Full Grown Men

If it's Tuesday, you just know I had to go to Harris Teeter.

Before we start this, let's get a few things straight.

First, I didn't start this blog to talk about the Teeter or the people in it. However much I hate to admit it, though, my life is pretty mundane most of the time and a lot of stuff happens at the Teeter.

Second, as much as I swore that I would try to steer clear of blogging about the mundane, I swore to myself even more that I wouldn't use this blog as a platform to bitch about the mundane.

I am about to break both of those rules.

My best friend said to me, "You should blog about men more often."

The problem with that plan is that I don't really want to blog about men because right now I'm not dating and even if I was, wouldn't it be kind of tacky to blog about him?

The other reason I am loathe to discuss men is because I fear that I am bitter. Or maybe it's that I'll be perceived as bitter. I'm afraid ya'll will think I'm bitter and middle aged and living with dogs.

However, after tonight's Teeter encounter I decided to throw all these rules and trepidations out the window and talk about one of the things that bothers me most about men.

Ready? Here it is:

Men pretending to be boys. I think Newsweek even wrote an article about it. Perpetual Dude-dom or something.

Whatever you want to call it, it Drives. Me. Crazy.

Case in point: Man in line at the Teeter who we will refer to throughout this whole diatribe as "Carolina Boy".

We're gonna call him Carolina Boy because Carolina boys are all over the place down here and I guess you have to live with them to fully understand what I'm talking about. If you don't know, just roll with me for a moment. Let's just say that they are usually very tanned, very preppy, register Republican and have a leisure wardrobe made up almost exclusively of khaki pants and golf shirts.

They have an air of twinkdom about them.

The Carolina Boy in question was at least 55 years old and conducting a really loud cell phone conversation while he waited in line to buy his frozen pizza.

I would just as soon not have been privy to the goings on in Carolina Boy's perpetually swinging life, but for the 10 minutes that I had to stand in line behind a check writer at the Teeter, I was stuck listening to it, as was everyone else.

Apparently, Carolina Boy needed to tell "Cindy" that he and "Potter" and "Shaw" and "Michael Hallowell, you remember Michael Hallowell, right?" were going to the beach in a couple of weeks and it's just gonna be "crazy". They also are in need of tickets for the "Practice Round" (I assume he's talking about the upcoming PGA event, but really, who the hell knows) and they want to know if Cindy can get them for him. Then Cindy put him on with "Laurie" and he had to go through the whole thing again. He promised Cindy faithfully that he'd pay her for the tickets.

Um, yeah.

I'm pretty sure that Carolina Boy's second wife threw him out at least six months ago.

I was standing there listening to him and I just wanted to look at him and say:

"Look, we're not impressed with you."

"You're not in high school anymore, we don't need to hear about your crazy beach plans with Potter and Shaw and Michael Hallowell."

"We don't care whether or not you know somebody who can get you tickets to the Practice Round because any mid level executive at Wachovia can get tickets to the Practice Round. You're not fooling anybody."

"We also know that you're all having a little bromance with Tiger Woods and ya'll all go out there and try to look cool while you surreptitiously take Tiger's picture with your cell phones and jockey to be close to him while he putts."

"Grow up, would you? You have a bald spot, for God' sake. Your days as a seventeen year old high school baseball stud are over! There are no more cheerleaders waiting for you in the parking lot."

"Furthermore, you're standing in line at a grocery store showing the world that you don't have any manners by talking too loudly on your cell phone."

"And speaking of cell phones and their tacky, ill mannered owners? Nobody is so damn important that he has to go through life with a blutooth headset sticking out of his ear so that he can be in constant, grocery store communication with Cindy and Laurie and Shaw and Potter. And we don't know Michael Hallowell and we don't care if you do."

The thing about this guy? The thing that drove me crazy?

He just thinks he's so cool, with his too loud cell phone call and his bluetooth and his golf shirt and his crazy beach plans and golf tickets. It's like he was saying "Look at me, I'm still young!"

Except, you know, he's wasn't. He's pushing sixty and planning beer trips to the beach with his buds and he wants to make sure that every stranger in line at the Teeter knows it.

That's not youthful, it's juvenile. And it's tiresome, not to mention a little pathetic.

When in the world do men grow up?

