Friday, June 29, 2012

Campsite full. Bugger.

No camping this weekend. I am SO disappointed.
I called the campsite, they said they had 6 spots left, and 30 minutes later, when I arrived there, they were all booked.
The only thing they had left was a giant spot meant to accomodate 20 people and it cost $45 a night! Ridiculous.
Plus, because of all the wildfires Utah is currently having, campfires are forbidden. And really, if you can't have a campfire, what is the point?!
I guess we shouldn't have chosen the weekend prior to July 4th--the ranger said most of the sites were reserved weeks ago.  Poop.

So we're going to have a firepit and roast some weenies in my parents' backyard tonight instead.
You can't see too many stars from the valley because of all the light pollution, but the fire pit is secluded in a back corner that is all overgrown and dark, and we can almost pretend we're in the mountains!

I just love the mountains. Eli makes fun of me because living near them you would think I take them for granted, but whenever we go up there I apparently hyperventilate on the mountain air!
So we'll go in a couple weeks instead.

If you haven't visited the Wasatch Mountains, put it on your bucket list. 

Hemingway pictogram

The hubby and I are off to go camping this weekend, but before we depart I wanted to leave you with this:

Hemingway pictograms!!
The JFK Presidential Library maintains all sorts of archival collections, and right now they are trying to interpret some old sketches by Hemingway (they think...they are trying to determine if Ernest himself doodles these babies or one of his pals in his unit. I personally think Papa did them himself) and they are taking input from everyone!

 I love pictograms, and JFK, and Hemingway, so this was a delightful way to spend my morning. I did some research, got out my old Hemingway books, and had a stab at my own interpretation.
It made me want to read A Farewell to Arms again! I may tuck it into my knapsack for the camping trip...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore

Things I've been loving this week...

  • This song:

  • Funny cat video! I especially love the German Shepherd interacting with the kitten:

  • The incredible photographed self portraits by Alex Stoddard. Who is 17 years old. Wowza. Hello Annie Leibovitz of our generation.
  • Job Hunting resources: I really like and there is a cool free app on the iPhone called JobAware. Pretty nifty and helpful!
  • The original Harry Potter books. I've read 2 and now I am on 3. And strangely, I think of books 1-3 as the "originals" because all hell breaks loose in the 4th book and it is formatted so differently. The first 3 are classic and set the tone for the series, and I love how they revolve around schoolwork.  The 7th book hardly even seems to belong to the same series as they don't go to Hogwarts for school at all! And yet it is my favorite.

    Of all the other books actually set at Hogwarts, #3 is my favorite. Oh Sirius...
  • The abandoned City Hall Subway Station in New York.  I love looking at images of it--it is so mysterious and beautiful. It was built in 1904 and closed in 1945 because it wasn't used enough, but thank goodness, because look how beautifully preserved it is!

  • Dirty limericks.
    I love limericks and dirty jokes, so you can imagine the ultimate explosion of fun you get when you combine the two!  Check out
  • Fresh berries.  Got them at market, 2 packs of blueberries, 2 of strawberries, all for $5! Yum.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What happened to Voldemort's nose

This happened last night in bed with the hubby, as most of our random Harry Potter conversations tend to do! It was hysterical and the best part is that it was completely normal to both of us.

ME: "Man, I hate Tom Riddle!! What a bad boy."
ELI: "Who's Tom Riddle?"
ME: "That's not even funny. I will leave you."
ELI: "ha, okay. But cut him some slack, he's just a misunderstood kid."
ME: "That happens to be pure evil!"
ELI: "He beat death like eight times! He made death his bitch."
ME: "And then death bitch slapped him hard."
ELI: "My nose is all stuffed up."
MARE: "I bet Tom Riddle never had a stuffed up nose."
ELI: No, because if he did he wouldn't even deal with it. He would blast it off."
MARE: "Ooh my God! That's why.."
ELI: "Voldemort didn't have.."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Invisible friends

I popped over to Barnes & Noble the other afternoon when I was particularly emotionally fatigued (I'm still struggling with my load of unanswered medical issues and have not been feeling good at all). In fact, I'm doing a "doctor day" tomorrow and I'm praying for answers and help.

And it's times like these when I need to remember to "fill the well" --you know, do those activities that are soothing and mending to your soul so you can keep on with the daily tedium.

And for me some of those things are luxurious bubble baths with candles and scented oils, communing with nature, and visiting the bookstore.

