Archive for July, 2013

Today is a day every year that I feel thankful, no matter what happens today, that I’m not taking the bar exam. So happy I don’t even mind paying my bar dues. Heartfelt thoughts go out to all of the test takers out there. It will be over soon, and I’ll be pleased to welcome you all to this historic, frustrating, challenging, sometimes questionable, but never boring profession. You can look forward to a life time of bailing your friends and family out of jail.

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Do you ever wake up in the morning and think, man, I’m feeling like a craft project? I really never do. And reading about craft projects on a lot of blogs and especially pinterest is frustrating. Because, let’s face it, people are lying when they tell you it was super cheap, super easy, and didn’t take any time. Maybe two out of three might be sometimes possible. But if it is cheap, it wasn’t easy, and it definitely took a long time. Christy is good at being honest about how long something took, and I promise you that her arts and craft skills are in the top 2 percentile of people under the age of 50. Unless you grew up in South Georgia and have a lot of patience, you shouldn’t attempt most internet DIY projects. Especially if the alternative is going to cost a lot of money. Like refinishing furniture. I know you don’t want to pay for it, but really, it’s not worth the heartache. Suck it up and pay the money, and cut corners somewhere else.

I want to be the sort of person with a tastefully decorated house that exudes my own personal style and actually looks “finished.” I also want to be the sort of person who makes up her bed every day and knows where the extra batteries are in her house. The sort of person who doesn’t run out shampoo or paper towels or dog food. The person with the clean car, who didn’t spill coffee on their shirt on the way to work, with the brushed hair, the right make up. The girl with the immaculate office and painted (not chipped) nail polish. If this person actually exists (I have my doubts).

It is hard to look finished, but when you’ve been to a truly finished house, you can tell. My life and my house have not been finished in a long time. Being finished is expensive, and requires nice fabric, well framed artwork, window treatments, throw pillows, the right accent pieces. These things can feel overwhelming, and time consuming. Plus, it is easy to get away without being finished.

For some reason the crafty urge hit me last week, and I really wanted to make window treatments for my living room. This is something I’ve been considering for a long time, but life is expensive. When I found out I was moving to Charleston, I had exactly ten days to wrap up my life in Augusta before I started work. Obviously wrapping up life takes more time than that. I was short on time, short on cash, and short on emotional stability. I had only owned my house for about 18 months, and most of my cash savings had been eaten up in the buying and fixing up process of house purchasing.

My old couch had seen better days and weighed about a bazillion pounds. The junior league took it off my hands. I had to find a renter for my house, and find a place to live in Charleston. I found my apartment through a series of frustrating disappointments, and I was able to negotiate down to a price I thought I could afford. I moved down here with a love seat and two pretty comfy chairs, but no ottoman and no real couch. I said I would get a real couch when I got my feet back under me. When I say things were tight, I mean I couldn’t afford to pay the pet fee and my security deposit all at the same time, so Briscoe had a wait a month to come to Charleston.

Due to a series of unfortunate expensive events (unanticipated expenses for the house in Augusta, having my appendix taken out resulting in unanticipated medical bills, my old trusty car finally dying and having to buy a car) that first year in Charleston was a doozie. I honestly don’t remember a lot about it, but I do remember that my dream of a new couch was not currently on the horizon. I was in survival mode with austerity measures. I didn’t have internet, and I had the most basic cable. At least swimming in the ocean was free.

After my first year, I sold my house in Augusta, I got a big raise, and I had a roommate for about six months. I was able to join a gym and go to yoga more often. I could afford internet and real cable. I felt like I could breath again. The shower pan in my bathroom broke, and my landlord evicted me for three weeks in August and renovated my entire bathroom. Being evicted was worth not paying rent for a month and the end result of a fantastically new bathroom in the place of previously vaguely creepy old bathroom. But still, no couch. And I couldn’t even think of window treatments until I got the couch handled.

Finally, in Spring of 2012, I ordered my couch from Pottery Barn. And I used the interest free option from the pottery barn credit card to pay it off over the course of a year. Since then, I have been thinking about my windows. Plotting and scheming, and returning things to stores that didn’t work like I had hoped.

Two weeks ago, I started trolling fabric stores and craft stores in hopes of being inspired. I found these curtain rods and ring clips at Big Lots that encouraged me. Finally, I remembered about the time I used a drop cloth as a make shift slip cover on that old heavy couch in Augusta, and how great that worked in a pinch. And I decided I would look into making window treatments out of a drop cloth.