The Answer to the Single Question.

"I'm not that regular a person and ... men my age, they really - they like regular." Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give.


It's A Hard Pup Life

When we moved into our house, our builder put up half a fence.

Yeah, we were a little perplexed about that, too.

My parents came to visit and said "Well, maybe you don't need the rest of it".

Five minutes later, while Nana and Pop Paw were in charge of her in the "mostly" fenced yard, Lola Bean decided to take a tour of the neighborhood without them. They then announced that we needed to put up the rest of the fence because the Bean clearly is out of control. And you know, they said it like her bad behavior was somehow my fault. The fact is, the Bean didn't come here to be easy to get along with.

Here she is looking recalcitrant. That's what she is, a mouthy and recalcitrant Bean.

But I digress.

Since the Beans were suffering from lack of a yard, Nana and Pop Paw were kind enough to finance the grandpuppy fence. I, you see, am not the only one who spoils them rotten.

Since the fence went up, Finn and Lola have been enjoying their yard more and more. Finn especially.

Here's a picture of him earlier today surveying the back 40.

And here he is enjoying the grass.

He's been out there for four hours. Now he's just laying around in the grass in the dark. I can't get him in the house! And he's starting to smell like worms.


Another Pretty Man

Today's Gratuitous Pretty Man is Nathan Fillion.

Isn't he nice?

He has a new show called "Castle" which I have been enjoying very much lately.

Let's all take a moment to enjoy the pretty.


Shopping on Monday Even Though It's Now Wednesday

Things change when you get older. It's inevitable.

Sometimes, the changes are subtle, like those little lines around your mouth.

Sometimes, at work, you hear yourself start discussing privity of contract and holders in due course and you remember not knowing what either of those things were in law school and wonder when you figured them out and how it could be that you're pretty sure you know what they are now.

Sometimes the changes that come upon you surprise you.

One of those changes has become apparent to me lately.

I have, in my older age, become a stockpiler.

Yeah, I can't believe it, either. I never thought it would happen to me.

I've known a few other people in my life who stockpile. My dear friend from law school- and she is reading this now and knows who she is - stockpiled so many tampons in her hall closet that I had begun to think she had some sort of advance warning about the apocalypse.

Until the last couple of years, I had just never done it. I was always the one who was digging through my old makeup bags praying to find one forgotten tampon until I could make it to Walmart.

Not anymore.

Man, do I hate to run out of stuff.

Yesterday I swung by Target and picked up extra hairspray, extra mousse, extra toilet paper, extra tampons and enough shaving cream to stock a locker room. Let me tell ya'll, I am good to go and I am pretty happy about it.

I have extra cold medicine, extra large bottles of both advil AND tylenol, extra floss and extra Qtips.

I'd like to stockpile dog food but I don't have the closet space.

Then there is the diet coke. I, like any junkie, fear running out of diet coke so I have taken to stocking a case of canned emergency back up diet coke in my refrigerator. I truly only drink it in case of emergencies, which is to say when I am out of the diet coke in bottles. Then I go to the cans. I try never to drink the cans unless, you know, it's an emergency. Otherwise, it would defeat the purpose. I don't care if that doesn't make sense to the rest of you, it makes sense to me. Also, what constitutes an "emergency" is subject to my sole discretion.

That's another thing about getting older, you start not to care so much about whether or not other people find your eccentricities weird. I used to care deeply about being normal, or at least being perceived as such. But then a few years ago I decided to embrace my weirdnesses and market them as cute and endearing, in a slightly obsessive-compulsive way. My friends already knew I was weird, so it wasn't like I was kidding them anyway.

As for the stockpiling I don't expect it to get any better. I am only constrained, as I said, by my lack of closet space.


Happy St. Patrick's Day

In celebration, I wore my green jacket to court with my four leaf clover necklace. I love it when an outfit and a minor drinking holiday come together!


The Art of No

My dear and darling friend, who is a few years younger than I am, was recently talking to me about stress at work.