So there I was by myself, sipping some minty green iced tea, and debating about which book from my crisp stack I should peruse first, when a stack of books at an empty table near mine caught my eye.
Reading the titles, I realized that me and this absent stranger, who had picked out these books and favored them alongside a delicious beverage (maybe a caramel macchiato), could most definitely be pals.

Isn't that funny, the sense of camaraderie, one can get from looking at someone else 's reading choices?
They're what I like to think of as invisible friends.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The lost stars

Last night we were hanging out at a friend's place, drinking whiskey and talking about the greatest Western films when I noticed... he had 4 Chris Consani posters hanging on his walls!

As a history nerd and film freak, I love these paintings.
They have fun little touches that only someone who knows quite a bit about these people would catch and we spent an enjoyable half an hour seeking out the secrets and quirks he painstakingly painted into each image.

When we get a house, we are definitely going to need some of these to go in our den, with all of our vintage movie memorabilia.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Treasure Hunting

Why can't I be Indiana Jones? WHY.
He is a professor, a historian, a treasure seeker/adventurer, he looks good when he sweats (I could use a little of that), and he kicks Nazi ass.
And his dad is the greatest. 

If anyone can handle those responsibilities, it is ME!
So why, in my job searching, am I not finding listings for female Dr. Joneses?
I'm a fan. Can you tell?
I just need a little help with the whip is all.

The other night Eli and I were drowsing in bed, watching a great favorite of ours--National Treasure--and I realized that it is a modern version of Indiana Jones.
And yes, it has more to do with American history than getting the Arc of the Covenant away from some fascist pigs, but yes. Cool people using their history knowledge to solve clues that lead them to unimagined treasures. Glorious. Count us in!
And National Treasure gives us hope that even in the modern day we can still find mysterious, lost ancient artifacts. Now it is just finding old people to whisper clues to us and give us something to go on...get some damn funding.

This is terrible, but kind of funny.

And so, some lost treasures that I could seek:

1. The Holy Grail
This is my favorite because to this day no one has a friggin clue what the Grail even is!
Which entails lots of research, which *confession* I enjoy.
And Indiana himself was after the Grail, trying to keep it out of the hands of the Nazis.

2. The Amber Room
It belonged to Peter the Great and, as you are hopefully thinking, was made entirely of amber.
Those damn Nazis took it during WWII and no one knows quite where it is. (Nazis again...seeing a theme here?)

3. Nefertiti's tomb.  This doesn't have much to do with Nazis or Indians Jones, but Dr. Jones was in Cairo!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Non-Sequiturs and a few First World Problems

I absolutely love the movie A Month by the Lake. It is so chill and old school and is filmed on Lake Como, which is on my top 10 list of places to visit.
It stars Vanessa Redgrave, a favorite of mine, and is set in the days before WWII.
And boy is she hot, for being a tough old bird.  It is sweet, nostalgic, and makes me pine for Italy.
I watch it far too often!

My teeth hurt. Bad.
I am all about food and eating, and when something interferes with that, I do not respond well.
So now I need to get a bunch of dental work done and I've put it off because my mouth is still recovering from surgery.
The nasty mouthwash my oral surgeon gave me has eaten away my teeth and I think that the decay has given me 5-6 cavities that are causing the pain (along with my cracked molar, thanks to an incompetent dentist), and what makes it extra difficult is I only have one side of my mouth to chew on anyway! So it isn't as if I can go "oh well, guess I'll just use the other one."
And liquid diets are possibly the worst thing invented, after genocide, polka music, and the taste of Pepto Bismol.

I hung out with an old pal of mine today and it was fabulous.
She is a history professor and used to be my mentor in college, and I worked as her research assistant for 2 years. It was probably the best job I will ever have and I dearly miss it--I am actually hoping to be hired on at one of the local colleges. I'm just an academic at heart and they say do what you love!
So we grabbed lunch today and then hung out on my porch barefoot, her chain-smoking and me eating grapefruit and dodging a wasp determined to end my life.
We gossiped like there was no tomorrow and had a hilarious conversation about a pan-sexual nudist colony.
Everyone tells me I'm going to end up like her, but I think I'm already there! When we met for lunch we ran into each other in the parking lot because we were both 10 minutes late, and we both had wet hair.

I realized I stash books.  I keep them in nooks and crannies and I have little emergency stacks! They are everywhere I turn and I am rapidly running out of space for them. But if I can think of one quandary I could have in life, I would glad to have this be it-- "Where can I put my ever-growing collection of books?"

