Saturday, March 31, 2012

Confession: I Like Shitty Country Music

There are many who may scoff at the idea of driving down the road, blaring twangy, formulaic, nonsensical country songs and totally rocking the fuck out.  If you're my husband, your head probably just exploded after even reading about it.

I've learned to embrace it: I like shitty country music.

Rob likes to say I was "musically abused" as a child, but the fact is my parents just listened to country music a lot because that's all there was.  I grew up in a town of 140 people that at the time had approximately one radio station that came in well, and even that one was based in a town two hours away. That radio station played one thing and one thing only, and that was country.  I won't waste your time with hipster qualifiers like "it was only real country like Johnny Cash*," this was the country that everyone refers to when they say, "I like all music...except for country."

I know every single word to most of Alabama's songs (especially this one, which I'm totally listening to right now).  Tim McGraw's song "Can't be Really Gone" still makes me cry just as it did when I was 9 years old and my best friend had just passed away.  The first non-Raffi song I can actually remember enjoying was a Hank Williams Jr. song and when I rediscovered it a few months ago I listened to it approximately 10 times in a single day. The first cassette tape I ever owned was Lorrie Morgan. I went ballistic when last fall GMC had a week-long series devoted to the best country songs of the 1990s--and I could sing every last one. When my iPod is dead and won't play in my car, I find a country station; I may roll my eyes at lines like "go together like a pair of bookends," but secretly my blood is pumping, both to the older songs from the 1990s and more recent ones.

Country music is the music I grew up to. It's the music I bonded with my sisters over as we were dancing to "Romeo"in our living room.  It's the music that defined various life events for me.  It's the music that reminds me of my dad and my mom, and the music I'm sure will make me think of them long after they are gone.

Though I wouldn't admit it at the time, it's the music that I turned to when I fell in love with Rob.

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Rob's trying to shake the love of country music out of me.

It's also the music I forsook in fourth grade when I changed schools and most of my new friends hated it.  I pretended to like rap and also went through an embarrassingly obsessive period with the Beatles, which was more about trying to be unique and interesting among my fifth grade peers than an actual love for the music.  It wasn't until high school when I met my unrepentant music snob husband that I opened the door to music that had some of the same qualities as country, but admittedly with a lot more talent and soul (like this and this). This music now makes up the bulk of what I listen to.

Modern country is saccharine and terribly written and cliched, I know you guys. I know it's basically pop music with a southern accent and a steel guitar.  The model upon which country music is built is by far a model that I think should be replicated; attractive men and women are essentially plucked from various sources, trained to hold a guitar and fed songs about Amurrica and small towns and lovin' one another and the flag and the flag troops.  Some of it could even be considered downright offensive (if you can't stand it that long, fast forward to 2:24 for the "reggae" breakdown). Though I think these conventions aren't unique to country music, they somehow seem more obvious and to many, less forgivable.

Putting all of this aside, I still rock out to it and it still makes me happy. Though for a long time I felt shame for my affinity toward country music--helped in no small part by my husband's incessant mockery--as I've gotten older I've begun to slowly pad my iTunes collection with songs from my childhood and new country songs I have found in my covert car missions.  Rob may always skip past them on my iPod when we're driving, but I know they're there if I ever want a trip down nostalgia avenue.

So here we are, friends. My name is Caitlin, and I like country music. And if I don't express much enthusiasm your Bon Iver-packed playlists, it's because I'm probably too busy listening to "Honky Tonk Ba-Donka-Donk" and "Hillbilly Bone."**

*For the record, I also really really like Johnny Cash and so-called "real" country. Also, bluegrass is the shit.
**Also for the record, I know these songs are objectively terrible, but you can't deny that they're catchy as hell.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spiraling

Sometimes I feel like I'll never rid myself of the mentality I developed during my long-distance relationship.

We're down to single-digit days until Rob starts work. Despite the fact that it isn't anything like our past goodbyes--of which there were many--the same thoughts and associations come flooding back in the most insidious ways.

I've noticed that I've gradually begun to descend into an unexplained funk.* Every day I feel more restless, more bored, more frustrated.  Small, stupid, petty things irk me though they never did before.  I snap inexplicably and if we had an argument I just hide in our bedroom and read.  Yesterday I became furious with our Progressive Snapshot because it seems intent on proving that I'm a terrible driver and I'm very self conscious about my driving (no, you goddamn piece of plastic, "hard braking" does not equal "stopping at the fucking stoplight when it turns yellow and then red"). The other night I fell asleep two hours before Rob, which never happens because we always fall asleep together after watching Mystery Science Theater 3000.  I've just felt off.

