Thursday, November 10, 2011


There are a few reasons I'm shameless today.  The first, and arguably most damning is this:  I have spent approximately one hour researching velvet camo blazers online trying to find a photo of the one Brad Paisley wore last night at the 45th annual CMA Awards.  I am ashamed to admit that I couldn't find a picture of the exact one, but I think this one comes close.  Brad's was velvet, therefore inherently better, but I'm pleased to note that I could indeed buy a camouflage blazer if I wanted.  Also, in my vast research, I came across an amazing Christmas gift that I would like to receive, should anyone like to get it for me:
This is from a website called Camo Formal. The sash comes in several different colors, including Hunter's Orange.  I am partial to the red because I think it's more Christmassy.  

Being a true Arkansawyer, I know my fair share of people who have gotten married in camouflage dresses, and needless to say, if I had a do-over for my own wedding, I would surely jump on that bandwagon.  As it stands, I will wait until someone gifts this little ditty to me, and then I'll wear the hell out of it.  That is a promise.  

My second round of shamelessness is actually not my doing, but that of my friend from high school.  She is launching her very own print magazine and without an ounce of shame in her very being, asked me if I'd like to blog about it.  While I fully support everything she is doing, and am beyond proud of her accomplishments, I am simultaneously falling down into a pit of despair as I compare her life to my own and see all the ways in which I do not measure up.  However, I'm not one to let a little despair, or the fact that no one in roughly 100 miles of her area reads my blog (with the possible exception of my father), come between me and helping out my homies, so here you go:  

DEITRA Magazine, everyone's favorite community-supporting, video-sharing, local-artist-sponsoring online journal, is hosting a launch party for their first ever print edition.  Music lovers everywhere, as well as those fond of reading while holding tangible objects, can finally delve into the heart of magazine magic as they flip open the glossy cover of DEITRA to find pages jam-packed with news articles, CD reviews and interviews with a diverse group of local artists.  Hipsters nationwide will shake their heads with disbelief as their previously hidden gems of the music scene are suddenly thrust into the spotlight, thanks to DEITRA's steadfast support of undiscovered bands.   
DEITRA Magazine invites everyone - in every time zone, and every country - to come share in this momentous occasion on Thursday, December 8th, at 9:00 p.m. in the Outland Ballroom in Springfield, Missouri.  Come early to pick up your FREE print copy of the magazine, and secure your spot in the front row to hear popular Springfield-based bands such as Assembly Line Gods, VideoVamp, Ewag3, SPiNRaD (featuring Yellville musical legend David Styer), and many more.  There is a $5 cover.  Ain't nothing in this world worth doing is free anymore.  "There is an incredible population of artists in local communities, including musicians, writers, photographers, actors, comedians and more," says the magazine's editor,  "and DEITRA magazine wants to bring those talented people out from the underground and put them into the spotlight." Those not in the area should check out DEITRA Magazine online.  It's the very least you could do.  
Lastly, I'm shameless because I've had this song stuck in my head for the last four hours.  Something about the CMA's always brings out the Garth Brooks in me. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This is Halloween!

First pumpkins in at least four years!  Mine's the gruesome evil one. Matt's is the jolly snowman face one.  

We finally got to go all out dressing up for Halloween this year, and in true She's Gone Rogue style, we chose to go the comedic route rather than horror or slutty (although slutty was a close second for Matt.  I had to reign him in).  Anyway, for our re-entrance into American Halloween culture, we worked diligently for days on our costumes, making sure every detail was perfect.  And then we scrapped it the night before when we came up with something better:  Allstate Mayhem Commercial Guy.  I'll attach links to the youtube clips so you get the idea, but even if you don't, I'm confident you'll still find our costumes rock so much harder than most.  Matt was the "hot babe out jogging":

 He's out making sure this a ten.  Click here for his commercial.
Pretty close, right?

Katie was the toddler:  
Click here for her commercial.

And I was the "raccoon hiding in your attic":
"I'm the smartest raccoon I know."  Click here for my commercial.  (It's de best one.)  

In any case, we were all very excited to dress up better than we have in previous years.  Case in point:

Halloween 2009 Dushanzi:  Matt is the character Apache played by the late Patrick Swayze.  So sad.  I am Brett Michaels of Poison fame.  

Halloween 2010 Baroda:  An Asian couple in love.  Maybe not the most politically correct costume, but we had nothing else.  

Halloween 2011 Chicago:  Allstate Mayhem.  A vast improvement.  

