Sunday, April 30, 2006

visions of plastic storage bins danced in my head

i have descended into a hell that is sorting items into four categories: yard sale, goodwill, trash, keep. i had no idea that our combined belongings were so extensive. did i say earlier that i thought it would be a good idea to move? i don't know what i was thinking.

if you used to be my friend, but are now wondering if i've been kidnapped or killed or otherwise incapacitated, or if i just hate you...well the answer is none of the above. i'm just a shut in, and the only people i talk to are my real estate agent, my mortgage guy (who is my new best friend -- did you want to know his number? because i have it memorized), allstate, and myself. oh yes, and julie. god bless her, it actually IS a wonder that she hasn't killed/incapacitated me by now. **julie smiles devilishly from the couch** by the time i go to work tomorrow it will have been 40+ hours since i last left the house.

bed. time. bunny.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

kitchen timer

let me give you a little background about my relationship with my kitchen timer.

when i was in school, there were sometimes days, usually around exam time, that i had absurd amounts of work to do. so many pages of reading it made my eyes roll back in my head and my hands start to quiver. my schedule was such that i had long long days of classes tue-thu, then 4 day weekends. but monday and friday were WORK WORK WORK days. so i would wake up, knowing that i had a whole DAY of schoolwork ahead of me, and i would sometimes be in tears before i even put my feet on the ground. i would feel so overwhelmed that all i wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and cry. needless to say, i also have a wee-tiny struggle with depression. which i usually manage well. with drugs. which i love. maybe i'll write about that tomorrow. BUT. back to me being in bed with the covers over my head and countless hours of schoolwork to do.

i started to figure out that if i gave myself little incentives, it made things much more bearable. i would cut deals with myself. like if i work really hard for awhile, then i can take a break and do something fun like eat. this became too ambiguous for me. i needed more structure. and so -- the kitchen timer idea was birthed. i would decide on little increments of time with assigned tasks, and in between them i would get rewards. another thing you should know is that i also wet my pants with excitement any time i get to make a to-do list. so i would make little schedules for myself. here is a really non-specific example:

30 minutes: outline paper
20 minutes: reading
15 minutes: piddle around
20 minutes: reading
10 minutes: laundry

please keep in mind that my lists were IMMENSELY more specific than this. like i would decide in which time segment i was going to read which article, etc etc etc. and one of the stipulations was that once i started the kitchen timer, i had to turn it around and not look at it so that i wouldn't watch the minutes tick by. this worked for me. extremely well. saved my academic life.

now that i am not in school, i am still a big big fan of kitchen timer time. i work from home and have an immense amount of flexibility which sometimes kind of overwhelms me. and i really cannot stand to write case notes for more than about 20 minutes. so now my list might look like this:

20 minutes: case notes
20 minutes: read book of choice
15 minutes: check voicemail; return calls
20 minutes: clean
20 minutes: catch up on email
15 minutes: make grocery list
10 minutes: unload dishwasher

also if i have a task i am particularly dreading (right now it is sorting through everything in the attic) then i do 20-30 minute intervals -- a couple each day. julie says that when she comes home, she can tell what i've been doing during the day by where the kitchen timer is.

today, while browsing for things that i want to fill our new house with (i know, i know, materialism bug is sticking around for a minute), i came upon a kitchen timer that took my breath away. behold.

it is made of heavy duty cast iron, with silver painted numbers. it is available for $32 from anthropologie. if it wasn't the end of the month and if my budget for the month wasn't already so fucked, i would have bought it immediately. i've gotten so inspired about it i kind of want to start collecting kitchen timers.

Monday, April 24, 2006


while i think that america's consumer habits and wanton wastefulness are truly absurd and unethical, i sometimes get bit by the materialism bug. now i will show you things that i want.

this is just great. lately i have been lamenting the fact that things made for pets are really ugly and detract from the aesthetic quality of our home. problem solved.

this would undoubtedly add that certain je ne sais pas to my wardrobe. you can buy it for me, if you want.

i already know what you are going to say. "but morgan, you don't have any kids! and what happened to your commitment to forego rigid gendered standards when it comes to kid's clothing?" to you i say, commitments be damned! because these outfits make me swoon, and ovulate, at the same time.

i feel pretty, oh so pretty.

i have been really mournful because i want a smeg refrigirator, and cannot find them in the us. only europe. but this makes me feel hopeful again. i would also settle for this. too bad i would have to sell my soul to pay for it.

that is all for now. thank you.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


it isn't good for me to read things like this (april 20 and 21) when i am 19 days away from buying a house. horror stories. give me bad dreams.

i want to say, however, that is hands down my favorite blog ever and sometimes reading it is the only thing that gets me through the day.


julie and mercy and i went to earth day at centennial park yesterday, and i've made a couple of decisions based on what i saw there.

the first is that i will never EVER allow my child to go into a port-a-potty barefoot.

the second is that any female offspring i produce will frequently wear big floppy wide brimmed hats during their childhood.

the last is that any male offspring i produce will wear overalls with no shirt during their toddlerhood.