Yesterday or the day before I finally started to evaluate why I was feeling so claustrophobic in my own body. I instantly remembered that Rob begins work on Sunday and the realization hit me that my body must be preparing itself, in a way, for another goodbye.  My subconscious, for whatever reason, doesn't differentiate between Rob going to a 9-6 job and eventually leaving for a few weeks at a time and him leaving for Iraq.

Unfortunately once my self-conscious chooses how my body will feel my mind tends to blindly follow suit.  And also unfortunately, once I realized the underlying cause of my frustration it just made me feel like my body was right and that I should indeed be worrying about Rob starting work on Sunday.   That it indeed will be just as awful as I think it is. My train of thought weaves along the well-worn path I've created for it throughout years of anxiety and depression and it seems impossible to pull it out of that rut.

It doesn't really help that I've been out of therapy for over a month and don't have a professional sounding board to help me figure out the ins and outs of this process and how I can pull myself out of this.

While I would absolutely love to just sit around with Rob all day, we realistically need to move on with this next chapter of our lives.  I need to come to accept that Rob leaving the house does not indicate that he's leaving me, and I should avoid my typical MO of making everything about myself and instead support my husband in his new step he's taking.  I am very, very proud of him and can't wait to see how this new chapter progresses for him and for us, together.

I guess for now the only thing I can do is engage in the only therapy I can--namely hot baths, nachos, chocolate cookies, and snuggling with my favorite person in his last few days of freedom. After all,  I'll eventually have to learn to effectively confront these abandonment demons, and the lesson is officially here whether I'm ready or not.

*For the record, I hate the word funk.  Can someone please come up with a new word to describe this?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

MST3K themed birthday party?! UM YES PLEASE THANKS GO #1. Anyone want to throw me one of these? *cough* my birthday is in May *cough*

Zombie Parking Lot.

6 Insane Roads you Won't Believe People Actually Drive On.

20 Obsolete English Words that Should Make a Comeback. Thanks Lauren!

I had far too much fun with this Text to Speech demo...thanks again Lauren :)

Awesome pictures from around the world.

And the little girl became a gorgeous woman.

This large t-shirt to fitted tee tutorial makes me want a sewing machine.

This post from Emily at XOJane in which she goes through old 5th grade journals made me laugh so hard...and wish that she had lived near me when I was a nerdy 5th grader.

Swedish Students Photographed with All of their Belongings.

If you've ever wondered what my creative process is like, here you are.

5 Terrifying Serial Killers who Happened to be Animals.

Anyone else addicted to Cadbury Eggs?

Need to want less.

Top 50 "Pictures for the Day" of 2011.

For you Mad Men fans, here is the original version/video for "Zou Bisou Bisou."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Things that Make me Jealous

I've always been a bit of a jealous person.

This makes sense when you consider that most jealousy is routed in insecurity, and we all know that I have an insecurity hoard big enough to get me through even the most confident of winters. #torturedmetaphor

Below I'd like to share with you a few the things that make me feel the most jealous.  They are petty and they are stupid. I know I'll probably get some side-eye for being all blog negative or letting my negativity overcome my very soul, but whatever. We all feel it from time to time, might as well own that shit.

And of course file it squarely in the "First World Problems" file.

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THIS IS MY JEALOUS FACE

I am jealous of:

1. Tall girls. Specifically of their ability to wear normal t-shirts and still look feminine in them.  My friend Amie typically buys men's or boy's t-shirts and always looks super cute with them.  On my short-ass frame (short ass-frame?) I drown in them; the short hair only compounds the "tiny boy in his father's shirt" look I seem to pull off so well.

2. People who wear objectively ridiculous clothes and still look amazing. You know who you are, and I want the secret. I somehow have the opposite talent of wearing objectively reasonable clothes and still looking ridiculous.

3. Really, really funny people. You know when you read a blog or a book and someone is just objectively hilarious without even really trying?  That. I know, I know, lots of work goes into creating good content blah de derp. But realistically, being funny to some extent is natural talent beautifully coupled with emotional baggage, and though I'm well-versed in one I am quite lacking in the other.

4.  People who can eat wheat. Wah wah.

5. People who have met Conan O'Brien. It is a well-known fact in the land inside my head that I have a pale-red-Irishman thing.  Once I read about a girl who had cancer and got to meet Conan O'Brien and still wound up feeling jealous.

6. People who get off on exercising. Not literally, because that'd be weird. Or sexy, I guess, if you look at it in a certain way. Anyway I simply can't fathom not getting frustrated every time you lift a weight or feel that chest-crushing feeling you get when you run. I wish I could just waltz into the gym and flounce about from machine to machine with an unsuppressed air of confidence, but frankly it's a good day if I'm there at all, shuffling along with my head down hoping no one's looking at my panty lines.