In other news, I signed up with a staffing agency today in hopes they'll be more successful at finding me a job.  I went to their office downtown today and spent about three hours taking tests and filling out papers.  I felt very urban and professional by the time I was finished.  Then I went to the restroom in McDonald's and immediately dropped my phone in the toilet.  A public toilet.  In McDonald's.  I was tempted to just leave it, but then I thought better of it, as I have no car and my phone is about the only thing that connects me with the outside world.  So I dove in there and plucked it from within the recesses of the septic system.  Not really.  It was just in the toilet bowl.  Still, it was pretty gross.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Boom. Traveling.

Matt learned last night he had to go back to Texas City for the loading on Wednesday.  As in tomorrow.  Not excited about the prospect of facing another week plus alone in Evanston, we decided I'll just go with him!  I figure I've got to check Houston out at some point, considering we might choose to live there some day.  (Keep in mind, almost every city in America - with the obvious exception of Dumas, TX - is on our "we might choose to live there" list.)

In other news, I have not yet found a job, and my spirit just might be broken.  Not quite as broken as it was in India, but bending toward a breaking point, nonetheless.  Case in point:  the other day I was walking outside and I saw probably four or five piles of dog poop on the sidewalk, and my immediate reaction was "Oh this is a metaphor for my life."  Boom.  Defeated.  However, I will rise above this.  In the meantime, I will go to Texas.  Everything is better in Texas - isn't that how the saying goes?

Anyway, I don't really know anything about Texas City, except that it's in Texas.
Click here for a map.  Looks to be close to Galveston.  I don't know anything about Galveston either, but it is probably awesome.  Better take my cowboy boots.

That's about all I've got for the day, and probably the month of October.  Maybe I'll have something else to share in the next few days, as I'll be traveling once again!  Even if this job is the worst, at least I'll get to visit my favorite place, O'Hare International Airport, two more times.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sublime August

I'm turning into a regular Crafty Cathy over here in Amurca these days.  Who knew?  I finally finished my picture wall project that I've been somewhat listlessly working on for the past, eh, three years.  Why did it take so long, you ask?  Well, firstly, I had to take some pictures.  Then, I had to wait to have a wall on which to hang my pictures.  Next, I had to collect all manner of vintage picture frames.  After that, I had to buy Command Strips and hang said pictures in picture frames.  And later, I had to watch as they all fell off the wall and tumbled down up on the mantle, cracking a few frames and shattering lots of glass.  Finally, I had to double the Command Strips and place the frames ever so gently on the ancient and crumbling space above my fireplace.  Now, it is done, and I think you'll agree, the effect is glorious.

Boom.  Glorious.  

Actually, it didn't turn out at all like I was anticipating, but I've made my peace with it, and it's nice to finally have something to fill that yawning expanse of wall.  

Also, August was Cardinal Month for us here at She's Gone Rogue, and we decided that it was high time we get busy livin' or get busy dyin'.  It was in this spirit that we attended three St. Louis Cardinal games in a three week span.  Here are some highlights:
Garland weekend.  

 View from the box.  They call us "Big Deal Streetts".  

Second weekend at Wrigley.  Slightly less impressive, but still fun.  
Boom. Tony La Russa.  

Boom.  Rally caps.  

Correnti weekend.  (Notice their complete lack of Cardinal's attire.  Is nothing sacred anymore?)

Boom.  Representing.  

Our seats were high, but the view wasn't too shabby.  

I wish I could tell you the Cardinal's fought the good fight and won every game.  I wish I could tell you that, but baseball ain't no fairy tale world.  They lost two of the three games I saw, but still.  Sublime August.  Also, Matt's leaving me for Texas City... again.  Visitors?  My door is always open.  Especially because he'll probably leave me again at the end of the month.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Domestic Goddess

You know you've settled down when you get a membership to Sam's Club.  I don't really need to shop in bulk, but does anyone?  Plus, you've gotta support Arkansas' economy when you can. This is why I didn't go with Costco.  (Also, because Uncle John put me on his business account.  I've got mad connections.)  Also, I not sure there's a greater high than buying 36 double rolls of toilet paper, four sticks of deodorant, two giant bottles of coffee creamer, and double family pack of Honey Bunches of Oats (with Almonds!) at the same time.

