Home Products that Baffle: Found Beer Bottle in Crate

You’ve read the mission statement. Let us now proceed to Pottery Barn’s amazingly BAD-yet-supposed-to-be-classy product. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the Found Beer Bottle In Crate.

Found Beer Bottle in Crate

From the descriptor, I think we’re supposed to believe these bottles are vintage and Swedish and have some association with breweries and taverns. But I must point out that they look like bottles someone has already guzzled and emptied surrounded by their own miniature toboggans. My first instinct, when I see this, is to toss the bottle into the recycle bin, but Pottery Barn is telling me that these are amazing decorative pieces and, oh yeah, they’re on clearance. How much do they want for these gems? $119.99!

I think the folks at Pottery Barn really did drink the contents.

Anyone agree? Or are you dying to stick a candle in this and put it on your dining room table at your next dinner party?


Explaining Why This Blog Changed and Wishing I Had “Pork On My Fork” Right Now

You may (or don’t care) to notice this blog has changed from my own personal ridiculosity into “I Don’t Appreciate Your Tone, Martha.”

Let me tell you why.

Background: So yesterday, during my last hurrah of squatting at my parents’ I-do-have-gas-logs abode after the news scared everyone into believing the electricity lines would be snapping from ice accumulation (never happened), I picked up Mom’s copy of Martha Stewart Living. I admit I was in a haze of starvation, so I was self-torturing myself by browsing the recipes for various chocolate chunk dishes. Hilariously, I came across an article entitled “Curry in a Hurry” and immediately updated my Facebook status to say I prefer “Pork on my Fork … like right now.” But then my page thumbing landed on a blurb about tips for organizing your linen closet.

My linen closet? Pretty organized as far as linen closets go. I have a shelf devoted to sheets, one for my master bath’s towels, and another for the guest room’s towels. All are folded in the best possible way. But Martha Stewart Living suggested that I stack them with “room to breathe.” As in, a good two-three inches between stacks. Of course, Martha’s linen closet looked like the size of my master bathroom, whereas mine is narrower than a normal door.

But what really got me was the idea that I “take a moment to label the shelves by room” (see Martha Stewart’s labels, which fit all standard label makers). Um, really? I have to wonder at this shelf labeling fiasco. I know the difference between the master bath and guest bath towels — they’re different colors. My sheets all fit Queen sized beds, so does it really matter if I label them “by room.” Who has the time for this!

Oh that’s right: Martha Stewart, with her team of housekeepers and butlers and who knows what else.

Mission: Where is the practicality, people? No, I refuse to believe that I must be the epitome of organized household perfection in order to have a nice home. Who’s with me??


About why being the one who passes out is really annoying but it’s much worse for the people who actually have to deal with the fainted individual

I had my wisdom teeth out on Monday — all four of them. These teeth have come in perfectly straight and caused me no problems until the past few years, in the form of infected gums and a cavity in one tooth. I finally decided to take the plunge and have them removed, even though I’m much older than usual patients. Read about my first visit to the oral surgeon’s office.

Now some things do bother me, and dental work is among them. I kept wondering how “twilight” anesthesia works (and by twilight, I do not mean vampires and werewolves). Would  I even remember going to the surgeon’s office? Would I just wake up in my bed and go, ‘Oh, how did I get back here?’ The answer is NO.

I got to the office, and they checked me in immediately, so that I didn’t even have to sit anywhere that wasn’t the fancy chair where I was going to have the surgery. My parents took my purse, and I braced myself. The nurses and surgeon attacked me quickly, taping things, putting on blood pressure cuffs, sticking me with the IV needle, and so on. The surgeon liked my crocs, and I was telling him about how I got them at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disney World. Then the little nose mask administered the “laughing gas.” I don’t think I laughed once. Continue reading


About my ambitious Read-All-You-Can month goal (taking into account that I may want to socialize and/or work at some point … and speak out loud)

July is my read-all-you-can month. I was inspired by Alexa (go, you!) and her self-declared month goals, so in light of stressful things going on, I’ve decided to follow her example. Already, I’ve visited Sweden and unconvered a shocking family secret; I’ve been a part of the Bronte household and found new respect or Jane Eyre; and I’ve imagined the Real Housewives (and slaves) of Ancient Rome.

My previous goal was to read 25 books (which I still may say is my cut-off before buying any more books that I haven’t already pre-ordered), but seeing as I do still need to do work (and oh yeah, socialize), I’m dropping that goal down to 15.  