What are you feeling envious of today?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

So I was trolling around Facebook today and found this:

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Fits pretty well with this post I think. And look! Pencils! Albert Einstein meme can read my mind!

Hope you all have an ambitious, fish-climbing-tree kind of day.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Hike up Guadalupe Mountain

Yesterday was just a wonderful day.  You know those days? Where everything is just amazing and awesome? Yeah, that.

Since we got here we haven't done much in the way of exploring or enjoying our new state, partially because of money but also because of laziness. And the fact that Robbie and I are certified homebodies. Sometimes I really feel like we just picked our life up in Wilton and dropped it here, does that make sense? I was pretty excited, then, when Rob had the idea of going hiking on a mountain about two and a half hours north of here.

The drive was beautiful and a guy with a barbed wire tattoo told me my tattoos were "fierce." What a compliment, am I right?!

The hike was totally deserted which is just how we like our hikes.  I did have to stop pretty frequently to catch my breath.  I have a strong fear of closed-in places, and the thinner air here causes me to hyperventilate at the slightest hint of physical activity.  I'm ashamed sometimes that I'm not more of an outdoor girl, but that's fodder for another post.

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The strangest and most unexpected aspect of the hike was the mud and snow.  75 degrees outside, sun shining, and yet we found ourselves traipsing through snow.  BIZZARO WORLD, I tell you. It ended up being totally worth it though, because the view from the top was just lovely.

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Cypress was caked in mud from the hike so on the way back we stopped at the Rio Grande to give her an ersatz bath. Is it weird that I think it's cool that Cypress got to swim in the Rio Grande? Probably, but here we are.

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When we got back into Santa Fe, we picked up Indian food from a restaurant we hadn't visited yet (it was amazing, especially the mango lassi.

After a filling Indian dinner, we watched the Mad Men premiere which was as awesome as I thought it would be, then snuggled in bed to MST3K before falling asleep by 10.

A simple day, yes, but a wonderful one.  We are only a week away from Rob starting the fire season so I'm trying to soak all his time up that I can now.  With each day that passes I get more nervous but also more excited for him.

Also, funny story: as usual I was super jumpy the entire time for fear of seeing a tarantula or rattlesnake. I kept seeing pinecones that looked like the one below and thinking they were giant hairy insects, and Rob had a hearty laugh at my spaz-itude. I thought you might as well.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

This Weekend is For...

1. Enjoying each other. It's our last full weekend before fire season officially begins, so we plan on spending plenty of time together.  I'm nervous, scared and excited all at once.

2. Going hiking! We found a spot about two hours from here that has a much different landscape than the scrubbiness we see here. It's not too long of a hike but because of the heat and the elevation we're hydrating pretty intensely today.

3. Enjoying the sun. It's warmer this weekend than it has been all month here and I could not be happier.  The weather, however, has brought a new concern, and that is sun damage. In Maine I don't think I ever put on sunscreen prior to June, but I've already seen two sunburns here in New Mexico in the months of February and March.  We figured that the southernness of the state plus the elevation means that the sun is even scarier for my pale-ass skin than usual, which means that I'll probably be instituting a daily regimen of sunscreen in the morning.

4. Working on new projects.  I'm considering submitting some nonfiction work to a few magazines and websites I've been checking out.  As a result I've been spending hours writing and reediting trying to get some stuff ready.  I have to ask, does this seem totally ridiculous? If you read my blog but secretly hate my writing--or really just have genuine criticism--I'd love to hear from you.

5. Snuggling, of course.

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What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, March 23, 2012

How Stephen Hawking & "Draw Something" Made Me into an Artist...Sort of

In our house, more often than not, you can find us watching a science special on television.

A few weeks ago we were watching a special on Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking or some other supergenius and I mentioned to Rob how amazing it is that there are actually people out there who are clearly and organically so much smarter than the rest of us.  While I struggle with how to readjust a recipe to feed 2 people instead of 8 without a calculator, these men are figuring out the goddamn universe you guys. I mean for real, I can barely be trusted to brush my teeth twice a day.

I have always assumed that people who do things like science, math, walking in heels, and art are just naturally better than me--better than me in these areas and I suspect just better people in general.   They must have some magical element that's simply missing in my brain, as though I could study physics all day every single day for my entire life and I'd still be about as proficient with I am now, which is to say, not proficient at all.  When I think about this in the context of people like Hawking or Einstein I just feel useless.  Like what the hell do I do while these people are contemplating the uncontemplatable?  Sit around whining about how useless I am?

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SCIENCE!

So we were watching Albert Hawkingstein when Rob made a point to me that has stuck with me ever since: "It isn't that they're inherently smarter with you, it's just that physics isn't interesting to you.  If you were interested in it you'd want to study it every day, and you'd be as devoted as they are."  