In other news, I still don't have a job, nor have I even been seriously considered for one to the best of my knowledge.  On the contrary, I was rejected by a university in Chicago (I decline to name the specific university to protect my reputation - but the initials are U of C) in a record two hours and 45 minutes.  It took me three hours just to fill out the application and write myself up.  Boom.  Humbled.  Some people might be ashamed to admit that, but not me.  I look on the bright side.  I grab life by the horns and wrestle it into submission.  I take nasty, rotten, putrid lemons and turn them into sage-infused vodka lemonade.  On a related note, I am now proficient in both cover letter- and resume-writing, and more than proficient in researching for jobs.   Stick that in your careerbuilder pipe and smoke it.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Matt left me earlier this week to go to Houston for work.  Certain that I would fall apart without his  benevolent presence to guide me through the days, he worried his way through his meetings, anxious to get home and coddle me into a peaceful state once more.  Little did he know, I had bigger and better plans in the form of my very own DIY project.  Because now I'm domesticated, and I can buy things and make them into better things.

Saturday, before Matt left, we traipsed over to my new favorite haunt, the Village Treasure House, where we found a used nightstand for $25.  Only $25!  Do you know how much those things cost these days?  Upwards of $100, at least!  No way I'm spending that much on a little dinky cabinet to hold my mouthguard (I now have a teeth clenching problem, courtesy of India) and glass of water.  I would much rather stick my water and guard on something we already have... like the small safe Nick and Jen got us for our wedding.  (So many uses for a safe!)

Anyway, this nightstand needed a little coddling of its own, so we sanded it down (by hand, which I don't recommend), and then I lovingly and painstakingly painted it, a task which kept me busy for most of the 48 hours Matt was away.  Seriously, these things take time.  We had decided we wanted something chic and exciting, a la this little number from Crate & Barrel:
FYI, if anyone feels that I should have this exact cabinet in my home, I agree with you, and I'd gladly accept it as a gift and token of your love and affection.  It costs $900.  A steal!  

So we went to Lowe's and bought a paint and primer combo called "Enchanted Navy".  So chic.  So exciting.  I didn't have a paintbrush, so we bought one of those, too.  And sandpaper, for the sanding.  We spent about $30.  Then I had to go buy new drawer knobs for it.  $5.  New nightstand total:  $60.  Hmm.  I'm new at this DIY stuff, but I'm not sure your refurbishing supplies should exceed the cost of the actual product.  Unless it was free.  Ah, well, such is life.  

Many, many hours and four very thin coats of paint later, the deed was done.  Add in what Matt should pay me for my backbreaking labor (roughly $40/hour), and the final total came up to:  $1660.  Not quite a bargain, per se, but still better than something you might buy at, ahem, Macy's.  

Before  (But after the sanding.  I forgot to take a true before picture):

And After!

And the finished product:  
I am fully aware that it looks like a face with book teeth, and I'm okay with that.  

Soooo, it isn't quite the chic and exciting finished product I was envisioning, but it isn't terrible.  Somehow the color came out much lighter and brighter and more primary-color-wheel-esque than I had anticipated.  That's okay.  I am consoling myself with the fact that after we have kids, we can stick this little guy in the kid's room and the bright and cheerful blue color will brighten his/her days forever.  Hell, I might even stencil some trains on it.  Or teddy bears.  Or creepy old-fashioned dolls with glass eyes. Eventually.  (I'm not pregnant, I promise.  I'm just thinking ahead. Waaay ahead.)  

Anyway, Matt came home and was just about as impressed as I was.  Which isn't saying much.  However, we are both pleased to have a new nightstand for our sundries.  Plus, now I have a whole can of bright, primary blue paint to do with as I please.  Stay tuned for my next DIY project:  Blue Dresser, followed by Blue Mantle, Blue Mirror, and probably Blue Faux Leather Chairs.  

Oh, also, in light of recent DIY events, Matt has elected to skip his Seoul trip in August to babysit me.  Any and all who were invited to visit are still invited, but things might be a touch more unpleasant with him around.  I joke, I joke.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Oh My Lady Gaga!

I am rushing to write this, as it looks like it's about to Apocalypse (can you use that as a verb?  Boom.  Just did it.) outside my window.  We have now had two major storms here in Chicagoland, both of which knocked our power out at our new apartment.  I feel certain this will be the third.  The power is flickering as my fingers dance across the keys, but I will not be deterred.  Every light in my apartment is on, along with both the bathroom vent and the air conditioner.  If I'm going to lose power for the third time in a month, I'm going to soak in every last drop of electricity possible.

