Sundays are the worst.  Invariably I am horribly bored by 7:00 pm.  I have no idea why this boredom is exclusive to Sundays, but it is.

I don’t really have much to report.  I finalized by dissertation committee, which is exciting.  I can now file some paperwork and technically receive my MA at the end of the semester, which is good news and feels like progress.  And there are other things in the wings.  Soon I’m going to start volunteering once a week for foster and adoption care through Catholic Charities, and this may result in some stories.  But for now things are low-key.

Which is why I decided not to blog about my boring weekend and instead to compile a…


I do a little bit of scrapbooking, but even if it’s not your thing, I recommend you check out Bohemia double-sided papers.  I’ve linked to an artsy site here that I’ve never used, but I recommend just browsing them at Michael’s.  They’re great not only for scrapbooking but also for wrapping gifts, and they come in fantastic patterns and prints in Mediterranean colors.

When my dad visited Houston he bought me a pair of Cole Haan Nike Air G Series flats that I have worn almost every day since.  Mine are red, not “putty,” but I think they must have been discontinued (although for you NC folks I saw them on sale at Belk while I was home for Christmas).  These shoes are a little on the expensive side, but they’re worth it.  I encourage you to try on a pair of the Cole Haan Nike Air shoes, even if they’re in a different style.  They may rub funny for an hour or two, but then they will feel like clouds of soft and delicious cotton candy for your feet.

This one is more for my Victorianist readers — well, maybe just Sophie then, who probably already knows about this book — but I’m having a torrid affair with the Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction.  For someone like me, who routinely forgets the plots and characters of major works of fiction in my area of study, this is immensely useful.  And I have discovered many strange and obscure titles and authors.  Plus Bob came up with one of my comprehensive exam questions by looking up the entry for “children’s literature.”

A few years ago, my mom sent me the Mr. Bar-B-Q meat tenderizer, and it is wonderful.  A plastic guard protects your fingers from the blades, which tenderize your meat much more effectively than whacking it with a mallet.  It’s fantastic to use before you marinade.

My good friend and former roommate-at-the-Fizzle bee introduced me to Patak’s Sweet Red Pepper and Coconut Jalfarezi Cooking Sauce.  It’s so good I could eat it with a spoon, but that probably isn’t a good idea.  A very easy dinner, with very tasty leftovers.

I couldn’t find a photo of it online, but if you live near a Central Market, you should try their rosemary bread.  It’s about $2.50 and is what heaven would taste like if heaven were herby and delicious.  They slice it for you at the bakery.  When you get home, put some scrambled eggs and tomatoes on top.

When I’m feeling annoyed about my dissertation, I break out my Sharpie Ultra Fine Point Permanent Markers in the dazzling display Danny got me that one Valentine’s Day when we agreed to buy presents only on the condition that we spend about $20 at an office supply store.  Granted, I blush when my dissertation advisors see my outline headings in bright blue, purple, and orange, but it’s worth it.  They’re also good for addressing packages and personalizing plain white or brown gift bags.

I rarely buy makeup that cannot be found at Target because I’m a poor graduate student, but I’ll buy Benefit’s benetint lip and cheek stain at Sephora.  It’s less than $30, smells like roses, and makes your cheeks look like you’ve been walking in a crisp breeze.  I don’t use it on my lips, but you can.

C. O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine in Cinnamint is one of the only put-on-your-lips products that I can stand.  A lot of lip balms and such feel fantastic when I first put them on but then leave my lips feeling kind of flaky and gross, but this leaves them soft.  And it really does make it seem like you have fresh breath, because it smells like red hots.  It’s $7.50, and you can get it at Bath and Body Works.

This last one is a little different and really only feasible for friends on the east coast…  But I recommend going to Damascus, Virginia and renting bikes at the Laughing Dog.  They drive you up the Creeper Trail in a van, drop you off at the top with a bike, and you coast down, enjoying the mountains.  (The van drivers also know a lot of local history.)  The trail used to be a railroad track that hauled coal up and down the mountain.  It’s really beautiful and an inexpensive day trip.  After a change of clothes have dinner at the Peppermill and enjoy a show at the Barter Theatre.


6 thoughts on “

  1. I envy you your shoes.

    And I’ll have to try the Stanford Companion (especially now that I know Bob’s evil method!). I’m mostly a Cambridge Companion woman myself.

  2. But Damascus is only the halfway point on the Creeper Trail 🙂

    Granted it’s the end of the nice and relaxing downhill 17 mile bit, though riding through the different farmers’ fields (close the gates so the cows don’t get out) and across old railroad bridges on the flat 17 mile section to Abingdon is interesting in its own right.

    Other trails in that area – New River bike trail near the Shot Tower on 77N.

    • We enjoyed Damascus because we had time to drive up, ride a part of the trail, have a great dinner, and go to the theater, all in the same day. Plus my outdoorsiness has limits.

      Hope you’re doing well there in Seattle!

  3. I have to admire at least the way you present your life with simplicity and organization, even if this isn’t the case (as I’d imagine dealing with life and a dissertation aren’t). How do you managed to stay calm/composed under the pressure.

    And I will take you up on the rosemary bread and sharpies. Love central market.

    • The orderliness is all a sham.

      Well, not really. By the time you get to your dissertation, you’re much more comfortable in your own scholastic skin, and you’re not spending so much time reading and researching topics that are unrelated to your primary interests.

      Let me know how you like the bread!

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