Friday, April 21, 2006

useful vw fact, and other car talk

did you know that volkswagon was the only german auto manufacturer that did not use jewish slave labor during the holocaust? yeah, me neither....until yesterday! another reason why i'm so happy happy happy that i drive a jetta. love my jetta. her name is millie. she's silver. and sassy. i went all the way to wisconsin to buy her, because i think buying new cars is silliness, and used diesel jettas are hard to come by because they last for about 9348573984573984539 miles, so people typically don't get rid of them. and yeah, her little engine purrs slightly louder than your average, but i think it is kind of cute. and the gas mileage just can't be beat. plus, the hole where you put fuel in her is EXTRA big to accomodate the big diesel nozzles like truckers use, and i think it is hilarious when i fill up at a truck stop next to a huge semi.

julie's current car of choice, over which she has been lusting for quite some time, is a volvo station wagon. good cars, those volvos.....except their little emblem thingie that goes on the front of the car is the man symbol. don't believe me? go to their website. julie would look cute as hell driving a volvo station wagon.......but the man symbol? i don't know if i can reconcile with that.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

homeownership pending

they accepted our offer. we have a contract on the house. our closing date is may 12.

we are accepting cash donations and home depot gift cards in any amount.

if i talk to one more goddamned lender about origination fees and points and interest rates and tax deductions, my next entry will be written from a padded cell.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

bubble bubble CREEPY

i've been reading middlesex by jeffrey eugenides as part of a budding new book club, which currently has 2 members (one of whom is me, and both of whom are fabulous so you should obviously want to also join this book club and read with us). i don't want to go into the whole mess of providing a context for this next thing i'm going to talk about, but bear with me. in the book, its in the 1920s and this couple is living in detroit, where they immigrated to from greece. the husband, lefty, works at henry ford's factory and is taking english classes. for their graduation ceremony, the class is putting on a play, and lefty has been asked to be in the play. he has his wife make him some kind of get-up that is "like from the patridha." (patridha = homeland). also, lefty goes to by a blue suit. so the wife goes to see him in the pageant. on stage there is a big cauldron that is labeled "ford english school melting pot." one by one, the men in the pageant come out on stage, each representing their country (italy, poland, norway, etc.) and go into the cauldron. then lights flash and the cauldron bubbles and etc. etc. and then the orchestra plays "yankee doodle" and the men climb out of the cauldron, all dressed in blue and gray suits and waving american flags.


how fucking CREEPY is that?????????????????????? why would we want everybody to be the SAME? why would we take beautiful and unique individuals and MELT them all together and take away their individual identities? why would you put people in a cauldron ANYWAY?

on a seemingly unrelated, but actually really relevant note, julie was telling me today that she doesn't like the mechanical pencils i bought her because they are kind of fat. she doesn't like to write with fat things because it reminds her of when she was little and they put this contraption on her pencil to make her hold her pencil a certain way, with her thumb and second finger, instead of the way she naturally held it (with her thumb and third finger). not that she was having any trouble writing, they just thought it was obviously reeeeally important for her to hold her pencil like everyone else. because it matters. so. much.

why are we so uncomfortable with people being different? why does there have to be a right and wrong way to hold a pencil? as long as you can write with the damn thing, then you aren't holding it wrong.

i wonder how many of the world's problems would be solved if people didn't see things strictly as black or white.....if people would acknowledge that sometimes there is more than one right way to do things.

i'm going to start holding my pencil with my damn toes. and i'm going to stay away from cauldrons!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

offer, counter offer, counter offer, counter offer, counter offer

here is the situation.

we fell in love with a house. it was priced too high. we made an offer for considerably less than the asking price.

they counter-offered. for more than what we want to pay. but they came down quite a bit.

we have driven by the house obsessively, picturing our unborn children playing on the porch. we took mercy over there and she peed in the yard (she likes it). don't worry, the house is vacant. today, we see that they have added furniture to the sun porch, flowers on the deck, and art on the mantle. they are trying to SELL the fucker!

so do we counter offer again? risking that someone will make another offer in the meantime and we lose the house? and knowing that they might not come down any more? or do we just say fuck it and pay a little more (we're talking about 2.5% more) than what we said we would be willing to pay?

dear universe, please advise me.