I couldn't help but tell her that I used to have a lot of work stress, stress that wasn't so much about the job but about the way that I thought about the job. I told her a lot of it had stopped.
She wanted to know what happened.
I told her I learned to say no.
I know that every job has requirements. I have a lot of responsibilities. When you're a lawyer, the people who you work for depend on you to advise them about their rights and responsibilities. If my advice is wrong, it could cost my clients money, prevent them from collecting money that is owed to them. I could be sued, my firm could be sued. Our client could fire me and cost my firm money. In the worst case scenario, my law license could be taken away from me.
It took me a long time to come to terms with the responsibilities of my job. There are a lot of things that I have to do. There are, however, a lot of things that I can choose not to do and that's where the no comes in. A very effective little word. Short, to the point, easily spelled.
Over the years, I realized that I often said yes at work when my gut was telling me to say no. I took cases I didn't want, accepted assignments I wasn't prepared to handle. I kept a job at the "right" firm, even after it was long apparent to me that it was the wrong place for me.
Yes was often making me miserable and I suffered for it.
Let me tell ya'll, I quit that and my life got 100% better.
Knowing when to say no changed my life.
Accepting my limitations (even if they were self-imposed) and listening to myself, my assessments, my beliefs was part of it. Being willing to take the shit when my decisions weren't popular was another part. Putting my ego aside when I didn't feel equipped, for whatever reason, to do the job, was another piece.
I have found that listening to myself has never given me a moment's difficulty. At no time have I ever regretted keeping my own counsel and doing what I believed was right even when it didn't make sense to anyone else, including those who love me. I have only come to grief in this life when I ignored that voice in my head, when I listened to others or when I refused to listen to myself. When I tried to do the "right" thing and not the "true" thing.
I wonder how much happier women would become if they learned how and when to say no.
The next time you feel your stomach churning at work, give it a shot. You might be surprised.


Her Name Is Lola and She Is a Showgirl

You may have noticed how much I adore my Beans.

It's hard for me to capture my Lola Bean's sweetness in the pictures that I take of her - partly because I'm a horrible photographer but mostly because she's incredibly uncooperative.

This picture comes close. Isn't she precious?


Addicted to Pretty

Saturday was a lovely day here in Charlotte. I wanted to be out an about so I swung by a couple of my favorite home stores.

First up, we have the Interiors Marketplace.

I love it here because I am addicted to pretty. Seriously. I don't have enough flat surfaces to accommodate all of the pretty sit around stuff that I wish I had the money to buy. And the Interiors Marketplace is just FULL of pretty.

They used to be down in the South End but they have recently relocated to the old Myers Park Hardware location on Providence Road. Several vendors maintain booths and they have beautiful french wired crystal lamps, silk lampshades, pillows, beeswax candles, furniture and art. The ladies were nice enough to let me snap some pictures and share the pretty.

I like this one because of the glass and gilt coffee table and the beautiful pink tulips.

This is Lamshop's booth and I think they are my favorite. They always have the coolest pillows and the funkiest accessories. They also are doing some custom upholstery pieces which you can check out on their website. They had a set of three chocolate brown faux alligator nesting trays this week that I thought were particularly wonderful. I also love the cool coral colored etagere in this pictures.

Here is one of their upholstered chairs. Isn't it lovely?

Then I wandered over to look at the fun pieces at the Happy Chair booth. I'm not sure they are really my taste, but I love the way they mix patterns and give life to old pieces. I always feel like my perceptions have been heightened after a peek at the Happy Chairs.

I love the zebra on these two!

Aren't the stripes just darling?

Finally, after a happy time at Interiors Marketplace, I swung by my old standby, The Clearing House on Central Avenue. I cannot fully express my love for The Clearing House. The prices are great, the selection is ever changing and I think they have the best mix of any consignment store going. You never know what you'll find in there, which I think is the mark of greatness when you enjoy second hand stores. I have picked up a lot of great stuff here over the years. It's definitely worth a trip.


My New Love

It's called "We'll Always Have Paris" and it is currently making me swoon! You know I am a sucker for anything with the words "Paris", "French" or "Metropolitan". It's true, advertisers, just use one of those words to describe your product and you've got a good chance that I'll have to have it.

It's sort of a dark brownish reddish purplish. I really like dark nails but I was a little tired of Black Onyx and Lincoln Park After Dark and anything too red just seems - I don't know - done -to me. Also I read that the women in New York think that french manicures are provencial and tacky and - damn it! - their opinion matters to me.

