Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I didn't lose a friend...I gained a friend-in-law....

This has been a crazy, crazy summer - super busy...and I can't believe that one of the 'big' events is now in the past.  Yet...I'm so happy that it lived up to the hype.

Know what I mean?  Ever had something you were looking SO forward to, only to have it just be average?  Like maybe a big birthday or a class reunion?  Well - last week was my 20ten Summer Tour.  And it was everything it was marketed to be.

You remember - it started with a trip to Anne Marie's house to visit with her and my lil buddy, Jack.  It was a quick trip in and out on the way to West Chester, but she and I are always able to pack in lots of good talk  - and we did.

We visited the living history show out at the battlefields near her house (yeah...the field where Lori's dad used to live...we know...).  Mainly it was an excuse to let Jack run wild while we worked off the damage from Cracker Barrel (eggs-in-a-basket, anyone?).

It worked - he got pretty worn out.  And so did we. Still, it was actually cool to see these 'living historians' doing their best to repeat a few days in the exact style that they would have back in the Revolutionary times.
At least that's what they told us - that they spent the weekend mimicking life in the 1700's.  (Okay, it could have been the 1800's.  I have no idea actually).  They had tents and quilts (mind you, it was 90 degrees out...) and cook stoves to prove it.

Which is why I was a bit surprised on Sunday to see the group of them exiting a van and entering the Cracker Barrel on my way out of town.  I'm not saying THEY were wrong.  I'm just saying, I didn't know Cracker Barrel had been around that long.

And onward....

You already saw a good summary of the week in the last blog - but, not the BIG day.  Some near catastrophes:
* The second I crossed the boarder into Pennsylvania...I developed a wicked case of ragweed nostril explosion.  There's nothing quite as exciting as realizing you are developing a sickness days before one of your closest friend's wedding.
* I also developed Prickly Heat.  Now...I don't mean to brag...but I'm from North Carolina.  Where it's generally hotter than hell.  And humid.  And I like it.  If I walk outside and develop sweat beads on my ankles (that's for you, Bob), I'm happy as can be.  So how is it possible that I would develop Prickly Heat - a rash that appears when your body can't handle the heat - in a state that generally runs 15 degrees cooler than my own?  WTF anyone??  My saving grace is that the really, um, prickly areas were unseen by the public.  If you ever get this affliction - just start with Butt Paste.  It seems to be the best cure I've found. Beer also helps.

Okay, enough about me.

On the hottest day of the the blazing sun...sweat pooling in so many places that the grass in the viewing area was puddled...Amy & John got hitched!

I laughed, I cried, I had the usual "this is never going to be me" moments of despair, followed by several moments of "I'd like the signature cocktail."

I caught up with bunches of buddies from the past - the old gang hasn't changed a bit - although Britt's father looked an awful lot like my brother  (Jeff got to be a last minute seat filler - and played the role of Floyd perfectly).

I got to go nuts with the Fancy Cam - definitely not the most important event of the weekend, but are some faves...

This one is a reminder to all future brides (oh wait...I think I'm it, right?) to bring a nice hanger to the bridal suite.

And this one - well, what can I say - I love it.

And, in case you hadn't heard - I did catch the bouquet.  Granted, it was a private tossing between Amy, myself and the photographer (proof is important).  This was probably the safest way to do it as I guaranteed a smack down to any of the young ladies who thought they were going to try and get in my way.  Either way I would have won - this just had less First Aid potential.

And now I'm in the post-wedding-rut.  A bit.

I still smile several times a day with flashbacks from the week.

Like when the power went out at my brother's house and we decided to kill time (at 1.30am) by trying to put up as many Facebook updates as we could.

Or when Amy when to Panic Level Thirteen over the misplacement of her car keys meaning she couldn't drive her car which was full of wedding stuff to the place o'marriage.  And then she found them.  In her purse.

I'm still catching up on my sleep.
My liver is still detoxing.
I went to the gym today and remembered my pledge to work out everyday during the 20ten tour (the failed pledge).

And I'm still coated in Butt Paste...although it's getting better.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wedding Week!! But about me...

I made it to Pennsylvania on Sunday - after a quick stop at my friend's in Virginia.  While at Anne Marie's, I learned that, allegedly, you cannot train babies to sleep in on the weekends.  What???  On the flip side...they are pretty entertaining at that hour. 

Maybe I should start going to bed before dark, getting up before light...maybe I will be more active at go-time.  Nah...not worth the gamble.