I don't actually have much news, but I do, however, have a proclivity for dramatics.  Firstly, I'd like to say that Matt took me to a Cubs versus Phillies game Tuesday night.  Our first game of the season (I'd only ever been to one at Wrigley before, about four years ago... in case you hadn't heard, I've been out of town for a while), it did not disappoint.  As I remembered from my previous game, there were lots of drunks running around in Cubs gear, but there were also a fair number of Phillies fans.  I don't know where they came from, but it sure as hell wasn't Philadelphia.  I thought (hoped) we might see a fight between drunken Cubbies and stone-faced Phanatics, but we did not.  I, forever the rebel, tried to incite tensions by wearing both red and blue. I've been told that if you can't wear Cardinal's gear, you cannot in good conscience fully support another team.

This is..... BASEBALL!
I thought I was being quite magnanimous and humorous in my wardrobe selection, but many others did not think it was so.  I had two old guys on the train comment in it, and they were not impressed by my rehearsed "I'm a walking contradiction" accompanied by a winning smile. Apparently you don't mess around with baseball.  I can't tell you the particulars of the game because I wasn't paying that much attention, but I can tell you the Phillies won.  Yay.  I was actually pretty star struck with the Phillies, as this is the only team my husband will watch or talk about.  Ever.  
Cliff Lee.  I'm allowed to root for him because he's from Arkansas.  

Shane Victorino - he of the crazy eyes.  I'm pretty sure he's a meth addict, therefore, he is my favorite.
See?  I stole this from Google to underscore my claim. (Because everyone knows pointing at your head means you're psychotic.)  

Boom.  Ryan Howard.  
Boom.  Seth Huber posing like an Asian.  

And that's about all I have to say about that.  The power is still on, and the storm seems to have subsided.  Wow.  This is a first.  As for my blog post title, I guess a bit of explanation is in order.  I just read an article in The New Yorker (I truly am that pretentious), and the writer mentions a Chinese youth who uses the phrase, "Oh my Lady Gaga!" to express surprise.  This seems such a very good depiction of Chinese youth today that I giggled over it for a good 20 minutes.  I can just picture one of my little Chinese students, 8-year-old Jerry, exclaiming "Oh my Lady Gaga," instead of the "Oh my God", of which he was so fond.  Ahh, China.  How I miss you.  

Also, I realized in my last post I forgot to mention that Matt is leaving me.  

For two weeks in August to to go Korea.  (See how I did that?  I told you I have drama in my blood.)  Someone should come visit me, because we all know I probably won't have a job by then, and while I will have a car, I won't have any company in my fancy new apartment.  Think about it.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


We've done it!  We finally have a sofa!  The lovely people from Crate and Barrel called on Saturday to set up a delivery appointment for Sunday, and then (and this is the really amazing part, guys), they actually showed up!  With the sofa!  Unbelievable.  I wasn't here when it happened (I was busy doing some important work at the lake), but apparently they had to take the door off to wrangle the beast in the apartment.  They left without putting the door back on, but that is beside the point.  My handy husband put it back in in a jiffy (or an hour).

How d'ya like them apples?  We have since rearranged and our living room doesn't look like this anymore, but I am too lazy to take a new picture.  
God bless that's a pretty looking couch.  Don't deny it.  Later, the woman who sold us the couch from Crate and Barrel called to make sure we were happy with our purchase and that it had arrived in a timely manner.  Can you believe that?  Customer service at its finest.  Take notes, Macy's.  

That is about all that is noteworthy in my life at the moment.  Our Fourth was pretty uneventful, although we did go floating on the Fox River that Sunday.  Then we "watched" fireworks at the lake on Monday (I use the term loosely because we couldn't really see many from where we were).  Oh, and we went to the Evanston parade.  I thought it would be a bigger deal seeing how everyone from the county showed up, but it wasn't.  

Still better than China's parade from 2009:  
Admittedly, this wasn't actually on the 4th of July, but somewhere near then.  They started marching like this at least once a day, every day, after the Urumqi riots.  Ahh, China.  How I miss you.

Last week I helped throw a baby shower for Angela, head roadwife of UOP, for her second child.  I hope she had a good time, even though I kept winning at the "Don't Say 'Baby'" game.  
Angela, her gifts, and Aunt Bit's "shower umbrella".  She is 8.5 months pregnant, by the way - not that you can tell.  
Oh yes, and Monday morning we had a storm, again, and lost our power, again.  It's starting to feel a little like Dumai, Indonesia, where we had rolling blackouts daily.  Luckily, we had it back by that afternoon, unlike most of the rest of the 700,000 homes who were reportedly without on Monday.  The stop lights were out as well, which caused Matt to have to work from home on Tuesday.  Boy, did he hate that.  The lights are still out today, but he went in anyway, because he couldn't stand to be away from the office for one more minute.  