Full disclosure, I'm actually paraphrasing. He might've said something more along the lines of, "Can you stop requesting validation that you're not a totally useless lump while I'm trying to watch this show?"  I thought about his point at length, though, and still found myself feeling useless.  What exactly am I passionate about? What do I do well?  Aside from whining and sleeping (which I am objectively great at) I couldn't come up with much.

In the subsequent period of introspection I thought back to those ventures I have tried and noticed a common thread. Whenever I've tried to learn how to do something--from art to math to exercise--I have found that if do not instantly excel at the task I give up in a flustered huff.  The effect is heightened when there's some implied element of competition or judgement, such as in school or at the gym.

Recently I started playing the game "Draw Something" on my iPhone and then my iPad.  At first the game was just as frustrating to me as my efforts to draw have been at the past.  Excluding a whole lot of scribbling and doodling as a kid, drawing has always been a total mystery to me.  If you tell me to draw something it's almost as if a physical wall appears in my brain; I simply cannot translate what I see in real life or in my head to paper.

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ART!

But the non-competitive nature of the game (side note: what the hell is the point of this game, by the way?) allowed me to feel comfortable in drawing pictures that could easily be bested by a blindfolded three-year-old in what I would imagine to be the most bizarre drawing competition in the world.  Once I switched from my iPhone to my iPad, the drawing got easier because I wasn't so heavy-handed on my tiny phone. Gradually, the process of drawing and the translating got easier and easier to the point that I actually started to enjoy creating a comprehensive picture.

Now don't get me wrong, I still can't draw for shit, as any of my current Draw Something competitors and that fucking awesome centaur could tell you.  All of the people I draw are stick figures, and mediocre ones at that. But this experience helped me realize that the only thing that has been keeping me back from learning what I'm best at is me. I've been so afraid of failure that it's possible I've totally missed out on a new passion or some skill that is completely within my grasp to learn and do well.

In light of this revelation, I decided that maybe I should pursue drawing as a hobby.  I've been trying to think of an anxiety-reducing activity that I could do to unwind when I'm feeling uptight; I have other anxious friends who find comfort in knitting or crocheting, and I'm hoping that drawing is this hobby for me. Since I have no one monitoring this hobby--anything I sketch will not be featured here, and you're welcome in advance--I figure I don't have to worry about feeling judged, which should help keep me on task and prevent me from quitting out of embarrassment.

I want to reiterate that I have no great hopes (I mean, just look at that centaur) or great aspirations.  I know I'll never be a great artist because I suspect that I have no natural talent (again, centaur), but I figure that it couldn't hurt to try something new and to challenge my fear of failure in a most uncomfortable way.

You're next, physics.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

25 Things You Should Know About Word Choice.

The Ultimate Movie Drinking Game List! I promise I'm not an alcoholic.

25 Rare Photos of Celebrities.

I wish I could take photos like this from a plane.

Check out this 8-year-old banjo player...totally bananas.

Creative Business Cards...these are super cool.

I want to go to there.

Celebrities responding to their own memes (hint: Ryan Gosling adorably responds to "Hey Girl" on #2)

Captivating human body paintings.

How Women Talk about Other Women.

Oh, what's that? You haven't been sufficiently creeped out today? Well, here you go.

I'm still obsessed with xoJane and loved this article written by a wife who is the head of her household.  I've sort of been composing a post about marriage/roles in my head since I read it. I sort of have this dream that xoJane will find me and ask me to write for them because I'm so amazing, except I'm not really soooo you know.

Rob and I made pizza muffins last night and they were delish! If you want to see more of the recipes I've been pinning, check out my Recipes board.

Women set Rick Perry's Facebook page on fire.  Let's get this going, ladies!

Forgive me for including one more xoJane article, but I could really relate to this article on having an obsessive personality. Perhaps it's appropriate that I worded it that way.

I know this is kind of a "well, duh" post, but I enjoyed this article on the Huffington Post in which one of the journalists actually attempted the whole "get drunk with a vodka-soaked tampon" thing.

5 Reasons "The Walking Dead" has to get better. You know, I've liked this season, but this writer had a lot of good points.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fear, Writing, & My True Self

I admit that I feel silly for writing yet another post about blogging.  Ever since I started blogging somewhat more seriously I've struggled to find a voice and a consistent blogging trend.  Instead of a woven tapestry I feel like I just have a pile of frayed threads, if you'll pardon my tortured metaphor.

The post I wrote yesterday about Rob's camel spider experience was different from my normal blog post in a few ways.  For one, I included foul language, and I didn't apologize for the somewhat gruff tone of the story.  I figured out that after I wrote it that that story, and the tone of it, was far more me than a lot of my posts.