Here are the selections I would like to blaze my way through (in no particular order):

  1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  2. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
  3. Charlotte and Emily: A Novel of the Brontes by Jude Morgan
  4. Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn
  5. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen [Finished 7/8/10]
  6. The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre  [Finished 7/16/10]
  7. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
  8. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton [Finished 8/4/10]
  9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  10. Fire by Kristen Cashore
  11. Olive Kitteridge by Eizabeth Strout [Finished 7/10/10]
  12. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay [Finished 7/26/10]
  13. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows [Finished 7/17/10]
  14. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
  15. Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje

So it’s July 6th. I have three down, twelve more to go. I’ve already started making headway with Water for Elephants. Continue reading


Wherein I pretty much out-geek everyone with my instrumental soundtrack knowledge, back-up and say ‘but I’m a musician,’ and then continue with the geekfest

I drove home yesterday from the cabin, and deciding that I would like to have new iPod fodder, I downloaded the instrumental soundtrack to The Last Airbender by James Newton Howard (who does all of M. Night’s movies). Say what you will about M. Night Shyamalan’s films (Can we forgive him for The Happening? … It’s hard, very hard.), but they have some of the best orchestral soundtracks — ever. In fact, I’m half-convinced I wouldn’t like any of the movies, if it wasn’t for James Newton Howard’s general awesomeness.

Why do I like these wordless orchestral pieces? As a writer, I find them inspiring. Let me put on a good “Imperial March” when I’m writing about a battle scene (Star Wars reference, yo). It’s unobtrusive music, and as soundtracks are supposed to illicit emotions alongside a film, they illicit emotions from me while I’m writing. Also, I played flute for a number of years. Still enjoy the piano better, but I certainly have experince playing in orchestras. That’s a feeling hard to describe, if you haven’t been there. Seeing as I read music and know what’s involve for writing for multiple instruments, I’m constantly amazed by composers and how their brains work. There’s a great story of Howard Shore of Lord of the Rings fame having to be carried aroud on a stretcher, because he was composing 8 minutes of score a day … The norm is 2-3 minutes.

Anyway, back to James Newton Howard. For me, he’s one of the most overlooked composers. Everyone oo’s and ah’s over John Williams (richly deserved, I’ll grant you) and James Horner, whose earlier soundtracks (ala Legend of the Fall, Bravheart, and Enemy at the Gates) are five times what friggin’ Titanic is. The latest soundtrack I’ve downloaded from him is to the Avatar, and yup, it sounds exactly like Titanic except for some drums and tribal choirs singing the Na’vi crap. Don’t get me wrong; I do like some of James Horner’s stuff, but I think he’s recycling old melodies big time. Continue reading


In which I try to decide what novel to read next, buy more, and then get depressed by the amount of books I own and haven’t read yet

As I continue on my ridiculous spending spree, I met a friend for our ritualistic dinner and Borders run. This involves a coupon and the instant gratification of holding a book in my hands: feeling its weight, seeing its font, feeling its pages. I am well aware that Amazon.com most likely sells tonight’s selections for much cheaper than Borders’ asking price, but I tell myself I’m supporting my local bookstore. Without it, what would I do? Order from Amazon.com all the time? You don’t know what you get when you do that, and I’m a snob. I want my books crisp and new, without the spines cracked.

I bought 5 books. Ridiculous. These now join the dozens of other books I have waiting in the wings. I’m reminded that Summer is for reading, as TV is notably dull. Yet, I’ve been watching TV like an idiot lately. I want to get back into my reading frenzy, and I’ve made a personal mission to read at least one book over the July 4th holiday.

So now I’m scanning the first chapters of my selections trying to decide which one to read: Continue reading


In which I confess my bad spending habits (of late) but delight in my new things anyway

Recently, I talked with a co-worker about some depressing work news, and she said, “It’s like does Monkey really want to do this. I mean, Monkey spends. Monkey wants to spend. If Monkey stayed at home and didn’t spend anything, Monkey could walk away, no problem.” That is so true.

Last Friday, I indulged in a little retail therapy. I have a disease when it comes to certain purchase items. The bane of my existence is usually movies and books; I would be a wealthy woman if I saved everything I spent on them. But recently, my disease has spread to new and nefarious objects.

Martha Stewart Bedding

So I met someone for lunch, which took me to Crabtree Valley Mall. I parked outside Macy’s (never a good sign). As I walked through the store, I noticed all of these “Get an additional 20% off if you use your Macy’s card!” promotional signs, and I guess I subconsciously made the decision to look at the Martha Stewart bedding options on my way out. I did that, and of course, purchased the only Full/Queen green quilt that I’ve been eyeing for months. Not exactly cheap, but when you think it was 50% off and another 15% off (as Home Goods aren’t the full 20% I discovered), it’s still a pretty good deal. I think? Continue reading