Anyway, thus ends the Saga of the Couch.  Fear not, old friends, for next week I will probably have some new drama to tell you about.  My prediction is a "Saga of the Car", or "Saga of the Ceiling Fan".  This living in America and owning stuff ain't for sissies.   

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Curious Incident of the Missing Couch from the Furniture Store

The following account is a true story.  No names, dates, locations or times were changed to protect anyone's identity.

About three months ago (May 7th, 2011, 11:26 a.m., to be overly precise), we ordered a sofa, chair and ottoman from our dear friends at Macy's Furniture.  At the time, we were told this couch was not available just yet at the warehouse, and it would probably be available to us by mid-June.  We asked if we could buy the floor models and were told they were not for sale at this particular time.  Bummer, but everyone knows that we travelers are extremely laid-back and easygoing by nature (as a rule, we continually ooze nonchalance from our every pore), so we decided this would not be a problem. (Also, we were going on vacation and would be in glorious Spain for two of those four weeks.)  Done deal.

Upon our return from Spain, we received an email from Macy's stating that our delivery date would be pushed back to late June.  Damn!  We decided to resume our search for a replacement sofa, but didn't want to cancel the other until we found a new one.  Bought a new ottoman instead.  Canceled old ottoman.

Received another email from Macy's in which the date was pushed back again, this time to July 2nd.  Found out the floor models were finally on sale!  Called Odette, our saleswoman (I use the term very loosely at this point, as she seemed to be doing everything she could to lose our business), to ask if we could buy the floor models.  No, she'd already sold the floor couch to someone else.  Thanks for the heads up, Odette.

Received another email.  Date pushed back until July 9th.  Bought the aforementioned new chairs.  Called three times to cancel old chair.  Got no response.

Received yet another email.  Date was pushed back to August 19th.  Apparently Macy's not only did not have the sofa in stock, but they had to first grow the cotton, pick it, spin it into thread, make the fabric, dye it, and ultimately assemble and ship the entire couch before we would receive it.  Called and canceled the couch.  Went shopping in a last-ditch effort to find a new couch that we could have immediately.  Got depressed.  Went in one last time to Crate and Barrel, where we stumbled upon their End of Season Floor Model Sale.  Found a new sofa, which is even cheaper (therefore better) than the other one!  It will be here on Sunday.  Finally caught a break.  Boom.

VI.  (I know this is getting tiresome.  Imagine how bad it was to live through it.)  Our old friend Odette called to ask if we were sure we wanted to cancel.  Yes, Odette.  Yes.  "Well, we've had your sofa in the warehouse for weeks now, and we were just waiting on the chair.  If you like, I can sell you the floor model chair, and get you the whole set ASAP!"  Wow.  That information would have been useful to me yesterday.  Or "weeks" ago when the couch got to the warehouse.  Thanks, woman.  You have easily secured your place in history as the worst salesperson of all time.  Needless to say, we stuck to our decision to cancel the order.

Moral of the story:  Don't buy furniture from Macy's.  Ever.  Even if it's on sale.  Even if it's "de best" deal.  Even if it is a piece of Martha Stewart finery which only Macy's carries!  Just say no.

Secondary moral:  Don't buy furniture at all.  Buy lawn chairs.  Preferably from a yard sale.

I miss my hotel.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink

Just as I suspected, the excitement factor of my blog posts has gone down dramatically since we stopped traveling.  I guess that's to be expected, but it is still vaguely unsettling - the way the winner of the Ugliest Dog Contest is unsettling.  I'd like to say this onslaught of boring posts isn't my fault, but I'd be lying.  Mostly it is.  I could make it a bit more interesting, but I haven't had much to work with the past few weeks. (Never mind that epic 60 hour power outage that almost exclusively struck our building after the storm last week.  No one wants to hear about that.)

Until my Arkansas friends came to town, that is.  It is a documented fact that we Arkansawyers know how to kick the fun-factor up a notch.
See, we are a blast.  