Speaking of which, I finished Hunger Games. whoooooosh. What an epic ending. It had my stomach in knots! And the same night I finished the series, my husband started book 1. And boy is he into it!
The ending is not what I expected and it frustrated me to the point that I couldn't sleep, but the more I think about it the more I go "okay, I can accept that."
I also didn't like how whiny Katniss is in the last book. Jesus! Just pull it together already and stop pitying yourself! It reminded me of Harry in Order of the Phoenix. No one likes a grumpy pants!
And I wasn't happy with what happened to Finnick, because I enjoyed him and he reminded me of Sirius Black.

My deodorant stopped working. Which is definitely a lame First-World Problem but geez.
It really bugs me, since this is the 4th brand I have tried that just craps out after a few hours.
I know I don't stink and I am overreacting, but when I feel sweaty and don't smell good 2 hours after I shower, it is not going to be a fun time.  I've done Dove, Degree, Secret (clinical strength and regular)..the list goes on and on. So it is off to the drugstore tomorrow for the ultimate search. Pathetic, I know.

I hate that Vicky is so far away. She is having a really shitty time and I want to be there for her more than anything. She may have a tumor in her leg, among other problems, but dealing with the healthcare system in the UK is slow and she is in a lot of pain, all of the time. She was at the Emergency today trying to get help and once again it didn't go well. We were FaceTiming about it and honestly, us trying to have a normal FaceTime is like shooting craps. You just have no idea if the picture and sound will be clear, or if it is going to freeze up, hang up, etc.  Another First World Problem. BUT COME ON!

We at at Market Street Grill tonight for the first time in a long time and DAMN their clam chowder is good. Especially with a gin and tonic with extra lime. Yum yum yum!
We actually had a bartender in Vegas recognize us from our many trips (again, pathetic) and when I asked for extra lime with my G&T he gave me a bowl with 5 limes in it! I was in heaven. I ate every last one (yes, I am the weird girl you see in bars/restaurants sucking on lemons and limes entirely by themselves. Certainly cannot be helping with my tooth decay problem).

I just can't do watercolors.
Everytime I try it is a watery, incomprehensible mess. Not an abstract breathtaking mess. Just bad.
I am much better at acrylics, and just need to accept it. I wasted 2 hours yesterday attempting a watercolor (I could picture it so vividly in my mind!!) and ripped it up in the end. Then I did an acrylic, which is more suited to me since I am so impatient and paint so fast I need a medium with a practical drying time, and it turned out quite well. Painting is wonderful, semi-free therapy and I need to keep it up.
I can literally complete a canvas in a few hours, if I'm in the right mood. I wish canvas were cheaper.

I can't find a doctor to get me some of that thyroid medicine! I need to wait for my naturopath to get back in town next week and get some help from him. I've been doing the temperature taking every morning, before I get out of bed, and i is consistently 96, except this morning, when I hit 97 (woohoo), but I think that has something to do with the fact that I slept with my heating pad all night.  Eli was sweating because it was a hot one last night, but I have such a low body temp that I froze! Hypothyroid!
I got a supplement that has helped significantly, to the point that I am able to actually function somewhat during the day, instead of staring blankly at fruit bowls and Scuttle the crab. So that's something, but I can still tell my thyroid gland needs a jolt that only true desiccated thyroid can provide. Gross but true.

Eli and I were cuddling in bed last night talking about sexual relations between Harry Potter characters (this is as normal to us as breathing, I should add) and I said something like "I would do Dean Thomas so haaaaard!!!" and he just sighed.  Oh soul mates.

I saw a man throw a block of cheese at a woman today. True---a big ol' hunk of colby-jack!
It hit her in the shoulder and she didn't say anything, nor did he, and they walked off. A few minutes later a random child took off with the abandoned weapon-cheese.  It was bizarre and their casual reactions freaked me out! It must be a common thing for this man to be hucking dairy items at his wife. And that's just sick, though I kind of wish Eli would toss some dairy at me once in a while!

I had a dream I was playing touch-football with the Kennedys.  They are way too competitive. I woke up with calf cramps. For real.

We're going to have fresh banana bread for breakfast tomorrow. Yum Yum Yum.

And on that note, goodnight!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How to Get the Great Gatsby Look

I am SO excited for this!! I love the lavish, exaggerated glamour Baz Luhrmann has infused into it.