I wasn't sure about it but I tried it because it had "Paris" in the name. It turned out to be a happy surprise. The next time you get your nails done, check it out.

Sunday in March

I get my nails done every other Sunday. A fill-in and a pedicure.

To me, this is somewhat of a chore. Basically, I hate sitting still for that long and I especially hate having my fingernails painted. However, I like it when my nails are done, so I try to suck it up and keep my hands still for an hour and a half.

It is for this reason that I usually take a book or a magazine with me. I love books but I especially love magazines - absolutely, madly, passionately and without apology. I save them up to read when I have my nails done.

Today I took the March Issue of Vogue, to which I had been looking forward for a while. I was eagerly anticipating reading the interview with Mrs. Obama. My other goal was to try to find a picture of a haircut that I like and can take with me to Carmen! Carmen! on Tuesday night.

I got a little more than I expected.

I have to say that in this issue of Vogue, Mrs. Obama was the main course of what turned out to be one of the more satisfying and educational reads I have had in quite a while.

In addition to the interview and profile of Mrs. Obama, there was also an interview with Silda Wall Spitzer, an interview with Melinda Gates, a profile and interview with Queen Rania of Jordan and an interview with Carla Bruni Sarkozy, first lady of France.

Ya'll, that is an impressive line up!

I have always believed and continue to believe that Vogue is relevant to women, despite some of the (sometimes deserved) criticisms it receives.

I know that it is not feasible or even desirable for most of us to wear the expensive clothing that the magazine features, nor are the lives of many of the celebrities, super models, debutantes and dilettantes featured in Vogue's pages important or even relevant to the rest of us. Often, I feel that Vogue forgets that it is American Vogue, not New York Vogue (or even acknowleges that the two might not be the same thing). It seems that on the odd trip it does take out of the Big Apple it only appears to know the way to Aspen or Palm Springs, two places with an even more rarefied atmosphere.

It is for these reasons that I understand why so many women I meet don't read Vogue. I can understand why they think they shouldn't make time for it or that it doesn't have any relationship to real women who live in the real world.

I suppose I should say that I grew up in rural Appalachia. In the place that I am from, there is no real use for intellectualism, for art, for pursuits that don't culminate in an hourly wage. It is because I grew up in that place - a shy girl, an intellectual, basically, a hillbilly freak - that I came to love the ideas, the dresses, the fancy cities and the glossy pictures in the pages of Vogue.

Vogue's value to me comes, frankly, from it's lofty goals, it's dedication to art, to literature, to fashion. It celebrates the kind of women that I always wanted to be. It's value also comes from the idea that we should all rise above the mundane from time to time, to take a few moments to enjoy something simply because it's beautiful, unattainable. I know I'll never own the improbable, unwearable, uncomfortable and ridiculously expensive St. Laurent shoes, but boy do I love to look at them!

And mixed in this month with the shoes, the dresses and the idly rich, we have Michelle Obama, Silda Wall Spizer, Melinda French Gates, and Queen Rania, extraordinary women with normal, modest upbringings who are doing their bit to change the world and who are, coincidentally beautiful and fashionable. And this month, they are appearing, together, in the pages of Vogue.

Vogue is a thread that has the ability to unite women not only with each other, right now, but also to unite us with all the other women who have come before us and who will come later.

Vogue is, among other things, a paean to Beauty, of which we could all use a little more. And there ain't nothing wrong with that.


What Will The Future Bring?

I was doodling around on Itunes last night and decided to download some Matthew Sweet. I am not one of his huge fans, but I am indebted to him.

I will explain.

A while back, I was walking with my dear friend, an amateur social anthropologist. She always asks sort of strange questions and most of the time I feel like my meager answers let her down. She wants to probe my brain and I think it is at once both too dense and full of air to offer her much in the nature of substantive data for her ongoing research on what makes us all tick. On this day, though, I was, however serendipitously, ready for her.

"If you had to pick your theme song, what would it be?" she asked.

"'Walk Out' by Matthew Sweet" I answered - without pause or thought. She was sort of stunned there for a moment because she usually has to listen to me yammer for a while, trying to come up with something - I don't know - unembarrassing - to say to her when she asks me this stuff.