Aside from Allison spending a good 24 hours explaining to me what "hipsters" are, (somehow I missed that entire sub-cultural movement.  Blame it on India.) Matt and I spent most of our time showing off our prowess as hot-shot big city dwellers and exposing the girls as the country bumpkins they really are.  Mostly we followed Matt around as he took us on the awe-inducing, ever-gleaming, lightning-fast CTA train into downtown, holding our breath surreptitiously so as not to gag from the stench of urine that seems to linger in every car of the transit system.  We got swept up in the sweaty masses of the Taste of Chicago, and swiftly moved on to the more comfortable quarters of Lincoln Park's Summerfest celebration.
Before my inbox gets overloaded with questions regarding where to find those masks:  you're out of luck.  We got those in Germany.  Best impulse buy ever.  

Later, we marveled at the treasures on display at the Chicago Antique Market Festival, where Allison bought a $3 necklace of unknown material (possibly silver, in which case - Score!  Possibly tin, in which case it's probably recyclable), Rachael bought a nuts and bolts bracelet (it looks just like it sounds), and Matt and I found the best prize of all:  two leather office chairs!  If you aren't jumping out of your skin with enthusiasm at this very moment, that's only because I haven't told you yet that we got them for the meager price of $75 for the pair!  Come on!  That is amazing.  That's like $4 a chair or something incredible like that.  I'm a little fuzzy on the math.
See?  They're even on casters.  Who doesn't love casters? 

These chairs not only give us a place to sit while we await our ever-absent Macy's sofa (which, let's be honest, we should probably chalk up to a scam at this point), but they also proved to be a hot commodity at the festival.  No sooner had Matt and I left to get cash from the ATM than a scavenging couple came up and offered the woman $150 for the chairs.  Thankfully Rachael and Allison were there to bare their teeth, sprout hair from their bodies, and morph into rabid werewolves, thereby scaring off those and any more amazing-chair thieves.  The couple asked me to sell them just one chair for $75 (ensuring me a free chair), but I told them I needed the pair.  I'm not sure if that's true, but I didn't like the look of that guy.  Plus, I probably did need both, as evidenced by the lack of sofa situation.

Anyway, after the excitement of the weekend, we are now back to just the two of us, in our humdrum day-to-day activities.  Today, I'm making potstickers.  Tomorrow it's a potato frittata.  This might end up being a food blog, but probably not.  Unless it turns into an "I'm not sure how to cook but God bless I'm going to persevere" food blog.  Doubtful.  

Monday, June 20, 2011


It has taken almost a month, but we are finally settling in here at Casa de Former Travelers.  We (and by we of course I mean mostly I... I've got to earn my keep in some way) have unpacked almost every box, and put almost everything in place.  Well, we've put things in a place.  It might not be a fully realized and organized apartment yet, but we're working on it.  Who knew unpacking was such a chore? Most of my first week here was spent sitting on the floor, surrounded by boxes and mountains of packing paper, shaking my head in disbelief at why we felt the need to store most of these things for three years.  A broken teapot.  A broken lampshade.  Three broken chairs. (All of these things were broken before the movers even touched them.) A package of chocolate covered pretzels.  A half-empty box of soup.  Three used candles, etc, etc.  I think we might be recovering hoarders. Also, for those of you who have never had the pleasure of dealing with the results of professional packers, I can only hope and pray that you do experience it at some point in your life.  While it is wonderful to have all your possessions packed for you - each piece wrapped in thousands of sheets of paper and then stuffed in its own four-foot-tall box - you have to keep an eye on those guys, for when they say they pack everything, they mean it.  A few of my favorite finds:  dirty dishes with caked on food, a stack of the library's CDs we borrowed for the wedding (a hefty late fee on those, I'm guessing), a coffee maker with the filter and old, moldy coffee grounds stuck in it, as well as my favorite find - a Fry Daddy with 3-year-old fry oil sitting inside.  It's bad enough we even own a Fry-Daddy (you can take the girl out of Arkansas...), but to have the oil still sitting in it?  Come on! Yet despite all this, I know I only have myself (and my husband) to blame.  Apparently you're supposed to get all your items ready to be packed before the packers pack them.  What a novel idea.
It may not look like much, but it was.  Kind of.  

We still don't have all our furniture, but we're getting there.  Our discontinued (and probably soon to be collector's items) Martha Stewart sofa and chair have yet to make an appearance, but I think it will be soon and very soon.  Possibly next week.  Thank you Macy's for your prompt and courteous service. (I'm kidding.  They were pretty courteous.)  In the meantime, Matt and I have been sharing the old sleeper couch which Arpit and Hema helped us move.  Why, even bother, you ask?  Who can know?  In theory it is because we only have one bedroom and a pull-out sofa bed will be nice when company comes a-calling.  The reality is probably that we are cheap and didn't want to fork out $300+ for other seating items for the sunroom.  Also, I mentioned we were recovering hoarders, not recovered.  The tense makes all the difference.
Ain't that fine?  We have since put a slipcover on it, making it look slightly less tacky.  Or slightly more tacky.  I haven't decided which yet.  