A post I did 2 months ago on Great Gatsby style was so popular I decided to do another version of it
because I am a history nerd that also loves beauty and fashion, and I am eagerly awaiting the release of the new Gatsby on Christmas this year (why do we have to wait so long?!?!).

Of course we would all love to have wardrobe's time warped from the 1920s, but it just isn't possible.
So opt for the simple (and cheap) ways to incorporate Gatsby into your summer style!
Try some vintage sunglasses and a cute fedora with any outfit. It is absolutely wonderful how the fedora has made a comeback, and you can find them almost anywhere. I especially love Target's versions.

The plush purple velvet here is so flapper-esque, as is the ribbon and flower detail.

Just adding ribbons or flowers to your clothes/purse/hair can help give you this look.

Another quick way to sneak in some Roaring Twenties is with a spangly hair piece, whether it is a jeweled headband or sparkly stick you jam into your hair knot.

 The thing to remember about dressing in Gatsby style are the

Back then clothing and accessories were a source of pride, a piece of art you wore on your body.
We don't value that sort of unique craftsmanship anymore.
So if you see anything that looks one-of-a-kind, vintage, or just has marvelous features, snatch it up or create your own version.

And now makeup...
The 1920s look is simple and glamorous. You don't want your face to compete with the jazz of your outfit, so stick to black eyeliner (winged a bit if you like) and pink or red lipstick.
The Gatsby aura is all about clear, pale skin with a rosy glow and smoky eyes, accented lips.
They favored thin, highly arched eyebrows and a cupid's bow lipstick style. Observe...

As for hair, a straight or curly bob is spot-on.

The Marcel Wave was highly popular during this time,

 and is similar to what we call "finger waves" or subtle crimping today.

You can use bobby pins or a curling iron to get the look.

More tips and tricks:


Long strands of pearls, knotted if you like.
And don't neglect to wear them as earrings!
If you want to incorporate flapper style into your jewelry, make sure it is high quality, sparkly, and classy. Any baubles that dangle are perfectamundo. Lockets are also a great option.
And keep an eye out for ART DECO pieces.  Art deco rocks in all forms, but is particularly bomb in the jewelry arena! Strong colors and rhinestones in geometric shapes.

Gloves and feathers and lovely touches as well.

And now...
to the dress.

The term "flapper" originates from the style of dress that become irresistibly popular during the 1920s, helped along by Coco Chanel's designs of course.
The dresses were looser and many of them didn't require corsets, and girls stopped wearing petticoats with them, so when they danced (like the Charleston), their loose dresses would FLAP up around their knees, showing quite a scandalous amount of skin! And many of them were silk and were as substantial as a slip. A very sexy look indeed.
Add some spangles to the gown (beads, sequins, brooches) and you will truly be the BEE'S KNEES (if you are going for '20s style, throw this term around a lot).

These dresses are absolutely gorgeous--
as a rule of thumb, if it makes noise when you move in it, mission accomplished.
Just remember that flappers were scandalous enough with their short hair, flippant lifestyles, and dresses revealing their knees--so they tended not to show too much cleavage.
If you're going for a lower cut dress, aim for something a bit longer in the legs.

Fringe is a must, and as mentioned above, look for the DETAILS.
Don't shy away from anything too outlandish.

Flappers were fashion revolutionaries.

Below you will find some more bits and pieces for inspiration. And if you're still in a muddle, watch Chicago, a great favorite of mine.
The stage ambiance is incredible and the costumes, numbers, love love. And the history of it--the murderesses of Chicago (yes, read Douglas Perry's book The Girls of Murder City) is so very rich.
It is a rare day I don't catch myself humming "Cell Block Tango" under my breath.

Remember to keep your purses small (not the bags you can fit a baby in that are so trendy nowadays) and don't shy away from the menswear look!
The 1920s were a snazzy time for both genders. Just keep it tailored.

And drink Manhattan cocktails!

Terms to Use:
Applesauce (as an expletive);
Beat It!;
Atta Boy;
Tomato (a female);
Whoopee (a good time);
Sap (a moron);
Pinch (arrest);

On the level (real, legit); Scrooched zozzled, ossified, fried to the hat (all these terms mean DRUNK); kisser (mouth); Iron (a motorbike);
Hard-boiled (a tough guy); Dry up (shut up, go away); Dead soldier (empty beer bottle);
Clam (a dollar); Bump off (kill).