here, but with the collar open to show this awesome Chloe & Isabel convertible necklace, sleeves rolled up and tall black boots, it was the perfect balance of feminine (did i mention i was in a room with 20 dudes and only 2 other women for those 2 days??) and buttoned up. and at 40% off when i picked it up last week, it was a total win. great staple piece.

at-home manicure


and a NYC work trip definitely required a manicure. i got cheap and lazy and decided to do an entire mani/pedi myself, which i haven’t done in quite a while. i always feel great after i’ve done it. and this time, i was especially psyched because i tried something i’d been wanting to do for a while. when i do take the time to do gels, i use the 3-step L’Oreal Extraordinaire Gel-Laque. it gives a really great gel look. i can’t say anything about how long it lasts because i’m ridiculously hard on any manicure. i’m sitting here typing with a few chips after 5 days on this one as an example. they have some really good colors, but i also have a drawer full of nail polish. i’d read you could sub in anything for step 2, so i tried my OPI Scores a Goal. it dried so gorgeous and smooth it honestly looked like i’d gotten it done by a professional. i loved looking at my nails so much all week that i might actually do it again this weekend!

family photos


finally got our images from the shoot we did back in October. these are just a couple of them. Sarah Esther Photography is seriously just absolutely the best! if you’re in Atlanta, i highly recommend her for family, engagement, wedding, baby photos or headshots or boudoir (hubba hubba!). now i get to work on the Christmas card this weekend!

Made in the A.M.
oh,  you know you’ve been enjoying this all week, too!

5 on Friday: a(nother) Writing 101 mashup

turtlerace(photo: thrillist.com)

um. didn’t Writing 101 end like 6 weeks ago? you’re asking. i know, right? but here i am. still. did i ever tell y’all that i didn’t graduate college on time? yeah, somehow at the finish line, i still needed one more class and ended up hanging around Winter Park for the summer taking an Ann Tyler class to fulfill my very last couple credits and officially get my degree. so this feeling is super familiar.

that said, creative combinations seem to be my secret weapon here, so i’m doing it again! i didn’t have anything pulled together for Friday list of 5 when i remembered that Day 11 asked

What do you do when you’re not writing? How do you reset and return to this dashboard, refreshed? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance?

since my last post was a week and a half ago, this really resonated today. what have i been doing? why haven’t i been writing? that second question is probably a bit more complicated than “life got busy,” which is what i like to tell myself. i’ve been questioning again what i’m doing here. i’ve also been exploring a book idea and much of my focus has been on whether that idea is viable, how to make this space more fun for me — and for you — and kind of generally doing a gut check about my writing and what i want to do with it. deep, y’all. and i’m not ready to write about it yet. ha. Continue reading