Aunt Mickie took me to a used furniture store in the area last week, where we met up with Betsy and Riley, and then Dave showed up as well.  It was quite the family affair.  I immediately fell in love with almost everything in the store, and took Matt back there on Saturday, where we ran into Dave again!  Between the three of us, I think we put a pretty big dent in their inventory, which will give them room to put out more stuff for me to buy.

I still don't have a job, and am in the process of scouring (and by scouring I mean lazily searching when I get the chance, which isn't very often considering I'm still on borrowed Internet) the Web looking for employment, and thinking of ways to beef up my resume.  It shouldn't be too hard.  Who wouldn't want to hire a journalism/English major with no experience but who has taught English in several (three) different countries?  That's what I thought.  I'll keep truckin'.

In the meantime, I will continue to settle in here, asking those questions that surely plague newly domesticated couples everywhere, such as:  Why is there blue lint on every surface in my bathroom?  How do I get rid of it?  Can I wash my clothes in the dishwasher? (- Stepbrothers) And when is housekeeping going to come in and clean my room?  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spain - "I think dis is de best"

El toro.  They have these huge bulls on the side of the highway all over Spain.  I was impressed.  

As you all know, we went to Spain on a last - minute honeymoon.  We have since returned to America and are stressed and pressed for time moving into our new apartment.  I was just going to skip blogging about Spain, but after repeated requests for info and pictures, I realized I just couldn't let it slide.  We here at "She's Gone Rogue" strive to keep our fans happy, yet we really are exceedingly busy and don't have Internet at home now, so we will try to keep this as short and sweet as possible.  And now, courtesy of the free wifi at Atlanta Bread Company all the way in Fayetteville, AR, I present to you:  Spain:  

Day 1 - Madrid
Flew into Madrid.  Got there around 9:00 am.  Were exhausted, but knew we had to fight the jetlag.  Did the only thing we knew how to do:  hit the streets with our guidebook and toured the city until we literally fell over.  Took an impromptu nap on a park bench for about an hour after we decided to sit for "just a minute."  Woke up with all our belongings still intact.  Close call.  Ate some delicious Spanish food (ie, jamon).  Went to bed around 11pm.  
Jamon at the jamon store.  Affectionately known as "Matt's Paradise."

Metropolis building in Madrid's city center.  Possibly the most beloved building by Madrilenos.  Modeled after a French building.  Oooh, burn.  
Day 2 - Madrid
Awoke refreshed and ready to kick the day's ass.  Went to the Prado (famous art museum).  Got in for free because it was a holiday.  Saved 18 euros.  Score.  Spent far too long at the Prado, but saw interesting art (mostly religious).  Bought a magnet of Goya's depiction of Saturn devouring his son.  (Said magnet is now located on refrigerator at home to discourage overeating.)  Went to park to drink wine.  Went to tapas area at Alberto's suggestion (he thought dis was de best place), and had the first of a long list of the very best tapas in the world.  Drank more wine.  Went in search of chocolate con churros place.  Found it, but the line was far too long.  Saw a huge demonstration in the plaza.  Didn't know what was going on because didn't speak enough Spanish.  Resolved to learn more Spanish.  Went to bed.  
Delicious pintxos (tapas from the Basque region - arguably the best region for tapas).  

Huge demonstration.  Maybe political?  Who can know?

Day 3 - Segovia
Took the high speed train to the medieval city of Segovia from Madrid.  Walked with our two rolling suitcases 30 minutes across cobblestone streets to our hotel.  Bad idea.  Tooled around.  It was cool.  Ate the local delicacy, roast suckling pig.  Surprisingly good.  Went to a castle.  Walked up a hill to take pictures.  Read on a park bench.  Fell asleep on said park bench.  Had delicious homemade ravioli dinner.  Stayed the night.  
Cathedral in Segovia.  Muy cool.  

Aquaduct left over from Roman times.  Very big.  Very cool.  

Castle on which the "Sleeping Beauty" castle was modeled.  