And across the borders I went!  Until finally, like an oasis in the desert....
I heart you, Wawa....for my brethren down South - this is what a Wawa looks like....inside it's chock full of goodness in the form of delicious coffees, stuffed soft pretzels (I prefer cinnamon cream cheese), hoagies made fresh to order, Tastykakes...and of course, you can gas up the car as well.  If you ever make it past Richmond...make sure you stop and try a treat.

Okay - big surprise from Amy & John.  Amy had told me that I should keep the night of the 20th open - for a night out.  I proudly resisted the urge to stalk the "Things To Do" in Philadelphia websites for a few weeks so it would really be a surprise.  I mean, of course, I totally figured out it was going to be a Phillies game and was looking forward to it.

Went over to visit with them Sunday afternoon - and was handed an envelope with my ticket inside.  My ticket to the Phillies game.  That read "Natalie Merchant" and "Merriam Theater".  Come again???

SO EXCITED!!!!  I have no idea how I won the Amy-is-my-friend Lottery, but times like this remind me how lucky I am!  Fantastic surprise!!

For the under, um...we'll say 25 crowd...Natalie Merchant is a SINGER.  She was the lead in 10,000 Maniacs, which is a BAND.  Her voice is ridiculous...and it never really looks like she's putting any effort into singing.  And her songs are amazing...I promise, if you've ever had even one emotion, she's written something to describe it perfectly. 

The show was last night - the theater was super small, really not a bad seat to be found (oh, John - there are 1,870 seats).

The first half of the show was dedicated to her new album.  Which I don't have.  And is written from her research and adaptation of poems...many of which I'd never heard.  Well, it was fabulous.  The music was enough on it's own - but, of course, her songs were just so good.

There was a moment of minor panic when she wrapped up the poetry songs...and said good night.  I mean, it was already a fun night...but were we really not going to hear anything else?  Fear not - back out on stage she came for another two sets of acoustical bliss. 

Now, because you know know I'll need to pick on someone or something right?  Well, I've got two, actually.

First...the cell phone addiction.  We had two gals sitting in front of us who were literally texting their way through the show.  They spent more time with there phones open and beaming a glowing light into our faces than Natalie actually spent singing.  They probably could have saved a buttload of money if they'd just sat on their couches, popped in a Natalie Merchant CD and texted each other.  Would have been the same event.

Yes....I did eventually say something...and was pretty nice (I think?) - just asking them to turn off their phones.  It worked...and they eventually left before the show was over.  I really can't imagine what is SO urgent that you've got to text your way through a show.  In the dark.  Where your phone is the brightest thing in the room.  (Refer to "Urgent" Blog).

Second...and I know...this is a Jyl-ism...and yet it drives me crazy...Why is it that people feel the need to scream out songs at a concert?  Do they not think the artist already has a planned list?  Are they not aware that the artist probably has done a show or two before and may have a plan in mind?

For example...go to any James Taylor concert in Raleigh and you will hear people screaming "CAROLINA IN MY MIND!!!" over and over.  I'm just going to throw this out there - if James Taylor is playing IN North Carolina, do you not think he might sing that very song?

It's like suspecting the Village People are going to skip YMCA at summer camp.  It's happening, my need to offer directions.

And after watching Natalie Merchant, I have to say, I'm not sure I'd mess with her - she seems to be way smarter than me....and pretty firm.  She called out every person arriving late - and not in the nice, "Hey, there, welcome to the show..." kind of call-out.  It was more of a "You've missed seven songs...there was no opening band" kind of call-out.  Hard core.  Love it.

 A huge thanks to Amy & John for an amazing night - sorry I had to sneeze my way through it (yes, summer cold...thanks for making your annual appearance at the most inconvenient time). 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Is Over-Packing really a thing?

I kept meaning to take pictures of all the piles of clothes laying around my house right now - but then when I get motivated to do so...I get a little camera shy.

I'm knee deep in getting ready for the big trip north.

It's almost Amy & John's Wedding Week! 

Here's a list of what I've got out so far - see if you can guess how long I'll be gone:
Six Dresses
Four pairs of Capris
Four pairs of Shorts
Two more pairs of Shorts (the kind I can go for a walk in if I feel excercise-ful)
One pair of Shorts (the kind you like to lay around the house in after you ate too much)
Four T Shirts
Three 'nicer' Shirts
Swimsuit (no, there isn't a pool.  But it's good to be prepared)
Three Tank Tops
Two Tank Tops (the kind you wear under other tank tops)
Black Sandals
Brown Sandals
Brown Sandals (these are more casual)
Sneakers (the kind I'd wear out and about but not for above walks)
Flip Flops
Black Flats
Two Cardigans
12 pack of Diet Dr Pepper
Dog Food
Dog Bed
Dog Crate
Dog Blanket
Pillow for me
Blow Dryer, Straightener, etc.
Presents for people I meet along the way

Okay, that's it so far.  Did you guess how long I'll be gone? 