Last Thursday, I found this drop cloth at the sherman williams by my house. I took it home, opened it up, and started thinking. The drop cloth had a seam down the middle of it, that made it two 4.5 X 12 panels.


I picked the seam out, which took a long time. I would say this was the most labor intensive part of the project, but I was watching television while I was picking, and it was sort of a soothing mindless exercise. Then I spent a long time trying to figure out how I wanted it to look. Briscoe was highly annoyed by the furniture moving and the overall disruption.


I finally ate dinner at 10 pm (this is another reason I don’t start craft projects, once I get going I can’t stop). By 11, I had a prototype hanging up on some nails, and I decided that was enough for one night.


Sunday, I picked back up on the project, and I worked on the length, and how I wanted the top to look, and I picked out the seam on another drop cloth for the other window. I didn’t actually sew or stitch anything, but I just used the little clips that were attached to the rings.


Oh, and I actually screwed in the hardware for the curtain rods, and hung the rod up properly. This is the finished product. The 9 X 12 drop cloth was $19 for the first one, then there was a sale when I bought the second one – $15. The ring clips were $8 and the rods were $6 a piece from Big Lots. And I probably spent, in total, at least eight hours. Depending on how much you want to bill me out for, the labor was the most expensive part by hundreds of dollars. I’m happier with the one on the left than the one on the right. More tweaking is anticipated.



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There is a striped mosquito in my house.  I have mosquito bites all over me from walking Briscoe.  This morning, I received three bites in about five minutes from these giant striped mosquitoes.  I caught the tail end of a news report recently talking about a new invasive breed of mosquitoes, and after spending time observing the one in my house and realizing that it did not look like a normal mosquito, I googled striped mosquito.  Yep.  Here are some upsetting headlines –

Asian tiger mosquitoes have blood lust for humans.

Get ready for invading Asian tiger mosquitoes

Asian tiger mosquitoes expected to swarm USA.

Georgia mosquito population set to explode.

Asian tiger mosquito poised to invade.

It is almost more than I can do to even read these articles.  Apparently these blood suckers were happily imported to Texas in tire shipments, because tires are notorious for having standing water.  THANKS, TEXAS!  This where I become a giant proponent of chemical warfare in the war against mosquitoes (and roaches and grasshoppers for that matter).  Let’s fumigate stuff before we unload it next time.  The mosquito is repeatedly described as having a “blood lust” for humans, but it will also bite your cat, dog, or whatever sort of strange creature you love and let live in your house.

This article gives some fact and fiction of mosquitoes.  My favorite is – Mosquitoes are more attracted to women than men: FACT (this is why I always carry Off! and often times an Afterbite pen with me.  And because I’m Polly Prepared according to Sister Natalie.  My personal favorites are either the wipes or this little travel buddy.  I like to keep the wipes in little formal clutches like for weddings, and the little travel buddy in my regular pocketbook. Afterbite is also helpful for a beach bag, great for a jelly fish sting.  And Cutter is excellent and pretty much a necessity before a backyard party. I don’t think it encourages lightening bugs though, fyi. )

These mosquitoes are considered especially fearsome due to their fantastic disease spreading abilities.  The Asian Tiger transmits more than 20 diseases, including West Nile fever, dengue fever, yellow fever and two types of encephalitis. It also can transmit chikungunya virus, an infliction that is rarely fatal, but causes debilitating symptoms, including severe joint pain, fever, achiness, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash and fatigue. People usually recover in a few weeks, but the virus is not very pleasant.

Right, so I read people’s medical records all day and I’m a straight up hypochondriac.  In the highly probably event that I contract one of these debilitating diseases, and waste away in front of my giant television watching bad TNT dramas, this blog might suffer, and for that I apologize.  Please send gifts of gatorade, baked goods, and dvds.

I get itchy just thinking about it.

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The rainy season

I was enjoying a little Sunday afternoon television, and the next thing I know, an extraordinarily loud alarm is going off in my apartment. It was the national weather service, via my television, interrupting my little doze, to tell me that more than an inch of rain had fallen at Marion Square, and that a near stationary storm cell was expected to drop torrential rains on my neighborhood. We are under a flash flood warning for the next two hours. The good thing is that the tide tonight is suppose to be especially high because of the full moon. The poor little drenched tourists.