Friday, April 14, 2006


i was thinking today that maybe i should start being a complete asshole when i drive, because that's what everybody else in nashville does.

then, i could trade in my small, fuel-efficient car for a huge monstrosity suv that gets 1.5 mpg so i can rumble around town being the biggest thing on the road, so that i can better be a complete asshole while driving.

and then i could get some "w" bumper stickers, and also some bumper stickers with rubbish about family values and how gay people getting married is ruining america. and one of those yellow ribbon magnets, also.

and THEN i could drive my monster to mcdonalds to get a mcfatty meal with extra jumbo size cholesterol potatoes and a side of heart attack sauce. and a 100 gallon diet coke.

then when i finish my meal, i could throw my trash out the window of my monster. on my way to see a nascar race with hope that i will see a horrible crash in which someone gets maimed.

cynical? me? oh please.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

trouble in paradise

i like to give inanimate objects names and personalities. for instance, my car is named millie. she is very sassy. my jade plant is named tildie. she is kind of shy. this tendency toward personification also applies to my body. not all of my parts have names, but a lot of them have defining personality characteristics, and as they all live together i think of them like a village. some members of the village get along better than others, but overall it is a good little village -- happy and peaceful -- that functions very well.

except for right now.

there has been some kind of village invasion, and all hell has broken loose. my nose, who is sensitive and finicky and kind of overreactive, has gone waaaaay overboard with trying to flush out these invaders. my throat is in a state of panic. my head is overwhelmed by all this, and has taken to her bed with a massive headache. my bronchial passages are putting up a mean fight, tough little guys that they are, and my soft pink lungs are running scared. my stomach apparently received news of the turmoil in the northern hemisphere and threw an all-out tantrum, attempting to empty her contents (of which there were none) at 4:30 this morning. we're throwing up the white flag.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


in my sniffly misery, the last two days have been spent mostly at home, buried in a huge mound of kleenex (which mercy looooooves to shred). not a lot of interesting things to share. i have, however, been reading living buddha, living christ by thich nhat hanh, and here is my little excerpt that i bring to you, for today.

"our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends on our capacity to make peace with ourselves. if we are at war with our parents, our family, our society, or our church, there is probably a war going on inside us also, so the most basic work for peace is to return to ourselves and create harmony among the elements within us--our feelings, our perceptions, and our mental states."

as someone who frequently has a fair amount of internal discord, this draws my attention to the importance of devoting some time and energy to reconciling my inner elements, before i go about trying to make peace on any larger scale. like with my puppy for instance.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

weekend recap

here are some of my favorite parts of the weekend:

the part where julie and i got stuck in the back room of old navy, waiting to pick up my nieces, because there were tornadoes on every corner.

the part where my oldest niece (makinzie, 7) and julie's niece (olivia, 5) argued over whether the only bed in our house was mine or julie's. i held my breath, and they (miraculously) did not ask questions.

the part where 2 girls (ages 4 and 7), during the sleepover at aunt lezzy's house, wound up wearing negligees from victoria's secret and high heels. mom would be so proud.

the part where mercy threw up in her crate not once, not twice, but 9847923847298 times.

the part where julie and i listened to my youngest niece (jadelyn, 4) snore like she was 80 and had lung cancer. lucky for jadelyn, she just has sleep apnea and enlarged tonsils. did i say they were enlarged? i meant to say they are as big as my face.

the part where juie and i were up at 6:30 (in the MORNING), and between the 2 of us, had fed dogs in sylvan park, gone to the grocery store, made cinnamon rolls and bacon, fed the dog and 3 kids, dressed ourselves and 3 kids, fixed hair, wiped ass.....before 8:00 (in the MORNING). we have this mommy thing down no problem-o.

the part where i was the easter bunny and only made 2 kids cry.

the part where now i'm sick and feel like poopy, but julie is being my nursemaid.

ready for another week!