Ten Days. 

Now - when I type out the list and say 'ten days', I feel like it's fine - when I look at the piles in my guest room, I start thinking how in the world I'm going to convince the beagle to ride on the roof.

Men pack differently than women.  I'm told.

For ten days, I imagine a dude would bring:
One pair of shorts
Five pairs of socks
Three T Shirts
One button down
Five pairs of undies that he will just turn inside out for extended wear.

Ironically - this is probably more than I'll be taking on my three week trip at the end of the summer over to the Baltic Sea...but nobody knows me there.  They can just imagine that I usually wear the same pair of pants five days in a row - and I won't care.

I can hardly believe I'm two days away from hitting 95 North!  Although, not surprised.  The day I met John...I knew...Amy was had. 

Which means I should probably start paring down the packing piles into something that will actually fit into my car, allow me to see out the windows AND not explode out when the doors are opened.  But, as a woman...I think it's perfectly fine to bring along as much of your closet as possible.  It's about options.

Much like my dating life.
Not.  Not like that at all.

Just last Saturday night I had a closet episode.  I was getting ready for a picnic with friends (people who already know me...who I don't have to impress) and I went through about TEN outfits before I settled on the first one.  Nothing felt right. 

Imagine if I were 8 hours from my closet when that happened.  Disastrous. 

So tonight...I will walk by the piles again...satisfied that no snow has formed at the high altitudes they are now reaching.

And tomorrow, I will squeeze it all into suitcases while secretly hoping there is still room for more.

Friday, July 2, 2010

64. Is too many.

Well, it's end of quarter here in the world of virtual storage - which has meant a lot of early mornings and late nights. 

Early mornings - in that I actually have to start concentrating the second I sit in my chair instead of after at least one cup of goodness.

Late nights - in that I have a tendency to lay in bed at night making a mental list of the next day's potential situations.  All of which involve a Sales Rep Catastrophe.

On the flip side, there is occasionally time between the "Hurry Up and Wait" patterns during which I can catch up on some important perusing.  I worked my way through ads from Lowe's, Food Lion, Kroger and CVS before I came across this (in the Ulta Ad):

Now, mind you, Ulta is one of my FAVORITE stores.  If only for the reason that men are petrified to enter.  It's stocked full of girl-stuff in a bright inviting environment. 

It has the potential to turn even the most non-make-up-wearing person into a diva with all it's colors and smells and sales.

It's a store that blurs the line between needs and wants with the ding-ding of the door opening.

Here's what happens when I get my Ulta Flyer.  I quickly look to see what the coupon is (it's either 20% off or $3.50 off).  And then I settle down to go through it page by page by page...while my voice of reason takes a little time off.

In this week's flyer?  For only $14.99, a 92-Piece Blockbuster!  WHAT????  92 Pieces????  For $14.99?  Next thing you know, BP will have resolved their issue in the Gulf, Prince William will finally be engaged and the Tour de France will be a clean race.

But then I saw the fine print.  In this 92-Piece mecca of makeup...64 of those pieces...are eyeshadows.  Deflation.

Do you know how many eyeshadows are too many?  Anything beyond three. Every girl knows that you need a highlighter for your brow, a darker color for the lid and a defining color for the parts in between. 

64?  Come on.  What time yesterday do you think I was born, Ulta?

Moving onto the lip colors...well, there are 22 choices.  Hmmm...interesting (need/want, need/want).  The thing is, when I find a lip shade I like, I take it everywhere.  So I can't imagine hauling around all 22 choices without buying a Baby Bjorn.  

PS - no one calls it a lip shade.  It's just gloss.  As in, "Can I borrow your gloss?" or "Do you need any gloss?"  You've probably already noted that this kit includes one lip gloss.  Which is just enough.

And one pressed powder. 

Is that like pressed ham?  I think pressed powder stopped being acceptable a decade ago when Bare Minerals invented, well, mineral make up.  So, fail again, Ulta.

Four Cheek we we're making progress.  I actually don't wear blush of any sort - so I have no leg to stand on in this area.  My cheek color is that of a sun kissed Carolina day. 

Well, dang - this 92-Piece Blockbuster suddenly seems like maybe it's not such a great deal.  Plus, it looks like it might take up a lot of room in my purse.

Fear not though...I flipped the page and found a seven pack of nail polish.

Now we're talking.