This has become a common occurrence around here this summer. We’ve had more flash floods in the past two months than I’ve seen in the almost three years I’ve lived here. I’m currently literally trapped in my apartment, and my street is a river. We’ve all spent arguably a little too much time inside this summer, resulting in a lot of lunches at my desk.

The dinosaurs have the bear surrounded as his wife looks on in horror. *

The dinosaurs have the bear surrounded as his wife looks on in horror. *

Regardless of the rain, Charleston is an easy place to be happy, once you find a place to live and a job that lets you pay tourist prices for brunch. There is so much to do, and so many people to meet. I’ve been thinking a lot about making friends and the kind of people you want to be around, and what makes people want to be around you. It took me a long time to make friends when I moved here, but now I have so many fantastic friends I almost can’t remember how hard it was initially.

I’m convinced it can take a good year to make friends when you move somewhere, and that you just have to accept this and keep trying. I also think the best way to make friends is to treat people like you are already their friend, and go from there. Give people the benefit of the doubt, reach out and ask someone out for a beer, or lunch, or a dog play date. Accept the fact that people already have friends and might not think of you when planning something, and invite yourself. Don’t get your feelings hurt when people who don’t know you yet don’t go out of their way for you.

During my first year in Charleston, I almost made friends with this one group of people. I tried, I really did. And I just couldn’t break through, and I couldn’t really figure out why. I finally realized that I just didn’t have that much in common with these people, there was nothing wrong with me, and there was nothing wrong with them, it just wasn’t going to work. But it made me a little gunshy about trying real hard, and made my question myself and it confused me. Kind of like when you break up with someone after a fifth date.

Then, last summer, when I was finally making great strides in friendship, but still had not broken through to “included” in this one particular group with a lot of potential for friendship – I saw a Facebook posting that said they were at brunch having a Sunday funday at my favorite restaurant mere blocks from my house. Man, I wanted to go. I wanted Sunday funday friends, I really thought these people might actually like me. But I didn’t have any of their numbers, and I didn’t want to be “that girl.” I marinated on my couch.

Finally, I decided to stop being a wuss and called Drew, who was not there, but was my closest friend associated with this group. I told her I wanted to crash Sunday funday, and she gave me their numbers and told me to stop being crazy and to go have fun. And that is what I did. That day, I got contact info from all my new friends, and since then, they have been some of my closest and greatest friends.

Speaking of special friends, I received the following post card yesterday from Professor Space Law PJ Blount. Even thought it didn’t actually get mailed from Japan, it is still pretty awesome. You’re welcome.

photo (37)

*All of the gummy animals in this photo were consumed shortly after this photo, as humans are the top of the food chain in gummy world. I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

** I’m very pleased with all of the dinosaurs in this post.

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At the end of April, my friends and I attended the Charleston Jailbreak. I worked a full eight hours this particular Saturday, and when I got home from work, I was super enthusiastic about life and ready to have fun. We met at our friend Adam’s house for a drink and a brief dance party in the kitchen before heading over to the Jailbreak. It was a great group of people, the weather was fantastic, and I was really happy with everything and everyone.

The Jailbreak was in full swing we when arrived, and I strongly encourage everyone to attend a Jailbreak at some point. The music was loud and awesome, and there were modern dancers wandering from room to room who would randomly breakout into choreographed numbers. There was every kind of artwork you could imagine, and I’m a sucker for artwork. The atmosphere was invigorating and life affirming, the darkness was perfectly complimented by the bright colorful lights, and I was with some of my favorite people.

By the time I stopped being distracted by the dazzling environment and hulu hoops, I tried to buy some food at a food truck. In an unfortunate turn of events, the food trucks grossly underestimated the crowd, and were mostly out of food. One truck gave me some grilled chicken and peppers, and I tried not to worry too much about it.

Then I found a piece of art that I HAD TO HAVE. It was an oil on canvas of palmetto trees. The street I live on is lined with palmetto trees, and I really liked the colors of this particular painting. And I adore trees. Especially paintings of trees. Greens and blues and browns with shadows of pinks and reds. Denise told me I should think about, and come back in an hour if I still wanted it. Obviously, an hour later I DID still want it, so I dragged Denise back to the painting and bought it. There was still about an hour left for the party, so I paid the artist, got my receipt, and said I would pick it up the next day.