Friday, April 07, 2006

tea time

for those of you who might not know, tea is something about which i feel quite strongly. not being a coffee drinker, but frequenting coffee shops, i have experienced both the good and the bad, tea-wise, that nashville has to offer.

last year i made a decision to condition myself to drinking green tea. i had always steered towards herbal fruity types, and green tea took a little getting used to. it was one of those things, like oatmeal, that i really wanted to like because of its uber healthy qualities. **i wonder how you make those dots above the "u" so that it is proper. huh.** i have fully suceeded in teaching myself not only to like, but to LOVE both green tea and oatmeal. loving tea as i do, i have become a bit of a tea snob. portland brew's loose-leaf tea selection is near and dear to my heart, and their japanese cherry green tea is my never fail favorite. they order their tea from frothy monkey has pretty good bagged tea, from starbucks? fido? bongo java? cafe coco? no thank you.

today, however, tea life in nashville has been revolutionized. i was in downtown franklin this morning, taking a shelter client to see her probation officer. naturally, i dropped her off at the courthouse, instructed her to call me when she was finished, and then went shopping. and found the franklin tea store. god bless. they have so much tea and tea paraphernalia it almost took my breath away. really. i was like a kid in a candy store. except more excited. HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS PLACE???? they've been open ALMOST A YEAR. after much much much consideration, i came away with an ounce each of masala chai, orange blossom oolong, and caramel rooibos (rooibos is not technically a tea, but still. we pretend it is.) i promptly came home and brewed a cup of the rooibos and it is just absurd how good it is. i want to quit my job and just sit at home and brew tea. and blog about it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

you can find me at the quicken loans website

julie and i are looking to buy a house.

you can see the first ones our real estate agent sent us here. i want to live in the one that looks like a gingerbread house. another one of my favorites is the stone tudor on howard, however julie and i drove by there recently and the entire backyard is.........paved. never fear, though -- nothing a few jackhammers and a bobcat can't take care of!

i was playing with amortization calculators today (i know, what a life i lead! between donkey kong and mortgage calculators...) and found that if you get a 30 year fixed loan for $100,000 at 6.25%, over the life of the loan you would pay more than $120,000 in interest. this doesn't please me.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

donkey kong country

i am very tired today. last night my sweet girlfriend INSISTED that we stay up until ALL HOURS playing donkey kong because she "just wanted to get past this one level." i kept suggesting that we call it a night and climb into our warm soft clean freshly changed sheets bed, and my love kept looking at me with these mournful, precious-moments-looking eyes, as if to say "is my happiness not worth staying up just a little bit longer?" she started out on "snow barrel blast" with 30+ lives, and we played until they were all gone. she did not pass the level.

the last couple days have been kind of intense, donkey kong-wise. it is a great stress reliever -- mind-numbing entertainment at its finest. i did, however, catch myself humming the little ditty from jungle hijinx during a, how you say, intimate moment. inappropriate.

and yes, donkey kong is a super nintendo game. and yes, we own a super nintendo.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

sunday shopping excitement

having sprung forward, today seemed like a good day for some shopping. before you start to think that i spent the day at posh retail outlets, please note that i visited -- in this order -- wild oats, kroger, nashville pet products, dsw shoe warehouse, shoe carnival, bed bath & beyond, and home depot. my favorite purchase was a tie between a red ceramic utensil crock (to replace the wire one that i had, which i HATED because it wasn't solid and so the handles of my utensils were always sticking through and causing it to fall over) and the new grape nuts "trail mix" cereal (which i feel a little conflicted about because it is not vegan, containing both refined sugar and whey -- but i at least have to TRY it just once so that i can have an opinion -- i'll be sure to keep you posted on whether it was worth the cheat). my least favorite purchase, which has proved most advantageous, was a braided chew stick made from pig hide (DECIDEDLY not vegan). blame julie. it is apparently safer than rawhide, which has already caused a bloody stool scare earlier in mercy's childhood. and the chew stick was more tolerable (marginally) than the pig ear (i could see the VEINS) and the pig snout (!!!!!). it has proven to have unsurpassed popularity with mercy, and has provided more than two hours of contented busyness (during which i watched extreme makeover home edition and BALLED my eyes out. ridiculous. sadie holmes, i love you so.).

and i can already hear you saying, "but morgan -- why don't you just buy nylabones, which are plastic and not made from carcass?" to which i say, "well naturally, i do!" but mercy has the attention span of a gnat and quickly grows weary of nearly any chew object i purchase. variety is the spice of life, my friends.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

have you ever heard of a foxhole prayer?

dear universe,

if you will grant me this one wish, i promise that i will faithfully back up my hard drive every 5 minutes.

please please PLEASE do not let my computer be fried forever and unfixable.

do not underestimate the urgency and importance of my request. my mental health is at stake, and i fear that even the cornucopia of drugs i rely on to maintain my sanity may not be enough to prevent the enormous emotional meltdown that will surely follow the loss of everything on my hard drive.