I don't know if you can discern this from my blog posts or tweets, but I swear in real life a lot.  I have a pretty disgusting sense of humor and more often than not I say things that probably shouldn't be said in polite company.  I drink alcohol on a semi-regular basis--though rarely to excess--pee with the door open, and fart loudly in front of my husband.  Rob and I had a discussion about our table the other day that quickly devolved into a discussion about sex positions, and that's more or less a daily occurrence in our house.

Since I started actively connecting with other bloggers I've noticed that I've toned down my normal voice a lot.  There have been times that I've wanted to share with you a conversation like the one above because it made me laugh, or question some aspect of life or blogging, but haven't for fear that I'd lose followers or get a nasty comment.   This fear of confrontation causes me to take an opinion or a thought that I may have and water it the hell down with apologies and scare quotes, or just avoid writing the post at all.

I don't blame anyone in the blogging world for this--some people are turned off by swearing or crudeness, and the blogs I read are probably comprised of more people that are like this than not.  And it's no one's doing but my own that I'm too scared to just say shit I think. It frustrates me that I let something like the number of followers or comments dictate what I do and do not share, and it frustrates me that I'm so uncomfortable with myself that I feel like I can't share it with you for fear I won't be "accepted."  I'm getting to the point now, though, where I'm starting to think it's better to feel more comfortable writing honestly and risk offending than hand wring over word choice in order to please everyone.

This isn't to say that I'd rather write disgusting, offensive posts all the time, just that I want to apologize less for having an opinion or a thought or sharing something silly that might not be palatable to everyone.  I guess I'm hoping to orient this space more inward rather than writing for what I imagine everyone wants to hear.

Am I making sense?  Do any of you feel this way sometimes?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rob's Stories: The Days of Camel Spiders & Roses

I wanted to share with you a story that Rob shared with me a few days ago.

As most of you know, Rob spent October of 2006-November 2007 (with a little break in June) in Iraq as a combat infantryman.  He has an infinitesimal amount of stories that are far too inappropriate to share in this blog or with most other humans, but this one should be tame enough provided you aren't too much of an arachnophobe.

One night Rob was getting ready to relieve a comrade from tower guard duty, which basically was comprised of standing in a tower at night and making sure nothing fishy happened down below.  As he was taking over his shift, he noticed that his fellow soldier was particularly eager to leave.

The other soldier said, "There's a camel spider in here. I've been hunting it but I can't find it," and left.

For those of you who don't know, this is what a camel spider looks like. Warning: scary gross spider picture.*

Rob began his tower guard shift--which lasted several hours--backed up against a corner of the tower with his night-vision goggles set to close-range instead of long-range, which is where they in theory should have been due to the fact that he was guarding from a tower.  

He periodically saw the camel spider on the ceiling, but as he says, "It's hard to commit to swinging at something that's above your head. You run the risk of it bouncing and losing sight of it, or having it land on your face. I really wanted to shoot it."

Every time he'd see the camel spider he'd note the location and look away.  When he'd look again at the same spot, the camel spider would've disappeared.  Camel spiders, it should be noted, can reach up to 10mph at short distances.

Rob spent the entire guard shift on edge waiting for the camel spider to resurface once again (I'd like to interject at this point that this is a man who survived several IEDs, many firefights, and a bullet ricochet into his arm).  

When another soldier came to relieve him, Rob said, "There's a camel spider in here, and it fucking teleports," and left.

In case you were wondering what actually happens in a war zone where a bunch of a men are cooped up together for long periods of time, from what I can tell, it's largely stuff like this.

*Interesting fact that I'm sure will put you at ease: camel spiders are arachnids but are not actually spiders.  So you know, sleep well tonight. Suffice it to say Rob and his battle-hardened comrades were terrified of these little sonsofbitches, except for his best friend Trent who is petrified of birds but can handle horrifying monsters with no problem. Also, if you're like me, this photo will cause you to see scary spiders out of the corner of your eye all day, and for that I apologize.

You Had Me in Stitches (warning: stitches picture)

GET IT?! Hahahaha etc.

So I'm sorry, I can't resist showing you guys a stitches picture. If you're faint of heart don't scroll down I guess.

First here's a picture of my dog. I did this so those of you who use Bloglovin wouldn't see the gross picture pop up in your feed forcing you to look at it even if you didn't want to. So if you're grossed out by stitches, you can just pretend this is a nice post about how cute my dog is.



Aaaand here we are:



First off, I'm sorry my hand looks so gross.  I haven't been able to actually wash it in like 3 days...I've been sort of sponge-bathing it with a washcloth but doesn't have the same effect.  Wash your hands, kids.

The doctor said the infection was some sort of staph, but not MRSA thankfully.  Stitches come out next week.