"Walk Out" was my song, though, from the moment I heard it. It sums up a journey without a destination, which is kinda what I am doing with myself these days.

She had never heard of it and I can't blame her. Matthew Sweet isn't really mainstream and "Walk Out" is one of his deeper cuts. The truth of the matter is, I heard it on an old episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, an erstwhile TV show known for it's superior quality, low ratings and soundtrack.

"You're gonna change" he sings, "You've just about made up your mind. You're gonna change and when you leave it all behind, what will the past remember? What will the future bring? When you walk out?"

The thing about it is that I never thought of the walking out in this song as running away from anything. To me, it means getting up and going - to a different place, a more honest place, a place of conscious choice and not just chance. It means making a decision to become yourself. It's also got a catchy beat that makes you speed when you sing it in the car on the way to work.

I like that. And I like my theme song.

What about ya'll? Does anybody else have a theme song? I'll forward your responses to my friend. She'll love 'em!

Image by: Spitting Image Photos



I love the light. I love the daily ritual of opening up the house every morning and then closing it up at night before we go to bed.

This is a picture of the living room and dining room in my old (rented) townhouse. It was filled with the early morning sun coming through the trees. I lived there for six years and I don't think a day went by that I didn't stop, at some point, and thank God for how beautiful the light was there. I took pictures of it before I left so that I could remember it.

I bring this up because everyday as I walk my Beans I am STUNNED by my neighbors' decisions to keep all of their blinds closed all of the time. I'm not kidding. At least 95% of the blinds in my neighborhood are always closed.

I don't know how they stand it.

The thought of living in a house and not letting the light in, not being able to see -- I think it must be like living in a cave or a submarine. It makes me truly sad for them. What a dreary existence. What a tiny little thing to give yourself happiness - open your blinds. And the thing is, I'll bet they're so used to living in darkness that they don't even know what they're missing.

On Monday, when I stayed home in the snow, I was puttering around in the house and again I had to stop and say a little prayer. All of this lovely white light was reflecting off the snow and lit up the whole house. It was just such a blessing - casting such a beautiful glow on everything - priceless and yet it didn't cost a cent.


Gratuitous Pretty Man Post

I think that every other week or two I am going to do a gratuitous pretty man post.

Why not?

We all deserve a little pretty, don't we?

"I want to be remembered as a great actor - and a shining example of humanity."
- Jesse L. Martin
Heavy Sigh.

I love him. I've always loved him. He's so pretty. When he got shot on Law and Order I was distraught, ya'll.


I mean, I knew he was going off to make a Marvin Gaye movie (because I have an insatiable lust for celebrity gossip) but I thought they'd send him undercover or something. I didn't think they'd shoot him. I just didn't see it coming!

Anyhoo, he turned out fine but he left the show anyway. Jeremy Sisto is small comfort, although he's a heck of sight better than Dennis Farina.
Big smoochies to Jesse. Thanks for being this week's Gratuitous Pretty Man!

Taking Chance

On Sunday I sat down and watched this movie on HBO. I just have to say that I think it was one of the most powerful and heartbreaking things I have ever seen. It is quiet and it isn't preachy. Although it is a movie about the war, it is not political. Somehow, though it has very little dialog, it manages to convey the very real cost of war, the loss of one family's beloved son, and what the words "thanks of a grateful nation" really mean.

It tells the true story of a Marine named Chance Phelps, a 19 year old Lance Cpl. who was killed in Iraq and of the Marine, Lt. Colonel Mike Strobl, who volunteered to escort Chance across the country and return him to his family in a small town in Wyoming. Along the way we are shown the tiny kindnesses extended to both Col. Strobl and Chance, from the ticketing agent who upgrades Col. Strobl to first class to the cargo handlers at the airport who carefully load and unload Chance's casket, to the disembarking passengers who stop to quietly pay their respects as Chance's body is removed from the plane. We also see the honor and dignity that is bestowed on Chance by those who prepare his body for burial and by Strobl, who cares for him as he is returned to his family.

This movie is about service, about sadness and loss and about how our country comes together in times of war and tragedy. It broke my heart. I watched it with tears running down my face from beginning to end and I am crying as I write this. Please watch it. You will feel grateful that you did.


It Happened......On a Bus?

As you may have discerned, I am a big fan of old movies.