View of Segovia from the park on the hill.  Worth the walk.  
Day 4 - Granada
Took train back to Madrid from Segovia.  Rented a car at the train station.  Matt drove, obviously.  Drove to Granada, approximately four hours.  Incredible drive.  Amazing countryside.  Couldn't find a fast place to stop for lunch, so we skipped it.  Went hungry.  Arrived in Granada.  Checked into beautiful  hotel.  Walked around the city.  Ate Jamon in the room.  
View of countryside on the way to Grenada.  Those are olive trees.  
Day 5 - Granada
Woke early and drove to     , an hour outside of the city.  Went on a seven mile hike through the mountains to another city.  Would have gone further, but we were completely spent.  Hike was amazing - possibly best part of the trip.  Possibly.  

View of a lake from up in the mountains.  

Town we hiked to.  Don't know the name of it, but it was really pretty.

Day 6 - Granada
Walked around sightseeing, then went and had an unanticipated two hour lunch at a cafe in the shadow of the Alhambra, a Muslim fortress and palace built in the 14th century.  Matt freaked out about the time because we had tickets to see the Alhambra's palace at 7, and had to see the rest of the grounds before that.  Ran/walked up the hill to the fortress, and sped through the gardens, museums and fortress.  Took lots of pictures.  Finished in plenty of time to see the palace.  Saw palace.  Impressive.  Took even more pictures.  Went down the hill to dinner at a middle eastern restaurant.  Had lamb and rice dish.  Delicious.  
  Panorama of the Alhambra from a touristy hill where everyone goes to take pictures.  It probably won't show up fully in the blog, so click the picture to see the whole view.  Please.  I worked hard on it in photoshop.

View of the city from the fortress.  

Inside the palace.  This is all carved marble that looks like...
this up close.  Someone should learn this skill and come to my house and do it on my walls.  Please.  I'll pay you handsomely in mediocre home-cooked meals.  

Day 7 - Sevilla/Seville
Drove from Granada a couple hours to Sevilla.  Ate our first and only paella, which was fantastic and very expensive.  Saw a beautiful gothic (maybe?) cathedral.  Skipped almost all of the other recommended sights in favor of just wandering around.  Ate the BEST tapas and drank beer at an outdoor restaurant just underneath our hotel.  Went to bed.  
Might not look like much, but that's just because of my photography skills.  It was incredible.  

Seville Cathedral.  It is the largest Gothic cathedral and third largest church in the world.  You can't tell, but again, that's because of my limited photography skills.  
Days 8 through 10 - Costa Brava 
Flew from Seville to Barcelona, then skipped out on all the sights and took a bus to the city of Palafrugell, on the Mediterranean Costa Brava.  Checked into a wonderful hotel with a gorgeous beach right under our balcony.  Went to said beach.  Walked all over town and into neighboring towns to visit different beaches, each possibly more impressive than the last.  Saw lots of topless women, and one naked man. On the last day, taxi-ed to Aiguablava, a different but no less amazing costal town.  Stayed in a Parador situated on a rock that juts out into the Mediterranean.  Learned the meaning of Parador (a hotel located in a historic place such as a castle, palace, convent, monastery, fortresse, etc.  I don't know what ours used to be.  Not a palace or castle, but it was acceptable anyway).   Weather was not up to par on that last day, but what can you do?  I'll tell you.  You can be persistent, take a walk around the beaches, lay out in the freezing windy conditions by the pool pretending that it is 90 degrees and sunny, and finally give up and go drink wine and play cards in your hotel room.  
View of the beach and restaurant from our balcony in Palafrugell.

Beach where we saw the naked man.  I don't think he's in this picture, but maybe he is. Feel free to look for him.  

Third beach.  

A rope seen from afar can look like a dead body.  Like this one.  I was convinced it was a dead body so I had to go investigate.  I was wrong.  Still, cool rope.  

Day 11 - Barcelona/Madrid
Took a bus back to Barcelona.  Didn't learn our lesson from Segovia and took our rolling suitcase around the city sightseeing.  Went to La Sagrada Familia, or as I call it, Gaudi's church.  Walked around it taking pictures and marveling at all the people who were willing to pay 12 euros a piece to go inside.  (Note, probably would have forked it over if it hadn't been our last day... my pockets get a little tighter toward the end of a long vacation.) Took bus to airport to fly back to Madrid.  Nicest airport I've been to.  Good thing, because our flight was delayed two hours.  Flew back to Madrid, stayed the night, left early next morning for Amurca. Boom.  Spain.  

It appears I don't have any pictures downloaded yet from our Parador on the rocks or Barcelona, so I'll have to get those later.  Or not at all.  Anyway, that was our honeymoon.  Now we're back in Amurca, living in the real world, setting up our new apartment, and reeling from the prices of everything.