Is this over-sharing or what?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bits & Pieces from this Week

1. Despite the fact that it's been extremely unseasonably warm in Maine--like, 78 degrees warm--but today it was 35 degrees here in Santa Fe.  I'm very sad about it, frankly.  I was hoping when I moved to the southwest I'd see some warmth.  I'm excited to wear dresses again and not turn on the heat.

2. My workspace was finalized this week with the addition of an office chair. I was using one of our dining room chairs and guess what? Not an office chair. My back confirmed this for me.  I still have this giant tampon of a bandage on my finger so I wasn't much help in the construction of the office chair, but honestly I'm pretty awful at the construction of anything. Rob can attest.

3. My bandage slipped off on Monday morning and I saw my stitches.  There's a weird red tube sticking out and it's totally gross.  If you were wondering how plugged in I am, my first thought was to put it on Instagram.  I didn't, so you're welcome.

4. Today we found out that the fire season has already been...well, fiery, I guess? Hot? Whatever, shit's going down and Rob starts work in less than two weeks.  I got all anxious and nervous and kind of lashed out a bit, like I do.  I'm all nervous and annoyed and frustrated.  Having home home for the last 3+ months has been amazing but has probably spoiled me a bit.  I think it's going to be quite a transition.

5. We've been doing spider checks in our bed ever since Rob shook out a t-shirt and saw a tiny spider fall out.  Growing up, my dad used to talk about the dinner-plate sized tarantulas in New Mexico, so since we've been here I've had periodic spazzy episodes in which I become convinced that the house is being invaded by tarantulas.  I don't mind snakes--even ones that could kill me--but the idea of a tarantula crawling on me is petrifying.  We'll see how this summer goes.

6. If you follow me on the Pinterests you'll see that I've been pinning recipes like a mofo. Robbie's work schedule is such that I will have to at least start dinner before he comes home, and I'm kind of excited about the idea of being Suzy Homemaker (yes, I'm a nerd).  Any fun recipes for me?  We don't eat red meat (ethical + health reasons) or fish (Caitlin is picky and doesn't like fish reason), so chicken or vegetarian dishes are best.

Have a great week, all!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Awesome Mail Day!

I'm so thankful that I've been able to make so many great friends through my blog.

Maybe a year or so ago I found Michelle's blog and quickly became an avid reader.  You may remember that I hosted a giveaway from her shop that she owns with her husband. We talked on and off through comments and email, and when I found out that I was going to Arizona in October I took a chance and asked if she wanted to meet up. I feel like I'm talking about asking someone on a date but for awkward old Caitlin, that's what making new friendships is like.  I was really excited when she was totally down with hanging out, and during one of my first weeks there I met up with her and her husband Chad at a restaurant called the Raven Cafe.  We really hit it off (again with the datespeak, way to be awkward, Caitlin) and I hung out with them and their handsome beast Bodhi bunch more until I left, and now Michelle and I text almost every day.

Now that we're in the same general area (read: the Southwest) I'm hoping we'll have much more opportunities to hang out!

Yesterday I checked my mail and I received one of the sweetest care packages ever.  Michelle sent me some lip balm from her and Chad's shop, a necklace she stamped with "Caitlin and Robbit" (note: she'll soon be selling stamped necklaces in her own Etsy shop!) some lovely friendship bracelets, a wooden moose pin, a rubbery lobster pen, some bubbles, and a wicked sweet card. How sweet is that?! I can't think of a better way of being welcomed to the Southwest!

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Thank you a thousand times, Michelle! I'm so glad we are friends.  And don't worry, I will send you back a badass something :)

A few notes about these photos:

1. Sorry our table is messy...it's turned into quite the dumping ground.
2. When Rob took a picture of my necklace he said, "I can see yo tittays." Just thought I'd share that with the world.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Some Links for your Weekend

Classic Hollywood Guide on How to React When you Screw up a Scene...I loved this. Rob and I both watched the entire thing.

The story of "Keep Calm and Carry On." This is super cool and may surprise you. Thanks Zelde!

8 Insulting Ways People Act 'Irish' on St. Patrick's Day.

Tiny Hippo and Tiny Train.

6 Horrifying Implications of the Harry Potter Universe.

Does anyone else read XOJane? I loved this raw, honest article on sex addiction. I also love that the comments on XOJane are almost 100% respectful, even when there are disagreements.

Going along with link #2 in this list, check out this shirt I just bought.

I've shared this before but it's too good to not share again: Fake Science.

18 Worst Plans in History, Charted.

Literally Unbelievable...a site that chronicles the many times that idiots post stories from The Onion thinking they're true.

How Archie's Gay Friend Proved the Internet Can Do Good. This warmed my heart.

How to Correctly Calculate your Pet's Age (apparently the 7 human-years-for-dog-years thing is incorrect).