We stayed until the bitter end of the party, and although I know we were there for at least three hours, probably four hours, I felt like we were there for 45 minutes. I remember sampling some interesting craft beers and restraining my desire to buy puppets and monster stuffed animals. As the party shut down, for reasons I still do not understand, I stopped by the room where my painting was hanging out, and convinced the volunteer clean up people to let me take it home with me. The artist had already gone home, but I was proud to show them my receipt.

I was the happiest person in America with my new painting, except for this one little voice inside my head that said, this is a bad idea, you should have left it and picked it up tomorrow. I ignored that little voice, and traipsed to the closest restaurant/bar with my painting in tow. We sat at a high top table, and I proudly leaned my painting against the wall on the little panel ledge. After a while, my friends refused to continue discussing my new treasure, and we moved to other topics and new friends.

At some point, a friend offered to drive a few of us home, and I jumped at the chance. As in, I jumped up, and left my painting leaning up against the wall. I realized that I left it when I got home, but by that point it was too late to go back, and no one answered the bar. I told myself that it would be there the next day, and not to worry.

The next morning, I went by the restaurant/bar as soon as I thought someone might be there, and the first worker said that if I left it, it would be in the manager’s office, who was not there yet. So I went home to worry. The artist, a gem of a person named Sam, called me to tell me that I could come pick up my painting between 2-4 that afternoon at the Jailhouse. Mortified, I had to confess to Sam that I took the painting with me the night before, and proceeded to leave it at the bar. I confidently told her that I was SURE it was still at the bar, and I was waiting for someone to call me back about it. I felt horrible, like I would feel if I left the gate open and your dog got out, or if I backed over your kid’s bike with my car, or if my dog ate all the cupcakes you just made and was standing on your kitchen table with icing all over her face. Or if you produced a piece of artwork and I got drunk and left it at the bar. Like that. Damn those food trucks and loud music.

Sadly, the restaurant/bar never found the painting. I assume it is hanging up in someone’s house around these parts, and fingers crossed I’m going to run across it at a party one day. Then I’m going to get loud. But on that day, and many days afterward, I beat myself up about the lost painting. I beat myself up for being fiscally irresponsible to buy something I wanted for purely aesthetic reasons and then immediately lose it. I beat myself for not eating dinner and overindulging in the spirits. I tried to chalk it up as a donation in support of local artists, reasoning that I’d wasted that amount of money before in much more frivolous endeavors and mistakes. I could have gotten a speeding ticket. I could have exploded my car battery with improper use of jumper cables (this ranks up there with one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done, and I was 32 years old at the time). I could have left a favorite pair of very beautiful heels at a wedding reception where I shouldn’t have been wearing heels in the first place because of injury, and not recovered them (I did actually recover them the next day, but I might not have). I could have gotten too excited at a wedding reception and jumped up and down, resulting in the sunglasses on my head falling to their shattery death on the concrete. I could have dropped my cell phone in the toilet (fyi, a bag of rice does wonders) or dropped it and cracked the screen. I could have dropped a friend’s new iphone 5 and cracked the screen. I could have missed a flight and had to rebook at a gouging rate. Really, the possibilities are endless.

But even after I stopped beating myself up, I was still real sad I lost the painting, because I really liked it. I considered asking Sam if she would paint me a replacement if I paid her, and I asked Catie, one of my favorite artist friends, if this was a good idea. She couldn’t really decided, so I didn’t. I just didn’t have the nerve.

Three weeks later, I got a text from Sam. She wanted to know if I ever found the painting, and if not, that she would repaint me a replacement, because she felt terrible that I bought a painting that I didn’t get to enjoy. I tell her I would LOVE for her to repaint me a replacement, but that she had to let me pay her for the supplies and the time. Sam said that she felt like I had already paid for the painting, and that she felt that the good karma would be enough payment. Y’all, I was so excited.

Two weeks after that, Sam delivered to me my new priceless piece of artwork. I know y’all have been waiting with bated breathe – so here it is!


I am even happier with it than I was after the Jailbreak. This is just a photo I took of it hanging on the wall of my office, and I still haven’t decided exactly where it will live permanently, but I love it. I hope I make lots of new friends one day so I can retell the story over and over at my house without my current friends strangling me for being repetitive.

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