Yesterday, I sat down to watch "It Happened One Night", for the first time. In case you don't know, it stars Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.

The whole movie takes place on a bus, which, frankly, just boggles my mind. It's a road movie, ya'll.

I mean, I don't know what I thought it was about but I never suspected Clark and Claudette on a bus.

Who knew?


Paranormal Finn

Sometimes Finn has the ability to make himself disappear -he usually does this when he's in some sort of trouble.

In this picture, he is completely invisible.

Any impression that you may have that you can in any way see a corgi here is purely the result of a photographic anomoly.

The fun thing about this is that if you walk up to him and poke one of his toes with your finger, that toe and the half of his butt that it is attached to will slowly disappear under the bed, leaving the other toe and the other half of his butt sticking out. Then if you poke the other toe, that toe and the other half of his butt will slowly disappear under the bed.

He thinks he's so slick.

Every Single Thing

In the December 2008 issue of Vogue, Jennifer Aniston quoted someone who said "Everything you want in the world is just right outside your comfort zone. Everythingyoucouldpossiblywant!"
I have given a lot of thought to this idea over the past couple of months.

The truth is, when I was younger I was very, very unhappy. Absolutely hopeless and, often, in despair.

My sadness came to a peak during my relationship with The Love Maker. After the break up, I was sitting on my best friend's couch, sobbing and miserable. She, coincidentally, was going through a divorce at the same time. She said to me "For a long time I was waiting to be married to live my life - I'm not waiting anymore."

That simple statement - quiet and matter of fact - has shaped the past seven years of my life. I decided to stop waiting and live my life. It wasn't very easy. Just because you know what the problem is doesn't mean you know how to fix it, or even where to start. For the three years immediately after the breakup I feel like all I really did was struggle, feeling like I was moving forward but really, I was wandering in circles. I was paralyzed by fear and by doubt. My life was out of control and instead of facing my fears, I hid from them.

Now, looking back, I realize that I was taking many, many small steps toward a better life. I didn't think much of them at the time, but they piled up over the years. I think that what I was doing was busting up all the areas of my life that did not serve me. In addition to all the little steps, I made some big changes. I got out of a relationship with a man who didn't love me and took me for granted. I changed jobs. I went to talk to somebody who helped me put my head on straight. She wasn't easy on me - she really kicked my ass. Thank God for her. I needed it!

Gradually, I took control of my career, my finances...and I let go of all the crap I had been carrying around in my head.

I travelled, I adopted puppies, I bought this house all by myself.

I didn't do it overnight, but I did it. Now I don't feel so afraid anymore, like a leaf being swept up in the current of a river. I feel like I can face anything.

Now I want to move on to the next stage. I want to push myself outside my comfort zone and have everyIcouldpossiblywant. I'll keep you posted on how this goes but you have to remember that my comfort zone is a pretty small space.

I've already started.

This blog is one of my steps. The party I threw last week was another. Expressing my interest in a man that I find interesting and attractive was a third. I'm not quite sure how the man will pan out but it really doesn't matter. I went out on a limb and I feel exhilarated because I made the effort.


Snow Beans!

It snowed last night, for the first time in a long time and boy, did the Beans love it! They had a blast on their early walk this morning, running and frapping with each other off the leash - illegally so don't tell anybody.

They decided to butt in when I tried to take some shots out in front of the house.

Lola was content to observe the goings on from the relative safety of the front door. Look how little she is and her little short legs. She is so sweet that I could eat her with a spoon!

Finn came out to keep an eye on me. He's so intrepid....

Afterward, a nap was in order. Snow is exhausting!


House Warming Party

I threw a little party to celebrate the one year anniversary of closing on the house.

It was really nice to have so many of the people that I care for come over to celebrate. Once it got going, we were having too much fun and drinking too many martinis to take pictures. We did manage to get a few shots of the calm - but most specifically, the food - before the storm.

Here are the zebra chairs posing with the shrimp dip and the raspberry red pepper chipolte sauce covered cream cheese. Did ya'll know that you can pretty much pour anything over cream cheese and serve it with chips and crackers and have a crowd pleasing appetizer?
There's a little tip for you from the Bee Charmer...if entertaining, haul out the cream cheese - everybody'll love it!
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