5 Reasons why you Shouldn't Kill Yourself.

"The Hokey Pokey" if Shakespeare had written it.

The Founding Fathers' Pickup Lines in 2012 (NSFW).

Moochers Against Welfare.

Why Mario is Secretly a Douchebag.

As always, Nova has far better link posts than I so go check that shit out. Danielle's got a pretty awesome one too (and I'm not just saying that because my link was on her post this week...her link round-ups are always awesome).

Friday, March 16, 2012

What I Wore Friday: Hospital Chic

Today I am treating you to a very special post: my first genuine foray into fashion blogging.

As most of you know, I found myself in the hospital today because of a cactus spine in my finger (which, by the way, wasn't there anymore...don't worry, there was pus though). You guys are really lucky because I was able to chronicle for you the fashion-forward outfit the hospital so generously provided to me.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I really liked this gossamer-thin hospital robe with its choose-your-own-modesty-level back ties and one XXL-size fits all shape.  I love having the freedom to show as much or as little of my ass as I shuffle down the hallway to the bathroom for the 17th time. And this hair cover? So perfect for eliminating any vestige of beauty, dignity or individuality.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Next up we have these hospital-grade socks with grips on the top and bottom, you know, just in case.  These were perfect for the afore-mentioned shuffle down the hallway and had the bonus feature of giving me the appearance of cankles. I was lucky enough to get to take these home, so...score 1 for Caitlin.

I also got to meet a nurse who made up for what she lacked in bedside manner with mustache and awkwardness.

Finally I got to go home with a lovely yellow sheen to my skin from the soap they use in the OR and a lovely full-finger bandage that I get to wear until next Tuesday.  Who really needs to type or not only have use of one hand when wiping their ass, am I right?

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Santa Fe Wins Another Battle, Caitlin Wins the War

Some of you will probably remember about the cactus spine that got stuck in my finger and that necessitated a trip to the ER.  I finished my ten days of antibiotics and pain relief and though the infection died down, the swelling and redness around the spine remained. And remained, and remained.

I had an appointment with my new doctor anyway so I mentioned it offhand. She contacted a colleague who does orthopedic surgery and after an ultrasound (weirdest thing ever, and Rob wouldn't stop making references to my "finger baby") I had an appointment to get it surgically removed tomorrow.  I figured they'd only do another round of local anesthesia, but the doctor told me that they're planning on giving me "relaxing" medication as well and I get to choose how "relaxed" I get!  Score! I hate needles and tend to get kind of shaky/tense so I'm glad I don't have to stress about them.  And Rob's going to drive me around so, all in all, should be a good day.

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It was a pretty stressful day, since Rob pulled some crazy muscle in his back and couldn't really move, and we had to drive all the hell around to different appointments in preparation for my surgery tomorrow. I also have had a ton of work projects piling up.

But all that melted away as my husband cooked us an outdoor dinner on the grill (spinach-feta-onion turkey burgers and grilled corn on the cob), Social Distortion blaring on the computer and sun shining in through the open back door.  Even though I was getting some work done while he did this, it still made me so happy to think about how kickass it is to live together and enjoy these small moments. Plus I can't be stressed at that work space.

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Oh, and we got to open up the Disney window today!

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I hope you're all having a great week so far!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Workspace

One of the things that made me the happiest about moving here was that I actually had a functioning workspace.  In our last place, my desk faced a wall and the room was significantly colder (and further away from the living room) than any other room in the house.  As a result I spent most of my work day in my little red chair in the living room.

Here I have an antique desk that looks out onto our driveway and the mountains, and it's only a room away from where my Robbie is hanging out.  When I need to take a second from work, I stare at the birds hopping around the branches outside or just admire the sun shining on the mountain in front of me.  I love it.

I've always felt left out of the "Here's my workspace posts" because I've never had much to show until now:

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Doesn't it look like you could open that window and have birds fly in who whistle along to whatever song you just randomly busted out with?

That's right, I'm a Disney princess.

The weirdest looking one there's ever been.

Anyway the desk is still a mess because I haven't figured out an effective way to hide all my thunder shit.

I welcome anyone's advice regarding desk and/or life organization.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Not the Best of Mornings

Are you ready for some of the most obnoxious first-world complaining you'll probably hear all day?

Since yesterday I have had a sharp pain and crackling in my lungs.  I've never had lung problems before so this only serves to further my belief that New Mexico is trying to kill me.

This morning I woke up at 7am, lungs aching, and pulled a muscle in my neck yanking the blankets from my side to Rob's.

I tried to wake Rob up so he could come with me to drop Cypress off at her first day at daycare. He was dragging his feet so I passive-aggressively left by myself.

On the way, we approached a train crossing and just as I was about to drive over it, I saw a yellow light and the crossing lights started flashing.  For those of you who don't know, I'm terrified of trains and train crossings, and as you can see below, this morning I got a front row seat. I saw the homeless guy selling newspapers avoid me because I was crying and hyperventilating, and Cypress started flipping out.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

The road to Cypress's daycare was closed because someone was murdered there yesterday or the day before.  I tried to find a quick way around but all the roads were either blocked off or dead ends.  Because of all the stopping and going, I could tell that Cypress was starting to get sick and I had to keep moving my damaged neck because of all the lane-changing I was doing. I actually had to drive almost the entire way back the way I came to find a new way because I suck at directions and maps.

Once we got there Cypress was extremely overwhelmed by all the smells and the noise so I'll be worrying about her all day.

On top of all of that, today marks 17 years since my best childhood friend died of cancer.  This isn't something that really dominates my day anymore, but it seems appropriate that if I'm going to have a shitty day it'd be today.

Now I'm home, and the day can only get better, right?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bits & Pieces from Last Week

1. Funny/awful car story. My three-year-old car started making a funny noise whenever we turned the fan on, sort of a fluttery whirring noise.  Since the wheel well cover had come off in my snowbank collision, I figured I might as well kill two birds with one stone and get them both checked out.  As I turned the car on to drive to the mechanic's, I turned the fan on and some dirt sort of flew out at my face.  No big deal, I figured that the ample dust that we find here in Santa Fe was causing some sort of buildup.  Anyhoo, long story short, turns out there was a rat's nest in my blower motor. The mechanic told me that it's very common here, especially in more rural areas.  So that "dirt" that flew out at my face was probably some mixture of rat leavings.  Awesome.  $585 and a bunch of tears later, I have a new wheel well cover (from the snowbank incident a few months ago) and a completely flushed-out air conditioner. Plus a significantly higher credit card bill.  Sigh.  At least my insurance agreed, at least when I talked to them today, to cover the cost of the air conditioner nonsense after my deductible. My insurance now only wants to pay for the removal of the nest (after my deductible, around $37).  They're telling me that the air conditioner flush was "unnecessary" despite the fact that there were RODENTS LIVING IN IT.

2. You know you've been watching too much "Mad Men" when you crave a cigarette despite the fact that you've never been a smoker.

3. Not sure if apologizing is the right thing to do here, but I'm sorry for posting so frequently.  My blogging mojo has come back in full force and I've just felt like writing.  Interestingly that streak lost me followers, hence the confusion about it.

4. Does anyone watch the reality competition show Ink Master?  Rob and I love seeing tattoos--good and bad--so we've enjoyed it.  Better than LA Ink by far--Kat Von D and all of her obnoxious faux-drama annoy the living shit out of me. This show has drama but not nearly as annoying. Sadly the season just ended but we're looking forward to season 2.

5. We watched a documentary on Saturday night about this little girl with progeria.  The little girl won't live past 13, but her father in particular is so devoted and clearly just adores her.  I've noticed that as I've gotten older--and closer to having children--watching dads that are really into kids reduces me into a weepy mess.  Though we might not end up with children I still like imagining how Rob will be as a dad.

6. Has anyone been keeping track of "The Walking Dead"? Last episode was INSANE, eh?

6. Though it's been unseasonably warm in Maine, it's been cold and snowy here (as I mentioned in the photo post below) which does not make me happy.  I'm hoping to start seeing warmer days, and spending more time out on our patio.

7.  The countdown is on for Rob to start work.  At least for the first few weeks, it looks like he'll be working from Sunday-Thursday, with Friday and Saturday off.  This will change when he starts going out on fires--he could travel as far as Alaska to help fight fires, but from what I've heard the max amount of time that he'll be gone straight is two weeks. I'm interested to see how it changes our routine.  Since we moved in together (and really, the only experience I have living with Rob) he's been in school with a flexible schedule.  Now it'll be more like it was this summer--gone from 9-6 or later and no coming home.  No more cooking dinner together--if I'm working at home I'll have to be June Cleaver and have dinner at least started when he gets home.  It'll definitely reshuffle the cards.  In a weird way I'm excited to see how this blog will change this summer with this new experience...I feel like I'm becoming a military wife all over again. Does that make sense? Hopefully you guys don't mind hearing about this new facet of our lives.

Hope you've all had a fabulous weekend so far!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Photos: Around Our Home

I thought I'd share some photos taken around our home this past week. For some reason it's been snowing almost non-stop here, at least over the last two or three days, which you can see in the last photo.  I don't really understand it since in Maine it's been unseasonably warm, but at least it melts almost instantly.  It does make for some really nice photos, though - I love the juxtaposition of the red dirt with crisp white snow.  I also love the word juxtaposition.

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Have a great end of your weekend, friends!